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(Not this kind of poaching.)

Today I was exposed to the seedy underbelly of the direct selling industry: poaching.

I work in marketing for a nutritional supplement manufacturer called Reliv. It’s a network marketing company, a very different type of business model than a retail company. I really love my job, but I learn about the direct selling industry every day.

One thing I have learned about is “poaching.” It’s when an individual from one company will try to recruit individuals from other companies into their business instead. Not a big deal, right? Businesses do this all the time with top talent. But this is totally different. These poachers find distributors via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or other means. Then they send out mass Facebook messages or emails to a large group of people asking them to quit their business and sign up to do something else.

———-

From: Poacher
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 1:30 AM
To: Annie Haarmann
Subject: Are you still doing the Reliv business?

Hi,

I hope that this email doesn’t sound cheesy, but I was wondering how you do your marketing for Reliv?

How do you build your team?

Is Reliv generating an income of $10K a month for you?

I Really would appreciate your feedback. 🙂

Thanks

Pete

Now, I’m not a distributor myself. I work in the corporate headquarters. But every now and then I hear about poachers or have to remove poacher spam from our corporate Facebook page. Today, I was being poached!

I guess the guy found my Reliv email address somewhere, added me to his list of Reliv distributors, and included me in the message.

I knew exactly what he was trying to do, but I wanted to know how and where he had gotten my company email address, since I only use it for professional purposes.

———-

From: Annie Haarmann
To: Poacher
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 8:48 AM
Subject: RE: Are you still doing the Reliv business?

Hi, Pete,

I love Reliv. I’m really enjoying it! I do all kinds of marketing for

Reliv and I’d love to tell you more about it, but I can’t seem to

remember where we have met.

Can you refresh my memory how I know you?

Annie

———-

From: Poacher
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 2:37 PM
To: Annie Haarmann
Subject: Re: Are you still doing the Reliv business?

I actually help people in home based businesses market their opportunity

using some pretty powerful software that can find, sort and call or email

prospects for you quickly and, the best part, it’s all automated.  Saves

you  tons of time!! I also train people on how to use these tools properly.

If you are interested, check out this free webinar (if you’re not

interested, that’s ok too):

(website)

If you like what you see or have any questions, you can call me. You

will find my number at the bottom of the page that the webinar is viewed.

I truly wish you the best,

Peter Vlahos

———-

From: “Annie Haarmann” <ahaarmann@relivinc.com>
To: Poacher
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 2:38 PM
Subject: RE: Are you still doing the Reliv business?

But how did you get my email? How did you know I’m with Reliv?

———-

From: Poacher
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 2:43 PM
To: Annie Haarmann
Subject: Re: Are you still doing the Reliv business?

The video on my site explains it all.

(website)

It is really good stuff.

Pete

Ok, so this guy isn’t going to tell me where he got my email address. That’s cool. But, it’s been a long week, and I kind of want to have some fun with this situation. Also, I’m immature. So, this is how I responded:

———-

From: Annie Haarmann
To: Poacher
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 2:50 PM
Subject: RE: Are you still doing the Reliv business?

Really? It explains how you harvested my email address and then violated

the FTC’s CAN-SPAM Act? That’s one heck of a video.

Tell you what, Pete, while I check out your video, why don’t you check out my link to the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection?

http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus61-can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business

It is really good stuff.

You can learn about all the laws you are breaking.

In the meantime, kindly remove me from your mailing list. Thanks and have a great day!

Annie

And that was the end of it…

But it wasn’t.

This guy seemed to think that the law makes some sort of exception for business to business communication.

———-

From: Poacher
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 2:53 PM
To: Annie Haarmann
Subject: Re: Are you still doing the Reliv business?

Do you know what B2B is?

———-

From: Annie Haarmann
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 3:01 PM
To: Poacher
Subject: RE: Are you still doing the Reliv business?

Do you know that you just responded to a direct request for opt-out with yet another email to me?

Also, maybe you should check out the document I sent you again. It clearly states:

“Despite its name, the CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t apply just to bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, which the law defines as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” including email that promotes content on commercial websites. The law makes no exception for business-to-business email.”

It is really good stuff.

Once again, do not email me.

Annie

And that was the end of it. At least for now.

4 thoughts on “Fun With Poachers

  1. I LOVE it…keep on them, Annie. I get them too. Plus, I’ve been getting a TON of robot solicitor calls, too. Someone told me if you hit “#9” it will take you off their list. Annoying!

  2. To me, this guy sounded like he wanted to pitch you his service. Pretty much fishing for people then sending out messages and contact info to them, etc. Probably some content manager software that ends up annoying people by spamming them with message. Much like he was you.

    I have the email you sent me up in my cubicle as inspiration 🙂

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