Wedding Lead Site Review (and warning) at DVinfo.net

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Old August 18th, 2009, 04:26 PM   #1
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Wedding Lead Site Review (and warning)

This comes up every once and a while, but I wanted to review a specific company, AllWedding.com that I have been having some "discussions" with as of late.

5 star based review with categories is at the bottom for those wanting to cut to the chase.


Having said that, the substance of my discussion centers around their business practices which are buried in the TOS, which, had I really paid attention to before clicking, would have saved me $40. Yes that isnt' a lot of money. But when my ad budget is only a decimal plus a bit off of that, ads up to a significant portion of my ad purchasing.

Their policies leave you essentially helpless in the following scenarios:
-You must deposit $30 to open an account, and use it or not, that money is theirs forever. No refunds ever.
-When you purchase a lead, you cannot get your money if:
--the email bounces back (for any reason including non-existent email, full in-box, incorrect domain, etc).
--leads are more than 2 days old when you seek a refund
-You want to cancel and take your ad money somewhere else.

In all the above cases, they keep your money.

The other main catch is there is NO automatic way to have them NOT take money from your account every month to "replenish" your account (if you are lucky enough to actually receive any leads). You must manually write in and have them remove you from auto billing in order to actually deplete your account.

Regarding leads I have actually received from this company, I should say that I booked a wedding from a referral from Travis here on DVInfo, and I also received a lead for that same event (or one on the same day using a similar name). But I only ever heard back from the client when the client called me as a direct result of the referral, and not as a result of my contacts to the client via the lead info. Not sure what is up with that.

I did receive 1 out of the 3 total leads that was a real honest to goodness, real phone number that actually rang, and client replied to my phone calls...... lead. Still working on that one. That lead cost me $10 apparently for a "just price shopping" lead (which is almost totally worthless). I've had Russian Dating SPAM messages than promised more action than the leads from this site.

In any case. I'm sure I'm not the only one hunting for leads and getting a bit desperate to fill up the winter famine after the summer feast (of a minimal sort). So buyer be ware.

You could read the towering TOS to figure out what you are getting in to, but I suggest a quick search on DVInfo for a better way to find out the reputation of the company.

My review of the AllWedding.com Leads website is as follows on a 0 to 5 scale:

Speed of Customer Service / Support: 5 of 5 (very fast.... not much biz?)
Customer Friendly TOS: 0 of 5
Quality of Leads: 3 of 5
Billing Practice: 1 of 5 (essentially everything is non-refundable)
Price Of Leads: 1 of 5 (very pricey... 1% of customer's listed budget for a lead!)
Account Admin Simplicity: 4 of 5 (they do have a easy to use interface)
Account Admin Power: 3 of 5 (not the most powerful of site's I've used)

Compared to other Lead Sites: 2.5 of 5
I have used about as many lead based sites as exist and this isn't any better or worse than most. Their billing practice / TOS are not vendor friendly, but the quality of leads might be better than many.

Last edited by Jason Robinson; August 18th, 2009 at 06:54 PM.
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Old August 18th, 2009, 08:32 PM   #2
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But really, $40 is throw-away money. Especially compared to the cost of video gear (and also the cost of doing business).

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Old August 18th, 2009, 08:34 PM   #3
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True. The problem occurs when this pattern is repeated for 10 different leads / directory sites (yes I've used that many). I've spent several hundred on these kinds of sites just in the last year. So my total starts running into almost the cost of a booth at a wedding show!
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Old August 18th, 2009, 09:29 PM   #4
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I have to say, I don't see much sense in using an online service to get business leads for wedding videography. Generally speaking, with just a few notable exceptions, wedding videography serves a *local* market. Sure you need a web site, but when it comes to advertising and getting leads, you should be acting locally. When I did wedding video, our company did plenty of business from a simple Yellow Pages ad and referrals from local wedding photographers. I just don't see the need for an online service like that. Go online, sure, but follow your local market by networking online with other local businesses.
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Old August 19th, 2009, 02:28 PM   #5
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Nothing beats a human referral.
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Old August 19th, 2009, 02:31 PM   #6
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Nothing beats a human referral
absolutely. I need to work on other vendor networking because I haven't had any referral bookings from non-video businesses in my area (aka someone besides Travis C.).
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Old August 19th, 2009, 02:34 PM   #7
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Hunt down your local wedding photographers and develop a good working relationship with
them. They were crucial to our company's success with wedding video back in the day.
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Old August 20th, 2009, 12:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
I have to say, I don't see much sense in using an online service to get business leads for wedding videography. Generally speaking, with just a few notable exceptions, wedding videography serves a *local* market. Sure you need a web site, but when it comes to advertising and getting leads, you should be acting locally. When I did wedding video, our company did plenty of business from a simple Yellow Pages ad and referrals from local wedding photographers. I just don't see the need for an online service like that. Go online, sure, but follow your local market by networking online with other local businesses.
The reason to do it sometimes is that these 'lead companies' show up at the top of the natural listings on Google, so it's a good way to gain that exposure.

That said, I completely agree with Jason on this company. They have been a complete bust for me and once I discovered that they automatically renew my account by charging my card (something that is in the TOS but is definitely not clearly defined up front), I was done with them.

Also, after receiving obvious fraud leads I can't say I trust this company's business practices either.
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Old August 20th, 2009, 02:15 PM   #9
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...No refunds ever...
--the email bounces back (for any reason including non-existent email, full in-box, incorrect domain, etc).
--leads are more than 2 days old when you seek a refund
-You want to cancel and take your ad money somewhere else.

In all the above cases, they keep your money...
Jason, They will refund your money if it's a dead lead. It is a very convoluted process to get the refund though. Here are the tips I would recommend to you.

1) lower your bid amount to around $4. The leads they send you aren't that good anyway, so why pay the higher rate per bid.
2) Turn off automated bid acceptance. Screen to get only the clients you really want.
3) VERY IMPORTANT- use the tracking system they have in place in the admin for any bids you do buy. It is the key to getting a refund.

How to get refunded on dead bids. If the number doesn't answer and there is no reply to emails sent to lead, in the admin under the bid detail section is an email link for getting refunds. You will have to go rounds with them but they will refund your bid. Especially if they see that you have tracked contacts attempts in their system. The refund goes to your account with them though so you have to stay on top of it.

CH - I agree with you about the networking. By far that is the best method, but Travis brings up a good point. These types of sites have established themselves as hubs in googles organic searches and generally speaking a google search for wedding anything combined with a city/state in the US will deliver hits across their network long before they hit our sites. Companies like AllWedding, Decidio, WeDJ, weddingplanners, partyplanners, and a few others take up the first page or so of result pages. If you aren't in the list and don't have the network locally then this can really hinder you in organic web searches.

I have used AllWedding for 2 yrs now and have NEVER recieved a lead that resulted in a job. The only one I can verify, called me directly before her lead was emailed to me. But I have gotten a few calls because I list with them.
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Old August 20th, 2009, 04:16 PM   #10
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1) lower your bid amount to around $4. The leads they send you aren't that good anyway, so why pay the higher rate per bid.
Oh I had my limit set to $4 (which is astronomically high for the quality of leads now days any way). $1 is more like it .... at most.

I think what happened is they reset the lead price setting, or possibly a few leads hit at the same time, but I obviously forgot to contest the lead IMMEDIATELY.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Daugherty View Post
2) Turn off automated bid acceptance. Screen to get only the clients you really want.
Oh that was top on my list to reconfigure when I signed up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Daugherty View Post
3) VERY IMPORTANT- use the tracking system they have in place in the admin for any bids you do buy. It is the key to getting a refund.
That is for sure. I think I made the mistake of buying the lead and not calling OMG IMMEDIATELY! Besides, I do try to give someone more than a few days to respond to my email / phone calls. Not everyone lives online like I do and sees emails immediately (unless the spam folders snags them that is).

It is incredibly annoying that these companies steal the top page of search placements in Google, yet contain nothing but leads. Unfortunately a lot of these sites rely on something called linkbacks which are usually required in their TOS, so that your site has a link pointing to them. That makes Google think the site is important. I'm pretty much ready to yank all my link backs because I am sick of these sites under performing compared to Google organic results. Somehow I have enough exposure in Google to still get organic searches and clicks so hopefully that will continue.

I should also say that the single biggest referrer on to my site is DVInfo.net. I get 30% of my visitors from here. So either all of ya'll are constantly clicking my sig and checking out my site, or else clients are. In any case, DVInfo is the single biggest assistance to my pagerank.
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Old August 20th, 2009, 11:39 PM   #11
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Another point that I forgot to mention is that they sell each bid to up to 5 vendors and one of those 5 gets 3 days head start on the other four by being the "preferred" vendor. So by the time the lead gets your contact you could be 3 days behind someone else or lost in the flow of the other 4 videographers you are competing with.

The linkbacks do have an unfortunate impact on the organic search results. If you search my company name, DV info does get the top hits usually, followed by a mix of my pages and the hubs we link exchange with.
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Old August 21st, 2009, 08:37 AM   #12
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The reason to do it sometimes is that these 'lead companies' show up at the top of the natural listings on Google, so it's a good way to gain that exposure.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robinson View Post
I should also say that the single biggest referrer on to my site is DVInfo.net. I get 30% of my visitors from here. So either all of ya'll are constantly clicking my sig and checking out my site, or else clients are. In any case, DVInfo is the single biggest assistance to my pagerank.
It's important to understand that Google *loves* DV Info Net -- a lot. DV Info Net is extremely well placed on Google. New posts are indexed immediately and we have a knack not only for page one returns but also the very top of page one returns. I'm willing to bet that DV Info Net can beat out any of these lead sites for refferals.

You guys can take immediate advantage of DV Info Net's excellent Google positioning by filling out your profile page and your signature fields. The guidelines for signatures on this site are that they can't be used to pitch goods and services to *fellow forum members* (for that you need a marketing agreement from me), but I encourage you to use your forum signature as a calling card for potential customers. Try adding "Wedding Videographer" or "Wedding Filmmaker" to your sig and see what happens. Be sure to fill out your profile here by going to http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/usercp.php and adding a link to your site. I've been wanting to improve our member profile pages so there may be more room to grow DV Info Net's referral power.

I have never asked anyone to link back to DV Info Net, not because I don't need links, but because I never felt very comfortable asking for them. However here's how it can directly benefit you to do so: by linking back to DV Info Net, you help to increase this site's page rank and visibility, and in turn this helps you because there's a link here going back to your site. The higher up you push DV Info Net, the greater the visibility of your links going back to your own site.

I could never really reconcile asking for link-backs until I realized that it's *mutually* beneficial for everyone. Anyway, I'll say it again, DV Info Net can go toe-to-toe with any of those paid referral sites and I'm ready to prove it.
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Old August 21st, 2009, 10:48 AM   #13
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It's important to understand that Google *loves* DV Info Net -- a lot. DV Info Net is extremely well placed on Google. New posts are indexed immediately and we have a knack not only for page one returns but also the very top of page one returns. I'm willing to bet that DV Info Net can beat out any of these lead sites for referrals.
Absolutely. IT is funny because I have a google alert set up for my name and any time I post a new thread or respond to a thread I haven't yet touched, then the google alert comes back in a few minutes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
DV Info Net can go toe-to-toe with any of those paid referral sites and I'm ready to prove it.
I don't see DVInfo show up for wedding related searches, which unfortunately is much of what I am looking for. When I do a search for wedding videography, DVInfo is no where to be seen because all the directory / link farm sites grab that term.

I would love to see google use DVInfo for that phrase (and related phrase) but of course I would also want to have a private section so I can post industry & business questions with out being afraid of potential customers ( or competition that hasn't already caught on to DVI) reading and snooping on me.
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Old September 23rd, 2009, 01:54 AM   #14
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And the company posts another unauthorized transaction to my card. I am about ready to block all transactions from this company at my credit card (if that is possible).
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Old September 23rd, 2009, 02:45 AM   #15
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You should already be able to 'bounce' any unauthorised transactions as it is. Just take it up with the credit card company.

Andrew
(Disclaimer: I don't own and never will have a credit card.)
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