I'm Sorry. I Messed Up.
By: Ben Wills |

When I realized my mistake, I noticed a deep, sinking feeling that you might get coming home from Spring Break to find out that your parents had seen you on a Girls Gone Wild commercial. So I'll get to the point....

I've been doing a poor job of giving you what you really, truly need as a link builder.

For some reason, I thought I knew what you wanted better than you did. Because of that, we've built some of the most complex link building tools in the industry. So complex, in fact, that if you've tried to use some of the tools, you might have had a hard time finding the links you wanted...even though they may have absolutely been in your database.

As we've built the Ontolo Toolset for you, I haven't been taking your needs as a link builder and SEO into as much consideration as you need. It's been such an obvious mistake, but my narrow focus on what I /thought/ you wanted and our desire to keep adding more, and more, and more features kept me from seeing that the tools weren't helping you as much as you had hoped.

The thing is this: loading up on features? It's not my style. And I mean that in the *weirdest*, *strangest* way possible.


In 2007, I lived in a van with a buddy of mine as we traveled the country for a few months. Over the previous several years, I'd acquired quite a mass of possessions, clothes, decor, etc. Going from a 2,000 square foot house with an attic full of stuff and two walk-in closets full of clothes, to living in a van and having a small, single shelf for clothes was quite a change.

It was a change that, in hindsight, was exactly what I was looking for.

Six weeks into that van trip, I made a decision:
*** From then on, I was only going to wear jeans and white t-shirts. ***

I decided that what was unnecessary was unimportant. I changed the way I ate, cutting junk and going to a routine of a handful of core foods that are healthy and inexpensive. To cut time, I began making a week's worth of food on Sunday nights. I got rid of over 90% of my possessions. I cut several other things out of my life as well. I didn't know why at the time, but I later came to understand.

What I realized was that what was most important to me was to only have what I *truly* needed, along with a few things that I really enjoyed having. Everything else was unnecessary.

I decided I'd rather *do* things than _have_ things. I discovered that the freedom from distraction and ability to focus on what was most important would allow me to get more things done. Things that are important to me. Things that would allow me to produce the results I needed to produce in order to accomplish the things I wanted to accomplish.

And that core value, focusing *only* on what is most essential, is something that I've completely ignored so far with the Ontolo Toolset.

The perfect example of this is the "Advanced Search" form in the V3 version of the Ontolo Toolset. There are over 50 inputs on that form. 50 "things" we collected in one place for you to have.

Five-Zero. Fifty!

Having lots of "things" is nice, but not when it gets in the way of producing results.


Next week, we're releasing Version 4 of the Ontolo Toolset. I'm happy to say that none of the forms have 50 inputs. In fact, I don't even know that we have one with more than six.

Based on some conversations we've had with beta testers and other customers, everyone has been very, very happy. You'll hear more about that later.

I'm sending you another email to you on Friday with the final release date, which will be some time next week. I'll also share with you some of the philosophy that has gone into making the new design easier and simpler than ever for you to quickly find relevant and valuable link prospects. Finally, I'll disclose some details about the new tools coming out, and the (huge?) upgrades to all of our service levels.


It's been four years now and I still wear jeans and white t-shirts every day. Some people think it's strange. Some people don't.

I don't know if it's strange or not, but it's that ethic, one of producing results as leanly and cleanly as possible. It's about getting everything else out of the way so you can *do* more things with link building and SEO. I promise to continue delivering that kind of ethic and to focus on *your* results from here on out.

Get ready for another email from me on Friday. I'm looking forward to sharing with you the details of how you'll be able to quickly find more relevant and valuable link prospects than ever before.


Ben Wills


  1. TL:DR Long winded email

    TL:DR Long winded email saying 'we wont be long winded' FTW.

  1. If I had to come up with a

    If I had to come up with a name of someone who had messed up in the SEO industry it definitely wouldn't be you Ben, however I'm super impressed by your honesty that what you've been doing hasn't been working as well as you'd hoped. Sometimes when we launch things we feel the need to be offering everything that we possibly can, but it takes time to realise what is important and what isn't so don't be feeling so hard on yourself, everything is a learning curve!

    Looking forward to the new reveal!!

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