April 30, 2015
Inspect all incoming invoices to ensure they aren’t coming from a phony business directory listing company!
By Maureen McCabe
Many small business owners employ business directory listings as part of their online marketing strategy. While this can be an effective supplement to your other more important efforts (i.e., SEO, content marketing and pay-per-click campaigns), it is not a strategy on its own. In fact, listing your business on too many poor-quality directories can actually harm your website’s rankings instead of improve them.
This is why it is imperative that you get it right when it comes to business directory listings. Checking up on the authority of any directory you wish to submit your listing to is your first line of defense for avoiding bad or useless listings. (TIP: Use a tool like Open Site Explorer to determine the authority of a website!)
But did you know that you should also beware of business directory scams? This is one of the latest scams aimed at small businesses in Canada. Let’s take a look at what this scam entails, and how best to avoid falling victim to it:
Telemarketing Directory Listing Scams
Posing as well-known directories such as Yellow Pages, telemarketing agencies will target companies and mislead them into paying for online listings in directories that they don’t need or want. These scam listings can often cost upwards of $400, or they may try to lock you into a contract that costs thousands of dollars!
What you really end up getting is a listing on a website with no authority, which has no impact on your company’s website rankings. You’ll also receive an invoice for the listing, which you never really wanted in the first place. The scammers will claim that someone in your office authorized the purchase of the directory listing, and harass you for payment if you refuse to pay up.
How to Avoid Scams
In order to protect your business from a listing scam like the one above, make sure you do the following:
- Educate your employees. Make your staff aware of this scam, especially those who receive phone calls on a day-to-day basis. Post a reminder memo in your break room or by the phone to ensure it is not forgotten.
- Take a close look at your invoices. Make sure that all bills that come in are carefully inspected to verify that they aren’t coming from a phony business directory listing company. Remind any employees who handle invoices to double check anything that comes from a company they aren’t familiar with.
- Don’t pay for a service you didn’t request. If you receive an invoice that may be part of this scam, do not send payment!
- Report it. Contact the BBB or file a complaint with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre if you believe you are being scammed.
MORE Free Business Directory Listings
Though there are scammers out there, not all business directory sites are bad. There are plenty of FREE directory listings you can use effectively as part of your online marketing strategy. Due to the success of my last post on free Toronto business directories, I’ve decided to include another list of free, trustworthy sites to list your business website on:
- Scott’s Directories
Did we miss any great free Toronto business directory sites? Let us know in the comments below!
For more information about business directory listings, check out these posts:
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