Google Lifts Ban On iAcquire; Company Blogs Of Being Reformed

iAcquire, banned by Google in late May after allegations of buying links for clients, has now has been restored to the Google index after two months. The company has blogged about the news and changes to its business model.

iAcquire never says itself that it was banned over buying links for clients. Instead, it uses the “financial compensation” euphemism it has used before. From the post:

Google’s war on paid links came close to home when we were accused of buying links for clients, which subsequently led to Google’s big hand swinging hard on the back of our head.

We admitted that for some clients we had allowed the use of financial compensation as one of our many tactics to build links. I mean, it’s hard to build links, and clients want to be aggressive and they want to rank.

The post also suggests that purchasing links was widespread among SEO agencies:

Few of you can say that when you saw iAcquire in the press you didn’t say “oh crap, that’s a big move – let’s do an audit of our own policies.” And, you can’t tell me your clients didn’t start asking questions about your own services and tactics. We got called to the table, and we had to pay the piper

As for iAcquire, the post suggests is that paid links are no longer done, something the company said at the end of May that it was abandoning:

For those customers that have wanted to stay aggressive and not seek better ways to win in search; we can no longer offer the brute force model facilitated by payments to webmasters. Playing by the rules is something we are doing, and we’ve all but broken our own backs to make things right post de-indexation.

However, when iAcquire’s co-owner Joe Griffin emailed me late on Friday to share the news, he said:

We are still working on some clean up items….

I’m not sure if that means the company is completely done now with paid links or not. I’ll follow-up with Griffin when he returns from his vacation and do a separate post with a further update.

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About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • SEORoadie

    “I mean, it’s hard to build links, and
    clients want to be aggressive and they want to rank.”

    Ooh yes itz the clientz fault, you have done nothing wrong at all. Clientz make
    you do it.

    “I don’t blame them. I don’t blame us. Ultimately, we were gently or perhaps
    strongly reminded that Google holds the cards, and it’s their index.”

    Ooh now you don’t blame client. And you not blame yourselfz of course not. Now
    you iz blaming Google.

    “Playing by the rules is something we are doing…”

    Ooh now you play by the rulz that mean you must have broken the rulz yez?

    “We’ve tripled down on the creative/content department.”

    Ooh now you will be spinning articlz and contentz like its 2008. Go

    “Right now I’m pretending to take a much needed vacation (shhh, don’t tell
    my wife and kids), but it’s hard.”

    You iz on vacation from reality and in BS land.

    “… our transparency is total”

    Umm no^^^^^^

  • Nichole

    Nice to hear they cleaned house and got re-indexed.  It’s sad they resorted to “financial compensation” to build links.  I thought that was something only promoted by “gurus” and the like.

  • Kevin Spence

    I didn’t know that SEL was in the business of running press releases. 

  • Dom Casas

    That’s really quite controversial, I wonder what would other webmasters would say about this especially those with Sites that got banned too…

  • AndrewBurman

    There are many ways to get links besides paying for them, if you want to pay a lot of money for links you may as well spend the money on PPC because at your traffic is guaranteed, who knows when your organic traffic will disappear, even white hat link builders traffic disappears sometimes! 

  • Danny Sullivan

    We’re not. This isn’t a press release. We covered them getting banned (just like we covered Google banning Chrome). Makes sense to cover them getting unbanned (just like we covered Google unbanning Chrome). My article also raises questions about the reform, if it really is complete as iAcquire suggests. That’s hardly a release.

  • Durant Imboden

    Restored after two months? Why?

  • Gary Bisha

    This is a good news for iacquire

  • Gagandeep Bassi

     I would love to know what iAcquire did or doing or will do regarding clean up items

  • Nathaniel Bailey

    “We are still working on some clean up items….
    I’m not sure if that means the company is completely done now with
    paid links or not. I’ll follow-up with Griffin when he returns from his
    vacation and do a separate post with a further update.”

    Danny do you really think he would tell you if they wasn’t going to stick within the google guidelines again lol?

    Fair plays if they do change and stick within the guidelines, I think everyone deservers a second chance and it’s not like they are the only company to have or to sell links to game the SERPs so best of luck to them if they are willing to change and stick at more white hat SEO :)

  • sharithurow

    Hi Danny-

    I think you raise a good point here. I normally think cleaning up a bad link profile is a waste of time and money…because, ultimately, website owners don’t have control over who links to them. The folks at the search engines know this.

    But if you are purchasing paid links from “bad neighborhoods”? That is something I’d clean up. 

    Though not all paid links are bad. It’s hard to figure out the good ones, sometimes. Seemingly legitimate businesses, even big brands, sell links in the Partners sections of their websites, or some other clever name. 

    So I’ve changed my opinion on cleaning up “bad” links on a link profile.

  • Nick Stamoulis

    I can imagine a lot of site owners will be interested to know what iAcquire did to remove the ban and get re-indexed. Will iAcquire share the specifics is another story, but it’s sure to be an interesting one either way!

  • Shahid Rasool

    Yes mate, you are right, I am interested to know the reason behind this as well. 

  • IrishWonder

    Would you like a complete audit of your own linkbuilding practices?

  • Techpertz

    I wonder why SEO companies use the Spam (black hat techniques) if there are many natural activities to get the result, yes some time late but long lasting.

  • Corina C.Ramirez

    can you mention any natural seo trick here :D I am sure you cant :P

  • Robert Meinke

     ”Natural”, “SEO”, “Trick”.

    Pick two.

  • Alchemy Viral

    I would have thought and hope that iAcquire put together a very heavy document together explaining what it is they did wrong, their new approach, evidence of their new approach as a show of good faith.

  • Matthew C. Egan

    I find it deeply amusing that a couple months ago everyone was commenting on this site in brazen defense of Mike King for his name being dragged down into this.  Now we’ve got bloggers posting Tweets of Mike’s tantrums in this mess, and suddenly everyone is on the opposite side of the table bashing iAcquire for their “we’re back” shenanigans.

    One might say that the Mob mentality in the SEO industry is very real and that people ought to do a little bit more research before putting their brand out there in support of, or against, any of the many topics impacting our industry.

  • Fionn Downhill

    I was them I would have kept my head down and got on with my business.  What possible benifits can all this drama have for them just saying. 

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