Members sometimes ask if we recommend joining the Chamber of Commerce or the Better Business Bureau. Your local Chamber may be beneficial for networking if you focus on non-loan signings. Belonging to the BBB establishes credibility but I don’t think notaries generally need this or can afford the BBB. For us, we promote our business nationwide not locally, so the Chamber doesn’t make sense. As for the BBB, here’s our story…

A year after we started Go Get Experts, a friendly, enthusiastic salesperson (yes, salesperson) from the Arizona Better Business Bureau called to compliment our clean record and said we were exactly the type of company they liked to have as a member. After a couple more sales calls, we decided to spend the big(!) bucks and sign up for both their local and online memberships. We completed the application and sent in our money. Over the next few weeks, we kept checking for our online profile. Nothing. My phone calls and emails weren’t returned. (There’s something ironic about poor service from the BBB!) Then two months after they cashed our check, I received a refund with a canned letter saying we weren’t accepted, but we could appeal. Huh? Appeal what? What was the problem? There was no clue in the letter.

I started calling again and could not get a response until I contacted the local chapter who contacted the state office on our behalf. Finally, I received a call from a BBB representative in Phoenix who said the person who reviewed our websites reported we were strictly referral sites with outgoing links, no intrinsic value, and promoted work-from-home businesses. Guess they didn’t read our Benefits page, check out any of our members’ web pages or review all the articles we had posted. I pressed for more details and found their work-from-home complaint especially infuriating. The BBB in Phoenix has determined that home-based businesses are probably scams, so they ban any mention of them on websites. Well, that’s hard to overcome on our GoGetNotary site since notaries have home-based businesses and we have articles about how to set up and organize your office. Plus they didn’t like the Google ads at the bottom of our articles. (We invest the revenue from those ads into buying Google Adwords to bring more traffic for our members.) Apparently, on pages where the words “work” and “home” were mentioned, Google occasionally delivered an ad about a work-from-home business. We were able to quickly fix this particular problem by setting up a filter on Google to block all such ads. I contacted the BBB again and offered to send screenshots showing how the filter worked but that wasn’t good enough: They said unless we removed all ads from our sites or got a statement from Google saying they would NEVER EVER accidentally post a work-from-home ad, we could not join. This was now about three months since the first friendly sales person called saying how much they wanted us as a member. Since they were not willing to have an Internet savvy person review our sites, we gave up. We’re done with the BBB.