Pay-to-play is a modern day tragedy

Joe Malcoun
Joe Malcoun

Earlier this month I sat down at my desk for my morning ritual: clean out the inbox. Soon I won’t have to deal with such nonsense. But for now I have to sift through the rubbish so I can focus on the most important tasks each day.

On this particular morning I saw a message with the following subject:

cioreview nutshell shortlisted for 20 most promising crm solution providers pay to play

What? Seriously? That’s awesome…right? Wait, what? That doesn’t make any sense…oh yeah, because it’s total bullshit.

My new friend, Melissa, was writing to inform me that her team was totally prepared to include an awesome profile of Nutshell in their upcoming publication for a “nominal sponsorship of $3000.” I like how she left out the comma.

Let’s be clear. Melissa was asking me to “pay to play.” I hate this business model. Companies like this are at best leaching off the hard work of those who build awesome products. Those who invest capital, support amazing employees and customers, and push every day to deliver incrementally more value. At worst? They’re extorting companies to pay up or suffer at the hands of their marginally sketchy SEO machines.

I had some thoughts for Melissa:

pay to play modern day tragedy joe malcoun email

Too far? Maybe. But I’m sincerely disappointed by the fact that pay to play even exists. The fact that companies proliferate by asking others to pay for inclusion in the latest Top XYZ list or placement within a review search return suggests that we, the entrepreneurs, are falling for it. It’s a modern day tragedy of the commons.

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