Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Friday, May 11, 2012

On The Verge of change: are the scammers' days numbered?

Maybe I'm being a little too optimistic, which is quite uncharacteristic of me. After all, it's possible that The Verge's lengthy May 10 piece on Internet Marketing scammers is not a herald of any real change, but will merely be fuel for a brief burst of outrage by the more-or-less mainstream media. Still, this piece is a good, almost-mainstream beginning.

And in any case, it's gratifying to see that my pals Salty Droid and Steve Salerno (SHAMblog) were both mentioned in the article. It's also good to see that notorious boiler rooms such as Prosper Inc. are getting more of the attention they so richly deserve:

The basic objective of all boiler rooms is the same. Find out how much credit is available on the victim’s credit card [and] take all of it.

If you've never really understood how IM scams work, and if Salty Droid is too cryptic or...well... salty for you, this article is a really good primer.

And if if you want to be part of something more than a snarkfest or passionate online discussion, Salty is starting something that could end up being pretty big. I've committed to being a part of it, and so has my guy Ron, though we are still working out what we will be doing. Here's a link to more info.

Meanwhile, here's the link again to that Verge article: 

Enjoy... and I'll be back soon with some more substantial posts. I promise.

Addendum 15 May, 2012:  Not surprisingly, some of the very Internet marketers who were mentioned in The Verge's "Scamworld" article (and some who weren't mentioned directly) took umbrage at the piece. Frank Kern is up in arms on Facebook, and so are many of his followers, who have drawn a line in the sand between themselves (the good guys) and the critics (the haters and losers, of course). Some have suggested to Frank that he commit violent acts against his critics, particularly Salty Droid.

An Internet marketer whose name wasn't mentioned at all -- but whose close buddy (the guy who got him into IM in the first place) has business ties with notorious Utah boiler room Prosper Inc. -- called the article "Swiftboating" and said it was poorly done. Well, actually, he only linked to the video, not the actual article. But still. 

And at the Warrior Forum, a veritable Petri dish for hustledorks and wannabes, it seems they don't want the matter discussed at all. This post still shows up in the search engines, but apparently has been removed.

The gist of the arguments from Kern and other IM defenders was that The Verge article unfairly blasted all people who do any online marketing whatsoever. Apparently the fine points of the article (and the video) eluded them.

Do I even have to say that Salty Droid has a pointed rebuttal to Kern's protestations? It's right here.

Don't get me wrong. I think there should be an open and ongoing conversation between those who take issue with the article and those who agree with it. And I think it should be made clear that not everyone who has ever marketed anything online is a scammer. But the piece on The Verge was not about legitimate online marketers, and some of those who are protesting most loudly are guilty of the worst misdeeds discussed in the article.

As I said earlier, I'm delighted that this matter is getting wider attention. At this point, though, I'm not holding my breath for all of the major media outlets to fully jump on the bandwagon with more journalistic coverage -- and less huckster-tainted content (such as scammers' infomercials and hustledork-infested talk shows, for starters). But The Verge article, incomplete as it is, marks a good beginning of broader coverage.


Anonymous Todd Bart said...

Connie, I truly applaud your commitment to exposing scammers, especially Frank Kern and Stephen Pierce, both of whom have gotten a pass for far too long. I further think that your threat on SaltyDroid to dog the tracks of Vorys law firm if they actually got bloggers into court, was a courageous act and one that made a difference.

The lawsuits initiated by Stephen Pierce against former customers who told their stories have all been dropped. Now let's see if Stephen Pierce and the other scammers can stop misusing the law to sue or otherwise intimidate former employees into silence. They are angry, insulted, and know enough to put Stephen Pierce out of business, but afraid to speak out.

Is there any bloggster who takes up employee rights in such a case?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 5:55:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

Thanks for your comment, Todd. But I am not sure what you meant by saying that I made a "threat" of any kind on Salty Droid's blog. I am interested in this matter, of course, and I support efforts by Salty and others to educate people about scammers. You raise a good question about bloggers who specifically take up employee rights; I really don't know what all is out there in the blogosphere. Obviously Salty Droid's blog is a good place to start, though.

Friday, May 18, 2012 1:17:00 PM  

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