(Before you get to the post, if you’re consider hiring Yodle Law, give us a call first for a free local search consultation 646-794-4285).
Death, Taxes and Yodle…
If you run a small law firm, you’ve heard from Yodle, many, many times. Their sales team is straight off the set of Boiler Room. They call and call and call some more, especially if you ask them not to. That’s when the calls really start to roll in.
I’ve made the mistake of thinking that I’d gained a coveted spot on the Yodle do not call list on several occasions, only to have my Yodle free phone lines polluted once again by someone calling from Yodle. I’ve thought about writing my Congressman asking that the FDCPA be amended to prevent Yodle sales calls. I even met a Yodle sales rep at the American Bankruptcy Institute spring meeting last year, shared a beer or two, and was promised that no one from Yodle would call my ass anymore. Felt like I had just been given Rose Bowl tickets. It didn’t last.
Death, taxes and Yodle. That’s just the way it is.
Lawyerist founder Sam Glover recently chastised Yodle for its gloves off sales tactics and general rudeness (admirable considering they advertise on his site). While Sam did an adequate job of calling out a company so many of us dislike, I have uncovered a tactic that is far worse than annoying sales calls.
Full disclosure: I am the founder of a legal marketing website for bankruptcy lawyers, called the National Bankruptcy Forum. My duties occasionally involve sales calls to bankruptcy law firms. I stumbled across this expose while recruiting a law firm to fill my Charlotte advertising territory.
Here are the facts.
Yodle is currently working with at least two bankruptcy firms in the Charlotte market, performing local SEO services for both simultaneously. The Marsh Law Firm, as well as a firm we’ll call BK Firm X (BK Firm X asked not to be named in this story), hired Yodle to help them get “to the top” of Charlotte based bankruptcy SERPs. Both firms are relatively new to the market and appear well below more established competition in the search results for Charlotte bankruptcy attorneys. They hired Yodle because they were promised first page rankings within three months or the services were free.
When I first spoke to the Marsh firm, they had been with Yodle for three months. They don’t appear anywhere in the top 20-30 search results for any Charlotte bankruptcy searches. The domain Yodle built for them, www.bankruptcyattorneycharlotte.net has a domain authority of 1 in Open Site Explorer. The site has no links. It’s dead. To add insult to injury, the Marsh firm told me that they continued to receive sales calls from Yodle even after they signed up!
Harry Marsh said he gets calls from his Yodle campaign, but they’re for paternity testing, not bankruptcy. Apparently, there is a glitch with his phone number that routes baby mama drama calls to his law office, in droves. OMG.
Now to BK Firm X. Same stats as their competitor Marsh, no domain authority, no web presence and identical domain.
Wait, what? Identical domain? Yup.
Like they did for the Marsh firm, Yodle also built a new domain for BK Firm X. The URL is identical to the Marsh firm’s except for one thing: the letter S.
For the Marsh firm, Yodle built www.bankruptcyattorneycharlotte.net. For BK Firm X, they built www.bankruptcyattorneyscharlotte.net. Keep in mind, they are currently working with both firms, who practice in the same bankruptcy court, on SEO campaigns targeting identical search terms. The ethics of this can be debated on another day, but the use of identical URLs is beyond the pale.
According to the Yodle website, they help businesses “build their web presence.”
We start by building you a high-quality website that launches within 24 hours. Our creative professionals design websites that look and feel like expensive, custom sites – but at a very affordable price
This is the type of crap that gives SEO firms a bad name and makes it hard for real search marketers to convince business owners that they provide value. I’ve reviewed both the Marsh and Layton sites and haven’t seen anything I would describe as “high quality.”
Instead, I see grounds for a full refund and swift apology.