Marketing Scams Targeting Small Businesses are On the Rise as We Begin 2021in Marketing 345, Marketing Fundamentals, web forms
People are banking on fear and uncertainty
Scamming business owners are nothing new but we're seeing a rise of scams targeting small businesses via email, website forms, phone calls and even direct mail.
Domain Renewal Scam
this is an oldie-but-goodie and often looks very official. We've received direct mail solicitations to renew our domain by opportunistic registrars and people trying to hijack a domain so they can hold it ransom.
While your domain may be up for renewal the notice will come from your current registrar such as GoDaddy, enom, Google Domains or many others.
Not only are these messages trying to get you to move your domain to them by approving them as your registrar the price is usually quite high from $49/yr to $79/yr or more.
Google Domains is $12/yr and includes private registration and easy-to-use domain management tools which makes it our recommended option for small businesses while CloudFlare offers zero-markup domains for the lowest possible price however it's not quite as user friendly for less technical people.
If you're looking for a new domain, be sure to avoid these 6-common mistakes when picking a domain.
Google My Business and Google Listings Scam
Phone calls representing that they're from or with Google and want to ensure your Google My Business profile is setup correctly are a common occurrence - you probably have received a few and may even have a voicemail from them.
These sounds official and ensuring Google My Business is setup and accurate is important which is why you can manage your Google My Business profile for free with Locable however these phone calls are disingenuous sales calls.
Google had a lawsuit against one such company and, when one called us, we answered and inquired as to who they were. The operator said, "We're Google... well, we're a Google partner." - starting with a lie isn't the best way to start a dialogue.
If you're unsure if it's real, historically Google will ONLY call you if you request a call for instance to confirm your Google My Business account.
Guarantee #1 on Google Scam
This is a little different from the other two in that it's a promise vs an actual scam but it's also scammy.
Moz, one of the top voices on Search Engine Optimization, wrote a lengthy post about why good SEO businesses don't make guarantees.
Long story short, there are too many moving pieces and the guarantees are often a bit of bait-and-switch where they place ads on your behalf - paying to have your ad appear is not SEO it's SEM - Search Engine Marketing and largely pay-to-play.
A good SEO company should be able to explain in easy-to-understand terms that a business owner can understand what they will do for you and why.