Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Are the TMT media awards a way to scam media companies?

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.

They wrote;
'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
It wasn't long before other media companies then got in touch with me and I discovered they also faced the same issue. One company told me TMT nominated them as “Best Animation Studio” and were then asked for money for adverts. They labelled it a 'Scam alert'

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
1 display advert to appear in 4 issues of TMT Magazine
The 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.

I replied with the following;
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

The notice that we received, with any personally identifying information removed,
will be posted online by a service called Lumen at
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 wrote;
'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

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

ther bloggers have published about similar schemes and here and also here and here.
In my view, j
ust 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.


TMT Magazine said...

Hi Paul,

On behalf of TMT Magazine, I would like to thank you for airing your opinion on TMT, we are always happy to hear a diversity of thought on how we operate. In this case we are particularly sorry you feel this way about TMT Magazine and, I think, you may have completely the wrong impression of our publication. Please allow me to talk you through our vision of TMT! 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.

We work with many reputable companies that happily accept our awards completely free of charge and they are free to use this accolade as they wish. The option to pay for additional advertising is always an option for anyone as well. At heart we are a magazine and whilst this means we are dedicated to creating interesting and meaningful content for readers it also means we are a way for businesses and companies alike to reach out to those readers.In essence, an advertising platform. Offering these services isn't an unusual practice within the publishing industry.

The online platform we use to host our digital magazine, Issuu, has a free option but also has paid options that we utilize. Issuu is following the same basic ideals as us, a completely free option with completely optional paid enhancements, except with us we are awarding recognition and the chance to freely promote that, with an additional option to pay in order to reach our readers about the company’s success and recognition with professionally curated content, design and promotion.

In regards to removing defamatory material from Google search results, this process is vetted by Google themselves and the decision lies completely with them, you are perfectly within your rights to appeal any decision made by Google and I can assure you this is the first time, as a publication, we've had to look into means of removing a search result from Google. Whilst we accept any criticisms and feedback from our readers and take all of that on board, the previous article you posted did have an effect on our day to day business activities by stating false information and within laws in the UK we were within our rights to request the result to be removed from Google search results. I would now reference the false information from your previous article but it would appear that it has been removed from your blog. I would like to stress that a Google search result removal does not mean that the webpage with infringing material will then be removed, this is solely based upon the discretion of the webmaster of the website.

If you would like to get in touch with us and have a conversation about any of these topics please feel free to give us a call on +(0)203 7256847 and ask for the Marketing Team, we’d be happy to help clear up any queries you may have :)

Dave Miller said...

I've done a little bit of digging - it does appear that TMT is a magazine under AI Global Media (a publishing house). TMT seems to be one magazine they own. The screen grabbed link at the bottom of the blog is from another magazine entirely, "Acquisition International". They do appear to be linked by the mutual publishing house, but that is all.
From what little I know about the legality of such publications, it appears they are perfectly legal. Choosing to allow anyone to read their magazines shouldn't be considered a red flag, and with that in mind, raising revenue through paying for advertising shouldn't be either. Many magazines do just that.
Of course, all emails you receive from them should include an unsubscribe link - it would be illegal not to. Everything else appears to be above board.

Paul O' Connor said...

Thanks for the info Dave. TMT and AI are clever enough to stay within the law but my point is that they play on the vanity of companies who like to state that they are 'award winning'.

If TMT were honest- they would say- send us £595 and we will send you an award for being the best company.

Anonymous said...

Having worked for a company that received an award from (one of AI Global Media's many many sites) I was very suspicious too. Seemed like a pure scam to me but the company went through anyways. Later it turned out their article was basically our own words recycled with a few words thrown in between, apparently worth hundreds of euros.

They claimed they have a following of hundreds of thousands, but it appears that is very far from true. Just over 5000 according to

Here's the main company if anybody wants to look closer:

With the sums they're charging this ought to get more attention.

Paul O' Connor said...

Thanks for your insights. I am receiving a number of similar stories of how this company operates
Anything you can share would be appreciated to help others not suffer under these Awards for Vanity

Anonymous said...

There isn't an awful lot I can add, but in short they sent us a questionnaire to fill out, and used our answers as direct quotes in the article. In short their "job" was to reformat it as if it had been an interview.

I dug up some of the emails, and the person behind them was "Naomi Douglas - Awards Executive"

She claimed their subscribers at 305,000. "Our editorial and design team have already begun preparations for the award winners' supplement, which will be distributed to our 305,000 subscribers, and featured on our website for 12 months, making this the ideal way to reach potential clients and associates."

The package prices varied from £525 to £6,995 with the top tier package being:

EDITOR’S CHOICE: £6,995 – limited to one winner only!
Main front cover image & headline
4 full pages (advert or editorial)
Custom press release
Winners’ logo
4 crystal awards
12 month interactive web banner on our homepage
1 dedicated full page in the next 12 issues of BUILD

I'm currently unable to verify which package our company purchased, but for what it's worth they did release the article as they promised. However for anyone thinking of paying them for an award on build-news or presumably any other of AI Global Media's platforms, you should be aware that even facebook can advertise your business to a wider audience for far less money.

Anonymous said...

We've worked with them an found the experience to be pretty good. We ended up getting some pretty decent exposure and around 10% boost in traffic to our site from an advertising campaign we ran with them, I think with things like this and companies in publishing you get out what you put in, we had a lot of involvement and worked in conjunction with their team to get this result. Whilst you're paying for advertising space, still you get out what you put in and if you're marketing and content isn't top of it's game in the first place there isn't a magic button to fix that.

Paul O' Connor said...

I would be interested to know who your company is. As you can easily imagine, employees connected with the TMT awards could try leaving favourable comments in an effort to bolster their tarnished image.

Nadine Kittle said...

My company is getting bombarded with emails from TMT Conor Woolven. Most of these guys are techs, nothing to do with Marketing or awards. I've asked him in the past to stop but goes on deaf ears.

Mike W said...

It appears that they've nominated me, although it would be nice if they actually got the name right. We don't go in for awards, prizes or even advertise as all our business comes through referrals from our customers to theirs, and the only thing we ever request is the odd testimonial to maintain our Microsoft Partner Status.

Any company that nominates you for an award that they are giving but requires you to either pay for a prize, or advertise with them as part of the award they nominated you for is......setting a really low standard of which they consistently fail to achieve in terms of integrity.

Email from them is below

I hope you’re well.

By now, you should be aware of "INCORRECT COMPANY NAME" nomination in the Technology Awards 2017, proudly hosted by TMT News.

Unfortunately, the nomination remains without action, and as such I wouldn’t want to see it go to waste. The nomination you have received is the first stage of our extensive vetting process, it represents the chance to receive invaluable industry recognition through our prestigious online publication.

Please select from the following to ensure your nomination is actioned:

A: Accept my nomination

B: Provide Information

C: Opt Out

Please note that there are no obligatory of mandatory costs throughout this awards programme, whether you go on to be successful or not

If only I was only 6 miles from there registered address, I'd probably go round and glue their letterbox shut.....hmmm I am 6 miles away :)

Paul O' Connor said...

TMT awards are both spam and scam all in one

Anonymous said...

I have been getting these emails on a regular basis for over a year - offering telecommunications award when my company is in a different industry.

More recent messages are toned down, offering advertising.

Have your admin block emails from domain.

FYI - I did use the unsubscribe link - no change

Banin Design & More said...

These guys are unbelievable, they send all kinds of spam without the possibility of unsubscribing. the comment that they posted here shows how evil and soulless they are.

I imagine these monsters are waking up every morning with an evil spark, trying to convince themselves that it is ok, it is the way of the world, if not us than others and so on.

Do you think they can be sued for spam or something?

BTW i was wondering once and for all what these emails are all about, searched the name and before i could say oh my god... you came up. thank you! you are definitely some sort of an angel (and should get an award for free or 525$ from AMT) :)

Paul O' Connor said...

My guess is that TMT skim the line in legality. But spam is spam so yes i would say that they could be sued. I always believe that scams should be exposed and I would gladly accept an award for that!

Anonymous said...

I too get regular SPAM from TMT Magazine. I've tried the unsubscribe link but it doesn't stop it.
It's a SCAM and SPAM all in one. Do people really fall for this technique?!

Anonymous said...

This is interesting. It appears this organisation are still at it. The reviews online are of course, horrendous and there is a clear attempt to perform what is known as "reputation management". I copy verbatim the relevant portion of the reply from TMT below, in case they "manage" that blog out, but will highlight a few things here.

Specifically this paragraph now presented in the public domain:

"In regards to removing defamatory material from Google search results, this process is vetted by Google themselves and the decision lies completely with them, you are perfectly within your rights to appeal any decision made by Google and I can assure you this is the first time, as a publication, we've had to look into means of removing a search result from Google."

Removed Google Search results indicate a removal for a period of time after which, they do not reveal the take down. Note, this can apply to alleged defamation or DMCA take-downs, which are Digital Millennium Copyright Act notices and only apply to copyright material. DMCA use as a tool to deal with defamation is invalid & has nothing to do with EU data protection. DMCA is often illegitimately used by companies to censor criticism and content (as I'm sure some may attempt here) because there is no automatic consequence for perjury in such claims.

The question of AI Global's use of consequence-less defamation claims and the wider use of DCMA take-downs are reputation management techniques should be considered. As of 24th October 2017, this is the current list of digital defamation claims and thus, take-down notices referencing AI Global Media are included in this list. As can be seen, it appears to have become a feature of operations that AI Global Media references are removed through requests to Google.

Rich Astone said...

They nominated my company, even though I have not started any marketing. They must have very high standards indeed.

Erica said...

Thank you for writing this. We recently received a TMT Magazine 'award' ourselves, and as such received that email, which had me thinking "what the @$@#%#%@#%". You'll be pleased to know that when I typed TMT Magazine into google, the first choice of prompts that came up was 'TMT Magazine scam', thanks to your article and those from others.

Paul O' Connor said...

Thanks Erica
I think it is important to call out these people to play on peoples vanity or naivity to extract cash.

Matthew Davies said...

I got a nomination from TMT, which lead me to this blog. It seems they use LinkedIn to find anyone related to a company to hook them into advertising and awards as a service. To me, any company that associates with this trash, will do nothing but harm their reputation as the awards are about as meaningful as those certificates of moon ownership.

mackyton said...

That is the sound of a scam if I ever heard one. These actually are vanity awards. I was recently attending corporate events Chicago office was conducting and we were offered marketing for a ridiculous price. If you knew what goes behind actually developing such campaigns, you wouldn’t mind them a bit.