More threads by Mike Pedersen

Jim could you please elaborate on your comment about Whitespark potentially competing with us. That would be very important to me as I feel the same way. I know that Nyag was brought on at least in part to handle citation audit and cleanups. Is that what you are referring to? To me, that's not necessarily competing but of course for others it could be.

I think Jim is referring to the new service Darren and Phil Rozek launched a few months ago:

LocalSpark: The Perfect One-Shot Local SEO Service
Hey Lloyd. Just wanted to respond to a couple of points related to the citation service. I also found it interesting that they said they were more of a professional tool whereas we catered more to small businesses. In reality, about 80% of our citation building business comes from repeat orders from agencies. Not sure why they made that assumption. On the tool side, we also provide services to way more agencies than small businesses.

In my biased opinion, I think our advantages over BL's citation service are the following:

1) Extremely diligent attention to detail with the accuracy of submitted business information. We check and double check the submitted information for any inconsistencies before we build any citations. A huge percentage of orders come in with data errors that would create a serious problem if we were to go out and build citations blindly trusting the info that was submitted. We often find problems with the address, business names, and categories, then work with the client to make sure we're using the most accurate business data before we get started.

2) We select the citations for you. With BL's system you have to look through the results and try to decide which ones would be the best for your client. Some people might prefer being able to hand pick their own citations, but we find that most people are prefer to just leave it to the experts. We always select the highest quality opportunities for your business. Our customers generally like that they don't have to worry about it.

3) As you noted, the local/niche citations.

I'd also like to address the concern that we're now "competition". While you could look at our LocalSpark service that way, most agencies we talk to don't. We're not in your local market. We're not sitting down to meetings with business owners. We don't have the advantage you do to work closely with local businesses. We also don't do ongoing SEO. Our service is 3 months, then the work is done and we're no longer billing the client. The intention is to lay the perfect foundation for local SEO, and then let a different agency take them to the next level with ongoing content development, relationship building, link earning, community building, and social media work. Our primary target for the service are agencies that want to leave the local work to the experts so they can focus on their core expertise. We see the service as complimentary to most other agencies, not competitive. A large percentage of our clients are white-label arrangements with agencies. We get all the core work done, they get all the glory, and then they get the long term relationship with the client. We think it's a win-win.

I'll keep an eye on this thread and would be happy to answer any follow up questions.
Darren, and all who read this...Whitespark citation building is top drawer. Some advantages over Bright Local (LOTS over virtually any other service I'm aware of). On the other hand, BL offers some advantages over WS depending on the scenario, your wants, etc.

Darren, Nyag and Phil are each GREAT guys. I truly wish you guys all the luck in the world on this (as long as you stay out of Orange County, CA). Even then, if you can pull six grand out of a local business over a 3 month period, good for you!

However, Local Spark is in direct competition with me and, I believe, the vast majority of users here, members at a few G+ communities we both haunt, and elsewhere. Building citations, cleaning citations, off-page SEO, etc., it is what we do. Otherwise, why else would we need Whitespark's help with the citations in the first place?

No hard feelings, really. It's only business. And I hope you can understand that I will now use Myles and Bright Local exclusively for citations moving forward. I am certainly NOT implying that I think you would poach my accounts. I think I know you better than that. But I'm "old school" and I've been screwed (and seen others get screwed) in the past under similar scenarios so many times that a "policy" was established: "Never give a competitor, by any definition, access to your customer. Ever". Nothing personal, it's only business.

That all being said, if you run into any locals in my small pond of the OC that will not, cannot, swing $2000 a month, I'd appreciate a referral as we'll help them for a fraction of that cost. Not in three months, but... And I'll buy you a beer or three whenever we meet. Molson?

Seriously Darren, good luck man!

P.S. Tell Gene M. to call me. I'd love to hook up with him here.
Hey Jim,

Thanks. I think you're a great guy too. Sorry you feel that we're competition. I think you can look at it another way, but I respect your position. We do operate in different budget ranges, so if some good Orange County leads come through that cough at our prices, I'll send them your way! I'll take you up on that beer, but dear god, please no Molson. ;)

All the best,

Hey Jim,

I can totally see where you’re coming from, in that there's only so much "mindshare" for local SEO. There's a ton of it, but it's still finite. So on one level I agree.

But, like Darren, I really hope you don’t see Team LocalSpark as competitors. We don’t think we are, and we consider you and everyone else here squarely in the Friend Pile.

The main reason I think we're not competitors: there are just so many business owners out there who need your help, or our help, or Linda’s help, or BrightLocal’s help, etc., or some combination thereof.

Just because we all deal with local SEO doesn’t mean we’re competitors, partly because we’re all found by business owners in different ways. Most business owners who’d find LocalSpark would have to be researching local SEO online, and even then they’d have to dig a little. If you deal mostly with OC businesses, and you’re in the habit of reaching out to them, we’re about a tenth as likely to work with them as you are. We couldn’t step on your toes even if we wanted to.

Also, as you alluded to, LocalSpark isn’t for everyone. Although $2k/month is nothing when you consider all the work that’s done, if a business owner can only do $500/month and you’re in contact with them and can help, it’s probably not going to be much of a “competition.”

As Darren said, we'd be glad to refer some OC people your way, on the off-chance they come to us first. But unlike Darren, I’ll gladly accept your Molson :)
Thank you Darren and Phil for responding. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this yet.

I definitely understand the difference between LocalSpark being a competitive service and it being a true competitor. But I do market my local SEO services online. Of course, you both have impeccable reputations. So that does alleviate some concerns.
I don't view LocalSpark as a competitor. It's an ancillary service offering of WS.

It's not like they're trying to poach your clients (i.e. calling the business you entered in their citation tool).
I was just coming to post and Chris almost took the words right out of my mouth.

The only competitive concern I could see in a situation like this would be client poaching.
And with the integrity of this company in particular, I feel that's way outside the realm of possibility.

The other concern I guess someone could have is if they look at your client and figure out what you are doing, how you are optimizing. But I seriously feel like with the expert team WS has, they've already seen, tried and tested every trick in the book. Plus they are probably way too busy to look at clients they do citation services or rank tracking for.

So while I do understand the concerns and would def have them for a tool company I didn't know - in the case of WhiteSpark, knowing these guys as well as I do, I really feel any competitive concerns are a non-issue.
Plus Darren is Canadian. And Canadians are too nice. Am I right, eh?

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