When you’re looking for reliable and reputable garage door repair companies, there can be many things standing in your way. For example, spam and fake websites trick thousands of consumers into losing their money every year, with plenty of low-quality home services companies doing bad jobs which cost the consumer more money than necessary in the long run.
If you’re looking for garage door repair services or any other home services and you’re unsure of what to look out for when choosing a garage door service company, be sure to read through this guide! Ultimately, we want you to find the best garage door service and/or home services providers who are suited to you and your needs.
Home Services Web Spam
According to Wikipedia, search engine spam is defined as:
Spamdexing (also known as search engine spam, search engine poisoning, black-hat Search engine optimization (SEO), search spam or web spam) is the deliberate manipulation of search engine indexes. It involves a number of methods to manipulate the relevance or prominence of resources indexed, in a manner inconsistent with the purpose of the indexing system.”
Many search engines check for instances of spamdexing and will remove suspect pages from their indexes. Also, search-engine operators can quickly block the results-listing from entire websites that use spamdexing, perhaps alerted by user complaints of false matches.”
These methods are more focused on breaking the search-engine-promotion rules and guidelines.”
Many fly-by-night home services and lead generating providers use spamming tactics to try and grab new customers. However, if a company using web spam as part of their marketing strategy, this is not usually a good sign. After all, if a company is good, you should hear about them organically via word of mouth and whatnot.
Google has recently been having problems with fake garage door repair listings, fake home services sites and fake listings in general. One pundit described Google’s Maps service, which users can find businesses on, as the “Wild West” when it comes to fake home services companies.
There are also many fake home services providers listed on Yelp. This is especially easy to get away with, as there are no regulations on Yelp to stop you making a profile for a fake business and then make a bunch of fake profiles as “customers” and give good reviews to the fake business. Some businesses even advertise on Yelp despite not having a license to operate legally.
The people behind these operations are typically unlicensed, uninsured, often unqualified to do the work and who are trying to scam people out of their money. In a post on WJLA.com, Ethical Hacker Bryan Seely described the way it’s being done:
Scammers create a fake business name and address, but attach a real phone number. They walk through a few easy steps on search engines to get the “business” listed, and voila! A few days later, that fake business is getting very real calls from unwitting consumers.”
So-called “lead generating” companies largely to blame, with lead generating companies such as HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, and Thumbtack helping to spread the amount of fake companies and scammers operating in the home services space.
What is lead generation?
What exactly is lead generation, and what does a lead generating company do?
To put it simply, a lead generating company is in charge of finding new customers for their clients. For instance, if a garage door repair company will hire a lead generation company advertising services, the lead generation company would search for ways of finding new customers for the garage door repair service.
Sometimes these lead-generating marketing techniques are ethical, but oftentimes they involve search engine spam, using data illegally, and creating fake online profiles in order to boost business and maximize profit. You might even find that some lead generating companies create fake customer reviews for their clients in an attempt to increase interest in their home services and make them look more trustworthy online.
HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, and Thumbtack are few examples of lead generating companies who allegedly follow unethical business practices and practice deceptive and manipulative techniques to gather new customers, harming you as the consumer. As a customer, you should be advertised to in an ethical manner, yet these company’s use worrying tactics to attract you and other consumers.
Oftentimes, these lead generation companies will also create fake competitors in a field, and when you inquire about these fake services, they will use your information to spam you about the real services of their clients.
Why you shouldn’t trust lead-generating companies
First of all, lead generating companies tend to outsource the work, which comes with a whole host of problems. For instance, when companies are outsourcing their work, there can be problems with communication, collaboration, and skill levels, raising doubts in the minds of customers. It can also be deceitful and confusing for customers who are trying to understand the organizational structure of the home services company or garage door service provider they are dealing with.
Second, you need to ask yourself why a garage door repair company is using lead generation services such as HomeAdvisor in the first place. Ultimately, if their genuine customer reviews and interactions are not good enough to sustain their business, then surely, they are doing something wrong? There are a lot of potential reasons for contractor failure, yet we would advise you to be wary about companies using lead generation, as it seems that their don’t have enough experience and are relying on someone else to perform the work for them. An inexperienced garage door repair contractor is the last company you want to hire!
A several contractors recently filed a Class Action Lawsuit against HomeAdvisor, a lead generation service for home services and garage door repair providers. Here is an excerpt from the official documentation which shows their dissatisfaction, courtesy of roofcalc.org:
“Plaintiffs claim that in addition to the mandatory annual membership fee, they have spent hundreds and thousands of dollars on leads which contain the following: ‘wrong or disconnected phone numbers and contact information; persons who never even heard of the company; stale leads; contacts for homes that were listed for sale; and contacts for vacant or non-existent residences.’”
As you can see, garage door companies using these services have been spamming people who had little or no interest in the company at hand, desperately trying to pluck sales out of thin air. I mean, if you’re calling up vacant houses in an attempt to get more business, you really need to get your advertising methods and marketing priorities in order!
What can you do about fake garage door repair and home services companies?
If you notice a lead generating scheme such as fake garage door repair company or any fake home services company on Google Maps, then there is a process you can follow to report it and get it removed by Google. This fake map listing is most likely a bogus company set up by a lead generating company which is collecting data to one of its garage door company clients. Don’t tolerate desperate companies cluttering Google Maps with traps –do something about it.
One method is to take screenshots of fake companies on Google Maps and use the picture on social media with the hashtag #StopCrapOnTheMap in order to get Google’s attention. Google employees often search for this hashtag, and they should get in touch with you soon enough regarding the fake garage door company on the map. A more effective way is to “submit edits” to a business listing on Google Maps, which is usually used for Google customers who want to report a store’s opening times or telephone number, for example, see more details how to use this method here. However, there is an option to report fake businesses here too.
You might also notice that some Google reviews are suspiciously flattering about a company, especially if every single review is 5 stars and written in a similar style. If you notice that a business has lots of customers and none of them have been critical, this could be a red flag that you’re dealing with a fake home services provider or at least a real company which is using shady practices. If you spot reviews which you think may be fake, Google has a process for reporting Google reviews which you can use.
Own a garage door repair business? Here’s why you shouldn’t use lead generating companies:
Although some lead generating companies are legal and ethical, many of them follow unethical practices which you should not want to be associated with your company. For instance, many of them authorize advertisements for fake businesses in the same space as your own, driving up the cost of your own campaigns.
For instance, if you’re a garage door repair company looking to create a PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising campaign where you pay a lead generating company every time a potential customer clicks on one of your ads, then the lead generation company is incentivized to increase the cost of this “Payment” Per Click. On Yelp, with no regulation, fake online garage door and home services companies make it look like you have more competition, using this as an excuse to drive up the cost of your PPC campaign.
This page from Yelp helps to explain how the PPC system works, although many garage door companies and home services providers have complained that Yelp uses algorithms which are designed to making garage door repair and home services companies spend more than their monthly PPC advertising budget. For example, if you list your service area as Huntington Beach, CA, you might find that Yelp is including Long Beach, CA as your service area, even though it’s not relevant to your business.
Similarly, Yelp’s search algorithm has many problems with relevance, whereby a customer searching for a plumber or a roofer will be presented with ads for garage door repair companies simply because they’re another kind of home services provider. These irrelevant results are annoying for the customer and can end up costing garage door repair companies a small fortune in PPC campaigns because their ads are shown to people who have no real need for their business according to their search terms and location.
Many home services providers have also complained about Yelp’s lack of transparency when it comes to their billing for this PPC system, fueling yet more suspicion that Yelp is trying to squeeze every last penny from their clients. Are these the kinds of spam-esque practices you want to pay for in order to attract more customers?
How to locate the right garage door company when searching online
With all this trickery and deceit going on, how can a customer find a garage door company they can trust online? Well, first of all, we would suggest that you avoid searching for companies on Yelp, as the companies listed are not regulated and there is hence a bunch of fake garage door repair and home services companies.
We would also suggest that you avoid using online ads, as you may be being targeted by a lead generating company which is trying to gather information about you and outsource it. Here’s a link to how the Google ads algorithm works. Note that the location targeting feature means that people can target your location no matter where they are themselves.
For example, a person can advertise his garage door repair company as being set up in Fountain Valley, CA and target a specific location even though he’s based out of the Bay Area/San Francisco and by outsourcing your information to a local person in your area, they are able to provide you with the service.
As “Bing” and “Duck-Duck Go” show local search results from Yelp on their pages, we would recommend to avoid using them when searching for garage door repair companies and/or home services providers. On the other hand, when searching similar home services providers on Google, you should focus on the local results and local map listings. This happens when you type in something like “garage door repair Costa Mesa” or when you voice search for “garage door repair near me”. When you search for local businesses in this manner, Google provides you with 3 reputable local services, followed by an additional list of more entries. Generally speaking, these results are reliable and frequently being checked and reviewed by Google for authenticity, although you should always use common sense with these things: be sure to keep an eye out on the number of reviews. Look for a reputable garage door repair service providers who have 100+ reviews on their Google’s listing, as fake listings are often being removed before they are able to accumulate reviews. Also, be sure to keep an eye out for the business’s branding and brand name – is it consistent and do they have a strong brand across their website and social media pages, or does their branding and name change slightly from place to place? If their branding and name change depending on where you go, or if it simply looks cheap and suspicious, you might want to take your business elsewhere.