Ripoff Directories, An Ongoing SEO Conundrum
For me getting ripped off is something that I simply will not tolerate. Fortunately, aside from a few slimy individuals my life has been largely devoid of ripoff artists and con men. Recently, however, I was once again hit by what appears to be a fabulous little small time con in the form of paid directories. As an SEO I’m familiar with directories, and most of you that are a little long in the tooth (by internet terms at least) are likely familiar with the likes of Dmoz and the Yahoo Web Directory. Back when Abraham Lincoln was president these sorts of sites were a valuable way to find information.
More than anything these days I think the only real people who use directories are SEOs, and our main purpose is to get our sites links. Most of these of course have no value, and I usually ignore them. However, there are some exceptions, like the aforementioned Yahoo Web Directory, DMoz, Joe Ant and Best of the Web. These sites are human edited and some charge a fee, but the links can be valuable and in some instances can actually be a good value. Aside from the heavy hitters, there are definitely some good industry specific directories when it comes to links. The Abacus Construction Index for example is a high quality directory if you have a site in the construction industry.
Recently I discovered that an orthopedic manufacturing client of mine (who shall remain nameless) had competitors listed on an industry directory called orthopaedicweblinks.com (no I will not give them a link, please copy and paste if you care to view their site).
The site offered a “featured listing” for a recurring fee of $24.00 annually , but considering the site had good juice and it seemed to be one of the better links our clients’ competitors had obtained, we figured we’d pay the fee and get the link posted in an express fashion (RESULTS NOW!). Well, a month and a half later there’s no link, but that Paypal payment definitely went through. I’ve sent multiple emails asking for a refund or the link to go live and haven’t heard a thing in response. I can only imagine there’s some lazy slug on the other end who just let’s these things slide until they decide to approve a few listings between naps or worse, no longer updates the site at all and just collects fees from anyone who is willing to plop some money down and not check to see if their link has gone live. Hey, at the end of the day it’s just a few bucks, it’s not like we pulled the big dirty or anything…who’s gonna raise a stink over a few bucks?
Well, my client could use that link, and the time spent filling out the overly long form and writing this blog post is a waste. And more than a few people are putting dollars into someone’s pockets and that, friends, is a shame. Not many courses of recourse aside from canceling future fees and publicizing this whenver it bugs me (here’s to you Chris Kyalo, another internet thief. By the way, how fun is it to see my blog about you being a ripoff when you Google your name?).
Orthopaedic Weblinks, definitely a site to avoid. If you’ve worked with them in the past I would recommend you cancel your recurring payments. If the webmaster is too lazy to post new paid links from people who want the service, I can’t image they would make the effort to take links down, so why waste your money?
/end angry rant. I’m actually an exceedingly laid back person, but things like this just rub me the wrong way. In truth, you really probably shouldn’t be paying for directories without vetting them a little bit, though that might be difficult at times. SEOmoz once had a good list of directories, though I don’t know if it still exists and can’t find it at the moment, and Directory Critic can also provide some good insights if you’re questioning quality. Either way, be careful before you drop dollars.
- Web directory basics and why they are important (knockindownasps.com)
- The Risky Business of Link Directories (hubspot.com)