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they phoned me again today and tried to say hidden text was allowed by google! their argument was :
a. they've long been partners with google - yeah right
b. its been at the top for 6 months so it must be fine as google checks it each month! - (algo still not quite there i guess)
They had used Business serve previously and I was astonished to learn that they were charging a fortune (around £125 I think) per domain per annum.
Customer service was rubbish. They basically wouldn't do anything unless you paid them exorbitant fees. £25 to change admin contact, £25 to change name servers. Basically a rip off.
I did discover however that they registered our domain names through a third party based in Australia. They were much more organised and we were able to transfer our domains out that way, simply because we were the registered owners with the one off transfer fee. Saving ourselves a fortune.
The worst of it is, I think they are quite a big company.
I told the lady that I wanted a front page position for the single world "travel". She said that it would be possible, but that we wouldn't want all of the irrelevant traffic that it would bring and that we would be better off targeting "luggage straps" or something like that ;)
When I questioned her about how it works, she told me that they had a "special relationship" with Inktomi, who gave preference to their sites over everyone else's. If using Inktomi paid inclusion is their main weapon, then I can't see that they can generate that much traffic.
I pushed to find out how they go about Google promotion. No mention of building link popularity; instead she was talking about building "pilot pages". I gather from her description that these are autoforwarding search engine fodder, i.e. cloaked pages.
Interestingly, they offered a money back guarantee, but I suspect that the fine details of the contract would only require them to get a first page position on Altavista for "second hand underpants" or some other equally useless phrases.
It was at this point that she first looked at our site and said...."oh, you're a search engine. Er, what phrases would you want to target then?". LOL.