This is part one in a two part series of Cherry Bombs, because there are two issues that need addressing.
Let me explain. A week or so ago, I got an email from a woman, who shall remain anonymous, but for these two posts we’ll call “Moxie” (unless she decides to out herself here). Moxie invited me to be a part of her super-duper telesummit.
Now I get invited to do several telesummits a month (as a matter of fact, I’m doing a telesummit next week for David Frey and Maruxa Murphy on sponsorship and you can listen for free) so I put together a list of criteria to make sure it’s a good fit for me.
Some of the criteria may be obvious: match in target market, I’m the only one talking about what I am being asked to speak on, opportunity to list build or make sales, etc.
But there are a couple that may be not too obvious. For example, I HATE formulaic invites to such things. It shows to me a lack of forethought. For example, Moxie said she liked my coaching style.
HUH? Coaching style? I don’t coach! It was obvious this was a ‘script’ she was sending everyone. That ALWAYS makes me curious what they really know about me, or am I on a hit list of people with some clout (a big list of influencers, perhaps)? Now I don’t mind people ‘borrowing’ others’ influence on a target market. After all, that’s smart joint venture marketing. But I think it’s better to be honest about it instead of padding it with flattery and fake familiarity.
And the other criterion I have suggests that she was borrowing my ‘clout.’ This criterion is a deal breaker for me, because it’s wrong on a couple of levels.
What is it? Creating an opt-in page with a ‘star-studded’ cast of speakers, which fails to say that these speakers are not confirmed. That’s right, the list of speakers is just a wish list of big names she is inviting.
This is not the first time I’ve seen this shell game. Usually the web page pulls a bio and a photo from the potential speakers’ website and puts it alongside the other possible speakers, looking like they have all agreed to speak alongside the potential speaker. Now Moxie was smart enough to make the page password protected, unlike many who do this sort of thing, but who knows how many people were given access to it. I’m guessing the dozens of other “invited speakers” saw it.
Here’s why it’s bad:
- You are misleading your target in order to gain their confidence so that they will give you something of value. There’s a name for that: “con game”. In this instance, you are conning you targets by showing them a fake “line up of stars” in the hopes that it will impress them to join the event. If the page was very clear about who has, and hasn’t confirmed, then it would at least be honest persuasion.
- The seemingly benign “copy/paste” action of a photo and bio is copyright infringement. Photos (and other creative works) are generally protected by copyright laws. If you use a piece of work without permission, you are violating the artist’s copyright, and they can, in turn, file a lawsuit against you. And they will likely win. And this includes ‘mock-ups’. A photographer created an image. They own it and license the use to the person in the photo. Images can also be trademarked as well as copyrighted. (For example, Marilyn Monroe’s face is trademarked.) Bios are written by someone and posted on a copyrighted website.
I’m not sure who is advocating this kind of method to get speakers (Ok, I have an idea who it is, as many people I talk to are pointing to one person who tells people to do it this way), but it’s just a bad approach. After all, it’s really about building good, long-term relationships… not just ‘thinking big.’
So when I declined Moxie’s offer, and explained my criteria, she lashed back in a very unexpected way. More on this in my next Cherry Bomb!
In the meantime, what do you think? Should people create mock web pages (live or password protected) without the permission of the potential speakers?