You bet they are! With $50,000 on the line, people are looking for whatever ways they can to rank. I know Penguin 4.0 just came out and people are testing it's limits, but this is the same kind of crappy spam that has put a bad taste in many people's mouths about the SEO industry for years. Bear in mind I'm not the contest judge, and how much he will let the websites get away with remains to be seen. I'll detail what I've seen so far below, but keep in mind we're still early in the Wix SEO Hero competition as I'm writing this.
Many of these were likely unintentional, but some may have been registered because of the domain history and links that already existed to the website. I've flagged some of these in my SEO hero rank tracker such as yourseohero.com, seohero.ninja, seo-zero.com, and beseohero.com.
These guys are playing dirty. They're trying to make Google think they are the original source of the content. I've been targeted by one of these already and their ultimate goal is for their website to show up instead of mine in the SERPs. A couple of these I've marked include seocontest-globalwarming-awareness2007.com and nautiguide.com.
I already talked about one website on Google Sites ites.google.com /view/loveseohero/accueil but most of the major platforms are being used. There's even a group of them on WordPress and Blogspot using seohero# or seohero## user names such as http://seohero8.blogspot.com/, http://seohero03.blogspot.com/, https://seohero6.wordpress.com/, etc.
The video spam has begun! If I search for "seo hero" on YouTube, there's already 411 video results. I'm already seeing a lot of links going to these videos as well.
I mean just look at the name on the website here, not to mention private registration and 104 pages of blog posts promoting different businesses. Quality I tell you: http://www.thyroid-info-center.com/seo-hero-what-is-the-wix-seo-hero-challenge/
How about over at slamminkicks.com/seo-hero-challenge-search-engine-optimization-competition/ Do they really think we'll buy this is "Slammin and Kicks Web Development and SEO"? No, this is obviously a website that was about sneakers that you bought for your PBN and tried to rebrand.
Be sure and check out the other quality posts on these websites. I hope Google is paying attention to this contest.
Like this one roosterteeth.com/user/theseohero on a website completely unrelated to SEO or it.toolbox.com/people/theseohero/ or 18.104.22.168/users/Chrisseohero/, but don't worry he didn't forget his link to theseohero.net. Or how about this one websiteseohero.advertise.com.ng/ for none other than websiteseohero.com or another from the same: inmethod.com /forum/user/profile/60132.page
Using a name and making a comment that's somewhat on topic makes this look pretty legitimate, but an SEO not knowing Eric Enge and leaving a comment on a blog over a year old on a blog called "Be Thankful for Unsung SEO Heroes" http://www.leverable.com/unsung-seo-heroes/#comment-3615 only after the Wix SEO hero competition started, and oh yeah linking to your competition website theseohero.org isn't suspicious at all.
Check out this listing for an SEO Company called SEO Hero, we didn't see this one coming. www.arizonaseocompany.com /m/apache-junction/seo-hero/ How about a winner for their website design even? www.csswinner.com/details/seo-hero/11047 seohero.media is going for the quality links. Also check out worldmap.harvard.edu/maps/11533