Old Website Scams Your Business Still Needs to Watch for
Website attacks by technologically sophisticated criminals have been in the news a lot lately, but don’t discount these low-tech scams that could affect you as well!
When you are crazy busy running your business, keeping track of every little detail of your website is probably not high on your To-Do list. Less honorable folk know this and use your preoccupation to take advantage of you. While falling for their tricks usually isn’t the end of the world, it does chip away at your bottom line. Here are a couple common traps that are still snaring unaware business owners:
The domain name expiration letter
At some point, everyone with a website gets this letter from an entity called the Domain Registry of America or something similar. Technically, this is not exactly a scam because domain names do expire and the DROA will renew them, but you’ll pay way more for their service than you should.
Before you panic and send them money, check your records to see when you last renewed your domain name. These organizations reach out to you months before your domain renewal date so they can beat any legitimate bill. Also, any renewal notices will come from the place where you registered your domain name last time. For instance, if you registered it yourself at GoDaddy or a similar registrar, they will contact you with the next bill. If your web developer registered your domain name for you, as commonly occurs, the renewal will be handled by them as your agent and they will bill you as detailed in your agreement with them.
You don’t have to keep using the same registrar forever, so if you accidentally paid DROA once, you can correct it next time. For an idea of what your domain name should cost, compare the prices at a domain registry like our Sprocket Store with any offer that comes in the mail.
The “Be Number One on Google” pitch
You might still see this claim and again, it may not technically be a scam. They might be able to get your website ranked very highly for some extremely obscure search term, but what “Number One” is has changed quite a bit over the years. You know this, although you may not think about it much.
At one time, you could type something into the search box and get a page of maybe ten results. Experts would tell you to strive to be one of those top ten on the first page. For some time now, however, the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) might have just one or two results. The rest of the page is filled with sponsored ads, shopping options, top news stories, a knowledge graph or map on the side, and so much more.
Some of those results are paid options, but others, like the knowledge graph, do draw from search optimization. Before you agree to anything, ask the pitching person to define what “number one” means and think through the possible return on your investment with them.
Internet marketing has never been more complicated and when someone offers to help, it can be a relief to just let them. But before you do, pay attention and ask questions. We have talked with many people over the years who paid good money to shady domain registrars or SEO experts. It didn’t tank their businesses, but it sure is irritating. We do websites every day, so if you have a sneaking suspicion about an offered service, give us a call and we’ll see how we can help.
Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels
This article is an update to “Scams and Spam, Ad Nauseam” dated 5/26/2014.