There are numerous business directories and usually there is a small sum to pay for inclusion. Some offer free inclusion for a basic entry then tempt you with a higher profile entry for a fee.
This is all straightforward and legal.
However, some scammers offer business directory listings with nasty hidden costs.
Recent scam emails claim to offer an entry in the EU Business Register, based in the Netherlands.
The messages look legitimate and tempt people to fill in the attached PDF of questions and expect a free entry in the directory.
The messages even include the line “Updating is free of charge”.
The scam is hidden in the very small print at the bottom of the PDF document where it says “The signing of this document represents the acceptance of … I hereby order a subscription with … for three years. The price per year is Euro 995. The subscription will be automatically extended each year for another year….”
Once they get the form back, the invoices start to arrive and they use heavy pressure and threats to make people pay.
However, the contract is not valid as it is obviously designed to con people.
Always make sure to read the small print on any document before signing.
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Online business directories used to be a good way to find items of interest on the Internet. But since the search engines became highly efficient, online directories have not been needed for general searching. Search engines are the starting point for most users of the World Wide Web and directories are out of favour.
There are online services that will submit your website listing to hundreds or even thousands of online directories and they make it sound as if it’s the best way to get your website noticed. But search engines pay little attention to directories and few people use them and directories don’t feature much in recommended search engine optimisation for your website, so the value is questionable.
Free and Paid Listings
While most online directories all offer a free listing option, they will try to upsell you to a paid option – this is generally a range packages available for a monthly fee. For example $25 might get you a listing with a logo and a website link, whereas $50 might guarantee you an entry in the top half of their search results page.
A free, basic listing can be useful just for the sake of another return link to your website, but it’s difficult to justify paying for an entry unless it’s a niche directory that is still much used by people searching in that niche. This true for some trade directories that list for example architects or plumbers.
If your entry in a business directory is to your profile on the directory then this is unlikely to help your position in the main search engines as only the secondary link is to your website.
A paid listing will give you more visibility on the directory but probably be no better for the main search engines.
Maybe you know good reasons why business directory listings are worth paying for?
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