Tales of a Link Prostitute: No Cash in Vegas Calls for Desperate Measures

It’s a widely known fact that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Not quite as widely known, but still a fact is this: if you have no cash in Vegas, you stay in Vegas.

This is the position I found myself in when I attended PubCon, a conference for online marketers. I could only take out $80 a day in cash due to a mix up at the bank. Also, another mix up had depleted all of my credit without me knowing.

What was a girl to do?

“You could become a link prostitute,” one search engine marketer volunteered at the bar. “Sell links from your website to make mad dollars.”

Some online marketers buy links to their website to help them rank higher on search engines – but none will admit to doing it. It’s a bad idea.

But desperate times call for desperate measures.

I take you through the steps of degenerating into a link prostitute while living it up in two luxury hotels in Vegas.

Palms Place

I arrived at Palms Place late at night on Monday and couldn’t believe my amazing room and warm reception. I stayed in a gorgeous studio with black hardwood floors, a mammoth king-sized bed, a sleek well laid out washroom, and a fully functioning kitchen.

The room also came equipped with a sitting area, comfy sectional couch, and an amazing view of the mountains and the Strip, which I used to make new friends who were staying at a not-quite-as-stunning hotel down the street.

One thing that everyone needs to know about Vegas is that you need cash to get around. Most cabs don’t accept credit cards. I tried to take out some money as I was leaving late for my first day of the conference.

“Insufficient Funds”, the machine said.


Palms Place is not the sort of outfit that caters to folks with insufficient funds. Did I sleep walk to the craps tables, conveniently placed at Palms Resort and Casino just down the way? I broke out into a nervous sweat.

The hotel staff let me use their front desk computer – which was great customer service by the way. I learned that the bank machine was stupid, that I had more than sufficient funds, I just couldn’t access them. Again, the staff went out of their way to flag down the only cab in Las Vegas that accepts credit cards. I made the conference on time.

Learning You Have More in Common with the Thieves Than you Thought

The next morning, I called my lovely bank to ask them what the %&@*! was going on. They had reset my daily withdrawal limit so that I could only take out $80 cash, they explained, because they felt that my card had been compromised in May 2009.

Could they raise my limit for the duration of my stay?

“No. The thieves might have greater access to your account if we do that,” the lady said.

Well, at least I had something in common with my frenemies in debit card fraud: neither of us could access large sums of cash from my account. How comforting.

Encore at the Wynn

One plus about working for Kiwi Collection is that you get to move around every couple of days and experience the best hotels in a given area. Using my allotted $80 USD, I zipped from the conference center to Palms Place, and then over to Encore at the Wynn, one of the newest (and most gorgeous) hotels on the Las Vegas Strip.

Encore is a sister property to the Vegas landmark Wynn Las Vegas. It opened in December 2008.

I entered the complex at the Wynn Las Vegas. As it turned out, I couldn’t check in to Encore from there, and had to meander through the elaborate red-carpeted halls, lined with shops, casino areas and restaurants (poor me!).

My suite had a comfy king-sized bed and separate sitting area, a great view of the strip and a big desk for post-conference work. My favourite thing about the room was the bathtub, which I made immediate use of.

I had the Grilled Jidori Chicken at Society Café at the hotel. And, over a glass of sweet Riesling, all of my cash-strapped stress was melting away…at least until it came time to pay.

“This credit card is declined,” the barman said. “Can I put this meal to your room?”

He didn’t seem rattled – and even believed me when I explained that I was “surprised” and “shocked” and that there “must be some mistake”. This is Vegas after all: after five days, most people’s credit cards don’t work.

Sparing the boring details – my credit card disaster was the product of yet another “misunderstanding” that would need to be sorted out once I arrived back home in Vancouver. If I could get back to Vancouver, that is.

Meeting Your Inner Degenerate

I used my remaining $20 American to hitch a ride to the networking event held by Pubcon. Since I wouldn’t be able to buy anything there (ie. booze), I figured it would be safe to go in my frazzled state. Also, I was looking forward to getting in my exercise, walking the 10 or so miles back to Encore at the Wynn when the festivities were over since I now had no cash or credit.

I was met by a hundred or so friendly online marketers all of whom had lots of suggestions on how to make a quick buck. They all agreed that with this crowd, the most valuable thing I could sell would be links from my website. This would allow me to return to Vancouver, where I could shake my fist at my bank in person.

Michael Bonfils of SEM International – a company that specializes in international online marketing strategies, chose to buy me a beer instead of buying my links, promising that it would make me feel better.

Jill Sampey of Blast Radius was also sympathetic, and offered to feed me tequila shots when she realized my night had gone awry.

My new friends Alon from Israel, and Allen Horwitz and Pierre Zarokian from Submit Express, an SEO Company, provided much assistance in finding a cash machine at three minutes to midnight so I could withdraw my $80 allowance for the day.

One chap would only agree to buy my links if I would sell 500 of them for $5.

I wasn’t prepared to go that cheap.

But then I saw him, from across the room. It was Danny Dover – a young up and coming SEO who surely wouldn’t know any better than to buy my crap links for cash. Why I thought this, I don’t know. In reality, this young grasshopper works at the famous company SEOMoz and has just finished writing an excellent Internet Marketing book all about doing search marketing the “right way” and not needing to resort to buying links from link prostitutes like me.

After talking at this poor man for about an hour, he decided to feed me more shots (probably to make me shut up). That’s when my inner degenerate made a guest appearance.

The rest is a blur of generous Americans offering me money not to link to them and blackjack dealers getting angry at me for stumbling through their “working area” at 4 a.m. Thankfully, my new best friends Michael and Danny led me back to Encore at the Wynn, since I no longer had motor skills and was easily distracted by shiny objects.

The good people at Encore took pity on me, and allowed me to check out late. I spent the day with the blinds closed, contemplating what I had done, and working on materials for my friends back at the office.

At the end of my time in Vegas, I realized that being a link prostitute was just not the career for me. I was lousy at it. Also, I wouldn’t be able to tell my mother what I was doing at night.

However, I did learn a lot about how fun and friendly Las Vegans can be (even if you have no money), and that I was good at getting free tequila, business cards and cab rides.

And if that doesn’t make for a great trip to Sin City, what does?

Story submitted By: Melissa Mewdell from Kiwi Collection
Danny Dover is the author of Search Engine Optimization Secrets.
No parts of this story may be copied or duplicated without permission from the author.

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