Have you received an email or telephone solicitation from Gold Coast Publishing in the last few months asking you to advertise in one of the company’s service directories? The company alleges that, for a fee, you can have your business heralded in their annual business directory that is distributed directly to members and guests at four “exclusive” Fort Worth country clubs.
The only problem is that those four country clubs say they have never heard of Gold Coast Publishing, a Boca Raton, Fla.- based company with some telling Yelp reviews.
“We do not have an agreement with Gold Coast Publishing,” said Colonial Country Club member services director Alexis Groesch. “Because we are a private, member-owned club we do not do any outside advertising.”
When I pressed, Groesch said that Colonial had never been contacted by Gold Coast Publishing before, and if Realtors see the club’s name on any advertisements, it’s most certainly a scam.
“Unfortunately, they are using our name without permission,” said Ellen McEwen, Diamond Oaks Country Club director of marketing and membership sales. “We’ve had other companies ask if we were affiliated.”
We received similar responses from representatives with Ridgelea Country Club and Woodhaven Country Club. Either they have no idea who Gold Coast Publishing is, or they’ve already asked Gold Coast to stop
I called a number for Matt Smith at Gold Coast Publishing that was in an email solicitation. When I asked about the advertisement opportunity offered by his company, he said “those went out quite a while ago,” and that they weren’t accepting any new advertisers for that directory. I then told him that I contacted one of the clubs that Gold Coast claimed to have a distribution agreement with, only to find out that there was no such agreement in place. Could he tell me why they would say that?
“I can’t answer that for you,” he replied. “We appreciate your call.”
And then he hung up.
I called a second number on the Gold Coast Publishing website and asked to talk with management, distribution, or customer relations. I was again promptly hung up on.
The kicker of the whole debacle is that this scam is not unique. There are several other directory publishers who claim that their niche publication is distributed to country clubs and high-end developments all over the U.S. with names such as New Age Marketing Group, Premier Publishing, CC Publishing, Elite Publishing, Vista Publishing, and Leisure Life Publishing. There’s even a Facebook group for victims of these companies who are taking legal action against them.
Have you been contacted by these companies?