Received this “endorsement” a while back on Merchant’s Circle:
Review Atlantis Educational Initiatives Gladly Endorses Referral Institute Atlanta
|“Atlantis Educational Initiatives would like to thank Referral Institute Atlanta for supporting our foundation by listing us as a referral and networking partner on Merchant Circle. We are trying very hard to improve education for our children, won’t you please visit our site at atlantiseducationalinitiatives.org to learn how we are doing this. We need your support so if you would like to endorse, contribute or volunteer, please let us know. Thanks again. The Team at Atlantis Educational Initiatives Atlantis Initiatives, Inc. All Correspondence Should Be Sent To: Professor Paul Tynegate Piehler – Director firstname.lastname@example.org 174 Turnberry Circle New Smyrna Beach, FL, 32168 Phone: (386) 426-6898”|
|Atlantis Educational Initiatives of New Smyrna Beach, FL on March 11, 2011|
So I’ll ask again, “Who’s promoting who?”
I don’t even know where to start with this. While this is a very clever way to communicate with me and create visibility, the truth of the matter is that this is nothing about me and my business and everything about them. That’s not an endorsement. This is using me (and my credibility) as a platform for a solicitation for their organization.
I am on Merchant Circle mainly out of curiosity and as a way to stay informed about various “real time marketing” tools so I can better advise my clients. My observation about Merchant Circle is that most of their members could use a good dose of Referral Institute. While the object of the network is, rightly, to promote your business, I have witnessed more obnoxious self-promotion on this site than on any other. As soon as I accept a connection from someone, I immediately become a prospect. Let the selling begin!
Maybe I’m out of touch with the culture of this on-line community. Probably, because it seems to be a culture of hard-core, make ‘em an offer, cold calling, close ‘em, and do it quick. This certainly isn’t about building relationships and a business community that offers value or mutual support. I suppose I’d be doing the membership a favor if I connected with as many as possible and then spammed them with an offer to enroll in Certified Networker and 6 months of coaching.
Endorsements and testimonials are a powerful way you can help a business and are valuable in attracting new customers. It’s just better when they are about someone other than YOU!
By the way, I thought about deleting the organization’s name and any identifying information but decided I’d leave it in. They’d probably like the additional exposure.