Do you ‘own’ your online moving and storage listings?By Eric Anders • Jan 31st, 2012 • Category: Advertising, STORAGE SOLUTIONS
One of the reasons I enjoy hanging around the self-storage community is that those who work in the trenches seem to enjoy a free, unfettered, and mutually-supportive exchange of opinions and ideas – regardless of each individuals position, tenure, or brand affiliation within the industry.
The Self Storage Anti-Aggregator Alliance warns of possible questionable practices & publishes free how-to guide for every self storage operator allowing them to simply check for correct content on multiple online directory listings.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – (McAllen, Texas) – The Self Storage Anti-Aggregator Alliance has released a brief synopsis of one issue brought to light concerning a possible questionable practice as employed by some businesses. Randy A. Smith, the industry’s most outspoken critic of the online aggregators is quoted as saying, "I've received numerous reports from operators of every size and location from around the USA. One issue in particular seems to be rising to the top of the list of complaints. Operators are discovering that some of their free, online business directory listings at sites like Local.com, Merchant Circle, and CitySearch have had their contact info changed. In several cases, the listing has the right business name and address, but the phone number and/or website link leads to another business, which in many cases is a competing business."
Smith is not claiming intentional misconduct by any particular company but notes, "it is extremely interesting to see the breadth and depth of this issue, and the number of cases in which this is occurring. A couple of names keep coming up. The industry association executives at the national, state and local levels really need to investigate this matter further. Is someone manipulating the listings? Are these public directories being used by some in violation of the directories’ own terms of service? Are these just honest mistakes and due to search engine errors? Nobody knows, but now several people at various levels are looking into it. I've even been able to get through to the folks at Google, who were extremely interested in how some in the industry are using their Google Places listings."
To that end and to help operators see if they have a problem of their own, the SSAAA put together an extremely simple how-to guide that any person can use to check their own self storage operation's free online directory listings. Smith says, "the guide takes you to two independent websites that check dozens of directories and in less than 10 minutes you can see if you have an issue. I guarantee you’ll see listings out there or directories out there you didn’t know existed." The guide is absolutely free and downloadable as a full-color PDF document that walks one through less than half a dozen steps, with screen-by-screen, step-by-step instructions.
"Operators are beginning to ask questions that they hadn't asked before, which is good," Smith said. "Information is power. The more information the individual operator has about different web technologies out there, the more informed they become and the better business decisions they can make. This is all about protecting the operator's online presence, and indirectly… profitability."
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