I advertise on a few search sites on the web because the benefits have proven to outweigh the costs. I know that they’re trust-worthy because my listings receive calls that turn into cash. But lately there have been a number of new tow-search sites popping up wanting my business. Maybe it’s because I advertise elsewhere that I’m receiving emails and phone calls asking that I join this one or that one…I’m sure you get them too. What I don’t understand is how a company, I’ve never heard of, can have the gall to ask that I trust that their site’s getting all the traffic.

Without any proof, they ask me to believe that there are hundreds, possibly thousands of motorists in my area who are already using their site to search for towing.

Contrast a tow-search site such as towing.com with any other company you already do business with…say your cell phone company.

  • You choose a cell phone company based on price and the services offered. They know you have choices so they work hard to provide value.
  • You’re not required to pay up-front, you pay at the end of each month, after you’ve used the services.
  • And you don’t need to take “on-faith” that the service will work. You’ve seen others using the same service and can be reasonably assured that if it works for them, it’ll work for you.
  • And although their support is not without its flaws, if you do have problems…say your phone isn’t working, you can contact customer support and get the problem solved fairly quickly.

Now towing.com; They ask

  • That you choose their site based solely on the traffic their name commands.
  • They require a monthly fee of $45 or more, up front. You pay whether or not you experience a return.
  • For that fee your company is listed on their site. And they allow you to advertise their site on your businesses website.
  • The unspoken promise is that when someone lands on their site, searching for towing in your area, your business will be displayed and you’ll get calls that turn into cash.
  • They don’t limit the number of towing companies that can be listed from any one area. So if everyone in your area is listed it does you no good.

But what if it doesn’t work…say no one calls?  Or you get some calls but none of them turn into cash? There’s no 800 number you can call to solve the problem. It’s pretty much up to you.

Make an Informed Decision

Every site on the web has the ability to track a thousand of pieces of information about their visitors. They know how you landed on their page, what links you clicked, the time it took (down to the seconds) for you to “bounce” somewhere else. And they know exactly where you are in the world. If they have that information they need to provide it…so we can make an informed decision.

But they don’t because if they did you wouldn’t advertise with them.

You know what you’re going to get with your phone service provider, you’ve weighed the costs and decided that having the ability to communicate with others is much preferable to keeping that extra $100 or more in your bank account each month.  But what do you get from advertising on these unknown sights?

Dirty Little Secret

You see the dirty little secret is they want you to advertise on their site because once you’re there you’ll be bait. They’ll use your listing as a hook to go after all the other towing companies in your area. They’ll say, “Hey look Don’s towing company is getting all the business.” And they’ll campaign hard with phone calls, emails, and postcards to get as many towers in your area on their site.

They do this for a couple of reasons: Because they want the added revenue of course. But mainly because, once everyone’s advertising with them, no one individual company will dare stop advertising. Due to the fear of losing customers everyone will “hold-their-ground”. They use fear as a tool to keep advertisers from straying.

Then where will you be? You’ll be nestled next to all the other guys, just like in the yellow pages or on Google’s search results. The only difference is towing.com will now have $45 per month from all of you.  And there’s still no proof that anyone’s even using their site.

Advertising Power

You’re a specialist, one of your areas of expertise is towing. You have the ability to safely move a disabled vehicle from one location to another. You wouldn’t expect some guy in a 3-piece suit to immediately hop in your truck and do what you do. In that same vein you might assume that the guys running search engines are experts in their field. And of course they’ll reinforce your beliefs.

They’ll tell you that they have the ability to know what customers are looking for and can bring them to your business more efficiently than you could yourself. Besides that they’ll tell you that; due to quantities of scale, their buying power affords them cheaper rates. But is that really the case?

When advertising on-line, those tow-search sites have no more buying power than you do. Sure they may tell you that the quantity of ads they purchase allows them to be seen more often and in more locations across the country. But ask yourself this. If you’re operating in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for example- would you care if someone in Florida needed a jump start?

And if your $45 dollar ad is diluted by the same competitors, only in a different place, is it really worth it?