Periscope Depth

Web Listings, Inc – Scam Artists

This week I got a piece of mail – hardcopy mail – from a company called Web Listings Inc. They made me the exclusive offer of:

DOMAIN NAME SUBMISSION TO 20 ESTABLISHED SEARCH ENGINES
UP TO EIGHT KEYWORD/PHRASE LISTINGS
QUARTERLY SEARCH ENGINE POSITION AND RANKING REPORTS

All for a mere $65. Sixty-five dollars a year, that is. This is a subscription service; if I want my domain name resubmitted next year, I’d have to pay again. Or maybe they’d give me a discount!

Who do you think Web Listings Inc.’s target audience is? People who picked up a book on website marketing in 1998 and fell into a coma? I remember designing personal websites in high school (back before we called them “blogs”) and patiently submitting them to Yahoo!, Hotbot and various other directories. But this was back when having a Geocities website wasn’t a stigma and desktop publishers did their CSS by hand. Things have changed a little in the last 12 years. Or the last 12 months, even.

In case I’m laying it on too thick: Web Listings Inc. is a scam. They are attempting to defraud you of money. Note the following:


  1. You do not need to “submit” your site to a search engine. All reputable search engines work by sending out automated programs, called spiders, to visit your site and see who links to it. This is done without any work needed on your part.

  2. There are not 20 reputable search engines. Really, there are only three: Google, Yahoo! and Bing (and as of October, there will only be two). If you have a site that operates in a particular niche, you might benefit from visibility in a specialized directory, like Capterra or Industry Brains or Business.com. But that’s it.

  3. You don’t need to submit keywords to engines. The engines decide what keywords you rank on. Good SEO can help influence that decision. But Web Listings Inc. isn’t offering you good SEO.

  4. Search engine position and ranking reports are worth something. But given the fraudulent nature of Web Listings Inc’s other offers, I question this report’s accuracy.

  5. You can submit a sitemap to an engine, using their Webmaster Tools interface. But you don’t get to specify what keywords you’d like to rank on in this sitemap. So either Web Listings Inc doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or they are (again) trying to defraud you.


Fortunately, I’m not the only one who noticed this. So it appears that these scammers are just flooding websites with offers. If there were someone with a brain behind this, they might exclude websites run by people like me, who (claim to) know a little SEO.

In summary: Web Listings Inc. Scam. Don’t send them money. Here endeth the lesson.

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