Cleir dot com – Hall of Shame Nomination

Typically, someone really has to do a bonehead thing to get the hall of shame award. Cleir.com pulled a completely bonehead move, but I don’t think they really turned into a complete douche of a company to earn the actual award. Which, by my rules, is actually worse than winning the award. You suck enough to get nominated, but you don’t suck enough to win!

Nalin Singapuri, who is a co-founder and developer of Cleir dot com, was recently contacted by one of our sales people and he thought he would be Mr. Bigshot and fire back with a “I know it all” attitude. He made idiotic claims regarding laws of email and his “worthless” knowledge of SEO. Which is what his company seems to offer to their clients.

Let me be the first to inform anyone looking for SEO or web development, DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH CLEIR DOT COM! This clown who says he’s a co-founder, knows absolutely ZERO about the industry. I’m sure he’s read a few blogs, which probably makes him a seasoned pro, but the truth is, Nalin Singapuri, co-founder and developer of Cleir dot com is a bubble gum dispenser SEO company. Here is “Nalin’s” bio:

Nalin – one of cleirs cofounders – primarily focuses on Search Engine Optimization and Marketing of PHP e-commerce sites. In the past he has worked with Native Sun Communications, Home Prodigy, Museum of Jewelry and others in the capacity of a lead developer.

The good thing is, he primarily focuses on SEO and Marketing. www.cleir.com is the exact type of “SEO” or “web marketing” company that this industry needs less of. I’ll go ahead and let Quest RV continue to hold the coveted trophy because Nalin and Cleir dot com doesn’t really deserve anything but a tongue lashing.

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Quest RV – Hall of Shame Award

It’s taken us weeks to build up to this one. In our last post, we were so full of excitement…so optimistic…because we had rented this awesome RV to take our employees down to Austin for the SXSW show. Well, excitement and optimism wanes quickly into pessimism and dismay in this post.

I’ll start from the beginning and try to be brief. We rented what we thought was a killer RV from a reputable RV rental company, Quest RV. It was a 39 foot, 2007 Ventana and judging by looks alone, this thing was PIMP. Unfortunately, pimp turned into to pimp-slap 45 minutes into our journey. Yes, that’s right…just south of Dallas the son-of-a-bitch broke down. The dashboard lit up with warnings like “STOP ENGINE” and alarms were sounding. You know, the kind of stuff you don’t exactly want to see when driving a $300,000 vehicle. (Not to mention, driving something that big isn’t exactly what we were used to…so we’re a bit nervous to begin with.) So, we pull over and call Quest who says they’ll send help. They did and 3 1/2 hours later, we’re back on the road.

Ok, so yeah, we’re off to a bad start. It was Friday the 13th. Maybe that had something to do with it. Who knows? Oh well, press on, right? This is still gonna be a blast. Until…OOPS! 5 miles later, the alarms sound again with the same warnings but we’re told to keep going and that it “should be nothing.” Awesome. Was it “nothing” last time, too? Glad we burned a 3 1/2 hour segment for “nothing.”

We do finally make it to Austin, we pay our $130 a day to park, we do our trade show. On Sunday Ron and I bail from the tradeshow in the RV to take our families camping in our expensive motor home for a couple nights…leaving our employees to run the trade show. This part of the trip went off without a hitch. Then we go back to Austin to pick up crew #1 to return them to Dallas where crew #2 anxiously awaits so we can bring them back down to Austin for the second leg of SXSW. We’re rolling now, right? Wrong.

On our way home, we make it as far as Hillsboro, which is about an hour south of Dallas. I pull in to a truck stop to fill up with diesel and mistakenly turn off the engine. Why is that a mistake? Because the RV won’t start again, that’s why. Turns out the push-button transmission is now on the fritz. So we’re stuck there AT THE GAS PUMP for 5 hours while Quest RV brings us a different RV. This completely screws our schedule and crew #2 had to drive down to Hillsboro to meet us so crew #1 could drive themselves back to Dallas. BEATING! (And thanks to all of the LinkWorthers that helped us through that!!)

To everyone’s credit (except mine and maybe Ron’s), they all took it in stride and were super-excited to be heading down to Austin in this nice rig. Ron takes the wheel for this leg and no sooner had we gotten on the highway before an entirely new set of alarms lit up the dashboard like a Christmas tree. Seriously??? Are you joking??? Another call to Quest’s weary service tech assures us that this must be nothing and to simply “keep an eye on the gauges.” Wonderful….confidence abounds. NOT!

Again we make it to Austin (although MUCH later than we had planned) and parked the RV. (It does work perfectly while parked, I should add.) We do the rest of the trade show, we pack up the crew and all of our stuff, and we depart Austin. Heading home now, killer. It’s been a long week!

Ahem…we’re approaching Hillsboro again. Guess what? All of our lights (including headlights) begin to grow alarmingly dim. It’s 10pm…we can’t see a thing….and we must pull this f*$#in’ bus over AGAIN. This time, though, we’re not in the cozy bosom of a truck stop. No, sadly, we’re in the seedy confines of a XXX shop’s parking lot. (KILL ME NOW.) Another phone call to Quest, whose number I still have memorized, results in our using a backup power-system on board the RV that “should” get us home without problem. It does. Now for the fun stuff….

At some point in our journey, I put a nasty scrape on the driver’s side of the RV. Not exactly sure how it happened, but it’s there and I am more than happy to part ways with the $1000 deductible for the insurance we had purchased. I just wanted to be done with it. But, Quest felt a little differently. In addition to the deductible, they wish to charge me an additional $2400 for “loss of use” while the RV is being repaired. Mind you, this thing is not out of commission…it’s scratched! It had some scratches when we got it, too, but they sure as hell still let us drive off in it. So, that’s a LOAD OF SHIT, to put it mildly. Did I ask for reimbursement for the 12 hours of our “loss of use”??? No. Hell, I didn’t even ask for an apology, but they were more than happy to slap me in the face with this ridiculous charge.

In the end, we had to split this “loss of use” charge with them in addition to paying our deductible. We’re none too happy and as a result, we have bestowed upon Quest RV a LinkWorth Hall of Shame award.

RV really does stand for “ruins vacations.”

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Hall of Shame Award – Mr. Googling

The rare to see, but always fun, Hall of Shame Award is being handed out to a new person today. Although there are potential winners daily in my email box, I try to make this award hard to win because it only makes those who do win that much more special.

Today we would like to extend the virtual trophy to someone named “Brian Scott”, or as he refers to himself on his non-CAN SPAM compliant unsolicited email, “Mr. Googling”. It is time to see the winner at work now:


Where have all the customers gone?

How come my phone has stopped ringing?

Have you been asking your self these questions?

I know why!

The answer is Google If you are not advertising on Google you are not reaching your customers.

Google is the new Yellow Pages.

Google’s PayPer Click advertising program AdWords is the place you need to advertise your business. I can help you get your business listed on the first page of Google. Do you only do business locally? I can target your Google AdWords campaign to only show ads in the areas you service.

To learn more about how I can help you get more business, email me at mrgoogling@gmail.com or visit my website at www.GetYourBusinessOnGoogle.com

Or call Brian Scott @ 813-506-8142.

I debated on whether or not to list the contact info, but I guess he is blasting it out to everyone, so if he doesn’t have a problem with it, why should I, right? If the email is not convincing enough to win such a coveted award, let me present what sealed the deal. Here are some screenshots of Mr. Googling’s website:

A nice design is always a way to start:
A good design always sets the tone

Next is some text that these guys might be interested in:
Nothing like ripping off someone elses copy to help your rankings!

How do you follow up stealing someone else’s content? Follow it up with even more content theft compliments of this site
How do you follow up content theft?  With more content theft!

How in the world can someone follow up two examples of content theft? How about stuffing the rest of your page with keywords:
How can you possibly follow up content theft TWICE?  Keyword stuffing, you couldn\'t figure that one out?

Then a close up view of the nice job of plain view keyword stuffing:
Here\'s a close up of the fine keyword selection he used in his stuffing.

Mr. Googling has apparently figured out the next evolution of the Yellow Pages. Why else would he go through all this trouble to try and earn my business? He can obviously get you listed in the AdWords section of Google, but what will he do to your natural listings? Stealing others content, keyword stuffing and email spam is definitely not the way you don’t want to “Get Your WebSite Noticed”! But thank you Mr. Googling for being a deserving winner.

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theUEgroup – Useless Experience – Hall of Shame Award

I like to save our Hall of Shame posts for the special candidates that really deserve it. Yesterday someone all but requested it with the most unprofessional email I’ve received in a long time. Here’s the story.

We have been seeking out companies that specialize in usability in hopes of making our customer Control Center easier to use and navigate. We are well aware that improvements are needed and we’re seeking outside help from a specialized third party. This project is going to be a big and lengthy process and isn’t going to be cheap, so it only makes sense to find the right company to do the best job. After searching through many companies, we selected what we felt were the best 5 companies. I spoke with all 5 and explained what we were looking for, then asked for ballpark proposals to be sent. 4 of the 5 sent detailed proposals, with one sending a PDF of screen shots that really didn’t tell me much. This one company was theUEgroup.

Even though all the other companies were able to propose something, theUEgroup said it was too difficult, which I could understand, but kind of weird that everyone else could. That wasn’t what killed the deal for me. What killed the deal is the President of theUEgroup, Tony Fernandes, sent this PDF which was named Linksworth briefing. Is it too much to ask that the company trying to earn our business can not only name the file how we display our name “LinkWorth? And if you can’t do that, at least SPELL IT RIGHT!

Since I have to narrow the 5 companies down to 1, I have to find reasons why 4 are not a good fit. Spelling our name wrong was an easy decision. If they can’t spell our name correctly, how many other mistakes would they make? No proposal, wrong name, deal breaker. I responded to his email with this message:

> Hi Tony,
>
> I appreciate the time and the examples. This project is definitely
> something that is extremely important to our company. Attention to
> the slightest detail can make or break the results.
>
> There is no doubt that you and your company could probably help us,
> but when I get a file from you spelling our company “LinkWorth” as
> “Linksworth”, it unfortunately was a deal breaker for me. Simple
> mistake, I know, but a project of this size can’t have simple mistakes.
> In my eyes, if you’re trying to earn my business, you can at least get
> our company name right. It makes me think not much thought has been
> put into it.
>
> Best of luck.
>
> Regards,
> Ron Wicker
> LinkWorth.com

I thought I was being honest and polite. I would rather know that I screwed up a big job because I spelled their name wrong instead of never hearing back from them, which is why I explained why I was not interested.

Shockingly, I received a very rude response from Tony Fernandes at theUEgroup.com, who I’m not sure if I said already, is the President of theUEgroup. Evidently he says he tried to call my direct line and my mailbox was full, even though I only had 1 saved message in it. We have a complete digital phone system and everyone else was able to leave messages during the day without issues. Anyhow, this was his response to my message above:

I appreciate the reply. I think that calling the President’s number and winding up in a general voice mail box that is full is a deal breaker as well. If you want a company like us to work with a company like yours, we need to believe that you are real enough to have a working phone system with more than one voice mail box. It makes me believe that you haven’t put much thought into your business or how it appears to the outside. Its a small detail I know but in a world where we are turning away work, it helps us decide who’s real and who isn’t. Best of luck with your venture.

Am I missing something here? Were we hoping to strike a deal with theUEgroup? Does a phone, whether it had a glitch or not, tell you whether or not we are a real company or how much thought was put into the business? Wouldn’t the fact we were trying to contract them for this project tell him we put a lot of thought into our business and how it appears to the outside?

I think it is safe to say that Tony Fernandes from theUEgroup is unprofessional and is a little bitter that he screwed up the chance at winning our project. I doubt Mr. Fernandes would appreciate any of his employees speaking to potential customers that way. I know I wouldn’t. And I really like how Tony says “If you want a company like us to work with a company like yours“, as if he considers theUEgroup is far and above our company. I’m pretty sure if we matched details to details, he’d be surprised that we are much more prominent than he thinks we are.

Needless to say, Tony Fernandes from theUEgroup has earned the Hall of Shame Award. I guess he hasn’t put much thought into how he wants his own business to appear to the outside. Guess they’ll all know now.

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Reputation Management – Network Solutions

Working with clients who need reputation management can really help open your eyes on what and what not to do. There are a lot of things that can fall into this list, but here’s a quick list of a few simple guidelines to keep your reputation in check online:

  • Answer customer support quickly, promptly and friendly. You can have a sub-par product but if you treat your customers with the respect you would expect, it will take you a long way.
  • Don’t piss off customers no matter how strongly you feel about your side. The term “Ass Kissing” should be plugged in here. Punch a hole in the wall after you kiss their ass, but make it your goal to do everything you can to make that customer happy. All it takes is one pissed off customer ripping you on a blog or site and it’s never going away.
  • Don’t engage in discussions about your company and/or product on message forums or blogs if you plan on saying something you’ll regret later. Once you publish it, it’s published and there’s no taking it back.
  • Intended or unintended deception is like digging your own grave. The worst thing a company could possibly do is deceive customers in any possible way. The feeling of “being had” is one that people like to talk about the most. Sometimes this can be an honest mistake, which is where quick and friendly customer support would fly in and handle the situation before it blows up, so keep up with what your customers are saying.

With these things in mind, let’s now take a look at what Network Solutions has been doing that is probably going to bite them in the ass. I’ve always wondered why people are still paying more than triple the price for a domain name at Network Solutions and Register.com when you can buy the same name over at Godaddy for less than $10! Evidently registrars are participating in a tactic called Front Running, which lets registrars snatch up domain names people search for making them only available through their own service and allowing them to charge higher prices.

Network Solutions has forced millions of people to buy Internet domain names from them instead of cheaper competitors through a scheme that’s netted the firm millions of dollars, a federal class action lawsuit filed today by Kabateck Brown Kellner, LLP states. ICANN, whose policies facilitate the scheme, is also named in the suit, filed in U.S. District Court, Central District of California.

 
“Imagine if you asked a car dealer if they had a black convertible and were then forced to buy the car from them. Would you get a good deal? Each time someone asks Network Solutions about a domain name, the firm creates a monopoly for itself, forcing consumers to pay the price they demand,” said Brian Kabateck, lead counsel in the class action and Kabateck Brown Kellner’s Managing Partner.

The lawsuit also targets ICANN due to them allowing it to continue. Granted, ICANN will be fine after this is all over, but Network Solutions is going to need a strong reputation management campaign once this is said and done. This example might put it into perspective; a domain portfolio of 750 names would cost $20,000 MORE using Netsol.com versus Godaddy.com. Same product, same yearly charge, just $20k more each year. Keep them for 10 years and it’ll cost you $200k more.

Let this serve as our official letter to Network Solutions. If you decide you want to start knocking down the bad sites replacing them with the good, we can help you!

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TheRealTraffic.com – Hall of Shame Award

Today while approving new comments and weeding out the spam that gets through, I began reading a comment that first appears like a long thought, but as I start reading, I realize someone was trying to advertise their services by way of blog comment spam. This was their pitch:

Hall of Shame - TheRealTraffic.com - Spammer

So lets spam a link building network with a comment spam saying they’re the “BEST SEO” and their specialty is “link building“. HAAA! I would suggest that these guys aren’t all that great at what they do since they are resorting to blog spam to promote themselves. I would never resort to spamming blogs in our own market, especially trying to steal customers.

As I began typing this, I wanted to visit their site to gather any info that would be pertinent in my Hall of Shame post. I was surprised with a forced chat by someone, which I’m guessing is the only person behind this site, and he calls himself “Expert“. It asked me for a name and I entered “Joe” just to see if someone was there. I asked many questions and figured I would share the conversation. I put it into PDF format rather than posting it. Notice the generic weather talk:

TheRealTraffic.com – Chat Conversation

Welcome to the Hall of Shame, “Expert”.

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Hall of Shame – How To NOT Get A Job

We’re on the hunt for a new web graphic / web developer and recently posted a job on Monster.com. It’s funny with all the unemployment in the world today, a good candidate is tough to find. Especially one that isn’t greedy and/or thinks their shit don’t stink! Anyhow, this particular applicant has pushed me to the brink of letting everyone see how to NOT get a job.

“Obviously, I’m not going to use the clowns full name for legal reasons, but most of our readers are smart enough to figure it out because I will give you bits of information that is easily traced.”

I begin looking around for his website or links to work he’s done, but nothing! Very odd for a person applying for a web graphic / development position. I’ve never received a resume for this position that didn’t include something where they wanted to showcase their work. I then reply and ask if he had a website or any links to show me his work, then the hall of shame status began. What I’ll show you here is the threads back and forth between this person and me. I’ll keep it as short as possible so this isn’t a novel.

First email from me to him

Do you have some sort of online portfolio of work you have done recently? I need a graphic designers 1st / web dev guy 2nd. Our site is built strictly in PHP, CSS, JavaScript, MySQL so these are the skills we’re looking for.

“Giglmon” (Hall of Shame) responds to me

I have been working alot of contract jobs. That’s why i’m looking for something perm. As far as online portfolio, go to Google and enter
“Giglmon” (Hall of Shame) as a keyword. That should show you a pretty large list of items. Looking forward to hearing back.

Ok, so I’m like, “I have to go and try to find your work?” But I thought to myself, maybe this guy is a great catch and he has all these projects to look at. Even though I thought it was a rather pompous way to show one’s work, I went and did a search as he suggested and started looking around. Mind you, this is what I do for a living! I can find anything. But after spending about 15-20 minutes, I was like, I give up, so then I respond to him. And I even try to give him some advice from the employer side of things rather than just deleting and moving on.

My response back to (Hall of Shame – Giglmon)

Telling me to go research to try and find your projects is a bit odd, first of all. Secondly, I did a search thinking you must be some sort of big name. I received a total of 90 results and the majority of them are conversations you’ve had with people. A lot of them referred to giglmon.net (Hall of Shame), yet that site does not open. In other words, I found nothing on you before I gave up.

My top candidates for this job would have their own website where they keep a running website that showcases all of their current and previous work. The more you have on it and the more you can show me, the better idea I will have to know if you are what we’re looking for.

Still hoping this guy will provide access to some of his work and be appreciative of my suggestions, I get this:

His response to me

Ya’ asked for some information, if you weren’t able to search correctly that would indicate you may not know how to.

Thanks but, No thanks. Here is the resume.

And he includes his resume to me again, which was the same thing I originally received. Obviously, you can see the tide turning here and he’s speaking down to me now. My next reply was explaining search is my job, but that wasn’t the point. I told him I was looking for someone that fit the job and needed to see the work and he should act like he wants a job rather than speaking so negatively. Then here’s his last two responses:

Next response from (Hall of Shame) “giglmon”

Not for a guy like you @ any price! Way too many other jobs out there to even entertain dealing with someone like you. BTW, who did your site?, a 2nd grader? (-8

Yes gurglemen, a 2nd grader did our site. Fortunately for us, he decided to fast track to middle school and he’s no longer here to defend himself.

Had to have the last word

Don’t respond back to me again! I no longer wish any contact with you or your organization. The next email I report to the email service! Have a nice day!

I guess he didn’t believe me. Hey, this guy may be the best developer on the market, but unless you can present yourself in a professional manner and at least show the person considering hiring you some work, things probably will not go that well. So I officially put this guy into the LinkWorth Hall of Shame. A new category I’m starting. That clown blog spammer I’ll have to say was our first to join the hall.

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What Will Blog Spammers Think Of Next

Going through comments today, I came across one of the funniest spam comments I’ve ever seen,

hello , my name is Richard and I know you get a lot of spammy comments, I can help you with this problem . I know a lot of spammers and I will ask them not to post on your site. It will reduce the volume of spam by 30-50% .

In return Id like to ask you to put a link to my site on the index page of your site. The link will be small and your visitors will hardly notice it, its just done for higher rankings in search engines.

Contact me icq 454528835 or write me tedirectory(at)yahoo.com, i will give you my site url and you will give me yours if you are interested. thank you

Wow! Nothing like a spammer’s friend offering me less spam in order to put a link on our home page. Here’s my official response to this person:

Hi DICK. These friends you speak of, are they nuts? Something tells me that you would give us the shaft either way. The whole thing seems a bit hairy, if you ask me. This reciprocation you’re offering, will it be in the front end or the back end? Just so you know, our back end has a NOFOLLOW, NOINDEX tag on it. The more I think about it, it smells too fishy, and I’ll have to turn down the offer.

I guess I’ll have to just continue deleting his friends comments. Ho-Hum.

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