When looking for a web design company, most people will start with a web search for something like “website designers”, “web design reviews” or “good web design companies” and a from that some of those people will end up on review websites looking at customer feedback – as what could be a better opinion of a company than one from a person who had previously used them?
Being in the industry myself I keep my eyes and ears firmly planted to the ground, and I often stumble upon things that seem all too dodgy to ignore. Here are two of those things in more detail.
1) IWDRO – Internet and Website Development Regulatory Office
One day at work I came across the IWDRO and initially thought it could be something to be associated with to add some trust to our brand in the face of so much competition, so I contacted them.
As soon as I got the email I was stunned. It just so happened at the same time we were looking at the IWDRO we were also fishing for quotes from rival companies to see where we compared and one of those companies was The Smart Marketing and Media Group, and this was the lady I had been speaking to;
Was this some crazy coincidence?
I looked into each company individually and found a guy with a fair few directorships under his belt;
Well gawd dammit.
So a guy that runs multiple design and development companies owns his own “Regulatory Office” for web design?
Ok, so its not a scam but I couldn’t help feeling a bit put off by these findings.
EDIT: It’s worth noting at this point that personally I do not believe that there is anything dodgy about the IWDRO in itself, but I cannot help feel that a privately owned, profit making company calling itself a “Regulatory Office” is a bit of a blag.
2) Review Site & Web Design Review
(www.Review-Site.co.uk // www.WebDesignReview.co.uk)
Nope, I didn’t miss some of the names off. These are the names of (drumroll) some review websites for web design companies, but not all web design companies – just ones that fit a certain criteria.
Surely that criteria is whether or not those companies are good value for money, customer service and excellent technical ability?
Unfortunately not. The criteria seems to be that the companies listed need to be owned by the person that also happens to own all the review websites, our old mate Simon Macbeth. It seems he’s not content with screwing with peoples lives and ripping his housemates off – he also wants to lie to potential customers and pretend he runs a highly recommended professional web agency. From what i’ve heard he’s far from professional.
Anyway, here’s some evidence to back up my claims.
His main company 1-to-1 Web Design has these on the sidebar of every page;
These link to the Review-Site.co.uk page for 1-to-1 Web Design and the homepage of WebDesignReview.co.uk, both of which are owned by Simon;
He also owns about 50% of the companies on the “Leaderboard” on WebDesignReview.co.uk. Its a virtual web of BS and to the unsuspecting eye it’s all quite believable.
Really dodgy stuff all round and It’s certainly made me think about online reviews and testimonials on websites. I’ve found the best way to truly gauge a company’s worth is to ASK the people that they have done work for, and speak or message them directly. They normally don’t mind regardless of their experience as they will either want to sing their praises or slag them off – either way you hear straight from the horses mouth and can make your own mind up based on that.
And if you didn’t fancy contacting someone directly then use a service like FreeIndex, Reevoo, Review Centre or Trustpilot. Don’t just believe something you read because it has some stars next to it 🙂