Edward Lewis (SEO Consultants) Scam
"The point is not that he falsified facts about this site, but that he falsified facts at all !"
Edward Lewis is known as a person who stands for ethics. He is a moderator in an seo forum that doesn't tolerate any seo method that doesn't comply with what they consider to be ethical. To further his stance, he produces a directory of ethical SEOs, called "Seo Consultants". But he is a black sheep in the "ethical SEO" community, who is bringing them into disrepute.
In 2004, Edward Lewis set himself up as the chief Traffic Power investigator, and created a section on his site to present the evidence and information. (Traffic Power is an seo company who managed to get their clients' sites banned from Google.)
That would be fine if that was all that is published in that section, but it isn't. Edward Lewis includes falsified information in the section. At the time of writing this article, he has just added a sizeable piece of text to a list of domains, for the sole purpose of harming somebody who he doesn't like, and who has no connection at all with Traffic Power. The piece contains lies.
During the fake forums issue of September 2004, I did some research and concluded that Edward Lewis was the "most likely" person to have been responsible for the forums. During the research, I found gross dishonesty in Edward Lewis' handling of his investigation, and the conclusion that I drew was both honest and genuine. The conclusion may have been wrong, although I still have no reason to change it, so I didn't state that he was responsible for the fake forums - only that he was the "most likely" person to be responsible for them.
Edward Lewis didn't like it, and he retaliated by adding this site to a list of sites that are either owned by, or affiliated with, Traffic Power. In adding this site to the list, he effectively told the world that I would do to my clients what Traffic Power had done to theirs. If it were untrue, it would be unscrupulous, falsified information, and a lie - definitely not ethical.
Edward Lewis has given different versions of why he added this site to the list. In a public discussion at the searchenginewatch forum, he told everyone:-
That was all that he had, and, from it, he concluded that this site is either owned by, or affiliated with, Traffic Power. I had corrected his use of the word "slander", and I have a reputation in the industry, neither of which is evidence. Of course, no such conclusion can be drawn from those things, and Edward Lewis falsified the list for his own ends.
In the searchenginewatch thread, he also said:-
If he truly believed that this site is connected with Traffic Power, why would he "gladly remove" it from the list? And, if he didn't truly believe it, why did he list the site in the first place? The conversation was an admission to falsifying evidence in the Traffic Power section of his site.
Public opinion forced him to make changes by removing this site from the list and altering the heading of the page, so that it now reads "Domains that may be owned by and/or affiliated with ...", instead of the previous "Domains Owned by and/or Affiliated with ...".
If he had left it at that, this article would never have been written. But he just couldn't leave it there. He had to continue the lies by adding the piece of text to the page.
He has been found falsifying evidence, and has been forced to change it. Because of it, he has lost credibility, and has cast a shadow over the self-styled "ethical SEOs". Is he a particularly unethical black sheep, or is he typical of them?
The point is not that he falsified facts about this site, but that he falsified facts at all !
By falsifying the facts, he has shown that, to him, the end justifies the means. If he falsified one piece of information, how much more of the information in the site is falsified? How much of it is simply the end justifying the means? Can anything in the site be trusted? Undoubtedly some of it is true, but how can anyone tell which bits?
Even though he was forced to make changes, he still cannot stop lying. In the piece that he added to the end of the list, he states the reasons why he removed this site from the list. In it he effectively admits to falsifying facts by adding this site to the list in the first place:-
Notice that he "assumed" that there was an affiliation, and notice the words, "assumption that there may have been". He claims to have included this site in the list on an assumption that there may have been an affiliation, and not on actual evidence. That, in itself, is a further admission of intentionally falsifying the facts by publishing a lie, which he did, but that was not the reason why he did it.
And what did his assumption stem from? "an article that Phil Craven published on his site (2004 October)". And which article was it? He quoted a bit of it (quoted in the "And finally..." section below). It was the very article that condemns Traffic Power's practises, but he was only interested in one short sentence (9 words):- "I find no fault in the techniques they used." He managed to overlook my condemnation of Traffic Power in the rest of the paragraph and throughout the article.
In other words, by including this site in the list, and under the orginal heading, he stated that this site is owned by or affiliated with Traffic Power, and he did it knowing that there was no evidence at all to support the statement. He fabricated facts - he lied - and he admits it. It is obvious from the new piece that he didn't make the assumption that he claims. Nobody could possibly make that assumption from the reasons that he gives.
The intention was to deceive the people who read the page, and the intention is still to deceive people who read the page. For Edward Lewis, the end really does justify the means, and it doesn't concern him at all that he deceives his readers.
In the recently added text at the foot of his list of domains, Edward Lewis quoted me (his bolding):-
He claims that it reinforced his assumption that I am connected to Traffic Power. Again, that's a lie. It has been common knowledge for many years that I support the use of so-called spam methods if necessary, but only with the full knowledge, understanding and agreement of the client, as it says in the quote - a fact that Edward Lewis conveniently overlooked. The quote is taken from the third paragraph in this article. The full paragraph is:-
It's quite remarkable what Edward Lewis contrived not to notice when he made his claimed assumption, and published facts that he knew to be false, isn't it? He managed to notice the first few words of one paragraph in an article, but failed to notice my condemnation of Traffic Power in the rest of the paragraph and throughout the entire article. Of course, he didn't fail to notice anything, and he didn't make the assumption that he claims. He is lying again. He is merely scratching around trying, and failing, to justify his unscrupulous and unethical actions.
The important thing to remember is not that Edward Lewis did anything to me, but that he fabricated facts in the investigative (Traffic Power) section of his site. He deceived, and continues to deceive, the public by willfully stating falsehoods as facts, and it casts a shadow over that whole section of his site. It is clear that, to him, the end justifies the means, and he doesn't mind deceiving the public to achieve his ends. He has lost credibility, and his evidence/facts can no longer be trusted. He has seriously damaged what was a good cause, and he has seriously damaged the reputation of self-styled "ethical SEO".
1. On the list of domains page, Edward Lewis currently lists 83 domains that may be owned by or affiliated with Traffic Power. He also states that "There are 9,000+ additional domains not shown above. Estimated portfolio total at 15,000 domains and growing."
I may not be an Einstein, but don't those 9,000+ and 15,000 figures look a bit wrong? No matter how I try, I cannot make 9,000+ equal to anything like 15,000 when added to the 83 listed domains. Also, I can accept that he knows about 83 domains (assuming that none of them are listed on best guesses, falsehoods, etc.), but 9,000 or 15,000 sounds very far fetched to me.
Why use round figures like 9,000+ and 15,000? If he has a list, why not simply state the number of domains in his list and state that it's growing, instead of round figures? Heck, he could have invented a number and made it look more genuine. The numbers sound somewhat fishy, to say the least. False information?
2. On this page, Edward Lewis talks about a consortium that he claims has been commissioned by some of Traffic Power's ex-clients to publish facts about Traffic Power. The consortium is very mysterious in that only one of them is named - Edward Lewis.
On the page Edward Lewis states, "It was elected that the Consortia would remain anonymous at this stage." I wonder why.
(He also states that "There are no hidden agendas of the group members." But everybody knows that's not true.)
A lot of people think that the "consortium" doesn't exist at all, and that the whole thing is just Edward Lewis. Why would the rest of the consortium hide? Is the idea of a consortium more false information? Is the whole thing based on a lie?
Forum discussion concerning this matter
Traffic Power and the fake forums
The truth about so-called "ethical seo"
Edward Lewis intially added the piece of text about this site at the end of the domains list. A day later he moved it to the top of the list - the first thing on the page. So now the list of domains that may be owned by or affiliated with Traffic Power (the topic of the page) is secondary to the lies. The end justifies even greater means.
7th March 2005
The piece of text was finally removed from the page altogether. It, or some new text, may have been put somewhere else in the site, or he may have decided to be sensible and do the right thing by leaving it out altogether. But then he password protected the Traffic Power section of his site, which allows him to state all manner of falsehoods without the general public's knowledge. As long as it isn't public, it's not too bad.
In the section, he claims that the "consortium" were engaged to publicize information about Traffic Power. I don't know how he hopes to fulfill that commitment by keeping the public out.
I was considering removing this article because he removed the text, but I don't trust him. If he has nothing to hide, there is no reason to suddenly password protect that section of his site at this particular time, so I think this article will stay.
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