Wednesday, July 25, 2007

This is not a bill. (Marketers beware.)

A while back, I wrote about a couple of overseas companies that send things that look suspiciously like bills for something that's made to sound suspiciously like a trademark registration service.

Just the other day, I received a missive from the Domain Listing Service Corp. that also looked suspiciously like a bill.

When I opened it up, the document that looked suspiciously like a bill listed the domain name of a url I have registered; an official-looking reference number; and a notice date.

To the right hand side of the page - in larger font - were the words "Domain Listing Service."

Hmmmmm, I said to myself, I don't remember registering with any domain listing service other than GoDaddy.

The document started right out with the words "HOW TO MAKE A PAYMENT," then went on to tell me what the payment covers:

  • Domain name submission with 8 key words/phrases to 25 MAJOR search engines
  • Initial search engine submission
  • Quarterly search engine submissions
  • Complete details are located on the Internet at

Then there's more on PAYMENT INFORMATION, which I am asked to remit on or before August 8, 2007.

Current payment details: $65.00.

If I counted correctly, the document uses the word "payment" nine times on this first page. It also uses the word "payable" twice.

Turn the page (or is it payge) over, and there's a bit more use of the words pay/payment/paid. The subscription details are quasi-repeated.

And then there's this:

This Internet Listing offer is provided to millions of websites throughout the United States to enhance their website exposure. THIS IS NOT A BILL. THIS IS A SOLICITATION. YOU ARE UNDER NO OBIGATION TO PAY THE AMOUNT STATED UNLESS YOU ACCEPT THIS OFFER.

Let us face one fact. If, on a direct mail piece, you feel the need to use the words "THIS IS NOT A BILL. THIS IS A SOLICITATION.", you have done your marketing darnedest to make sure that the direct mail piece does, in fact, closely resemble a bill.

I'm sure that there are many people who just go ahead and make the payment. The amount is so little - who doesn't have signing authority for $65? Petty cash, more or less.

I'm also sure that there are a few folks who, having read through the bill, errrrr, solicitation, do find that the service is of interest - maybe even that the approach is clever - and sign up for it.

But I am betting my GoDaddy url - a holding place, nothing on it, why would I want to alert 25 major search engines to it's glorious non-presence to begin with - that there are more of the former than there are of the latter.

Shame on the marketers at DLS Corp for this shabby piece of marketing.

Meanwhile, here's a nice little piece of humbuggery from their About Us page:

Domain Listing Services has found a very cost effective way of making your website seen by more people than ever imagined. The industry norm has always been to take clients money, submit them once to the search engines and forget about them. Domain Listing Services does not forget who keeps us in business.YOU THE CLIENT!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I feel like such a sap, sucker. I just figured this little deal out. I have paid for two years running. I thought I had to pay this fee??? Recently paid by check 6-27-2007. Cashed in 061000146 7-6-2007

$65 down the drain??