Update: At Matt’s request, he wanted me to make it more clear to people that this entry was posted in the Humorous section. And indeed, this entry was 50% joke and 50% serious. Serious, only in the fact that I think some of the panelists’ presentations would have been a little different if Matt hadn’t been there. If anything, Rand’s presentation probably stuck the closest to what he was going to present, because it basically mimicked his link buying blog entry from earlier in the week. Oh, and lastly, this is just my opinion and impression of that session — which happens to be shared by many of the attendees I talked to.
As most SEO specialists know, Matt Cutts — aka Google Search King — hates paid links. In fact, he has an all out war against link brokers like PayPerPost and Text Link Ads.
Unlike other search marketing conferences, PubCon is known for teaching the darker side of SEO and SEM. It’s been called the DEF CON of webmaster conferences, which is exactly why it attracts Matt Cutts. Consider Matt the equivalent of a federal agent, but out in the open, wearing his Google sheriff’s badge.
One of the highlights of PubCon Las Vegas 2007 this year was the session on Link Buying — at least it was until Matt showed up. The headlining panel of speakers included experts like Rand Fishkin, Aaron Wall and Jim Boykin. However, once they saw Matt in the back of the room, the panelists were too afraid to talk about anything interesting or important in regards to link buying. The best example of this was when Jim Boykin stood up to give his presentation, and basically told everyone he didn’t have anything to say.
In the back of the room — as this picture clearly captured — Matt Cutts took out a candy bar and crushed it in the palm of his hand, obviously signaling to the panelists that they would be next if they said the wrong thing.