18 thoughts on “When cheap marketing is just a ‘cheap trick’”

  1. I’d really like to hear what the community has to say about this.
    I mean let’s start a debate about that. What do you think about cheap marketing? Give us another angle to this story.
    And TrialIPO, it’s never late. you can always fix the situation.
    Believe me you’ll get rewarded once you’ll get more involved and get more personal with us.
    Cheap marketing tricks leads you nowhere, I can reassure you.

    So _This is a call to all Found|Readers_ !}

  2. Dear Mr. Benayoun,

    Please don’t target my account, I created an account with a picture and a short bio so that I could sound credible to reply to your comments. With all due respect, Found+Read is a renowned portal that I wasn’t aware of until an editor contacted me saying that there were members of the community wanting to see the story of TrialIPO on the site. In fact, we have received an email from a few users saying that they read your comment and were surprised because they signed up only because they found the article worth reading about and wanted to see it on Found+Read and if you read some of the comments you can see users mentioning that they liked the idea and signed up.

    I was astonished myself when I visited the Found+Read website when an editor emailed me to learn that its a startup experience website and why would any start up experience website would write about a start ups service offerings. The editor then asked for my startup experience, which then made sense.

    You can’t automatically assume that TrialIPO got people to blog about the article so that it could be cited in a startup experience website. And I know about TechCrunch and other startup review websites and I didn’t submit my startup to any of those websites because we are expected to launch in a few months and knowing that the website is not yet live, I would never submit it, because I believe in creating innovative products and it takes time to develop something spectacular and the name follows, it doesn’t go the other way. It could be that some fan of our yet to launch website liked it and decided to blog and get more people to blog, in short, word of mouth marketing. That is a possibility.

    In the post above, its mentioned that there was no information about the companys management. Well, its quite obvious and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that we didn’t submit the article. If I were to submit it, I would’ve provided my information, some background and much more.

    I have done enough marketing for a few companies and for my early start ups, and I know it doesn’t work this way, I would never use cheap marketing tactics you suggested that we used.

    Also, before you comment on any website, any article, check your grammar. Its always good to revise. Just an advice.

    In addition, I don’t mean to be harsh to you or anyone on this prominent website either.

    If you have any further questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.

    Abdullah Anwar
    Founder & CEO

  3. Interesting article but i think my point of view will side with the “founder” and you. As a member of this community i find it pretty crummy that someone tries to get free publicity out of us…but the truth is that you are already giving them what they want just by talking about because they want to get Googled and start a buzz around them.
    I had a similar expierence and felt that everyone involved got something positive in return.
    At the previous startup that i worked at i used the same technique…i offered the top 20 of Digg a free trial with JetNumbers.com if they were willing to write about our service. I was looking for an honest review on behalf of of one of them and was willing to give back to them for their service (free trial=$2). To make a long story short Jason Calacanis got wind of this and blew the lid open on users of Digg getting payed for posting spam (this was about the same time JC announced that he was paying people to contribute to Netscape). The focus of the issue was the possible gaming that was going on at Digg. As a consecuence, Digg got more publicity, JetNumbers got about 600 new accounts and got mentioned in WSJ NYTimes CNet Wired Magazine, and the Digg user that helped me got his account back by saying sorry.
    I know some of you may judge me for what I did but like i always said, i never tried to ruffle any feathers, i was just looking for an honest review about our service. In the case of TrialIPO, well first the community of Found/Read should be flattered because people tried gaming you and when that happens, that means that you are a big player and as a recomendation they should have tried posting their stuff at another website because as you pointed out, Our site is about sharing; about founders helping themselves by helping each other . Once they get their product working they should come back and talk with us, but until then they should stick to programming. Thats my humble opinion.}

  4. As i was writing my response to the article, the “CEO” of TrialIPO posted, well he was doing an ok job of defending himself until he began insulting: “Also, before you comment on any website, any article, check your grammar. Its always good to revise. Just an advice.” Well actually the joke is on you…a piece of advice…fool.}

  5. Actually the joke is on you Nathan, the spammer. I have found something on you that you have mentioned. Below is a link to his behavior and he shouldn’t even belong to the community.


    I don’t know if TrialIPO did any of this but all I have to say is this, either them or someone posted the idea but didn’t do much harm, but you Nathan, you bought people. You should be ashamed. And I called you a fool because you did it openly. HA!}

  6. Dear abdullah,
    As you may understand. English isnt my native language and I never pretended so.
    I do have lot of grammar mistakes, I try to correct them when I find them and would be more than happy if you’d point them out. I’m a human and I’m here to learn, that wont refrain me from posting.

    Regarding the accusation I’ve put on the table, there are evidences and there is correlation between all the users. My 2 cents is there is 1 or 2 guys under the 15 users who signed up. I may not be a rocket scientist but thats pretty obvious there is something fishy.

    I did stated that I didnt know who’re behind this and I did suspect that you may be linked to this. I might be wrong of course. We’re here to debate it. The fact you signed up, gave a bio and tried to correct me is a good step toward what I call a healthy debate. There will be no casualties since there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    There is one more thing that do rise from this debate, are users of a community (and therefore a part of the brand) responsible for any harm done to this brand in case of cheap marketing? What can you do as a founder when a user of your community decides to over- market your product (might be out of good attention aswell) and cause some harm to your credibility?

    frankly, i’ll be happy if some other users have a look at the comments on the trialIPO idea and either point me if im wrong or not.

    let me know what you think.}

  7. I offered user a free trial…if you did your investigating you would have seen all the email exchanges, i offered a $2 free trial, not to much bribing there! I was not trying to hide anything, i am not ashmed of what i did, I brought it up for the benefit of Adam’s story!!!
    Why would can’t i belong here? I brought out what i had done so that i could contribute to this awesome site with my own expirence, so lets stop with the name calling and discuss the issue at hand.}

  8. I would agree with those that believe the comments posted about TrialIPO seem fishy.
    Something that is interesting is that i agree with the any publicity si good publicity, my case proves that. That is the bottom line, even if it was a small group of people or a well to do “user”…it is really out of the founder’s hands is something like this arises, they can only sit back and watch.}

  9. Dear Mr. Benayoun,

    Thanks for your response. We have started to search our database for names that were used to comment on the story. We have found one potential suspect and the search is still progressing. If we find any similarities we will kindly email the person and tell them to apologize for creating conflicts of interest and will allow him/her to sign up on our website only if they apologize openly and based on responses from the community we will decide if we should grant him/her the account back.

    Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

    Abdullah Anwar}

  10. Regarding this article farooq posted, I do not see where it was stated nathan tried to buy users with some goods of value.
    we can debate the ethics behind this practice but we can also see this happening in lot of businesses and it is common practice.
    What happen when a phone company recruit a well known actor to “push” the product, do you think this actor really love the product? I would say he has been offered enough money to use his influence on people. Same when microsoft hire a big shot bloggers to be an evengelist.

    It is how marketing works in the real world. I cannot really say i’d do what nathan did, but ethic-wise, I am unsure if this is wrong.

    what I do know is that it might infrigue their TOS and its quite understandable why they tried to stop him from doing that.

    what do you think?}

  11. Abdullah,

    Do you see some pattern in the comments?

    what do you think about the fact that as founders we have less control over our brand than before.
    I think that the user generated era has created a state of mind where brand are built of what the users of this said brand says or do.
    Sometime (and in your case too), we (the founders) have little to do when harm is done, and we find ourselves trying to fix other people mess.
    Sometimes, this can also reward you big time.}

  12. Dear Mr. Benayoun,

    We have found the person. We have given him until 4 PM EST to apologize openly, if he does not post a message by then, I will personally post his name.

    With regards to the questions posted above I would say that nowadays user generated content has been rising and at times it can be trusted and sometimes its people trying to bring down a companys reputation or promote it in such ways that it either makes the brand or creates a little negative response. Its always upto the individual to decide what is best.

    If you have any questions or comments let me know.

    Abdullah Anwar}

  13. I am the spammer. I created backup accounts for all intensive purposes. I am an old person at hand and I like new things, new gadgets, new everything. As I live alone, I go through depression. I was on a news portal the other day and read about TrialIPO and wanted to utilize it. I couldn’t wait. I was tired of Facebook and all those new things. ANd I wanted these people to start out quickly. I created accounts so they could realize that there is small group of people wanting to sign up bad enough so that they can launch quickly. I have also submitted their name on other places but i didn’t comment on them , for which i apologize to TrialiPO. For anyone, 4-5 months is a lot to wait. I exposed myself because I want to retain my account at TrialIPO, I had received an email from TrialIPO saying they will expose me if I didn’t expose myself as quicky as possible and they said the decision is upto the commuity. If they say yes i will have my account and if no then there is now way i could create an account. Please forgive me for spamming and I extremely apologize to TrialIPO for what I have turned their article into. I am addicted to the internet. Please make the right decision.}

  14. Abdullah,
    thanks for your stepping up with your responses, but you don’ t need to feign ignorance.

    “Found+Read is a renowned portal that I wasn’t aware of until an editor contacted me saying that there were members of the community wanting to see the story of TrialIPO on the site.”

    This just isnt credible. It seemed very clear that you and your team knew very well about F|R. Now, this is a good thing, not a bad thing.

    So with many thanks to all for the thoughtful discussion, at this point, let’s dispense with the debate about how or why TrialIPO, or it’s independent huckster-fans tried to get publicity for your startup on Found|READ. (It’s great that you’ve demaned an apology from the “unknown” offender, but this misses the point).

    Like I said in my email to you– we’re not interested in a piece on the wonders of TrialIPO. We want to hear from you about your experiences as a founder, with TrialIPO, or your earlier ventures. If you have something to share that is in keeping with the spirit of stories shared here by other founders, by all means– dive in.
    But let’s close the superficial debate about how this ill-fated ploy highlights the lack of quality controls in user-generated content. Cleary the controls – attentive readers – work very well, indeed.

  15. Mr. Razvi,

    I would like you to email me the list of other websites where you have submitted our company. Because, I don’t want a similar negative response. I am astonished. I would like the Found+Read community to decide if Mr. Razvi should be given his account when we launch or not. The decision is yours. And Mr. Razvi, It takes a lot to expose yourself for your unethical behavior. You made the right decision. Let the community decide.

    Abdullah Anwar}

  16. This isn’t oncology; it’s startups. While startups are fun and interesting, I can’t imagine this is worth the energy.}

  17. every one here should read a post on the same site including Adam and Carleen

    On the subject of cheap tricks well i often hear people say ” any publicity is good publicity”. same sentiment was shared by Nathan above. Well there is negative publicity and there is ‘naughty’ publicity. I think naughty publicity works. Negative publicity doesnt.

    As a case in example we did this cheeky email campaign a few days ago where we mailed our friends with a subject line ” we are hiring your boss”. People were asked to mail us the names of their boss and email id. IF we hired them we would give the referral money to him. Read about the email here http://www.mangospring.com/blogs/work/

    The idea of getting paid to get your boss off your back did get us quite a few amused looks and well i would say worked well. It was naughty not negative.

    What happened here with TrialIPO was negative.}

  18. Anuj- thanks for defining what I did, naughty…I know what I did is what I had to do but I never found a word that never made me feel crummy!}

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