My God, I have just come across a rip-off even worse than BT’s Web Clicks offering (you might not have thought that possible!) I’ve just seen their website offering to list you on Google Maps for a one-off fee of £99. Yes, £99 to spend ten minutes completing a form about your business for a free service from Google!

I was led to their website after a client forwarded me an email from Lavora, offering to advertise their website on AdWords using “5 specific search terms”, for £199 a month with a £20 set-up fee. Sound familiar?

That’s a very similar deal to BT Web Clicks, another fixed-price AdWords service that is just wrong, wrong, wrong for a number of reasons:

  1. Whilst a fixed cost is helpful for budgeting, there is no transparency on what you’re actually paying for, how much it’s costing (because it’s Google who are actually charging for those clicks, not the supplier) and no rollover. So, if you don’t use up your £199 of clicks, you don’t get the remainder carried over to the next month. Hardly good value. You can pretty much guarantee that these suppliers won’t be paying anything like £199 for those clicks either, and I very much doubt that they’ll let the campaign run over budget (well, budget less their profit margin…)
  2. Without the transparency, you won’t get the AdWords account linked to your Analytics either, so measuring raw traffic or campaign performance will be virtually impossible. How do you know it’s worth paying that £199 a month?
  3. You get to choose “5 specific search terms” – what do you think the chances of choosing “mortgages”, “mobile phone contracts”, “car insurance”, “life insurance” and “diamond jewellery” are? There are bound to be a huge amount of qualifiers on these things, assuming you get to make the choice at all. My guess is they will tell you what the “best” keywords are, based on their profit margin, not the volume or quality of traffic.
  4. They claim exclusivity (“we’re only offering this to two businesses like yours in your area”), but of course anyone can use AdWords, so there is absolutely no benefit to that statement.

What really gets my goat about these things is that they are profiteering from people’s ignorance. Morally wrong, but not illegal of course. I really hope nobody reading this has been duped, but having heard a number of stories about BT Web Clicks, I fear the worst…

Follow me on Twitter: @ianlockwood

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