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Certguard, Ethan Banks, Network World and Common Sense

June 15th, 2008 · 2 Comments · blogger, business, CCIE, certification, CISCO, consulting, Technology, Uncategorized

Robert William of Certguard managed to create quite a stir in the networking corner of the blogosphere last week. Robert runs a company called Certguard, that builds databases of braindumps across the internet, and sells a “Trusted Seal of Approval” for training vendors that pass Certguards standards. Robert posted an article that demonized Ethan Banks (of and effectively accused Ethan of using and promoting braindumps to gain CCIE status.

From Roberts article on networkworld

Ok, so Ethan doesn’t believe in violating the NDA that he had to sign umpteen times to get where he is now, but he’s promoting the use of Testking (a well known cheating tool) to “study” for his CCIE.

As a CCIE, I am obviously supportive of Cisco’s efforts to maintain the integrity of their (and my) certifications. And yes, Ethan was not exercising the best judgment by posting about Testking in a comment on his blog. Is that a reason to start a fire, and try to get his CCIE revoked? As a CCIE, my vote is a resounding no. While Ethan definately made a bonehead move, it does not change a couple things.

  1. The CCIE written is just a gating exam, meant to limit the CCIE lab to individuals that have a chance (a notably slim chance) of passing the actual lab.
  2. The CCIE exam, and its proctors are amazingly effective at weeding out cheaters. Yes, every once and a while a cheater manages to get through. But trust me, these guys get eaten alive when they look for employment.
  3. Cisco has its own enforcement team and methods for finding cheaters, they have managed to keep Cisco certifications from devolving into the land of the MCSE. I think we should trust them to do their jobs, and more importantly trust their discretion.
  4. Ethans site documented a very thorough preparation process as he walked the long road towards his CCIE. Sadly his site has been taken down, but in my opinion this shows that he put significant preparation in, and earned his number.

My take on things is that Ethan the target of a marketing scheme. From what I can see, Roberts efforts here are not focused on supporting Cisco’s certifications. It looks to me that he is trying to drum up traffic to his business. If you look at his products, there are $995 – $4,999 fee’s to become a “VIP site”. For your payment, you receive a seal of approval and a listing in the “VIP” area of his site.

Sadly, I have seen this scheme before in the photography world. Certain photographers have been known to set up review sites of other photographers. They build Google Page Rank (PR) on their site so they show up in searches relevant to their competition. Once they start showing up in those targeted searches they sell “VIP” listing or reviews. The photographers that pay up to become “VIP” members ensure that no bad reviews of their buisiness are put up on these sites.

Robert is running the same quasi extortion scheme, but for training vendors. I think this demonstrates a lack of integrity on Roberts part. There is no excuse for attempting to destroy Ethans name in order to make a few bucks. I refuse to condone his behavior and would hope that the editors at Network World feel the same and remove his blog from their site.

Ethan – If you read this, I hope you realize that me and others like me are on your side. You have obviously put stellar effort into both studying, and documenting your efforts. It is obvious to any reasonable person that you have earned the title of CCIE.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 | Blog: The Whole Ethan Thing…. » // Jun 15, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    [...] No doubt if your a follower of the other CCIE blogs, and a regular reader of groupstudy you would have seen this whole thing about Robert Williams from CertGuard slamming Ethan Banks for cheating on his exam. CCIEPursuit summed it up nicely, as did Matt Hill and Collin McNamara. [...]

  • 2 Certguard and a Blog | Network Ninja // Jun 16, 2008 at 11:40 am

    [...] mentioned CCIE etc. Some notable comment can be read from members of the networking community like Colin McNamara and Arden [...]

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