Hi SoCal Bryan.
I apologize for not getting back to you. It looks like this thread and others fell between the cracks while we worked on content development for bizXpress, and marketing efforts.
I'm pasting in each of your questions, and replying to each one before moving on to the next one.
Regarding my mention of the action guide and SBI customers being Google-slapped strictly adhering to the SBI version of the action guide, I've got a few questions. How does the bizXpress action guide differ from the SBI action guide? Please be specific. There's plenty of documentation out there of disgruntled SiteSell customers who saw their traffic and income evaporate after Panda & Penguin. In fairness this happened to many regardless of platform. However, it is very relevant for prospective customers of bizXpress. If you seek to minimize the concerns of customers who followed your system and saw their business collapse, you can't expect people to see your company as one of integrity and trustworthiness.
Reply: Many of the SBI! customers who were Google-slapped weren't, unfortunately, strictly adhering to the Action Guide. We can't force people to write excellent content that provides a lot of value to visitors. And thus, many SBIers were penalized by one or more of the Panda algo updates. Many others did their own thing regarding link-building, overdoing it at Yahoo! Answers, or buying a directory submission package that listed their site at hundreds of low-value directories. Again, we can't make people only find good links to their site. And thus, many SBIers were penalized by Penguin.
You didn't mention anything about the data mining, and thousands of hours of work done by volunteer SBIers to help us come up with ways to undo some of the Panda and Penguin damage. Those SBIers who followed our recommendations more often than not regained some or most of that lost traffic.
Our research from a year ago also determined that Google had overshot on both Panda and Penguin penalties, damaging far more sites than they should have. The latest Penguin algo updates, and Panda 4.0, confirm that yes, indeed, there were far too many false positives for even Google to be comfortable with. And now, many of the sites that were penalized are seeing traffic increases. Part of that is due to the work they did to improve content or clean out low-value, unnatural links. The rest is due to Google coming to its senses, something we told SBIers that Google would have to do eventually. That time is now.
Additionally, if the bizXpress action guide isn't significantly different from the SBI action guide, and isn't innovative in the post Panda & Penguin world, you're expecting a generally saavy WP community to buy into a system that is proven in the old world of SEO but not today's. Without giving lite users full access to the whole action guide, instead of just 30% of it, users can't really get a good idea of how relevant your method is in today's world without making a $150 gamble. I know your method has been historically effective since I've repeatedly stumbled upon your customers ranking highly with quality content when searching for content for personal use. But in today's environment, you can't validly claim what worked then works and is proven today. Convince me, and prospective customers, that bizXpress isn't just your old system recycled and that you've put deep thought into making your bizXpress work in todays SEO environment.
Reply: The SBI! Action Guide, and the bizXpress version, both go into great detail about the need to go beyond just creating content on your site. One day of the Action Guide is devote to finding traffic for your site. Search engine traffic is one portion of that page. We also discuss social media, including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and RSS. And our articles feature dozens of articles on social media, including 24 for Facebook, 6 for Twitter, 8 for Pinterest, and four on Google+ and authorship. So you can hardly say that we expound an over-reliance on search engine traffic. Given that search engine traffic is usually the biggest traffic driver to just about any site (otherwise, why do so many sites plummet with every new Google update), we can't simply ignore that aspect of traffic "to be relevant." Search traffic is completely relevant. It's just changed a bit, and then only since Hummingbird came out last year.
Regarding the tools themselves. You state: "While Brainstorm It! does utilize some WordTracker data, it's not simply a rebranding of WT's tools. Far from it. BI! is the product of thousands of person-hours pulling in an array of technologies that work in concert to deliver incredibly relevant data. It's not just cheerleading - our keyword tool doesn't have an equal in the market." Perhaps my suggestion you just rebrand WordTracker tools wasn't specific enough. You clearly use their data within your own unique interfaces, with your own branding, and your own terminology. I'd concede that your tools probably integrate other data sources as you state. Here's what matters though. Are you claiming that your tools are so unique that the WP community can't use other tools to obtain equally "incredibly relevant data" and perform critical decision making obtained by those tools? Are you suggesting users of WordTracker, SEO Powersuite, or any of the other popular tools can't arrive at highly relevant data for niche selection & keyword research? If you are claiming your tool is superior to all other tools on the market, i.e. "doesn't have an equal in the market", then please explain specifically the competetive advantages of your toolset over the competition's. If you can do so, you'll probably be able to gain my business and that of many more in the WordPress community. If you can't demonstrate specifically how your service and tools are superior, most here will decide your words are vague hype without substance. Give us substance and win us over.
Reply: I'm not sure where you read the bit about Brainstorm It! and WordTracker, so I can't comment on what it says. However, here's what I can tell you: Brainstorm It! uses WordTracker data, Amazon product search (keyword) search data, and our own data based on the hundreds of thousands of keywords that searchers have used to find SBI! sites over the years. Yes, that particular data stream is slowing because of Google's [not provided], but Bing and Yahoo! still send traffic to SBI! sites, as they send traffic to your site, and millions more around the world. So we continue to have demand data to combine with WordTracker and Amazon demand data.
And our supply data isn't just a quick peek at Google to see how many pages it says it found containing a particular keyword. Probably 95% of all those pages Google finds aren't about that keyword; it just happens to be there in the content, perhaps to gain some long-tail keyword traffic. Our supply algorithm discounts pages where the keyword isn't the main focus of the page. Why? Because any page that's not about that keyword isn't competition for your or my page that is about that keyword. Do any other brainstorming tools take into account that most of the competition isn't really competition at all?
Of course, we think Brainstorm It! is better than any other product out there. Just as every WordPress managed hosting service thinks its offerings are better than their competitions. But do we think that you won't succeed unless you use bizXpress? No, we don't. We just think it will give you a better chance with demand and supply numbers that don't deceive and, at the same time, don't give you false hope.
Regarding the content problem I brought to light. I appreciate your explanation and concession this was a mistake. At the same time, it brings more questions and concerns to mind. If it had been an issue of machine filtering content to swap out SBI for bizXpress, one could understand how this slipped by. But for a human to do so by hand is even more egregious. Unless the person just mindlessly combed content for "SBI" and literally just plugged in "bizXpress", there's no way they could not have noticed the contextual differences & consequences. Perhaps more concerning is your admission that you wanted to recycle a large amount of content for use in bizXpress. As I've already pointed out, it seriously matters to me and others that you demonstrate you've made a concentrated effort to not rest on past successes and evolve your methodology to reflect today's SEO realities. You've admitted to rebranding content without any consideration of context within the content itself. This is also a tacit admission that your content reflects old realities, and doesn't appear to even attempt to address today's realities. Sure, I noticed you have a content section that mentions Panda.
Reply: I, the person replying to you today, was the person who converted all of the content, when conversion was relevant. Many of our articles weren't relevant to bizXpress users. Those weren't added. Many more, including our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ articles, not to mention articles about how to write, how to create a hierarchy of content, and other topics, are evergreen content, applicable to anyone creating content for a site that they're turning into a business.
Others in the content marketing world talk about the same principles, using different terms. Brian Clark calls it cornerstone content. Others call it foundation content. Whatever the name, it's content that rarely changes. The specifics might change, but the theory, the why's, don't change much.
And yes, mea culpa. I made a decision, which, in retrospect, was made with poor judgment. While I did copy and paste for the most part, I also re-read every article to make sure that what it explained was current and relevant. Please don't blame the product for my error in judgment.
Show us that, on the whole, you've adjusted your entire system, action guide, and content to be successful in the post Panda & Penguin world. Claims of past success in the old world won't cut it in this saavy community. You need to show us how you're evolving to make your customers succeed today and tomorrow. If you can do that, you'll win our business. If not, my instinct will remain to say "run away!".
I hope the above addresses your concerns. If you need more info, please reply here. I'll be following this thread so that I don't miss any follow-up questions from anyone. Especially not for 4 months or more!