Stop lying

pinocchioBear with me a moment for some backstory: We’ve been getting a robocall repeatedly at the office to alert us how our Google+ page hasn’t been claimed yet, so we’re missing out on foot-traffic to our business.  We’re an office, so foot-traffic isn’t something we’re looking for. I can’t quote the narrated description verbatim, but it’s clearly worded to make it seem like the calls are coming from Google. Being an internet professional, I know the only time I’ve ever gotten a phone call from Google was about advertising and not about G+; immediately, this does not pass the smell test for me. I’ve been dialing 9 or whatever number they say to be removed from the list, but the calls keep coming. Finally, this morning, I’d had it. I wanted to speak to a representative and find out for sure what was up with these calls.

I navigated through the options with my dial-pad, and finally I was patched through to a representative: “Hi, I have a question: are you with Google itself, or are you an SEO company?”

“We provide services to Google, Bing, and Yahoo.”

“Okay, but do you provide those services as a direct contractor, or are you an SEO company?”

It’s impossible to convey the rudeness in text, but it was there: “I already told you that. Yes, we’re an SEO company.”

“You didn’t tell me that, though. Everything about your script seems designed to make me think you’re with Google.”

“Well if you don’t want our services, you should have just asked to be taken off the list.”

I saw through the front, so immediately, I became the recipient of scorn. I get that most people might not know what SEO is, and I get that cold-calling is a job that puts you in contact with hostile people all the time. But I wasn’t being hostile; I was trying to get a direct, non-weaselly answer to my question before asking why they won’t take our number off their list. I was so taken aback by the immediate rudeness I got that I forgot to ask why my repeated attempts to be removed from their list haven’t worked.

The great Chris Lema wrote an article about how keeping the truth in your corner is vital for success: avoid the people who lie and say you can’t do something just to hold you back, but also avoid falsely propping yourself up with lies about what’s possible. I would add this: If you have to lie to get your foot in the door, you’ve already lost.

Call me and offer your services as an SEO company. But don’t try to make me think you’re someone you’re not, then get mad at me for calling you on it.


  1. Yeah, those pretenders should Stop Lying. Thanks for being the voice that speaks up, Sarah. They should know to never piss off a song writer.

  2. As I have listened to talks and learned from my reading and research, that the new currency in anything online is reputation and trust. Having to sneak your way into a business relationship or personal relationship for that matter with lies, will not only get you booted out, it will also damage your reputation as a company or as an individual. What are these guts thinking for 12.12.12 was yesterday already…

  3. I have a friend who works for an SEO company (hopefully not this one). I have always had a queasy feeling about that “business.” Do some people need help with it? Sure! But what they really need is not black-hat trickery by a company with a monthly contract. They need some basic education on how to craft meaningful, valuable content with good links. And time.

    Karma works wonders for organic SEO.

    And telemarketers who take advantage of businesses that are less tech-savvy? I think there’s a special place in hell for them.

    • Absolutely agreed on all points, Jeff. The trouble with SEO (and social media and some web development) is that people know they need a company to help them, but due to the technical aspects involved, don’t know enough to know how much or what they need. Because of this, a lot of unscrupulous companies sell people things they don’t need or shouldn’t have, and then everyone things we’re all scam artists.

  4. Oh, I get those calls too regarding my various pages. It’s very frustrating! Especially when they are asking me to “renew” my services that I got for FREE!

  5. Honesty in business is ESSENTIAL! There are so many people all competing for the same buck these days, your reputation is one of your greatest assets. Losing it by resorting to cheap gimmicks and disingenuous marketing will bite you in the butt eventually.

  6. I get called all the time with the pitch “How would you like to get your website on the 1st page of Google?

    Me: Have you looked up my website!

    Caller: Uh, no. Why?

    Me: Well, if you had looked, you would have seen that I’m already on the first page of Google for organic searches.

    Caller: Dial tone

  7. I know exactly what you’re talking about! It’s the deceit that is the problem. I get this from SEO companies who want to give me guest blogs (a service I actually offer myself). So when I ask them if they are the actual author or if they are an SEO company, many get snippy with me. Bad business all around.

  8. This actually resembled a conversation I had a few hours ago “Windows” has been repeatedly calling my father, when he finally got through they gave him a line, and he asked if they were Microsoft Windows…no, they are not…they are Windows…deceptive! Good catch Sarah! Thanks for the warning!

    • We get that scam call too! They usually hang up after I tell them I know this is a scam, but either they won’t take us off their list or there are multiple companies running this particular scam. The last time we got it, I told them I knew it was a scam and to stop calling, and all of a sudden it turned into a heavy-breather type call. I couldn’t not laugh. The only thing worse than a con man is a dumb con man.

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