For some bizarre reason, Advice Direct Scotland, an independent Scottish Charity, and an Independent Member of the Scottish Association of Citizen Advice Bureaux, has decided to run a pay per click campaign to promote their Advice.Scot site using the name of this site, Advice Scotland.
To save I am peeved is an understatement.
I have been operating this personal blog site, on a not for profit basis, since 2013 (it’s predecessor was www.morallybankrupt.co.uk), with the sole purpose of supplying information to people interested in finding out more about their personal debt problems, like other blogs, such as Debt Camel.
I registered www.advicescotland.com before Advice Direct Scotland’s online domain name was registered (advice.scot). A site that I find to be a shallow, static site, with a few telephone numbers and an online search facility that allows access to external resources. Basically very little on the site itself for those that access it.
A site that also states that the online name for Advice Scotland Direct is “Advice.Scot”.
If that is the case, then why are they using the online name for this site in the headings for their own Pay Per Click campaigns. Why not use their own online name?
What is most infuriating about this, is the likely result will be my readers, or people searching for my site being taken to the wrong site. A site that in my opinion is far inferior in quality and content. This may be unavoidable, as we all know there is no shortage of less than reputable companies out there that utilise marketing strategies that are intended to mislead internet users into believing they are visiting one site when they are visiting another. But for that situation to be created by a member of the Scottish Citizen Advice Bureaux? Really?
What is wrong with Advice Direct Scotland’s own online identity that they can’t use that for their campaigns? If I can give them a bit of advice, you need to work at it, its hard work and it takes time and commitment to build your online identity.
Since 2013, www.advicescotland.com has always operated under the same name, Advice Scotland and had it’s own distinct brand and look, and through hard work I have built up a loyal following of readers who return each month, whilst attracting many more new ones. When people seek personalised advice in the comments boxes, as you will see, I refer them onto reputable providers of advice, such as Scotland’s Citizen Advice Bureaux, the National Debtline and the Scottish Buisness Debtline, or I suggest they seek the advice of a professional.
A Labour of Love
The site has become a labour of love, and has become a major occupier of my time, trying to produce regular quality blogs, updates and videos. Then there is the cost of maintaining a server service, keeping domain names registered and paying for software and SSL certificates to ensure the site remain safe for people to visit. All out of my own pocket.
Then there is the cost on my time. I don’t have marketing assistant, PPC campaign officers or desktop publishers: I have built this site from the ground up several times now, wrote all the blogs myself (and I am still trying to upload historic blogs from my previous site) and make all the videos myself.
I have been maintaining this site and its predecessor since 2010, nine years now, whilst also being a prolific contributor to the print and online journals of other people and organisations, such as that of the Scottish Legal Action Group, the Scottish Financial News, the Scottish Legal New, The Firm and the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland. In any average week over the last 10 years (and some of the earliest blogs on this site date back to 2008), I have easily averaged 2 to 3 blogs a week on the issue of money advice. Hard work and commitment.
In addition to this I still have my day job as a Senior Money Adviser, managing staff, representing clients in courts and contributing to the development of debt policy in Scotland.
To then have another organisation to use the name of my blog (rather than their own online identity) is galling, particularly when their own debt resources on their site constitutes one or two paragraphs.
Now I can only assume the use of the Advice Scotland was intentional, but possibly it was an oversight that this was also the identity of my blog. If it was, I can only ask that going forward it is changed and I look forward to working with www.advice.scot as part of the online money advice community in Scotland.
If it was not an oversight, I am flattered they like the name of my blog, Advice Scotland, but it is mine and surely they must appreciate more than anyone, just because you like it does not mean you can have it.
And what was I doing last night until 3am? Writing a blog and making a video. That is how you build a site.