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  1. #1
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Network Solutions "guarantees" top-10 placement for $2,800
    A prospective client contacted me to ask about a "guarantee" by Network Solutions that they would obtain "top-10" placement for certain keywords, if paid a flat fee of $2,800. I tracked down the guarantee language (

    > "Network Solutions guarantees a minimum number of top ten listings in one or more of 12 search engines within 10 months from completion date. Most engines will index your site in about three (3) months, but it takes time to gain the popularity and ranking needed to compete using competitive phrases. * * * The search engines included are: AOL, AlltheWeb, AltaVista, (formerly known as AskJeeves), Google, Hotbot, IWon, Looksmart, Lycos, MSN, Netscape, and Yahoo!." <

    Google, Yahoo, and MSN are the top-three search engines, followed by AOL and Ask. Together, these five "search engines" account for about 92.5% of all searches on the internet. (

    The other search engines listed in the "guarantee" are a mix of "also-ran" and "faded glory" search engines, which deliver very little traffic. I suspect that the results of the guarantee would be unchanged if you simply removed the "top 5" search engines from the list. What would you pay for guaranteed top-10 placement on 3 or more of "AlltheWeb, AltaVista, Hotbot, IWon, Looksmart, Lycos, and Netscape."

    The guarantee doesn't identify "paid" versus "natural" or "organic" search results. It doesn't say "how long" the ranking must last -- apparently if they can get your site into the top-10 list for just one search during that time, they've fulfilled their guarantee.

    I've posted this in the "PPC SE" forum because I cynically assume that the "guarantee" is really just a guarantee of paid placement, not natural or organic ranking.

    FYI, another recent online discussions of this "guarantee": with replies at

  2. #2
    Beachy Bill's Avatar
    Join Date
    November 20th, 2005
    Good ol' NetSol... The paragraph you quoted looks like more like a "weasel clause" that a "guarantee."

    I would certainly pay that amount for front page on GOOG and/or YAHOO and/or [maybe] MSN for a couple of my main "individual" keywords. But forget it for the rest of the list.

    Hmmmm...let's about...SHOES? For that kind of money, I would like to SHOES get ranked on page one for GOOG or YAHOO or MSN, but would probably be settling for INDIGO CLOGS instead. That's where their definition of "Certain Keywords" gives them an easy out.

    I wonder how many takers they will get...
    Bill / Marketing Blog @ 12PM - Current project: Resurrecting my "baby" at South Baltimore..
    Cute Personal Checks and Business Checks
    If you are too busy to laugh you are too busy.

  3. #3
    Newbie Rolet's Avatar
    Join Date
    October 13th, 2007
    Kansas City, Mo
    I had a call from a client last week on this same thing. It disgusts me that I have to spend me time re-educating clients because of "guarantees" like this. Once I explained that they didn't define organic or paid, or even which key terms that would receive this guaranteed placement my client realized they would have been taken.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
    Join Date
    January 17th, 2005
    Just speaking for myself, but I would never do business with that outfit.

  5. #5
    Full Member Tech Evangelist's Avatar
    Join Date
    March 16th, 2005
    Mesa, AZ
    The real key to these types of scams is whether or not you get to select the keyword phrases for which the site will rank well. PPC ads aside, it is real easy to get a site to rank well for obscure keywords that no one ever searches for.

    A guy came to me a few years ago and was livid because he contracted with a company that guaranteed him a top 10 placement in organic search results. His business did bicycle sales and repair. They did get him a top 10 placement. The keywords that fulfilled the contract were something like "two wheeled pedal devices".

    The phrase in the Network Solutions offering that I find most humorous is, "top ten listings in one or more of 12 search engines within 10 months". I think that even the most rank amateur can do that given a wide range of keywords. Serendipity alone will probably fulfill that clause.

    Under those terms, I will do it for half of that price.
    There's good, fast and cheap. Pick any two.
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  6. #6
    Grandma broke her coccyx! Uncle Rico's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 8th, 2007
    North Carolina
    They also may be betting that many "first timers" will not wait out the 10 month window to achieve such a ranking.

  7. #7
    Full Member KODea's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 18th, 2005
    Tommy: Let's think about this for a sec, Ted, why do they put a guarantee on a box? Hmm, very interesting.
    Ted: I'm listening.
    Tommy: Here's how I see it. A guy puts a guarantee on the box 'cause he wants you to fell all warm and toasty inside.
    Ted: Yeah, makes a man feel good.
    Tommy: 'Course it does. Ya think if you leave that box under your pillow at night, the Guarantee Fairy might come by and leave a quarter.
    Ted: What's your point?
    Tommy: The point is, how do you know the Guarantee Fairy isn't a crazy glue sniffer? "Building model airplanes" says the little fairy, but we're not buying it. Next thing you know, there's money missing off the dresser and your daughter's knocked up, I seen it a hundred times.
    Ted: But why do they put a guarantee on the box then?
    Tommy: Because they know all they solda ya was a guaranteed piece of shit. That's all it is. Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time. But for right now, for your sake, for your daughter's sake, ya might wanna think about buying a quality item from me.
    Ted: Hmm. Okay, I'll buy from you.
    Tommy: Well I... What?

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Los Angeles
    LOL@KODea - subtle, but I get the point.

    It's clear enough to me that it's organic and not PPC, but the main problem I see is that what they're not mentioning is that it won't happen without backlinks.

    For the pricing, while I think 50KW/20 listings for $5,800 is over the top and unrealistic for some (most all) sites, especially taking IBLs and competitive factors into consideration, $2,800 for 20KW/5 listings isn't at all bad if they're actually doing something worthwhile with their site analysis.

    The fact is that some sites have certain problems that can almost guarantee they'll never get properly crawled and indexed and/or could never rank for anything at all, so if there are serious overall issues, $2,800 to solve those isn't at all a bad price to solve them, because without a *fix* the site will never stand a chance. Price is all relative: I know people who won't talk to a site owner for less than $5K a month, and that's just consulting - not even hands on.

    Their guarantee and escape clauses are a different issue than the pricing and what they're offering, and there can be two sides to the story. Realistically speaking, anyone who optimizes a site has to protect themselves against how badly some site owners (and/or their web designers) can sabotage their own chances of ranking and wreck their own keyword placements after work has been done and their pages have gotten rankings. There could be a whole list posted of how seo clients do just that very thing.

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador
    Join Date
    January 18th, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Oh, another thing. It very clearly says "Search Engine Optimization Services" in the page title, on the page and in the URL. There's no way they're being confusing because there's never a confusion about what SEO is: it's specific and is always organic search.

    There's some confusion around sometimes about defining "Search Engine Marketing" which is actually PPC in its purest definition, but some use the term SEM to include both.

    What I do find misleading about their mention of all those "search engines" is that some are using results provided by other engines, so if someone has rankings in one, it can migrate over to a couple of others. So - that's ranking in just ONE not the one plus the others that use their results. Google + AOL does not equal two search engines, it includes ranking in one search engine (even though the filtering is a bit different). One engine plus 4 partners does not equal 5 search engines, and that's the big problem with their offer, IMHO - not how much traffic or even the price if it were legitimately five different halfway decent KW phrases.

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