Unfortunately, a scam over snail mail is probably more likely to succeed. That is why I feel it worth writing about to warn you of a letter I received last weekend that tries to use phishing techniques through the mail. A company by the names of Web Listings, Inc. sent me a letter for another domain of mine that looked very much like a bill, saying I owed them $65 for “Annual Website Search Engine Listing”. In classic sitcom style, I almost did a spit-take as I opened the envelope.
Inside the envelope, I received a single piece of paper, printed on both sides, and a self-addressed envelope that requires postage. The reason that I call this a scam, bordering on mail fraud, is that it looks very much like a bill for services rendered upon first impression. Upon actual inspection, Web Listings, Inc wants to charge $65 to have the website submitted “to 20 established search engines”. At $65, that’s a rip-off and taking an approach that tries to trick people into thinking they owe you money means I will never do business with you anyways.
The only thing keeping this from being mail fraud, in my opinion, is the little snippet that says. “This Website Listing offer is provided to millions of websites through the United States to enhance their website exposure. THIS IS NOT A BILL. THIS IS A SOLICITATION. YOU ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO PAY THE AMOUNT STATED ABOVE UNLESS YOU ACCEPT THIS OFFER.”
I’m guessing that part got added after one too many people fell for and complained about this company’s approach to solicitation.
How did they get my address?
The way domain registration works, unless you opt for private registration for another fee, anybody can see the person or organization that registered a domain by performing a WHOIS lookup on the domain. This can reveal your name, address, and phone number. Unfortunately making you open for business for these kinds of solicitations.
How do I submit my site to search engines?
Saving you $65 and in less than 5 minutes, you can very easily submit your own site to two very big search engines: Bing and Google. One at a time, head over to the Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Webmaster Tools. Run through the steps of adding and verifying your site and submitting a sitemap or RSS feed. This will keep the search engine apprised of the latest publications at your website. Through the webmaster tools, you can find out how frequently the search engines are crawling your site and if they’re encountering any errors. Remedy those errors and keep producing quality content. You should then be on the path to appearing in search results and increasing your traffic.
It is my recommendation that you do not send money to Web Listings, Inc. for this same service you can do yourself. The less return they see on their scam attempt, the less likely they are to continue trying to trick people $65 at a time.