There’s a new linking scam in town.
Unlike typical pay-per-link search-engine spam schemes which offer thousands of Google-unfriendly and non-compliant links for a relatively minor flat fee of $29.95, $39.50 or, gasp, 79.89, this new con is based on peddling one link at a time for, at the moment, $12.95 each. (Though that street price is sure to go down as more internet bottom-feeders add this dubious service to their bag of tricks.)
Of course, the “masterminds” behind this truly awesome Site Extinction Opportunity (SEO) claim they aren’t selling links at all. Not selling links at all. No. Not. Nyet. Nein. Na. Non. Nada.
Google, as everyone knows, detests paid links masquerading as earned editorial links and may severely penalize sites that use them. Therefore, ergo and so forth, the $12.95-per-link con artists say, “we’re not selling links at all, we’re selling link introductions.”
Indeed. And adultfriendfinders.com isn’t selling sex. What a stupid, offensive idea. AFF isn’t selling sex in any way, shape, form or kama sutra position. It, too, is merely selling introductions. With one difference, AFF is a legitimate service. Regardless of how one feels about the moral and political issues of using the Web as a vehicle to enable people to get f … ah, friendly, the fact is that AFF offers “real” introductions in the sense that you can email, text message, exchange photos, go out on a coffee date, etc. with the person you’ve hooked up with before establishing a physical link.
Not so with the so-called “link partner” introductions. In this case, you not only don’t get to communicate with the webmaster you’re being “introduced” to, you aren’t even told the name of his site before you agree to accept the link and pay the $12.95 introduction charge.
Here’s how a typical deal works. You follow the lures to the link matchmaker’s site and signup by filling out a form giving your site’s vital statistics — name, URL, business category, keywords, localization information, etc. Next, you tell them what you’re looking for in a link partner – stuff like PageRank, Alexa rank, business type, miles from your location, age, marital status, bust size or penis length … whoa doggie, scratch those last items, we seem to have inadvertently drifted across the line into adultfriendfinderland again.
Back on topic, you logoff and wait for an email telling you that you’ve got pending “introductions.”
Moving ahead, here’s where things get really snarky. After getting the email, you login to your account and are presented with a form for approving or rejecting link requests. The form alleges that the site meets all your specs. (The cynical among us might suspect that if you ordered up links with Google PageRanks of at least an impossible 32, this form would claim you were being “introduced” to a site with an impossible PR of 37.) Anyway, you have only two choices – accept the link and have $12.95 immediately charged to the credit card you gave them when you signed up or reject the link.
But it gets better. Way back at the beginning, on the “introduction” site’s home page, some very skilled verbal gymnasts have been employed to attempt to turn the black-hatted pig ear into a silk-lined white hat. (Actually, they aren’t all that skilled. Most of the verbiage has been lightly re-written from sites – like LinksManager.com – that offer honest, ethical link building solutions.)
In any case, one of the claims made is that all links found through their service have to be approved by humans on both ends before they become official and you are billed. How that works in the real world is this: You click on the box that says you “accept” the blind link being offered you. Immediately, instantaneously, the words “your link has been accepted” appear on your screen, the coin chute goes cachung (figuratively, of course), and the $12.95 flies out of your credit card account.
Now, really, even if the webmaster of the link being offered was sitting at his terminal 24/7/365 to “editorially” evaluate sites that were accepting the invitation, could he possibly – even with a White House War Room-level broadband connection – open your site, look at it and accept your link in an eye blink, in maybe 1/25th of a second?
Not bloody likely.
Introduction or paid link? Here’s how a poster on Matt Cutts’ blog called it. “You can only obtain a link if you pay $12.95 for it. And once you’ve done that, could a link acquired in that manner really be considered “earned” in the G Guidelines sense of the word? IMO, if it looks, walks, talks and emits unsavory odors like a paid link, it’s a paid link.”
Unsavory odors indeed. Ten of those stinky links would cost you $129.50 and quite possibly put you out of business unless most of the traffic to your site is non-search-engine driven.
Or you could spend less money and take advantage of our new ManagedLinkBuilding service, in which LinksManager’s gold-standard, in-house, ethical linking professionals personally select, acquire, search-engine optimize, format and manage your links in full compliance with all major search engine and W3C quality, technical and ethical guidelines.