It is not uncommon to find SEOs asking other SEOs questions in the SEO discussion forums. But it is not everyday where you find the clients of an SEO coming in an asking questions about their own site, only to find out that his SEO previously asked the same question in the same discussion forum, to the same people. That is exactly what happened, as pointed out by Autocrat in a Google Webmaster Help thread. The real shocker is what the client discovered his SEO said about his own abilities.
Yesterday, Gary from Manchester, posted a thread at Google Webmaster Help asking for advice about a client's site. The client noticed a major drop in rankings and hired Gary to fix the issue. Gary then offered his findings in a thread and asked other SEOs for advice and other tips. Again, this is common and often done, either in a public forum or offline, with SEO's who are friends.
Later on in the day, Mike, the webmaster from the company that Gary is proposing SEO to, posted his own thread at Google Webmaster Help asking the same question. What is kind of funny is that one member who replied to Mike said that he should stop posting duplicate threads. Mike replied that he "had no idea Gary had come to a forum for answers."
The issue is, Gary, the SEO, said in the thread, "I personally don't think this will get them their rankings back." Now, Mike saw this and was very upset that Gary would offer an SEO proposal "between £2,500 & £5000 to produce a report on the problems YOU have outlined." A report that, Gary himself thinks would not solve the site's problem. Mike added, "I will look forward to talking to him tomorrow!"
A tip to you SEOs out there. If you are asking for advice in a public forum, please be more discrete. Use URL shortening services, to mask the URL and be upfront with those helping you that you don't want the client to know you are asking for advice. But more importantly, do not say you think the site is doomed. But even more importantly, above that, if you think the site is doomed and you can't fix it, don't charge the client money when you think you can't help - that just seems ethically wrong.
Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.