There is so much disinformation in the world, and equally a number of people that knowingly buy into it. When I come across an example that I almost fall for, I always feel incredibly compelled to write about it. I’ve written previously about the agency award scams that exist, and felt compelled to write again. This time it’s about a group called Forbes Councils, and despite how much they attempt at making people think it, no, they are not actually Forbes.
So admittedly, I pursued the opportunity thinking at the time, that I was applying for a prestigious honor of being part of an exclusive group of well accomplished agency owners. I applied, waited, and then was given the opportunity to have a call with a membership representative. I was then pretty much sold on participating in one of their membership tiers that involved a fairly significant investment (from $2,500/year and up). Once it became aware that this was a pay to play opportunity, my red flags went off, but still was considering after the call.
After some relatively moderate internet sleuthing, it didn’t take long to learn what Forbes Councils really is. Huge shoutout to Larissa Banting over on LinkedIN who wrote this piece that details this far better than I could, but here are the cliff notes version of some of the biggest points:
- Forbes Councils is not actually Forbes. A company pays licensing fees to Forbes to use their name of this separate entity community.
- Forbes Councils social media accounts are not Forbes. This means any written article contributions you make are NOT published on the actual Forbes social media channels which are massive. They are shared on their inferior sized separate Forbes Council social media accounts.
- Your Forbes Council articles have no SEO value. You get one limited author profile link back to your website that is a nofollow link.
The biggest problem I have is that their entire marketing and sales pitch is very mis-leading. They are doing everything in their power to make you believe this is a Forbes driven opportunity, when in actuality it’s just another company piggy backing off the name to sell you something that only has surface level benefits. Sure, they have networking and community features, but honestly, their are hundreds of those out there that are established and either free or much more affordable.
Despite this, you’ll find countless “influencers”, or “experts” taunting their Forbes Council acceptance and membership as some sort of accomplishment. It is not. If you pay the dues, you’re pretty much in. I despise inauthenticity, or when any company or person tries to mis-lead others into thinking they are something they are not.
Their are no shortcuts in life to achieve greatness, and if something feels too good to be true, trust your gut, it probably is. If you’re really serious about growing your brand and influence, you need to play the long game. Put in the time and effort for earned media opportunities, put out great content regularly, and if you can afford it, hire a real PR pro to help you navigate more authentic opportunities.