$79 SEO software?

Randfish pointed out this dissection (NOTE: cjkcybermedia.com is just reviewing the software; don’t put cjkcybermedia.com on blacklists) of a hilarious piece of software called “Rank Attack” or RankAttack. My favorite part is when the reviewer hooks up a packet sniffer to see what the software is doing. Looks like it’s sending queries to Google with fake referrers, as if (for example) a9.com had sent a user to Google looking for the domain being promoted. Of course, the IP address would be wrong because it’s running on Joe Schmoe’s computer, not a9.com. The same company apparently also sells a “get out of the sandbox” edition that appears just to do other arbitrary queries to Google.

The site selling the software is even funnier. Check out this testimonial:

“There is no way you can increase your ranking without internet consumers actually clicking on your listing under the keywords you’re ranked under. It is that simple.”

Mark Baily
SEO Network Engineer

No way? Really? Leaving aside the question of what exactly an “SEO Network Engineer” does, the quote confuses the difference between links (the basis of Google’s PageRank) and clicks (which are, um, not). The rest of the RankAttack site also acts as if clicks were links. An SEOChat discussion is here. My recommendation? Save that $79 for something else.

Update: cjkcybermedia.com contacted me saying “some people are confused and think that we provide the software, when we only reviewed it.” Updated the post so that people won’t blacklist cjkcybermedia.com by accident.

41 Responses to $79 SEO software? (Leave a comment)

  1. >>the quote confuses the difference between links (the basis of Google’s PageRank) and clicks (which are, um, not).

    Matt, no doubt there will be some comments forthcoming to say that “PageRank isn’t being used any more” which is irrelevant to this topic; but I don’t think this little dealie popped up right out of thin air. Any time Google publishes stuff on the net – even (and especially) at the U.S. Patent Office, there’s bound to be some kind of exploitation based on it sooner or later.

    Like this

    “Methods and apparatus for employing usage statistics in document retrieval”


    IMHO, any time such documents are published, it’s only a matter of time ’til they’re exploited in one way or another. Those documents are pure, spun gold for those among us who love search technology and the study of it, but not everyone has the same interests and motivations.

  2. did you forget to leave a link to the software…?


  3. The click issue comes from patent US20050071741_1 where section 0092 discusses user behavior and the number of times a document is selected from search results as a factor which could suggest the relevance of the document.

    I remember said patent because your name leapt off the credits in a; “Hey! I know him!” way (where ‘know him’ = briefly spoken to at SES).

  4. referrer spam has been around for a while now, (spamming for ibls). the new angle here is faking referrers to a search engine directly, trying to “influence” it into thinking a domain is hot.

    too funny


  5. Oh – RankAttack – with an R, not a W

  6. Leaving aside the question of what exactly an “SEO Network Engineer” does,

    Lol, I was thinking the same exact thing.

  7. Even CNet has it all wrong:
    “get the search engines attention and make them want to list your Web site under the keywords you desire”

  8. Matt Cutts wrote >> “Save that $79 for something else.”

    And I’ve just come across the very thing you can spend it on. It’s called “Optimize Website Compressor”. It’s an image compressing piece of software, which will make your pages load more quickly, and, therefore, get you higher rankings. Why do compressed images get you higher rankings? The vendor wrote:-

    “Search engines rank your site according to relevance, quality of information and ease of access.

    If your page can download faster than a page the search engine ranks as otherwise the same, yours will rank higher. This means that you can improve your search engine placement by compressing your jpg, bmp, gif and animated gifs so your web page downloads faster.”

    The vendor said it, so it must be true – search engines measure the time it takes to download a page and its ancilliary files, and the rankings are influenced by the overall speed.

    The great thing about this software is that you can have the full Pro version for only $39.95, so not only do you get higher rankings, but you also get to keep $39.05 from the $79 you saved earlier! No, there’s no need to thank me – just send me half of the savings 🙂

    There’s a short discussion on it at:- http://www.webworkshop.net/seoforum/viewtopic.php?t=7563

    If I knew how to link text in this blog, I would have done it. And if there were a “Review” button, I could have experimented a bit. Sorry.

  9. Hi Matt

    Savvy webmasters would never purchase such software even for $0.02 because they know PageRank very well.

    However, novice webmasters might find the software very attractive and price is reasonable to “achieve high rankings” on Google´s search engine searches pages. To prevent that of happening or at least limit the “success” of such software, Google should do some education work for novice webmasters.

    Today’s Webmaster Guidelines of Google doesn’t contain much education for the novice webmasters, unfortunately.



    Hopefully more informative materials shall be added soon.

  10. and here’s the download-tracker for rank attack:


    so many users for a stupid tool?

  11. Look what happins when you are running the software and you clack on maximise – you can see all the requests being made LOL

  12. We need the darwin awards for SEO

  13. > “Save that $79 for something else.”
    Check out a few SEO tools for less than $79:

  14. Matt, you forgot:


  15. Matt, I hope I understand you correctly, I think your saying that google does not use click thrus directly for ranking. Ok I buy that, but is google using click thrus as a measure or indicator of quality? (I don’t really expect an answer)

    So, those experiments you guys were doing with those tracking URLs were just ‘testing’ the idea out, so to speak. 😉

    If the testing is over, you guys forgot to remove all those tracking URLs… oops

  16. Hello Matt,

    great blog post does the $79 dollar investment also come with a 15 day guarantee to top 10 google positions?

  17. Is there anyone who can garanty that the application do what is selling? Because if it cost $79 and I don’t get any result, I would prefer to us the reporting spam with google: http://www.google.com/contact/spamreport.html

  18. Is there anyone who can garanty that the application do what is selling? Because if it cost $79 and I don’t get any result, I would prefer to us the reporting spam with google:

  19. So Matt, are you saying that all these bozos need to do is learn how to spoof the TCP handshake and fake a9.com’s IP address for this to ridiculous software to work?


  20. >15 day guarantee to top 10 google positions?

    generally any seo item worth buying does not come with that unless the site owner feels the need to use over the top hype marketing.

  21. We have met and talked briefly a few times at the Pub-Con’s and the SES Conferences. I’m not certain that it’s the “webmasters” or the “SEO” companies whom SE’s should be directing their information. I think the information would be better served or ‘hit deep’ up the corporate food chain. Any half intelligent business leader knows that you get what you pay for, well most of the time. We’ve paid a tremendous amount of money in search education internally so as not to compromise the business. It’s not just the cheap software that alarms me but it’s the consistent and unrelenting use of multiple domains, which sell the same products and/or information that get to me. Ex. My wife ‘hates’ searching on the Internet for that very reason. She says, “You search for something and over half of the results are really going to the same site……. In the end. (But let me buffet her quote by stating she is a Psychologist, so that ought to say something about her comment right there. Ha-Ha. I do Love her!)
    So on with my rant about multiple domains, link farming, etc.
    We have a local presence in Nashville, TN and a valuable Internet presence at http://www.propools.com. We ship World Wide and have been doing so since 1997. We spend quite a lot of time researching and obtaining valuable information for consumers to use. We like for them to use this knowledge base in their buying decision, then purchase from Propools.com. We publish this data for everyone to use free of charge in an effort to further make Propools.com a more relevant participant in the Search Industry. Over the years it’s been driven home that, in the Search Industry Relevance is King.
    We’ve done a lot and have been fairly successful at obtaining our ‘Good’ ranking through ONE Relevant Domain. At one time we subscribed to a ‘link farm’, in an effort to broaden our base, which did nothing but quickly move us to be banned and dropped from Google. This is definitely a practice we do not subscribe to or push in any form shape or fashion since. Our position is that if you design a Good and Relevant site, then the rankings will come.
    In talking with customers and potential customers on the phone and through analyzing our logs I know the core customer’s whom purchase the type of luxury items we sell, do their research. Which in turn, means they search deep and they search long.
    What is troubling to us is the fact that there are people out there who are running purely a virtual business with no VALUE to the leisure industry. This is definitely not a new concept.
    Lately, the owner of propools.com has been discussing how many more players there are in the Leisure Industry today who are actively participating on the Internet. And we have no problem with that, if they’re really more participants.
    When these players have multiple sites under different domains its not more players, it’s just a shotgun approach to search engine ranking, which is devaluing Search. I wonder if this is why we get the feedback we do about the depth of search people do.
    I am doing research on just the top 100 search results for one of our keyword phrases “above ground pools” and I’m finding like site after like site. Some of the sites look different in format but sell the same thing, at the same price, etc. but under a different domain and IP. So, I dug deeper and looked at the source on some of their pages and some of their check out pages and many of them point to a common domain and/or email address.
    The Search Industry is extremely important to our business, as Internet sales have far outgrown our local sales. We don’t feel as if we should sit by on the sidelines and have our business and both our industries devalued by the keystrokes of some want-to-be(s).
    Additionally several of these sites are using ‘link farms’, which we got banned for. There are even some single domain competitors who use this practice. I thought this was a major NO-NO in the Search Engine Industry. Am I wrong in presuming this?
    We have no problem competing against the competition provided we are all playing by the same rules.
    Matt I feel like I’ve gotten to understand you well enough to know that yourself and Google put a lot of emphasis on Valued Search Results. Our site is a valuable search result and as such we have a Top ranking with Google and we are more than thankful!
    In closing, I would love to talk with you about in an effort to help Increase the Value of Google’s Search Results. If you’re going to the SES in Chicago this December I would welcome the opportunity to sit with you and your company to discuss this further.

  22. >and the TIME CONSUMING Ordeal of Link Exchanges
    Doesn’t Google TOS advise AGAINST link exhanges? 😉

  23. The reason that software like this actually gets used by consumers is because a) most consumers don’t know what they’re doing and b) seo optimising is a big deal when you’ve got a small little website with PR of 3/4, like mine. It’s ever so frustrating, I spend my time getting linked to by directories all over the place, they ehemselves usually don’t work (faulty script) or ask some absurd jangly hisious icon on the homepage. And in the meanwhile google appears to have ‘lost’ 90% of my inlinks for no apparent reason. I wish there was something I could do to make google see those again, I really do =(

  24. I almost fell off my chair the other day when I tried to use the Google toolbar to search and I got a message something like “We have detected that someone on your network has been performing automated queries, your computer may be infected by a virus…. etc. Please enter the letters etc. to prove you are a human”. (All very paraphrased).
    Come one guys! Pretty rich coming from the owners of the Googlebot, don’t you think? And yes, I was checking our site’s positioning on various search terms with some cheap SEO software (not the package you mention – I HOPE). If only I could figure out how to package the data, let other people search it, sell advertising (lots and lots), IPO the company and retire.
    Frankly, I don’t have time to hunt and peck my way through our relevant searches every week – and adwords reports don’t illuminate me much. So how about a bit of quid pro quo on this? I’ll let you search our site, pick apart our html and our intent, repackage the content, sell advertising above and beside it, IPO and retire – if you just let me check my rankings with a piece of software that retrieves 60 pages once a week.
    Matt – big kudos to you (and your Googlemasters for their apparent permission) for this blog. It kinda humanizes and demystifies a company that, while friendly, has never oozed much personal charm. And lots of useful insights too.

  25. SudAfrique, if you’re using automated rank-checking software, I’m not surprised if that came onto our radar.


  26. Matt,

    A few folks are getting a bit confused and now are listing my site as the author/seller of the software … *not* as the reviewing author ABOUT the software . So I find my domain popping up on blacklists … to my left … to my right… all over the place LOL. Could you please/possibly set this straight since it stems from your blog… Gee thanks for the mention here … lots of traffic + lots of links + blacklisting? 🙂 hahaha

    For the folks that missed something here :
    AUTHOR of the review != peddler of the software

    How about new blog entry : “When good blogs go bad..” ?
    Feel free to drop me an email

    Christopher Koncur
    CJK Cybermedia

  27. Matt,
    Yes we were using automated rank-checking s/w – didn’t know it was frowned upon. We’ve dropped it and reverted to manual checking again… a fun and engaging Monday morning time-filler for the receptionist! 🙂
    You know, we’d probably pay Google for the ability to check these things automatically. How about a Google SERPS rank-checker?

  28. Automated rank checking should be OK if you use a tool that performs queries via the google api – up to 1000 queries a day.

  29. —————–
    Looks like it’s sending queries to Google with fake referrers, as if (for example) a9.com had sent a user to Google looking for the domain being promoted. Of course, the IP address would be wrong because it’s running on Joe Schmoe’s computer, not a9.com

    I’m a little lost here.

    The term referrer means the REFERRING server. The client (making the requests) will NEVER have the same IP as the referrer (unless they’re surfing from referring server console).

    So the referrer can quite successfully spam any referrer they like and there’s zero ways to determine authenticity of referral based on IP.

    Have I misunderstood you here, or was this a midnite post ? 😉



  30. Quoted from above from SearchEnginesWeb

    “(Problem #2:
    Not everyone can afford the EXPENSIVE PPCs that DOMINATED the TOP page of the SERPs.

    The trend toward technology-SEO is a result of seeing an accelerating trend of large corporations dominating the first page of the SERPs – as well as the PPCs (if they Can Not get on the top of the 1st page)”

    IMO – the reason that these corp sites are doing so well is that there is a web of relevance and links attributed to them. They have a ton of pages indexed, these are full of relevant content to their product/service/industry, and they have large quantity of links from a wide variety of sources, from press, promotional/affiliates, articles, and overall mention of their site (with backlink) in a relevant manner.

    How can they not be at the top the majority of times for the harder keywords? Google’s Algo seems to just happen to like what is in many cases easiest for the big corp’s to maintain.

    I’m just concerned that bigger does not always mean more relevant.


  31. Would a static ip work if it was used for the queries submission?

  32. I read through all the comments and what everyone is missing here is that google uses javascript to track click through and of course they use click through as a small part of their algorithm, wouldn’t you?

    They create an image using javascript which isn’t really an image but just data about what the search was who you are and which link you clicked on. This image loads quicker then it takes for the url you clicked on. Therefore RankAttack misses the boat altogether. Using this software in excess would simply show up on googles spam reports.

    In my speculative opinion I think that google has done the right thing by using javascript because when you click you go straight to the site rather then going to a google URL then being redirected. Therefore it benifits both google and the end user.

  33. We’ve got a pretty interesting discussion going about the principal behind this software… would love to hear your input on this Matt

  34. If we are talking about the same software, http://www.savemoneyfast.com – then I would have to disagree with some of these posts. Within my blog and my members the software has been working well. I will talk to some of my members using it but so far they are singing its glory.

  35. Certainly, it’s very risky to use any Black Hat Seo technic nowadays. In my humble opinion you should stick with proven white hat SEO although they could be very slow to show results.

    Andres Berger

  36. Your blog and/or website is what url? By not mentioning your website but giving the link to the aforementioned software leads me to believe that you are blog spamming. Definatly not fundamental SEO

    Matt, several of my collogues and I have reported various websites for creating web pages for every city, county and state in the country in an attempt (successful on MSN) to show up first in local searches for their specialty. Why does it seem that our reports are not acted on? The spam pages still exist and show up high in the results.

  37. I think it’s plainly obvious the software is completely bogus.

    If it was a real threat to a $3.6 billion a year company like Google, we would of seen the software on TV.

    It’s not worth even considering. IMHO 🙂

  38. Matt,

    What SudAfrique say is true. Yesterday I searched ezinearticles.com (they use google search box to search their site) to find relevant articles for a site and I got the same message telling I am using software or my computer is infected by a virus. I do not think I have searched more than 20 times before getting that message. What is funny is when I restarted Firefox I was able to search again…

  39. Hi Matt,

    Why do people try to fake the market this way? Are there so many corrupt people out there that the white hats get overshadowed by these corrupt people?

    Well I think so anyway.

    Personally I though Search Engine Optimisation was all about producing great content, on a great platform to a great audience? Working your content into a magnificent piece that people will enjoy. Ok, keyword density, bla bla bla, but the essense of Organic SEM is to produce great copy – right? Something that people can use, read and enjoy.

    Anyway, I certainly wont be purchasing any such software and I wouldnt recommend anyone else does either.

    Great blog Matt…

    Cheers for the pointer – Christian

  40. Good article and content but there are sites that are legitimate and offer good SEO software for the money.

  41. “We would have seen it on tv”… I’ve always thought it a poor choice to purchase online services that are advertised on tv, anyone who has any experience with Go Daddy will probably agree. Back to the topic of the post any company guaranteeing their software will get you top ten is probably not worth your time. All of the “seo gurus” stress that this is work and no amount of automation will make much of a difference. You start with a good product that people actually want, put up content that they can actually use, engage the community then and only then do you have have measurable proven results.