Beware: Network Solutions SEO Fine Print

Ian Lurie Feb 12 2008

Network Solutions lies like George Bush on an aircraft carrier. Or Bill Clinton about his sex life (just to be non-partisan about it). You can’t pin any of them down, but you know damned well they’re pulling a fast one.
I got an e-mail from a client today asking:
“Why should we pay you $5,000 a month for SEO when Network Solutions will guarantee us top 10 for $400?”
Here’s the e-mail they got:
netsol_guarantee.png
It looks great. It has glossy globes and stuff with ‘www’ on it. These guys must be experts!
And they are! At ripping you off. Read the fine print.
My favorite part:
“Network Solutions guarantees a minimum number of top ten listings in one or more of 12 search engines within 10 months from completion date… The search engines included are: AOL, AlltheWeb, AltaVista, Ask.com (formerly known as AskJeeves), Google, Hotbot, IWon, Looksmart, Lycos, MSN, Netscape, and Yahoo!… The minimum number of top ten listings guaranteed is 5 for the 20 keyword phrase package, 10 for the 30 keyword phrase package and 20 for the 50 keyword phrase package. There is no guarantee for the 10 keyword package.”
Translated:

  1. Network Solutions actually guarantees nothing for $400. Nor do they guarantee anything for $1800.
  2. If you pay $2800 or more for a larger package they’ll give you a guarantee: 5 top ten rankings on such competitive hotspots as Looksmart, Lycos or AltaVista.
  3. They make zero guarantee about how long those rankings will last. If they pay Looksmart for a high ranking for one month, then they’ve met the guarantee and they get your money.

The top 5 search engines are Google, Yahoo!, Live, AOL and Ask.
The remaining search engines fight over less than 3% of the market.
So, while not technically doing anything illegal, Network Solutions will take your money and deliver zero value.
Ah, Network Solutions, you make it too easy.
If my client actually hires them after reading this I’m going to stab myself in the eye with a ballpoint pen.
Related Posts:
Warning: Do Not Hire Sams Club for Search Marketing
SEO Confessions: I’m a Fraud

tags : conversation marketing

12 Comments

  1. Jill

    Jill

    Fantastic article…continually love that you’re not afraid to name names.
    And this part of the fine print also amused me:
    “This service(s) does not guarantee any sales or traffic to your Web site. Traffic and sales depend upon the demand for your particular product or service, the design and layout of your Web site, and many other factors that are beyond the control of Network Solutions.
    Network Solutions services do not include the paid submission fees that some engines charge for inclusion. Network Solutions is not affiliated with these submission services in any way. You may opt to pay these fees directly to the search engine for inclusion. Additional fees may apply for changes, modifications, updates, and optimization alterations that exceed the scope of these optimization services.”
    So you have to PAY to get included in some of these search engines?
    J

  2. Jill

    Jill

    And…I just had to add this, because one of my clients is just emerging from a huge battle with click fraud and Yellowpages.com and all of those crappy made for adsense sites.
    At least one of the “search engines” are simply made for adense directories…these are not search engines, and the quality of the traffic is total crap.
    Examples include:
    http://www.looksmart.com/
    Do you think that others are just like looksmart.com, and they simply purchase PPC ads and have your PPC ad “show up on the first page” ?

  3. Ian

    Ian

    Point for Network Solutions: One of their team read this post and they’re concerned.
    It takes a lot to reach out to one customer like that, and give personal attention.
    So I owe them applause, as well as bitter sarcasm.

  4. Rex White

    Rex White

    Gotta love it!
    BTW, have you heard of a company called Wisdek.com? They’re trying to sell me the “top sponsored listing” w/ unlimited impressions and clicks on Google for the keyphrase of my choice.
    The first guy simply said he was w/ Google. When I talked to the manager (because I had more questions) only then did he identify himself as being with Widek, a Google “Partner”.
    Doesn’t sound like a bad deal that he’s offering, but this kind of stuff scares me a little.

  5. Ian

    Ian

    “Wisdek has been partnering with Google”…
    Run. Screaming. Don’t touch them. Either they’re deluded, or they’re lying, or the last 10 years of internet marketing learning is all a sham. In any of those cases you’re doomed anyway. Save the money and buy yourself something nice.

  6. Ian

    Ian

    Upon further research it’s even worse than I thought. They’re deliberately blurring the lines between paid and unpaid search. They say that ‘75% of consumers use Google’ which isn’t true, and then they neglect to mention that of Google users, only about 10% click on paid search ads.

  7. Rex

    Rex

    Ahhhh… thank God for that ol’ “gut feeling”. Thanks for the information, Ian.
    “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is”

  8. Reggie Dun

    Reggie Dun

    We were sold on this product in 02/08, $200/mth for one of the three top sponsored listings on the top of Google. Same sales MO..we’re Google..bla..bla..bla..no wait we’re their biggest buyer..bla..bla..bla.
    We told them we would try it for a month, after the month, no hits to our website plus we couldn’t see the listing on any of the office computers. Even though we wanted to cancel the salesguy Chester Troy assured us he’d check with technical support and get right back. We never heard from him and left several messages and emails to cancel.
    Thinking this has been taken care of we didn’t notice until recently that they had been automatically billing us through a proxy company. After calling their office they refused to refund any money even with copies of the cancellations. Seems they’re not sure who Chester Troy is. Looking around the internet overbilling seems to be a common scheme for them.

  9. Phil Russel

    Phil Russel

    I got suckered in by Wisdek.com last year and realized that I had been screwed very soon thereafter. The “nice” guy just called me back to tell me that – today! – my account needs to be renewed.
    I don’t think so.
    >> Ask for a number and call him back. Chances are he’s going to stumble while he finds a buddy’s cell number.
    >> Look at their web site and ask yourself whether these guys are pro web designers.
    >> If they feel like crooks and sound like crooks, they probably…

  10. I really think you guys are doing really a terrible thing accusing a company of being a fraud when you don’t have all the facts straight. I was going through a really tough time with my company’s Advertising and was not getting any business. I spoke with a guy from Wisdek and I took the chance and in a couple of weeks I have remained on the top three spots of Google’s first page and my business has grown considerably. Thank God for Wisdek because without them I couldn’t have done it on a pay per click campaign. Thumbs up for Wisdek!!!

  11. Alex

    Alex

    Michael, I have facts.
    Actually I believe you work for Wisdek and post here to improve their image as it is your work to do so.
    They called me (actually guy named Louie Angelini) called me and convinced me to sign the contract promising to keep me at the top position. And he did it for 1 month only (by the way, he was doing it just to get referrals from me). After that it is a nightmare. They did not keep me at the top, I could not reach Louie (he did not return the calls) and if I reached him, he again promised to fix everything. Of course, he was LYING.
    Yesterday, I found that they cancelled my contract WITHOUT MY PERMISSION charging me such penalties, that I paid for entire year using it only about 3 months.
    When I asked Trisha (she is their customer support manager) why they cancelled, she said it is top management decision. She could not show me in the contract where they can do such a thing and Alex (he is top management of Wisdek) cannot be reached anymore.
    I have much more facts. To know it is true, you can call them and ask to speak with one of the persons I just mentioned.
    Just a word of warning: BEWARE of WISDEK. DO NOT TRUST them. They just LIE.

  12. Mike Herman

    Mike Herman

    Lol… Did somebody mention about Wisdek? I just got a call from one of their teams few days ago, somehow the way they explain themselves to me, I thought they were working with Google. After that I had discussion with my co-worker and we found out that they are NOT working with Google at all. Decided not go with them.

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