Jesse Willms Settles in Court with Google – a Google Win against the Scammers?

Just Think Media Settles With Google Over Trademark Infringement

Last year Jesse Willms threw the lawyer dogs at me which forced me to pull some posts.  I’d been calling him a scammer which was obviously in clear contradiction of his (now public) self-vision as a charitable philanthropist.

Just Think Media Google Judgement

Just Think Media Google Judgement

Statue of JusticeHowever yesterday, Google, who had originally sued 50 unknown John Does reached a settlement with some of the defendants in a case originally brought on 17 May, 2010.  prominent among these is Just Think Media, latterly a vehicle for Jesse Willms’ internet enterprises.  See final judgement here.

Apparently, all defendants are saying that the Google claims are false, yet are paying up.  Whether they have or not, I don’t know.  Google still won.

You’ll notice in the above screenshot that it includes as many of Willms’ businesses and associates that they can discover – Farend Services on Cyprus, 1016363 Alberta, 1524948 Alberta and his current vehicle, Terra Marketing Group (This is him on the “about” page).

Farend Services popped up a lot in our investigations.  This is Willms take on networks and affiliates and how his business worked in a now hard-to-find interview from around New year, 2011:

It‟s a commission type arrangement in which we hire networks to manage our advertising and we pay them a certain amount of money per product sold. Those networks hire affiliates to place the ads and most of them are very good – but we occasionally run into problems with affiliates making false claims.

Blaming all the failures on the folks who fed him customers which he did in his interview did not save him from folding under the weight of evidence that Google presented to the Utah court.

Noticeable by its absence in the interview is any mention of the Google case although mention is made of his cases against CTV and others!  In actual fact, from our and others investigations,  the statement “…affiliates to place the ads and most of them are very good” is so far from the truth as to be laughable.

This is because time and again we saw the same adverts all served from the same few servers (like Bloosky say) and all the affiliates all quoting the same copyright infringing stuff in their webpages that have been used and proved in this case  by Google, almost continuously.

This is not a few affiliates- it’s almost all affiliates!  Almost all the time!  The web was full of it!

Oprah

So to be absolutely clear, Willms blamed almost everything on his affiliates in the Oprah Winfrey case, which he also lost.  Quote:

Affiliates broke our rules and used their unauthorized images, and made claims that she had endorsed our products. Even though we didn‟t use the unauthorized images ourselves, this case has been settled and there are measures in place so this doesn’t happen again.


Software

The thing is, he had an excuse for his million dollar fine for flogging counterfeit Microsoft and Symantech software as well, which given that they’d want at least their lost sales back does not equate with his statement of:

Only a small percentage, less than one per cent, was counterfeit.

So far, without any other corroborative information, it is only Jesse saying this.  He blamed everything on his supply chain.   To be fair, Microsoft’s authentication system was poorer some years ago than it is now.

Willms also says that he has learned from his mistakes in his interview.  Let’s hope he has.

This case goes back to his business efforts for 2009 and earlier.

Since then he has apparently folded on the-next-big-thing which was penny auctions and has gone to great pains to shift website ownership of his earlier websites (as detailed in posts and comments passim).  His Terra Marketing outfit are noticeable for their absence of any business activity (at least compared to the past) and appear to exist purely for charitable works and a promotional vehicle for Willms himself.  Their website mentions “partners” and is big on saying, well, er, not a lot actually.  It’s not clear what they do but apparently 250 people are doing it!

And there’s the nagging questions again;

  • If this interview is so wonderful, how come it has now been pulled and is only available via the Google cache?  Originally he was very proud of it and went to great pains to promote it…!  I have enough news log references to it to fill a (….insert your own big thing here….)
  • And why are the Willms businesses and domain names being shuffled off this mortal coil so quickly?
  • And Farend Services in Cyprus, the companies in Pasig City, Nevis, County Durham and Gibralter plus Pacific WebWorks and Willms’ former enterprises…  – Is the fact that the same names and addresses, phone numbers and call centres all kept popping up a valid causal link or is it really just several businesses all using the same business services with or without considering the ethics of their business decisions?

I guess there’s still time to find out.

Where is The Jesse Willms Interview?

Interestingly, despite all the web puffs for it when it first came out, it has disappeared!  He http://jessewillms.com/giving-my-first-interview/ – mentioned it here on his main personal blog and http://www.gettingtheinterview.ca/ – it used to be here.  Sadly, and ironically, the Google cache (how coolly ironic is that?) provides us the answers:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:t8cCRQchBSkJ:jessewillms.com/giving-my-first-interview/+jesse+willms+interview&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk&source=www.google.co.uk

…is for his self-promotion of the interview and below is the actual interview, which had also gone!  (I’m not making this stuff up you know, but it shows the lengths to which some folks will go to rig Google search ranking…)

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:E5uCb8xgIYYJ:www.gettingtheinterview.ca/+http://www.gettingtheinterview.ca/&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk&source=www.google.co.uk

If the cache changes, these are copies I made of their state today, in doc and pdf format.

 

Conclusion

Gandulf Decides

Gandulf Decides

So.  Scammer or philanthropist?  You decide.  The settlement in court says one thing.

Google won $1.6m between the defendants, which in my opinion is a fraction of the money that the scammers duped from their “customers” over the years.

Reading the Google case shows that Google only started to react when they themselves were asked to answer court summonses by folks that had been scammed  – by Willms, Pacific WebWorks and the rest under the mistaken impression that it was Google taking the cash from them!

During the time of the scams in question, Google made heaps of money from the advert placers (the affiliates). Perhaps they’d like to dip into their pockets and help the thousands who’ve been scammed by financing a proper damages case?

Probably not.  Gotta think of the shareholders.

As always, it’s the little folks that suffer.

And Google, with its “do no harm” mantra, has actually not done much good at all!  The case has provided a case law example for any folks willing to take up the reins against the defendants for monies lost, though.

Or the FTC could take up the baton and recover the millions for people should they wish to do it.  Let’s see.

 

Further Reading:

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34 responses .

  1. Strangely says:

    Dear oh dear. Millionaire philanthropist donates $10 to the Japanese Tsunami victims and then brags about it.

    Dear-oh-dear-oh-dear.

    See http://twitter.com/jessewillms/statuses/563899388

  2. Not Kevin says:

    Good post. FTC press release here:

    FTC Charges Online Marketers with Scamming Consumers out of Hundreds of Millions of Dollars with 'Free' Trial Offers:
    http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2011/05/jessewillms.shtm

    • Strangely says:

      You're right! I said,

      Or the FTC could take up the baton and recover the millions for people should they wish to do it. Let’s see.

      The FTC charge sheet is brilliant and uses all the names that we've all collectively dragged up over the years, plus some more! One omission is the Nevis and Pasig City connections – maybe they're saving them up for Willms attack #2?

      This is the PDF of the actual FTC charge sheet as submitted to court.
      http://www.ftc.gov/os/caselist/1023012/110517jwil
      EVERYONE should read it and if anyone has been scammed by these diet/acai berry/weight loss/Wu Long Tea/Penny Auction/Counterfeit software scams OR if you know someone who has, go to the FTC website and make a claim. If you don't know how, ask here on this website….

  3. Not Kevin says:

    Oh and I see that he is now hiding his 'tweets' :)

  4. Strangely says:

    What is important about the FTC v. Willms case, is that they have to vote in order for a case to be served in court.

    The vote was 5 – 0 in favour of going to court.

    I think there's a very good chance of success against the grinning slime bucket which, if it pans out as it should, should send shivers through the more recent fat-busting and other medical-sounding scams.

  5. Strangely says:

    Typically, Tom Harvey at the Salt Lake Tribune takes a measured approach to the FTC case and how it affects the Utahns involved.
    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/51832340-79/me

  6. Strangely says:

    Mysteriously, despite the words appearing all over the internet, there is no mention of the FTC case on Willms' blog(s), or the TMG website or "news" site!

    What we see instead is the following posting on the free PRWEB here http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/5/prweb8447672… which has again been copied verbatim across a host of similar copycat websites.

    It states:

    “We believe our business practices are compliant with the law and are working to resolve this disagreement with the appropriate government agencies…. blah blah blah ad infinitum" states Jesse Willms

    Now his businesses may very well be super-legally-compliant NOW but the FTC case is not about NOW, is it?

    It relates to events from at least 2007 up to the demise of his penny auction miasma when he suddenly and not-that-mysteriously decided to be a philanthropist (giving a tenner to the Japanese Tsunami victims and bragging about it on Twitter in the process!)

    The FTC case relates to how an evidence-based and accountable alleged fraud of nearly half a billion dollars made him rich!

    And they want it all back (in the phrase "ill-gotten gains" that they use) to return to people that were scammed.

    Willms' disingenuous posting is just another piece of fluff which ignores his past completely. Now the past is catching up.

    Watch this space.

  7. Strangely says:

    This CBC News video report hints at the actual criminal proceedings that could be brought by the mounties (RCMP) and the Canadian Competition Bureau….
    http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/Shows/1221254309/ID=193
    The latter had sequestered two floors of his offices for investigation when the TV crew turned up!

    Yikes! Poor old Jesse…

    Willms must be desperate to get an out-of-court settlement on this latest court summons brought by the FTC because in his previous encounters with Symantech, Microsoft, Oprah Winfrey & Dr Oz for nicking their products or names, he's got off with private settlements with those businesses.

    This time it may be harder. Unless he settles with all the scammed individuals or reaches a total with the FTC, and despite his protestations about carrying on legal businesses currently, his previous encounters and subsequent settlements PLUS the hordes of consumer complaints against him suggest otherwise.

  8. Strangely says:

    Willms has blandly stated that – "We take compliance very seriously, and have worked closely in that regard with our lawyers, including James Kaminski, a Washington, D.C. lawyer who previously served as an attorney for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Mr. Kaminski is now leading our discussions with the FTC we try to resolve this matter quickly and amicably …blah blah blah" about the FTC v. Jesse Willms Case No. 2:11-cv-00828

    Here is the Washington lawyer, in interview with the same website where the now notorious grinning photo of Willms originated!
    http://meetinnovators.com/2008/03/20/jim-kaminski

    He makes interesting observations many of which fly in the face of the well-documented screenshot evidence and consumer complaints over many years that show Willms to be in complete denial of his past activities.

    Take these quotes from Kaminski say:

    The first thing is not to underestimate the resources the FTC has available. When the government feels an issue is important, they’re able to throw resources at it. When I started working at the FTC in 1998, the Web was in existence, but things were still new. The FTC put a lot of resources into learning about the technologies, how to police it, and what the new issues would be. They also went across the country and taught other government agencies how to do the same thing.

    Another important issue is how the FTC forms its policies. They listen a lot to consumer complaints. They have pretty vast databases of consumer complaints that are affiliated with other organizations, including the state level and private sector. They’re able to really gauge what the public feels is deceptive.

    The FTC generally tries to bring lawsuits or law enforcement actions that have several different impacts. A few minutes on the evening news is the equivalent of many millions of consumer-alert brochures they could publish. If they choose cases that are more likely to get a lot of press, they can alert industry and consumers at the same time.

    If you’re getting a call from the FTC, it’s very likely that a law enforcement action has already been initiated internally.

    The general rule is that if you’re a principle in a company and your partner is initiating a marketing campaign that typically runs afoul of one of the deception or unfair practices, acts, or statutes, the company itself is going to be liable for that. Keep in mind that the FTC and the states are able to easily pierce the corporate veil under these circumstances. Typically, you’ll see the company named in an action as well as the principles.

    Adrian Byeasked "What about negative option programs, which we call continuity programs?" Kaminski replied:

    It’s an issue the FTC is very concerned about. The key here is to make sure that the terms of that agreement are clearly and conspicuously disclosed. In other words, consumers have to know that they’re getting into a continuity program. It raises many red flags if customers don’t know and then complain that “I have false charges placed on my credit cards.” That’s basically fraud, even though many times it’s just a misunderstanding.

    Misunderstanding? That's exactly what Willms says about his whole past. All the mistakes were nearly always someone else's fault (as he said in his now hidden on-line interview) or misunderstanding.

    And yet, we (and most certainly the FTC) have shedloads of screenshots of his deceptive websites and how they shifted and changed to suit the moment.

    I hope Willms' communications with Kaminski think on these points before he tries to reach his "amicable settlement". Becuase this is what he says when answering the following question from Bye:

    Q. How does that actually work for the owner when the FTC tells them to stop? Does someone come to your door or do you get a letter in the mail?

    Jim Kaminski:

    You can get a letter in the mail that’s voluntary and asking you to send in information about your practices.

    You can get an administrative subpoena, called a C.I.D., in which case compliance with that subpoena has the force of law.

    You can have people show up at your business saying they have a receiver with them. They’ve been to a court, and they filed a lawsuit against you under seal. The judge appointed a receiver, and you’re no longer in control of your business because the receiver is. That’s a drastic measure that does occur.

    Drastic indeed! Lets hope it happens!

  9. Paul says:

    LOL. I love the "oh, we're compliant now" claim – which is the usual out companies getting the heat try to use.

    It's absurd of course once you look at some basic parallels. If someone committed manslaughter or worse yesterday – are they magically absolved because it's a new day?

    • Strangely says:

      Buddhism's parallels are just that – it says that a person, any person, can make a real change in their life, instantly. (woo. This is good and empowering for a person.)

      However, this doesn't absolve them from the past because they still have the truckload of bad karma that they acquired from their earlier actions to expunge.

      And Willms et al have truckloads…. (Yikes for Willms!)

      When I said above "Google won $1.6m between the defendants, which in my opinion is a fraction of the money that the scammers duped from their “customers” over the years" I wasn't wrong!!!

      I finished by suggesting that "the FTC could take up the baton and recover the millions for people should they wish to do it. Let’s see."

      Well they certainly have! It's not the chicken-feed $1.6m that Google got but at least $467m that the FTC says has been obtained from their "illegal practices". The FTC is seeking damages of this amount for all the damaged parties, the thousands of little people globally that have been sucked into giving their money to the ever-so-charitable Willms et al by their deceptive marketing practices compounded by sheer theft hidden away in weasely-worded webpages whose size and tediousness is of biblical proportions.

      To repeat, this is the link to the FTC court document against Willms and his chums.
      http://www.ftc.gov/os/caselist/1023012/110517jwil

      Let's hope it sticks or else the world will be a far worse place very quickly.

  10. Strangely says:

    The "we're compliant now" phrase rings true in this latest addition to the BBB's news flashes.
    http://spokane.bbb.org/article/FTC-Files-Suit-aga
    While there, check out the other BBB links (there are three). In this one, http://www.bbb.org/edmonton/business-reviews/heal… which relates to Willms' teeth whitening and other stuff, it states that ALL the 2322 complaints were settled by Willms' Just Think Media outfit, which ties in neatly with Willms' statements that he made on the now-disappeared "interview".

    However, the final words are VERY REVEALING about the BBB's view of Willms, his actions to settle customer complaints and any future activities.

    When expressly questioned (by the BBB – ed) about what the company will do to comply with the Regulation, the legal counsel (of Willms – ed) did not directly respond to the issue, and instead indicated their client will no longer be offering teeth whitening offers online….

    …several consumers were only refunded after Service Alberta contacted the company's legal counsel about their complaint. As such, the Director (of the BBB – ed) believes these consumers were only refunded because a government body was getting involved, and not out of an intent to comply with the Regulation

    To me and many others on-line including many internet marketeers of varying repute, this smacks of a quick-kill business designed to extract cash from consumers as fast as possible and then to close down as soon as government agencies or credit card company problems arise.

    The question remains – "How many people were scammed yet didn't complain to the BBB and thus didn't get their money back?" Because this is what the BBB quote above is implying!

    Willms' philanthropic gestures and mansion give a clue to that.

  11. Strangely says:

    It seems that Canada's Competition Bureau has powers, clout and teeth and is not afraid of getting stuck in. This is what I see when reading between the lines in this CBC news report here into Willms.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/story/2011
    They said,

    The bureau obtained a search warrant on May 12 to search Willms's office in Sherwood Park, just east of Edmonton.

    According to the document, investigators were looking for electronic or paper records that include sales figures, staff training manuals, financial statements and computer passwords.

    The investigation is active and ongoing. A decision about when or if charges are laid must come from a Crown prosecutor.

    So far only the FTC have made a case using their own and some evidence derived from the BBB and the CB. As they say in the article,

    The FTC lawsuit filed in Seattle on May 16 makes similar allegations which have not been proven in court. Willms must file his response to the complaint by next week.

    Well roll on next week!

    Of course, no matter how it pans out, the Competition Bureau is still doing their own investigation and are free and perfectly capable of bringing their own case to court. Interestingly, the Wu Yi tea is claimed to have made $121 million for smiley Willms in under two years.

    I wonder how many other charities will examine their position with regard to Willms' donations derived from alleged scamming?

  12. Not Kevin says:

    Speaking of chargebacks – I recall one or more of the "free trial" scams (although not any of Willms 'offers' I don't think?) threatened to add anyone who was thinking of using a chargeback to badcustomer.com which would damage their internet credit or some such nonsense. Well here is an interesting story on badcustomer.com, the FTC and someone called Jeremy D. Johnson:
    http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/bad-c

    It seems that not only is Jeremy Johnson a Utah resident, but also a 'philanthropist'. :)
    http://saltydroid.info/category/jeremy-johnson/
    http://saltydroid.info/in-defense-of-jeremy-johns

    • Strangely says:

      Johnson's business, iWorks, you pulled out in oour investigations into the Larsen-ists of Pacific WebWorks, way back in 2009! See your addition here:
      http://strangelyperfect.tv/5146/more-on-google-pr
      Subsequent additions from Jack & Jem show that Ryan Riddle, originally in the car body business, was tied up with Johnson as well.

      Later on (in Dec 2010!) you then mentioned the initial charges against Johnson et al here:
      http://strangelyperfect.tv/5146/more-on-google-pr
      Due process is like treacle sometimes, eh?

      As for the philanthropy bit….that is part of the FTC charge in that they flooded the web with good tidings about their activities! Much like Voldemort up in Alberta, eh?

    • Strangely says:

      Another point about the chargebacks is that Johnson (and Willms) have both said that their websites conform to standards. The T&Cs were plain to see, etc and it's customers' own fault for not reading them or (un)checking the box.

      The BBB have backed this up when they marked Willms' sites up, but didn't see the whole picture, obviously.

      This simple tale of honest webmasters and lazy customers of course breaks down completely in Johnson's case because it's seen that a warren of duplicate websites were created to hoodwink the credit card & official organisations.

      In Willms' case, several consumer websites have taken screenshots of his websites that show the deception at work, the hidden terms, the gobblegook instructions and marketing clauses. They catalogue the metamorphosis of entry screens which seem to be designed to mislead, which by all accounts, they've done, or else there wouldn't be floods of complaints and we wouldn't be writing about the troubled teenager to smiling philanthropist now, would we?

      We've seen these many times. Unfortunately I personally never thought to screendump at the time, so thank goodness for others with more foresight or anger that did.

  13. Not Kevin says:

    "The enormous volume of charge-backs pushed Johnson's companies into monitoring programs established by Visa and MasterCard when suspicious activity is detected. This, in turn, blocked access to credit card billing systems. So, in response, the FTC said, Johnson and his associates "tricked banks into giving them continued access to these billing systems by creating 51 shell companies with figurehead officers and by providing the banks with phony 'clean' versions of their websites."
    http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/bad-c

    Sounds familiar? That's pretty much exactly the same allegation the FTC are making in their case against Willms.

  14. Strangely says:

    Reading the FTC charge against Johnson et al, the FTC have added one hell of a whopper neatly tucked away into the court order, Section XXIII.

    They order Johnson et al to provide a copy of the restraining order to EACH affiliate, sales entity, officer, director, agent etc, etc, etc.!!!

    They then demand that within 10 days a list is provided of all the scum they've contacted! Brilliant! Roll more rats into the bag!

    It'll be very, very interesting, that list. I wonder if Mr Smiley will appear on it? Hmmm.

    The penalty for non-compliance, by law, and considering the charges involve sums of about a quarter of a billion dollars, are a paltry 5 years in gaol and a maximum fine of only a quarter of a million dollars.

    Methinks lots of the scum will shut up schtoom and take the medicine rather than risk a later life of luxury beyond most folks dreams.

    Perhaps it's time that the FTC pressed for the law to be changed and penalties to be more appropriate to an individual's circumstances?

  15. Strangely says:

    If any of the local charitable organisations that Willms’ signed up for when he became a philanthropist tuned into a local radio show from CBC called “Edmonton AM”, they certainly would’ve heard something to make them think.
    The audio of the whole Willms’ piece is here:
    http://www.cbc.ca/edmontonam/episodes/2011/06/14/jesse-willms-investigation/

    In it they’d hear details of his earlier legal confrontations with Microsoft etc, the current FTC slammer and also quite detailed stuff from the on-going investigation from Canadian Competition Bureau. This organisation can bring civil OR criminal proceedings, the penalty for which can be up to 14 years in the nick!
    Unfortunately, the maximum financial penalty is declared as $200k, which for Willms must be a drop in the ocean.
    Without knowing too much Canadian law, I can’t say if these figures are correct or if they even tell the whole tale, but the key point is that the Competition Bureau in Canada seems to have more legal clout for Canadians than the FTC does for Americans!

    I for one will certainly be watching how this develops!

  16. Not Kevin says:

    Some interesting articles:
    http://www.adotas.com/2011/07/dont-just-blame-affiliates-for-belly-fat-ads/

    http://adage.com/article/mediaworks/fake-news-ads-persist-ftc-crackdown/228421/

    I have been saying for ages that the only way to shut down these scams is to go after every link in the chain [who all profit from them]: the affiliates, the affiliate networks (aka cpa networks), the ad networks and the merchant/source of the scam. Some of the $ amounts involved are staggering.

  17. Strangely says:

    That adotas.com page contains ANOTHER hacked page on his websites! Some people don’t seem to like his nicey-nicey self publicity efforts obviously. For myself, I look forward to the next load of Willms drivel courtesy of Google Alerts. (not).
    The endless one line trivia drones on with crosslink references to the same one line wanky words on Twitter. It’s just awful. Pathetically awful. His mind-numbing one line critique of the Wills & Kate Canadian visit on Twitter which say “see what I wrote on my website” (or similar) – which then says virtually the same thing. Utter, SEO drivel. Space shuttle. Tsunami. Homeless. Endless pap with the only point being to perk up his search rankings to make his wretched persona appear ever so slightly more graceful.
    As you noted in your comment here on the Willms cracked website – http://strangelyperfect.tv/10572/jesse-willms-hacked/#comment-4689 – he’s now actually paying to place these poxy words of wisdom at the top of the Google rankings.
    Lets hope, for all that is good and decent in the world, that the truth comes out in the FTC case and Mr Smiley gets what coming and the tens of thousands, nay thousands of thousands of duped punters get their money back.


    As for your comment about drilling down through every link in the chain, the $$$ amounts ARE staggering. This could be the reason why Google set aside half a billion dollars as they are obviously assuming that the U.S. Justice department will win in its claim that do-no-evil-Google has actually promoted and then profited from scam advert placements.
    This is something we’ve both witnessed, especially around the Google Treasure Chest saga. The ads actually appeared on this website! Because of the difficulty of removal, I actually recommended (and still do) folks to click on the things and do nothing – it makes money for me to pay for the site and more importantly, it costs the scammer an absolute fortune as they’re not cheap in the market in which they operate.
    The ubiquitous nature of the ads, of course, allowed the scam websites to quite rightly say “as seen on ABC” or whatever. They could have said “as seen on Strangely Perfect TV”, but it doesn’t have the kudos, does it?


    These are some links about the half billion that Google has set aside:
    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2edb7b9c-7b5d-11e0-ae56-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1Rv5y8jtB
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/13/google_potential_doj_settlement/
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/11/us-google-probe-idUSTRE74A0KO20110511

  18. Strangely says:

    http://classactionlawsuitsinthenews.com/class-action-lawsuit-complaints/bidrack-bid-pack-penny-auction-class-action-lawsuit-complaint/

    BidRack.com on the rack!

    Another penny auction site is handed a summons. Top amongst the list of John Does are EWA, who you pointed out during the Google Treasure Chest & other sagas were big in the clicks & bizops business.
    The FTC document is here:
    http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/06/27/Bidrack.pdf

  19. Strangely says:

    Roll on August 5th! The FTC v Willms et al case is due to appear then.
    http://www.sherwoodparknews.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3229833

    • Not Kevin says:

      “It was also submitted that there is no evidence that Willms’ current websites have gone against FTC standards and regulations.”

      Eh? That’s because he shut down all the offending ones! (Most of which disappeared some time ago after raking in as much cash as possible) Not much of a defence argument is it. A bit like saying you used to beat your wife but you are not currently beating your wife because the police are keeping an eye on you – so that’s okay then?

      They should also stop calling him an entrepreneur and philanthropist!

      As lawyer Mike Young pointed out in an email to his mailing list today

      “There’s a man who has been accused by the Federal Trade Commission of stealing from his Internet “customers.” This includes fraudulent billings to credit cards for purchases never made.

      The press is calling this guy an entrepreneur. If even 1/10th the
      allegations are true, labeling him as an “entrepreneur” hurts real
      Internet business owners who don’t lie or cheat their customers.

      An organization that makes its profit through credit card fraud
      isn’t a business…it’s criminal activity.”

      Not sure who the ‘man’ he was referring to is but I agree with the comments!

      As for the term philanthropist – how does allegedly obtaining hundreds of millions of dollars through deception and then giving a tiny, tiny percentage of that to charity (most likely just as a cynical and cheap way of buying yourself some positive publicity judging by the floods of self published blogs and press releases) while keeping the rest make you a philanthropist? The World Vision logos that were plastered all over the Swipebids site looked a lot like a cheap way of using the name, logo/ images and good name of a charity to try and make a dodgy website look more ‘legit’/ ‘trustworthy’ to potential customers.
      “Oh look they give money to charity, surely they must be nice honest people who would never rip me off..”?

      Not to mention that any charitable donation can be used as a tax write off…

      • Strangely says:

        It gets worse mate… old Flash Harry now calls himself an activist! I kid ye not. Check out the header on (yet another one of) his blog… ‘jessewillmsblog.com/tag/jesse-willms-netflix/
        Here he discusses the finer points of video rental and moans about people moaning about the cost…. (I know. Pathetic)

        In the piece by Sherwood Park News, they say;

        The lawyers have alleged the FTC has fallen short of meeting its legal burden to obtain an injunction, adding their claims are based on past, non-continuing alleged misconduct.

        It was also submitted that there is no evidence that Willms’ current websites have gone against FTC standards and regulations.

        So let me make it plain here what we both mean, should I?

        The FTC is not charging him over his current sites, whatever they are, because they’re invisible to my eyes.

        The FTC is charging him for stealing millions from thousands of people duped by his phoney websites and unfathomable terms and conditions.

        As far as I know, there’s no statute of limitation on murder or theft. They’re still a crime for which you can be punished at any time in your life, or even when you’re dead.

        The only current problem is that the FTC are bringing a civil case, which means it’s not a criminal case. Of course, Canada’s Competition Bureau can bring criminal charges later, or at any time, should they wish.

        I suppose “activist” Jesse Willms will be outside the CB offices with a placard saying “Jesse Willms is Innocent”?

        Probably not.

  20. Strangely says:


    Here’s the activist….

    • Strangely says:

      The single comment is a pat phrase from “Ronald” – posted on the same date…
      It’s just like the Google Money Tree websites with all the fake comments and “comments are closed because of spam” tagged at the end.

      Dismal.

  21. Not Kevin says:

    Quite a lengthy article here:
    http://www.canadianbusiness.com/article/39157–what-s-he-selling-now–page0

    Although one thing it fails to mention (apart from a brief mention of Oprah) is how the products were advertised (the multitude of fake news sites). Although Willms lawyers will no doubt argue that it was affiliates doing this and not Willms company, there is no way on earth he would not have known where the traffic was coming from and how it was generated (particularly if he is as anal/obsessive about testing and tracking as the article suggests). So by failing to do anything to stop the deceptive fake news crap he was basically condoning it – if he had stopped it then the orders would have dried up.

  22. Strangely says:

    Montreal Gazette Article:  Cybercrime doing damage to Canadians

    The Montreal Gazette has a good few words (but not too good, if you see what I mean) on Jesse Willms and how Nevis (of all places) crops up again.  For me, here’s (yet another) mention of Nevis and it’s free-loading ways to banking and business):

    From Google Treasure Chest to Sun Tan Scam in Nevis on the BBC?

    In this article, Cybercrime doing damage to Canadians, the Montreal Gazette says this about Willms and the various cases against him such as Microsoft & Symantech,

    He treated his settlements as a cost of doing business.

    This is much the same as I said here a few days ago, when I said,

    Also noteworthy is that Willms has avoided all admissions of guilt in the above and other cases but has always endeavoured (and succeeded) in reaching out-of-court settlements so that no criminal charges can be brought. This seems to be very important to him, and in my opinion, the reason is obvious – because it means he can keep trading regardless and only has to ensure that he doesn’t stray on a particular complainant’s territory. It means he can use virtually the same modus operandi time after time after time – just don’t tread on Microsoft or Oprah’s toes, that’s all. Geddit?

    In full, the Montreal Gazette say (and the emphasis is all mine):

    Microsoft and Symantec sued Albertan Jesse Willms for millions in 2007 for publishing counterfeit software, which he advertised by way of spam email. He treated his settlements as a cost of doing business. He was charged with spamming again months ago, this time by the American Federal Trade Commission. At present, we are powerless, in the absence of law, to do anything about his activities.

    This means, if the law isn’t swung into action, the only things that ordinary folk can do is:

    1. just be careful – spam, slim/weight/teeth/tea/fruit ads, fake news websites – they’re all duff,
    2. don’t buy anything at all suspicious, especially from spam,
    3. and above all, get a chargeback from your bank, IMMEDIATELY.

    As a reminder, and if you think you’ve been conned, Chris Malta shows how to get a chargeback in the video below called How to get a Refund from an Online Scam:

    http://youtube.com.com/watch?v=QHxSx47XDtA

    University of California in San Diego Research Article: Click Trajectories: End-to-End Analysis of the Spam Value Chain

    Much of the crap we see (like Willms’ stuff, say),  is promoted by spam, (I’ve shown several examples that pointed right at his websites that I’ve received over time), and a mention is made in the article about a research study done at the University of California in San Diego specifically into spam and the business it supports entitled:

    Click Trajectories: End-to-End Analysis of the Spam Value Chain

    The link takes you to their pdf file on the research or you can download here as the file attached to this comment (>2Mb).  The following related article also has some interesting news derived from this and other studies:

    How Modern Spam Works

    The New York Times and Technology Review have condensed versions of the report, the NYT spelling out a key finding when they said:

    It turned out that 95 percent of the credit card transactions for the spam-advertised drugs and herbal remedies they bought were handled by just three financial companies — one based in Azerbaijan, one in Denmark and one in Nevis, in the West Indies.

    Thus, as they also point out, the banks hold the choke points for spammers’ and the closely-related scammers’ businesses.  Yet again, I’m seeing the tiny Caribbean island of Nevis acting as a safe haven for ne’er-do-wells.

    If the banks were more circumspect and pro-active, say in the way VISA shut down Wikileaks’ credit flow for a time, then the world would be a better place, would it not?

    The question is, why don’t the banks lock down more to prevent this scourge of the web?

    The answer probably lies in their own profit margins.

    Caveat emptor?  More like Caveat banker.

  23. Strangely says:

    Jesse Willms Banned by Judge from Negative Option Selling – Assets Frozen!

    Read the latest twist in the Willms versus everybody else in the world, saga!

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