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Citysearch.com / Unethical Business Practice, Scams, Fraud, Racism

1 United States
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Citysearch the online business directory owned by Barry Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp, is also an affiliate of Merchant Circle and are based in California and listed in the NYSE as IAC.
I will explain in as much detail as possible of how Citysearch.com promotes a Pay-per click scam and perpetuates racism through their website.

“Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (a common name for Title V of the Telecommunications Act of 1996) is a landmark piece of Internet legislation in the United States, codified at 47 U.S.C. § 230. Section 230(c)(1) provides immunity from liability for providers and users of an "interactive computer service" who publish information provided by others:

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

How the Scam works:

If you have registered as a business, let’s say [Atlanta, Georgia] your information becomes part of a public record. What companies like Citysearch.com do is list that information on their web site or you can list it yourself. The fact is that anyone can list a business on Citysearch.com .Once your listing appears you have a good chance of being found by someone who is looking for your type of business.
Read the following:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Free-Press-Release.com) September 13, 2009 --
City Search city guides is a popular online Internet service
that Internet surfers use to locate services across the United States, but lately City Search has come under scrutiny for its deceptive scam marketing practices, and as a result, consumers are filing complaints and class action lawsuits against City Search to bring consumer awareness to the deceptive business practices of this company.

This is what one customer’s complaint has to say about City Search, “I am a restaurant owner starting a class action lawsuit against CitySearch.com,
City Search Facing Class Action Lawsuits by Business Customers

I have had fake reviews posted by an anonymous reviewer signing up under multiple names and writing completely fabricated reviews in violation of CitySearch Terms of Use. CitySearch is aware of the problem and ignores it because their policy is to NOT PROVIDE SERVICE TO ANY RESTAURANTS THAT DO NOT ADVERTISE WITH THEM
I actually have internal CitySearch correspondence stating they won't fix the problem unless I advertise and that they do not even review complaints unless you buy advertising from them. The Salesman then goes and uses the problems to blackmail restaurants into buying services. AGAIN I HAVE SPECIFIC WRITTEN INTERNAL DOCUMENTATION detailing their predatory and unethical policies AND ILLEGAL POLICIES. If you have any similar complaints please email me at [protected]@aol.com.”


The Scam:
I currently have Google analytics attached to my website. I have been paying attention over the past few months, since becoming a City Search customer, that I am not getting any "bang for my buck" so to speak. I have been paying over $350 each month and have yet to see any significant clicking to my website. Even the Google cpc, which I understand comes from my City Search account, from June 20 through July 20 is only up to 15 clicks. I can easily get that through Google paying for the advertising myself and it wouldn't cost me anywhere near what I'm paying City Search.

Clicks from City Search since May 1, 2009... Zero. I find it difficult to believe that 900 people are looking at my City Search account every month and not 1 clicked through to find out more information from my website. The simple law of averages state's that's just not possible. If any one of these people were actual customers looking for a Hypnotherapist in their area, I'm sure at least 1 would want more information.

While I understand that I signed up for 6 months of service, I don't feel that I am getting what I have been paying for. I would like to find out if there is any way that I can cancel my account without the cancellation fee's as I feel that your company has not lived up to their end of the contract and I've already payed more than enough money for a service that has no real value to me or my company. I'm beginning to think that the only people clicking on the City Search page you set up for me are the one's who your company calls trying to scam into the same deal that I feel I was scammed into.

Here’s the link the original complaint:

http://www.complaints.com/2008/august/27/Citysearch_is_a_scam_and_employees_very_unprofess_183082.htm

How would a racist would use this site to promote discriminatory behavior against minority businesses in their community?
First let’s ask the question, does racism exist?
The main reason why we have racism is because people want to have a sense of power and privilege over another group. Everyone wants to be able to have power and in order to have power you must defeat or overpower others. This is why there is racism. “Racism is the systematic, institutionalized mistreatment of one group of people by another based on racial heritage.”
Today in the modern day South or the “New South” as it being called still has the racial prejudices common to their regions at that time of the “Old ‘Jim Crow’ South” but also deeply rooted Bible belt notions of public rectitude.

How does the discrimination occur?

Let’s say someone came into your business or contacted you to purchase a product or service. If for some reason they did not like you the typical response is to post their concerns on the internet. In our research we discovered that minority business owners were more likely to receive 2-3 times as many negative reviews about 20% versus non-minority business who received less than 5% negative reviews on different web sites around Atlanta, Georgia using a mix of various business types.
Many of the negative reviews written against minority businesses contain prejudicial and inflammatory statements that enforce mistrust, suspicion i.e., “Watch Out, Who do trust? or, I would use a more established firm” and others.
The negative reviews posted are in the context of personal attacks and do not give the reader a true experience of the business and go unchecked by Citysearch who promotes this type of behavior in order to sell its Pay-Per Click Program.
I hope that this information has been helpful and informative


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