Legit? Scam? Beware.


Note: I’ve edited this and corrected the url. Apologies to mylocal.com which is still undergoing site changes.

This posting is for PR folks and others responsible for advertising.

I got a call yesterday from a sales rep selling listings on www.local.com. The woman, who had a heavy accent, read from a script and couldn’t veer from it, which always makes me suspicious. I asked for the site address, which she gave me. I visited it while I answered more questions.

The first red flag popped up when she said I needed to give her the last four digits of my social security number or my birth date. This was for my personal security code to get on the page, or whatever. . . .

“You need this for what?”

She read the script again. I played along and gave her my birth date, day and month.

When she finished she said she had to put her supervisor on.

The big red flag rose. It’s happened to me before.

The first time was a few decades ago when I was out of work and my wife was pregnant. I answered an ad, found myself in a seedy motel conference room with an equally seedy guy telling all of us down-and-out suckers how we could make a million dollars selling fire alarms. All we had to do was get into a family’s home and show a video of a fire that killed the family’s children.

Then Diamond Jim walked out wearing a thousand dollar suit, rings polished to glint in the overhead lights and movie star white teeth. He told us that he had a yacht, a sports car and took vacations around the world and we could too. All we had to do was sell fire alarms (playing to the most elemental fear of all parents) and move up in the organization.

Capitalism at its most brutish.

Back to www.local.com The second woman, the supervisor, asked me more questions and mentioned in passing that we would get a free 30 day listing in a prominent spot on the page. If we didn’t contact them within the 30-day grace period we’d be added to their site for $49.95 a month.

I stopped her there and said I wasn’t trying anything that automatically subscribes me if I don’t contact them. I also told her I thought the site was shallow and of not much use.

And I hung up.

I sent a warning message to our town chamber members to give them a heads up.

http://www.local.com models itself after Yellowbook. I suppose it’s legit but it’s of little use to local or regional advertisers unless I’m missing something in the bigger picture. You get your phone number and address listed for $50 a month on a site that offers nothing else but the weather. That’s it.

I’m wary of this one. If you’re not responsible for advertising, pass this on to the folks who are.

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50 responses to “Legit? Scam? Beware.

  1. I know in Australia there is a mylocal site that seems to be a part of ninemsn.com.au and it is legit.

    Even if this was legitimate i would still not trust a business that has that terrible a phone sales person it does not bode well for a business as a whole!

    Howard – http://salespro.wordpress.com/

  2. note that although you changed the http://www.local.com in the text, the link is still pointing to http://www.mylocal.com. you need to correct the url.

  3. Just got off the phone with ‘local.com;’ after already being scammed by yellowbook, this sounded extremely familiar. Both reps from local.com could not explain how any person going online would be directed to there specific website. It is most definitely a scam, as is yellowbook of which I am locked into with a contract for 12 months to advertise on a website that does nothing except to collect money from business owners.

    Local.com is a complete fraud, there is no reason to talk to these people when they call, hang up the phone. They can’t answer your questions because they are a scripted scam to entice business owners with cheap advertising. Google/yahoo/etc do not direct searchs towards ‘local.com;’ it exists within itself and thus is a complete waste of money.

    Ask the reps how any human being would be directed to there website? They do not have an answer.

    Ethan
    Retrovideo,
    Tempe, AZ

  4. Thanks for all this info.
    One of my Client called me, that he wants to sign up for Local.com service. So I did my research and found this blog!

    Thanks,
    Monika
    http://www.turekdesign.com

  5. You’re so kind about local.com. No legitimate business resorts to such “cheap” methods as confusing people and misrepresenting information. Why even talk to people that talk like robots? (I know they are people trying to make a living, but still…) I keep getting spam from local.com and I am just verifying their status. So thanks for posting!

  6. I just found the website that you can have a FREE ebillboard for your business. just go to seekshallfind.com

  7. Our office receives these calls on a DAILY basis, 3 and four times PER DAY!! I never answer their questions and always tell them to remove our info from their listings but we always seems to get more calls the followinf day. Total scam.

  8. Thank for the info I think it saved me a mistake

  9. That is great stuff, I had never heard of that outlet before, thanks for posting!

    marketmpb.blogspot.com

  10. leanerstronger

    Good looking out. I was about to list on the site.

  11. so good page… thanks admin.

  12. There is a company that does very quality work with one of their main objectives being, to get a company up and running on the 1st and 2nd pages of search engines such as Google, Yahoo and many more within 48 hours. Incredible product at an incredible price.
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  13. This is a definite scam. Our church was offered the 30 day free web promo spot. Then, a $49.95 appeared on our phone bill each month. The church secretary did not notice the charge and we’ve paid at least $450 in charges! Apparently, we were supposed to call after 30 days and cancel charges. This was NOT MADE CLEAR, or we would not have agreed to it, of course. I called to cancel the automatic charges which appear as “ILD Teleservices Long Distance Calls” on our phone bill. Check your phone bills everyone and make sure you don’t have any charges from this company.

  14. File a Scam, Fraud and Ripoffs Online Report. File this complaint now, report any of their activity at http://www.scamchecker.com before it’s too late my friend, care for others, and let the whole world know. Report now and ScamChecker will take the distributions on press releases and media.

  15. My husband signed up with local.com for a premium listing for $49.95 a month on the local.com website. He filled in all of the information for an upgraded “enhanced” profile for our business.

    After our account was set up I did a search on local.com using the keyword “alterations” for my business. My premium listing did NOT show up in the listings.

    I then typed in my business name on local.com and did a search. Still, all of my competitors with free listings came up, but my profile page was no where to be found.

    After digging through 49 pages of listings using the search term “alterations” my business profile for “touch of class alterations” could not be found.

    I informed my husband and he called into local.com and spoke to a sales representative.

    He thought it was peculiar that all calls were routed to the sales department when the website listing a toll-free number labeled “Representative” at (888) 857-6722

    He talked to a representative and explained the situation about the listing not showing up…. The gentleman told him the listing was eographical and that he should upgrade to a “premium county listing”

    My husband told him he wasn’t going to upgrade anything and in fact wanted a credit for the $49.95 if the premium listing wasn’t showing up and presented by the website….

    He also told the sales rep that until he verified our listing was listed in the first place (after paying $49.95) he would not be upgrading anything…

    The representative stated he could not make changes to his account and that he would need to speak to customer service. He said he would transfer him.

    He then told my husband that the customer service department was overloaded with calls that day, so if he was on hold too long, he should call back the following day…

    My husband called back the following day and was sent to a voicemail system and couldnt get through. So he left a message.

    He then called back the next week and talked to “Will” another salesperson in the sales department.

    He told will with that he signed up on the website for a premium listing the week prior and that our listing was supposed to be placed in the top of the local.com search results within the city of phoenix az.

    He also explained to Will… that we couldn’t find a back link to our business profile page on Google from the local.com website.

    Will explained that local.com listings were placed by zip code within a 10 mile radius from the center of each city, not from where an internet user on their site is searching from.

    Since our location that is in nw phoenix would be farther away than 10 miles from the central phoenix location that the local.com site uses for their search feature, our site wasn’t working properly and we would need to get once again purchase a county listing…

    Will further explained that since all listings on the site have a 10 mile radius “limit” in terms of exposure, it would really help our business get more local traffic if we were listed in the entire county for potential customers to find our listing.

    This fact was NOT explained when my husband signed up on the local.com website. When he signed up and set the categories for our business listing just weeks before…He could only find two categories to list our business under.

    The signup process was extremely vague and consisted of putting in business information and searching for categories and sub categories within drop down menus…

    My husband had to type in keywords in order to “search” for the most relevant categories to list our business in. He found this stage of the sign up process on local.com extremely vague and misleading.

    I later discovered that our business could be listed in up to 6 categories on the site…

    But this undisclosed fact was immaterial, since NONE of the listings on local.com get indexed in search engines like Google and Yahoo anyway without additional paid sponsored link advertising.

    The only way businesses can get traffic to their listing on local.com is by paying a minimum of $199 a month with local.com for Google & Yahoo PPC (pay per click) sponsored link advertising with a three month minimum advertising contract.

    This should be a warning flag to ALL businesses that local.com is yet another “directory scam” targeting local businesses on a nationwide level.

    They basically call businesses to verify their information for a free business listing on their credible looking website. Once a business signs up for the listing they are told they can enjoy all of the traffic the free listing generates for one month and after their credit card will be billed $49.95 a month…

    Directory scams are nothing new, in fact the attorney general of the united states has repeatedly warned of how this scam is being investigated more and more. Repeated warnings have been placed on the DOJ website and AG websites around the US.

    Keep in mind I didn’t receive a phone call from a telemarketer with a bad accent that tried to “collect” information for a free listing on local.com as is the case with millions of businesses that fall for the directory listing scam.

    Local.com has 16 million business listing most of which are unpaid listings which make the site appear more credible to potential paid advertisers.

    In my case, my husband actually found the website doing SEO research and made the mistake of believing it was actually a credible local search engine.

    Back to his conversation with Will…

    He then reminded “Will” that we had a Premium listing that should have placed our business in the top of search results on local.com

    He furthers stated that most businesses that purchase a listing on local.com believe that their listing will show up in Google as an indexed page, when in fact, local.com listings do NOT get indexed in Google or Yahoo.com

    The fact that local.com listings do not show up on search engine result pages (SERP’s) is a big indicator of the authority of their site… or lack thereof…

    If Google doesn’t lend much credibility to local.com… nor should any business.

    Will then stated as the sales rep the week prior that we needed to upgrade our listing to a “county” listing for Maricopa county where we live…

    This is order to get more exposure for the total metropolitan area, instead of just a 10 mile radius…

    The cost for the upgraded County” listing is $100 a month instead of $49.95 a month.

    My husband stated that we wanted to speak to someone in customer service about canceling the listing, because we didn’t receive any exposure from local.com and couldn’t even find our listing.

    He also stated he would not upgrade to a more expensive plan when the premium listing didn’t show up in Google or in the local.com search results in the first place!

    Will told my husband that he was in the sales department and would transfer him to an “open line” in customer service.

    After being transferred, my husband spoke with a lady that tried to help him. She explained that she would check into why the listing wasn’t appearing and also mentioned that there were additional categories where the listing could be placed.

    My husband explained that unless the listing appeared correctly in the first place he would not be interested. But the customer service rep stated that they would add up to six categories at no additional charge.

    She also stated that the changes to fix the problem would take 24-48 hours and that the listing may take up to two weeks to appear in the search engines.

    My husband then decided to inquire about whether any credit could be given since the listing was not appearing correctly. The agent said she could transfer him back to the sales department where they might be able to offer a discount on the higher exposure “county listing” which would surely get our business in the top results of the local.com page in the entire phoenix area.

    Since at this point my husband still believed local.com was a legitimate venue to advertise our business, he reluctantly agreed to at least speak with the sales department once again to find out if there would be a discount or incentive to get our business at the top of the local.com search results.

    He was transferred and spoke this time to another sales agent. The agent listened to him explain the fact that the listing was not showing properly and that Google didnt even index the premium local.com business listing
    that we purchased.

    He stated that local.com had over a billion page views from google and that he could upgrade the listing to the county level for $179 a month instead of the regular $199 a month.

    My husband stated this we already advertise on Dex.com and several of the top wedding related websites on the internet and that none of them were as expensive as local.com

    The sales rep explained that our business would be advertised as a sponsored link in google and yahoo search engines.

    He inquired about how many clicks our business would receive from an sponsored link campaign and the actual cost per click based on the $179 a month fee…

    He was told they couldnt provide how much the cost per click would average to or any guarantee of how many clicks would result in visits to our business listing on local.com

    My husband stated that the price was too high compared to other legitimate website we currently advertise our business on and that he already did PPC sponsored advertising on Google and was well versed with it…

    The rep next stated he could leave out the sponsored link advertising and just upgrade the exposure to the county level for $100 a month.

    Before my husband could respond, he stated ” do you want to use a visa mastercard etc…. for the $50 additional today?

    My husband stated he was not impressed with the service and the fact that every time he called he would need to wait 24 hours to get any kind of resolution to the fact that our business listing still wasnt displaying in the top of local.com results.

    The rep then said that “were not perfect” but we do take of our customers and that he would get back to my husband within 24 hours to get the listing fixed and to further discuss an upgrade to our listing.

    My husband told me that from the beginning of the call with the last sales rep, he felt that the he was talking to a robot that had no emotion and plenty of excuses that to defend local.com

    While not being rude, the tone of voice that was not friendly and attempted to intimidate by asserting that the local.com service was of tremendous value and that my husband would be crazy not do purchase the upgrade.

    My husband again stated he would not purchase anything until he saw our listing was properly placed in the local.com site and the search engines.

    After hanging up my husband ended doing a background search on local.com and found many complaints online. He was really surprised at himself for falling for something so easily and being gullible.

    Even with his expertise in internet marketing and search engine optimization, my husband had accepted the local.com website without doing his usual check for page rank and other SEO related inquiries

    Once he had called the company several times and repeatedly noticed the sales department answering and the continuous “give us 24 hours or call back in 24 hours statements” he started to feel that the company was basically a boiler room selling a service that flat out doesn’t provide the exposure it alleges will work for businesses.

    My husband also noticed during the two weeks we had the service that our business listing was not found using Yahoo Site Explorer or any of his SEO tools to verify our listing was in fact listed in search engines.

    My husband knew something was fishy in the first two weeks when he couldnt find a trace of our link to our site from local.com anywhere in the search engines.

    He thought maybe it was taking a little longer to get indexed. He called and called again and always got the runaround and repeated attempts for an “upsell” to solve the problem.

    By definition, this activity is a ruse and artifice to get business owners hard earned money for a service that does NOTHING to benefit their business.

    The only way internet users find local.com is if they happen to click on a sponsored link on the top or right side of a google page.

    Once an internet user finds the local.com page thru a sponsored (paid) link
    they are directed to the directory listings for all oftheir competitors too…
    That kind of exposure is hardly worth $199 a month.

    A business would be better of paying $1 a click with Google directly for actual clicks directly to their respective website, than using a scam like local.com

    In the end we are waiting for a refund of the $49.95 and disputing the charge as a quality of service chargeback with our credit card company.

    The facts speak for themselves.

    1. Local.com misrepresents their local directory as a top leading search engine for local communities when they arent even indexed in google.

    2. Local.com sells expensive PPC advertising (sponsored links) to increase its own visibility using it’s clients money ($199 a month or more)

    3. Local.com repeatedly attempts to mislead customers with its undisclosed “10 mile radius” search limitation which causes unsuspecting business owners to purchase more advertising on a directory that is in fact misrepresented and hardly worthwhile.

    4. Local.com sales reps use intimidation and exaggeration to imply that local.com is more beneficial than it is. (billions of page views implies search engine performance when in reality a views come from PPC not organic listings)

    5. Local.com prices for premium listing at $49.95 a month is a rip-off when the fact that these listing do NOT get indexed in Google is proven.

    6. Local.com lures many businesses in each year with “free enhanced listings” yet our business had to pay $49.95 just to get a link to our website, which was never indexed in Google anyway. This is price fixing where one customer gets a link to their and another pays for the link with a premium listing that includes only a few more features and neither listings get indexed in Google anyway.

    Our site for example is http://www.touchofclassalterations.com

    If this blog post helps people to avoid local.com this post will have served its purpose.

    I think a REAL backlink to our site from this blog is a perfect example of how a site back link should work.

    If you take the time to put a useful business listing, article, blog or forum post that is relevant and original, Google notices.

    Your site or listing should always be indexed by Google or its worthless.
    Business owners should avoid directory scams where they are basically purchasing a worthless link to their website that never gets indexed.

    Hopefully the moderator of this blog will allow our link in this post to stand as we have taken the time to share a relevant and true story about local.com on this blog.

    It is our sincere desire to help other businesses avoid the misleading practices of local.com

    thank you

  16. Thanks to all for posting these comments. Someone from local.com has been calling me consistently for over a week. I’ve avoided speaking to them because it seemed fishy from the moment I heard their recorded voice message. I will tell the guy to take me off their call list next time he calls. I’m glad I successfully avoided this scam.

  17. i noticed they pulled up in a search for my category of business, so i signed up for the free listing. I was then told to call in to confirm the listing, and figured it was their way to up-sell me to a pay account. I was right, they wanted $150 for a premium listing, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. I was trying to be nice in refusing because i wanted the free listing. The next day or two I got an email saying i was DENIED the free listing. I called in and asked why, and the rep said he didn’t know why i was refused, and he approved it on the spot. I saw my account go from “pending” to “approved” while i was on the phone with him. Not 30 seconds after i hung up the status went back to pending. So i called right back and got the same guy and he said “oh i’m sorry, here it’s done now.” well the next day the status went back to “pending”. ugh
    they seem to resent you for not paying for their service and won’t give me a free listing.
    Today i got a call from “yellowbook.com” and they had a premium listing for $5 per month plus .25 per SEARCH. I was irritated that i paid .25 even if they didn’t click on me, but she sold me that they would if I was “first” so i was willing to try the service cuz i need JOBS. well she later asked my birthday, and I figured it was ok to give it to her, along with my credit card. Now after reading this blog i’m freaking out and think i may have been duped. I canceled my card but hope i don’t have any credit report activity.

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