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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Greenville, N.C.
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    Default Internet Marketing call: Scam or real?

    I got a call from a group called elocal: eLocal Listing
    They charge $89.00 a month to aid in marketing via google and yahoo. They did give me one reference that may or may not be legit. But since this is the biggest forum I know of, I thought to ask the group of any knowledge about this. It's the "you'll be the only one in your area" rap.

    JLMathis

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Rockwall Texas
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    4,519

    Default Re: Internet Marketing call: Scam or real?

    I pay out 500+ a month for those type of services, so I doubt that 89. a month won't get you much.

    rick


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Oregon
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    Default Re: Internet Marketing call: Scam or real?

    I'm not sure where you are but in Oregon our licensing authority has deemed a lot of these 'pay to play' advertising gigs as a violation of our SOPs. A group of guys I know each got fined around $1000 for using Servicemagic.


  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Internet Marketing call: Scam or real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey L. Mathis View Post
    I got a call from a group called elocal: eLocal Listing
    They charge $89.00 a month to aid in marketing via google and yahoo. They did give me one reference that may or may not be legit. But since this is the biggest forum I know of, I thought to ask the group of any knowledge about this. It's the "you'll be the only one in your area" rap.

    JLMathis

    Beware of Elocal. I did use them. Send me a private message and I will tell you all about them. True story............to ever lasting....................just PM me.


  5. #5
    Lawrence Transue's Avatar
    Lawrence Transue Guest

    Default Re: Internet Marketing call: Scam or real?

    I'm not sure why ServiceMagic would by a violation of any SOPs or code of ethics.
    Please elaborate on this.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
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    Default Re: Internet Marketing call: Scam or real?

    I'd bet this outfit is just working the pay-per-click route which is nothing anybody can't do on their own. Ask them where your site will appear before spending any money.......pay-per-click listings OR organic listings?


  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Oregon
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    Default Re: Internet Marketing call: Scam or real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lawrence Transue View Post
    I'm not sure why ServiceMagic would by a violation of any SOPs or code of ethics.
    Please elaborate on this.

    Our SOPs state that:

    No Ore. HI shall give any gift, rebate, kickback or any thing of any value, including but not limited to any payment of money, to any person for the purposes of obtaining an engagement, referral or preference selection to perform a home inspection.

    The powers that be have determined that pay-per-click advertising qualifies as a kickback of sorts. Personally, I think that's a stretch and that it's a fine line between advertising and kickbacks. Like, what's the purpose of advertising? To get selected to perform a home inspection.

    I also find it annoying that you can go onto Servicemagic and find a slough of Oregon HIs advertising. They have either received the letter from the state and chose to ignore it or missed it and haven't got stung yet. If I really thought I was losing a lot of business through these internet 'middlemen' I'd do something about it but in reality I think any one of them only accounts for a very small amount of work.


  8. #8
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Internet Marketing call: Scam or real?

    I think it is a joke that any service or retail business of any type can offer anyhting they want to gain business from the public.

    Buy 3 tires get one free.

    By this TV and get a free Blue Ray

    13,000 bonus to the Realtor that sells this property. This is one of the biggest jokes. Why can Realtors be offered thousands of dollars in bonuses for selling a property over their Real Estate spilt. They are licensed in our state thru the same Commission. Does not bonuses possibley lure Realtors in that may try to do anything to secure this sale including trying to influence the outcome of a home inspection or soften what ever a home inspector may write in his report telling them all kinds of lies about what may or may not be covered in a warranty. with such big financial gains chance illegal or unethical activity.

    Why can we not go to Realtor offices and stand in front of all those realtors and offer bonuses for every referral that comes your way. Isn't offering all inspections for all homes under 3000 sq ft for the low ball price of $200.00 dollars including a foundation analysis, IR scan, free crawl inspection and $50.00 termite inspection basically a bribe. Is this not telling realtors that you will do anything to gain referrals from them on a continuous basis.

    Free week vacation for 2 blah blah blah.

    Why is it that the home inspection folks cannot offer such things for inspection referrals.

    Why is it that everyone from individuals to state licensing agencies for home inspectors are so non trusting of home inspectors.

    If a home inspector offered dinner for two for referrals...why can he not due this with out possible legal action or diciplinary action from a licensing board.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Plano, Texas
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    Default Re: Internet Marketing call: Scam or real?

    I'll take a shot at this Ted but I'm sure my opinion or persuasive powers will not sway you from your opinion.
    Reeltors are hired to perform a service, to sell the house and are paid typically by the SELLER.
    The buyer typically signs a representation document that explains this so that the BUYER knows that the Reealtor is working on behalf of the SELLER.
    The buyer either knows and accepts this arrangement or is too stupid to understand. You can't fix stupid.

    The inspector on the other hand is hired by the BUYER (in most situations) to be an independent expert on the condition of the house.
    Everything paid to the Reealtor is to entice them to do their job better.
    Payment for a referral by an inspector is to a third party outside the deal between the buyer and the inspector which may influence the way the job is done.
    The client is my only concern, I don't pay fees, give dinners, soft inspections, etc. to parties outside the deal to influence some other party to recommend me.
    I also don't recommend contractors since I don't want even the perception that I am finding business for my brother-in-law the roofer.
    I think the role of the inspector is important and the ethical standards should be of utmost importance.

    Paid advertising is something altogether different since the fee is paid to a third party for a service, just like a newspaper advertisement. Now if the marketing service pays a referral fee to "buy" a job from an agent, that is wrong as well as a violation of federal law. RESPA (sp?)

    Last edited by Jim Luttrall; 09-02-2009 at 10:05 AM.
    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  10. #10
    Darin Redding's Avatar
    Darin Redding Guest

    Default Re: Internet Marketing call: Scam or real?

    Jeffrey,

    Instead of the pay-per-click route, and being on the hook every month for this payment, why not actively market and optimize your website and move up in the so-called organic listings? Google SEO or "search engine optimization" and learn about this.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: Internet Marketing call: Scam or real?

    For starters I do not use anyone who cold calls me on the phone. I have found that 90% if not more are just useless and will only take your money.

    You really do not need to spend a ton of money to get good search results. I don't pay anyone to get my site to pull up organically in the top 1,2 or 3 spots in the areas I work in. Good site content, page titles, and meta tags have done it for me.

    I do have a PPC program with Google. I change it around depending on the time of the year. Right now I have it set at a no more than $50 a month. I get a few from it, but I think most of my clicks are other inspectors just running up my bill!

    Look at some successful websites and then look at their source code. You can figure it out, it is not rocket science. Heck, contact Brian Hannigan (owns this site) let him help you. He does it for a living!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  12. #12
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Internet Marketing call: Scam or real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    I'll take a shot at this Ted but I'm sure my opinion or persuasive powers will not sway you from your opinion.
    Reeltors are hired to perform a service, to sell the house and are paid typically by the SELLER.
    The buyer typically signs a representation document that explains this so that the BUYER knows that the Reealtor is working on behalf of the SELLER.
    The buyer either knows and accepts this arrangement or is too stupid to understand. You can't fix stupid.

    The inspector on the other hand is hired by the BUYER (in most situations) to be an independent expert on the condition of the house.
    Everything paid to the Reealtor is to entice them to do their job better.
    Payment for a referral by an inspector is to a third party outside the deal between the buyer and the inspector which may influence the way the job is done.
    The client is my only concern, I don't pay fees, give dinners, soft inspections, etc. to parties outside the deal to influence some other party to recommend me.
    I also don't recommend contractors since I don't want even the perception that I am finding business for my brother-in-law the roofer.
    I think the role of the inspector is important and the ethical standards should be of utmost importance.

    Paid advertising is something altogether different since the fee is paid to a third party for a service, just like a newspaper advertisement. Now if the marketing service pays a referral fee to "buy" a job from an agent, that is wrong as well as a violation of federal law. RESPA (sp?)
    IU do not do any of the things that you say you do not do.

    I was just making a point that illegal or unethical folks are going to be just that anyway.

    To offer one an incentive to get referrals does not equate to bribery or unethical practices. As I stated those folks are out there anyway doing it in less obvious ways than those kind of folks use to.

    Again...I do not do those things. This is just for conversation.

    What darn difference would it make if I offered 25 or even 50 dollars for referrals. It has nothiung to do what so ever with my performance at the home inspection. I am just going to dance, sing and juggle just as well.

    My brother offers 100.00 to folks (that he has done work for) if they refer him for kitchen and bath remodels. Sounds cheap but it works.

    It may not be enough for someone to be out there pounding on doors but when someone needs work done on their home it certainly comes to mind. Some house wife might be thinking a lunch out with the girls or something.

    This whole thing has the same affect on me as having a Supra thru a Realtor Association and them having that control over the home inspectors because they cannot be trusted.

    What is it with trust and home inspectors. We get a large portion of our work for being honest and professional and thorough and ethical. The Mass majority of home inspectors are such. The slight minority are sleeze bags and will always be and that about amounts to none.

    Buying referrals.................why not..............what say you and other folks. Is it going to make a difference to any on this board as to the outcome of an inspection....I think not.

    I buy referrals in the sense that anyone calling me from any marketing source is being bought buy me through my marketing dollars and the company I market thru.

    When I send emails to realtors after an inspection and or before such, this is costing me money and I m asking those realtors to outright refer me. What difference does it make if I pay them or not. I am still giving them the opertunity to sway me (of course they could not) by getting referrals from them. Who is to say that for getting the referral that me or any other inspector is not beig swayed...even if it is just from a list the realtrore handed out.

    I guess my point is....buy referrals....so what. If i am honest I will remain so. If I am dishonest I would continue to be so.

    Now if a Realtor was paying you.................Ah, that might be seen as a problem. You paying them for referrals...Don't see that as a problem at all. Just another incentive to get work such as paying for marketing.


  13. #13
    Darin Redding's Avatar
    Darin Redding Guest

    Default Re: Internet Marketing call: Scam or real?

    You paying them (Realtor) for referrals...Don't see that as a problem at all. Just another incentive to get work such as paying for marketing.
    There is a difference I think. Clients trust and believe their agents. So if a Realtor refers you as the HI, the client is most likely going to chose you. Why? Because they don't have to think or educate themselves on what makes a good choice for an HI, BECAUSE THEY THINK THEIR REALTOR HAS DONE THAT, while the Realtor may be referring you simply for the dollar$ that you, as an HI are providing them for the referral.

    On the other hand, a magazine ad, radio spot, Google Adwords, etc. requires the client to take an active role and decide how you stand up against the competition by visiting your website, asking others about you, etc.

    Two very different approaches to marketing in my opinion.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Oregon
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Internet Marketing call: Scam or real?

    As HIs (at least in Oregon) we're prohibited from doing repair work on structures we inspect due to the conflict of interest. Isn't there the same conflict from ANY contractor that bids to work on a house?

    A contractor repairs widgets and yours just happens to be broken, he tells you. Big surprise. I actually do understand the reason behind preventing HIs from doing work but it still annoys me when some contractor with $$ in his eyes comes behind me and says "I can't believe your HI didn't tell you these windows needed to be replaced"


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Greenville, N.C.
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    254

    Default Re: Internet Marketing call: Scam or real?

    I really hadn't planned on joining anything. The code words are enough. Guy 1 says "I'm going to had you to my supervisor now for more information" Supervisor tells #1 to handle me like a god. I'll be, after all, the only one in the area.
    In North Carolina, pay to play will likely be a law shortly but not yet.
    I just figured that I'd get a good response from this group.
    Thanks.

    JLMathis

    I'd put my location in my profile if I knew how to.
    I'm a bit of a luddite.


  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
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    4,170

    Default Re: Internet Marketing call: Scam or real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey L. Mathis View Post
    I'd put my location in my profile if I knew how to.
    I'm a bit of a luddite.
    Click on "User CP" at the left under the "Inspection News" banner at the top of the page. and make your changes.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Internet Marketing call: Scam or real?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffrey L. Mathis View Post
    I really hadn't planned on joining anything. The code words are enough. Guy 1 says "I'm going to had you to my supervisor now for more information" Supervisor tells #1 to handle me like a god. I'll be, after all, the only one in the area.
    In North Carolina, pay to play will likely be a law shortly but not yet.
    I just figured that I'd get a good response from this group.
    Thanks.

    JLMathis

    I'd put my location in my profile if I knew how to.
    I'm a bit of a luddite.
    Wow, I can't believe Oregon is ahead of the curve on ANYTHING... we still have no sales tax and are prohibited from pumping our own gas


  18. #18
    Rick Maday's Avatar
    Rick Maday Guest

    Default Re: Internet Marketing call: Scam or real?

    Jeff,

    If you're looking to improve your website rankings, give me a call or shoot me an email.

    847-254-5358

    rick@owlhomeinspections.com

    Rick H -

    Do you pay someone $500 a month to manage your website & SEO?

    Or is that for on-line advertising/pay-per-clicks, etc?

    If it's the former, contact me.


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