Talk to the handSo I’ve been hounded since this past summer by both SEO companies and companies that want to “sell me leads”.

I received both a phone call and an email today from such a company. When I googled them I found this page which is a complaint board for questionable businesses. In the event that you don’t want to click on it I’ve posted my comments that I left on the page at the bottom of this post.

They were not the worst that I’ve dealt with – by far. This summer I received a call from a dude that told me his company would fill the first results page of Google with my website and only my listings whenever anyone searched for photography and Pittsburgh. He had me search for a tanning salon in California that he said they did so for. So basically I pay them an arm and a leg and they eliminate any competition in the photography field from the first few pages of Google.

I explained to him that the photo community is fraternal. We may compete for customers and there may be a plethora of shooters in Pittsburgh but I could call up about 200 of my fellow photographers here in Pittsburgh and ask them to borrow a lens or a flash and they’d gladly let me borrow it even if I had beat that person out for the job.

After realizing that I was not going to go for his pitch he began to threaten me. If I wasn’t going to pay for it he’d find someone else who will and that means that I’ll never find another job to shoot ever again (never mind the fact that less than 10% of my leads, and maybe 2% of my clients come from people finding me via a search engine). Could I do better SEO? Probably. Should I? Maybe. Am I going to pay someone else to do it? NO. I know enough that I can do so myself. The fact that I’ve written Pittsburgh and photography so many times in this post alone may lead to me jumping up a few pegs in the search results. In the end though – I find most of my work via word-of-mouth and that’s something that few people can do FOR you, if you’re not going to do it yourself as well.

As far as generating leads for me – these companies also don’t seem to do much “active lead generating” they set up a website and use what? That’s right SEO to get to the top of results and list a ton of companies. They then charge you when someone clicks on you.

The last time I checked Google Adwords start at $0.01 per click. These other companies want to charge you $10 for a service that is not anywhere near as good because they only list you on their own site(s) – and not on all the pages that Google can list you on.

This isn’t even my biggest complaint about them. I’m about to tell you what my biggest complaint is about them.

I'm flush with reasons to ignore these companies My biggest complaint is that they are offering a service that YOU DON’T NEED! If you can’t find leads yourself you’re not going to stay in business. This is fundamental to your business – if you can’t find people to pay for what you’re selling your not going to last long so don’t trust finding leads to just anyone.

The other thing that really bothers me – besides the fact that these are worthless companies is that they offer very low wage jobs to people who just need a paycheck. These people don’t care about your business – they care about making enough to buy another pack of smokes, put gas in their car, and pay their cell phone bill. If you go out of business they won’t care one bit. Are those the people you want working to generate sales for you?

That’s enough bitching – I’ve got to go out and find people that want what I’m selling which I happen to be fairly good at.

Here was my comment:

I got both an unsolicited call and email from these folks today. They are both now in my spam folder (got to love Google Voice). Why are they marked as spam? It was unsolicited, the person leaving both messages had the attitude that I wanted to, nay, NEEDED to hear from them, and because what they are offering is as worthless.
The messages belong in the same folder as those emails telling me how much women want their men to produce gallons of more seminal fluids during sex. They both are laughable, presume to be from “experts” who may very well be (but who cares), and they are driven only by a desire to take money from your pocket.
When I googled them this page came up just below their listing. I’ve been hounded lately by these types of companies and by SEO companies. Most of them are legit but even those are hiring people at low wages that are just there for a pay check – they don’t know what they are doing and don’t care about the job.
Why would I trust even the smallest part of my businesses future to these folks?
What kind of business person would I be if I can’t find any customers on my own?
If you own or work for a company like this why not do something productive with your abilities like sell tangible goods or worthwhile services? There are far too many companies like this in the US and they are just phantoms. They’re companies that exist purely to make money off of the work that businesses should be doing themselves or otherwise should not be in business.