Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on Internet “Business”, Pacific Webworks.
Following several knock-downs by disgruntled, ripped-off individuals and hefty wallops from Google, it appears that running legal is difficult for Utah based business Pacific Webworks (PWW) …. They’ve just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Announcement here.
PWW, formerly a tarmac company, now has time to figure out what to do. If they stay legal I wish them well and hope they prosper. If not, there’s always karmic retribution. Reducing this makes us and the world, better.
Lifevantage (LV) announced that, at the unanimous recommendation of its Board of Directors, it has terminated for cause its relationship with Jason Domingo and Ovation Marketing Group, Inc., one of the Company’s lead distributors. The Company also announced that it has filed suit against Mr. Domingo and Ovation in Federal Court in the State of Utah for breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets. See typical market report.
The detail (see link below) shows that LV made $10.9m in 2010 and $208m in 2013 – this is despite the investigative activity into Protandim, LV’s main product, by LazyManAndMoney and others…! Distributors were paid $91m from which $2.6m went to Domingo. They say he was the lead distributor.
The Detail in the Lifevantage Case
The case details are on PACER – summarised here:
2:13-cv-01037-DB Lifevantage v. Domingo et al
Dee Benson, presiding
Date filed: 11/19/2013
Date of last filing: 11/19/2013
Assigned to: Judge Dee Benson
Cause: 28:1332 Diversity-Breach of Contract
Court Filings of Lifevantage v Jason Domingo
You can view the court documents (19 pages) on the attached file:
Jason Domingo,President, Ovation Marketing Group, Inc.
Domingo has been in business for many years. This letter of his to the FTC is dated May 28, 2006 and he states he’s been in network marketing for 14 years, meaning he started back in 1992. Chillingly, he quotes a Dr Charles King that by 2016 one in two Americans will be involved in network marketing. Thankfully, we don’t appear to be treading that path.
The Court Case
The letter of his makes good reading, especially with regard to the free market and in comparison to the Lifevantage court case…. In this, they claim he:
Has been laying the groundwork for setting up a competitive business
Disparaged the company
Is setting up a competitive business
Used his disposal of 90% of his stock as proof of these claims
Sent an email to Randy Haag disparaging the company where he said “there is no statement too strong that speaks to the malfeasance of this management team. Greed and ego has gripped my (sic) beautiful company by the throat.” – Stirring stuff indeed!
If Domingo had worked properly, they’d have paid out tens of millions more to distributors.
In total there are three main actions, divided into a myriad of clauses.
They want a 12 man jury public trial.
They want all costs.
They want $775,000
Domingo used the word malfeasance to describe the LV management team. I had to double-check the meaning. It means:
The commission of an act that is unequivocally illegal or completely wrongful.
In detail, it means:
Intentionally doing something either legally or morally wrong which one had no right to do. It always involves dishonesty, illegality, or knowingly exceeding authority for improper reasons. Malfeasance is distinguished from “misfeasance,” which is committing a wrong or error by mistake, negligence or inadvertence, but not by intentional wrongdoing. Example: a city manager putting his indigent cousin on the city payroll at a wage the manager knows is above that allowed and/or letting him file false time cards is malfeasance; putting his able cousin on the payroll which, unknown to him, is a violation of an anti-nepotism statute is misfeasance. This distinction can apply to corporate officers, public officials, trustees, and others cloaked with responsibility.
Well. Most of what I have seen about LV fits into that. It’ll be interesting to see how this case pans out. I suspect it’ll not come to court.
Roll on the FTC. They’ve got to weigh in on these sharks soon.
Paul Myhill’s Open Letter On Facebook
Update on 24 April 2012
Rather than a comment, (which isn’t so taggable and relevant within search engines), here’s Myhill’s open letter (open – geddit? – in the fullest meaning of the word). Text follows below.
OPEN LETTER TO MY DEAR LIFEVANTAGE FAMILY
Needless to say, the company and I are not on good terms right now. Quite frankly, Doug Robinson’s email to the LifeVantage distributors is fraught with error and misrepresentation. In fact, he gave very little attention to me personally on this matter, hardly exchanging a word with me concerning it. He simply didn’t have the time for me.
It is very well documented that the company was founded on a pledge to give shares, and a percentage of profits, to the charitable cause that it helped to start – rescuing orphaned and abandoned children from being abused, exploited, trafficked and enslaved. This was my “Why?” for joining Bill Driscoll in starting LifeVantage in the first place . . . and it is a cause that he graciously took on as his own and championed also. I’m sure he’s getting many hugs in Heaven as a result of the 15,000 children who are free from slavery today because of our work together.
I will be more-than-willing to make public all that documentation, especially since it was all public information to begin with. This charitable pledge was also the basis for which I assigned my invention (not Dr. McCord’s invention!) to LifeVantage. As soon as Bill and I assigned the patent to LifeVantage the pledge was sadly taken out of company materials, almost immediately. I naturally felt quite betrayed. Again, I can provide full documentation supporting this and it can be easily verified in the public record – through company press releases, investor presentation materials, SEC filings, etc. My resignation letter was also a matter of public record and alludes to the fact that this pledge – which was foundational to the company and my very involvement in it – needed to be kept, otherwise it would represent a promise broken to the original founders and all of LifeVantage’s stakeholders. The erasing of the pledge from company materials was the main reason for my departure, which the original Board and transition management team can certainly attest to. I was quite the thorn in their sides, constantly verbalizing the need to keep the pledge. As such, there is no disputing the existence of the original commitment. It’s simply undeniable.
I have been quite clear in my communications with LifeVantage management that the company still owes the charity now known as Traffic Jam 100,000 shares as part of its original pledge to match the Founders’ donation of shares to that same charitable vehicle. This amount was supposed to match Bill Driscoll’s gracious donation of 100,000 shares that came in a couple of months late. I’m sure if he were alive today he’d be greatly disappointed that the company never followed through on that commitment . . . and other commitments. Bill and I had our differences, but I also owe it to him as my brother-in-arms to get his shares matched, as he fully expected would be done when he made his generous gift in the first place. I owe it to his memory and legacy. And I owe it to his family – to see more children rescued because of his gift and defense of the pledge.
Despite the implication made in Doug’s letter, I never approached the company to ask anything for myself. In fact, it was David Brown who suggested that I become a “Goodwill Ambassador” for the company with a job role that would give me a greater platform to share the “correct” company history and bring attention to the fine work of the Traffic Jam Campaign. It was through that process that compensation (as with any job) was sought to channel to Traffic Jam. I have quite a few emails that show that this compensation was for the purpose of supporting the work of Traffic Jam. I’m on record multiple times stating that I gave everything away . . . and would give it away again.
It is with great sadness that I write this on the eve of my Birthday – not exactly the “gift” I was hoping for . . . or hoping to give. Since 2008, I have been pleading with the company to correct its marketing materials – to reflect that Joe is not the “Inventor” or “Creator” or “Scientist behind” Protandim; that Protandim wasn’t “developed after 40 years of research;” and that it didn’t consist of a “laundry list” of 40 ingredients that Joe whittled down to the current formula. This is all simply untrue. I’m sure the company will try to put some sort of further spin on this now and try to convince people otherwise, but the truth is the truth and will always come out in the end. Darkness can’t hide from the light.
The CORE botanical formula I forwarded to Joe included the current five botanicals, plus one additional one – all in the EXACT same proportions/weights as the current formula (all 1/3 of the original to get it into one pill), but with Milk Thistle subsequently bumped up at my suggestion. The other ingredients were part of an “all-in-one” (multi-formula) addition to that CORE botanical formula that I developed. Given such indisputable facts (and that the initial patent was filed one month before we even met Joe), how am I NOT the creator? How is Joe THE creator? The simple email record, and even a letter from Joe himself, clearly show that the current company communications are downright false and misleading . . . and, in the eyes of many, perpetuate an ongoing fraud – one that the SEC and FTC should be made aware of.
I initially stated that “nobody lied,” desiring to give this current management team the benefit of the doubt and chalking it to human error and the discontinuity of company management in general. But then, month after month went by with the same erroneous materials still being widely distributed by the company, despite their own admission to me that Joe isn’t the creator. These same materials are on the company website TODAY. I just don’t get how a company can keep doing that, with full knowledge that the materials are sending the wrong message to current and new distributors. Many times I wrote emails (which I’d be happy to share with you) and each time nothing was done to take down the offending materials.
I’ll be glad to once again share that whole “Protandim Development History” with you, which is backed up by meticulous documentation, the full email record, plus personal notes and commentaries. It spanned over 20 blog entries. I’m an “open book.” I had nothing to hide. I shared it all.
I’m sure, though, that if I were to re-post Protandim’s development history, the company would claim that I was then “giving away company secrets” and would once again try to silence the true history of the product’s creation – MY creation of Protandim – that occurred for almost ten months before I even met Joe. The reality is that the company misrepresentations have gone on for so long now that they have no choice but to try to silence the truth. Just you wait and see. I can almost hear the “cease and desist” letter being typed up right now. And I can almost picture the new “watered-down” version of the history that the company will now come up with.
Doug mentioned in his letter that I found the company response unacceptable. Well, one of those unacceptable conditions was that I sign a new set of releases (to silence me telling the true Protandim story again) and that I pull down my “LifeVantage / Protandim Founder’s Page” on Facebook which, of course, would be in addition to my blog that was already pulled down. Do you see the common theme here? Silence. Silence. And more Silence. I’m a high-justice person who stands for truth and integrity and, despite the company trying to buy that silence by offering for Traffic Jam to be featured at convention, I told them that I couldn’t in good conscience do that. I’m not signing away my voice. My “Founder’s Page” stays. My voice stays. And my appeal to get the company to meet its commitments . . . stays.
Do you want a company of integrity? Well, then, don’t let them silence the truth any more. Protandim wasn’t an “idea” that Bill and I took to Joe. It was a full formula that even Joe stated in a letter was almost at its “final embodiment.” And the company’s charitable pledges to Traffic Jam wasn’t an “idea” that I just came up with. It was represented in multiple press releases and SEC filings and collateral materials. If you don’t believe me, go to EDGAR and check yourself for at least the SEC part of it.
Ever wonder why the company took down all the archived press releases? Because it backs up what I’m saying and what I’ve been asking, not for myself, but on behalf of trafficked and enslaved children.
Given the erroneous wording in Doug’s email, I can only assume now that the company has chosen the issue of the 100,000 shares to try to discredit me – making it sound like I’ve been making selfish and unreasonable demands of the company – while at the same time trying to discredit the true history of Protandim’s development. Doug, of course, fails to mention in his email that the “great deal of material” that I posted on the Internet concerning “my view” of that development was 1.) Taken down by me as a sign of “good faith” and 2.) Was only posted in the first place after I reached out to the company multiple times beforehand – with no response.
I’m not sure how Doug can call it “my view” of Protandim’s development anyway, considering that it included hundreds of emails (that were copied or sent to dozens upon dozens of people) as well as a number of other source documents that were widely circulated. It’s not just “my view,” as demonstrated by the substantiated, well-documented evidence. Of course, if the company has its way, you probably won’t see any of that document and you’ll just have to accept Doug’s words that it was simply “my view” of events. Where was Doug during the development of Protandim? Who is he to challenge the clear evidence? Can he not see the patent was initially filed a full month before Joe even came into the picture? Does he not see whose name is on the patent?
For months, I’ve taken steps of “good faith” and have expected the company to do the same – to act in “good faith” to take down the erroneous marketing materials that were propagating that Joe was the inventor/creator of Protandim. Sadly, the company never reciprocated. The 100,000 share issue, unfortunately, has now become the easy point of contention that allows LifeVantage to not have to give credit to me for my invention. By making it so public and contentious, LifeVantage now has a convenient excuse to not have to include Bill and me in our rightful place in the company history. Something that should have been celebrated can now be easily swept under the rug because I’m the “bad guy” with “unreasonable” expectations who asked the company to honor its commitments. It now allows them to feel better about themselves somehow – for so long being negligent in getting the real story about Protandim’s development out there; for so long casting me in a “false light” by commission and omission; for so long keeping up the erroneous materials to the point of malice and great hurt.
Company of integrity, Doug says? How about keeping its original promises to match the founders’ shares to rescue children? How about keeping its original promises to give 10% of pre-tax net profits away for children and related humanitarian causes? How about filing an 8-K correction notice with the SEC every time the erroneous message of Joe being the “creator” went out? How about the promise to correct the development history while at the same time keeping up the offending materials that lead people to believe Joe was the inventor? How about David’s promise to “make it happen” for me to have a “Goodwill Ambassador” role with the company, to help further the purposes of Traffic Jam? How about the company’s constant encouragement for distributors to use the copyrighted material of ABC News for commercial purposes? How about all those big distributors who came over with down-lines allegedly “stolen” from Zrii? How about ALL the mentions of diseases when it’s clearly not permitted in the marketing of a supplement?
Integrity? Company of integrity? Actions speak louder than words.
This is a very sad day for me folks. The “petition” that Doug mentioned in his letter was merely me throwing up my arms in bewilderment and wondering why on earth the Board wasn’t fulfilling the matching pledge with a measly 100,000 shares when the evidence was so clear that 100,000 shares were missing (Believe me, I was asking for these shares long before the recent run-up in price). Even a math flunkey could see that the numbers didn’t add up and 100,000 shares were still owed. Instead of bringing the match to completion, with an amount of shares that pales in comparison to the fat stock options the executives are getting, they chose to make this big issue out of it. It could have been a cause for celebration. Instead, the company has chosen to create yet another public relations nightmare. I didn’t ask for that. They did it. And I’m baffled by it.
I started off with 5 million shares. Why on earth would I make all this fuss about 100,000 shares if it were not true? I’m a man of principle and the principle-of-the-matter is the shares are still owed. Gosh, by their reaction, you’d think I asked for the moon.
I merely responded by saying that I would put out the public information and ask distributors to let their voices be heard – for integrity and common sense. But somehow that’s now something portrayed as me being devious and destructive. Hello? Why would I try to destroy the stock of the company I’m trying to get shares from? Hello?
Conversely, I don’t believe the LifeVantage Board has acted in its fiduciary duty in this matter. I believe they are acting in a destructive manner. Why on earth would they bring about such a disruptive episode in the midst of such growth and promise? The missing shares are soooooooo obvious that they are missing from the match. I gave 200,000 shares. Bill gave 100,000 shares. the company gave 200,000 (matching mine) and, hello again, Bill’s shares didn’t get matched. 100,000 shares missing. You don’t need a mathematics degree to figure that one out. Why would the Board put so much at risk – the airing out of this laundry – instead of just issuing the shares to help rescue kids?! And celebrating it!
. . . Unless, of course, they were needing something to make me look “bad” or “unreasonable” so they don’t feel so bad about the incorrect company communications about who invented the product. And to release themselves from an obligation to correct that history in a way that celebrates Bill’s and my involvement.
. . . Now they can just quietly remove the “creator” tag from Joe and hope that nobody notices. Just like they did when they removed the “inventor” tag from him.
Doug’s letter concludes by asking distributors to not get involved in anything that “disparages” the company. Wow. I asked the company to honor its commitment with a measly 100,000 shares to stop 11 year-olds from getting raped 20 times per day; to stop 7 year-olds from having to shoot their parents before being forcibly conscripted into a child militia. Now, if any distributor goes along with supporting what is clearly in the public record, and honoring their own conscience to see the pledge fulfilled for children such as these, they are in violation of their distributor’s agreement. Seriously?
Looks like the strong arm of silence rearing up again.
My apologies for rambling on in this open letter. Obviously I’m a passionate person – the same passion that brought Protandim into being in the first place. And, obviously, I’m quite upset right now – not just by these events, but how they’ve now been represented in Doug’s email.
Unfortunately, it’s the distributors and the children who lose out because of the Board’s baffling conclusion and Doug’s irrational choice to send out his email. Quite wreckless, if you ask me. Certainly not acting in the best interests of the shareholders. They turned a public relations celebration into a public relations nightmare.
I apologize to all of you that it has come to this. It certainly wasn’t my intention.
I want you all to know that I love you all and do indeed wish you the best. I will STILL use my “Founder’s Page” on Facebook as a place of encouragement and, given this recent turn of events, as a place of clarity and truth.
So there you have it. Since this time, Myhill has been sat on by Lifevantage (as it turns out a kind of double-blackmail) and then stated that the shares were the thing to buy. Following this, Lifevantage have made public pronouncements about their charitable donations to Myhill’s charitable organisation(s) and there’s now, apparently, a kind of Machiavellian sweetness and light between them.
But whatever: the business is still a snake-oil pyramid scheme founded on flawed and discredited “science” and promoted by MLM-hopping get-rich-quick wide-boys. For more on these recent developments and a fuller history of investigations into the topic, see a few of LazyMan’s postings here:
…….I won’t steal any more of Lazyman’s thunder and there much, much more on his site. But from top to bottom, the volunteers and employees of all the charities financed by Myhill and/or Lifevantage should examine their hearts and ask themselves;
What value is there to a charity when it’s financed from deception?
So what if Myhill has had his photo taken with Elton John or whoever.
So what if Myhill plugs;
Paul Myhill Entertainer Plugs
“Meetings getting scheduled with Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber, Slash, Myles Kennedy, and many more. The TRAFFIC JAM Campaign (Stop Child Trafficking & Slavery) will be rocking this summer!”
Our Prime Ministers and Presidents are often photographed with the pariahs of the world. Elton is one of the world’s biggest self-publicists and spend-thrifts. So is Gaga. So, so what? There is no validation there.
It’s still a charity founded on deception. It may have good aims. It may be correctly financed and regulated – though Vogel has shed great doubts over this (See here, here, here, here and here). But it is financed by a pyramid scheme based MLM using a product with no proven benefit as the bait on the hook.
Back in 2009 I stumbled upon a negative option scam for which those involved were sued by Google (and folded with an out-of-court settlement) and were prosecuted by Uncle Sam, losing again. Initially, I was completely unaware of the depths of deception to which these people would stoop, but then I rapidly discovered the nightmare web that they’d constructed and how difficult it was for ordinary people, duped by slick honest-looking promises, to un-pick themselves from it.
Not only that, I quickly realised that PWW weren’t the only spawn of the devil and that others, like Jesse Willms, were up to very similar tricks. See:
The above list of links more-or-less shows how we found out the Pacific Webworks (PWW) story. They’re by no means the only set of devils in the world trying to scam people, but they’re the one’s I stumbled upon first. That’s all.
Their business was to set up website templates that their “customers” could use to extract money from their customers by use of the negative option scam. In effect, they were selling the tools to steal to people, who then had the option of calling it a day or selling the tools to steal on themselves, thus stealing.
To promote it they used mass advertising through paid ads on Google (using the Google and others’ trademarks to make it appear that these offers were endorsed by those referenced), through Quad, which they owned, and fake news or personal information websites (flogs) loaded with follow up ads. The promotions could be their own, but for the most part it was all done by “affiliates” (their customers) that all took varying degrees of commission for follow-through clicks.
The advertising was managed by Bloosky Interactive that also operated through 3rd parties unsolicited email adverts, spam to you and me.
Underlying it all was the credit card processing business which they also owned (Intellipay) usually through the securecart domain.
All parties involved, except the final folk who didn’t really understand how bent this whole operation was, fully understood the nature of this business. How could they not? – when they were selling “services” for $1.95 for which they’d get $30 commission!!!
In June 2009 we experienced limited merchant account processing capabilities which created a situation where we could not satisfy payables to marketing partners. To generate needed cash in the 2009 second quarter we sold a portion of our hosting portfolio that was in excess of merchant account limitations to The Quad Group, LLC, a related party (the “Quad Group”) for $157,786. Quad Group is owned and managed by current directors, officers and an employee of Pacific WebWorks. We may periodically be required to enter into sale transactions with Quad Group to properly manage our merchant account processing requirements.
Cuts and Thrusts
So that’s about it, as I currently understand it. PWW’s managers/owners had customers on two levels, that is;
The direct affiliates and associated advertisers who were enticed into the operation or migrated from other similar schemes via the lure of easy money. These people used the templates to lure others with promises of easy money, paid as commission for attracting others to run the same schemes. The schemes didn’t sell anything – except the scheme! A true pyramid scam!
Duped suckers. These, numerically the vast majority, soon realised after one or two mysterious withdrawals from their account of amounts around the $79 mark, that it was a scam.
The thrust of the plan was the hope that most people wouldn’t do anything, wouldn’t investigate much and wouldn’t associate with other suckers through embarrassment or whatever, just writing off the episode as one of life’s bad judgements. Thus PWW would make say, $200 from which all the ads and affiliates would get their cut.
Statue of Justice
Unfortunately for PWW, it didn’t work out quite like that. Sure they made pots of money for a few years, but they upset too many people and eventually, through the power of communication via the very internet which was their arena, news of what they were doing became so much that first Google, then Uncle Sam had to act.
But still the shit kept coming their way. Just as I’d predicted in my postings (see list above), karma would get them. On 19 September 2011 this year a class action was brought against the three main bodies behind the scam – Booth Ford v PWW et al – Barbara Ford is to be commended for her patience. It was 2009 when she first filed for a class action!
In it, we see just how badly PWW have been acting for years. Section 11, for me, sums it up perfectly!
Booth Ford v PWW et al Section 11
So there we have it! Now where’s the problem?
Rip-off Too Big!!
On 1 December 2011, Quad (who are actually essentially the same people as PWW with an almost similar board make-up – in fact the Google settlement made it plain that wives of the directors had been roped in as well), filed to be removed from the Class Action because they might have ripped off too much from people!eh?? See QUAD_GROUP_NOTICE_OF_REMOVAL
The essence of their legal Fabian tactic (as I see it) is that:
They scammed people from all over, not just Illinois, so it’s not a valid class action.
They scammed people so much (by over $5m they say), that it’s the wrong court in which they should be tried, so ditch your claim against us!
They scammed people by so much that the class action lawyer’s fees alone will be $9m so same reasoning as point 2!
Quad Group Sums
Their sums in the above court removal document are in this screenshot. There are others as well. Of course, Quad (PWW with a different hat on remember) aren’t admitting any liability at all with this, so my use of the words scamming bastards reflects my personal opinions, not a statement of fact. These opinions are based on the facts that:
Pacific Webworks acquiesced to all of Google’s demands when sued for illegal trademark usage.
Eborn and others lost their case when sued by the Texas AG when using PWW’s templates*, finance processing and networks to scam folks for millions of dollars.
PWW lost their case when sued by Uncle Sam.
PWW admitted filing untrue SEC accounts and changed accountants twice because of this.
One of the accountants was directly related to a PWW director.
It’s noteworthy that the sum of $43m is derived from one “illegal” charge of ~$80 plus one subsequent charge of ~$25 multiplied across the claimed customer count of ~455,000 persons – because I have evidence from people who’ve contacted this site and others that some people had up to half a dozen illegal account withdrawals before they could put on a stop, which implies that the allegedly scammed amount could be much, much higher.
It’s also noteworthy that Quad’s own suppositional sums show high value amounts from this “business” yet for all this time, no dividends were paid and the only way investors in the company could make money was through share price changes. If you tie this information to the incorrect accounting and familial accountant/director relationships, plus the fact that PWW is largely the same people as Quad, then collusion looks highly likely over this time period and the SEC will quite possibly be knocking following the conclusion to this class action.
With regard to the SEC, the same SEC filing that revealed Quad’s dubious formation also reveals that;
Our client base includes approximately 30,000 active customer accounts. We rely on the efforts of our internal marketing staff and on third party resellers, including our wholly-owned reseller, TradeWorks Marketing, to add accounts to our customer base. – see SEC Link
Well they can’t both be right, can they, Quad? Is it 455,892 customers in your sums or is it 30,000 in the SEC filing?
Copious links are included in the articles referenced by the site references at the beginning of this article so I haven’t had time to re-reference all the above statements. But they’re there should you wish to look.
I certainly hope that the Fabian tactics don’t work and that people see them for what they are.
Notes & Addendum
* Eborn et al used website designs very similar to those provided by PWW. Whether they were exactly the same is a moot point in my view, because like a burglar who learns to house-break from another burglar, the crow-bar used will not be exactly the same crow bar, but it’s the idea of using a crowbar that’s important to the final act of theft. In other words templates, like crowbars, are just tools. Eborn’s websites were almost carbon-copies of those from PWW using all the Visual “tools”, the money processing and the affiliate networks that they “employed”. Many sites (I had a huge list of them and copied images directly from the site before they locked it down) were partly or wholly hosted on pantherssl.com via Bloosky. These co-incidences didn’t happen by chance and show intelligent design behind their purpose. (Thanks Paul!)
However 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!
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.
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 – 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:
…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…)
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.
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