There’s a well-known adage that says,
Don’t believe everything you read in the papers (Point 1)
Another, (which is derived from the mantra of the old UK stock market) goes like,
An Englishman’s word is his bond (Point 2)
Make what you want of them, but many people still go by this, replacing “An Englishman’s” with the word “MY”.
The Need for New Rules of Trust
The internet has made the job of snake oil salesmen, gangsters and other assorted conmen so much easier that the adages need to be re-thought and rules written. It’s a bit like Isaac Asimov’s Rules of Robotics. Here are mine, but please note the notes just below….
Note 1: All on-line businesses are required to reveal their correct identity through the WHOIS process. The only exclusions are for private non-trading individuals in certain countries. (Some people have a bit of a debate about this, but when you sign up for a domain, you’ll see!)
Note 2: The internet, (or world wide web), by its very nature is like the newspaper business – see Point 1 above!
Note 3: There is a consensus among decent people and a certain legality regarding tax etc., that most legitimate businesses would like to be known and contactable, or else they appear like spiv barrow boys on the make.
Note 4: There is no note 4… yet.
The New Rules of Trust
Do not believe anything on-line without double or treble checking as a minimum.
For any business that hides its WHOIS entry, do not believe anything that they say!!
Rule 2 and a half:
For any business that previously hid their WHOIS entry and later chooses to reveal it – same as Rule 2!
Example: Jesse Willms and his “businesses”
n.b. This is one example. This whole web area is currently ballooning and Willms is not alone!
- A business that is anonymous, is on the edge of trust. (Willms’ businesses have previously been cloaked in the main. Only recently have they had publicly exposed WHOIS records.)
- A business that uses false or misleading advertising, is on the edge of trust. (This very website is plagued by dodgy adverts, for which I apologise – it takes some time for the Google adwords filters to kick into play.)
The infamous Jesse Willms got his internet start by selling counterfeit software from Microsoft and Symantech (at least), and for which he had to pay oodles of dollars in damages.
Note: Willms translates this information on his website fluffs like so:
Before becoming a philanthropist, Willms was known for starting his first business – buying and selling computers and software when he was 16 – and launching several Internet companies by the time he was 22. see http://jessewillms.com/ & link & link (two links WHOIS hidden)
His current activities are in the business of skirting the lotteries and gambling laws with On-line “Bid” “Auctions”. These (and Willms is only one of many) are so far removed from the normal concept of an auction that they are more like Bingo.
In tandem with this he’s promoting himself as an internet good guy while still hypocritically continuing along the same vein of his previous activities. Like so…
His previous businesses included flogging green tea and acai fruits to either clean your bowels or make you thin with rippling muscles, and nicking the idea of and ruining the rotten business of a teeth whitening company, for which there have been sues and counter-sues which were resolved “with prejudice” as the wigs say (see link courtesy of @Justin Asking).
Like many fly-by-night websites, these were all promoted and run:
- via email spam from a plethora of hidden marketing businesses, some of which he may or may not have had direct control although he admits to having close contact….(see info from @Justin Asking again)
- via fake websites in the form of informational blogs or news websites designed to appear as such, although minutely disclaimered as otherwise – good link with screenshots here and another here. These first two are run under the concept of “affiliate marketing” which harbours a whole realm of fly-by-night operations with virtually no scruples or accountability. Someone once remarked that managing affiliates was like herding cats….
- via a plethora of drop-point contact addresses, widely dispersed around the globe having no relevance to site visitors’ locations.
- via a plethora of dubious phone number contacts of highly variable functionality.
- with an early predilection for multiple un-called for monetary withdrawals from customer credit accounts
- with a penchant for rapidly changing website names that came and went faster than the seasons although much of the modus operandi and contact points would remain unaltered – a good test for these is that the registration period is generally only a year.
SwipeBids.com which kicked off at the end of 2009 soon morphed into SwipeAuctions.com (see final point above!) How long this lasts is anyone’s guess… (p.s. swipebids domain expires soon).
Currently, you’ll find that SwipeBids.com now redirects back to SwipeAuctions.com at a “prelogin” page. There, sit a heap of hysterically hypocritical statements right on this front page – see screenshot on the left and dissection below!
This website is Jesse Willms’ latest saucy effort at world domination! Tied in with this has been a massive internet hype of “Jesse Willms, the caring philantropist”.
The plethora of websites for which he’s been loathed continues in the myriad of hype sites and linkage referrals containing the vomit inducing self-promotional bilge, plus a continuing swathe of fake news websites.
Uncharacteristically, he sticks with only one “bid auction” website…? Hmm? (p.s. since this was written, the site has been pulled although rumours are rife about a new startup…!)
Meanwhile, like snake oil, the Swipe-Bid-Auction scam has proved very enticing to all the scum of the earth and has turned into a veritable plague… (p.s. since this was written, the plague of copycat sites is now a deluge)
Bid Auction Scum Fight it Out – it’s Getting Dirty
Yep! There’s a veritable bidding war going on to get to the top of the Google search results and the Facebook sidebar. As noted elsewhere, BidSauce.com has joined the affray and Willms’ lawyers have been issuing writs a-plenty.
Amongst others….. How so?
A. Well do a Google search for BidSauce.com, SwipeAuctions.com & SwipeBids.com (click links to see results – my results today are below), and you’ll see what I mean.
Bid Auction Scum New Kids on the Block
My results show the following paid for ads on Google and their WHOIS hidden status.
Bidhere.com – Hidden
Biddi.com – disclosed UK company, KSB Trading Ltd
SwipeAuctions-Register.com – Hidden! It also redirects to SwipeAuctions.com which is registered in California. Check out this info from @Not Kevin for an earlier version of the listings.
MadBid.com – disclosed as Marcandi Ltd in the UK
Bidhere.com – Hidden (again!)
No paid for ads at the top but some of the above appear in the right-side advert box of paid for ads. Interestingly, swipeauctions.com is top!
What Does it Mean and What Should I Do?
If it’s Facebook where I see the ad, I also click on it so that it fires up in a new window so the geezers have to pay again, then I click the cross next to the advert and report the adverts as “Misleading” – because, from all my research as seen on this website and others, plus the example searches shown above, they are all misleading.
Penny/Bid Auctions Mislead?
They mislead as it’s gambling, not an auction.
They mislead as you pay to enter the auction at each step, it’s not a bid.
They take money in advance – no auction does this, even one for a Van Gogh or an old wardrobe, because anyone can bid!
Yep! At the bottom of his new landing page of swipeauctions.com, under “picture testimonials” Jesse states, today:
Each and every testimonial on the site should have a picture of the customer who sent it in. You can only use someone’s picture with his or her permission, so if there is a photo you can be sure the testimonial is legitimate. If there is no photo, the site’s management could have written a false testimonial.
Compare and contrast with my screen-shots of his website here where I explicitly show the fake photos from a testimonial: http://strangelyperfect.tv/7955/facebook-msnbc-jesse-willms-swipe-auctions-and-doctored-photos/ – these photos are from an affiliate’s website about which there is some conflict of ownership evidence.
And compare Jesse’s fine words with the fantastic investigative ScamRaiders revelation that the picture of an “auctioned” Honda as used on his website was taken and then Photo-shopped even before the website was set up!!!
Don’t you just love it when the creeps are so blatantly bad? !!
Suggested Further Reading
http://www.webcops.net/just_think_media_spam_scams_8001.html – Best expose on early Willms’ scams. How he threatened legal action as his whereabouts were exposed.
http://strangelyperfect.tv/7955/facebook-msnbc-jesse-willms-swipe-auctions-and-doctored-photos/#comments-2834 – info on the incarnations and IP addresses of Willms’ Swipe**** sites (I am currently taking legal advice on this article so it’s withdrawn pending notice. Contact me for its contents which most right-minded folk would consider fair and accurate reporting.)
http://www.jimlillig.com/internet-marketing/abcs-news-2020-features-jesse-willms-among-others-in-alleged-deceptive-practices-story/ – smiling Jesse is exposed by “the CPA Guy” n.b. currently offline but transcribed here courtesy of this link.
http://www.bbbroundup.com/ – discredits much of the BBB rating system and how entries flip and change due to possible business collusion.
http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2010/09/14/better-business-bureau-risks-losing-credibility-over-ratings-co/ – more info on BBB ratings not being what they seem…
http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showpost.html?p=36648669&postcount=22 – comment detailing the above BBB conflict of interests and how Jesse Willms’ businesses generated 2612 complaints at the BBB before they revised his status with his newer websites! n.b. This is one of the top UK websites!
http://onlinescamwebsites.com/how-do-penny-auctions-work/ – clearly explains how these “auctions” work
Suggested Reverse IP Checks
Reverse IP checking is a very good indicator that many websites are related in some businesses, commercial or personal sense. Using this website, this website strangelyperfect.tv shows as follows:
Found 4 domains hosted on the same web server as strangelyperfect.tv (22.214.171.124).
This is hardly surprising and I make no secret of the fact…
Using this website again, enter these three domains into the box. What you find are a host of probably related dodgy websites, fake blogs and news sites, and other stuff. Look and see!
SWIPEAUCTIONS-REVIEW.COM :2 domains
SWIPEAUCTIONS-REGISTER.COM: 101 domains including such gems as:
1r2chat.com 24-7keybank.com AcaiBerryBurnTrial.com ColonCleanse4FreeTrial.com Resveratrol-Resveratrol.com acaiforceformen.com buy-wii-in-stock.com buyipodnow.net buyps4console.com buyps4now.com consumerhealthreporter.com consumernewsreporter.com dazzlesmilefreetrial.com findluxurywatches.com goboff.com hairexpert.org myhairexpert.org natural-hair-transplant.com naturalhairtransplant.org swipeauctions-register.com thumoney.com top3-coloncleanse.com top3-whiteteeth.com www.buywiinow.net www.findluxurywatches.com www.natural-hair-transplant.com www.thumedia.net www.thumoney.com www.top3-resveratrol.com www.tradeblogger.net
I’ve omitted most of the “foreign” domains. Make of that what you will but it is noticable that many snake oil websites are to be found grouped under a single IP address.
SWIPEAUCTIONS.COM: has just the canonical and www domains.
Many things are said above that rope all “bid” “auctions” into the same boat. While some may have differing operational procedures with perfectly legal transactional and customer services, and may differ in their Terms & Conditions to Jesse Willms’ offerings, I accept those facts.
However, I consider all web-operations in this field of “bid” “auction” to be nothing more than gambling, and they should all be governed by those gambling laws applicable to their country of viewing and business location.