Thursday, November 16

- CITYSEARCH SUCKS

If you're a business that is.

For those of you who live in or near a metropolitan area are probably familiar with citysearch Let me begin by saying that I've spent many years using citysearch and find them to be an amazing resource for tracking down addresses and phone numbers of businesses within the NYC area. I found my vet on citysearch. I discovered many a restaurant on citysearch and usually find the reviews reasonably and trustworthy. I use New York Citysearch but they have them for many cities around the globe.

So why in the world would I second guess using them to advertise for myself (quick plug here check my website www.danielkrieger.com)

I signed up for their advertising program and had an account manager contact me to tweak what would become my own personal citysearch page.

First off - He insisted on me creating a minimum amount of advertising dollars at $200 a month which was WAY more than I was willing to spend. I reluctantly agreed and said I would give it a shot for one month and then see how much traffic and contacts I got through them. I expected a hard sell though and he won me over.

Second off - He had me send him a few photographs to put on my home page. I did that and had asked for him to email me the link when my site was up.

Third off - I bought some beautiful fresh mozzarella last night and some homemade soppressata from Caputo's on Court Street last night. I dined on that with some grilled vegetables and a ciabatta roll. So good.

So here I am waiting to hear back from this "Guy" about my webpage. I'm doing searches on citysearch and cannot find "Daniel Krieger" or "Daniel Krieger Photography" anywhere on citysearch. I start calling/emailing my account manager and when he finally gets back to me after having been on vacation for a few days, says they didn't have an address for my business because I'm a photographer without a brick and mortar store. I tell him to use my home address and he says "Fine that will work and your page will be up in a few days." Great I think.

A week goes by and nothing. Finally I get through to him and he asks me to resend the photos so we can get this page up. I guess he had deleted my original email or whatever. Fine I say, and email him the photos again.

While this was all going on I had verbally let him know that I don't want to be charged for anything without actually seeing a webpage. Sure Sure he tells me.

A month has gone by and I have no evidence that I have my own advertisement up on citysearch.

I get a bill for $200 on my credit card and call my account manager guy..who is incidentally named "Guy"

I tell him take that charge away or I'm going to be pissed. Sure Sure he says he will get rid of that charge and get my account squared away and up and running. He is surprised it hasn't been fixed yet...as am I.

I let him know again that I do not want to see another charge until I have a page up..I don't want any billing to be occurring now. I don't want another charge whatsoever until everything was taken care of. I was pretty clear and pretty repetitive. Again he reassures me everything would be ok and TOLD ME that I would receive a refund for that original charge of $200

Now citysearch is a HUGE website with an enormous amount of traffic.. This must be a multimillion dollar company by now with thousands upon thousands of clients. I never once thought anything shady would happen. Boy OY Boy was I wrong.

Another few weeks went by and still NOTHING. NO webpage NO contact NO emails NO telephone calls.

I finally start having my emails bounce back to me.

Then I get a call from some young guy who says he's my new account manager. I laugh and basically tell him that I don't want any charges on my account anymore and I want any charge already given to me removed. I double check that my account is not being currently charged and he tells me it is. He tells me that there isn't going to be any refunds..sorry he says

He also tells me that my previous account manager went on to, and I quote, "Bigger and Better things." Now I didn't know what that meant..I naturally assumed he was being serious and that Guy was just in a higher position at citysearch..not that he actually left the company.

I swear I felt like I was dealing with a shady New York City online camera store.

It took me about 30 telephone calls and several more weeks of leaving messages for managers and supervisors before I finally reached one man who was courteous and understand and did a good job of helping me.. He never outright said this, but led me to believe that there was a reason Guy was no longer with the company because of issues like the one I was currently dealing with.

All in all I was charged over $400 and just today found out that half of that is being refunded. The other $200 was basically charged to me because my name and my website was active among "rotating advertisements that don't actually have their own web pages" so people were supposedly clicking on them and supposedly going to my website but I couldn't actually see that Daniel Krieger Photography existed on citysearch. I still think that this is a total crock full of shit. I also NEVER signed on to have my website and name be rotated. I thought I was signing up for a citysearch ad like everyone else on citysearch seems to have.

And the biggest kicker is that out of these "two month of advertising" on citysearch..equaling what they said was $400 worth of my money ($200 which they actually are getting to keep) I did not receive ONE SINGLE INQUIRY from a client who said they clicked on me through citysearch.com

I contemplated calling my credit card company and telling them that fraud had occurred.. one of the problems though is most of my conversations with this shade-meister Guy dude took place over the phone. I only have one email where he says "Yes we will get your page up soon" and one I sent to him asking about my refund and explicitly stating I don't want ANY OTHER CHARGES UNTIL I SEE MY WEBPAGE UP. But who is to say that he agreed with that? He didn't write me an email with anything he could be held accountable for..I mean he wasn't an idiot. He was a crafty schizter.

All in all I think citysearch is a total sham for businesses but the thing is I don't think any of them realize it. I'm sure most businesses spend hundreds if not thousands a month advertising with citysearch..how much business they actually get from it I don't know..I'm sure it does help them and like I originally wrote, I use citysearch all the time on my own and probably will continue using it. I just feel like a lot of the actual business's who pay to put themselves on citysearch don't know the ride they might be getting. Cause I feel I was used like a hydrant in a dog park.

I do not trust them, plain and simple. I don't plan on using them to advertise ever again. I will take google ads (30 bucks a month I set my account to and I've gotten 10x more hits and responses than my shizty citysearch deal) and good old craigslist (which is wonderful and best of all free) as I move forward into the future. The manager I ended my citysearch ordeal with promised to set me up with a good manager who would properly handle my account and it may have worked out fine, but I'm just too soured on them to do that. So the story ends here, for now.

UPDATE: Situation was resolved.. you can read about it in my post HERE

76 Comments:

At 7:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This really reminds me of this sad tale: http://tinyurl.com/gmjv9

-Chris

 
At 7:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree...
the only inquiry my business gets off of citysearch is other businesses looking to sell something to me...

its like a giant phonebook for telemarketers!


-Morgan

 
At 7:06 PM, Blogger eefers said...

that fucking sucks

 
At 11:35 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

Please feel free to post this link or send around to people. I've already gotten some good feedback but I think more people should know how they operate...and maybe eventually they'll work on changing their practices.

 
At 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The great irony of this is that citysearch emits the vibe of being balanced, user-based, etc. when in reality it’s more bought and paid for than any advertorial. Screw citysearch. ~Megan

 
At 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a bunch of fucking sheisters. I will never go to that site again, it’s got a shitty interface as it is. ~Donna

 
At 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fuck Citysearch! Filthy highway robbers.

 
At 4:21 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

well don't swear at them so much just yet..read my update above

 
At 5:28 PM, Blogger sis said...

so many frustrating customer service experiences like this I have had...sigh. I feel ya.
but good to know it only takes 2 months, 30 phonecalls, and two dozen emails to resolve such a situation. ;)

 
At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't you guys try www.clixme.com?

They only charge you for what you use, no monthly or setup fees.

 
At 11:37 PM, Anonymous Jill Olkoski said...

I had a similar exprience with CitySearch and have documented it here: My experience with City Search Click Fraud

Thanks for this blog!

 
At 3:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As sorry as I am to hear this happened to you, I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one. So much of what you said mirrors my situation. I have a web business, so I just want people to come to my website and browse around or buy something.
Anyway, my account manager at Citysearch talked me in to raising my budget to $1000/month...and told me that I wouldn't use it all up; not to worry. 27 days into the month I was only at about $400...then, in the last 3 days, about $600 more worth of clicks to my ad. The same day, about that many visitors came to my website from a "Citysearch partner site" called Collegehumor.com. My ad was being clicked somewhere, but I don't think it was on Citysearch. And the ad was clicked, but none of those people clicking were doing anything on my website. Worthless.
Also, a side note, I can't find my own ads on Citysearch, either. Not by searching, anyway. They only show when you look at a competitor's profile. Better than nothing, but not what I wanted.
Call it a coincidence, call it whatever you want, but I can barely get my account manager to answer my emails since then. The one time he did answer my email, we agreed to meet at a coffee shop...and the guy didn't show. He told me later he was out of town. Thanks for the heads up, buddy.
I then asked him to cut my budget back to $100/month until we figured this stuff out. Today, one week later, I haven't heard a peep from him...so I checked my spending for this month. 3 days in, already over $200.
Citysearch has been a huge disappointment. For such a great user service, for advertisers it's a total bust. A scam even.

 
At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An update to my long blog post, immediately above:
My account manager, who was not reachable for several days, did get back in touch with me and offered to refund charges for any clicks that I feel are unwarranted. He also offered a solution to make sure this doesn't happen in the future. I'm not holding my breath, but if it works I'll post the resolution here.

 
At 9:32 PM, Blogger John said...

I am trying to build a community driven alternative to CitySearch, which will give businesses the ability to list out their products and services in greater detail than the generic name, address, phone and photo listings out there. I would appreciate any feedback and/or suggestions that you all might have. The url is http://www.localmagnet.com

 
At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is update #2 to my "unresponsive rep" story above. It's been several months - dealing with customer service and having my rep make promises for refunds that he hasn't kept. Still nothing. Final opinion: Citysearch will place your ad on its "partner sites" without telling you (I assumed I wass advertising on Citysearch.com only) and charge you for the worthless traffic they send to your website. When you question them, they play dumb...and disappear. Never once was it made clear to me that my ad would be placed on partner sites. And by the way, on those partner sites, your ad looks nothing like what it looks like on Citysearch. It's just a text link - people have no idea what they're clicking - and you get charged anyway. Good luck to all of you out there.

 
At 12:16 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Hey, send me an email through my www.danielkrieger.com website and I will try to help get you in contact with someone who can really help.

Daniel

 
At 7:31 PM, Anonymous consumer said...

I am posting this story on www.betterbuyersunite.info. People need to know what this company is doing. Please visit us.

 
At 12:26 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

consumer pleae read my update though..citysearch took care of the problem beyond my expectations. I harbor no ill will towards them.

 
At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was spending $1000 a month on my business with citysearch; however my competitor constantly posts bogus reviews and citysearch refuses to remove them.....so what is the point!!!!!

 
At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's another thing that people don't realize...You know those plaques that they give to businesses saying that they have been selected as a 'Best of Citysearch' business? Guess what - THEY SELL THEM! Yes, indeed. One of their representatives who actually pitched the program to me rapper-style voice called repeatedly and when I tried to transfer him to our department who handles such inquiries resorted to insulting me and acting insolent on the phone. Click... Businesses beware - I've never heard of any individual or organization who has had to actually pay to receive an award. These people are jerks!

 
At 7:32 PM, Blogger Aldebaran said...

I've moved my article on my experience with Citysearch Click Fraud

Sorry for duplicate comment, couldn't figure out how to change other post.

Jill

 
At 4:15 AM, Anonymous okcjeff said...

I am going through a very similar experience with Citysearch right now and I posted my long story here: http://china.blog.beijingdiscoverytours.com/2007/12/04/citysearch-click-fraud-warning/
I can't believe that they actually expect to be able to scam people like this and get away with it. Class-action lawsuit, anyone?

 
At 4:30 AM, Anonymous okcjeff said...

I apologize for being unable to leave a proper link with my comment above - I'm in China and can only access Daniel's website through a proxy, the government blocks most blog websites here.

 
At 12:04 PM, Anonymous Austin said...

I am going through a similar thing!! Man, I feel raped. I feel so powerless!! What can I do??????
They are playing the same games with me that they are with you. They don't return my calls/e-mails, they give me the run around when I do get in touch...

Should I just block access to my credit card? What would happen?

 
At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Lee said...

I am having an awful experience myself with Citysearch.

They claimed over 880 clicks on one day. My logs show 850 unique users total for that day, many of which came from other, easily identifiable sources.

I faxed the log reports to my account manager over a month ago. When I checked in to what was happening, she said that they were diligently working on it. Then a couple of days later she said they couldn't find the reports I faxed. Could I please send them again? When I called her on the BS, she got real huffy.

THEN, she had the gall to ask "Do you know any other business owners who would be open to exploring their search engine marketing options? Please send me their name, business name, phone number, and e-mail. Thank you"

Amazing - not only could I not recommend Citysearch, I would actively recommend against it

 
At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Lee said...

I am having an awful experience myself with Citysearch.

They claimed over 880 clicks on one day. My logs show 850 unique users total for that day, many of which came from other, easily identifiable sources.

I faxed the log reports to my account manager over a month ago. When I checked in to what was happening, she said that they were diligently working on it. Then a couple of days later she said they couldn't find the reports I faxed. Could I please send them again? When I called her on the BS, she got real huffy.

THEN, she had the gall to ask "Do you know any other business owners who would be open to exploring their search engine marketing options? Please send me their name, business name, phone number, and e-mail. Thank you"

Amazing - not only could I not recommend Citysearch, I would actively recommend against it

 
At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I been terribly ripped off by citysearch... They lied to me about so many things to get more money out of me..first was I had to have a $150.00 to get help from a acct. rep which was never really a acct. rep she was a sales rep. but, I fell for it. Then, I was told if I dropped my account down to the $75 it was before I would have to pay $2.50 up per click. So, now I think I am stuck...after months of no real business I can on my so called acct. manager to help me. She tells me to change my business name and she would give me what she called a back door link for anyone coming to my site could see my reviews. This link was to be free..not even within 8 or 10 days my budget was gone. I called and she gave me another run around telling me now that if I needed more help I needed to go thru customer service..At this time I questioned to link as the reason she told me she would get back to me. Then, later Oh, I am sorry we don't have free ones now maybe later...so I have to pay a web person again to remove it. Two months of huge click bills and Oh, well I am sorry for what we are going to do about it. I drop them and call my credit card people. Now collections are calling and writting even though the credit card has been billed.. These people are true rip offs....

 
At 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment is for Chris..Hey, Chris you must work for citysearch most likely....like profession being a *****, as well...
That is the only reason someone would put that comment because inside they know that is the kind of stuff they do..Or is that you have such a sad life nasty reflect what you feel inside...

 
At 2:40 PM, Blogger Mark said...

It is funny I have the same exact same experience. My friendly City search rep calls me after I agreed to spend $100 per month with them. He offered to reduce my per click charge from $1 per click to 30 cents per click if I agreed to increase my budget to $300 per month. I did not have $300 per month to spend on this however I thought if I had over 900 clicks I would probably be getting enough calls to pay for the services. Unfortunately what I feared happened. My first bill was ok. It came in at just under $100. Then the second month started and I was ironically just under $300 in clicks ($270). I then contacted my rep David Grumbs dgumbs@citysearch.com to cancel my account. He didn't cancel the account and again this month I got a bill for $286.55 again. I think CitySearch is a scam. There is no way I got 900+ hits without a single phone call. Beware of this company or maybe any company that charges per click without supporting documentation.

User Actions Amount $270
Profile Page Views 904
Map Views 9
Click to Website 1

Mark

 
At 7:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Citysearch is a partner of EXPEDIA.com and EXPEDIA is a huge scam (source:http://www.expedianews.com).
Apparently most EXPEDIA's partner sites are having bad reputation see this forum: http://www.victimsofexpedia.com/forum .

Spread the word about, they seem to be a ring of scammers.

 
At 5:11 PM, Blogger Healing Hands Massage Therapy said...

I too am dealing with the same scenarios as everyone else. I have not had much help from this very unethical company. I cancelled my credit card and disputed my charges and asked for my acct to be closed, well it hasn;t been and I am still getting emails and calls about owed invoices. I reported them to the BBB and now after 4months of trying to get a resolution, I am meeting with a attorney to have them get a resolution for me. The commonwealth of va, attorney general and the dept of consumer affairs said they can't help businesses but to hire an attorney and ask for an cease and desist letter. whenever I mentioned to anyone I could get on the phone, that I felt they were a scam or that I could track my clicks, they went off and claim that all clicks are strictly confidental!!

 
At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daniel...I know this post is WAYYYY later than the first time you posted about Citysearch. I am a photographer too and have had a similar experience. Even though you had a great resolution to your problem, I know there are hundreds of us who remain totally baffled by the Citysearch mentality. It is now MAY, 2008 and as of this month, and after a year of handing Citysearch my wallet, I remain unhappy!!! I have been given promises, I've asked for months to have my lying rep replaced...and I've even have been hung up on (without any provocation on my part). These people are of the typical "build a web company and sit back and suck in the moolah" mindset.
I also was told up front to start with a high dollar amount but that "it would never actually all get used." However it ALL DID GET USED and my credit card was zapped for the full amount...WITHOUT ANY LEADS or referrals. Citysearch also plays favorites by giving new clients more than what they give longer-termed clients...including an extra photo on the page where the rules state only a photo of "the building your business is located in" is acceptable. A competitor of mine just started with them and was allowed to upload TWO examples of their work instead. The rest of us have that ugly blue logo thing in the center of our page. As a resuly, we don't look as good. As the whole search engine thing expands and expands, it is obvious that companies such as Citysearch may become less and less of a factor as more and more portal sites and just plain advertisers vie for top positions.
In the meantime, this could develop into an interesting class action complaint.

 
At 9:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also had a terrible experience with Citysearch, I never asked to be put on their, and found that someone was posting nasty stuff about me and my family which had nothing to do with my business, it was just someone that knew us and did not like us and used that space to post nasty and personal information about us which was very harmful information, I called Citysearch and they said to remove it I had to pay them money, after about 50 contacts and having to pay them money we finally got the stuff removed, I feel violated on how they can do this. Just a warning to any business listed on Citysearch, if someone does not like you and they decide to use that to post nasty and personal stuff about you and your family even your private numbers and address to your home, be careful, they should be stopped and I don't see how they get away with it. I hope someone out there can do something about this kind of stuff happening.

 
At 5:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any body have info on Idearc??

 
At 6:02 PM, Blogger Peregrine3 said...

Anybody have info on Idearc I think they are worse then Citysearch

 
At 9:44 PM, Anonymous Jason said...

I had heard of citysearch and thought it would be a good way to drive traffic to my site. They talked me into $500 a month for 3 months. They almost immediatley took 500, but it was about 2 weeks before my profile was even up. I used to get about 50-60 hits a day with my own marketing and would get 4-5 people a day to either sign up for my newsletter and/or free camp, and/or call or email me questions. After I signed up with city serach I cut my other marketing techniques and now was generating about 150-200 hits a day, and was getting no signups or calls or emails. They obviously have click mongrols just clicking onto your site making you thin your getting traffic, but traffic really doesn't matter if they don't do anything. Should of looked this up before I committed 1500.

 
At 4:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. Citysearch is the worst run business I have ever dealt with.

It's too bad you can't rate them on their own site, I'm sure that would be really revealing.

 
At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who's had a bad experience with CitySearch. I am a photographer and have been for 25 yrs with a good reputation, I had a bridzilla, her sister and her mother all 3 post a negative review about me which was full of lies and CitySearch won't remove it. I have decided to close my business and start over later, I simply will not tolerate having a bad review about me posted on the internet. CitySearch is a joke and they are not qualified to make a decision about whether reviews are legitimate or not.
Kit

 
At 12:56 AM, Anonymous hollywood said...

thanks much for this post.

I just got a call from a citysearch rep - I've been trying to reach you without any success blah blah - I guess that's trying in her mind since there have been no messages.

And what's up with the Willie Wonka reference - She said I'm calling about the Willie Wonka special. I searched citysearch and willie wonka and there are hundreds of results. Doesn't that seem wierd?

 
At 10:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks. Here's how CitySearch rips you off....

Let's say you own a dress shop in Chicago and you only serve the Chicago market. You contact CitySearch and setup a listing/profile page for your shop to be listed on CitySearch's "Chicago" directory because that's the market you serve. You give them a budget and guess what, you quickly receive enough visitors to your profile page to max out your monthly budget! It doesn't seem to matter how high or low your budget, somehow you get enough clicks to max it out. How can this be? Gee golly how can your little dress business get so many hits? Especially when you don't see an increase in business on your end. No phone calls, no emails, no big jump in visitors to your own web site, virtually nothing.

The answer?.... drum roll please ...

When you sign up for a listing for your "Chicago" business to be posted on their "Chicago" focused pages, you think that's all you get, right? Heck no. It turns out they also bury on their site dozens of additional links for your business. They post these buried links on pages that are devoted to other cities/markets. So, they list you in Chicago as expected. But they also place listings/links for your business on their pages for Atlanta, and Los Angeles, and Houston, and New York, and San Diego, and St. Louis, and so on. Each of these additional listings or links automatically "redirect" to your “Chicago” profile page when they are visited or "clicked" ... once clicked, presto! You are charged for the visit to your profile page. Remberber, CitySearch charges you when someone (or something) lands on your profile page, not on your own web site.

Now, these links are quite buried so no actual person will find them in a normal search. So who finds them? Search engine spiders do.

There are thousands of them out there that race around the web day and night. They follow every link they can find no matter how buried the link may be. These automated spiders are used by firms like Google, or Yahoo, or lesser known search engines to catalogue the entire web. Anyway, when you have dozens of links plastered all over CitySearch’s site you’re gonna get “hit” by these spiders and then get charged by CitySearch.

How can you verify what I'm saying? How can you tell if CitySearch has listed your firm on dozens of pages that have nothing to do with your geographic market? Simple. Do a Google search that contains two terms. 1) Your company name (it helps if your company name is fairly unique) and 2) the word CitySearch. What you’ll find are links to your paid listing in the city you chose, but also dozens of other listings in random cities around the country. Google may determine many of these listings are very similar and post the following text at the bottom of their search results list: “In order to show you the most relevant results, we (Google) have omitted some entries very similar to the (#) already displayed. If you like, you can (link starts here) repeat the search with the omitted results included.” Press that link and you’ll see all the additional links CitySearch has posted. Links that you did not request and that do not apply to your business’ geographic territory (assuming you are a small or mid-sized company with a regional focus). Press any of those additional CitySearch links, say the Atlanta link, and it will automatically forward to your Chicago profile page. Congratulations, you just charged youself for a visit!

In addition to the links on dozens of CitySearch City pages that are unrelated to your business market/geography, they give your info to “partners” who post links to your profile page on their web sites. Some of these will not be geography specific either. But CitySearch doesn’t care. What they want are as many links to your profile page as possible. More links means more clicks (even clicks by spiders). More clicks means they make more money. Simple as that.

Anyway, there’s a good reason why they create “profile” pages for you and charge you when the “profile” page is selected. I mean, wouldn’t it be better if they sent people directly to your website instead? After all, you’ve likely invested a lot of time and money on your site to communicate your brand, what you sell, etc. Do you really need a profile page with your address and contact info? That’s already on your own site! What gives here?

The reason they and others like Yellowpages use "profile pages" is so you cannot see and monitor in detail the click activity for that profile page. They control the page, they control the server, they control the data. All you get from them are crude visitor reports. If they charged you when people clicked directly to your actual web site then you would be able to monitor the activity in great detail. How so? Well, if you have a decent web analytics program you could see what time of day the clicks occur on your site. If a lot of the clicks occur between midnight and 5 a.m. there’s a huge chance the clicks are not human, rather they are spider activated. Or worse they are activated by humans who are overseas and paid pennies to click on sites like yours to raise the click count. Here’s another thing you can check with a good analytic program …. How long are the visitors on your site? If a lot of the visits are less than 1 second then you know the visit was by a spider. They come and go within milliseconds and show up on most analytic programs as a 0 second or 1 second visit. Again, you can only monitor this sort of stuff on your own site with a tool like Google Analytics (a free program). But since you are charged for clicks on your CitySearch profile page, you are at their mercy when it comes to reporting. And all they share with you are raw visits or something like that. And as I’ve discussed you have no way of knowing who or what caused those visits, when they occured, and so on. I have talked with CitySearch's click fraud team (the foxes that guard the hen house) in the past and demanded more detailed reports. I was promised them but was also told that they would take weeks to produce. Did they ever send them? No. They never called back. They never sent the reports. I can't say I was surprised.

In closing, I see someone has initiated a class-action lawsuit against CitySearch. I wish them luck.

 
At 5:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I signed up with citysearch a month ago and was ready to cancel within a week.

First I said my website was not going to be ready until Monday and did not want to sign up yet because I dont want to go up before my site is ready. The girl I spoke to said not to worry because it takes at least a week before a listing appears on Citysearch, which means my site would be up before my add on Citysearch did, so I signed up. I checked and I was up on Citysearch the next day! People where clicking to go to my site before it was even up!

I was told by the girl I spoke to that I would be contacted by my account manager in a few days. No one ever contacted me. I was supposed to be sent my account info by e-mail, but I never got it because the girl got my e-mail wrong and instead of calling me to get my proper e-mail when the one they used just got bounced back to them, just just ignored it. So I had to call customer service to get all my info.

Before I called them, I e-mailed the girl to tell her I was unhappy and that the customer service was piss poor after only a week, and she didn't even bother responding to me.

I finally got my account manager on the phone to complain and yelled at him because (long story short) the girl lied to me about how my account was supposed to work and that they would advertise for me with Google AdWords. He said he would get back to me in at the begining of next week to check and see what the problem was, but he never got back to me. After speaking to him on the phone that time, I e-mailed him to re-establish what my problems were, but he never responded to that either.

And the best part is that he said I should trust him because he's from NY just like me!

Citysearch is a joke. And I guarantee that when I cancel my account that he'll have no problem contacting me then.

 
At 4:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to work for Citysearch back in the day. I can't begin to tell you what a fucked company they are.

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger Mark Sharp said...

I totally agree. I just cancelled my account with Citysearch. I told them in writing and phone calls to cancel my account and then they pissed around get that done so they could get another 200 out of me. When I tried to get answers from customer service they hung up on me. The "account manager" was very unhelpful and most of the people I talked to there were rude.

 
At 11:17 AM, Blogger Mark Sharp said...

I'm wondering if we could all get together and file a class action lawsuit against Citysearch?

 
At 5:58 PM, Blogger efrain said...

CITYSEARCH IS RIPPING ME OFF CHARGING ME AFTER I CLOSED MY ACCOUNT. I AM STILL WAITING FOR A $1000 CREDIT CHECK BECAUSE THEY MESSED UP MY PROFILE BIG TIME. THEY ARE SENDING POTENTIAL CLIENTS TO THE WRONG WEBSITE.

I WANT TO SUE THEM AND HURT THEM BAD, THEY ARE A HORRIBLE COMPANY WITH HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE!

 
At 10:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too was scammed by those @*$@!ers! For those other small business trying to advertise locally, do not use them. There are MANY people (myself included) who have be ripped off by their deceptive and fraudulent charges.

Use ANY other service besides theirs, because they will charge you at least $200 on your creditcard regardless if they actually generate any traffic for you.

 
At 8:49 PM, Blogger amber said...

Wow. Sure hate to here about all the good folks that have been taken by them. Please look into this for your online advertising solutions.
Local Ad Link. No pay per click charges, no contract or set up fee.
I will design an ad for your business that will be pushed to 100major search engines and 1000 social networks on the web.
Links to your web site with photo's, video, and coupons. Changable and trackable. Staring at $99.00 a month. Parent co. Beyond commerce. Alexa rating very high. Hang in there. You will see the results your business has been looking for.
Feel free to contact me at ambvr@aol.com

 
At 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Business BEWARE of City Search. They will try to screw you. I have had so many problems with them. Most recently I requested a copy of the crappy video they made for me. They charged me $600 for my video and now they are saying that if I want a copy of MY video (contract stated I own it) I have to pay another $150! What a total rip off. I HATE CITY SEARCH. THEY SUCK.

 
At 9:05 AM, Anonymous VeteranOwnedBusiness.com said...

Hey. Are you a military veteran by any chance? If you are, you can your business listed (for FREE) at VeteranOwnedBusiness.com No rip offs or lies... it's a true directory of American companies (you can't get more American than the men and women who help protect our country). It's operated by an American company. And, as I mentioned before, listings are FREE!

VeteranOwnedBusiness.com
Owned and Operated by U.S. Military Veterans!

 
At 5:41 PM, Blogger Frantz said...

I'm having the same shitty issues with citysearch. does anyone have a contact with citysearch where I can get my reimbursment?

Frantz
fmetellus1@hotmail.com

 
At 11:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just got 700 clicks to my website and not one new customer. The only calls I had where from out of town where people can't use my service. Please tell me about the class action suite

 
At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the worst experience with them ever- total nightmare. Not one person contacted me through citysearch. I have had literal screaming matches with my account manager who is the stupidest person on the planet. He called me after I cancelled my account and it took 30 seconds for us to start yelling at each other again, that's how great it was dealing with citysearch and this moron.

Last week I got a call from him again 6 months after canceling. He pretended like he had some other position there and never heard or dealt with me before and was calling to find out what my experience was when I was with citysearch, again 6 months after I canceled he wanted to see what my satisfaction was with them. Who calls 6 months after someone cancels to find out why they canceled? Lair. He just wanted to try to sign me up again.

I told him my experience was a nightmare and that he was the one I dealt with and got into screaming matches with. Like I said, totally pretended like he had no idea he ever spoke to me before, even though he had all my account information in front of him and his name was listed as account manager.

Again, I am yelling at him and this time he is not yelling back because he is obviously being monitored and super polite and when I start cursing him out pretends to be Mr Rogers.

He says he never heard of me his entire life. The last time I spoke to him he said he was from Harlem, so I said if you never spoke to me before then why do I know you are from Harlem? He then does the worst acting job ever and says "wow, just a lucky guess". I get even more pissed off, tell him to drop dead (perhaps the nicest thing I said to him the entire time) and hung up.

At one point I told him that I looked them up and that citysearch has a poor rating with the better business bureau, and he said that I was wrong and that they actually have a great credit rating. Credit rating! What does credit rating have to do with customer service you retard! Doe she even know what the BBB is?

I also said that I should get a refund and he said, well how is it fair that he pay out of his pocket for me to get a refund? Does he think I am that stupid that when a company gives a refund that it comes out of the employees pocket?

 
At 7:08 PM, Blogger darrell said...

Wish I had read this BEFORE signing a three month contract with these asses. They have billed me over $2,000 to date, and I have yet to receive one lead. Bunch of theiving bastards.

 
At 8:57 PM, Blogger William said...

They have also charged me for clicks that were not valid.

When I approached them about these charges CitySearch REFUSED to show me proof of clicks.

I was SOLD click-throughs to my website, but they CHARGED ME for clicks to their CitySearch website.

They are extremely uncooperative and I regard this as fraudulent.

Unfortunately, their "CONTRACT" is not a contract, but a one-page statement of work. Without additional information I'm screwed.

It's about time that these folks are put out of business.

Actually a law firm in California is getting a class action suit together.

READ the following - November 2009:

Dealing a blow to IAC, a federal judge has decided that disgruntled online marketers can proceed with a class-action click-fraud lawsuit against the company.

U.S. District Court Judge Christina Snyder in Los Angeles ruled that the search marketers could be certified as a class because their complaints against IAC stemmed from the same type of alleged conduct.

"Plaintiffs advertised using Citysearch's pay-per-click advertising program and were allegedly charged by Citysearch for invalid clicks," Snyder wrote. "Notwithstanding any asserted differences between class members, plaintiffs' claims are based on an alleged common course of conduct."

The class includes all pay-per-click marketers on Citysearch who "experienced click fraud by reason of double clicks" -- clicks within a short period of time from the same IP address -- or from Citysearch's "failure to apply automatic filters to traffic from its syndication partners" before March 23, 2007.

Barry Diller's IAC had opposed the marketers' efforts to proceed as a class, arguing that "each advertiser's expectations of and experience with Citysearch are unique."

This decision appears to mark the first time a judge has ruled on a contested motion to certify a class in a click-fraud lawsuit stemming from pay-per-click ads. While Google and Yahoo have both faced class-action click-fraud lawsuits, those cases were resolved without litigation about whether a class should be certified, according to attorney Brian Kabateck. He represents the marketers in the lawsuit against IAC, and has also represented search marketers in class-actions against Google and Yahoo.

Whether a class can be certified is key in these types of cases because individual marketers' damages from click fraud are usually too small to justify the expense of suing, unless they can proceed as a class.

The two advertisers who brought the case, make-up services company Menagerie Productions and payroll company Redwolf, alleged that they were billed for clicks that were "invalid." They said that in some cases, Citysearch charged them for more than one click from the same IP address in a short period of time. They also alleged that IAC did not apply filters to screen out suspicious clicks.

Menagerie alleged that it shelled out $1,900 in a three-month period for pay-per-click ads on Citysearch without receiving any new clients. Redwolf said it paid $700 over a five-month period and also didn't see any new business as a result of the ads.

Kabateck said the case could go to trial next year, unless it settles. "Hopefully, Citysearch will make things right with their customers," he said.

The law firm that is taking information related to the suit is:

http://www.kbklawyers.com/

 
At 9:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

6/4/2010...
Same old crap from Citysearch...Now they are changing their name to CityGridMedia so make sure that if you complain online about them that you include their new name...don't let them outrun their past. Effing bastards.

 
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At 5:46 AM, Blogger vidaguevra said...

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At 12:12 PM, Anonymous küçük sırlar 7. bölüm izle said...

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At 5:45 AM, Anonymous businessjunkie said...

Thanks for writing about those losers at Citysearch. Seriously, you are lucky, I have been paying them for 5 years. I feel for their con that I needed them to get "anybody" to see my business on the web. The never return your calls, will not let you control your budget and basically practice click fraud. All the clicks for my business happen on the same two to three days of the month, every month for the last five years. Had I not been living out of the country taking a little break from American busy-ness life, I would have fired those jerks long ago. Anyway, I got rid of them yesterday -- Thank God!

 
At 4:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Citysearch is the worst! I really do not understand why Google allows links from them!. They also award with the best of citysearch to anyone and anyone manipulates them with $$$$. But surfers are finding out and nobody believes anymore in Citysearch. Next time probably the best of Citysearch restaurant will be "Burger King" ...lol!! Don't waste your money use if for real advertisement!

 
At 8:30 PM, Blogger Patsy said...

December 2nd, 2010 ***CITYSEARCH PPC IS A FRAUD*** I have experienced the same thing with CitySearch!!! I advertised both a mortgage company and a masonry stone company on CitySearch and got dinged $500 per month for each company ($1000) for 3 months ($3000). Zero traffic!! I spoke to a silky smooth spin doctor named Greg Schwartz (CitySearch collections) that gave me a hundred explanations as to why I didn't see direct traffic via Google analytics and a even more laughable explanation on how their "visits" are calculated. ALL BOGUS! I disputed the charges with Bank of America and BOA sided with me and reversed the charges but now CitySearch has turned me into collections and I'm afraid of them hurting my credit. How can CitySearch turn people into collections for charging for fraudulent marketing? Unbelievable!!When is the California attorney general going to go after this company? How can they be sued this many times over the course of 5 years and still be operating? Here is my reviews on City Search:

City Search Pay Per Clicks is a FRAUD
CityGrid media is a FRAUD
City Search Advertising is a FRAUD
CityGrid Media marketing is a FRAUD
CitySearch PPC's Advertising is a FRAUD

Write your City Search advertising reviews below to prevent future business owners from being ripped off.

If they continue threatening me with collections I swear to create and optimize:

CitySearchFraud.com
CitySearchPPCFraud.com
CitySearchAdvertisingReviews.c...

Again why hasn't the attorney general shut these people down??

 
At 3:41 PM, Blogger Cultural Interiors said...

I also have had the same experience. I have not had one purchase since starting CitySearch.
I was told it would be one price and then when I got my bill it was twice as much with a lot of added fees.
Gail

 
At 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So why can't we all join in a class-action suit?

 
At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I havde to Agre with you . They are SCAM. I pay $200 I didnt get anything. Acount manager rosanna fakheri is the worst. marketin manager. 15 day I pay $200.DO NOT SIGN UP WITH THEM

 
At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://bit.ly/citysearch_sucks
my name: LAGuy2341 Forreal

 
At 3:54 PM, Blogger TopherBricks said...

Wow kind of shocking to hear so many negative experiences with Citysearch. I've often used them on the customer end of things and had no idea they operated things so poorly on the business end. I think I'll stick to my traditional seo services for my internet advertising. Glad I read this.

 
At 5:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slick salespeople, lots of expense, no customers. They are a ripoff.

 
At 5:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

does anyone notice that they make no effort to uphold any promised standards?

I was being stalked by a man who insisted i see him alone or he would "ruin me". he then posted libelous comments, that are so easily disputed as false, as they are public record.

in his relevant business review, he also made comments about my breasts and nipples. NO, i do not work an any industry in which such comments could be relevant.

citysearch leaves all of this up, though they claim to have rules against such behavior.

oh, and i"ve never spoken to the same account manager twice

 
At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Ron Mackey said...

Beware of paying any money to Citysearch because they screw up your address and phone number. And then refuse to fix it.

 
At 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in on a class action lawsuit. Please post where I need to go to sign up/ get info. This company needs to be stopped!

 
At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am chiming in concert with most other posts on this site...CityGrid (aka CitySearch) is absolutely dishonest and deceptive in its business practices. I strongly discourage businesses, especially new start-ups, from engaging in business with this despicable company. As a new business owner, I was drawn-in by CityGrid's very convincing pitch to provide a higher level of online visibility for my business at a reasonable rate. Well, CityGrid's pitch was misleading and in some instances what it promised was a straight-out lie. A CityGrid account manager told me that after paying $500 for my initial campaign, I could lower my monthly expenditure for follow-on campaigns to whatever amount I chose. I attempted to do just that after four months of no visible advantage by using CityGrid. At that time, the same account manager told me, that I could not place my monthly expenditure below $299. To add insult to injury, over the past six months since I've started using CityGrid, there was only one customer that stated he was patronizing my business because he say it on CitySearch (we query all new customers on how they heard about us). I find this to be, not only odd, but extremely disturbing considering CityGrid's claim that I was receiving well over 500 clicks a month and exhausting my $500 budget. Everyone should read the "exemployee" post on this site, it is absolutely accurate. I would monitor my account and see very little activity for most of the month, then it would spike near the end of the month. In closing, I will sum up my experience with CityGrid by stating an old, but very fitting, adage “BUYER BEWARE!” For the amount of money wasted on doing business with this SCAM (you could interchange the "A" with "U" and be just as accurate) company, you would be better served by launching an advertising campaign with a reputable/popular local radio station; which is exactly what I am going to do.

 
At 12:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

City Grid really sucks. I canceled them after two weeks not being on their web and finally it came on and in two days I got 70 clicks and they said they will give me credit for their mistake,instead I got charged two months for their stupid nonsense clicks. Since now no one even mention us about our business.

 
At 1:23 PM, Blogger Thomas leach said...

Check this out! we are a family restaurant that has been open for 25 years. they have us listed as closed and refuse to take down the closed tag unless we pay them for advertising. http://pittsburgh.citysearch.com/profile/8601219/wilmerding_pa/angie_s_restaurant.html

 
At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Bever Digital Design said...

http://www.beverdigitaldesign.com/do-not-advertise-with-city-search-chicago/

see actual email from city search for pay per click advertising scams

 
At 7:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like I'm not the only one. Citysearch has had a false review of my business posted for years and refuses to take it down because they say it does not violate their terms.The same disgruntled person posted the same thing word for word on Yelp. I contacted them and they took it down right away. Citysearch then had the nerve to try and hit me up to buy advertising. They can't go under too soon.

 

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