I am a good person. I pay my taxes, give to charity and don’t run red lights.
I spend a lot of time on my website, keeping it up-to-date, providing quality content and information for our visitors plus I write my Pure Water Profits blog for Water Technology that covers lots of different marketing topics ranging from general direct mail tips to industry specific issues such as those facing the water quality industry … not to mention topics such as this.
My website is one of my key lead generation vehicles and I power it with pay per click ads and much time spent on developing appropriate content, backlinks (and all the stuff they tell us in SEO school) to improve my organic search.
Because of this effort, people visit my website and complete lead generation forms we call Quick Quotes, which I distribute to our sales staff to work.
In the past years, we have had many fake forms filled out with some very interesting monikers, ranging from dottydoos to staff@nytimes to abc@gmail — you catch my drift. These are easily identifiable as “ca-ca.” In an effort to combat this, I put in a captcha, which I’m sure deters more real prospects than the bots.
Regardless, the Captcha hasn’t helped. It’s obvious that there continues to be people who spend their time wasting mine. One of my favorite serial phonies is Calmodovar, who seems to have accounts with every single ISP you can imagine, and even the ones you can’t, because they are all fake.
But I started to notice several patterns. Multiple fake lead forms coming from the same ISP. Over and over and over. Every day I get a rash of phony lead forms, it makes you really want to go to work on this stuff.
I have complained to the all-knowing, all-seeing Google — who basically doesn’t care. “Forget the tens of thousands of dollars we charged on your credit card, buddy — it’s not our problem,” is Google’s answer. (Ooh, should I have said that? Do you think my organic is going to drop like a rock because I wrote that?)
Yesterday, DataScott in my office called one of our phony-leads-of-the-day, which was a lovely older woman who told him that she has gotten many, many calls from other list providers and direct mail companies. At first she thought it was kind of odd. Now she knows that someone is using her name and information and filling out forms all over the internet.
Recently, The Wall Street Journal reported that 36 percent of all Web traffic is bogus.
So I guess maybe I shouldn’t take this personally — maybe everyone in our industry is getting clicked up the wazoo by someone whose goal is to continue to drive up our costs and drive us to drink.