Going to present at #SMX

I typically fly to Israel 3-4 times per year and this time it coincides with Search Marketing Expo in Jerusalem on January 15th. I’ve been meaning to do a presentation on some of the SEO tests we’ve been doing with creating legitimated multiple websites for clients. I think when you work as SEO even though there are so much information available – you still work in vacuum. There is no exact science that will work every time and you forced to be creative in your approach.

I like sharing what we do and see what other SEO experts say. It is always cool to see other people doing the same thing, it validates what we are doing. Anyways I applied to present at this event and got approved. We still ironing out details on what I am going to present (there will be couple of other guys in the same time slot), but I think I will be able to do the presentation on just that – legitimate ways of using satellite websites.

I am very exited its been awhile since I presented and presented back home. If you are an SEO and in Israel, you should for sure check it out this event. The prices are very reasonable!

Positive Energy :)

This summer I finally decided to take a plunge cancel some of our contracts to free up the time and jumped into our own project, committing both financially and time wise. Of course it seemed easier than it really was. My partner and I thought that the first month we will bring every dollar back. We are on a 3rd month and we didn’t even broke even yet, but the project finally moved into the right direction and now it is the matter of time when the risk will finally pay off.

This was not an easy time for us, we had to pay our employees steady salary while my partner and I would not get anything as all of the money we got was invested in marketing.  After we finally reached the level of income we wanted, we again said no to it – buckled up and lived off (still living) our credit lines.  This obviously takes emotional toll, but it is a great motivator and we learned so many lessons from it:

  • As an entrepreneur you conquer the fear – you can’t let fear of loosing your toys, home or a car to paralyze you.  You need to sleep well at night to be energized. Instead of thinking about the money problem, you need to think about the solution – how to make your business work as fast as possible. At the end of the day you will!
  • You need to be ready to start from scratch - entrepreneur are similar to gamblers. We earn our money hard and then we are ready to risk it all, for the next big thing. We can’t do it any other way, risk and reward is in our blood. If you want to be entrepreneur, you need to be ready to go back to square one at any day and any time. Your ideas might fail and you need to have enough believe in yourself to get up and do it ALL OVER AGAIN.
  • Don’t cheat- when times get tough, a desire to cut corners (fake some marketing tests, scoop leads) is right there. It is so easy to cheat, however the only one who you are cheating is yourself! You need to be able to make your business work long term. If you need to rely on cheating, the business will eventually crumble. Stick to your guns (principles) and make your business work (or get into another business). That is the only way. Adherence to principles in tough times builds character and self respect.
Be positive and have fun Most of the entrepreneurs like what they do and in the beginning had a passion about their business. In tough times don’t loose this passion, be a kid and have fun. If you are not having fun, get the hell out of that business and do something else. Life is to short to be slaving away for something you don’t like!
Just some of my thoughts for Friday, feeling the positive energy is flowing through me and wanted to share it!

Weedman Scarborough Review

UPDATE:

Received a phone call today from Steve Stronge who is for sure way better customer manager than I dealt with before at Weed Man. I am not sure if he is an owner as well. He explained that guarantee part, which is from what I gathered: if you see weeds call them and they will do as many applications as needed to get rid of them. Since I been away for the summer and my friend was staying at the house – I didn’t call. They also left recommendation for more watering on Aug 11th which I am not sure if my friend followed.

To be honest I appreciate the phone call even though it happened at 8am.  A bit late though as I did post my reviews and I can’t take them back now, except writing this update. I still out of $170 for zero visible results as well.

Morale:

  • Bring the great customer service in the beginning not at the end
  • If you guarantee something, make sure you explain the guarantee in full. Including what is expected from the customer.
  • Make sure all of the people who deal with the customer say the exact the same thing. Don’t spend 10s of thousands of dollars on your marketing if your first line employee talks down to a customer. Waste of money, because customer will only care about that interaction with the company.
  • If you as a customer have problems with a service call immediately don’t wait -my fault.

The rest is the original story of what happened.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

It is been forever since I’ve seen such a bad service, that brought me back to my Consumer S.O.S. posts. If you don’t have time to read the whole post the gist of it is:

Weedman Scarborough brings you 0 results, bad customer service and pushy sales people. I have audio recordings , documents and pictures in this post to prove it.

Story:

Phase 1 – scam sales pitch

In the beginning of the summer I got a knock on the door from Weed Man Scarborough sales person who told me that they have innovative solution that even without chemicals will get rid of 80% of my weeds in the first application. The program included 8 applications and costs around $250 (I should have know it is too cheap to be true)- so I signed. After 8 applications I only had more weeds. See the picture:

Phase 2 – Bad Customer Service

After they completed their “weed control” service and seeing no results except their invoices at my door – I called them and spoke with a “customer care.” They told me they will send a guy to check it out. That was already October 10th (after I spent the whole summer with weeds) when their “professional” came over. You can see his note: adjust the pricing structure -more extensive weed control needed.

So pretty much the whole summer they didn’t see it? Or What?

After the recommendation, they came by the end of October and applied more “extensive weed control” nothing happened. At this point my neighbors who were annoyed with me, just pulled out weeds by themselves.

So I called “customer service” again and was told that 80% is a guarantee and they are the only company that can promise it. All I need to do is send my picture for the manager to see. Here is audio recording of my conversation Weed Man Scarborough. Just listen to the last minute of it, as the rep clearly states it is a guarantee.

Weeds

Phase 3 even worse customer service

While doing all of that, I still was getting calls on Saturday from their Account Receivables and being harassed to pay. At the same time I was getting a call from their sales department asking me to sign for next year. Total disconnect between all of the departments - I guess words like CRM are unknown to Weed Man Scarborough. 

Finally I got a phone call from “customer relationship manager” who explained to me that I can’t expect to see “instant results” and she is sorry I was guaranteed something. Seriously, that is all you have to say? You are sorry your sales reps are walking around and lying to people? You need to do better than that! She give me $40 discount and waived late payment fees.

I paid, because I just don’t  have time to deal with it anymore, but I feel it is my responsibility to make sure that nobody I come into contact uses those scammers anymore.  I was a big naive, I should have just typed into Google Weedman reviews and saw that you literary can’t find one positive review about this company.

Being an owner of online marketing company naturally I added to those negative reviews today – what a stupid move their part.  Those guys need serious help with their marketing.

Let’s recap:

  • Pushy sales people
  • False advertising
  • Lack of CRM
  • 0 Results
  • No positive reviews
They obviously don’t care – if you want a better lawn care do it yourself or order some non franchise operator, because stress is enough Weedman Scarborough Suck big time.

 

 

Blogs are having a come back

Well, I forgot about my blog and having been posting on it in like forever.  I smile now remembering starting it 6 years ago. My first blog was on blogger and you couldn’t have categories as a widget there, but I read a tutorial on how to use Delicious tags to make it look like categories. Spent like a whole night trying to figure it out! At that point WordPress seemed like a distant planet to me.

Now I can install wordpress blog in a matter of minutes and it is possible to launch websites on wordpress that would be sufficient for 9o% of websites on the web. However, blogging lost its allure somewhere along the way – famous bloggers stopped blogging, twitter appeared, facebook became open to everyone. LinkedIn became like Twitter, Facebook became like Twitter, Google became like Facebook, Facebook became like Google.

Today I realized that between Twitter feeds, FB feeds, emails, ad copy, flyers, bills, invoices it is been forever since I read or wrote something solid. Something that takes time to write, but really helps me to get my mind off things.

Luckily for me, I don’t need this blog anymore for any kind of promotion. Business is going well and our own projects are well underway. Which gives me a lot of freedom of expression – when you don’t think about linkbait, meta tags or correct keyword balance – some nice text can flow.

So I Resurrected my blog, to sometime put my thoughts out – for once without trying to promote it. Lol. I also think I might be not the only one, some people will get tired of the fast food of information and will come back to quality over the quantity. Being wired 24/7 was very cool in 2005 to me, now being not wired seems cool and a smart thing to do…

CRTC Decision and Maclean’s Article

I live in Canada which I like, but when it comes down to communications like internet, tv or cellphone we Canadians don’t have a lot of choice. Since I travel abroad a lot I went with Rogers as they use GSM standart, so after unlocking my personal phone I can talk abroad and not pay $5 per minute.

Anyways I digress, I signed for Maclean’s Magazine owned by Rogers which was supposed to be $1, but right after you subscribe they send you a letter that it is higher now, but my obvious frustration with Rogers’ bait and switch tactics is not the point of this post.

I wanted to discuss the latest editorial feature by Maclean’s “The Internet should be fair – not free – to everyone”. I think the whole article is so ridiculous that Maclean’s Editors can’t believe themselves that their “corporate” made them publish it. So let’s start with the ridiculous things in the article:

  • The title, “Free Internet” so when we pay $60 bucks per month plus modem rental, plus taxes is called “Free” these days?
  • “providing heavy users with a competitive marketplace and small internet firms with 15 per cent wholesale advantage” This sentence is so out of whack, that I don’t even know where to start. I would suggest the author of this sentence to take Grade 1 math. Let’s see 15% wholesale discount in order to stay competitive smaller firms need to offer discount over bigger companies, so for the argument’s sake let’s pretend that 5% discount will entice people to switch from big 3 to smaller company. That leaves us with 10%, now smaller companies believe or not need to make profit as well. So again let’s assume that for some crazy reason people decided to go into business and earn a profit of only 5%. So where does it leave us? A small internet company will have 5% for running their whole business (marketing, sales, accounting, equity etc.). I am sure this 5% keeps it really competitive and “Fair” as Maclean’s magazine would say

I am personally not against usage based billing, I agree that people who spend more should pay more – but this is not what is happening in reality. In reality even people who don’t use a lot still pay a flat fee that is one of the highest from all of the countries in the world (i am not even adding to this system access fee and cell phone rates) and people who use a lot are forced to be in quota plan and then overpay for each gigabyte so much that is easier just to buy two packages.

We live in an age of Netflix, television on Demand, millions watched Olympics online – so the average user already is not the one who uses 16 gigs a month, the average user is a busy Mom who watches her shows online. So Rogers if you want usage based billing – why don’t you make really fair:

  • people who spend less will actually pay less
  • people who spend more will have some reasonable packages, or price per gigabyte available for them?

Oh and stop insulting Canadians that you been torturing for years with your rates and system access fees, by “Oh that is not Fair” give me a break!

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