I was pointed to a Google Webmaster Help thread by a reader (forgot who, sorry, I am on vacation) where Google's Matt Cutts and JohnMu were forced to out a sketchy SEO company.
It all starts with an individual asking if a company named BetterPlacement is a legit company. The user said they claim (which they do) to offer guaranteed first placement in Google and also claim "the first company authorized to work directly with" Google.
Of course this is an easy rumor to squash and Googler JohnMu did so with his post.
We do not take payment for placement in our web-search results and do not work together with partners who can do that. For ads, you may want to look into AdWords -- you can find the help forum for AdWords at http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/AdWords . We also have a local business directory called Google Places, where you can add your business for free at http://places.google.com/business (or for more information, that help center is at http://www.google.com/support/places/?hl=en ). Google Places includes various kinds of analytics and is generally free.
Keep in mind that nobody can guarantee rankings, so I would be very wary of any company that appears to do that. You can find more information on choosing an SEO company in our help center article linked below and feel free to ask here about any offers that you should receive which appear dubious to you!
But it didn't end there! A guy with the user handle, bruben25, came in afterwards to argue with Google's JohnMu. John replied asking, "Are you affiliated with the company the user has asked about?"
Of course he avoided the question and John asked again, "bruben25, you make a lot of good points, but you did not answer my question :-) -- are you associated with the company mentioned by the original poster or not?"
The guy denied being associated with the company. So then Google's largest face behind search spam came in, Matt Cutts and replied:
Let me make it more relevant for you as a Google employee based in the United States: I would definitely avoid Better Placement. The first thing I see when I visit betterplacement.info are the words "Guaranteed First Page Placement on Google." That's a big warning sign immediately on visiting betterplacement.info. The reason that it concerns me that Better Placement put those words (in an image) on betterplacement.info is because in our official documentation on http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=35291 we mention "Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a "special relationship" with Google, or advertise a "priority submit" to Google."
Based on a quick assessment, I personally would choose not do business with Better Placement. Do you have any other questions about Better Placement or betterplacement.info, bruben25? Or any other SEO firms based in Toledo? By the way bruben25, I'm not sure we got a 100% clear answer as to whether you were affiliated with Better Placement or betterplacement.info in some way?
The guy came out again and denied being part of them saying, "Matt I am not part of Better Placement, nor is my firm even in the same city."
Seriously? So Matt replies again saying:
bruben25, part of the reason I asked is that according to official business filings with the Ohio Secretary of State, the agent for Better Placement is one B. D. Ruben. Here, you can read the official document: http://www2.sos.state.oh.us/reports/rwservlet?imgc&Din=201035100591
It's interesting because http://www.superpages.com/bp/Toledo-OH/Better-Placement-L2223491442.htm lists the contact info for Better Placement and betterplacement.info as firstname.lastname@example.org. And your handle is bruben25. And the agent for Better Placement is B. Ruben, according to official records with the state of Ohio.
I think that gets the idea across. No offense, but my advice remains to avoid Better Placement.
SEO 101, do not lie to Google representatives. :) SEO 101 also is know who Matt Cutts is. This guy is calling Matt out as not being a Google rep.
Oh well. So not only was he caught with his pants down. He lied to a Google representative, caused more attention for his company and you better believe Google will take a deeper look at his company.
Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.