I've been stewing a few weeks over this one and really trying to keep quiet about it. Perhaps I should continue to keep quiet, but nahhhhh...it's only a blog and I have a total of 6 viewers, (including my dog). As you probably know, I have wedding websites all over the country that I use to promote wedding vendors and connect brides with professionals. I never really promote the sites, push vendors to advertise on them, or even try to hard sell vendors to advertise on them. I just kind of let them sit there, search engine optimize them, brides find them and use them, vendors find them and advertise on them. All is good. I am providing a service to connect brides with wedding vendors and don't feel I am robbing the vendors to do this.
One thing I never really investigated was to see how much wedding vendor advertising costs are these days (with everyone else). I just kept to myself and was fat, dumb, and happy offering free listings and upgraded listings for $99.00 a year. I thought the upgrades were modest, offering free top and side banner ads, image uploads, video uploads, leads, reviews, and other things. The main thing was to provide an affordable advertising outlet for vendors, connect brides and vendors, and provide great customer service to the vendors that advertise with us (free and paid). I realize I am not one of the big guys and never professed to be. I concentrate marketing to local and regional sites and really don't go after the national market. I am not jealous of the big guys, nor am I even trying to get more business to my sites. But I am disturbed at what some people are charging wedding vendors to advertise with them.
About 2 months ago I ran across a great guy from the Tampa Bay area, having a fit with one of the major advertising outlets. Apparently they were using some crap technology in their filtering system and his premium ad was not being displayed when a user filtered results by distance. It was a blatant form of misconception to the vendors that were paying. The geek in me instantly realized that this could be fixed quite easily on this outlet's website, but I just sat back and watched the Facebook posts smoke and rise about how unfairly this vendor was being treated (and he really was being treated unfairly). I came to find out he was paying over $2500 a year for advertising with this outlet. I almost crapped myself!!! I was that far out of the loop??? Were people really paying all that money to advertise online??? You've got to be kidding me!!!
So I continued my little investigation, and found another gentleman that was paying over $3500 a year to the same company to advertise his services. Found another young lady that was actually paying the bargain price of over $450 a year to be listed on the second page (or listing number 45) of their site. The stories are endless, but all the same. Small businesses, wedding vendors, paying a ridiculous amount of money to advertise their wedding business
. All because they "have to" because everyone else does. I am just floored over this whole thing. Somebody is laughing all the way to the bank, and it is not the wedding vendors
. I realize that advertising is all part of doing business, but come on.....
I love the idea of promoting wedding vendors, it's what I do. I realize that
wedding vendors are already getting hammered for advertising in multiple
once and done bridal shows and throw away magazine ads. Now someone is
rubbing salt in the wounds by offering to get you on their first page
for premium listing price of over $2000.00 a year!! Don't get me wrong,we all know there is a cost to advertising and running these sites, but there is no reason for it to be excessive.
I recently seen a comment from a wedding professional admitting that these two sites are popular with the budget brides. Well of course they are popular sites, because wedding vendors are making them that way by promoting them on our own sites. Don't believe me? How about the "read my reviews on this site", or the copy and paste code that lists your reviews with their branding on there also. So the wedding vendors are paying to promote the sites...and paying severely none the less!!! They lure you in with the free add, and then to get to the top you need to upgrade, and upgrade, and upgrade, until before you know it, you are paying big bucks...and for what??? But don't worry, you are only stuck in it for a year, even if you pay by month, your contract is for a year. Sure on my sites it is for a year also, but for only 1/20th the cost (had to put a shameless plug in there).
Let's just say I am a little more than annoyed at the big two (yeah you know who you are) at charging these ridiculous fees for advertising, to small business. It is just silly so it is time to let the proverbial cat out of the bag and do some more exposing this silliness.
Time to start looking out for the little guy and time to write a few more blogs for my five readers and my dog to read. Some interesting titles I have in mind are:
1. Why would I send someone away from my website to read my reviews? ( I kind of wrote this one already)
2. All these awards. What a Load of Crap!!!
3. I'm Paying You so I can advertise YOUR business?
4. I'm Knot going to pay a lot for this advertising.
Am I misinformed?? Am I looking at this the wrong way?? I never once said I was always correct, so I am open to listening to more. Feel free to comment.
Buckle your seat belts boys and girls....It is going to be a fun ride.