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SEO Trading standards.
Who can I complain to if my SEO company are delivering a poor service?
Pricey




msg:790732
 8:32 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ok, I'v had enough of my SEO company messing me about. I have to phone them nearly every day to complain about not being in my paid position and they always say "someone will get back to you". I asked to speak to the Managing Director there also and they say that he will ring me back too. After a month of calls and about 50 e-mails, I have still had no contact back and my paid position has dropped well into the free rankings.

Does anyone have any advice as to what I should do or whom I should go to? Obviously I don't wish to use them any more, but I refuse to go down without a fight. I would be very greatful if anyone could offer advice on this matter.

[Edit]
Thanks for the move :)
[/edit]

[edited by: Pricey at 8:39 am (utc) on June 25, 2003]

 

heini




msg:790733
 8:38 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

>not being in my paid position

Can you expand? On which engine(s), by which means, which position?

Basically it's like with any other business relationship - depends on what your contract says.

Pricey




msg:790734
 8:47 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Paid listings and ads - on places like lycos, ask, AV... We have about 5 key phrases.

We were promised 1# spot for 4 of these phrases, and at least #2 on the other.

Currently, we have dropped completely off the listings on all phrases. Even when we bug them we only occasionally see one or two of our phrases appear briefly at the bottom of the listings.

le_gber




msg:790735
 9:24 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Are you talking about pay per click (like overture bidding scheme) or did they tell you give us x amount of money and you will be 1st and 2nd?

Yep I would check my contract if I were you

Leo

Pricey




msg:790736
 9:37 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

No, we paid them x amount and they said they would keep us in the #1 spot. :/

Looking through my contract, it shows that we should always be on the results, but not much is said about #1 position. Also we should have been sent weekly reports on our positional status, of which we have received none.

fathom




msg:790737
 9:50 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sounds like you need to cut your loses. I suspect you will not see a refund and even if the contract says "guaranteed results or your money back" most times that is a marketing ploy - and the company never intended to give anything back.

Find another SEO, start PPC, or learn yourself... but in the end remember > no SEO can guarantee anything -- the search engine, the market, and the competition are just not theirs to control - logically their "guaranteed results" is pure rubbish, whether they honor their word is another matter.

[edited by: fathom at 9:51 am (utc) on June 25, 2003]

glengara




msg:790738
 9:51 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Unless you've been paying "maintenance", I'd just walk away, sadder and wiser ;-)

le_gber




msg:790739
 9:54 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ok, so basically you've got very little to cover you. You are still in the results right and regarding the weekly reports well position don't often change weekly so it was just to catch your attention.

I think that you should not beleive people when they say that they can GARANTEE #1 spot for your search terms, because either they cannot or it's for a key phrase like 'yellowpink widgets for left handed people' :)

More seriously I would stop trading with them as soon as possible if they are not professional enough to even return a call.

Just a question though: are you talking about the site in your profile? because I tried a seach on lycos for a page I visited and you're first and 9th on AV but not in the first 3 pages in ask (even though you are registered with them)

Leo

Pricey




msg:790740
 10:10 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Aye, its the site in my profile. We often rank well on standard searches, but under specific terms we should appear under the sponsored links/ads section above the normal results.

There is no question that we will be discontinuing our business with them, but I don't want others to fall into their web of deceit. There must be someone I can report them to... Trading standards will look at it if I'm lucky - surely there is an internet standards or ombudsman I can report them to?

Tony_Perry




msg:790741
 10:23 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

<No, we paid them x amount and they said they would keep us in the #1 spot. :/
Looking through my contract, it shows that we should always be on the results, but not much is said about #1 position. Also we should have been sent weekly reports on our positional status, of which we have received none. >

The problem here is that the client (you) doesnít really understand what they have agreed to or even what they are paying for! Furthermore, you have signed a contract that you say is different to what they promised you. If that is the case, why did you sign it? Donít you read contracts before handing over money?

This is still the early days of the Internet and it is a bit like the Wild West out there! I do understand that many companies are both scared and ignorant about just what the www is! Unfortunately, some people even wear their ignorance as some kind of badge to be proud of. In such a situation, there are always going to be unscrupulous people who will take advantage of you, and the world of SEO is no better and no worse than any other industry.

In your particular case, it might even be that the SEO Company HAS delivered what you have paid them for, and met the terms of the contract. If you want to compete online you can't and mustnít put all your faith and trust into others and I would be surprised it you did that in any other walk of life? You simply have to get to grips with the basics of the Internet. It isnít that difficult to understand and there are many excellent books on the subject for less than £20 ($32). Whatever you had planned this weekend, cancel it now. Buy one of those books and read it from cover to cover.

Tony Perry
SEO

fathom




msg:790742
 10:27 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Google SEO page [google.com]

EXCERPT FROM GOOGLE'S SEO PAGE: If you feel you were deceived by an SEO in some way, you may want to report it.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices. To file a complaint, visit: FTC [ftc.gov] and click on "File a Complaint Online", call 1-877-FTC-HELP, or write to:
Federal Trade Commission
CRC-240
Washington, D.C. 20580
If your complaint is against a company in another country, please file it at eConsumer [econsumer.gov].


le_gber




msg:790743
 10:29 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ok so you paid them for paid positioning (overture) and they didn't do it! is that right?

Then I would cancel it straight away and look for another company if you don't want to do the SEO yourself (which you could with all the info available here on WebmasterWorld)

How competitive your search terms are is another story, but it should work fine with an proper overture campaign.

Good Luck

Leo

fathom




msg:790744
 10:33 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

You simply have to get to grips with the basics of the Internet. It isnít that difficult to understand and there are many excellent books on the subject for less than £20 ($32). Whatever you had planned this weekend, cancel it now. Buy one of those books and read it from cover to cover.

I will agree with alot of the above (previous post), but the dismaying part of the original post is lack of contact... since contact could solve the remaining problems.

I have to phone them nearly every day to complain about not being in my paid position and they always say "someone will get back to you". I asked to speak to the Managing Director there also and they say that he will ring me back too. After a month of calls and about 50 e-mails, I have still had no contact back...

A SEO book will not change this.

heini




msg:790745
 10:37 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

I think it's quite simple.
You have a contract with the company. It looks like the company did not deliver. You should demand a refund.

It doesn't matter what caused the company failing to fullfill the terms of contract, unless something is specified in the contract.

If the contract says: paid placement in certain spots and they do not deliver - demand a refund.
If the contract says: weekly reports and they do not send any - get a refund.

There's absolutely no reason to treat a SEO/SEM contract any different to any other business relationship.

Pricey




msg:790746
 11:09 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

The problem here is that the client (you) doesnít really understand what they have agreed to or even what they are paying for!

^ We were promised 1# spot for 4 of these phrases, and at least #2 on the other. - This is stated on the contract (yes, I did read it :E)

Fathom: Thank you, I will look into getting in touch with FTC, although they are based in the US, there may be a UK contact.

Yes heini, I am indeed after a refund or at least some form of compensation but I'm going to try and get backup from someone like The FTC first.

Leo: Thanks for the feedback, I'v used the keyword/phrase popularity tool on overture before to find out how competitive my search terms are. I would go it alone if I had the time! No doubt I'll find someone else in the near future.

Tony_Perry




msg:790747
 11:16 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Pricey
That is not what you said before. You said:

<No, we paid them x amount and they said they would keep us in the #1 spot. :/
Looking through my contract, it shows that we should always be on the results, but not much is said about #1 position >

Tony Perry

Pricey




msg:790748
 11:37 am on Jun 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

My apologies if I did not make myself clear first time round. Most people got the jist of it anyway.

Just had a look at The FTC - seems I can submit a complaint about a UK company - so thats what I'll do.

Anyone got any recommendations on who to use for overture sponsored links?

Alphawolf




msg:790749
 5:34 pm on Jun 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Pricey,

For curiosity, without going into specifics can you explain how you went about picking the company you went with?

How did you decide that company was the right choice when you chose them?

Thanks in advance...

AW

petertdavis




msg:790750
 6:37 pm on Jun 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

If the company is in the USA, you can also report them to the Better Business Bureau. It probably won't help you specificly, but I and many others do check BBB records on businesses before making a deal with them. It usually takes just a few minutes to file a report.

Symbios




msg:790751
 6:54 pm on Jun 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Slightly off topic but I thought I'd have a look at the site, does anyone think that the white links in the navigation will cause problems with <body bgcolor="#FFFFFF"

PS. I agree with the others, sounds like your were robbed.

kevinpate




msg:790752
 7:03 pm on Jun 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just to be curious and to cause a touch of reflection on your part. You indicated:

>> We were promised 1# spot for 4 of these phrases, and
>> at least #2 on the other. - This is stated on the
>> contract (yes, I did read it :E)

Ok, now, specifically what are the actual terms of the contract? Were you promised #1 spot for four phrases:

for a SET period of time, i.e. one week, one month,
one year

indefinitely, as in it specifically says that spot
is yours so long as your payment schedule is met

your site would appear in the #1 spot, but there is
no reference to the length of time you would hold
the spot

Each of the three examples is very very different, so the precise language of the contract is important, and by that I mean, what the plain meaning is, not what we sometimes wish the words would mean.

Contract disputes are most often resolved purely on the
terms contained within the contract absent some special circumstances. What was said prior to signing is marketing puffery and will rarely ever overcome what was actually written above your signature on a properly executed contract.

Whether it is time to cut your losses on a lesson learned or whether you have remedies available for their breech of the contract, and whether any available remedies are worth the time and expense necessary to pursue the remedies are questions better addressed with legal counsel.

Pricey




msg:790753
 8:52 am on Jun 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

How did you decide that company was the right choice when you chose them?

Tbh, we get spammed with cold calls from seo companies. The managed to catch us at the right time and sell themselves well.

Symbios: I had not thought about the possibility of being penalised for having white links on the white bg. Although the cell colour behind the text was purposely set to black, in case someone with a stupidly old browser looked at the site and couldn't see the bg image.

kevinpate: The contract definitely states #1 place for paid inclusion on sponsored links. We have also, recently, found out from them that they had actually put us on a pay per click scheme (which was not on the contract), so that after the money we paid ran out, they stopped re-adding us. This did not include all the times we were not in the correct spot we paid for (#1) but it appears this is the reason for us dropping off completely. With regard to the time span, this is not mentioned, we were given a yearly charge and the contract only states "Paid inclusion" but does NOT say "Pay per click" - Iíve been well and truly had on that one I think.

makemetop




msg:790754
 9:23 am on Jun 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

Sounds as if you were guaranteed positions using Overture PPC. An old, old semi-scam - the amazing thing it was for terms which actually got referrals - usually the way it works is that the phrases chosen get very few clicks! Commonsense should have told you that sponsored listings are usually PPC listings - but anyway - Overture UK have a (very small) list of accredited SEM vendors who have been vetted to handle PPC correctly - you may care to choose one of them or do the PPC management yourself.

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