In memory of one of the Internet’s finest

Ken Giddens, a friend, colleague  and teacher to countless  Internet marketers,  passed away Sunday, October 31, 2005.

System Club members and other friends of Ken are invited to post their recollections of this wondeful man who contributed so much to so many.

No matter how much I could write about Ken Giddens, I’d only be scratching the surface of the things he accomplished over the course of his career not to mention the number of people he helped along the way.

Here’s a tribute page to Ken that will give you a flavor of the man if you never had the good fortune to meet him.  If you did know him, I hope it’s a worthy reminder of what a giant he was in our field:

– Ken McCarthy

P.S. For over 25 years I’ve been sharing the simple but powerful things that matter in business with my clients.

If you’d like direction for your business that will work today, tomorrow and twenty years from now, visit us at the System Club.

Do you know what today is?
Deviousness is not intelligence

12 Responses to In memory of one of the Internet’s finest

  1. Dmitri Bilgere November 7, 2005 at 10:22 am #

    I, too had the joy of spending some time with Ken at a System Seminar.

    The thing that was so amazing about Ken (aside from his unbelievable, encycopedic level of knowlege) was the miscevious pleasure he seemed to get out of internet marketing.

    It truly delighted him to his core to get a high ranking on a search engine, or to create some “crazy scheme” to sell a product — like the 400 page site about horses he created, all to gather email addresses and sell ONE affiliate product.

    On the System Seminar where I met him he stayed up ’til after midnight talking with me and a few other students with profound generosity and unending energy and good cheer.

    And when I called him a few months later, he picked up the phone, was extremely pleasant, and said, “It’s lovely to hear from you.”

    This was from a TOP marketer, to me — a guy he had only met once.

    I instantly admired Ken, and I’m very saddened by the loss of this genuine, good man.

    Dmitri Bilgere

  2. Bruce Pea November 7, 2005 at 11:36 am #

    It is my good fortune to say I’ve had several pleasant conversations with Ken Giddens but the most memorable one was my first.

    I was attending a System Seminar in Orlando, FL. It was early evening, Perry Marshall and I were on our way to find something to eat when we ran into Ken. Perry asked if he would like to join us and introduced me.

    We had an enjoyable dinner and afterwards found a quiet table in the hotel courtyard where the three of us sat and talked in the warm evening weather till the early hours of the morning.

    I was a rank internet marketing beginner but you never would have gotten that impression from either Ken or Perry. The three of us talked for hours. Ken would ask what I was doing, how things were working, mention things he had done and how a variation might work well for me. It was an amazing evening.

    Ken gave without hesitation or reservation, was always gentle and will be missed dearly by all.

    Bruce Pea

  3. Peter Finch November 7, 2005 at 11:51 am #

    I was deeply saddened and shocked to learn of the passing of Ken Giddens.

    The first time I had the fortune to meet Ken was in San Francisco a few years ago at a seminar. During one of the breaks, Ken was in a “hallway huddle” dispensing priceless information to anyone who cared to listen and more fool those who did not.

    Apart from his profound knowledge, what impressed me about Ken was his apparent “addiction” to testing. You could be sure that if Ken said he had tested something and it didn’t work, then it definitely did not. Having said that, if he had found something which did work, you had better put that strategy to work as soon as possible!!

    One of Ken’s priceless gems, which he passed on at the time was his link strategy on Google. All those years ago he was using “keyword/keyphrase links” on web sites linking to his web sites, when most other people were still putting their business name or domain name in the inbound link.

    Ken contested from his testing, that Google would give your web site better ranking and/or relevance if you did your links his way. All those years on, he proved to be right.

    Ken impressed me so much the first time I met him, in the years since, everything he appeared on – DVD, CD or MP3 became required listening to me and I always learnt something new.

    Once again this year, we have lost another giant in this industry.

    I will always remember Ken for his sense of humour, generosity and boundless desire to help others get along.

    Peter Finch

  4. Stephen Gorgey November 7, 2005 at 1:17 pm #

    Hi, My name is Stephen Gorgey and I am the founder and president of Target-Logic Strategic Internet Consulting.

    I knew Ken Giddens from the System seminar where we both gave a speech about Search Engine Optimization.

    I really liked Ken Giddens a Lot because we shared the same passion about Internet Marketing and because he had a great sense of humor.

    I totally enjoyed his company during the times we spent together and I was truly very saddened to learn of his untimely passing.

  5. Christina Hills November 7, 2005 at 1:48 pm #

    I remember sitting down with Ken at a seminar and talking with him about my business for about 1 hour. He was so generous with his time and his candid advice. He was fun and always upbeat and honest. He never held punches in his opinions of things.

    I will sadly miss him…

    -Christina Hills

  6. Bob Lang November 7, 2005 at 5:07 pm #

    Hello Ken,

    I’m Bob Lang – the World of Watches guy. Nick Lecy at Luggage Pros forwarded your excellent summation of Ken Giddens to me.

    Yes, Ken was truly a remarkable individual – the real deal in all the ways that matter. After we sold World of Watches (WOW for short) I helped to connect Ken with 3 other on-line retail wannabes. He created successes all three times. His success ratio in this regard is amazing. Yes, Ken was technically excellent and brilliantly creative. But his main contribution came in the role of Professor Giddens. Every discussion, debate and argument (yea, we argued – never meanly) was a learning experience for me. I feel like I earned a Ph. D. from the Ken Giddens University of Internet Success.

    Unlike a lot of smart guys Ken always kept himself open to learning. He was never shy to admit he had been wrong. That’s why he was able to continue his mastery of the internet from the earliest days.

    I first met Ken at a seminar in Boulder in March 1998. Perhaps you were there? I went with one goal in mind – to find a guru. WOW had been online for 15 months and we (I had 2 partners) were pleased with the results. But I felt we could do better. Our webmaster at the time would blanch every time I wanted to talk about Search Engine placement. So in Boulder I went to the opening cocktail hour and just walked the room listening to conversations. People were clustered in small groups. Discussion in most of the groups centered around 2 or 3 loud people (it was the cocktail hour) who were making expansive gestures, talking about all the money they made last month and generally patting themselves on the back. Not close to what I was looking for. Then I saw a group of 5 or 6 people huddled in a corner of the room. As I approached, the group seemed silent. I wondered what was going on. Then I realized there was one guy talking; the others were listening intently. When there was an opportunity I introduced myself to Ken Giddens and started a friendship that I won’t ever forget.

    I invited Ken to dinner and in 5 minutes knew I had found someone qualified to help us take WOW to the next level. The question was – could I convince this smart guy to work for us? Well Ken was always approachable and a month later we worked out a deal. Ken not only helped us get to the next level, but 2 or 3 levels beyond.

    Ken, I could easily go into the details of some of the astounding results this man produced. But to anyone who knew Ken well or worked with him, that isn’t necessary.

    You wrote “Original, creative, honest, and generous to a fault” and were 100% correct in that assessment. I would add one more core trait – grace. Grace is one of those words whose meaning I know but would be hard pressed to define. Here are 3 definitions of “grace” from

    1. Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion.

    2. A characteristic or quality pleasing for its charm or refinement.

    3. A sense of fitness or propriety.

    Sounds like Ken Giddens to me.

  7. David Morgan November 8, 2005 at 4:08 am #

    To Ken Giddens,
    Thank you for your help.
    You really embodied the spirit of a true System Club Faculty Member. You were completely open and generous in your efforts to teach.
    You always felt like a man with a huge heart. I am just sorry that it has taken you away from us early.
    Here’s to you Ken, wherever you are. I hope that you can keep up the good work,
    David Morgan

  8. Bob Bicknell November 9, 2005 at 9:11 am #

    I can remember my first System meeting when I first met Ken. Ken was a “giver” from the heart! Meeting someone new, he gave his knowledge and time and smile unselfishly to a “newbie”. Instantly Ken provided an atmosphere of warmth and sharing!

    When I first heard Ken speak, he was so down to earth and would relate Internet information so everyone would benefit from the new person to the pro. I really felt right off that Ken was that special kind of person that helped make this world a better place to live! The next System meeting in Chicago, it was great to see him again. He shared so much from his latest testing methods and results to some words on his passions in life! I always looked forward to seeing Ken at the System meetings as he was so kind and his smile would light up the room as he shared his wisdom!

    I was shocked to hear of his death. It was hard to believe that I wouldn’t see him at the System meetings anymore. Such a loss to our group. I then realized that although Ken wouldn’t be in physical form at the next System meeting, he would be there in spirit! I really feel grateful to the “System” club for having giving me the opportunity to meet a man the likes of Ken Giddens!

  9. Mark Garcia November 9, 2005 at 5:20 pm #

    I had the personal pleasure of listening to a presentation from Ken over the summer. I found him to be one of the most knowledgable, insightful, and generous SEO experts that I had ever met.
    He was giving of his experiences, both successes and failures.
    He will be missed greatly.

    Mark Garcia

  10. Lloyd Irvin November 10, 2005 at 8:59 pm #

    I first heard Ken speak at a System Club meeting in Chicago and he blew my mind away with his knowledge. All I can remember is at the end of his presentation he said that he wants to share as much information with as many people as possible. I remember that he was sitting at the table behind me, when he sat back down I figured I had nothing to lose and asked him if I could take him to lunch. I couldn’t believe it but he said yes.

    At lunch I truely found out that his knowledge was out of this world. He put an additional spark under me that I will always be thankful for. To sit down with a complete stranger and spend over an hour during his break to give me what I consider a priceless education in internet marketing.

    This was my very first time seeing what everyone talks about regarding how the networking can be just as good as the seminar itself.

    Ken will be surely missed.

  11. Lev Selector November 28, 2005 at 4:57 pm #

    Ken was like a big kid playing with toys.
    Really interested in mechanics of how
    the things work and very excited about
    this wonderful world of Internet.

    Other “adults” at the seminars would talk
    about who is making more money, or which
    market is better, or who is a good guy
    and who is not. Ken was never into
    politics or jealousy.

    Ken’s approach to life was very fresh
    and elegant. His lectures were always
    eye opening. When I’ve heard the news
    about his death – my first reaction
    was a sense of deep loss. And I believe
    this was a common feeling for everybody
    who knew him.

    The world was definitely an exciting
    place with Ken in it.

  12. Todd Taylor November 30, 2005 at 9:31 pm #

    I can’t really add anything to what has already been said about Ken Giddens. He was everything that has been mentioned and more.

    I will miss our late night phone conversations. We would be talking and I could hear the clickity clack of his keyboard in the background. How he wrote about one thing and talked about another at the same time is now going to forever be a mystery.

    I know this sounds really selfish but I wish I had known Ken longer and could have gleaned more knowledge from that beautiful mind of his.

    I’m proud to have known Ken and sad that he’s gone.

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