Question. How did you get into Internet Marketing? I have always loved sales and marketing, and just knew that the web was going to be a gold mine when it took off. I thought it would be like the wild west, and it was. Initially we designed web sites for people while at the same time developing a portal for Wales (the country where I live). This was around 1996, and the web was very young in the UK. The sites I built were appearing on the front page of the search engines Altavista lycos etc (Google didn't exist at this point). I wanted to know WHY my sites were doing well, and wanted them to be at the top, so I figured out how it all worked. After that I got the bug, people would ask me to do their sites because of the rankings I got, and eventually I stopped designing and specialised in web marketing. Question. What thrills you about your work? The thrill of the kill, the fact that no two sites are ever the same, which means it never gets boring. I really enjoy having to look at a site, work out how it can be improved for the user, work out how to optimise it for the search engines (oddly enough these are not far apart). The BIGGEST thrill though is watching the earnings from the site rise. Watching conversions increase, watching the site owners make more money. I get to have ALL the fun while THEY have to deal with the orders etc. for me, seeing my efforts result in the success for others. Question. What frustrates you? This is a simple one! Working hard on a site, or a report, delivering it to a client, then watch them do nothing with it, or worse take the parts they like out of it. This tears me up inside as I know they could be a success if they just listened. Question. What would you consider the seven deadly sins in your profession? Oooh 7 deadly sins? That is a good question. This answer is likely to surprise many people who know me, as they might expect me to name black hat methods. Here is the thing though, I think that if people want to use black hat methods, then so they should! It is not for me to tell others how to live their life! The biggest sin I think in my profession is not to make the client aware of the risk involved with black hat. Customers are very naive, and while some are simply greedy and do not care, others simply do not know they can get banned or penalised. If a company is using black hat methods they MUST tell the client what the risks are because if they don't then they are back to being snake oil salesman selling whisky to the Indians. I will give you 7 sins though ;-) i ) bad navigation - be it poor or unspiderable, navigation is king once people are on your site ii) bad copy and bad design - give people what they need to know and ask for the order. Once you get that in your mind you are clear in your design. bad copy and no calls to action are common sins iii) Lack of a plan - so many people fail to plan their website. they simply build a nice site, then think about marketing and seo after. What SHOULD happen is that you decide what you want to achieve, and work backwards from there, building your marketing plan and your website around your end goal. iv) Not letting people know about your website. - Marketing is basic stuff, anyone can do it if they read in the right places. You should let people know about your site online, the RIGHT people as well. v) Arrogance - many SEO's become arrogant, they talk down to people and they think they are somehow better than others. this lose touch with the reality of doing the job. vi) Failing to keep abreast of changes in technology and the industry in general. So many people are teaching and quoting out of date stuff. vii) Failing to look forward to up and coming changes in search engine technology. Question. If you have the power to change anything you like on the Internet, what would you change? I would stop spam emails totally. to me this is the single biggest drawback of the web. Question. What would you consider your biggest achievement so far? Can I have two? Taking a struggling adult <cough> toy shop from turning over hardly anything a month, into taking Ã‚Â£10,000 a week. My biggest satisfaction though is the emails i get from people that I have helped on forums. These are what really make me feel great, knowing that I have touched and affected in a positive way, the lives of others. Question. Of all your Internet endeavors, which do you consider you biggest success? Deciding to post in forums! For me this has been the biggest success (although there have been some great financial ones along the way as well) Question. How many websites do you have in your portfolio? Currently I have about 30 sites some for fun, some for money, some for testing. I have a load of new sites planned, and currently we have a project called stayinginwales.com that is a great success. We hope to sell this within a year or two for a lot of money. Question. What advice would you give beginners in you field? Read the original Google patents, read the papers like hilltop, and the anatomy of a large scale hyper-textual search engine, etc as THESE are the papers that will help you understand the basics of search engines. So many people set up as SEO's and simply do not have a clue what they are doing. Everyday I see SEO's trying to run before they can walk. Question. Take our your Crystal ball and give of a snap shot of how you see the future of the net. The future of the net? Hmmm. I see it as getting smaller and more specialised on a local basis. As the content grows it becomes harder to find information due to sheer volume. Niches are what is needed, by topic and geographical. I see graphical search taking a bigger part (we use this on stayinginwales). I see it integrating fully with TV on demand, where there is hardly any scheduled broadcasting people simply watching what they want when they want! The future of search rests in the better understanding that social networking has brought. Google are kind of going down this road already with TrustRank, which is a manually based seeded level of trust algorithm. Semantics will also play a major part in it soon, where search engines can then remove irrelevant links and count only the on topic ones. Should our member want to contact you, how can they find you? Name: Old Welsh Guy (James Christopher Edwards) website: www.umbrella-consultancy.co.uk Thanks for taking the time to respond to our questions.