SEO Class in Chicago, IL
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Posted 06 May 2009 - 12:04 PM
As Torka mentioned, there are numerous consumer protection and anti-fraud statutes already in place, though they do vary from place to place. As long as you make sure you always have a written contract and more importantly agree with everything in that contract before you sign it, you're protected. Money is exchanged for services and products. If the products or services don't meet the requirements and expectations laid out in the written contract, you have recourse to the law, as Mr Water's would put it. [Sorry if you're not a Pink Floyd fan you won't get the full depth of that obscure reference. )
The law is the law. And has nothing whatsoever to do with Professional Organizations or Association bylaws.
I'll give you a quick example. An attorney (or barrister/solicitor in UK parlance) can be found innocent of a crime in court. But can lose their license to practice law because their professional organization may have more stringent rules and regulations. The same applies to every profession. The Law and Professional Conduct regulations are not equal.
I can discount this one easily.
I know literally hundreds and know of many thousands of people who have spent more on their SEO over the course of a few years than they have spent on their car or even their house. And they're smart to do it 99 times out of 100, because they've done their homework up front and their due diligence. Plus they know from reviewing the back end results that their SEO costs are bringing them in far more than they've spent, and in fact are paying for their car and house.
The point being that they're not handing their money over blindly. Caveat Emptor. Due diligence and let the buyer beware.
As far as car purchases go, I can only tell you what I did in the last year when teaching my young but wise beyond her years daughter how to purchase a car. And this was from a local dealership I know and trust.
We went and she picked out the car she wanted. It was used, but not old. Single owner. Visibly in really good shape. We test drove it, albeit in a blinding snowstorm and it didn't exhibit any immediate potential problems. It needed new tires, but that's to be expected with a used car in my book. They even had documents that purported to be all of the service records since the car was new. Great first car for her (hence the teaching lesson from dear old dad).
Then we got the price they wanted for it and left telling them we'd think about it for a day or two.
We didn't think much. She wanted it. I approved, but tempered her excitement by explaining that we had our due diligence to do yet. Remember, this was a little teaching lesson.
The first thing we did when we got home was to pay a few bucks to get a Carfax report on the vehicle to see if it matched up with everything we'd been told. That all looked good. It had been in one minor fender bender we hadn't been told about (parking lot accident, less than $500 damage to one side panel) that didn't have much chance to do something major like bend the frame. Otherwise it was a clean report.
When we got back to the dealership we negotiated a price. Note we did this first. The condition the daughter placed on the price (at my direction before we got there, just to make her do it herself so she'd remember it next time) was that we would schedule a time to take the car up the street a couple of blocks to a mechanic I trusted to tell us the truth.
The mechanic said it would pass inspection and was overall in as good as we thought, but would need a new left side tie-rod end within a year or two. He gave me a print out to say what that would cost too. Overall, passed with flying colors.
We took the tie-rod sheet back to the dealership to re-enter negotiations. Because we'd treated him fairly, but done our due diligence, he agreed to pay for the new tie-rod, we paid for the new tires and we split the cost of the alignment since it would have been required for either procedure. He dropped the car off at the mechanic the following morning first thing and all of the work was done to everybody's satisfaction. After she got out of school that day we took him by a cashiers check for the agreed upon price and picked up the car.
We all came out of it happy. The daughter loves her car, she learned a valuable life lesson, the car dealer got a new business relationship with my mechanic (since he doesn't overcharge) and my mechanic got me as a still happy customer and new business from a car dealer right down the street.
That's how it should work when everybody is professional, doesn't try to screw each other over does their due diligence. For good or ill, none of those three things can be blindly handed off to a third party to oversee. They'll never watch out for your own interests nearly as well as you can for yourself.
Posted 06 May 2009 - 03:54 PM
I think that's another major stumbling block. Accreditation or otherwise, customers need to have at least some grasp of what they're buying (or at least use a little common sense) for regulation to have any effect.
A year ago a customer of mine asked if he should go with one of these companies that had sent him a (spam) email, I told him not to touch them with a barge pole and explained why. A few weeks ago he asked me to look at the stats of his site to see if the 'SEO' company he's been paying £100 per month for the last year are worth renewing the contract with - I'm sure you can guess who the 'SEO' company are!!
On the one hand I feel these people are taking the **** - on the other hand I think he's giving it away by the pint.
There's only so much an industry can do to protect people who are willing to believe everything a salesman tells them.
Posted 06 May 2009 - 09:36 PM
It's even more difficult than the industry simply maturing, unfortunately. Because it has to be Worldwide, and enforceable worldwide. No other professional organization or law is enforceable every single place in the world. Heck, one of the most regulated and mature industries in the history of mankind (Attorney's) doesn't even have the ability to practice anywhere they choose just here in the States! You have to pass the bar in each and every state in which you intend to practice. If you don't, you're practicing law without a license.
Can imagine trying to come up with a set of rules and regulations that would fit the ethics and culture of every country and region in the world?
Posted 07 May 2009 - 04:21 AM
Let me assure you it isn't!
Most family run businesses or self employed people I know, including my parents, strugle to stay a float, they find it hard finding the money for the VAT man, let alone the SEO man!
Unless of course SEO's think that the little man shouldn't have access to decent, standards assured, quality SEO, and only big business is good enough for the SEO community!
Because that's the impression I get when ever I ask the SEO standards question by those who don't seem to need/want SEO standards.
Hmm I wonder why that is?
Come on I'm in the Finance sector for mortgages, insurance and loans, and all the bosses gave me was £30.00 per month PPC budget, and then after no results for 3 months pulled the entire budget, and also expect me to SEO all 30 of their websites and get top 1st page results with a ZERO budget.
And for a few of the sites, I've managed it, their lucky I guess that they employ someone with at least half a brain and can understand enough to compete in the less competetive KWD arena, I know some KWD's without budget and resourse is simply pie in the sky!
I would try to secure SEO services to help with some of my sites, but for two things, there are no standards that i can fall back on and those that *may* be any good , seem far too expensive.
Maybe I should stop flying the flag and fighting the cause and jump on the band wagon, But hey that just wouldn't be cricket!
Why join them when you can beat them, no wait a minute that's beat myself, oh well self flagilation is good for the soul
The paper contract specifically said we had been explained everything to our satisfaction by the rep, we said yes, when we found out that the rep had lied, we cancelled under the agreement. Head office rung from Bali and when I explained this, his exact words were 'The sales man can say what ever he likes, it's irrelivant'.
We'll i'm sorry no they cannot, any sales man that tells a downright lie to obtain a sale is commiting fraud!
If he lies to take your money it is 'obtaining money through deception' and every stinking lowlife sales man criminal that does this should be locked up as the scumbag they are! what ever industry they work in.
And I fought this point and won! and anyone who accepts being ripped off , they are the ones that deserve it and perpertuate the beleive that ripping someone off is acceptable in bussiness. the saying "All's fair in love, war & business" is just plain BS made up by some scumbag scam artist. Don't accept fraud, fight it! and demand standards and common decency, seems quite straight forward and 'the right thing to do' to me. but it does seem other peoples milage certainly varies!
Edited by NASA, 07 May 2009 - 04:43 AM.
Posted 07 May 2009 - 04:29 AM
I entirely agree, and that's my point about the ignorance of the customer being part of the problem. If you could get the customer to recognise an accredited SEO from a non-accredited one then you would take a lot of business from the shysters, it may not close them down entirely but it would leave a lot less room for them.
For customers to get to a point where they know one accreditation from another they need to have some knowledge of what they're buying, which is partly what I mean about the industry being too new. I could hand out 'Rolf Certified SEO' awards and most customers would not know that all you have to do to get certified is send me $499.99 via Paypal. However, if everyone knew that 'Randy Certified SEO' awards were only handed out to companies that met a certain standard then they would know not to go for a company selling itself on the former.
I don't think there's any way that could happen right now, but over time I hope it could.
Posted 07 May 2009 - 04:45 AM
Posted 07 May 2009 - 10:02 AM
No, it's really good value if you think about it, you get a certificate and you get a logo to link back to my site on every site you SEO :-P
Posted 07 May 2009 - 10:42 AM
Do i get a little badge I can pin to my suit when visiting potential customers....
oh i have just given away my big idea
Posted 07 May 2009 - 11:06 AM
I agree that it is next to impossible to develop such a "respected" organization especially since us "in the know" can't even come to an agreement on several ranking issues (i.e. whether or not keywords in the URL or page name make a significant impact on rankings). It's too black box and out of anyone's control to establish concrete standards of SEO quality points to base a respectible SEO certification.
I also agree with Jill's initial response that it's EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION. However, therein lies the quandary of who's information is most correct, open and honest enough for an individual attempting to research SEO services to make an informed bottom-line improvement decision. For example, I just finished reading a newly released book on "SEO/Internet Marketing" from supposedly one of the "experts" in the industry and the SEO portion was so anemic and out right wrong (my opinion) in several places that I wouldn't recommend the book beyond the chapters devoted to starting, managing and analyzing the ROI for PPCs (those were very good). So it begs the question of, who's information/techniques can a potential SEO consumer hang his/her hat on? Even face-to-face meetings demonstrating the long-term benefits of SEO with propects is like pulling teeth from a mule or trying to convince a Socialist that Capitalism is truly best for all.
It's a bird and egg thang I reckon.
Posted 07 May 2009 - 11:28 AM
If only people would just read the stuff at High Rankings and nowhere else, they'd get the correct info and learn to focus on the things that matter.
But alas, they read other stuff too and then get confused.
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