HelpHive Rolls Out Home Services Site

5/6/09Follow @gthuang

Seattle-based HelpHive has launched today an online marketplace for home owners and home service providers. The beta version of the site includes some 6,500 listings in the Seattle-Tacoma area for services like home repair, home improvement, maintenance, and cleaning. HelpHive was founded by Real Networks veterans Dave Richards and Karim Meghji, and has been in stealth mode for the past nine months.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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  • http://helphive.info Evan Conklin

    Helphive.com is some new kind of scam website

    It exploits businesses and consumers seeking services.

    All businesses listed on this supposed consumer directory have a fake phone number substituted for the company’s real phone number. This fake phone number belongs to the owners of Helphive,com . These local business listings are not placed there by the business but have been harvested from other sources. Helphive.com apparently thinks that it is OK to use any company’s name and substitute the real contact information (the company phone number) with another so that they can harvest the incoming information and make money from it in various ways. If it is your misfortune to own a business listed on this site your customer has been hijacked. Helphive claims that they are giving the company listed a “free” ad or listing. Well, it is not a real benefit to any company if they are collecting data and hiding your real phone number from the public. They have no right to use your company name in conjunction with a phone number that isn’t yours without your permission.

    Businesses Beware! Think about it. Do you really want anybody out there to misdirect your calls to themselves first (for any reason), harvest any information they can get from it, and then (theoretically) forward the call to you? Who needs some unknown greedy unethical corporate jerks screening and recording information regarding your incoming phone calls from your customers? They claim they are forwarding the calls to the business. Are they really. So what if they are. They didn’t forward mine. I called the supposed phone number they attached to my business listing and it did not ring my phone. It dropped me into a programmed data collection program requesting to know what kind of service I was looking for, when I wanted the service performed etc. The program told me that my company was unavailable and then proceeded to get buying information from me. For what purpose? To sell it to somebody of course. The jerks just stole my customer using my name.

    The scenario I just described is outright fraud. It is a theft of my reputation, my name and my customer. It is a fraud upon the consumer who thinks they contacted my office looking for a service. They were lied to as we were open and our phones were functional. They had no way to know that the voice machine telling them that we were unavailable wasn’t us telling them that.

    Even if they say that they are forwarding the call to your business, how do you know? Even if they do it, as they say for “free”, how about next year? They call you up on your real phone number and try to sell you an “upgrade” to improve your position in their listings or whatever. The phone is your lifeline between your company and the public. Helphive is attempting to wedge themselves between the customer and the services you provide. Do we really need a for-profit company screening our incoming calls, harvesting our customer information and then doing as they wish with the customer all the while hiding our phone number from them?

    What happens when other online directories harvest information from their site? The possibility exists that that phony number that everybody thinks is your phone number gets replicated in other websites and directories. When Google searches it matches your company name up with the phony contact number and then what? How is anybody going to undo that damage to your company when your phone stops ringing because everybody is calling a phony phone number that has your business name attached to it?

    We need a class action lawsuit now to recover damages that we can’t even estimate. If it isn’t illegal to place ads or listings to the public using our company’s name without permission and faking our phone numbers, we need a law now. This behavior is damaging to all businesses listed on their site. In my opinion the activity of Helphive.com is outright criminal in intent. If we can’t call the cops then we file a civil suit.

    Contact Helphive.com and demand that they stop using your company name and attaching a phony telephone number while hiding your real telephone number.

    File complaints with the Attorney General, the BBB, and anybody else you can think of.

    File a civil suit to stop them from using your good company’s name for their profit without your permission.

    Join a class action suit if you can find one.