Eric Ward, president of EricWard.com, was involved in launching many of the industry’s Internet success stories, including Amazon.com, Internet Link Exchange and Answers.com. The Wall Street Journal Online once said Eric is “The Svengali behind the scenes of some of the web’s most famous launches.”
Early on, Eric wasn’t interested in anything that had to do with algorithms or rankings. He cared about building links that were merit-driven—links earned based on content. He views himself as a content publicist, not a link builder. His early methods—matching content to logical links—ended up having great value to the Google algorithm.
How he got his start in the industry is inspiring, here are a few excerpts from his interview:
“When I started nearly 20 years ago, my professional background was in advertising, marketing and public relations. I was working for Whittle Communications. My title was Marketing Director, which sounded very impressive. I flew all over the country, selling big advertising deals. I was the guy putting on the suit and smiling—and pitching a nontraditional medium. This helped me when the Internet started to blossom because I liked nontraditional advertising and marketing approaches.”
“It was in graduate school, while taking a course in entrepreneurship in the information industry that my unexpected business break came. We were given an assignment to produce a fictitious information industry business. And I came up with the idea of a publicist for websites. Since no one in academia could tell me whether this was a good idea, I found the only Internet Company in Knoxville, Tennessee. It was US Internet, and I introduced myself and my business idea to their VP. He said that my idea not only made sense, but if I did it he’d hire me to promote their client websites.”