I’m a member of several police forums; they are great for a lift just when you thought you’d heard it all. Sometimes I put my point of view, sometimes I just watch, or ‘lurk’ without saying a word but enjoying the spectacle as people ‘debate’ over the most trivial of things.
Something grabbed my attention this week in one of them. I’m not often shocked; I’ve been a police officers for nearly 30 years, so little surprises me. I was, however, stunned at the following.
The police recruitment field is a tough business. Ask anyone who has applied to join the Met in the last two years (especially if you are a white male, but that’s another story). There are usually hundreds of applicants for only tens of places which means a large proportion of people are going to end up disappointed. I’m led to believe that something like 60,000 people a year apply to to join the ranks of the boys & girls in blue.
In order to help people get a competitive edge, several companies have sprouted offering help and guidance on how to make it through the recruitment maze and come out happy the other side. Two of these companies have started advertising on the police websites.
Apparently, you pay some kind of largish fee to go on a one-day conference where you get hints, tips and guidance on how to pass the police recruitment process. I believe these involve ‘consultants’. I don’t know much about consultants other than there are millions of retired senior officers who are police officers one day, retire, and come back to do the same job only for more money as consultants the next.
These recruitment consultancies have websites, (doesn’t everyone?) where they advertise their ‘wares’. I guess you do what you can to get visitors to your website and advertising on police websites is just one way.
Another way is to pretend to be your closest business rival and get people to come to your own website when they think they’re actually going to your rival’s. How do you do this? Simple, register websites which are mis-spelled versions of your rival’s name and point it to your own site. Anyone familiar with the dregs of all websites, porn, will be familiar with the concept.
Another way is to see what domains your rival has registered and then register any they haven’t. Is it illegal? I don’t know but I know if I tried to register www.mcdonalds.ky (assuming .com, .co.uk, .org & .net are already on Ronald’s books but he forgot .ky) and I pointed it to my own website selling parts of cow in a bap, you can bet your arse big Ronald and his suited cronies would be on my case faster than a non white recruit through the welcome gates at Hendon.
So who could stoop so low as to do this then? Step forward the guys at In2Blu *. Contrary to the first paragraph on their website, they are not the “UK’s only specialist company dedicated to helping people like you to land a job as a Police Officer in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.” But I suspect they are doing all they can to force everyone else out of business.
One of their rivals is The Interview Success Company, who also have a website. They can be found at name-of-their-company.co.uk. sadly for them, they forgot to register name-of-their-company.com. Never mind, In2Blu have registered it, only they point it at the In2Blu website. So people who wish to visit the Interview Success Company but use .com instead of .co.uk will find themselves at In2Blu’s website. And just in case In2Blu don’t steal enough of the other company’s potential clients, they’ve also registered name-of-their-company-spelled-slightly-wrongly.co & .com so if people don’t spell success with 2 c’s they’ll also get shoved across to In2Blu’s website.
You might think all is fair in business. I don’t know if you’d be right or wrong. I just think it’s unethical to carry out business that way. When you realise that the guys who run In2Blu are serving police officers (as are the Interview Success people) you might agree with me that it’s a f****** disgrace!
* I have used an incorrect spelling of In2Blu as I have no wish to assist them getting higher up the search engine rankings.