In December, Outskirts Press — the vanity publisher I love to hate — issued a press release that said:
Outskirts Press, Inc. Receives 2009 Best of Business Award
Small Business Commerce Association’s Award Honors the Achievement
Outskirts Press, Inc. has been selected for the 2009 Best of Business Award in the Publishing category [That’s not true. The default award is for “business services.” There is no publishing category. Outskirts could have typed in street sweeping, prostitution, burglary, heart surgery or anything.] by the Small Business Commerce Association (SBCA).
The SBCA 2009 Award Program recognizes the top 5% of small businesses throughout the country. Using consumer feedback, the SBCA identifies companies that we believe have demonstrated what makes small businesses a vital part of the American economy. The selection committee chooses the award winners from nominees based off information taken from monthly surveys administered by the SBCA, a review of consumer rankings, and other consumer reports. Award winners are a valuable asset to their community and exemplify what makes small businesses great.
————-Basically, the Small Business Commerce Association poses as a national version of your local Chamber of Commerce. Its main agenda is to sell awards to enhance the walls, tables and egos of its honorees.
Last fall, yours truly received email for AbleComm (my full-time business) saying:
“The Small Business Commerce Association (SBCA) is pleased to announce that AbleComm Inc has been selected for the 2009 Best of Business Award in the Business Services category. The SBCA Best of Business Award Program recognizes the best of small businesses throughout the country. Using consumer feedback and other research, the SBCA identifies companies that we believe have demonstrated what makes small businesses a vital part of the American economy. The selection committee chooses the award winners from nominees based off information taken from monthly surveys administered by the SBCA, a review of consumer rankings, and other consumer reports. Award winners are a valuable asset to their community and exemplify what makes small businesses great. A copy of the press release is available on the SBCA awards website listed below. SBCA herby grants AbleComm Inc a non-exclusive, revocable, license to use, copy, publish, stream, publicly display, reformat, excerpt, and distribute this press release. If you desire, a 2009 Best of Business Award has been designed for your place of business and can be obtained by pressing the receive awards tab while retrieving your press release from the SBCA awards website. Additionally, a Web Logo proclaiming your 2009 Best of Business Award selection can be obtained through our website as well.”
I had my choice of paying $57.57 for a plaque, $117.97 for a trophy, or $157.97 for both. The Outskirts press release shows a trophy design copied from the SBCA website, so Outskirts may not have actually spent any money for a physical trophy. Up above I show a customized trophy for my publishing company with the geographic area expanded from my city to the entire country. The third item is an award for HBO’s Tony Soprano, recognizing his business services in “New Joisey.”
Just like inept Outskirts picked the wrong category for its Inc. 500 award, it foolishly accepted its little hometown of Parker, Colorado to be displayed on the trophy. For the same price, instead of being the best publisher in Parker, Outskirts could have displayed a phony award that proclaims it to be the best in Colorado, or the United States, the planet Earth or the entire Milky Way Galaxy!
(What follows is from the Better Business Bureau) Recent emails notifying businesses that they have won “prestigious awards” from a national association appear to be part of a widespread scheme designed to get companies to pay for “vanity” awards and plaques. Once the award code entered into the organization’s website, it is revealed that in order to receive this award the business must pay $57.00 to $150.00.
BBB has requested basic information from this company and has received no response. Specifically, BBB asked what publication or places were the award winners displayed and why it is not stated in the email to the businesses that they must pay for their award.Among the winners were a discount driving school in Maryland, a tattoo removal clinic in California, a bagpipe player in Arizona and a “laser tag family fun center” in Louisiana. Other award winners were in categories such as “astrologers,” “disc jockeys,” “tanning salons,” and “artificial waterfalls.”
PS: The number of news media that published the Outskirts press release is ONE.
Oops! I’m sorry, folks, but the number should probably be ZERO.
That alleged news medium that published the press release, called Self Publishing News, is actually a blog produced by (drum roll please) Outskirts Press.
So, we have a vanity publisher, using its own vanity blog to publish a vanity press release bragging about a vanity trophy.
I couldn’t make this up.