411Locals On the Warpath?

411Locals is one of the more aggressive local seo firms in both their pre and post sale tactics, aggressive to the point of absurdity. This recent poster on my blog explains his experience with them. If true it should be illegal but like in the case of the computer repair shop in Phoenix there is no obvious regulatory action or enforcement to prevent this sort of behavior:

I used 411 Locals a year ago for about 3 months. I decided to leave them and they have done their best to ruin my company Image on line. They have changed my listings to several different companies, they have listed me under different company names and used bogus telephone numbers which in turn has mis directed my customers. When I spoke with them they informed me the web is a free domain and they can post what they like. I am 45 years old and been in business for 20 years. I have never seen a company that has the power to alter the outcome of my business income such as this company with absolutely zero regulation. I have now hired an attorney to look over all the info that I have and see if i can legally do any thing about it. They need to be hit with multiple law suits at the same time and force them to pay up for legal services and hit them where it hurts…

And in the ultimate bit of irony, it turns out the 411Locals has joined the Nevada BBB and they have a A rating. Only in America could these two have become partners in crime.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
411Locals On the Warpath? by

10 thoughts on “411Locals On the Warpath?”

  1. The web may be a free domain, but if they are in the USA, they still have to abide by the law. Based upon the allegations, 411 Local could easily be sued for the torts of Tortious Interference in Business Relationships and Defamation.

    I would suggest your client take screen grabs of all his web properties so that they do not change them once they get sued.

  2. @Richard & Brian

    While it might violate laws, the ability to get someone to enforce those laws without going broke are often insurmountable.

  3. I don’t know why someone running a legitimate business would waste their time doing that to a former customer? How do they know that you won’t decide to use there business again down the road? Plus that time could be spent getting new customers, or spending more time working on things for your existing customers.

  4. You’ve definitely got a case. If they attempted to sabotage you after you dropped them as a client, they are guilty of extortion (provided it can be proven that they did as you allege). This is no different than mafia gangsters in the 1920’s going from business to business demanding that each pay for “protection” or else face the consequences. These included having property stolen, the building burned down at night, etc.

    If you can get the ISP’s and owners of each respective website used as a gateway to attack your business to turn over the IP addresses and client/customer information (in the case of the ISPs), you’d have a surefire case that would be nearly impossible for them to defend against.

    You might even win without having to prove their identity if you can put together a solid circumstantial case against them. You’ve obviously got to be able to prove sufficient damages to make it worth your time and monetary investment (attorneys fees with no guarantees, etc.). However, assuming you can prove damages and put together a compelling case that no one else could be responsible for the attacks (their claims that they can do as they wish on the internet may be sufficient in and of themselves), I don’t see how they could get out of a ruling favoring you.

    It seems like an open-and-shut case to me. Defamation law and extortion laws don’t cease to exist because the medium happened to be the internet. Whoever is advising them legally is a moron if he or she is telling them it’s okay to taunt former clients whom they’re now sabotaging with pompous claims of immunity in which they defiantly admit guilt in attempting to intimidate you.

    This of course assumes you’re telling us a truthful and accurate account — which most of your readers, myself included, would agree is the case, and which I do not doubt for a minute.

    You should definitely lawyer up, and anything you can do to boost the provability of your losses will only help get the judgement over and done with quickly.

    One request I have is that if indeed the matter does go to court and you win, please be sure to email me with a link to the post about the trial. I really wouldn’t want to miss that one because I’m busy and hadn’t checked in in a while…

  5. Contact me please. We have been jacked around by 411 locals for months now. Lied to, and deceived. Have had enough and are filing law suit! Let me know if you would like to jump on this band waggon!!

  6. Wow,

    The amount of bad press 411 gets here is a bit overdone, “the lady doth protest too much, me thinks,” Or dudes looks like in this case. I’m suspecting a couple of competitors at least are chiming in.

    At any rate as I’ve stated on another string of 411 hate on this blog (also, oddly, this is like the only blog to be found with bad reviews about the company, again, my eyebrows raise) I’m a freelancer in Las Vegas with no skin in the game.

    But again looking up info about them to give them better content (they are a regular local customer of mine) I feel compelled to correct this misconception that a bunch of wicked trolls are ruining random websites from under a bridge somewhere.

    1. I’ve been to their office a bunch of times. I’ve met the owner, management, I’ve listened in on phone calls. Seriously, they are nice people. They are not the devil. Do a couple sales people use the hard sell tactic? Well they give their sales team room to improvise (and I’ll bet pay them better than just about any other ad agency too, from what I’ve seen) so that’s possible. But the idea they are evil and out to get you is ridiculous.

    2. As for “ruining people’s websites” the only site they have access to is the one they made for the client. If the client stops paying why on earth would they keep supporting the site? I use a web host. I’ll bet if I stop paying them they will close my site. It’s not “ruining my life on purpose” it’s simply not providing a service I’m not paying for.

    –Now that said, if they are going in and like messing up a site on purpose to give that company bad press, well that is probably not a good move. I would need to see the links though. I don’t believe that’s happening.

    3. This is more of a case of customers who don’t understand that optimizing anything is an ongoing process. If the process stops so does optimization. I am pretty sure with thousands of clients they don’t have time to invest in actively “ruining” people’s sites. Why would they? What would there be to gain?

    Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s all a facade, they aren’t really as nice and serious about helping customers as they seem. Maybe one freelancer walks in, an alarm is sounded, and everyone goes on their best behavior.

    I kind of doubt it though.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Comments links could be nofollow free.