If you’ve been in this industry for longer than five minutes, then you might have noticed that it can be difficult to find dissenting opinions on popular SEO services and providers. In fact, each time that I publicly share a negative experience that I’ve had, I pause for a moment to worry that the vendor or provider in question might choose to retaliate on the sites that I tested the service with. I suspect that this is a very real fear for a lot of people, but it’s not the only reason it’s difficult to find honest opinions in this industry.
Let’s face it – most of us are affiliate marketers and affiliate software and services often pay out a hefty commission. But that doesn’t mean you need to be a complete asshole and promote services and products that are shit. And yet, plenty of people do.
Example #1: Long Tail Pro
This has got to be hands down the buggiest and worst keyword research tool on the market. I know, because I fell for all the bullshit praise way back in 2013. But people promote it cause it pays out good affiliate coin.
You see, I hadn’t yet fine-tuned my SEO bullshit meter. And it was a challenge to find anyone saying a single negative word about this tool. Other than two people on Reddit, it wasn’t until Spencer announced that he sold the software that people began to talk shit about it. But even now, there are still plenty of douchebags promoting the hell out of it like it will solve all your SEO problems and make you more attractive to whatever gender you’re into by morning.
Example #2: Bluehost
Is there a shittier service for you to use to host your money sites? I think not. I also fell for that one (thanks, Pat Flynn!) back in 2011. I actually still have that account and I use it for PBN hosting, despite how much I hate their service. Installing WordPress is such a fucking chore with them, it’s really quite amazing that they manage to make it such a horrible experience.
But you know what, Bluehost pays some of the best affiliate money in the web hosting niche. That’s why it is pushed so hard on unsuspecting newbies.
Example #3: Any service/tool multiple people email you about
If you’re on the email list of multiple people in the industry, then you know what I’m talking about. Someone launches a course, tool or service and the next thing you know, you get 20 emails from 20 different people all telling you how great it is and what extra special item they’ll give you if you buy now through their link.
The item might be good, or it might not, but you can’t know for sure since 20 different people just told you how amazing it is. This usually means the affiliate payout is good and good luck to you finding an honest review.
Now, a lot of services that get heavily promoted by everyone and their brother don’t have affiliate programs, like PBN Butler
and PBNHQ (actually it looks like this one might have an affiliate program). But everyone seems to love these services, right? I’ve never met the guys who run them and don’t have an ill word to say about them or their services, but it’s always weird to come across a service that everyone seems to love in this industry when they’re not getting paid to do so. I have actually used PBN Butler and PBNHQ myself in the past and have zero complaints about them, so it’s just an example of something that does get promoted by everyone for a real reason and not cause people are getting paid.
The SEO Circle Jerk
I think that this is the number one reason that there is such an echo chamber in this industry. I assume that since so many SEOs hang out, visit or live in Chiang Mai, that they get together for drinks or whatever and then they all feel the need to defend their drinking buddies’ honors if someone dares to say a negative word about them or the service they represent. Or, maybe they think that if they defend someone’s reputation, then that person will reward them with free/discount links or whatever that person might be selling. But I honestly don’t know what it is with most of these people.
But I do know the harm it causes.
It causes people with real experiences to keep their mouths shut in fear of the lynch mob of fanboys descending upon them. In fact, I often keep quiet in forums and Facebook groups to not draw the ire of them cause who has time for that shit when you can be making money.
Today, I made the mistake of speaking up when I saw an SEO I chat with occasionally seeking advice in a Facebook group. He was given a recommendation for a service that I have a somewhat mixed experience with from earlier this year. So, I shared the highlight of that experience with a warning to ask a lot of questions before paying so that he knows what he’s getting for the money. Within seconds of me posting that, the person who had recommended the service responded by tagging the owner of the service! It was literally less than a minute later. I didn’t know the service owner was in the group, or I would never had said anything publicly.
I immediately edited my response because I don’t need that sort of drama. I didn’t post my experience to get into another conversation with the company that provided the service. I posted it because I wanted to warn people to do their due diligence when ordering from the service.
And this is why we can’t have nice things.
I won’t be responding to that thread again, and I’m furious about it (hence this post). I don’t like that I feel as if I can’t share my opinion on the subject without feeling as if there will be negative repercussions. I hate that people are going to see the original recommendation for the service and possibly have a less than stellar experience, which could have been avoided. I hate that this industry is such a fucking echo chamber of bullshit. And then there’s this response from the person who originally recommended the service:
Yeah, that must be it. I clearly must have a reading comprehension problem and no real clue what I dropped over $4K on with the service. Fuck that. And fuck this echo chamber. I’ll be sharing my review of my experience with Loganix and their editorial links just as soon as I have time to write it.
Hey, I’m Shawna. I make a living working from my laptop in places like London, Sydney, Dubai, Rome, Oslo, Bangkok, Las Vegas, Barcelona, and Amsterdam. I share how I do some of that on this website.