Truelocal is barely Google Lite

TrueLocal is an online directory service, run by Sensis (which owns a number of old-school services such as Yellow Pages and Trading Post). As a service, it’s pretty poor, a throwback to the early days of the web and while not quite a Link Farm, certainly there’s an uncontrollable element to the whole thing.

I’ve got a listing on their site for my old business and in seven years, have never, ever received a single referral from the site other than very infrequent spam.

So, I thought, I’ll delete the listing and tidy up. Most firms offer a simple “delete account” option. Not TrueLocal. The only thing I could think of was to request assistance.

Here’s what I wrote to them:

Apr 3, 10:56

Hi,

I’m doing an audit of the websites my business is listed on and have decided to close my listing with Truelocal.

The reason is that in all the years I’ve had the listing I have not received any referrals from the service.

This is not a reflection on your service, merely a fact of doing business. Some marketing works, while others don’t.

Can you advise how I can close my listing and account please?

Kind regards,

Lisa Sinclair

——————
Submitted from: http://www.truelocal.com.au/member/tall-poppy/edit

Here was their response:

Jayde (TrueLocal Support)

Apr 7, 09:38

Hi Lisa,

Thank you for contacting TrueLocal.com.au.

TrueLocal publishes public business information as a way for customers to find great local businesses. As a result, we do not remove business listings unless a business has ceased trading.

However, you are able to suppress your contact details in your business centre if you wish.

If you have any further questions Lisa please don’t hesitate to email us again.

Thank you.

Sorry? What?

(I later found out that it’s not actually possible to remove contact details because to save the “key details and contacts” you need a phone number. I got around this by entering (03) 9999 8888 to fool the system).

Then they had the stunning temerity to actually ask for feedback. I took a two-pronged approach to this.

First, I filled-in the feedback form with a resounding “Bad, I’m Unsatisfied”.

This ticket has been rated as Bad, I’m unsatisfied

With the following comment:

I’d like to note that the support person is not to blame for this rating, they are restricted to Truelocal’s terrible account policy. I have experience of a number of different services and TrueLocal is the ONLY one that refuses to remove listings requested by the account holder without documentary proof that the business no longer operates. This is an abysmal exploitative service which is trying to ape Google and lost many, many years ago. It is no surprise that the organisation is owned by Sensis (or as I like to call them “Senseless”), a business built upon Yellow Pages, which had utterly no idea what to do when Google started listing businesses free of charge, and without needing an intermediary to handle the account. TrueLocal is effectively Google Lite, free of charge but with the same mindset of Yellow Pages built right in: lock people in and don’t let them leave without a fight. Your business model, frankly, is dead. Accept it and move on. Allow people to delete their accounts from your service without objection, like every other modern internet listing site does and you’ll get better reviews, and more likely attract more custom. Lock people in like prisoners and you’ll have people baying to leave.

Second, I logged into the account, removed all contact details, and did the following:

Just delete the account, ok?
Just delete the account, ok?

I saved it (after being forced to enter a false phone number) and the system displayed this message:

Your business name change is pending verification. Upon approval, your details will be updated below.
Your business name change is pending verification. Upon approval, your details will be updated below.

I hold no illusions it’ll be accepted, but it was worth a try.

In the meantime, if you’re considering TrueLocal, don’t. It’s a massive PITA.

Author: gotheek

Sometime writer, full time human.

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