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You guys are gonna love this!

CALTRADECALTRADE subscriber Posts: 1
edited October 2007 in Marketing
Hi - first time poster, but I think you will like this story- it has more than it`s fair share of irony.
I have built an international trade portal for California firms, and while I have a good small business base, have been struggling with getting larger companies for several years.  I wanted to try a different marketing approach, and also make the site more search engine friendly, so I decided to use a different technology for the directory portion of my portal.  
This directory is a bit like the original Yahoo and can be easily indexed and crawled by the search engines.  I had about 10,000 entries in my old directory, so I had them imported to the new technology.  Since this new technology used a different system for categorizing sites, I decided to keep all the links in "inactive" status, and then start a process of going through them one-by-one and reviewing and re-categorizing the entries.
When a link is approved, and activated, an email message is automatically sent inviting the person to register so they can edit the link.  This is a bit risky, because it really isn`t "op-in" - I am opting them in and inviting them to take control of their company record.   Still, I found that I got few complaints, but also few people registering.  In other words, very few people "opted in" to this directory, and not too many people responded to my invitation.
I didn`t know it, but it turns out that the software sends out a rejection letter whenever I delete or deactivate a link.  As far as rejection letters go, this one was fairly polite- it just said that base on a review of their website, it had been decided that they were not qualified for a listing in the California International Business Directory for various reasons.  Since I was working cleaning up my database, I started deactivating a number of large companies so I could add more information to their records later.
You guessed it.  Without even knowing it, I was sending out rejection letters to some of the largest and most influential Corporations in California!  - and I was completely unprepared for what happened next.  I started getting all manner of responses to these letters.  Some just asking for an explanation but many demanding that their company be included in my directory.  One guy even threated to sue me unless I put his listing in the directory!  For some reason, it didn`t occur to any of these companies to question how they could be rejected from something they never applied for in the first place. 
So the situation is this.  I have a FAR better response rate to my rejection letters then I do to my invitation letters - so much so, that I have half thought about ONLY sending rejection letters.  I can`t seem to bring myself to do that.   I don`t really even know the moral of this story, but I though I would share it.
   CALTRADE10/23/2007 8:07 PM


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