Give Us A Break
Highlights of the latest antics of flower affiliate resellers
Florist Affiliate Antics Archive
March 31, 2007
More Reasons to Avoid Google's AdWords Advertisers When Looking for a Local Florist
Google has long been the advertiser of choice for order gatherers. We local florists use AdWords (the advertising branch of Google) too and have relied on their team to at least keep the deceptive advertisers down to a minimum, limiting each non-local order gatherer targeting city names to one ad per search.
AdWords' double serving policy says:
We do not typically permit advertisers to manage multiple accounts featuring the same business or keywords. When we find that an account is not in compliance with our double-serving policy, we will prevent multiple ads from appearing on the same query.
We guess some of these order gatherers just aren't typical.
Today Google's users can easily wind up landing on the same two 'online only' florists if they select the highest placing advertisers. We looked for a florist in Mountain View, CA, home of Google, and spotted two sites owned and operated by Kay's Florist of Bellaire, TX (blossomflorists.com and galleryflorist.com) and three versions owned by Flowers & Balloons of San Clemente, CA (11flowers.com, FlowerShopping.com, FlowerBouquet.com).
December 8, 2006
Both not-in-Moutain-View companies have histories of skimming dollars off consumers' flower purchases and both have unsatisfactory marks from their respective local Better Business Bureaus. Consumer letters about Kay's Florist family of order gathering sites are the single biggest source of complaints received by the Florist Detectives.
If Google's going to allow one single company to masquerade as two, three or more, it's clearly to benefit their bottom line since it certainly doesn't help their users. Is the race on to see which order gatherer can get the most sites into a single search result?
December 8, 2006
Well That Didn't Take Long
Only in business a few months and e-florist-inc.com has already 'earned' a spot on the Vancouver BC Better Business Bureau's December 4 Buyer's Alert page. Listed as E-Florist Inc of West Vancouver, the order gatherer whose ads falsely promise 'free vases' and 'free delivery' "failed to respond, as of this writing, to BBB efforts to resolve complaints during the period from November 20, 2006 to November 24, 2006". (The Teleflora affililiate's questionable sales tax fees to US consumers are described below.)
180066roses.com, also known as Flowers Flowers and Affordable Flowers is off the list right now. Could that be due to 180066roses' change of contact address to a Post Office Box in Blaine, Washington? Consumers are still complaining about being ripped off by this Vancouver BC based Teleflora affiliate order gatherer, too.
November 20, 2006
Welcome The Newest Order Gatherer on the Block
It didn't take long for e-florist-inc.com to adopt some all-too-familiar techniques to separate consumers from their dollars.
First, there are the Google ads bogusly promising 'free delivery' and 'free vases' - which simply aren't true. (Local florists don't delivery their orders for free, nor do they provide free vases.) Once in the shopping cart, consumers are hit with a 'Service and Handling' charge of $9.99 and a mysterious 'Tax'.
We looked around the site to see an explanation for this 'Tax'. Since e-florist-inc.com is run from Vancouver, Canada, there would be no local US sales taxes - only a small tax on the Service and Handling charge of $9.99 - due and payable to the Canadian government. If they told you it was a Canadian tax, then you might not believe they were actually 'delivering in Los Angeles with excellence' like they say on the page below.
"All orders are subject to local taxes." Whose local taxes? Could it be they just pocket most of the 'local tax' - about 5% of this total order?
Teleflora, are you listening?
February 10, 2006
Google's AdWords/Teleflora Affiliate Shenanigans
Shoppers taking to the web in search for local florists should be wary of believing titles and descriptions from Google's Adwords ads that appear on the top and right side search results pages for specific cities in the US and Canada. For example, a Google query for Seattle florist includes ads for
Seattle's Finest Florist
Local Seattle Florist
Family Owned For Over 90 years!
Washington Finest Florist
Family owned We Deliver Save $9.99
Only problem is that all these sites are operated by the same Teleflora affiliate order gatherer company located in Orange County, California and not in Seattle. Additionally, these Teleflora hosted sites include what the Florist Detectives believe to be misleading 'markdowns' and 'savings' that simply tack on as much as $20 to the Teleflora suggested retail prices before 'discounting' them and flipping them to real Seattle area florists for fulfillment. Shoppers also pay 'privilege fees' of $11.50 and up to this faux Seattle 'local florist' broker.
Unfortunately, these deceptive ads aren't just limited to Seattle. Here's the same bunch claiming to be 'Miami's Finest Florist' and 'Local Miami Florist', Topeka's Finest Florist and 'Local Topeka Florist' and pretty much everyone's 'finest local florist'.
Google appears to be unconcerned that their users are being deceived by these paid ads. The Florist Detectives hopes both Google and Teleflora, the national wire service that hosts these sites and permits transmission of the orders via their Dove network, clean up this kind of deceptive advertising designed to fool consumers who are seeking real local florists.