Network Solutions Review – Scalping Customers

Network Solutions Review

I’ve used Network Solutions for many, many, many years. Today while helping a client renew a domain which had expired on 8/6/12 I was surprised to see a new fee (not sure how long they’ve been doing this) called a “Reinstatement Fee” of $25.99. A one-time charge to reinstate a domain name that has expired. This is yet another method of scalping customers for more revenue. I could see Network Solutions charging this fee if a person had to manually reinstate or activate the domain, but the system is completely automated.

Seems some domain Registrars are following the way of many banks and looking for new ways to add additional fees to domain registrants. Network Solutions was the first and original registrar for .com, .net and .org domains. While many registrars have gotten competitive, Network Solutions still charges $35 for a year domain registration as they did nearly 20 years ago.

Are you aware of any other add-on fees Network Solutions or other registrars are charging? Share your comments or story below>>

Network Solutions: History

Fake Google Adwords Display URL

Fake Adwords Display URL? I did not think it was possible, but I finally ran across a Google Adwords ad using a fake display URL. I was looking for a Canon p-150 scanner. I thought I was going to land on BestBuy.com, but instead landed on a Weebly.com page which then redirected me to Amazon.com ย (Check out the screen shots below)

While I won’t talk about the ethics of this or how Google missed a display URL that does not match a destination URL…this is some slick marketing. I doubt the individual or entity could be identified by anyone without a court subpoena.

Adwords Display URL

 

Fake Google Adwords Display URL

Directed me to a Weebly.com web page below.

ย Adwords Display URL

Typically has to match up with the destination URL unless using a tracking service of some type.

Again, this is a pretty slick marketing tactic. I’m not sure if there is any legal precident of using a corporate domain / sub-domain name to fake out consumers into thinking they are going to a corporate website and then land on an affiliate page.

Once the cookie is loaded, the affiliate will get the sale if the visitor makes a purchase.

Have you run across fake Google Adwords display URLs? or do you use fake display URLs in your marketing? Any Internet attorneys that care to comment on any possible legal issues resulting from the use of this tactic? Comment below or sign up in top right hand corner of this page for email updates.

For more information on Google Adwords display URL policy – click link

Here’s interesting point with regard to Google’s display URL policy for Adwords. There is nothing covered regarding the use of false or misleading display URLs.

Be #1 On Google

To start 2011 off different this year, I’m doing something I’ve never done. 2011 I’m going to be doing some book reviews, sharing insights, ideas, and open up some discussion on various search engine and online marketing books.

The first book I’m going to cover is “Be #1 On Google, by Jon Smith. He is also the author ofย  Grow Your Business With Google Adwords”.

You can purchase both of his books on Amazon using the links below:




In his book “Be #1 on Google” Jon Smith shares 52 ideas / tools to drive customers to your website. Each day, for the next 52 days, I’ll be sharing one of his tips / tools. I won’t dive into the content of each chapter…that’s why you’ll want to purchase of copy of your own, but I will share each tip he outlines. At the end, we’ll see if all the information he shares truly helps to move you closer to a #1 position on Google.

Tip #1:

Where do you rank right now?

This might seem pretty silly, but you’d be amazed at how many folks don’t even know if their domain name or website is actually showing up in Google. Why is Google so important? At the time of the writing of “Be #1 on Google”, 60% of all Internet searches are initiated on the big G.

Type in your domain name without the www. on the front end of it, and without the .com. Example: www.searchenginepro.net would be entered as “searchenginepro”. In this case, I happen to have the #1 spot for both “searchenginepro” and “search engine pro”. I guess I must have done something right ๐Ÿ™‚

Jon then asks readers to type in the name of their best selling product, service, or industry. Are you on page 1, 2, or 3? or not at all? This is a basic starting point for many folks to determine if they are even anywhere near the top 30 rankings. For more information and tips, grab one or both of Jon’s books and read along.

Look for Tip #2 tomorrow

Will Google Split Non-hyphenated Keywords In Domain Name?

This was a recent question submitted by a reader:

Q: Will Google split the non-hyphenated keywords in domain name?

A: Yes, Google was actually one of the first search engines to do this. Now Bing and Yahoo also have the ability recognize separate keywords in a non-hyphenated domain name.

With that being said, I still purchase numerous hyphenated domains each year for various reasons:

  1. A hyphenated domain is great for display URLs and pay per click advertising.
  2. A hyphenated domain can rank just as well as a non hyphenated domain name. (The major consideration is whether or not you are targeting search traffic or type-in traffic.)
  3. Hyphenated domains are easier to read and can give you an extra advertising line when used as your display URL in your PPC advertising

The Importance of Domain Name Selection

I was on a call a couple of weeks ago with Perry Marshall and Jonathan Mizel. Jonathan brought up an interesting point that I’ve been talking about for a long time.

Today, everything you do online can be copied. Your content, your Google Adwords campaigns, etc. There’s not much you can hide or that cannot be reverse engineered. The one thing a competitor cannot take from you is A Good Domain Name. A well thought out or unique domain name can make a big difference in the amount of traffic you receive to your website.

Here are a few examples: (no hyphens – geo-targeted)

While the above domains may not include the exact name of your business they are still valuable as they can insulate your primary domain or can be used as your primary domain. These are also considered keyword domains as they contain actual search terms that an internet searcher might query. If you can match a keyword domain with good content, you are literally guaranteed top ten placement with the major search engines.

Another form of the same type of keyword that many overlook are hyphenated keywords. Hyphenated keywords can do just as well as a non hyphenated keyword, but they are also really good for use in Adwords or PPC marketing campaigns. They are great for testing / split testing ad copy and also act as an extra line in your advertising as the display URL. (e.g. Personal-Car-Shopper.com, We-Approve-Any-Credit.com, etc.) your display URL can expand or enhance your ad message.

Here are a few examples: (hyphenated domains geo-targeted and ad focused)

  • Texas-Real-Estate.com
  • Personal-Car-Shopper.com
  • Dallas-Website-Hosting.com
  • We-Approve-Bad-Credit.com
  • Certified-Diving-Trainers.com

As you can see a hyphenated domain name provides a readable additional line in your Adwords or other PPC campaigns.

In addition to being unique to your business and your website, domains are like virtual real estate. They can increase your marketing and provide additional value to your business. Just like real estate there is a limited supply. No matter how much a competitor might try to copy your website or your Pay Per Click ads, they can’t take a good domain name that you’ve registered for your business.

keyword-domainsNotice how the add below with the keyword rich domain name is a bold green. It actually makes the ad stand out from all the other ads. You can get as creative as you want with display URLs.

If you haven’t registered any keyword rich ad focused domains for your business you might want to consider it… You might uncover a gem that will increase traffic and branding for your website.

Don’t want to do your own keyword research? We’ll be happy to do the work for you. Just use our contact form and let us know.

Search Engine Marketing Can Be Overwhelming

35The other day I had a conversation with a Realtor. He is an agent in the RE/MAX system, has a website and a slew of tools available for him to market his real estate business online. Here is what he said that struck a chord with me.

“I’ve got so many tools available for search engine marketing and promotion I’m overwhelmed”

As we continued our conversation, he was looking to me for help with some basics so he could see some incremental progress in his online marketing and lead generation.

60I think this is where many folks are today with their online marketing. There are so many tools and variations that it’s easy even for those of us who call this our profession to get bogged down in SEO/SEM tool testing rather than taking predictable steps each day to improve our search engine marketing presence or to reach a targeted and measurable goal. I’m going to document our progress from the initial set up of a new domain name and will share with visitors at least once per month some tips and ideas for keeping it simple to prevent search engine marketing overload.

Are you a small business owner overwhelmed with all the tools available to market and promote your business online? If so, share your story or thoughts with our visitors.

Craigslist Requiring Phone Authentication

It appears that Craigslist is now collecting phone data on its users. I wanted to follow up on my previous domain name post by trying to see if Craigslist would let me place a domain name for sale ad. When I logged into my account which I’ve had for more than 12 months, Craigslist asked me to authenticate my account by providing a phone number:

(Here’s the text from Craigslist)craigslist-phone-authentication

We need you to provide a valid, working phone number so that we can verify your account.

To help enforce our terms of use, craigslist requires an account, verified by phone, for posting in certain categories. Terms of use violations will be subject to account suspension and blacklisting of the phone number used to verify the account.

After entering your phone number below, you will receive an automated call or SMS and an authorization code will be provided to you.

Enter this authorization code on the next page, and your account will be verified.

While being able to post or offer domain names for sale on Craigslist is a completely different topic, I’m wondering how the requirement for authenticating an account via phone will affect users. Will new user sign-ups drop? Will existing users stop using Craigslist due to the apparently recent requirement for phone authentication?

While Craigslist says only “certain categories” require authentication for posting, I could not find a single category that would allow me to post an ad without giving up my phone number. OK, I tried to authenticate my phone number and this is what I get instantly:

not-verified

Not sure what is going on at Craiglist, but after entering my valid phone number, I am asked to start over with another number.

What has your experience been with this new requirement? Did you provide Craigslist with your phone number? Did you run into any issues when trying to enter or provide your legit phone?