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Webfinder for agencies

Beware the broken promises

10:22 pm on Aug 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Always on the lookout for alternative PPC providers, we were finally persuaded by a client to look at Webfinder. After much discussion and agreement that they would waive the 50 set up fee for each account, we decided to set up an agency account.

We signed up as an agency almost 7 weeks ago.

We gave them 9 clients to start with and duly submitted bulk submissions sheets for some of them. We wanted to see the quality and quantity of traffic before committing the manpower to populate the rest of the campaigns. (Bidsmart sprung to mind).

We have failed to get one single ad approved, we have had promises of "action" to get editorial to sort things out, we have been let down.

Almost 90% of the time we phone to speak to someone, that person is in a meeting. These meetings seem to last all day long, regardless of the time of day you call.

We had to send bulk submission spreadsheets to editorial people's personal Yahoo accounts because their firewall wouldn't accept attachments.

They rarely return calls, deadlines for action get missed and if you are an agency wanting to look good in the eyes of your customers, I would not suggest Webfinder is a PPC you use.

We must have spent 3-5 full days collectively on this, training staff on editorial processes trying to make sure we got it right first time.

So the long and the short is our agency commission amounts to zilch, we haven't made a dime, which means we are actually out of pocket due to the time spent on it. It has been an expensive learning exercise.

Caveat emptor. You have been warned!

4:16 pm on Aug 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Rather than signing up an agency and giving them 9 clients, you should probably have signed up as an advertiser first and checked their customer service (along with the usual pointers like traffic/conversion rates).

I don't know where but I have heard about Thomson Directory before. Are they big in the UK?

4:52 pm on Aug 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Thomson Local are a big company, with a massive sales force, all trained in selling their printed business directory. I am unsure of how well those people have converted to also pushing Webfinder or the Business Finder web service.

However, Webfinder is pushing itself very aggressively to get a market share in the UK, and I would hope that any problems are just teething troubles - it is after all a very new venture for them.

4:55 pm on Aug 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I think they may have their B2C strategy right, considering the s being spent on advertising on TV etc etc.

However Webdiversity seems to be the 3rd person this week who has mentioned problems whilst trying to spend s as an advertiser.

So unless they get their act together, the PPC budgets will go elsewhere.


11:22 pm on Aug 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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It does seem crazy to spend so much getting the traffic and then fail to have the systems in place to cope with the advertiser demand that they have created.

It is worth mentioning that Webfinder is not the same service as the Thomson Local which is appearing in the TV ads. Thomsonlocal.com is in fact an improved web version of the printed directory. There is a facility for searching the web on the site, using Webfinder and Espotting, but this isn't the default search, and I would doubt that it gets much use in comparison to the business finder.

I would think that Freeserve is the main source of traffic for Webfinder advertisers at the moment, although I believe that they have more affiliate sites in the pipeline.


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