Fancy A Free Website? A Common facebook Scam!

3 mins
Written By  Iain
Published On Thursday 9th May
Beware of This Common Social Media Scam: How 'Free' Websites Can Cost You Dearly
Today, let's shed light on a sneaky scam that’s been circulating on social media, particularly targeting those that are new in business and looking to improve their online presence on the cheap.
If you've ever visited local Facebook groups like our local “Wisbech Discussion Forum” or "March Cambridgeshire Free Discussion", you'll have seen people sharing business updates or neighbourhood alerts. But amid this chatter, you'll also come across people promising “free websites” with posts like, “Want a website for free to help me build my portfolio? All you need to cover are the domain and hosting costs!”
It sounds like a dream for new business owners: a no-cost website with just minor expenses for the basics. The worst that could happen is you end up with a mediocre site, right? But what if the designer turns out to be a creative genius? You’ve scored a huge win!
Unfortunately, this seemingly golden opportunity is often just fool’s gold—a front for a scam. There's a particular UK-based company employing agents to scour Facebook groups for eager prospects using this exact bait. The posts get loads of responses from people saying “I’d like to know more about this” and “that sound great, can you tell me more” and tagging their friends and other businesses they know at the same time. These “agents” promise free websites but deliver far less than they claim. Here’s how they work:
They Register Your Domain: They control the domain, making it challenging for you to regain ownership later.
They Charge You A Hosting Fee: You’ll be charged £150 annually for hosting. Reasonable? Maybe. But this fee is just the tip of the iceberg.
The Website is a Carbon Copy: The “free” site you receive is a clone of countless others, with a swapped logo, some text changes, and maybe a photo. Need a contact form or SSL? Be prepared to pay extra, and probably more than is reasonable!
They Upsell Relentlessly: Want a CMS to allow you to update the site yourself, animation, or SEO support? That’ll cost you, and often much more than you expect.
I'm a member of our local BNI and was visiting another chapter recently and spoke about this issue, one of the members there started paying a bit more attention, had a sly grin on his face and was nodding away, turned out that he had been hooked with this promise of a “free” site but ended up paying over £700 for a cookie-cutter template, the end product was so far from what he was promised and he expected, he hasn't put it live and is now int he process of having a proper website built elsewhere.
Someone at another networking meeting said the same thing had happened to her,  the scam site didn’t meet her needs, but she’s already too invested to cut her losses and walk away sadly.
And heaven help anyone hoping their website ranks on Google with this setup - it won’t. Even if visitors find the site, it's often too shoddy to make them stick around or engage and thus you'll lose the customer before you've even had a contact from them
In short, steer clear of the “free website” lure in social media groups. It’s too good to be true, and you could find yourself stuck with a costly, ineffective site.

For quality web design that’s tailored to your brand’s unique needs, seek out a reputable web agency instead, hey, we know just the people 😉

Written By  Iain
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