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HelpHive, the new Seattle-based leads provider for service SMBs, had made some changes after running into real PR problems last week from Evan Conklin, an angry (and persistent) plumber. He was irate that the company was taking SMB phone numbers and trademark info, and funneling them through its own system so it could take credit for leads. The problem was that HelpHive might have been confused for a “neutral” directory.

The company now says it won’t put a HelpHive phone number on businesses that don’t opt in and claim their pages, taking advantage of the other significant services that HelpHive provides. It is also making it easier to opt out of being listed at all.

“Our focus is on helping businesses get new customers to sustain and grow their businesses,” says the company on its blog. “We HAVE NOT and ARE NOT trying to sell businesses their own customers — in fact, our program specifically and explicitly enables businesses to mark referrals as NOT QUALIFIED because they are existing customers.”

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