Caveat Emptor is a slogan used all too often. It is true that a fool and his money will be easily parted, but it is doubly sad to see a well respected company, suddenly open up a scheme that is more than a little crooked. It is both my sad duty and heavy responsibility to report a scheme being run by Yelldirect, a branch off the popular Yell and Yellow Pages brands which is designed to fleece less web savvy entrepreneurs of their hard earned cash.
Yell is a respectable business directory, that even your SEO consultant will say can benefit your websites profile and traffic. However, a newer branch from this company known as Yelldirect is far less honest and much more murky.
I know this news article will make me unpopular initially, but like The Manchester SEO Blog’s discovery that gb.com domain penatly in Google, but people will eventually realise I am doing this for the benefit of the people less Internet savvy in the hope I can show you why you should avoid YellDirect, who is in no danger of living up to a single claim they make about their service.
What Do You Believe is Wrong With Yelldirect?
Well, firstly, there is a ‘Web Creation Charge’ of around £100, and as a Webmaster myself I have trouble understanding what this is for, because it does not include the .co.uk or .com domain which will set you back another £50 per year, (roughly 10 times the value of these domains had you gone to a regular registrar such as 1and1, 123-reg or any of the other big names). There are all sorts of interesting charges for work (whether real or imaginary!). There will be another charge of around £200 for ‘artwork’ even if the imagery is supplied entirely by the client.
If the client wants a content management system, the Website Builder costs £1000 (in addition to all the other charges for setting up a website! But wait – it gets better – because even with the Website Builder, the client must still pay another £100 for the privilege of adding each new page, even if they provide all of the content!!
When all said and done, an awful-looking website with Yelldirect is likely to set you back somewhere between £1000 and £2000.
So Your Problem is with Price? That Doesn’t Sound So Bad Does it?
Well, no, the problem is worse than this. The user gets a maximum of around 300 characters to play with on each page, and has no control over where these appear. Some testing from myself revealed that any website created with Yelldirectwill face a penalty in Google. Why? I think one of the reasons is that the CMS system will copy the entire page of content as your META description, ensuring you have long, and the keywords are made up of the various services you offer, giving you no control over what appears here, and forcing you to generate a page that is so spammy, it will struggle to get listed well in Google. But wait! It doesn’t stop there – in Yell’s own search, they will not list you on your own domain (which you paid over £50 for) they will – in fact – link through to your mysite.sitebuilder.yell.comdomain, ensuring they pinch all of your good PR for themselves, but take your money for the privilege.
Proof That YellDirect Will Give You a Spammy Site
Just try doing : site:http://sitebuilder.yell.com in the Google search bar, and have a close look at the META tags of all the sites that are returned. It’s fair to say that Yelldirect have gone to some extraordinary lengths to ensure their clients are penalised in Google with websites that will never perform anywhere near as well as a regular domain registered with a average company with a ‘normal’ hosting arrangement..
Why Their Claims are Scandelous
Let us take a look at some of the claims made on their homepage. ‘Generate more business leads with Yell.com’, ‘Cost-effective advertising to suit all budgets’. When I inform the reader that the average site will cost around 2000 GBP and upwards, and will struggle more than a normal domain to get listed in Google, I feel that these statements are not just misleading, but are designed to prey on entrepreneurs lack of knowledge about the Internet and SEO, exploiting their deepest hopes and desires of making money through the web.
I hope other SEO consultants will join me in condemning the scheme. The moral of the story? Yell, please leave the web marketing to the SEO bods who know what they are doing. And as always caveat emptor.