Caution: Yellow Pages fraud through proof sheets by email and PDF

The business directory in question has an estimated number of visitors of less than 100 per month. That's a joke in itself if it weren't so expensive.

For my customers in the area of ​​search engine optimization, I always carry out free yellow pages entries. As a rule, nobody looks up these business directories, but the links to the domains help a little so that the customer pages are better placed by Google in the search.

2 years industry entry for 1798 euros ???

Yes, you read that right. I'm used to the fact that some yellow pages want 100 euros for a permanent entry, but there are also a few business directory operators who are not satisfied with that and prefer to rip off customers.

Digi M… GmbH, based in Delaware (USA), calls up a total of 899 euros per month and obliges its “customers” directly with a 2-year contract, so that one comes to 1798 euros - net of course.

Business listing scam

At first glance, the PDF that is sent with it looks like a non-binding inquiry as to whether the data in the branch entry is correct. However, it is a disguised order for almost 2000 euros for one entry.

"Selling" through illegal spam emails

Now you can say that everyone is free to book what they want, because nobody has to buy a Maserati if they don't want one, but the way this company wins its customers is very questionable.

In this way, all possible companies are simply written to and received a "proof copy" as a PDF. Even if you've never entered them in the company's business directory, you'll get these spam emails. I strongly assume that you simply get the company's data from the imprint of domains that you can find online.

The bottom line is that this action is a cheek in itself, but the way in which you then get the job for the industry entry is particularly borderline.

The procedure of the classified directory fraudsters

As a company owner with some domains, I am on the company's radar myself and of course I also received one of your emails, so that I can report here first hand:

You receive an email asking you to look at and check the company data and then sign and return the "offer".

Dear Sir or Madam, Please check the information below to ensure that it is correct and, if necessary, correct or supplement your company-relevant data for the correct entry in our business directory and, if accepted, send the signed offer back to the fax number listed above.

At first glance, it sounds like just confirming that the data is so ok. Many company owners will skim the sheet, put their Klaus-Friedrich under it and fax it to the number mentioned.

What many will miss is this paragraph:

The registration fee for the business entry is € 899 net per year and the minimum term is two years.

By sending the sheet back, you have - in most cases unintentionally - booked a 2-year contract for a completely overpriced entry in the industry.

If you look at the small print, you can find out what the fun actually costs: 1798 euros for an entry in the industry that runs for 2 years. In a business directory that doesn't deserve its name.

If you look at the small print, you can find out what the fun actually costs: 1798 euros for an entry in the industry that runs for 2 years. In a business directory that doesn't deserve its name.

Meaningless industry entry without added value

Why overpriced? Because you will never win even one customer through this business directory. If you look at the domain of the business directory in the SEO tool ahrefs you can see that it has about 86 visitors per month and only ranks somewhere on page 1 with the term "business listing". This might give the operators new (stupid) customers, but none of the registered companies will win any customers.

The business directory in question has an estimated number of visitors of less than 100 per month. That's a joke in itself if it weren't so expensive.

The business directory in question has an estimated number of visitors of less than 100 per month. That's a joke in itself if it weren't so expensive.

Search engine optimization as a better choice

Anyone who actually wants to spend 1800 euros to generate new customers should find out more about search engine optimization. With this amount you can move much more in this direction and you even have more visitors in the long term.

If you have any questions about SEO, feel free to get in touch. I've been dealing with it for almost two decades and have already helped a number of companies on a small budget to get more customers.

As a little insider tip for SEO do-it-yourselfers, I can recommend two products that are definitely worth the money:

Both are only associated with one-off costs and ensure noticeably more visitors if you take the time to work off something from the lists.

The two links are affiliate links, but I bought both products myself and use them actively. You really are a recommendation.

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6 comments

  1. Heinz says:

    Well, scammers are being cheated here, I can somehow live with that ...!

    In addition, as a businessman you should know what an offer is and how an offer works ...

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      As a rule, companies that are not scammers are scammed here ... And the problem is that these emails are structured in such a way that they don't look like an offer. I find this business practice simply under the canon ...

  2. Heinz says:

    Companies are defrauded who try to gain an unlawful advantage in search engines with the help of such services in order to harm the competition and to take advantage of the customers!

    As a user of such a search engine, I don't get the best hit for my search, but the hit that has invested the most money in the "search engine optimization" of his website!

    And that it is an "offer" and that you accept an offer, including the price for this "service" is also in the letters!
    If you don't read this correctly out of sheer greed, it's your own fault!
    The HGB deliberately sets different requirements for the conclusion of contracts among "merchants" than those for private individuals in the BGB!

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      From my point of view, search engine optimization is just as much a form of advertising as looking for a good location as a business. Do you now want to accuse the shops that can afford a place in the pedestrian zone of fraud? And let's be honest: what is the "best match" for your search query? You should be able to read your minds ... if you think you only get the "best" companies shown in the search engine instead of those who book advertisements, you are - sorry - naive.

      And yet I don't think the cover letter from these yellow pages is okay. If only because I never asked for an offer from them. There are also unsolicited promotional emails in B2B businesses and this is definitely one of them.

      But we have different points of view ... it's ok too. Can you have ...

  3. Heinz says:

    In a pedestrian zone, to stick to your example, the shops can pay for the best location, which is also the most successful.
    If a "little dump" with a little bribe convinces the city council to give it the best place in the pedestrian zone without this "little dab" being able to present the expected offer, then this is comparable, and not OK!

    And apart from that, advertising in the search engine must be flagged!
    The "optimization" of the placement with such unfair means as the use of yellow pages (and thus senseless creation of backlinks) which, as you write yourself, has no other purpose than optimizing the hits (and collecting addresses for spam, fraud, etc. ), on the other hand, cannot be recognized by the searcher and is therefore regularly prohibited by the search engines!

    • Jens Kleinholz says:

      But you should actually start with Google and remove the backlinks completely from the evaluation. If only good content counted, people would focus on it ... but unfortunately - and I mean that honestly - you can still cheat your way to the top with the right cheap links from Russia or India. I would be the last one to mind if good content was rewarded. But this is currently not the case, which is why the meaningless articles by Chip and Computerbild are still listed before long blog articles by small bloggers, which certainly offer more helpful content than the big magazines.

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