Sneaky marketing: heads-up for anyone with an online presence

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Posted Jan 23 2014 by Dave Darby of Lowimpact.org
Bill Hicks

Here’s the incomparably wonderful Bill Hicks on marketing. If you don’t know him, just put his name into YouTube. You’re in for a treat.


So, marketing scams. You all know not to reply to Nigerian scammers offering untold riches (don’t you?). If not (and even if you do), see Scamorama for creative ways to turn the tables on them.

But recently, we’ve been getting emails from lovely people who work for environmental organisations, or teach children about nature, flowers and fluffy bunnies. They surely can’t be scams, can they?
Here’s one, from [email protected]:

Hi,

My name is Daniel and I’m writing to you on behalf of the African American Environmentalist Association.  I just wanted to say thank you for making your Timber building links page https://www.lowimpact.org/linkstimberbuilding.htm

Our Youth Group has found it quite helpful.  Currently, we’re holding community outreach sessions on the weekends.  Right now, we’re teaching the community about gardening.  The kids loved learning about the different kinds of seeds to plant!  Our next step is working to build community Garden log cabin  we can use and one of our members asked me to pass this page along http://www.***.co.uk/Article/Choosing-That-Log-Cabin

If it’s at all possible, could you incorporate her suggestion onto your web page?  I would like to show her (Ashley) that her efforts have reached others outside of the community.

Thank you again for making such a resourceful site.  You’re helping more people then you realize.  Let me know if you get a chance to update it!

Sincerely,
Daniel

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and here’s another, from [email protected]:

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Hi there,

I was looking for helpful knitting-related websites today and came across your Links page (http://lowimpact.org/linksknitting.htm). Just wanted to say thanks for putting this together. I found some great resources on there that I hadn’t seen elsewhere.

While I was browsing your site, I noticed that one of your links was broken: http://knittinghistory.typepad.com/historic_knitting_pattern/. Thought you might want to know!

I also thought I’d pass along another useful resource that you might want to add to your page:

“Ultimate Knitting Resource Guide”
http://www.***.com/knitting-guide.html

I thought your visitors would find it helpful. Let me know what you think – have a great day!

Best wishes,
Mary

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What lovely people! Well no, they’re liars. Not liars like the Nigerian scammers who actually want to rob you, but liars who say that they care about the kinds of things that you care about, when actually, all they want to do is promote the companies that I’ve asterisked out, above (I don’t really want to promote them – they’re just selling the usual rubbish that people don’t need).

Now, if they’d just come out and said: ‘I’m in advertising, and I’d like you to link to my client’s website’, if it was relevant, I might just do it (but probably not).

We’ve been getting these kinds of emails for years. They only seem to be impressed with our links pages, and they’re subtle enough to get you to waste a couple of minutes of your time each time you get one. So from now on, I’m just going to send them a link to this blog post.

You could do the same.

See – did you notice my sneaky marketing technique there? So I’ll be more direct. Please point as many people as you can to this page to warn them about subtle, mendacious marketing emails, so we can increase our hits and provide more people with information to help them escape this nightmarish-rogue-monopoly-corporate bullshit that seems to be eating into every aspect of our lives.

And to Daniel, Mary and all you other sneaky marketers out there, in the words of the great Bill Hicks – ‘kill yourself’.