Lady: Hello, I'm calling from Singapore Bruends (That was how she pronounced it). You have been recommended and chosen by xxx organisation and a statutory board. We would like to conduct an interview with your directors and also two of you to our gala dinner. Blah blah blah. (She mumbled it all so that you can't catch most of the names of the organisations and boards.)
Me: Are you selling advertising?
Lady: No, we are not selling advertising, we are marketing bruends and we would like to reserve two seats for you at our gala dinner.
Me: Ahh.. Marketing. That's pretty much an euphemism for advertising (Of course there are differences). Sorry, my advertising budget is zero, we don't have any money for your company.
Lady: Since you are so direct, we will leave your company out. Goodbye!
You can literally hear me pumping my fist in the background going yeah yeah!
These days, there are many of these information and directory services that want to list you in their trade directories, advertising websites (Would you go to a site full of ads?), give you awards, invite you to their gala dinners and so forth for a certain fee. Some are reputable while others are a hole in the hall, usually housed in the International Plaza at Tanjong Pagar and so forth.
A recent mail includes a big known organisation which congratulated my company for being ranked in the local SME 1000 and continued about the award being conferred and so forth. Then, there was an invitation to a gala dinner, 'a highly anticipated networking event where over 800 industry leaders and corporate...' will gather. Oh, then, there is the 2012 edition of that ranking list. Every year, this organisation would ask me to fill up financial information and I would stuff those questionnaires into the bin where they belong. This is supported by all the big business groups and government organisation. Heh.