Social Mobi Hotsites [review]

A couple of days ago I was hit up out of the blue on Skype from a contact I had not spoken to in about a year. The message invited me to look at a new software Social Mobi Hotsites and also included affiliate / review access without me even having to ask for it. That product was of course Social Mobi Hotsites. So lets get with the review.

First let me explain what this software is. Its a system that creates directory websites. The idea is that you can create directory listings for local businesses such as dentists, lawyers and real estate agents and that these local company’s will pay you a monthly fee to upgrade that listing to a ‘premium’ listing which has more options for the listing. Ill explain why the concept is not so great later but first lets talk about the sales page and the software itself.

I want to talk about a few things with the sales page, there where a couple of things I found .. err. interesting about it. First lets look at the header.

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Ok so according to this header this makes ‘passive income’ sites. Passive income, now who would not want that? Unfortunately if you manage to eek a single dime in profit out of this product (which I doubt, but more on that later) it for sure will not be passive. In fact even their sales video featuring Chad Nicely shows that this system is far from passive.

You see in the sales video Chad shows a potential scenario that ‘could happen once you get this system working for you’. In it a potential customer wants to put a ‘premium’ listing on a niche directory site that they created ‘Wyoming Real Estate’ so he calls Chad who then explains what a premium listing is, goes through a sales pitch, sends him a purchase link, and then after payment activates the hypothetical customers premium listing. Well that’s not passive. That’s selling and billing.

You see the reason for this is because there is no real way for a potential client to buy a listing direct from the websites that Social Mobi Hotsites creates. This has no payment system integrated into it. While potential customers can submit a listing they cant actually buy it or pay for it. That has to all be done manually. In fact I dont even know where that ‘payment link’ Chad is going to send in his hypothetical sale is coming from because this does not provide it.

Actually even the section where the potential customers create their listing is very poorly done. You see listings are suppose to have a graphic / logo with them.

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But when the potential customer creates their listing and submits it for review to you, they have no way of uploading a graphic. So you not only have to figure out how your going to bill them and send them some kind of purchase link but you also have to go back and forth with them via email to get a logo and potentially other graphics from them.  Umm where exactly is the ‘passive’ part again?

But it does not really matter because I super highly doubt that anyone is ever going to call anyway. You see unlike most online marketers I actually have real brick and mortar businesses. In fact I own (or have owned) several of them. Everything from ice cream parlors, to computer repair shops, to advertising firms (selling direct mail ad packs). Guess how many times I have ever went online and started looking for online directory to pay my ad money to? If you guessed zero you would be correct. You see business owners quite frankly have more important things to do. Things like, you know, running their business. Also  business owners dont have to go looking for ways to advertise. Sales men from websites, from radio, from mail marketing, from print shops, from billboard company’s etc are calling them every day.

This actually brings me to another thing I noticed about the sales page:

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Ok first of all there are not ‘100’s of directory sites like Findlaw.com and RealEstate.com’. Sure there are probably hundreds of sites that wish they could be like those sites, but they actually are missing one key thing. Which leads me to the laughable statement that sites like Findlaw.com and realestate.com have ‘No Product or Service’. Guess what that one key thing is? Its also the product that these sites sell. Its the site itself.

You see Findlaw.com is a page rank 7 site with thousands of back links that has been in operation since 1996 with an Alexa traffic ranking of around 1500 for the USA market (it gets hundreds of thousands of hits a month from the USA alone). RealEstate.com is a page rank 6 site with thousands of back links that has been in operation since 1997 and gets tens of thousands of hits every month. Basically the product / service that these sites sell is the fact that they are top ranked, well indexed, aged sites that get lots of traffic. You on the other had will have nothing to sell. You will be a poorly indexed, low PR, low traffic site with no back links struggling to get going.

If you think that your going make a site called Wyoming Real Estate, fill it with a bunch of data about local businesses and magically your going to get awesome page rankings and business owners are going to be jumping over themselves to call you up with their credit card numbers to pay you monthly listing fees your kidding yourself. Sure this is what the vendors of this product are going to want you to believe. But its just not going to happen. But how can I know? Simple. I have seen people try it before.

You see most people know that before I got into IM full time I was a freelance web developer for several years. Well the guys are Soci Mobi Hotsites didn’t come up with a unique idea. They are not the first to think it would be a good idea to make a local directory site. In fact I have built local directory sites for several people. Most of them no longer exist because they never made any money. In fact I have never see anyone make any money.

Ok to be fair I guess you could blame it on my coding. But I dont thinks so, it so happens that I have a bit of talent with site / software development. I think its more likely that they failed because they had no page rank, no back links and no traffic. You know all the things you won’t have either. All of the things that sites like Findlaw.com and RealEstate.com do have, which makes them attractive.

Now if you had a nice sized ad budget and a marketing team as well as some kind of unique hook for your directory site you might have a chance. But failing that be assured its going to be a long, uphill battle to get yourself going.

Ok so now I know what you thinking. But what if your wrong Brett? What if everything you just said, while it makes sense, is just wrong? Well to be fair I considered that possibility as well. So I asked them if they had any income proof or a case study that this product works. The answer: sorry no we dont. But they do have this on their sales page:

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Looks great right? Looks like people for sure can make money with this? Well you have to pay attention to the wording there. Specifically the word ‘previous’. You see these testimonials are from 2 years ago and where for a different product. Supposedly is a similar product but I cant be sure because when I asked for links to these two guys sites they where not able to provide them. When I asked if they have anything for this actual product that they are selling now they said no but supposedly there was some woman named ‘Ann’ who is using this current product that they are selling and having success with ‘6 businesses’. I asked for a link to her site but it was never provided. I have to say I dont get a lot of confidence from a vendor who has to use income proof and testimonials from 2 years ago (and a different product)  to support a product launch today. But that’s just me.

Ok so on to the software itself.

Well the first thing I want to point out that this is just a WordPress theme. Basically that’s all it is. But you dont actually get the theme. You cant download it or put it on your site or anything. What you have to do is create a sub domain on their own branded site. Their system will then add WordPress and their theme to that sub domain for you. For example here is my test:

brettstest.mobi-listings.com

You will also notice that the domain that you put your directories on is not an an unbranded domain. If you go to mobi-listings.com you can see that its branded to their software and even has links to buy it.  I really dont like that at all. In fact I hate it. Also quite frankly I cant think of a single reason why a WordPress theme needs to be sold as a SaaS. Also if they wanted to make it a SaaS / hosted solution why did they build it around WordPress in the first place? Again I cant think of a single reason.

If you dont want to use their sub domain you can get your own domain and point the domains DNS settings at your sub domain on their site. So then to anyone (and potentially to the search engines) it would look like your site exists twice. Once on your domain and once on their sub domain. Though I know more about SEO that the average person Im not an expert and I have to wonder if this is going to count as double content and hurt rankings. If there are any SEO gurus reading this please give us some insight in the comments.

So once you create your sub domain you can then log into it and start building your site. As I said this is basically just a WordPress theme that they are hosting for you for some reason. Here is what it looks like in the admin area.

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The first thing that I noticed is that their is no training , tutorials or way to contact support inside of the dashboard. In a different members area on a different domain (where you first set up your hosted sub domain) they have a PDF manual you can download. Honestly, a PDF manual? Is  this a software or a home stereo? How about a video tutorial guys? How about some way to get help inside of the software? Oh wait those things would require effort and effort is something that does not appear to be put into this product.

In fact I found the interface to be clunky and low quality. Everything about it just has a cheap feel to it.  I also noticed things where they seemed to take shortcuts. For example you can add a coupon to the listing and when doing that you are asked to enter a coupon end date. Well you would think the end date field would bring up a date picker. But it doesn’t.  Also you would think that the coupon would stop showing in the listing when the end date has passed. But it doesn’t. These are just examples there are several others. While individually they might only be minor annoyances when combined together they lead to just one thing. This is a low quality software.

Now to be fair the developers where constrained by the fact that they where working inside of the WordPress platform and trying to build a custom service on top of WordPress. Its likely that this limited the things that they could do or at least made them harder from a technical perspective. But really that just brings me back to the question I had before. If this is a hosted software as a service product why did they build it on top of WordPress in the first place? Why did the not just build a custom software from scratch? Honestly I dont know and the only thing I can think of is they took the quick way out to build it fast instead of putting in the work to create something of quality. Of course that’s just my opinion but its the only thing I can think of. This opinion is supported by the lack of features and options in this product however as well as its overall low end feel.

So what does the front end look like? What will site visitors see? Here is one of the demo sites I was shown.

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While aesthetics are a matter of opinion to me this looks like what it is. A generic WordPress theme. Its not ugly exactly but its not something that looks to be of top notch professional quality. What is interesting is I was told that this is a live site with real listings, yet when I searched Google for the words “California Dentist” this did not show up in the Google results (I checked the first 3 pages). Not a surprise really.

Ok so what do I think of this product as a whole? Well the creators of this service want you to think that your going to put up some directory site and then suddenly get great search engine rankings and local business owners are going to start flooding your phone with calls and credit card in hand ready to pay you hundreds of dollars per month to be listed in your site. Guess what. That’s not going to happen. Period.  What your going to have is a site with no back links, no page rank, and no rankings and inevitably no traffic.

Now you might be thinking that you can get rankings by selecting a highly targeted niche. In fact if you follow my blog you probably notice that I often advocate creating multiple highly targeted niche sites to get rankings by not competing with the ‘big boys’. The thing is you cant do that with this service. Why? Because the only way to monetize it is though selling listings to your local businesses. So as you get more and more targeted in your niche you just lower your potential customer base more and more. By the time your niche is targeted enough that you can actually get some rankings you will have very few local businesses that are a good fit for your site.

I honestly dont think people are going to be able to make money with this unless they do a lot of work to first to get rankings / traffic and then to get actual sales (because no matter how much you want to believe it they are not coming to you and I’m saying that as a brick and mortar business owner). Even with putting in a lot of work its going to be an uphill battle. I have seen people try to build local directories multiple times and I have seen them fail every time.

Add to that that the software itself is low quality and needlessly built on top of WordPress and I am just left with one option:

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PS) If despite everything I said about local directory being extremely difficult to make money at you still want to give it a try just go get yourself one of the dozens of free directory themes available for WordPress. Just dont get your hopes up. The odds of success are greatly stacked against you.

 

 

 

 

 

A quick note about the reviews I do on this site. The product vendors give me access to their products for free in order for me to do my review. However I make no promises to them regarding the results of my tests or what I will write in my review. Should you click a link that takes you to a sales page for a paid product for sale this link will be an affiliate link and I will be paid a percentage of the sales price should you decide to invest in it.
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  1. Mark, 20 November, 2014

    Brett,

    It seems like everyday I am hit up with another latest and greatest push button process to get you rich quick scheme. When I had a brick and motor business, there were plenty of these “methods to have a million dollar practice” recommended by someone not in practice in my small niche of 30K practitioners. Now that I am in IM it’s like there is a whole world of con men out there ready to take your credit card number and send you down another rabbit hole.

    You have consistently been the most honest and level headed person I have met in the business which is why I look forward to your reviews and posts and will purchase through your affiliate offers vs all the other “deals” out there. It’s almost comical the personalities that appear online with internet marketing. On one of your most recent FREE Webinars (paraphrasing), “Top 9 Reasons People Don’t Make Money Online” this product falls under violation of the following reasons; #2 The shinny object syndrome, becoming a consumer only of marketing products and software in which I have myself fallen ill with for a short period of time down the rabbit hole, but following your advice of looking at every product being offered and measuring it to see where it would fit in my business plan #3 having a business plan vs continuing to “# 4 Chase a pipe dream” & #5 Looking for the Secret as well as staying focused and committed to the process in a realistic time frame I have seen things shaping up for the better with my business. In fact less then one min into the presentation on this app I deleted it and took myself off the mailing list of the person that sent it without even reading your review. I must be learning something. Thanks Brett for your review on the product and the others to come.

  2. Brett Rutecky, 20 November, 2014

    Im glad you watched that training Mark and Im even more glad that you listened! There is nothing wrong with buying tools. Every business I have ever owned needed tools or equipment and the online business is no different. However you need to really ask yourself .. does this fit into my plan .. am I really going to benefit from this .. or is it just hype thats making me do an impulse buy?

  3. Darlene, 20 November, 2014

    Just taking a long overdue minute to say thanks for these reviews. I almost always check in first to see what you have to say. I really like it when I have a negative instinct and you say the same thing or bring something even worse to light. I love that rating system with the stars. Is it a plugin? Thanks for the time you take to do these.

  4. Brett Rutecky, 20 November, 2014

    It came with the premium theme Im using for this blog “Swagger” but there are several star rating plugins available for WordPress.

  5. dennis, 20 November, 2014

    Great review….sounds like my ” 30 years of offline sales MKTing ” experience. It’s hard knocks to sales…..nothing ” Passive ” to 97% of offline sales. As you mention, it’s not the 1st attempt to create and use ” local directories “.

    It appears that the ” cloud access ” application is still in the development side.

    This product launch has many ” known names ” as Primaries. Then some good Launch MKTing ” copy-writing “…..! Considering many who might purchase will just let it collect dust on their hard drives….it’s appears to be just a ” shinner “.

    My fishing tackle box has many different items with ” sparkles and spinners ”

    Thanks for your time for the review and detail description for those who seriously considered the possibly of a purchase of this application.

  6. LeeAnn, 20 November, 2014

    I always check here before I buy. Thank you for saving me some money!!

  7. Doc Grayson, 20 November, 2014

    They are using WordPress because they are just recycling the same product from two years ago. They are self hosting because I took the product and have been supporting and improving it. They didn’t want that happening again. Good Review by the way.

  8. Jeff Penchoff, 20 November, 2014

    Brett.

    Foolishly I purchased this product before reading your (highly accurate I might add) review. Wow. This product not only fails on almost every level for me, the sales page is VERY misleading. The words “passive income” should be removed asap if these guys don’t want to get in serious trouble down the road.

    I watched their video tutorials and that was all I needed to see that you were right. I immediately requested a refund.

    I own 2 other SqueezeMobi products and they were both of very high quality and well worth the money. This product is neither.

    Thanks for your honesty. All of us fans of your reviews appreciate it.

    Kind Regards,

    Jeff

  9. Sergio, 20 November, 2014

    This morning, I was about to purchase this product, but when I asked them on the chat how am I suppose to compete locally with heavy directory hitters like Yelp, YP, InfoSearch and many others, the response was lame unconvincing. I immediately suspected they wanted to avoid the actual answer, meaning, I’ll be on my own with this.

    Now. a few hours later, I’m reviewing your professional comments and I’m glad I didn’t go for it. I have wasted literally 1000’s of dollars that I’m tired of scams and shiny objects.

    Thanks for your advice, everything you said on your review I found to be true.

  10. Pearlie, 21 November, 2014

    My main focus for traffic when I started out was seo. I think it’s easier and better to rank local, low competition, long tail keyword pages & sell or rent those to businesses. IE: dentists that accept abc insurance in costa mesa califonia.

    These type of phrases can rank on the first page wit no extra effort.. It’s easier to sell a first page ranking than a non ranked listing. 🙂

  11. Brett Rutecky, 21 November, 2014

    I agree its more easy to rank for those very long tail keywords. But since the only way to monetize this product is to sell listings to a local business the more specific you get the more your just limiting your potential customers. Your also limiting the sites traffic as well. For example, in your example: How many dentists do you really think there will be in Costa Mesa California that accept ABC insurance? Costa Mesa has a population of about 109,000 people. It might have 50 dentists total. And if ABC insurance is something obscure then there might be 10-20 that accept it. This is a very small potential customer base.

    Since the only people who are likely to search for that term is people who have ABC insurance in Costa Mesa even though you rank well you wont get a large amount of traffic either.

    Also as I said those dentists are not going to start calling you up on their own trying to give you their money. Be assured you will have to proactively sell to them.

  12. Johnny G, 21 November, 2014

    Thanks Brett for another on point review to help us steer clear of another time waster. I too joined in on not one but two webinars about this product and asked questions that mirrored your review weak points about this product. The moderators would respond to the questions with basically non-answers. It’s sad that these IM veterans who have large followings are willing to back these products and host webinars pushing them when they evidently have not even done their own homework to confirm that the premise is feasible. This one was way too easy to shoot holes in………

  13. Brett Rutecky, 21 November, 2014

    Unfortunately a lot of marketers base their decision to promote on three things. 1) How good the sales page copy is and 2) What he commissions / prizes are for the product and 3) If they are friends with the vendor. If the product is a quality one and a value to the buyer is often not even considered.

  14. Igor, 22 November, 2014

    I always try to find your review first on a product I want to buy, and your honest, detailed opinion have helped me save lots of money already on some products I intended to buy.
    Thanks a lot Bret.

  15. Lewis, 24 November, 2014

    Great review. I am about to buy this but as I am a junkie but lately frustrated with all these rubbish IM products and claims of making money etc; I plan to check this so called social mobi hotsites out, as I have a hunch looking at their vague sales page and grand claims. Looks like its another junk…
    Claims of getting traffic just by listing some sites on it is an irresponsible claim.

  16. the-Bricks, 22 December, 2014

    Hey there! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog
    to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good success.
    If you know of any please share. Kudos!

  17. Brett Rutecky, 22 December, 2014

    Thats a really general question. You really need someone with a good bit of SEO experience to look at your site and give it an assessment to find its weak points.

  18. Charles Cox, 27 March, 2015

    THIS SOFTWARE IS COMPLETE GARBAGE!!!!! DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY. PURCHASED UPGRADE AND DOES NOT WORK AS ADVERTISED – SITE IS DOWN OR NOT WORKING PROPERLY 99% OF THE TIME AND SUPPORT IS PAINFULLY SLOW – GO BUY A MOBILE-FRIENDLY WORDPRESS DIRECTORY TEMPLATE INSTEAD OF THIS SOFTWARE – COMPLETE CRAP ****************DO NOT BUY!!!!

  19. Brett Rutecky, 28 March, 2015

    Sorry you had a bad experience Charles. However hundreds of people who read my review where warned and saved their money by not purchasing this. Its always a good idea to check my blog before you purchase. I always tell how it is and I’m not afraid to say when a product is bad.

  20. audie, 18 April, 2015

    just got an email on this recently from someone i thought had my best interest. not! thank you

  21. Denise, 20 April, 2015

    Hi Brett,
    Gee thanks for the great review. I received an email offering great bonuses to this product. When I got there the pay button was gone, so I couldn’t purchase with their link. So I got to wondering why they would do that. I thought maybe they realised the product wasn’t as it was being portrayed and stopped being an affiliate for it.

    The sales page seemed to not add up either and so I went looking for more information, I couldn’t find any info on jv zoo about how many they have sold either.

    I found your review and because I trust you I’m listening.

    From my own opinion I think they are not being fully upfront about their product and leaves the reader to wondering about certain aspects of the sales page.

    They tell you the 3 autoresponders you can use… they do not say and more, you are left to wonder if you have to go and get an aweber or get response or a mail chimp account. It turns out you can but it isn’t mentioned on the sales page that you can.

    I did wonder as well what exactly you could do if you activated the local marketing as they weren’t specific about it on the sales page and so I sent off an email which they were really quick to reply, but the reply was not as informative as I would like, so up until I read this review I was still wondering.

    I took a look at the url you mentioned in one of your replies and what the customer sees is absolutely not professional looking at all.

    I do have a local website where I intended to lease out subdomains to clients to generate leads for them and I thought this product might be something that I could use, but after this review and seeing that dammed ugly directory page that clients would be greeted with, I won’t be using it.

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