One of the rip-off outfits that persistently sends me spam emails is Ascot Media of Houston, Texas. I thought I’d shame this scamster operation by commenting upon and correcting one of their missives. The individual behind the Ascot Media rip-off is called Trish Stevens, and while there are some sites online talking positively about this scam operation, they are probably all run by Trish Stevens under other names – or at the very least people paid to promote her, or with a financial stake in the company! I’d expect a successful PR ‘guru’ to have lots of social media connections, and so I found it rather telling that Trish Stevens only had two contacts on her LinkedIn profile when I checked it just now (note added 13 October – since I posted this blog about 28 hours ago, Stevens appears to have added more than 400 contacts to her LinkIn profile; good to know a bit of criticism has forced her to work harder at her con, but it leaves me wondering how many of her new contacts are profiles she has created herself). Likewise, the Ascot Media profile on the MySpace platform is really abysmal – 71 friends, and some worthless promotional content for schmucks who have presumably paid Stevens thousands of bucks in the belief she’d hype their books into the New York Times bestseller list.
On LinkedIn, Stevens states she received her ‘business education’ at Harlow Technical College in England. For those that don’t know, technical colleges are places British kids used to go roughly between the ages of sixteen and eighteen, mostly for non-academic subjects and often as apprentices. The photo Trish Stevens has chosen of herself to place online really cracked me up too – in it she looks more like one of the women you see working on the check-outs at the British bargain bin chain Poundland than a media savvy public relations ‘guru’. Obviously this last point is on one level extremely superficial but then in PR image is everything, and it would really make me laugh if someone started spamming Trish Stevens with emails about how she desperately needs a personal trainer to whip her into shape.
So let’s make shame more shameful by commenting upon and correcting a spam email sent to me from Trish Steven’s Ascot Media Group. I’ve put my observations and corrections in CAPITALS to differentiate them from the spam.
Dear Mr. Home:
The Holiday Season is just around the corner and this is the best time of the year for PR. JUST AROUND THE CORNER IS A RATHER CLUNKY PHRASE, ‘APPROACHING’ WOULD HAVE SOUNDED MORE PROFESSIONAL, BUT THEN THESE SPAM EMAILS APPEAR DESIGNED TO SEND PEOPLE AROUND THE BEND, SO JUST MAYBE THE PHRASE IS APPROPRIATE BUT STILL VERY CLUMSY. I RATHER DOUBT IT IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR FOR PR UNLESS YOU ARE AN ALREADY ESTABLISHED NAME. IN THE OVER-DEVELOPED WORLD WHERE A FESTIVAL KNOWN AS CHRISTMAS IS CELEBRATED BY PEOPLE ACTING LIKE TURKEYS, THERE MAY BE HIGHER SALES OF GIFT ITEMS SUCH AS BOOKS, BUT THERE IS ALSO MORE COMPETITION TO GET MEDIA COVERAGE BECAUSE OF THIS, SO OVERALL MOST AUTHORS AND MUSICIANS ETC STAND LESS CHANCE OF DOING WELL IN TERMS OF PRESS RIGHT NOW. People are in the buying mood and the media are still operating in full force during this season. THE MEDIA OPERATE FULL FORCE TWENTY-FOUR SEVEN, WE HAVE ROLLING NEWS COVERAGE ALL YEAR ROUND. THIS CLAIM IS A CLICHÉD TRUISM BECAUSE IT CAN BE APPLIED TO ANY SEASON. LIKEWISE THE PHRASE ‘BUYING MOOD’ IS UGLY AND SILLY, AND ACTUALLY PUTS ME IN THE SORT OF MOOD WHERE IF THE PERSON WHO WROTE IT WAS IN FRONT OF ME THEN I MIGHT TWAT THEM (THAT’S A UK SLANG EXPRESSION MEANING GIVE THEM A REALLY HARD SLAP).
Remember, at Ascot Media Group we do not only guarantee publicity for all of our clients, we monitor all of the incoming media hits each week to make sure you are getting them regularly throughout the campaign. BUT WHAT DO THEY ACTUALLY COUNT AS COVERAGE? SPAM COMMENTS ABOUT YOU ON A COUPLE OF BLOGS THAT NOBODY READS? OR A JPEG OF YOUR BOOK COVER ON ASCOT’S MYSPACE PROFILE WITH ITS SEVENTY-ONE FRIENDS? ALSO THAT SENTENCE NEEDS REWRITING – ‘WE DO NOT ONLY GUARANTEE’ IS A SERIOUSLY UGLY PHRASE. The Select Advantage plan is our most popular because of its low cost and results. I THINK WE CAN SCORE OUT ‘AND RESULTS’ BECAUSE IT ISN’T QUANTIFIED. THE RESULTS MIGHT BE SIMPLY TO LEAVE YOU SCREAMING WITH RAGE. SO ASCOT – PROBABLY FRAUDULENTLY – CLAIM ‘SELECT ADVANTAGE’ IS POPULAR BECAUSE IT IS CHEAP, REGARDLESS OF THE FACT IT IS INEFFECTIVE. Most of our clients receive between 40-80 hits from the media each month, some get over a hundred. DOES THIS MEAN ASCOT SET UP OR HELP YOU SET UP SOME SPAM WEBSITE TO PROMOTE YOUR BOOK OR WHATEVER, AND YOU THEN GET BLACKLISTED BY EVERY JOURNALIST WHO HAS THE MISFORTUNE TO BE DIRECTED THERE UNDER FALSE PRETENCES? Most get national media hits YEAH, RIGHT, ALL THE OTHER CHUMPS PAYING ASCOT BUT NOT YOU! Please see our testimonials (with full contact information) at: LINK DELETED BY MISTER TRIPP – DON’T BOTHER LISTENING TO SHILLS.
The Select-Advantage plan works great for everyone, regardless of talent, book, product, service, genre, whatever it is we publicize for you. ‘REGARDLESS OF TALENT’, SO THIS APPEARS TO BE A SERVICE USED BY THE DESPERATE WHO HAVE ALREADY BEEN RIPPED OFF BY VANITY PUBLISHERS OR WHATEVER. There are several reasons it works so well: THE MAIN ONE BEING THAT A FOOL AND THEIR MONEY ARE EASILY PARTED, SO THAT EVEN ASCOT MANAGES TO CON THE ODD SUCKER OUT OF THEIR DOUGH.
1. We professionally write an amazing press release for your approval REALLY? BECAUSE THAT SENTENCE FAILS TO BE EITHER PROFESSIONAL OR AMAZING. THE WORD PROFESSIONAL NEEDS TO BE TAKEN OUT, OR ELSE THE PHRASE ‘AN AMAZING’ SHOULD BE REPLACED BY MOVING ‘PROFESSIONAL’ TO THAT POINT IN THE SENTENCE AND PUTTING AN ‘A’ IN FRONT OF IT. A COMPANY THAT USES SUCH ATROCIOUS SENTENCES IN ITS OWN PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL ISN’T CAPABLE OF WRITING A SATISFACTORY PRESS RELEASE FOR ME.
2. We distribute your press release over 50,000 media personnel each month, directly, individually addressed to their email boxes, with a personal introduction “requesting” an interview or review. All major outlets are included in the distribution. IN OTHER WORDS JOURNALISTS ARE GOING TO BE SPAMMED WITH MESSAGES ABOUT YOU, AND AS A RESULT THEY DEFINITELY WON’T GIVE YOU COVERAGE EVEN IF THEY MIGHT HAVE BEEN INCLINED TO DO SO BEFORE YOU PISSED THEM OFF WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM ASCOT MEDIA. ACHIEVING MEDIA COVERAGE IS ALL ABOUT THE QUALITY OF CONTACTS, NOT THE QUANTITY – THIS IS VERY DEFINITELY A QUESTION OF LESS IS MORE & FIFTY THOUSAND IS A JOKE AT YOUR EXPENSE! & LET’S JUST SKIP GOING INTO THE FACT THAT THE WORD ‘TO’ IS MISSING FROM BETWEEN THE FIFTH AND SIXTH WORD OF THE LAST ASCOT MEDIA SENTENCE QUOTED HERE.
3. The media leads come in from every direction across the US and Canada asking to interview our clients. PERSONALLY I DON’T BELIEVE THIS, BUT EVEN IF IT WAS TRUE IT WOULDN’T DO ME MUCH GOOD BECAUSE I’M MOSTLY LOOKING FOR COVERAGE IN EUROPE – & IT IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF ASCOT’S SCATTER-GUN SPAM APPROACH: UNLIKE GENUINELY SUCCESSFUL PUBLICISTS THEY DON’T BOTHER TO CAREFULLY TARGET AND CULTIVATE SPECIFIC PEOPLE. These leads are for television, radio, newspapers, magazines, Internet and bloggers. BUT I THINK WE CAN SAFELY CONCLUDE MOSTLY FOR PLACING SPAM COMMENTS ON BLOGS WITH A READERSHIP THAT SOMETIMES GOES INTO DOUBLE FIGURES, BUT MOSTLY STAYS UNDER TEN.
4. Most importantly, we “monitor” the incoming requests you receive from the media to make sure you are getting plenty of hits. “Hits” means that media outlets write back after reading your press release and say… ”Yes, I would like to interview this person.” Or, “Yes, I would like to provide a review,” etc. NOTE THAT ‘HITS’ ARE MONITORED BUT THERE IS NO MENTION OF ANY ACTION BEING TAKEN SHOULD YOU BE GETTING NO HITS AT ALL (AS WILL ALMOST CERTAINLY BE THE CASE).
5. Our reach is so wide that it’s inevitable that you are going to get plenty of media activity. WELL BEING BLACKLISTED BY THE PRESS AFTER PAYING TRISH STEVEN’S TO RUN A SPAM CAMPAIGN IS MEDIA ACTIVITY, IT JUST WON’T LEAD TO ANY COVERAGE. Feel free to call any of our clients to find out for yourself. I READ THIS AS CALL OUR SHILLS, PEOPLE PAID TO SAY THIS COMPANY IS GREAT. DO ASCOT REALLY EXPECT ME TO BELIEVE THEY’D PUT ME IN TOUCH WITH A DISSATISFIED CLIENT (AND THERE ARE BOUND TO BE SOME, POSSIBLY A HUNDRED PERCENT OF THOSE WHO’VE PAID TRISH STEVENS FOR HER ‘SERVICES’)?
It’s really that simple. Best of all, we eliminate the high costs that inhibit many people, who simply cannot pay the high fees of standard PR firms, by cutting out the middle-man (the publicist), allowing you to work directly with the media on all the hits you receive from us. IF YOU’RE GOING TO CUT OUT THE MIDDLE-MAN THEN DON’T WORK WITH TRISH STEVENS OF ASCOT MEDIA EITHER, COZ SHE’S A MIDDLE-WOMAN This approach works for the media and our clients, and has proven successful time and time again. LIKE I SAID, IF CUTTING OUT THE MIDDLE-MAN OR WOMAN IS SO GREAT THEN GO FOR IT AND DON’T WORK WITH ASCOT MEDIA.
It is exciting, it’s a lot of fun, and we love making our clients happy (please see the testimonials above). THERE WAS NO TESTIMONIAL ABOVE. Below my contact information is a new testimonial recently received. I DID SEE ONE BELOW BUT IT WAS SO BORING AND RIDICULOUS I’VE REMOVED IT TO KEEP THIS BLOG SHORTER.
The cost for this package is only $895 per month. THAT’S FOR HAVING SOMEONE INEFFECTIVELY SPAM THE MEDIA ON YOUR BEHALF. IF YOU WANT TO INDULGE IN SUCH RIDICULOUS PURSUITS WHY NOT CUT OUT THE MIDDLE-MAN IN THE FORM OF ASCOT MEDIA, GO DIRECTLY TO A SPAMMER AND SAVE YOURSELF EIGHT HUNDRED BUCKS A MONTH? It is such a low price but has such high results that even other PR firms buy our plans for their clients. YEAH, RIGHT, BUT THAT WOULD ONLY BE THE CASE IF THESE OTHER PR FIRMS AKA ASTROTURFERS DIDN’T HAVE THE INFRASTRUCTURE TO DO THIS THEMSELVES, WHICH OF COURSE THEY DO! Here is a link to all of our plans: LINK DELETED BY MISTER TRIPPY.
Please feel free to call me if you have any questions, I’d be more than happy to answer them. REALLY, THEN IN THAT CASE WILL YOU ANSWER THIS QUESTION? “WHY DON’T YOU FUCK OFF AND DIE – OR AT THE VERY LEAST STOP SPAMMING ME WITH YOUR CRAP?” I look forward to speaking with you. NO YOU DON’T YOU SHAMELESS LIAR – YOU’RE JUST HOPING TO RIP ME OFF FOR A LOAD OF WEDGE. Thank you. AND FUCK YOU TOO!
Kind Regards, Niki Williams
Ascot Media & Aston Publicity
IT SHOULDN’T NEED SAYING, BUT ANYONE WHO IS ANY GOOD AT WHAT THEY DO WON’T NEED TO DRUM UP BUSINESS BY SENDING OUT SPAM….
And before I go I should say that what I find particularly funny about this scam is that it appears the marks paying Ascot Media for their utterly worthless ‘services’ are actually forking out their own dosh for the ‘privilege’ of assisting Trish Stevens with search engine optimisation (SEO). Ascot encourages self-published authors etc. to do their own publicity, and this will include websites and social networking profiles on which they can link back to Ascot Media. Those links will raise Ascot’s Google rankings, and result in those trying to research Ascot Media being more likely to click through to Trish Steven’s propaganda about this rip-off operation, rather than an objective appraisal by someone who realises it is a con.
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!