Here’s one of the most profound things ever written about black-hat search-engine optimization schemes:
”I see people chasing down fly-by-night linking pyramid schemes as if they truly believe something like that is a smart thing to base their internet business on! Tens of thousands have walked away from their dreams, gone back to their depressing, predictable, slave-labor jobs never knowing how close they were to actually succeeding.”
We don’t know who wrote that statement — it was posted anonymously about a week ago — but it really lays it all out on the line perfectly. Black-hat search engine optimization (SEO), including such Google-defined “no-nos” as “links intended to manipulate PageRank, links to web spammers or bad neighborhoods on the web (and) buying or selling links that pass PageRank,” do not only irritate end users, drive off customers and deliver search-engine penalties, they destroy dreams.
They shatter the hopes of honest, hard-working people who thought that they could live the uniquely American dream of independent small business ownership via the magic of e-commerce. Black-hat SEO bankrupts people whose only crime is that they’re in a hurry and looking for shortcuts to fulfilling that dream.
Paid backlinks from shadowy sites created solely to scam the search engines, link farm links, doorway pages, irrelevant automatically harvested links and other black-hat techniques are all con games designed to make the conmen behind them rich and the suckers who buy into them poor. And they succeed for the same reason that every other con game ever invented succeeds: The victims are in a hurry and looking for a shortcut.
Consider one of the most classic cons of all time, the wire shop. This one became popular when horse racing results were transmitted to bookies over telegraph wires. About 150 years later, it is still going strong in the age of closed-circuit race broadcasts to sports books and betting parlors.
The premise is simple. The conman claims to have “someone” on the inside of the closed-circuit network tech staff who can delay the broadcast of a race by, say, two minutes. To prove this, he takes the mark to a fully outfitted (pseudo gamblers, betting windows, big screen TVs, etc.) bookie joint. Right before the flag drops on a race, he gets a phone tip, slaps down a bet, and low-and-behold, his horse comes in first.
Now he gives the mark a few tips, the mark makes some small bets and wins. When the mark is properly “sold” on the scam, the con artist tells him the rest of the tale. He says several big races with good longshot possibilities are coming up the next day. “Let’s just chill out tomorrow,” he advises earnestly. “We won’t bet anything until we get the news that a 15-1 shot or better has won.”
Next day he and the Mark visit the betting parlor and watch a few races. The “tips” come in and the right horses win, but they’re favorites so the pair doesn’t bet. For variety, the conman’s partner – the one supposedly handling the broadcast delay and calling in the winners – may skip the call before a race or two. Instead he calls later, explaining that a producer or supervisor was in the studio and he couldn’t hit the tape delay button or make the call.
This occasional glitch in the proceedings serves two purposes, it increases the mark’s belief that the scheme is legitimate (nothing “real” works perfectly, right?) and it increases his sense of urgency, his desire to make the big score “right now” before some unseen obstacle derails the system permanently.
Finally, the big call comes. The voice on the phone says, “Little Longshot won the sixth.” The conman and the mark look quickly at the betting board. Little Longshot is set to go off at 18-1. The two sprint toward the betting windows which, strangely, are free of other players for the first time that afternoon.
The mark slams down his 10, 20, or 30 thousand-dollar wager. The bells ring. The gates open. The horses pound across the big screens. Little Longshot loses by 20 lengths.
The mark is devastated. The conman professes to be shocked. He grabs the mark and says they’re going over to the broadcast studio and confront the inside man. On the way he phones the inside man and screams at him. They arrive at the studio and find the inside man nervously pacing in front of the building. “We can’t talk here,” he whispers and herds the mark and the conman around the block and into a dim bar.
“What’s the problem,” he asks. Why are you so excited?”
“Little Longshot, you bastard,” the conman says. ”You gave us Little Longshot. My friend blew 30 grand I lost nearly 20!”
The inside man feigns being stunned for a minute before responding. ”Little Longshot,” he says. “Little Longshot! I never gave you Little Longshot. I gave you the winner, Little Bigshot.”
And so on. The trick is, of course, that the “live” broadcasts of the races are really being delayed. But the delay is created by recording them on a DVR in the betting parlor’s backroom and pushing the play button after the “tips” are received and the bets made.
How did the mark fall for such an old, tired and seemingly transparent con game?
Two reasons: 1. The conmen running these games are masters at getting inside people’s heads and pushing their “greed” and “get rich quick” buttons. 2. The suckers want to make money playing the horses but are too lazy and impatient to invest the time, effort and brain power necessary to make intelligent picks. They go looking for a shortcut and, if they’re really unlucky, find a conman peddling one.
Are you skeptical? Do you find it hard to believe that anyone not in custodial care would be stupid enough to fall for a scam that tired and transparent?
Think again. Thousands of people a month fall for such similarly asinine claims as:
– Guaranteed Google Top Ten Ranking
– Attain over 300+ top 10 search engine rankings in some of the world’s largest search engines including Google, Yahoo, MSN Bing! as part of our search engine ranking services, starting in 1 hour.
– Instant Ranking in Top 10 Positions, on all Major Search Engines
– Get thousands of incoming links instantly
– Get A #1 Google Ranking In As Little As 7 Days … And Drive A Minimum Of 789 Unique Visitors To Your Websites Per Day
The difference between the horse race scam and SEO scams is that the former costs the victim a chunk of money all at once and has no long-term recurring effects. It’s like the flu. You suffer. You get better. It’s over. SEO scams may not cost the victim much going in, but they’re like a hidden cancer that can keep growing and developing within an e-business until it becomes crippled or dies.
To close this post, we’d like to share another paragraph from the anonymous article we opened with:
“Good people have left this business proclaiming it an utter lie that any average person can make it with an internet business and an internet marketing plan. I guess there is truth in that statement. Average people do in fact quit this business before they ever get started because average people fall for tricks and schemes that above average people avoid on their way to success.”
If you’re already a LinksManager subscriber, you are, by definition, an above-average web operator. A web operator who knows the difference between marketing a site the right way, by keeping end user interests and search engine guidelines firmly in mind, and the wrong way, i.e. by cheating.
If you’re not a LinksManager subscriber, maybe it’s time you took advantage of our fully functional free trial and joined the tens of thousands of other webmasters who have simplified their lives and increased their site traffic and search engine rank by using the world’s only patented, editor-based, fully search-engine compliant link building and management system.