MSP Marketing Company Comparison:
Ulistic Vs. Tortoise and Hare Software
- A string of negative employee reviews
- Employee reported attempts at review manipulation
- Very mixed reviews from customer MSPs
- Originally a Canadian company, got their start in a lower competition market
- Ran by a husband and wife and comes with the risks that entail
- Attempting to cleanse reputation by re-branding as "Joe Techie"
- Relies on outsourced labor without western education.
- Reports of project delays and poor implementations.
Tortoise and Hare Software
- Owned and operated by an MBA that provides superior quality and is intimately involved in the delivery of work
- Stellar reputation among our small but fast-growing client base
- Remote first company with low overhead that can deliver superior value with comparable pricing.
- U.S. based staff with western education
- Focused on done for you marketing services
What Does The MSP Market Say About Ulistic?
Ulistic is by far the most frequent agency our prospects come to us from after hiring, and often times with not great things to say. To give some credit where credit is due, Ulistic does a solid job of marketing its own services, but running an agency and creating value for clients is a different story and in that sense, there's certainly a lot of room for improvement. This Google review from a prior Ulistic client says it best:
"Surprisingly disorganized. Project manager told me they didn't take notes during meetings so there was always disagreement between what was promised and what was actually delivered. At one point, he agreed to do something (create graphics to insert into subpages to break up the large walls of text) then 3 weeks later told me he decided on his own (without talking to our team) that he wasn't going to do it and that it wasn't "up to our standards". In another meeting with the owner, Stuart said "we can absolutely do this and it is very much up to our standards". And then a week later Melissa calls and says their designer is too busy and they were no longer going to work with us. No exaggeration that's literally what took place over a month. So much time wasted, very frustrating.
All in all it took about 6 months for them to get a site up, but then they decided they didn't want to work with us anymore and handed everything off despite a lot of coding issues left for us now to deal with.
I was speaking to Melissa, one of the owners, after the fact and tried to explain what went wrong, but she just got defensive and shrugged me off.
One thing I didn't like is that the project manager or the owner would get involved in things that were clearly not their expertise and it would always make things worse. They have one good designer, who made a mockup of the site that I really loved, but then Melissa came and decided to change a lot of things that really should not have been changed. I attached a stock photo she suggested we use. (See attached photo)
This variety of tacky/cheesy stock photos is so unbelievably outdated, but to make things worse she was upset with me when I disagreed.
It took a lot of patience working with the team to get to an acceptable place, but in the end the project was horribly mismanaged, and we wasted about 4-5 months.
The biggest issue was communication. No regular check-ins, no response to emails. In fact, I'm still waiting on the project manager to respond to my email asking for the login credentials after they delivered the site, and I've followed up twice in the last 2 weeks.
Stuart seems like a really great guy and I wish he was more involved from the beginning. Who knows what he thinks happened since him and Melissa cancelled the project without even speaking to me about what was happening, but if he wants to grow his company he should definitely be interested in hearing the criticisms.
As a project manager who has lots of experience with digital projects of this nature, I can say that there is a lot of room for them to grow if they want to be a solid agency."
Even more concerning are their Glassdoor reviews where just 37% of people approve of the CEO and where prior employees have made some pretty strong comments. Here's what one employee had to say about the cons of working at Ulistic:
"How much time do you have? I can tell you right now any positive review you might see on this page is either fake and written by management, or written by a new employee who has no idea what they have got themselves into. Nobody that works there is happy, they just feel trapped, and nobody has ever left with a positive view of the company. On that note, every negative review you see is true, and they only half explain the hell you experience working at Ulistic. The founder an awful person, and he is 99% of the problem with the company. He touts himself as a marketing genius, and he loves to stoke his own ego by yelling at people, and treating people like garbage. He enjoys threatening peoples jobs and when they get upset he says that “Americans are too sensitive.” The employee turnover is unnaturally high (I worked with about 70 different employees in three years, and never more than 10 at a time) this is partially because he hires people without experience and offers them no training, then belittles them for every mistake they make. His business practices are unethical, and makes his hourly employees clock out once they reach 40 hours and continue to work off the clock. I have never worked in such a hostile environment, and never will again."
On top of accusations of review grooming, employees report questionable business practices with regard to how clients are treated by promising unique content and providing duplicate content, which can lead to duplicate content penalties on search engines.
"God, everything. The CEO is malicious and manipulative. If you're an employee, he will scream and berate you and tell you how much you suck at your job. The man is literally going to court for hostile work environment. He will do things behind your back and it makes your job more difficult. Moreover, there is no organization to within the company. As a result, you end up overworked and underpaid (despite what I said in the pros section). If you're a client, oof. All of your content is recycled. And if you signed a noncompete with him, he will still work with other clientsin your area but provide them with a different RSS feed so it doesn't LOOK like they are also using Ulistic. Its so common in fact that he received a cease and desist."
Despite some of these concerning reports and findings, there are people who have had positive experiences with Ulistic, but even the people with good things to say will admit that Stuart, the company leader, can be prone to mood swings and very temperemental, which gives a lot of credibility to some of the negative employee reports. Many of the positive reviewers are the big spenders with the agency. Obviously spending more on marketing tends to generate better results and makes you a higher priority with any agency. Many of the positive reviews were from companies that were with Ulistic back when they were in Canada. It's been tough times since they moved to the U.S.
Ulistic is frequently discussed on Reddit, check out these Reddit threads discussing the company.
- A discussion on several MSP marketing companies
- Ulistic AMA
- Seeking an MSP Marketing Company
- Thoughts On Ulistic, Marketopia, Pronto