"Most Dependable" Awards From Inc Magazine or Goldline Research

Jun 2, 2008 • 7:11 am | comments (8) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search Engine Industry News

While I was at SMX West, I received a call from Goldline Research about being on a short list for being awarded one of the "Most Dependable" web development companies in New York. What caught my attention was that this award was supposedly being published in Entrepreneur Magazine, as an editorial article. I was very much into the idea, until I heard there was a fee if I was actually selected. Then I started to doubt the validity of the award. I did some research, to find out they do send out press releases and publish the awards in the magazine - but they were clearly not purely editorial in nature, in my opinion.

Why do I tell you this? Well, it seems like Goldline Research is now doing their rounds for "Most Dependable SEOs" in your state. A HighRankings Forum thread has a bunch of SEOs who were called to ask to be part of the "selection process." If selected, there would be a fee, but you would also be listed in Inc Magazine.

So I decided to see if the Goldline Research web site was given the right by any of these publications to list their names. I couldn't find inc mentioned on the site, nor was I able to spot Entrepreneur mentioned on their site at all. When I looked at past awards, I noticed magazines like Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine, Delta Airlines Sky Magazine, Texas Monthly, and a few local magazines.

The thread is very skeptical about the business practice, as one would imagine. I personally opted not to continue with the selection process. I did go as far as asking them to send me a contract, so I can review the details. It was at that point, where I learned I might have to pay $3,500.00 to Goldline. the contract also read very similar to an ad being placed in the magazine, even though the sales rep made it sound more like an editorial column.

In any event, I am not one to judge. Let the forum thread do that.

Forum discussion at HighRankings Forum.

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Jaan Kanellis

06/03/2008 05:38 am

Yup seems like some spoof awards for ad placements

Nick Stamoulis

06/06/2008 01:02 pm

Please take a look at this post: http://www.searchengineoptimizationjournal.com/2008/05/22/seo-firms-beware-goldline-research-and-inc-magazine-seo-competition/

Miguel Salcido

08/05/2008 06:55 pm

<!--We were listed in the top 10 and put in Inc Magazine, along with firms such as Bruce Clay. But we never were solicited for any payment in order to be listed. The only thing we paid for was a few hundred bucks for a custom plaque with the study on it so that we could hang it in our office. And it was our choice to purchase that. I am finding these types of discussions all over the Web and am perplexed because we never had to pay for that distinction. We did however go through a fairly rigorous interview and qualification process. So the entire thing to us seems very legitimate. If we find out that they want any money from us we will gladly pull our press release about our award. --> Comment removed as per Miguel's request.

Barry Schwartz

08/05/2008 09:45 pm

Miguel, Not this company. This company's contract required a fee. I hope you don't get slapped with a bill at a later date. I personally reviewed this myself.


08/08/2008 12:23 am

I have a subscription to Entrepreneur Magazine and after reading your blog I checked it out... There is a full page from Goldline Research listing the 10 Most Dependable Web Design Companies in central us in the May edition. So I went just for grins to check to see how much a full page ad in Entrepreneur magazine actually costs. http://www.entrepreneur.com/mediakit/franchise/print2008ratecard.htm With a full page containing 10 companies at $3500 the most they can make is $35000 - however the full page ad if it is one per year was $65000 so they would of actually lost money, even if they did one a month for 24 months it still would have cost $54000. (all this based on the rate card on the magazine's site) So doing simple math I do not see how they would have cheated you... more like giving it to you half off lol and that is not bad. BTW the full page ad in Inc. is wow over $100000 so again they would have been like half off.

Miguel Salcido

08/13/2008 05:31 pm

Barry, <!--I wanted to update you on the situation with us and this Goldline Research deal. We DID actually get a $5500 invoice today! We were blown away as we never expected it to arrive. Needless to say we are pulling our Press Release and contacting Goldline to tell them to shove their invoice where the sun does not shine. We are embarrassed that we were involved in this. We were genuinely excited about it and felt that it was legitimate. Its too bad that scammers like this exist! --> Comment removed as per Miguel's request.


08/16/2008 02:32 am

Hi folks. We want to jump in here and set the record straight on a number of comments about our recent SEM list. It appears that there is some confusion in the marketplace regarding our company, our services and our business model. We started Goldline Research more than four years ago to solve a simple problem: How do I find a dependable professional that I can trust to give me good service? The Internet is a great resource, but it’s not always easy to find “the” firm that you are looking for (especially with all the search engine jockeying going on out there). Industry associations are useful but not everyone joins the association, and not every industry has one. Friends and colleagues are great sources as well, but often they don’t have recommendations to offer. We realized that there were lots of people experiencing the same challenge, and we believed that there was a market need for a company that would help consumers identify third party-reviewed service professionals. Our business model is similar to other companies such as J.D. Power, Good Housekeeping (and a whole bunch of others out there like them). We started researching service professionals in a variety of industries where consumers had a hard time finding a dependable provider. Our research process entails five broad steps, including determining industry-specific criteria, conducting detailed company interviews, talking with customer references, reviewing public records and quantitative analyses. Over the years we’ve expanded our industry coverage and strengthened our research process. To date, we have interviewed nearly 10K professionals in ten different industries. We don’t have any allusions that what we do is the be-all or end-all. We just think it’s a cool, helpful service to both consumers and to the companies we research and publish. While I’m at it, there is another point of confusion that I want to clear up. We tell *everyone* that we speak to that we are not Inc. Magazine or Forbes or any other magazine. We don’t pretend to be working for any of those publications, nor do we pretend to be “Inc. Magazine editors”. We are also upfront that we do charge a fee for our work. We wish we didn’t have to charge fees, but, until Uncle Sam starts providing this service with our taxpayer dollars or subsidizing our business, we have to keep the lights on. We do our best to minimize our overhead expenses, but as mentioned earlier in this thread, Inc., Forbes, etc. cost more than $100K for a one-off advertising page, so promoting the companies that we think are dependable in those magazines isn’t cheap, and nearly all of the service fees that we charge go to pay for the publication. During our interview with a company, we tell them about our service fee. We only charge fees to the firms that make it to the final list. *Every company* that wants to be considered past the interview stage in our process signs a contract agreeing to the fees and the services we provide should they make it to the final list. There is no “bait and switch” going on here as was alluded to at some point in the thread. And, no, we do not discount our fees (or make our service free) to “bigger” players to make our list more credible or charge different fees to “smaller” players. Everybody pays the exact same fee no matter what. The companies that receive our seal of approval see some useful benefits. Many of our clients have told us that our seal of approval helps provide them with credibility in the marketplace in that this helps them stand out above the fray. We also know that we help get them access to major local and national publications for promotional purposes that they would otherwise not be able to get to because it would be cost prohibitive. And, if that wasn’t enough, we do our best to help firms with their marketing. After all, many of small and medium-sized firms that we talking about (of which I’m guessing many of you on this thread are) are trying to grow and become more successful, and this has proven to help them with that. Over the last four years, we have completed more than 100 research lists. People keep coming back to participate each year because they are getting value. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t exist. We really appreciate the lively discussion here, and, if you have suggestions for ways that we can improve our offering (useful suggestions, please; the flame messages aren’t very helpful), let us know or give us a call.

Bobby Ji

01/11/2009 07:44 pm

Cost now is $7,500!

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