In early January I answered a phone call, though I’m always suspicious of telemarketers. The human on the other end politely introduced themselves and said they were interested in interviewing me for a podcast segment on genealogy. Ok, they had my interest, and I decreased my apprehension. They explained the interview would only be five minutes long and pre-prepared questions would be sent. That sounded easy enough, so I agreed to participate for free publicity. I asked how they had found me and was told they had a team of people contacting genealogists.
I asked a few genealogy friends if they knew about this podcast. Some had gotten a voicemail but hadn’t returned the call. Some said it seemed like a legitimate podcast. It didn’t seem like I had anything to lose.
I gave my short interview on Friday, 6 January 2023 at 6:37 am. This was the only spot they had available, but I’m usually up early anyway. You can listen to the podcast here – https://www.stitcher.com/show/meet-the-elite-intro/episode/7288-stewart-traiman-01-06-23-genealogy-james-210629301
I’d written out answers to their questions, so I was feeling ready to maximize these short minutes. They called at the appointed time and I thought I performed well. I didn’t know if this experience would help my business in the least, how many people would be listening in the early morning, or how people would find the spot later. Maybe nothing would ever come of this, but I was willing to be experimental.
The Next call
The following Tuesday, my phone rang with the caller ID showing “Meet the Elite,” so I answered it again. A nice woman named Stephanie was very complimentary about my performance during the five-minute interview. She said I was well-spoken and professional. There had been people contacting the network asking to reach me. Stephanie asked for permission to share my contact details. I said of course, but the contact information had already been shared in the podcast. This should have been red flag number one.
She went on to say that I had rated a 9.2 out of 10. This score was based on clarity, interest, tone, delivery, and a long list of rattled-off criteria. I was feeling very good about myself. People really liked what I said. Cool! Stephanie told me that since I had scored so highly, the network wanted me back for a 30-minute segment to talk about genealogy. Ok, I was open to doing that. In my head, I started thinking of what I might say.
In fact, the network was so interested in me that they were willing to set up ten 30-minute interviews with a celebrity interviewer. These ten podcasts would be repeated 20 times on Spotify, Amazon, and another list of rattled-off platforms. So really, I would have 200 shows aired in one month. Wow, where was this going? I started feeling a bit overwhelmed. What would I talk about for ten 30-minute segments? But sure, I’d be willing to give it a try, and develop some talking points.
At one point in the conversation, I asked how many people had listened to the podcast. She gave a complicated answer about networks, and multiple platforms, but essentially it would be impossible to know how many people listened. This was red flag number two. If they can’t tell how many people listened, then how do they know I rated at a 9.2?
Stephanie said the network was looking for one representative in each state to represent their field. Becoming the genealogy representative for California was open to me if I wanted it. Then she said they’d be willing to throw in billboards and kiosk advertising for my business. What?! What genealogist needs a billboard? Who qualified me to represent all of California? This call was getting ridiculous. What was it actually about?
And then she said, “but of course, there would be a cost for this package.” Aaaahhhh! (Pause for dramatic effect.) Here it comes. After more compliments and buttering me up and enumerating the benefits to my business, and my future, and the improvement to all humanity should I take the package, she finally gave me some totals. Since the network wanted me so badly, they were willing to give me part of the start-up cost. A package like this would usually run $12,000 to $15,000 but FOR ME it was only going to be $5,000.
I felt deflated, tricked, hustled. All her compliments were shit. The 9.2 rating was a lie. Making me feel good about my performance was just a way in to make a sales pitch. I politely declined Stephanie’s offer. She tried a couple of hard-sell tactics, like saying the network wouldn’t be as generous if I didn’t take the deal today. I remained polite but it crossed my mind to say some nasty things to her. I disentangled myself from the phone call and my briefly glimpsed future of podcasting. The call left me upset for several hours.
I’ve provided the link to the podcast above. But looking at their website, I find it impossible for anyone to locate my interview amongst the thousands of other mini-interviews. [In March 2023, I discovered this link is no longer active. I can no longer find my podcast recording on the stricher site.]
I found there was nothing gained from participating in this farce. Meet the Elite Podcast does not have my best interest in mind. They are a business, a scam, to take money for unwanted and unnecessary advertising packages. The five-minute introduction interview was only a lure to sell their products.
An Update – 7 May 2023
Since publishing this blog article, it has received over 450 hits, which is a lot for my little site. But more importantly, sixteen people have taken the time to contact me with their gratitude for writing it. That is also a big number, relatively. Several reported being suspicious of Meet the Elite’s initial phone contact, then they do a Google search to investigate them. My blog post comes up in those searches. I’ve been contacted by photographers, wellness coaches, vegan dieticians, Reiki practitioners, travel agents, and many other small business owners.
One woman said she did pay for their services and after her second podcast has been very disappointed. She regrets not having found this blog sooner.
Another woman reported paying for their package then immediately doubting she did the right thing. She looked for Meet the Elite reviews and then called me. We had a phone conversation where she asked me if I had proof that this was a scam. No, I do not have proof, but I didn’t like their sales tactics and overreaching packages that make no sense to me. My instinct said there was no reason to trust or follow through with their offering. She decided to put a stop to her credit card payment.
A man reported that he got very hard sales pressure and when he continued to say he couldn’t afford it, even reduced to $500, the representative got pissed off and hung up on him.
I’ve been contacted via Facebook Messenger, text to my phone, phone calls, and emails. That is all great, but why isn’t anyone leaving a comment on this blog? If people commented here, then everyone can see this conversation build. Now I’ve finally clued in and investigated my own blog settings. Comments were only allowed for the first 14 days. I’ve updated that to a full year. Despite my programming error sixteen resourceful people still found the means and made the effort to contact me. I thank you all for your persistence.
Alternatively, if you’ve had a positive experience with Meet the Elite Podcast there are many people eager to hear it. There seem to be a lot of people contacted by this podcast that are looking for verification of integrity. Please post your story, positive or negative, below.
I was just scammed as well just a few days ago. by Meet The Elite Podcast fraudulent people. They charged me $2,500 for 5 shows for next week, which has not been rendered yet. I just called my bank to cancel it as a scam and they are doing an investigation. Thank you for this site. I really should have researched them first. All the evidence here should help to recover my money I hope.
This kind of hustle has been around way before the internet. It’s evolved from “we’ll publish your poems and make you famous!” to “draw this cartoon character and win an art scholarship!”. It’s based on the various phony lookalike versions of “who’s who” directories that became popular in the 1960’s.
It’s called “ego marketing” and is nothing other than a confidence game. They play off people’s emotions and desire to be recognized for doing good work, and then hit them up for money, even making the mark feel guilty for thinking anything was really free.
Don’t feel bad if you fell for it; it’s a highly polished racket refined over decades.
The only way you’re going to really “meet the elite” is by joining a secret society like the freesmiths – lol!
I had an incredible experience working with the Meet The Elite Podcasts team. From the moment I started with their 5 min free show, I knew I was in good hands. The host was fantastic, asking insightful questions that really showcased my background and business.
I just got off the phone with them! Thank you for this blog. It felt like a scam to me. Someone called with the same intro the other commenters mentioned. When I said I was busy and would like an opportunity to take a listen to previous podcasts and look over their website, the caller tried to get me to commit to scheduling right away because, “they have many people waiting to be interviewed.” But before he could transfer me to the scheduling department, he had a few “questions”. When he asked me the name of my business and zip code, I said, “You called me and you don’t know the name of my business or where I’m located?” Early in the call he said they have a team of researchers who had found me and they recommended me for their podcast. He mumbled some excuse and said he was transferring me to the scheduling department. I hung up. They called right back. I did not answer. I found this blog and a few other. Thanks for posting this! Stay safe everyone.
Meet The Elite Podcasts is the real deal. The host of the free show was incredible
Thanks, all! I got the call as well and was scheduled for tomorrow. My spider-senses have been tingling, but I did think, why not? However, I had a listen to a few of their podcasts and thought they were bad quality, and I’m not much for the same questions over and over. But I wanted to Google as well and found this web post – thank you so much for confirming my suspicions that it’s not worthy my time or energy! I cancelled. Thanks!
Thank you for sharing your experience. I was called the afternoon of May 22, 2023. I was confused about the call and the curious altogether. I asked the name of the company and got a very quick and unclear name. I was asked questions like:
I was somewhat curious to see when the pitch for money would come in but it didn’t on the first call. I was scheduled for a 5 minute interview to “promote” my business on their podcast. Before the call ended, I asked how did they choose me. I was told something vague like we are a podcast and reach out the business owners or something of that nature. Honestly at the start of the conversation alerts were going off. I did some research and landed here. I’m glad I was able to confirm a suspicion. One word: SCAM!
Yup…I did the 5 minute interview…the lady that called me a number of days later hung up on me because I was expressing my dissatisfaction over my original ‘host’ and asked for someone else (who wants to be interviewed by someone that sounded either stoned or that he didn’t care??) That was a fortnight ago and my podcast still hasn’t been uploaded. With calls like this, you know it’s going to be an intro to a sales gimmick/con/scam; lets face it, there’s no such thing as a free lunch! Thanks for creating this blog.
PS the irony here is I’m a medium lol…
I, too, did the five minute podcast and received a callback a few hours later asking if I would like to purchase five thirty minute podcasts. I said I could not afford it and he did not pressure me and we hung up. Then I Googled Meet Elite and saw “scam” and found this blog. I should have known when they initially called my phone lit up RED and said it was “Suspected Spam”.
I just hung up with them! They wanted to give me a free podcast interview, I was almost done with giving em all the info(not personal) then I paused, something told me not to do this, I told them I’d look into this more and look at their website and get back with them and then I found this blog
Thanks for this.
I had a call from them and had the ‘mini’ episode call just now. It just so happens at the time the call came through I was just googling reviews of Meet The Elite and then I came across your blog.
I just did their 5 min episode but there’s no way I would pay anything near that for a Company I’ve never heard of that has very little presence on social media. Also glad I found this so I’m ready for their call if and when it comes. 🙂
I got the call, too. I could not understand the message so returned it and talked with them a while. Even though they said they found my profile online, they had to ask me what I do. I’m a yoga therapist, and think they would have known that prior to the call if they think it is interesting material for their podcast. All that said, I told them I could not schedule until for the next 10 days, hoping to delay long enough to do some research. They said they did not have the schedule up for that time yet and would have to call me back. Really…you haven’t booked podcast appearances beyond the next 10 days? This is enough for me to make my decision, and now I see this. Thanks for the warning!
I received a message on my phone this morning from Meet the Elite. It sounded so familiar, a couple of years ago, just as we were coming out of the pandemic lockdown, I received a call from Podcast Business News Group with a very similar message. I did the same thing; I did the 5-minute interview, and the very next day received a call with all positive praise and how people were reaching out to the show for my contact information. After a lengthy conversation and looking to re-build my small business after the pandemic wreaked havoc, I figured I would do the 5 – 30-minute podcasts. I was new to podcasts so I thought it might be a good idea and reach a new audience. After the third show I started getting suspicious about the “callers” that had questions for me. By the time I was about halfway through my 5th and final show, their producer and the host KC were having a conversation I could hear about how the producer would be the “caller” and went thru a list of questions he would ask…. When I asked about it KC laughed it off as his “knucklehead” producer…. I was already out the money I had to pay because as they said I needed to have some “skin in the game” and not much I could do at that point. They even had the audacity to call the next day and say how their callers loved me and that I should take this to the next level, and for another amount which I don’t recall I could be on my way to sponsorships and a weekly spot. Yeah, and the callers are just the in-house people asking questions based off the information that I had provided them before the first interview…. I felt deflated and that I was scammed at a particular tough time. I will not be calling back the Meet the Elite podcast and if they call, I will just simply hang up, as the old saying goes fool me once shame on you…. Please check out the websites for both Meet the Elite and Podcast Business News Group, they are very similar, and the hosts are the same and you can make your own determination. Way too many red flags! Thank you for posting this information, I wish I had it a couple of years ago and when I got the message off my answering machine this morning it brought back that feeling of being scammed all over again, so I decided to Google the company and came upon this post. Thank you for sharing, hopefully this can help others avoid the same mistake,
I was contacted like most people a few days ago by Kevin who was so excited to do the podcast with me. Since I’ve started my business, I’m a Mental Health Life Coach and a First aid for Mental Health training instructor and every day I’m getting calls and emails selling me something to do with digital advertising. The first red flag was the first email I got with the questions which had the word “FREE” in it. It was only then I started to research and came across this review. I can’t thank you enough for this. I have since cancelled the podcast. Its hard enough trying to get client for my business and you have to deal with a constant barrage of sales calls and emails.
Meet The Elite contacted me this morning. The hyped up pitch I got from a man named Kevin raised my suspicion. I’m an addiction/trauma recovery coach and I’m passionate about my work. I’m not easily taken by over the phone pitches. I told Kevin I’d do some research on MTE and get back to him. I found your post right away. None of what you said about MTE surprised me.
It sounded like a scam from the get-go. Thank you for taking the time to get the word out about this scam.
I did a show with meet the elite last year. I was just looking them up to see if my shows were still posted anywhere and came across this. I did move on after my short interview to purchase a series of shows including billboards, television and an array of other promotional tools. I have to say it worked wonders for my business. I was skeptical at first but they give you a money-back guarantee. If they don’t produce a minimum of 100 leads for your business you get your money back so I figured I had nothing to lose. I received a total of 136 leads just from the lead generation through Facebook, 87 of which converted into clients for me. I had to hire more people to keep up with all of the business. I ended up getting sponsored to keep doing the shows free of charge, but I just didn’t have the time to commit. I agree the sales tactics are high pressure. I will also say it took a month to get the billboard designed and distributed, but they did deliver everything promised to me and I more than quadrupled the investment I put into it. Thought I’d share my experience as someone who did move forward with the proposal!
Thank you for posting this, saved me a bunch of time!
Thank you – had this experience today. So helpful to read your blog post and the subsequent comments.
Thanks for this, they just contacted me via podbooker and I felt somethiong was off, so much appreciated that you shared your experience!
I’m scheduled for my 5 minutes. I am fully expecting a sales pitch. So sad that people feel entitled to do this, but I see the sales side (doesn’t mean I like it). But, I figure if I can get a free 5 minutes that will actually be broadcast, that’s worth something and it is exposure. If they don’t air it, (I plan on declining their offer) I’m only out a few minutes of my time.
Thank you so much for posting this! Saved me a rabbithole! 🙂
Thank you Stewart for taking the time to post on this. I concur with the feelings described. Having been in business for almost 2 decades, nothing gets past me… usually. And there are so many scams out there. However, in the midst of a house move and needing this very thing for my business I was drawn in. I didn’t have the time I usually have to check things on line. Afterwards, when the doubt set in, I checked the mobile numbers used before the run up to the 5 minute interview. They were from different parts of the UK and coming up as nuisance numbers. I also contacted the ‘celebrity’ host by email to check it out through his company website. He replied and seemed oblivious but I question if he’s real.
So many people are going through this process for meet the elite 5 minute podcasts. I hope they find this post to help them sooner than I did. Don’t touch it and certainly don’t feel ashamed to share your experience as it will help others come forward and raise the presence of this issue on line. Thank you Stewart for your original post and update!
Thank you so much Stewart!
I was contacted a couple of weeks ago and at first was very excited that someone wanted to interview me on their podcast. They had left a message on my phone and I was wanting to call them back but had a busy day. Through the day I really pondered why they wanted to do a podcast on what I do and thought I would do some digging into their podcast name. Your blog post was among the first ones that showed up.
As I read through your post, I was very thankful that I had NOT returned their call and even started the process of connecting with them. — In a world filled with catfishing, fraudulent or even dubious business practices, it is good to be able to hear from others that experience the same thing. – Tim Cyr
I also received a voicemail message with the same pitch. I too Googled it because I had a funny feeling about it being a scam. Immediately below the link to their site, drop-down option of “Is Meet the Elite Podcast Legit?” came up and when it clicked on it, your blog post appeared. I googled it because I had a funny feeling about it being a scam. Thank you for writing about your experience (and those of a few others). I will not be returning their call.
I just got a voice message from Meet the Elite. I”m so grateful for you for taking the time to explain your experience. It’s so frustrating to deal with misleading and deceptive sales techniques. I’m so glad you’ve saved me the time and energy of dealing with this type of company.
My experience with Meet the Elite was very similar to Dr. Stewart’s. And thanks to Six Generations I was able to have my suspicions confirmed before any damage occurred. Reminds me of the old saying, “If a promise sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”:
OH yes… I got this same thing as well…
but for some reason I immediately had this off feeling so
I googled it and came up with your website and I believe a few others that said it was a scam!
I contacted you to thank you for your post. So I emailed them and told them to lose my contact
that I am not interested…
Again, Thank you for your help in posting this!!