How Buying Links is Like Buying Crack

Is Google Testing SEO Agencies?

Several weeks ago I received a very strange call. Between end of summer vacation and client work I haven’t had time to sit down and put it into an article. Yet, the conversation stuck with me and I’m curious to hear if anyone else has experienced this same type of event.

It’s not like the phone is ringing every minute of every day here at Halyard Consulting. Most of my client contact occurs via email. Even my outreach to new and potential clients happens that way. So the long and short of it is the phone seldom rings.

However, on this day the phone rang and I presented my usual introduction:

“Halyard Consulting, this is Jonathan speaking.”

The man on the other end of the phone immediately starts talking about the success of his website. Bare in mind this guy doesn’t say his name, the company he’s with or where he is from. He does tell me that he’s using a document scrambler to turn one article into hundreds and he’s getting tons of traffic and making millions. I’m immediately ticked off that he lacked proper introduction etiquette and was further annoyed that he’s admitting to using some nasty tricks. Of course with the Google Panda Update I’m secure in knowing those tricks don’t produce like they used too.

Panda Toast

Panda Toast

However, as I replay the conversation in my mind for this article I’m left wondering if he was possibly reading from a script. Regardless, I was either going to hang up immediately or I needed to slow the conversation down.

So I again asked him his name and where he was located. It’s been four weeks so I don’t remember his name I’ll just call him Tim. He said he was from Georgia.

“Ok, Tim what can I do for?”

“Are you an agency?” He replied

“Yes, we are an Internet Marketing Agency.”

Do you have any PR4 or above websites?” He asked.

“Yes, what is this about?” I said.

“I’d like to buy links on your PR4 and above websites.” Tim replied.

Ah, there is was!! Tim wasn’t trying to sell me anything. He was trying to buy something from me. And here was my reply:

“Tim, I don’t know you and you don’t know me. You’ve blurted out a lot of stuff regarding the success of your website but haven’t asked me a thing of what we do here. So essentially you are asking a complete stranger to hook you up with their crack dealer.”

Woman smoking crack.

Woman smoking crack.

Buying Links from Strangers

After several long seconds of absolute complete silence from the other end of the phone Tim responded.

“I’m sorry. I’m from Georgia. I don’t know how you guys up North communicate.”

Then Tim did the right thing and hung up the phone.

Now I don’t know who he was, what company he worked for, or even if he was really from Georgia. However, in this day and age when Google is cracking down on spam tactics I wouldn’t put it past them to have a secret sting department making calls like this to unsuspecting and un-knowledgeable agencies.

Marion Barry Crack Sting

Marion Barry Crack Sting

Similar to a prostitution sting where a cop pretends to be a hooker in order to go after the Johns; Google might be playing the role of link buyer in order to catch agencies willing to participate. Of course any cop will tell you a sting operation focused on busting Johns won’t stop the practice of prostitution. It just drives the practice further underground.


Buying links is a stupid thing to do. My advice is spend the time and build quality content that people want to read and gain the appropriate backlinks that will forever benefit your site.

What do you think? Is it possible Tim was in fact a Google employee?


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