Yext – Is It Bait and Switch?
2/5/2015 – I’ve been doing a lot of SEO work for clients lately. One of the most time consuming details is making sure a clients’ NAP listing (Name, Address, Phone, etc) are correct across the Internet, without duplicates, and without typo’s. There is a service called Yext (www.yext.com) that automates that entire process. I had heard about them several months ago and as intriguing as it sounded, the cost was around $1000 to update a client. This was outside of my small business customers’ budgets so I went back to manual inputting.
I got a cold call yesterday from Yext’s reseller department telling me that they were not the same as the division that hard sells to SMB (small to mid-size businesses). The sales rep assured me their reseller prices were much better. Count me as skeptical but I stayed on line long enough for her to tell me their reseller package was only $199 plus $35 per month per client. That is quite a drop from a grand down to $200! That got my attention.
To give me time to find out if this was a scam or something fishy, I asked a bazillion questions (if it seems too good to be true, it usually is!). I suggested that the sales rep give me a day to ponder it which, to her credit, she didn’t turn on the hard sell but set up a time to call me back.
I then did my research to make sure I knew what I was getting in. There were quite a few bad reviews and hostile comments about Yext.com in various parts of the Internet but there were also some good comments. But the bad ones were enough for me to want to either get a 30 day trial to check things out, or to get a 30 day money-back guarantee. My gut reaction is that it was a legit operation with some resellers who did not ask enough questions or did not get clarification of what was being offered. I felt like I was clear on what my needs and expectations were in my discussion with the sales rep. If they could provide some sort of trial to make sure it would meet my needs made it seem like a reasonable venture.
So when the sales rep called me back today, I told her of my concerns, reiterated my needs, and asked her if they provide a trial or money back guarantee. She assured me that they would make things right as they don’t want anyone unsatisfied. I asked her to put that in an email to me either from her or from her manager. She put me on hold for a while and, after some back and forth, reluctantly agreed to put that into an email to me. She did so and I was getting excited.
Then we started the application. When we got to the point that she and I had agreed to where I could use one of my clients as the free training account, she informed me that would be another $50. I told her that added fee was not mentioned yesterday when we discussed that option. I was told my only charge would be $199 plus $35 per client after the first free account (used to learn how to use all the features). I expressed concern that she was already adding a charge that we had not agreed upon in advance. She said that she could not do what we agreed upon for $199 but rather it was now $249.
Was that an oversight that she forgot to mention or the beginning of added fees once I made a commitment… a bait and switch? She suddenly declared that her supervisor told her that they did not want to do business with me (gee, did I ask too many questions?). I agreed that things were not going as they had stated. After thinking more about it, I’m still not sure if the rather insignificant fifty-bucks was an oversight or Yext playing slick games. Either way, they did not win my trust nor my faith in how they conducted that sales call. But at least I found out before giving them all of my billing information.
Lessons learned or reinforced? Make sure you do your homework. Don’t be afraid to ask uncomfortable questions from stuff you’ve uncovered while doing your research. And make sure you have a clear understanding. And if something is important, request to get it in an email so there is no chance for confusion. And don’t be afraid to back away from something that seems too good to be true!
UPDATE (2/27/15): Since writing this article, I found another tool that works well for my needs called Bright Local (www.brightlocal.com) that another ex-Yext user recommended. Bright Local has a huge battery of reports and gives you the option of taking care of your own directory listings or they will do so for $3 each.
I suggest you have Bright Local take care of at least 10 top listing directories for $30 and then you can do some others at your own pace. Or after a few weeks if you are too busy (or don’t want to) you can have them take care of some more listings. That way it doesn’t appear to the search engines that you are overloading the site with links all at once but rather updates appear at a more natural pace without invoking Google’s Penguin wrath.
So check out Bright Local (Disclaimer: My praise is just pure love for them… I haven’t gotten a finders fee for sending you there 🙂 ). In addition to all of their reports they have excellent Webinars and support info. Night and day difference between them and the pushy bait and switch experience I got with Yext!