Reputation risk with Vanity Directories

The other day a colleague of mine brought to my attention an advert on LinkedIn that reads as follows:
“Are You A Lawyer? – Apply Now For Inclusion In The Prestigious Madison Who’s Who Registry! Read More “

The Read More link takes you straight to a website MadisonWhosWho.com which offers a ‘unique’ opportunity to be included in the ‘prestigious’ professional networking directory and networking platforms. It all sounded great and the website promises that it is all free

I went on the website to check it out because I know that nothing on the internet is really free. Almost immediately something did not feel right. To the naked eye the site looks like a legitimate networking website. Something like a baby LinkedIn where you can connect with other professional people from all over the world to generate mutually beneficial business.

However, upon a slightly closer examination I once again learned something I didn’t know about the internet.
If you find yourself lured by this sort of advert on LinkedIn or elsewhere, don’t automatically trust it just because LinkedIn is believed to be a relatively trusted source. If you do, you might get yourself a reputation problem. Instead, make enquiries before filling out any forms or sending any information. There is a lot of information on the internet about so called “vanity directories”. This is Wikipedia’s take on it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who’s_Who_scam

Yair Cohen

Social Media Lawyer

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