7 Questions To Ask Your DotCom

Article posted by on June 20, 2013

By Christopher Noblit

As Internet based “Relocation Portals” and “Mover Directories” multiply, and as more and more consumers turn to the Internet to search for relocation services, moving company owners must decide which Websites to advertise on. Many moving company owners may not be aware of all the issues that surround this important decision. This article was created to help moving company owners understand a few of the issues that surround advertising their company on one of the many “DotCom’s” that regularly call to solicit your advertising dollars.

Here are “The 7 Questions To Ask Your DotCom”…

Question #1: Does your DotCom check the Federal interstate and local intrastate licensing & the insurance credentials of the moving companies that you do business with?

  • Acceptable Answer: “Yes”
  • Many DotComs present the consumer with unlicensed and uninsured movers as your business peer. This means that when a consumer searches for a mover on the DotCom’s Website, and the DotCom presents unlicensed and uninsured movers alongside your company, unsuspecting consumers assume that the unlicensed and uninsured mover is the equal of your licensed and insured moving company.
  • Is it acceptable to have unlicensed and uninsured movers presented to the public as your business equal?

Question #2: For intrastate moves, does your DotCom only present the consumer with movers who are licensed to perform moved within that state?

  • Acceptable Answer: “Yes”
  • For example; if the consumer is moving within New York State and the DotCom presents the consumer with New Jersey and/or Connecticut based movers (who are not licensed by the New York State Department of Transportation), then the DotCom has effectively presented the consumer with unlicensed movers.
  • You probably have enough trouble competing with licensed movers within your market…so ask yourself; do I want to support a company that forces me to compete with movers who are not licensed to perform moves in my intrastate market area?

Question #3: Does your DotCom do business with Internet based household moving brokers?

  • Acceptable Answer: “No”
  • Many Internet based household moving brokers add an additional (and in our opinion unnecessary) layer to the household relocation. We believe that his additional layer reduces overall household relocation quality, reduces the efficiency of consumer/mover communication and — as the Internet brokers takes a “cut of the action” — reduces your already low profit margins.
  • Do you want to give away any more than you have to?

Question #4: Does your DotCom present the consumer with initial Web based “preliminary cost estimates”?

  • Acceptable Answer: “No”
  • Many DotComs present “preliminary pricing” that is inaccurate and misleading. Wounded consumers view such pricing as “lowball” or “bait and switch”. These “marketing/pricing tactics” perpetuate widely held views that our industry is untrustworthy, an impression buttressed by frequent media “exposes” and the many “Consumer Moving Websites” that focus on the negative aspects of our industry but fail to educate the public on how to avoid getting themselves into trouble.
  • Do you want your company to be associated with these tactics?

Question #5: Does your DotCom advertise or promote “Special Pricing” or “Special Discounts” on your Website?

  • Acceptable Answer: “No”
  • You know that most moving companies use the 400N tariff for interstate moves, and that most movers offer the same discount levels. Therefore, most interstate movers are the same price, regardless of who the carrier is. Publishing material that promotes the concept of a “better price” than that which is universally available is therefore misleading and it is untrue as — regardless of whom the consumer chooses — the price will most likely be the same in the end. Promoting the concept of a “better price” nurtures the consumers desire to find the lower price, a behavior that (in our industry) leads the consumer to choose lowball estimates and it is the experience of a lowball estimate that reinforces the consumers widely held belief that the moving & storage industry cannot be trusted. Therefore, when Internet Moving Websites promote (unavailable) low prices they add to our industry’s poor reputation, and that hurts each and every one of our moving companies.
  • Do you want to do business with DotComs who promote “special deals” that are not really available?

Question #6: Does your DotCom mandate that companies who advertise on the Website do so only with their registered corporate business name or registered “DBA” (Doing Business As)?

  • Acceptable Answer: “Yes”
  • When things go wrong and the consumer needs to track down their mover, “The Bad Guys” don’t want the consumer to know whom they are. This is easy to accomplish when no one knows the mover’s real name. Supporting DotComs that don’t mandate real business names could mean that you are supporting a safe haven for less than reputable movers.
  • Is it good for your business to support Websites that make it easy for the bad guys to hide?

Question #7: Does your DotCom mandate that companies who advertise on the Website present their legitimate business address?

  • Acceptable Answer: “Yes”
  • When things go wrong and the consumer wants to track down their mover, “The Bad Guy Movers” don’t want the consumer to know where they do business. This too is easily accomplished when no one knows the mover’s true physical address.
  • Once again, you must ask yourself “should I support places that make it easier for rogue movers to do business?”

The Logical Conclusion: “What Is Best For My Moving Company”?

  • If the DotCom that wants your advertising dollars answers “acceptably” to all of these questions then check the DotCom’s Website for compliance before you sign up with them.
  • If the DotCom that wants your advertising dollars answers “unacceptably” to any of these questions, then you might consider telling the DotCom to “please call us again in the future, after your folks comply with our Internet advertising requirements”.
  • In the end, it is in the best interest of your business to do so.

Christopher Noblit is employed by Avatar Moving Systems – www.avatar-moving.com, a Long Island Mover.

You can contact Chris by sending mail to [email protected] or by calling (516) 983-6345.

Chris Noblit releases this document to the public domain and relinquishes any “rights of ownership” to this content. Furthermore, Chris Noblit encourages anyone wishing to do so to copy the content contained herein and to display and/or distribute it freely as they see fit. In addition, those wishing to use this document are given permission by Chris Noblit to claim authorship of the content of this article.