Bad Marketing Pitch Raises Scam Alert

I use Twitter as a source of interesting articles, sites, and other content. Unusual for Twitter readers, I actually read an incredibly high percentage of posts in my feed (currently about 80% of what’s posted is actually read by me), and that’s without using lists or any service other than the website itself. When I saw the post below, I decided to check it out:

Google mistake Reported by Jill ChristopherI clicked the link, and found myself looking at a marketing pitch for a course on how to get other businesses to pay you to get a listing on Google. After watching for a few minutes, my scam radar starting beeping. One of the images just seemed wrong:

Google Local MapThe map was accompanied with an explanation that the items marked with letters were businesses who had claimed their listings, while those without letters (just a red dot) had not. Money could be made by listing a business for someone who doesn’t know how to do it, and then get paid a maintenance fee to keep up the listing.

This didn’t seem correct, and further investigation showed that the dots are actually for businesses who have ALREADY claimed their listings. The reason some are marked with letters is simply because they’re on the current page of Google listings. Not only that, but there is no maintenance fees to keep up the listing – once you’re listed, you can forget about it. A quick check online directed me to another page, which had the details of the scam, and so I passed it back to Jill in case she didn’t realize she had just posted a scam to her feed (the other posts from her I had read didn’t seem to be scams, after all):

Response to Jill Christopher about the scamPerhaps unsurprisingly, there was no response from Jill regarding her dubious post.

What is interesting, though, is that what triggered the scam alert was an actual lie – that is, what the map represented. Anyone even somewhat informed on Google would be aware that their statement was simply wrong, and therefore everything else claimed in the pitch (which is quite long and includes pop-ups trying to get you to buy a $97 course) is likely erroneous too. While marketing pitches are not always known for their accuracy, they do try to avoid flat-out lying.

Marketing is meant to draw people in, to lure them with the promise of something big, whether income, or a change in a formerly routine task. However, they should not be lying to people, because once the sale goes through, the truth will come out, and you’ll have some upset customers. (While some businesses thrive on negative publicity, it usually is not a recommended course of action.)

So, if you’re planning on creating a marketing pitch, make sure it’s accurate to reality. If it isn’t, someone will find out, and they may then decide to send some negative publicity your way.