The Best Video Surveillance SEO Spam Ever - Videosurveillance.comBy: John Honovich, Published on Jun 10, 2015
Put ethics and integrity aside for a moment, and you simply have to marvel at VideoSurveillance.com, great SEO spammer.
Now, you might say, "Wait a second, remember when Avigilon pitted charities against each other for a recorder and a handful of cameras. How could it top that?" Well, that was simply cruel and even Avigilon, with its low standards, never did it again.
And, sure, a lot of VideoSurveillance.com efforts are typical black hat link buying tactics, but this one is so crafty and effective, that is must be recognized.
Here is what they did.
They run an annual $1,000 scholarship content. This year, students submit a 250 - 300 word 'essay' to enter.
Why are they doing this?
Well, it is because they spend 10x or more on that in promotion and linking building to game Google.
Links from Schools
Search engine ranking depend heavily on the number of links a site receives. The more links from 'real' sites, the more likely a company will rank high and get more search traffic. More search traffic means more sales to random people looking to buy cameras online (which they sell).
Here is a site showcasing and linking back to them from the 2013 edition, explaining:
"VideoSurveillance.com are inviting you to grab your webcams, Smartphone cameras, and video cameras and show them your intelligence, exuberance, and creativity. You will need to mention “VideoSurveillance.com” twice in your video, and if you want to stand out even more, download a copy of their logo and find a unique way to insert it in your video. For just one minute of your time, you could be awarded with a $1,000 scholarship." [emphasis added]
Prostitute yourself for an online camera store and you might just get some money.
But the real benefit is getting schools (specifically .edu websites) to link back to their site. Here are just a handful:
- Northland College linking back and profiling VideoSurveillance.com
- Rogue Community College linking back and profiling VideoSurveillance.com
- Southwestern Illinois College [link no longer available] linking back to VideoSurveillance.com
- San Jose State University [link no longer available] linking back to VideoSurveillance.com
- Long Beach City College [link no longer available] linking back to VideoSurveillance.com
We could go on, but you get the idea, lots of colleges are linking to VideoSurveillance.com for this scholarship.
Free Marketing Videos
One entrant created a full on commercial for the scholarship entry:
And here is another guy shilling for his chance for a scholarship:
Finally, here is another scholarship entry / commercial where a poor student imagines getting VideoSurveillance.com cameras for his neighborhood.
Crafty but Sad
The upside is that this may not violate the spirit of Google's linking / search guidelines. [Update: though see: Are Scholarship Links Considered Unnatural by Google?, Creating A Scholarship for SEO and What Link Building Tactic Is Going To Get Flamed Out Next? (Hint: Scholarship SEO)]
The downside is that VideoSurveillance.com is making a mockery out of scholarships, and more generally, charity.
It is sad. The owner Josh Daniels [link no longer available] has a Stanford MBA and he touts on his LinkedIn page [link no longer available] that he generates $1 - $4 million cash annually from running such scheme businesses. One would hope he could put his talents to better use than pedaling surveillance cameras online and, worse, warping scholarships offers so he can sell a few more.