ATTACK OF THE GIGZILLA SITES – Letter from the trenches / by Bo Gerard

In days of old, you just made sure you had a great website, got it indexed by Google, and you were all set.  But now Gigzilla has been born, and many magicians and variety performers are having to decide between running towards it or away from it.

I can only speak with authority on the scene here in North Texas, but I imagine the same thing is happening in every city of a certain size and population.  One day, some clever web savvy business people realized that they could create a great looking site,  promote the heck out of it, and offer customers in dozens of markets around the country a choice of local performers for their event.  One stop shopping, right?

Good news is – end customers can choose from a number of “local” performers and book them through the Gigzilla site. 
Bad news is - although it is implied that these are the “best” entertainers available, most of these sites don’t spend time vetting their performers.  That means there's everything from seasoned professionals to rank amateurs listed, side by side.  What the Gigzilla sites do spend time, and money on is getting their sites listed on the first page Google results.  Some even make sure their Google Ad is the very first thing you see when you search for a performer.  They employ every tool at their disposal to grab the top result positions, and some use tools that are not “Google Approved”, and yet they usually still work.

Godzilla-ATV.jpg

So how does a local performer compete with this SEO onslaught?  Some don’t even try.  Over the years, I have developed and maintained many local and regional relationships with booking agents and party planners, so most of my work continues to come from them.  I do everything I can, that is "Google Approved", to beef up my SEO, and I manage to get pretty good search results. (I usually appear just below the Gigzilla Sites.)  Given the competition for Google's first page results, and the time and money it takes to compete, many performers have decided to subscribe to these booking sites.  I have heard both good and bad things about their experiences with these out-of state companies.  

And customers that don’t want to spend a lot of time vetting their choice for a performer, probably are attracted to the Gigzilla sites. But they might be rolling the dice if they don’t ask a lot of questions about their potential performer's experience, and maybe even ask to see some video clips.