Randy Ray and Michael Martinez co-founded Reflective Dynamics in 2012. The company is a boutique SEO consulting company, with a small staff providing a limited number of services. We feel like offering excellent execution is more important than offering a wide range of services.
Both of us bring a tremendous amount of experience and education in the field of Internet marketing to the table.
Our mission is simple: To help clients create and promote outstanding content using cutting-edge search engine optimization, marketing techniques, and content creation and promotion strategies.
About Randy and Michael
Randy Ray is co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Reflective Dynamics. Randy has managed websites, affiliate programs, and SEO campaigns for himself and for successful businesses including PokerStars. A well-known figure in the poker affiliate industry, Randy’s expertise has been sought out or recommended by many leading entrepreneurs in the affiliate marketing field. Before turning to the Internet Randy worked in sales and promotion. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature from the University of North Texas.
My Life Story
I was born in Omaha, Nebraska on February 16, 1970, but I moved to Bonham, Texas when I was 3 days old. My dad worked for the VA Hospital there for over 33 years. My mom was a homemaker (in the best sense of the word.) I grew up with one brother and one sister, and we always had pets (dogs). I lived in Bonham from then until the fall of 1988, when I moved to Denton, Texas to go to school at the University of North Texas.
When I was a young teen, I made money mowing yards and harvesting peaches on a fruit farm. My first real job was at the Bonham Dairy Queen, where I worked for 3 years. When I was in college, I worked for the Long John Silvers and for a telemarketing company. Typical stuff, really–I learned a lot about work ethic from all 3 of those jobs.
I Love Literature, but Teaching Isn’t for Me
I got my degree in Literature in 1993 from UNT, and my intention was to teach high school. A miserable student teaching experience along with a frank look at the earning potential for that job changed my mind. I was already making more in management and training positions in the telemarketing industry than I would make as a school teacher. I spent a year working for Olan Mills as an area manager in charge of telemarketing before finding my first lengthy career.
Hotel Reservations Network (Hotels.com)
I went to work for Hotel Reservations Network in January 1996, and I worked there until 2005 in various positions. I started off as a reservations agent, but I also did work in middle management and training. The most rewarding aspect of that job was the time I spent in the Internet marketing department. I was an affiliate manager. The company has a storied history–you probably know it better as Hotels.com.
One of the affiliate accounts I managed was for a former co-worker who had left to become an affiliate himself. He was making 4 times the amount of money I was making every month, and that started the wheels churning in my head. It took me a while to get started because I needed some motivation to become an affiliate.
I found that motivation in 2002 when I learned I was going to be a father. My salary wasn’t big enough to support my wife and kids in the manner I hoped, so I began searching for ways to supplement my income. I naturally thought of affiliate marketing.
Affiliate Marketing and SEO
My career as an affiliate started when I read an ebook about running ads via Google Adwords and sending the traffic directly to an affiliate URL. This is now called “arbitrage”, and that’s exactly what it was. In those days, you could buy traffic from Google for a nickel a click. If you were sending them to an affiliate URL where you made $100 or $200 per customer, you could easily achieve a conversion rate high enough to guarantee a profit.
I eventually grew this little business to a $20,000 a month revenue stream, but Google made a couple of changes to their Adwords program that brought those earnings to a halt:
- They stopped allowing affiliates to send traffic directly to affiliate URLs.
- They stopped allowing anyone to buy advertising for gambling-related sites.
That’s when I realized that I needed to learn how to build a website and optimize it for the search engines. The money in the affiliate industry was still there, but my traffic source had dried up.
I made a lot of the usual mistakes in the early days of my career as an independent SEO and affiliate. I participated in massive link exchange schemes. I wrote lousy content on websites with awful designs. I didn’t make much money.
I was good at one thing though.
I found several forums dedicated to affiliate marketing, both for the specific niche I was interested in and in general. I met a lot of people through those forums, and I eventually found an extremely successful SEO who disagreed with almost everything everyone in most of the forums said.
I liked him immediately.
I convinced him to become my mentor, but it wasn’t easy. At first I wanted to partner with him on a site 50/50, but he turned me down, because he wasn’t interested in putting in more hours of work. Then I asked him to just tell me what to do in exchange for 20% of my income for the first 2 years, and 5% of my income after that.
He taught me most of what I learned about SEO. How to create compelling content. How to get links without participating in black hat schemes. How to negotiate with affiliate managers.
Life as an Entrepreneur
By 2006, I was making enough money from my own business that I was able to leave the corporate world and work for myself.
I had built up a reasonably large business with a network of gambling information sites, which I had sold for a lot of money. Eventually I became a search engine marketing consultant for PokerStars. During my tenure there, search engine traffic to their .com site tripled and search engine traffic to their .net site quadrupled.
Since then, I’ve owned a bookstore and learned a lot about retail. (The most important lesson I learned about retail is that I’m not cut out to run a brick and mortar retail business.)
In 2012, I co-founded this company with Michael, and we’ve been helping clients reach their marketing goals ever since.
You can follow me in a number of places:
- Randy’s Personal Website
- Randy’s Instagram
- Randy’s Twitter
- Randy’s Facebook
- Randy’s phone number: 940.230.1695
- Randy’s email address: randyray at gmail dot com
Michael Martinez is co-founder, President, and Chief Technical Officer of Reflective Dynamics. Michael has managed Websites and SEO campaigns for himself and for successful businesses since 1996. As principal author of the SEO Theory blog Michael has published ground-breaking theoretical ideas in search engine optimization and Web marketing. Before migrating to Internet marketing Michael worked as a computer programmer and systems analyst. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Kennesaw State University.
Michael took his programming job in 1975 as part of a summer jobs program for teenagers. A few years later he enrolled in a technical school to learn business applications programming. When the recession of 1980 hit the programming industry hard Michael went on to earn a couple of college degrees in computer fields, and almost came away with a degree in English (missed it by 1 class) and a degree in History (missed it by 2 classes).
As a programmer Michael’s work took him across the continent and to several other countries. He developed software tools and wrote technical guides on how to upgrade so-called “legacy” business applications without having to rewrite the code from scratch.
In the 1990s Michael leaped onto the Internet, first through the widely distributed “news group” discussion forums and mailing lists and later by creating his own Websites. In 1997 Michael launched Xenite.Org, one of the first 1 million domains to be created and still going strong today. Xenite.Org is one of the oldest personally-owned science fiction and fantasy “megasites”, and it continues to publish new content almost 20 years later.
Although he began marketing Websites in 1996 Michael only started learning how search engines work in 1998. His research into how Websites and search engines interact with each other and users gradually led to the vast trove of theoretical and practical articles he published on the SEO Theory Website.
Michael’s innovations in search engine optimization and Website metrics have influenced many marketers, SEO tutorials, and marketing tool developers, from implementing strategic link and content publication to using advanced metrics and reporting models. Michael’s cautionary and measured approach in evaluating the often outrageous claims of marketing “experts” may ruffle feathers but he has a reputation for being ahead of the curve and coming out on the correct side of many philosophical disputes in the Web marketing industry, including his opposition of questionable strategies such as PageRank Sculpting, Flat Site Architecture, Guest Blogging, Link Spam, and other practices that while once widely used eventually led to harsh penalties for thousands of Web marketers.
Here are a few examples of some of the most popular articles Michael has published on other sites:
- How Does the Google Panda Algorithm Work?
- A Beginners’ Guide to Blocking Bad Bots and Rogue Crawlers
- How Long Does It Take SEO To Work?
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