Dental Website Marketing: DROA Marketing Scheme

DROA dental website marketing scamDROA Domain Registry of America (DROA) is running a tricky Internet marketing scheme that all owners of dental websites should be aware of.

DROA sends you what appears to be a bill for your domain name renewal. But you more than likely don’t owe DROA a single penny. They’re hoping you’ll pay the bill anyway, at which point they’ll take over your domain name registration – and quite possibly charge you 10 times what you were previously paying.

What “domain names” are

  1. A domain name (also known as a URL) is a website – for example, YourDentalPractice.com is a domain name.
  2. When you register a domain name, you’re purchasing it for a specified length of time – usually 1 year, but sometimes longer.
  3. Domain renewal is when your domain name is up for renewal and you buy it for another year.
  4. Many companies offer domain name registration, including DROA, eNom, GoDaddy, and many others.
  5. Domain name transfers are when you transfer ownership of a domain to another person (for example, to your associate), or when you change which company handles your domain name registration.
  6. Website hosting is something else entirely. Many companies that register domain names will also host the content of your website on their servers.
  7. What does it cost? Domain registration often costs around $10 a year, while website hosting tends to be $100 a year (or significantly more, if you have lots of web visitors.)

You may receive an invoice in the mail that claims to be a “Domain Name Expiration Notice.” This official-looking document tells you, “You must renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the Web.”

Or it could be an email that apparently confirms a purchase you never made. The subject line reads “Order Confirmation,” and the email reads, “Thank you for registering/renewing the following domains with the Domain Registry of America, America’s fastest growing domain registrar.”

A few days later you’ll get a second email letting you know that “The transfer and renewal of your domain name is not yet complete at this time.” They’ll ask you for the information needed to complete the transfer – and then they’ll bill you for that.

But what they never tell you is that you don’t have to renew your domain through DROA. You already have your domain name through another company, and that’s really who you should use to renew it. In fact, DROA will likely charge you several times what you’re currently paying. They’ll also charge you a fee for transferring your domain.

And once DROA gets a hold of your domain name, getting it back can be difficult. Rumor has it that DROA changes the email address associated with the web domain from your email address to theirs. In addition, there’s a minimum waiting period of 60 days.

Shouldn’t This Be Illegal?

Oh yes! In fact, the FTC slammed DROA in 2003.

“The Federal Trade Commission has requested that a federal district court enjoin Domain Registry of America, Inc., an Internet domain name re-seller, from making misrepresentations in the marketing of its domain name registration services and require it to pay redress to consumers.

“According to the FTC, the company told consumers that their domain registrations were expiring, leading many consumers unwittingly to switch their domain name registrar. The company also allegedly did not disclose that it would charge a processing fee to consumers if their transfer request was not competed – for any reason – and failed to provide consumers refunds in a timely manner.

“Under the terms of the stipulated final order announced today, Domain Registry of America (DROA), based in Ontario, Canada, may be required to provide redress to up to 50,000 consumers, is prohibited from engaging in similar conduct in the future, and is subject to stringent monitoring by the Commission to ensure its compliance with the court order.

“…In marketing its domain name registration services, DROA has violated the FTC Act in several ways. First, it allegedly uses notices/invoices that mislead consumers into thinking that they are renewing their registrations with their current registrar when, instead, they are transferring their registrations to DROA’s registrar, eNom… The FTC also contends that DROA fails to issue promised refunds in a timely manner… sometimes delaying refunds for months.

“First, the order bars DROA from making false or misleading representations in connection with the advertising, marketing, and promotion of domain name services. It also bars DROA from failing to disclose, clearly and conspicuously, any cancellation or processing fees, and any limitations or restrictions on cancelling domain name services.

“In addition, the stipulated order calls for monetary redress to reimburse consumers that DROA misled… It is anticipated that approximately 50,000 DROA customers will have the opportunity to transfer to another registrar under this provision.”

Court Bars Canadian Company from Misleading Consumers in Marketing of Internet Domain Name Services (FTC)

Have You Been Targeted by DROA?

If one of your dental websites has been targeted by this scam, you can click here to find out how to lodge formal complaints with the FTC and ICANN.

In addition, if you’re a member of the Internet Dental Alliance who has received a notice, feel free to contact our dental website marketing support team at 888-476-4886. They will be more than happy to explain this in greater detail. They will also confirm the current registrar details of any domain names in question.

What do you think? Is this a clever dental marketing scheme or something more sinister?

9 Ways To Monitor the Health of Your Dental Website

Using Google to monitor the health of your dental websiteOver the past weeks I’ve shared some of my favorite Google search tips. Now I’d like to show you how to use Google to monitor the health of your website.

The first and most important thing for any website owner to know is their site’s Google ranking. But that’s far from the end of it!

You can start by reviewing my 9 hot tips for Google searches and 10 cool things you can do with Google.

Here are nine things all owners of dental websites can do to monitor their sites:

  1. What’s your search ranking?

    First, you need to know what keyword(s) you’re targeting. (For dentists, this will typically be along the lines of “dental implants Louisville” or “cosmetic dentist La Jolla” or something similar.) Be sure to log out of Google/Gmail and use the “Private Browsing” option under the “Tools” section of your Internet browser. A listing of 5 means that you are the 5th listing on the search results page. (Obviously, lower numbers are better here!)

  2. What websites does Google think your website is related to?

    Find out by doing a search like “related:thewealthydentist.com” (except you’ll want to use your own URL, of course). You can also find this option on the “Advanced search” page. It’s a bit unpredictable, but sometimes returns interesting results.

  3. What’s happening inside of your website?

    Just add “site:yourwebsite.com” to restrict your search results to pages on your own website. You can quickly find information, or use this feature to see which pages on your site rank highest for specific keyword phrases. And if you forget the “site:” operator, don’t worry: you can do the same thing from the Advanced Search page.

  4. Who’s linking to you?

    In general, it’s a good thing to have other websites linking to yours; it improves your site’s standing in Google’s eyes. (In fact, getting other sites to link to yours can be a good strategy to increase your search engine ranking.) Find out who’s linking to you by using the “link:” operator.

    You can also see a list of all pages that contain your website URL (even it’s written as text, not a hyperlink) by doing a regular keyword search for your URL.

  5. What does your Google listing look like?

    Use the “info:” operator to see a sample listing of your website. The text displayed in your website’s Google description is an important part of your overall internet dental marketing. This text (known as “metatext”) is near the very top of the HTML code for your homepage.

    Sample Google info listing

  6. What’s been updated on your website recently?

    By combining multiple features of the Advanced Search page, you can tailor your search results. For example, restrict the search to your dental website, and look only for pages updated within the past month to see which pages have been updated recently.

  7. Want to review all the images on your site?

    Just go to Image Search and enter “site:yoursite.com” to see all the images on your website.

  8. Is your local listing in order?

    Many patients may look for you through Google Local Search or on Google Maps, and it’s up to you to make sure that the information available about your practice is up-to-date and correct. Look up your name in Google Maps, find your listing, click the “more info” button, and confirm that all information is correct. Near the top right corner of that page, you’ll see a link that says “Business owner?” Here, you can update information. In addition, Google Maps appears to give preference in its rankings to owner-verified listings.

Top 10 Dental Marketing Articles from The Wealthy Dentist

Top 10 Dental Marketing Articles from The Wealthy DentistDental marketing is essential to the success of a dental practice and dental marketing is on the minds of many dentists as 2011 draws to a close.

Dental practice marketing can be one of the dentists’ greatest challenges and in the current volatile economy — greater even than running a dental practice and managing a dental staff.

The Wealthy Dentist has compiled our top 10 dental marketing articles to help dentists boost their dental profits in 2012.

Top 10 Dental Marketing Articles from The Wealthy Dentist

1. Dental Marketing: 7 Ways To Turn Your Dental Office Into a Hot Marketing Machine
Dental marketing is more than just a geo-targeted, search engine optimized dental website and an effective email newsletter marketing plan. It also involves branding and an effective dental office display…[Read more]

2. Dental Marketing: A Guide for Avoiding Negative Online Reviews
In customer service it used to be said that an unhappy customer would tell nine to fifteen other people about their negative opinions. Today an unhappy dental patient can influence hundreds of people by leaving a negative review on an online review website… [Read more]

3. Dental Marketing with Google Offers
Who in their right mind wouldn’t want $421 dental package with exam, X-ray and take home whitening for life for just $59! I’d sign up personally if I lived in Portland. This is exceptionally great marketing title that grabs the most jaded consumer by the throat…[Read more]

4. Dental Marketing: Google Offers vs. Groupon
Not long ago Google tried to buy Groupon for something like 6 billion dollars. Groupon turned the offer down. Within a month Google started Google Offers. Mike Blumenthal’s blog reviewed the early test results on Google Offers for the local Portland beta test…[Read more]

5. Dental Marketing: Geo-targeted Local Search Strategies
According to Google, 97% of consumers search for local businesses online. A geo-targeted local search strategy makes it easier for your dental practice’s prospective new patients to find your dental website and your practice. But what exactly is geo-targeted local search? …[Read more]

6. The Essentials of Dental Patient Marketing: Dental Office Presentation
Marketing your practice through a powerful dental office presentation strengthens your identity, reminds people of your dental practice and is simply good business. Dental practice marketing may seem — to the dentist —like an overwhelming task…[Read more]

7. 5 Simple Online Marketing Strategies for Dentists
The right Internet dental marketing strategies have been proven to grow a dental practice and attract new patients. With over 5,000,000 searches for “dentist” online, it’s now more important than ever to have a viable web presence…[Read more]

8. Dental Marketing: How to Set Up a Google+ Dental Practice Page
Google has launched Google Plus For Business which now allows dentists to create a Google Plus Page for your dental marketing. Google Plus For Business is a set of tools that can help you grow your dental practice and enhance your dental marketing efforts…[Read more]

9. Dental Marketing on the Internet: What is the Value?
Social media has joined the Internet dental marketing toolbox along with multiple targeted websites and directory listings that are now required for maximizing new patient flow. Dentists measure many things in order to determine if their actions justify the cost…[Read more]

10. Dental Marketing: A Doctor and His Dog
As much as many of you would like to think that you should be drawing patients from across the country with your marketing, the truth is that the average urban/suburban dental practice draws close to 90% of its new patients from within a geographic circle of 6 to 8 miles…[Read more]

The Wealthy Dentist keeps its word. Since 1985 Jim Du Molin has been giving no-hype dental marketing and practice management information that can help dentists attract more patients and better run their practice.

Dentists: Fake Negative Online Review Nets Business Owner 150K

Dentists: Fake Negative Online Review Nets Business Owner 150KOver the past three years The Wealthy Dentist has covered stories regarding negative online reviews and how dentists should handle them as part of an overall dental marketing strategy.

We’ve agreed that no one should be allowed to post an anonymous reviews against a dentist, because the costs to a dental practice can be high, and the dentist has little hope of investigating the circumstances to turn the situation around.

Not to mention the real possibility that the dentist might be dealing with an anonymous derogatory review that is actually fake.

The best a dentist could do was soften the impact of the negative review online is by responding with positive attributes about his or her dental practice. Any attempt to sue over a negative review always seemed to favor the poster of the review — not the recipient.

But it seems the courts are finally starting to take notice.

Recently, the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld a $150,000 putative damage reward to a plaintiff for defamation caused by 3 fake online reviews.

In 1999, Peter Mitchell and Michael Hosto co-founded a property damage restoration company. Their restoration business was so successful that in 2003 they created BoardUp, Inc., a lead generation service for restoration companies covering five area codes that encompassed significant portions of central and eastern Missouri and the southwestern portion of Illinois.

The partners successfully ran the companies for 4 years until a deterioration in their relationship and the commencement of litigation forced Mitchell and Hosto to dissolve their business associations by entering into a Settlement Agreement in 2007. As a result of the agreement Hosto ended up with BoardUp and Mitchell ended up with the restoration company.

But Hosto was apparently not happy with how the settlement came down.

Hosto went online and posted 3 fake negative reviews about Mitchell and his restoration work. According to court records the first two reviews were posted on March 31, 2008, on Google and Yahoo, respectively. In those fabricated reviews, Hosto used the names of prior customers of the restoration company to create detailed accounting of dealings with Mitchell that encouraged potential customers to avoid contracting with the company.

Here are 2 of the fake reviews:

1. 1st Review on Google (there were 2) –
Grade: F. Dealing with these people was the single biggest mistake I have ever made in my whole life. I[t] was a miserable experience and the job was done so poorly we decided to sell the house. They were great salesman [sic] but their workman [sic] were idiots and the owner was not willing to help in any way. I was so happy just to get them out of my life I paid them much more than I should have because their law firm threatened to lien my house if I disagree[d] with any part of their bill. All I can say is if they show up in your front yard in the middle of the night after your house catchs [sic] on fire, RUN! Do yourself a favor and call your insurance company and get a referal [sic] for legitimate business people.

2. Review on Yahoo –
They were a pain in the neck when I least needed one! Like the other guy [,] The Fire Works Restoration Company showed up in the middle of the night while the firemen where [sic] still putting out the fire. Their emergency board up guys were great. I liked them so much I decided maybe they weren’t so bad when a salesman from the Fire Works Restoration Company showed up the next day. Then they offered to do a “Free Estimate.” So [F]ire [W]orks was a lot higher than the other company. [T]hey got into a long drawn out fight about 1) the cost to remove the water and 2) the cost to dry out the house and 3) the cost to rebuild the house and 4) the cost to clean our stuff. The whole thing turned out to be such a nightmare that I figured it was just easier to deal with the insurance company contractor (the one these guys told me was gonna rip me off!!!!). [S]o when I told them I was not going with them then they sent me a bill even bigger than the first that the insurance company already said they didn’t want to pay. [T]he [F]ire [W]orks guy said it was a “supplement” and the first bill was not complete. [T]hey wanted an additional $1,700 more than the first bill (which was already too high!!!). Moral of the story–––people that seem nice usually are nice but not always.

As soon as Mitchell discovered the negative reviews, he initiated a “John Doe” lawsuit to ascertain the identity of the poster of the online reviews. Yahoo identified Mitchell’s ex-partner, Hosto as the person who posted the negative review on its website. Ultimately Hosto emailed Mitchell admitting that he had posted the negative reviews. Mitchell then brought a defamation suit against both Hosto personally and his company, BoardUp. In response, Hosto filed a counterclaim alleging defamation against Mitchell.

A jury agreed with Mitchell in his personal defamation claim against Hosto and only awarded him $1.00 in actual damages, but awarded him $150,000 in punitive damages. In addition, the jury rejected both Mitchell’s defamation claim against BoardUp and Hosto’s counterclaim against Mitchell.

At first review it might be hard to understand why the jury only awarded Mitchell $1.00 in actual damages, but this may be because it is difficult to prove that a potential customer who Mitchell has never done business with actually decided not to employ the services of his company based on a negative online review.

But the $150,000 in punitive damages does send the message that online posters are responsible for the negative reviews they leave online.

In a research study by Cone, Inc., they found that 80% of consumers have changed their mind about purchases based on negative information that they found online and 87% claimed that positive reviews reinforce their purchasing decisions.

In the future a dentist may very well be able to prove that his or her dental practice was adversely affected by a false negative review and will receive a more sizable actual damages amount.

Have you ever experienced a fake negative online review? How did you handle it?

For help in handling negative online reviews, see The Wealthy Dentist’s dental marketing article, Dental Marketing: A Guide for Avoiding Negative Online Reviews

Results Marketing for Dentists and Dental Practices

Will Your Dental Marketing Give You 10 New Patient Contacts Next Month?

Another Satisfied IDA DentistWe have had at least 10 new contacts through our Internet Dental Alliance cosmetic dental website just in the past month alone. The contacts resulted in a huge sedation and cosmetic case with a full set of veneers for $15K and another proposed treatment plan for sedation at $5K – and four others have appointments!” writes Dr. Jeffrey Lowe of Hays, Kansas.

Another Satisfied IDA DentistNever Doubt the Power of Marketing!

My best client from the Internet Dental Alliance dental web site yielded an $11,000 profit for dentures,” writes Dr. Stephen McAnaney of Denison, Texas.

How Is Your Internet Dental Marketing Serving You?

“Three to four new patients a month, best month 8 new patients, best patient $25,000 profit for cosmetic dentistry – IDA accounts for a 10% increase in business per month, or $180,000 per year,” writes Dr. Terrence Major of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Raking in the New Patients

Another Satisfied IDA Dentist“My Internet Dental Alliance dental marketing program is extremely effective and cost efficient. We are currently averaging approximately 20 new patients per month via the website. The only other form of marketing in my practice that is more effective is my direct referral program for my existing patient base. Additionally, the 1stDDS.com program is attracting 3-5 additional patients per month. I find that patients who view my website will drive 50-250 miles to be treated by me and my staff. This does not include the large patient draw we have throughout the entire Kansas City metropolitan area. Production for one sedation case generated $32,000 for the practice,” writes Dr. Mark Mancin of Gladstone, Missouri.

Another Satisfied IDA DentistDentist Credits IDA with 226 Referrals a Year

“In reviewing my production for last year, I determined that my web marketing campaign with the Internet Dental Alliance brought in 226 referrals! I have [recently] had 22 referrals and $12,790 in production and have received a large cosmetic case that already completed cosmetic imaging – and the patient has a treatment plan for $16,000 in cosmetic reconstruction,” writes Dr. Morgan Scheiber of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Another Satisfied IDA DentistSpecialty Patients Are Like Special Presents

“Initially 8 to 10 patients a month, now up to 41 new patients a month – including cosmetic, sedation, and TMJ. IDA marketing systems is responsible for a 114% increase in business,” writes Dr. Janice Ormsby of Ithaca, New York.

Learn more about IDA’s dental website development.

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