Through aggressive self promotion, John Farlam has established himself as one of the best known names in the Driver training industry. One of my customers recently asked me to add a link to Johns new Smart Driving App. Since it is free and makes amazing claims for itself, I thought Id download it to my Android Tablet to test it out. Unfortunately I didnt manage to get as far as launching the app to try it out. Firstly I located it succesfully at the google play Store and installed it to my device. On opening the app I found that I had to register. On checking the Facebook and Twitter login I found that to register using my facebook or twitter logins I would need to allow the app to post automatically to my Twitter or Facebook accounts. Now i know that some people dont read what permissions they are giving to apps, but Im sorry Im not having some 3rd party app posting on my account thats intrusive. The twitter login requires you to allow the app to See who I follow Follow new people Update my profile Post tweets for me Really?
Do I want to really give permission for that? No problem I thought Ill use the (very small) link to login without social media. But then I hit further problems with the app. Firstly it required me to give my phone number. Really? Why? What possible justification is there for that. Then they want my email address no way Im not interested in being spammed to death and its not an option. Finally I find that when you do complete the registration, it just keeps taking you to the registration page. The cynic in me says its deliberate in order to get you to login using your social media account thus giving them loads of opportunity to use your account for their publicity but maybe its just bad programming! I decided to look further at the Just Teach website and I found something else i didnt like legal yes but maybe some would say not very ethical. Try as I could I couldnt find the price of registering for the Just Teach hub. The only way i could find out was by completing the registration form then you get taken to a Paypal page asking you to pay £250! Wow, yes £250! and you know what, it doesnt matter that you click away, because youve already given them your phone number, so expect a sales call soon! And another thing the claims made for his SEO service are misleading. I checked his example search of Driving instructor Training Walsall. You can compare a search done today (using a browser with cookies and cache cleared) with the one described as live on the Just Teach site. 3 entries on the Just Teach screenshot (including one paid for Google ad) compared with none, nil, zero when I searched live today. I note too that if you look carefully you can see a classic seo sellers trick- Walsall is mispelled as Wallsall in their search!
Am I being harsh -maybe yes but it really winds me up when i see people sneakily exploiting ADIs and other members of the public with false or misleading claims. Its a shame that having built up a good reputation as a driving instructor guru in the industry, John is letting himself downn in this way.