Sunday, September 12, 2004

Internet Corporation Listing Service

In the mail I received what looks exactly like a bill with an AT&T-like logo and it comes from something called the "Internet Corporation Listing Service" in San Jose, California. The "bill" is for $35 for "annual website search engine listing". What is this? I thought. I don't remember signing up for this!

A thorough reading led me to the following verbiage amid all the other verbiage, "THIS IS NOT A BILL. THIS IS A SOLICITATION. YOU ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO PAY THE AMOUNT STATED ABOVE UNLESS YOU ACCEPT THIS OFFER". So, why make it look exactly like a bill then? Could it possibly be that the Internet Corporation Listing Service has done some research and found that 2-10% of recipients just pay what they think is a bill? I don't know what the real percentages are but you can bet this company wouldn't be doing this if it didn't work. I can imagine that some clerks in businesses get this bill-like paper, think "must be some advert the guys in marketing did" and just pay it without reading the whole thing. Then some people are just so stupid or paranoid they pay - hoping to stay out of trouble.

The Search Engine Marketers are not too happy about ICLS either.

I've noticed this type of misleading direct mail a lot lately. Disguising your advertising as a bill - hoping to fool some people - is dirty. May you, Internet Corporation Listing Service, receive your karma.

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