Tech mistake |******Update – I received an email from someone who claims to be a former employee at Rogers Outrank. It’s worth the read if you want to know more about how the company works.

Is Rogers Outrank a scam? What exactly do they do?

Below is my review of what their service is.

This is a disclaimer that I have never used their service, but based on the phone call and conversation I had with a sales agent, I have formed a strong opinion of what they do.

A client of mine received a call from a sales person at Rogers Outrank a few days ago. Our client understandably didn’t have any time to talk with them so they gave the sales person my contact. I’m glad they did because now I can write this review of their service based on my conversation with the sales person.

The man I spoke with was young and was reading off of an over sales-y script. I’ve been through my share of sales training and marketing persuasion books to know what he was trying to do. I told him to cut his sales pitch and to tell me how this “new technology” they used would “get us lots of new clients”. I asked right away if they were planning to do it via SEO & Adwords. The reason I was so abrupt was because I knew deep down they were offering SEO and Google Adwords but simply not being truthful about it.

When I told him we are already ranking organically for a lot of of keywords and that we had Google Adwords ads running for the services we weren’t ranking on the first page for, he said “But that targets your existing customers. What are you doing to generate more clients?” Well, running Adwords ads and improving our organic search rankings! Once he told me that our SEO & Adwords campaign was only targeting existing customers, I laughed and knew this was an even bigger scam than I thought.

I said those ads and webpages display when anyone types in “service name + city” and that Google or Bing has no idea if it’s a new client or existing client. So in essence we are targeting both new and existing clients. But he promised me that they would be new clients which is complete crap.

At this point he continues to be over sales-y and trying to get me to donate 20 – 30 minutes of my time so he can show me. I simply wanted to hear that this “new technology” was called Google Adwords and SEO. He doesn’t give in and sticks to his guns. So I proceed to learn more about this scam.

He keeps trying to use sales and persuasion by going back to the line “Jordan, at the end of your day your business will be fine but if you want more clients, give me 20-30 minutes to show you how this works.” At this point I’m tired of his sales pitch. I ask him how this “new technology” works, knowing deep down he’s trying to sell me on SEO & Adwords.

How Rogers Outrank Works

I go through a real life example and ask him what happens when someone goes to Google or Bing and types in “service + city”. His response was that the person is then directed to a “micro landing page that is designed for smartphones, tablets or desktops.” So I say a responsive website. But then I ask if the micro site is our website. He says that it’s not and it’s specifically designed and targeted towards the search terms a searcher uses.

I don’t know about you but I would rather have people being directed to our client’s website so they can learn more about their business, services and what we stand for. A one page micro site does not achieve this. The purchase decision is a lot more then just visiting a one page site and saying “Yes, I would like to do business with this person”, then picking up the phone and calling. It’s not like the old days of the phone book when you only saw a phone number and called. In those days you had nothing else to go off of. Consumers nowadays visit your website to learn more about your business. They might visit your competition and then choose who they want to call.

One thought is that how good can these micro sites be? I’m guessing their package prices are anywhere from $300-$500 a month. For many keywords, the cost per click can be upwards of $5. That doesn’t leave Rogers with a lot of clicks or money left over to create this micro site. Plus they need to make money by up-charging you for their services.

So once again this is speculation, but I don’t think these micro sites are going to be any better at converting visitors to clients than your current website. Unless you feel your website is weak.

What About the Data?

The other potential problem with their one page micro site is you might not be able track the website visitors. Surely you want to see that data to track if what they are doing is working right? This is why having Google Analytics setup and running on your website is so important. You can track how people visited your website (was it a Google Ad, was it from Facebook or was it an organic search), what search terms they used, where they are from, how long they stayed on the site and how many pages they visited.

Unless you have access to the micro site, you won’t be able to track the data. If Rogers is anything like YellowPages, they won’t give you access, so you can add your own Analytics tracking code and track the data.

Now Rogers might have some sort of data/analytics tracking setup on their websites, and they might just send you a report showing you what search terms people clicked. But if they are anything like YellowPages, they won’t give you much more in the report.

When we manage a client’s SEO or Adwords campaign, we set Analytics up under their own account so they can log in and see everything. We don’t hide anything and believe the client should have access to everything.

In the end, I knew they were trying to sell SEO and Adwords packages and I was right. But instead they want to drive people to a micro site that they setup for you. This is really a silly to do if you already have a website. Like I said, if you like your website and think it does a good job explaining who you are and what you do, then you want people landing on that site. Not on some one page site Rogers Outrank sets up for you.

If you don’t have a website, then you should still not bother and finally create your own. Websites can be created for a lot less then a few years ago and they can be made responsive at the same time so you can target smartphone and tablet visitors.

Competing With Ourselves?

Now that I know how they plan to generate more new clients for our clients business, the thought dawns on me that if we were to sign up with Rogers Outrank, we’d be competing with their Ads. If someone were to type in “service + city” they would see our ad with our website. But since Rogers will setup a campaign targeting the same keywords, then they would see a Rogers ad they setup for us as well.

Unless of course we shut down our Adwords campaigns. So if you already have an Adwords campaign running, you would have to put it on pause. But again, this wouldn’t make much sense as Rogers Outrank would set up the campaign to drive people to the micro site they created for you. This is where you lose the ability to track the data that you were able to track before.

Reviews on Yelp

Yelp is not the best place to find reviews for businesses. After all they have told me straight up on the phone that if one of our clients was to signup for a Yelp monthly package, they could make negative reviews filtered.

Seems like this is what is going on with the Yelp Reviews of Rogers Outrank. If you go to the filtered reviews, you can see a lot of 1 star negative reviews.

Here is a screenshot of some filtered reviews from users with more than 1 review. Click on the image for a larger view.

Not Recommended Reviews for Rogers OutRank Yelp

 

As you can see from the Yelp reviews above, a few people have commented and are not happy. There are some positive reviews there too.

Summary

In the end I really feel there is a huge downfall from using their service. Strictly because of the micro site they want to drive traffic to and what might be a lack of reporting of the website traffic data. But again, I have not used this service and have no idea what their reports are like. I have seen the sparse YellowPages reports that they send their clients, and it lacks data.

My other issue is with how cheesy their pitch is. I’m not saying I am against sales and persuasion. But when someone asks for a answer to a question and you give them the run around, you are being untruthful. This is when you lose credibility, and that’s what this sales person did. I asked him straight up three times if he was trying to sell me on SEO & Adwords packages and he didn’t answer me directly. When I asked how it worked, it then came out it was indeed SEO & Adwords.

He could have saved me time if he had been honest from the start. But he wasn’t, and in the end he did me favour as I was able to learn more about their service so I could write this review!

So thanks for that!

Let me know what your experience was with Rogers Outrank as I would love to publish a review from someone who has actually used their service.

Email Update

This is the email I received from someone who claims to be a former Rogers Outrank employee. I can’t confirm or deny if they worked for them. But it’s worth a read. Click to view a larger screenshot of the email.

rogers-outrank-employee

“Hey, I saw your article on Rogers Outrank and want you to know I used to work there in early 2015… it’s a far bigger scam than you could imagine.

First, I want to clarify that I’m Irish and had been in Canada all of two weeks when I started the job – added to that, I didn’t even know what SEO was. I just kept wondering why everyone hated Rogers so much, and why Albertans were so damn polite. To be fair to the staff, turnover is obscene (30 new hires a month), most of which are 18-23 year old kids so most have yet to figure out what the deal is. A lot quit as soon as they find out what the job actually is (some were sold it as a ‘marketing position’).

And it’s not like they’re lying to you themselves – the company had a cold call script that was seven pages, a ‘presentation’ script that was if I recall FOURTY SEVEN pages, with pricing not coming up until page 20-something, even the rebuttals are scripted (with various canned responses to each objection). The initial pricing was set to around $2000/mo if I recall (after several hundred dollars to ‘set up’ a landing page… a landing page!!), which could be haggled down to around $397 at the cheapest, I believe. And yes, the haggling was a multi-stage process all read verbatim from a script.

What is most sickening is how they view customers, the bragging of how the entire script ‘plays on their greed’ – as if small business owners trying to expand their business is a bad thing. Constant calling clients idiots and whatnot, and even trying to charge credit cards after declining. They do not offer much of any ROI, and the glorified landing page addresses are horrifically generic and ugly (‘website name hidden’ I think was what a custom home builder and deck maker I signed up got despite having a very witty name for his company). I tracked the first few people I signed up, one of which was early in the morning before he went to work… we processed payment with his wife an infant child on speaker phone. I still feel like absolute shit about that as he got about 50 clicks and no job orders a few months later, a privilege that cost him $1,200/mo on a 6 month contract. The high pressure selling approach was unbelievable, with ‘success’ stories being how “this guy badgered that company owner day and night, calling him 8-10 times a day until he signed up” or “it took four hours on the phone but he got the credit card number and that’s all that counts”

An appalling product, an appalling atmosphere, a glorified (and often celebrated) swindle, ran by an utter sociopath of the highest order, filled with nothing but lies about expected returns and renewal rates (they claim 94% renewal if I recall… check those google reviews again and see how you think that stacks up).

For what it’s worth, I kept in touch with a few and last I heard it was tanking — fast. All of their best performing sales staff and nearly all of their senior management have left. I am very much a disgruntled ex-employee, but I left of my own accord and managed to get a ob outside of sales after that I do enjoy. I just wish I could find the people that I did sign up and work out a way to try and make up what I, unbeknownst at the time, essentially stole from them. Especially the guy with the young kid.

So to give you the TL;DR – hats off to you for showing up at the top of the first page when I googled ‘Outrank by Rogers’ and making a point to expose this intentional scam for exactly what it is. I just wish it was there when I looked them up prior to the interview. You’re doing the public an excellent service.”

The article was originally published here.