For local service contractors looking to get found online, Service Magic provides a shortcut to bridge the offline & online worlds of lead generation. Service Magic is part of a conglomerate named IAC, which runs a host of online brands such as Citysearch, Newsweek, Ask.com, Dictionary.com, Match.com, Urbanspoon & Vimeo.
So far so good, you may be thinking. Business data collected and distributed by a large, diverse business on behalf of small businesses could provide the kind of leverage a small business needs to get found. Service Magic syndicates the listings data both within it's corporate umbrella (Citysearch, Merchant Circle, Insider Pages), and also outside to online directories such as White Pages, Switchboard and more.
There's a problem though with this line of thought - Service Magic masks the local telephone numbers of local contractors. Instead they replace the number with another local telephone number that routes to a Service Magic call center, where Service Magic then sends the lead to a number of contractors simultaneously. What ensues is a feeding frenzy of sorts - the prospective customer saves time & effort by relying on Service Magic to play matchmaker with businesses that are hungry for the work.
This presents a dilemma for contractors and local search consultants alike - Do you attempt to wrestle the listings away from Service Magic and repopulate with direct contact info? Or do we reach a point of diminishing returns, and it's just wiser to leave Service Magic branded listings "as-is"?
I'm looking for some input from local search consultants on their general sentiment on Service Magic's business listing tactics.
To give an example, here's a friend that actively uses Service Magic - Justified Electrical Services, LLC in Nottingham, MD. Most data provider & search engine listings for Justified have been claimed, corrected & optimized (see at Google). However there's still this corner of the web (Service Magic's data partners) that lists the call center number.
Should we just continue correcting Service Magic listings with the real local phone number? We've got two reasons to consider pausing:
A) Service Magic has the bulk of their business reviews (and they're overwhelmingly good!) Some of the data partners show ratings as well. So there could be downside to getting NAP right - potentially undoing the record that showcases the good ratings.
B) Concern that future data refresh activity from Service Magic will overwrite corrections made in downstream directories. Don't have any evidence that this occurs, but figured it's a possibility. We've already seen bad data find it's way back into Google Places from who knows where.
Furthermore, is there any indication that Google's algorithm is built to discount Service Magic's tactics, essentially giving the business owner a free pass on these listings? This is probably wishful thinking on my part - everything I see indicates that call tracking numbers are bad news for local listings results.
Insights welcomed - though if your only contribution is "Service Magic sucks" please leave that somewhere else. I've read that too many times to count - looking for productive comments only.
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