This seems almost too funny to be real so yes it is a joke! The 3rd Annual Nigerian Email Conference was held at the Abuja Sheraton Hotel & Casino with a fee of $999 per person. The advertisement tagline is “Write better emails. Make more money.” I wonder if they accept credit cards as payment for admission? šŸ˜‰

Here is some text from their web site. Do you think the email writers also wrote the web site text? It sure sounds like it.

I am Mr. Laurent Mpeti Kabila, a senior assistant leader of the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone.

I present to you an urgent and confidential request: I request your attendance at The 3rd Annual Nigerian EMail Conference. This is an excellent opportunity to meet your distinguished colleagues, learn new marketing techniques, and spend your hard-earned money. Attending this conference demands the highest trust, security and confidentiality between us.

For those of you nor familiar with the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) here is some background:

The RUF is a loosely organized force that fought a ten-year civil war to seize control of the lucrative diamond-producing regions of the country. The group funds itself largely through the extraction and sale of diamonds obtained in areas of Sierra Leone under its control.

From 1991 to 2000, they used guerrilla, criminal, and terror tactics, such as murder, torture, and mutilation, to fight the government, intimidate civilians, and keep UN peacekeeping units in check.

Breakfast included, “Your choice: A hard boiled egg, or two slices of white bread and a cricket.” Topics include:

  • “From Postal Scams To Email Scams: We Have Come a Long Way Infant Child.”
  • “The effectiveness of using all UPPERCASE characters.”
  • “Are 10 million emails a day too many?”
  • “Those Pesky Email Headers”
  • Find out how banking systems throughout the world operate — with special emphasis on money transfers.
  • Other countries are now adapting our business. Is this a threat or an opportunity?
  • Grammatical errors: What’s the optimal number?
  • “Analyzing response rates using analysis of variance: That pesky R-squared value”

I love the last part:

Registration is via a confidential money transfer.

Send your bank’s name, account number, your name, address, telephone number, and fax numbers. Please note again that this transaction is strictly confidential and as such should be kept secret. Be rest assured that this transaction is 100% risk free.

I’ve been to the Abuja Sheraton and it really is the only place in Abuja (the capital) to host a conference. (The casino is not much to write home about but the club in the basement can be quite fun with the right mates.)