Warning reputation management scam

I am writing this post to warn anybody who receives a solicitation from this company to manage their online reputation to examine the situation very carefully. Good online repuation management companies are hard to find and they do not need to send out unsolicited e-mails they are busy enough and do not have to resort to spam.   On the 4th of March I received an e-mail from this Company offering me their Reputation Management Repair services as I had a complaint on complaints board.com. This company RepSpinner are based in Australia I decided to simply ignore them.  Interestingly enough complaints board is also an Australian company.

Here is the solicitation e-Mail. The report on complaints board was created on the 3rd of March.

  Report I Found About Your Company [On Complaintsboard]From: jessica@repspinner.com
To:
Date: Mar 04 2010 – 11:48am

Hello,

I noticed your business is listed on Complaints Board at (link removed).
This is showing when people do a Google search for your company, which
would be affecting your sales. I actually work at a company where we
help people eliminate reports on Complaints Board and any negative
publicity they have from search engines. This way, your potential
customers would find only positive references and good results about
your company when they search for your business on search engines like
Google.

More details about what we do at
http://www.repspinner.com/reputation-management-services.html. I hope
to hear from you soon.

Best regards,

Jessica Edwards
Project Manager & Marketing
RepSpinner

The first clue here that the report is fake is when they describe the owner as a man when clearly I am a woman. Notwithstanding the other rubbish about the owner being out sick etc that is the biggest giveaway.

Yesterday my office received a phone call asking us if we were aware how bad our reputation was on Google. We did some further investigation.  I found  another e-mail in my junk e-mail from the persistent Jessica this time advising me of the help they could give to remove my RipOff Report.

Here is that solicitation e-mail. The ROR was filed on the 2nd of March and Jessica contacted us on the 3rd.

From: jessicae@repspinner.com [mailto:jessicae@repspinner.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 03, 2010 1:32 AM
To: Fionn Downhill
Subject: Report I Found About Your Company [On Ripoff Report]

Hello,

I noticed your business is listed on Ripoff Report at http(link removed) This is showing when people do a Google search for your company, which would be affecting your sales. I actually work at a company where we help people eliminate reports on Ripoff Report and any negative publicity they have from search engines. This way, your potential customers would find only positive references and good results about your company when they search for your business on search engines like Google.

More details about what we do at
http://www.repspinner.com/reputation-management-services.html. I hope to hear from you soon.

Best regards,

Jessica Edwards
Project Manager & Marketing

The ROR is a cut and paste of the original complaints board complaint. Today there are more complaints on complaints board site. One talks about us being a Gym and the other refers to our outbound telemarketing services which we have never used and our SEO guarantee which we never give. They refer to us charging credit cards without permission. Every credit card we have ever charged is backed up with an approved Invoice.

Rather than take this online today I called the US number on their website 305 829 6632. The lady was at first helpful and talked about Jessica being based out of their Australia office. When I honestly explained the situation to her she said her Company would never do such a things. I explained that I had a clear trail of events that was extremely suspicious and I wanted her to contact her company in Australia on my behalf.  I wished to discuss it with them in a logocial and constructive way.  I advised her that if she did not help I would have no alternative but to create this post to protect our good name and reputation. She asked me to hold. She came back and said and I quote, “this company has nothing to do with me, this is private number, people keep calling it asking me about these people and I know nothing about them. Do not call me back this is a private phone and it  is waking up my sleeping baby” Then she hung up.

The biggest concern I have with these fake reports is that they somehow seem to be automated. The information is so random it has either been created by a careless human or a robot.   How many more innocent companies are these fake reports damaging. The reports are created to cause maximum harm to these innocent companies. Nothing published about us in these reports is true I can prove it. How many of these companies then buy RepSpinner’s services. The reason people do this is because they can, no other good reason. In an offline world practices like this would be considered fruad and if RepsSpinner did create the fake reports it would be called racketeering but in the online space thanks to the authority Google bestows on these scam consumer affairs sites people can do this.  These sites allow anybody to post anything without any verification.  The very minimum that should happen is that the poster should have to prove they were a customer.   The Company accused should be allowed to defend themselves without having to post stupid rebuttals which only make the problem worse by adding more content to the fake post.  I see it every day and I feel so desperately sorry for the small companies who have been damaged by these practices with no finance or other resources to defend themselves.

RepSpinner obviously does’nt do their research very well targetting a company such as ours and I hope this post is a warning to any other innocent company who recieves their solicitions to tell them to go to hell.

I am fuly aware that by publishing this our good name and reputation may come under further attack by the unscrupulous indivuals who posted those fake reports in the first place whoever they are.  I am okay with that because if my story prevents one person being scammed then its worth it.

Written by Fionn

I am the CEO of Elixir Interactive a search and social media company based in Scottsdale Arizona. Our company specializes in organic Search and SEO for universal search. We are a market leader in the field of Online Reputation Management where we leverage our in- depth knowledge of of search and social media to manage brands and reputations online.

Website: http://www.elixirinteractive.com

28 comments on “Warning reputation management scam
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  4. I just called the 305 number on their website and got a recording from a lady called Louisa – definitely a home number and not a business.

  5. It’s this kind of shake-down scam that is becoming more and more prevalent and needs to be dealt with head on. Repspinner is the lowest of low scam going and I’m glad you posted this article. They better hope they never try this on me or I’ll skewer them.

  6. Arnie, you can have some fun with it call and pretend to be a client then tell her the truth she has a dual personality and quickly turns into a stay home Mom who does’nt know what you are talking about.

    Alan, I am documenting the entire event for a case study which I will publish on these reputation management attacks. There are now numberous attacks on us on mutliple fake consumer advocacy sites. Many of them templated and in many cases the exact same reports which are filed against other reputation management experts and SEO companies. Our fake client on pissed consumer sure has had a lot of bad experiences with multiple SEO companies, they all used telemarketers to scam him and they all charged the exact same amount. All of us are on our way to jail. Poor guy it must be tough for him to have fallen victim so many times. I knew when I exposed this that I would get hit hard. The really sad thing about this is I get calls almost daily from people that this has been done to who are not reputation managment companies who are devastated by the attack. In one of the reports apparently we are a gym who steals people’s money. I am actually not on my way to jai but off to Maui for a vacation!!!!

    The thing that simnply amazes me though is that they would try to pull this on an SEO/ reputation managment company. They could not have looked at our site. They are either very stupid or blindingly audacious.

  7. One of our clients just told me about this post so I figure I should respond personally. First off, the allegations about us posting ‘fake’ reports on sites like ripoffreport is 100% false. There are literally millions of reports on sites like complaintsboard.com and ripoffreport.com; we just contact the companies ALREADY listed offering our services. It wouldn’t make any sense for us to individually make false reports one by one, that would be extremely time consuming and rather pointless when there are already so many existing reports. The blog post here has absolutely no evidence that the reports about them were ‘fake’ and created by us, it’s just a ridiculous conclusion to come up with. We just contact each company listed on ripoffreport (with the same message, yes) one by one, then if they are interested in our services we take a closer look at the complaints about them and what we can do to help them.

    The number listed on our website was from a customer service agent that we had hired because they were based in the USA and most of our clients are from America. As we are from Australia the time zone difference (12 hours) means we work on seperate times, so it was hard to have someone in our australian office do customer support over the phone (we signed our USA based customer service person on recently though and obviously they still need more training).

    Also, you’ll find that we have no negative complaints about our actual services, and we have dozens of clients that continue to hire us on month after month. So I am very sensitive about seeing a completely false post like this when we work so hard to do a good job for clients.

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  9. James,

    I did not say you posted the false reports. I did say that it looked extremely suspicious. We recieved the e-mail from Jessica the day after the RipOff Report was published and yes James the reports about us are false. Completely and utterly false. The majority of the RipOff Reports are false as the RipOff Report has no morals, no scruples and could not care less how much harm they cause to innoccent companies by allowing these false reports. They take the moral high ground that their TOS states that reports must be factual. Since they provide no means to remove a false report other than their vile corporate advocacy scheme when you have to pay a fee to have them publish that your company is in good standing, even when the report was false in the first place. They make lots of money off their evil site they do not care. A search on Google for a block of text from either of the RipOff Reports shows the exact same report with the same bad english and bad spelling posted against other online reputation management companies. Why do you think that is? I am curious as to why you would contact a company likes ours which has been providing reputation management services for over 6 years to offer us your services.

    Its not nice to wake up to see negative information about you in Google is is James? Everything I posted is correct. Now try to imagine what its like when the information out there is completely false, made up rubbish. How do you think that feels. I hear it every day and now know first hand what a false attack like this feels like. As long as these false reports are out there about us, I will leave my side of the story out there to protect the good name and brand that I have worked so hard to build. I have given you the opportunity to tell your side I do not get that courtesy. I am fully aware that adding more information to these reports increases their value in Google and I am not stupid enough to do that.

    I saw all your positive reviews have you read them? One after the other on different blogs with the wording only slightly changed. James I want no fight with you anybody who knows me knows that is not how I do business. What you did is wrong sending out these e-mails to innocent victims of the ROR only compounds people’s misery and increases the damage.

  10. We mention on our own website that many of the reports on ripoffreport and complaintsboard are untrue. The wording of your post very clearly implies that you think we posted the reports about your company, which is a total lie and it’s important for us to clear it up right away that we would not get involved in something like that. For the majority of readers it very much looks like you are accusing us of posting fake reports, and you full well know that. You are just spreading a complete lie about us.

    I can see if you’re angry someone has posted false reports about your company but how does that have anything to do with us ??? All we did was contact you offering our services.

    Obviously we contact a lot of companies listed on complaints sites and we don’t research them heavily until we get a response and they are interested in using our services, which is why we made the mistake contacting your company in the first place. If we made the report ourselves it doesn’t make any sense to make it with the intention of offering our services to another company who does the same thing. So again we apologize for contacting you in the first place but this entire situation is getting way out of hand for no reason.

    Finally I really do not see how contacting companies listed on ripoffreport is unethical. The fact that we help many companies with false complaints against them, and put a lot of effort into each client. So you can continue to flame my company if you wish for no good reason but the reality is we are doing nothing wrong.

  11. Hope you’re happy fionn as I just searched our company name and it looks like many of your readers are reposting your BS story and accusing us of making fake reports. The fact that you would keep this up when you are just throwing these things out there with no proof infuriates me. I have already gone over why it’s ridiculous to think we posted any negative reports about your company and how we never did anything wrong. I have got rid of our USA customer service agent but will get them to give you a call. Also I will probably go to one of the events you speak at sometime to talk to you about this in person.

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  13. Still not responding? You mentioned do I know what it’s like to wake up and find fake reports about your company all over the net, well yes, thanks to your BS post I do now. If it’s true that people are posting fake reports about your company then you are just as bad, even worse, than they are. You spread this complete lie about us based on something that looks ‘suspicious’ without any evidence of it. Now that I’ve proved you wrong and stated the facts you decide to just ignore us. Shoot first and ask questions later is it? I’ve met a few people like you who refuse to admit they made a mistake or did something wrong, regardless of how badly they screw someone over.

    Simply admitting that you were wrong to jump to those conclusions would save you a lot of face and many people would respect you for it.

    You go on about how ripoffreport is unethical in allowing fake reports to be posted and how their corporate advocacy program is bad (which is true) etc., well NEWSFLASH, we are not ripoffreport and have no affiliation with them. You are taking out all your anger on us when you should be taking this up with the people who are actually responsible. All we do is send an email offering our services and you start this complete BS.

    Unless you actually respond or delete this post and apologize, I’m going to take this a lot further.

  14. I believe that Fionn is on vacation in foreign parts until the week of April 5th. I don’t know if she has computer access.

    …a personal comment- it shows more for Fionn’s character and transparency to allow James Miller’s viewpoints – that it does for his coming across with anger and making threats. One wonders if that how he instructs his clients to handle online reputation issues…

  15. When the rhetoric level gets this high, I believe many reputation-management companies would advise: Take it offline! Is that what you would advise, Mr. Miller?

  16. Ummm….surprising read. I was totally unaware of those kinds of “digital online reputation blackmail” lead generating firms….sigh…

    what in hell is the world coming to, eh?

    🙁

    Jim

  17. Thank you for exposing this scam. A major red flag is when a company contacts you about their services – http://www.ehow.com/how_4671771_avoid-computer-fraud.html. It is always on the news, if you did not initially contact a business and they call you on the phone you should never give them any information. Sometimes we forget that rule also applies to emails. Unfortunately this tactic works all the time on unsuspecting innocent people.

    There are actually strict guidelines for how a company may contact you – http://www.gwu.edu/~vpgc/pdf/unsolicited_email.pdf . But much of the UCE(unsolicited commercial emails), aka SPAM, comes from countries outside the US – http://www.firstamendment.com/site-articles/can-spam/. You can reduce the amount of unsolicited emails you receive by opting out – http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt063.shtm. Unfortunately this doesn’t work when your email is readily available so clients and customers can contact you. This means we all still need to exercise skepticism when contacted by anyone we do not know.

    Here is a list of 10 of the most common email scams – http://www.onguardonline.gov/topics/email-scams.aspx

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  20. I made a comment on this post that was courteous and professional. My opinion differed from that of the author but that doesn’t seem like a reason to censor me. Why was it removed?

  21. Hi Bill,
    This is the fist comment I have seen from you. I never remove comments once they are published. If you recall what it was please re send and I will publish. As you can see there are lots of comments here which differ to the authors so that is not an issue.

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  23. Hey Fionn

    I have had theses clown posting spam comments on my fishing blog for days now. This one pops up every day…

    “Didn’t I read this EXACT SAME ARTICLE at another website yesterday? You know plagiarizing is a serious crime.”

    They want to take a good hard look at their own reputation and way of doing business before they go offering to help other people. Hopefully they are soon shut down!!!

    Cheers Beanie

  24. Adam,
    They are still attacking me in fact they are now stalking me and following my activitites around the web then commenting on it. Needless to say there is an ongoing legal investiagtion and if you have any IP’s from the spammers you can send me it may also help.
    Thanks
    Fionn

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  26. Yeah, we have the same scam in the USA. The scammers originally called themselves ‘Reputation Defender’. Then the complaints started piling up, so their CEO Michael Fertik re-named the company “Reputation.com” (Reputation-dot-com).

  27. I have heard about them too.And not just in USA but in other countries as well. The renaming of the company is very interesting!

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