About a week ago I wrote about a sales and marketing company called Infusionsoft. It wasn’t a particularly in-depth article — just a quick post noting that the company had raised some additional funding. But anyway, it happened.
Well, apparently the Infusionsoft PR team received this email on Monday:
From: Anthony Ha (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: October 13, 2014 at 9:14:26 PM MST
Subject: Hi Clate…
Support: To Clate Mask, CEO, only. Please forward to him
I hope you are doing amazing! As you know, I wrote up about your company in our TechCrunch only recently.
Periodically I’ve followed you and am thrilled with your leaps forward. I know our page is getting a lot of hits and I direct people often to you.
I am contemplating another write up (can’t promise anything as the editor often rejects me, and am not allowed to promise).
I hear you have new things which is fantastic and a new platform
By the way, can you set me up with my own complimentary lifetime Infusionsoft Complete. I’m going to play with it and test some of my own ideas out.
[I understand that you can close/yank it anytime if you’re not happy for any reason!]
Thanks buddy and keep it up!
Just to be clear: I didn’t write this email. Luckily, the folks at Ubiquity, Infusionsoft’s PR firm, realized that something was fishy, so they double-checked with me and I could confirmed that it was written by an impostor. (Apparently my doppelganger sent the same message to at least one other Infusionsoft employee.)
I asked other TechCrunch writers if they’d been in similar situations, but aside from parody Twitter accounts, all I got was one story about someone pretending to be John Biggs in the hopes of obtaining free RAM. Plus this variant: People who don’t impersonate a specific TechCrunch writer but claim that they work for us, when they really really really don’t.
The crisis was averted, but I’m still pretty annoyed, and I sure hope this doesn’t happen again. (Or if there is another Anthony Ha impersonator, I hope he’s less of a tool.) With that in mind, I’d like to offer a few easy ways to spot a TechCrunch and/or Anthony Ha impostor:
- I would never call someone “buddy.”
- As far as I know, none of the TechCrunch writers or editors use AOL addresses. You can find all of our email addresses here. And while some of us do send messages from our personal Gmail accounts, it’s never from AOL.
- For the most part, we only ask for free stuff if it’s for a review.
- If we are going to abuse our power and ask for free stuff, it won’t be marketing software. (No offense!)
- Despite what Evil Anthony said, my editors actually think I’m great. More importantly, I can publish directly to the site and they can’t stop me, so all that stuff about “the editor often rejects me” is BS.
- Okay, I have to admit that Jon Shieber was using an AOL address for a couple of weeks, but we shamed him and he stopped. So the point stands.
Update: Actually, Jon still uses an AOL address for some reason. I apologize on his behalf.