Friday 13 February 2009

The Voice - Dear Consumer's Voice

Dear Consumer’s Voice

I received an email from someone I didn’t know which said:

“I was refered by Mark who suggested I contact you regarding a free listing on our new website. Personally I dont think the timing can be any better. The world is on the brink of a recession and you have a choice - cut costs and shrink your business OR grow your sales.”

It described how “In the world of direct marketing, vouchers are the most visible type of offer made to generate a response or motivate prospects and customers to take action. They're a direct incentive for prospects to visit or call you. And once you have a customer in front of you, you can sell more, inquire more and work on creating a lasting relationship.”

“We have launched a new electronic discount voucher service on the web called Mawandi Hyper Discount Store. Via this platform to help you distribute your discount deals, bargains, vouchers and competitions to thousands of South Africans.”

It went on about these vouchers and how they can help me to boost my business. Apparently consumers would get a voucher, although it wasn’t clear how they would get them, and the voucher would encourage them to buy things from me as a result.

Do you think this sounds legitimate? Should I respond?

No, I don’t think you should.

There are several curious things about the email you received. Firstly it came from a Gmail email account. There’s nothing wrong with Gmail accounts, many people have one but they are not the sign of a legitimate business.

Then there’s the introduction. It said “I was refered by Mark who suggested I contact you”. Which Mark? Who on Earth is he? Also did you notice the spelling mistake? Later on in the email there were other spelling mistakes. Again, not the sign of a very professional company.

Then there is the lack of real detail on how this would work. A truly useful business idea would be simple to understand and not just a series of hints, veiled promises and vague ideas.

Then there’s the research you can do. Go to the Internet and search for “Mawandi Hyper Discount Store” and guess what you find? On a South African web site you find an entry which says:

“Direct Sales - Earn R9360 Per Month. Mawandi Hyper Discount Store provides you the opportunity that could change your financial position forever... You earn a monthly commission of 20% every month from those advertisers/customers recruited by yourself. ”

Here we go again. This is a rather feeble direct selling scheme with a very dubious web site selling virtually nothing at all. You won’t make any money from this silly scheme. Delete the email and tell all your friends not to fall for it either!

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