Who Is Stephan Spencer: Web Marketer

Hi, I’m Stephan Spencer. Here’s a little treatise on me.

First off, I’m the President & CEO of Netconcepts, a natural search marketing firm with offices in Madison Wisconsin, Auckland New Zealand, and Beijing in China. In addition to SEO consulting, we have a search engine optimization (SEO) technology platform that helps online retailers optimize landing pages for natural search. Our clients include Gorton’s, Cabela’s, Verizon, REI, InfoSpace, Kohl’s, The Sharper Image, Wella, Hanes Brands (Sara Lee Direct), the American Marketing Association (MarketingPower.com), and MP3.com, to name-drop a few.

We at Netconcepts hold dear to our hearts the principle of ethical business relationships. We are happy to teach clients how to fish, disclosing exactly how to achieve top search engine rankings in extensive audit reports and day-long on-site training workshops.

My passions include search engine marketing & technology, web best practices & standards, web usability, web marketing & strategy, email marketing & strategy, and online retailing.

I started Netconcepts in early 1995 and grew it from a one-person consultancy to a multi-national agency, with its headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin and production offices in New Zealand (a.k.a. “Middle Earth”).

Prior to founding Netconcepts, I was a PhD student in Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (a great school, I might add). In 1994, I decided to ride the Internet wave to riches and early retirement (hmm… I’m still working! What does that say?) and dropped out of my PhD program but stuck it out the few extra months required to walk away with a Master’s. In January 1995, with no capital, a family of five to support, and no formal university training in management or marketing, I struck out on my own. What the hell was I thinking, you might ask? :-) It’s been a wild ride, and in the process I managed to “bootstrap” a pretty cool interactive marketing company.

In 1999 I moved from Wisconsin to New Zealand with my daughters and wife (now ex). Within three months I had the New Zealand production office up and running. After a short stint in downtown Auckland, I decided on Browns Bay on the North Shore for the New Zealand office. Browns Bay featured everything a staff would want in a job location — cafes, retail shops, and of course the beach (which is only one block away). Plus, it eliminates the need to fight the Auckland city traffic.

After residing in New Zealand for nearly eight years, my family and I moved back to Madison. It’s been a fabulous adventure being in New Zealand, but now it’s great to be back in my homeland.

I still rack up the frequent flyer miles, but now it’s mostly domestic flights to present at various conferences. Since 1995, I’ve presented at literally hundreds of Internet conferences and symposia around the world, including London, Berlin, Santiago, Auckland, Toronto, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Atlanta, and yes, even Appleton.

I, along with my co-authors Rand Fishkin, Eric Enge, and Jessie Stricchiola, authored the book The Art of SEO published by O’Reilly (my all-time favorite book publisher!). I authored numerous articles to publications such as Multichannel Merchant, DM News, Catalog Success, Search Engine Land, Catalog Age, MarketingProfs, Building Online Business, Unlimited, and NZ Marketing, which gives me something constructive to do while on the plane. I also co-authored Catalog Age’s research report “State of Search Engine Marketing 1.0” with my VP of Search, Brian Klais.