Be Wary of Companies that Hide from Search Engines


When I found myself briefly unemployed during the 2002-2003 recession, I responded to an employment solicitation from a company that we will call The Reception Company, a name which protects the guilty but should sufficiently get my point across.

My "screening interview" consisted of several of us around a desk while a slick pitchman type told us how The Reception Company only hires the best of the best, and that their training program is the envy of the industry (what industry?!!?). I was immediately suspicious and commented accordingly in an appropriate USENET newsgroup, which I suppose was the Facebook or Twitter of its day, lo these many years. The consensus in this discussion was that so long as The Reception Company never asked for personal information nor money from us, there was no harm in pressing forward. Sure enough, during my "final" interview I was extended a most generous offer of employment, contingent upon completing a training course that would set me back $500.

Needless to say, I politely declined. I suspect several desperate individuals did accept the offer. Based on subsequent posts I read online, these people ended up losing their money, wasting a lot of time on worthless training, and never saw a single paycheck from the company.

Which brings me to my point. When I saw the name of the company, which again I've fictionalized to The Reception Company, I became immediately suspicious. This name was deliberately chosen so as to yield irrelevant results from a search engine, relevant pages would be lost in an endless sea of irrelevancy. Consider how many pages would have the unspecific words "reception" and "company" on them, even in proximity to one another, that have positively nothing to do with this company. More to the point, consider how difficult it would be to find complaints about such a company among the millions of pages of chaff.

Search Engine Optimization works both ways. For honest companies that want to get noticed, it's an effective tool to gain relevancy and placement. For the malicious lurker, SEO can easily be turned on its backside to camouflage their true nature.