Have you heard the buzz in the SEO community? Bruce Clay announced on Facebook, later followed up by this Search Engine Watch post, the launch of a new service that guarantees top listings in local search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. The service works to promote your business listing for a nominal fee, guaranteeing a top position – in organic listings! It also boasts to be a cheaper option than PPC. UBL, the backend partner of Clay’s in this venture, verifies that they are still in the beta phase and are currently testing the system (now being vehemently denied).
When I first heard about this news I had to look at the calendar – April 1st? Seriously, this seems a bit far fetched. Within a very short time the SEO community reacted with amazement; it’s common sense that this type of service would be looked down upon. Miranda Miller’s Search Engine Watch post did a good job of sharing her investigative research and the comment section is a worthwhile read. Additionally, friend of SEM-Group.net, Dave Harry wrote a summary post with some good reactions in the comments as well.
Bruce announced on Twitter that they’d have a statement this morning regarding the local paid inclusion fiasco. Google, Bing and UBL all deny involvement in lpi as reported in Danny Sullivan’s post. More reactions include thoughts that this is just some clever marketing plan or package done by Clay’s team – but gone awry maybe? I was intrigued by a comment on the SEW post by Bob Bigellow, he stated:
“I bet I know exactly what this is.
It probably requires each individual to install a plugin or extension or script or to otherwise implement some sort of service which will insert these “results” into the organic results area. Google has a service similar to this for a while where you could subscribe to certain feeds and, as a result, certain searches would trigger a special result on the page which was artificially put there by a third-party.
So, this likely won’t be anything new and won’t be very significant in that it will require opt-in, which means it will never reach the full breadth of Google.”
So what’s your take on the whole thing? Hoax, bad PR fiasco for a new service, or an April Fools Day joke 2 months early? Who knows, the whole thing could just be a ploy to get links or some elaborate SEO experiment….