Paid Reviews or Paid Ass Kissing?


I get asked a LOT to start doing paid reviews, and today I am going to share with you the exact reasons why I have been against them, and then at the end of this post, I will be showing you my alternative which will deliver x100 the value to you and your business.

A lot of people have talked about my spoof paid review page and regular readers will know that I am generally against the paid review model as it exists today. Heck, the spoof page was made as a call-out to all the blood sucking bloggers who would sell their gran for a few bucks.

The main reason I dislike the “paid review” model is because it is fake and a lie.

You see, when blog owners say things like “for $500 you can get a review of your site on my blog”, what they mean is “for $500 I will kiss your ass, say nice things about your blog and let’s be honest, for $500 you will get some high strength links to your site and some publicity”.

So why don’t they just be honest and call it a “paid ass-kissing” or “paid links surrounded by nonsense”?

Maybe it is just me, but if I was paying for a professional opinion, I would want a professional opinion.

Afterall, if your doctor knew that you had a potentially lethal disease, would you want him to not tell you, and instead, mention that you have nice eyes and pretty hair?

I wouldn’t!

Surely, if you are paying an expert to help your web business, wouldn’t it be advantageous for the expert to actually help your web business?

So here is what I am going to do…

I am going to start doing web critiques. (not reviews)

Both myself, and my hugely successful business partner (Barry Dunlop) will spend time analysing your site, your content, your branding etc… and we will give you actionable feedback, exploits and ideas that you can implement to help give you tons more traffic and revenue.

Now, if you also want us to publish the critique here at and get loads of hugely powerful links and publicity, then we will do. But it is your choice.

If your website hasn’t been getting the traffic you had hoped for, then we are confident we can get you on track, and we will share some of our buzz content secrets with you as well.

I don’t have the time to spend answering hundreds of emails this week, so I am going to qualify you in advance:

The cost for the full website critique from Barry and I is $399

If you also want it published here at then that is an additional $249

100% PROOF That We Are NOT Selling Links

For info, $249 is a lot less than many blogs that are much smaller than charge, and just to prove how serious we are about focusing on the critique and not the links, we will make all links no-follow links.

The real value is in the critique, and for $399, you would be getting a huge amount of knowledge, tips and expertise from people who have been very successful online.

We may come to our senses shortly, and increase the price, so if you are interested in taking your site to the next level, contact us ASAP:

We realise that despite our best efforts, many of you are simply not financially or mentally in the right place to fly to Dubai with us, so we are doing this as an alternative to help the many, many people that have contacted me looking for an alternative to my Dubai invitation.


PS: If there is a specific aspect of your business you want us to look at, e.g Exit strategy, conversions, content, SEO, linkbait, branding, PR, selling your site, etc… please specify this when you email us.

PPS: We will give three months free membership to our VERY soon to be launched website at to the first three people to get a full critique.

  • EasyProfitPack

    I’m not a fan of paid reviews. I think it is like selling yourself and it something that I would never do for my blog.

    It sure is Paid Ass Kicking!

    You kicked the right ass!

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  • Dean Hunt


    I agree 100%.

    That is why we decided to do a critique, that would deliver hugely valuable information that the business owner could use to transform him or her site.

    The publishing on is just an optional extra which provides:



    Second opinions

    Possible JV opportunities.

    Many thanks,


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  • Andy Beard

    Dean a website critique no matter how long, if posted on your blog with links to your client, even if editorial and needed for the critique, will be classed as you selling links, unless you add nofollow to the links.

    I did a total of 9 paid reviews, most of them around 3000 words, and receiving editorial links and I was still made an example of.

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  • Dean Hunt


    Good to hear from you mate.

    The key difference is that they are paying for a critique, which will be written directly for their eyes only.

    If they wish to have it published on here as a bonus, then fine, but that is not the core nor driving factor of this.

    I see your point, but we have been doing paid website critiques behind closed doors for a long time, and we will handle these ones EXACTLY the same way.

    Also, the vast majority of the payment is for the critique, and we had a guy contact us this morning who DIDN’T want it published on here… so it is clear to me that people are seeing the value in our expert opinions as the key to this, not the links.

    Luckily, Google has done some good work ref buying links, and thankfully, most people seem to have moved on from 2006.


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  • Al

    So, where is all the controversy about this? That’s what your mail said.

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  • Dean Hunt

    Note: This post was causing some controversy, and I had numerous emails and IM contacts trying to argue with me about it.

    The fact of the matter is that I have stirred the nest here, and to ensure that 100% without any doubt what so ever this is not seen as selling links (which I have NEVER done in the 28 months this blog has been online), I have decided to include no-follow tags on any published reviews.

    Welcome one and all to the world’s very first “paid review” with no-follow links ;-)

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  • Rizky Nur Zamzamy

    Hi Dean,

    Your offer is very interesting for those who have their own original websites that sell something: services, products, digital products, etc.

    But how about websites that we get from products with Master Resell Rights? Will your offer (paid critique) work for them too?

    Thanks and regards,

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  • Chuck

    The critique is a valuable service. It can make a big difference if they improve it. But I think that if it is published on your site, it should not have the nofollow with it.

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  • Melvin

    Hi Dean, well I think you made a great point but then I think the paid reviews/paid post thing is more than just links/nofollow or what nowadays. Of course everyone or majority uses nofollow but the main point about paid review that sucks is that most bloggers don’t do paid reviews well. Its just like, “oh I will review you with 200 words and pay me asap”. The mentality has gone way too far on what should really be done. And now I see people reviewing casino sites that are way far from their niche. Im sure casino sites pay very lucrative for a review!

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  • edmond hawkeye hennessy

    Dean – we are on the same page, regards paid reviews.
    On the flip-side – not against spending some bread to obtain professional expertise & support, however there is always an “ownership” and branding issue to consider.
    There is no substitute for the founder/innovator to retain the responsibility to position and promote their unique capabilities and offerings.
    In my case, I will not abdicate responsibility to anyone to shape & mold the unique “Market Warfare” theme that supports our Consulting practice and certainly our newly released book “Market Warfare: Leadership & Domination Over Competitors” that embodies everything that we stand for.
    Dean – You know where I’m coming from and conversely everything that you and Barry represent follow the same path.
    Stay with your unique formula for success, Dean.
    It is your moniker and will eventually revolutionize the New Marketing World.
    Good Hunting and Good Luck on this new angle!
    Still convinced that you are one of the “Greats” out there.


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  • Poom

    May I ask you one question Dean?

    If my website was just built and have no traffic yet. Do I eligible for this service (to start from zero)

    Or my website must have a little traffic before?

    I really interest in your service :)

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  • Mrinal Bose

    Dean, what you’ve told about the paid reviews is spot on. But I’ve reservations about your paid critiques also. IM is something which one learns while working his way, gradually, over time. Thanks anyway.

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  • Mike Chudej

    Why the controversial?

    Just different point of view and believe, I guess.

    People trying to get other to look at things the way they do.

    I see it as not link selling but “GREAT Opportunity” to exposed my site to many visitors on your blog. That $249 would be like advertising my site.

    “Not Buying Links”

    Btw, “no follow” only work for search engine Page Rank juices and stuff. It won’t stop real person from clicking on links.

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  • Roots

    Couldn’t be agree with this more!
    This is so true and i hate selling myself lying about what i don’t want to for a few hundreds dollars!

    I am hoping to see your Critique on the submitter sites as my SEO references! I want to tell you that you have inspired me a lot! Thanks man!

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  • Craig Dewe

    It pains me how some people are missing the point of this… you get marketing experts like Dean and Barry to actually look at your website and tell you what you can improve to make more money…

    People can easily plonk down $2000 for an Internet Marketing course nowadays and people aren’t leaping at this offer? Are you joking?

    And for those that “know it all,” there’s a reason all the top Internet Marketers sit down for their mastermind group every few months. They know the value of getting other input and ideas… and they’re the ones that really are at the top of the game.

    If you haven’t already emailed Dean and promised him your first born… I’d get right on it. If you need more convincing, go read the post about the $15,000 dinner. Dean’s advice will change your life. I know it’s changed mine.

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  • Andy

    Hi Dean,

    Andy here from the Membergate conference, how’s the golf? Missed any flights lately?!

    You are spot on with this post.

    Here’s my story …

    I posted some sponsored reviews at my wife’s wedding site, here they are:

    I never felt good about it and stopped after 6 in May 2007.

    The result was bad news …

    One of the top wedding blogs decided to stop linking to us and we said goodbye to a large chunk of qualified traffic!

    So definitely a bad business decision.

    My gut feeling was NO, but back then I followed the dollar signs.

    Made some cash to lose a lot of traffic. Stupid!

    So when I read your post it rang some bells and made me laugh in a kind of bitter tast way!

    Keep up the great blog.



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  • Mike Henry

    How about I give ya $5 bucks for an unconstructive critisim? Maybe tell me I look fat in these new jeans or something like that.

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