What Happened with SEO Black Hat?

It’s been 5 years since I wrote a post. I’ve been on lifecation for the last 3 and a half years (not working and living the dream). But there’s an exciting reason I’m back: A Yuuuuuge exploit that I’m going to share, but I’ll get to that in due time.


First, let’s talk about the Private SEO Black Hat forums. The business model simply wasn’t scalable. When I started charging $100 per month almost 10 years ago, it was revolutionary. No one was doing any subscription model for more than $20 / month. Today, everyone with an analytics app or link tool is comfortable charging $300+ per month and people desperate to rank for anything want to believe they are one silly tool away from success.

Back then, though, $100 per month was considered elite pricing that really had to deliver: The problem was that all the stuff that made it worth subscribing to attracted the heavy hitters who would pound the hell out of the exploits until the search engines realized they had to patch the hole. The big players would privately come to me all the time with a crazy exploit that really worked.

For our forums, the game theory dilemma became “Why would I publish this exploit that makes $250k per month to a forum that makes only $25k per month if publishing will make the exploit go away?” Not just for me, but for all the power players who wanted a real “tight knit” community. On top of that, within a few weeks of launching we had the posers over at SEOMoz (among many others) subscribing to the forum and then publishing what we wrote about days later like it was something they could have thought of without us.

Two years later when it became clear from the IP logs that so many of our paid members were cybersecurity experts, the Google Web Spam Team, and international law enforcement agencies it was like “Really, What’s the point?”

But I’m back for a bit and there’s a good reason for it.

A $20,000,000 reason.

And even if you don’t want to partake in the fun, it’s going to be interesting as hell to watch this story unfold.

This should be a great story

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