Oh, Meltwater Reach (now doing business as GearyLSF), Will You Ever Learn?

Last year, we exposed a shady sales tactic used by Meltwater Reach to poach SEM clients from other agencies. Simply put, Meltwater would send a generic but ominous-sounding email to a marketing manager claiming to have discovered deeply troubling flaws in a company’s current SEM campaign. We had about a dozen of our clients (none of which were fooled) get pretty much the same email from Meltwater, which you can read about here and here.

Last month, it was announced that Meltwater Reach had been acquired by GearyLSF. GearyLSF is a legit, savvy marketing company; I know several people from that organization, and they are smart, well-meaning folks. The acquisition of Meltwater was likely a way for GearyLSF to reach SMBs and potentially shore up their SEM presence. Sadly, whether the management team at GearyLSF knows it or not, Meltwater is now up to the same old scare tactics as before, but this time under the GearyLSF name. A client forwarded this email to me today:

Hey [Redacted],

Thanks for your brief time on the phone today.

I’ve been doing research on your AdWords account and have come across a number of problems running live. These include but are not limited to:

·         Serving untargeted ads

·         Serving ads on irrelevant queries

·         Extremely poor page rank (not showing up on the first or second SERP)

·         Not serving ads on high volume, highly relative queries

·         Weak branded campaign

·         Lack of free ad extensions / site links etc.

As you’re well aware, these are all cyclical in nature and are more detrimental to your accounts health the longer they run, not to mention hindering your ROI.

The preface where I’m coming from – my team here at GearyLSF works with many IR500 retailers such Citrix Systems, Intel, Ashley Furniture, Sharper Image, The Palms Hotel and Casino (Vegas), Perry Ellis and many other companies to help them drive more profit out of paid search and display campaigns, utilizing best practices when it comes to optimization as well as technology from our partner Kenshoo (used my Apple, Wal-Mart, Expedia etc. previously unavailable to advertisers spending less than a few hundred thousand dollars per month). We currently managing over $120M annually just in AdWords and have done hundreds and hundreds of audits. From what I can see simply on the outward facing side of your account there is a ton of opportunity!

I’d love to connect with the appropriate parties on your end to discuss these issues in more detail as well as cover how to best approach a fix.

Does any particular time work well for you tomorrow or next week?

Best Regards,

[Redacted]

Account Executive

Geary LSF | Digital Marketing Group

 

Aside from the fact that none of the clients mentioned appear to be “Internet Retailer 500” companies (Does Intel sell anything online?), and a few typos, the most troubling thing to me is the vague claims of errors that are “cyclical in nature and are more detrimental to your accounts health the longer they run.” Let’s call a spade a spade here: this is a form letter without any substantiation of these claims because, well, it’s a form letter – the sales rep has likely done no research on this account. It’s no different than a Tarot reader telling someone “you have a bright future, filled with happiness. Someone near to you will soon need your help.”

I have nothing against account audits – indeed, we do them both for potential clients and internally for our existing accounts – but I’m disgusted by form-letter scare tactics that implicitly accuse an existing agency of doing a bad job for its clients.  Again, I know the folks at GearyLSF are generally above this sort of lowbrow stuff, so I’m hoping that this is a Meltwater Reach legacy issue that will soon be resolved.

For the record, here’s what the client wrote me, which I think is absolutely classic: “Thought you might like to see how your competitors are cold calling.  I like the tactic of telling us what we’re doing sucks.  They must have a lot of clients with poor self-esteem.”

– David Rodnitzky, CEO

David Rodnitzky David Rodnitzky is founder and CEO of 3Q Digital (formerly PPC Associates), a position he has held since the Company's inception in 2008. Prior to 3Q Digital, he held senior marketing roles at several Internet companies, including Rentals.com (2000-2001), FindLaw (2001-2004), Adteractive (2004-2006), and Mercantila (2007-2008). David currently serves on advisory boards for several companies, including Marin Software, MediaBoost, Mediacause, and a stealth travel start-up. David is a regular speaker at major digital marketing conferences and has contributed to numerous influential publications, including Venture Capital Journal, CNN Radio, Newsweek, Advertising Age, and NPR's Marketplace. David has a B.A. with honors from the University of Chicago and a J.D. with honors from the University of Iowa. In his spare time, David enjoys salmon fishing, hiking, spending time with his family, and watching the Iowa Hawkeyes, not necessarily in that order.