wheel - 4:30 pm on Feb 28, 2010 (gmt 0)
Let's put this in some perspective, put some $'s on it.
I'm talking in another thread about my hand building links. Let's say I've put 20-30 hours into it roughly. And I've got about 3 top quality links, links that are .edu/gov quality. (this does assume I've got top quality content).
Now lets say I drop $5K on a top notch link developer and they get me 50 links. On one hand, the 'cost' of that is $100 per link. However, I've saved 500 hours of my time. And as a small business owner who doesn't do SEO for a living, that 500 hours is substantial. I can be opening up new markets, training staff. Or spending time with my family.
However - I know exactly what type of link I want. I know what it takes to get those links. I know what I feel the cost of link development is.
Which highlights another 'cost' for many - the risk cost. If you don't know what links you want, how hard or easy they are to get, or how to evaluate the worth of a link, how can you determine who to hire, or how much to pay them? Particularly in an industry fraught with low end stuff like link development?
Personally I don't think I would pay $1000 for a link campaign. If it's that cheap it's either worthless, I can do it myself faster, or worse, it's harmful. If I was to outsource link development it'd be high end. I'd be building my house out of expensive brick, not cheap straw :).
Now let me put another spin on it. Let's say i decide that cheap links work for a project. What's the cost if my site gets penalized/filtered/banned? If spend $3000 but bring in revenue of $10,000 that was ok...except if my main business site gets penalized and now I'm out of business. I made $7K at the cost of all my future business. If I made that $7k on a site I spent $6 registering a domain and hosting somewhere for $10 a year....that may be worth it.
Lots to consider - lots of risk and it's all difficult to tell exactly what really works or is worth it until you know enough and can form your own opinion. I'm not so sure there's a shortcut.