Case Study: How I Lost My Link Bait Virginity To The Montauk Monster

Case Study: How I Lost My Link Bait Virginity To The Montauk Monster

My love affair with the Montauk Monster started in July of 2008 when I first saw the pictures of the bloated beast circulating the Interwebz. Was it a dead dog? Was it a turtle without a shell? Was it a genetic experiment from Plum Island gone horribly wrong?

Regardless of what it was… it definitely caught my eye and got my attention.

If you haven’t heard of the Montauk Monster it was an unidentified creature that washed up on the shore of a Long Island beach located in Montauk, New York on several occasions.

From the moment pictures of the beast were posted online it was an instant viral sensation that left many people wondering…    WTF IS THIS MUTANT CREATURE THING?

Romance that summer smelled like a mix of “low-tide and rotten garbage”, but that didn’t stop me from making the Montauk Monster mine. Forget love, it was nothing but LINKS at first sight.

You may be thinking that yours truly (Nicky Papers) might have a necrophilia fetish or an obsession with rotting carcasses, be assured the only thing that got me off was the WEB TRAFFIC.

Whoa, Nelly! The Montauk Monster only wanted me for my LINK JUICE? Not my LINK JUICE !?!?

We Didn’t Take It Slow

The secret to running a successful link bait campaign requires taking immediate action, selecting the right “trend” to exploit, and most important of all….. A GIANT SET OF SWINGING BALLS.

That’s right, you heard it right. MASSIVE NUTZZZZZ. Running a campaign covered globally as a result of “throwing gasoline on the fire” is not for the faint of heart or passive marketer. Think big!

Is Foreplay Really That Important?

If you’re not pre-heating the oven, stay the hell out of the kitchen. Prior to creating a phenomenal Link Bait campaign it’s important to recognize if the opportunity is worth your time to pursue.

1:) Does the story have mass appeal?
2:) Can you easily capture the attention of millions of people?
3:) Are there any risks associated with promoting the campaign?
4:) Will the campaign make money? You’re not running a charity. Profit first, notoriety second.
5:) What’s the exit strategy? How can your campaign be parlayed into your next venture?

Kissing And Telling

Let’s skip the appetizers and dive into the meat and potatoes. Nobody likes a “look at me story” but if you’ve made it this far you’re probably wondering HOW I POPPED MY LINK BAIT CHERRY ?

The first step was registering the domain The non-hyphenated version was taken so this was the best choice for buying an exact-match domain. Next, I installed WordPress and took the stance of a “concerned Long Island citizen” intrigued by the hype of the story.

Organic traffic was strong out of the gate as interest in “Beastie” escalated. As the media cycle started to wind down, I needed to give the people what they want… A LOGICAL EXPLANATION!

Next, I took video content and “over-analyzed” it in the form of a blog post to influence readers that the girls who originally found the carcass might be withholding certain truths about their discovery.

My readership was strong as a result of crafting compelling content offering a realistic “conclusion” to the unknown. With blog comments piling THICKER THAN KARDASHIAN BOOTY spreading the love on other sites featuring the Montauk Monster was necessary. Parasite SEO? I HAZ DAT.

I hit forums, blogs, wiki’s, social networks, and article sites to drop links promoting I registered accounts manually, developed online personalities, emailed webmasters, and “sockpuppeted” threads. I gave the story what it needed to spread: MOAR EXPOSURE.

The rest came easy after establishing an audience. Proposing that the Montauk Monster was a movie prop after creating a “mysterious microsite” was the next argument that I encouraged readers to consider. Suggesting it was a marketing ploy, was the marketing ploy. After my “theories” were posted on, traffic and interest surged as more speculation and hype was created.

The Honeymoon Phase

The Montauk Monster was a household name for the rest of 2008. What’s not to love about “Beastie”? Fans continued to show their love for the weird and bizarre. Highlights Include:

2008 was a great year for the Montauk Monster! was positioned as the “voice” of the story where journalists and fans embraced the community and visited for updates.

Additionally, keep in mind there was still NO CONCLUSION TO THE STORY AT THIS TIME.

The Boy Who Cried Monster

Just when you least expected it….It’s BAAACK. “Beastie” makes it’s triumphant return in the most recognized fabricated link-bait campaign of all time. Fabricated? Wait….Say What?!?!?

A couple from Southold, NY reached out through the contact form on claiming that they found a dead carcass resembling the Montauk Monster. FO’ REALZZZ?

The “shot heard ’round the world” blog post reached global audiences May 14th 2009 where it was featured on the front page of AOL, MSN, and Yahoo! simultaneously. CHAAA-CHING!!! served over 500,000 impressions before 11:30 AM EST that morning before crashing servers. Not bad for a basic looking WordPress blog and not spending a dime in traffic.

Watching the search term “Montauk Monster” reach #2 on Google Trends was one of the most exhilarating experiences in my career as SEO specializing in organic promotion.

Link building wasn’t automated. Content wasn’t spun. No paid links. PURE F’ING WHITEHAT.

To enhance the user experience, I posted a Blair Witch-style video on YouTube capturing my encounter with the carcass which quickly racked up over 1,000,000 views after it was released. Clear domain watermarkings, links in the right places, this effort was intentional my friends.

I still have no idea what the Montauk Monster is. It was probably a dead dog, or raccoon, or something. Who knows? I’m not a Marine Biologist, I’m a Marketer. This was business as usual.

Turning A Trick Into A Treat

Dr. Dre said it best, “you can’t make a hoe a housewife”. The same applies for viral campaigns. Income can be generated and web assets can be created, but these types of campaigns won’t generate sustainable revenue after the buzz dies down. Simply put, it ain’t a long-term biz model.

Hoe is short for honey, but how does this make you $$$ MONEY $$$ ???

1:) Paid Advertising: This is a no-brainer. Google AdSense, Banner Networks, etc.

2:) Mail Your List: Subtly push “offers” creatively via e-mail. (i.e. Don’t be a FAT and BLOATED carcass at the beach. Reduce unwanted belly fat in 72 HOURS GUARANTEEEEED!)

Use humor and references to the subject to add value. Who said Affiliate Marketing was dead?

3:) Licensing: Own proprietary content? LICENSE THEM BITCHEZZZ. Example above.

4:) Exploit Traffic: Zip submit pop-up ads asking the question “Is The Montauk Monster Real?” appeal to all demographics. Source cheap traffic, ride the trend, and send em’ down a co-reg path.

5:) Leverage Link Weight: was once a PR 6 domain where blogroll links were worth their weight in gold. Promote other sites from the bi-product of inflated link authority.

6:) Consulting Opportunities: Can you make lighting strike twice? With great power comes great responsibility. Creative agencies will pay $$$ for out-of-the-box thinking. Get Money, Get Paid.

7:) Sell The Assets: Selling the website might be in your best interest if you can find a buyer. Cash your chips in and don’t look back. It’s not your baby, it’s BIZZZNESS. On to the next one!

Cool Story Bro. What Next?

Running Link Bait or Parasite SEO campaigns? Taking on Reputation Management clients?

Then you ABSOLUTELY NEED to use Microsite Masters to manage organic campaigns.

The Montauk Monster is an example of a campaign that was managed the old fashioned way.

– I tracked rankings using public proxies or checking manually.
– I relied on EXCEL SPREADSHEETS to keep track of the actions performed.
– I used the same spreadsheets to track dozens of link building targets.
– I knew one day I’d help create a solution to manage SOPHISTICATED SEO campaigns.

Behold The Power Of Microsite Masters

Let’s use our organic campaign as an example!

We’re tracking 237 keywords across 19 domains. Not complicated, but not amateur-like either.

By using the EXPANDED VIEW feature you can now see the entire campaign in one view where you can sort by Website, Keyword, Country, Search Volume, Rankings, and SERP Position Changes.

The example above shows the view where ranking data is sorted by positive SERP movements within the last 24-hours. That’s right. You read it correctly. We are a DAILY RANK TRACKER.

The term “SERP Tracker” corresponding to our WickedFire Sales Thread URL reached front page territory on Google by increasing 18 Positions overnight. This is interesting…. How? Why?

We used WickedFire in addition to our own site to promote the service and increase visibility in the SERP’s. The link weight behind WickedFire responded well to the links created to promote the thread.

More importantly, Microsite Masters tracked the cause and effect of our promotional efforts by noting the vendors sourced and services we used, associated costs, and the SERP impacts realized.

BUT WAIT….There’s More!

Well, actually not. Just kidding guys!

However, the management team behind Microsite Masters is one of the hardest working, talented, most innovative, and just plain BRILLIANT group of individuals in the SEO Industry.

SEO is our livelihood. Creating intelligent solutions is our passion. Adding value is our purpose.

Simply put, Microsite Masters is a DOWN AND DIRTY RANK TRACKER run by a team that lives, breathes, eats, and sleeps all things SEO.

We’ve got GIGANTIC TESTICLES and we’re obviously not afraid to push the limit.

Own a website? Want to track your search engine rankings? Need accurate results?


Kind Regards,

Nicky Papers

P.S. Do you really think I’m that sleazy to leave a post script message?

P.P.S. I’d rather profit from posting pics of dead animals. (inb4 PETA THROWS A BITCH FIT!)

4 thoughts on “Case Study: How I Lost My Link Bait Virginity To The Montauk Monster

  1. I love cases like these. Build up a simple site out of thin air and profit. So many ways to monetize visitors. Yuzzz nicky

  2. I have just recently started learning seo in depth but this post is quite inspirational when you consider it was all a marketing ploy it makes you wonder could an seo specialist practically make the news with their marketing plans like the monster.

  3. I was reading this post absently while doing some link baiting of my own for a large client. I literally had a “Whoa!” moment which made me give ALL of my attention to the post. Not only is this the best resource I have seen to describe link baiting processes on an epic scale but it also shows how many people are bored and trawling for exciting information. There is an inexhaustible demand out there!

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