Recently several clients contacted us about some strange goings on. They had been alerted to the fact that a domain name with their business in it and a web page with incorrect information about their business was showing up in the search engines. Could we get to the bottom of it?

So we had a look, and yes, an unprofessional, inaccurate webpage was showing on a url with the clients name and location. There was a phone number on the page, but it wasn’t theirs, however it did redirect to the client when we rang it?

A check in the source code of the web page also showed tracking code for someone’s analytics…..

Next we searched on nominet and discovered that had registered these domains! So we sent a tweet into the twittosphere to see how many others had been affected and received feedback that many businesses across the country were also suffering the same embarrassment.

A few days later we had a phone call someone in’s customer service department who had been tasked to explain what was going on. It seems that offers a free service to people advertising on whereby they will buy a domain name, put up a webpage and gather statistics to help with your organic search engine rankings.  Great! you might think, and it could have been, BUT, and this is a big but, what yell have failed to understand is that by doing this they have completely undermined the clients brand.  If the domain ranks higher than the clients official web page and a potential customer clicks on it, they would be completely turned off by the appalling webpage that they landed on. What happens to the potential customer then? They go elsewhere, so although the intention from yell was to generate traffic and sales leads, it’s actually damaging the clients business both financially and from a branding point of view.

Take a look for yourself.  Here’s’s idea of ‘ professional’ web design page

Here’s the page they put up for one of our clients:

and here’s the official clients website:

Now you think that’s bad? It gets worse.

None of the people who contacted us knew these pages even existed.’s customer service explained that at the time of signing up for advertising the rep would have “clearly explained in detail the seo web page offering to the customer” . Well clearly, they didn’t!

Here’s some of the comments we had back when we asked if the rep had clearly explained;
“I do recall the rep saying something about extra web pages”
“I was under the impression that these were the pages that I can alter myself when I click on my listing on (it says ‘more’ or something like that, next to the listings) – I can add photos etc to them apparently. I’ve had a look at them and assumed they were what he meant.”
“I had no idea it was a separate website in my name”

The terms of their SEO WEB PAGE offer is in full on their website here:

Our attention was particularly drawn to clause 4. which states:
“We will notify you of the Domain Name applicable to your SEO Web Pages. It is your responsibility to check that your SEO Web Pages are accurate and comply with Yell’s New Media Advertising Conditions. You are solely responsible for all your advertised services and products. If your SEO Web Pages contain one or more errors, you can request corrections to the following by contacting our customer services team during Business Hours on 0800 777 485 or emailing us on quoting your account number:”

Talk about an abdication of responsibility! So we checked, did any of the people who had contacted us been notified so they could do something about it? And yes, you guessed it, not a single one.

“I’ve had no notification about this page being live – the 1st I knew was when I found it in a listing and sent it to you! A lot of the stuff is incorrect on it.”

But don’t panic, you can get it corrected. Here’s what to do.

So we suggest that if you are advertising with then check your business now!

How to check:
1. Go to the official registration body Nominet’s website:
2. On the right hand side in the ‘WHOIS’ box type in the domain using this format:

e.g. if your company was called ‘HIREMEE’ and you are based in ‘ROYSTON’ you would type in the box “”

3. If your domain has been registered then you’ll see the registrant listed as YELL LIMITED.

4. Now take a deep breath, and type the url with the www prefix into your web browser. (e.g.

What are your options?

Well, you can get the page amended as per clause 4 in’s terms above so contact customer services on 0800 777 485 or email with your account number.

Or you can ask them to remove it altogether and we suggest that you request they forward the domain they have bought to your official webpage.  The email address is:

Do let us know how you get on. And we hope that you’ve not been ‘yelled’!


5th March 2010

Thanks for the additional feedback on your blog about our SEO Web Pages product. We are sorry if there has been confusion amongst some of your clients - we are very receptive to customer feedback and take it into account when developing our products. As discussed with yourselves and one of our mutual customers over the phone, our SEO Web Pages product is designed to help SMEs attract potential customers online. It is a free entry level product, part of our goal to get every business in the UK online. The product is optimised to enable businesses to be found by name and the key services they offer in the natural results of search engines. It is not intended to be a full website - our aim is that these SEO Web Pages are of a quality that will help customers capture additional leads through local search beyond Many of our customers have chosen to have SEO Web Pages in addition to their own website, so that at no extra cost , they can further protect their brand online. Using the example in your post, a search for Primo Ordo shows over 1.8million results on Google. The first result is the business' own website and immediately below this is their free listing page on - offering another way for them to be found. We've found that some of our customers' existing websites have not been built applying best in class SEO practices - meaning many look nice but can't easily be found. Some customers have chosen to compare their free SEO Web Page to their own site in search engine rankings. For many this is a low risk and zero cost option for ensuring that anyone who looks for them online finds them. Our SEO Web Pages product also includes a tracked phone number which, as you point out, goes directly to the customer's phone line to enable us and them to monitor the calls generated by the Web Page. This knowledge has proved tremendous value to our customers as it enables them to effectively measure the effectiveness of the various marketing solutions they employ. On your point about customer notification, as well as the discussions with our sales representatives, a letter is sent to all SEO Web Pages customers clearly highlighting the url of their page for them to check for any amendments. In the unfortunate event of an error, the customer may opt out or elect to have an alternative SEO Web Page. We are also in the process of extending our product range to allow customers to tailor their SEO Web Pages for any branding need they may have or to convert the pages into a custom built web site. Thanks again for this useful feedback. As you say, customers wishing to contact us about SEO Web Pages can do so via:

Comments are closed.