Since 2014, the number of publications about private investigations, security, intelligence and corporate due diligence services increased dramatically – I think we have doubled the number of daily articles on these issues during the last year. The same time I see steady decline in quality and value of publications shared by both market leaders and small local companies.
What is the reason of outstanding increase in promotion of these “confidential” services? The answer is obvious – it is competition.
With all the above it is clear why competition between providers of security/intelligence/investigations services has increased and why we see more and more articles promoting appropriate services every day.
However, why competition lowers the quality of publications?
The question is not as simple as it seems – theoretically, completion between providers of professional services should have a positive influence both on price and on quality of services including the quality of client’s relations and PR.
I think that the problem is on the side of the client. International corporations and top local companies – key clients for private intelligence and security services providers – are in common with resourceful and reputable providers of confidential and sensitive services. These clients are ready to communicate at the highest level of proficiency with almost every outsourcer or advisor and pay little attention to publications in open media – they have direct access to experts for “eye to eye” meetings and discussions. To the opposite, small and mid-size local companies often do not have even preliminary understanding of services they can purchase addressing private intelligence company or hiring private investigator.
I think that the wish of numerous local private security and private investigations services providers to attract small and mid-size clients has created the need of educating articles and gave birth to numerous self-promoting and semi-professional publications.
I have nothing against educating articles – my dad told me that teaching people we pass the hardest test of our own knowledge. What I stand against is so-called professional spam, which is often use simple patterns presented below.
Pattern 1 – Obvious statements and self-promotion
This type of publications covers up to 70% of all articles published in on-line media since mid-2014. I will provide you with a couple of funny parodies and I am sure you will recognize many publications you have probably seen these months:
Why due diligence is important?
– Every company has to make confident decisions in M&A projects.
– Due diligence is prescribed by the law, you will have to spend your money anyway
– There’re many different types of due diligence: investigative, environmental, legal, financial, reputational even human due diligence. We don’t know what kind of due diligence you need, but you definitely need the type of due diligence we can offer
– Cheaters are everywhere especially abroad
5 simple steps towards compliance
– Think about compliance
– Respect the law, especially international laws you never heard about before
– Compliance as well as legal landscape is in process of constant change and development – if you have full-time compliance manager and hired big-4 company several years ago to audit your procedures there’s no guarantee that your company indeed operates in compliance with numerous regulations
– Ethics is important. Do you agree with me or are you ready to confess that you are unethical?
– Admit that you need a professional to help you with your compliance program even if you don’t understand a single word in this statement
What’s behind corporate intelligence?
Swimming in the black water of the deep web, intensively using all possibilities of the google search we can find your social media account and check your banking balance if only we can find your IP. We work strictly in compliance with the law and in close cooperation with state authorities. Why do you need us? Because the word “intelligence” sounds good and we all understand that I can’t tell you more in this short public article.
Why I consider this type of publications as professional spam? What is wrong with these articles?
Pattern 2 – Provocations
The dirtiest and the easiest way to attract attention – well-known instrument of black-PR. Nothing stands behind provocations except the intention to make money or at least to promote personal or corporate brand.
“We have unique IT system based on yet classified operating system (artificial intelligence) and this system will kick all our competitors, investigators and security managers off the market. It is cheap, effective and easy to use. Today we can’t show you the system but if you arrange a meeting we can present you the solution”
“Nobody but former police officers can investigate white-collar crime. The man who didn’t serve in the police understands nothing in offshore operations and money laundering”
– statement like this can attract negative attention of professional community and the author will become recognizable in a very short time.
The most terrifying and ugly sample of provocations in this article is not a parody. It was indeed published in Russian on-line media several hours after November 2015 Paris attacks:
“If only French police and special forces used my sources and methodology of social networks analysis they could predict and prevent the tragedy in Paris”
What is wrong with these publications?
Pattern 3 – Pseudo legal public disputes between professionals
This pattern stands apart from previously presented types of professional spam – targets of these articles are members of professional community.
Usually publication of this type starts like almost every professional article: introduction of methodology, case studies etc., but the main idea of the publication is to claim all other or exact players of the market in inappropriate or illegal activity. These pseudo legal public disputes are quite popular among private detectives of Eastern Europe operating in so-called “grey sector of the law”. Often these disputes cover nothing else but self-promotion of claimants.
In jurisdictions with weak regulations of private investigations, low level of income and high level of corruption there’s no reason to expect that in a day business practice will be changed by initiative of a single professional/company. Legalization of this market is a long termed strategy and there are leaders and outsiders in implementation of this strategy in every country. The law follows the tradition and always dreams of changing the way people behave – both business practice and the law have mutual influence and that is why in a real life changes take a lot of time to come.
It is obvious that pseudo legal disputes will ever exist and we can do nothing to stop this type of black-PR, but anyway I think we should do what we can to limit this type of professional activity to the reasonable level.
Summarizing this long publication, I’d like to attract attention of the professional community to the fact that competing in public we should pay additional attention to the quality of our publications. We are not the last generation of experts in private intelligence and security and it is our responsibility to save the image of these services for our successors and students. Short-termed gain is very important in hard times but it is not the reason to sell the reputation of the entire market for a song.
Finally, a short note to the potential client who by chance come so far reading this article. If you think about hiring provider of security, intelligence or investigative services, professional spam is the last thing you should take into consideration.
Whatever you think, this market is quite confidential and sensitive. There is a chance that the best and the most effective provider of the type of services that you really need doesn’t promote himself in public and doesn’t even have a web-site.