Received a cease and desist from an organization representing a $44.6 billion industry. Not before their models signed posters that they can’t wait for my son to turn 18.

SEMA is a four-day with over 1.2 million sq feet of classic cars, concepts… and booth models. More on them in a sec.

SEMA is closed to the public. I was able to get in because of a website I owned,  My journey into becoming the SEO King started with that website, becoming the foundation for our now 60-team member deep agency SEO National.

I was into modifying cars in my 20s and started EliteRides as a hobby site. As it took off, I wanted to learn to make it a better user experience. That’s how I learned web design.  As the members grew into thousands, that’s how I learned marketing.

I remember going to SEMA the first time around 2003 because it was before I dated my wife.  Back then, I saved her number in my Nokia as “My Hot Girlfriend.”

There is so much eye candy at your first year of SEMA.  Back then, there weren’t smartphones, so I had less than 100 pictures I took on a Mini DV video camera.

Wanting to see more, I Googled SEMA pictures.  For the event existing since 1967, there were surprisingly few websites with info. When I went the next year, I thought, “Why don’t I be the solution to that problem?” and started a website called SEMA Gallery.

I returned from SEMA that year, loaded my new pictures (I took hundreds this time), and optimized SEMA Gallery for search engines.  I quickly became THE website for SEMA, making thousands in passive income.

#1 on Google for:

  • SEMA pics
  • SEMA photos
  • SEMA models
  • SEMA pictures

Over the years, my girlfriend’s name in my phone evolved to “My Hot Fiance,” then “My Hot Wife.”  Now, simply “Hottie,” and we started a family. First was a boy.

I had an idea. How cool would it be for our son to know we were thinking of him in fun ways when he was little?  We started to ask the models if they’d write him notes, and our second son we had later. They thought it was cute and signed posters to his name.

But pictures of women in lingerie didn’t sound like the best idea to hang on a toddler’s wall.  We told them we’d wait until they were teenagers to give them. They loved it and played along, writing things like:

💋 “Age is just a number”

💋 “Only 18 more years”

💋 “Cutest two-year-old ever”

We were recently cleaning our closet the posters were tucked away in and unrolled some.

A few of the models we recognized. They went on to become famous actresses.

I figure 13 is a good age to give him these now. Can’t wait to see his reaction to us thinking of him and saving these for so long.

For the cease and desist, their attorney reached out. I was going to be a tough guy and keep the site going. The attorney was always polite on the phone, so I Googled him.

❌ He was a former FTC attorney.

That quickly changed my mind. Seemed that was a battle worth walking away from, and consolidated SEMA Gallery into EliteRides.