Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.
May 15th, 2008
We receive a very high percentage of customer inquires regarding two general type of solicitations they receive. Since these same scams continue, sometimes with different company names and angles, we thought it would behoove our valued clients for us to post some info on them.
The most important principle to remember to protect yourself from any marketing scam is to always be extremely wary of any unsolicited communication, whether by phone, email or postal mail, that claims to:
A. Be able to do something that seems too good to be true, or
B. Presents a “bill” or “invoice” regarding your domain, Website or some other Web related service from a company that sounds official, but of whom you’ve not dealt with before.
Scam 1—Bogus Domain Registration Invoices
Almost anyone with a domain name registered has probably come across this one. An official sounding company sends you an invoice that states or implies you will soon lose your domain if you don’t register with them. If you have never heard of this company, there is a 99% chance it’s an unethical attempt to get your money. The easiest thing to do is Google the company name or do search on the FTC site. If are still uncertain don’t hesitate to fax or email us a copy.
Scam 2—Unsolicited SEO Spam
I get a kick out the chutzpah of professed SEO companies who resort to spam marketing their implied expertise in driving new customers through search engines. If they really are so good at getting business through search engines why do they have to resort to the most despised of illegal Web marketing to get their own? The answer is obvious.
Google states it best:
Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue….Reserve the same skepticism for unsolicited email about search engines as you do for “burn fat at night” diet pills or requests to help transfer funds from deposed dictators. No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. (Read the whole page at Google.com)
We encourage you to read this prior post of ours where we go into more detail on the topic.
February 1st, 2008
This article has moved to a new page.
September 12th, 2007
Have you ever received an unsolicited email like this:
Dear Website Owner,
If I could get you five times the RELEVANT traffic at a substantially reduced cost would you be interested? <company name> can place your website on top of the Natural Listings on Google, Yahoo and MSN. … We do not use “link farms” or “black hat” methods that Google and the other search engines frown upon and can use to de-list or ban your site. The techniques are proprietary, involving some valuable closely held trade secrets. Our prices are less than half of what other companies charge.
If you’re an owner of a business web site, chances are you’ve received quite a few. We get questions from clients about the validity of such companies on a pretty regular basis.
There are a lot of, maybe even most, SEO companies out there that are basically trying to work the system to create online spam. It might benefit you in the short run, but it breaks the whole legitimate ranking system and ultimately it can hurt a site more than it help. Just like how spam email marketing can produce some positive short-term results
but in the end runs the name of the offending individual/business to the ground (or even to criminal court in some cases).
SEO is simply creating value and relevance for your target clients and making it easy for them to find you. This does include some legitimate professional service roles like getting your site listed in as many relevant directories, esp. local
directories, as possible. However, what should make us leery of SEO firms is terminology like “proprietary closely held trade secrets”…big red flag, there is no secret to SEO, it’s actually quite simple as described by Google. The real problem, like with so many other things, is that real SEO (aka building value) takes a lot of time and hard work. The temptation is great to want to believe that there is a “get search optimized quick” solution out there thus the proliferation of the SEO scam artists. I’ve blogged on this topic a number of times, the related posts are all on this SEO page.
Outside of the SEO involved in coding and developing a site (which actually is quite involved) we don’t provide ongoing SEO services of the type this company is advertising…we do provide some services to build long term value like blog writing services though. If you need help, we refer out to a few real SEO (value building) and Pay Per Click services companies
on a case-by-case basis…just let me know.
February 16th, 2007
As a former boss of mine used to say, “Having a great idea and not telling anyone is the same as not having any ideas.” Do you have a great site with a valuable message? That’s a significant achievement but if you’re a relatively new company you need to think back to high school physics and Sir Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion, “An object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion.” We’ve built the mass into our site to keep it going but the challenge for now is to take it from rest to motion. Our slingshot will be Google et. al. who, if we treat them right, can serve as our matchmaker to unite us with those people out there who need our solutions most.
Will work for backlinks
The good news is that Google and company claim to want the same thing…they want to serve up the most valuable sites to their users for any combination of keywords. The most important means by which Google and the other major search engines claim to decide which sites are truly the most valuable is by taking a vote from the Internet community. The votes they use are link backs from other sites.
So your mission is clear, submit your URL for consideration to as many other sites, indexes, and directories as possible. There are many options for where to submit, but some of the most important ones I’ve listed below. I recommend to our clients that they go through this list methodically to get the best exposure possible for nominal cost. Keep in mind
the process and protocol for getting your URL listed at each one of these sources will vary…some are an automated submission and others will require you calling the organization to make a case for being listed, yet others may require
you make a contribution of value to their community.
- All the major search engines of course, you might consider using a service like Traffic Blazer from RisingLineWeb.com
- dmoz.com (open directory project)
- Local business directories
- Public Library Sites (you’ll need to make a convincing case as to why they should list your link)
- Blogger.com (your profile)
- Press Release Sites e.g. prweb.com
The process of submitting to these potential partners can be time consuming. To keep from being overwhelmed, consider setting aside 15-30 minutes every week or two for backlink hunting. As always, I would be interested in your feedback or suggestions.