Self-Storage Aggregators - Friend or Foe?

February 23, 2012 2:45 PM | Melissa Huff (Administrator)
Excerpt taken from the January 31, 2012 Press Release from SSAAA.org (The Self Storage Anti-Aggregator Alliance)

The Self Storage Anti-Aggregator Alliance issues alert to operators concerning inaccurate online directory listings - offers free how-to guide to every self storage operator allowing them to quickly check for correct content on multiple online free business directory listings.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – (McAllen, Texas) – The Self Storage Anti-Aggregator Alliance has released a brief synopsis of one issue brought to light concerning a possible questionable practice as employed by some businesses. Randy A. Smith, the industry’s most outspoken critic of the online aggregators is quoted as saying, "I've received numerous reports of troubling instances from operators of every size and location from around the USA. One issue in particular seems to be rising to the top of the list of complaints. Operators are discovering that some of their free, online business directory listings at sites like Local.com, Merchant Circle, and CitySearch have had their contact info changed or listed inaccurately. In several cases, the listing has the right business name and address, but the phone number and/or website link leads to another business, which in many cases is a competing business."  

As the manager of two self storage facilities in a small town, I work very hard at maintaining and promoting our company website. When I first heard about these aggregator issues I honestly thought that these problems didn't effect us because I work on our online marketing on a daily basis. Surely I would know if there were a problem with my online listings... right? 

In doing my research about this aggregator issue that I was hearing so much about, I decided to try out the free guide offered by SSAAA.org and check out the listings for our facilities myself. 

This process is not a short one. I worked on this guide for well over 5 hours. What I found was down right frustrating! I found six listings (and please note, I didn't finish because of time constraints) that have incorrect listing info. The facility name and phone number were usually correct, however the web address and email addresses had been altered to reflect aggregator company info. The time consuming part was going in to each listing individually and claiming the listings so I could correct the information to reflect our facility contact info. One listing on Bing had actually already been claimed, presumably by the aggregator company, which listed their web address, not mine! 

This is a blatant attempt to drive prospective tenants away from our company website, which I again mention that I put alot of time into maintaining, and instead linking them to their aggregator site. The focus of these sites are to provide the customer with the cheapest units available. While that sounds great on the surface... I mean we all want a good deal, right?... the problem remains that our facilities aren't being represented fairly! The amenities offered at these various facilities aren't listed, unless of course you are willing to pay a premium price for those listings! 

So while the customer gets a nice list of unit prices and locations, what they don't get to see is which facility offers paved driveways that are well lit at night, or facilities that have added extra security features including cameras, gate entry codes, and cylinder or disc locks, or facilities that have on-site staff, or temperature-controlled units. The facility's value is diminished and the potential customer is unfairly left to pick facilities based on price and often miss out on the many benefits self storage really has to offer.

I challenge every facility to check out www.ssaaa.org and look into your online listings! Then you can decide... are Self-Storage Aggregators Friend or Foe?

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