Princeton Premier: Bad marketing or vanity scam?

Princeton University


Americans immediately think of Princeton University, the Ivy League, or possibly the Princeton Review.

They probably don’t think of Princeton Premier, a company you’ve never heard of that claims to be “the most interactive online business community in the world today.”

I first learned about Princeton Premier yesterday when I received the following email:

Subject: Patrick Byers’s Recent Nomination Into The Princeton Premier

Patrick Byers

It is my pleasure to inform you that you are being considered for inclusion into the 2009-2010 Princeton Premier Business Leaders and Professionals Honors Edition section of the registry.

The 2009-2010 edition of the registry will include biographies of the world’s most accomplished individuals. Recognition of this kind is an honor shared by thousands of executives and professionals throughout the world each year. Inclusion is considered by many as the single highest mark of achievement.

You may access our application form using the following link: (link goes to a generic form on without any information pre-filled)

Upon final confirmation, you will be listed among other accomplished individuals in the Princeton Premier Registry.

For accuracy and publication deadlines, please complete your application form and return it to us within five business days.

There is no cost to be included in the registry.

If you’ve already received this email from us, there is no need to respond again.

This email serves as our final invitation to potential members who have not yet responded.

On behalf of the Executive Publisher, we wish you continued success.


Jason Harris
Managing Director
Princeton Premier

This offer from Princeton Premier complies with 15 U.S.C. §§ 7701-13
Click the following link to update your information or stop future mailings. (link goes to an unbranded email unsubscription form)

Lots of red flags here:

  • Email was text-based without any actual links to the company
  • Contact form without contact information
  • Marketing puffery on their website
  • Amateurish identity and design
  • Outdated copy on website
  • Use of unbranded email templates and database tools

Bad marketing, but how is it a vanity scam?

Well, a little more sleuthing will tell you that inclusion in Princeton Premier’s directories are meaningless, and this is indeed another vanity scam.

The phone numbers (and names associated) have changed several times, and sometimes the calls terminate at an answering service in India and/or Saudi Arabia.

The real goal of Princeton Premier is to sell upgrades to your free listing. Prices for these upgrades apparently range from $100 to $800—all for the right to be included in a directory assembled by vanity scammers.

Where do I sign up?

On another note, I wonder what Princeton University or the Princeton Review respond things like this. Their brand is being sullied—not a good thing.

So, have you received an “offer” like this one? And how do you think this makes legitimate marketers look?

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Photo: Princeton University

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