My experience with Bristol Who’s Who

new_logoRecently I had an interesting chat with a man phoning from New York City, working for Bristol Who’s Who. I contacted the organisation via a notice about them on LinkedIn, simply to be listed as a University of Wollongong Alumni member. That was all. Maybe I’m a bit dumb, as I had not heard of them!!! Well, it’s not happening, as they basically didn’t want to do that, without me paying for an annual, five year or life time membership.

As always, when I ponder the WIIFM Principle (what’s in it for me – and them), it did not seem the right thing to do. Mostly, that principle applied to them, as it was my money that seemed to be in it for them.

Perhaps I’m naive, but in no way could I see how paying them money, was going to help me or my most recent mission in life, which is to improve the daily lives and care of people with dementia. I’d rather donate the amount of their fee to a charity like Dementia Alliance International, if I’m to spend that much money. A lovely chap indeed, but obviously with a specific membership sales pitch to sell and recruit new members, and not interested in me after I declared I was not interested in parting with my money.

I am more than happy to share this here, as some readers of this blog might want to inquire about their membership; it, if you are looking to increase how busy you are professionally, might be just the organisation for you. The fact that they sell it as a more exclusive Who’s Who in some ways detracted it for me, but it may be valuable for others. I don’t need the perceived glory of being listed with them, nor would I keep up with any more work. Like the Koala in my poem the other day, I want some time occasionally to relax!

117 thoughts on “My experience with Bristol Who’s Who

  1. Oh boy, first of all no they don’t include you if you don’t pay, that’s just crazy
    Second, good luck trying to cancel or get a refund. i know that if you call to get a refund they usually talk you out of it. this business is a scam that survives through the cracks and loopholes of the system. i used to work there so i know first hand.

  2. Yesterday I also started the registration process with BWW but decided to stop halfway through – although I had already entrered my email & phone details. Today I was called from a number originating +51 … , so from Peru?, – I am based in the Netherlands. The caller stated they were from the States., New York! The caller immediately began de spiel of wanting to interview me in order to assess whether I qualified for registration – I turned the tables and said I wanted first to understand how they operate, what the benefits to me were, how they would use the data, how much it would cost. No answer to my specific questions was given – instead the caller directed to me to the website saying that all the information was available. When I’d looked at the website info previously I didn’t think it actually gave much meaningful data – but as I was already online I immediately accessed the site. Needless to say thew info I requested was not available on the site. Thinking back – the caller definitely had a reaction when I stated I was online and was quickly able to access data. I said I’d need to have time to check the website & info before I progressing any further. She gave me “”HER” name and telephone number so that I could call her back. The name, an usual spelling — Allyse Grae, does exist on LinkedIn – but with only 3 connections!! The number she gave is similar to the central number displayed on the website, so a US number – but I called directly to check the number but received an automated message that the number was not in use.
    That’s when I checked for scams ……. and found this site. Thank you.

    • I really got duped on this one. I was supposed to be a “featured member” never appeared. The write up in their newsletter was written by an idiot. They ignored the write up I submitted. I was hoping to drum up some business. I was blindsided, really got burned. I will be kicking myself forever. I let my guard down. Working on getting restitution.

    • Were you able to unsubscribe? I am trying all my best to do so, as I was so stupid to give them my details, but it is harder than expected to unsubscribe. I think these kind of “organizations” should not be allowed…

      • I was finally able to unsubscribe but as you say it wasn’t easy. I don’t know how are they allowed to carry on with business…??
        In my case writing to them worked. Hope you can get out of it.

      • I can tell you as someone who got doped as well that it’s all based on false promises. There are no benefits. There is minimal effort, if any on the part of those in charge. It’s simply about them taking your money. The best thing you can do is report this company and all those associated with it. who’s who of distinguished alumni, who’s who among notable alumni. There is no need to call them for your money, just report them to the Better Business Bureau and your bank!!!

      • When I realized my mistake due to the rubbish they were spouting, I immediately told them I wanted nothing more to do with them and asked for written confirmation that I had received nothing from them and that I owed them no more than the $ 1000 I’d paid. I took the precaution of canceling my credit card, as I really didn’t trust them. I was so glad I did this, because despite them acknowledging that I owed them nothing more if I didn’t use their services, they kept on trying to deduct $20 per month from my credit card. I thought it was over after mailing them to stop trying to debit my card, but after 9 months they restarted trying to deduct $20 per month. Get a new credit card as soon as you decide to leave this organization.

  3. Anonymous, it’s nice of you to stick up for your company but maybe you don’t know them as well as you think you or maybe you are okay with lying for and with them.
    Laura Johnson came off as arrogant and rude. I cringe to think the company is proud to have her as a defendant so to speak.
    This company is a scam and its amazing that they find loop holes to still exist.

  4. I have read a lot of comments on here, and I am amazed by the post. Laura Johnson obviously is not someone who should represent Bristol Who’s Who. I will be honest I am an employee at Bristol Who’s Who. I have been for a while, my employer is nice, he offers an opportunity and I think everyone who has a job can appreciate that. I have never been asked to anything to scam anyone. In fact they are very aggressive about doing things by the book. For me I read a script and offer a membership, I tell the benefits I have to offer, and I ask for payment for the membership. I am not cold calling someone after all it was an application filled out, and you can always say no. The membership can only be as good as you make it, but I have always tried to go above and beyond for every member I come in contact with. For instance Richard Rappaport we just did a press release because he won the Nobel Peace Prize. I think the reason why people are so upset is because you go through an interview, you get accepted, and then you are asked to pay. I can see how you could feel frustrated. After all I would be, I feel disappointed, and maybe even hurt a little. I might feel like I was important and now I am not. That is not the case at all, you are all important to me, and to us. We would not have a book of wonderful accomplished executives such as yourself. Everyone is probably confused right now. Let me explain, if we are calling you, then you are someone we have researched and we interested in. We do the interview with you and get to know you as a person. Then we either accept you or we don’t. Now if we accept you, then we offer you a membership, but you all know this part already. Here is where I think we are failing at, even if you don’t pay for a membership you are still included. We still right a biography, we still put you in the book, and we still tell all the paying members that you have been included. We do this free of charge, if you pay for membership then we network for you, we endorse you, when you make mile stones in your life we are there saying look at what mister or misses has done. Maybe we should express that more, tell me what you think please. Just remember nothing is prefect, LinkedIn is also a great service to use, but is being sued by members. Does this make LinkedIn a scam? The answer is no just they made a big mistake. We failed to inform you that you are in our registration and I am so sorry for that. Ultimately you have a choice to say no I don’t want to pay for any additional services, and opt for the free listing. I completely respect that, and I understand your decision. The door is always open to you. I assure you that it is what it is no more than that, it’s a membership. I urge you to check out the article Forbes wrote about us, and also the Examiner both are available online. If we were a scam I don’t think that they would want to associate with us. Nor would over a million executives who payed for membership.

    • It is interesting to read this… my experience was definitely though, 100% as soon as I asked for written material to read and consider before I paid, the person on the end of the phone… WAS NOT INTERESTED IN ME after that.

    • This comment made me laugh out loud 🙂 I was approached on the basis of a random click for alumni of my university. When I got the call, I found it quite amusing and pretty much invented half of my life. I got a bunch of compliments about totally unverifiable lies and then ‘accepted’. Research? Selection? Give me a break! Those who were NOT accepted after a call, please respond 🙂 This is becoming increasingly entertaining.

    • If you don’t pay for a membership, you’re saying that you are still included? I was accepted and chose to not pay or become a member so I sure hope that nothing was published about me without my knowledge

  5. Beware! They are also going under the guise of Who’s Who Among Notible Alumni! These scam artists will stop at nothing for your money!! Shameful.

    • Thank you, I had no idea this was a scam and they have been calling me non stop since I enquired – they didn’t get far with me thankfully as I don’t have money to throw at nothing..THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS. Now there is half an hour of my time I won’t get back!

  6. congratulations – you have successfully evaded that “who’s who” scam… basically, it wors the following way: greedy company publishes a book/creates a website called “the xyz who’s who”, with xyz standing for the place/city where they are trying to bait some victims.

    each and any name will be accepted as an entry, as long as this person pays them, f. ex., 1000 bucks and maybe even more for “special service” consisting of a “press release” no one will ever read. who you are or what you have done does not matter for them; only your money does.

    occasional “positive experience” can be easily explained by the feeling of belonging to an elitary, selected and exclusive circle bought by this membership – at least until the person in question realizes that the circle is neither elitary nor selcted nor exclusive.

    one last word on “lifelong memberships” – they only last as long as the company keeps its website running; due to the (borderline) illegality of such activities they tend to shut down after a few years…

    dear kate, you may have lost your photographic memory – but certainly not your common sense.

  7. The first thing to do when making a certain kind of purchase is to research, especially if not very familiar with the brand. I googled of course and noticed that they must also be who’s who of distinguished alumni and wouldn’t you know, it’s negative review after negative review! For both companies?
    Disgusting!

  8. Hi Kate, I saw this pop up on LinkedIn and completed the ‘free’ application process, got the phone call from New York and the background check, got the approval to join… and then got hit with the please pay $1,189 right now…. alarm bells.

    I politely declined on the grounds that I wanted to discuss this with my better half and immediately got on the google machine to do some homework and stumbled on your blog.

    Needless to say I will be politely declining if/when I receive a follow up phone call from them. If they are a truly successful networking organisation then hats off to them, but on the information available to me the risk outweighs any possible reward.

    On a side note, keep up the good work in the field of dementia.

  9. OMG!! I joined today and wanted to do research on them. I just found this. are you guys all kidding me??!! i spend more than a $1000 quarterly on toiletries and coloring my hair! if you are complaining this much about a lifetime membership costing $1000 and you have all this time to blog about it, sad to say but YOU HAVE BIGGER PROBLEMS! I also i spend $1500 annually for a gym membership that I DO NOT USE. You are all shameful. last i checked, you have to pay when you join a company that provides a service. This company should come after all of you! You all need to GET A LIFE!! and just to be sure you all know, i do not know anybody from this company but i WILL give them an opportunity to help me network! SHAMEFUL all of you. you act like they are stealing your life savings . again. if you cant afford 1000 for a lifetime membership, you have bigger problems as executives!! and u r complaining about a link in linkedin and you were some how duped? ummm … all companies use sales and marketing tactics to draw your attention. and i read “they keep calling and keep charging my credit card.” lol why dont you just block them and cancel ur card if this is in fact going on? oh and as far as you all being surprised its on LinkedIn. PLEEZE!! i know about 50 profiles off the top of my head on linkedin that are BOGUS AND FRAUDULENT! i know companies that i deal with all the time that are ripping me off with unnecessary charges but they get away with it. get a grip and leave this poor company alone. good lord! get a life. im already networking!!

    • Glad you have a different opinion, though sad to see so much sarcasm – not such a pleasant trait in anyone really. Those who have added anything here, are simply telling it as they found it, some good, some bad.. just another opinion, that is all.

      • I actually saw Laura’s exact response (verbatim) in Linked in, as a reply to someone critical of the company. Only, it came from an unspecified LinkedIn member; not a Laura Johnson. Hmm…

    • Laura Johnson, based on the tone of your post, it is in fact obvious that you know someone at the company and it’s a shame that you have bought into it? How much did they pay you to write that? How dare you insult people if they “can’t afford $1000 for a lifetime? Are you making your paycheck in a just manner? would you like to have your card charged over and over without permission? You’re perhaps the one who should be ashamed. And you perhaps should leave that “poor company” How does any of you sleep comfortably at night? scam!

    • You would do well to spend some of your hard earned dollars on a grammar and punctuation class. Failure to capitalize, insert commas, colons and apostrophes can be more harmful to your networking than joining or not joining a networking organization. Most individuals prefer to research organizations in which they plan to invest, or organizations that charge membership fees. Most professional organizations do charge fees (less than Who’s Who), and they provide clearly defined services.

      • hahaha, regards your suggestion to spend money on punctuation and grammar, many of the people who join the conversation on this website have dementia, and so find that quite challenging, myself included. Once upon a time, mine was near perfect… so to be insulted like this is rather unkind to someone living with increasing disAbilities.

      • Kate – as I mentioned previously, my comments about grammar and punctuation were, indeed, not directed at you! They were intended for Laura Johnson whose thoughts as well as means of presenting her thoughts just could not go without comment. Regards!

      • I hear you… and one of the things I detest about having dementia (there are not that many actually), is my reduced ability to be ‘perfect’ with my spelling, grammar, and so on. I sometimes read old blogs, and find mistakes, and chastise myself for making them, then forget to go back and fix them!

      • Kate, I think that comment was probably for Laura Johnson who doesn’t come across as a professional but a pawn!

    • FYI, this exact same text is on LinkedIn in response to a posting calling this what it is: a scam. ‘Laura Johnson’, you should be ashamed of yourself, but you likely don’t have that capacity.

  10. Thank you so much for having this blog. I almost paid. The connection of my phone was pretty bad so I went outside for the call and when I went inside to get my card ready we got disconnected. 1 minute later I found your blog.

  11. Hi I just got a similar call from Debbie…she took all my details from my linkedin profile and passed me for the membership which she wants me to pay $900 immediately so i delayed the payment as i dont know how authentic it is and now after reading the reviews i feel that any auhentic organization will give you a trial period and will not take your payment details on phone.

    Thanks to all of you for sharing.

  12. Hi my name is John and I paid for a membership for the Bristol Who’s Who. I have owned my own coffee shop for years me and my wife. So I have for many years been trying to get my special coffee brand out for years. Kona coffees we now own a farm that grows these specials beans. I have had a lot of trouble getting my name out there and my coffee. I tried Linked In to network, but all they wanted is for me to network with people I know and I always have to give them an email address. Then if I don’t give Linked In my email address to network with people i already know then I don’t get to network at all. Plus people I have met on Linked In have lied and said things they could help me get self space in super markets at a discount. Blah blah blah all lies, then Linked In sent me an email I can become a premium member for 1200.00 usd a year. No Linked In is a scam you can’t even network if unless you invite all your friends to join and pay 1200.00 usd a year. So i found Bristol’s on Linked In I did some research, and seen all these scams written about them. So for giggles I applied I spoke to a young lady who interviewed me it was nice to speak to someone about what I was doing. I had hopes then came the money part, I was yup another scam to just get money. Something caught my attention thought the prices she quoted 1189.00 usd for a lifetime membership that is way cheaper than what Linked In or Facebook is asking. Of course I didn’t buy the lifetime, but i did buy a one year for 149.00 usd still way cheaper than Linked In. Within that one year Sandy a nice lady called about a month after my membership and told me about internet optimization and a press release for additional cost I said go for it. So far the connections I have made, have been great I got shelf space in Trader Joe’s selling my coffee. I have also increased my revenue ten fold, and I got to do a spot about life changes with William Shatner. Yup that is the Star Trek star who wrote a book about making life changes, he interviewed me. Needless to say I am now a happy lifetime member of over a million top executives world wide. The beautiful thing is I can network with who I want without being asked to invite people I already know, and if I don’t have time to network then they do t for me. Thank you Bristol Who’s Who I am glad I took a chance on you guys despite what others may say. The comments made on here are mostly from people who are not members. How can you say something negative about something you are not even a part of, that’s like saying I don’t like ice cream if you have never tried it. Something only works if you give it a try and for 149.00 with the option to upgrade its worth trying, and still cheaper then Linked In or Facebook. The reason I comment on a platform like this is because no one forced me I made the choice.

    • This comment is obviously a false one. Increased revenue ten fold by becoming a member. Yeah right! Sure LinkedIn costs money, but you get value for your money. Paying 149 for nothing (fake directories) is more expensive than paying more for something. I also got a call and soon understod it is a scam. They are preying on the gullible.

      • Yes, I would recommend staying with LinkedIn or a liable professional association. There are enough reviews here that would lead anyone to believe this company, who’s who is a scam.

  13. Who’s Who scam
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (October 2009)
    A Who’s Who scam is a fraudulent Who’s Who biographical directory.[1] Who’s Who scams involve the selling of “memberships” in fraudulent directories that are created online or through instant publishing services.[1] These fraudulent directories represent thinly veiled moneymaking scams.

    A scam may begin with a telephone interview or online questionnaire to validate a potential target’s personal information. This information can be included in the fraudulent directory, sold to other marketing firms, or used in future attacks such as phishing emails. Once the personal information has been gathered, the target is congratulated as having passed the interview and is asked to provide a credit card number to finalize the process. Upon further inquiry, the target may be told that a credit card payment is required to receive a certificate and copy of the directory.

    Recently incorporated companies are often behind these scams. The few individuals listed in such directories often have themselves included as a marketing tactic. The result is that these directories become a simple form of vanity publishing. One known problem is that people’s credentials sometimes list their online directory memberships long after such fraudulent directories disappear from the web.

    There are numerous variations of these practices. In former European monarchies, publishers compile volumes listing “noblemen” (such as dukes, counts and barons) who are often little more than fantasists who paid large sums to have their names inscribed in these books. Even high school students are not immune to such ploys; for many years a now-defunct company based in Texas published a Who’s Who Among American High School Students which justified its activities by offering (at random) a few scholarships, usually for $200.

    Who’s Who companies that adequately filter their entries and provide value to the people listed in them are hard to identify. A & C Black’s Who’s Who is the canonical example of a Who’s Who reference work, being the first to use the name and establish the approach in print. However, the longevity of the publication itself is not a guarantee. In 1999 Tucker Carlson alleged in Forbes magazine that the long-lived Marquis Who’s Who adopted practices of address harvesting as a revenue stream, undermining its claim to legitimacy as a reference work listing people of merit.[2] However, Forbes currently bases 10% of the methodology for its America’s Best Colleges list on alumni listings in Who’s Who in America, the flagship title of Marquis Who’s Who.[3]

  14. Bristol Who’s Who is what i call a legal fraude, they are i supose legal, but they try to people by phone to give them credit card details…..
    A woman called me, and for 20 or 30 minutes talked and asked things and then started talking about money.
    I told her to send me everything by email, lol, she told me she couldnt do it because had lots of other people to talk with….. i told her i couldnt talk more i was working and she asked me if the problem was money lol, started making me cheaper options, once again i told her to send me all that by email, and she told me she had to move to other people.

    So if they are what they claim to be, they dont send emails? they dont have pay pal or any secure payment?
    Are we forced to decide to pay in the moment we recive a call without having time to think or decide otherwise they move foward to the next client?

    Linkedin will lose credibility with this

    • Joao, your feedback is noted, but nothing that you have said here makes a business or our business a scam! You submitted an application for inclusion. The concept of having to pay for a membership is in what way a scam?

      • How someone feels is up to them… the ploy of not being interested in prospective members if they don’t wish to PAY up front, without being sent information, perhaps ‘feels’ like one.

      • Hi, please tell Ben Malick (Director of Executive Services in Bristol Who’s Who) to answer my emails; Your company is making charges to my credit card that are NOT AUTHORIZED! i been wrinting for almost a month to this guy to have an explanation and nothing…….

      • I don’t have anything to do with this organisation, and so cannot do that for you. My blog was simply written, to explore my own experience.

        Personally, I do not endorse them, but also, nor do I not endorse them.

  15. When I said that I dont’ want to pay money for this and that I first would like to see the terms and conditions, they hung up… or at least the line was screwed. Hmm, over 1000 USD (or pounds) for a membership where I don’t know what I’m getting really? I sad no thank you.

  16. I just got the call. I am part of the Happy Few to be selected ! Great, so now let’s pay… Hopefully, I was not at the office but heading to a meeting – and I do not need credit card at meetings ! So she’ll call me back later… However my meeting was with my lawyer… a very wise man who explained me the trick…

  17. Pingback: BRISTOL WHOS WHO SCAM | Michael Starr | British Playwright

  18. Pingback: BRISTOL WHO’S WHO SCAM | Michael Starr | British Playwright

  19. I just received their call. Looked like an Indian guy talking in an American Accent. His tone seemed like he was reading his pitch from a piece of paper. I hung up the phone as soon as he asked for money after 20 mins of interviewing.

  20. Pingback: Stay away from ‘Who’s Who of Distinguished Alumni’ | Heidi Helen Creative

  21. Absolutely fell for this scam it seems based on the reviews! I just wished I didnt give my card details ! Scamed US$1,189 and within 1 hour thought I would just go check if any reviews on company and was totally devastated! I called up my bank but sure enough payment have processed through within 1 hour of that call.

    Since then emailing Peter Foster / Director of Finance who have since brought the fee down to US$259 and the the has sent agreement to refund the initial amount of US$1189 and charge back US$259 but upto now no news nor any refund or no answer to any emails. I have instructed by bank to dispute the claim and they are working on it.

    I wonder where the professionalism in this is! If they simply kept their word and refunded the money I woldnt be writing this and most likely giving them the benefit of the doubt on their service, which I cannot say at this point. I simply can’t believe I fell for this .

    They do know how to target their customers overseas.

    • I am also from overseas and I almost fell for it also. I think if I had more money I would probably “try” it. The same history of you.

  22. Good thing guys that I read the comments before I got a call!
    I was contacted by some lady with last name Rodriguez , Based on the reviews above I believe its the same lady changing names. First of all in the sign up page it mentions that “There is no cost to apply or for inclusion” then how come they end up putting forward membership cost for inclusion into their listing. So this polite lady called me and based on the reviews I told her that yes Iam still considering whether should go for my name to be included in your website because I have heard many bad reviews…so muttered “we are still in the interview process and I havent even told you the membership package…i think you are not fit for our membership”….and that was it phone hung up….

  23. Thank you Kate, I just received my respective call one hour ago. The woman spoke for 20 minutes with me, and when she mentions the money, I said her that I have to review her proposal in an email. She answers me that the option is say yes right now or one year after, because they have to many applications to check. I consider important to say that Linkedin have some responsability about this, because they has check the kind of services that his customers want to sell us.

    • I found this post after BWW contacted me, but fortunately I didn’t accept their SCAM.
      Everything was so strange, and I told the lady at the phone (Eruka West, I suppose, fake name): “this is really akward to me and highly irregular”.

      As many of you, I was “accepted” after a 20 min convertation, and just after that the lady at the phone began her pushy strategy to make me give her my credit card. She began at 999$, and finished offering “3$ per week, less than a coffee”. WTF!

      I suggest all of you to write to Linkedin and protest energically against their lack of control accepting advertisers. And pointing to the damage it can cause for Linkedin reputation.
      I have already done.

      • I received the same phone call from Who is Who, initially they asked me for USD 900 for lifetime membership, I told her to send me the details via email, which she declined, then she said if the issue wan that i didnt have the money, so she dropped the offer to USD 47. When I refuse she just hanged up!. I saw in their website and in the directory they have a variety of people, they just receive who ever fall in the scam,. I send an email to linkedin to protest without receiving any response

    • I too received the delightful call from a woman by the name of Kristina…”interviewed” me for 20mins and then requested my credit card details for the $1189 at which point I said I would not give my card details over the phone to a complete stranger. She then got annoyed and said that they dont do it over the website because theres too much “fraud”….so I said why dont you use paypal then??…had no answer to that.
      The offer then went down to $600 and then $260 to which I still know and that Im not going to be pressured into this. If you not willing to send me the details on email then Im not interested…at which point she got irrate and told me not to interrupt her(hahaha wat a joke) which is when I put the phone down. These people are pathetic crooks and dont deserve to breath the same air we do!!!! I have her LinkedIn profile and I will be alerting LinkedIn to her fraudulant activity!!!
      Never ever give your card details over the phone or email. Only through secure methods where visa and mastercard are registered backers in the transaction.

  24. Thank you for that post, just got off the phone with them and was researching for similar experiences. Similar story, I clicked on Alumni Who is Who add on LinkedIn, never completed but it register my phone #, so they called 2 days later. After 25 min they gave up, as I was not willing to give up my credit card. Interestingly, price was dropping from $960, to $700, to $580, to $170. I have not seen value in their offer and for that reason I would not even spend $20.
    Their business is legit, but practices are tricky: definitely false advertising, unclear price for services and unclear services. They make money getting people excited by talking about their accomplishments and then asking for credit card to pay for “membership” with vague benefits, and undisclosed future costs.
    I have just read on rippoffreport.com that after you pay once $960, they come back few months later to ask for $750 to “publish” your bio.
    So I guess if someone tells me they are on Bristol who is who list, I am sorry, I will be less than impressed that they fall for it 🙂

  25. I certainly wish I had the opportunity to read these comments before I gave my credit card details. It all sounded so plausible and beneficial but I see i have been scammed! Now off to my bank to see about disputing the payment IF they don’t respond to me and reverse the transaction first. Wish me luck (stupid me!)

  26. Thank you for sharing this and for all the comments!
    I fell in the same trap today, clicking on the LinkedIn ad. Good that I refused to pay for anything over the phone!
    The guy did sound very convincing as he interviewed me first to establish whether I was worthy to be featured in the listing. But what made me hesitate the most is that the price fell from 1000 to 150 usd in a few minutes, and that their website is template-based with a PageRank 0 by google (so not trustworthy), established less than 3 years ago.

    • Hello. I also fell for the linked in app. I could not believe the questions they asked, and then to say, congratulations you are accepted. What a joke. Then, when I said it was to much money, the cost keep dropping. That’s like a dealership telling you the car that costs 20k is 15k just today, just for you. I couldn’t help but think, what if I would have just paid the 1k for a lifetime membership? I could have gotten it cheaper. What a scam.
      Who’s Who should try focusing their efforts on doing good, they may actually help someone.

      • They assure me they are not a SCAM… although it it seems many have had similar experiences to me, and so, as always, what works for some, does not work for others!

  27. I also fell for the scam – I clicked to join my university RMIT alumni group in LinkedIn and then as a result received a phone call. This was for the Who’s Who of Distinguished Professionals membership – it was being sold to me as a great networking membership to meet and speak with like minded people excelling in their career.

    It offered publications of my profile, a webpage that I can tailor to my needs and also a great network of people all over the world. When I said I wanted time to perform due diligence on the membership Brian (salesperson) became quick to be very unpleasant and stated that the membership was offered now and if I don’t accept I can’t reapply for another 2 years. I should have known then that it was a scam but I thought I would give the benefit of the doubt and sign up for 1 year at $149 USD.

    After reading this I have requested for my membership to be cancelled and my money refunded. Let’s see how I go. Thank you to everyone for sharing your experience – it has been a big help.

    I should always follow my rule of always be cautious when giving my credit card details out over the phone – especially if I am being pressured and there is now or never ultimatum – dead giveaway!!

    • Same here. LinkedIn advertised it and I figured it was legit. I was put off by the hard sell tactics at the end but they’d already spent 40 minutes interviewing me. I too figured $149 wasn’t too bad for a 1-year membership. That’s about how much a lot of professional societies charge.

      Barely 10 minutes after my card was charged I requested my membership to be cancelled and money refunded upon finding this. Ugh I should’ve just let it go to voicemail!

      I also requested that my credit card be shut off just in case.

  28. BRISTOL WHO’S WHO IS A SHADY SHAM! I’ve been contacted by them as well. Thank you for this heads up and blog. They’re a relentless bunch and have apparently shifted their telemarketing efforts here in Asia. I’m from Manila and I had the chance to take their long distance call, supposedly, from New York. They even called me again when I was on a holiday in Auckland. Brad Philips was the name of the guy who called me(and even sent me an email)- everything was fine and seems legit until the portion wherein he was asking for credit card details over the phone— good thing I remembered it’s already 2015!!! I told him “how is it that you are an established platform and you don’t have a secure and credible online method of securing payments for your services?”- his responses were lame which made me conclude that they are just out there to squeeze out money from you! Again, thank you for the feedback.

  29. Thanks everyone ! I got the exact experience, fortunately I also refused to give my credit card details over the phone…

  30. Adnan M
    What this company is doing …just to give a certificate of membership..why they ask for money …what type of services they provide…

    How we can get our money back..if they have already deceived me and took the money?

    How the Link-in allow them to post in their network…

  31. Hi everyone, today I had the same experience. Same speech, the lovely lady told me that I’m on the top. Once she asked for my credit card information I told her that I had forgot my purse in home. I asked to call tomorrow in order to have enough time to make a research. Then, I found this blog and I appreciate a lot your comments, in this way I won’t take the call tomorrow.

  32. Guys

    I am right in call with Who’s Who… same script…. she is on hold as i supposed to give her credit card details …. 🙂

  33. Like many of the writers on this page, I clicked the link on Linked-IN out of curiosity
    A few days later I was called by an extremely friendly lady, who was amazed with every answer I gave her.
    Like many of the writers, out of blue sky came the money question.
    No way I could get time to think it over : I had to give my credit card data immediately.
    When I hesitated, she offered me a 2 year membership for “only” 249 dollars and later $ 149 for 1 year, “which is the price of a cup of coffee per week”. Finally I yielded (stupid idiot, that I am, but I could not stand the pressure she put upon me any more).
    Stupidity no. 2 : I gave my credit card data over the phone !
    After 2 days (and 2 bad nights) I decided to write a mail to Bristol to cancel the membership.
    Meanwhile I had checked the application form for data about fees etc. It just said, that “There is no cost to apply or for inclusion.”, which is clear enough for me
    Today I received a reply-mail offering me a 3 year membership for “no additional costs”. I replied that I am no longer interested.
    Will be continued, but I liked to share this as soon as possible.

    • After my mail of the 14th of May to Bristol’s, they remained silent for about a month.
      Then I wrote them an angry mail stating once more that I wanted my money back.
      A few days later a received (yes, indeed) a refund notification; and after another day my credit card was credited.
      I think it is not more thamn fair to Bristol’s to share this as well.
      But, in the end, it is still unclear to me what might be the “benefits” of a membership above a free Linked-IN account.

      • HI Jac, Glad you got your money back, I also wrote an email to cancel my membership after reading all the comments, I wonder if anyone else got their money back like you did? (and how did you do it?)

  34. Just had the same experience, glad to have found this after I asked for the details to be emailed to me in writing.

    • Same experience as all of you!
      Very nice voice, very pleasant comments about my professional experience…

      And at the end a $1100-fee for a lifetime membership ($900 for 5 years), to be paid immediately on the phone with my credit card.
      The lady on the phone gave me a name but I couldn’t find her on LinkedIn. And the phone number she gave me is the generic number on the website….

      Fortunately I strictly follow the rule to never pay anything on the phone.
      I asked for additional information by email but this was not possible as they don’t have a generic email address (!).
      But she was able to offer me a special discount (from $1100 to $150 as a final offer!).

      When I finally declined she cut the line without any additional word.
      This is a strange way to make money. Or maybe just a simple fraud…

      • I had the exact same experience…

        Friendly, very amazed by everything I told her, etc…

        After asking for my credit card, I told her I have to run this by my partners as we have an agreement on listings in publications. Then she tried to argue with me, the listing should be something I need to be personally interested. Well thanks for telling me, how to run my business…

        I explained it’s not going to work like this and asked for an written offer. Well, she can’t do that…
        And by the way – this special offer is only valid today. She will have editors working on my profile right now. And tomorrow ist publishing deadline. In the end I also had a “final” $150 offer, which I declined and the formerly nice lady seemed to be really upset, muttered something – and hung up.

        I cannot agree more with you:
        “This is a strange way to make money. Or maybe just a simple fraud…”

  35. Same experience here too.They are cheating the innocent people. they keep on charging your cc after the initial membership even.

  36. Hi Kate,
    Thanks for sharing your experience. It matches mine. I clicked on something out of curiosity and it turned out I had completed step 1 of BWIW application. On the next day, I received a call from a nice lady with a soothing voice who explained to me how this was a qualifying interview. Since I was stuck in my writing and reasonably bored, I decided to see where this would go. To cut the long story short, I got 15 minutes of free ego-boosting compliments as a reply to virtually every sentence I uttered. I was great and accomplished beyond any doubt and they could help me make that clear to the rest of the world for the price of $900 for five years and $1100 for a life time. What kind of choice is that????? At the moment I requested a written package, so that I can make a responsible decision, I was informed that this was the end of it. The sweet lady could not proceed if I did not agree on the spot to become a member. This did not sound right, to put it very mildly. A quick reseach confirmed my impression. Also, the person responding to you, Rachel, had been commenting under similar posts on the net. The text is almost identical.
    I do not regret spending the time to see how this is done and I feel sorry for everyone who might have become their victim.

    • Thanks for sharing Marga… as you say, all we can do is feel sorry for their victims!!! I was almost sure my response was the correct one, and it seems many others have had the same as us!

  37. Hello Kate, Jack, Wolsten, and Peter. My name is Rachel. I am the Social Media and Marketing Manager here at Bristol Who’s Who. I, on the behalf of the company, first want to thank you for your feedback. Kate, I want to say, what you are doing in regards to your mission of working to improve the daily life and care of people with dementia is a fantastic thing. We believe that is something that should be highlighted and the more people who are exposed to what you do, the more opportunities will be presented for them to either join your cause monetarily or with their time.
    With that being said, We are a professional association focused on networking and personal branding. We have a membership of over half a million and each of the members have been approved through an intensive phone interview and selection process. This is to ensure that you are networking with serious professionals. You are welcomed to email me at rsmith@bristolwhoswho.com if you want to further this conversation.

    • Thanks Rachel… I guess my experience, which was if I didn’t sign up (PAY A HUGE FEE), the person I was speaking to was NOT at all interested in connecting, and basically ended the call very abruptly. Not good PR for you guys, if you are a legit company.

      • Hi Kate, I had exact the same bad experience with them today. The “senior director” was obviously reading from a script, and once realized I am not here to pay 900 dollars for a service unknown to me, she became very abruptly patronizing. The flow of conversation was not much different to that of a junior insurance agent. Really disappointing..

      • Hello Kate, I’m reaching out to you again to see why you have not allowed my repsonses to be posted. Some of the comments posted by other visitors are borderline defamatory in nature, and are damaging to our brand. With that being said, it’s a bit disconcerting that you won’t allow my repsonses to be seen. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to have a genuinely open forum for discussion. Please get back to me with your thoughts. Thank you.

      • I did allow your initial response, but have not had time to email you after the numbers messages you have left for me to contact you… I am travelling overseas atm, and will not do it until I am back in Australia mid July.

    • And now there is another variety: you go to your Linkedin account and you are invited to join the Who’s Who of Distinguished Alumni of the university you graduated from. Otherwise identical to the Bristol Who’s Who style and wording. If you have the time, put your data there and you will get the call. Also identical.
      Just to let you know.

    • Rachel, not sure of the unemployment rates in your area but, if you can afford to look for another job that you can be proud of I would. You only have to type in Bristol’s Who’s Who in Google and the words ‘scam’ and ‘fraud’ appear on every result.

      Fair enough if there is nothing else you can do and you need to feed/provide for a family but I’d really worry at night that my life is pretty unfulfilled.

      Make a change.

  38. Indeed, just had the same chat with a seemingly lovely rep. After being all nice the conversation suddenly entered the money realm. Tried quite aggressively to get my money only after spending 15 minutes saying how successful I am. Fact is I’m not really, not more than any other Joe! We all shit the same.

    Then I found this – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who%27s_Who_scam

  39. Hi Kate, yes there are many of these companies out there offering to promote us for a small fee! Funny thing is I have never known anyone networking using their services. There is already LinkedIn and its wealth of free groups. In this day and age we just don’t need these “directory” companies. I am surprised they survive, but I guess for some it is a vanity thing?! Anyway, certainly not something you need!

      • Hello Kate,
        I do appreciate you letting me post responses on your blog and keeping this an open forum and discussion, it truly means a lot. However, it’s a bit disheartening not only to the company, but to me personally when you insinuate that all of our happy and satisfied members are “victims”. Our company comprises of a staff of over 90 people; all honest, hard working individuals. Trust me when I tell you that neither I, nor anyone else would be working here for Bristol Who’s Who if we felt the company was perpetrating less than reputable business practices.

      • Thanks Rachel,
        Perhaps you need to review the way your team are dealing with prospective clients then, as many here have felt like victims, and exposed to possible financial stress. When I had my phone interview, as soon as I said I would prefer the free option, the caller basically disengaged.
        Concerning for you, if you are a legitimate company.
        Kate

      • Dear Group, I paid for the one year $149 deal. I am being charged monthly around $20 starting 9 months later. I only agreed to the $149 and was promised I would never need to pay anything again nor would it be deducted from my account behind my back. I would be grateful for anyones advice of how to get out of this as quick as possible.

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