Buyer Beware: Local Directory Listings Give Business Owners the Runaround – JERKS!!!Local directory listings: You can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them. Older and more established than just about any other online marketing platform, we can trace the local directory listings back to their more low-tech ancestor, the phone book listing. The hard-copy Yellow Pages have largely been replaced by Internet-based variants like Yext.com and YellowPages.com, and these local directory listings remain coveted among many business owners—but watch out: The treatment that these (and many others) sites give to business owners is nothing short of shocking, and ought give any business owner pause before perusing these sites further.
Pushy Treatment from Disrespectful Sales People
In the minds of many business owners, local directory listings are essential for establishing online visibility—and they are not entirely wrong. We’ll address some of the minor virtues of these directories a bit later. For now, though, a few words of caution are in order for those who are considering the use of local directory listings.
Buyer Beware: Local Directory Listings Give Business Owners the Runaround …When you sign up for a listing with Yext.com or YellowPages.com (or many times just on sites that have nothing to do with them!), you almost have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re going to be treated very badly by a company that simply does not value its client relationships, in any way, shape, or form. This may sound harsh, but it is the simple truth with regard to so many of these companies, including the two specific ones listed here. These are not companies where the customer is always right, where your privacy is respected, or where you will ever receive honest and straightforward answers to your inquiries.
Instead, local directory listings like these are owned and operated by pushy, overly aggressive sales people who will hound you, soliciting their services and all but threatening you should you choose to turn them down. To hear these sales people tell it, the refusal to pay top dollar for a premium listing is essentially suicide for your company. And make no mistake: You will hear this plenty, as these sales people phone you around the clock, no matter how many times you ask them to leave you in peace.
What the Reviews Say
Buyer Beware: Local Directory Listings Give Business Owners the Runaround – JERKS!!!Lest you think any of these comments exaggerated, take a moment to consider some of the online reviews that these local directory listings have received. These reviews make it clear that the problem with these despicable sales reps is pervasive.
Reviewing for Yelp, one unhappy Yext.com customers says: “I ran my friend’s business through their site, inputted his phone number, and got a good idea where he was already listed. However, these jerks haven’t stopped calling since then! And they are complete assholes on the phone too.” (editor’s note: I guess he was called Max because that’s the description of the guys that I was talking to)
Another: “Even though I never signed up for anything I have been emailed or called by at least 4 different advertising representatives. Each one I have told to please not contact me further and to put me on their no-contact list. The last caller got in an argument with me and said she had no control over other ad representatives contacting me. “
It’s an exhaustive litany of one-star reviews and scathing feedback—and the reviews for YP.com are not much better. The question, then, is why any business owner would waste time with these local directory listings.
Lies and Misinformation
To hear these site representatives tell it, of course, you simply cannot expect to gain any kind of online prominence or prestige without paying an arm and a leg for a premium listing. And this brings us to another grievous sin of these online listing sites: Not only are they pushy, but they flat-out lie to you.
It’s not that online directory listings are unimportant, or that they are not often helpful. They are actually quite useful for businesses, as they provide an easy way to boost search engine visibility and rankings. With that said, local directory listings represent one tool in the marketer’s toolbox—and to say that they are make-or-break is simply misleading.
The truth is that there are plenty of ways to gain online visibility for your brand. Online directory listings represent one way, but these listings do not work as a substitute for content marketing, business blogging, video marketing, social media engagement, and the other strategies that help businesses stand out. That so many of these online directory sites make themselves out to be the be-all and end-all of online marketing is, frankly, another major strike against them.
Images by: istolethetv, D Hancock
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