There are lies and then there are stupid lies. The folks at AlwaysOn seem to have missed the memo about how to market to people in 2011. They sent me not one, but 2 emails containing the same deception from 2 different people. I don’t know if it’s the work of an overzealous email marketing “guru” or just folks that don’t understand the new rules of marketing. For a company that claims they “helped ignite the social media revolution” someone at their company seems to have lost their way.
Yesterday I received an email from Grant (last name removed) – VP of AlwaysOn that had this subject:

Brad, a CEO/Founder presentation opportunity at OnMedia

Wow, that’s exciting. The powerful media folks at AlwaysOn want little ole me to speak at their OnMedia conference?

The email began with this sentence:

Grant (last name removed) here—Vice President of AlwaysOn. I was referred to you by a couple of your investors who asked me to follow-up.

Holy cow, they discussed this with my investors and they in turn said I should talk to Grant about this opportunity? Now, this is getting serious. I can’t believe I am being chosen to speak at this great conference and discuss my startup… This could be our big break and my investors are great folks for helping to make this happen. I think I’ll send them a fruit basket!

Then, it gets better, because tonight I got an email from the other “Vice President of AlwaysOn” in New York – Shannon and these folks at AlwaysOn are really in sync. Look at the uncanny similarities in their subject lines and first sentence!

Brad, a CEO/Founder presentation opportunity at OnMedia NYC

Shannon (last name removed) here—Vice President of AlwaysOn. I was referred to you by a couple of your investors who asked me to follow-up.

Wow! Not one, but two invitations to speak in 2 days and my east coast investors told Shannon to talk to me about presenting at their NYC conference. Now, I need to order another fruit basket.

One big giant problem though… I don’t know where to send the fruit baskets!

Dear Shannon, Grant, and AlwaysOn founder Tony Perkins, could you please give me a call or send me an email with my investors’ address and NAMES, since I don’t know who they are? If you could also ask them where they wired the funds for my first round, that would be a big help as well, because…

I don’t have any frigging investors!

So, folks like me with no investors that got this email knew immediately that it was a lie, but almost worse is the fact that those that do have investors just need to have a casual conversation about the “opportunity” with their investors and they then too know it’s a lie and a misrepresentation of their VCs. It really is beyond explanation that a company so tied in and savvy to the ways of the tech world would not have any better sense than to send this email.

It’s an overall slimy sales email anyway that doesn’t have any place in 2011 marketing or sales because it’s a bait and switch. The subject makes you think you are getting an opportunity, when in fact the language later in the email makes it obvious to those with any experience in the world of business, that there will be a fee for the opportunity.

This post is meant to make a few points:

  • BS marketing is dead. If you don’t have anything of value to offer or can’t figure out a way to sell it with truth, then quit or change what you do.
  • BS marketing that is so easily disproven means either you think we are idiots or you are too stupid to see how transparent your deception is. Either way it doesn’t send a positive signal and it’s pretty insulting.
  • Desperation stinks. Not only are we disturbed by deception, but we also then begin to think you are desperate and you lose even more credibility.
  • Lie to me once and I’ll never believe you again.

I wonder how the VC community feels about this misrepresentation of their collective activities.