The following words are verbatim from Philippe Coudoux, a client of GoBeRewarded, who was sold a $12,500 website and social package.
These are the exact words left by Philippe in a review on the GoBeRewarded Facebook page. We are preserving them here in case Aaron Gobidas tries to delete them.
Note that because Philippe has shared the facts of what happened, Aaron has threatened a lawsuit.
It is with a heavy heart that I write this review. I want to share my feelings and opinions about Goberewarded, after having been in contract for 6 months with them.
I have never written such a review, but I also haven’t felt defeated, and decided after having worked with a business.
My wife and I have owned Balanced Body Therapeutic Massage for 11 years, a massage therapy studio in Encinitas, and I also own The Posture Guide, an online program that helps people with chronic pain. I wanted to get a local team to help us with our marketing, and I found Goberewarded through a member of the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce.
Goberewarded told me that they specialized in local businesses. The first contact was promising, Goberewarded were responsive, professional, and eager to help. The upfront cost was significant for a small business like us (especially for the new website), but we needed help, and they came recommended, so I decided to trust them.
We worked together for 5 months, and back then, I thought they did a good job at creating a new website, video and photo content, and running ads. Fast forward to month 5, we found $0 of demonstrable ROI coming from the marketing campaigns, after spending $12,500 (including $2,500 of ad budget and $4,000 on the new website).
I got really concerned, because this level of investment without return wasn’t sustainable. I knew the pandemic was a problem for the massage therapy industry, and that marketing could take some time to be effective. It felt like something else was amiss though, but I didn’t know what.I asked another marketer to help Goberewarded and me figure out what wasn’t working.
Dennis Yu of Blitzmetrics is an expert that specializes in training marketing companies nationwide, and sells online courses, so I thought he could help Goberewarded and me turn that situation into a successful marketing campaign, with demonstrable ROI. He flew in from out of state, and worked with Goberewarded and me, for a day. I believe in collaboration to solve a difficult problem, and that sometimes I need someone knowledgeable, that is outside of the problem, to check what’s going on.
In Dennis’s opinion, Goberewarded, was good at following their deliverables (building a website, creating video content, and running some ad campaigns). When he looked at their data, those deliverables were producing some results, but with a deeper look at GoBeRewarded’s data of Balanced Body and The Posture Guide campaign (all the data was on their server),
Dennis’s opinion got more nuanced. He felt like there were clear problems that Goberewarded and I could address. In Dennis’s opinion, we should stop the marketing on the online program for now, and rework the marketing strategy. Dennis’s opinion was that Goberewarded strategy wasn’t working well enough and they didn’t have an account manager to notice that problem in time.
I didn’t understand what it meant, till Dennis explained the critical importance of strategy and account management to me. The account manager’s job is to be the client’s advocate, and make sure the client’s goals are consistently taken in consideration.
That’s when Goberewarded told us that they were actively looking at hiring someone for that position.
I started to feel uneasy.
Dennis’s opinion was that my wife and I were left to our own demise to figure out if GoBeRewarded’s strategy was translating into a successful marketing campaign.
Then Dennis shared his opinion about the shortcomings in Goberewarded’s strategy. At that point GoBeRewarded said to Dennis and me: “it’s not our job to be forceful with the clients, so we do what the client wants.”
As an immigrant, I don’t understand all the subtleties, but I was shell shocked when I heard that.
It is my opinion that when paying marketing professionals, they should help us achieve our business goals by implementing the strategies they’ve learned through their experience, be straightforward, and help us stay on course.
I felt like, instead, Goberewarded enabled my wife and I, and let us decide what was the strategy to follow. This made me feel extremely uncomfortable.
Then we moved to the next point, and talked about The Posture Guide, my online program. In Dennis’s assessment, my program was in an early stage and needed more time before being marketed. So we should hold off. I was bummed about that but appreciated him telling me this straightforwardly.
At the same time I asked myself if Goberewarded told me that before. That could have saved my wife and I a lot of expenses and aimless efforts. I was looking for a marketing business that could guide me every step of the way, but the difference in approach between Dennis and Goberewarded felt like night and day at that point.
Still, Dennis strongly encouraged me to work with Goberewarded on a solution.In my opinion, at that moment, I felt like I wasn’t a good fit for their business process and I had to figure it out by myself. I wondered what would have happened if Dennis didn’t help, because by Goberewarded’s deliverables, they were doing great, but I felt like I wasn’t doing great at all.
My business felt in a more problematic position. In my opinion when two businesses are collaborating and only one is doing great, that’s a win/lose, and that’s not a good collaboration unless something changes. All those problems to address were rushing in, and it was a lot to unpack, but I believed, that’s what business has to do: get a clear assessment, and correct course.
Thats why, in the first place, I took decisive actions in our 5th month of collaboration. I researched, looked at my options, and worked on organizing a meeting with all parties.
By blocking a day, I created a space with Goberewarded to have an in depth discussion about my concerns, with Dennis, an expert in the marketing industry. Dennis came to help us, and pointed out what was good and what should change for us to move forward.
In his opinion, more problems were to be addressed: the video engagement was poor, the website wasn’t used properly (and wasn’t needed in the first place), the targeting was too broad, and more. Those were some of the points I could understand, other points were mentioned, but were above my basic marketing knowledge. I was also responsible for some of the problems that occurred during those 5 months.
Then Dennis asked GoBeRewarded what they wanted to do moving forward, he wanted them to present two options to us, either to keep working together, and make changes in light of what we learned, or offer a partial refund, and part ways. The later option was my least favorite, as it meant me losing invested time and money, and starting over.
Goberewarded decided to part ways. Goberewarded didn’t offer a partial refund to me and my wife, which, in both Dennis and my opinion, would have been an honorable gesture, because it felt like both parties were, in part, at fault.
The only thing that Goberewarded gave me as a parting gift is this, and I quote: “You will not be on the hook financially for anything further in our contract. We think it’s fair.” In my opinion, I don’t feel like “not being on the hook financially” is fair, even if Goberewarded absolutely has the right to choose to part ways.
Dennis told me, afterwards, that he thinks, “local marketing” isn’t a specialty, and that no marketing business can be good at helping all industries. Lawyers, plumbers, massage therapists and other industries have their own way to practice, they have their own lingo, and no marketing business has the time to learn all those industries to help them properly.
In hindsight, it made me wonder if that was the reason why I felt like educating Goberewarded so much about massage therapy, and my specialization in chronic pain.
When I decided to work with a marketing company I wanted to collaborate with another business. I don’t want to work with a business that takes my money, and leaves me alone when a situation arises, but that’s how I feel right now.
I hope that something comes out of this. I hope that my wife and I can pivot and recover financially from this, because we paid a hefty price for what feels like a distasteful experience.
About the Author
You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.
You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.