Feb. 27, 2019
People are always asking me if something they saw online was worthwhile. I always tell them that if they are interested, I will investigate it for them, and get back to them. The reason I do this is quite simple, some gimmicks work, and as a person who spends my client's money, I should be aware of what there is out there.
My favorite gimmick and most asked about is websites touting 10,000 visitors for only $40, or something like it. Sounds like a great deal, for only $0.04 per visitor compared to an average of $1.00 per click sounds good.
So let me first begin the person clicking is doing so because they were searching for something that triggered the keyword such as "SEO" or "advertise" or a phrase "best Dentist in Boca Raton".
In the case of the 10,000 visitors, those people, if they are people and not bots, are seeing your webpage but they could be from anywhere in the world and not even searching for your product or service. But I will take it one step further, because, one of my clients went ahead and did this before hiring me. When I inspected his traffic on Google Analytics, I discovered all were direct links, not referred from a search engine or a link on a website, and most likely from junk email which opened his site inside the email or bots, in either case, a waste of money. And the 10,000 turned out to be 5,500.
My next favorite online scam is the monitoring of your website for only $9.95 a month. There are still plenty of sites that do this for free, sign up, enter your website(s) and you get notified when your site is down and when it goes back up, and if your account hired an agency, your SEO should be monitoring as part of the service.
Next on my list of scams is the Website Search Engine Submitting for Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yelp, YellowPages, AOL, etc. First of all, you can do it for free, and there are a couple of sites that will tempt you with ten free submissions and then ask you for money for the remainder of "search engines" and "directories" on their list. Google business and Bing business require the user to log in and do it themselves.
A new gimmick is offering your clients free Wi-Fi in exchange they agree to register with their email or smart-phone, allowing you to advertise to them until they request you remove them. With most smart-phone carriers offering unlimited throttled service, most people no longer are willing to sign up. And thanks to all the scammers who set up fake Wi-Fi networks to steal people's information, most people won't just sign into any Wi-Fi network. At one of my clients, again without asking, tried a "free trial," the software at the "business owner level" was incomplete, and after four months only the owners and two employees signed up.
"Wi-Fi for your email/text" might work better in an area where there is a much higher level of traffic such as an airport, but in a medical building where most of the businesses offer free Wi-Fi to their clients to keep them pacified, I don't see this as a phenomenal way of capturing emails and text numbers.
Next on my hit parade is "Back Links." Anyone who works with websites and traffic is aware that "Back Links" are needed to get a higher ranking. The problem is they take work, and time and most people would rather pay someone else to do it for them. Some companies mess with Google's search by creating "fake articles" on blogs and other peoples websites, and they do get results.
But what you have to watch out for is the sites promoting 50,000 backlinks for $100. Not all backlinks are good, and some can hurt your ranking. A client of mine, their former agency submitted their backlinks to 250,000 sites many it turned out are located in Ukraine and Russia on sites promoting porn and gambling as well as other illegal business. Bad. I had to disavow all of those links, a total waste of time, and my client wasted their money.
Banner ads, you hardly see them anymore, but there are a couple out there, once the only way to advertise online, they are a total waste of money. I have seen where customers who requested that I try it with their money did very well in the first month, and some cases into the second, but the longer the ads ran (updated regularly), the less effective they became. I also noticed that some of the companies handling the banner ads were playing with the results, which was stupid because I made it clear that I would be tracking everything. If you get a crazy deal on a very targeted site, and it's not a lot of money, don't get suckered into paying a full price.
I tell all my clients, please call me first, let me check it out for you, and if you still find the need to spend the money make all checks payable to the Robert Furst Foundation for my Better Living.