Web marketer that couldn't deliver traffic settles with Washington AG

Visible.net, a Washington Internet marketing company that told small businesses they'd be "blown away" by the amount of Web traffic it could deliver, has settled with the Attorney General's Office in that state after customers complained it didn't live up to promises.

The AG's office sued Visible.net, which also does business as Captures.com and WebMarketingSource.com, and its owner Gilbert Walker, in Nov. 2008. At the time, the AG's Office and Better Business Bureau received about 90 complaints that showed problems dating back to at least 2005. Since then, 70 additional complaints were filed.

The Internet marketing company sells website design, search-engine optimization and services that help process online purchases. Customers paid anywhere from $3,749.99 to $9,749.99, plus monthly fees of $39.99 to $99.99 for the company's services.

Customers complained the company promised significantly increased traffic to their websites by ranking at the top of search engines. The small businesses were also told they would have more business than they could handle, that they would be making money within 60 to 90 days, and that they would have a hard time keeping up with Internet purchase orders.

Earlier this year, a judge found the company violated the state's telemarketing law. The company agreed to pay the AG's Office $250,000.

Also under the settlement, the company must not:

  • Misrepresent its ability to increase web traffic for customers.

  • Fail to issue refunds or honor cancellation requests.

  • Claim to provide around-the-clock customer support, technical advice or consultations unless available.

  • Fail to register with the Department of Licensing as a commercial telephone solicitor.

  • Charge consumers' credit cards without authorization.

  • Misrepresent its affiliation with other marketers.

In response, the company posted this statement on its website.