Another SEO Bozo Alert. Bozo Alert! LeapFish.com. Here We Go Again.

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Services for Real Estate Pros with VPiX Real Estate Virtual Tour Kits

As I was just getting to enjoy my coffee (perfect temperature) my cell phone rings. 

It's a sales call from a fast talking telemarketer from LeapFish.com

"I found you on ActiveRain," he says "...and I wanted to let you know that you can own keywords for your area."

I ask him, What keywords and since 92% of my traffic already comes from Google and I am already page one #1 and page one #2, how can I get any better than this?

He explains, "Because you get to own the key words and we're the biggest out there. We've combined Yahoo, Google, MSN...blah blah blah blah"

The rest became white noise for me.

I tell him I am going to LeapFish.com and I enter in the key words, virtual tour camera,  360 virtual tours, and broker agent software.

I'm already on page one on your site now.  I ask the pushy fast talker, HOW CAN I GET ANY BETTER?  (This guy is starting to irritate me now)

He says, "Because you get to own the keywords, you pay once..." I cut him off. I say thanks but is it too much to ask that you guys at least QUALFIFY your prospect before you call them?  Geez, man it saves a lot of embarrassment here. 

So we hang up.

But here's my concern for my fellow Active Rainer's.

They are snooping Active Rain for prospects.  So here's my concern for all of you who right now DO NOT have a natural first page presence on Google.

Stay away from these guys. It's clear to me they are only patrolling the Active Rain portal to scoop up leads and if they call you, it might sound impressive. But you have to understand the importance of PLANNING THE SALES CALL.

Since they didn't bother pre-screening me for any top page rank key words, this means this firm practices the classic READY, FIRE, AIM which simply means this firm is not looking after your best interest.

They only want your money and a slick voice will tell you lots of interesting things -- but if they are not doing any research on you or your domain name before they call -- this simply smacks of unprofessionalism and greed to me. 

But for me, this firm is no better than MerchantCircle.com and ePerks a similar firm went bankrupt and it looks like funds from that firm have gone to start up LeapFish.com.  But I have not done a lot of research on this yet. You can read more about ePerks and LeapFish here. 

 

 

Posted by

Bart Wilson | CIO
..................................................................
Virtual Pictures Corp (VPiX®)  
iPhone: (719) 645-9940  |  Skype:  vpix360 

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Vlad Zablotskyy 03/13/2009 09:55 PM
Topic:
Real Estate Sales and Marketing
Location:
New Mexico
Groups:
The Art Of Marketing You
Blogging & SEO
ActiveSEO
Tags:
seo bozo
seo scams
alert

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Rainmaker
312,663
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles & Pasadena, CA

I have gotten several calls from them. I turned the table on them last time and said I thought they should pay me to list on their site since I am an "industry leader". The VP of sales actually called me to discuss my proposition.

Why would I pay them for lifetime ownership rights of my keywords. Whose lifetime - mine, the site's? Like you, I'm already all over page one and two organically on Google. Who goes to LeapFish to search?

Mar 06, 2009 10:17 PM #16
Rainer
207,218
Shane OnullGorman
Eau Claire Realty, Inc. - Eau Claire, WI
Eau Claire Wisconsin, Real Estate Agent & Realtor- Buy or Sell

No it really doesnt make sense as it matures. It doesnt have a chance at all of maturing. It sounds like its a fish out of water really. Not to sound negative but you dont really offer anything that any other PPC site cant offer other than overpaying for certain keywords to claim them. You still probably have to pay for every single variation of a phrase or do you have to pay for a retainer on each variation? Beyond that organic results will always kick the crap out of PPC. PPC is dead. Less and less people click each year and as people learn not to click and are turned off by advertising in this way in general it will only get worse. People get smart and learn not to click. I cant say I have purposely clicked on an ad in over 10 years other than to make a stupid window close.  I doubt I am alone. So to say that some research says PPC worked along side organic.. sure but for how long? Poke a stick in it.

Mar 07, 2009 12:26 AM #17
Rainmaker
2,045,846
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

It is annoying when they call when you are on vacation or busy with clients. I always try to be polite to tele marketers but sometimes I just want to hang up.

Mar 07, 2009 05:37 AM #18
Anonymous
Ken

Realtors should keep in mind that LeapFish is being run by the same people who created ePerks. Here is an interesting account of one agent's experience:

http://camorealtor.featuredblog.com/?p=10

In order to receive a refund an agent has to sign a release form not to ever make any negative comments against the company. Evidently not even California's AG is interested to investigate deeper into these scams.

These artists should not be allowed to do business. They do seem to target Realtors. Easy prey, Mr. Kithcart?

 

Mar 07, 2009 08:34 AM #19
Rainmaker
124,669
Bartley Wilson
VPiX Real Estate Virtual Tour Kits - Monument, CO
Real Estate Virtual Tours + IDX Websites by VPiX

Mr. Kithcart,

I have to stick up for my colleagues who are all right now, seeking high quality leads and ways to better improve their visibility on line without being ripped off. What really TICKS me off is with firms like yours is the classic READY, FIRE, AIM just like MerchantCircle.com complaints and too many other so-called SEO and Search Engine Marketing firms.

So when I get calls from firms like yours, I have to question where your head is at becuase you come off being another Bozo. If I am on page one everywhere, including your website, what the Hell can you possibly DO for me? Michelle Minch is on Google and asks the same thing.

I just don't understand the stupidity of any firm dumb enough to pay people to make sales calls without first teaching them how to PRE-screen companies to see if they even NEED what you are offering. 

You called me and did absolutely ZERO research to see if I was already listed on page one of your site. Like the movie, a Few Good Men, with that famous moment by Jack Nicholson, "You just pissed off the wrong #$%&@! Marine!"

To add insult to injury, you then tell me you found me on ActiveRain and you call my iPhone cell number and start rattling off your half baked SEO pitch without asking me if NOW is a good time to talk to me.

Many REALTORS are trying to get themselves better visibility on Google without being lied to and ripped off. I just happen to be blessed by God to have genuine SEO skills that allow me to write how-to-SEO books on the subject and I can do SEO services for maybe 8 or so clients a year. 

Our site, Voyager360.com is listed page one #1 on Google, Yahoo and MSN. And it's been #1 for more than five years. I turn down more than 25 jobs a month because I have tons of leads coming in the door every week despite a crappy economy. What more visibility do I need? 

REALTORS are tired of the BS marketing. They're tired of being lied to. Conned. Bait and switch. We as REALTORS are not on salary as some of our colleagues are in the United Kingdom. We are rank and file, hard working Americans who has to be very careful with what we spend on marketing ourselves. If we screw up, we lose faith in the vendors like you -- who promise a lot but deliver very little in return. Too many firms turn out to be half baked scam artists whose products are over budget, and often under perform. My most recent book, The Problems with Real Estate Search... Getting found has sold more than 10,000 copies. I brought 300 of them with me to the REALTOR Expo thinking they would last the entire show. They were all gone in four hours. REALTORS want real help. Not empty SEO promises. 

I show REALTORS what to look for in over promising companies. I show REALTORS the same mistakes made by MerchantCircle.com, I give them an SEO Bozo Detector Interview form. I give them a 4-week, step by step process how to get GREAT SEO on their own. I also show them the warning signs on firms like yours, who call us and make empty sales pitches about owning key words when you cannot promise this at all.  ePerks did that and they went bankrupt. So much for a keyword guarantee. 

Why spend one dime on your services when 74% of our traffic comes from Google right now?  Please show me tangible proof that traffic REALTORS need is going to YOUR site that has millions of next time home buyers looking for homes, REOs, or anything to do with relocation and real estate.

Do that and then show me your pre-call sales training program that proves to me that you are looking at REALTOR websites on Google, Yahoo and MSN to see if their site ir remotely qualified for a sales call to begin with.

You do these things for me Keith, and I'll shut up and I'll even give you an apology.

But I guarantee you this. You keep calling REALTORS and making your same stupid marketing pitch and I will be as constant as the Northern star telling my colleagues what to look out for.  

Nuff said...

- Bart Wilson

Mar 07, 2009 10:18 AM #20
Rainmaker
124,669
Bartley Wilson
VPiX Real Estate Virtual Tour Kits - Monument, CO
Real Estate Virtual Tours + IDX Websites by VPiX

And to answer Eric's remark above...

Getting Voyager to be on page one for the term:  virtual tours  is too generic. Too broad.  Virtual tours of WHAT? Museums? The white house? Egypt? This is where the SEO Rockstars out there know how to measure traffic and they adjust their website to show accordingly.

Three years ago, we WERE there but it was clear it was the WRONG place to be.

Answering phone calls from people calling; Do you sell virtual tours on CD for travel, and vacations?"  No, we do not. And we do not want that kind of traffic. We want qualified leads. Not a bunch of looky-loos. This is a problem when you optimize your website for broad, non-specific terms. Like I said, we did our traffic measurement for leads, conversions and sales. If the generic terms made us money, we'd be visible on page one. 

Which begs the question, When I type in Real Estate SEO, Internet Marketing, Search Engine Marketing... Why is it YOUR website doesn't appear?  I see BruceClay.com.  I See iProspect.com.  These are reputable firms and they appear. They don't have hundreds of complaints, either. 

Proof in the pudding (as Barbara Corcoran likes to say) is below;

Voyager360.com once again, ranks page one #1 and page one #2 on Google for the search term:  real estate virtual tours  and we get more traffic that we can handle. Google rewards Voyager as being the most relevant and getting the most traffic than Obeo, CirclePix, RealTourVision and Just Snooping which are Voyager competitors when it comes to virtual tour hosting. 

And we're page one #1 and page one #2 on Google for that same term, too.

Because I do my homework and practice the SEO skills of Measurement of traffic + key word relevance = HIGHER placement on Google... this is why we rank higher than firms who have been in the business longer.

When you learn these skills, and apply and practice them for 12 years as I have... when you've been featured in Business Week, and your work has been seen on ABC's Nightline and the Wall Street Journal... when you've made your clients visible on Google and wealthy thanks to your SEO skills and advice... perhaps you'll be the one REALTORS will turn to for SEO advice when you write your book on Internet Marketing.

- Bart Wilson

 

Mar 07, 2009 11:07 AM #21
Anonymous
Mark

Mr. Kithcart,

Your traffic has quadrupled?

0x4=0

Mar 07, 2009 11:33 PM #22
Rainmaker
1,397,470
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

Say it isn't so!?!  I was assured by some big wig with LeapFish that they ARE not targeting real estate agents.  It must be ActiveRain members that are being targeted.  It sounded familiar but I could not place LeapFish so I asked via Twitter and heard from a guy who is the president of LeapFish?  or head of marketing.  I also heard from others who reminded me of the stuff on Tech Crunch and WHO LeapFish is.

The woman who called me from LeapFish a couple of times was true to her word and has not called back. 

Robert Scoble did an interview with the guy who runs it.  The guy that Vlad Z. had so much trouble with over ePerks.  He came off very likeable in the interview. 

 

Mar 08, 2009 12:22 PM #23
Rainmaker
124,669
Bartley Wilson
VPiX Real Estate Virtual Tour Kits - Monument, CO
Real Estate Virtual Tours + IDX Websites by VPiX

This has been an interesting way to see how we can all band together to fight a common Bozo. Thanks to everybody for a spirited conversation. I think we all learned a valuable lesson on this post and our rants. 

1.) There are lots of SEO Bozos out there.

2.) Had we not informed some of you, a few might have fallen for their sales pitch. So it's clear this has saved some of some money and a few headaches. 

3.) Success + Failure Leave Clues. I am writing "Real Estate Warriors. Survival is not enough." I would like to know WHO out there, has achieved success in your market, and if you'd be open to an interview and being published in my next book.  

Let me know.   Documenting Success and Failure is a great way to teach other how to be successful, too. 

 

Bart Wilson

Mar 09, 2009 03:59 PM #24
Rainmaker
173,903
Maya Thomas LLC, Broker
Key West, Key Haven, Geiger, Sugarloaf, Cudjoe, Summerland - Key West, FL
Key West FL Historic Old Town Estates, Bungalows

Bart,
YOU RULE!  It's great to have somone so well informed tell the truth and verify how I've been feeling.  I get these calls 2 to 3 times a month.  I'm really excited that I've found you and want to read up on what you have to say.  CONGRATULATIONS on your incredible success with your books.  May blessing continue to rain all over you. 

With appreciation,
Maya

Mar 12, 2009 01:48 PM #25
Rainmaker
124,669
Bartley Wilson
VPiX Real Estate Virtual Tour Kits - Monument, CO
Real Estate Virtual Tours + IDX Websites by VPiX

Hi Maya, hahahaha. Thanks for the kind words. It's clear there are a lot of Bozos out there. There are more out there. Might I dare ask about anyone who has had any issues with MerchantCircle.com?

Let me know.

- Bart

 

Mar 12, 2009 08:48 PM #26
Rainmaker
101,464
Art Hotes
Transaction Realty - Medina, OH
CNE, e-PRO

They are now spamming me with calls & emails, and I think they did mention to me that they found me on AR.

After too many phone calls and minutes on the phone, I've added them to my call block list!

I kept telling the Fast-Talker that "if you are NOT a household name, then how would my paying for premium placement on your site alone help me out?!"  The Fast-Talker responds with blah blah blah... But if they don't get it, then why should I waste my money with a No-Name?!

Mar 17, 2009 01:55 PM #27
Rainer
5,797
John Macy
Long and Foster Real Estate - Cumberland, MD

Wow, I'm glad I found this blog post on Leapfish. It's great that we can watch out for each other. They want crazy dollars for key words. I'm looking forward to the call back from them this afternoon.

Thanks.

John Macy

Long and Foster

Deep Creek lake

Mar 18, 2009 01:54 PM #28
Rainmaker
124,669
Bartley Wilson
VPiX Real Estate Virtual Tour Kits - Monument, CO
Real Estate Virtual Tours + IDX Websites by VPiX

Hi John,

Am glad to hear my banging on the SEO Bozo ALERT drum is working. These are the questions you need to ask them:

1.) Are you any partly funded by or anything to do whatsoever the recently defunked ePerks?  

2.) Since 74% of the people using the Internet are going to GOOGLE to help them find a new home, how can you possibly compete with that?

3.) Why isn't my paying Google for AdWords not a good idea over what you are offering?

4.) Can you give me (3) REALTORS that you have done work for previously that I can call for a reference?

 

PLEASE ask them these four (4) questions and see what they say. I'm curious and I'd like to publish this in my next boo, "Real Estate Warriors."

Thanks,

- Bart

Mar 18, 2009 03:23 PM #29
Rainer
3,729
Kevin Wood
RE/MAX Accord - Walnut Creek, CA

After I received a very police message from a salesperson today from LeapFish, which I had not heard of, I checked ActiveRain to find your posting.  Thanks for saving me some advertising dollars!

 

Kevin

Walnut Creek, CA

May 21, 2009 03:10 PM #30
Rainmaker
1,397,470
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

police message?  bet it was polite and that's a typo... my imagination was going for a minute there.  

May 21, 2009 03:57 PM #31
Anonymous
Chad Young

I'm not so sure you all understand what they offer. They're offering 1st through 3rd position keywords at the top of all search results. Think about it for a minute, if you own the top position for let's say the keyword "software" and it only costs you $5,000 to buy it outright today then if Leapfish.com gets more popular in a couple of years you could sell that top listing for a major profit to some major software corporation.

I mean let's look at the facts, if your listing is in the #1 sponsored listing at the top of a google search you would get a lot more business than just be ranked #1 organically, now combine the two and you have most of the traffic for that keyword. The problem is with traditional pay per clicks you have to have very deep pockets to get a #1 position on a 24/7 basis for a highly competitive keyword and most of us don't have deep pockets like that. This model is more affordable "if" and only if they grow to the size of one of the big 3 search engines, which I'm not sure they have deep enough pockets to advertise like they need to to take over market share from Google, Yahoo! or MSN. 

I like their search model and I think it will catch on, but it may also be coppied to some extent by the big 3 search engines in the near future.

The question is: Will Leapfish.com be the next big thing in search over the next 3-5 years? If you answered yes then maybe you should buy up all the available keywords you can afford because you will make a ton of money selling them later at a premium. If you're not willing to take a risk then you shouldn't talk bad about a company that is trying something new even though there may be some black sheep in the flock. I'm not promoting this company nor am I tearing them apart I'm just one of the guys who was called about the opportunity and I think it is a risk, however risk pays off big and sometimes not. This is like buying stock in the company so if you don't like the product in general then most likely other people will find it the same.

I have top 3 rankings for most of my major keywords on a few of my sites and I'm always looking for new ways to make money but in some cases I lose money so if you don't have the money to lose don't do it. It's alway easier to talk bad about a company when you don't understand entirely what is being offered. Just keep in mind you could loose every penny you put into it or it could pay off big just like when people were saying it was crazy to buy up all those one word domain names back in the 80's...PIZZA.COM (this guy was crazy for buying this domain name!)...look who's laughing now.

Sep 08, 2009 08:05 PM #32
Rainmaker
130,218
Courtney Brown, Realtor (S) Vice President
Island Sotheby's International Realty - Lahaina, HI
Specializing in Kapalua & Maui Resort Real Estate

After my seventh or so call from LeapFish from very aggressive salespeople, I said I'd like to do resarch on my own first prior to making any commitments.  My first step was to search LeapFish on AR, and I found this post.

Thank you for the post, and to all readers for their comments.  Reading about the experiences of others is helpful in my decision making process.

Oct 22, 2009 04:05 PM #33
Rainmaker
124,669
Bartley Wilson
VPiX Real Estate Virtual Tour Kits - Monument, CO
Real Estate Virtual Tours + IDX Websites by VPiX

Hi Courtney,

You are welcome. We can do without firms like LeapFish or MerchantCircle.com.  We do not need them to help you rank better in the search engines.

For more helpful hints on this, follow me on Twitter @voyager360

 

- Bart

 

 

Jan 05, 2010 10:53 AM #34
Anonymous
Former LeapFish Client

This thread is rather old, but if any one is interested, there is one law firm in San Francisco currently investigating possible class action lawsuit against LeapFish:

http://www.danielbakondi.com/leapfish_class_action_lawsuit_ripoff_fraud.htm

It is probably not the best way to recover your losses with these jerks, however it may help to stop them from prowling after unsuspected business owners like myself.

Jun 16, 2010 10:30 AM #36
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