We get messages from clients all of the time telling us that Google is calling them in order to tell them this and that about their website or their Google+ page. Is this possible? It has been known to happen regarding a Google+ page and Google has even rolled out small sample telephone sales programs for Adwords in the past. Is it common? Not terribly, no.
We generally tell clients that if they get a phone call from Google, to refer it to us. We are happy to field these phone calls for clients. This is because, more often than not, it is a scam company calling from a call center somewhere on Earth. The likelihood is that is not a call coming from Google headquarters.
So, we felt blessed this morning when one of our staff had the honor of picking up a call this morning that looked to be coming from Bryn Mawr, PA. Any company can still buy a phone number to make them appear local. Upon picking up the phone, we heard a recording of a woman boasting that she could get us on the first page of Google and, if we were the owner of the business, we should press 1 to be connected with a specialist. (For the purposes of this blog, we will refer to them simply as LL. If you would like to click on the hotlinks below to see their business, feel free to do so.)
A fast talking saleswoman quickly got on the phone telling us that she was going to get us on the first page of Google and could also get us listed on 20 other directories and even build us a website for a very low price (which we never got to, unfortunately).
US: I’m sorry. Are you with Google?
THEM: No, I’m with LL. We’re a Google data provider. Google does not have time to contact all of the small businesses so they rely on us to do it for them.
US: So, Google has contracted with you?
THEM: Yes, that’s what I have been told.
Oh. Well, in that case, here’s my credit card number.
Unfortunately the good folks at LL have a frightening amount of one star reviews on Google (irony) as well as a number of entries from furious current and ex-customers on sites such as pissedconsumer.com. This is the sort of reaction that marketers can expect when their marketing is not entirely truthful. Judging from the overwhelmingly negative response online to LL’s practices, it would appear that they already know the nature of their business model and do not intend to change. We could be wrong, but we doubt it. As always, buyer beware.