CAAMP: Our SEO techniques are clean

CAAMP: Our SEO techniques are clean

CAAMP is fending off allegations it is has broken its own conduct rules with search engine optimization techniques deemed “unethical.”

The technique used by the association “is not unethical…because users are not misled or misdirected,” Jim Murphy, CAAMP president and CEO, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca.

The association came under fire from brokers this week following an article in the September issue of its Mortgage Journal which details CAAMP’s rules on how members can and cannot use a competitor’s name to drive traffic to their websites.

In that same article, CAAMP also announced that it was negotiating a settlement agreement with one member whose Internet advertising was found to have violated those rules. However, some brokers reacted by saying the organization was in fact “breaking its own rules.”

One reader reported that an SEO keyword analysis of CAAMP’s own website revealed that the association is using the term Seneca (a Toronto-based college) to drive traffic to the CAAMP website. Seneca and CAAMP offer competing  relicensing courses for Ontario brokers.

The reader provided the following link to a screen capture to prove the point: http://screencast.com/t/xNDn377JUftK

But Murphy told MortgageBrokerNews.ca that CAAMP’s use of what it calls “search term targeting” is not unethical and that problem only arises when the search results are altered to display information designed to mislead the user as to what site they will actually forwarded to in clicking on those search results.

“The discussion underlines the difference between search term targeting, dynamic keyword insertion and the improper use of any of these online tools,” said Murphy, in a written statement to MortgageBrokerNews.ca. ”However, search term targeting techniques which are designed to increase the frequency of search results for Brokerage A (even if the user searched for Brokerage B) are not unethical because the user is merely presented with a link to Brokerage A’s website as one option among the many search results, but is not misled or misdirected when selecting from among those results.”

The CAAMP president also provided an explanation for when dynamic keyword insertion can be considered to be in violation of the association’s code of conduct rules.

“If the link includes a name or trademark of Brokerage A, but actually directs the user to the website of Brokerage B,” said Murphy, “then this would be unethical because the user is being misled.”

 

28 Comments
  • White Hat 2012-09-21 4:42:19 AM
    I find it amazing that Mr. Murphy can defend such a clearly unethical position.

    Keywords are designed to tell search engines what the article is about. In this case, the word Seneca is not even in the article, and the article is clearly not about Seneca; it's about CAAMP's mortgage agent course.

    The question that Mr. Murphy must therefore answer is:
    Why is the word Seneca in your keywords?

    The answer appears to me to be obvious. CAAMP is trying to trick search engines, like Google, into thinking the article is about, or relates to Seneca College. Seneca College is a competitor. Therefore CAAMP is trying to get web traffic that would otherwise be going to Seneca College.

    The fact that Mr. Murphy took the time to think of his response, then put it in writing, and I assume have someone review it, is all the more appalling. This defense was not a mistake but a clear case of arrogantly dismissing legitimate criticism.

    I assume he can also defend his having an AMP designation when he's never brokered a mortgage. In my humble opinion this is another case of arrogance. How can one believe he deserves the same designation that others must work to obtain?

    He, and CAAMP, clearly don't understand ethical competition. I call for a boycott of CAAMP and their arrogant business practices.

    And Mr. Murphy should consider resigning. P
    Post a reply
  • Back in Black...Hat 2012-09-21 4:53:23 AM
    Mr Murphy states that, "search term targeting techniques which are designed to increase the frequency of search results for Brokerage A (even if the user searched for Brokerage B) are not unethical"

    That is basically THE definition of unethical!

    If someone wanted info on Brokerage B, why should they be tricked into seeing anything about Brokerage A??

    Mr Murphy, this is not illegal, but it is clearly unethical. What a shame that this is what CAAMP has become.
    Post a reply
  • Joel K 2012-09-21 4:57:56 AM
    Someone should probably tell everyone involved here that the meta=keywords tag hasn't been used as a ranking signal for YEARS. Even if they intended to scoop on Seneca's traffic, they could never accomplish it that way.
    Post a reply