How Webmasters Fake Their Google PR – Avoiding the Fake Google Page Rank Link Exchange Scam



Beware of “Too Good to Be True”Link Exchanges with High PR Websites

Once your website establishes a decent PR you’ll start to attract some very shady people. Among the worst are the fake Google PR scam artists. Besides being deceitful, they also put a black eye on the entire SEO industry, so I take it personally.

These fake PR scams all follow the same pattern. You’ll receive an email from a person who claims to have a high PR (PageRank) site, usually PR4 or PR 5, and they want to do a link exchange with you. But this is not some lowly free-for-all link exchange page they are offering. They’re offering a home page or even a site-wide blogroll link in exchange  for one single home page link from you. What a great deal! However, you won’t be linking to their page in return, you be linking to another one of their sites that they’d like to send some link juice to. The three-way link exchange is an SEO industry standard practice so that request seems perfectly normal as well. The trouble is it’s all fake. It’s a scam. And here’s how it works.

The domain in question has usually just been registered by a new owner, perhaps less than a month ago. It’s an established domain, but the current content and the registered owner is brand new. The Google PR toolbar does indeed show the same PR as promised (I use the free  SearchStatus extension for Firefox) but when you do a Google search using “info:mydomainname.com” Google shows information for a completely different page. It could be an older and irrelevant version of the site or even a completely different domain. The scams use one of two techniques.

Buy an Expired High PR Domain and Trade Links Before Google Wipes the Old PR Clean.

Here’s how this one works. You snatch up an expired PR5 website and quickly throw some more content on it. Usually the new content is designed to convince the targeted webmasters the site is highly relevant to their business but usually has no relationship to what the domain’s content was before. Then you contact a bunch of high PR websites and offer three-way link exchanges before Google erases the old PR. If done quickly, you can secure a hundred or so good quality links to your targeted website while providing nearly useless links back in return. Since most webmasters won’t follow up later, they are never the wiser.

Hijack Another Site’s PR with 301 Redirects and Cloaking.

This one involves a form of cloaking where you trick the Google Toolbar into thinking it’s another site. You can learn more about faking Google PR here and here. So while you are looking at the domain in question, your toolbar is fetching PR results from a completely different domain. This is PR hijacking. Either way, both techniques are completely unethical and fraudulent. These aren’t honest mistakes. These are deliberate attempts to deceive. Below is an email I received on March 26th 2010 from these crooks and an explanation of what is really going on.

Here’s the original email:

Note: I was contacted on April 14th  by the owner of the company who is mentioned in the following scam and he apologized and assured me that he didn’t know the company he hired was using these fraudulent tactics. I also believe him because I seriously doubt that this scam SEO outfit is truthful with their clients about their techniques. So I’ve removed his information as a professional courtesy.

Hi,

I have visited your website  claytowne.com   and I was wondering if it

would be possible to get a link to my partner’s website on it?

I’ll place a link back to you in 2 of my Business and Marketing  Guide

website exactly here:

http://commerciallandconsultants.com/  with page rank 4

http://clcnm.org/  with page rank 4

If you agree, then please link to me using these details, I´ll place a

link back in less than 24 hours, otherwise you can delete my link from

your site:

Title: Online Market Research

URL: (URL removed)

Description: (name removed) is a leading online market research

consultancy.

Please don’t forget to send me the title of your website after you

place my link so I can do the same.

I’ll be waiitng for your kind reply

Regards

Megan Shaw

megan.shaw@commerciallandconsultants.com

Online Marketing Consultant

If we check out the history of the commerciallandconsultants.com domain we can learn a lot. First, we notice that the domain has been advertised as expiring on March 14th and has a PR of 4.

expired domains are prime targets for scammers

Expired domains are prime targets for scammers.

Then by checking the who is database we find that Daniel Silva in Peru purchased it the next day. He owns at least 420 other domains. He’s a prolific spammer and a liar and also the man behind this fake PR link exchange scam.

Domain scammer

Daniel Silva is a scam artist. He uses expired domains and 301 PR hijacking to dupe webmasters into linking to his own or his client's websites.

After acquiring the domain, he puts up a quick bullshit blog, sets up some PageRank 301 hijacks, and then starts spamming his targets. He does this because Google tends to wipe out the old PR once a domain expires. He also made sure his faked PR matched the old sites PR.

Both of these sites have spoofed Google PR. They are using the 301 redirect trick to hijack another website’s PageRank. But how do we know that? We discover this by running an “info” search on Google. We can see who the real PR belongs to and if you check for the cached version you’ll also see the real site.

Faked Google PR Sample

By using the "info:" search on Google we can easily see that clcnm.org is stealing it's PR from ipl.unm.edu./childlaw/

Faked Google PR Sample

By using the "info:" search on Google we can easily see that commerciallandconsultants.com is stealing its PR from coffeeefundraiser.com.

If you visit the sites and look at the sidebars you’ll see that in only two weeks, hundreds of webmasters have already been duped into exchanging their real Google PR links in exchange for faked ones. Since so many exchanges have already taken place it’s obvious that I’m one of the last ones to get this email.

Faked Google PR Link Exhange Scam

By looking at the right sidebar you can see that hundreds of webmasters have already been duped by this scheme. Every single one of these sites gave www.onlinemarketresearch.org.uk a high quality one-way link in exchange for this junk link.

Buyer Beware

So be careful out there. Quality link exchanges are great, if they are real. Most unsolicited (meaning you’ve don’t know the person and have never advertised you’re interested in link exchanges) are probably requests to exchange links with worthless “links page” or are flat-out fraudulent. Do your homework. If the requester is honest and their offer legit, it will still be there tomorrow. If it isn’t, the extra time to research, read, and reflect will only work to your advantage.

File Under: Fake Google PR Scams – Tips for Link Avoiding Bad  Exchanges – How to Check Google PR – Identifying Scam Link Exchanges

15 comments


  • I got this email below which sounds just like what you describe but not being technically talented like you I have no idea whether it is or how to check it. It has a very long list of links on the right which suggests it is!

    Peter

    Hi!

    I’m Freya Smith, Web Marketing Consultant. I’ve greatly enjoyed looking

    through your site oneworldnet.co.uk and I was wondering if you’d be

    interested in exchanging links with one of the websites I represent,

    which has a related subject. I can offer you a HOME PAGE link back from

    2 of my Home Improvement websites:

    cometolakegarda.net/ with page rank 4

    baltimoretalentdevelopmenthighschool.org/ with page rank 2

    If you are interested, please send me the following details of your

    site:

    TITLE:

    URL:

    I’ll add your link as soon as possible, within the next 24 hours. When

    your link is ready, I’ll send you a confirmation email along with the

    information (TITLE and URL) of my client’s website.

    May 12, 2010
    • Clay (The BDD Dude)

      Yeah, they are doing 301 PR hijacks for sure. Total scam. The site cometolakegarda.net is stealing their PR from hotelromatorbole.com. The other domain shows no info at all.

      May 14, 2010
  • Clay (The BDD Dude)

    Just got another link exchange scam. This one is stealing its PR from chicagowebdesign.com. I’ve reported the scam to Google. I notified the company that hired this scam outfit and they were quite unhappy as this SEO company assured them their methods were ethical. They are canceling their campaign with them so out of courtesy I’ve removed their URL from the email.

    Update: As of 5:35 pm, May 19th 2010, the 312website.com site is now gone. Ha, ha.

    Hi,

    My name is Phoebe Griffiths. I’ve just visited your website and I was wondering if you’d be interested in exchanging links with my website. I can offer you a HOME PAGE link back from my SEO and internet marketing website:

    312website.com/ with Page Rank 5

    I’m sure this exchange would be benefitial for both of our sites,

    helping towards increasing our visibility in search engines.

    If you are interested, please add the following information to your website and kindly let me know when it’s ready. I’ll do the same for you in less than 24 hours, otherwise you can delete my link from your site.

    Title: Excel Consultant

    URL: (URL Deleted)

    I hope you have a nice day and thank you for your time.

    Best regards,

    Phoebe Griffiths

    phoebe.griffiths333@googlemail.com

    Web Marketing Consultant

    May 18, 2010
  • Good Vibrations

    You can beat them at their own game by granting their request, and then removing the link the next day. What you’ll get is a one-way link back to you from a low PR site. Works like a charm!

    May 19, 2010
    • Clay (The BDD Dude)

      Yeah, I did that inadvertently the first time I was duped. I was really angry and fired off an email explaining that I figured out their scam and was removing my link. They never responded and left my link up which proves how little they even care. Just cut and run scam artists. I think I may do that from now on though. Good suggestion.

      May 19, 2010
  • Thanks for the tips. I never knew that such scams exists. This is helpful for us whose blogs don’t have ranks yet.

    August 25, 2010
  • sana

    could you please check this one for me?

    if its a scam this note will guide others in the future

    ———————————-

    Hi,

    My name is Lauren Ward, Web Marketing Consultant. Ive greatly enjoyed looking through your site xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.com and I was wondering if you’d be interested in exchanging links with my website, which has a related subject. I can offer you a HOME PAGE link back from my clothing & fashion website which is:

    thomashines.com PR4

    If you are interested, please send me the following details of your site:

    TITLE:

    URL:

    I’ll add your link as soon as possible, in the next 24 hours. As soon as it’s ready, I’ll send you a confirmation email along with the information (TITLE and URL) regarding my site to be placed at yours.

    I hope you have a nice day and thank you for your time.

    Kindest regards,

    Lauren Ward

    lauren.ward@thomashines.com

    Web Marketing Consultant

    September 10, 2010
    • Clay (The BDD Dude)

      Yes. It is PR hijacking. The site they are stealing from is tomhines.com.

      You can see it here:

      http://www.google.com/search?q=info%3Athomashines.com&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

      If you ever want to know the truth on a link request, just go to Google and type in “info:domainname.com” and it will show you what they think the details of the site are. If it shows you a different name, they are doing PR hijacking.

      I just report every single one I get now to Google and usually within a couple of weeks, the domain is completely blacklisted from their directory. Now of course, the scammers don’t care because by then they have already gotten their backlinks. I’m just hopping the other webmasters notice and purge their links in return.

      These scammer used to identify the site they wanted you to link to in return in the initial email. I would just then contact them directly and explain what was happening and that I was reporting the scam to Google. They would immediately cancel their contract with the scammer. Now they only give it AFTER you give them your information. I don’t have the time to out them this way anymore. So I just file s spam report with Google and get the site banned.

      My hope is someday this scam will be so well known it won’t work anymore.

      September 10, 2010
  • My god, thanks for the information. This article is superb!

    I’ve got a question in mind. Should scammers decide to hijack your domain, will it have any negative effects in an SEO’s perspective?

    Thanks for your time.

    March 22, 2011
    • Clay (The BDD Dude)

      No worries on that end. PR hijacking doesn’t affect the the site being hijacked. However, If you report it to Google they’ll ban that’s doing the stealing site from the index.I report them all the time and withing a week they are usually delisted entirely. Unfortunately by then the thieves have already gotten all the back links they need anyway so it doesn’t matter.

      March 23, 2011
  • Thanks for the tips and check this out:

    Hi,

    My name is Paige Price, Web Marketing Consultant. Ive greatly enjoyed

    looking through your site (my domain name) and I was wondering if

    you’d be interested in exchanging links with my website, which has a

    related subject. I can offer you four home page links back from my related

    websites all in google cache and backlinks which are:

    globanetproducts(dot)com PR4

    stcwestcoast(dot)com

    extropism(dot)net

    If you are interested, please send me the following details of your site:

    TITLE:

    URL:

    I’ll add your link as soon as possible, in the next 24 hours. As soon as

    it’s ready, I’ll send you a confirmation email along with the information

    (TITLE and URL) regarding my site to be placed at yours.

    I hope you have a nice day and thank you for your time.

    Kindest regards,

    IF YOU’D LIKE TO MAKE SURE WE DON’T CONTACT YOU AGAIN, PLEASE FILL IN THE

    FOLLOWING FORM: emailsnomore(dot)com ; PLEASE ACCEPT OUR APOLOGIES FOR

    CONTACTING YOU.

    March 24, 2011
    • Gerry

      This Paige Price seems to be the same person who has been contacting me under various different names requesting link exchanges with apparently unrelated “PR3” sites. The most recent one I received today and did some research on it, to find out that (apart from being a very hastily thrown up blog full of errors and bad graphics) it has no backlinks, which is not surprising, since it is just 3 days old!! Clearly a fraud. This is the email:

      Hi
      My name is Emily Nothingan and I was wondering if you are interested in exchange links, I’ll place your link on my site exactly here:

      denvermedicals(dot)com PR3

      In exchange I would like you to place my link on your site exactly here:
      natmd.(dot)/related-websites/

      If you are agree please send me your site details:

      Title:
      Url:

      I’ll send you my site details after you check your link on my site. I’ll be waiting for your kind reply.

      Regards

      March 8, 2013
  • […] Reciprocal link request spam. We hate these too. You know the ones. An email out of nowhere, with boilerplate stuff like “My name is [random name here], Web Marketing Consultant. I’ve greatly enjoyed looking through your site searchmarketingmagic.com and I was wondering if you’d be interested in exchanging links with my website, which has a related subject. I can offer you a HOME PAGE link back from my PR 4 related website… “  These requests are generated by software, which is purchased by losers who then flood the world with crap hoping to get a link or two from unsuspecting webbies. Does it work? If you send a million spam emails like this, you might get 50 or so links. So if you don’t mind being an asshole, you might get some return on investment. If you want to hate them even more, here’s a kind of fun exposé…. […]

    July 28, 2011
  • Does such link exchange impact our Page Rank?

    November 4, 2012
  • Cheers Jan I’ll try to keep em performing this!

    January 2, 2013

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