Mainstreethost SEO service / SEO scam

Review updated:

MSH called me and offered a statistical analysis of my site for $19.95 (or thereabouts). Geve them my credit card, got the report. Very interesting. They called me back to sell me their SEO (Search Engine Optimization) service. Long story short...sales rep was really good. I viewed her computer screen as she showed me sites they have optimized (see later info on this) and how their clients ranked on Page 1 of Google over and over. Showed me LOTS of "proof" of their efficacy in getting a site to the top of the heap in Google. I fell for it, agreed to their service, she charged my card BEFORE sending me the contract (which was in direct conflict with NUMEROUS things she had VERBALLY promised they would do). $3300. Ouch. But I figured, what the heck, these guys do great work...duh. After one week of working with two different reps (one creating Facebook and Twitter business pages and one doing the SEO work on my site) I found the following: (by the way, I do my own web designs, everything except the most complex special programming needed for some of my offerings). FIRST: the Facebook/Twitter stuff...she was distorting the images I sent to be used (putting landscape images into portrait shapes), created dead end pages (you go there, then cannot get out!), created all sorts of problematic links that did not work properly...refused to use the images I had sent her, instead used images she pulled off my site (she did not want to use the images of my most popular products!!). A week of nitemarish back and forth. MEANWHILE the SEO gal started on my site. I had been asked to send in search engine keywords/phrases for my site, and exterior links. I had done so. (Tho the contract had indicated THEY would do research to determine the best keywords, etc...but I had my stats reports from my site, so used that information plus info gleaned from competitors' metatags and keywords). She totally ignored my list, created REALLY STRANGE keywords that had nothing to do with the products sold. Keywords using the small town where I have my home based business, for product sold nationally on the web. When I pointed out that NO ONE would ever google "Pittsburg Decals" because it MADE NO SENSE...she got angry. Also, she created really odd links at the bottom of the page in a navigation bar (I had been told by the sales rep that Google IGNORES navigation bar links and wants internal site links to come from keywords/phrases IN THE BODY OF THE TEXT ON THE SITE. I was told the SEO person would REWRITE the pages to incorporate those links. Did not happen.) Anyhow, the link for PITTSBURG USDOT NUMBERS" went to my page which showed the FONTS that were available...huh? (I had a page that had information about USDOT numbers...but she ignored that!) Then she DEACTIVATED some of the elements on my website used by customers/prospects to CONTACT ME...anyhow, she had done all that, messing up my LIVE site! She created a horrible "LINKS PAGE"... ignored all the links I had sent that were totally related to the business/industry I serve, and instead slapped on some totally irrelevant links. When I checked those links, I found one was a site that apparently had lost its contract for the site name, and was filled with DVDs and books on how to commit suicide!! I was furious. I immediately contacted her with questions about what the heck she was doing. She blamed it on a new trainee. I asked her to revert the site to the original status and then first run any proposed changes in keywords or online text by me first, for my approval. (Hey, I am not an idiot...html code is pretty easy to read!!) When I pointed out all the discrepancies between the WRITTEN contract and what was going on, she did not respond. The next day (by this time it had been a week, and I had spent easily 10 hours trying to correct/undo the mess that these two "experts" were creating) the "Social Networking" expert decided to QUIT and turned over the Facebook and Twitter duties (which she was refusing to do what was in the contract) to the SEO person. The following business day, the SEO expert reverted everything on my site (including the stuff that I had corrected) back to its original status, pre- Mainstreethost. The Facebook and Twitter stuff disappeared along with it (I did not have an address for that, just the link on the website, so I could not find it. I have searched and it seems to be gone...not sure WHICH expert deleted those elements...I had spent HOURS fixing the mess that they had made to make the sites work!) So I am told a new SENIOR SEO Expert would handle my stuff. Several days later, he contacts me. I figure, OK, maybe now I get someone who is better at this. WRONG. I had told him to just send me the changes he wanted to make. He asked which three pages (Verbally I was told the ENTIRE SITE would be CLEANED UP and optimized for the best ranking with Google...the written contract only indicated 3 pages would be optimized, but also included that they would CREATE a page SPECIFIC for SEO ranking...again, their employees were refusing to honor that part of the contract). Anyhow, the wonderful SENIOR EXPERT did a horrible job, again, manufacturing strange - VERY STRANGE - keyphrases, and then told me that one of the three pages I had chosen to be done COULD NOT BE OPTIMIZED because it is an e-commerce page. The only pages he can optimize are my "About us" page, and my FAQs page, and the index. Well, he was not totally sure about the index, as it is somewhat admin-generated as well. Hello? I called him, and explained that my site is indeed an e-commerce site but it is built on TEMPLATES, which are the FOUNDATION for every page. And those TEMPLATES can indeed be optimized, because they are PAGE FORMATS. His response was that he does not do web design and does not understand the use of templates, so he cannot do any SEO work on a site that has e-commerce generated pages. WHAT THE #!%$&*!!! Are you kidding me? SEO can not be done on e-commerce sites????? I am sure Amazon would love to hear that! And if you do NOT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT WEB the heck can you call yourself a SENIOR SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION SPECIALIST???? That was the final straw. I called the credit card company (it had only been about 7 days) and canceled/disputed the charge, explaining that I had been scammed. They reversed the charge, saying that MSH had 45 days to dispute the reversal. I waited...after 60 days, I received a FEDEX from the credit card company saying that he had disputed the reversal, and if they had not heard back from me by THE NEXT DAY, the charge would be reapplied. I received this at 4:30 pm, had until midnite to get my rebuttal in to them. I faxed over multiple pages...copies of emails, copies of their written contract and notes on what they refused to honor in the written contract, a letter outlining the main issues. By the way...all those sites they had shown me...guess what. On MY computer, when I put in the EXACT SEARCH TERMS they used on Google, those sites are not on the first 10 pages, much less page 1. I contacted one site, where she had spent a LOT of time showing me all the fancy stuff they had done on that site, and with the facebook business account...and the owner emailed me back and told me he has NEVER USED MAINSTREETHOST and was really angry that they were showing "his website" (actually, they had rearranged some of the stuff on his site, created their own version of his index page, added facebook and twitter links, internal links, etc...all totally bogus). I am convinced that they had created their own "Google" pages to show "their customers" on page one (one of those customers wrote back to me that he had only been with them a couple months, and was surprised that they were using him as a reference for their success!) When I went to their customer's real sites online, and checked the VIEW SOURCE, I found that they had used really poor keywords, misspelled keywords, non related keywords in the metatags. I am sure those customers just never bothered to check the work being done, thinking it would be too complicated. Anyhow, I sent in my fax, the credit card co. again credited my acct., and now they are AGAIN allowing MainStreetHost 45 days to refute the rebuttal. I have dozens more pages of stuff I can send...emails from the MSH service reps showing their complete lack of understanding and refusal to honor the
WRITTEN contract, emails from other customers of MSH saying that the company ripped them off, the BBB report showing they get a D+ rating. THEY are the ones who TOOK AWAY all the work that I had put into the site when they were doing their SEO changes...they reverted the site to pre-MSH condition, and now they want $3300. Does that make sense to anyone?

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  •   Dec 05, 2010

    In general if they don't do the job you don't pay them. SEO can be done on e-commerce stores and can be extremely efficient.

    Check there are lots of open source carts to choose from. And lots of modules for effective SEO. Find a web developer to setup the store for you. Then invest gradually and see how the store performs, if it generates sales. It may take time.

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  • Fe
      Mar 07, 2014

    Paid 900 USD for SEO improvements. Have seen none. They don't return calls or do what they promise. They add to my website without consulting the owner, me. They use proprietary apps and want to charge extra. Run if they call to solicit your business!

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