My friend sent me this:
Hey (Que Fregados) – I got a call on Friday from “thecityoflaredo.com” to sell (his business) an ad. The website is deceptive and is not associated with or endorsed by the ACTUAL City of Laredo. But that doesn’t stop them from selling their ads to (his profession) for $469 per year. The most incredible part is that some (fellow professionals) are actually buying ads. I sent an email to … friends at the City of Laredo Attorney’s Office to alert them.
Have a good Sunday my friend.
He is rightfully concerned because even though the site does not point to virus, it is benefiting from a name people will just blindly search. Apparently it is a private directory and they have plenty of cities all over the US.
The point isn’t that its malicious, but rather that the site is deceptive. There are no disclaimers (let alone highly visible & unmistakable disclaimers) that the site is not associated with, or sponsored or endorsed by the City of Laredo. Think of people that are unfamiliar with the internet doing an internet search and thinking that the City of Laredo has endorsed those businesses. Most people that are new to the internet will not be able to differentiate between “thecityoflaredo.com” and “http://www.ci.laredo.tx.us/” and, frankly, the former is more user-friendly than the latter.
So – this post is mainly a heads-up for businesses that get a call from this group. Buyer beware. It is a directory but not benefiting the city or tied to us at all.
It reminds me of the other domains that have squatters – like laredo.com, hellolaredo.com, alaredo.com and others (don’t go to their sites & give them more traffic – trust me, there is nothing there). If people buy the domains… well, it is up to them to be ethical enough to write a little something that says they don’t officially represent the city of Laredo; but when they are trying to SELL to businesses in Laredo … just hope people know what they are actually getting.