WEB.COM commercial for a free custom website
In this cartoon advertisement aimed at small business owners we are told that Web.com will build a custom website absolutely free.
What is said in this commercial:
(Cartoon man walking his dog): Being a small business owner is tough. It seems like I never have enough time in the day and new customers can be so hard to come buy. If only I had a new website that could bring me more business. And not just any website a professional website that looks great and brings me customers But money’s always so tight. How can I afford it and what can I do? If only someone could just show me a sign!
(Announcer): Now you can have a state of the art website built for your small business by the experts at web.com absolutely free. Call now and web.com’s experts will build you a custom website designed to bring more customers to your business. Your new website will feature professional copywriting and custom design.
The cost to have your website professionally built can be 10’s of thousands of dollars. But for a limited time you can get it built, absolutely free. And that’s not all. Web.com will help drive traffic to your new website so you can grow your business. We’ll promote it in all the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. Plus we’ll list your website in hundreds of places online so new customers can easily find you.
(Cartoon man): Wow, that’s incredible!
(Announcer): If after 30 days you’re happy with your new website we’ll continue to provide promotion, hosting, support and maintenance all for one low monthly fee. If not, cancel and pay nothing. You won’t pay a penny until you see your new website and how it works for your business. Call now and you can speak directly with a web.com expert who will design and build your new website plus, you can get your new website up and running in as little as 7 days absolutely free. Over 3 million small businesses rely on web.com every day. Call now and find out why. Call 1-800-305-8913 today.
Claims or statements made by web.com and what they mean:
- What the commercial says: you can have a state of the art website built for your small business by the experts at web.com absolutely free… for a limited time you can get it built, absolutely free.. you can get your new website up and running in as little as 7 days absolutely free.. cancel and pay nothing..
- What most people would think this means: Web.com will build a website for me and I will not have to pay any money.
- What it really means: The wording in the commercial about the building of a new website for free is clear, and without much room for deception, however the following near-impossible to read fine-print is shown on screen:
For the “Website Built FREE” offer there is no upfront charge for the building of the website, after-which ongoing website maintenance, hosting, advertising and other services fees shall apply. Additional terms and conditions also apply.
Based on this wording in the fine-print, it would appear that after your free website is built, you must continue to use web.com’s services and more fees shall apply. There is no mention of what happens if you cancel or do not want to continue after 30 days as mentioned in the commercial. The commercial urges us to call now or go to web.com/TVOFFER .. We have looked at the web.com/tvoffer webpage and we only find the following:
Get a custom built website from the experts at Web.com for FREE!
No setup fee, no long-term commitment. Call now to take advantage of this limited time offer.
and are shown a different phone number to call: 800-288-2622.
We are also offered a free online marketing guide which we can receive in return for giving web.com our email address and telephone number.
It appears that in order to get all of the details on the “additional terms and conditions” we must first sign up for our “free” website building.
- What the commercial says: web.com’s experts will build you a custom website designed to bring more customers to your business
- What most people would think this means: With web.com’s custom website I will get more customers
- What it really means: The announcer says that the your custom website is “designed to bring in more customers”. Just because there is a design-goal to bring in more customers is no guarantee that this design goal will be met. In other words, there is no guarantee that the new website will bring in any new customers and the announcer never actually says that it will bring you more customers.
- What the commercial says: The cost to have your website professionally built can be 10’s of thousands of dollars
- What most people would think this means: If I don’t get a free website from web.com, I would have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to have one built
- What it really means: It is true, a custom, professionally built website can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but it does not necessarily have to cost that much, and can often be far less.
- What the commercial claims: Web.com will help drive traffic to your new website so you can grow your business. We’ll promote it in all the major search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing
- What most people would think this means: Web.com will promote my website or will put my website in Google and other search engines, for free
- What it really means: Nobody can “make” a website show high in search listings, and “promoting” a website in search engines means paying to advertise in those search services. There is mention in the fine print that the “free” portion only applies to building or creating the website, and other services such as hosting and promotion (advertising) fees will apply. This claim appears to be a deceptive attempt to trick the viewer into thinking that the promotion of their new website is also free, but since we are unable to find any additional details or the “additional terms and conditions” mentioned in the fine print, we can’t be sure.
The wording about web.com’s ‘free’ website building service is clear, but the line between building the website and other services such as promotion are blurry. The lack of any way to easily find and read the additional terms and conditions referred to in the fine-print makes us scream BUYER BEWARE of this ‘free’ offer.