Internet Marketing

Internet Marketing Smackdown: Name Withheld

There’s an online directory (not one of the major players) that keeps contacting me wanting me to buy advertising.

They literally call and e-mail every week.

Here’s why I’ll never work with them:

Honesty is Such A Lonely Word. In their pamphlet, they claim “2 million+ pages indexed at Google”. My search only shows 148,000, of which only 457 are considered unique by Google. I don’t know if that’s ignorance on their part or outright fraud, but man, how do you get from 457 to 2 million? Apologies to Billy Joel.

Links? SEO? Wha?… They also claim that their directory will do amazing things for my site, because it’ll provide quality backlinks. I checked, and while I did find links, they are all on one page. One page?! You have 2 million 120,000 477 pages in Google, and you only provide links to a site from one of those? First of all, Google will likely ignore all but one or two of those links, if they’re all on one page. Second, you have almost no leverage, because your site’s too small.

Results. I checked to see if any of their clients are in the top 3 pages of results on Google for the phrases they appear to want. Nope. Not one.

Avoid Getting Conned

Don’t get conned. Follow these tips:

Don’t let high pressure sales tactics get you. This particular directory says they only allow one industry leader per section. So if you wait, you’re out of luck. What they won’t tell you is that of course they want your money, so if you can come up with a slightly different niche, you’ll be just fine.

Trust, but verify. If someone claims to have X number of pages in Google, you can check, easily, like this: In the google search box, type in site: followed by the address of the site. So, if you wanted to see the number of pages of Conversation Marketing in Google’s index, you’d type Then make sure that Google doesn’t consider them duplicates. If it does, you’ll come to a page with a message like this:

Google's Duplicate Search Results

And yah, by that rule, my site doesn’t do so well. I didn’t say it was easy to have lots of unique pages in Google’s index. But I’m not claiming to have 2 million of ’em, either.

Ask for proof. Finally, ask them for results. You want to see some sites they’ve really helped.

Remember, they can only rip you off if you hand over your money…

CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at

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