What is this?

Go on, you can say it. It’s not a trick question. This is spam. Nothing special about it – it’s just your common garden variety “immediate monthly income”, “secrets of millionaires” spam.

What’s surprising (or perhaps not) about it is where it comes from.

Twice a year there is an exhibition put on in London called the Business Startup Exhibition (bStartup). I don’t need to put anything in my diary to remind me about it – I know when it’s coming because it’s preceeded by dozens of phone calls from their sales people trying to sell us a stand.

They don’t understand the concept of CRM software, so the poor guy that’s phoning us has no idea that we’ve already spoken to them 10 times and said “No thanks”.

Apparently they’re just told to search Google for likely targets – sorry, potential exhibitors. As we rank quite well for small business related terms, we get a lot of their calls.

So I’m used to their ear-spam. I just hadn’t realised they’d sunk as low as real spam.

Technically they may argue that I’m on their mailing list and agreed to receive it at some point. Which is probably true. But when you join a “Business Startup Community” and opt in to receive emails, you don’t expect low-quality crap like this that has absolutely sod-all to do with starting a business.

At best it’s a mild annoyance, at worst it tempts someone away fom starting a “real” business and they lose a lot of money on it.

I actually deleted it when it hit my inbox and thought nothing more about it. It was only when someone on Twitter posted an angry message about it that I was reminded about it. Apparently he hadn’t opted in for any mailing lists or joined any communities. He’d just registered his interest in the event.

bStartup: try a bit of quality control and treat your data and community with a bit more respect. Oh, and get some CRM. I’m sure Really Simple Systems will do you a good deal.

PS. This rant has nothing to do with the fact that bStartup are threatening us with a CCJ for cancelling my order for a stand (yes, I crumbled – it didn’t stop the calls though) a couple of days after ordering it  because my wife had the cheek to choose the same weekend to be due to go into labour.

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