One thing I always try to do when meeting people is make sure I don’t sound like a Slick Willy used car salesman. I’ll bend over backwards trying to be real and not slimy. Nobody likes slimy. I’m not a slimy person in real life. Just ask my wife, Mary. She’s smarter, certifiably so, than me and would never spend more than five minutes on a date with a slimy person, much less have a kid with, and get married to him.
Recently I got a few cold calls from salesmen telling me the new Bend Oregon Wedding Photography website could be at the top of the page. How could a person NOT want to be at the top of the page for a search? Most of us would like better business and really work hard to help our websites get there.
My old website was at the top of lots of searches. It cost me a pile of money every month to be at the top. I had a problem with it after a couple years, however, because my business growth was stagnant. After doing many, many hours of research of other peoples sites all around the country I discovered most wedding photographers have sites which reflect the style of their photography. Some have amazing looking sites for not-so-amazing looking pictures. They boost their look with an amazing site. I have no idea what kind of business they’re doing, but their sites sure look like a million bucks.
When I emailed to cancel my old site, by the way, the sales rep called me and left a message about how she was going to call me just that week to let me know they were going to drop my prices for the site, but I could pay more if I wanted them to fix broken links and even more if I wanted a mobile version of the site.
So I started researching websites and discovered, after watching a wedding photography marketing webinar, a template made by a company called Tonic. It matched my style pretty well and the blue made me think of my bow ties. They only made 25 of the template I use and I bought one within a couple weeks of researching. It took a few more weeks to get it going because I bought it in August and was super busy with weddings.
This was right around the time I got one of the cold calls from a company claiming to be offering me an amazing good opportunity to have my site at the top of the search. My new site wasn’t barely even up and I’m concerned it won’t be high enough to generate much business this year. I called them back and started with the process of singing up for a few months to see what might happen with the new wedding photography site.
During the conversation it started to very slowly come out they were going to have their own website on top of the one I had just spent a great deal of money purchasing and then a great deal of time building to look fantastic. It really bothered me how they tried sneaking it in at the last second before I spent any money. So I cancelled immediately and thought no more of the near rip-off.
Then yesterday a company called BrandRep called with another amazing offer: I could buy keywords to use through the month AND keep my own site. I asked at least ten times about using my own site. The Slick Willy salesman assured me ten times over he was looking at and loving my site and I would be using my own site. For three months it would cost me $300/month. I thought to myself ” I can sign up for three months, and see how well it works. If it results in a few bookings, I can keep going until the year gets booked and then cancel.”
So I go through the very long process of signing up. I was sort of curious when they asked how I take money: cash/check. That’s not part of using keywords to find my page. But I kept going.
A couple hours later they call and tell me one of the keywords I wanted couldn’t be used, but they could switch words to ever so slightly better for the new price of $327/month. I was on the fence at this point, but it wasn’t that much more and the business might benefit. I ask them about how much it will cost for Bend wedding photography, because that’s one of my main keywords all through this blog and my website, and he comes back with the unbelievable amount of $600/month.
No way, Jose.
Then a couple hours later they called back and what do you know? All of a sudden my website isn’t working on the Googlechrome! They’ll need to make a new website and piggyback my website at the end! So I download Googlechrome to see if it works, because the Slick Willy at the other end of the line claimed it took four minutes or so to get my site online, and somehow when I do it the site takes about 1.5 seconds to load. It takes about that long for every page, too. The pictures for the Brian/Stephanie wedding portfolio look a little odd at the beginning, but it works perfectly well.
So in my mind I’m seeing a website costing me MORE than my old website, looking like crap, and giving BrandRep free, paid by me, advertising. I asked many times over about NOT having my much loved wedding photography website piggybacked onto something else and they reassured me many times it wouldn’t be. And now they’re trying to pull a fast one over on me.
Then I tried canceling. The asshole on the other end was shouting at me about why I shouldn’t and how they were offering such a great deal for my site and how my site would never in a million years show up anyplace online. After five minutes of getting shouted at, he transferred me to another line to stop the whole fiasco from costing me a pile of money.
What do you know? It cut off after about 15 seconds and I spoke with no one.
So I sent them this email (the account info is eliminated):
I didn’t like getting the first call back to talk me out of an extra $27 a month and I really didn’t like getting the call back saying something about how nobody can all of a sudden open my website and how you guys would build one for me to link to my already existing and perfectly good website.
The website thing was something I asked repeatedly about and you guys said you didn’t need to do that.
So now I’m on the phone like a fool waiting for someone to talk to me and don’t know if I’m even still connected.
Cancel my plan immediately please, and refund the $327 to my account. I’ll be checking to make sure you refunded the money.
I really don’t enjoy feeling like I’m being scammed by people. It’s not something for which I have either the time or the energy.
It’s funny, because when you were originally calling me none of you had any trouble at all pulling up my website. Then all of a sudden there’s a big problem with this. I loaded Googlechrome onto my computer and my website works perfectly fine.
While I’m at it, please take me off your call list. You’re the same people who almost talked me out of some money a month ago, but I caught the website thing in time. This time you had me sign up, pay money, and then tried to pull the second website thing on me.
I might be dumb, but I’m not stupid.
Did I say cancel my subscription? Please do so at once.
Cancel my plan immediately please.
Cancel, cancel, cancel.
This is so we don’t have any confusion about what I want done right now.
Thank you for your time,
I’m about to check my account to see if they actually refunded the money. This kind of thing really bothers me. I highly recommend people beware of these kinds of cold calls and anything that sounds almost too good to be true.
The internet is the new place for scam artists to take advantage of people wanting to improve their odds of success.
This year, while I figure out how to do my SEO, might be a little slower than last year. No more taking cold calls from marketing companies. Maybe I’ll do the Google Adwords, but that even seems like a scam to me. There’s nothing like the hard work of tap, tap, tapping on a keyboard lots of new content filled with keywords.
Beware of Brandrep!
Oh, if anyone out there has used them and their sites, could you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me have a look at what they do?