Netmark is a SEO / Internet marketing company that was paid and responsible for our website presence on Google, Yahoo & Bing.
We released Netmark a few weeks back (4/29/12) and sent them a notice of termination for non-performance.
Yesterday, 5/10, when accessing our website, we received a "404 error". This happens when the website breaks, malicious code injected or someone goes into the site to harm it. Immediately we phoned our hosting company, HostGator. They ran a scan and did not find malicious code. We asked our new SEO company if they were in the website (all pass codes were changed when we terminated Netmark, except one in Joomla that we didn't know about until this happened yesterday).
The new SEO company had not accessed and nobody at work has access, but me, the owner. I asked HostGator to review the usage/user logs to see which IP address gained access. They found an IP address in Idaho was responsible for the website hack and Netmark is located in Idaho. Also, Netmark had the administrator pass code and this was the section that was hacked. We have no other vendors in Idaho and nobody knew the administrator pass code, but Netmark and I.
We are seeking legal action as we have logs that prove their IP address was inside the administrator section and that shows they purposely took down/hacked our site.
We will seek damages and the help from court.
Leading up to the termination, the following are the events that lead up to terminate Netmark.
Netmark is in breach of our agreement for failing to provide monthly reports on ranking, including
communication on what was being done to regain our position after going from page 1 of Google to pages and pages deep for the keywords we ranked for. Netmark has not performed what they were paid and contracted and asked to complete.
Josh Dalton, COO of Netmark also made an extremely inappropriate comment when asked why he failed to submit data he himself offered that same day. Josh made a comment about someone he knows who was making $30k/month with a similar business (weight loss) as ours. The comment was very odd and out of place for the conference call my partner and I requested after 3+ weeks of no communication on why we lost ranking (pg. 1 to pg. 10) on 2/27/12.
During the conference call on April 2nd, my partner and I commented that if we have a site that is not ranking, then it doesnt make sense to spend $7,750/month for SEO work. Josh requested we
send the total revenue for the prior year, and total patients served. This would provide data needed, which he called Lifetime Value of a Client. Josh said if he received that day, he could send us (same day). The data was easily provided same day and sent to Alan and Josh.
During the 4/2/12 conference call with Josh, Alan and my partner and I, Josh stated that he agreed that he should have spoken to us sooner when we lost ranking, and said he was committed to keeping us informed on what was happening to turn around our ranking. He promised he
would have our ranking back within 60 days, putting it at May 11th.
We didnt hear back from Josh, although a few emails were sent asking where the Lifetime Value of a Client as along with steps being taken to fix the website ranking. Josh continued to have one excuse after another. After 3 weeks of nonsense, we demanded a conference call last week of April. Alan set this up with Josh, himself, my partner and I for 4/26. During the conference call, Josh stated he was wrong about the strategy being deployed by Netmark and went on to say you shouldnt feel bad, as many other clients of ours have also lost their ranking. Josh claimed that the links that were being built were stopped by Netmark on April 9th as Google continued to devalue the links built by Netmark as soon as 4/9/12. What was Netmark doing from 4/9 to 4/29?
Therefore, no strategy for reversing and fixing what Netmark was clearly paid to accomplish was discussed or performed. In addition, two emails were sent to Alan Call after ranking was
lost on requesting a reclusion with Google. Both Alan and Josh disagreed, although Googles policy on such is clear that if a website which ranked well before, suddenly loses rank, they can request reclusion.
Josh remarked that the data was never submitted to him. When I explained that not only was the data provided same day, but Alan Call and I met on the data for 30 minutes that week. Josh
then commented you didnt send me the data as you were afraid I would know how
much money you are making on this weight loss medication and you thought I would open a competing business. Josh obviously has no idea what we offer in terms of service, doctors, nurses, nutritionists and the like.
That remark that is not only unprofessional, but is considered a breach of Netmarks fiduciary responsibility as our SEO vendor and is considered harassment.
The following week, they hacked our site and took off the content of the home page creating a "404 error".