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Beware This Pagerank/Domain Auction Scam
uses 301 redirect to inflate apparent PageRank

 11:30 am on Aug 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Just come across a scam to lever some extra cash out of unsuspecting domain name buyers (Don't know if anyone has mentioned it before but it's new to me!). Occurring on domain auctions sites mostly, example:

>>> Seller states that they are selling a top domain name www.keywordwidget.com that currently has 200+ backlinks showing on Google and a PR7. This domain name would normally only be worth $500-$1,000 on it's own but with the backlinks and PR they slap on an expected premium. You buy the domain at the high cost and at the next PR update your site loses all it's PR and is showing no backlinks on Google. <<<

How is it done? This seller builds up the backlinks and PR of his own site www.scam-domain-buyers-easily.org and then 301 redirects to the www.keywordwidget.com domain name. At the next update(s) that domain is then showing as having all the backlinks and the PR7. Then after the purchase the seller switches the 301 to redirect to his next selling site www.keywordwidgets2.com which bumps up the backlinks and PR of THAT site which he then lists for sale.

You can tell because if you go to the backlinks for the site they are selling you will notice that NONE of those pages actually links to the website for sale, BUT they do all link to another site (i.e. www.scam-domain-buyers-easily.org) that seems to be redirecting to the site the guy is selling.

Came across this last week on eBay, haven't had it on any auction sites like Sedo yet - the guy wanted $1,000 for a domain name that was only worth $50 without the backlinks and PR.



 5:22 pm on Aug 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Time for Google to finally stop exporting toolbar PR.


 7:11 pm on Aug 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

They didn't already ;)


 9:01 pm on Aug 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

If someone blows $1,000+ on a crap domain with fake TBPR and backlinks, the buyer is as much to blame as the seller IMO.


 11:03 pm on Aug 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

If someone blows $1,000+ on a crap domain with fake TBPR and backlinks, the buyer is as much to blame as the seller IMO.

How exactly? If you're not a mechanic and the salesman lies about the quality of a car then you are to blame for not being a mechanic?

I spotted it because I've been in this game for six years now, I posted it because I'm pretty sure than many in their first year as a webmaster wouldn't assume that such a thing could even occur.


 11:23 pm on Aug 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

I'm pretty sure than many in their first year as a webmaster

And there in lies the problem. 1st year webmasters shouldn't be buying PR7 domains :).

Like buying a car "as-is" (from a private owner, not dealership) you had best bring a good "web mechanic" with you when buying that "great deal" or your SOL.

And at the VERY least have a good legal contract stating, "blah blah backlinks in place for X months" ..."blah blah escrow account"

Sorry but that's just basic business.


 12:29 am on Aug 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

Anyone who pays a premium for toolbar PR is two years out of date - at least.

Buy a domain name on its merits; Google will always reassess the domain once it has new content, and few carry any useful history for more than a few weeks.

And any seller is selling on the basis of toolbar PR and / or 'reputation', then You Have Been Warned.

They will catch a few folk who don't know any better - but the Internet has always been a fast-changing environment; if you care about your money, you have a bit of a duty to do the research before spending it.

I wonder how many years will pass before the final thread about toolbar PR gets started ...

... I wonder if it will be during my lifetime!


 1:44 am on Aug 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

Agree with whitenight.
Fake PR and fake links are sold to fake experts.


Being a webmaster, +/- an SEO is a full time job. Then comes Mom and Pop / Weekend SEO jr. / New kid from marketing and looks for the "get rich" button on this internet... thing...? It's obviously there, it makes the news every other day. So they bought "SEO for the entire family", read some blogs, and learned they needed PR and links? Gosh... really!

Does owning a car make them a race driver? This is a business and requires knowledge as serious as anything else you can make a living of. Those who fall for such scam aren't SEOs or webmasters, they just heard something on TV... something about prize drag racing... and then they bought a super-tuned-extra-mega-exotic *used* sports car from a somewhat shady person saying it "could break speed records". What's the message here...? "oh, yeah, it's a great car, but I'm afraid of high speeds, so I'll be selling it to you for $1000"...

The only time I bid for a domain that was PR4, and REALLY had 200 quality backlinks it was sold for $6000. Needless to say, not to me. But I could see how someone would pay for it, someone who KNOWS how 200 quality backlinks can take up to half a year, year to get for a niche site. If it's really PR7, and really has 200 good links, they'd have already slapped AdSense on some 5k of text and earn that $1000 within a year even if they did nothing else!

And if these "SEOs" / "webmasters" actually reached as far as YAHOO! to doublecheck those backlinks or the first fake PR checker tool, they'd have saved a lot of time, effort and money.

They are not SEOs.
Then why pretend to be one?
They should thank the heavens fake links aren't as dangerous as amateur racing.


... cut the rest of the rant about how the public still doesn't realize that SEO, Webdesign and Webmastering are PROFESSIONS not hobbies or games.


 8:52 am on Aug 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

I appreciate your post internetheaven,
We are a Mom/Pop and do our own SEO over 6 yrs now with two sites and two blogs, and with the help of this forum and loads of reading at others as well, have been able to successfully place organically.

If I had a few grand I'd happily throw it to the best SEO person I could find (and there are many here and on other boards) and I'm sure we'd earn even more than we do now. We just keep spending our profits partly on living and partly on ads, links, backend solutions - always something, etc....

That said, I found exactly what you described for the first time this week. I found a really cool site for sale, PR6 and 4 & 5 interior pages until I checked the links (never did this before) and they were all back to the scam broker's site as described.

"Being a webmaster, +/- an SEO is a full time job. Then comes Mom and Pop / Weekend SEO jr. / New kid from marketing and looks for the "get rich" button on this internet... thing...?"

Respectfully - weren't all of you expert SEO providers once in these categories? I know you didn't wake up one day and say "I'm gonna be an SEO provider". I bet many probably worked and learned - just like us do-it-yourselfers who can't affford your services.

The last (well known) SEO guy I spoke to wanted $250 to "LOOK" at my site and then give me his "run down" on the phone. Then the work would proceed as described @ $250 per hour! OUCH! And he's one of the best - he doesn't hide his portfolio and I've seen his results.

So with all due respect to detractors - you are SEO's and many members and lurkers aren't but I want to thank each and every one who contributes - then I learn something.

"They should thank the heavens fake links aren't as dangerous as amateur racing."

You've sure got that right :)


[edited by: tedster at 9:14 am (utc) on Aug. 5, 2007]


 5:04 pm on Aug 5, 2007 (gmt 0)


I know of someone who isn't new to the game by any stretch and still is looking for that get rich quick button.

There's a trail of busted and rotting sites all over the place because of it.

But you are correct a lot of folks here have made their share of blunders.

BTW what is the value of a PR 7 thingy these days?

Now a site with several thousand pages with decent PR, content, and traffic is worth something but those are rare birds indeed.


Ya just gotta love the scammers they prove PT right on a regular basis.


 10:05 pm on Aug 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hi theBear,

I was simply trying to point out that I had seen a similar website and links back to the website broker like internetheaven mentioned is all.

I'd sure like to get rich quick but I wasn't born into money AND I'd look really bad in a prison jumpsuit. I better keep plugging away on my sites.

BTW - Where else can you find this kind of wisdom AND humor (from another thread):

"The aim of SEO is to mimic a naturally popular and relevant site;"

"Maybe that is how it works on the planet Crapsite."

Too Much! Priceless conversations!

I don't know anything about what domains go for really. I have a site I've considered selling (a pain to operate) and went to a "domain selling site" - trying to find out what my site might be worth, I saw prices from $25k down to $50 bucks.


 8:57 am on Aug 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

i wonder what that would do to the true pr7 holding site in the long run....how many times can you tell google you've switched it permanently and then keep switching it back....before alarm bells ring...

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