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Old 1st September 2006, 11:18 PM   #1
Lam Tsz Him

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 11
Exclamation SEO resources "Nightmare!" for webmaster

Hi everyone!
Recently working quite hard for my online magazine business website ... which will be launched hopefully before December. Since the webserver (hosted by a web hosting company) has already been set up for two months now (to set up programs, IIS and other stuffs beforehand), I got to speed up the process to go public. Otherwise, I will be paying the webhosting fee / month without any cash coming in, and that would be a net loss every month. Not a good sign for any business right?

I am constantly searching way to maximize SEO for my website, reading books like:
- "Complete guide to Internet publicity : creating and launching successf"
by AUTHOR: O'Keefe, Steve

- "Marketing on the Internet : seven steps to building the Internet into"
by AUTHOR: Zimmerman, Jan

both very good books for beginners to SEO, offering quite a comprehensive handout and guideline on:
1.) finding SEO resources (professional websites offer to promote website, marketing on the internet and search engines)
2.) how search engine marketing tools works (like those on Google and Yahoo!)
3.) and newsgroup advertising (Usenet).
Even though they were published around 2002, but I think as a beginner (maybe even advanced SEO), it would be a good place to start educated yourself for SEO or look for tips and resources.

Even though it seems I am advertising for those books (trust me, I am not ), but I am the kind of person who will introduce good stuffs to other people. But by the same token, I will also warn people from those miserable experience that I have gone through and here is one happening quite recently.

Since I am really upsad about what is happening to me, I decide to ask for similar experience from you to see if this is "Just My Luck".

(TO Moderator: dear moderator, this post is not intent to be a personal insult or an attack to searchenginewatch.com or any of its editors. I hope you would not delete this post and give readers a real case as additional information to consider before joining their membership. I also love to hear from your professional opinion on this subject too, please feel free to commend, I appreciate it)

I was searching for website introducing SEO and search engine tools, and finally I came up with one good site (frankly speaking) with rich resources, and it is pretty professional actually, it is "searchenginewatch.com". (I think it is not related to searchengineguide.com)

After thoughtly looking at the site, I decided to join its membership for a 6-month period pricing US $69. Those editors are real professionals for SEO, up-to-date search engine news and information all makes me fell for their membership. I paid by credit card and it was not a real time transaction, I had to fill out those information and proceed by their staff personally before I can join in. The transaction process was smooth, it only took two days.

Up until now, the story was a fairy tail, everything was working fine and everybody was happy. Until now ...

Many content provided by searchenginewatch.com (SEW) are free and useful, but in order to get a deeper understanding of how search engine like Google or Yahoo! work and to optimize your site marketing strategy, its worth joining their membership. Honestly speaking, US $69 for a 6-month membership of a professional website teaching you about SEO is quite a good duel. Information sometimes can worth more than anything.

SEW catagorized their content by topics, such as 'Search Engine Submission Tips' and then further catagorized into Yahoo!, Google, Ask.com etc. By that time, I would like to know more about Yahoo! Marketing Tools. Since Yahoo! ,undoubtedly is one of the major search engine beside Google that you can't miss. I went to SEW Members' only area 'How Yahoo! works' and felt like finding golds. Because it seemed they got all the topic related to Yahoo! Marketing Tools secured, topics like Web Matches, Sponsor Matches, The Yahoo Directory and many more starting from basic to as sopfisticated as you could imagine.

Amazed by its rich resources, I quickly clicked on one of the topics to find out more. After I right clicked on one link, it appeared '404 Error Page' showed by SEW webpage (page not found). Well ... maybe they just moved the page to somewhere else, not a problem, as there were many many more stuffs to find out. Then I clicked on another link, the same '404 Error Page' appeared. Weeell ... it might be just another error, since those stuffs could have been published for quite a while and might be just stored somewhere else on the server. That's ok, as a webmaster myself, I can understand this, your site might have updated and very often you forget to update those links, it happens all the time.

Right click for another major topic of 'How Yahoo! work' ...
"404 Error Page - page not found"

Frankly speaking, my IQ is not that high, and I admit that. But I am often proud of my EQ, that my parents gave me when I was borned, which by the way is over 180 most of the time during a day and I am a reasonable person. A continuous three error links on three different topics about Yahoo! on a "Members Only" VIP session of SEW.com, I guess this is not a very good customer service. Fine, still proud of my abnormally high EQ, I follow the error page instruction to search those pages on their internal search engine. As a VIP members, I was not happy about that.

SEearchhhhing result ... many links, but none of those are related to any topic that was exclusive for a SEW Member. Deep breath, clam down, and deep breath again ... an I was not having a baby coming out of my body. Because of SEW.com professionalism, I was still convinced that it was just a careless mistake, it happened. And frankly speaking, if I was not a webmaster myself, I would have a very hard time to understand error page like that ... "does the site have someone to look into ?"

Being a nice user myself, I sincerely emailed their customer service reporting the case. By the way, SEW has the following commend when I received their 'membership confirmation email'

We Value Feedback!

Should you need additional help or have any comments and/or suggestions please email us at [email protected]

Provided that all my emails were not "error mail delivery", I separately emailed the above customer service of SEW by the following means and date:

and for God Sake, I even post and submitted on their feedback form on SEW.com to inform SEW about the issue. Ok, take the wildest possible reason that I could think of with my limited IQ, and asumed that all my emails were failed to deliver to any one of their email accounts including their respected editors (which by the way has the possibility even smaller than winning a 'Power Ball' lottery), at least, those feedback posted on their seemingly helpful 'Membership help form' would work. And again, I had pressed the 'Submit' button, at least twice for each post ...

Tons of email, plus feedbacks form that I didn't even remember how many times I had submitted. Nothing ... ! Totally nothing!!! I have heard none from SEW.com or even receive an automatic generated email. I can't believe my eye that a professional website will have this kind of customer service. No offense, a porno site would have better served their customers than SEW.com! Its rediculous! A customer service has no 'customer service'? Never head of that before until I met SEW.com.

As angry as I am, I now can't even cancel my account ... Why? you have to email them to do so, and by the "hypothesis" from the above experiment, I don't think I could ever do so but just let them to charge my credit card.

Is very kind of you to read my article right until now , that means you care even more than SEW.com customer services team + their professional editors.

I am Very, very disappointed about SEW.com...

You know why President George W. Bush's biography is ranked the No.1 site that you can find when you typed in "Miserable Failure" on either big search engine like Yahoo! or Google? That's because of newsgroups and many more forum, blogs provide words links "miserable failure" to link to the White House of president George W. Bush's biography webpage.

As a webmaster, I already know it is not wise to make your customer angry at your site or customer service. One reason is that Words of mouth can spread very very fast on the interent and you can't predict what would happen. And the second reason is that it is not because they can trace you and hunt you down at your office (which I really hope that I can, but I live abroad, that's doesn't sound economic for me), but they can just do so to your website online. I am a honest guy and legal businessman, I won't do that even I could, I promise. But for people who would like to join SEW.com, just make sure to ask if they provide any kind of customer service before you take out your credit card.

Sure they charge your credit card real quick, super fast customer service for credit card payment but "that's all for you!"

Any opinions, any commeds, any words would be fine, just type something in may be as a thank you for this fun little story that I gave you. I would love to hear any reply.

Thank you~

Kindest regards,
Lam Tsz Him

Last edited by Lam Tsz Him; 5th September 2006 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 2nd September 2006, 09:28 AM   #2

Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Colorado
Posts: 8,046

Well, that is not a good experience with Search Engine Watch.

Since you are not satisfied and have not received a customer service response back from SEW, have you considered disputing the charge with your credit card company by issuing a chargeback?

Just to clarify, above you wondered if searchengineguide and SEW were related or connected. They are not.

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Old 2nd September 2006, 09:31 PM   #3
Lam Tsz Him

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 11
Default Hi Logan

Hi Logan,

Is very kind of you to response to my article and provide a helpful suggestion.
I appreciate your help and I would try out your opinion.

But a chargeback process may be a little bit difficult for me since I live abroad. I will try to call my credit card issued bank and see what I could do.

Once again thank you for your help.

Kindest regards,
Lam Tsz Him

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