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SEO competitions – be wary

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Friday September 8, 2006 )

Interestingly, the “sponsor” site is also for sale at a substantial price – it was listed for sale in July. They claim a rather healthy traffic level gained through their search engine optimization efforts, plus a significant revenue stream. I assume it’s generated through the adware arrangement.

I hope they inform prospective buyers of the rather large liability they may end up with; in one of the ads for the site sale they only mention current expenses of a few hundred dollars a month. There’s been a recent precedent where another SEO competition sponsor reneged on paying prize money due to the sponsor site being sold.

Needless to say the reader was rather taken aback by all this news. He’s an honest guy and regardless of whether the cash prizes were real or not, he most certainly didn’t wish to be involved in promoting such a thing or helping them boost their rankings – especially given all the mystery surrounding the company. The prize money wasn’t his primary motive for entering the competition, he just wanted to practise his craft and pit his skills against seasoned SEO’s.

Who knows, maybe they will come up with the cash – but they appear to be uncommunicative from what I’ve been told. With that sort of money involved, I’d definitely expect to see a little more transparency and communication. It’s just all too secretive.

I think SEO competitions are a great way for people in the industry to hone their skills – just be careful to check the conditions and sponsors out thoroughly before you put your valuable time into them. You might not only be hoodwinked for prizes, but your efforts may also be bolstering something that you really don’t want to have anything to do with.

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A TTB reader wrote to me a short while ago about a search engine optimization competition he was competing in where there were substantial cash prizes.

The goal of the competition was to have the highest ranked page on a certain made up keyword by the end of this year. He was doing pretty well in his efforts, so I was looking forward to writing about the competition, his success so far and to send a little more link love his way.

But…

When taking a closer look the the promotional page about the optimization competition, the lack of contact details, history, news etc. I found to be a little odd; especially given the amount of prize money involved and since it’s been running for a couple of months.

I then went to the “sponsoring company” site (vendors of a software application) and it was the same deal – no contact details and very little about the company – not even any mention about the competition.

I alerted the TTB reader that something may be fishy. After further investigation of the circumstances around this SEO competition it’s my opinion that something’s definitely not quite right.

It seems to me that this competition may exist only to build up link popularity (a factor in search engine ranking) to a site that offers an altered version of a popular software application – the alterations include adware according to McAfee Site Advisor.

Part of the terms of the competition is participants need to have a link on each competing page to the “sponsor”. The text accompanying the link is of course keyword heavy. There’s nothing wrong with that in itself, *if* the competition is legitimate; but the separate controversy around the web surrounding the altered software application is another issue that further muddies the waters.

Interestingly, the “sponsor” site is also for sale at a substantial price – it was listed for sale in July. They claim a rather healthy traffic level gained through their search engine optimization efforts, plus a significant revenue stream. I assume it’s generated through the adware arrangement.

I hope they inform prospective buyers of the rather large liability they may end up with; in one of the ads for the site sale they only mention current expenses of a few hundred dollars a month. There’s been a recent precedent where another SEO competition sponsor reneged on paying prize money due to the sponsor site being sold.

Needless to say the reader was rather taken aback by all this news. He’s an honest guy and regardless of whether the cash prizes were real or not, he most certainly didn’t wish to be involved in promoting such a thing or helping them boost their rankings – especially given all the mystery surrounding the company. The prize money wasn’t his primary motive for entering the competition, he just wanted to practise his craft and pit his skills against seasoned SEO’s.

Who knows, maybe they will come up with the cash – but they appear to be uncommunicative from what I’ve been told. With that sort of money involved, I’d definitely expect to see a little more transparency and communication. It’s just all too secretive.

I think SEO competitions are a great way for people in the industry to hone their skills – just be careful to check the conditions and sponsors out thoroughly before you put your valuable time into them. You might not only be hoodwinked for prizes, but your efforts may also be bolstering something that you really don’t want to have anything to do with.



 

 
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