What the Bot Just Happened? Scare Tactic Sales

If your business has any ties to the digital world, and by seeing this article the answer is “yes,” then you’ve been targeted by Bots that rely on scare tactics to generate sales. Does the following sound familiar:

Email: I visited your site recently, which by the way looks amazing, and found several performance issues causing poor rankings on the search engines…

Phone Call: I’m a Google representative and your business listing is about to be deleted…

These and thousands of similar warning are not real. Rather, they are created by software Bots or pre-recorded call center promotions to scare you into business. No one visited your website and took the time to identify its problems. And no, Google isn’t calling you.

Scare tactics are a malicious way that low-quality (scam businesses) use to generate sales. Based on emotion, you immediately get angry at your current provider, and hire the true villain to fix the problems that don’t really exist.

A favorite tool for the scare-tactic seller it to provide technical details like “Your website is not W3C Compliant” or something vague like “You do not have enough inbound links.” These and other messages like them mean nothing. After all, Google.com is not W3C compliant and no website ever created actually has enough inbound links. As if there is some number of links that translates to “enough.”

The truth is that most all evaluation software is going to tell you that something is broken. That type of software is designed to make your website look bad, because no one ever generate a sale by saying “you’re website receives an A+ in every category, but that’s no reason to not sign-up.” What is really happening is that millions of scare-tactic emails and phone calls are going out to business owners, and thousand will take the bait. For example, a very popular SEO check website ranks Google.com a score of 0/100. Google racks-up 5 critical errors and 7 warnings. For perhaps a fairer test, I found the #1 ranked website for a highly competitive, national ranking “credit card processing.” The #1 ranked website pulled a 53/100 score, had 3 critical errors and 16 warnings. 53/100 sounds like a solid “F,” but here we have the #1 ranked website on the planet for a massively competitive search phrase. These tests are designed to make your website look bad, because that is how they sell.

Be smarter than the scammers! You don’t have to be technically savvy to know when you’re being scammed. If you suspect a problem, see if you have a friend who can check things out for you, or hire a consultant for a quick check for problems. Simpler still, is your website ranking well for the keywords you want? If not, you probably need help. Rankings after all are the bottom line. Bad rankings – get help. Good rankings – keep up the good work. Most importantly, don’t have a knee-jerk reaction over a scare-tactic email from a complete stranger. Cooler heads prevail.