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Why I Think Yodle.com Is “Hotel California”

OK, today I want to talk smack about a competitor.

Actually, I don’t want to “talk smack.” In fact, I’m worried that I’ll look like a jerk.

So what I’d like to do is report the facts of my competitor’s approach, tell you why I think that approach is wrong, and explain what you should do instead.

The competitor I’m talking about is Yodle.com.

OK, so let’s start with the facts.

So let’s say you’re Attorney Smith and your phone number is (111) 111-1111. Like most business owners, you’ve probably already signed up for “Google My Business” and filled out your profile, including your address and phone number.

Now, when nearby people search for (say) “bankruptcy attorney near me”, your business may show up in the “map pack” on the Google search page. Google actually lists your phone number right there on the page, which is great for you!

OK, so here’s the first weird thing that Yodle does. First, they set up a “call forwarding number” that is something like: (111) 222-2222. This phone number will redirect to (111) 111-1111, so you won’t lose any phone calls.

Anyway, Yodle will then get you to change your number in your “Google My Business” profile to that call-forwarding number. They explain to you that the benefit for you is that Yodle can now tell you more details about leads you get from your website, like “you got 5 phone calls last week.”

You think that a report like that would be cool, so you go ahead and…

BAM!

From what I can tell, you’ve now checked into Hotel California, in that you can check out but you can never leave. That’s because once you’ve used Yodle for a while, everyone around town will likely think that your phone number is the call forwarding number (instead of your actual number).

So you won’t be able to afford having the call-forwarding number stop forwarding to your “real” number. And if you leave Yodle, Yodle will stop the call-forwarding number from forwarding anymore.

That’d be OK, if Yodle transferred that “call forwarding number” over to your new provider. But according to many online complaints I saw, Yodle won’t “transfer” that phone number to you, so you have to pay them forever.

That doesn’t make sense to me.

So what should you do instead?

The solution is to never “rent” a call forwarding phone number, if you’re going to use that number in the phonebook (or your Google My Business listing). You have to own your own phone number yourself.

And if somebody asks you to rent your public phone number to you, politely decline.

There’s actually a second weird thing that Yodle does that I’ll explain tomorrow.

If you’ve checked into Yodle’s Hotel California by accident and you want to leave, schedule some time to talk with me here:

-Bob Hiler

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