The web is the wild wild west of advertising these days – and in this case, a company advertised a service that was supposed to make easy money for consumers, and then tried to soak them for even more money by advertising the service. The only problem – it didn’t work.
The victims of the scam were offered the chance to have their own website, which would house links to various large companies, and then sit back and collect commissions any time somebody clicked through to the company via their website. The commission-payers were promised to be companies like Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Starbucks. To get in on this, the charge was between $100-$400, and the benefits included “marketing expertise” to make the website work as promised.
However, when consumers tried to access the “expertise” they had been promised, they got something else. FTC explained, “Instead of the free marketing help they were promised, consumers got a follow-up sales pitch from the defendants, who tried to get them to pay even more money for an advertising package that typically cost from $5,000 to $20,000, the FTC alleged. The defendants claimed the package would help generate sales of $3,000 to $20,000 per month, depending upon the size of the package consumers bought. However, according to the agency, the advertising packages did not generate any significant sales commissions, and some consumers who complained to the company were sold thousands of dollars in additional advertising services. When consumer complaints mounted, the defendants shut down operations and renewed the deceptive business opportunity under new business names.”
The operations have been halted by court order and their assets frozen pending further litigation.
Included among the charged are North America Marketing and Associates LLC, NAMAA LLC, TM Multimedia Marketing LLC (Nevada), TM Multimedia Marketing LLC (Arizona), National Opportunities LLC (Nevada), National Opportunities LLC (Arizona), World Wide Marketing and Associates LLC, Precious Metals Resource LLC, Guaranteed Communications LLC, Superior Multimedia Group LLC, and Wide World of Marketing LLC, also doing business as WWM LLC. The individual defendants are Kimberly Joy Birdsong, Tracy Jerome Morris, Sarah Lynne Stapel, Alyisse Maloi Tramel, and Daniel Vigil, and Joseph Wayne Lowry, also known as Joey Lowry and Joey Lowe.