Yell.com / Hibu "Web Design" Scam
Thanks to a few comments on a now ageing ramble about Yell Web Design Being a Waste of Space, I decided to go off and do some of my own research into the over 1 million results on Google when searching for Yell.com Scam. I searched Google for "web design by yell" - this being the footer tag each site contains which is designed by yell.com, note if you are doing the search you must include the quotation marks. I took the first 100 likely suspects and questioned which template they used. The results are interesting, if not predictable.
There are 4 types of template in use. Most of websites (65%) in this survey using it, is a 2 column design with a simple nav on the left and logo in the header. The second at 24% is a logo in the mast, a simple horizontal navigation and content in one or two columns below. The final 4% come with a third template which has a logo on the left, nav on the right, below the logo is an address and below the nav an image. The remaining 7% come under "other" these match aspects of each other and from the previous templates but not completely the same.
The templates vary with images and text, there is little variation on colour and slightly in layout - but they are the same.
Worth the Cost?
This depends what cost you are talking about, the cost for yell to design your website or the cost to your business through potential lost custom. Either way, the answer is no.
The basic package called "yellsites" is from just over £1 a day. That puts the minimum package around £400 - plus any adwords / sponsored listings you are sold too. But lets focus on just the website costs.
So at £400 or more you would expect something quite unique and built around your needs, yes? Well no, as we've seen above that isn't the case, its all samey same and you have to supply everything - and chase them a lot to make changes.
Last week I saw a huge number of emails between Yell and a (then) customer. It was horrific, the story of a sole trader with a turnover of less than £20,000 sold a website for £800 with a £3000 package of adwords. The customer was just trying to get a few tweaks to a website, a change in background colour and an additional paragraph of text. Yell dragged their feet and only after a month of almost begging were the changes made. Following this the customer tried to break out of the contract citing many reasons, it was only the threat of lawyers that meant they eventually cancelled the contract - apparently yell still control the domain.
Going to yell for web design is clearly not a good idea, and is verging on the word SCAM.
I would like to thank everyone who has contacted me since my original post on this matter. I do try to reply to everyone, though it can take a week or so sometimes. Please do keep talking to me and leaving comments, the more I hear the more we build a case online that people should not trust these "mis-selling goons" who will squeeze as much money as possible from ANY possible business.
Update: Yell is changing it's name to Hibu, the CEO says its pronounced "high boo" and that its meant to be the next words like "google and yahoo" which mean nothing at the start but will in years to come. We at SEOAndy ask whether Hibu will come to mean scammers or not, we predict it's likely.