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SEO Services and Targeted Email Rackets
Everyone that has a website wants to increase their traffic and there are many services that claim they will dramatically increase the number of visitors that are specifically interested in your website's product as well as services that say they will improve your website’s visibility, but do they really deliver on their promises?
A few weeks ago, I was called by one of the premier SEO companies and asked if I was interested in their service at a cost of about $100 per month. The caller guaranteed me that I would gain a top 25 position for two keywords within four months on Google and that I would see a dramatic increase in my website traffic. I tried to tell him that I already had a top five position on Google for the keywords I wanted, but he was not interested in hearing that, he wanted me to try their service and increase my traffic. Instead of just hanging up on him, I let him ramble on for a while. It turns out, this well recognized SEO service is only a mile or so from my home, so I asked if I could come in their office and have him show me what it is that they do. He agreed and said he would email me directions and a link to their website. I waited a few days and still no email from him, so I looked up their website on my own and found that they had about a half dozen packages available that a customer could choose from to have their website optimized. All had a monthly subscription fee of $149 and all had a setup fee ranging from $1,200 to $5,000. I found it very curious that he never mentioned anything about a setup fee when he called me, but I did not have to wait long to question him about it because within a week, he called me again to ask if I was ready to start using their service. When I confronted him about the setup fee, he tried to make it sound as though it did not matter because I would be guaranteed 300 targeted visitors to my website (over the first three months!!!) that were interested in my product. When I told him that if all three hundred bought my product I still would not make enough profit to justify paying for the setup fee ($2,400 for the package he thought was right for me), he brushed my concern aside and told me I could finance the setup fee and pay it over three months. Besides, I would be gaining in my Google popularity and this would lead to even more sales. I am not stupid, I do understand both the cost and value of advertising/marketing, but I could not seem to get it through this guy's head that I was not interested in diverting all of my profits to him to get a Google rank for keywords that did not mean anything to me. He then offered to call me right back with the name and telephone number of a reference I could call that would tell me what his company had done for their business. In turn, I offered to let him perform his service free to promote my website in exchange for a fixed percentage of the profits I actually realized, and a testimonial from me that he could use on his website to promote his company. His first reaction was to tell me that his company had an ironclad satisfaction guarantee and if I was not satisfied, they would give half of my money back, no questions asked. I told him I was not interested in risking the loss of $1,200 plus $75 a month to watch him or anyone else fail me when they have no risk or stake in the agreement. I told him he should speak with his manager and come up with something better than that if he ever wanted my business. He said he would call me right back after he spoke with one of his managers. Guess what, I still have not heard back from him. Personally, I would really like to run a business where I could charge customers a $2,400 setup fee plus $149 per month to promote their website with the terms I was being offered. I would not have to do anything for my customers and if they were not satisfied, I could keep $1,200 plus $75 per month to not perform. What a racket! If you are asked to subscribe for an SEO service or any kind of targeted email campaign, ask yourself what you are really being offered. Then, confront the salesman and ask him if his service is so good and guaranteed to give you results, why he won't just promote your website with a written agreement from you to pay him if and when you see results that justify his service. In my case, my product is promoted and sold through Amazon and I had to ask him what made him think he could target buyers looking for a specific book better than Amazon. I know people Google for books, but if they are really book buyers, most will go to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Alibris, Half, Abe Books, Biblio, ebay, etc., to find it, and if my product is available. How could he possibly target legitimate book buyers that are looking for my book any better than the biggest book marketplaces in the world? He cannot do what he says he can do, or he would have called me and taken me up on my offer if for no other reason than to prove me wrong. I have challenged several SEO and targeted email services with the following scenario. If you are willing to promote my website and send buyers my way, I will gladly pay you a service fee that is proportional to the results I see, but if you think I am going to pay you for possible or maybe guaranteed results up front, think again.