TOPSEOs Continues Deceptive Practices

TOPSEOs was built on deception, article scraping, and bait-and-switch practices.  The industry cried foul, Jeev Trika blew it off as motivated by ulterior motives, I called him out, and 3 days later they issued an official apology, vowing to change.  Fast foward a full month, and they continue their ways, laughing in the face of reality, and I say BULLSHIT…

INDUSTRY OUTRAGE LEADS TO OFFICIAL APOLOGY

Outrage over TOPSEOs deceptive business practices has been brewing for a couple years, and came to a head over the past couple months.  As a result of the SEO industry’s coming together with one voice in opposition to Jeev Trika’s deceptive game playing and the seriously mounting complaints from both industry professionals and business owners who had been deceived, I reached out to Jeev in an attempt to get his side of the story and wrote about it on April 26th.   Three days later, TOPSEOs issued an official apology press release, vowing to change.

TOPSEOs ANNOUNCES THEY’VE CHANGED THEIR WAYS – BUT HAVE THEY?

That was more than a full month ago, so a review of their claimed pennance and changes is due. Especially since they issued a subsequent press release claiming they’ve changed their ways.  Let’s look at the facts and then you can decide for yourselves whether TOPSEOs is a reformed criminal, or Jeev Trika was full of shit.

FIRST, THE GOOD NEWS, MAYBE

One of the biggest complaints that came out of this was how TOPSEOs listed countless companies in their database that were not paying for leads, and when someone would click on a link to contact that company, it would actually be redirected to paying members without the knowledge of the innocent site visitor.

In their “we’ve changed” press release, they state

Some of the changes implemented include of: (i) enabling the contact request for all companies across the five regional sites without the agency being required to sign up for the leads service, (ii) contact requests within articles, case studies, research materials, and jobs have been disabled, (iii) the links within the articles sections have been enabled, and (iv) the website response times have been further optimized.

At the time this article is being written, I can confirm that contact requests within articles, case studies and research materials have, in fact been removed.

As far as contact requests being redirected or not, I’m still testing this and will need to report on my findings only after I have done enough testing to truly confirm this, a daunting task given how vast their database of listings is.

LOOK AT US – WE’RE BETTER NOW

IF my ongoing study of the bait and switch issue proves them truthful in this aspect, I highly encourage Jeev Trika to tout that fact prominently on the TOPSEOs web site.

Except it might have to read:

Since 2002, one of our primary business models has been based on bait and switch tactics.  But we heard the outcry, and we no longer pull that bullshit on unsuspecting business owners!  Sure, we still deceive you in countless other ways, but hey, at least now we’re no longer performing the most egregious of criminal activity, so please – cut us some slack!

NEXT – THE BAD BAD BAD

Exhibit #1 TOPSEOS THEFT OF ARTICLES

An article by Marty Weintraub originally posted at SearchEngineWatch on February 22nd, 2008 continues to live on in its entirety at TOPSEOs, with no original article attribution, and presented to TOPSEOs readers as if it’s an article originally posted TO TOPSEOs by Marty.

An article by Jill Whalen originally posted at HighRankings.com (Jill’s site), on May 30th, 2004, continues to live on in its entirety at TOPSEOs, with no indication that this is a stolen article or that it was originally posted at Jill’s site.

UPDATE – Jill just notified me that in that article, they are, in fact, properly attributing the article to her, and linking back to her site. As such, she would not call that infringing. So we can give TOPSEOs a break on that one article.

Yet that leaves all these other articles, and God knows how many more I haven’t uncovered…

A Case Study by Michael Gray, origionally posted to his Wolf-Howl web site, continues to live on, in its entirety at TOPSEOs, as though he wrote it for their site.

Articles by Loren Baker, posted to SearchEngineJournal.com, continue to live on at TOPSEOs, direct theft of SearchEngineJournal.com content. And THAT pisses me off, in a more personal way because I am an author at SEJ, and SEJ article scrapers disgust me.

Articles by Ann Smarty, also posted to SearchEngineJournal.com, live on, in their scraped content entirety at TOPSEOs. Hey Jeev Trika, didn’t you get it just now when I expressed how much you piss me off?  Well, now you’re just aching for me to digitally bitch slap you aren’t you?

Other articles originally posted elsewhere by industry professionals continue to reside on the TOPSEOs site and presented as original to TOPSEOs which is both deceptive and in violation of copyright law, such as this article by Chris Boggs, still on the TOPSEOs site.

Do I go on? We’re talking about articles by Matt McGee, Joanna Lord, Andy Beard, the list goes on and on and on…

So clearly, TOPSEOs continues their deceptive practices.

ARTICLE REMOVAL COUNTER ARGUMENT

Some people believe it should be the responsibility of the author of an article to contact TOPSEOs and have their scraped content removed.

To be fair to Jeev, they have set up an article removal request site, where writers can submit a request to have their scraped content removed from TOPSEOs system.  While I applaud them for doing so, nowhere on their actual site do they provide this link that I can find.  Nowhere on their site do they communicate in any easy to find manner, that removal of unintentionally scraped content is even possible.  No, the only reason I know about this method is because I saw that one-time press release.

The vast majority of article writers would most likely NOT have seen that one-time release.  And hell – they don’t even list their apology or “we’ve changed” releases on their own site.  Go figure.

WHY SCRAPED CONTENT REMOVAL IS TOPSEOs RESPONSIBILITY

As far as I am concerned, I call BULLSHIT on Jeev Trika, because they know damned well that they scrape content.  It would NOT take a rocket scientist to know which articles have been posted directly to their site and which ones they stole.  And since they continue to leverage their ability to deceive unsuspecting business owners, I say the onus should be on TOPSEOs, not article authors.  Especially since they stated, on the record,

This content was identified, and is in the process of being removed.

So yes, as far as I am concerned, either they lied when they say they identified the content, or they’re incompetent fools who have no right to exist.  Take your pick.

Exhibit #2 TOPSEOS BULLSHIT REMOVAL EFFORTS

Conducting a search for “Jill Whalen” at TOPSEOs reveals several “press release” and several “article” titles and snippets under both the High Rankings banner and Jill Whalen as author.  When clicking on the link on these to “View Article”, you are redirected to the TOPSEOs home page now.  So at least they’ve removed at least some of the full articles.  But by listing these articles in the search results it means they continue to leach off of the hard work of true industry professionals.

Several Jill Whalen Article Snippets remain

TOPSEOs continues to deceive and leach off of the SEO industry

Similar entries continue to exist for other industry professionals, including Matt Cutts, Loren Baker, Matt McGee, and who knows how many others…

Exhibit #3 TOPSEOs CONTINUES TO LEACH OFF HIGH PROFILE INDUSTRY LISTINGS

A search at TOPSEOs for “High Rankings” lists several companies, including Jill Whalen’s company, High Rankings.  Clicking on the link in the bottom right to “View Company” causes a “302 Found” redirect to the TOPSEOs home page.  So they no longer have a page on Jill’s company on their site, but they still list it in the search results, and redirect that sucker to their home page.

High Rankings Company Profile at TOPSEOs

Exhibit #4 TOPSEOs FALSE CLAIMS

The Independent Authority Lie

Even after Jeev Trika vowed to change their ways, they continue to display a claim that they’re an “Independent authority”. In fact, they mostly claim they are “THE” independent authority.

Again, I call bullshit.  If the vast majority of companies you rank actually pay you insane fees for the right to be ranked, you are NOT an independent authority. You have a VESTED INTEREST in ranking those companies.  You are NOT providing a fair, unbiased and impartial opinion.  This is classic BULLSHIT.

The 4000 Firms Analyzed Lie

To this day, TOPSEOs maintains a claim on their home page where Entrepreneur magazine quoted them saying that they have analyzed over 4,000 firms.  Where do I begin with this one?

First of all, they use the Entrepreneur logo as some sort of “proof of truth” banner.  Kind of like their own “Best in the industry” badges.  In fact, this is no proof of truth or trustworthiness at all, it’s purely a marketing ploy to deceive site visitors who don’t know better.

Then there’s the minor detail they fail to disclose in any real way, that many companies they claimed to have reviewed, turned out to NOT have been reviewed.  Like Vertical Measures, as well as numerous other companies who’s representatives spoke up in the various Sphinn threads and on their own articles across the web over the past couple months.

Jeev Trika never disputed these claims. Not in his interview with me, or in their official apology press release.

So I call BULLSHIT on the 4000 firms claim.

Highly Questionable Rankings

To this day, many of the companies that have been well documented as to be highly questionable, and where actual clients have accounted where they posted complaints directly on the TOPSEOs web site, only to have those complaints mysteriously disappear without resolution, remain highly “ranked”.  Some companies that have been ranked, are, upon a simple lifting of the hood, companies that use black hat techniques to achieve whatever results they achieve.

No, we don’t believe that TOPSEOs has actually done proper, reasonable, or respectable “independent authority” due diligence in their “ranking” process at all.  Not in the least.

So I call BULLSHIT on the claim of ranking companies as “BEST” anything.

Exhibit #5 BULLSHIT DAMAGE CONTROL

Let’s face it.  When a murderous criminal is caught with blood splattered all over their body, gun shot residue spread across their hand, and the crime scene isn’t properly scrubbed of all DNA trace evidence, it’s pretty damned hard for that criminal to erase all traces of their criminal activity, let alone perform damage control.

I do, however, give Jeev Trika credit for trying to pretend like they’re covering their asses in a sufficient enough manner.

Take, for example, the now visible “FULL DISCLOSURE” button that appears at the bottom of every page.

TOPSEOS DECEPTIVE PRACTICES DAMAGE CONTROL BUTTON

Of course, when I zoom in on that little area of the site all the way at the bottom of pages, that green button jumps out at you doesn’t it?

But when you actually go to their site, and you’re looking at the page like most humans do, and your eyes are bleeding from absorbing all the primary content, that green button becomes a blur among a flurry of bottom feeder links and buttons.

FINALLY – THE DOWNRIGHT UGLY

So okay, we already know it’s a BULLSHIT ASSHAT way to skirt the disclosure requirement that was called for in our outcry.  Personally, I called for an obvious and easy to find disclosure throughout and across the site.  This isn’t even CLOSE to obvious or easy to find when you’re overwhelmed with trying to focus on primary content areas.  It’s not in any of the top navigation links, there’s no icons or text directly inside the content areas.  It’s buried at the very bottom in a blur.

But let’s at least look at it to see what they’ve come up with, shall we?

There’s a lot of marketing bullshit about how they do their rankings and this little gem:

The rankings are strictly our opinions based on our research process.

Okay – so we should believe their ability to be trustworthy why?

Oh yeah – they’re the Independent Authority!  (BULLSHIT)

THE “WE DON’T NEED TO BE HONEST” LOOPHOLE

The rankings are usually measured on a series of scores that we assign on five factors within each category.  The scores for each factor are assigned based on our analysis. Only the top scoring agencies make a given list.

Wait – USUALLY?  What the fuck does THAT mean?

It means they have the right to list any fucking douchebag asshat scumbag company they damned well please.  Without otherwise TELLING you that’s what they did.  Because they tell you right there on that disclosure page.  So FUCK YOU if you were hoping for fairness and independent trustworthy rankings.

AT LEAST THEY GET A LITTLE HONEST

They go on to say  in the disclosure page

We charge a standard fee from agencies and tool developers for our time to evaluate.

So there you have it – an actual truthful statement that they get paid to rank sites.  Isn’t that nice of Jeev Trika for actually being honest about how rankings are bought and paid for?

LETS GET REAL – ITS A BULLSHIT PLOY

AFTER they close out the “disclosure” page content, below the “Summary” and the “Sincerely” bullshit closing, they go on to provide a p.s.!

P.S.:   Our lawyers advised us that we should say a few more things…

Users are recommended to do their own research and investigation before engaging services with any company.  User agrees to not hold topseos.com and/or e-ventures, LLC and/or any members and/or any managers and/or any of our partners and/or suppliers liable from any decisions they take. Furthermore, e-ventures, LLC is not liable for any statements, representations, descriptions, comments, or opinions posted on the Site.  e-ventures, LLC cannot guarantee the accuracy, integrity, or quality of Rankings. Under no circumstances will e-ventures, LLC or any third-party providers of the Rankings be liable in any way for any Ranking, including, but not limited to, any errors or omissions in any Ranking/s, or any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of the Ranking/s.

(bolding by me for emphasis)

Do you grasp what that paragraph means?

It means they have the right to lie, deceive and otherwise spit out the most insanely nonsensical, totally non-independent, non authoritative, non-trustworthy “rankings” they want to, for whatever reason they see fit, and if you don’t like it, FUCK YOU.

I especially like the GO FUCK YOURSELVES IF YOU EXPECT QUALITY RANKINGS line:

e-ventures, LLC cannot guarantee the accuracy, integrity, or quality of Rankings.

Isn’t that just fucking special?

DRIVING THE FUCK YOU ATTITUDE HOME

As good as all the above facts are, this line from the disclosure page really drives it home:

By developing and posting such rankings, topseos.com makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or factual basis of the rankings

Translated, this line says “we make no claim that any claim we make about rankings is even fucking real or factual.

See?  Their lawyers insisted that they admit somewhere on their site that they really don’t have any need to honor their bullshit.

LOOKING FOR OPINIONS BY “AWARD” WINNERS

Bruce Clay Badges

I’ve made several attempts to reach business owners whose companies have actually placed “BEST IN…” badges on their sites or in their marketing materials.

The one question I ask each time is why they choose to display their badges and fail to disclose along side them that they’re just bought and paid for, not truly independent awards (as in J.D. Power or Consumer Reports type ratings).

It’s a simple, fair and reasonable question given how some of these badge holders are very high profile companies, like Bruce Clay, Inc., for example – a company that touts quite proudly, their own SEO Code of Ethics. RIGHT BELOW THEIR TOPSEOS Badge.

So they’re either also bullshitting the public, and that means they’re in collusion with TOPSEOs, or they’ve been duped by Jeev Trika.

As of the time of the writing of this article, only one company has had the balls to step up to the plate and discuss the whole TOPSEOs “ranking” bullshit.  They no longer display any of their “awards” based on a position they’re taking that TOPSEOs is in violation of FTC regulations regarding endorsements.

Sadly, not one other company has had the balls or guts to step forward to defend their asshat bullshit badges.  I can only assume the reason for this is that they don’t want to get their business dragged into the public maelstrom or the vortex that this has become.

Except by the mere fact that they have chosen to ignore my inquiries, and they continue to display their bullshit phony badges, they’re complicit in the TOPSEOs deceptive practices we’re talking about. Especially given that they’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars paying for the ongoing right to display that crap.

It’s disgraceful.

And I highly encourage anyone who ever comes across a company displaying or promoting their TOPSEOs badge to run.  Away.  As fast as possible.  And not look back…

About Alan Bleiweiss

Just another guy. Who happens to have a lot of experience living, breathing and sleeping organic SEO. So that's my primary focus - high end SEO audits and consulting for sites ranging from thousands to tens of millions of pages. In my spare time I blog, rant, write eBooks, and speak at industry conferences.

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42 Comments

  1. Jim Rudnick says:

    great piece Alan! a full part, IMHO, of their practices lies in their use of other’s IP & articles, and posing same as their own.

    this must stop! protecting ones IP is very important, and their ‘remove’ functionality is ass-backwards I agree too!

    is TOPSEOS disgraceful! exceptionally!!!!

    :-(

    Jim
    Jim Rudnick´s last blog ..What’s a Google #1 Ranking Worth Anyways? My ComLuv Profile

  2. that’s the whole point Jim – while they may take a hit from eliminating the Bait and Switch (which I’m still testing), if they eliminate their IP theft they reduce a portion of their black hat SEO. That, combined with providing REAL disclosure about the fact that they’re NOT an independent authority, that they don’t REALLY do a credible review of sites and an unbiased ranking of them, and insist that their members also disclose these truths would bankrupt them.

    Of course, that’s what SHOULD happen to these criminals.

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shaun Anderson, Shaun Anderson, Dave Naylor, Alan Bleiweiss, Ingo Bousa and others. Ingo Bousa said: RT @Hobo_Web: Nail in the coffin for Topseos Awards ? – via @AlanBleiweiss – http://bit.ly/9eGGHL [...]

  4. John Akerson says:

    Hey Alan, You are as subtle as a nuclear weapon. Nice article, well documented. Combining your content with that screenshot reminds me of that old “web pages that suck” guy. His idea, the idea behind WPTS, was to learn good design by studying bad design – I think this article is a way to learn about ethical business practices by studying the opposite.

    • “as subtle as a nuclear weapon”. well, yeah – that’s my style :-) As far as learning ethics by studying unethical practices, it’s totally valid. Something I’ve come to learn is there are people who are a power of example due to them being a positive roll model, and those who are a power of example in terms of what NOT to be like…

  5. Man Alan, how long does it take you to research all of this and then write. Very interesting article and I am very glad I never got involved with this company. I appreciate you taking the time to expose these issues.
    Melissa – SEO Aware´s last blog ..Can You Build Too Many Links? Mayday Update – Google Answers My ComLuv Profile

  6. VirtuoSEO says:

    I find it interesting that they’ve setup a separate domain for the removal requests and and also a suggestions domain. Are they really bowing to pressure or just trying to fill the SERPs with their domains for a search of “topseos” as damage control?

    Very shady indeed.

  7. [...] they? Not according to Alan Bleiweiss in his Top SEOs Continues Deceptive Practices [...]

  8. Andy Beard says:

    From what I can see, what they have of mine was from Ezine Articles, and Ezine have very few articles in my own name.

    One they had chopped the author bio off, a more recent one they left it intact, and had followed links.

    Am I going to kick up a stick… not really, because ultimately they have broken the Ezine Articles terms of service and they have far more money and leverage if they were worried.

    Ultimately I don’t care too much where my content ends up, as long as it still somehow has some kind of attibution to me as the author, and it isn’t a navigation nightmare for an end user.
    Andy Beard´s last blog ..Polish Internet In Mourning For Countrymen My ComLuv Profile

    • Andy,

      Thanks for sharing your experience and perspective. I deal with scraped content issues all the time and 99% of that time, I’m not giving it more than a few minutes of my internal rage. With TOPSEOs however, it’s one aspect of a bigger issue. What’s more of a driving force to me as to why I factor this in, is how seriously damaging TOPSEOs business practices are to our industry as a whole, most especially the deception that is perpetrated on unsuspecting business owners looking for such services.

      Because of that specific concern, I believe that scraping articles is thus a more important concern – it’s one of the key ways they build their identity.

      While 99% of the scrapers out there are annoying at best, TOPSEOs needs to be stopped.

      Just my opinion

  9. Alysson says:

    Great update, Alan. While Jill, Andy and others may not be all that concerned about their content being scraped, that doesn’t really speak to the fundamental issue and malicious intent behind how it is being presented to visitors to the TOPSEOs website. This kind of uproar doesn’t happen because of scrapers. If this type of controversy resulted from scraping content alone, our heads would all explode on a daily basis. These guys are not run o’ the mill “Scrapy McContent-Jackers”.

    The way this scraped content is presented in their so-called “Knowledge Zone” makes it seem as though the authors purposely crafted the content FOR the TOPSEOs website. It puposefully insinuates a relationship between TOPSEOs and the respected industry professionals who authored those post. Doing so helps TOPSEOs con visitors into believing they truly are the “independent industry authority” they claim to be. Why would all these respected people from well-known companies create articles for them if they weren’t? RIGHT??

    It’s not the content. It’s not that they scraped it. It’s that they’re profiting handsomely from the work of those who have spent years building the search marketing industry from the ground up by stealing that content – misleading visitors into believing that those in the industry have actually made the conscious decision to contribute to their “Knowledge Zone”. Not minding that a company steals your content is one thing. Knowing there is malicious intent to mislead consumers using your content to illustrate how trustworthy and authoritative they are and still not minding…that’s something entirely different.

    We all learned a long time ago how to benefit from the stupidity of scrapers somehow…often in the form of generating additional links back to our own sites. And while the remaining articles at TOPSEOs may link to a company’s home page, they don’t link to the original article. There is no disclaimer specifying that the article was originally posted at suchandsuch.com or that it was not written specifically for TOPSEOs, but has been reprinted with the permission of the author or original publisher. Which is, frankly, the only way to truly resolve this particular issue, aside from simply removing the content entirely.

    Can I just copy a bunch of awesome content from a bunch of industry vets and publish it verbatim on my site? I’ll add the authors as users on my blog, that way their author links will point back to their own sites. It’ll just look like they agreed to be a guest author on my blog. What a great way to make people think I’m “for real”. Hmm…perhaps good old Jeev is onto something here after all. Though I wouldn’t do that. Because I’m not a fuckin’ avarice-driven douchebag. Their “fix” is STILL misleading at best. And maliciously fraudulent at worst.
    Alysson´s last blog ..Making Friends & Building Rapport My ComLuv Profile

    • Alysson

      You point out a critical point – by having respected industry professionals condone the article use, they in turn become complicit in the TOPSEOs scheme.

      If we as an industry do not stop helping these criminals, we’re shooting ourselves in the foot.

  10. James says:

    Finally someone calling them out on their bullshit practices. Stealing content is one thing, claiming to be an independent authority is on a whole other level of BS. Try to get your company evaluated and you will find out that the Top spots are all paid for. Even if you pay their ridiculous $5000+ fee per month you would never have a chance of making it to the top of a category because of the long term contracts they already have in place.

    Independent my Ass!!

  11. William Chen says:

    While I was out job hunting a month or so ago, I came across their Australian site. I was so nearly conned by them. I had several job offers, but hadn’t really heard of them before, so I tried to do my research on google, and sure enough TopSEO list came up first…luckily I completely ignored their list and now I am working with a fantastic group :)

    • William,

      Glad you found a great place to work – I can’t comprehend that working at TOPSEOs would be any fun, and would probably be very stressful, not to mention having to be associated with such a terribly unethical organization.

  12. Julian Young says:

    Awesome job and good investigation :) How about a look at Sphinn’s absolutely dreadful appeals process cockup next?

    • Thanks Julian – as far as Sphinn’s appeals process, I have no experience with it one way or another, only heard about it twice but only once with any detail. Are you implying there’s a serious problem there that’s widespread, and shared by many people?

      • Julian Young says:

        Sorry grumpy morning. It’s not that bad and I hardly ever commented much anyway, put simply you submit an appeal, never receive a reply and never hear from them again, I think it might be something automated through lack of usage perhaps. The main issue appears to be lack of communication and testing of their own systems. No idea how wide spread it is although I have read about some altercations.

  13. Alan, thank you so much for doing the hard work and pulling this all together. I have a hell of a time re-educating business owners that not all SEOers are con artists. However, it’s hard to blame them when they’ve lost lots of money.

    Great stuff!

  14. Jim Rudnick says:

    On another point, here in my province (canuck here, eh!) there is a small SEO shop in a northern location, ie not near any great urban area at all.

    They are always touting their TOPSEO rankings….that they’re #x in Canada…that they are ranked by the web’s best SEO ranking site…etc etc.

    The fact that they’ve done like taxidermy sites, cottage rentals doesn’t seem to faze their own take on their own reputation.

    About once a month, I get a new client request for more info that will sometimes even ask me about this ‘northern’ SEO firm and how we’d do an SEO campaign differently than they would…

    …sigh…

    Jim
    Jim Rudnick´s last blog ..What’s a Google #1 Ranking Worth Anyways? My ComLuv Profile

  15. George says:

    In all fairness to Jeev, the idea was pretty smart. The fact that people are still paying him even after he’s been called out has to say something.

    I obviously disagree with his deceptive practices, but don’t ignore the brilliance in his idea.
    George´s last blog ..Ways To Reduce Your Web Page Load Time My ComLuv Profile

  16. @Nancy,

    You’re welcome. Yes – my heart goes out to business owners who lost money – seen it my entire career. Am I the only one who ever actually reimbursed a client who was unhappy? Seems that way… :-)

    @Jim,

    1 – as soon as you said province I figured Canada – yeah, I’m a genius huh? 2 – when you’re asked to compare how you’d do things differently, you could open up by saying – “Well, the first thing we would do would be to not pay for an asshat douchebag phony “best of” badge… which saves YOU, our clients, money!”

    @George,
    “The idea was pretty smart” Yeah, if a person has no morals, it was a smart idea. No disrespect to you personally. It’s just that any business venture built around deception or criminal methods (the bait and switch, for example) is a business that preys on innocent people and as far as I am concerned, they’re jackasses, not geniuses.

  17. Mick says:

    I truly appreciate all of the efforts being made to expose the deceptive practices going on with this company. I can understand the anger and frustration involved by all, but, I do have to ask, are all of the curse words in the article and comments really necessary? In my honest opinion, this might prevent mainstream media outlets from writing about and linking out to important topics.

    Right now, it seems like this topic is only circulating around the SEO community — and the desired changes don’t seem to be happening. It seems as though this needs to be elevated to the next level. No newspaper, in physical form/on their website, or high level tech sites will write about a topic and link to a source filled with foul language. If this topic lands on cnet.com or mashable.com, it could easily be the start of “game over” for the company in question.

    Also, you are more than welcome to delete this post (I suggest that you do), should you agree that cleaning up the language issue will further the cause of exposing them.

    • Mick,

      From time to time, over the years, I have been known to delete posts I’ve written because they were so filled with foul language. I’ve done so out of some fear based notion that someone in the main stream world who I was looking to sway might find it and in turn I’d lose that opportunity.

      What I have come to learn however, is that my integrity is more important than those temporary fear/ego situations. Of course that is not to say that the main stream part of my being doesn’t feel shame or guilt about how utterly “unprofessional” I come across when I curse like a drunken sailor after a night of wild sex in the back alley of a dock-side bar. Yet every time I’ve ever changed my identity for the sake of others, it’s cost me more emotionally and spiritually than it was worth.

      While I routinely write articles without the cursing all the time (I am a regular columnist at SearchEngineJournal.com, one of the most successful and well received marketing blogs in the world, and a top 10 marketing blog as recognized in the AdAge power 150), this is my own personal blog. As passionate as I am about wanting to see TOPSEOs dealt with, I will not modify my unique voice on my personal blog.

      In fact, it’s that very voice that has become a major aspect of how I am seen and recognized within my peer community. And if you would care to note, while I do not pretend nor have some illusion that I am truly an industry leader, I do have the full and complete support of an overwhelming segment of this industry’s actual most respected leadership for what I am doing and how I happen to choose to do it.

      If main stream media is incapable of seeing past my tone or choice of words, I submit that main stream media is stuck in the 20th century, as proved by their dying breed.

      On a final note, I offer to you that section of this blog’s Disclaimer page (a clear and obvious link at the top of every page on this site):

      LANGUAGE AND TONE

      The language and tone of my articles varies dramatically from the most mono-tonal technical, to the most passionate rant. The more passionately I express myself, the more my New York foul mouthed gutter language comes out. I don’t expect you to agree with everything I write, nor do I expect that every reader will always appreciate the tone of the moment.

      I will not, however, edit my own voice, as it has taken me many years to even find that voice. And I’m too entrenched in believing that I have every right to express my unique voice on my own blog.

  18. > As of the time of the writing of this article, only one company has had the balls to step up to the plate and discuss the whole TOPSEOs “ranking” bullshit.

    Not sure if you are referring to an “awardee” company or some of the others who wrote about TopSEOs. I am not affected by the US FTC but I blogged about TopSEOs a couple of months ago.

    They still gave me two more awards this month. :)
    Ash Nallawalla´s last blog ..US Real Estate SEO Ranking Report My ComLuv Profile

  19. Mick says:

    Alan,

    Please understand that this: “delete this post” should have been: “delete my post”. In no way did I mean to imply you should delete your post on this blog. I’m sorry for any confusion that might have caused!

    Best wishes going forward with exposing TOPSEOs practices.

    Mick

    • Mick,

      I greatly appreciate the clarification. It puts your initial comment in a whole new light, as I had assumed you were referring to the article!

      And after I posted my reply last night, I did think about what you suggested. It became difficult internal debate because I do want to see TOPSEOs tumble. Yet at the same time, my main goal in this article or any of the other articles I’ve written about TOPSEOs is not to get picked up by main stream media.

      If anyone in that realm really wants to pick up on this stuff, they’d be much more likely, and open to utilizing any of the articles that Edward Lewis has written on the subject. His articles are extremely well written, highly documented (as much or even more than mine) and organized. And there’s no cursing there either :-).

      My writing on the topic, however, is first and foremost, my desire to vent. If I were to change my voice for the sake of being picked up by main stream media, I’d lose my ability to vent in the manner that I believe I need to. Because at the end of the day, I have no illusion that I’ll change the world, and I have a very real need to de-stress from all the asshat things that go on in our industry.
      Alan Bleiweiss´s last blog ..TOPSEOs Continues Deceptive Practices My ComLuv Profile

  20. Stephen says:

    I never believed their rankings of Best SEO’s. I knew insights of some of the SEO companies they have ranked very highly in their ranking and always amazed on their claims.

  21. Jim Rudnick says:

    and I continue to get a couple of these weekly too….

    http://healthosp.com/archive/jalna35103767o3a/archives236973

    why? dunno, but they continue to appear….

    …sigh….

    :-(

    Jim

  22. [...] you haven’t heard, TOPSEOs is a scam rating service, meant to elicit money from search firms wishing to be included in their listings. [...]

  23. Mark Carter says:

    This industry really doesn’t need this sort of cowboy outfit with their unethical practices.

  24. [...] my last article regarding how TopSEOs continue to use deceptive business practices, I closed out the article looking for opinions by “award winners”.  Essentially, I [...]

  25. Jim Rudnick says:

    and yet again…here –

    http://www.seopressreleases.com/top-30-search-engine-optimization-companies-canada-ranked-canadatopseoscom-july-2010/10579

    full page of topseos bullshit rankings presented as Press Release data from this Jeev fellow…

    …sigh….

    :-(

    Jim

  26. Anonymous says:

    I recently had a conversation with someone there. The first 2 minutes were “we’ll rank you on our site” based on an “agreed financial model” I asked him about independent research, and basically it’s verifying references you provide them. He then told me “the better the financial model we agree” to with them, “the higher we will rank.” It is definitely not legitimate and surprised it continues to exist. He was very abrasive when I started poking holes in his practice and told him that based on these 2 minutes, we’re not interested. He then pouted and said “forget about it” and hung up!

    • Thank you for taking time to recall your recent conversation with the TOPSeos sales rep. This confirms that they continue their business as if it’s perfectly acceptable and legitimate, even though there was a recent public uproar when the Better Business Bureau was exposed for doing this exact same thing.

  27. Leo Silva says:

    I wish I read this all before. I started working with Webimax 2 years ago. I found Webimax at TOPSEOS ranked as the best SEO firm. After doing a little research on my own I couldn’t find any bad reference for webimax so I decided to book their services, $2K per month. They seemed professional andthey used to call me every month for reviewing the situation. They would tell me and explain me properly everything they do, and it didn’t seem black hat at all, but i’m not expert so I can’t tell for sure. In the end after one year, $24K went down the toilet, and the results were worse than before.

    In any case, thanks to this article I won’t take TOPSEOS as a reference for anything else anymore.

    Thanks a lot.

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