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RFPs Mess With Businesses

Published August 10, 2017

In our line of business, we get our fair share of RFPs (request for proposals) and 99% of the time, we do not respond to them.  In fact, we receive scammy RFPs from time to time also. 

The other day, I was sent an RFP and I began reading through it.  As I read it, I wondered if the person who wrote the RFP was trying to mess with me.  I mean, the requirements seemed almost comical or an attempt to make the person completely the RFP go through time consuming tasks for no real valid reason.  I am sure many of you know what I am talking about.  

Requirements like:

  • Proposals be submitted on paper having at least 30% post-consumer material content
  • Proposals be typed on both sides of 8 1⁄2” X 11” paper
  • Pages should be paginated
  • Must be submitted also on a CD-ROM or USB thumb drive
  • Proposals must be bonded, appropriately tabbed, and must also include a cover letter, Table of Contents, and sequential page numbers.

I mean, I get why they want to be environmentally friendly but why not require you to submit the bid online or email a PDF.   Forget paper, forget mailing CD-ROMs or USB thumb drives.  

So I thought, maybe for fun, just to mess with people, I will make up the most ridiculous RFP and have companies bid on it.  Wouldn't that be fun?  Well, more like, wouldn't that be evil.  What requirements would you put in this RFP meant to mock RFP requirements?  

How about these requirements:

  • All bids must be sent via Uber car
  • Any electronic materials must be sent via drone delivery
  • Signatures on proposals must be done in invisible ink
  • Use 3.5x4 index cards, double sided.
  • Skip every third word in your proposal to save on ink and paper

I can go on and on.  What would you include? Or is this just too evil?

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Barry Schwartz is the CEO of RustyBrick, a New York Web service firm specializing in customized online technology that helps companies decrease costs and increase sales. Barry is also the founder of the Search Engine Roundtable and the News Editor of Search Engine Land. He is well known & respected for his expertise in the search marketing industry. Barry graduated from the City University of New York and lives with his family in the NYC region.

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