Now, Reviews.org—which really stretches the .org aspect of its name—is effectively a Wirecutter-style play, with maybe a little Consumer Reports mixed in. It features in-depth reviews of different digital tools—home security, TV services, internet providers, mobile providers, and VPNs. It is built to maximize search presence and pull in people who ask questions like “What is home security monitoring?” and “How does fiber internet work?”
What the company pulled off with this scheme is really wild. It got dozens of major media outlets (CNN
) to write about its timely gimmick—an effort to get people to prove they can live without devices, an ironic endeavor for a site that literally tries to convince people to buy internet access—meaning that it suddenly has a bunch of high-authority links from dozens of media outlets, ensuring that it gets better search results and more traffic. This gimmick literally just told Google that Reviews.org is a good site to link.
This is a very traditional PR scheme broken down—give something timely to promote, and the media will do the rest—but it still feels slimy to me because it’s literally banking on media outlets to do the obvious thing and link back.
My guess: The halo effect for a company like this will be massive, and will likely generate thousands of dollars of affiliate revenue. But more importantly, it helped them generate dozens of backlinks without having to beg.
Eventually they’ll email me, asking for a backlink. And I’ll tell them no.