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Monday 11 May 2009

Michael Price / BizSummits.org unsolicited bulk email

I've had a few of these in the past, but this time my spidey sense was tingling.

Subject: Roger, Website discussion on April 21st.
From: "Pat Weller" pat@mktgalliance.org
Date: Mon, May 11, 2009 1:49 pm

Hi Roger, let me know if you might be interested in attending our
upcoming program, "Does Your Website Produce the Results You Want? How to
Drive Conversions by Writing Better Content" on Monday, April 27th. You
can view the complete details at www.mktgalliance.org/webconversations

Businesses of all sizes can benefit greatly from these ideas that have
proven to work based on experiences with hundreds of websites. Thomas
Young, Internet Marketing Consultant and CEO with Intuitive Websites,
will be making the presentation. He will review conversion strategies,
effective taglines, using captions on photos, how to avoid blocks of text,
bullet items in web copy, how to avoid brochure copy and marketing-speak,
calls to action and more. I hope you and your team will join us.

Best regards,

Pat Weller
Program Director
Marketing Alliance
600 North Park Centre
Seventeenth Floor
Mail back to decline further
Atlanta, GA 30328

Well, I'm not called "Roger" and I can't quite figure out where that came from. The email came from which is the same IP as mktgalliance.org, so that really confirms it as genuine.

A look at the WHOIS details are interesting:

Michael Price (MPrice@BizSummits.org)
1200 Abernathy Rd, 17th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30328

Alright, ten points for having (apparently) genuine contact details (it matches their BBB report), minus several million points for blasting out unsolicited emails to random addresses.

Is it spam? Well, it's certainly unsolicited commercial email and in this case it was sent to an email address that didn't actually exist. Annoyingly, it could well be CAN SPAM compliant. But it falls within the scope of the Boulder Pledge so best avoided.

Here are some other domains associated with BizSummits:
  • mybizteleseminars.net
  • customerservicesummit.net
  • theopsbenchmarkalliance.com
  • associationgrowthsummit.net
  • mktgalliance.org
DavesPlanet.net has more information here, the Other Librarian blog indicates that it has been going on for years here, and a Google Search shows just how widespread these unsolicited emails are. Do you really want to do business with a company like this?


Unknown said...

I have attended two of their events over the last year and the quality was exceptional but now that you mention it, I first became aware through an email. Looking back, it also was CAN-SPAM compliant like yours but certainly not the ideal way to get the good word out -- they should send postal flyers like others (but at least the quality was good).

Conrad Longmore said...

Yes, what is really odd about it is that they seem to be a wholly legitimate company that doesn't need to stoop to this sort of marketing tactic.

Unknown said...

Agreed, great events but they definitely need a new marketing manager.

KateS said...

I, too, have taken a teleseminar from BizSummits and was very pleased with the quality of their offering and the exceptional speakers they’re providing. They obviously e-mail invitations to these events using bulk emails (probably from lists)- which is how I found out about it, btw. Frankly, I don't see what's wrong with this? It's no different from other solicitations that we all receive (email, US mail, etc.) - they're just saving trees! Let the quality speak for itself and don't knock something until you've tried it. If you don't want to attend or want future stuff from them, just hit "delete" or completely unsubscribe - isn't that easier than posting a blog!?!?

mikey said...

They're not legit, they took my money and when I went to the "seminar" no one in the building had heard of them.

Unknown said...

Mikey, someone brought your posting to my attention saying you wished a refund. Our customer service searched all our records and they have no registrant named "Mikey", can you let our customer service know your real name so they can immediately process a full refund for you? Just email service [at] bizsummits.org with a cc. to me at mprice [at] bizsummits.org. Also, we have been in this building for over 10 years, just ask the property manager Nancy Helms or Laketra at reception and they can directly verify this. Thank you. -Michael

Conrad Longmore said...

I think I found an answer from the mis-addressed spam. It seems that they have some sort of crawler that visits your site, looks for likely name matches and then tries to email them. In my case, it seemed a coincidence that "Roger" had the same surname as one referenced on the site.. and I remember reading a comment elsewhere that indicated that the same scraping had happened to them.

So, somehow they look at your site, try to find some names and make an educated guess at an email address. Kinda clever and dumb at the same time!