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Are Build Magazine Awards legit or scam?

Yesterday we received an email from Dan A. of BUILD Magazine (build-news.com) congratulating us on our winning of one of their awards. It came out of the blue, he admits, and it was an interesting surprise for us, because it made some unwarranted assumptions about us and our business.

We’d just like to point out that not only we consider the business model BUILD Magazine follows to make profit controversial – awarding us without merit and inviting us to pay for the trophy, they are also taking actions that we deem as unethical to protect that model, as they have submitted a take-down request to Google in the form of a “Defamation Complaint” in which it’s requested that this very article is removed from search results on the grounds that “is having a negative affect on the publication’s reputation”.

What AI Global Media should bear in mind is that, among other legal characteristics, a statement must be false in order for it to be considered defamation, which clearly is not the case here: we have actually received a number of awards from them without merit and then invited to pay for trophies, as we have proved below.

The fact that they requested Google to remove our legitimate article (and others) from search results does more to confirm than infirm our conclusion that they are conducting their business in a way that can be considered unethical.

We published another article here where we speak about the other awards we received from BUILD Magazine (we received a total of three, judging by the emails we kept) and where we give evidence that these actually exist and were completely unwarranted in our case, thus qualifying as vanity awards.

 

So, short answer: we can’t tell if the BUILD Magazine Awards are a scam, but we received an award for invented reasons and we were invited to pay up to £2,595 (why that fiver?) to advertise the winning in their magazine. BUILD Magazine is one of the magazines owned by AI Global Media which offer such awards. Please read below.

  1. We’re defining the world
  2. We’ve had a spectacular journey
  3. Winning prizes costs us money
  4. Vanity awards

1. We’re defining the world

He starts by saying that their research team (a vague term, meaning no recognised authority) has put House Extension Designs forward as a winner in their Defining the World, 2016 awards.

He goes with making an appeal to the importance of having a good public reputation using a what it looks like a classic FUD (Fear, uncertainty and doubt) argument, basically a disinformation strategy used in (but certainly not limited to) sales, marketing and politics meant to emphasise the negative aspects (or make false claims) about a situation or argument and appeal to fear in order to convince people to do or not to do something. In our case, is arguing that since reputation is an important aspect of this sector – no reputation, no clients, no money and this sector is taking hits (as we know, he reminds us) – if we haven’t already, we may take such a hit any time now, we deserve a prize for pulling through.

This award, therefore, is for our work over the last 5 years that have really made an impact on the industry.

Seriously? An impact on the industry?

Well, that’s nice. We have certainly worked our elbows off and made an impact somewhere along the way, but we’re not nearly there in terms of how much we influenced the industry. And, what’s funnier, we didn’t even try to do that. Our niche is rather well defined, we work with a fine architect who knows her thing very well and delivers like the pro she is.

2. We’ve had a spectacular journey

Dan of BUILD Magazine continues, he says that their in-house awards are administered by their dedicated research team who’s put a lot of work into creating some well documented lists of companies like us who did a great job and now they wanted to shine the light on the most respected firms out there in this industry.

House Extension Designs London has had a spectacular and impressive journey, and has defined a pathway for future firms to follow and become successful. As rightful leader in your practice, our readers are keen to hear about the top firms around the globe in this industry. We want to present House Extension Designs London in our publication and showcase your services, missions and achievements on a global level.

See, this is how we know that if it’s not a scam it is at least a poorly planned strategy for BUILD Magazine to make money and not actually bring value to their readers and to the architecture and construction markets by helping everybody determine why House Extension Designs is worth their time and money. We wouldn’t want to pay a subscription to a magazine that gives away awards to random companies they find online, as if they know what’s happening with those entities, how well they perform in terms of the quality of their work.

It’s true, our journey so far has been impressive, but only for us. The market barely knows about us – and if it does, it because of the guys we hired to do the SEO and keep an eye on our web results, our clients are mostly home-owners, we haven’t created any ground breaking architectural models and designs, we surely haven’t defined a pathway for future firms to follow and become successful. We’re a small fish in a large, highly competitive ocean. We are not a leader in our practice as much as we’d love to be. And BUILD Magazine’s readers don’t want to know about us, unless we’re going to bring something new to their tables.

(Which we believe we do. We work at lower prices than the market average simply because we can afford it. For now, at least. But that’s a different story.)

3. Winning prizes costs us money

The delusion of grandeur and prize winning for doing a job well isn’t our thing. We’re set on drawing house extension designs and we work with various building companies and engineers to implement those designs, we try to be good at it and so far we’ve done a fine job, but that’s all we do for now.

We usually work with home owners, many of which are not happy to share pictures of their private houses online and we didn’t do much to convince them either. There’s very little chance that entities such as BUILD Magazine would know how well we did and what impact we actually had in the past 5 years unless they spoke with our clients.

What they did with this message is called fishing in our books, they’re sending this sort of emails to many companies and hope some will take on their not-quite-earned awards and pay for the announcement.

They are hoping to create value where there is little or none by claiming they know what they’re talking about when, as a matter of fact, they really don’t know how and where we stand within the industry. Just like CIO Magazine does. Just like companies like Gartner do in a way, by positioning themselves in a place where they make bold judgements and market predictions that turn out to be wrong and charge many willing companies along the way, either to be included as a recommended solution for a problem (albeit indirectly – and they sure make a big case of that) or to offer consultations on how to deal with various problems. Other analysts are just as good. It’s a business model that we don’t want to encourage. Educated guesses are still guesses and the profit margins for guessing should be adjusted to reality.

They also hope we’d give in to our ego-driven rationale, that we are in fact good (which it’s true, people) and that we do deserve recognition for our hard work, so we might as well take the award and pay them up to £2,595 (cheaper options exist as well) to announce it in their magazine. Like many companies did in 2015 for one of their awards, here: build-news.com/2015-architecture . So many that being or not included there wouldn’t make much difference anyway.

No, thank you. We’re good for now. Us being so incredible and all means we’d probably agree if they’d offer us £500 / year to place an advertisement banner to a real product, their magazine that is.

4. Vanity awards

This scheme is called a vanity award scheme and it’s considered a form of scam by some organisations, like the Better Business Bureau, who has been issuing warnings against it for some time now. Read more on the entrepreneur.com and Wikipedia.


  • 20-12-2016: Edited the name of the person who emailed us, for privacy reasons.
  • 05-04-2017: Added links on headings, reformulated some phrases, added summary and the yellow text box.
  • 07-06-2017: Added the green box, where we mention that AI Global Media has unsuccessfully attempted to remove this article from Google search restults.
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  32 comments for “Are Build Magazine Awards legit or scam?

  1. Cathy Lombard
    September 28, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    I had a very similar reaction when my employer also won the Defining the World, 2016 award. I wanted to be flattered, but I just could not believe that a four man plumbing operation in Minnesota impressed a group of experts in London.

    We do an excellent job for a fair price. We are super busy even though we never spend a penny on advertising. (There is a connection between those sentences.) But we are not, by any definition, defining the world.

    Rather than forking over thousands of pounds to Build Magazine so they can improve my reputation, I think I will pay my vendors and maintain my current reputation.

  2. Alex
    October 10, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    And there was me thinking we’d won it?

  3. Caroline
    October 11, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Surprise surprise, we have received TWO nominations for two different awards in one week! Funny enough both companies are based at the same address and share the same phone number – BUILD Magazine and Middle Market Monthly.
    One nomination I could believe but this was a bit of a farce. Funny enough, when questioned on the phone, the troubled lady from Build Magazine didn’t have anything clever to say about the other company…. Avoid and focus on respected and well-known awards!

  4. October 27, 2016 at 6:13 am

    Oh, that’s a ridiculous amount of money for an award! It is quite appalling that there are people in the architecture industry who exist to do that sort of thing.

  5. G Pressley
    October 27, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    I know it is a scam, they have just emailed me to say they have surplus stocks of the award and we can have it for the bargain basement price of £200 plus VAT!!!!

  6. Joel
    November 14, 2016 at 2:24 am

    That Dan Armshaw keeps sending us email that reminding us that we won an award and our so called certificate is sitting at his desk for a very long time.

    He also insisting that we’re a boring/tunneling company. I just want to laugh so hard.

    Dan, if you’re reading this, if you’re reading this message, make sure that your “researchers” know what they’re researching.

  7. November 16, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    It extends to the cleaning industry as well. We have just won their award for Office Cleaners of the year – North England. Which would have been fine but we are based in the south !
    But I will still be advertising to new client enquiries that we won the award (will just leave out the North bit)

  8. Michael Halliwell
    November 25, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    My firm has nothing to do with house building…but we apparently won too. Full on scam.

  9. Rob Wesley
    December 2, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    My company just won the “Technology Firm of the Year” and is the “exclusive winner from the USA”. “the standout firms in their class, judging on growth, innovation, client ROI and more.” Too bad it’s been mothballed since 2008 and isn’t currently in operation.

  10. Gabrielle Robinson
    December 7, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    We’ve won in prior sessions as well. I actually proceeded all the way through using their free option on one award, thinking maybe I could scam the scammers. I was so hoping we would be mentioned in their magazine, for free, as a the best sustainable architecture firm in the Washington. Once the magazine was put out I saw now mention of us. Turns out they have a separate awards issue, with only the winners who offered to pay included, and no other industry stories, editorials etc. I dont even know who receives this “special issue” other than the winners. The online edition was only firm profiles on those that paid. I dont understand the value of buying terrible publicity, or buying a rather fake trophy. I too was flattered and hopeful. I hope Daniel [Edited], Hanna [Edited], and Kaven [Edited] are ashamed of their company and its scam.

  11. December 8, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Looks like they are at it again. Again this year we have won, again. Our business is in Oman and Dubai. Infrastructure Awards – Best Infrastructure Project Management Consultancy & Recognized Leaders in Construction & Engineering Dispute Resolutions. Though, to be fair we are one of a VERY small handful of businesses that are in this line of business. The cost for us to accept this is £195 + £ 15 shipping. How did this company in the UK find us, and how was or is the evaluation done – there is no mention of our company or any other company on their website – I find this very unusual. We have hosted award ceremonies ‘The big project awards’ in Dubai but we never charged people to accept their trophies and the previous winners are all named on the official website of the ‘big project awards’ website.

  12. Paul
    December 20, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    Just won the Technology company of the year award from BUILD, to add to my recently acquired ‘Technology Development and Consultancy of the Year’ from both TMT News and Acquisition International. It’s been a hell of a year. They’ve clearly done their homework too, since we’re extremely niche and work on Government projects – broadcasting no details whatsoever. Cobblers.

  13. Tim
    December 21, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    You can’t have won those, Paul. Cos I’ve won them. I don’t want to give too much away, but the £2,995+VAT fee seems absurdly cheap considering all the gr8 coverage we’ll get. That we have to pay postage and packing on top if we want to receive our IMPRESSIVE CRYSTAL TROPHY only seems fair. I don’t suppose those things shift themselves.

  14. Dean
    January 5, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    It is a sad reality that many organisations have fell into the trap of paying for their advertisements which are essentially pointless. It’s a mere marketing ploy, but with a different approach to try and convince you that you have won a “sought-after” award (despite many of these “awards” never been run before). It’s a complete SCAM! As many on here have mentioned, if you don’t pursue with paying (despite being told all winners get a free press release) there is no mention of your company anywhere in the publication. It’s also interesting that they don’t boast their circulation anywhere, because I should imagine it’s extremely small; this magazine is not legit, recognised or respected in the industry whatsoever.

    • Arthur Mason
      February 21, 2017 at 8:33 pm

      Just over 110,00 apparently, – according to DANIEL H[edited] who attempted to relieve me of £495.

  15. Pamela Vernaus
    January 5, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    We just got nominated by Acquisition International or International Acquisition for world business leader. Sadly we are a niche television network with no more than 100 employees and are a non-for profit. There were a lot of type o’s in the email as well.

  16. Ms Mug
    January 24, 2017 at 12:05 am

    Oh no, I’ve won (or have I) two awards this year. Will not be coughing up for those awards, editorial, etc.

  17. OAM
    February 3, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Wow! Glad I Google’d these awards…considered submitting an entry but sounds like we’ll get shortlisted without (just like the rest of the country!)

  18. Ian Best
    February 9, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Dan H. [edited] from BUILD contacted me to say that I had made the Top 50, but I’d have to pay 395 sterling for advertising!

  19. Arthur Mason
    February 21, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    FLATTERED! The awards team have named me UK’s winner in the Engineering Excellence Award category, – who wouldn’t be flattered!? So I get a complimentary winner’s certificate and full copyright to the award logo, free! So, what is “BUILD”? – well apparently it is distributed to just over110,000 subscribers, – executives, directors, technical managers, etc in the construction , engineering, architecture and design sectors, – and for £495 I can have a full 2-page spread, a full-page ad in an issue of my choice, and a personalised crystal trophy & digital logo! Nice!- I wonder just how much they know about my one-man band that specialises in a particular field of vintage aircraft restoration!? Thank you DANIEL H[edited], – not interested, – BBC’s “Watchdog” might be!!

  20. S. Lyne
    March 10, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    I received a message from TMT News last year, which, as I found out, is owned by the same company that owns Build News. This “newspaper” is owned by Ai Global Media. If you do a quick online research about Ai Global Media you’ll learn that they have a number of such magazines which graciously offer awards in exchange for money. I really can’t say much about the “methodology” they use to establish which companies truly deserve an award since such methodology is not public (I may be wrong, I just couldn’t find anything clear) and, therefore, can’t be trusted as far as I’m concerned.

    It is, as the author mentioned, a vanity award scheme. If fact, if you go to Wikipedia and look for this vanity award scheme, you will find Ai Global Media mentioned there, as it’s a known business model and it can be profitable if few or no people speak about it.

    It’s a pity, in my humble opinion, that we encouraged this sort of business model to thrive, but I guess we can only blame those who actually pay for those awards (and, my God, they are so many!) for trying to fool their clients that these awards are actually worth anything and they themselves are being praised for something.

  21. VM
    April 2, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    I know I have no basis for not to believing your frustrations, but can any of you prove that you have actually received these emails (with email headers)? And if you can, would you be willing to post them on Pastebin.com (without any personal information regarding individuals) and link to them here or maybe by email?

    Thanks.

    Markus

    • Leon Abrien
      April 5, 2017 at 10:46 am

      I can. Please see the updated article during the course of the day.

      Edit (10.05.2017): for convenience, here’s the article.

      • VM
        May 10, 2017 at 2:16 pm

        Thanks Leon, that’s perfect!

    • Rosie
      May 8, 2017 at 8:45 am

      Hi Markus,

      I’ve just received an email – and being the pessimist that I am, hopped on Google to investigate the legitimacy of these ‘Build Magazine Awards’. I’m happy to pop something on Pastebin and email the link to you.

      • VM
        May 10, 2017 at 2:17 pm

        Hi Rosie, I’d rather not put down my email address in public, but I would appreciate it if you could reply here with a link to the Pastebin copy-pasta. Thanks again!

        • John Mann
          June 12, 2017 at 7:37 pm

          Hi, I actually worked for them and know the whole scam if you are interested to know ?

  22. Joe
    May 8, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Bogus awards with zero credibility

  23. DB
    June 6, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    WOW!

    These guys are really going the extra mile to remove unflattering comments and legitimate complaints about their activities online. This article and whole bunch of others have been submitted to Google to be removed from search results, claiming that they’re defamatory, as if complaining about a practice that may be considered unethical automatically means people are trying to damage their reputation: https://www.lumendatabase.org/notices/13260993

    I can only be happy that they haven’t removed it, because I was about to pay for one of the AI Global Media “awards”, but I decided to google about the company beforehand and I found this post and a few others.

    • Leon Abrien
      June 7, 2017 at 11:45 am

      Thanks for the find and the comment, DB! I can’t believe they did that.

  24. Justin P
    June 8, 2017 at 4:58 am

    I’ve been receiving a few of these lately.. My first impression is that as we’re in Australia, what use is an award to us in a magazine that is in the UK. All the details in his email sound dodgy to me.. judged by an internal panel (more like a spam bot set to hit as many email accounts as possible).

    Hi, I hope this finds you well.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this. My name’s Alex, and I’m writing from Build Magazine to let you know that our in-house team have chosen XXXXX as the winner for Victoria in our 2017 Building Excellence awards.

    The award is entirely run and judged by our internal panel, who have spent the time leading up to the award putting together a careful shortlist of building companies across Australia, ranging from new and single-office contractors to multinational conglomerates and everything in between: the candidates were judged on merit, looking at criteria including business performance, growth, innovation, client satisfaction, project turnaround and more.

    As a winner, you’re automatically entitled to a complimentary digital certificate and free use of your title and the award logo to use however you like in your own promotional channels.

    There’s also the option of an in-depth inclusion in Build magazine; we have a wide-ranging B2B distribution of over 110,000 executives, business owners and project managers throughout the construction sector, which makes this a great opportunity to really showcase what you bring to the table.

    If this is something you’d be interested in, I’ve detailed our core packages for you below:

    Option #1 – 1350 AUD (‘Pay Now Price’ – 1100 AUD)

    • The issue’s full front cover image and headline
    • A double-page feature (1800 words)
    • A full-page advertisement (A4: 210 x 297 mm)
    • A personalised crystal trophy and digital logo
    Option #2 – 500 AUD (‘Pay Now Price’ – 400 AUD)

    • A supporting cover headline and image
    • A full-page feature (900 words)
    • A full-page advertisement (A4: 210 x 297 mm)
    Do note that P&P is applied to all orders containing trophies. VAT is also applied where appropriate; otherwise our £15 GBP international processing fee is added.

    Pay now price: pay within 48 hours of receipt of the invoice and get a discount on our usual prices. For everything else, payment terms are 30 days from receipt of the initial invoice. There is a 30-day turnaround on all booking from initial agreement to publication.

    If you’d like any more information on the award or the options available, then don’t hesitate to get in touch. Alternatively, if you’d like to move forward with one of the options above just reply confirming the option you’d like and quoting “agreed at” and the cost (e.g. “Option 2: agreed at 500 AUD”) – or if you’d like to take the ‘pay now’ option, simply reply quoting the lower cost. After that, I’ll get you booked into our system and pass you through to our editorial team who will be in touch with a production schedule to get started.

    In the meantime, I hope you have a great week and I look forward to hearing back from you.

    Kind regards,

    Alex B
    Features and Media Executive
    Build Magazine

    T: [Edited]
    A: Floor 1, Suite F, The Maltsters, 1-2 Wetmore Rd, Burton on Trent, Staffordshire, DE14 1LS

    To stop receiving emails of this nature please email us HERE
    Opt out / unsubscribe requests can take up to two working days to complete. You might still receive further emails until this process has been completed.

    All our bookings are bound by terms and conditions available on our website. VAT charged in addition where applicable; where VAT is not applicable a 15 GBP international processing fee will be added. Postage varies by location and is in addition to the listed costs for any order containing trophies.

    This email and any attachments to it may be confidential and are intended solely for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of AI Global Media Ltd.

  25. Da
    June 27, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Hi.

    Has anyone actually tried to purchase any of their packages? If so, has anyone actually received something after purchasing?

    Many thanks.

    Kind regards,

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