poetry(dot)com and other vanity press companies scam the media with advertising dressed up as press releases, such as the following:
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[SPAM!] For Immediate Release
Free Poetry Contest [Except for the $49.99, plus shipping, to see it buried on page 755, UNLESS you pay extra, yadda, ydda, yadda...]
OWINGS MILLS, MD (USA) - Poetry (dot) com [a.k.a. The International Library of Poetry and other bogus names, too numerous to mention here] has announced that $58,000.00 in prizes will be awarded this year in the International Open Poetry Contest. Poets, particularly beginners [suckers], are welcome to try to win their share of over 250 prizes. The deadline for the contest is [blanked out]. The contest is open to everyone [and they mean anyone, even your cat or gecko or local caveman. Sorry, Geico] and entry is FREE [Though your poem will be published in a cheesy edition with thousands of other REALLY BAD poems, and you'll have to pay $49.99, plus shipping, to see it on page 755, UNLESS you pay extra, yadda, yadda, yadda...].
"Any poet, whether previously published or not, can be a winner," stated [the scamster, uh, Contest Director]. "When people learn about our free poetry contest, they suddenly realize that their own poetic works of art can win cash prizes, as well as gain national recognition [along with 5,000,000 other suckers]," continued [Gort, the evil contest director] .
To enter, send ONE original poem, any subject and any style to: [blanked out--you'll THANK me]. The poem should be 20 lines or less [Do you think we REALLY want to waste more than 20 lines of profit on your CRAP?], and the poet's name and address should appear on the top of the page. Entries must be postmarked or sent via the Internet by [blanked out]. You may also enter online at poetry(dot)com [Noted here only because you'll want to know what to avoid].
The International Library of Poetry, founded in 1982, is the largest poetry [scam] organization in the world. [For more information, see Bugzita's Squidoo lens on this scam]
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Unfortunately, many media outlets fall for this ploy, thus perpetuating the myth that these outfits are community-minded and spirited, when, in fact, they are huge money-making machines--$12,000,000 per year--that prey on the hopes of the young and naive.
My Squidoo lens offers some good links to organizations that have spent careers documenting the activities of scam poem contests.
Best to all,