Question Where/who do you guys buy your links from nowadays?

Discussion in 'SEO and Marketing' started by mikeshinobi, Sep 27, 2016.

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  1. mikeshinobi

    mikeshinobi Member

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    I don't buy much in the way of backlinks but when I do/did I always shopped for them on Wickedfire. Well, now WF is more or less dead so I'm not sure where to go or who to buy from. I know BHW exists but I don't know who on there is actually worth buying from and who's just a dickhead.
     
  2. sites

    sites Active Member

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    ... and Golan like this.
  3. lemon

    lemon Member

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    I know this has been discussed a lot, but I really feel that the noncommercial nature of this forum is one of it's biggest assets. As soon as you give users the ability to sell their service, there is an incentive for users to post sneaky self promotions over unbiased, honest information.

    Perhaps we could meet mid-way and do independant reviews of service providers on another forum.
     
  4. emp

    emp Senior Member

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    Actually, I think a marketplace would be great.
    I know @cardine was thinking about it, don't know what happened.

    Maybe a visible rating by trusted members?
     
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  5. pinchee

    pinchee Member

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    I'm in favor of a marketplace.

    If people are act dumb and reward shady service providers, that sucks. Personally, I prefer doing business with transparent, honest, and intelligent vendors, so I reward those kind of people with my money, and I'd bet that most people here are the same.

    What I'm saying, is that we're probably out of the woods of people trying to make a quick buck however they can with IM. Maybe I'm naive, but it seems like the glory days of low-barrier to entry fast money via IM are gone, and if other people are still chasing that, there's probably other forums where they will end up first. So I see a lot more upside to a marketplace, and not so much risk.
     
  6. cardine

    cardine Administrator Staff Member

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    A marketplace is definitely happening - however (as I'm sure a lot of you have heard me say before) I think the forum BST model is broken. The prime reason I think it is broken is because there is no unbiased accountability, which leads to the issue @mikeshinobi is facing - being unable to tell which vendors are good and which ones are bad. Right now the best way to buy links is to go to BHW, spend $200 and hope that you lucked into picking the slick sales page that actually delivers good results. I view that as a very poor user experience.

    So the marketplace model that we are working on will be centered around one thing - unbiased accountability. We will track the results of each BST purchase on this marketplace and determine which vendors consistently deliver results and which ones do not. So this marketplace will behind the scenes be giving vendors orders for the same keyword (for different sites) and directly comparing their ranking speed, stability, and power. Later we will be able to take a users keyword/website they are trying to rank and match that user with vendors who have had success ranking similar sites for similar keywords.

    This model is far better in my opinion than any sort of human ranking system - I strongly believe that any system that involves humans will inevitably lead to noncompetitive practices where there are kingmakers who are able to release crap services that ride on the back of a built up reputation. I have seen that play over and over on every SEO BST - a highly reputable member (or someone vouched for by highly reputable members) creates a terrible service and everyone is afraid to call him out because of the power he wields - or by the time anyone even realizes it is a scam it is too late. That is not possible if services are graded based on unbiased data.

    As for whether it should be on Apex Forum or not, I think the marketplace will be completely stand-alone but there will be some loose branding shared between the marketplace and Apex Forum. I do not think that there will be a huge issue with bias because the marketplace itself will rank vendors poorly who do not deliver good results, but I do not think a forum is the best place to host a marketplace with so much going on behind the scenes. So Apex Forum will link to the marketplace and there might be some way to link accounts in some way shape or form.

    I've been thinking through how to do something like this for a long time and I think this approach solves a lot of the very big problems that exist in every existing SEO marketplace right now. We have just started development and we are pushing for a Q1 2017 release.
     
  7. sites

    sites Active Member

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    I agree with you about the problems of the traditional BST model. It is not perfect. But it exists for a reason. And it works, to a certain extent. Just like democracy.

    Tracking results and using that past performance as an indicator of future performance is very difficult in constantly changing fields for which the service is sought. What works today, will not work tomorrow. By the time someone tracks it and finds that it is or is not working consistently, it may be too late.

    Also, results are not binary for every service. It may be better to let the buyer decide what is good enough in fuzzy situations.

    From my personal experience as a buyer on "that forum", getting scammed is the biggest pain point. The moderators were able to eliminate scams almost completely (except on rare occasions - like when the moderator himself turned out to be a scammer), and that is why sellers of good services thrived there for a long time. I stopped buying after someone tried to scam me and I realized there is no point in spending any more money on a forum where there was no accountability anymore.
     
  8. cardine

    cardine Administrator Staff Member

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    I agree with this to an extent, but I think this can be dealt with by discounting past orders more and more as time passes. We'd let users see historical ratings for each vendor as well, so I think with this approach you'd find out if a service doesn't work anymore way faster. With forums you'd need to wait for people to complain that something isn't working, and determine if a user is complaining because the user is a complainer, the user doesn't like the vendor for political reasons, the user gave an extremely difficult keyword, or if it is because the service actually doesn't work anymore. We'd be able to cut through all of that by tracking the results of each order.

    This marketplace would still allow for a sales page, reviews, and everything along those lines.

    Here is a (very old!) mock of what I was envisioning:

    upload_2016-9-28_19-14-15.png

    Both the metrics shown and the visual look will be very different from this mock (I'm not sure what "velocity" even means...) but that is the general idea of what I think a marketplace like this should look like. And of course when finding services you can easily see all of those metrics and sort by any number of performance metrics (including how well vendors historically do for sites/keywords like yours), instead of simply when the last thread bump was.

    So certainly one of our goals is to create a smart marketplace that lets you simply enter a website/keyword and be matched with a seller who has proven they can deliver good results for websites/keywords similar to yours - making the process of buying SEO easy.

    However another one of our goals is for this to function as a normal SEO marketplace where you can receive very unbiased validation as to whether someone is delivering what they are promising.

    Regardless of which of the two above paths you take we would (hopefully) be removing the FUD and BS from the equation.
     
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  9. sites

    sites Active Member

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    That's a decent idea you've got. Yes, go for it. At least, you're trying something new.

    As far as I see it, the differences are:
    (1) enhanced iTrader ratings (more KPIs/parameters)
    (2) You track the results instead of the buyer
    Just want to point out though: The flip side of that is, not every BST buyer would want to hand over their sites, URLs, performing keywords, backlinks, and out-of-the-box ideas to the owners of a brand new marketplace just so that the marketplace can "track it".
    Essentially, the marketplace is collecting performance data using the buyers' money. (Edit: On the other hand, the buyers will benefit as a community from that eventually, just like iTraders, so that is mutually beneficial). It is also collecting data about the buyer's properties (SaaS/content sites/products). Personally, I wouldn't want to hand over everything on a platter just like that - not even to @cardine .

    P.S.: Do not take what I wrote above as a criticism of you, the forum owner. I am just looking at it from another perspective. Actually, you are one of the very few forum owners who have displayed great integrity, consistently. Especially the SEO contest - you and the moderators ran it very fairly. I believe I commented on that as well.
     
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  10. cardine

    cardine Administrator Staff Member

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    Yes - in short we'll be aggregating performance data to give an unbiased look at a service's quality, and a service's quality for your specific website/keyword combo.

    These things are all true, but almost all of these same things could just as easily be said for a rank tracker. We already have tons of SEO vendors who track all of their clients keywords in Microsite Masters and the amount of information this marketplace would have is no different than the information your vendor's rank tracker would have.
     
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  11. Golan

    Golan Established Member

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    You're right Mike. I can't sell any of my services on BHW and other places. I know that my links and other services were good and had decent sales on WF, and had quite a good reputation there, but i just can't adopt myself to this sneaky kitschy shady deceitful style of the BHW BST. That's why i've dropped all my networks and now am selling only domains. Too bad...

    Can't wait for the marketplace in here!
     
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  12. Golan

    Golan Established Member

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    @cardine while you are hesitating, all disappointed people asking at WF where to buy services now, and being sent to some other forum marketplace, and i would sincerely like to send them here instead but i can't because there is no marketplace here. Seems that place is getting more established with a time. The idea, also with this forum itself, as i remember, was to grab the WF people and to provide them a good place to be, including a marketplace. Do you think it will be easier to enter the "marketplace market" even later when there already is a strong market there?
     
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  13. cardine

    cardine Administrator Staff Member

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    The marketplace is being developed right now (and that work started immediately after Article Forge Version 1.5 was released), so I can confidently say that all hesitation is over. We are pushing for a working beta for the beginning of 2017.

    It's a good question as to whether we should do some type of marketplace now while the "final" marketplace gets developed. Right now my thought is that if we released a marketplace right now there would be nothing that would make it intrinsically better than any other marketplace that exists right now. Scammers would be just as empowered as they were before, and there would be just as much bullshit among vendors as there is right now. A marketplace is very tricky and requires a very large promotional effort to make sure there are enough sellers for buyers to care and there are enough buyers for sellers to care, so I think that if we passively launched a marketplace right now it would not have enough features that set it apart to attract a large memberbase. Once the marketplace is done I think that the user experience will be so much better than what any other marketplace could offer that we will be able to take a strong market position.

    Or to put it another way, I think that our marketplace is going to be such a better user experience that it would be easier to go after some "slightly" entrenched options 2-3 months from now than it will be to go after considerably less entrenched options right now.

    I've been following the same things you are following and I think that is a very valid concern, and it is something I've spent a lot of time thinking about. I think the best option on my end is to push the marketplace at as fast of a rate as possible is the best option, and right now we have a full team working 100% on getting the marketplace up and running as quickly as possible. So for those willing to wait another couple of months I think you will be very happy you did. And for those unwilling to wait I think you'll find the quality to be so much better that you'll be compelled to switch regardless of how established other options are at the time. I could be completely wrong, but that is my assessment right now.
     
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  14. Golan

    Golan Established Member

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    Can't wait for this! Best luck in your development!
     
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