Thank You.


After an overwhelming show of support from the community, I wanted to take a minute to thank you.

When I originally discussed the SEO trademark news with Search Engine Land, it was suggested that readers may want to donate to my legal funds. I tried to brush this off and we published the articles. I thought I was just telling the story of the past two years and this case, which took so much from me and the other opposers. Within minutes people were asking how they could send donations and I had to accept the fact that this was no longer just my fight. I gave Barry my PayPal address and within eight hours, the SEO community has raised almost $14,000!

Yes, you read that correctly. $14,000! More than 80 of you donated something and every cent helped.

UPDATE: As of noon on Tuesday, we’re at $17,000!!! This is insane.

The SEO community put aside their differences and showed the biggest outpouring of support I’ve seen since the creation of the IM Charity Parties.

  • Thank you Search Engine Land for running the story and your guidance.
  • Thank you Brent D. Payne for snapping into action and challenging Twitter to donate $100 per person.
  • Thank you Aaron Wall for calling me a Real American Hero.
  • Thank you SEOmoz for finding the opposition in the first place and your continued support since then. For the record, SEOmoz has been embroiled in a battle with RipOff Report who sued them shortly after the trademark opposition started. They were unable to divide their legal efforts. Sarah Bird is incredibly talented, but she is not super human. Despite having to drop the opposition, they have contributed an enormous amount of energy and funds.

We’re nearing a figure that was unimaginable to me at the start of the day.

I am working with my accountant to figure out how we can provide documentation to donors citing this as a business expense for services rendered. I will personally notify each donor when we have the details worked out.

What is going to happen with these donations? I will be splitting 50% of all funds raised above $7,000 with Jonathan Hochman, who spent close to $10,000 in legal fees as well (that brings the total legal bill to $27,000 between the two of us!). His case was not sustained, but it makes his contribution no less important. From there we will have to decide what to do. I know I’d like to put some money back into savings and donate to some favorite charities!

Thank you again, I am overwhelmed and I appreciate every comment, email, tweet and dollar. I know this fight had to be won by an individual, but your show of support demonstrates that the community stands for something much greater. 2010 is the year the SEO community had a group hug. :)

Your Comments

  • Rhea Drysdale

    PS – I’m trying to personally thank each of you!! I may be up all night, but check those inboxes. I’ve shed many tears today and more to come…

  • Carla Marshall

    Hi Rhea – was really happy to help and I’m very proud to see how many people came out in support today.

  • Alan Bleiweiss

    I had a smile on my face all afternoon because of what’s been happening since you blogged the experience Rhea.

    This community really does have the collective ability to push through the differences when it counts. Grateful to play a small part in it.

    And please let Cheryl Meide know we appreciate her role in this as well. Without an attorney willing to put in the footwork for you (I know plenty of attorneys who would have arrogantly told that 25 year old upstart to take a hike), this would not have turned out so well.

    • Rhea Drysdale

      Ha, I was a snappy 25-year-old chairing a non-profit of several hundred people that had already inherited $13,000 in debt from a prior legal win. I also came at the recommendation of a mutual friend who is a highly skilled lawyer in his own right. Cheryl made many allowances with this case knowing I didn’t have the deep pockets of a corporation, but it was truly a great match. From the start I think she fell in love with it, but our world was certainly foreign to her. I am ecstatic that she took the case and did such a phenomenal job.

  • Ron

    Thanks to you Rhea! You saved our future. Many thanks!

  • CK Chung

    No… Thank YOU!!! ;)

  • Ken Jones

    I’m stunned by the speed and level of gratitude and support that’s spread through the SEO world today. All of the accolades and every penny you receive in donations is deserved many times over. I wish I was in a position to have added my own contribution to the donations but my own circumstances being what they are right now that’s unfortunately not possible. Nevertheless I will do whatever I can to shout your victory from the rooftops and will forever more hold you in even higher regard than I did already.
    Now I’m off to set up my “Real American SEO Hero” Twitter list and add you to it (if @BrentDPayne gets his way we’ll have you ranking for that phrase by morning ;-)

    • Rhea Drysdale

      Never expected donations, so every kind word is appreciated! I wanted to tell my story, but I honestly thought people would call me an idiot not respond the way they have. :) Thank you for the support.

  • john andrews

    Seriously.. start a professional association with a mission to defend the interests of the *real* search marketers against the scammers and the public response to the scammers. Be our voice…we’ll support you. And as you go forward, you’ll have the resources to be righteous on behalf of the industry players who obviously need you and appreciate you. You won’t be alone ;-)

    I nominate Rhea for President, and I am sure you’ll get a number of nominations for other quality people willing to participate, without having to offer $5000 sponsored homepage links or other such nonsense.

    • Rhea Drysdale

      You’re insistent aren’t you? :D

      Let’s just say I’m “in talks” with people that have similar interests, but for now I need to take a break. Focus on Outspoken and my family for a bit. Have no fear, I’m drawn to causes and I’ll pop up again. Already digging into HuoMah’s discovery.

      • Dave

        Entirely interesting idea that one. Continue the momentum and get ahead of things in the future (aka a kitty). I second the nomination :0)

        We started a thread today to get the membership motivated on donations for this round (with link to PP addy). As for Mr. Cimring, he was kinda flippant in response when confronted with it. Barry also helped out digging up stuff on that one. From reading through the papers it would seem things are a little rocky with his effort. Always interested in your perspective on that one as U seem to be an expert on it now (the hard way huh?).

        Anyway, great work once again. I’ll def get the word out where I can.

        • Rhea Drysdale

          Definitely looking into this, but I need a week to catch up to real life again! I did download his app yesterday though and it’s a hot mess. For his faults, Gambert was far more organized and persistent. Keep in mind that he also applied four times before this went through. I wouldn’t stress over Cimring too much, yet. Good discovery though and after I’ve had a week to digest things, we should talk.

  • Tia Wood

    I just read about the individuals who pulled together to save “SEO” from going to trademark. Thank you to all those who were involved! Standing ovation.

  • Dean Cruddace

    Rhea, I have personally spent far too much time than would be considered healthy trawling through everything from CSS in it`s infancy to conversion optimisation. I have learned SEO through filtering the good from the bad, in the earlier days for me as it was for others was not easy. This comment is not about self-promotion it is a pure and simple “Thank you”.

    If your case pans out to be the foundation stone or the keystone we as an industry can only say thank you in whatever guise that may take. There may be future challenges but that is a fight for another day. the community has spoken and you are our She-Ra.

    I disagree with Aaron (although very apt) and call you out to be more than an American hero.

    “the community stands for something much greater”

    There it is right there.

    We are talking about a trillion Dollar industry online and i dare say IMHO we as seo`s play a major role collectively.

    Occasionally in direct competition, we stand together for what we do.

  • Stephanie Migot

    I am not an SEO professional, but I have been hugely impressed by your efforts, Rhea. Even without your epic win against the forces of creeping corporatism, you have provided me with the opportunity to give my Luddite boyfriend a lesson in how effective the intertubes can be in mobilising opinion. Thank your for your perseverance, and determination to see this through.

  • Dana Lookadoo

    Rhea, you have true class!

    And the support from the community is more than heart-warming! WOW!

  • David - National Paid Search


    Thanks for taking it on yourself to stop this potentially huge issue.

    Very much appreciated!

    – Just another SEO/SEM

  • Benj Arriola

    Thanks so much. All I was able to contribute was just a blog post during Sarah’s attempt. I feel I contributed negligible efforts compared to what you have done, and yet you have helped us all. Thanks again.

  • steve fox

    All of us who have been seo’ing their sites and not even knowing about this battle going on thank you.

    Who would have the guts to try to trademark seo, well there is someone.
    Hopefully this jerk lost his money too and will stop his useless pursuit.

  • RJ

    Thanks Rhea for taking a moment to send me an email and link to this post. The community is indebted to you and I wish I could have done more.

    Once again, thank you!

  • i do seo

    Never has so much been owed to so few by so many…. a jolly fat man from England once said that, and I wish he was here to say it again ;)

  • Aussiewebmaster

    You better be coming to SES next week – lunch at the Russian Tea Room on me. Great job.

  • Barry Adams

    No no no, that’s not how it works. You don’t thank us. We thank you! I couldn’t give $100 (saving for a wedding in the near future and already donated money to Peter Watts for his legal problems) but I needed to give something to our own SEO Superhero.

  • David Temple

    Ode to Rhea

    Oh Rhea dear
    you’ve saved our land
    ‘The land of SEOs’.
    And you have done
    an awesome job
    as everybody knows.

    What would have been
    if ‘he’ had won
    that guy who is a fool?
    The term we shared
    to do our work
    would not have been so cool.

    While we made fun
    and made our jokes
    you worked behind the scenes.
    You sweated blood,
    you studied hard,
    you spent so many beans.

    And ‘SEO
    means what?’ you asked
    The answer was quite crass
    “It means just what
    it meant before”
    he sounded like an ass!

    And now we all
    can truly breathe
    a sigh of much relief.
    Since SEO is safe to use,
    you’ve saved us from much grief.

  • searchengineman

    A principle is not a principle, unless it cost you money.

    Thanks for putting up with 2 years of legal hell. Most don’t have
    the pockets or the patience. Its nice to know that there are still
    good people out there, willing to stand up.


  • netmeg

    (Should probably thank her husband for his understanding as well. That’s a pretty sizable chunk of cash for any young family to put out without expectation of return)

  • Arnie

    It’s one of those cool things that you end up telling lots of people about… which I have. Even people who have no idea what SEO stands for, and they all had a big grin. Good for Rhea and good for our community.

    And I have to say…David Temple you big show off :-)

  • Brian

    Can we nominate Rhea as SEO Queen?

    If your coming to SES next week, as the famous T-Pain once said:
    ‘I’ma buy you a drannk’

    • Rob Woods

      Brian…Just one “draank”? Rhea should never have to buy a drink at another conference again. …. in fact by now I think I owe the whole Outspoken team at least one round by now. See you at SMX Advanced???

      • Brian

        yea I was just quoting the worst rapper/artist alive, but I agree, she should never have to buy one again… so draanks (plural) works for me..

  • Matt Tuens

    Done. Another $100 in the kitty. I know it’s not much, but if everyone kicks in a little it’ll soon be over the $27,000 to cover not just you, but Jonathan. Not only do I think it is outstanding that you dedicated so much time and money to something that will help everyone in the SEO community, but also it it was really good of you to include Jonathan as a recipient of community generosity so he’s not left holding a major loss too.

    No need to thank us. It is YOU that WE should thank.

  • Cheryl Meide

    It is so great to see the SEO community rally around Rhea Drysdale and support her efforts. Rhea was a pleasure to work with and she had great determination to see it through. It was very nice and satisfying to work on behalf of such an important effort.

  • Steve

    Thanks Rhea. This is the 1st time I’m hearing about your actions, but it is definitely heart-warming. Your actions were not only selfless, but you also made a huge impact in the lives of many SEOs.

    Please keep up the fight. We need people like you representing the industry.


  • Jonah Stein

    I said at SMX that I thought the industry would step forward to support you, but doing it in 24 hours adds a whole new meaning to “we got your back”.


  • Kathryn Katz

    It makes me pretty proud to be part of a community that cares this much. While some might be surprised just how fast we mobilized, I’m not. I’ve had a chance to have drinks with a few of these folks. I’d expect nothing less of them. :)

  • Daniel H

    Great job on everything. I wanted to send you my thanks.

  • Ian Ring

    Brockovichian. Is that a word?

  • Shane

    Okay….I think you deserve go ahead and trademark the phrase “thank you” now!!!! Heck…I wouldn’t fight ya!

    Seriously, though, crazy amazing. I don’t think most people grasp what this fully means, but when I’m old I’ll tell my grandkids about you! ;)

    For now…I can sphinn it!

  • Eathan Mertz

    Rhea, you’re my hero! I’ve been out of SEO for many years, but it’s an industry still near and dear to my heart. I was oblivious this was even going on until today. Thank you, and everyone else involved for having the industry’s back. Best of luck with Outspoken and with everything in your life!