Dex Media, Publisher of YellowPages Is Registering Domains Of YOUR Company For Themselves

Jul 25 2012

I’ve been doing this a while but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Fortune 500 company do something this shady when it comes to online presence.  Dex Media knew they were in trouble.  The millions per city that they were getting for the Yellow Pages was drying up.  It was something I was glad to see as I felt I had been taken hostage by all the Yellow pages and been charged tens of thousands of dollars for spots I really had no choice but to buy. If you wanted to be found you had to be in the book….and stand out which of course cost even more. But along comes the Internet and I don’t need them anymore nor does anyone else.

Dex has wisely changed direction and started to work on SEO for companies.  Setting up an online presence, getting top placements for certain categories and selling them.  I obviously don’t need them and originally tell them to screw off.   But our company still tried them. Why?  Because I wanted to be able to see how they worked.  I get all their stats and lead data and I can tell what sites they use and what keywords they were getting and passing along.  It was worth a few thousand to get an inside look.  Then I saw one of their methods. They registered a domain that is a typo of mine. Not really a typo but a version of mine.  We own CountryArbors.com and we purchased CountryArborsNursery.com to keep squatters away but they went and registeredCountryArborsNurseryInc.com.  Yes, Dex Media took the liberty to register my company name and build a little informational site on it without our permission.  They are hoping to rank hire and then sell the leads back to me.  That is fine and dandy but using a site that appears the same as our own URL is wrong in my opinion.  I’m not a lawyer but I would think I could file a WIPO case against them.  Whether I can or not I still feel its unethical and method that shouldn’t be used.

This method has and will change if I have anything to do about it.  This isn’t a guy trying to make a little typo money.  This is a Fortune 500 company trying to outrank their own customers using domains that pose as the real company in the eyes of Google.  Wrong, Shady, and Unethical.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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16 comments

  1. Acro

    Of course it’s unethical and deliberate. Whether you can file a UDRP or not depends on the exact name of your company and/or common law mark. Is there a Country Arbors, Inc. or Country Arbors Nursery, Inc. formed?

  2. Acro

    Ok, great. Then perhaps a C&D from an attorney would suffice. All you’d need is a strongly written letter and a copy of the incorporation. If they don’t comply, you’d have the advantage of bringing this up in the UDRP, and then potentially a lawsuit. PS I am not a lawyer 😀

  3. Dean

    Pure unadulterated infringement scumbaggery. Why does our government (ICE) relentlessly pursue small infringers and not corporate thuggery?

  4. Orangelo

    They are taking leads away from you that were free before. They are effectively competing with you for your own traffic.

    Gosh, nothing ever changes with the disgusting Yellow Pages.

    I know too, Shane!!! I’m older than you and have run probably close to 20 business in my life and got screwed by them for years. There was nothing you could do in those days. They had everyone under their thumb and they were ruthless bleeders.

  5. ImageAuthors

    Hi, Shane

    Corporations can’t afford bad PR. You might be able to shame them into an apology. If you’d like to add one more tactic to your list, I’d be happy to help with this domain of mine: Nuisance.com. Perhaps you can write up a little information, and then I can point this domain (which is currently parked) at it. Conceivably, someone looking for DEX might find them at Nuisance.com/DEX. And that might be unappetizing for the company. Whether or not you decide to do this, you have my permission to tell them that you may.

  6. BFitz

    I used them as well and they did the same thing. They run a ppc ad on the Bing network with this site as the landing page, I run ppc so I am competing against myself and worried people will think their page is my site. $150 a month and sell them hand over fist in Denver and the Chicago suburbs.

  7. Poor Uncle

    Shane, can you send them an email to have it remove? They are doing it on your behalf so I don’t see why they wouldn’t remove it. I think they are geniuses.

  8. MC

    not only is there an issue that they are trying to outrank you and competing with your company name to take your leads and sell them back to you, but perhaps just as worse in my opinion is the possibility that Google could confuse the site as some kind of doorway page, or spamdexing attempt by your company and end up penalizing your main website. I would not mess around and would make every attempt to get that site removed.

  9. George

    Hi Shane,
    I just sent you important info about this matter to your “contac us”.
    Cheers,

    George

  10. Scott W

    Yeah, some of the food delivery services like the “GrubHubs” and such are registering restaurant domains and creating “false” sites. Real pain in the a**.

  11. TiffanyP

    That is beyond disgusting. But I don’t believe there is a law out there protecting small businesses from such attacks. It is just a wrong unethical internet practice.

    Getting the word out there about this is helpful. More businesses need to know how they can be strong armed into a service they don’t want.

    I went to both sites. They knew they couldn’t use your actually pictures so they posted your sign instead. You can ding them on there use of first person, “I” “We” etc. since you didn’t write that information or have it approved to be placed on the web site. Did they take that information from somewhere on your web site? If so it is plagiarism and I do believe Google has a process for this.

    Did you receive a reply to your e-mail?


    1. Post author
      ShaneCultra

      Tiffany,

      I called in person to our rep instead. I then sent her screenshots of the whois and the url. As if they didn’t know. This would be a very easy case for someone no doubt in my mind.

  12. John

    Read through their agreements that you signed when you signed up with them. If it’s not disclosed or in there you may have a case against them for your money back, plus damages. Who knows maybe it even merits class action status. I would think that if they are doing it their legal department is aware of what they are doing, but who knows nowadays with so many cutting corners. Keep us updated.

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