A Sales Piece that Resorts to Trickery

by Ryan M. Healy on January 21, 2013

DNS Services would like me to believe that I owe them $65 for the next year of hosting for this site.

That is why they have sent me a letter that looks like an invoice, complete with payment coupon attached.

Except that it is not an invoice at all. They are merely trying to trick me into thinking it is an invoice so that I will mindlessly pay it.

See for yourself:

fake renewal letter 1 232x300 A Sales Piece that Resorts to Trickery

I’ve added a red arrow to the image to draw your attention to the “disclaimer,” cleverly hidden in the third bullet point of difficult-to-read ALL CAPS text. It says:

This is a solicitation for the order of goods or services, or both, and not a bill, invoice, or statement of account due. You are under no obligation to make any payments on account of this offer unless you accept this offer.

There is a bunch of fine print on the back of the “invoice,” but none of it reveals that this is a solicitation.

The only other text that reveals something amiss is in the bottom right-hand corner of the payment coupon. “Note: DNS Services Inc. is not affiliated with your current name server provider.”

This kind of direct mail is a big turn-off, not to mention borderline criminal. Why doesn’t DNS Services just tell me why their hosting service is better than the one I currently have?

It is probably because they have no advantage. Therefore, they resort to deception and trickery.

While savvy website owners will be unlikely to fall for this sales gimmick, I’m willing to bet that many indiscriminate readers will be taken in.

To learn how to sell your products and services without gimmicks or deception, join my private Copywriting Code membership here:

http://clickora.com/CopywritingCode

-Ryan M. Healy

About Ryan M. Healy

is a direct response copywriter. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like WordStream.com, SmallBizClub.com, and MarketingForSuccess.com.


Want to Write Faster?
If you've ever struggled with the blank screen... or if you just want to write faster than you do today... then this book is for you. It will teach you the secrets of Speed Writing and how to double or triple your daily writing output.  Get my Kindle book for just $2.99 »

{ 8 comments }

Rick De Lima January 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Hey Ryan,

I couldn’t agree with you more. I recently received a similar mail piece from a company telling me to pay now for my domain names.

As it turns out, I almost payed these skank marketers. Fortunately i re-read their crap and realized I don’t even do business with them.

Trickery and treachery like that are deplorable. It’s the kind of BS that make legitimate marketers look bad. And of course it does nothing to bolster the hard won trust of direct response mail recipients.

The scary part is how many readers probably just cut them a check and lost their money in the process.

Companies who market like this should be added to a black list of sleezy marketers that anyone can access online. Might stop some of them if such a thing were available.

Who knows? Could be a new business opportunity for someone.

Take care.
Rick

John Breese January 21, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Funny, for years we’ve had a somewhat similar scam running here in Canada:

http://www.wsimarketingstrategy.com/domain-registry-of-canada-scam/

If you read the small print carefully, you’ll see that they do not claim to be the actual Canadian Government, but rely on visuals to give that exact impression.

Jeremy Reeves January 21, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Pathetic that some companies still resort to that, isn’t it?

John Breese January 21, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I know what you mean! I just heard of this company in Pennsylvania…I think it starts with a “K”…Kaizer maybe?

Anyway, they’re pretending to be a conversion-specialist agency, when it’s really just some dude in his underwear.

Scandalous!

Jeremy Reeves January 21, 2013 at 1:17 pm

LoL oh dear Lord… the Reeves/Breese bashing is moving to Healy’s blog huh?

I do admit though, sometimes in the summer pants are just too hot….

How’s your vegan biz? Poison anyone yet?

Antone Roundy January 21, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Yeah, all kinds of stuff in there to make it look like an invoice:

* They’ve assigned you an account number, although you’ve never opened an account with them.

* It says “payment date – upon receipt”, intended to look like “payment DUE upon receipt” so that you’ll hurry and send a payment off without thinking about it.

* Even the line item name “Managed DNS Backup Business Services” is probably intended to prevent people from thinking too hard about the fact that they’re charging $65 for a domain name registration, which you can get for under $10 elsewhere.

More effective than listing companies like this somewhere (on a list that the kind of people they suck in would be unlikely ever to see) would be their competitors marketing to their customers, pointing out that they’re overcharging by 650%, and probably got them as customers illegitimately in the first place (assuming they even bother transferring your DNS to them when they receive payment!)

Ryan M. Healy January 21, 2013 at 2:44 pm

All good observations, Antone. Yeah, the account number is a particularly clever part of the deception.

John Thomas January 21, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Wow, that is sleazy. Reminds me of those crappy ads from car dealerships you get that say “YOU (MAY) HAVE WON!”

Look, just give me a good reason to not treat you like a commodity and (gasp!) I might not.

But that takes too much work for some folks…

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: