Wow - I am completely shocked how businesses in today's "quick to the web world" can still cross the line. Don't they understand that everyone they do work for has the power to say the good, the bad and the ugly. This is what I would consider an ugly situation.

The other night I went to a friend's house and there was a chimney sweep that had just pulled off. My friend is selling her house so the inspection showed that she needed a little work done on her chimney. The Real Estate Agent Recommended A Chimney Sweep in Baltimore.

First off my friend was having a personal conversation regarding a family matter and the Chimney guy - said that he could give her relationship advice if she needed it (as if he were a friend). Then he proceeded to tell her his perception of her based on the clothes she had in her closet which he had previously relayed this information back to the Real Estate Agent on a prior occassion. Come on...can't you just do your job and wear an MP3 player and not get wrapped up in a customer's personal life.

The kicker was, after the services were performed the Chimney guy states, "I told your real estate agent that I would do this for you for free." My friend was curious - how can I get this for free? The Chimney Guy says "If you go out on a date with me."

I was blown away by this, but I imagine it happens. I'm sure it happens a lot less than it used to because now people speak out, and it's not the "Pass It On" game any more. Years ago you would call a friend and tell her/him the story and they told ten people and by the end of the story the chimney guy was doing more than the chimney. Viral marketing/reputation - was really exaggeration management.

Nowadays you can still have one bad seed exaggerating, let's say a direct competitor. In all fairness the web has become a pretty reliable source of information as long as reviewers police themselves. Reviews that direct competitors post are sometimes obvious, especially when those competitors will industry terms that a normal reviewer may not.

So back to the Chimney Guy, he is listed in most of the engines and directories including Angie's list and his reputation is now tarnished. The culprit was the owner of the company so in this case it wasn't a misdirected employee.

Mary Poppins would not have approved of this Chimney Guy's behavior.
May 20, 2009

President and Founder Local Roll Call.

Local Roll Call is a search listing provider and consulting firm dedicated to helping businesses get in front of consumers and understand the complexities of the local search landscape. Carberry formed the company after realizing that many businesses large and small don't understand the depth of local search optimization across the search engines and vertical/yellow page directories.

Dave has worked in Search Engine Marketing since 2000 and has worked with organizations ranging in size from small businesses to the Fortune 100. Dave is actively involved in the SEM Community. He speaks regularly at various search marketing and online focused conferences and is a member of SEMPO and the IAB.

A recognized expert and educator in online marketing, pay-per-click advertising, search optimization and local search. Prior to starting Local Roll Call Dave was Director of Feed Management and Search at and Platform-A, delivering new opportunities to clients on an ongoing basis with Consumer Shopping Engines, Paid Inclusion Programs and Cross Channel Feed dispersion.

Dave also served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for The G3 Group. Dave has launched several successful start-up business ventures during his career, including WJFK-AM, and  He and his two children have also written and self published two children's travel books. Where Was I? New York and Where Was I? Washington D.C.


Wow. Not just employees, but owners should also stick to the script. Going outside company systems and procedures almost always gets you in trouble.

That's a really crazy story, David. Obviously, a very dumb move on the chimney sweep's part to ask a customer for a date, while on the job. What kind of behavior is that?

If, perchance, he is smitten with the lady, he has done his all to put her off, alarm her and impose upon her. If desperate to get to know her better, doing so off the clock would have been a far more civilized approach.

If the lady has now posted a negative review, detailing his behavior, it may teach him a lesson, but it's a very bitter lesson for him to learn if what he was doing was making a very hamfisted attempt to express any genuine admiration for her. An unfortunate situation.

So you never said if you friend paid for the service??? I am guessing she did pay and told him NO for the date. But true statement that you have to mind you P's and Q's when conducting yourself in a business setting. If your friend wanted to, she too could write bad reviews and complain of harassment. Word of mouth advertising is essential, don't give them something negative to say.

Not just employees or owners, but even customers.
My problem used to be that customers "harass" me instead. How to politely tell them that we are NOT friends but having a business relationsship seems quite hard to understand for some. Being nice and deliver the best service you can imagine also has its downsides.

So, as I'm living together with the love of my life these days, I usually mention him somewhere quickly in one of the first conversations and got rid of the whole problem (so far so good).

Maybe a subject to write about some other time?

/"Pretty" girl who knows her business inside out

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Search Engine Guide > David Carberry > Chimney Sweep - Crossing The Line