Last night, I reported on Search Engine Land that iAcquire was banned from Google possibly over link buying allegations.
I do not have the whole story yet but this is what we know.
(1) iAcquire was 'outted' by llsocial.com for buying links through affiliates of theirs for Dun & Bradstreet.
(2) Last night, Google delisted iacquire.com from their index:
(3) Michael King, the Director of Inbound Marketing at iAcquire heavily implied iAcquire didn't remove themselves but rather it was something Google did. He tweeted:
@rustybrick sure was. There's no network for them to kill so that's them throwing their hissy fit.— MyCool King (@iPullRank) May 25, 2012
(4) Some of the cited affiliates of iAcquire were also delisted (actually all of them that I know of):
(5) We also received word from Dun & Bradstreet's legal council that they sent notices to all these affiliates about removing any links and also forwarded those notices to the press and to Google. So they informed Google about all those affiliates. How they know who the affiliates are,
they said they did their own investigation they told me they pulled the list of the site that did the original investigation.
I believe we will share that letter on Search Engine Land later today when we have more details.
First Time Google Bans An Agency Instead Of Targeted Site
This is so significant because this is the first time that Google has targeted an agency for buying links for the clients. I should be fair and say, maybe Google found that this agency and their affiliates were not only buying links for their clients but also for themselves. So maybe Google delisted them because they indeed bought links for themselves?
Either way, we've only seen large public brokers and underground link networks being penalized, along with the target sites but not agencies.
Some in our industry think this is a horrible thing. Google is terrible for going after the agency.
Others feel that Google did the right thing because this agency allegedly put this client at risk and other clients as well.
Either way, this is a pretty significant step in our industry not matter how you feel about the situation.
Postscript: I should add, as Michael Martinez points out, that there was an other SEO agency that was banned from Google for violating Google's guidelines. This agency was named Traffic Power and was banned in 2006 or so. I honestly would not equate Traffic Power to iAcquire because (1) Traffic Power was the result of hundreds of sites being deindexed from Google and (2) they did some really sketchy stuff beyond asking to pay for links. But they were an "SEO company" and Google did confirm they were banned for violating guidelines. Keep in mind, paid links back then were not an official violation of Google's guidelines.