A client recently had a telesales rep on the phone with the old “our site doesn’t show up in Google Analytics” routine. You may be familiar with this one. They say that as your free listing in their incredibly important directory has brought you so much traffic in the past year, you really need to be “upgrading” to have a purple star next to your name and a photo of your managing director’s children or something. This, of course, will transform your business for an incredibly modest outlay. So you have a look in your Google Analytics report and find that the directory has sent you 4 people in the past 12 months, and wonder out loud to the sales rep whether his directory is really that popular. He refers to the part of his script which tells him what to say “when the customer seems to have realised that we’re making up the numbers”, and comes up with this: “Our technology sends people to your site in a special cloaked format which, unfortunately, doesn’t get recorded in Google Analytics”. You suggest that you’re only interested in human visitors, not Klingons, but he’s too young to get that. It would take them no more than a few minutes to tag all of the visitors they send people so that they’d show up even more clearly than normal in Google Analytics, but for some reason, not a single directory does that. I can’t imagine why.
So are these claims all rubbish? Of course they are. Falling for these sorts of “opportunities” is about as productive as paying to have a colour photo next to your “editorial” in a magazine nobody reads, or having your company logo on a wall planner nobody will ever receive. Don’t “try out” advertising media, make them prove themselves first, and if they can’t do it, don’t even give them the time of day (because they’ll have your watch off your wrist as soon as you do).