Sigh. Are we really this Stupid?
By Ken Magill
Are marketers really so stupid that they’ll buy email lists from someone they’ve never met who prospects them through an email message with little or no contact information?
Apparently, some are. Otherwise messages like one which reached a Magill Report reader last week would stop being sent.
The message referenced a conference the Magill Report reader had recently attended in its subject line. His interest piqued, he opened it.
“If you recall I met you at [a conference] and discussed regards Revenue growth solutions for [reader’s company]. I am writing is to schedule a quick time to discuss Marketing initiatives of [reader’s company] for the year 2010 - 2011.
“If you can let me know of a time for a quick call for 15 to 30 minutes. We can discuss how companies like yours are benefitting from strategic marketing solutions and enhancing their digital marketing initiatives to grow multifold.”
The message went on to offer email appending and list-building services, technology user lists, demand-generation services (where the company claims it will identify decision makers from companies visiting the recipient’s site) and email prospecting campaigns sent on a cost-per-thousand basis.
The message was represented to have come from Eldora Smith. While the recipient had been at the conference referenced in the message, he said he certainly did not meet anyone named Eldora Smith there.
Also, the person who received the message is an executive at a firm that is well known for offering at least one of the services described in Smith’s message. Essentially, she was pitching a competitor.
In the footer of the email, Smith’s company was listed as DB Marketing Group. The message offered no phone number, postal address or Web site URL.
The return email address of the message was Eldora.Smith@authmailer.com. Notice her email domain does not match her company name. It is always suspicious when a company representative’s email domain does not match the company name.
Smith failed to respond to an email from this newsletter asking for her phone number, postal address and Web site URL.
Further, to contact Smith, I resurrected a pseudonym—Shuvitt Inyurass—I created in 2009 to communicate with a Nigerian 419 scammer.
While Smith failed to reply to Shuvitt Inyurass’s request, shortly after I emailed her, ShuvittInyurass@yahoo.com received a message from someone representing himself as James Knights from IT Online Marketing Inc.
“I was reading through your website,” the message began. “We can assist your company with marketing initiatives in 2010. We keep all opt-in emails of your target market. We do consultative selling; we focus on your ROI. We have 60Million+ B2B list with emails. This is the best time to target your clients to expand your market reach. These contacts come with 80% replacement guaranty.”
Shuvitt Inyurass being a fictional character, there is no Web site for Knights to read.
Also, a search for “IT Online Marketing Inc” brought back no results. Knights failed to respond to an email asking for his company’s Web and postal address.
Meanwhile, the source who forwarded Smith’s message to the Magill Report asked her for her contact information and got a response from someone representing himself as Blake Cooper from IT Data Group. His email address was Blakec@itleadsonline.
According to Cooper, IT Data Group is in Texas. An online search for the firm brings back two relevant results, IT Data Group’s home page and Facebook page. IT Data Group’s site lists no postal address. It also has no information on any of its executives.
Moreover, the testimonials on the site do not name the companies employing the people who supposedly gave the testimonials.
Also, a search for “DB Marketing Group,” the company Smith purportedly represented, returned one possibility: Fulfillment Plus Inc, also doing business as DB Marketing Group in Keller, TX. When asked for Eldora Smith, the person who answered the phone at the number listed for Fulfillment Plus said, “You’ve got the wrong number,” and hung up.
Is it possible Cooper’s, Smith’s or Knights’ offers are legitimate? Sure. But why would anyone do business with a company they couldn’t locate and serve with court papers if something went wrong? Cooper failed to respond to an email from this newsletter asking for his firm’s postal address.
These vague pitches must be resulting in sales. Otherwise, they’d stop.
And that they are apparently working is truly a sad comment on the state of email and database marketing.
Marketers who respond to these pitches run a pretty-darn-near 100-percent risk of drawing unacceptably high spam complaints, mailing to a bunch of bad addresses and, as a result, having their servers blacklisted and their messages blocked.
Unfortunately, given that so many marketers’ first question about email is: “Where can I buy lists?” it’s apparently a lesson that has to be taught one ripped-off-and-embarrassed marketer at a time.