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.