Why Selling Link Building Services on Black Hat Forums is a HIGHLY Profitable Business

Karol K. is a freelance blogger and writer, published author, and online business figure-outer. His work has been featured all over the web, on sites like: NewInternetOrder.com, MarketingProfs.com, Adobe.com, ProBlogger, and others. Feel free to contact him to find out how he can help your business grow by writing unique and engaging content for your blog or website.

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    No refunds! No guarantees! And no reports when the work is done. You’re just going to have to believe me!

    Oh, what’s the job, you ask? I will skyrocket your SEO (duh)!

    Get massive rankings with this exclusive link building service! Gonna be $160, please.

    If there was a PayPal button here, would you buy this?

    Probably not.

    Besides, I’m joking anyway.

    Or am I?

    Well, believe it or not, these sort of link building services are EVERYWHERE in the SEO world. In particular, on SEO forums. In particular-ier, on SEO black hat forums.

    And they’re quite popular. Actually, quite isn’t the word. Massively — that’s the one.

    A certain thread on BlackHatWorld.com (BHW) — the all-time most popular thread on the forum in fact — has gathered over 7,100 responses across 160 pages (and counting). More than that, according to my math, it has sold 4,200+ individual services.

    This puts the revenue on the merchant’s side at around $420,000 — $588,000 (there are different versions of the service, each at a different price point + occasional discounts).

    Just … wow!

    But hold on, that merchant doesn’t have just one thread. There are at least a dozen of them in his portfolio — each with HUNDREDS of responses and sales.

    All of those services look quite similar, at least in their sales material.

    There’s always an uber-cool-looking sales graphic (and I truly mean it). The graphics are long, custom made, original, and they’re just nice to look at even if you don’t intend to buy anything.

    Check for yourself:

    main-sales-page-blur2

    The seller really has to invest a lot in creating those things!

    This is perhaps only the tip of the iceberg. It’s just one seller, on one SEO forum. But there are more agencies/SEOs/consultants following suit in other places.

    The market for this kind of SEO service seems to be huuuuuge.

    And… honestly speaking… why wouldn’t it be?

    Let’s look at it from a buyer’s perspective:

    Why people buy SEO services on black hat forums

    SEO is frustrating.

    It just is.

    And particularly if you’re not a pro. By “pro” I mean someone for whom SEO is their business.

    For a normal business person, SEO is but a tool. It’s something you use alongside other elements to make your business grow.

    But it just so happens that SEO changes a lot. One week something is a-okay. Another week it’s a no-no.

    This is unheard of anywhere else. A hammer doesn’t stop being a hammer on a weekly basis. Hammering a nail has been the same process for decades.

    So in that landscape, no wonder people just want SEO taken care of.

    Hiring an SEO expert on a monthly basis is an option. But you won’t get much for sub $500 / month.

    Easier solution? Get a ready-made “productized” service — something that’s well-described, something that’s convincing, something that tells you exactly what’s going to be done, how it’s going to be done, and at what price.

    In come SEO services from (arguably) black hat forums. By all accounts, people want those services. They need them!

    But, do they work?

    Aha! That’s a topic for another time, which we will possibly cover. I did buy one of those services, pointed it to my under-performing site, hooked it up to Ahrefs, and waited to see what happens. So the data is here, only needs to be put to paper screen. If you want to see that, please make yourself heard in the comments.

    The question we’re going to answer today is different:

    How profitable it can be to offer this kind of link building service as an SEO?

    Disclaimer. I’m in no way encouraging you to (a) copy anyone’s services/products and try selling them as your own, or (b) offer black/grey hat link building services not considering the possible damage you’re doing. The way I look at those forum services is purely as a source of inspiration on how to present your own SEO service (sales-wise) and how you could organize it from a workload and delivery perspective.

    For this part, I’m going to focus on the service awesomely named “SHERLOCK HACKS GOOGLE” (I’m going to call it SHG going forward). I’ve chosen it because it’s supposedly the most popular thread in the history of BHW, people who bought it are seemingly very happy with their results, and you get a full report when the service is done.

    In short, I can see what each individual part of the service actually is (when stripped down from all the marketing talk).

    That being said, keep in mind that all such things need to be taken with a grain of salt. There are no guarantees regarding the actual quality of the service or its long-term effects. Even though there are a lot of great reviews, it’s not the first time someone has pushed an offer on BHW that turned out to be a complete scam (exhibit a).

    Okay, let’s get started.

    We have our basic data — 4,200+ sales made in total, worth around $420,000 — $588,000.

    Depending on the package a customer chooses, SHG is $140, $120, or $100 a piece.

    Each tier offers a different number of individual sub-services. I’m going to use the top one — called “The Lion’s Mane” — when doing my math here and figuring out what’s the possible profit per single service.

    (By the way, if you’re offering an SEO service, why not give it a cool name?)

    Here’s each task broken down one by one and the estimated cost associated with them all:

    Getting original articles written

    Okay, so the core of SHG is written content. As part of the deal, you get 4 original articles. Each one is 300–500 words.

    The quality?

    They’re okay. I mean, probably written by a content mill of some kind. They don’t provide any actual insight into the topic at hand. They’re just content for content’s sake.

    The cost:

    • If you go to Fiverr, you can get an article service like that for $5 a piece. But there are also article bundles available. For instance, two 400-word articles for $5. This would put the price of 4 articles at just $10.

    Spinning the articles

    Each article gets spun before it’s resubmitted multiple times to multiple websites.

    And the spinning is really really reaaaalllyyy brutal. I mean, brutal to the point that the post basically stops making sense.

    Actual example; original sentence:

    It is not easy when someone keeps calling your phone and you do not have a recollection of whom they are.

    Spun:

    It is not interesting when someone phone calls you all enough time and you will not have their particulars and it gets annoying when they’re prank calls.

    Obviously, it’s more or less automatic.

    The cost:

    • Spinning software is anything from $50-$150 a year or as one-time investment. Assuming that spinning is indeed done on autopilot, I’m going to say that the cost of generating a new spun article is $0.
    • However, if you want to create a good spin syntax file, it’s going to take around 30 minutes per article. So 4 articles that’s 2 hours. Multiply by your hourly rate.

    Web 2.0 submissions

    One of the key elements of the service is web 2.0 submissions. The “web 2.0” umbrella basically means any website that gives the user the option to launch either a complete website or a landing page of some kind.

    Examples: Tumblr, LiveJournal, Weebly, Blog.com, Blogs.ru, WordPress.com, etc.

    The blueprint is this: take an article > spin it > add links > submit.

    Looking through my SHG report, I can see that some of those web 2.0 mini-sites were created for me specifically, while most of them were actually already existing. On those previously existing sites, there are tens of other posts about multiple unrelated topics. In other words, they are classic SEO network sites that hold a bunch of content and link to a bunch of random stuff.

    The cost:

    Two possible approaches here (this is going to be a reoccurring theme throughout the post!):

    • A) SHG calls for 24 submissions. So if you have your pre-existing network of web 2.0 sites, you only need to create around 1–2 new ones. I estimate that it takes around 1 minute to publish a new post/page on an existing site, and 5 minutes to create a completely new one. In total, 2 new sites = 10 minutes, and 22 posts on existing sites = 25 minutes to round things up. That’s 35 minutes if you’re doing it manually. If you have automated software at your disposal, you can have all that done in 10–15 minutes tops. What’s commonly in use: 
      • Magic Submitter (magicsubmitter.com — $5 / month),
      • GSA Search Engine Ranker (search-engine-ranker.gsa-online.de — $99 one time payment),
      • SEnuke (www.senuke.com/xcr — $147 / month).
    • B) You can get all this done via Fiverr. There’s a load of various submission services available there. You can get everything from .EDU links, to web 2.0, to article directories. All for $5 a piece.

    Article submissions

    Another important piece of the puzzle. There are actually 90 article submissions as part of SHG… so, a lot.

    The process is still the same: take an article > spin it > add a link > submit to an article directory of your choice.

    Personally, I didn’t think that article directories were still a thing, but apparently they are. However, the domains in my report are something I see for the first time in my life! There’s no EzineArticles here -mostly no-name sites.

    The cost:

    • A) With an auto submitter, you just press play and the whole process can be done in minutes. Again, Magic Submitter, SEnuke, GSA.
    • B) Through Fiverr, $5 will get you even over 1000 article submissions.

    .EDU links

    This one’s interesting. The service promises at least 15 .EDU links from quality domains.

    Technically, it delivers. The links do come from .EDU sites… but those are actually forum profile links that just happen to be sitting on .EDU domains. No actual high quality links from reliable sources/domains.

    The how-to is even simpler this time. You don’t even need spun articles. Just find a site, create a profile, add your link.

    The cost:

    • A) SEnuke, Magic Submitter, GSA, still work here.
    • B) Through Fiverr, $5 will get you “30 Manual PR9 Edu Safe Backlinks.” You be the judge.

    Top bookmarks to money site”

    The next item on the list with SHG is labeled “90 top bookmarks to money site.” And, as I believe, “top” is the keyword here.

    However, in practice, those are mostly links from a network of bookmarking sites of rather sub-par quality. You won’t find Delicious.com there. From what I can see, the majority of the sites run the same software script and they are probably launched by the service provider and for their own use (or maybe they’re part of a bigger thing, but you get the point).

    The cost:

    • A) SEnuke, Magic Submitter, GSA, can still help you with this.
    • B) A tool named BookmarkingDemon (bookmarkingdemon.com — $147 one-time payment). It’s another automatic submitter. You basically click “play” and the thing runs on autopilot.
    • C) You can get anything from 100 to 900 social bookmarks from a single $5 gig on Fiverr.

    High PR” forum profiles

    The idea behind this type of link building is very straightforward. Pick a forum, register an account, and put a link to your site in the profile. Repeat 1000 times or so…

    Since the web is a huge place, you can still find tens of thousands of forums that have public profiles and offer do-follow links. Now, what we’re talking about aren’t top-notch forums with genuine readers/conversations. This is more about dead forums or blank forums.

    Because of this, it’s one of those tasks that’s nearly impossible to do by hand. At least it wouldn’t make economic sense to do it by hand.

    The cost:

    • A) You can submit to forums with SEnuke, Magic Submitter, and GSA.
    • B) Unsurprisingly, Fiverr has something to offer as well. What is surprising, though, is the volume. Just $5 gets you as much as 5,000 forum profile links!

    Second tier links

    At this point, we’re getting into second tier links. This step is meant to build some links to the pages that were built in the first tier — everything that was described above.

    What’s offered here is:

    • 5000 (!) Wiki links to something (not part of the report I got back).
    • 10 bookmarks of the Tumblr post.
    • 10 bookmarks of the Weebly post.
    • 240 bookmarks of other web 2.0 posts/pages (10 per page).

    The quality of all those bookmarks isn’t higher than the quality of the “top bookmarks” described above. Mostly, more of the same.

    The cost:

    • A) Again, SEnuke, Magic Submitter, GSA, or BookmarkingDemon.
    • B) When it comes to Wiki links, you can get 2,000+ of those via Fiverr. Bookmarking multiple URLs is also possible (the service I found offers to submit multiple URLs to 200 different bookmarking sites). So in total, $10.

    Social shares

    Social shares are our second to last element of SHG. Like you would expect, this is about sharing your main money site through various social platforms and networks.

    The good news is that here you do get shares via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr, plus a handful of other mainstream platforms.

    Interestingly, the promised number of shares isn’t that high — just 2 per platform. In total, you get around 40+ shares, so nothing stunning compared to, say, 300+ bookmarks.

    Looking at my report, those aren’t impressive social shares. No retweets, no re-shares, no likes. Just a social share on its own, unnoticed by anyone.

    The cost:

    • A) Like with most things, all of our submitters can do the job: SEnuke, Magic Submitter, and GSA.
    • B) Fiverr is a bit tricky here. There are multiple various gigs available, but you have to read the descriptions in detail, as they all provide slightly different outcomes. For example, some will offer you a handful of social shares along with retweets/re-shares. Others will offer just raw shares, and etc. In the end, it’s a matter of finding the right gig provider. Nevertheless, you can have the whole task done for $5.

    Indexing service

    After all this link building, the only thing that’s left now is to have the links indexed. Right?

    SHG offers to take care of that by using other, third-party tools/services on your behalf. So, what you get is indexing via:

    • Linklicious.co (get it yourself for $57 / month).
    • Lindexed.com (from $14.97 / month).
    • OneHourIndexing.co (from $17 / month).
    • BacklinksIndexer.com (from $14.97 / month).
    • InstantLinkIndexer.com (from $13.77 / month).

    The cost:

    Most of the indexing services listed above will allow you to process hundreds or even thousands of links per day, so working with them directly will only be worth it if you really want to go crazy with your link building efforts.

    For smaller operations, Fiverr is still a viable solution. As always, $5 gets the job done.

    Total cost summed up vs. possible profits

    As you can see, most of the sub-services can be done either via Fiverr or via third-party tools.

    One approach vs another brings different kinds of cost with itself:

    • Tools like SEnuke, Magic Submitter, GSA, require an investment in setting up an infrastructure and building a good process. Alternatively, hiring some help is a solution too, but that’s a whole other story.
    • Choosing Fiverr as the main outsourcing market means higher costs. But on the flip side, it saves you time and also opens the doors to building long-term relationships with the service providers, thus making the whole operation more effective with time.

    Starting from the top, I would divide this complete SEO service into a couple of main sections cost-wise:

    1. Getting the articles written.
    2. Getting them spun.
    3. Getting them distributed + all the link building tasks.

    Re 1: Writing the articles on your own is pointless. As it turns out, the article is only a tool, and it’s not ground-breaking in any way. The most efficient solution is to outsource it to Fiverr. In total, the cost is $10.

    Re 2: To spin the articles, you need software that costs around $100. Doing a high-quality spin by hand takes around 2 hours for 4 articles. Generating the spin automatically takes 2 minutes. Your call.

    Keep in mind, though, that this is where the quality of the final articles — and what follows, the quality of the whole service — will be shown. So get this wrong and the whole work looks silly. Of course, you can get your articles spun via Fiverr too — 4 articles will be $10-$20.

    Re 3: Here is where the main choice has to be made. Fiverr or working with the tools?

    • Doing everything in Fiverr will cost around $45 based on the calculations above.
    • Doing it with tools is around $250. But this is a one-time or monthly investment vs. per-service-done investment, which is the case with Fiverr.

    Summing it all together, getting the whole big service done by outsourcing everything to Fiverr will cost around $70+. The asking price is $140. That’s a nice 100% ROI.

    Doing the math for the other path — tools — isn’t as easy. It all depends on the number of services you’re able to sell in a month. Many of those tools are subscription-based or they limit the number of actions you can perform.

    However, common sense would dictate that investing in the individual tools and mastering them should still have a higher return rate over the long haul.

    Is providing a service like that worth it?

    Like I said at the beginning, I don’t think that this level of SEO service quality is what you should do.

    We should probably aim higher and give our clients some real, genuine work that has the potential to bring results over the long term, and not just “until Google gets up to speed and shuts us down.”

    That being said, I really admire the sales page and the amount of work that went into designing, writing copy, and overall presenting this whole service on BHW. The creativity and the design of the thing is really something.

    And apparently, it works like hell!

    With more than 4,200+ sales it’s hard to point fingers and say that it’s anything less than exceptional marketing.

    In fact, there’s probably some marketing takeaways for most of us here, and perhaps we should consider adapting some of his ideas into our own offers. Again, I’m just talking about learning from the marketing side of it, and maybe not from the actual product itself.

    At the end of the day, though, if you don’t want Google’s webspam team knocking on your door one day to hand you your a** on a plate then offering this kind of service isn’t for you.

    But. It surely is damn profitable! That 100% ROI means that the seller made around $210,000 — $294,000 pure profit on this.

    So whether or not he has really ‘hacked Google’, Sherlock has definitely discovered a great way to make money…

    What do you think about these kind of ready-made link building services? Do you offer anything like that and want to share your story? We’re all ears.

    Karol K. is a freelance blogger and writer, published author, and online business figure-outer. His work has been featured all over the web, on sites like: NewInternetOrder.com, MarketingProfs.com, Adobe.com, ProBlogger, and others. Feel free to contact him to find out how he can help your business grow by writing unique and engaging content for your blog or website.

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    • Özgür Nevres

      If you want to see that, please make yourself heard in the comments.” -> Nice way to get comments on an article 🙂 I’d like to see the data please. Thanks!

      • Karol K.

        I’ve sent the data to everyone except you Ozgur. I know you’ve been selling backlinks.. you are not welcome.

        • Özgür Nevres

          What? 😀 that is funny. I don’t know where did you get this “information”, but it is totally wrong. I am a member of BHW but my message count is 3 or 4 in there. Your statement “IF X is a BHW member THEN X is absolutely selling backlinks” is not quite true, man. I take it as a slander, absolutely. You have no proof, because I never sold, or even bought, backlinks. I am just a software developer and an amateur blogger. I was thinking to become a premium member of ahrefs but not any more. You shouldn’t slander people like that over the internet.

        • Özgür Nevres

          I sent an email to your support (that was the only email address available on your site) with the screenshot. I am waiting the proof you have, or if you have not (which is the case, absolutely), an apologize.

      • Hi Ozgur. The comment you see below isn’t from me. Someone’s trying to impersonate me here. Please don’t open anything they send.

        • Özgür Nevres

          Oh, I now realize that the profile photo is different. Thank you for warning me, Karol. And now I think I owe an apology to you. I was so angry that I didn’t check if it was really you or not. I am sorry.

          • Karol K.

            No problem, no offense taken.

    • stacyben

      Same here! more information of such data would be much appreciated. Thanks for the article, nice analysis of how they do things.

    • Im a victim, not to old sherlock though.. Glad someone broke it down and mentioned some of the tools.

      Speaking from experience, its not the way to go.

    • Matt Smith

      Great article Karol. I actually tested two different linkbuilding services to two different pages I own and had some interesting results. I’m curious if it lines up with what you saw as well.

      With page 1 it ranked on page 2 for a very competitive term. As soon as I tested the BHW service it shot up to position #5 for that same competitive term. Less then 1 week later Google sent me a an unnatural links warning. I was able to disavow and keep my original rank on page 2 but in this case BHW didn’t work out. 

      For test 2 I tried a different link service (PBN) for a moderately competitive keyword(s). I ranked past page 5 for my targeted keywords/topics. Within a 4 weeks of starting the service I was on page two for my best keyword. However, almost <3 weeks later my site completely fell out of Google’s rankings. What’s odd to me is that I didn’t receive a Google warning in webmaster tools or anything. Because the site was just a test site I didn’t bother trying to add a disavow or anything. But again in another case BHW didn’t work out.

      The problem is that people get on these forums and they believe the hype. They believe that their is an easy solution to hard work and great content. I mean thinking these magic PBN’s is a much easier alternative to putting in the time and coming up with some real good content. Again I’m excited to see what results you had and please let me know if you have any questions about my tests.

    • Juan Pastás

      I also want to see the data. Thanks for the article.

    • We’ve all been there, the quicker you fail with a service like this the better, it will make you appreciate the quality links you build in the future all the more

    • Ha ha ha, I saw this offer on BHW, I think about it exactly what you said..

    • I think you’ve forgot to mention Captcha solving and private proxies costs, that are must to use in softwares you’ve mentioned above.

      • Good point. Will need to update this!

    • Ana Filipa Pereira

      What I think is that Black Hat techniques still work damn well!

    • dan

      Most know what they’re using it for and will use it for tier 2 you know that right? It does say spun content on the thread etc etc..

      Your figures look a little out with not mentioning fiver fees,paypal fees and refunds/replacements (says any deleted link will be replaced)

      lucky the cost of a aherfs subscription is on fiver too or we’d have no money left for links! 😉

      • Dennis

        Most won’t use link packages with just a few hundred links for tier 2 at all, they use it to point directly at their money site cause the provider brings it in such way that you get the idea that it’s completely safe, which it’s clearly not!

    • The profits of the sale textlink is huge ! However in an SEO — er position , I think should not buy links because they are not naturalistic . It is best to work hard to earn a quality backlinks !

    • Havoc

      Love to see the report and ahref data.

      • Havoc

        Hey karol .. have u sent the report. Just wondering.

        • Karol K.

          Hi. We’ll share the data in the next part of the post, but I won’t be sending anything via email. There was someone here trying to impersonate me, so please don’t open emails from anyone claiming to be me.

          • Havoc

            Karol you should atleast send emails to people who read your post and posted a comment. Be a man of your words than lurking people to read your next post. 

    • Ste Hughes

      What the fuck did you just fucking say about my forum, you little bitch? I’ll have you know I graduated top of my class in the Navy Seals, and I’ve been involved in numerous secret raids on Al-Quaeda, and I have over 300 confirmed kills. I am trained in gorilla warfare and I’m the top sniper in the entire US armed forces. You are nothing to me but just another target. I will wipe you the fuck out with precision the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying that shit to me over the Internet? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of spies across theUSA and your IP is being traced right now so you better prepare for the storm, maggot. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your life. You’re fucking dead, kid. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can kill you in over seven hundred ways, and that’s just with my bare hands. Not only am I extensively trained in unarmed combat, but I have access to the entire arsenal of the United States Marine Corps and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable ass off the face of the continent, you little shit. If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little “clever” comment was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldn’t, you didn’t, and now you’re paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will shit fury all over you and you will drown in it. You’re fucking dead, kiddo.

    • Benjamin Brandall

      Fantastic article, had me hooked ’til the end! Can you show us the report?

    • Dennis

      As an affordable SEO provider myself I’ve tried some of these things as well, that includes ordering multiple gigs at Fiverr, end result was always a tanked site, sometimes in a matter of weeks and other times it lasted months but Google always catched up.

      Nowadays I rely solely on PBN links, I won’t say this is without risk but when certain measures are taken the risk can be reduced significantly, to the degree that a site can rank for years instead of weeks to months. Another benefit of PBN links are the fact that they can be removed when Google catches up and as such remove the cause of the falling rankings, try to do that with the discussed service that build links on public platforms, an impossible job really.

      I would love to see you reviewing a number of PBN services, I think you’ll be similarly disappointed when you look at it in-depth with regards to hosting being used, spammyness of the domains and the ‘unique’ supposed to be written content which makes it doomed to fail. 

      Few adhere to some simple rules simply to save costs and even manage to turn relatively safe PBN links into a strategy that will not last longer than a year or so. If you need assistance on that just shoot me a message! I could recommend you some tools to analyze domains in bulk, I’m not sure Ahrefs is very suitable for that, it’s more a tool to look at each domain individually instead of importing 100’s at a time and bulk look up IP addresses just to name something!

    • Jamie Richards

      Great article, BHW links are so appealing when you first discover them but only on a rank and bank/affiliate site, there’s no way any SEO worth their salt would point links from BHW at a client’s site — I’d rather show a client very minor monthly improvements from risk free link building than push them to position 1 knowing that any day it could all fall apart and I could get dragged into a room and roasted by a company whose livelihood i’ve just destroyed.

    • GogoldotCom

      google will mark all of the above as bad… I’ve been there, now I have to clean my website up

    • Tommy McDonald

      This is an excellent piece Karol. Resonates with me quite a bit.

      I got my start on forums like that, learned most of what I know there until I decided to venture outside. I ran the second biggest thread on that particular forum actually.. gasped a little before clicking your example link 😉

      Our numbers were much more than you guessed at with your example though. We took in over a million in revenue in the first 12 months with one offer, it ran for 3 years. A second product from there I sold 4 months ago for 6 figures. Point is that the market places on these forums is VERY lucrative. 

      Want to know who the biggest clients where when selling those type of services? — Offline agencies. Agencies selling to clients offline, these are professional (appearance wise) outfits with offices, lots of staff, heavy marketing campaigns, cold callers and so on. They buy these pre-made packages hand over fist, every day of the week. They charge their clients $1000s per month. I touched on this in my first guest post here on ahrefs a few months back. 

      One point you’re missing though — A lot of the people buying these links know exactly what they’re buying. I mean you can sugar coat it with a sherlock holmes, lady gaga theme or what ever.. but at the end of the day the link types are listed, and most do give reports, so it’s obvious. The truth is a lot of agencies simply don’t give a shit.. profits and keeping partners happy are what matter most to them. Then you have the client that runs his own “churn n burn” projects, he’ll rank a site quickly for lucrative terms.. bank a significant ROI, Google slaps the site.. he rinses and repeats, these links are perfect for his needs.

      This type of business is short lived though, and honestly it’s more headaches than it’s worth. I got in, made a lot of money and got out. It gave me the starting capital and experience to progress onto bigger, longer term projects. Projects which actually give some value back to the client.

      There are some great agencies on those forums too, I’ve made some of my best contacts with editors and bloggers in forums like that. You just need to navigate through the cartoon characters and pop-star styled offers. Besides the market places, in the open forums there are lots of smart dudes, that are sharing some great outside the box theories. As an SEO it’s always good to see things from both sides of the coin IMO

      But yeah those services are very lucrative for the seller and the reselling buyer. Great write up, looking forward to seeing the data.

      • They charge their clients $1000s per month. I touched on this in my first guest post here on ahrefs a few months back.”

        And then they wonder why their agency fails in less than 5 years. A true independent SEO Consultant is worth their weight in gold. Always consult one before going forward with your “Agency’s” methodologies for SEO.

        • Tech Clark

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    • chdrealtor

      Interesting to know that people are still selling spinning and all other sh**t and people buy that as well .. 😛

      • Dennis

        Many of the supposed sales aren’t even sales, I observed a certain overly priced service and it appeared to sell like hot cakes while as a previous link provider myself I know very well that such priced services don’t sell ($600-$800/package that was), however this particular service had daily orders. Must’ve been fake reviews and bump posts from friends. That’s what you see a lot at BHW btw.

        You can compare it to circle jerking likes, I endorse your service, you endorse mine with one of your other fake accounts!

    • Nice piece. I liked your unbias view point to be fair.. Refreshing compared to some of the attacks you get normally on these kind of link services.
      I’ve sold a good couple hundred of link packs to people. Though I’ve never normally done stuff like this, I was always about blog network and link placement.. I can tell you from experience that only about 10% of the buyers from these make up for actual businesses/websites. 10% is SEO sites for a specific {city|country|town} — You’d be amazed at how many “SEO Agencies” have bought links for their own never-ending amount of sites. The remaining 80% are affiliate sites, adsense sites, parasites and such.. That’s what makes up the majority of buyers here — SEOs & Affiliates that want to rank their sites, they don’t generally care if the site doesn’t last a full year. A year is actually a generally very good amount of time for most of these sites to last, and if they can stick within the top 3 for 1k — 30k MS Keywords (which is fairly easy, even with all these updates) for that amount of time, then it’s an easy $xxxx per month earner whilst it’s there — That’s like a fulltime job!
      I’d also like to say that depending on which Forum/Marketplace you buy from, depends on the level of “quality” in a service you’ll get — I have run and still do admin a very large black hat marketplace, and I can tell you the quality is very different compared to most of these public services (and as such, are not private blog networks, as they’re publicly available — For Google to buy and all).

      • Tommy McDonald

        Nice plug of your own “blackhat” forum Charles. Set up pretty much because you’re banned from every other.

        Good to see you’ve gotten over the whole “child pornography” and “hacking” incidents. Kudos to you for not hanging your head in isolated shame and well out of the public eye!

        • You mean the 2 forums I’ve ever been banned from Mr McDonald? Good to see the BHW Honky Tonk Parade still in full force..
          Not sure if you read the news, or leave the house as to why I’m back? Ah, well, shame.. I do miss being told to kill myself by you and your pathetic goons, who literally made shit-up throughout, and I didn’t even have to read any of it — Just got told various things by people earning a lot more money than yourself.
          Peace.

          • Tommy McDonald

            Charles.. please don’t insult my intelligence with your playground nonsense. I wouldn’t waste my time. Anything other members did though I’d imagine you had coming.

            Yes I know why you’re back. The justice system in the UK is a shambles for starters.

            by people earning a lot more money than you” — This statement pretty much sums your train of thought up. You are an attention seeking, misguided kid, and a stupid one at that.

      • Jasper

        Did you manage to smuggle an iphone up your a-hole? Thought you were banged up?

      • Dennis

        The discussed service won’t rank anything at all, it’s a bunch of weak pr nothing links on public platforms that anyone can spam, in other words a big waste of money!

    • Alan Leenhouts

      and then there’s sape links…

      • Which can be re-sold at ridiculous prices, and are done-so on a regular basis on BHW.

    • Very interesting insight and research that I’ve always wondered when seeing these services offered on the BHW’s out there. Interested to see your results from using these services.

    • Chris

      From what i get from comments, is that it’s matter of time for google to ban a site that is using this techniques. And my first thought is “ok, i can’t use it for my site coz it will destroy it in long term. But what about the sites ranking better than mine?”

      So the question comes, you can kill competitors site with these programs?

    • JT

      It’s frustrating seeing people in my particular niche ranking #1 for their terms using 10’s of thousands of Forum Comments. Drives me nuts

    • Emma James

      Thanks for the great article.

    • mimranyameen

      But blackhat still exist.

    • rocketraja

      so where did you get the data 4200+ sale for a network ? this is pure joke. linknetwork is heavily saturated industry.

    • I was in the dark side but now moved to the right one. I used to practice black hat SEO strategies when I started off with SEO. But now, I am working only on white hat methods. Though it’s more time consuming, for a long run it will be there without any negative issues!

    • Yasiser Aziz

      i want to see the report thanks 🙂

    • I am a big fan of White Head SEO, using Ahrefs subscription! Often I catch myself playing “snow white headed” Linkbuilding, while the competetion is playin with multiple domainsfor the same shops and doorway domains (framed redirected in Google). 

      Than your customer starts wondering why the competitor domain is gaining domain authority so fast… Often the answer is telling them it is blackhat and trying to persuade them to invest in other aspects of SEO than linkbuilding only such as content, conversion optimization and so on… but especially they in many cases content is not worth a penny for them…

    • Hammering a nail has been the same process for decades”

      Decades, huh? I wonder what they used on Jesus? Or how the ancient Greeks held their triremes together? :p

    • Thank you Karol for this great article.

    • Pawan

      Please share the data…

    • The majority of people who will buy those packages think its an easy fix and the author isn’t going to dissuade them from that notion. But, links like these can and still do work if paired with a bigger and more cohesive link strategy.

    • And then I heard whispers of a possible ‘Real-time’ Penguin Update. I swear, this one will be the end of BHW SEO consultants. Site will be gone faster than you can say ‘bank n rank!’

    • Gowtham Vivek

      Being seller and regular buyer in BHW, I guess I can weigh in here and clear some air. First of all, there is no whitehat seo. If you work to get links then its blackhat. According to google all links must come natural.
      About there services, there are some really good ones if you know how to use them for your sites. That service alone made 250k. I know for a fact some sellers made more than a million in just 2–3 sales threads. But do you think its possible if they dont work? People buy this a lot because it brings results. I know many white hat seo agency are reselling services from there. Even I’ve had few agencies got the service from me and resold to the clients. 

      Bottomline — If you are smart and know what packages to pick for your site and know to user direct url or buffer pages and etc, you can make a killing. 😀

    • MTB Sporet

      I´m curious if it works — Great article by the way

    • Jennifer

      I always wondered about these types of offers and how they did everything. Thanks for explaining it and breaking down the costs.

    • Daniela Kohnová

      Karol but how to get quality backlinks for our site? white hat SEO… thanks for your response..

    • Hey,

      Thanks for sharing such an awesome post.

      True said we should never buy links. It will put us in trouble in long term.

      White hat seo link building techniques are there. One should implement that only.

      I’m implementing one for SolveMyHowdotcom

      Email outreach is an great example.

      Thanks once again,
      Piyush

    • Legit Smallbusiness

      SEO can be technical. At times, I feel that experts are even confused. Instead of paying somebody for SEO that may not even work at the end of the day, I choose to do my normal posts. I can tell you, the site still enjoys some visibility.

    • I find really interesting how despite being so “smart”, Google is still unable to fully identify these practices. I guest the internet is really a huge place 😀

      Btw, I’m actually interested in knowing the results of your acquired services.
      Did they work? if so how?

      Cheers,
      Jonathan Nuñez

    • I don’t see a huge difference between buying crappy web 2.0s and buying “guest blogs” from these sooo called blogger outreach companies. I can buy 1000’s of these “real guest posts” from companies like fat joe and do the same thing.

    • Pranav Mhatre

      thus dofollow forums really help in increading domain authority.….which is better for increasing DA — social bookmarking,directory submission,guest posting,forum link building