Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How NOT to attract customers with your junk fax

As a public service to junk fax spammers, I present the following list of things you shouldn't do if you want to attract customers, based on the incredibly dumb fax I pulled off the machine this morning.

Things Not To Do:

1.  Send junk faxes in the first place.

Well, that seems rather obvious, doesn't it?  I mean, it is possible, if you're clueless enough to put your contact information on your fax, for the recipient to sue you (this site shows how).  But let's assume that you've already decided to send your junk fax and deal with the consequences, of which you are sure there will be none.

2a.  Don't put your contact information on the fax except for a toll-free number, or
2b.  Be located somewhere other than the United States.

This just screams out "I am not to be trusted!" for US customers.  Heck, why not just include a solicitation for me to help you get my long-lost relative's money out of Nigeria?  (Aside:  our company actually did just receive a similar fax.  Apparently e-mail is too advanced for some people...)  Let's face it, there are not a lot of things that most companies need for which they need to contact foreign entities.  And that is particularly true for the service offered in today's offending fax (more on that later).

3.  Use misleading information/make your customer think they'll be getting something for nothing.

What, do some companies just not read their faxes before responding with "Golly gee, that sounds like a great idea!" or something?  Today's offender, yellowpage-texas.com (no link--it's not worth it), is offering, of course, the wonderful opportunity to have our company listed on their website.  And even better:  their offer includes free submission to Google!  Um, yeah, the real Yellow Pages (and AT&T's online site, yellowpages.com) already list us, thanks.  And, actually, so does Google.  And it has for years.

Oh, and I didn't mention:  this wonderful submission to this other non-AT&T-or-any-other-reputable-company-that-I-know-of site costs only $89 per month (!!) for two years.  That's rather hidden in the small print.  So, if someone responded to this and thought it was free, they'd be on the hook for $2,136.

Now, if those three items weren't enough, this last one's way over the top:

4.  Use a blatantly insulting gesture as your logo.

Seriously, what were you thinking?  This company decided it would be great to flip AT&T's traditional Yellow Pages logo (and isn't it still trademarked?) upside-down and assume no one would notice.  Well, first of all, if the two fingers are pointing up, it no longer means that you are letting your fingers do the walking (remember that?  I'm old), but also, in some countries, it is a very insulting gesture

The UK, as anyone who has watched Are You Being Served? knows, is one of the countries in which this gesture is seen as an insult.  And where is yellowpage-texas.com's parent company based?  You guessed it:  Manchester, UK.  I'm quite sure that the owners knew what they were doing:  they were basically flipping the bird to prospective clients and assuming no one would notice.

So, there you have it, junk fax senders.  Happy spamming!


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