Yesterday Jason Calcanis gave a keynote speech at SES where he stirred up quite a bit of controversy. I still can’t decide if he’s a pompous asshat who creates controversy by virtue of his own ignorace or a brilliant marketer who stirs the pot intentionally to create buzz. Either way, he is once again the center of attention. Allen at CenterNetworks has the audio (I’m always very impressed by Allen’s coverage of events) of Jason’s speech so you can judge by yourself.
At one point Jason Calacanis said “SEO is bullshit” which offended quite a few people. Call me old fashioned but I think it’s kind of disrespectful to insult an entire room of people (this is after all, a “search engine strategies” conference). If you listen to his speech, you’ll quickly realize that he is VERY ignorant about the field of SEO. He unfairly characterizes the entire SEO field as a snake oil business. He might as well have said that anyone who uses email marketing is a spammer. Blanket characterization of an industry is plain ignorant.
Later in the speech he talked about using editors at Netscape to weed out spam. (Netscape is basically a bad copy of Digg). Well at Digg, it works like this – if people find value in the post, they digg it. If they think it’s spam, they bury it. It’s a democratized system and the funny/helpful/useful submissions make it to the front page. What Calcanis is basically saying is, “I think the users at Netscape are too stupid to figure out what’s spam, so we’ll tell them.” He gives an example for “25 Refinancing Tips” as being obvious spam. But Jason, what if these tips are actually useful enough to a majority of the people? It’s really arrogant to assume that you know best and shows a real lack of respect for your users.
I personally think Jason Calcanis cannot see past his own ego and really has very little respect for anyone other than Jason Calacanis.
Oh, and before you call me out, yes the interspersed misspelling of Jason’s last name is intentional. After all, spelling is bullshit. Much like SEO.