€750.000 per year for some onepager PDF, you can do that too.

scam-3933004_1920

(Image Credits: mohamed Hassan via Pixabay)

Dear Annie BG Mathews,

Dear CIO Applications Europe,

(quote, feb 2020) “I am Annie from CIO Applications Europe magazine and it is my pleasure to inform you that we have pre-screened the top players who have carved a niche in the Information Security arena and have shortlisted them to be featured as one of the “Top 10 Information Security Consulting/Service Companies 2020”, <…> being one of them.”

(quote, apr 2020) “I am Annie from CIO Applications Europe magazine, and it is my pleasure to inform you that we have pre-screened the top players who have carved a niche in the GDPR arena and have shortlisted them to feature as one of the “Top 10 GDPR Consulting/Service Companies 2020”, <…> being one of them.”

Did you also get the same mail  from “CIO Applications Europe”, with their fabulous “Top 10” marketing, asking a small fee of €2500,- to be featured as top-player in the <see below> field, for which you get a fabulous … eh.. 1 single pager PDF. And using their top 10 logo in your marketing.

Top, you make me feel so special!

Just.. ehm… radio couloir says lots of my sector contacts and LinkedIn network contacts got the exact same mail.. So, top 10, my @§§.

Marvelous quick win

Just a bit of 12y-old math says: that is a smart turnover of 25.000 EUR per top 10 published. Knowing that they have published roughly 30 of their “top 10” articles for 2019, this means a quick win of €750.000 on one-pagers only.

The categories they have listed last year:

(Look it up yourself: https://www.google.be/search?q=inurl:cioapplicationseurope.com+%22Top+10%22+%22-+2019%22)

  • Agile Technology, Asset management, Automotive, Blockchain, Blockchain Solutions, Business Intelligence, CEM solution, Contact center, Cognitive consulting, ERP, FinTech Solution, GDPR Solutions, GDPR consulting, IBM Solution, Information Security, IoT solution, IT services management, Legal technology, Mar tech, Microsoft solution, Microsoft Consulting, Procurement, Proptech, Salesforce, Smart City Tech,…

Forgive me if  I forgot another €25.000,- in the 30x Top 10 of 2019 they listed.

But some important categories missing, so you can do that too, some ideas below.

If the “Top 10” on GDPR is completed, you create new categories like “GDPR consulting”, “GDPR legal advice”, “GDPR breach specialist”, “GDPR expert”, “GDPR Services”, that’s another 125K of revenue, easy deal to fill the 1 million bucket.

So, you can buy yourself a list in the Top 10.

So here’s the deal, for 2499 EUR, you can get listed in the 2020 Top 10 spam and scam companies, you get a full A6 print page (special 7pt Wingdings font) with a 3 minute made-up interview with your CSSO. (Chief Spam’n Scam Officer.)

Legit business??

For €2499,- you get an interview, a one pager and a logo for display.

I quote: “We want to work with you towards a single page article after an interview with the senior management projecting the unique story of your company. For a nominal amount of 2,500 Euros, you will own complete print and digital rights to use the pdf of profile in your process of acquiring new clients along with many other prominent benefits like rights to use the Top 10 logo in your communications, single page complimentary advertisement placement and many more which I would love to explain when we connect.

It’s not forbidden to make you a ridiculous offer, but do you really want to sponsor this scam and spam practice and keep it alive?

Fact is, this is not ‘just a spam’ campaign.. It’s setup as legitimate business, at first sight.

You can still ask yourself why CIO Applications “EUROPE” would have a phone number in the US.

#GDPR!

It’s not only about the scam, they are using personal data without notification.

And you can argue they can use “legitimate interest”. Yes, for sure. But still they need to apply article 13 and 14, when collecting personal data. Their privacy notice (https://www.cioapplicationseurope.com/privacy-policy/) is not mentioned in the mail communication, it does not mention how they collect my data and how the process it. Neither do they refer to the required legal GDRP mentions (like DPA contact and so on…).

There is no reference how to file a subject-data access request… you can always spam their marketing department as mentioned in their privacy notice.

So, this could even be a valid reason for contacting your DPA and file a complaint.

I don’t want to unsubscribe to spam mail, because I don’t want to give you just more information if you don’t respect me from the beginning.

What’s the real problem then?

What do you think of a “Top-10” ranking, that is only based on the fee you pay? The first 10 that pay, are in the top 10. Number 11, bad luck. Oh wait, we’ll setup another top 10.

This feels like bribery. And mental pressure.

They send out the requests to new companies, struggling to conquer the market. They make your feel important, but it’s only about the money.

This type of practice puts other legitimate rankings in such a bad daylight… the smell of money on a “Top 10 …something”. This destroys the reputation of other communities, value papers and IT or security sectors. It’s not isolated to this one bad apple.

Be smart

Think. If it doesn’t feel right, it is not right. For a bare €2499,- you can achieve a lot more than a single page PDF and a top 10 logo.

For the same money and the support of a real marketing specialist, and some smart channel management, you can create real impact.

But most important of all, do what you do best. Create impact. Create great stuff, create buzz, let customers tell your story…

Stay out of the pile of bad apples.

#justthinking

One comment

  1. Agreed. Pay-to-play is alive a well, sadly. We avoid it completely. “Create impact. Create great stuff, create buzz, let customers tell your story…” Thank you for exposing this.

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