A Cutting for Business reader recently emailed me saying that she paid a company $600 to submit her brand new website to “1000’s of search engines” and she was guaranteed first page Google results for her website. This reader was extremely upset about the services provided because she hasn’t seen results from multiple search engine traffic and the keyword that she ranks first on is useless. This reader asked me really nicely to share her story with other readers, as she doesn’t want to someone else to fall victim to scammers.
I’ve been involved with ecommerce for over a decade, so I’m happy to share my thoughts about this situation to hopefully prevent it from happening to another Silhouette business owner. First, these types of scams are really common. Next, overseas scammers tend to hunt down newer website owners or newer sellers to hustle their sales via email. Like email scams to your personal email accounts, these companies harvest email addresses and send emails full of promises that look appealing to business owners. After they collect a hefty payment, you may or may not need ever hear from them again.
When you start an online business, you’ll notice that you will get a lot of spam emails, Facebook messages, Instagram messages or comments, and phone calls. Today, I’ll tell you about the current spams and scams going around online.
Common Spam and Scams Currently Online
- Promises to get you listed on the first page of Google. These companies will get you listed on the first page of Google, but what they don’t tell you is that you may land on the first page for an obscure search term like “for sale pink birthday girl bodysuit with a cupcake embellishment made with heat transfer vinyl”. Since it is not realistic that many buyers actually search this phrase, this is of no use to your business.
- You don’t need to pay any search engine to get listed. Search engines automatically crawl the internet to find new websites and websites that have been updated since their last crawl.
- If the grammar or spelling in the email are poor, it will usually tip you off that the source is not legitimate.
- Promises to add your website to xyz amount of search engines and directories.
- You don’t need to pay any search engine to get listed. Search engines automatically crawl the internet all day and night to find new websites and look for changes to current websites. It may take a few days, but a search engine bot will find you.
- You don’t need to add your website to directories to get found. In the early days of the internet and websites, directories were a popular way to help your website be found. Now, most users find websites through search engines or social media.
Instagram and Facebook
- Direct messages requesting free products for review from bloggers or people wanting to become brand representatives. Bloggers and brand representatives are legitimate and can be used to help promote your brand and products, although not all requests may be from reputable sources.
- Legitimate bloggers will be able to tell you about their blog, other brands they have worked with, and their traffic statistics. Read more about working with bloggers in this post.
- Brand representatives are popular on Instagram and are people that you compensate with products or money to be a representative for your company. They use your products, take photos using or wearing your products and post them to their social media. You can read more about using brand reps in this post.
- Direct messages or comments from accounts wanting you to purchase followers are spam. It is always better to let your Instagram or Facebook following grow organically.
The old saying, “If it looks too good to be true – it probably is.” Both myself and a fellow Cutting for Business reader remind you to be careful with emails and social media offers and requests.