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A blog about all things internet related that are relevant to your business

Is Home Advisor using your business name to send work to your competitors?

A few weeks ago I received a disturbing screen shot from an upset client.Home Advisor Logo

A customer of my clients informed them that while searching the internet to find the business’s phone number they noticed an ad that had my clients but did not do to their website.

Upon investigation I discovered the website was hvac.zone and they were running PPC ads using the business name of my client. The PPC ad directs people to a website and asks them to enter information to receive a free HVAC quote.

Turns out hvac.zone is run by Local Clarity Internet Marketing out of Irbid Jordan. So I went to the website and entered my information to see what would happen.

I received calls from Sears and one other local AC company which is a competitor of my client. When I explained to them what I did to initiate this contact and why, they both informed me that they received my information as a lead through Home Advisor.

About 15 minutes later Home Advisor called me to make sure I found an AC company and I explained the whole situation to a pleasant lady who acted like she was very apologetic, claimed she was unaware of this practice, and promised she would pass the information along to a supervisor. I asked her to forward my email address so I could send a screen shot of the ad. I never heard back from anyone at Home Advisor.

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iDNS Domain Expiration Notice Scam

Idns SmallOver the years clients have asked about this letter, and just this last year I probably got 25 of these letters myself.

If you receive a letter from iDNS – throw it in the trash.

You do not have to send them a cent, you do not have to transfer your domain name to them, and there is no risk of losing your domain. This is a scam to trick you into transferring your domain to a different company that will most likely take you to the cleaners.

According to the letter: “ You must renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the Web, and now is the time to transfer and renew your name from your current Registrar to Internet Domain Name Services. Failure to renew your domain name by the expiration date may result in a loss of your online identity making it difficult for your customers and friends to locate you on the Web.”

I imagine that since so many of these letters are obviously mailed out that there are a lot of people who get confused and fall for this trick. Thankfully none of my clients has done that so I’m not sure what exactly happens if you were to switch your name to iDNS.

But you would be at least paying twice as much to register your domain name, and I also assume that if you wanted to transfer away from iDNS it would be almost impossible to do so or at the very least there would be some very high transfer fees.

If you get a letter from a company you have never heard from you should read it very carefully – especially if it has anything to do with your business or domain name.

I always suggest that businesses have their domain name under their control. You can register your domain at any number of reputable registrars including GoDaddy, Network Solutions, 1&1, etc. But never with a company that sends you a letter in the mail out of the blue.

These letters from iDNS usually appear to be mailed from an address with a Suite # in New Jersey, and the enclosed envelopes have a New Jersey address. I did a Google search for the address 924 Bergen Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07306 – and I found that it was a UPS store P.O. box.

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Spam emails from people claiming to be SEO consultants.

We can fairly quickly promote your website to the top of search rankings with no long term contracts!

How many times have you seen this email? We all get them, and I get a ton of them.

For example:

Hello,

My name is jenny Smith and I am a Digital Marketing Specialists for a Creative Agency.

I was doing some industry benchmarking for a client of mine when I came across your website.

I noticed a few technical errors which correspond with a drop of website traffic over the last 6-8 months which I thought I would bring to your attention.

After closer inspection it appears your site is lacking in 4 key criteria.

1- Website Speed
2- Link Diversity
3- Domain Authority
4- Competition Comparison

I can send you over the report which shows all of the above and so much more which will help you at least improve your site, its rankings and traffic.

I would love the chance to help as well however; this report will at least give you a gauge on the quality of what I do. If you are interested then please share your requirement and contact details.

Is this the best email to send it to?

Sincerely,
Jenny Smith
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jenny is a liar! She never actually took the time to review your website. This is a form letter sent out in the hopes that someone will email them back.

SEO scams like these typically start to pile up in your inbox once your site has moved to the top results of search engines.

So, Jenny works for a Creative Agency, why does she not say which one? And if it’s a legitimate Creative Agency – why do they not have a website or an email address with the domain name for the agency? And where is the physical address and phone number?

Jenny isn’t her name at all, and if you were to respond to her email chances are you would get a response containing a document that when opened would infect your computer with a virus.

Other ways to tell an email is just spam:

1. The email has no specific info about your company or website – it’s all very vague like a horoscope – it can apply to just about everyone.
2. The correspondence is unsolicited.
3. The message is in broken English.
4. You get the same exact message from different people.

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