How To Discourage A Marketing Agency That You Terminate From Hijacking Your Website/Online Advertising Campaigns

Marketing Campaign Upside Business Upside Business ConsultantsIf you run your own business, then you should be in control of all of your web properties at all times. The reason is that you can still provide access to your Long Island internet marketing agency; however, you will be minimizing the risk of the following three things from taking place:

•  The web marketing agency locking you out of your website and locking access to your website files.
•  Your marketing agency from removing administrative access to your hosting environment, social media or advertising campaigns.
•  Your marketing agency attempting to transfer ownership of your company domain to their own company (this is a grave and sad reality that we have seen with some companies who have used marketing agencies out of town).

Yes, we have seen each of these occur while onboarding new clients who were unhappy with their previous marketing agency. Unfortunately, some less reputable firms (in spite) may take steps to prevent you from “moving on” and moving forward. That is why we highly recommend you consider doing the following:

Domain Access

Rarely does your web marketing agency need access to your domain name. Common reasons are to help launch a new website or perform work on your email system. The primary purpose is that the agency will access the domain and point it to the new website’s nameservers/ip address, wherever it is hosted. You can actually do this important step on your own, if you would like, as long as your timing is done in close coordination with the agency. If you do not know how, you can use tech support provided by your hosting company. If you do give Admin access to your domain name, then make sure that you change and update all of your login information, at minimum, and do not provide your credit card information to the agency.


If you need to give your agency access to where your website is hosted (e.g. GoDaddy), you do NOT have to give them login information to your actual hosting account. Instead, you can create a new File Transfer Protocol (FTP) user with restricted access to only the files you would like your agency to view. This will allow the agency to upload and download web files (which is important to managing your website and your SEO). However, FTP user access is in your control at all times, and it can be removed at any time by you, without providing Hosting access.

A WordPress Website

If you have a WordPress website, then you have a username and password to log into you website. However, you do not have to give that to your web marketing or SEO agency. You can create a new User in WordPress at the Editor (not the Administrative) level. This will provide access to your website so the agency can do their work; however, they will not be able to change Administrators or take more actions than you desire. The User can also be removed at any time.

Google Advertising (Google Adwords)

For Google Advertising, you can grant access to your Google Adwords campaign without giving your original login information. The same is true for your Google Analytics. You can add a User in such a way that they can see reports and create reports, without being entitled to add or remove other Users.

Lastly, some of you have been thinking how this should all not be necessary at all…and you are absolutely right. The only web agency you should work with is one you can trust, either through vetting them properly or by getting them through a referral. Never work with a company that you do not trust. For example, if they do not have a local office; if they are a new company; if they do not have solid or local references, it may not be worth the risk. However, if you do work with a new company and you want to hedge some risks that could hurt your business, then try some of the above steps. None are hard to implement and each will save you time, headaches and ultimately profits.

Good luck!

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If I Respond to a Fake ‘Bad Review’ on Google Plus, Will the Fake Review Move to the Top Position in the Reviews Area or Stay in its Original Position?

This is a great question we are answering in response to a recent client’s question.

First, if you do receive a bad review on Google Plus, and especially if it is fake, then one thing you need to do is to make sure that you bury it in a sea of new positive reviews while also flagging and reporting it to Google. The reviews must be REAL, from actual customers/clients. Never fake a review.

Negative Google Review
Example Fake Review

Second, while Google rarely takes down a ‘fake’ review, they do encourage you to continue to flag the review as inappropriate until their team reviews the review and responds to you via email to let you know if it violates their TOS (which in only rate cases it does). When you are looking at the review on your Google Plus page, if you hover over the right side of it, you will see a flag icon. Click it and you will be taken to a webpage where you can submit your request to Google to review the review. This is what Google’s site says:

“Google takes abuse of its services very seriously. In the fields below, please provide us with information about the comment that you believe is in violation of our Terms of Service. We’ll investigate and take action as necessary. We’ll follow up with you only if we require more information or if we have additional information to share.”

However, few of us have this much time to wait as our reputation gets tarnished, so it is also important to then respond directly to the reviewer. Post a professional response to the review that helps discredit the reviewer and shows that it is false. You do not want to throw coals onto the fire and attack back. The end goal is to help other online visitors see the truth of the situation: that a non credible source is proactively disparaging your business without cause. (Note: in general, it is also best to take the entire conversation offline, if that is an option, and to encourage the person to call you directly, if the review is real).

So, what will happen after you Respond to a review that is left on your Google Plus page? Will the review that you respond to surface to the top of the reviews listed on your Google Plus page or will it stay in its original place? Google states that the bad review will in fact stay in its original spot in the queue of reviews, even if you Respond to it.

Here is a capture of a conversation with Google answering this question:

Google Plus Reviews - Customer Service Conversation

We hope that helps. Remember:

1. Bury the review in a sea of new positive, real reviews
2. Report the bad review to Google repeatedly
3. Write a well thought out response that will help discredit the negative review without spurring more negativity online

Good Luck! If you have any questions about online reputation management, get in touch. Or, you can get some tips on adding positive reviews here: 5 Best Practices For Obtaining Real Online Reviews That Will Help Your SEO

NOTE: the information on this blog is for Informational and educational purposes only. It should not be construed as official advice and it does not apply to every situation. We advise that each issue be handled on a case by case basis and that you discuss your specific issue with you marketing agency on record before taking any steps. Google’s policies may change at any time and information in this blog may become obsolete.