The Digital Wild Wild West

Written by Carl Foisy

Most people know that the ‘WWW’ that precedes a url’s web address stands for World Wide Web. But unfortunately in a lot of people’s world, the ‘WWW’ stands for Wild Wild West. Even in this digital age, there is still so much vastly unknown by business owners of the Digital Wild Wild West. What we mean by this is that the World Wide Web is filled with people and companies that prey on and take advantage of those who ‘don’t know any better’ or are ‘web illiterate’….We don’t like it, and so we’re putting these unethical practices on blast.

Here are a few common ‘con-man tactics’ to look out for in the Digital Wild Wild West.

Domain Hijacking – This is when someone (could be an individual, a media company, a local chamber, etc.) registers and buys the domain (dot com etc.) of another business’s name. When a business owner does not own their own BusinessName.com or dot net etc, they do not own their digital web address. In some cases, domain hijackers will ask for back registration fees and potentially charge large purchase prices to transfer to the rightful owner. If you are in a domain hijacking situation, it’s not easy, but we can help you get out of it. We do things the right way.

Hosting Fees by Mail – For years, business owners have received letters in the mail from a generically named ‘Domain Registration’ company. The letter contains some ‘warning’ verbiage about losing the domain or hosting unless the form is completed and sent with payment. BUT in reality, the ‘fine print’ outlines that the completion of such form and payment leads to this ‘Domain Registration’ company owning your domain and hosting, effectively transferring the ownership from the business owner to this fraudulent outfit. Business owners should know that they do not renew their domain registration via regular mail. It will always be done digitally via a company like GoDaddy, and the registration companies will email you for renewals. Those that we work with understand the difference.

SEO, Directories, Reviews & Social – These four topics are important for most locally owned businesses and are important in the digital arena, and the scammers in the Digital Wild Wild West love to make very little work, look like a lot of work. For example, SEO isn’t something that is accomplished in a week or month. It encompasses dozens of variables and factors. Some firms will push the benefit of adding your business to hundreds of directories, but will not talk about who actually owns the listings…because it’s not the business owner. Even our business has received solicitations from companies pushing to stuff reviews about our business for a fee. As for social media con-people, it’s easy to farm off a social media account to some ‘$99-social’ generic, non-authentic cheap service while charging several hundreds of dollars monthly for doing little to no work. Due to the lack of understanding, business owners are getting fleeced by scum. And the scum that is screwing these businesses isn’t doing any good for our industry’s reputation. We provide solutions for these four topics, and unlike the others, we are the most transparent in educating and executing.

Buying Sponsored Ads – Businesses can be sold into the idea that buying ads will help drive revenue. While this may be true in the right conditions, most business owners aren’t in the right condition to buy ads. We believe in organically-grown sustainable marketing, and understand there are important steps to take before buying ads. BUT if a salesperson convinces a business owner to spend any amount of money on buying ads, and the business owner isn’t properly prepared, those ad dollars will be spent wastefully. The thing is, the salesperson only cares about their quota, and not so much about the overall success of the business. When we buy ads for those we work with, we do so with intention and we execute campaigns correctly.

If you are dealing with any of these issues, and are looking to get out of a bad situation, we can help. If you are unsure and are looking for a second opinion, we can help. If you have no idea where to start and found this article, we can help. Just call or CONTACT US.