Smile....you are being Vanity Scammed!

September 09 2022 - Serious Business, Living the expat life


So picture this…… you are a stand-alone coach. You just moved to a new country. You are working from home every day and for one reason or another you are feeling some kind of self-doubt and loneliness. Then an email beeps in saying: Follow The Adventure has been put forward as a potential nominee within the Corporate Coaching and Recruitment Awards 2022.

 A quick check on google tells you there is indeed an actual Corporate Coaching and Recruitment Award – a yearly recurring event! For real. And someone has nominated your company! I mean, that’s exciting news, right? So, you cheer up, get giddily excited and spent the rest of the day wondering who has nominated your coaching company for this award….?

Ah well, a girl can dream. And it did keep me excited for about 24 hours (yup, call me gullible..). After a follow-up email, I became suspicious and a little more digging on internet helped to unravel the reality: I was being “vanity scammed”!

A vanity scam is not like a standard scam where you lose your money and get nothing in return. In this case you are really being “nominated” (aka “targeted”) and you are asked to submit success stories to state your case. There is a team that reviews all nominees, their case material and then determines the winner(s). So far it’s all for free and you only invest some time to showcase your success stories to them. In return you will get mentioned as Corporate Coaching and Recruitment Award Winner of 2022! Not much to lose, right?

So, what makes this still some sort of scam? It’s the business model of the organization granting the award: they nominate a candidate, they select the nominee, they define the criteria for winning and then decides who wins. They are not representing any formal industry or quality standards.  So basically it’s – in the famous words of the Dude – “just….your opinion, man”.
And when you are announced a “winner” you get offered all sorts of interesting marketing packages against interesting prices to let the world now that you are the Winner of the Corporate Coaching and Recruitment Award 2022! It gives about as much satisfaction as winning a round of BINGO.

What kind of award is that? Where is the recognition in there?

While it did put a smile on my face for a few hours, I am happy to rethink it and conclude that there is no bigger award than a “thank you” from a client. Seeing them grow from where they are, to where they want to be, is the biggest award I can possibly get!