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April 29, 2008

SEO company STOLE my traffic!

Believe it or not, the article is true. This is what happened to a friend of mine. I am not at liberty to name the SEO company, especially since the investigation is still ongoing, but this is what happened.

A couple months ago, my friend hired an expensive SEO company (charged $2500) to reoptimize his website to get maximum exposure for the search engines.

After he paid the fee, he soon learned that they contracted out the job overseas to a bunch of random people who asked for his website hosting username and ftp password and told him that it should be ready in a few days.

They made some changes to his website. He visually saw many of them but not all of them. They said wait 3 months before making any other changes and let our SEO work do the job.

He waited, and his traffic started dropping. He contacted them, and they told him that it was completely normal while his website was being reindexed by Google, and to be patient.

His orders began to suffer, his visits were decreasing, he barely lasted the 3 months. When he tried to contact them again, they had disappeared.

He hired someone else to go in and take a look at his website to figure out what had gone wrong.. This is what they had done..

In his product catalog, some of the product names had a special hidden javascript next to them. When someone would go to the main website and click everything, the website would perform normally…

HOWEVER, if they came through a google referer in the http request, the javascript would activate and send his visitor to a competitor / spammy website who was selling the same products.

The only way he could have seen this, is if he visited his website like a normal visitor would who showed up from Google. Instead, he manually typed in his website address and therefore the javascript wouldn’t activate.

So here is a guy, who pays $2500 to an SEO company to help increase his traffic, and instead, all they ended up doing was stealing his money, AND his traffic.

This is something that everyone needs to be careful about. Don’t EVER trust an SEO company unless you have investigated THEM first. Don’t just hand over your FTP username and password to someone, and say “go ahead, and do what needs to be done”

…in this case what needed to be done was to hijack his website, steal a nice sum of cash, and run off in the middle of the night. His payment was cashed overseas, and the free mail accounts they had were no longer operational.

A real nice scam. Plus you have to wonder how much they made off his free traffic they stole over that 3 month period. How much other website hosting traffic did they steal from other websites caught in their SEO scam?

We’re all so desperate to get to the top rankings of the search engines, sometimes, we lose our business sense, and just hand money over to the first person who promises what we want to hear.

Jie Fang – Please share this story with anyone you know. More useful articles like this are at http://sillyinternet.blogspot.com

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