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Attorney General sues Washington SEO Firm

 4:23 pm on Nov 16, 2008 (gmt 0)

Large scale trouble for this SEO Firm...

Attorney General sues Washington business that promised Web hits but struck out in customer service
2008-11-13 - [atg.wa.gov...]

Senior Counsel Paula Selis, an assistant attorney general who heads up the Attorney General's Consumer Protection High-Tech Unit, said the Attorney General's Office and Better Business Bureau have received nearly 90 complaints about the defendants, showing a pattern of recurring problems since at least 2005.

[edited by: Brett_Tabke at 7:31 pm (utc) on Nov. 17, 2008]
[edit reason] fixed link [/edit]



 2:46 pm on Nov 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Found this response on their website:


 3:13 pm on Nov 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

The Visible.net blog response - essentially "the A.G. doesn't understand search engines" - is somewhat a non-response in light of the specific allegations of malfeasance set forth in the press release:

* Failing to register with the Department of Licensing as a commercial telephone solicitor and failing to provide written confirmation of a consumerís rights under the Commercial Telephone Solicitation Act.
* Misrepresenting the ability to significantly increase traffic to customer Web sites by achieving top search-engine rankings and failing to deliver other promised services.
* Falsely claiming an affiliation with other marketers including Specialty Merchandise Company, a so-called drop-ship wholesaler.
* Claiming that its customer service representatives can be reached at any time when, in fact, customers are often unable to reach representatives and sometimes do not receive return calls.
* Failing to provide refunds or honor cancellation requests.
* Continuing to bill the credit cards of some consumers who have attempted to cancel and submitting alleged debts to collection agencies.

[edited by: Webwork at 3:15 pm (utc) on Nov. 17, 2008]


 3:16 pm on Nov 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

If the allegations are correct then I think its great news. The more cowboys are stopped, the more the rest of us can get on with our work.


 3:57 pm on Nov 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Typo in the Visible.net post:

In deciding to litigate rather that take us up on our offer...

that vs than

Now, I put out some typo's too, but if you're being sued by the AG and you post a public response, you better make sure that it's FLAWLESS!

[edited by: Chico_Loco at 3:58 pm (utc) on Nov. 17, 2008]


 5:01 pm on Nov 17, 2008 (gmt 0)


I hate since many years this companies promissing the blue from the sky.

Alexa helped me several times to blame such busters.


 5:22 pm on Nov 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

I hate trying to compete with companies like this.. I've never lost business to another legit firm - only scammers, liers, and incompetents. Sad isn't it?


 6:32 pm on Nov 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

About time that someone goes after these crap SEO firms who tarnish the industry for the rest of us.


 7:35 pm on Nov 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

I've never lost business to another legit firm


Fortune Hunter

 8:37 pm on Nov 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

The more cowboys are stopped, the more the rest of us can get on with our work.

Ditto on that. I have received calls from my clients over the years telling me they received an email promising the stars for some amount of cash each month. I had to always talk them into putting their wallet back in their pocket before it got cleaned out by another scamming group. Most thanked me the ones who didn't were probably too embarrassed to admit they had been had.


 1:15 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

For those that don't know, the State of Washington have done this before.

Attorney General sues Internet Advancement again
2007-11-07 - [atg.wa.gov...]

AG Gregoire Settles with Internet Advancement
2004-08-11 - [atg.wa.gov...]

If you are an SEO Firm doing business in the State of Washington, you better have all of your ducks in a row. Based on the history of the Washington AG, I'm willing to bet there will be more of these forthcoming. In fact, anyone doing commodity SEO in this type of fashion is likely to come under scrutiny in the future.

RIP Commodity SEO


 3:27 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Will the lawsuit show high in SERPs for the company name?



 3:43 pm on Nov 18, 2008 (gmt 0)

Will the lawsuit show high in SERPs for the company name?

Of course it will. Now that it is public and the Press Release is being discussed at various online destinations, it won't be long before the ATG.WA.gov takes a top ten position.

Do a search now for those company names being mentioned. The results are a strong indicator of what the outcome will be. Ripoff Report has the #2 position.

I purposely kept the company names out of this post just for that reason.

kamikaze Optimizer

 1:05 am on Nov 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

This sort of thing gives white hat SEO's and the industry in general a black eye.

I would however like to see any firm that makes false promises to a small business get what is coming to them.


 10:50 am on Nov 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

Yes, this sort of company does tarnish the whole industry. Recently, indeed, am still having a major blow up with a UK SEO company.

Not quite as bad as these guys as (they don't promise more sales etc) but is one of these top 10 positions in the major engines or your money back type outfits. Paid the first 3 months (which isn't covered by g'tee) to get a pretty SEO 101 on-page review plus they do a link building campaign consisting soley of emailing webmasters asking for links. 3 months brought in 5 agreed links and 8 no thank-you's. Spend was $5500 or so at that point.

Tried to bail out, caught by buried Ts and Cs (yes I know I should have gone through them with a fine tooth comb first but I was a trusting fool back then) Upshot - have to pay the balance - 9 months at $1000 a month to get out OR stick with it while they it seems do very little and if I want to sort my own SEO then I'll end up paying them under the terms of their g'tee! I chose to do neither and am now in legal with them and likely to lose.

Has anyone else been caught out by this moeny back-contract lock in approach? If so was it successfuly fought off?

[edited by: engine at 12:46 pm (utc) on Nov. 19, 2008]
[edit reason] see TOS [/edit]


 12:25 pm on Nov 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

BBSBONE- Im finding that the firms I hire for SEO/PPC work are awful and I can do it better than them. Many cowboys out there, I think the problem no one (the public) understand the concept of SEO.


 8:04 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

@bbsbone i know with lawyers there are no 'non-refundable' agreements that can force a client to pay for work not performed in many states; otherwise, you would never be able to fire a professional for performing work with which you don't agree.

i'm not sure if the same rule applies with SEO companies; but you should check it with a lawyer. maybe your case could set a precedent.


 11:43 pm on Nov 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

This was probably not the .gov link they would have hoped for.


 12:20 pm on Nov 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

This was probably not the .gov link they would have hoped for.


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