VendorSeek.com – I Still Probably Wouldn’t Recommend Them

12Jan08

UPDATE:

A few months ago I was contacted by Tara, a representative of the company that bought out Vendor Seek. She told me that they wanted to reach out to unhappy former clients to test the changes they had made. Although the start was a bit bumpy, Tara was correct. My complaint in the past was that none of the leads were of any quality. I got leads for sites that weren’t in English, and some sites that were even on free hosts. Tara set up the account and put in some new restrictions such as the size of the company, and their monthly budget. True to her word, the leads came in they were of better quality. Out of about 50 or so leads, only one of them was bad (it had the incorrect contact information), and Tara even said if I was paying for the leads that they would have taken it back.

Although I received about 50 leads, not a single one has become a client. I did send out several proposals, and there is one lead who has promised to hire, but as of today my company has not generated any revenue from the test. At the end of the test I was informed that they had changed their structure and were now allowing advertisers to bid on leads. So, they setup my account with the minimum bid of $5, so I could continue to receive leads. In all honesty, if none of the leads convert then I probably won’t keep the account active. But I figured at 5 bucks a lead, it was worth continuing.

One thing I do want to point out is how nice Tara was to me throughout the process. In my experiences with Vendor Seek before, everyone I spoke to was rude and unhelpful. I was very glad to learn that some one with decent customer service skills had finally been hired, and I cannot tell you how good it felt to know that my complaints had been heard. I was a bit peeved when she emailed me asking that I update this blog entry, but in all honesty we both knew it was the reason for the free test, and I was happy to report on the leads that the test generated for us.

Soooo, I will continue to test out the leads at this discounted price, but my honest opinion really hasn’t changed. It is much more cost effective for some one to setup a pay per click campaign through adWords then it is to buy leads. HOWEVER, if you do not want to hassle with setting up an account and managing it, then a pay per lead service might be good for you. But, I would suggest starting off with a small daily limit. That way you can test the quality of the leads and judge them for yourself.

ORIGINAL POST:

I meant to write this entry a while ago but it totally slipped my mind until I was speaking with a client yesterday morning. We were talking about other options for online lead generation besides a pay per click campaign and she asked me if I’d ever heard of a place called VendorSeek. As I informed her, yes I have heard of them and I strongly recommend staying away.

I signed up with VendorSeek a few months ago and I think I began with a $250 per month budget plus a $100 activation fee. Before I made the credit card payment every one I spoke to was nice and helpful. Then I started getting leads and frankly, they sucked. I got a total of ten leads, all for organic optimization, and not a single one converted into a client. Most of them were a complete waste of money. Some of the sites weren’t even hosted on domains, and one even had ad supported hosting. Then one of the leads I got was for a site that was in a foreign language.

So I contacted my representative, who transferred me to some one else, who forwarded me to the complaint department, etc. The result was… nothing. They wouldn’t refund my money even though most of the leads were of no value. They told me they could make some notes in my account to try to filter the leads better but the problem was that I had a 30 day window that I could request a refund of my startup fee. So if I chose to continue, I would essentially be sacrificing $100 to try their service again. I declined, and to their credit they did refund my startup fee with no hassles.

The problem with VendorSeek, and any other pay per lead program, is that they need to profit off the leads. They get their leads as cheaply as possible and send them to five or more different vendors to get as much revenue as they can. It is much more effective to setup and run a targeted pay per click campaign. Your total cost per lead may be higher, but your total cost per sign up is going to be much lower.

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25 Responses to “VendorSeek.com – I Still Probably Wouldn’t Recommend Them”

  1. 1 Andrew

    I’m not sure if my post went through the first time or not, so here it is again.

    Vendorseek Provides Garbage Leads!

    We tried out vendorseek for a few months. We bought web design leads from them at 40 dollars per lead. We anticipated that we would get quality leads so we had a dedicated team follow up on leads received from vendorseek within 2 minutes.

    What we received was appalling; we got prospects that weren’t even looking for web design leads, leads with incorrect or falsified information, leads from companies that only wanted a local business, etc. When we asked for a refund on the leads that wanted someone local we were told, “thats not our fault, we can’t be held responsible for that”.

    Vendorseek used creative ways to avoid issuing us a credit or refund. When we tried to return a lead

    - Vendorseek rejected it they said “none of the other vendors had problems” or “thats not our fault” as a standard answer to each refund request. Nevermind that there is no way for us to verify this.
    - Sometimes they wouldn’t even give us a reason for the rejection. Just that it was rejected.

    Here’s the kind of leads we paid for:

    - leads with the wrong information
    - leads with people that didn’t actually want our services, they were just “upsold”.
    - leads that didn’t want to spend the amount that we had set in our account preferences (we wanted customers to have a budget of 5,000-10,000 and we said so)
    - junk leads with prospect’s kids and toddlers answering the phones, telling our sales team that their parents weren’t home.
    - leads from a competitor that wasn’t looking for our services. (but when we returned the leads vendorseek refused to give us our money back)

    Customer Service

    - once you have a problem they didn’t answer their phones, or they’ll screen your calls and either send you to voicemail or leave you on hold hoping you’ll go away
    - they said they would return your calls but don’t
    - they’d promise to fix problems with your returned leads and then avoid your phonecalls, and messages. (one rep even played the good cop, bad cop routine saying, “I don’t know why they’d charge you for that, I’ll take care of it” then he’d stop taking our calls)

    Vendorseek stinks, they gave us crap leads, when we tried to return them they refused. What a huge waste of money. Spend your marketing dollars elsewhere.

  2. I have used VendorSeek several times and have not had any problems. I cannot speak for everyone’s subjective situations, but mine has been above satisfactory.

    Believe me, the quality of leads was a concern of mine before I used the service. I spoke with one of their sales staff who assured me all the leads are verified. So, I gave them a try. I have been able to make a substantial number of sales through their system and would encourage anyone to give them a try.

    I understand not every lead will develop into a sale because I am competing against other vendors, but I do not hold VendorSeek responsible for the presence of competition. Competing for buyers is a part of being in business.

    I spend a ton of money on pay-per-click ads and every possible vendor on the Web is my competition. In addition, it is hard to decipher when my ad is being clicked legitimately. I have found my return on investment is higher using VendorSeek than ppc ads.

    I have not used any other form of marketing which brings me closer to an interested buyer. I understand the rest of the quest rests in making the buyer choose me over the other contenders. VendorSeek facilitates the lead process; it is my job to make the final sale.

  3. 3 Carisa

    We use them i think its fine. They handle complaint right away! Leads are standard.

    CS

  4. 4 Matt johnson

    They are utterly terrible. The biggest bunch of liars in the world. I had one guy tell me he put in a request and had 11 companies call the same day. So I complained and they said the guy wput more than one request in, I called him back. He only put one in, he even gave me the list of companies that he heard from. Well I did a little research and sure enough they sold the lead to all 11 of us. What a bunch of sumbags!

  5. 5 Mark

    Does anyone know of any good pay-per-lead services?

  6. This Carisa – must work for them…

    They do not keep their 5-7 day lead return policy at all. It was a. poor quality leads (and many people weren’t even WANTING what they signed them up for!, b. oversold (to too many vendors), c. abysmal customer service (knock down drag out for returns), d. unprofessional demeanor (awful communication skills), e. – so much more!

    Try quotecatcher. They are so easy to deal with and are actually professional. You never have to fight for credits if they’re legit and they actually write notes when they send you a lead.

    I told VS to check out QC and take a few lessons… We closed maybe one sale out of 100 leads. Awful company.

  7. 7 Diapointed web designer

    I tried Vendorseek for a month, with mixed results.
    Some of the companies I called would not take my call because so many people had already been on the phone offering everything under the sun.
    The ones I did talk to; some where dreamers (want to get rich off their website but had no money to invest in its development) others had the funds but after 20 calls telling them everything from $500- $10,000 for the same website the prospects were just confused.

    To begin with they (VendorSeek) told me no more then 4 competing companies would receive the quote… this was obviously no the case.

    A friend of mine was asked to get quotes for his companies website, I sent him a quote and told him about vendor seek. He went to the site and within 45 minutes had 13! companies contact him mostly by email!

    Then Quin Street the new owner of VendorSeek called him saying he requested info on their CRM… Not even knowing what a CRM was he said they had it wrong and called vendor seek.
    They Told him he “qualified” for more offers and more offers means more companies competing for his business.
    To date 25+ companies have called or emailed about his site.
    After he told VS to STOP Indian companies started calling like mad.
    He is convinced they just sold his information to another company who is selling it over and over again.

    Today I contacted Quote catcher, am hoping for more.

  8. 8 Lost a small fortune on vendorseek

    I purchased leads for 4 months from Vendorseek and gave them to my sales staff which I believe is very good. The feedback that I got from them was that 7 out of 10 times the leads that they called were inundated with calls and were shocked or felt they were misled by what would happen when they “requested a quote”. Then things got better.

    I admit I was very busy during these 4 months so I didn’t pay much attention to the quality of leads Vendorseek was giving my organization or the outcome. Then I looked at the total dollars spent on the Vendorseek leads – Nearly $8000. So I went into my CRM system to see what was happening and I noticed that none of the leads were closing. In fact most weren’t even allowing us to bid.

    The sales people had to open up conversations with “I know you must be inundated with calls already so when is a good time to talk.”

    I found it very peculiar that my sales staff couldn’t close any business, so I decided to put a lead into the Vendorseek system myself. I was shocked at what I found out. First and foremost I was contacted by 6 companies not 3-5 like they told me when I signed the contract. I was particularly displeased with the fact that they say and sell the fact that they pre-qualify these vendors and I found that to be a crock-of-you-know-what.

    One of the web site design vendors that Vendorseek sells leads to but do not advertise on their site is Heritage Web Solutions. That’s when I lost my cool. First and foremost they are horrendous (that’s my sole opinion). They have hundreds of BBB complaints, web blogs, forums, and complaint sites are littered with hundreds upon hundreds of unhappy stories about them, and on top of that it is nearly impossible to compete with their nonsense $299 starting price. Especially if you’re a competent web designer with skills and value your work enough to not give it away for $10 an hour.

    So I called Vendorseek and complained and told me that they started to work with Heritage some months ago and they are in the Inc 500…blah blah blah. I asked the rep at Vendorseek whether she had read the complaints and such online and she said no. I asked “How can you give quotes from pre-qualified vendors if you’re not pre-qualifying them?” To make a long story short they refunded all the leads I had purchased in which I competed with this horrible company.

    Out of 700 leads purchased from Vendorseek we closed 2 deals. Luckily for us the people that we spoke to were smart enough to choose value over price. They are very happy today.

    Then it gets better. Besides the fact that Vendorseek is driving the cost of keywords in our industry up through the roof, they are also getting the leads in sneaky ways. GoBigNetwork which is a social network of sorts for people seeking VC money and such has a small check list on the bottom of the registration form which has about 8 categories or so in which you must uncheck or you become a lead in the Vendorseek system. That’s not a qualified lead if you ask me.

    I know this is long but you must know what Vendorseek is doing….

    When you request vendor quotes on Vendorseek, they ask you 2 or 3 times if you need any other quotes. For example if you request website design quotes the website will ask you if you want merchant services quotes, then search engine optimization quotes, then once more to make sure. Then they call you on the phone and ask you once more.

    So even if Vendorseek doesn’t sell the web design lead to more then 5 vendors (I got 6 when I tested it) if the prospect falls prey to their trickery and say yes to another type of quote, the lead you paid for will get watered down and turned off by the now 10 plus phone calls that the prospect gets. Remember each quote goes out to 5 vendors.

    In summation I think that everyone should do their part in telling people not to use Vendorseek. Website Design is not a commodity and companies like Vendorseek, Heritage, and outsourcers are making it one. I understand that they need to monetize the clicks that they are paying for but what they are doing is simply unethical.

    Save money and optimize.

    p.s. web design leads were negotiated down to $10, SEO $13.

  9. 9 David

    If what you say about GoBigNetwork was true, that’d be really awful. I was curious to see and I was surprised to see that the boxes you were talking about are NOT checked by default. So basically, when you fill a form on GoBigNetwork, unless you check the box to receive quotes you won’t get any call (hopefully, I didn’t try…). However, they don’t mention clearly Vendorseek…
    I think that they are simply partners/affiliates (if not the same company: many sections are weirdly similar to Vendorseek’s website), and it is a way for Vendorseek to get more prospects.
    Websites like Vendorseek and QuoteCatcher are supposed to spend their budget on getting leads, this is their job! So unless they are unethical or have a bad customer service, which seems to be the case here, such partnerships makes sense to me.

    My initial question was: if you are a Vendorseek customer and compete with them directly on Google, why not simply slow down your advertisement? Why paying twice and get the same leads from the same people?

  10. 11 Dustin

    My company monthly purchases many SEO leads from several company’s every month Vendorseek’s conversion rate is much worse than any other.

  11. 12 John

    I work for a search engine optimization company and back in march we had been spending a few grand a month on vendorseek leads and we also could not figure out why wthey were so bad. It felt like when I did get someone on the phone a hundred people before me or after would call as well because most of these people disappeared very quickly. After a few months we only converted a few leads and they were nothing to write home about. We would be lucky to buy a cup coffee with the profits. Half the time the callers had no clue why I was calling. We stopped the service after about 2-3 months and will never go back to vendorseek ever again. buyers be aware before buying any leads from this lead service.

  12. Worst customer service experience I have ever had. They charged me extra for screening the leads with full knowledge that their system could not screen the leads as stated. THey admitted this on the phone, offered a refund and then would not take any future calls or emails. I talked to customer service and they are just shameful. Wish I read this sooner. We are disputing all charges with our credit card company so they will not make out from us.

  13. 14 Expose the scammers!

    Thanks all. I just about pulled the trigger on VendorSeek, but saw your posts plus some others. I learned a lesson the hard way about skipping due diligence.

    Hey Michael, I’m not sure if Carisa is directly connected to VendorSeek or not, but I do know that she has run her own scams as a telemarketing company. Apparently scammers run in packs to support each other.

    Her real name is Carisa Sanders. I’ve lost money to her as have *numerous* others. I can tell you that she is a liar and a thief. It won’t take much research to verify. She keeps changing her company name, so be very careful before using any telemarketer. I expect her to pop up again soon.

    We’ve got to keep these kinds of evil people from ripping off honest business people. Let’s continue to expose them for the frauds they are.

  14. 15 Mark

    Okay,

    I have been hounded by “Tom” at Vendorseek for months. I finally caved in and tried them out before even chekcing them out for reviews online. Big mistake. I only bought 6 leads so I feel my cheapness served me well in this case. It turns out that out of 6 leads, none were even valid “leads” in any sense of the word for many of the reasons already stated (wrong number, prospect ended before lead issued, etc.)

    “Tom” let me know that they won’t even consider crediting a lead where I can’t reach anyone and no identifying info is even on the machine message…if that’s your idea of a “lead” then you deserve to lose money on this crap. A qualified, verified lead is a lead where someone wants to buy services that match the description in a reasonably accurate way, someone can be reached to discuss it, and they will say yes/no/maybe to the prospect of your providing the service in question. Anything else is NOT a “qualified” or “verified” “lead”.

    …I’ll follow through the with Better Business Bureau just on principal alone for the $29 monthly fee they already charged me, and I let them know that.

  15. 16 VendorSeek is a SCAM

    My hope is that this page continues to rise in ranking so every one can see what a scam VendorSeek is. I really feel that a class-action lawsuit is necessary against these guys. Tom C*nnel at VendorSeek is a con artist and they deserve to get in trouble or out of business asap. Keep blogging – this is a great way to show how bad VendorSeek actually is.

    Their leads are bogus. I could get better leads if I hired a teenager and had him randomly go through the yellowpages.

  16. Just optimize your own Google CPC (cost per click). I used these thieves and every other person was not interested and 10-15 other companies got the same lead. They do not sell leads they simply sell over priced contact information.

  17. 18 James

    These people are a absolute rip off.
    I don’t know where they dig up these contacts. The leads are stale , people who don’t answer phones. When I ask the customer when they submit their inquiry to Vendor Seek, they said usually say several days ago.

    And if you want to lower your monthly budget, you will need to give them a 30 day notice. But they will increase your budget immediately.

    Don’t waste you money with these guys.

  18. We are a waste of money do your own PPC and SEO!

  19. I have no idea why I have to pay 29$ every single month just to be a member, and yet I have not received a lead and now they want a 30 day notice to cancel my account. They wanted me to do a 1000$ limit but after I spoke with the sales guy Dwight he let me do 100$. Now I want to quit as they can not even send leads but have no problem charging 29$ every month.

  20. 21 X employee

    I was an employee with this company and yes they do suck. 25% of the leads are call verified and when they are they just check to see if someone answers the phone. On top of that stuff is up sold just to make the company money even if the person does not really want it. Avoid this company.
    Also they take pride in not giving returns
    AVOID THEM!!!

  21. I was just contacted by Vendor Seek and I’m glad to have done the search on Google about them. I will not be signing with them. Thanks Mathew for your blog.

  22. 23 ace

    So I had been using Quotecatcher a few months ago and I had basically the same problems as stated above. The leads were mostly non responsive and seemed like they were being reused over and over and over again. However, one good thing about quotecatcher is that they did credit some of my leads that legitimately did not work out. I guess I will now just have to stay away from vendorseek, which seems 10X worse. What do you guys think about Resource Nation???

  23. Great article about Vendorseek and Quinstreet

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,517622,00.html

  24. 25 Frank

    I think this news article sums them up: Ex-Sen. Bill Bradley Sits on Board of Major Spamming Firm. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,517622,00.html – While the Better Business Bureau has registered only two complaints for QuinStreet under advertising and sales practices (and several more in other categories), other complaints have been filed under QuinStreet’s aliases — such as VendorSeek.


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