If you’ve ever registered a domain name, you’ve probably come across some postal mail, offering to list your website in an online directory. Here’s an example I received recently:
Now, I’m not going to outright call this a scam. You may if you want to. But I imagine that if I paid them their money, they truly would list me somewhere on the internet. I bet they have a “directory” on their website that anyone can visit and view.
But this sort of offer is, of course, specious and suspect. Most people will spend $300 of their advertising budget in better ways than this. This company is engaging in a curious form of marketing, where they simply see who they can get to pay their bills. It’s not quite phishing and not quite panhandling, but smacks of both.
It reminds me of Evaldas Rimasauskas, a gentleman who started sending truthy-looking bills to Google and Facebook, to see if they would pay them. When they did, he sent more and more bills, and collected over $100M before he was caught and indicted.
I’m sure you’re considering the above invoice and thinking, “I would never fall for this nonsense.” That’s good. But this is more about the weakest link in your business. Consider your staff, especially those that open your mail and pay your bills for you. Would any of them rubber-stamp this and pay it without a second thought? If this gives you pause, then perhaps it’s time to have a kind meeting about this topic. Frank conversation and education will defeat this scheme.