We have all heard of minimum term contracts, they date back to the seventies when most working class people rented expensive appliances such as televisions, VCR's, Washing machines and this trend continues into the present day with mobile phone contracts, internet and TV packages and the like.
For these services it's a must, the mobile phone store needs to make certain that you cover the cost of the handset that they have provided you with before you leave and go elsewhere and the internet service provider has also provided you with equipment such as receivers, routers, dishes etc and in some cases even laid new cables to your home. For these types of services I fully understand why minimum term contracts are needed but are they really needed in the internet marketing industry?
Are minimum term contracts needed in this industry?
Internet marketing services have been around almost as long as web design has, unfortunately it's an industry with no regulation, seriously, anyone can set up as an internet marketer with little or no outlay and little experience, and that's where the problem lies.
For many years internet marketing services such as organic SEO, paid search (PPC) and onsite optimisation went hand in hand with web design and after your designers had built and launched your website they then offered additional services to make sure the site was actually visible on the internet and did well on the search engines.
As the years went by and the internet grew it became clear that web design companies where in fact making more money from internet marketing services than they made from the initial design and development of the website. As the internet became more popular and more companies launched websites, each company wanted to be page one for their niche or services and many people tried their hand at internet marketing.
Telesales marketing companies
It was around 2006 when people realised that internet marketing was a very lucrative industry with literally hundreds of companies willing to throw massive amounts of money into getting their website to dominate the search results, so the stand alone internet marketing companies where born.
Savvy salesmen rented cheap office space and hired telesales staff to ring 100's of local businesses a day, promising to rocket the business to the top of the search engines, there was one problem through, these salesmen where not web designers or coders and most of them had no internet related background at all, they where simply salesmen, selling a service full of promises, promises that they simply couldn't deliver on, so the minimum term marketing contract was created.
Sales driven marketing companies simply work on numbers, ask anyone working in sales for one of these companies One whistle blower we spoke to told us he was regularly threatened with the sack for not hitting targets.
The function of a telesales worker in one of these marketing companies is to sign up as many people as possible and sign them up to a 6 or 12 month contract which guarantees a regular income for the marketing company, and regular commission for the telesales worker for at least 6 or 12 months. These companies know that none of their customers will continue after the contract ends but that's not the business model, as one person leaves two more are signed up.
Will any work actually get done?
In most cases, yes, especially in the first month or so, so as not to raise any suspicions.. They will do or ask you to do minor website changes and they'll get some cheap offshore link building done, which does nothing to help your site, it's simply visual evidence that they are doing the work, otherwise you could actually get out of the contract if you could prove that they had done nothing.
After the first month or so there will be very little done, you may get software created reports and you will always be on the cusp of success and search engine domination if you ever question why you are not climbing or getting more business.
What about the genuine companies?
Of course there are many genuine internet marketing companies around, most don't use telesales as they get their work from word of month and a genuine internet marketing company will never sign you up for a minimum term contract as you will see your search engine results improve month by month so you'll be happy to continue to pay.
You will usually find that genuine internet marketing companies are less expensive too as they do not need to pay telesales staff or outsource any of the work.
So if you're thinking about organic SEO or other internet marketing services make sure that you avoid these sales driven internet marketing companies otherwise you may find yourself stuck in a contract and your website stuck in the lower part of the search results.