Sunday, April 27, 2008

State of the WWSN 2008

Welcome to the new WWSN blog. Hopefully, this medium will give us the opportunity to provide updates and insights into various scams, scammers, and scam products on a more frequent basis, without having to post new articles on the WWSN home page.


The State of the WWSN in 2008


We remain committed to publishing the WWSN web site and maintaining it on the Internet as a free non-profit consumer advocate service designed to inform, educate and entertain people who are in any way involved with Internet commerce, and particularly MLM schemes and scams.


A new web site design is in the works, intended to make the WWSN home page less cluttered, with faster load times and information that is better organized and easier to access. This will eventually also include extensive archives that will include content dating back to 1997, when the WWSN was first published.


The WWSN Mission


Originally, the WWSN was published with the specific goal of warning people about the "Laundry CD", Jim Fobair, and the "OneSource WorldWide Network" (hence the name, the "WorldWide Scam Network"). Once that MLM collapsed and the FTC successfully prosecuted Founder Jim Fobair, others began to contact us and ask about other MLM program and products. As we began to investigate and report on other MLMs, the web site grew, our workload increased, and the scope of our mission expanded accordingly. At one point, we attempted to respond to every inquiry and post information received from almost any source, while also maintaining a WWSN message board and forum.


This was an overwhelming task we found we could not maintain. A decision was made to narrow the focus of the site, and limit in-depth coverage to the biggest and most obvious scams we came across. We handed over control of the WWSN forum to other supporters and friends, and worked on providing in-depth and thorough due diligence into the programs that featured the worst scammers, the most fraudulent products, and the most deceptive marketing and promotions.


Alerting the Authorities


Another goal of the WWSN was to provide government authorities and regulatory agencies with documented information that they could use to investigate and prosecute Internet network marketing scams. After a few years we came to realize that there is virtually NO law enforcement against MLM pyramid schemes and fraudulent products, and efforts to contact state or federal agencies was a waste of time. The fact is, scammers face very little risk of ever being arrested, prosecuted or punished for ANY crimes committed. It's the closest thing we know of to a "license to steal".


New Priorities for the WWSN


MLMs in "pre-launch" are always able to create excitement, buzz, and sign-ups using a combination of phony science, fraudulent testimonials, outrageous and unproven claims, promises of easy money and the motivational talents of charismatic con men and women. Nothing the WWSN can say will stop a new company with a new product from launching and building that initial momentum, because if there is one thing you can be sure of with a new program it is that the first people in are the only ones who will ever make any money.


It's a pattern we see with every new MLM scheme. Even MLMers who claim to have the highest ethics and integrity will refuse to ask their new company standard due diligence questions, choosing to "trust" the new company leadership , and "wait" for studies to be completed, and "hope" that the testimonials are genuine.


We eventually realized that the best the WWSN could hope to do is to perform thorough documented due diligence of our own and to publish it along with entertaining parody and satire that would attract the attention of people researching these new companies in even the most cursory way. While we could not stop a bad MLM from launching nor could we ever hope to shut it down, we COULD impact the program by slowing, stopping or even reversing the momentum of the company. Without an ever-increasing foundation of new customers and new recruits, an MLM eventually dies.



Is the WWSN Effective?


Even with thorough due diligence and documented evidence of a scam in progress, some companies can limp along almost indefinitely. Propped up with forced autoship and minimum sales requirements, a bad company with fraudulent placebo-based products can carry on for a long time. After Lifewave was exposed as a fraud and its inventor, David Schmidt, was revealed to be nothing more than a slick con artist with zero credibility, most of their best affiliates quit and their U.S. recruitments and sales fell markedly. Their strategy then became to shift their focus to overseas marketing and they manage to stay in business by selling their phony patches to gullible consumers in the Far East. But let's look at how the WWSN has nevertheless affected some of the worst ongoing scams on the Internet today.


Google Knows All and Tells All


Try this for yourself - do a Google search for "lifesmiracle wayne garland" - the first two results are for two different reports on the WWSN.


Do a Google search for "lifewave david schmidt" - the second and third results direct you to two different reports on the WWSN along with a YouTube video parody we posted featuring David Schmidt.


Go for a search of the keywords "phil piccolo" - numbers 1, 2 and 7 lead you to the WWSN.


Eniva has such an expansive presence on the Internet, that a WWSN report doesn't show up until the second page of results; but imagine that you are Eniva founder Dr. Benjamin Baechler and you have studied for more than ten years to become a real doctor and to build a real career and reputation for yourself, only to find that the first two results in a Google search for "ben baechler" bring up links to the WWSN. If Dr. Ben is looking for a future as a reputable MD in the established medical community, he's not going to find one. His reputation now precedes him and you can read about it on the WWSN.


Same goes for Andy Baechler, his doublemint twin with the ear-to-ear grin and both thumbs up in the air. The first two links to the President of Eniva lead right back to the WWSN. You'll get similar results for "Randy Allen". Do a few searches for other companies such as "YourTravelBiz", or scammers such as "Keith Laggos", "Stephen A. Brown" or "Dr. Haltiwanger".


In each of these companies, their momentum has stopped or reversed. They are already dead but they don't know it yet. And information about these people and their fraudulent and sometimes dangerous products will remain on the Internet forever. Jim Fobair has promoted dozens of MLM scams since his $65,000,000 OneSource pyramid scheme and the "Laundry CD", but not one of them has been successful. The WWSN is providing an extensive searchable online database that will help consumers and honest network marketers to vet, research and track the activities of these con artists, wherever they go and with whatever scam they promote.



Frivolous Lawsuits?


Why has nobody ever successfully sued the WWSN? Law suits have certainly been filed on numerous occasions. Travelogia.com and Adam Gilmer filed one for $8.6 million dollars - but it was thrown out of court and dismissed on every count. It is worth noting that every law suit filed and every legal action taken has been frivolous in nature. The WWSN makes claims based on real evidence and documentation that would stand up in a court of law. This being the case, no company or crook has EVER filed a complaint based on slander or defamation, because once the evidence was produced in front of a judge or jury, it would be dismissed and the scammer would be likely to face further prosecution from the court itself.



Every law suit filed has attempted to attack our hosts, domain name registrars, and service providers. We simply do not publish statements we feel would not stand up in court. And the scammers know that.


What Can Supporters Do to Help


We always appreciate input and information from insiders and whistleblowers. Links back to the WWSN web site help our search engine rankings. But most of all, share what you have learned about the people, products, and programs posted on the WWSN. And learn from the due diligence that we perform to do your own investigations into MLMs you might consider becoming involved with, either as an affiliate or a customer.


And the WWSN will do its best to help keep you informed and up to date.

Bob
Publisher
The WorldWide Scam network