The picture at right was taken a looooong time ago and actually appeared on the front page of my local newspaper in St. Thomas Ontario. Back in those days I was young and innocent with a dream to pull the magnificent blue and white of the Maple Leafs over my head! Much like this picture the indusrtry I've worked in for the last 15 years has a reputation that is weathered and worn. How could this happen so quickly even telemarketing didn't take it on the chin this fast!
Simple... opaque billing so there is no way to distinguish a $300 service from a $3000 service. No bar for professionalism in fact you could say the industry has no interest in setting a bar for professionalism, best practices or business ethics. Nowhere to complain or alert the rest of the public to the snakeoil salesman among us. In fact if you "out" you are villified often with no reason other than you outed a shady service.
Think about it if your telephone company sent you a bill each month with no documentation of the calls would you pay it? Sure but you would also be suspicious of it. Why should SEO be any different? Other than myself I have never encountered another comapny that fully documented what they do with a cost for each task. My clients love it they know what I'm doing, they get all the data and they know exactly what they are paying for. Should a client accept any less from an SEO then they would from a phone company?
I have been around this and can easily say I've almost seen it all from Galaxy to Google and back! I hate to think that this magnificent ride we've been on could be halted by something as stupid as billing and... as we say in Canada... a bunch of hosers who'd likely sell their mother down on the corner for a few easy dollars!