I was amused to receive this email spam from the Princeton Premier Registry:
It is my pleasure to inform you that you are being considered for inclusion into the 2008-2009 Princeton Premier Business Leaders and Professionals "Honors Edition" section of the Registry.
The 2008-2009 edition of the Registry will include biographies of the world's most accomplished individuals. Recognition of this kind is an honor shared by thousands of executives and professionals throughout the world each year. Inclusion is considered by many as the single highest mark of achievement.
Upon final confirmation, you will be listed among other accomplished individuals in the Princeton Premier Registry.
For accuracy and publication deadlines, please complete your application form and return it to us within five business day
I recognized right away that was something skeezy. Like others who received this email and blogged about it, I laughed because I've never done anything in my life even remotely that would merit such an apparently prestigious invitation. Like all crappy marketing, it appeals to raw vanity and assumes basic stupidity.
Of course it is not really an invitation and you are not being considered for anything. The link leads to a web page where you give up all your personal information, and then God only knows what happens to it. According to other accounts I've read a pushy obnoxious person phones you and tries to sign you up on the directory for $500 or so.
The sign up form is routed through an email company called Results Mail (http://www.resultsmail.com). They have an unsubscribe button but I always wonder whether clicking on such a button is really safe or not.
The spam technique is fairly simplistic and most people will see through it. What really interests me is why companies think behavior like this will work. The instant these emails start rolling out people start blogging about it or posting their suspicions in forums. If you're in marketing you ignore this phenomena at your own peril. It's a new world now. If you're a douche-bag millions of people will know about it almost immediately.
Check out two examples of bloggers who wrote about this email before I did:
Note the large number of comments in each of these posts. Please recommend this post