ED Magedson – Founder
Web Tools and Technology, LLC1501 Lake Ave SE Internet United States of America
On November 17, 2008, I received a phone call from Jeffrey Doty, Vice President of Web Tools and Technology of Largo, FL. During that call he claimed that his company was one of the leading experts in search engine optimization. He not only assured me that he could at least double my natural search engine traffic within 90 days, but also claimed that within 3 or 4 months they would have no trouble in getting my companys name to show up on the first page of Googles organic (i.e., not paid for) search results. In response to my further query, he claimed that they would only take on one client in each industry/specialty so as to avoid any potential conflict of interest. He claimed that his firms experts maintained constant study of Googles search criteria and knew just about every secret method for maximizing the ranking of a companys search result in Google.
I checked them out pretty thoroughly and although their testimonials seemed pretty light, their CEO, Dave Barry (no, not the humorist of that name), was quite active in giving seminars on SEO. Whats more, Mr. Doty promised that I could get a full refund if I didnt see the results promised. This guarantee is repeated on their website, as follows (they call their SEO system Site Search Architect):
Site Search Architect is guaranteed to improve your natural search engine traffic by at least double within 90 days of going live. In the event the product fails to improve your natural traffic 90 days after the User website goes live on the Internet and Web Tools and Technology cannot remedy the problem within 30 days, the User is entitled to a refund. The User is responsible to supply content as outlined on our users agreement.
I signed a contract on Nov. 21, 2008 and paid them $6000 for their services. The contract contained a previously unmentioned stipulation that I had to provide them with logs of my traffic for 30 days prior to the commencement of the work in order for the guarantee to be valid. When I questioned Mr. Doty about this before signing the contract he said to just ignore that because they had already researched my traffic from Google. He was very much in a rush for me to sign and get the work started, and I got the distinct impression that he was under the gun to make some year-end sales quota. If I had delayed 30 days or more to get these logs, it would have put my contract beyond his deadline.
By the end of January, 2009, the revised site, running under their software, was up and running. They had done a rather sloppy job in making the conversion, and it took several tries to get it right. When I had contracted their services back in November, my company was not appearing until the 28th page of Google searches on my keywords (e.g., statistical consultant, statistical consulting, statistician). By early March 2009, there had been no improvement at all in my search result ranking and I called to inform the functionary I had been working with at WT&T of the problem. He agreed that there had been no progress and that he would look into the matter. He made a few minor changes over the next 12 days or so, and I sat back to see if they had any effect.
After another 10 days there had been no further change in my Google rank, and wrote to tell them I was getting very dissatisfied with only a month to go in their performance trial period. I got a reply telling me that I needed to write additional content for the site. I proceeded to do this and sent it to them. They threw it up on the site in a completely half-assed manner, screwing up the navigation bar and not centering or highlighting headings. It gave the impression of sloppiness, which is the last impression a statistician wants to give. I complained about this for 3 months before it got fixed.
By May 1, 2009 the 90 day performance trial period had passed, and I should have seen some improvement in my position in the Google search results. I didnt get to check on them until I had completed my move to another state in June, and found that there had been no improvement at all, either in my rank in the search results or in web-originating inquiries not due to my Adwords. I called Mr. Doty, the VP, and left messages complaining about the complete absence of any benefit from their service. I was eventually (in July) contacted by another functionary who said he was assigned to work with me to resolve my problems. He was apparently assigned to give me weekly calls to pacify me, which lasted about 2 weeks before he forgot about me and did nothing but encourage me to write more content.
By this point I was getting fed up and I left another message for Mr. Doty saying I wanted my money back. This brought out the big guns in the person of one Larry Payne. He made a pitch that I had gotten to 3rd base and it would be a shame to give up now. According to him, all we needed to do was write 3 additional pages of content and send out a press release about my site. He wanted to charge me $1,000 more for this, and I said I wasnt paying any more until I saw some of the promised results. He finally convinced me to pay $500 for the 3 additional content pages and they would accept the cost of sending out the press release.
When I finally got the 3 additional pages of content, they looked like they had been written by high school freshman whose only concept of statistics was the seasons performance of their favorite football player. I wouldnt even allow them to be put up on my site. Whats more, one of the 3 pages was the press release!! If all of this hadnt convinced me that I was dealing with a bunch of con artists, they sent me traffic reports of my so-called visibility on the various search engines. For example, this is what they sent for Google:
Professional Statistical Services - #1 3,870,000 pages
professional statistical research services #1 out of 22 million pages
professional statistical analysis services - #3 2,200,000 pages
professional statistical research #3 2,300,000 pages
The only problem is, no one is going to search for the name of my company (Professional Statistical Services) unless they know it already!! These results are absolutely worthless. On all of the search terms under which I wanted my company to be found (e.g., data analysis, statistics help, statistical analysis, statistical consulting, statistics consultant, statistical consultant, statistics consulting, dissertation help, dissertation analysis help, survey analysis, statistician) my rank on Google had actually gotten worse by the 1-year anniversary of the contract my company didnt appear until well after the 30th page of results for any of my target search terms. As far as I could determine, despite my repeated requests to include the above terms as metatags, the Web Tools and Technology people did not even take this element step in the process of alerting the search engines to the presence of one's website.
At this point, I requested a full refund of my $6500. They told me that since I hadnt submitted my 30-day log, I was not qualified for the refund. Of course, I had been directly told I did not have to submit it. Moreover, they are clearly evading the spirit of their own guarantee, because it is crystal clear to anyone that my companys rank did not improve on Google or any other search engine. I am not aware of a single customer during the entire year of my association with Web Tools and Technology who did not come through my Google Adwords paid advertisements.
The people at Web Tools and Technology are preying on unsuspecting small business people who are just trying to make an honest living. We are easy marks, because as much as we may know about computers and software, we have no knowledge of Search Engine Optimization. If someone comes along and says they can double your business in 3 months, and has testimonials and a money back guarantee, there is little reason not to believe them. There may be legitimate SEO specialists out there who can produce results, but Dave Barry and his crew at Web Tools and Technology is not one of them. In addition, they are dishonest rip off artists who dont honor their contractual obligations.
By the way, I am an industrial psychologist with a Ph.D. from one of this countrys top universities. I was a professor for 23 years and have a perfect reputation for honesty and integrity. I have never cheated anyone in my life, nor have I ever defamed anyone unjustly. In my business, I work to make my customers satisfied and if for any reason they are not, they get a full refund, no questions asked. You can be assured that every word of the above report is true.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/13/2010 01:36 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Web-Tools-and-Technology-LLC/internet/Web-Tools-and-Technology-LLC-Site-Search-Architect-Their-search-engine-optimization-kill-569127. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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