WOMEX Still Hit By Tricky Guidance

World of Music Expo delegates are still falling victim to a scam that leaves them with a bill for advertising they never wanted.

Despite the WOMEX Berlin office sending out several warnings about the “Fair Guide” put out by Vienna-based publisher Construct Data Verlag Gmbh, some of its members are still making the mistake of signing up for three annual euro 971 entries to the company’s fair and exhibition guide.

“I think it’s because the mailer says WOMEX in large print just where the letterhead and return address would be,” explained exhibition communications director Gerald Seligman, when asked why – after five years – his members are still falling for it.

“Because they think they’re reading a communication from WOMEX, and we’re known to be a highly ethical organisation, perhaps they don’t read the small print in the same way that they normally would.

“Some of our members have said they feel Construct’s letter is designed to be misleading.”

Having shown the letters to Austrian lawyers, Seligman accepts that the publisher’s letter isn’t breaking any laws.

On a footnote printed in a very small typeface at the bottom of a letter that invites people to update their data, Construct does make it clear that anyone who signs and returns it agrees to the euro 971 per year advertising deal.

Despite the impression given in the main body of the letter, the same footnote makes it clear that Construct isn’t actually affiliated to WOMEX.

With no legal redress available and with WOMEX warnings not having the full effect, Seligman is contacting other music fairs including Popkomm and Midem to set up a joint initiative to publicise the perils of signing the “Fair Guide” letter.

– John Gammon