Awards for sale: Not a rewarding experience

The Ballard Agency has won plenty of awards in their 45 year history, but this isn’t one they were interested in:

The Ballard Agency - Best of Bellevue Award
Chris Ballard, President of the the Bellevue-based insurance brokerage was surprised his company was selected. He’d never even heard of the U.S. Local Business Association.

Here’s the email he received, with hyperlinks removed:

I am pleased to announce that Ballard Agency has been selected for the 2008 Best of Bellevue Award in the Insurance category by the U.S. Local Business Association (USLBA).

In recognition of your achievement, a 2008 Best of Bellevue Award plaque has been designed for display at your place of business. You may arrange to have your award sent directly to Ballard Agency by following the simple steps on the 2008 Best of Bellevue Award order form.

The USLBA “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USLBA identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

Also, a copy of the press release publicizing the selection of Ballard Agency is posted on the USLBA website. USLBA hereby grants Ballard Agency a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use, reproduce, distribute, and display this press release in any media formats and through any media channels.

In order to provide you with the best possible service, you have been assigned an award code that can be used on our website for quick access to your award information and press release. If you have any questions or comments, please include this code with your correspondence.

Sincerely,

Ashley Carter
Selection Committee Chair
U.S. Local Business Association

After doing a little sleuthing, the folks at the Ballard Agency realized it was a marketing scheme to sell overpriced plaques.

Chris didn’t appreciate having his time wasted, but took the time to share it with me, and now you.

Here’s a marketing tactic I hate: Winning fake awards or being “nominated for a “who’s Who” list, and all you have to do is pay for $100 award!

Clearly, this is a deceptive marketing tactic in the same category as the phony domain name and Yellow Pages bills that are sent in hopes your A/P department will pay them in error.

“The only way they’d ever get our business is on accident,” says Ballard.

And that, my Responsible Marketing friends, is no way to grow a business.

So, have you or ever been targeted for one of these “faux-wards?”

Comment below to share your experience.

UPDATE: Let’s fight vanity scams together is a follow-up to this post.

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. . .
Full disclosure: Outsource Marketing is a Ballard Agency client.

Join the discussion 135 Comments

  • Myron Baer says:

    I too was surprised when the US Local Business Association sent me my ‘award’. What tipped me off to their scam was the award showed the corporate name rather than our regular trade name. How we could have won an ‘award’ with the corporate name seemed so unlikely in light of the USLBA claim that we won based on our marketing, and our marketing never uses the corporate name.

    So if you need an expensive plaque for your office – design it yourself and have it made – no need to buy theirs.

  • Our little, struggling, restaurant seems also to have won an award. The minute I saw the word “plaque” I knew what to expect. Checking out the organization on “google” I saw that Ballard had it figured out and provided me with the clues I needed to dump this advertising trick without further research.

  • Wendy Symalla says:

    I was curious about this award because I had never heard of the USLBA. I “googled” it and was pleased to find my answer so quickly. I love “google”!
    Thanks to Chris Ballard for taking the time to post his findings!

    Wendy Symalla
    HBF Marble & Granite
    Denver

  • I too was curious about this award. It sounded so real and so good, especially for us, as we are a struggling growing small business and are always looking for very expensive ways to market our product. I also did some “google research” and found my answer very quickly about this deception. Thanks for Chris posting his experience, and thanks for all the comments.
    Robyn Williams
    T.E.A. Machine Components, Inc.
    Richmond

  • Yep, just won a best in Nashville Web/Graphic Design award.
    Darn!! I was so excited maybe to be recognized…kind of a bummer. Glad I didn’t order the plaque first…

  • Gary Shif says:

    Like everyone else. They misspelled our company name !@#$%^&*()

  • I received my e-mail this morning and was so excited to see our little Mom and Pop business won a local award for the best Shoe Store in the Stuart area. It’s was about time!!! 😉
    I called our DBA president who said he had never heard of USLBA and googled them.

    Drats. It’s a fake!
    Like Anthony above, I was bummed.

  • ONline CAD says:

    Just received notice of my “award” today. Thanks for the info and for saving me $100!

  • Debi Larson says:

    I was suspicious when the notice said, “I am pleased to announce that Larson Pool Plastering has been selected for the 2008 Best of Roy Award in the Swimming Pool Services category.” We’re the ONLY swimming pool company in the city! Nice try, but I’m no fool!

  • billc108 says:

    I got one today too – not that I’d have bought the plaque: we don’t have many web design/hosting clients coming to our home office or to our server room to view it!

    In our case, they got the city wrong. I don’t even know where Haywood is!

    Thanks for posting that this is a scam. It made my googling easy.

  • Tainio Technology says:

    I received the notice that we’d be receiving the “best of Cheney” award on Friday. I figured this could not be a real thing because we are located outside of the city limits and don’t even do much business in that town. I figured I would google just to double check and make sure that it was a scam, and not an actual award we’d be missing out on, and sure enough… Thanks for posting this article!

  • Bowdish Lake says:

    The two things that made me suspicious right away were the “Best of Milford” (the campground is nowhere near Milford) and the fact that they sent the message to webmaster@bowdishlake.com. If they were recognizing some great accomplishment, wouldn’t they send it directly to the people who run the campground? I only manage the website. So, I looked it up firstl I also love Google! Thanks!

  • ethan says:

    Got the same email today, “Best of Richardson” award, they must be randomly generating names. A quick google brought me here, thanks.

  • Rich, the Builder says:

    Thanks for the heads-up, expecially to Ballard Insurance. We always thought we were the best homebuilder in Colorado, and it was nice to see the USLBA had figured it out and so notified me via email. Luckily I was curious about who the USLBA was–and google wonderfully explained. I think I would have rather been recognized by the U. S. Lawn Bowling Assoc.

  • Lisa says:

    I was suspicious when the email showed up this morning. If they were serious, why wouldn’t they have called or just sent the award? Thanks for the timely information.

  • Nat says:

    If you join any association anywhere in the world, you are usually required to pay dues to that association. It might be a sporting club or social club or even a business networking association. Every club or association usually gives awards to their participants, but where does the money come from for the creation of those awards? From the dues or receipts. It is completely honorable and above board to expect to be compensated for the actual award plaque. Someone has to pay for it. This association is legitimate, if you do your due dilligence. But presenting blinkered opinions like some of those above leads to unfair condemnation of an opportunity for legitimate businesses to feel empowered and encouraged to continue to provide exemplary services and products.

  • Nat,

    Appreciate the counterpoint here.

    With all due respect, I’ve done a bit of due dilligence here. This association may be legitimate, but I don’t know what purpose they serve other than selling high-priced plaques.

    The problem is, the USLBA is telling folks they are being recognized as a great company, then are being asked to pay $100 or more for a $10 plaque.

    Their official sounding name makes it feel like a big deal. But when you look at their site, you realize it isn’t.

    Their mission (and my commentary):

    1. Be the primary repository of the best in local business information and resources. (it’s not)
    2. Attract the best people. (how?)
    3. Promote the best practices in the industry. (a list of mediocre articles accomplishes this?)

    The USLBA isn’t offering membership to a club or a business networking association.

    They aren’t offering an award to their participants.

    You say “But presenting blinkered opinions like some of those above leads to unfair condemnation of an opportunity for legitimate businesses to feel empowered and encouraged to continue to provide exemplary services and products.”

    To that, I’ll say this. Do you really want to call these “blinkered opinions?” None of the opinions above were solicited. They are honest responses from people that received this offer, thought it was fishy, then did a little research.

    They are smart enough to see through this deceptive marketing tactic.

    And they don’t need a plaque from the USLBA to “feel empowered and encouraged to continue to provide exemplary services and products.”

  • For those who recognize Rv Parks in their goals, it is unusual that “In recognition of your achievement “, would be noted on an email.

    We have no associations with or know the U.S. Local Business Association (USLBA).

    Our sole stance for distinguishment is our customers and the number one service we provide to them. Bottom line.

    Thank you for you site in allowing us to post.

    Jerry Castorena
    Mountain Valley Rv Park
    Hemet Ca. 92543

  • Our auto detailing business was also selected. What I wanted to find out was how a Washington DC organization was made aware of our small business in Kirkland Washington. Apparently, information was gathered and third party info was taken into account. Vague? Yes. This is clearly a money-making scam. My business name was most likely found in a search of businesses. Or maybe my company info was purchased from a credit card company. Who knows? I agree- the plague is worth maybe $20. No one has heard of the USLBA unless they have been selected to buy a special plague. And there is no definite criteria for earning this award. How is this “award” going to help my business? I’m glad this article was posted so that my suspicions could be confirmed without too much time wasted.

    Thanks!
    bt

  • James Cross says:

    I too got the email. I knew it was bogus right away, since I do no advertizing outside of our website. Just for grins, I googled and found this site. Thank Mr. Ballard for the original submission.

    To Nat, I would echo Mr Byers comments and add that the USLBA email only offers the plaque. It does not ask one to join their organization, or expound on any specific benefits of their organization. I just looked up the promised “Press Release” I was recognized in the category “Electronic Equipment & Supplies”. I went to the USLBA website to see who in the association might be in my category. So, I did a keyword search on my category, using the search on their website. What came up was a Yellow Pages search. The press release notes the USLBA is funded by “local businesses” Elsewhere on the USLBA website it notes “As an Award recipient, there is no requirement to join the USLBA. We simply ask each award recipient to pay for the cost of their plaque. The revenue generated by the USLBA through the Award Program helps to pay for operational support, marketing and partnership programs for local businesses across America.” In other words, the whole organization is funded by the sale of plaques. If you think this is legitimate and not a HUGE conflict of interest for a legitimate award program, I have a piece of the Everglades I would like to sell you….

    Here is the press release:

    “Vacuum Tubes, Inc. Receives 2008 Best of Orlando Award”

    “U.S. Local Business Association’s Award Plaque Honors the Achievement”

    “WASHINGTON D.C., August 19, 2008 — Vacuum Tubes, Inc. has been selected for the 2008 Best of Orlando Award in the Electronic Equipment & Supplies category by the U.S. Local Business Association (USLBA).”

    “The USLBA “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USLBA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.”

    “Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2008 USLBA Award Program focused on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USLBA and data provided by third parties.”

    “About U.S. Local Business Association (USLBA)
    U.S. Local Business Association (USLBA) is a Washington D.C. based organization funded by local businesses operating in towns, large and small, across America. The purpose of USLBA is to promote local business through public relations, marketing and advertising.”

    “The USLBA was established to recognize the best of local businesses in their community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to be an advocate for small and medium size businesses and business entrepreneurs across America.”

  • Roy Pope says:

    What a cute little scam. Ours is a small restaurant in Mobile, AL. We’ve won actual awards locally, have been reviewed in magazines and newspapers and in the television news so much that it hurts my head to think about it. I would never stoop so low to embarass my company or the great people that work for me by displaying such a farce as this particular award.

  • Denise Magee says:

    I too received my email saying my firm was selected. Since most awards are politically rewarded and not from blood, sweat, and tears, I knew it was a scam. I don’t participate in association that force me to pay for my achievements:) This blog verified that I was correct. THANKS!

  • Tim Brosnan says:

    A quick visit to the USLBA Web site, dispelled any excitement I might have felt about our professional theater in Greenville, SC winning a national award. Who else in Greenville had won awards? No answer. What’s the history of the USLBA? No answer. Who runs it? No. answer. Is there a phone number to call? No. Now what do we do? Buy a plaque. What’s the plaque cost? Enter all your contact information to find out. Now I have a new term to toss around at cocktail parties: “vanity scam.”

  • Hello Tim,

    Great post that really sums this up well.

    I love the term “vanity scam.” Mind if I use it?

  • Tim Brosnan says:

    You are WELCOME to use it. Rock on.

  • Todd Gallopo says:

    Chris, thanks for starting this blog. It came in handy about 2 minutes after I too got the “vanity scam” (as Tim would put it) e-mail. The best part about it was that my company, meat and potatoes, is a graphic design company. And to see a crappy designed plaque made me laugh. We have been involved in our local community of Burbank, CA by donating proceeds to organizations in need. So, for a split second I thought it might be for real, but it did not come from the city, so I thought I would dig deeper. Thanks to all of you who were smart enough to take the time and post here. Most people are just falling for it, and that’s sad.

  • John says:

    I received the same email indicating my son’s school was a winner for St. Louis in the “preschool” category. The email was addressed to the webmaster at our school’s web site, which forwards to my personal email address.

    The funny thing is, our school is a public elementary school, not a preschool, and our school’s web site is run by the PTO, a registered non-profit organization.

    So I was suspicious from the start by the award. I received an email reply when I sent an email from their web site asking for someone to call me, but it had the same vague info as the USLBA website. An additional reply from me calling their bluff and again asking for a phone call was never replied to, nor was I ever called.

    This is an obvious scam/marketing ploy to sell overpriced, meaningless plaques.

    Thanks for this blog! I wish I had seen it before I made my inquiries directly to the supposed USLBA.

  • Like many others before me I want to thank Patrick for this great blog! It really saved me the research time necessary to uncover this particular scam. A new twist: They got our “category” wrong which adds credence to the suspicion that they generate their “award list” from online seaches of yellow pages entries. Unity of Bellevue is a church with a small bookstore and our “award” was in the Metaphysical Supplies category. Still, it was intriguing enough to check out. After Googling USLBA (because no responsible office manager would click on the link in an email from a stranger) the first thing I found was that I couldn’t bring up their website so perhaps they realized that business probably won’t be booming for them anytime soon thanks to Google and The Responsible Marketing Blog. Thanks again!

  • Bill Weaver says:

    Our Adult Day Health Care organization has recently received a very nice award by being nominated by an unknown source, but there was a lot of paper work involved and no funds were expended by us. I thought this letter from USLBA was kinda off the wall and refused to even open the site. I am pleased to see this blog and want to thank you for setting it up.
    The term “Vanity Scam” is really good. I hope not many fall for this scam. Again, thank you

  • Chris Sikora says:

    Imagine my surprise to be named best bakery in Ellicott City, in which we’re the only bakery. Also the name that was used in the email was our old name; we changed it nearly a year ago.
    I get so sad when I see so many people in sales and marketing think they have to pull some kind of scam or tricks in order to get business. Besides these vanity scams (GREAT term by the way), you see things like this in merchant services, insurance, credit cards, gas and electric providers, telephone service, etc. You know, I’ve made a pretty good living over the years in sales by being honest, trustworthy and selling a good product. Thanks for this blog!

  • Phuong Huynh says:

    Thank you for this blog. The email looked so legit but of course we’re skeptical whenever we receive an award notification, especially via email. Glad we performed our due diligence and found you.

  • Kyle says:

    E-mail was received on Sep. 3rd, oddly stashed in junk mail and addressed to a sample@ e-mail address. That’s where the eyebrow came up… for all of us that come across this blog or are sufficiently doubtful, I’m sure there are a many who spring at a chance to be “recognized.” This type of scam should be terminated just like any other… anybody know who is really behind this?

  • Andy says:

    We also received this email at the end of July and wondered about this organisiation. After trying to validate the claim by phone, we received following reply by email:
    ——————————–

    Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2008 11:37 AM
    Subject: Re: Jewel Mak, Inc. Receives 2008 Best of New York Award

    Peter –

    First, I would like to congratulate you on your selection as a 2008 Best of New York Award Winner. Here is our contact information:

    US Local Business Association
    2020 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Suite #742
    Washington, DC 20006
    (800) 398-0462

    I would be happy to respond to any questions you have in writing. In order to remain neutral and maintain the integrity of our selection process, I am required by association by-laws to document any conversations with businesses that are under consideration for recognition or have been selected as winners.

    As an Award recipient, there is no requirement to join the USLBA. We simply ask each award recipient to pay for the cost of their plaque. The revenue generated by the USLBA through the Award Program helps to pay for operational support, marketing and partnership programs for local businesses across America.

    There are various plaques sizes and shipping options. Simply click on the link below and follow the instructions for pricing and to receive your award:
    Best of New York 2008 – Jewelry

    Sincerely,

    Ashley Carter
    Selection Committee Chair
    U.S. Local Business Association
    ————————–
    I agree with Kyle’s comments; that kind of scam should be made public and terminated. Can the BBB investigate who is behind this?

  • Hello all,

    I too was perplexed when I received an e-mail from a reader and business owner who received a USLBA award. I came to this blog like all of you and interviewed Patrick for the article I wrote, below, for the Rapid City (S.D.) Journal:

    ‘Vanity scams’ woo local businesses
    By Jeremy Fugleberg
    Journal staff Tuesday, August 26, 2008

    Shari Rose, innkeeper of the Sweetgrass Inn in Rapid City, opened her business e-mail to see that her bed and breakfast had won an award. The U.S. Local Business Association named Sweetgrass Inn the “Best of Rapid City” for 2008.

    That seemed odd, since she had never heard of the Washington, D.C.-based group.

    Along with a pre-formatted press release her business could trumpet, the “association” offered an award plaque for the low, low prices of $79 and $99. Something didn’t seem quite right, and she wasn’t the only one to cock an eyebrow.

    “They’re selling high-price plaques,” said Patrick Byers, who heads up Bellevue, Wash.,-based Outsource Marketing and runs the Responsible Marketing blog.

    He posted alerts about the USLBA’s awards after his insurance agent received such an e-mail. With some research, Byers discovered the awards are not legitimate.

    “It’s a vanity scam; it plays off people’s vanity a little bit,” He said. “I’m sorry for the lady who received this. The only criteria for receiving this award is a heartbeat.”

    Rose and Byers’ insurance agent are not the only ones to receive the dubious distinction. Businesses nationwide have received the infamous e-mail, typically directed toward the business’ marketing director. Many have posted the press release with pride.

    “It just made me wonder if that brought them more business. It’s kind of like when you see testimonials from ‘John Smith.'” Rose said. “It sounded like anybody who did enough marketing could possibly qualify because of the amount of marketing that they did.”

    Usually, scammers try to take advantage of ignorance or guilt. But the U.S. Local Business Association comes from a different angle, offering what the Better Business Bureau calls a “vanity award.” The bureau has received numerous complaints about the awards from the USLBA, according to the Web site of the bureau’s Spokane, Wash., office.

    “There’s no harm done, unless you let go of the wallet,” Rose said, looking back at the offer.

    Although the fake awards may seem harmless, they undercut the honors and awards given to businesses that actually deserve them, said Linda Rabe, president of the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce.

    “These kinds of awards lend doubt to the legitimate ones,” she said. “I just feel bad that there are people out there who do this, that, then cause that distrust.”

    The USLBA did not return several Journal e-mails requesting comment. Other than a generic comment form on the organization’s Web site, no other contact information is listed.

    Rose e-mailed the organization with a question and got a response. “Ashley” from the award-selection committee confirmed that Sweetgrass Inn was the only bed and breakfast to get the award in Rapid City. Not true, Rose learned. Peregrine Inn Bed & Breakfast also received a similar e-mail. It went straight to the spam folder.

    “The scams — they’re so prevalent on the Internet with e-mail and everything, and you just have to be careful,” Rose said.

    Rose put out the word to the other members of the Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers of South Dakota, an organization of people she trusts for information and advice.

    And, no, it does not send out e-mail awards announcements.

    http://rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2008/08/26/news/local/doc48b21cd175a7f531242070.txt

  • Nancy Kimps says:

    I received the best of Green Bay in the bakeries catagory. I was flattered, but decided to wait for the phone call, or perhaps letter. Do you really receive an award like this via e-mail at midnight? I really don’t have time for this or all the other scams that clutter my life and my business. Can we stop this somehow????

  • Kristin says:

    I just got an e-mail from them this morning saying we won the 2008 award in the contractors category. Our business manufactures sensors! That threw me off, and I was thinking if this was a legit award, wouldn’t you think the city would call, or send a letter of some sort? But, it does look pretty real… came in my inbox without the [SPAM] in front so I thought it could have been real. Glad I saw this site!

  • In either case, you do not have to buy the plaque. They write a very nice press release that can be used for online marketing or local newspaper marketing either way. We have won Best of before with our local newspaper and we did not have to buy the plaque, but we were highly encouraged to take out an ad in the paper to advertise our winning. Different yes, but a similar idea so perhaps instead of debunking your work try to ride the press release to your favor. I am not sure why they would have a budget to go printing plaques for every winner. You win with the press alone for SEO back linking, etc…

  • Dee Dee DeSoto says:

    I received my “award” notification today. My smile lasted a second before I snapped out of it and checked it out . Of course the plaque costing $100 was all I needed to verify the scam. Vanity plaques is a perfect discription! I called the local BBB and reported it. What a disheartening way to make a living, off of struggling small businesses.

  • I’m so glad that I found this site. I got the email this morning and I was so excited until I realized that it’s all bulls*** . I am so livid about this scam, I want to hunt them down and yell at them for breaking my heart! I’ll be making sure to get the word out. Sorry to all you hard workers were misled.

  • We too received this phony email saying we’d won an award. I Googled the uslba and found your website…thanks for confirming it was a scam.

  • The certificate looked phony. There was no listing on the website of past winners.

    Too bad. Cheap and deceptive marketing practice.

  • Doug Allan says:

    well, I guess I’ve been selected as on of the “best” too, which I believe to be true in my region, but I never let my guard down enough to trust my scamspam. I pretty much trust my scamsense, but appreciated your blog being here to quickly verify the facts.
    Thanks

  • After reading my business award, scams being what they are, I wouldn’t even look at the links. Found this blog which confirmed my suspicion. Since Garden Railway Gizmos has been in existance less than a year, and most of the people in Wichita still do not know it exsists, USLBA had to be pulling a fast one.

  • Amy Mattinat says:

    Gotta Love the Internet for providing information at your fingertips.

    I too won an award and saved $100.00 because I found your blog while trying to figure out if this award was legit.

    Your awesome… 43 comments x $100 = $4,300

    Mucho Gracias!

  • Clara says:

    I was too surprised to receive this mail this morning, which said our company has achieved exceptional marketing success. The fact is that we hardly do any marketing so I don’t have a clue why we got this award.

    I wrote back to ask for the specifics and selection criteria. They simply said “Unfortunately I cannot go into the specifics of the data we use in our selection process. We have non-disclosure agreements with the companies that provide us the data”.

    I become suspicous and then I found this site. Thanks for all information here.

  • David Bardwell says:

    I have to admit, that I was suspicious right from the start, since I had been approached personally with “Unwritten Poet of the Year” and “Outstanding Photo of Local Roadkill”, (or something like that), awards. I knew that they usually consisted of an overpriced plaque and/or payment for an overpriced banquet or lodgings to be present at an “award ceremony.” But, this tactic seemed like it could be legit, I was somewhat confused as to why one of our smaller centers would win an award when a couple of our larger ones were more visible and better known. That and the fact that I had beens sent the email notice, rather than our director, who’s email address is linked right above mine on our website. So, solely for the sake of argument, I first went to their “website” and found information so sketchy that I decided to “google” it and found this site. And, I agree with one of the earlier post about it being amazing, the number of people who proudly trumpet their purchase of this phony award. I am sure that pretty much everyone responding, has a website and that is where these scammers get their contact list from. Mine was addressed to the webmaster account. Hey, how about I offer each of you an award, for being smart enough not to take the bait? I’m sure that I could make my plaque even nicer and cheaper than theirs. Any takers?

  • Karen says:

    The couple of posters above that try to defend this company’s tactics must work for USLBA. I received my “award” email today. I knew immediately it wasn’t legit because it used our company’s old name–we legally changed our group’s name FOUR YEARS ago (the new name is materially different)! Even the old name as they used it wasn’t totally correct, and the “award” category they cite isn’t what we do. Not to mention that we don’t even do any marketing.

  • Jule Fobert says:

    I just received an email from them today for our park Zero Gravity in Dallas, TX. The website let me know it was a scam. I did some searching and found your site. Thank God I followed my intuition!

    Jule Fobert
    Zero Gravity/AMI

  • Walter Jablonski says:

    We are a local excavating contractor in the Mahopac area and were thrilled to receive this award. We received it by mail. My wife was suspucious and googled the USLBA. She found your blog and saved me $100. Thanks for all your information.
    Walter

  • Dave H says:

    They basically sell overpriced plaques. If you look at their explanation:

    “As an Award recipient, there is no requirement to join the USLBA. We simply ask each award recipient to pay for the cost of their plaque. The revenue generated by the USLBA through the Award Program helps to pay for operational support, marketing and partnership programs for local businesses across America.”

    So your $100 pays for a $10 plaque and shipping fees. THe rest goes to thier operational expenses of sending out more email awards/solicitations to other local businesses. Yes its a scam, but it appears that they are doing nothing illegal.

  • Jimmy Dade says:

    Just got mine this morning. 2008 Best of Smyrna Award in the Places of Worship category by the U.S. Local Business Association (USLBA).

    Can you imagine ?? Church is not a buisness by the way…. Thanks Chris.

  • Lee Sparks says:

    Rev! Magazine received email notification of our award for best Loveland (Colorado) marketing programs. The irony is that Rev! is a national magazine for pastors and other church leaders. Only a tiny fraction of our total readership lives in our hometown (as is true for any national magazine). I am grateful for your blog for quickly validating my suspicions about “award” and not wasting time on it.

  • Chad P. says:

    When I received my email proclaiming that I won this award, I had about as much excitement as I do when I see Ed McMahon or Dick Clarks face in my mail box. Where did Dick and Ed go anyways? Don’t get me wrong. I used to love those stickers.

  • David Berman says:

    Yay, we just won this award! Our website enables people to send big files that are too large to send using email. Somehow this organization I never heard of discovered us as a local business and issued us an award. Here is the link:
    SendToPerson.com wins award. Certainly we are not paying for this rubbish. We believe in creating real value for our customers, not buying silly awards.

    I’ve seen this before in other similar forms.

  • Vicky Rowe says:

    I got one today too. I read it, and had immediate suspicions, since I operate in a little town of about 300 people, and most of my business is elsewhere. Plus, as a home-based operation of one, why would they find me? I figured this was just like the Blue Cross people that continually call me because they’re cold-calling the Yellow pages……

    Thanks for this blog, it confirmed my suspicions.

    Vicky Rowe
    Satori Digital Marketing

  • We, too, received the “announcement.” Of course, we are the only company in this city that does what we do! My boss is from another country, he was familiar with the vanity scams too!

    I do think it is hillarious and I’ve saved the graphic as my desktop.

    By the way, we would have won if there was a real competition, our product is that great!

  • Jon Amack says:

    Well, thank you everyone for taking the time to post here. I rarely add comments to blogs but felt compelled to add to the long list of people that saved a lot of time and energy with a quick web search to confirm suspicions. I too received the prestigous Best of Portland award in the Juice category. Since were a Juice bar Chain with stores around the country, but based in the Portland area, i’d say their database is pretty good. All the more need for our testimonials here. Note, the email address to send their scam is ‘enforcement@sec.gov’.

    Thanks again for all your input here,
    Jon Amack
    Booster Juice

  • Ron Hayes says:

    This is definitely in the same category as the “Who’s Who” e-mails. If you ever receive an e-mail saying you’ve been selected for your great accomplishments to be included in the Who’s Who, just delete it. It’s the same vanity scam as this, just targeted at individuals. with that one, you get to pay $100 for a book with your name in it. Thanks for the blog and for all the other comments – hopefully more people will become aware of this and then whoever is responsible will have to spend some more time thinking up the next scam. And for those who wrote comments in support of USLBA, I too have something to sell you – a tropical, oceanside cabin in eastern Montana – it’s a steal at $250,000.

  • John Rowell says:

    When I saw I had to fill out a form with my name and address, and presumably pay something to “order” my award, I knew something was fishy. I’m flattered that Discount Solar won an award, albeit a phony one. Lol.

  • Pat Sullivan says:

    Because my “award” notification sounded so fishy, and because I am always looking for new material on bottom line: integrity in a new book, I of course googled the marketing assn. whose name I have already forgotten.

    Reminds me of a time when I was a struggling free-lance writer and I got an offer to make up ideas for inventors who had sought help from a supposed invention submission company. They said they would make it easy for me to use their template! They were rather gleeful that so many suckers were willing to pay big bucks for my “expert” opinion on how good their invention was.

    I was so mad I slammed down the phone. I wish I had instead hooked them in so I could bring in the FBI or other authorities.

    Pat McHenry Sullivan, co-founder of Spirit and Work Resource Center because I hate fraud and love any business that increases integrity, purpose and joy in the world of work. Best wishes to you all!

  • Terri says:

    I received an email this morning, saying that my Inn/fine dining restaurant had “won” this award for 2008. Funny thing is, my business has been closed and for sale since 2007 and the building is days away from being foreclosed on (was once successful business co-owned by me and my wife, but our messy divorce has ruined the whole thing).

    If this is not an indication of this “award” being bogus, I don’t know what is!

  • Chris says:

    One of our clients received this “award” and while it’s technically a legitimate business operation and not a true scam (in the sense of the word) it certainly makes a mockery of all other business-peer awards that are interested only in recognizing greatness in the small business community.

    Unfortunately, these people are tapping into the pervasive attitude held by many marketing managers across the country – “Now that we’ve won an award, how can we make money from it?”

    The USLBA is simply providing an award (for a price) that allows marketing managers of shady operations to boast of their company’s “greatness.”

  • Lois says:

    Who in their right mind would pay for a plaque if they won an award? If it was totally legit, there would be sponsers who would cover the cost of the “$10” plaque…. Wonder how many idiots have fallen for that one….

  • Bill says:

    We deserve the plaque because afterall we are the Best Engineering Firm in Kelseyville, CA. But then again, we are the only Engineering Firm in Kelseyville. We’re going to make our own award.

  • John says:

    I am always skeptical of these things even though I think I do deserve a reward for not killing the owners of all these little overpriced rag “mailers” that I have advertised in! LOL

    Seriously though, its hard enough keeping one’s business going without all of these predatory advertisers/marketers.

    We need to put a stop to this crap. Ive had it with all the Search Engine marketing scams out there.

  • Fred says:

    Business must be slow over there, as I got “awarded” for being the “Best of the Best” in my category of…”Business Marketing Services.” Folks, scams are easy to spot, and this one was a dead give-away when they proved insensitive to the need for my “award” to come in walnut, rather than the standard ebony frame. Good luck with this.

  • Chris says:

    I don’t care if it’s fake or not, I took the fake press release and the plaque image and posted both on my blog as my own press release. So far everyone seems to be impressed with my new award!

    I don’t need the plaque, I work out of my house, am I supposed to hang in on my living room wall? I wonder if this is the same type of thing that newspapers do when they give out plaques for best ??? in town.

  • Kristin says:

    I just received one of these today.

    Two minutes on the website, and I too was convinced it was a scam. My customer service department who received the email initially believed it to be true, though. If they weren’t required to forward messages on, we might have ended up with a plaque for a fake award.

  • Bill says:

    When the email from USLBA came in Outlook sent it straight into the “Junk E-Mail” folder which is where it stayed. To the person who is using the fake press release and image on their website they are only perpetrating the scam and giving the scammer credibility. Good move though, I may do the same. Just kidding.

  • Craig says:

    We won “Best place of Worship” for our church…lucky us!

    I wonder who has a plaque hanging on their wall. It would be hilarious to see which places bought into it.

  • I just received the same notice of award. What is very disconcerting to me is that it was called the “Best of Aurora” award. I have seen many businesses in Aurora with “Best of Aurora” awards on their walls. Those are real awards coming from a local newspaper which makes this USLBA scam more problematic. People here are aware of the Best of Aurora Award from the paper.

    But then I googled “Best of Aurora” award and found several local businesses that have the award announcment from USLBA posted on MSN money, business newswire, etc.

  • Cindy says:

    We got it, too. Thanks for the info.

  • Jim Couch says:

    We “received” one of these awards as well. Quite an honor – now not only are we University Place’s ONLY bike shop, we are apparently the best as well. My BS meter was pegged immediately and I deleted the post. I did not bother to do a google search until I got the ‘second notice’!

    Of course maybe I am taking the wrong attitude here. Maybe I should go ahead any buy my award, and I could buy some of the University degree diplomas I get e-mails about and hang them all on my wall together! 🙂

  • Oscar says:

    We just received this email today and right away I knew there was something fishy about it. It would have been possible for our company to have won an award such as this, considering that we’re the only asbestos abatement company in this town. I googled USLBA and found their website, right away i knew it was a scam. It lacked any sort of information on local businesses. The next search results was to this site. Reading the blog confirmed my suspicions.

    I hate people who don’t seem to have the time to get an actual job, but plenty of time to develop a website and distribute email in order to scam companies and individuals out of money. Something should be done about this, what this company is doing should be illegal.

  • Jim Grant says:

    I received my “notification” this morning as well recognizing that St. Patrick’s Catholic Church had been selected for the 2008 Best of Norcross Award in the Places of Worship category by the U.S. Local Business Association (USLBA). It also said “Each year, the USLBA identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.”
    Marketing? I didnt that places of worship was a business catagory! Thanks Chris for your time and efforts for this blog.

  • Barbara says:

    Today I received an email notifying me of the Best of Encinitas 2008 award for Word Processing Service. While initially a little flattered, I quickly Googled USBLA only to find a shell of a company wanting payment for this so-called award. I’m pretty sure the lure of an award will net them some income but perhaps these posts will show the USLBA up as the scam that it really is.

  • Chris says:

    Yes, we got one this morning, too. It was my “Second Notice,” though I never received the first one. Like several others, we received a best in business category when we are the ONLY business of that kind in town. Stiff competition when you are competing against yourself! Thank you for your posting!

  • I’m glad somebody else has caught on to these con artists at USLBA. What’s funny is that my company won an award in a town we were no longer even doing business, that’s quite an achievement! I have sent several nasty e-mails to these jackasses. These people need to be shut down as soon as possible.

    I can’t imagine any business owner paying $100 for useless plaque, but I guess there are a few suckers out there.

    Thanks,

    doug

    http://www.dirtbagclothing.com

  • Cindy says:

    Yep, I got this one today. Ticks me off that people are so damn underhanded that they do this crap. As another poster said. GET A REAL JOB!!

  • Tom says:

    I posted the ‘award” on my entertainment web site, then I saw the same “award” on my competitors site. My suspicions immediatly took over and I Googled the truth. Thanks!

    By the way, I posted my phony award on my site with a link to the truth. As of this writing my competitor is still proudly displaying his phony award!

  • George B says:

    Thank you Chris for posting this blog. I almost missed it because my award was from “Ashley Carter, Selection Committee Chair, USCA (US Commerce Association)”, not the USLBA. Only two items came up with USCA. But the plaque is identical!

    They obviously have variations on the name to keep the scam going! I wonder how many other names they use?

  • Amy says:

    Our vanity scam e-mail came in the same format but from the US Commerce Association – thanks folks for posting so that name shows up with this search as well. I’m sure they’ll have a new name shortly. Keep posting! (P.S. We are an award-winning non-profit – and “buying” an award is not anywhere on our list of priorities!)

  • Adding “US Commerce Association” to the tags so it will come up in search. Thanks, all.

  • molly says:

    Our company got the email today. I think it’s quite ingenious and funny. If you fall for it, perhaps you…no, I won’t go there.

    But, as an aside, didn’t all of you feel quite self-satisfied when you figured out the scheme? You can’t buy that kind of satisfaction. Bravo to Ashley Carter of the US Commerce Association. I appreciated the “a-HA!” moment immensely.

  • Robert says:

    Our company just got the email yesteday. Thanks for the heads up! What an honor to be picked as one of Ashley’s SCAM’s.

  • BRSMY says:

    Our business “won” the same award. What’s worse, the award shares the name of a local award that is actually awarded. The category was what made me investigate the situation further, as “best massage school” in town was kind of a giveaway that this wasn’t legitimate. BEWARE! I like to call this ego-marketing.

  • Megan says:

    Just got an email for our family business. Have to admire their persistence, but it doesn’t take much research to realize it’s bogus. Again, we’re the only business of this type in our community.

  • Kim says:

    Received our “award” notification yesterday. Wasn’t surprised because we actually do earn quite a few legitimate awards (like recently, a much respected R&D 100 one for introducing one of the top 100 technologically significant products to the marketplace in the past year: http://www.rdmag.com/Awards/RD-100-Awards/R-D-100-Awards/).
    So, at first I assumed this was a local “follow on” to that “buzz”.

    Was confused though because since 2007, our business has operated under a new name, yet the 2009 best in Mountlake Terrace WA for medical equipment and supplies “award” was under the old name.

    I’d never heard of USCA, so went to their website to investigate. Got suspicious when I noticed that their business is funded by local businesses across the country. Hmmm, right, so what’s your plan for getting our money??? Pass!

    Thanks, Chris, for putting this blog together.

  • Mr Tritium says:

    THANK YOU ALL FOR THIS AWARD!

    WE KNEW OUR HARD WORK WOULD PAY OFF.

    I WOULD LIKE TO THANK MY MOTHER AND FATHER,

    THE INVENTOR OF THE INTERNET,

    BRITNEY SPEARS AND ALL THE OTHERS THAT MADE THIS POSSIBLE.

    THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN FOR THIS RECOGNITION … SNIFF…SNIFF..

  • I now have the answers to my questions – at last! Thank you for a great site. Gratefully, Beth

  • Robert says:

    What’s wrong with you people… can’t you accept an award. I got my today and it was well deserved.

    I must have worked very hard as a one man home based business that hasn’t lived in the city (but still maintain a phone number) for over a year, or have done any work in the city for over a year.

    That’s speaks highly for someone whose past work still gets him elected a year after they went out of business in a city. I still maintain the phone numbers as support for old customers and had 4 customers call in the past year. I get about two calls a week by people that are completely lost and simply going through the category, calling everyone, looking for the best price, in my field of medical equipment repair.

    If your business name is Chevy Transmission Repair, you will eventually get a call from some nut asking if you,

    “Do you sell Ford engines?”

    “Nope, we don’t sell engines, we repair transmissions, and only Chevy transmissions”

    “…Oh… OK, Thanks!”

    There usually is a long pause and you know they are wanting to ask, “Why not?” because in their mind you should for some reason.

    Has anyone really checked into the award… does it cost $100.00?

    I get the fake yellow pages invoice too… besides a million and one health insurance companies wanting to cover my “entire” staff.

    I usually get rid of them by saying, “I’m the only one that works here but hold on about 5 minutes and let me change my oxygen tank so I can talk to you.

  • Tom says:

    Received mine today and did some investigating- glad I ran across this blog! Saved the graphic for some laughs.

  • Matt Lit says:

    I, too, just received the “award” from USCA! Being scam savvy I typed in the website to review (versus ignorantly clicking the link provided in the email) and followed up with a google search of “USCA Award Scam.” Like Tom, I think I’ll save the graphic for a good FB & blog laugh! Nice try USCA!

  • John says:

    Got my email today from USCAAWARD.com which links back to US-CA.com. They gave me one for best in publishing for a book I wrote “Bible Believer’s Archaeology.” which I published originally back in 1997, and hasn’t been available to bookstores for a couple of years now, although you can download it free on my website at Biblehistory.net.
    I always thought commerce was something you sell as a business. I have a nonprofit organization.
    The Bible says that Satan is a deciever, He must have some of his members handing out these awards.

  • John says:

    I was mistaken, USCAAWARD.com links back to US-CA.org not .com

  • Bob Barton says:

    Just got my award. It didn’t pass the smell test. Do they really think that I would believe that they have an award for Cohasset, MN?

  • Rich H says:

    We got it too…I simply typed the award into google + “is this legitimate?”, and found this thread. With their cheap website, ready-made press release and absolutely no sign of credibility, let alone an explanation of one wins an award, this is a scam at best. It was sad to see all the small businesses who spent money on the press releases.

  • Jason says:

    I got also..
    Earlier this year, I sent a notification email to you recognizing that Trimart Inc had been selected for the 2009 Best of Cleveland Award in the Contract Haulers category.
    In recognition of your achievement, a 2009 Best of Cleveland Award has been designed for display at your place of business. You may arrange to have your award sent directly to Trimart Inc by following the simple steps on the 2009 Best of Cleveland Award order form. Simply copy and paste this link into your browser to receive your award:
    http://cleveland.uscaaward.net/ARBN5-2XDB
    Each year, the US Commerce Association (USCA) identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.
    Also, a copy of the press release publicizing the selection of Trimart Inc has been posted on our website. The USCA hereby grants Trimart Inc a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use, reproduce, distribute, and display this press release in any media formats and through any media channels.
    An Award Code has been assigned to your company that can be used on our website for quick access to your award information and press release.
    Your Award Code is: RBN5-2XDB
    Sincerely,
    Ashley Carter
    Selection Committee Chair
    US Commerce Association

  • Ron Renolds says:

    I got a rather snippy (almost rude) sounding email today telling me they have made three attempts to present me with my “award” (which they haven’t) and if I did not act soon it would be scrapped and another business here in my town would be selected in my place! LOL! Pretty funny since my friend who also owns a brand new business here in town got the same email and has only had an email address for a couple of months now. Seems all you have to do to win these awards here is to post your email address somewhere on the Internet. That and of course PAY them their “processing” fee of $150. At least it was good for some humor and got a giggle out of me.

  • Samantha West says:

    I just received mine, and being suspicious as usual I Googled it and this site popped up.. It never ceases to amaze me, the lengths people will use to try to make a buck. This of course is my 3rd notice, because I continue to ignore it.
    Earlier this year, I sent a notification email to you recognizing that Facilities Services Group had been selected for the 2009 Best of Vancouver Award in the Janitor Service category.

    In recognition of your achievement, a 2009 Best of Vancouver Award has been designed for display at your place of business. You may arrange to have your award sent directly to Facilities Services Group by following the simple steps on the 2009 Best of Vancouver Award order form. Simply copy and paste this link into your browser to receive your award:
    http://vancouver.uscaawards.org/AEBP2-EXSB

    Each year, the US Commerce Association (USCA) identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

    Also, a copy of the press release publicizing the selection of Facilities Services Group has been posted on our website. The USCA hereby grants Facilities Services Group a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to use, reproduce, distribute, and display this press release in any media formats and through any media channels.

    An Award Code has been assigned to your company that can be used on our website for quick access to your award information and press release.

    Your Award Code is: EBP2-EXSB

    Sincerely,

    Ashley Carter
    Selection Committee Chair
    US Commerce Association

  • Pretty dense over there. They just sent the “Final Notice (3rd Attempt):” email to the Ballard Agency. Yes, the Ballard Agency mentioned in this article.

    Crazy irresponsible, folks.

  • James says:

    Just got one over here too. That Ashley Carter gets around!

  • Priscila says:

    I work for a counseling center in Houston and supposedly received the “2009 Houston Award” a few months ago. I just received my “3rd Attempt” notification and decided to google and thankfully ran accross this blog. The email address they used was: info@uscaaward.net. Thank you for the post!

  • Robert says:

    And we got ours today….3rd and final notice as well…
    The old take-off on the who’s who directory charade….

  • Rebecca says:

    The US Commerce Association contacted me to inform me that the company I work for won a small business award. Uh, I work for a large multi-national firm with thousands of employees. Not small at all. Suspicions raised, I Googled it, found out it was a fraud and then was shocked to see just how many legitimate small businesses fell for it with out asking any questions. There seem to be three or four of these scams going on. US Commerce Association, Small Business Commerce Association, US Local Business Association. But in a day and age of the Internet, I don’t get why people don’t do a quick Google search before they blindly accept and publicize an award they didn’t apply to, from an organization they haven’t heard of, and that requires them to pay for their award. Three seconds on the Internet would save you so much embarrassment and about $180.

  • Amy says:

    I just started a new job with a company that was sadly taken in by this scheme. The marketing person at the time didn’t understand a thing about marketing or awards or responsible marketing…and she got them to pay the money and get the plaque. Ouch! That was in 2008…now I am battling to get them to take the press release down off the web site because I don’t want that up there making us look like fools anymore!

  • Just got this and unfortunately, having received other similar scams, immediately Googled and confirmed it as yet another scam. The vultures never cease. Why don’t they do something of value with all that time you waste scheming on scams!

  • Here is the one I received: people will always try to find ways to make a buck.

    From: Kelly McCartney
    Email: info@uscaaward.com

    ——————————————————

    I am pleased to inform you that Canyon Copiers has been selected for the 2010 Phoenix Award in the Copiers category by the US Commerce Association (USCA).

    The USCA “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. In recognition of your achievement, a special 2010 Phoenix Award has been designed for display at your place of business. You may arrange to have your award sent directly to Canyon Copiers by following the simple steps on the 2010 Phoenix Award form. Simply copy and paste this link into your browser to access the award form:

    http://www.uscaaward.com/ABAL-QFE-PSU

    If you have any questions or comments, call us at 646-355-0637 and select option 1. Please reference your Award Code “BAL-QFE-PSU” on the call.

  • Yep, they just sent us ours… so proud 🙂

  • craig wheeless says:

    I just received my third notice (however they never sent the other two) from Kelly McCartney, Board of Review, US Commerce Association. Scam!!!

  • Pete says:

    We just won our 4th year in a row award. A feat the uslba claims only happens to 2% of our catagory.
    I was pleased until they sent our last reward for 2011 in March. How could I have won the best of 2011 when we were just in the 3rd month of the year? Then twice in May they repeated the whole e-mail and phone message thing again to try to sell me the best of 2011 award again.
    For sure a marketing agency trying to scam on a struggling economy.

  • Funny Business says:

    I was “awarded” just now… for doing commerce in a city that I have not had an office in for over 5 Years! Now if that doesn’t scream scam… I Don’t know what. LOL.
    Even funnier.. it was my own personal office. I did no business at all in the ‘award’ city either, my actual physical business is located half a continent away.  

  • Same here, Just want to thank everyone for sharing scams like this, I am glad I looked into this before signing on..

  • Same here, Just want to thank everyone for sharing scams like this, I am glad I looked into this before signing on..

  • Same here, Just want to thank everyone for sharing scams like this, I am glad I looked into this before signing on..

  • Ricky74vette says:

    This sounds like a great marketing gimmick…..I wish i would have thought of it….I got the same thing in my email about the award. Did I know it was fake? YES. Is it still cool?  YES.   Am I going to order my plaque?  MAYBE……It would look nice on my desk  :-}

  • […] My West Texas Publishers Weekly Rapid City Journal Responsible Marketing – Vanity Scams Responsible Marketing – Awards for Sale Scam.Com Tuscon […]

  • Anonymous says:

    This is my third award (2009, 2010, 2011). The USCA claims less than 1% win three years in a ros. Here’s their response when I questioned their program.

    Terre -First, I would like to congratulate you on your selection as a 2011 Best of San Luis Obispo Award Winner.I can’t really speak to the criticism cast our way by a vocal minority. As you know, the Internet is a forum which allows anyone to write anything without accountability. Please check the other 100,000+ references on Google, Yahoo and Bing from very proud business owners displaying our award image or press release on their websites. I’m sure that your selection as a 2011 Award Winner is a reflection of the hard work of not only yourself, but of many people that have supported your business and contributed to the subsequent success of your organization. It is the same for us here at USCA.Notification to other award winners in San Luis Obispo will be made over the next several weeks. After all award recipients have been notified, we will post the complete list of winners on our website.Simply click on the link below and follow the instructions to receive your award:Best of San Luis Obispo Award 2011 – Graphic Arts

    Sincerely,

    Kelly McCartney
    Board of Review
    US Commerce Association From: TerreSent: Tuesday, November 01, 2011 4:53 PMTo: Board of ReviewSubject: Re: Second Notice: Gaia Graphics & Associates Receives 2011 Best of San Luis Obispo Award Hi, I wrote you with this question but never heard back: Hi, Your organization has offered my company an award. There’s lots online that says it’s a scam, but the BBB runs a similar program so maybe you’re OK. What I’d like is a list of companies in my zip code that you have offered the award to, their categories, and those who have accepted. Thanks, Terre PS: I did buy one of your awards in 2009 but have never displayed it, having read the scam articles online after I spent the money. I’ve also been a member of the BBB for many years, with an A+ rating, but am questioning their veracity as well. But at least they have a great reputation. 

  • 090624 says:

    You guys are sooo cynical. Some people just don’t know how to take a compliment! My company just received the award for “Ignition Testing Instruments”. We are so proud. We don’t make Ignition Testing Instruments or anything remotely related, but hey, who’s to say we’re not the best and just don’t know it yet?! We’re keeping our fingers crossed for next year…

  • Tori W. says:

    Thank you for your posting. I just got the e-mail for my award and it seemed rather hokey so thanks to good old Google found your posting. Off next to update the junk e-mail list.

  • Keith =) says:

    Same here…I just got the email and I was thinking “If my business is so great (it is of course:) then why not send me the award for free?”   Mine came from the supposed “US Commerce Association (USCA).”  What a scam…I would never do this. And to the poster 090624…that was hilarious!

  • Small Engine Expert says:

    I agree with you all the way.If you send money for a product and don’t receive it,then i call that a money making scam.I got the e-mail also and I am not upset one bit,it makes feel good about myself and my small engine repair business.I have the plaque and going to display it with pride.

  • Logan says:

    Just got our illustrious award notification today! I’m sure there’s a magical pony, a rainbow and a pot of gold soon to follow..Ha! Thanks for posting this, made my scam verification search that much shorter.

  • Alifestylelimos says:

    We thought wow we are really making strides with our business but wasn’t sure if it was a scam. Finding this article made it easy for us to decide to not go forward with contacting the USCA to get our reward. Pretty slick scam! 

  • David says:

    Hi All,

    Got the same offering today. Nice plaque award from who know who is this company. Promoting our business is of course important and receiving an award is nice but this smells like 4 day old fish to me. I wrote them a reponce asking who else was awarded a simalar prize locally or nationwide. I’m wondering what they will say. We were givin the ” Seattle Award in the Commercial Artists catagory” . Nice research on their part because that is what we do, BUT pretty sure no one has ever heard of this award or better yet, how did they decide I was the worthy one. Enough said. I like competition, I’m a business man and try hard, if I win then I want to know why.
    BEWARE !
    David Cates
    Maverick Specialty Contracting – Seattle WA

  • Goooodguyy says:

    I just got the email today.  It’s sad win a company can sell awards and it doesn’t matter if the receiving company is even a legitimate company.  We are a legitimate company and it look exciting until I did a little research on the company selling these awards.  Please take a look at our company and see why we should have awards and not pay for them http://www.palowcosthealthinsurance.com

  • justsoyaknow says:

    Just got my email to get awarded my “Best of 2011” in the Painting Contractors category! Too bad my former company folded in 2009!!! haha nice try USCA

  • small business says:

    I’m so proud of myself for getting this award.   Since I’m the owner and only person working at my company, I think I’ll give myself a nice promotion and a big fat raise.   After all, I am “Best of 2011”.   I was having doubts about myself but the USCA sure made me feel much better.

  • Jonegordon says:

    Wow what a nice looking award!  I was suspicious from the start, and with a quick web search, confirmed to me that it was simply a ploy to have me buy an over-priced plaque.  Having said that, not all is lost; I did copy any paste the nice picture of the award so I can look at it anytime I need a little boost to my spirits!

  • numero uno says:

    Why buy their plaque when I can get my own custom made? It will be “The Worlds Best…” NO Wait… “Best in the entire universe….and I shall display it with pride!!

  • numero uno says:

    Besides it’s cheaper to order your own =D  http://www.plaquemaker.com/Acrylic-Standing-Order.html 

  • John says:

    Wow, amazing to see how long things like this can go on.  I’m glad it only took a few minutes to figure it out

  • Music Chick says:

    I’m so proud – we got the email today about our ‘award’!

  • tito says:

    It’s the American way. All kids get trophies just for showing up so there are no winners and losers. We all get a pat in the back as we ship our jobs and knowhow to China!

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