In February 2008 we purchased the StoresOnline 6 website package. No complaints there. Once you cut through the sales hype you have a good website building tool with strong resources.
It’s the call we got shortly after from PMI (compliments of their affiliation with StoresOnline) that started us down the path of regret.
“Let us do the marketing so you can focus on your business.” You have to promise to put in at least 10 hours per week. Yes they do some start up work but the focus is on training you to do it yourself.
“You must be open minded and teachable.” You are asked to underline this quote as you take notes. They make it clear you are not to question their work – they know what they are doing and you will mess it up if you want to make changes. The copy they wrote was tacky and cookie cutter. It was out of character for our products and a definite turn off for any shopper visiting our site.
Everything they teach is demonstrated in the training and resources that came with the StoresOnline package. We didn’t need to pay this kind of additional money for do-it-yourself. They do bring you to Salt Lake City, Utah for two days in their training center. Unfortunately, most of the participants arrived still clueless on how to get started with their StoresOnline package. We had already published 3 of our 6 websites utilizing the StoresOnline instructions. Our time there was largely review of what we had already started.
Interesting note – our one website we didn’t let them touch is excelling. It is also the first we ever published.
“Imagine, if you make just one $25 sale per website per day that equals $54, 000 per year!” Wow, tempting (assuming you pay them enough to work up all six websites.) $14, 400 and one year later - zip, zilch, nada for the three websites we agreed to develop with them. Kind of hard to get your investment back quickly at this rate.
“Use a major credit card to make your purchase so you have recourse if you’re not happy.” You then learn the training is a 6 month program. The 200 online directories they submit your websites to is done over a 12 month period. It often requires many months of patience while your sites slowly worm their way up through the search engines. Uh-oh - looks like your window of opportunity to register a dispute with you credit card has expired.
And those 200 directory submissions? Many directories send out confirmation e-mails and others require a response to confirm. We have never seen any of these e-mails. We could use the list of those directories, too, so we can maintain the resubmissions.
When it came time to do the e-mail campaign, we were directed to a page where we were to write the e-mail ourselves for PMI to send out. Shouldn’t the professional marketing firm draft the e-mail subject to client approval? We would prefer not to end up in everyone’s spam box between “More Manhood” and “Print Your Own Diploma”.
At this point, we’re just plain discouraged. Our last exchange with PMI was in September. They have never made any attempt to follow up with us – ask what we think of their work – check in on our progress. They essentially disappeared along with our money.
So PMI is a proud member of the Rip-off Report Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program? Frankly we are not interested in letting PMI do any additional work for us – once around was enough. At this point, a refund of our money plus interest (yes, we’re still making credit card payments) is the only acceptable resolution.
Contact from PMI is welcome in writing only via e-mail or on paper.