In May 2016 I received an email from TMT Media Awards stating that Sol Cinema- my own movie theatre had won an award. They wrote;
'The judges have made their final decision and I am pleased to announce Sol Cinema has won in the 2016 Media Awards! You have been named: Best Mobile Cinema Business - UK'
Great news...until I read into it more and realised that they seemed to have made up a category just so that they could award my cinema. The kicker came when TMT wanted to charge me anything up to £7995 to take out adverts in their own online magazine supplement to highight the award.
'As a distinguished award winner I am sure you will want to share this fantastic news, and to help you to do so, we will be publishing an Award Winners’ magazine'TMT also emailed to inform me that I can also purchase my own winners award- a crystal trophy for only £195 (excluding P&p and VAT). They sent me an example of how it would look. See below.
|A mere £195 plus vat and postage|
So it is just a vanity award. I then discovered that the online platform they use is issuu - a free electronic publishing platform for magazines, catalogs, and newspapers. So it costs them very little to produce. It is clearly a way for TMT to generate income by playing on companies love of an award. So I dismissed but it left a sour taste as I tweeted about it (below)
|My Twitter posting|
They were also asked to fork out thousands of pounds to promote their nomination. One package included;
VIP Package: £4,995 - Limited to one winner only
Main front cover image
4 full pages
Personalised digital winners’ logo
4 crystal awards
12-month web banner on our homepage
Digital bespoke e-brochure
Digital bespoke e-brochure
1 display advert to appear in 4 issues of TMT MagazineThe Vice President of a US marketing company also got in touch asking me if the TMT email they got were from 'the same scamming organization' that I had encountered.
So it appeared I was not alone in thinking this was not right. So I wrote a blog post about my experience which attracted more attention and I gathered shared experiences. Then on November 2nd 2016 I recieved this email from Joey Banh| Digital Marketing Executive, AI Global Media who is connected to the TMT awards.
'We have noticed that you have posted an article for TMT News as a scam and this is within false context. We would like to request that you have this removed as it is defamatory against our brand.
Hello Joey Perhaps you would like to offer another word other than scam and I can consider replacing the word?
He never replied and on November 8th I found that my blog posting has been deleted by Google who wroe;
Google has been notified that content in your blog contains allegedly infringing content that may violate the rights of others and the laws of their country. The infringing content that has been made unavailable can be found at the end of this message. For more information about this removal and how it affects your blog, please visit https://support.google.com/blogger/bin/answer.py?l=en&answer=2402711. The notice that we received, with any personally identifying information removed, will be posted online by a service called Lumen at https://www.lumendatabase.org. You can search for the notice associated with the removal of your content by going to the Lumen page, and entering in the URL of the blog post that was removed. If you have legal questions about this notification, you should consult your legal advisor.
|Google deleted my original blog posting and let this message|
|A screen grab from the google search. The link leads to a deleted posting|
A google search reveals another post about TMT (also known as Ai Global media) awards being a scam. But once clicked the link does not work so I can only assume that TMT have forced the deleting of this post also. (see screen grab above of the original google search).So that is how they ensure that no-one hears any complaints about the TMT awards. I had questioned myself why no-one else has posted their dire experience about this awards scheme. Now I understand. TMT appears to be issuing take down notices on anyone who complains about their practises.
I also found another similar complaint to my own from this company in the USA.
'They are using SPAM with no true basis by which to solicit business. My personal opinion is this is a SCAM and I would not get involved with this firm.'
Anonymous in Miami, FL USA
In response to being awarded the 'Most Innovative Law Firms of 2016 in the USA' the person wrote;
'The funny thing is, my company is not even a law firm so, it is rather obvious that their examination "of the sector in USA" is far from accurate'
A Marketing manager from AI Global later got in touch asking that I include their comments 'in the name of transparency and unbiased argument'
So here is what they have to say;
'we are particularly sorry you feel this way about TMT Magazine and, I think, you may have completely the wrong impression of our publication...We are a magazine that covers news and insight from around the global technology, media and telecoms industries and we also run several award programmes that are designed to publicize the success of companies within their respective fields.'
The way I see it is that awards are given so that TMT can sell advertising. Yes award winners may get a mention somewhere on a TMT affiliated website but if you want a trophy then you have to pay for it. While they don't have to, companies are still being asked to pay large sums of money to advertise their award presentation in an online magazine run by the same people who give the awards. While perhaps perfectly legal, it does appear to prey on the vanity of companies. For nearly a year now, I have received a constant stream of emails from TMT asking me to pay for an advert or a trophy. Six months after I first 'won' the TMT award, I still get emails offering me packages. In December I received an this 'package' so TMT just don't give up
- Single page interview and inclusion in the magazine (approx.900 words)
- A personalised crystal trophy
- A personalised winners logo
- A Personalised winners certificate
- Copyright of the award title
Other bloggers have published about similar schemes and here and also here and here.
In my view, just because it is a regular practise for advertising companies to lure potential customers in with awards, doesn't make it right.
Undercurrents is an award winning alternative news service producing videos of people taking inspiring actions. http://www.undercurrents.org