Marketplace Review 101 or, how to make marketplace mods happy

BHW-News

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Jr. VIP
Joined
Mar 26, 2013
Messages
15,019
Reaction score
10,735
Website
support.blackhatworld.com
There seems to be a few misconceptions around how the marketplace reviews are carried out. Like everything else the mods/admin do on bhw, there's a reason for the way we work through this and we try to maintain consistency across this as much as possible. There's no secret process or hidden votes/decisions, we're keen to make it as transparent as we can. I'll describe the process I go through when looking at a thread and I'm happy to answer any constructive questions.

It's a long process, so it'll be a long post but, if you're a seller or buyer, it should be useful.

Firstly, the main misconception is that getting a thread reviewed is a fast process. Rarely, if it's something that's easily verified - for example ownership of a domain, then it might be a fast turnaround. For most, approval is not going to happen quickly - if it doesn't meet our criteria first time round, it'll go to the back of the queue to be re-reviewed on a second attempt.

There's a moderation queue for the sales threads and we'll pick them up in turn based on time the member's been waiting and availability of test sites/accounts we can use for review. I have a limited amount of test sites which I replenish whenever possible but overuse in review will result in them getting de-indexed and useless for future sites.
Any FB/IG/twitter accounts I use for testing are blocked after a couple of uses, so we'll recreate them regularly. Marketplace services that create test sites / accounts are useful because these review copies are fed back into the rotation for testing other services.

Sample Marketplace thread

Lightning Strike Ranking with high Quality, high PR blog comments.

Intro:

Are you fed up with rubbish blog comments ruining your site's link profile? Get our high quality, blog commenting service offering manual placement by blog commenting experts. 100% do-follow approved comments, Niche-relevant content and links, High PR, TF and DA and guaranteed indexing.

Multiple paragraphs of sales content here.

Features
100% do-follow links
Anchor text using your keywords
All comments posted will be relevant to the blog content
All blogs we post on will be relevant to your money site
All our blogs are high quality, well-established
Low OBL, we'll never spam the blogs
100% approval rate
manual submission, hand-written unique comments
guaranteed indexing for all links

Metrics:
PR3+ Actual inner page PR
DA: 15+
TF/CF 20+ average score


I'll pick this thread up and make a list of the quantifiable features. Things like "our team are dedicated" or "we chose the name lightning strike because you'll rank like LIGHTNING!" I'll generally ignore because it's just filler and isn't measurable in any way.

pro-tip:
If you want to make me happy, cut out as much of this crap out as you can. If I've got bored by the 5th paragraph of how awesome you are, then there's something wrong. I HAVE to read all of it but your customers don't and won't - get to the point, please.

I'll check to see if there's anything immediately wrong - in this case, I'll pick up on the "guaranteed indexing for all links" because, unless they're offering a specific refund or return, it can't be guaranteed. So we reject the thread, then get a slightly modified one with the hyperbole removed.

At the next attempt, I'll tell them we need to review the top-level package they offer. Not because we're greedy but, if they're offering a service, we need to see that they're capable of providing it without any major difficulty. If you're offering to build PBNs from 5-50 sites ranging from $20 - $800, then you should be prepared to provide 50 sites.

I'll then provide a url and keywords. The seller will then carry out the service and reply when it's ready to review.

The review:

For the review, I'll pick out the promised features in the thread to check against. In this case, there's 500 blog links matching these promises:


  • 100% do-follow links
  • Anchor text using your keywords
  • All comments posted will be relevant to the blog content
  • All blogs we post on will be relevant to your money site
  • All our blogs are high quality, well-established
  • Low OBL, we'll never spam the blogs
  • 100% approval rate
  • manual submission, hand-written unique comments
  • guaranteed indexing for all links
  • Metrics:
  • PR3+ Actual inner page PR
  • DA: 15+
  • TF/CF 20+ average score

We'll carry out automated checks wherever possible on the whole service to see if there's any major flags. In addition, I'll pick 30-50 links at random for manual spot checks which is where I tend to find most issues.

For this thread, I'll carry out the following:


  • Inspect element on the link, looking for a nofollow tag.
  • Text is checked with copyscape for uniqueness
  • Does anchor text match? Is there any natural distribution offered in post?
  • Check amount of OBL's for both page and site
  • 100% approval rate - all spot checked links must be visible and present to all visitors
  • Is comment relevant to the blog content, is the blog relevant to the test site's niche?
  • Manual submission / hand-written - this is subjective. I'll try to allow for language differences but not laziness.
    • This sort of thing would be rejected: "I recently came across your blog and I don't know what to say except it is very interesting. Buy office supplies."
  • PR3+ Actual inner page PR. Too many people quote the root PR, this is a bugbear for me. Not a deal-breaker on its own but I'll mention it if there's a big disparity. In this case, the seller's specified ACTUAL page PR, so it MUST match.
  • DA 15+ and TF/CF 20+ average score - I'll bulk check these across the domains and then average it to check these match. If there's any issues, I'll pick up figures for the spot-checked domains individually from moz/majestic and average them out myself. A tolerance of +/- 2 or 3 points is ok, but any more and it won't be approved.

If the review sample I see matches every single promise made by the seller, only then will it be approved.


What the review DOESN'T cover:


Ranking results. The seller hasn't promised a specific improvement. Also, the test sites are often spammed or low-quality so we're not able to check performance as a result of the links. This is something we're working on for the future but as different niches / value / competition will have different results, we're not able to predict how it'll work for a customer.

Link profile - again, lots of the test sites are overused so it's not always possible to identify a definitive effect from a specific service. I'll check it and as long as there's no dramatic change or flatline, then that's fine.
If there's been any flags raised while checking, I'll look at the other OBL's to see where they're going to, see if the same username is repeated or there's clusters of posts made using similar language.

Given all this, I'll make a value judgement on whether I consider the service to be "high quality". This will generally be rejected or if it's a minor thing, I'll give the seller another chance to make good.

In addition, we're working to make the mod reviews more specific. Recent reviews will include information on what's been checked and how it measured up. This is a work in progress, so it's not perfectly consistent across the board but you should have noticed improvements.

Also, if a service *just* meets the sales copy but it's not great, we will post this in the review - they're not universally positive and wonderful. Look through recently approved threads and you'll see us making comments like "the metrics are fine but the content's poor ".

I've had numerous requests from sellers to modify or improve my review. If it's a subjective thing like content, I may post a sample instead for people to make their own judgement but otherwise, if it's not a good service, this will be clear in the review.

Do your own due diligence!


It's important to remember that this is a marketplace, not a nursery forum. We don't recommend newbies should start buying services without a good understanding of black hat SEO. We can't and won't police every possible channel of communication and unfortunately, there are always people who believe sellers when they say "you can use my spam blast service for your tier 1 links".

Buyers hearing that they can rank in a competitive niche, quickly and cheaply want to believe it. Unfortunately, they're likely to learn a harsh but valuable lesson.

The sellers who do this are letting down the marketplace, their customers and themselves. When a newbie gets his site deindexed and doesn't understand why, he'll go straight back to the seller and complain loudly. There are lots of sellers on BHW who will actually refuse someone a service if they suspect they don't understand it - we love these guys (and they're the most successful sellers on the forum).

Ultimately, the goal is for any knowledgeable buyer to have a realistic expectation of the service they're buying.



tl;dr:

Sellers: If you promise a feature, we WILL check it and it will need to pass.

Buyers: We'll do our best to make sure you know what you're getting, but it's critical that you understand the service.
 

Lauriat

Power Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2011
Messages
796
Reaction score
259
Excellent post, thank you. More detailed MOD review is a very essential, please make this happen.


Also please take in consideration to forbid sales thread bumping with posts like 'just bought this service' or 'my paypal transaction ID #328723423984'
People want to read actual reviews of the service, not jumping from page to page spammed with bump posts in order to find some useful information about the service.

Not to mention that sellers are getting on my nervs every time i buy service here, they spam my email and skype begging me to bump their thread with my paypal transaction ID. Sometimes i even feel that they will not start working on service until i do this. I hate it.
 
Last edited:

Whistleblower

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2015
Messages
135
Reaction score
33
Approval should be more detailed.

Right now situation is like.. see my friend (talking to friend) as i complete reading this BST post, i will see "Approved" only post in the next post #2 and as soon as i reach 2nd post my friend start saying "oh man, how did you come to know without seeing that? "

This is like 70% of the time true i think so far i have seen.

The highest trustworthy person is mods, so they should little extra effort at 2nd post, situation would be better than current for you all i think.

my 2.01 cent.
 
B

Banned member 185991

Guest
Approval should be more detailed.

Right now situation is like.. see my friend (talking to friend) as i complete reading this BST post, i will see "Approved" only post in the next post #2 and as soon as i reach 2nd post my friend start saying "oh man, how did you come to know without seeing that? "

This is like 70% of the time true i think so far i have seen.

The highest trustworthy person is mods, so they should little extra effort at 2nd post, situation would be better than current for you all i think.

my 2.01 cent.

I honestly don't think Apricot could have been more detailed... They laid out exactly what they do and what they take into consideration when approving a BST.

It's also possible you are looking at older sales threads in the BST section. Some of them are from 2013 and 2012 when mods perhaps didn't spend as much time looking at them, recently things have improved.

You won't know that though, you have been here for less than 2 months.

If you go back a year or so the amount of 'secret sauce' as we called it was mental. Sellers making claims that cannot be true, it was just 90% shit.

That seems to have disappeared, and its probably down to Apricots and other mods hard work which they outline in the original post.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Whistleblower

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2015
Messages
135
Reaction score
33
I honestly don't think Apricot could have been more detailed... They laid out exactly what they do and what they take into consideration when approving a BST.

It's also possible you are looking at older sales threads in the BST section. Some of them are from 2013 when mods perhaps didn't spend as much time looking at them, recently things have improved.

You won't know what though, you have been here for less than 2 months.

If you go back a year or so the amount of 'secret sauce' as we called it was mental. Sellers making claims that cannot be true, it was just 90% shit.

That seems to have disappeared, and its probably down to Apricots hard work which they outline in the original post.

Yes. As most popular ones are started year back (even backwards) and some which has been finished Sales type has one word "Approved" post. I was talking keeping that in my mind.

That is why i said 70%. Anyway.

**obviously be ignored so edited.
 
Last edited:

Hawkster

Elite Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2013
Messages
3,667
Reaction score
4,114
Website
festingervault.com
Excellent insight - thanks Apricot.


This couldn't be more true - if i land on a sales thread and its filled with 'we are the greatest' crap, i back out and look elsewhere


pro-tip:
If you want to make me happy, cut out as much of this crap out as you can. If I've got bored by the 5th paragraph of how awesome you are, then there's something wrong. I HAVE to read all of it but your customers don't and won't - get to the point, please.
 

powlow29

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2009
Messages
1,048
Reaction score
876
Hi,
Thanks for all the informations.
Is it possible to stop all the "pm me for coupon code", "pm me for sample" or "post your PayPal transaction on the thread"?
It's not adding any value, it's just pages of bump and less visibility for us customers.
 

Whistleblower

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2015
Messages
135
Reaction score
33
Hi,
Thanks for all the informations.
Is it possible to stop all the "post in the thread/pm me for coupon code", "post in the thread/Pm me for sample" or "post your PayPal transaction on the thread"?
It's not adding any value, it's just pages of bump and less visibility for us customers.

It looks complete now i think.

PS: You are going to make Sellers life tough. just other way to think.
 

grafx77

BANNED
Joined
Mar 6, 2007
Messages
444
Reaction score
219
I would just like to know what the current turnaround time is for seller approval/disapproval?

I have a "Software as a Service" (SAAS) that has been in que for almost 7 days and haven't received a response on it yet. Is this typical?
The "Marketplace Thread Received" message states up to 5 days.
 

waitier

Power Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2013
Messages
738
Reaction score
208
I think there should be a paid bump feature instead of free bumps by using tactics like "post in this thread for ... " I mean some are using these methods to overcome the rule where OP is not allowed to bump their own thread more than x amount of time in a row.

What happens also, is this allows OP to use new accounts to post such things so as to bump it up. I'm not sure till what extend bhw is able to detect a fake account, but i been seeing some surviving along quite well. Some [most] might see it as: this newbie is trying to UP his post count (you know, out of nowhere you see "is there any review copies?" on a thread that's as clear as daylight that OP doesn't give review copies or is at least 2 to 3 years old thread), but who knows, the accounts actually might belong to the OP?

I had more in my mind how everyone can still use different methods to overcome bhw rules, but for now just this.
 

BHW-News

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Jr. VIP
Joined
Mar 26, 2013
Messages
15,019
Reaction score
10,735
Website
support.blackhatworld.com
I would just like to know what the current turnaround time is for seller approval/disapproval?

I have a "Software as a Service" (SAAS) that has been in que for almost 7 days and haven't received a response on it yet. Is this typical?
The "Marketplace Thread Received" message states up to 5 days.

This all depends on mod availability, what's needed to test it (sites / accounts etc) and how many services are waiting for review. You should have initial contact from a mod within 5 days to start the review. At the moment, we're leading up to Christmas and everyone wants their service to go live beforehand. The high demand means a big queue but we're working through as quickly as we can.

Once the review's started, the amount of time it takes depends mostly on the complexity of the service and what we need to set up to complete the test. If you've promised 30 features of your PBN including unique IP's, subnet masks, TF/CF/DA/PA/PR unique text, unique nameservers, different registrars, different templates, blocked bots, unique admin details etc etc etc - then I'll have to verify every one of these promises when I do my manual spot checks.

I really can't stress this enough: if you can't provide it, don't promise it!!
When I spend a lot of time reviewing only to find out that there's lots of promises that aren't true and the seller hasn't even made an attempt to accurately describe his service, not only will the thread be rejected but I'll be extremely irritated. I've even given infractions to sellers who've obviously been lying about the service in the hopes I won't check. (This is very rare, though - almost always we'll just reject the thread if the seller's made an honest attempt but come up short).


Once the review's started, the amount of time it takes will depend on your TAT and how complex the service is. Basically, as a rule of thumb - the more resources you provide for us to test the service, the quicker we can complete the review.

So, for example, if you're offering a service that needs a specific type of ip address, providing an appropriate proxy will save a day or two while I have to go and check the test services we buy in or then buy or find a specific one for the test.

If you're providing a website design as a service, having temp hosting and a domain available will make the review much faster.

Someone saying "I have a piece of code that works as a plugin on a very specific piece of software that you need to run on a dedicated centos server with a USA ip address" might have to wait quite a while for this to become available.
 

grafx77

BANNED
Joined
Mar 6, 2007
Messages
444
Reaction score
219
Thanks Apricot for the quick reply.

I completely understand that the que is filled near the holiday season, so I will await patiently for your reply so that I can provide login credentials and whatever else is needed.

The service I offer is an SAAS (Profit Spy) that does not over promise rankings, PBN backlinks, etc.

It covers the "product arbitrage" niche and offers a very unique "untapped" service to an industry that is truly seeking a solution to an ongoing problem.

Best wishes!
 

domainmadness

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2011
Messages
1,137
Reaction score
363
Biggest issue with the marketplace is that it's clogged up in many ways. From a buyer perspective few things that would badly need improvement.

1) Absolutely NO reselling same services/networks again and again. This might be a bit hard to achieve, but if you can figure out a way, it would be well worth it.

2) No unnecessary bumping. This includes answering to every question via PM and not on the thread, asking to post Paypal Ids, getting buyers to ask for a discount code/samples or any other artificial method to get a bump.

3) No posting tons of quotes from earlier reviews on every page. It just clogs up every page and makes it very hard to actually browse the thread.

4) Real and honest reviews. It's still quite impossible to leave any negative reviews since you'll be threatened by neg SEO or promised to fix your problems/give free things/refund if you remove your review. Some kind of anonymous review system from verified buyers would be HUGE improvement and something I think BHW staff should really consider doing.
 

RTG96

BANNED
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
150
Reaction score
78
Biggest issue with the marketplace is that it's clogged up in many ways. From a buyer perspective few things that would badly need improvement.

1) Absolutely NO reselling same services/networks again and again. This might be a bit hard to achieve, but if you can figure out a way, it would be well worth it.

2) No unnecessary bumping. This includes answering to every question via PM and not on the thread, asking to post Paypal Ids, getting buyers to ask for a discount code/samples or any other artificial method to get a bump.

3) No posting tons of quotes from earlier reviews on every page. It just clogs up every page and makes it very hard to actually browse the thread.

4) Real and honest reviews. It's still quite impossible to leave any negative reviews since you'll be threatened by neg SEO or promised to fix your problems/give free things/refund if you remove your review. Some kind of anonymous review system from verified buyers would be HUGE improvement and something I think BHW staff should really consider doing.
Number 3 annoys me the most... Anyway, this is why BHW is the only place I look when I need a service :)
 

SargentoVoight

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2016
Messages
102
Reaction score
12
Congratulations for your post, is very helpful, I congratulate you for taking your time to create this type of post that helps a lot ;)





 

ricrobleat

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2018
Messages
107
Reaction score
15
I love how you guys take time out from your personal lives to improve the quality on BHW.
 

Netmarkx

BANNED
Joined
Jun 25, 2019
Messages
24
Reaction score
2
I cherish how you all invest significant energy from your own lives to improve the quality on BHW.

You all should be acknowledged more.
 
Top