I’ll be the first to admit that there are a lot of things wrong with the SEO industry. It’s an unregulated industry with no tangible product or clear solution to a problem that is judged by the companies (Google, Yahoo!, Bing) that make and regularly change the rules without telling anyone what they are. Now, before you work yourself up into a small tizzy, I should clarify my position here. If you have been following me for any length of time you know that I believe in a solid SEO strategy based on quality content and adding tons of value. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks like me so there are a lot of snake oil salesmen out there.
Most of them you have likely encountered already. The e-mail generally starts out “Dear Sir” and goes on in broken English how they can help you rule the world for under $100 per month. Then there is that service where you can have your site registered with 100,000 different search engines for a mere $19.95. Of course let’s not forget the link farms. These questionable services have “gotcha” written all over them and while I’m sure they have their share of victims, the one thing they have in common is that they are small companies or individuals without much reach. It’s not something you would ever catch a mainstream company stooping to…or would you?
Allow me to introduce you to Fiverr. If you have not yet heard of it, Fiverr is a website where a bunch of people list the things they are willing to do for $5. They will shave your name in their head, recreate your logo out of french fries, record your message via sock puppet and of course take care of all of your SEO needs. Wait…what?!?!
That’s right. Fiverr has been advertising on Facebook lately with ads promoting the SEO services of their providers (see the actual ads on the right). Just to give you a taste of what is out there, this is a list of some of the actual services being offered:
- Build 5,000+ Profile Links
- Leave 60,000 Comments on Various Blogs
- Write Five 400 Word Articles
- Submit Your Article to 10,000 Article Directories
- Give Your Facebook Page 1,500 Likes
- Get You 13,600 “Real Looking” Twitter Followers
All for $5 each. Sound too good to be true? I hope so, otherwise you are reading the wrong blog! Let’s put it this way. Would you be interested in a $19.95 root canal? How about “buy one get one free” laser eye surgery? Or perhaps 75% off your next triple bypass? It’s not worth the risk, right? Neither is paying someone $5 to add 60,000 spammy comments to a bunch of useless blogs.
At best, these ads can be considered misleading and irresponsible on behalf of Fiverr. Yes, for just $5 you can walk away with the instant gratification of having 1,500 people like your page on Facebook, but assuming they are even real people (which they likely are not) they could care less about you and what you have to say. So, what have you actually accomplished besides feeding your own ego? What is adding 5,000 profile links pointing to your site over the course of a couple days going to do for you other than get your site blacklisted?
As an SEO and Social Media advisor, I take offense to the insinuation that the amount of hours we as professionals spend studying, writing, experimenting, more writing, coding, designing and even more writing can be accomplished in little $5 chunks. It’s bad enough that some of those “Make Money Picking Your Nose” marketers (I said some and even used italics, relax) hijacked the title “Internet Marketing” from the rest of us. Please don’t steal “SEO” from us too!
I understand that it’s not specifically Fiverr that is to blame with respect to the services their providers are offering but it is Fiverr that has created and is continuing to post these ads on Facebook. I am not going to be the guy leading the charge to have them removed or reworded as I’m not a big fan of bullying or censorship. Instead I will just point my finger in their direction with a disapproving look and simply say “Shame on you Fiverr. Shame. On. You.”