"I was wrong." That's how Lloyd Irvin summed up his decision to purchase LloydIrvinRape.com and turn it into a marketing website in the wake of both the alleged rape of one of his female students by a pair of his male students and a story that ran here on Bloody Elbow bringing to light Irvin having been charged in a 1989 gang rape case. Irvin went on to explain that the timing and execution of his purchase of the domain -- an attempt to own Google search results for the term -- was "awful" and "in poor taste."
So one might wonder why now, prior to the actual trial in which the female student will be forced to relive the situation, sites such as LloydIrvinRape.us, LloydIrvinRape.net and LloydIrvinRape.org have been purchased and once again, turned into marketing sites for his own business. It would seem that now, days after the two accused students were indicted on a number of charges, would not be a more appropriate or sensitive time for such actions.
Bloody Elbow has learned a number of other sites beyond the LloydIrvinRape group, including LloydIrvinRapePreventionEvent.com, Lloyd-Irvin-Rape-Prevention-Event.com, LloydIrvinRapeSelfDefenseTraining.com, LloydIrvinRapeDefense.com, LloydIrvinRapePreventionSeminar.com...and so on have been purchased. All have been turned into market sites for Irvin. All seemingly purchased around March 10. The WhoIs information is masked via "Whois Privacy Service," a service that is used to block information about the purchaser of a website.
This is a part of a strategy to use "Search Engine Optimization" (SEO) tactics to attempt to eliminate stories about prior cases -- such as the accused male students, the 1989 case, the allegations of improper behavior toward female students and one of his current top students, D.J. Jackson, having previously been charged with sexual assault -- from the top of Google results. Irvin also engages in a lot of press release service tactics in an effort to do the same thing (bizarre examples here and here), as well as pushing mass distributed articles (such as here and here).
This is standard procedure for Irvin as a former associate told Bloody Elbow:
Since the current Google algorithm puts a lot of weight on the name of the url, he will probably buy a bunch of related domain names and then throw keyword loaded content on them. My guess he is that he is already in the process of doing this.
Another popular tactic that he employs is to create multiple blog sites in an effort to post daily entries (also loaded with keywords and backlinks to sites he wants Google to rank organically). He used to offer a product called SEO Assassin, formerly offered and sold to the martial arts community for $200 per month (it is now free for mastermind members), and I am sure this is what he uses for blogging. This product is essentially a network of blogs that link to one another and thereby games the Google algorithm. It is my understanding that the majority of BJJ competitors living in the fighter house were given daily SEO related jobs such as posting blog entries, writing articles, and posting videos.
In terms of web applications/services, I know that he uses PRWeb and SENuke to create, spin, and circulate articles on the web.
It's not unusual for someone like Lloyd who has his background in being a "success story" of "marketing guru" Dan Kennedy:
"In our martial arts school now, people come into our martial arts school and they ascend. We have combat gold, we have combat gold plus, we have the combat athlete program. And each essential level model has different price price points. Now, where our average student value when I met with Dan was around $60 per student, now they're entering at around $199 per student and ascending all the way to $399 per student. And on the backend doing what we call operation big money, people cashing out at $10,500. ...It's 100% geared to what I learned from Dan Kennedy."
Kennedy is an old school "marketing guru" like those tracked by scam watcher The Salty Droid, and the type of person discussed in the amazing Verge article Scamworld. Here's how the article describes the "Scamworld" marketing scheme working:
The term Internet Marketing in this context describes both a particular business model used to sell fraudulent products and services online, and the community or subculture that embraces it. It operates out in the open — with poorly designed websites, tacky infomercials, and outrageous claims designed to scare off the wary and draw in the curious, desperate, and naive. The Internet Marketer positions himself as a marketing "guru" with a product or coaching services guaranteed to generate income.
The path to internet riches begins with an introductory product, such as a book or DVD. This is often a loss leader: the real value for the Internet Marketer is that it allows him to capture your contact information. Once you’re in the system, your inbox will be flooded with offers for software, DVD sets, and coaching programs costing several hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Which may seem a little familiar if you have seen many of the "free DVD" or "free class" giveaways that Irvin advertises on his websites such as MyFreeInternetDVD.com and MyMarketingSecrets.com. Irvin also holds the same kind of seminars as Kennedy and others of his type now that he's an internet marketing guru himself.
The point here being, if you were to do a Google search of "Dan Kennedy scam" you would get a lot of Salty Droid articles about Kennedy, but you'd also get a lot of Dan Kennedy owned websites promoting his own materials. These SEO tricks are common among the internet marketing types. So Irvin is putting into practice things done by Kennedy and other internet marketers to bury stories about shady practices.
The unfortunate thing here is that what Irvin is attempting to bury is information that I think people should absolutely know. My wife is pregnant with a daughter, our first. And once she is born and grows up, if she wants to take self defense classes, I will be looking into everything about the gyms she could attend. Yes, Irvin was acquitted in the 1989 case, because he couldn't achieve an erection to have sex with the "freak" as he called her. Several other men who were involved with the situation that night were found guilty. That might be something a parent or a rape victim looking for rape prevention classes would want to know before signing up.
D.J. Jackson was charged with sex abuse and pleaded down to an assault charge. While it's not clear if he still does, at one time Jackson drove the bus that takes kids to and from BJJ class:
Again, this is something that a parent would probably be interested in knowing.
The fact that a female student was allegedly raped by two male students probably also falls under the umbrella of "things people want to know."
Yes, Jackson served his time for what he cut his deal down to. And yes, Irvin was not found guilty because he claimed impotence -- based on the results of the others involved in the trial, it is safe to assume he was an erection away from a rape conviction. And no, nothing being done in an organized attempt to use SEO tactics to bury results is illegal in any way.
But when Irvin says "I vow to absolutely make rape and violence against women prevention an even more major cornerstone of my future efforts," it should be understood that access to information about whom you are associating with is just as valuable as the tips on many of these SEO grabbing websites about not walking down dark streets alone and always having a cell phone.
Using internet marketing tactics to limit access to information and instead turn it into a pitch to bring people to your gym for "rape prevention" will likely always be in poor taste.
Update: The Whois info for LloydIrvinRape.us does show Irvin as the purchaser if there were any doubt:
Domain Name: LLOYDIRVINRAPE.US
Domain ID: D39558744-US
Sponsoring Registrar: TIERRANET INC. D/B/A DOMAINDISCOVER
Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 86
Registrar URL (registration services): www.domaindiscover.com
Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited
Registrant ID: TNTN-0000022855
Registrant Name: Lloyd Irvin
Registered on March 10.
Update 2: The Verge picked up on the story, writing an article titled "Bad SEO: a martial arts champ responds to rape allegations with Internet Marketing trickery"