I already sent this in to Writer Beware, but also am posting here FYI. . .
Dear Writer Beware:
I wanted to alert you about a company called “Manchester Who’s Who.” They purport themselves as a women-focused Who’s Who (not affiliated with the more well-known Who’s Who company) and networking service for publishing and media professionals. I was invited to participate some time ago as a professional writer/researcher and was told time and again (verbally and in writing) there was no charge to me to be included in their database/biography book---that there was only a charge if I wanted to search their database for contacts myself---and not being a paid member would not preclude people who were paid members from finding me in their database and possibly contacting me for freelance work. The “member registry” is marketed to freelance writers/media professionals as a way to promote themselves and their writing, areas of research topic expertise, etc.-----supposedly for free.
It seemed on the up and up to me, so I submitted information to have my biography/contact info/clips included. I had to go through a lengthy interview process, both written and verbally over the phone, answering numerous questions about me and my professional publishing history----supposedly for Manchester Who’s Who to determine if I had sufficient career accomplishment for inclusion in the database. (This appeared to me to be a kind of legit editorial gatekeeping, to ensure that only quality media professionals got included in the database). This process alone took several months.
Then today, I got a call at work from the same woman who’d done all the previous interview calls and solicited all the written information about my bio (the same one who assured me there was no charge to participate). There were several more probing interview questions, which I answered to her satisfaction. Then I was congratulated, and told that I qualified for inclusion in their media networking database. I was then informed that it would cost me a mere $689 a year for their “junior” level of membership (i.e., just to be included in the registry), and more than $1000 a year for full access to their database! (along with additional charges for the more typical hardcover member book-buying scam a la the old-school Who’s Who orgs).
This was AFTER I was told repeatedly, in writing and in multiple phone calls, that there was NO CHARGE to me just to be included in the database. To clarify, I asked, “So what you’re saying is, I have to pay at least $689 just to be included in this database?”
“Correct”, said the voice on the line.
I told the woman I was not interested in paying any kind of fee, and she then immediately terminated the call. (The woman who called me each and every time, I believe, is Manchester Who's Who "Editor In Chief" Jennifer Gonzalez.
This is a very well-thought out, sinister, and blatantly misleading scam. I therefore wanted to bring it to Writer Beware’s/everyone's attention.
See www.manchesterwhoswho.com for more info.