First of all, congratulations (I guess). If you got an advertising email from Media Discovery – that means your blog is popular enough to be valuable to them. So I guess that’s pretty cool.
Moving on, is Media Discovery Advertising a scam? Yes and no. It really depends on how to define “scam.”
The short version:
Everything they write in the email is “technically” true. However, by “advertising space” they mean “blog posts that we write, filled with our paid content.” Media Discovery Advertising will pay you to publish pre-written articles on your website with links to their customer’s sites. You receive a monthly/yearly payment until one of you decides to terminate the contract.
When Google realizes you are selling space on your blog (called Black Hat SEO – Google punished blogs that do exactly what Media Discovery wants you to do), they will “demote” you on their search engines, so you will lose about 90% – 95% of your traffic through search engines. Which, you know, is bad if you rely on search engines to generate traffic (like I do).
Your blog will have been blacklisted.
When this happens, Media Discovery typically (though not always) terminates the contract.
Answer: Yes, Media Discovery is a scam
They aren’t actually going to “advertise” on your site – they will pay you to link to their client’s site. They know this will hurt your blog when Google finds out, and when Google DOES find out, they will drop you for a number of other fresh, new, un-tainted blogs. It is a scam because they are not telling you the risks associated with Black Hat SEO.
What to expect:
The email looks something like this:
I was wondering whether you’d be interested in selling advertising space on Howibecametexan.com? The advertisement would be unobtrusive and we can pay you an annual upfront payment for the advertising space.
We can also provide guest blog posts from industry experts in many cases.
I am from Media Discovery, a new media agency headquartered in the UK. We plan out and acquire advertising space on major websites and portals, as well as smaller niche sites. I personally deal with our smaller publishers, increasing brand awareness and share of voice for the major brands that our group works with.
We’d love to work with your site. If you have any questions or would like further information, please do not hesitate to email me directly.
Media Discovery (a New Web Ltd company)
*Other bloggers have also had the names Stacy Armstrong, Diane Conner, Juanita Cohen, Alison Graham, Jessica Jordan, Abby Burton, Stacy Armstrong, Thomas Burke, Alice Bell, Samuel Lowe, Patrick Smart, Evan Saunders, Greg Swanson, Tony Maldonado, Angela Simmons, Eric Walker, Randy Wilkerson, Wendy Stevenson, Abby Burton, Martha Harper, Renee Malone, Dean Stokes, Renee Malone, Alison Graham, Martha Harper, Denise Mason, Kathy Gonzales, Julie Gordon, Samuel Lowe, Joyce Hale, Juanita Cohen, and Marvin Gree used.
[Let’s take a moment to appreciate how many unique names they have come up with]
When I first got this email, I was really excited. I thought “wow, I finally have someone who wants to sponsor my blog! Great!” Then I did a Google search. My favorite blog pointing out the scammy aspects of Media Discovery was this one.
The long version:
Media Discovery Advertising pays your to promote their customers through SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Google ranks blogs based on how many sites link in, daily pageviews, average time on site, and the number of unique users. While some of those are difficult and expensive to change (paying for ads, etc), paying another site to link into your own is, well, pretty easy. Google assumes that if a lot of sites are linking into a specific website, then that website has useful and important information.
So the easiest way to boost your site’s spot on search engines is to get a lot of other websites to link into yours.In the case of the clients of Media Discovery, they do this artificially, by paying “influential” bloggers.
If you got an email from Media Discovery Advertising then your blog is considered “influential” to pay for fake links. This is known as “Black Hat SEO“
Black Hat SEO is (in the simplest terms) using unethical means to artificially boost a website’s SEO ranking. Long-term black hat SEO methods are typically penalized by search engines, especially Google.
Basically, Media Discovery Advertising is paying for your to publish an “article” on your blog. That “article” will be stuffed with links to the Media Discovery Advertising’s client’s website. It seems harmless enough; some sites can get away with five to ten of these posts before search engines catch on.
But search engines will eventually catch on. Perhaps you can make a couple hundred dollars (tempting, I know), but when Google discovers your website has dabbled in promoting Black Hat SEO, it will be penalized. Expect to lose 80% – 90% of your search engine traffic in a matter of days.
Once your website has been blacklisted, it is difficult to recover.
Is Media Discovery a scam?
Yes, but not in the ways you would expect
Technically everything Media Discovery Advertising says is true. But they are also taking advantage of bloggers – accepting large sums of money (and paying a comparatively small portion to blogger) to artificially boost the SEO of their client’s website. Once your website is penalized, it will be dropped from the Media Discovery Advertising “contract.”
So yes, Media Discovery Advertising is a scam – if for no reason other than the fact that they do not warn bloggers about the repercussions of their “advertising.”
Don’t be fooled.
Also, you know, if Media Discovery has contacted you with other names, feel free to post them here. I just want to make sure bloggers who don’t know about Black hat SEO don’t get scammed.
Add me on Google Plus: +Grace Buchele