Jason Gambert vs. SEO Industry - Who coined the term SEO?

Jason Gambert has filed a trademark claim for the term “SEO” (Search Engine Optimization) with the US Patent and Trademark Office, which has roiled the SEO community and SEOMoz and others have moved to challenge Gambert’s claim. Bob Heyman writes that Jason Gambert’s claim of coining SEO in 2007 is patently spurious. Here’re links to various posts about Gambert’s Trademark […]

Jason Gambert has filed a trademark claim for the term “SEO” (Search Engine Optimization) with the US Patent and Trademark Office, which has roiled the SEO community and SEOMoz and others have moved to challenge Gambert’s claim. Bob Heyman writes that Jason Gambert’s claim of coining SEO in 2007 is patently spurious. Here’re links to various posts about Gambert’s Trademark claim and the ensuing furor: Internet Marketer Tries To Trademark SEOPulling A Fast One.

As the person (along with my partner Leland Harden), who actually did coin the term Search Engine Optimization back in 1995, I feel uniquely qualified to weigh in on the validity of Gambert’s claim.

Jason Gambert asserts that he was the first to use the term SEO, in a 2007 email. The actual origin of SEO happened this way, as recounted way back in 1997 in the book Net Results that Leland and I wrote with Rick Bruner, says Bob Heyman.

Here’s an excerpt from page 137:

The scene is the Heyman home, the summer of 1995, 3:00 a.m. on a Monday morning. The phone rings. Bob, senior vice president of audience development at Cybernautics, grabs the receiver and mumbles, “Hello?”

“Why the #$%$ don’t we come up before page 4 on this damned thing? Page #$%$ 4, you #$%$ morons” the voice on the other end shouts.

Examining the alarm clock and smiling meekly at his wife, Bob asks, “Huh?”