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Hilarious little story:

After a bit more back-and-forth about how he could “just answer any questions I had right now”, the sales rep pointed me to their sample ads, a 7mb PDF with sixteen pages of seemingly real companies, all with the same phone number (555-555-5555) and the same website ( Somehow, that didn’t convince me to “invest” several hundred dollars, so the salesman faxed over some more information with a single, real ad.

As I eagerly waited for the follow-up call later that day, I thought I’d take a minute or two to check out their website. Almost immediately, I came across their Federal Procurement Officers Only page. Out of curiosity, I entered a username and password, and then clicked the Login button. Instantly, a JavaScript dialog popped-up…

Link here (via Xavier).

Incidentally, I have a neighbor who is in a similar business — selling “guides” or “special publications” that are basically vehicles to sell ads, and rarely see the light of day or get read. I get calls routinely from these sorts of outfits (there is a very active bunch of companies over in the UK that do this, where a lot of this scam got started).

Caveat emptor: Don’t blow hard-earned marketing money on stupid, bogus publications (no matter how impressive they sound), special technology television shows, inflight technology specials, etc. If you’re going to blow money on marketing, you’re better of going to Vegas. Stick with the core basics that work.

Alex Eckelberry