Trying to run ads with the educational advertiser HowToLearn.com I came to learn how to deceive, defraud and insult clients. Read on to hear my experience with Pat Wyman, CEO of HowToLearn (to Deceit, Defraud and Insult).com.
In March 2014 TutorZ.com approached the educational and learning site HowToLearn.com with a request for advertisement. At this point it looked very promising: HowToLearn’s focus on learning agrees with the tutoring purpose of TutorZ. The site looks well designed and some articles were quite informative. Moreover, in October 2013 TutorZ had already run a $200 ad for being named HowToLearn’s Top 101 Best Educational websites.
However, I should have been more cautious when HowToLearn’s CEO Pat Wyman persuaded me to buy an ad package for $5,000. This package includes expert pages and Wyman highlighted expert Dr. Kathyring Seifert’s presentation which looks indeed promising. Seifert – so Wyman claimed – receives most of the her traffic from HowToLearn. Wyman explained that the participants could expect a doubling in web traffic. What a treat! Double traffic! Or so I thought because if something sounds too good to be true it probably is. So be warned when Wyman – or any other sales person for that matter – makes fantastic promises.
In the first week of July 2014 when the expert campaign was running TutorZ received the true numbers: less than one percent (that is 0.88%) more traffic from HowToLearn – and that included the already paid traffic from last year’s Top Educational campaign and a new Best Tutoring sponsorship. One percent is a far cry from the insinuated doubling in traffic. To make matters worse, the quality of the traffic was poor also. Visitors clicked on average only 3 times on pages and the bounce rate was a whopping 68%. The table copied from Google Analytics shows this traffic data.
Not only the performance data was a let down but also working with Pat Wyman. She promised to aid client’s content presentation with advice and work. In reality working with Wyman was for me a real pain the b… due to her ridiculous demands. For example, emails to her (not customer content) must start in upper case followed by a colon and a reference line or else she would disregard them. Wyman inundated me with lengthy and confusing instructions on how to submit content. When in her estimate my submission was insufficient she denigrated me by showing how links were to be edited and headlines are to be formatted. While I am certainly no expert in marketing, I am however a web developer who has worked the last 10 years on the web and feel insulted by her condescending teachings. Finally, after painstakingly presenting the information to Wyman’s demands the links on the web site where still not linked but worded: (link to: www.tutorz.com).
In exchange for expert page content with links, named a sponsor, one newsletter campaign and one press release we agreed upon a payment of $5,000. I already paid half ($2,500) in March 2014. TutorZ was named a sponsor of a list of Best Tutoring sites and received a back link. This ad worked quite well actually. But no other feature was delivered, no newsletters, no press release not even direct links to tutorz.com. Outbound links would link first to HowToLearn and then be redirected to the target site. This practice is bad for SEO and bad for user speed. But when I brought up this topic Wyman did what she can do so well: to inundate me with my-way-or-the-highway prose.
Despite all my disappointments with Pat Wyman and HowToLearn I carried on hoping that the expert campaign would still yield some benefit. After all, $2,500 was already sunk. But when Wyman incidentally mentioned that a year later I was supposed to pay another $5,000 I collapsed. I was under the impression the expert pages were permanent just like the previous ads. I felt very much deceived. I could no longer go on with HowToLearn and Pat Wyman. When I asked for at least a partial refund of my $2,500 I heard more of the Wyman’s now familiar highway talk.
Now here I am, having been defrauded, deceived and insulted by HowToLearn CEO Pat Wyman. But at least I’ve learned to better deal with sales people of her kind:
One – If promises sound too good to be true, they probably are.
Two – Setup and contract describing in detail the promised services.
Negotiate a refund if performance marks are not reached.
Three – Collect references from previous customers.
Four – Analyse similar ad presentation to spot problems such missing direct links.
Five – Pay in installments as work progresses; never all in one lump sum.
HowToLearn In Summary
Pros: Nice looking site. $200 for permanent ads is a reasonable investment.
Cons: Risk of being defrauded. Bad working relationship. Time waste. Poor SEO value