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Back in the old days – like, you know, back in the 1980′s – being a shameless tout was a bit easier. You could create some pumped-up persona, get a 900#, buy some cheap radio and television spots and whamo – you’re in business. You claim whatever record you wanted to and pump your Lock of the Month or the Game of the Year or the Parlay of the Century because consumers had no simple way of tracking results. It was a marketing business with zero accountability.

Well, now Google exists.

Thanks to a free Google search, potential tout customers can instantly find out what others are saying about that service. And boy does Google tell a lot of stories that touts don’t want told.

Let’s take Adam Meyer. Now, Meyer has received a tremendous amount of press coverage. When talking to CNBC, Adam Meyer claimed he generated over $40 million a year in revenue from his customers – a shocking number that no other media outlet has challenged. He will often post pictures of winning tickets from his Twitter account. He posted two different $200,000 Alabama (-2.5) tickets during the BCS Championship Game. Alabama won 21-0 so Meyer ‘won’ nearly $400,000. Do the pictures of these winning tickets prove anything? Of course not.

See, Meyer could well have bet LSU too. If he did, he would essentially just be paying the vig to enable a publicity stunt; a very effectively publicity stunt as potentials customers love to see ‘evidence’ of big winning tickets before paying for a tout’s picks. But touts can’t just rely on these publicity stunts to sell picks. They also need to worry about their Google results as nearly every potential customer is doing a Google search on a tout before paying for picks.

Well, Adam Meyer has a bit of a Google problem.

When you first type ‘Adam Meyer {space}’  into the Google search box, it auto-fills the most frequently searched term. And for ‘Adam Meyer {space}’ the most popular search term is ‘Adam Meyer scam.’ According to Google’s search tool, the term ‘Adam Meyer scam’ is searched 320 times every month

Obviously, that’s bad news for a tout as it instantly delegitimizes his ‘reputation’ in the eyes of the searcher. So how do you combat that? Well, it’s not easy. But it appears someone has come up with a creative way to try and control the results for this particular search term.

It’s called good old-fashioned search engine optimization (SEO). SEO, in case you don’t know, is how companies and website operators attempt to improve how their sites rank for certain search terms.   Someone is publishing the same article about the ‘Adam Meyer scam’ on hundreds of spam websites around the web. This article positions the term ‘Adam Meyer scam’ by telling the story of someone who, allegedly, was duped by some scammer who was pretending to be Adam Meyer. Get it? See, this content gives readers the impression that ‘Adam Meyer scam’ is searched because someone else is scamming people by pretending to be him. This article flips the script, so to speak.

Pretty clever.

We can tell this new content is a blatant – and rather ham-handed – SEO attempt by the structure of the content. First, these new ‘articles’ all use ‘Adam Meyer scam’ in the headline. They also almost universally use ‘Adam Meyer scam’ in the url. And these articles have been posted all over hundreds of the most obvious spam sites on the internet including sites like WeeklyShredder.com, Articlepix.com, SuperArticleDirectory.com and ArticleBliss.info. But the tell-tale sign that this is all dime-store SEO work is the embedded link in each of the articles. The linked term is ‘Adam Meyer scam’ and that link goes back to Meyer’s main business site – www.adamwins.com.  If you’re a hack SEO outfit, these are the kind of tactics you engage in to have adamwins.com rank first in Google for the term ‘Adam Meyer scam.’

Now, is it possible that these articles were written by some genuine person who was duped by someone else pretending to be Adam Meyer? Well, maybe. But why would they have paid to publish this article all over hundreds of spam sites? And why would they have embedded a hyperlink in the copy of the article for the specific term ‘Adam Meyer scam?’ And why would they have directed that link back to adamwins.com? It seems rather obvious, right?

 

It’s interesting that those in the tout business are developing more reputation awareness and are proactively taking measures to attempt to control how Google impacts their business.  In 2003, this sort of spam tactic might work for months or longer. Nowadays, Google knows better so this sort of low-brow SEO work likely won’t have a lasting impact on the Google results. Google is good at what it does and if your reputation is bad, the internet is going to find out. Of course, that’s bad news for the future of the tout business.

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