We’ve all been victims of FUD — fear, uncertainty, and doubt. It’s a shady tactic and one that we hope most people see through. This post was originally published in 2010. It’s now seven years later we still get a handful of emails each month from people who got scammed by Yellow Pages.
Often, those people are asking for us to put them in touch with other people who have commented on this post, so they can try to get a lawsuit going. In addition to selling services that are basically useless because they are expensive and provide little to zero value in terms of ROI, Yellow Pages now tricks the people they call into agreeing to contracts. These people are shocked when they receive bills from Yellow Pages for hundreds or thousands of dollars, and when they call the YP customer service line, they are told there is nothing to be done because they said yes during a phone call with their rep.
No matter how small your business is, it’s too big to waste time on Yellow Pages.
Even if you can’t afford to work with us, get in touch and we’ll make sure you get set up with someone trustworthy who can help you grow your business. There is never a good enough reason to say anything other than “do not call this number again” when a YP rep calls you.
About once a year, towards the beginning of the summer, the Yellow Pages rep comes calling to some of our clients. Some may have been advertising with the Yellow Pages for years and are seeing less and less of a return on their (rather significant) investment. They’re thinking about having a smaller ad, or no ad at all. Yellow Pages does not release demographic statistics, but it’s common knowledge that consumers 30 and younger generally search online or ask their friends for business recommendations.
Seven years ago, those reps were still trying to talk people into print ads — now (and for a few years now) they are pushing them towards terrible online advertising options and even more terrible Yellow Pages websites.
The Yellow Pages reps always tell people the same old BS stories, but they’re getting more insistent as they become more and more desperate. Their FUD runs along these lines:
1. We are the only authorized Google AdWords reseller in Canada.
There’s two parts to this. First, it implies that being a Google AdWords reseller is better than a consultant who works with AdWords. That’s absolutely not true. You do not receive better rates by working with a reseller — if anything, it costs more and they provide you with less reporting. Secondly, they are not the only authorized Google AdWords reseller in Canada.
2. Having a listing on the Yellow Pages will improve your rank on Google.
No, not true. But a lie the reps always tell. Check out a Yellow Pages listing. You’ll see that the link to the website is actually something like http://www.yellowpages.ca/gourl/http://www.yourcompany.com — that means that the link actually is a redirect from the Yellow Pages site, not a true link to your site. It may pass along some link value, but it’s of very low value.
3. The Yellow Pages website gets more traffic than Google!
Absolutely not. The below chart (from Alexa, a well-regarded provider of competitive website statistics) will paint the real picture. We’ve included canpages.ca for comparison purposes.
4. We have special ways of making your site show up on Google — no one else can do that.
They’re talking about pay-per-click advertising here. They’re just using the local business options available to any AdWords advertiser. Nothing secret there, just knowing what boxes to click.
And the worst one of all…
5. If you cancel your ad with us, your ranking will go down on Google.
An absolute lie. Ask them for proof — how will this happen? Ask for specific examples. In our experience, we have not seen any detrimental ranking effects when a client has canceled or downgraded their Yellow Pages listing. If anything, they can improve their reach because of the money they saved!
We discussed this issue on Twitter back in 2010, and if the folks at Yellow Pages even noticed, they never said anything. If Yellow Pages was as web-savvy as they claim, they would have picked up on the Twitter mentions by now and gotten in touch.