Scam Call "Verification Listing" On Search Engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.

April 21, 2014 - Posted by Marion Jacobson to Advertising/ SEO
Is that phone call really from Google?Small businesses are reporting that after they signed up for a Google+ Local page, they received calls from people who seem to be claiming that they are from Google.
These callers are actually unethical sales people from various companies, trying to sell “listing verification” services, among other things. It’s easy to mistake them for Google representatives because they call right after a Google account is established, and they seem knowledgeable. An unsuspecting business person isn’t immediately going to be on guard when the person on the other end of the line sounds confident and official.
When asked to clarify what they are selling and who they work for, these “Google” employees will usually end the call abruptly, although some claim to be working under contract for Google and don’t give up their high pressure sales tactics that easily.
If questioned, some of these callers have actually threatened businesses with “reporting” their local business listing to Google.
Before you give out information about your business, or buy anything from someone claiming to be from Google, you should get the person’s name, email address and phone number. If you’re working with a marketing company or agency that is helping you with your Google presence, report the call to your marketing partner.
Don’t ever divulge your account login information to anyone. If it’s really Google calling you for some legitimate reason, they will already have your account information.

Here’s what Google says about these telemarketing calls:

Watch out for parties calling and selling services claiming to have a special relationship with or claiming to be Google. Often, these parties are telemarketers that are not affiliated with Google and are trying to leverage the Google brand to sell your business some type of online service. Keep in mind the following:
  • Google does not place robocalls.
  • Google does not call to “update your front page listing” or ask you to “claim your free website.”
  • Google does not charge for inclusion in Google Search or Places.
If you are continually being contacted by a telemarketer claiming these things and are on the do not call list, you can file a complaint at the National Do Not Call Registry.

Scam Alert: Don’t fall for “Update your Google Listing” 

telemarketing calls!

Many of these listings are paid -- do you know which ones?
Many of these listings are paid — do you know which ones?
Some of my clients are getting calls several times a week: “Update your free Google Listing…” It’s really frustrating for them because I have already updated and optimized their stuff.
The caller will make it sound like they are from Google by saying they are a Google Partner, or that they are calling from the Google Verification Department. They especially like targeting people in construction trades, but I get them too.
The only times I have gotten legit telephone calls from Google are:
  1. When we are updating a business listing and Google calls with a PIN code (this is immediately after I hit the SUBMIT button, and I always warn my client that it’s coming).
  2. Once we were updating a clients’ listing and his address was funky (they all are in Van Alstyne because they renumbered the addresses for 911) and a human from Google called to verify the address. These calls are VERY important or they may delete your listing. If you are unsure it’s really Google, ask for a call back number or just tell them your address — NOTHING MORE.
  3. When I was buying AdWords (pay-per-click advertising) for my own retail site, my account manager called me from Google. Again, if you are not doing paid advertising with Google already, Google would not be cold-calling you to sell it.
Google usually calls from a 650 phone number, but scammers do cloak phone numbers, so don’t rely on this and never give out account information over the phone. If it’s really Google, they will have it! Also if Google does call you, they don’t ring your phone off the hook at all hours like these scammers.
Speaking of paid advertising with Google (AdWords): (This is important, people….)
One time as an experiment, I worked with a third party who re-sold Google advertising who said they could optimize it, measure it for me, etc. I thought they might do a better job managing it than I could (this was for my own retail business — I was already spending over $1K/mo. on AdWords and thought this vendor might help my clients, too, if they could help me).
I ended up spending a lot more $ on my AdWords … and my traffic actually went down. And this vendor was from the Dallas area — a local person whom I met face-to-face (twice!) who did business with another well-known business in town, not some random person calling from India!  It was still a scam and a ripoff.
It goes without saying that if a Search Engine Optimization Company (SEO) is misleading you right off the bat, you might not want to do business with them.
And I will say it again — if someone promises they can get you on the first page of Google, they are lying. The exception is if you outbid everyone else for paid advertising and you will blow through four figures per month doing this. For some, the ROI is worth it, but please either work with Google directly, or work with someone trustworthy.
If you work with an unethical SEO company, your site will lose traffic and you could be blacklisted by Google. It can take years to recover. It even happens to big companies like JCPenney!
Or you could just sue the telemarketers like this guy.
There are no quick fixes in life and SEO is no exception. Please feel free to contact us if you have any concerns.

How Many Phone Calls Regarding Your Google Local Business Listing Have You Received this Week?

Hello Mr Business owner my name is Joe Scamalot and we work directly with Google and I wanted to warn you about your Google business listing….
google local business listing scam alertIf you are a small business owner and have a local business you are probably receiving numerous phone calls from telemarketers and automated robo calls regarding your Google Places, Google Plus Local, Google business listing and as of July it is now called Google Mybusiness.
Although it is called many different names, your Google business listing is what appears in the search results with the tear drop or button to the right and usually connects to your website. This is where your reviews appear and if you have 5 reviews you will see the stars.
Unfortunately, many of the callers are using misleading information or just plain lying through their teeth to try to scare small business owners and squeeze money from you regarding the current status of your all important Google Business Listing!

Some Google Local Business Listing telemarketers will out right lie to you!

I have been helping small businesses rank in Google for 17 years and yes, I get these calls also! In most cases I simply hang up the phone and get on with my day.
But occasionally I will play along with the telemarketer to hear their pitch. First of all, they are usually read directly from a script by someone that knows nothing about local search or Google.
They use weasel words to imply that they work directly with Google or are a Google associate. In more extreme cases they actually tell you they work for Google!

Local Google Search Expert Records Actual Call From Google Places Scam Artist!

I was recently on my favorite Local Search Forum where all the real experts hang out and read a post from one of the top Google Local Listing experts in the world.
She received a call and the salesperson told her…
Your Google listing will be deleted in 72 hours if you don’t verify it with us right away
He also told her not once, but twice that he worked for Google! Fortunately she was recording the conversation and pretended to be an unsuspecting business owner.
He told her he was in San Diego and that is where Google is located! I’m sitting at my Google desk!His exact words!
Your Google Local listing needs a Reboost for a one time fee of $299
I have never heard of a reboost! Well, eventually she called him to the table on his lies and he hung up on her.

How to avoid getting scammed when it comes to your Google Local business listing

  • First and foremost, never give any login information to any telemarketer for your Google account. Once you do, you are giving them permission to go in and change your information.
  • Do not do business with anyone that claims to work directly with Google. It is deceptive and any credible local search service will never say that!
  • Is your local business listing verified through Google? If yes and they are telling you it needs to be verified, be aware!
  • Verify who you are dealing with by getting their company name, website, phone number and some credentials.
  • If your business is unclaimed, do not give them any information about your business and claim it yourself asap.
  • Beware of people making huge promises of page one rankings or scarring by telling you nobody can find you.
  • If you are serious about getting your business verified or optimized so it shows up on page 1 of Google in your local market, find a credible company yourself.

Yes, you need a Verified, well optimized Google Local Business Listing!

Claiming and verifying your Google local listing is absolutely a good idea if you want to get your business in front of more customers in the Google local search results.
In fact, over the years I have helped hundreds of small businesses get this done. The problem is, hundreds of scam artists and SEO companies are using unscrupulous tactics to scare business owners into using their services to fix a problem that may not even exist.
Worse yet, they are leading you to believe that your Google listing is going to be deleted if you do not take action now! Of course for a fee they will fix it right away!

Why is Your Google Local Business Listing Not Appearing on Page 1 of Google?

The truth is, if you have a verified (claimed) Google local business listing and it does not appear on page one of Google in your city there is a reason.
Without  a thorough investigation by a local search expert it is hard to pinpoint why. No telemarketer using a computerized call list is going to be able to help you no matter how strong their sales pitch may sound.
If you are serious about finding out why you are not ranking contact a local search professional and get an analysis to see if you have any Google penalties, duplicate listings or inconsistent citations that may be hurting your ability to rank.

Google Local Business Scam Artists are Ruining the Local SEO Industry

The reason I am writing this is because just last week Google unleashed another major algorithm change that has caused many local listings to disappear from page one.
This has opened the door for these scam artists to prey upon business owners when they are most vulnerable.
I have been doing local search marketing for 17 years and it makes it harder for legitimate services like mine to gain trust among business owners.
I receive calls everyday from these scam artists and no doubt, so do you! Be careful and when in doubt simply hang up the phone!
Questions or Comments about the latest Google Local Business Listing Scams
Have a story you would like to share about a phone call you received? Have a question regarding something you were told that is bothering you? Use the comments box below and share it with me.

Tweet and Share this article with as many small business owners you can!

The reason that there are so many telemarketing scam artists out there preying on small business owners is because it is working.
We hear from people all the time that have fallen victim to these scams and the more we can warn and educate small business owners the better
Phone Numbers from Scammers of “Google Verification Listing Calls”

(530) 392-9039
(845) 940-7973
(213) 603-9078
(201) 720-0835
(704) 325-2368
(443) 485-1887
(770) 239-6606
(254) 212-3060
(267) 612-1463
(310) 409-1059
(360) 322-6037
(631) 318-7099
(707) 706-6364
(209) 407-5251

(928) 493-0104

How Mobile Beacons Help Brands and Consumers

Through mobile beaconing, we will see the convergence of improved customer service, promotional strategy and brand loyalty wrapped up into one single strategy—are you ready?

FORBES | Greg Petro

Mobile beacons are suddenly the buzz–and for good reason. Facebook’s recent announcement that it will begin testing mobile beacons as part of its new “Place Tips” service has put the retail world on notice: Beacons are no longer futuristic possibilities whose time has yet to come. They have officially arrived and shown early success, and Facebook, with 1.3 billion members, is a powerful access point that will push beacons into consumers’ daily vocabularies. Facebook plans to leverage this access by delivering information about shops and landmarks to users who are nearby, connecting deals and people as well as it does friends and old classmates. But even with the participation of Facebook, investors’ questions remain: What are the benefits to both retailers and consumers? What has contributed to early retail success stories that others can replicate? And finally–how innovative will brands be at integrating mobile beacons into their overall marketing strategy?
How does it work–and what’s in it for everyone?
The benefits of mobile beacons have become increasingly clear: Consumers get highly targeted promotions and ads for the things they want, and retailers can collect valuable data on their customers’ buying habits, which can be used for future promotions, pricing strategies and marketing platforms. Mobile beaconing brings brick-and-mortar retailers one step closer to tracking the customer’s journey from initial research to final purchase, something that has eluded them while their technology lagged behind their online-only counterparts. In short, the brick-and-mortar retailers are now able to fight technology with technology.
Mobile Beacons Prove Their Worth for CPG Retailers in 2014
While there is traction with mobile beacons, investors should be looking hard at not just if, but how the technology has affected performance for those companies that have adopted it thus far, and what those retailers did to successfully implement mobile beacons.
A recent study by Ninth Decimal, a leading mobile intelligence research company, found that proximity marketing through mobile beacons had a big impact on sales in CPG retail stores in 2014. While the study focused on grocery stores in particular, it could provide a window through which we can see the impact of mobile beacons in other verticals.
  • 70 percent of consumers tried a new CPG product or brand after seeing a mobile ad in 2014–a 49 percent increase over 2013.
  • 59 percent of consumers use their mobile device while grocery shopping–a 16 percent increase over 2013.
  • CPG mobile ads drove 75 percent more store visits than similar shoppers who didn’t see the ads.
As we can see from the study’s results, not only are consumers actively using their mobile devices while shopping, but they’re responding favorably to the targeted ads delivered to their smartphones once they’ve opted in to receiving messages.

But the implications don’t end at the grocery line. During Macy’s last holiday season, the retailer implemented mobile beacons in 800 locations. According to a report from Interbrand, the seamless experience Macy’s has created for its digitally inclined customers was a big part of why its brand value climbed a whopping 343 percent between 2013 and 2014.
The success at Macy’s, along with many others in and outside the retail space, was so promising that many plan on rolling out extensive beacon infrastructures in their stores throughout 2015 and beyond.
What Will Proximity Marketing Look Like in 2015?
Right now, there is every indication that businesses will look to build on last year’s successes and make mobile beacons an integral part of their physical locations. A report from Business Insider found several trends that will drive beacon adoption this year and beyond:
  • Business Insider projected that beacons will directly influence $4 billion in sales at top retailers in 2015. It expects that number to increase tenfold to about $44 billion in 2016.
  • Half of all messages sent through beacons are coupons, and so coupon clippers will likely be the key early adopters of beacon-triggered messaging.
  • Different types of beacons will emerge. In-pocket phone beaconing, like the one Macy’s has implemented, will continue to be a staple of the proximity marketing strategy. But we can also expect to see requested beaconing, where the shopper must wave his or her phone in front of a product display to get the deal.
  • Customer loyalty programs and mobile beacons will work together to reward loyal customers for taking certain actions at the retail location.
Through mobile beaconing, we will see the convergence of improved customer service, promotional strategy and brand loyalty wrapped up into one single strategy, and not just in the retail space. Companies like Virgin Atlantic, Hillshire Brands, Starwood Hotels and others are finding creative ways of using mobile beacons to take the friction out of the customer experience, and the results are clear: The companies who can get closest to the shopper–making her experience as efficient as possible–will boost their brand’s value and, more importantly, drive sales in the digital economy. Conversely, customers who have to do the least amount of work to find what they want for the right price will show their appreciation in dollars.
A key point, however, is that the offer made by the retailer must entice the customer to engage–but in a profitable way. This can be a major challenge, but it represents the holy grail of the beacon age.

This article was written by Greg Petro from Forbes.  View our disclaimer

3 Things To Do To Get Facebook to Buy Your Startup

How do you measure your startup success?

There are as many different reasons for founding startups as there are tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.

Some entrepreneurs start companies in order to follow their passion. They just want to be able to make a living doing what they love, or simply desire the freedom of being their own boss.

Other entrepreneurs might do it for the challenge. Serial entrepreneurs enjoy getting companies up and running and then moving on to start the next one, or even having their hands in multiple businesses at the same time. Staying with one startup for too long would be too boring for them.

Some entrepreneurs make it their goal to get rich. They dream of building their startup into a stable Fortune 500, and making money hand over fist as a powerful CEO.

Other entrepreneurs want to make it rich by selling off their startups for billions to a big company like Google or Facebook.

While that might seem like a lofty goal, it may not be as much of a stretch as you think. After all, Facebook has been snatching up companies left and right since its first acquisition in 2007, and they’re paying anywhere from $15 million to $19 billion for each company.

But a winning strategy for getting on Facebook’s radar isn’t so clear-cut; they’re not as predictable in their acquisitions as you might think. While they do buy a lot of startups that are closely related to 

Facebook’s offerings, like Instagram and WhatsApp, they’ve also acquired some companies that have left onlookers a bit puzzled as to their ultimate strategy, like Oculus Rift and fitness tracking application Moves.

Despite the seemingly random nature of some of their acquisitions, there are discernible patterns you can use to your advantage. If you want your company to get Facebook’s attention, you’ve got to have a strong and talented team, overlap your target audience with Facebook’s, and try to complement what Facebook is offering their users. Take a look at the guide below to get started on brainstorming your next startup, and Facebook may soon be knocking on your door.
  How to Get Facebook to Buy Your Startup - Via Who Is Hosting This: The Blog

How to Get Facebook to Buy Your Startup

Facebook has been on a buying spree with around 40 acquisitions since 2007. They buy small businesses they can leverage to expand on and improve their product. Here’s how you can get their attention with your own product or service.

Dominate Your Sector

Get Facebook Interested: design your product to integrate with Facebook for mutual benefit.
  • What’sApp: A cross platform messaging app
    • Facebook and WhatsApp have a “shared mission to bring more connectivity and utility to the world by delivering core Internet services efficiently and affordably.”
  • Oculus VR: A virtual reality platform
    • Facebook wants to expand virtual reality beyond gaming.
    • It’s possible they’ll expand to make the messaging feature more immersive, like a face-to-face conversation.
How can you do it? Look at what Facebook is offering their users:
  • Groups
  • Gifts
  • Events
  • Graph search
  • Advertising
What, in your sector, can you offer to complement it?

Build a Strong Tech Team

If you have a killer tech team building your products and services, Facebook will pay attention to you for your talent.
They may not buy your entire company/product, but they’ll have your staff join their team.
  • Branch Media: A social conversation firm; their products live on outside of Facebook.
    • Their team is building a “Conversations Group” for Facebook and is based in New York City.
  • Hot Studio: A top design team in New York City.
    • Facebook acquired the team to improve their own design.
  • Little Eye Labs: An Indian software development start-up, known for their analytics programs that examine Android app performance.
    • Facebook wanted the team to enhance their own mobile app.
How can you do it? Acquire top-notch talent with impressive resumes.
  • Network often.
  • Tailor your job offers to an individual applicant’s needs.
  • Offer rewards to your current employees for referring other applicants.

Appeal to a Younger Audience

Facebook is losing market share with younger audiences. 3 million teens have left the social network between January 2011 and January 2014.
  • 95% of teens (aged 12-17) are online.
    • 81% of them use at least one form of social media.
    • 94% of those teens use Facebook.
Advertisers, including Facebook, love younger audiences because they can more easily alter their taste in products and services. If your product appeals to a younger demographic, you’ll likely to get their attention.
  • Instagram®: A photo sharing website.
    • Facebook wanted this to expand on their existing photo features and to prevent another competitor from getting it first.
How can you do it?
  • Research the younger online audience, and features they want.
  • Create something that appeals to their wants and desires that will integrate well with what Facebook has to offer.

Help Enhance Facebook

If your product can make Facebook better, you’ll be more likely to catch their attention. These companies offered services that Facebook used to improve their platform.
  • Used to offer face recognition software, to let users tag their friends in photos they share.
  • Parakey: Web operating system that makes the process of transferring video, images, and text to the web less complex.
    • Used to enhance the Facebook mobile app.
  • FriendFeed: Newsfeed that consolidates various social media website updates into a single feed.
    • Used to enhance the Facebook feed.
  • Octazen: Contact importer that returned a list of contacts to make inviting friends from other platforms to services easier
    • Used to make it easier for users to:
      • Connect with contacts from other platforms on Facebook.
      • Find people they may know.
      • Sign into other services with your Facebook login.
  • Friendster Patents: Network of social media patents including advertising, virtual payments, etc.
    • Enhanced the Facebook credit/advertising purchasing system.
    • Enhanced Facebook advertising.
  • SportsStream: Platform to capture sports chatter.
    • Used to help build out the trending topics feature.
  • ShareGrove: Private conversations website.
    • Integrated into Facebook Groups feature.
How can you do it? Ask yourself:
  • What features does Facebook have that can be improved?
  • Facebook is an advertising company, how can you help them better reach niche markets?
  • What direction is Facebook moving? Hint →
  • “Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow.” – Mark Zuckerberg



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