And the winner is…

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Well, just about anyone and everyone, it seems. Perhaps people who don’t even exist are winners too.

Forgive the cynicism, but we were recently approached by the US Trade & Commerce Institute who told us we had won an award – a United Kingdom Excellence in Commerce Award, to be precise. A panel of industry execs and oversees consultants had decided that we had not only met, but exceeded industry benchmarks.  We’d get a swanky trophy and some free PR. What’s not to like?

Fashionizer has done some business in the US of late, and we have been working on our profile globally, so in that respect it kind of made sense. There had been previous UK winners too – JR’s Bar and Grill in Glasgow and Manchester-based Stevens Tax Consultants.

But whilst we like to think of ourselves as pretty open to any opportunities, we decided to check it out, especially as they were asking for a fee to cover the cost of the trophy and a ‘free’ press release.

Firstly we emailed the lovely Catherine Weaver at the USTCI for more information, then we looked up a few things online. It wasn’t a real surprise to discover that it’s pretty much impossible to locate the names of the judging panel, or indeed the names of anyone involved in the USTCI.  JR’s Bar and Stevens Tax Consultants couldn’t be tracked down either.

An internet trawl did reveal a fair few legitimate companies who have ‘won’ the award, presumably having stumped up the cash for it.

Extending our reach globally through social networks and similar sites has had great benefits in that it has increased our international presence. But the other side of that is that it makes us little more vulnerable to prospective scammers. With increased exposure comes increased risk.

So much as it’s nice to have a cabinet full of awards, we think we will stick with the ones we have actually won – as our picture shows.

Oh – and Ms Weaver still hasn’t replied…

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