It has always been a good assumption that all those "free meals" are out to do nothing but sell condominium properties and dubious annuities with unhelpful terms and conditions. The cards all want a telephone number, as well as varying degrees of other personal information. We always thought that, legally, returning one of these would probably count as consent to be called and thereby negate any requests to be on do-not-call lists. Now, we've had the same thought about those who's who directories. We used to think that all they wanted when they sent notifications of inclusion was to sell the directories to be placed in people's reception areas or the like (see? my name's in here). Now, though, they come with "accuracy checks" and ask for e-mail addresses and telephone numbers, saying "not for public distribution" or "not for inclusion in the directory." We especially liked the latest mailing, from an outfit heretofore unknown to us, Cambridge Who's Who
, which has a disclaimer to the effect that it's not in any way afiliated with the Harvard or Cambridge educational institutions. I think that Marquis Who's Who
was the first and then let the trademark lapse (or perhaps it expired under the law). Although a published directory under the Marquis
name has existed since 1899, it's not clear from the Marquis site who owns it now. On the Web home page is the modern culturally illiterate form "in memorium," heading a tribute to Normal Mailer. Wikipedia has an entry on some purported scam aspects
of some of these directories.