There’s nothing wrong with good ol’ honest advertisement. It’s how you get noticed. But buyer beware: if you’re being told that you’ve been “selected” to be in the top 25 ranked technology providers… for a nominal fee (between $1,000-3,000), then turn and run the other way.
You might recive an email like this, that starts off flattering:
Greetings! I am [Scam-McScamface] from CIO Applications; a business enterprise IT magazine published from the Silicon Valley.
We are presenting the “Top 25 BPM Solution Providers 2017” in our upcoming annual BPM special and it is my pleasure to inform you that [Your company] has been shortlisted to be featured in our prestigious ranking as one of the top BPM Solution Provider in the country.
As a neutral source for technology decision makers to fulfill their business technology/IT solution needs, our efforts are channeled toward connecting the upcoming enterprise BPM vendors with the CIOs so as to engage and showcase their innovative solutions for the enterprises. With a firm focus on Business innovation, the BPM special will map out the top BPM companies for the IT executive audience and equip them with a blueprint of the competitive market scenario to arrive at informed decisions.
We’d like to profile [your company] in a one-page article that demonstrates your ability to develop innovative technology, products, platforms, solutions, methodology, and outstanding customer service in the BPM landscape. The one-pager will provide an in-depth perspective on your solution offerings, strengths and unique proposition to customers worldwide along with a photograph of the CEO. The resulting client engagement will ensure [your company] to secure and convert business leads.
It sounds great, right? Almost like you won something, or at the very least, were hand selected because of your excellence. But how did this company hear about you? Who is their readership? What does being ranked by them mean, anyway? Well, for starters, it means that you have the privilege to PAY THEM MONEY to be featured as a winner!
We encourage you to purchase the right to the re-prints and branding package at $3000 which includes the following benefits:
1. Unlimited digital reprint rights for the one-page profile drafted from the interview with the CEO/Senior management.
2. One full-page prime placement (for greater visibility) color advertisement in any of our editions (You can utilize the ad positions anytime in 2017).
3. [Your company] will also receive the ‘Certificate of Honor’ and the logo of the “Top 25 BPM Solution Providers 2017” which can be utilized in all of your marketing collaterals [sic] as well as displayed prominently on your website.
4. The article will be hosted on our website, hyperlinked to your website.
Once you confirm your participation for the reprint rights package mentioned above, we will schedule a 30-minute interview slot. The profile will be drafted based on the telephonic interview.
So that’s just a fancy way of them asking you to purchase an ad from them… neat. Like I said at the beginning of this article, advertising is fine, it’s a necessity to get your name out there. But you want to spend your advertising dollars smart. That means getting your ads in front of the eyes of the right people, people who could be potential clients. Buying an ad… I mean winning a “Certificate of Honor” award from an organization like CIO will do none of that. Places like this profit from one thing: getting gullible company’s to give them money. After doing some research on CIO, they have spent almost zero time or effort in cultivating a trusted audience; instead, their efforts are strictly aimed at getting people to fork over cash for the privilege to have an add placed in a magazine that nobody reads.
If it sounds like I’m being harsh, know that I’m only doing so for your own good. Competing in a crowded market place can be hard, especially so if you’re a small start up looking for a break. That’s why it upsets me so when I see scam artists like CIO applications taking advantage of that fact. So before you open your wallet for what sounds like a neat privilege, caveat emptor: buyer beware…