Thursday, April 23, 2009

Freebie blog moves, Brandarama's doldrums leading to bankruptcy?, Brad Powers, I-Deal "mailing list" ineligibility...

It's a month of changes for freebies and myself. I'm now on blogger! Will this blog's relocation impact it's home on A4F? I-Deal's nettling "mailing list" issue; Brad Powers and the future of Brandarama; guileful Canadian network strikes again, and more! I'm ready to tackle tonight's topics, and will discuss a letter from a member.

First, I must announce my blog's new home on the web.


That's the link. Since A4F is it's birthplace that's where it will stay. I've had my blogspot since 2004, and what better time to use it? It's sat for years without content. I moved it a week ago, and have been reading tutorials on Adwords. The move was for archiving and security. If anything happens here I want my content to be safe. My problem now is the links. You will notice many of them are not clickable. Blogger relies on basic HTML tags whereas A4F blogs use brackets.

I added the periods so the raw code would appear.


[.img][./img] = A4F.

<.img src=""><./a> = blogger.

When I copy and paste my A4F blog links, it shows the raw code rather than having a clickable link there. I know HTML and how to make changes, but given the number of links in these entries it would take hours of editing. Maybe I can use an HTML generator to get the job done faster? I'm trying it! Nonetheless, moving this blog has been planned for half a year, and I'm happy its over. Either I dawdled, or I would forget. I'm not expecting to make a fortune, nor do I want it on the news (lol), it's simply the next step in having the information accessible to people across the globe and storing the content. I will be honest. If it proved barren I wouldn't have branched out. What would the point be if it wasn't remotely interesting? I leap into each entry with a pad of notes and topics, my pen, and quirky imagination. If there's one thing I fear it's producing something so incredible you have to top it the next time, or make it just as good. I experienced that with these entries and numerous activities. After my "Subscriberbase Holdings Inc...." entry I was timid of the following one. I took a risk with the rant, and it worked out in my favour. Gambling isn't bad if you want to achieve a certain goal. It's also okay if you cannot exceed your previous work. Every masterpiece is distinct in some way.

My new sig. It perfectly describes the way I'm feeling right now. It's great because I could use the laugh! And my avatar is of Brad Powers sleeping, and I put "Brad Powers... zzzzzzzzzzz" beneath it, haha. Rocks made the bananarama image. Thanks, Rocks!! :lol:

When a network's future is hanging in the balance, what does that mean? Is Brandarama headed for disaster, or falling behind? Years back, they were esteemed for timely prize fulfillment, and of course, solvency. Who are Active Response Group? ARG is an online lead generation and ad network company based in New York. ARG was founded in 2004 and began connecting advertisers and brands with consumers. The CEO is Brad Powers, who is a family man that resides in NYC, NY. In his early years, he grew up in New Rochelle, NY, and matriculated into Clark University where he studied psychology. From there, he quickly became a patriarch in the corner of this place we call the web. His clientele includes Forbes, Atkins, Blockbuster, American Express, Wal-Mart, and his business is booming. He was nominated for Silicon Alley's 100 People's Choice; has the wife, kid, picket fence and dog. So where did it all go wrong for his Brandarama cash cow? Is it the bitter end? Read on for current details on prize fulfillment, and ARGs next move. Btw, the psychology course may come in handy as we all could use a little therapy right now, lol. Bad joke!

Check deliveries were "staggered" with a scheduled date for April 17, 2009. April 17, 2009 has passed; there is still time for checks to arrive though it's doubtful. The latest news is Brandarama is now fulfilling gifts, not Mpell.

"Additionally, we have been informed today, (within the last hour), Active Response has stated they will be taking over the fulfillment process and be responsible for issuing checks. Thank you!"

Straight from Mpell's CS. Does this mean a longer wait? Brandarama will pay us, however, they have strung us along. Why? Need extra time to weed more people out? Stalling to build up funds to remit payment? Impending bankruptcy? Who knows? They have always been known for delays. I'm trying to figure out why Mpell was involved if Brandarama planned on shipping gifts. They have went back and forth. They requested Mpell to direct all inquiries to them, and now they're in charge of prize fulfillment. Besides the audits, I'm curious if documentation is the only hold up? I realize the number of certificates they have... My guess is they're double checking everything since they have control.

Before now, Mpell had to deal with tons of complaints. They fired back at someone with this response. The bolded paragraph was uncalled for.

"I truly do apologize that you have been waiting so long for your gifts and that you are upset with the redemption process. I do understand your frustrations and concerns, and I want to clarify a few things for you.

Our company, Mpell Solutions, is a fulfillment house and has been contracted by Active Response Group to fulfill these promotional items for their customers. The terms and conditions of these offers have been set and chosen by Active Response Group.

If you have an issue with the redemption process, I would recommend giving Active Response customer support line a call at 877-312-7263.

Also, If you were confirmed/verified with Brandarama I do wonder why you took part in the redemption process when you knew that we were hired to do a job. You say Mpell sent you a certificate saying the only way to get your gifts was to go buy the items yourself. Why would you give a company you've never heard of your personal information and buy the items? Did you follow directions knowing that was the only way to receive your promised gifts with Brandarama? It would appear so. Unfortunately, as you stated earlier, Active Response is known for delays and I sincerely hope that you will call them and get reimbursement soon. Please forward all your questions to them.

Thank you!

Mpell Solutions Customer Service
(800) 450-1575"

I should have mentioned this last year:

According to this information Hercules Technology Growth Capital, Inc. munificently filled ARGs pockets with 10 million dollars. 10 million dollars is a hefty loan... Must have needed it, eh? That was in 2007, so they obviously spent at least half of it by now. I think they have many unpaid debts. In my research I found court cases, misc. debts, and even forums. On one forum is Peter Cunningham, ARGs finance manager. He replied to someone in a thread about a payment, but only posted once.

Months later somebody posted:

"Even we are having major issues in collecting payments from them.

Active Response Group owes us close to $30,000 as dues since May 2008. We've tried contacting everyone (including Peter), and were initially promised payment for the first 3-4 months. Post October, they've stopped responding to phone calls or emails; I'm wondering if they are still in business!

I think it's reached extremely serious proportions now; we should all get together and do something to recover our dues."

A post from an advertiser on March 7, 2009:

"Active Response Group owes us for payments from June, July and August 2008. Initially, they were really late in paying and now it has completely ceased. I have contacted Peter Cunningham and he keeps promising partial if not all payments and then another month goes by and we have to start the calling again."

It's clear to us by now they owe. Will we be rewarded? If chapter 11 is filed, they can't keep themselves going. It would hurt us for them to fizzle out before checks arrived. If they don't pay us it's because they can't, not because they don't want to. They kept in contact with us, hired Mpell, and set dates. Who would do that if they insisted on not paying? To take action, or to not take action? That is the question. Supposedly they shipped checks, so let's see if they arrive this week, or if that information was given to stall. I'm waiting until May before complaining since they have been harmonious with me so far. I'm not saying they're going bankrupt, we just can't rule out the possibility of it. I'm considering all odds right now, and what my best course of action is. My advice is don't take them to court unless it's unavoidable. Is the iron hot enough?

Speaking of Brandarama, the "rip-off" site has nabbed it's latest victim! Once you've been caught by these manslayers there's no return... Ah, perhaps that was too harsh, lol. Anyway, I was PMed by an anonymous member who was cozened by this bunch. I'm sharing his story in hopes none of you complete their sites.

"hi woz,

the canadian company is not legit. i have tried a site by them, it was 3 offers for a $25 starbucks gift card. terrible i know, but i found a bunch of offers i'd never seen, so i tried it out. customer service was rude to me from the beginning. i wasnt receiving emails so i tried them from another address and they emailed me there, they brought up a "crystal ball" at one point meaning they cant read my mind? is that even necessary? i'm supposed to be approved at this point, but conveniently, they dodged my emails since they got their offers completed by me. i got one response back, that was you completed your offers, you have won, congrats, we will send you info as soon as possible. when i asked what info, when, and how, what next, etc., no reply. i got one reply when i threatened to report them to everyone under the sun, in the USA and Canada as well (so they know im not joking, im on to them). i got a bogus response that "this is their second response to me" and quoted gift rule #3 which i had already completed and they acknowledged that. i sent back one final threatening e-mail to let them know their days are numbered, once i get a hold of all the consumer protection agencies and avenues.

do not touch this company. the terms, the offers list, the EULA, the copyright 2004, it *is* a brandarama ripoff. there is no account status page b/c it is a ripoff. sadly it is what it looks like. too bad they werent sophisticated enough to fake it better. theyre probably pocketing all the earnings they get from not paying people, and thats how they pay graphic artists, advertise on the radio, start an 800 number for the laptop site, etc. but noone is receiving anything from them.



Uh, crystal ball?! Who hired these clowns? If I was the boss they would be fired on the spot. That's unprofessional, and NOT how you treat customers. Even I-Deal CS has more decency. They use radio ads to attract people, and some of their sites have contact pages and phone numbers. So they are advertising multiple sites? Eventually they will vanish as there is only so much mulcting you can do. We need to spread the word of their corruptness so this can't happen to anybody else. Turn one's negative experience into a positive thing. I wrote them off long ago, but if there are anymore stories on these weasels I'd love to hear them! I wish you luck with this issue, anonymous. Keep us posted, and thanks for sharing!

I-Deal disposed all chances of certain individuals qualifying to do their sites, and it's becoming a pattern. This has never happened to me, but I have witnessed others go through it. If you are "unsubscribed" from their mailing list they go bonkers. If you get off their list, good luck getting back on. As a safety precaution I wouldn't unsubscribe from any spam e-mails. Spam sucks, but it's not worth the risk. Avoid the little link at the bottom of the e-mail because it might tie into DIY networks. Just don't click on the e-mail at all, and delete it. More needs to be done. If you read beammeup's comment below you will see his reason is different. Someone else, who I will leave anonymous, signed up for I.D. watchdog, and was removed from their list.

It's an identity theft site, which is also a trial offer:

I would hate for the offer to be on other networks, people try it, then be excluded from I-Deal's program. I'm researching this subject, and may update this if I find more. I'm interested to find out if there are more sites out there like idwatchdog, and We need to compile a list for our reference.

*links 'n such*

I-Deal-- - 12 offers, 2 refs/42" plasma - 8 offers, no refs/DJ equipment - 12 offers, 1 ref/Lenovo Y510 series laptop - 6 offers, no refs/Rock Band 2 special edition

I want to thank a few people... My interviewees Schizerbone and RocksJa. Even though we never properly ended the interview it still turned out great! RocksJa again for the bananarama image. I'll have fun with it! haha. Kinneylamb, for just being there; all the late night infomercial fun, and for the Adwords and Adsense e-books. The e-books coupled with my other material will help greatly. Thanks!! You guys rock. :D

Planning on getting links up this weekend, so I'm leaving this open. Check back in guys! The latest updates from me, and I will have more next month. I have been busy busy busy, and playing my Wii in between. zzzzzzzzzz. Maybe by the time the next blog hits we will have our checks in hand, eh? One can dream. As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. I love hearing from you!

Your DIY consultant,


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