Yesterday we received an email from Dan A. of BUILD Magazine (build-review.com, previously 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.
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.
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
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.