Are Yell.com Attacking Small Businesses’?
In a follow up to our previous article, on the deplorable conduct of Yell.com staff, have Yellow Pages and specifically Yell.com sunk to all new lows?
It is alleged (with evidence) that employees of Yellow Pages are actively seeking out to deface blogs and websites via their comments sections if they post any criticism of the company or its products and services. The deception appears to involve posing as genuine visitors and / or customers and then seeking to discredit the website and the author.
In one of the most outrageous displays of unprofessionalism and unethical business practices ever, it appears that Manchester based web design consultant Andy Kinsey is the latest person to get the “Yell.com treatment”, having his blog attacked in its comments section after posting constructive criticism regarding Yell.com’s website design service.
Even more shocking, is that fact that evidence exists to suggest that at least some of the comments have been made from IP addresses (and therefore computers) registered to Yellow Pages.
Many customers and businesses have complained of the disgraceful behaviour of Yell.com sales employees via telemarketing calls. DPS Computing itself was a victim of one of these calls.
After tweeting our article about our Yell.com sales experience, a number of customers, businesses and former customers of Yell.com have contacted DPS Computing describing poor service, false promises, outrageous prices and harassment over 10’s of tweets made directly to DPS Computing.
DPS Computing has yet to see an example of one of the websites designed by Yell.com however, the worrying and woeful decisions by Yell.com with regards to computing seem to suggest that, if their web design team is as inept as their other “computing experts”, you’re not going to get a good website.
Don’t forget from our previous article, we were told by Yell.coms ‘north west computing expert’ who works with ‘all the north west technology and computing companies’ that:
- Yell.com is bigger than Google
- Yell.com ‘gets you to the top of Google’ (the implication was in the organic results, when, the reality is likely to be via paid results).
- Businesses that don’t use Yell.com fail within 12 months.
And as if that wasn’t enough, it appears that ‘technical experts’ didn’t advise their own staff to hide their companies IP addresses when they are attacking Yell.com’s critics.
In relation to just Andy Kinsey’s article “Yell.com Websites – A Waste Of Space“, at least 3 allegedly former employees of Yell have spoken out against the company.
One of the commenters, who stated he was a former employee of Yell, on the blog describes a situation where he was allegedly instructed to “sign up a childrens entertainer who was dying from emphysema.” It must be noted that the authenticity of this posters comment cannot be verified at this time.
Another alleged former Yell.com employee commented (with regards to their web design service): “Just to make a quick point; used to work for them. Copy & paste job, 4 sites made by us a day; no real care of effort going in.”
It must be stressed that the credentials of these commenters and the accuracy of the content of their comments cannot be verified by DPS Computing at this time.
The “visitors” to Andy’s blog that were posting from Yellow Pages company IP addresses (which Andy has picture evidence detailed in his blogs and tweets) also were apparently trying a poor attempt to boost Yell.com’s search engine optimisation by linking to Yell.com 10’s of times during their numerous comments. This would have appeared to have been poorly thought through as now there are numerous links back to Yell.com from an article criticising their products and services and getting more and more popular by the day, casting even more doubt on the Yell.com ‘computing experts’ expertise.
If any of our visitors or readers have had a website designed by Yell.com and would like to show it us, we will be able to feature you in the next article.
What I really like about the comments (from yell and everyone) is that they include yell.com – it links to them and I don’t care they only get one bite of the cherry as it were, google will only follow the first link to a given page from any other page so 1 link of 1 or 500 of 500 is only worth 1 link… but what it does do is make my blog more visible for that term… and given over 5% (according to google) of google global searches are for a domain such as yell.com or youtube.com this means i rank quite well.
The post was written last year and has had some hype, mainly from themselves failing to stay silent when someone such as yourself leaves a comment on the site digging the hole even further for them. Just how low they can sink I am unsure, some of the comments say so far it’s quite scary, but i don’t think either of us have reached the full depths just yet.
I look forward to seeing them trying to spam your comments too 😉
I just want to quickly make another point or two.
You’ve pointed out users can’t be verified, well haven’t been, that is true. I have no intention of digging to find the true identity of my commenter’s, I have no reason to believe they are not who they claim and if I did the comment would simply be removed – just as it would be if I believed they did not add anything to the conversation. The only users I have gone out of my way to identify is that of Yell commentors who are so overly singing the praises it sniffed of sour grapes and required some investigation. The proof is pictured simply because that is easiest but you can take the IP from the picture and do a whois to double check yourself.
The very idea yell is bigger than Google is funny, as you point out one is reliant on the other and not vice versa… it is also quite funny that all these “local directory” websites like yell and yelp screamed high heaven when google included details from their sites in search results directly (so users used their database but didnt go to their site). Yet since google stopped doing this after the courts were involved all those companies are now reliant on Google Adwords… mmm funny how that happened 🙂
Thank you sharing your comments and welcome to the blog! :).
Yes, the scary thing we found in particular is the fact that these people are coming on the phone introducing themselves as ‘computing experts’ and then saying / doing things themselves and as a company that show just how little they know about computing. Following our conversations with them I can say I was very *unsurprised* to learn that they were developing awful websites for customers. And yes, they do seem to be quite good at digitally shooting themselves in the foot!
Yes, I’ve got to admit when I first read your post, I assumed it was recent (especially with the recent Twitter coverage) however, when commenting on it last night I noticed that the first comment was made around 9 months ago! And judging from all the ‘Yellow Pages’ “visitors” leaving comments on your blog post still just shows that they really have still got their priorities wrong.
If they placed as much effort into providing good quality products and services, as they do trying to con people into sales, then they wouldn’t have the complaints in the first place. Alas, I won’t hold my breath for this moment – I see absolutely no indication that Yell aren’t just going to continue exactly as they are.
Indeed, had it not been for them continuing dragging it out with more comments, you would probably not have tweeted about it recently, and thus our ‘Yell.com’ search on Twitter wouldn’t have revealed your tweet with a link to your blog post – so they really are just making it worse for themselves.
However, I am very glad that we did find your blog post, I have to say that it was a most interesting read. Yell seem about as adept at designing websites as they are providing good quality, polite services ;).
Just as an addition Andy, we’re actively seeking out any websites that have been “designed” (and I use the term very loosely) by Yell – we’d be really interested in assessing their work first hand. If you know of any examples and can point us in the direction of them, that would be great. We’ve not actually seen a website designed by Yell yet (but we’re guessing they don’t make it obvious which sites are their “masterpieces” ;)).
Haha, well we’re now on page 1 of Google for “Yell.com scam” – only took 24 hours since the first post regarding them to get there ;). So we’ve got our whois checker at the ready ;).
Oh yes Andy, we fully understand that – if we believed they were not who they say they were then we wouldn’t report on it – however, obviously with things like this, if they are reported as cast iron fact, unfortunately companies get their knickers in a twist ;). Judging from our experience of Yell, although there is no way of verifying their identities etc, there is also no reason for us not to believe that these are genuine. It all sounds like the disgusting practices that we would assume they would get up to, considering our first hand experience with them.
And yes, there’s no doubt the pictures you have provided are pretty much conclusive regarding the identity of the Yell commenters. As I said, after our experience, we were a little shocked at their actions, but not at all surprised.
Yeah, it does seem rather funny. I do like how their ‘computing experts’ try to con computing businesses regarding computing issues. The one thing I fear about is that if they are using these outrageous statements with companies which aren’t as technically experienced etc that they will fall for the tripe their sales people are giving out :(.
David, that is the reason I wrote my post, not to get sales as some may think, but because yes I know how to trip them up and others like them but most small business owners don’t know what to look out for and don’t understand no body has a “special” relationship with Google.
As for examples there are plenty around, but the first 3 i’ve found using the search “design by yell” (including quotation marks) are http://www.t-shirtcitybelfast.co.uk/ http://anthonyjacobsandco-cardiff.co.uk/ and http://www.cleaningbyfranfeltham.co.uk/ … striking resemblance – then the next 2 http://www.grobykitchensandbathrooms.co.uk/ and http://www.beautyandnailsbysteph.co.uk/ – again striking…
Ok in 5 pages I think I saw 1 of their websites not to this template, and actually it looks as though who ever the owner is has hacked some code into the site content to add a slider… maybe he caught on too late…
Hope you don’t mind me posting those links, but my guess is they need as much SEO help as Design help right now! (no they aren’t my clients)
Yeah, I can understand that. It just wouldn’t be right to sit back and watch people get misled if you have a chance to warn them.
Thanks for the examples Andy. Well they’re not quite the initial car crash that I was thinking they would be (had initial visions of frames, background music and blinking text). However, they aren’t much better.
I wonder how much Yell are charging for these? I mean if its more than £100 (absolute tops) then they are stealing a living!!! ;).
Yeah, they do all look like they’re from the same basic template and most are about 2-3 pages.
No, no problem posting the links Andy – thanks for posting the examples :).
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