My Letter to Jerry Kelly at Madwire

[Jerry Kelly at Madwire wrote me, apparently hoping to get on the phone with me to discuss my post about Madwire.  This is what I wrote in response.]

[To Jerry and everyone else at Madwire, I will not go away so easily.  I believe that you sometimes do things that are, in my opinion, very uncool to unsuspecting small business owners, and it’s time to either change those policies, or deal with the push-back you are owed as a result.]

All of this is hypothetical.  And all of this is my opinion.  All of this is intended to be seen as the point of view of one individual whom is speculating.  I do not intend to defame any company.  I am merely posting an email I sent, to the best of my knowledge, and altered only as necessary to protect myself and other people,  so that others can read what I wrote, as a matter of historical fact concerning what I wrote, and as a matter of historical fact concerning my feelings and opinions at the time.

[For the record, someone I know signed a contract with Madwire, and when they became unhappy with the results of the relationship, as far as I recollect, they copied the new website Madwire had enabled for them to their own hosting account, which as far as I recollect, was a breach of the contract they signed with Madwire.  As far as I recollect, Madwire (or Madwire’s legal representation did) then give the person I know  a certain number of days to either pay a certain number of dollars, which I recall being around $6,000 (but someone involved closely recalls it as more), or if the amount was not paid, to the best of my recollection, Madwire would sue the person that I know.   To the best of my knowledge, and to the best of my recollection, this really happened.  If Madwire continues to harass me about talking about this, I will be forced to post actual documents such as credit card billing records and emails from Madwire’s legal representation]

 

Hello Jerry.

I’d prefer to talk via email for now.
I have not worked with Madwire myself, but I do know someone who has. That person felt very abused by the experience.  And I know for a fact that they didn’t recieve the results they were promised by Madwire’s sales people.  And in the end, when they tried to end the relationship, they were not only told they couldn’t take any of the dev work with them (fine if that’s what they agreed to), but that they needed to pay a big chunk of money (for damages?) or they would be sued.
Intellectual Property is a valid thing, and I can’t blame anyone for wanting to protect their rights.  But making a few minor customizations to an off-the-shelf WordPress theme and then claiming that it’s your own intellectual property is pretty bogus, especially since WordPress is itself GPL software and so was the theme in question.  I know because I looked at the GPL License statement in the theme’s stylesheet.
And then, attempting to extort (or something like extort… this is just opinion) money over the matter is really uncool, beyond being unothadox for the kind of claim in question.  A simple cease and disist or DMCA takedown to the hosting company would have sufficed and is the proper procedure, as I’m sure you know.
Meanwhile, I don’t think Madwire is “evil” or anything silly like that.  I think Madwire has some practices that may need to be tweaked in order for some customers to not end up feeling lied to or preyed upon.
If Madwire is going to do business with people, then Madwire is accountable for its customer relations.  Throwing money at trying to surpress customers’ bad experiences is not a sustainable approach to marketing.  Eventually, every company will have some disgruntled former customers out there.  Madwire should expect to be no different.
So since Madwire has done such a good job covering up any bad reviews, and even creating dubious positive reviews, my little blog post has become a focal point, since almost nothing else out there seems like legitimate customer feedback.  I have been contacted by dozens of people wiith stories similar to the person I know that worked with Madwire.  If they represent a small minority of Madwire’s customers, then that small minority is going to be reflected online somewhere, whether it’s commenters on my post, or somewhere else.
And to be clear, I don’t have particularly strong feelings about Madwire, as much as I have strong feelings about accountability, honesty, the freedom and democratization of speech etc.
What would Madwire expect to happen if it (even only occasionally) [redacted] people with baseless lawsuit threats or routinely over-promises results?  I would think that Madwire would expect to get a little bit of pushback from those things. Perhaps that pushback is part of the cost of doing business.  Or maybe it’s an indication of some policy changes that need to happen.  Or maybe a little of both.
I hope this clears up for you where I am coming from.
And Also, I suggest that you try to be involved in the conversation about your company directly.  For instance, you could comment on blog posts like mine when you come across them, and try to be a reasonable and tranparent voice for your company, rather than [possibly] sneaking around, [possibly] trying to take people’s websites down, [possibly] having fake commenters and reviewers troll and spam the web, [possibly] filing things in courts to get unfavorable websites un-indexed and all that stuff, which at the end of the day, just makes your company look a bit shady, don’t you think?
Thanks,
Andrew

 

WARNING: MADWire Media, MADWire 360: Behind the veil of SEO and Astroturf

To Bluehost staff and legal dept., please look closely at the specifics of any court orders before assuming that this content is actually not compliant with any documents sent by parties wishing to have this content removed from the web. I have carefully complied, line-by-line with all rulings. Thanks.
Jump to the Madwire 360/Marketing 360 Review Compilation below ↓↓

I’m back! And I’m in total compliance. :)
UPDATE 2015-02-08: So apparently, Madwire was able to get my entire hosting account taken down with a court order resulting from a defamation claim. But this post will return, albeit slightly altered to protect my hosting account from being shut down again.
In the meantime, the court ruling contains all the content in question, including all the Madwire Reviews and Madwire Complaints and there’s a copy of it here: http://cvweb.clerk.leon.fl.us/cvimage/official_records/download_document.asp?book=4729&page=01970&type=OR&jwuser=&subnet= (it takes a few minutes to load because it’s around 6MB and 60 pages)
Also, notice: the Affidavit of Diligent Search, mentioned on page 2, is conspicuously missing from the evidence. I wonder if that was an accident. I think not.
To Madwire: just let it slide! Everytime I update the content here, I move up in search results! It’s called the Streisand Effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect
And frankly, I’m sick of this post and having to keep changing it after account suspensions (I think this the 4th time!). But I wont go dark. It’s a matter of principle.
To anyone wishing to read my post as it appeared in December of 2014, including the comments, it’s stored at the WayBack Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20141208100043/https://andrewapeterson.com/2013/12/warning-madwire-media-madwire-360-behind-the-veil-of-seo-and-astroturf
NOPE! this has been taken down :)
Meanwhile, I must disable comments on this post for the moment, while I remove some content ruled by a Florida court to be defamatory.
[2015-02-25: COMMENTS ARE BACK!]
But feel free to send me a message via my contact form: https://andrewapeterson.com/contact
When you see XXXXX stuff, it’s words I needed to delete from the below content in order to be compliant with the court order.

[update 2015-01-11] I heard through the internet that Madwire is no longer using a non-disparagement bit in their standard contract.  This is good news if it’s true, but I have no way of knowing for sure if it is true.  So if you have any info on this, please comment!  This post is here to help other people.  So if you can help me keep the info up to date, since I have great SEO power concerning Madwire, you will help other people.  Please do comment. Is this real? It’s a link about madwire’s change of policy. Thanks, everyone, for contributing. We may be making a difference here!

[update 2014-09-26] Madwire has appeared to have filed, in a Florida court, a “Complaint for Declaratory Judgement,” against an anonymous person whom, according to the document, HERE (a PDF) is one of my my commenters below. This appears to be a way that Madwire can get Google and other search engines to un-index this blog post, Madwire’s Yelp! page and a few other search results where this anonymous person has posted.  So apparently, one of my commenters is the defendant known as “John Doe 1” in the filing (Madwire is referred to as the “Plaintiff”).  And I just noticed that Madwire’s Yelp! page suddenly has a meta noindex tag (<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>) on it and no longer comes up in Google search results for ‘Madwire Reviews.’ So I guess Yelp! is cooperating with Madwire for whatever reason.  I’ve always had pretty positive feelings about Yelp! despite all the recent negative hype about them, but if they’re willing to hide negative reviews, it certainly decreases their value as a consumer awareness product.  Also, I was assuming that at some point Madwire would contact me or at least post a comment on this post, but so far it appears that they’d rather try to control their reputation through back channels.  Interesting.  To Madwire: I know you guys are looking at this.  Don’t you have anything to say?

[update 2014-06-14:] My site has been taken down again over this post. This time it was ripoffreport.com that sent my hosting company a DMCA Takedown.  Their claim is that my ‘fair use’ quotation of negative Madwire reviews from their site (which contained attribution) was a copyright infringement!  So I had to remove several negative reviews/stories concerning madwire.  To the next reviews site considering sending a takedown or threat: you are only making this post more visible! Every time it’s edited/updated, it gains value in google serps.

[edit 2014-05-07:]Pissed Consumer sent my hosting company a DMCA takedown notice for this post, due to me quoting negative reviews for Madwire. I’m pretty sure this post is fair use, but my hosting company wont stick up for me  so I had to delete the pissedconsumer reviews in order to get my site back online.  I’ve linked to the originals.  Keep in mind, original bad reviews on pissedconsumer.com are often hidden on the page  and you have to click ‘read the complaint’ to see what you’re looking for.

Original post starts here.

The other day I posted about a friend’s personal experience with MADWIRE, which was horrible to say the least.

I’ve become kind of fascinated by how well this company appears to have created a facade of positive reviews and press, making them seem like a great company to hire.

It’s actually quite difficult to find anyone out there saying anything bad about them, which is a bit suspicious (even the companies I love the best are getting flamed occasionally).  So I’ve been doing some deep googling and I’ve found a lot of stuff that not only sounds more credible and like real people wrote it, but that’s also totally consistent with my experience.

So let the SEO battle begin!  I have great Google mojo with my blog.  And my goal here is to make the world-wide neighborhood a better, safer place.  So here is a compilation of what I’ve found about Madwire that may not be so easy for most people to find, since the search results for things like “madwire reviews” and even “madwire negative reviews” are so cluttered with astroturf.

From the Better Business Bureau:

Complaint #1: 10/10/2013

Complaint: We paid for two months of Search Engine Optimization & AdWords for our company website through Madwire Media. We never reached the top of the search engines, we received 1 potential customer who filled out our “Contact Us” form, that was it. We paid $750 a month for a total of $1450.00 plus Madwire has tried to pull more money out of our account without authorization. They have added all these additional fees and now are threatening to take us to collections. They promised us a “free” website, they put it up for us but once we cancelled our marketing through them, they posted our website as “ACCOUNT SUSPENDED” which reflected horribly and lost us potential customers from consumers that were directed to our site through our own advertising means. We called them and asked them to put the website back up but they said they wouldn’t unless we paid for the hosting through them but it was a ridiculous amount. The website was supposed to belong to us but they wouldn’t give it to us without paying for their hosting (we already have hosting through someone else). We were offered so much and received nothing but headaches.

Desired Settlement: My desired settlement would be a refund of all money paid, $1450. They didn’t deliver on ANY of their promises. They said we would be on the top of the internet searches, which didn’t happen.Also, we didn’t get to keep the website. We were much better off than before we ever started with Madwire. From what I have read on the internet, we are not the only company that Madwire has scammed. Since internet marketing is so vague, they are able to take advantage of many consumers.

Business Response: Attached is the contract for reference and a receipt of refund. I talked with the client about the contract and services that we provided. We have already made a refund in the amount of $720.00 and we are not moving forward with collections on the remaining part of the contract.

Business Response: An email was sent to ‘*********************’ on 8/21 outlining the details of the contract as well as additional. Also an email was forwarded to ****************** on 8/23.

Consumer Response: Complaint: *******

I am rejecting this response because: they did NOT give me a refund, they just didn’t charge me after I cancelled my account. It’s not that I MISUNDERSTOOD anything (like Jerry’s letter refers), it is that they are rude, did nothing with all the money we gave them and used our “credits” on what? We don’t know! They are a scam and I am demanding full refund. I will keep  on warning other potential customers  about their misdeeds b/c no one deserves to lose $1500 on absolutely nothing, especially when you are a small business, like us.

Regards,

******** ******

Business Response:
That should do it. One is the contract which speaks to what the consumer was complaining about. All of the information is in there. And the other is an invoice for a refund. This client signed 6 month contract to which we were going to send to collections for early cancellation 2 months in on the contract. Upon receiving the email they filed a complaint with the BBB. In addition we invested $3K dollars of time on a website as part of the agreement. Outlined within the contract it talks about early cancellation with the option of hosting. They disregarded all emails. We took the site down that we own for nonpayment. Not only did we not pursue collections for breach of contract after speaking with ******** we also gave them a refund. It is unfortunate how this process works.

15 Day Collection Letter sent 7/31/13
30 Day Collection Letter sent 8/15/2013

If you have any other questions please feel free to reach out to me.

Thanks.

BBB’s Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

Complaint #2: 9/16/2013

Complaint: In June of 2013, Madwire Media Reviews contacted me and performed high pressure sales tactics to get me to sign a contract with them. They asked me to give them a large sum of money to start the campaign, which included web design, marketing, seo, and pay per click ads. They made all kinds of promises to which they were not able to hold up to. They promised a good web design and I get a mediocre, at best, design. Their site is beautiful and they said mine would be similar. They lied. They also told me that I would have 100% control of my website and be able to host it on my own server. Another lie. They have control of my website and I can’t make changes because I can’t access the backend. Madwire Media promised me 15-20 calls per day, based on my budget and the keywords targeting for my niche. Another lie. My campaign has been running for over two months and I have received two calls in that time period. Once call I actually booked the job, a $60 job, 45 miles out of my territory. I did the job anyway because my business, my name, and my reputation are at stake. They filled me full of their lies and promises in order to get me sign a contract and give them my payment info. I have done one job in the two months since my campaign started with Madwire Media and when I asked for a refund, they refused. They are not familiar with my industry and are targeting the wrong keywords that aren’t remotely targeted to my industry and they are charging me a premium rate and expect me to keep paying them $2500 per month for services NOT rendered. This fraudulent company needs to be exposed for who they are.

Desired Settlement: I want 100% of my money back. In my business, if a customer is not happy with the work, I redo it for free. If they are still not happy, I refund their money because my reputation is at stake. They promised me I could get my money back yet they refused to refund it when I asked.

BBB’s Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

Complaint #3: 9/5/2013

Complaint: I was told that there was NO contracts by several people, several different times before starting my marketing and web design with Madwire Media. **** ******** and ******* ***** both had stated that there is no contracts, until we no longer wanted to use there services after three months of very poor results and NO service. They told us one thing and had us sign documents that were supposedly forms that gave them permission to edit and change our current webpage, little did we know in the small print they lock you into a 6 month contract. This is the most dishonest and rude company that I have ever come across. We would like this matter resolved before we have to hand things over to our lawyers. Please Advise

Desired Settlement: I would like this to be resolved quickly and professionally, I would like for the remaining time and money in our contract to be wiped clear and the harassing phone calls and emails to STOP. I cant believe that there are companies out there like this that LIE and DECIEVE people to make a living.

Business Response: I spoke with ****** and addressed the concerns over the contract and client was satisfied.

BBB’s Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

Now on to Yelp! where MADWire currently has ONLY negative reviews [2014-10-07: this has changed. Now Madwire has one star on yelp but yelp appears to have cooperated with Madwire in burrying their page. Yelp put a noindex tag on Madwire’s one-star page so it wont show up in search results]:

Patty S.
Fort Collins, CO

Patty S.
7/15/2013
Just the fact that another reviewer is saying “I’ don’t know what this guy is talking about” and then you can’t find that review gives you an indication of how many people are not happy with XXXX XXXXXXX XXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX XXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXX XXX XXXX. Once they have your XXXXXX XXXX – XXX XXX XXXXXXXX XX X XXXXXXX XXXXX. XXX XXXXX XXXX XXXXX XXXXXXXX XX XXXXXX XXXXXXX. it is nice looking with great images and graphics but no one can find it. XXXX XXXX X XXXX XXXX XXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXX XXXXX XXXXXX XXX…..and i suspect many bad reviews have been deleted here because they are misssing from here…….what does that tell you? Yelp took money to get those taken off…….hmmm let’s see how long this review lasts….

Comment from Jerry K. of Madwire Media
Business Owner 8/28/2013 I can’t find your account as doing business with us. Please contact me so that I can take care of… Read more

Joe S.
Huntington Beach, CAJoe S.
4/30/2014
Damn I just spent 20 minutes on the phone with Marketing 360 the salesman had all the answers and only wanted $ 2500.00 per month to start? But promised first page placement so I just goggled SEO companies in Denver and guess what there not even on the first page! So I inform the salesman of my search result and he informs me that there parent company in Madwire Media and sure enough they show-up on the 2nd page with all these wonderful Yelp reviews.

Looks like Yelp really saved me time and money, Thanks

A’ngela S.
Gilbert, AZ
hare review
A’ngela S.
12/2/2013
BUYER BEWARE!!! I am not kidding you, if you choose to use MadWire360 or Mad wire media or whatever they go by (hint it will have 360 in it somewhere) You are XXXXXXXXX XXXXX XXXXX XX XXX XXXX!! They know how to market their site and unfortunately the talent ends there.. After they smooth talk you into their wonderful service and pass you off to some “Specialist” SEO person, you become just another credit card paying their overpriced fees.. I was with them 3 months and not one lead!!! i spent over 7k and got zip from it!! All i can say is stay away and remember, Pay per click is cheaper than these guys and SEO just means blog on your own site!! Save your cash…

Good Luck
AZ. UnHappy Sucker..

Randy W.
Houston, TX
hare review
Randy W.
5/1/2014
STOP!! DON’T USE THIS COMPANY!!! I don’t want anybody to have to go through what I went through. Bottom line. This company will take your money & never do the service. XXXXXXXXX. XXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXX. Can’t created a logo or design. They always want money up front. Don’t ever pay anybody up front. This company is all about sales . The Company is XXXXXXXXXt, full of fast talking salesmen, very expensive and doesn’t deliver the product. BUYER BEWARE!!!!!!!

John G.
Fort Collins, COJohn G.
8/6/2013
When it comes to SEO it doesn’t get much worse than MadWire Media! XXXX XXX XX XXX XXXX XXXX XXXXXXX XXXXX XXXXXXXX XX XXXX XXX XXXXXXX XXXX XXXXXXXX XX XXXXXXXXXX. Not only that, I had previously left a review on their Google listing along with close to 10 other dissatisfied customers and their listing has seemed to magically disappear along with all of the negative reviews. They obviously try their hardest to hide how bad they suck. I couldn’t seem to find any other SEO companies that had to do such things. These guys are bottom of the barrel! They provide unnecessary services and XXXX XXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXX or they just don’t care about their clients. Whichever it is, it would be wise to steer clear of this company.

[REDACTED]

Comment from Jerry K. of Madwire Media
Business Owner 2/26/2014 FAKE REVIEW! John Gotti is deceased. This is not a customer nor have we ever done business with John… Read more

Charles D.
Junction City, ORCharles D.
9/21/2013
Just when I thought all my issues with Madwire were well behind, I got rid of them over a year ago, they recently started billing my card for someone else’s website! It’s pretty scary that they have kept my credit card information on file well over a year after firing them. Not only that, the billing information is now completely different from when we used them, so obviously they don’t even bother with AVS. I guess why would you bother when I’m pretty sure keeping actively old clients’ card info on file if probably illegal and definitely unethical. The fact that they are so XXXXXXXXXXX that they start to bill me instead of a competitor’s account is absolutely ridiculous.

Originally we had Madwire design a logo, website, and manage some seo work. Problems started from the start. They could never get the logo right and I ended up having to hire someone else to provide custom artwork to be used in the logo. For the amount I was paying them for logo design I expected custom and original work. What I received was below par with no effort or creativity behind it. It was as if I hired one of the $4 an hour guys off oDesk but at 20 times the cost.

Now when it came to the website I was already pretty leary of them from the logo design part of the package. The beginning part of the web design was a complete nightmare. The project manager wouldn’t even respond to my requests or questions. I had to contact the supervisor and complain. I was assigned a new project manager to take over the design, or lack thereof. As a side note, the previous project manager is still employed there. The new project manager handled everything much better, however they really pumped the site out quickly due to the job being way behind and there were little errors I had to pester them about to get fixed.

The next disaster came their SEO package. When we signed up for all of this work to be done it was actually an SEO package. When the site was up and running they said they no longer do that and it is now a Madnoodle package where you are listed and gift cards go up for penny auction. Now, SEO-wise this did nothing for our website. This really didn’t even help sales either. We would pay them, they would buy these gift cards from us to post on their Madnoodle site, and then customers would use the gift cards to buy products on our site. It was usually the same people who would buy these gift cards so no new customers were being attracted. Plus these same customers haven’t returned after using these gift cards that we basically bought for them. I should also note the penny auctions were a giant fail and they no longer do this.

My advice is to steer clear of this company. If you don’t you will definitely regret it! Just when I thought all our problems with them were over with… Hope you enjoy the chargeback fees!

Edit 2/14/14: These jerks still have not completely removed my information! I still get invoice emails monthly for their crappy plugins I don’t use. Granted, the invoices are for $0.00, but just stop! I’ve already asked for our information to be completely removed but of course they can’t comply.

To touch on the management responses on some of these reviews (Boo hoo hoo Yelp is being mean to us, these reviews are fake, blah, blah blah). How about you actually listen and fix your company instead of complaining? These negative reviews are sticking because more negatives come from real Yelp accounts, compared to the many positives that are from accounts who have only reviewed Madwire and then never logged in again. Which ones do you think look fake to Yelp? Oh, and just because someone has a fake name doesn’t mean their review is fake either.

Holli W.
Charlotte, NCHolli W.
1/24/2014
Worst business decision I’ve ever made. DO NOT USE THEM! They will sell you and do a great job selling you. XX XX XXX XXXX. They are hard to work with, never responding, never making changes. It took WEEKS for them to make ONE small edit. They say they will create banners for your website, they are ugly and horrible. I even sent them pictures of what I liked. I finally had to pay someone to do it right. So much money wasted.

Comment from Jerry K. of Madwire Media
Business Owner 2/26/2014 I can’t find your account as doing business with us. Please contact me so that I can take care of… Read more

Ekaterina B.
San Jose, CAEkaterina B.
10/17/2013
I agree with the review that said “$5,000, and not a single client.” This is how I felt when I was using this company. It is true that they XXXXXXXXXXX XXX XXXXXXXXXXXX. When I finally questioned them why I only got ONE client in 3 months, they said “well, lets try another thing.” I am not paying for trial and error. I pay them to know what they are doing. Horrible and XXXXXXXXX.

Michael G.
Brentwood, CA
hare review
Michael G.
5/10/2013
First to Review
Working with Madwire has been one of our companies biggest mistakes! It has been over a year and a half and we still do not have a finished product. We have gone through 3 programmers and it seems like they just keep wasting our marketing departments time. We spent a significant amount of money and expected a certain amount of service. They have not delivered. I would not recommend them to my worst enemy. The frustration has built up to the point where we want to jump ship and get our money back.Comment from Jerry K. of Madwire Media
Business Owner 2/26/2014 Please contact me so that I can take care of the situation. I can’t find your account as doing… Read more

From truckmountforums.com (apparently madwire’s sales team targets people’s carpet cleaning business?)

9/12/2013

Attention fellow carpet cleaners. I am posting this to warn everyone of a XXXX being pulled by Madwire Media. I posted a while back, asking if anyone had any experience with them. I didn’t receive very much info so I assumed they were legit. I should have done more research and I didn’t, and now I’m paying for it. So, I am here to expose these XXXXXX and make sure none of you get XXXXXX XXX. Please watch my videos, subscribe, and share so that we can expose these XXXXXX and hopefully prevent anyone else from making the same mistake I did and losing their entire business to XXXXXXXXXXXX XXX XXXXXXXXX companies like Madwire Media. I will not stand idly by as they XXX people off and are not held accountable for it. In my business, if a customer is not happy with the work performed, I will redo it at no charge. If they are still not happy, I will refund their money. Why? Because my name, my business, and my reputation are at stake and I don’t want any of it tarnished over a few dollars. Madwire Media does not feel the same. They think it’s ok to XXXXX XXXX XXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXXXX. XXXX XXXXX XXX XX XX XXX, as long as you get the sale. Please, I ask all of you to help with my plight. I may go out of business before I get soon but if I do, I will take the ones responsible with me and I will make sure they can’t XXXXX XXXX XXXXXX XXXX. Please go to http://oxydry.co/carpet-cleaning-marketing/ and watch my video directed at you, my peers. Also, you can go here http://oxydry.co/madwire-media-reviews/ and if you don’t mind, please leave a comment on the pages. Your help in this matter is greatly appreciated and I hope I am able to dig myself out of this hole.

Thanks to all.

Read more: http://www.truckmountforums.com/threads/madwire-media-reviews-warning-madwire-media-scam.47238/#ixzz2nH8DiZq9
Follow us: @truckmountforum on Twitter | truckmountforum on Facebook

From scamgroup.com

9/12/2013

Took my entire advertising budget and single handedly almost bankrupt me.

On May 28th, Karen Brennan with Madwire Media sent me an email but claimed to be from CarpetCleaningMarketing360.com. Now this is one of many of their niche scam sites that they have. Over the course of a month she called and called and called. Finally I decided to listen to her and what she told me sounded amazing. She made all kinds of promises about me getting 15-20 calls per day with their marketing and seo. Well I was just starting a business and decided to go with Madwire Media because I simply didn’t have time to go out and actually do the work I needed to do on top of trying to market and advertise. Karen told me that based on the amount of monthly Google searches for my keywords, I would get 15-20 calls per day and I figured I should at least book 2-3 of them. So I sent them a large some of money, my entire advertising budget based on the promises made.
Fast forward to the date of this report. My campaign has been running for over 2 months now. I got one call in 2 months and it was a $60 job, 45 miles from me. They are targeting niche long tail keywords that are barely related to my industry and get very few searches. My seo campaign is horrible. They have control of my website and can lock me out at any time. XXXX XXX XXXXXX XXXX XXXXXXXXX XX XXXX.
Now in the meantime, I have had my phones turned off and I literally cannot pay my bills. I gave them my entire advertising budget because they promised me a big jumpstart in business and promised I would be busy. XXXXX XXX XXXXX XXX XXXXXXX that do NOT know what they are doing,One thing they should have thought about before XXXXXXXXX XX XXXXX and destroying my business…… I was an seo guy for 7 years, I am a single father with 3 children and this is my lively hood. I put my entire savings into my idea and they single handedly destroyed it. So, I have made it my mission to make sure they don’t XXX anyone else off. I am broke, getting ready to have equipment repossessed if I can’t sell something to make the payment, I have resorted to applying for emergency food stamps to feed my children until I can recoop something or until my seo efforts pay off.
I have asked them for a refund several times and they have refused, therefore, I am going to make sure they never steal from another company or person that needs seo work or internet marketing services.
Madwire Media has gone around to all these review sites including ripoff report and have posted fake positive reviews because of all the negative reviews they are receiving. They are paying these companies like yelp and ripoff report to remove negative reviews so they can keep their Madwire Media Review XXXXX up.They XXXXXXXXX my business, I have nothing left to lose. I will make it my plight in life to shut these XXXXXXXXX down. I hope that Scam Group will help shut these guys down before before someone else loses their life savings to these XXXX artists. XXXXXXX XXXXX XXX XXXXXXXX XXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXXXX XXXX XXX. I will not sit by idly and let them XXXXX from others.

From a comment on one of MADWire’s own YouTube videos 

Be very careful about using Madwire Media. We spent over $3k with them and didnt get 1 single client. Our website had images missing and took 7 weeks to complete rather then the 14 days we were told. If you do want to use them make sure you record every telephone conversation you have with them and get everything the sales person tells you in writing!! Do your research before using Madwire Media! There appears to be a consistantly to the negitive feedback which tells its own story!!

there were similar testimonials on some other youtube videos I found last night, but they’ve been deleted.

Now on to RIPOFFREPORT.com

It seems that when you get a negative review on ripoffreport.com, you can pay to have it covered up!  For instance, with Madwire, if you search for “madwire reviews” you certainly find ripoffreport, but the titles are negative and review copy is a boilerplate positive thing put there by ripoffreport!  Dubious.  I finally found a few of the original bad reviews at ripoffreport

9/25/2012

[redacted! ripoffreport sent my hosting a copyright infringement takedown notice because I quoted their site]

11/2/2012

[redacted! ripoffreport sent my hosting a copyright infringement takedown notice because I quoted their site]

from pissedconsumer.com, also highly astroturfed but there’s stuff there if you dig

August, 20xx
HERE is the original Negative Review of Madwire.  You must click on “Read the Complaint” 
[content removed due to copyright infringement claim by pissed consumer sent to my hosting compnay]

march 6 20xx

HERE is the original Testimonial about Madwire.  You must click on “Read the Complaint” 
[content removed due to copyright infringement claim by pissed consumer sent to my hosting compnay] 

Jan 29, 20xx

 

[content removed due to copyright infringement claim by pissed consumer sent to my hosting compnay] 

March 15, 2012

HERE is the original Customer Complaint about Madwire.  You must click on “Read the Complaint”

[content removed due to copyright infringement claim by pissed consumer sent to my hosting compnay] 

 

March 1, 2013

HERE is the original Customer Complaint about Madwire.  You must click on “Read the Complaint”

[content removed due to copyright infringement claim by pissed consumer sent to my hosting compnay] 

 

January 29, 2013

HERE is the original Customer Complaint about Madwire.  You must click on “Read the Complaint”

[content removed due to copyright infringement claim by pissed consumer sent to my hosting compnay] 

 

It’s me again.  I have stuff to do today so I’m going to stop for now.  You get the idea.  Maybe I’ll add more later.

 

[update 2014-10-01]the following is a list of other domains that appear to associated with Madwire. If it’s the same people, I don’t see any reason why there’s not plenty of love to go around. It is ‘Loveland, Colorado; after all

  • bigcommercemarketing360.com
    html title: #1 Bigcommerce Marketing Platform | Bigcommerce Templates & Design
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 1 643
    Keywords:Big Commerce, bigcommerce, marketing 360, bigcommerce seo, marketing360
  • ecommercemarketing360.com
    html title: eCommerce Marketing Services – eCommerce Software & Website Templates
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 1 186
    Keywords:ecommerce 360, ecommercemarketing360 review, ecommerce360, ecommercemarketing360 scam, free ecommerce store mockup
  • mymarketing360.com
    html title: Login – Marketing 360®
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 686
  • contractormarketing360.com
    html title: Contractor Marketing, Leads for Contractors – Websites & Contracting Advertising Services
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 534
    Keywords:construction website templates, contractor marketing, ads website template, free building contractor website templates, free contractor website templates
  • businesswebsites360.com
    html title: Business Websites 360™ – Best Business Website Templates & Designs
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 534
    Keywords:business website templates, business marketing websites, top business websites, marketing website templates, mad360
  • mad360.net
    html title: Mad360 – The Leader in small business inbound marketing
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 534
    Keywords:360 marketing, marketing 360, marketing360, mad 360, mad360
  • wordpressthemedesigner.net
    html title: WordPress Theme Designer | Custom WordPress Theme Designers
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 534
    Keywords:custom wordpress theme design, wordpress theme designer, theme designer, custom wordpress theme designer, wordpress transportation theme
  • chiropracticmarketing360.com
    html title: Chiropractic Marketing 360 | Chiropractic Websites | Chiropractic Advertising | Chiropractic Website Templates
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 534
    Keywords:Chiropractic marketing, chiropractor marketing, 360 marketing, marketing 360, marketing360
  • dentistmarketing360.com
    html title: Dentist Marketing 360 – Dentist Websites | Dentist Advertising | Dentist Website Templates
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 89
    Keywords:dentist marketing, dental website templates, dentist website template, dentist website templates, template dentist free
  • medicalmarketing360.com
    html title: Medical Marketing 360 – Medical Websites | Medical Advertising | Medical Website Templates
    Daily visitors (according to informer.com): 89
    Keywords:medical website design, medical website design templates, healthcare marketing 360, doctormarketing360, youmedical template

The Registrant of all these domains appears to be John Kellogg who is also the CFO of a company called Traders Network or tradersnetwork.com which shares the same address as Madwire. I’m not sure but John Kellogg may be the same person as Joe Kellogg and/or JB Kellogg.

Regal eCigarette $4.95 “Discount” Deal is a SCAM

Basically, they have a deal where you get their starter kit for “only the price of shipping.”

I whipped out my card and was ready to order it, but suddenly had a hunch that I should read the little “I agree to terms and conditions” page.

It says:

  1. you will be enrolled in Regal Refill Program
  2. at the end of your Trial Period, as a member in the Program, your credit card will be charged $119.95 (USD) for the Product you already received
  3. Then 30 days from your initial order of the Product (and every 30 days thereafter), you will be sent a new supply of the Product containing 5 cartomizers, (A total of 200 cigarettes worth) and your credit card will be charged $49.95 + $4.95 S/H (the Monthly Fee)

It does say that you can try the product for 14 days and if you don’t like it, get out of the whole deal, but you have to return the product including all but one cartridge unused.

Bottom line, you pay shipping both ways in order to get one free eCigarette.  Or, you pay full price, around $125 for the starter kit and 5 cartridges.

Fuckers. No one ever reads those terms of service things.

 

 

For the record, here’s there terms and conditions that you agree to:

Terms & ConditionsThese Terms and Conditions (Terms) are entered into by the customer that accepts these Terms electronically (you or your means you and your agents, as applicable) and D&M Enterprises, DBA Regal Cigs (The Company). These Terms govern your purchase of Regal Cigs’ electronic cigarette product (theProduct). These Terms may be updated from time to time, without notice to you. Your continued purchase of the Product constitutes your acceptance to the new Terms.

1. IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER
If you are under the age of 18 (or under the age of 19 and you live in Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey, Utah and New York) please leave this Site immediately. By entering this Site, you represent that you are at least 18 years of age, or 19 in those jurisdictions mentioned above.
PLEASE NOTE that IF YOU ARE A RESIDENT OF OREGON, YOU MAY NOT PURCHASE THE PRODUCT. The Product is not intended as a “stop smoking” or “quit smoking” device; instead the Product provides an alternative to smoking by supplying nicotine through a personal atomizing device. Nicotine, even in low doses, can have a number of potentially harmful side effects.

The Product should not be used by anyone under the age of 18 or anyone who is pregnant, nursing, or breastfeeding. Information and statements regarding product have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

2. Privacy Policy 
Regal Cigs respects your privacy and permits you to control the treatment of your personal information. A complete statement of Regal Cigs current privacy policy can be found by clicking here The Privacy Policy is expressly incorporated into these Terms by this reference.

3. PURCHASING THE PRODUCT 
Upon placing your first order for the Product you will be enrolled in Regal Refill Program. As a member in the Program, Regal Cigs will immediately send you a Starter Kit which includes one extended battery, one wall charger, one USB charger, one cigarette case, 5 nicotine cartomizers, and an instruction manual and all you pay for is shipping and handling at a rate of $9.95 (USD). In other words, upon enrollment in the Program, you authorize Regal Cigs to charge your credit card $9.95 (USD). As a member in the Program, you have 14 days to try the Product (the Trial Period). Please note that delivery time is subtracted from your Trial Period, and will reduce the number of days allocated to your Trial Period. If the Product is not right for you call 1-888-822-5977 during the Trial Period. Otherwise, at the end of your Trial Period, as a member in the Program, your credit card will be charged $119.95 (USD) for the Product you already received. Then 30 days from your initial order of the Product (and every 30 days thereafter), you will be sent a new supply of the Product containing 5 cartomizers, (A total of 200 cigarettes worth) and your credit card will be charged $49.95 + $4.95 S/H (the Monthly Fee).

You hereby authorize Regal Cigs (or its partners, affiliates and/or agents) to charge your credit card the Monthly Fee and You acknowledge and agree that Regal Cigs  will not obtain additional authorization from you for each Monthly Fee charged to your Credit Card.

4. CANCELLATION AND REFUND AND EXCHANGE POLICY
If you wish to cancel future deliveries of the Product or receive an RMA number, you must call 1-888-822-5977. If you cancel prior to the expiration of the Trial Period and would not like to be billed for the full amount of the Starter Kit you must return the starter kit with a return merchandise authorization (a RMA) within 30 days from the date you placed your order. If you cancel within the 14 day trial and do not want to be charged for the starter kit we must receive your starter kit with a RMA number 30 days from the date you placed your order otherwise you will be billed $119.95. If you fail to cancel prior to the expiration of the Trial Period or you fail to return the starter kit with an RMA number within the 30 days from when you placed your order, your credit card will be charged $119.95 for the Product that was shipped to you.

You are able to use one (1) of the initial fve (5) cartomizers that you receive with your starter kit  at no charge in order to decide if you like the product. Each additional cartomizer that is used and not returned in its original un-opened package will result in a charge of $5 per cartomizer.

If you cancel after the expiration of the Trial Period, you may receive a refund, but only if the starter kit is received by us with an RMA number within 30 days from the date you placed your order. Refunds will not be given on packages marked “Return To Sender”.  All Product returns must be sent to Regal Cigs at 405 W. Fairmont Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282. For purposes of calculating the 30 days for this refund/return policy, each Product that is shipped to you after the expiration of the Trial Period is deemed to have been ordered when such Product is billed to your credit card.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE IS A 20%  RESTOCKING FEE ON ALL RETURNED PRODUCTS. FURTHERMORE, THERE ARE NO REFUNDS ON THE CARTRIDGES ONCE SHIPPED (excluding the two cartridges allowed for trying the product).

5. GENERAL PAYMENT INFORMATION
All fees are payable in United States currency. Upon prior written notice to you (i.e., email), Regal Cigs reserves the right to change its pricing and/or billing practices whenever necessary, in its sole discretion. If you do not agree with these changes, you may cancel your membership in the Program, as applicable, at any time, but you will remain responsible for timely payment of any and all fees that you have already incurred (including any applicable late fees). Continued acceptance of the Product, after receipt of such notice shall constitute consent to any and all such changes. If you fail to make any scheduled payment for a Product, such overdue amounts will be subject to interest charges in the amount of one and one half percent (1.5%) per month, compounded monthly and Regal Cigs may, in its sole discretion, decide to terminate your membership in the Program for non-payment.

6. License Grant 
Regal Cigs grants you a limited license to access and make personal use of the website and not to download (other than page caching) or modify it, or any portion of it. This license does not include any resale or commercial use of the website or its contents; any collection and use of any product listings, descriptions, or prices; any derivative use of the website or its contents; or any use of data mining, robots, or similar data gathering and extraction tools. This website or any portion of this website may not be reproduced, duplicated, copied, sold, resold, visited, or otherwise exploited for any commercial purpose without express written consent of Regal Cigs.

7. INDEMNIFICATION
Upon request by Regal Cigs, you agree to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless Regal Cigs and its affiliates, their employees, contractors, agents, representatives, officers, directors, co-branders, content licensors and/or other partners from all liabilities, claims, and expenses, including without limitation attorneys fees that arise from: (a) your use of the website or the Products; and/or (b) your breach of these Terms and the terms of the Program. Regal Cigs reserves the right, at your expense, to assume the exclusive defense and control of any matter otherwise subject to indemnification by you, in which event you will cooperate with Regal Cigs in asserting any available defenses.

8. COPYRIGHT
All content included on this website, including but not limited to text, graphics, logos, button icons, images, and audio clips, digital downloads, and data compilations, is the property of Regal Cigs and is protected by United States and international copyright laws.

9. Third Party Sites
Regal Cigs may allow third parties to advertise on the website. Please be aware that Regal Cigs is not responsible for the business and privacy practices of these other sites. Regal Cigs encourages you to be aware of this when you leave the website and to read the legal notices and privacy policies of each and every website you visit. The website also contains links to other websites on the Internet that are owned and operated by third parties. Regal Cigs does not control the information, products or services available on these third party websites. The inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement by Regal Cigs of the applicable website or any association with the website’s operators. Because Regal Cigs  has no control over such websites and resources, you agree that Regal Cigs is not responsible or liable for the availability or the operation of such external websites, for any material located on or available from any such websites or for the protection of your data privacy by third parties. You agree that Regal Cigs shall not be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any loss or damage caused by the use of or reliance on any such material available on or through any such site or any such dealings or promotions.

10. Disclaimer of Warranties 
THE WEBSITE AND THE PRODUCT OFFERED ON THE WEBSITE, ARE PROVIDED TO YOU ON AN “AS IS” AND “AS AVAILABLE” BASIS AND ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS AND IMPLIED, ARE DISCLAIMED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMISSIBLE PURSUANT TO APPLICABLE LAW (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE DISCLAIMER OF ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, NON-INFRINGEMENT OF INTELECTUAL PROPERTY AND/OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE). Regal Cigs MAKES NO WARRANTY THAT THE WEBSITE OR THE PRODUCT OFFERED ON THE WEBSITE: (A) WILL MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS; (B) WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED, TIMELY, SECURE OR ERROR-FREE OR THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED; (C) WILL BE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS; (D) WILL HAVE SECURITY METHODS EMPLOYED THAT WILL BE SUFFICIENT AGAINST INTERFERENCE WITH YOUR ENJOYMENT OF THE WEBSITE, OR AGAINST INFRINGEMENT; AND/OR (E) WILL BE ACCURATE OR RELIABLE. THE WEBSITE AND THE PRODUCT OFFERED ON THE WEBSITE MAY CONTAIN BUGS, ERRORS, PROBLEMS OR OTHER LIMITATIONS.

11. Limitation of Liability
YOU EXPRESSLY UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT Regal Cigs  SHALL NOT BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANY THIRD PARTY FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL AND/OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF PROFITS, GOODWILL, USE, DATA OR OTHER INTANGIBLE LOSSES (EVEN IF Regal Cigs  HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES), TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMISSIBLE BY LAW FOR: (A) THE USE OR THE INABILITY TO USE THE WEBSITE AND THE PRODUCT ON THE WEBSITE; (B) THE COST OF PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS AND SERVICES RESULTING FROM ANY GOODS, DATA, INFORMATION, CONTENT AND/OR ANY PRODUCT PURCHASED OR OBTAINED FROM OR THROUGH THE WEBSITE; (C) THE UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS TO, OR ALTERATION OF, YOUR PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE DATA; (D) THE FAILURE TO REALIZE ANY SPECIFIC SMOKING CESSATION BENEFIT OR OTHER HEALTH-RELATED OUTCOME; AND (E) ANY OTHER MATTER RELATING TO THIS WEBSITE OR THE PRODUCT OFFERED ON THE WEBSITE. THIS LIMITATION APPLIES TO ALL CAUSES OF ACTION, IN THE AGGREGATE INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, BREACH OF CONTRACT, BREACH OF WARRANTY, NEGLIGENCE, STRICT LIABILITY, MISREPRESENTATION AND ANY AND ALL OTHER TORTS. YOU HEREBY RELEASE Regal Cigs FROM ANY AND ALL OBLIGATIONS, LIABILITIES AND CLAIMS IN EXCESS OF THE LIMITATIONS STATED HEREIN. IF APPLICABLE LAW DOES NOT PERMIT SUCH LIMITATION, THE MAXIMUM LIABILITY OF Regal Cigs TO YOU UNDER ANY AND ALL CIRCUMSTANCES WILL BE FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($500.00). NO ACTION, REGARDLESS OF FORM, ARISING OUT OF YOUR USE THIS WEBSITE, THE PRODUCT AND/OR SERVICES OFFERED ON THE WEBSITE, MAY BE BROUGHT BY YOU MORE THAN ONE (1) YEAR FOLLOWING THE EVENT WHICH GAVE RISE TO THE CAUSE OF ACTION. THE NEGATION OF DAMAGES SET FORTH ABOVE IS A FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENT OF THE BASIS OF THE BARGAIN BETWEEN YOU AND Regal Cigs. ACCESS TO THE WEBSITE AND THE PRODUCT OFFERED ON THE WEBSITE WOULD NOT BE PROVIDED TO YOU WITHOUT SUCH LIMITATIONS. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW CERTAIN LIMITATIONS ON LIABILITY AND IN SUCH JURISDICTIONS Regal Cigs  LIABILITY SHALL BE LIMITED TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW.

12. Choice of Law and Arbitration Provision
Any dispute arising out of or related to these Terms, which cannot be resolved by negotiation (including, without limitation, any dispute over the ability to arbitrate an issue), will be settled by binding arbitration in accordance with the J.A.M.S Arbitration Rules and Procedures. The arbitration will be held in Denver, CO. The costs of arbitration, including the fees and expenses of the arbitrator, will be borne by the party initiating the action unless the arbitration award provides otherwise. Each party will bear the cost of preparing and presenting its case. The parties agree that the arbitrator has no power or authority to make awards or issue orders of any kind except as expressly permitted by these Terms, and in no event does the arbitrator have the authority to make any award that provides for punitive or exemplary damages. The award may be confirmed and enforced in any court of competent jurisdiction. These Terms shall be treated as though it were executed and performed in Denver, CO and shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Colorado (without regard to conflict of law principles).

13. Miscellaneous 
You represent and warrant that (a) you are at least 18 years of age (or 19 years of age in the jurisdiction mentioned above); (b) you have the full right, power and authority to enter into this agreement; (c) by entering into this agreement you are not breaching any duty or obligation to any third party; and (d) the person consenting to these Terms is your duly authorized representative and authorized to bind you to the terms of these Terms. You may not assign or delegate any or all of your rights, obligations, and duties under these Terms without the prior written consent of Regal Cigs, which may be withheld in Regal Cigs sole discretion. If any clause or provision in these Terms is determined to be invalid or unenforceable, it will not affect the validity of any other clause or provision these Terms, which will remain in full force and effect. No waiver of any of the provisions of these Terms is binding unless it is in writing and signed by Regal Cigs. The failure of either Regal Cigs to insist on the strict enforcement of any provision of these Terms does not constitute a waiver of any provision and all terms shall remain in full force and effect. These Terms supersede and replace all prior and contemporaneous agreements, understandings and representations, whether oral or written, between the parties and relating to the subject matter hereof, and together with the other documents referenced herein, constitutes the entire understanding of the parties with respect to the subject matter of these Terms.

14. Regal One Year Warranty
We stand behind the quality of our product and guarantee to the original purchaser that our product shall be free from defects in material or workmanship for a period of one year from the original purchase date. This warranty applies to the product under normal use and is subject to all product usage documentation. In the event you need to exchange your Regal pack, battery, or charger, simply call customer service at 1-888-822-5977 to obtain a Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA). Place the RMA number and the item(s) to be exchanged in a padded envelope, and mail it to us at Regal Cigs Returns, 405 W. Fairmont Drive, Tempe, AZ 85282

Please allow 1-2 weeks for processing.

NOTE: All exchange requests MUST be accompanied by an RMA number, be received within one year from the date of the original order, and include all items to be exchanged . We reserve the right to refuse any exchange request that does not meet these requirements. We recommend that you return your product via traceable mail as we do not take any responsibility for undelivered exchanges.

15. CONTACT INFORMATION
If you have any questions about these Terms, please feel free to contact us at 1-888-822-5977 or email us at info@regalcigs.com.

Hours of Operation: Mon.-Fri. 9:00am-5:00pm EST.

Regal Cigs
405 West Fairmont Drive
Tempe, AZ 85282

Please DO NOT send returns to the above address, unless you received an RMA number.

 

Copyright 2011 Regal ecigs
spacer
Regal Cigs are intended for use by adult smokers and not intended for pregnant women or those who are sensitive to nicotine. Nicotine is highly addictive and may be dangerous to your health. Regal Cigs are not intended as a smoking cessation device. Regal Cigs offers smokers a tar freeway to enjoy smoking. KEEP PRODUCT AND ITS COMPONENT PARTS OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN. REFRAIN FROM USING THIS PRODUCT IF YOU ARE UNDER THE LEGAL SMOKING AGE IN YOUR STATE. We are not affiliated in any way with Fox, CBS, Men’s Health or Discovery. The aforementioned re all registered trademarks of their respective owners. ® All trademarks on this web site whether registered or not, are the property of theirs a respective owners. The authors of this web site are not sponsored by or affiliated with any of the third party trade mark or third party registered trade mark owners, and make no representations about them, their owners, their products or services.

Craigslist Ad Voicemail Spam Robots-OnceDriven.com

The Evil Robots are Calling! A new form of spam.
Robots are scanning Craigslist for phone numbers and leaving voicemails that are based merely on the generic category of the craigslist ad.  In this case, it’s the automotive sales section, although I’m not selling a car.  But notice the voicemail is as if I am.  No one read my ad.  As with blog comment spam, if there’s n mention of anything specific to your actual ad, it’s probably a robot.

Here’s the message: voicemail.mp3

Actual Message Transcript:

Hi, My name is Michael and I work for Once Driven. The number here is (855) 844-2646. Uhh, we’ve got some clients who are shopping for vehicles, and I’m going through a list of vehicles like yours. I’d like to find out more about it and, um,  tell you little bit more about what we can do to help you get it sold. Uh, there’s a small fee for the service. It’s well worth it. I’ll tell you about it when you call. We do guarantee the results. So give me a call before 5 today. Uh, the number is (855) 844-2646. Have a great day.

In my opinion, we should penalize companies for using this technique for marketing purposes for two reasons

  1. It’s against the craigslist’s code of conduct

  2. It’s simply annoying.

So to oncedriven.com, you guys suck for spamming me when you have nothing to offer me and my ad says it’s NOT OK to contact me with other services.  I hope this post effects your SEO and public images in the way you have earned!

Google Voice’s Transcipt (for fun):

Hi, My name is Michael and I work for one street in the number here is (855) 844-2646 we’ve got some clients were shopping for a vehicles. And I’m going through a list of vehicles like yours. I’d like to find out more about it and tell you little bit more about what we can do to help you get it sold. There’s a small piece of the service It’s well worth it. I’ll tell you about it when you call and wedo guarantee the results. So give me a call before 5 today. The number is (855) 844-2646. Have a great day.

UPDATE: I wrote OnceDriven via their website to tell them that I was getting around 100 hits per day to this post  (now it’s more like 200).  This is what they wrote back, followed by my response.

On Jul 9, 2013, at 2:46 PM, Once Driven Management wrote:

Andrew,

Thank you for bringing your thread to our attention. If we may, we’d like to take this opportunity to clarify several of the concerns raised in your thread.

With respect to the calls themselves, OnceDriven receives hundreds of requests from buyers every week. Our representatives attempt to locate vehicles similar to those buyers ask us to find. We were concerned that some people saw this as a form of harassment. As opposed to random marketers trolling online classifieds, we zero in on a unique opportunity to bring buyers and sellers together. While there is some margin for human error, it was disconcerting to see that some people were contacted who were not actually in the vehicle selling market – these must have been administrative errors and we are working diligently with our representatives to bring that number down to zero.

We want to point out that OnceDriven accepts consumers’ requests not to be contacted again. As some of the people in your thread expressed difficulty in contacting us, we’d like to clarify the process. Contrary to one poster’s comments, you do not need a representative’s extension. While you can always contact our toll free number, we have decided to take this one step further as some people have experienced delays being placed on hold. We’re providing a link at the end of this response for people who do not wish to be contacted to enter their number and/or email and notify us of any concerns they may have. If you would be so kind as to bring this to people’s attention by placing it prominently on your thread, we would be very grateful.

Here is the link:

http://www.oncedriven.com/quality-assurance/

We noticed some comments from people regarding the excessive volume of calls. We are aware of numerous legitimate and illegitimate third parties reaching out to online posters as they contact our very own customers. It is likely some of those calls are being mistakenly attributed to us.

Thank you for giving us an opportunity to respond to your thread.

Stephen Cooper
Management Team
OnceDriven.com

So this is what I wrote back:

Stephen,

Why would your company have contacted me about my “vehicle” when I wasn’t selling one? I was selling a pair of motorcycle saddlebags. And every time I reposted the ad, I would receive at least one call from OnceDriven. It always referred to my “vehicle.”

Shouldn’t it be pretty clear to me that you guys are merely indiscriminately screen-scraping phone numbers from the auto sales part of craigslist and robo-dialing them?

Is that NOT what you’re doing?

-Andrew

I’ll update this post if they respond to my questions.

Comcast Bought Plaxo. I deleted My Plaxo Account.

A “Letter to Comcast,” but also, and more importantly, a letter to people who read my blog.

Source: TechCrunch

Plaxo has some really compelling address book synchronization offerings.  Really, for me, Plaxo was sort of a mini dream come true as far as my personal data is concerned.

But I thought about it and I just don’t trust Comcast.  They are limiting my access to competing media distribution channels, and they have a reputation for fighting against consumer interests, and perhaps even human interests, if you’re willing to step back and see the implications of the non-neutrality they are in favor of with regard to the Internet.

Comcast, you have an uphill PR battle in front of you.  People like me will continue to think of your brand as representing pure evil until you start to prove us wrong.  I don’t know how you’re going to do this, but making acquisitions that appear to consumers to be privacy concerns, given your already soiled trust with the public, isn’t the best thing to do right now.  I’m all for socially curated media, and I’m glad if Comcast is working in that direction, but frankly, you’re in a position where you could really start to seem like the orwellian “Big Brother” Nightmare everyone is terrified of.  Perhaps you should point all your guns at bringing IPTV into reality, or better yet, let’s see the real convergence between TV and Web that we all know is coming one way or another.  Do that first.  And why don’t you also try getting all the dark spots in the Net lit up! The South, you know? Let’s get those people online and you can sell them programming later.  I know there’s not really a bandwidth problem, not when there’s 100 channels of “HD” programming streaming into all your cable customers homes 24/7. C’mon. Quit lying and cheating and stealing and start making some progress toward our common good.  Or on the other hand, why don’t you announce the acquisition of an arms manufacturer.  That’d help your company’s image.

I’ve deleted Plaxo’s software from my machine, and I closed my Plaxo account.  Goodbye Plaxo.  Really, an open-source version of the same type of thing would be better anyhow.