Storage Aggregators Hijack Business Listings


With the storage business gaining so much popularity in recent years, it only makes sense that other businesses would find a way to jump into the industry. One of the things you've probably come across while searching for a storage unit is a storage aggregator site.

These sites collect data on storage facilities, and many people visit these aggregate sites to find information about storage facilities in their area. What you might not necessarily realize is that some of these aggregators are essentially stealing customers from the storage facilities and then reselling the customers back to them, In some cases, these practices are predatory and even illegal.

Aggregator sites get started through partnerships with storage facilities. Essentially, the aggregator will collect reservations from potential customers and sell those reservations back to the storage facility itself for a “finder fee.” This is very similar to the way a hotel or airline reservation site would work, and it acts as direct competition against the storage facility. Rather than allowing customers to find the facility directly, traffic is driven toward the aggregator site. This sets up severe competition between varying storage facilities and drives profits down as different companies struggle to offer prices competitive enough to attract business.

Some of these aggregator sites take things a step further by actually pirating information from the storage companies. They will create fake business listings in a storage facility's name and list them online in the Yellow Pages or other business directories. Instead of listing the storage facility's phone number and website, they list their own. This way, customers will contact them believing that they're making reservations with the storage facility itself; instead, they're dealing with an aggregator. This practice is illegal, it has obvious negative implications toward the facility's actual brand, and it can be used to essentially use one company as a public face or identity while selling services to a competitor.

One of the largest storage aggregators using this tactic is Notice the photo above of a Uncle Bob's Self Storage listing on Everything looks legitimate; however, if you call the phone number listed, you will reach a SpareFoot employee. What is going on here is not only unethical but illegal. A quick search on Google revealed 160,000 results with the phone number (866) 666-5178. A majority of these results are misappropriated online business listings for storage facilities across the country.

Other industries, including hotels and airlines, are also attempting to draw away from using these aggregators and focus on building their own client base. It's a difficult task for mature companies, but storage facilities can be a bit more nimble in their approach thanks to their size and relative newness as an industry.

As a customer, you can do your part to end piracy and reduce the ability of an aggregator to steal the identity and business of a storage facility. Always try to deal with the facility itself rather than a third-party site for transactions where money will exchange hands, and keep an eye out for listings that may have incorrect information.

If you own or manage a storage facility, you can use a service like to search for incorrect business listings. If incorrect information is detected, you can update your storage facility's information to reflect the correct address, phone number and other contact information. Once you update the information on Yext, the site will then locate and correct listings on more than 35 other sites across the web including Yahoo, Yelp, SuperPages, Citysearch and WhitePages. This will help ensure that information online is up-to-date and accurate, and it will prevent customers from unwittingly using an unethical aggregation service when they mean to deal with the company itself.

So, what do you think of storage aggregators and what they are doing to the storage industry? Please leave your interesting and creative responses in the comments section below.



8 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I totally agree with the article. In the name of good business, I won’t print what I think of storage aggregators. However I will forward this link to our state association and members.

  • About the “Aggregators”. If a storage facility is complaining about low occupancy and having to fight for Internet real-estate for the advertising of their business they are lazy. Get off of your butt, out from behind your desk, walk out of your front door and build relationships with the business owners/managers in your area! Build B2B relationships! Plain and simple!

    The Self-Storage business is a 100% localized business. If that is where you concentrate your advertising efforts you will have exponential success keeping your occupancy rate high. But, Self-Storage facility owners/managers will have to get their butt off the Internet for that to happen.

    Do I think an Internet “Aggregator” can steal business from a local business? Hell no if the local Self-Storage facility is running its business model properly. A Self-Storage facility can benefit from an Internet presence when they provide “Current Customers” with on-line services. An Internet presence for advertising a Self-Storage facility because of occupancy problems is a total waste of time and resources.

    • As an owner of 4 successful self storage facilities for 16 years now, I can tell you that your post is factually incorrect on every level. You’re a know-it-all in your own mind only. I suspect that you work for

  • I found this article via the SSA forum ( ) .

    Let me start by saying that I am biased … I represent a company that has a Self Storage directory .
    However ; we are not like other companies . We do not try to take away organic rankings or any other naturally occurring benefits of search engine .

    Our company maintains many directories in different industries and we learned over time that infringing on rankings of other businesses is not only bad for business but also has no long term benefits .

    That being said ; in this particular industry – you guys have to blame yourselves . Your association is not only promoting those aggs but actively encouraging them . Just take a look at their publications .

    Yes ; I said it . It needs to start with the association … the members need to replace those “good ol’ boys” that help each other as opposed to help their members .

  • I totally agree. Once the aggregator creates a business listing for a storage facility, they have committed a crime. A few years ago, an electrician in our area created a website in his competitors name. He used it to steal customers who were looking for his competitor because of their good reputation in the community. When authorities found out about this, he was arrested and charged.

    I Googled the phone number listed above and the author is right, they are all stolen business listings. I actually found 3 listings for my storage facilities when I typed in the phone number (866) 666-5178 and my street address. Sparefoot has some explaining to do, 160,000 times over. I think the associations need to get involved and speak to their State Attorney’s office about this matter. Who knows how many of my customers have been redirected to them?

  • Randy – I totally agree but don’t see the “association” doing anything . They have no incentive and here is why : they are making too much money from those aggragtors AND they are all friends in one way or they other …. A rich boys club … if you will . Just go to their magazine and look how they are using member’s money to create a magazine and sell the advertising and Post their links permanently on their magazine website .

    Don’t get me started with Sparefoot – those guys go as far as claiming Google Local listing ….. and they have some shady deals with Citysearch or others in which those claimed listings get syndicated to even more sites ( or at least it appears that they are somehow able to get those false listings further published on other websites).

    To me and many of my peers this is a disaster …..

  • I’m an independent Internet marketer. In the last six months, I’ve done work for and befriended some people with self-storage facilities. Sparefoot basically gets out in front of the traffic that is already looking for you, pushes them through an electronic turnstile, counts them and tells you they brought you the customer. They claim your spot on Google Maps and insert their phone number and their website. If you just put your phone number and your own inexpensive website in there, people would still find you.

    One customer told me he liked Sparefooot because people can make reservations online. I pointed out to him that Sparefoot just ties customers into his own SiteLink software and he could do the same thing if we put the same link on his website. He did and he gets it now.

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