The night goes BANG with CRS discussion and utility bill request; confirmation of Robert Celsi's involvement with well-known company + investigation of Nick Brown; Caivis' office doors shut-- for good? 4th of July link list... Prepare yourselves for one explosive night! Happy 4th of July!
Our next CRS discussion is about prize decreases, disqualifications, and a lack of response from customer service. The disqualifications for the LG washer & dryer gift happened back in April and members are still waiting for an answer from customer service. Why is that? CRS have replied to e-mails unrelated to the disqualifications, so I assume they read all incoming mail as to not miss any messages that aren't about the disqualifications. Have they decided to only pay the $300.00 settlement? Or is there a specific reason for them to ignore their members' concerns? Even if lawyers were assisting CRS with the LG washer & dryer investigation, should it really have taken this long?
In May, a letter written to facilitate this urgent matter was sent to CRS. The letter was disregarded, which says they are handling this on their own. If that is their choice I cannot stop them. There is nothing more I can do except counsel members, and provide them with the resources to take action. As of now, it is out of my hands as I have exhausted my efforts in trying to set this right. I'm sorry I couldn't do more. I'm upset that innocent members were accused of defrauding CRS' site and advertisers by way of Ms. Kyle's classes. Some hadn't even heard of her before receiving the disqualification letter! If this persists, you all may consider pursuing a class action suit, or working independently against them to collect your payment.
CRS have been paying members the full amount of their gifts, but months back there had been cases of lowballing. That stayed in the back of my mind as I watched how they were improving. Now members claim CRS are offering them less again. When companies do this it is often their bank account is low, or they simply are greedy by pocketing the rest of their members' money. But sometimes they feel they're right in thinking that the advertised gift isn't as much as the member claims, so they offer them a lesser amount. Which may be true or untrue depending on the gift's value. If for instance the company advertised an iPad on their site, but it wasn't an iPad 2 so the iPad diminished in value. Then a member redeems their prize and CRS tells them their check is for $299.00 because it is an older model. I would side with CRS here as their site would clearly show an iPad, not an iPad 2 which should cost more. However, that is not what is going on. A member recently did a site for two Macbook Airs and is getting $1,000.00 less. Another member registered for a Dell XPS and Macbook site, and is only getting $1,100.00 since her link expired and Dave said she registered for "an iPhone or an iPhone and iPad." On the redemption page it shows the Dell XPS and Macbook offer, and I believe her as I remember seeing this deal on better-gifts.net, the expired gift site.
In addition to the disqualifications, CRS sent a batch of e-mails to members requesting utility bill copies to obtain their personal information not found in the public records of 411.com.
This notice is to inform you that upon researching the accuracy of your registration information we have discovered that your mailing address/phone number does not reflect the public records of 411.com.
The terms and conditions of our site, which you agreed to upon your registration, state that:
"If you elect to register to use the Service, you agree to: (a) provide true, accurate, current and complete information about yourself as prompted by our registration form (such information being the "Registration Data"); and (b) maintain and promptly update the Registration Data to keep it accurate. If you provide any information that is untrue, inaccurate, or incomplete, Consumers reward solutions may in its sole discretion have grounds to suspect that such is the case, we have the right to suspend or terminate your account and refuse any and all current or future use of the Service (or any portion thereof)."
We ask that you please provide us (via email or fax) a copy of a recent utility bill in your name showing the mailing address/phone number you used to register for our site. Please provide us with this proof within 10 days of this email or your account will be disqualified for violating the aforementioned terms.
They may just want a current record of each member's name, address and phone number. But why wouldn't our information be authentic when signing up? Are they worried some of us moved? Or do they really think we deliberately gave them false information? OR is this a way for them to stall since they haven't replied to members after they fulfilled this request? I consider everything before me though I don't think this is a stall tactic. As for their unresponsive nature, that is unacceptable; they should have resolved this months ago. Wish I had the answer to what they have been doing all this time but I don't. I can't understand why these "investigations" have taken so long. I will repost the resources from August's entry for quick access to the information for those wanting to take some sort of action.
Ministry of Attorney General in Vancouver, BC
800 SMITHE ST
Vancouver, British Columbia V6Z 3B7, Canada
Tel# (604) 660-8789
1125 HOWE ST
Vancouver, British Columbia V6Z 2L7, Canada
1311 COMMERCIAL DR
Vancouver, British Columbia V5L 2T3, Canada
Tel# (604) 660-6828
Better Business Bureau of Canada: http://www.bbb.org/canada/
Internet Crime Complaint Center – An FBI/NW3C partnership: http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
Anyway, I know I said Robert Celsi couldn't possibly be with CRS but, well, he is! My hunch led me to the confirmation below despite Dave not recognizing the site registered to Robert Celsi. Just because Dave didn't recognize the site doesn't mean it did not belong to CRS. I can prove that Robert Celsi is with CRS based on my findings which I will present to you now.
In my quest I found this blog: http://www.2freelaptops.net/author/admin/ -- Couldn't help but wonder if the author was with CRS, because who would set up a blog solely for CRS links, and go so far as to use the top of 2freelaptops.com, a CRS site, as a banner for it? So I ran a Google search and it took me to a page showing Robert Celsi as the owner of 2freelaptops.com AND 2freelaptops.net. Would he, could he, be the blogger?
Google search page:
gift page: http://www2.2freelaptops.com/SplashPage.aspx?g=d6ca350f28e74aa1bb13bdf7cf274027&nn=vgjrc2mrxf&se=01
2freelaptops.net blog layout:
blog link: http://www.2freelaptops.net/author/admin/
Taken from the official company and address list:
6-6150 Highway 7 STE# 220
Vaughan, ON L4H-OR6
Note the famous Vaughan, Ontario CRS address in the whois!
2freelaptops.com was the site I did to earn my 3 grand. So that alone makes it pretty obvious to me that Robert Celsi is with CRS. It is possible that Dave hadn't seen freenewprizes.com before, which is why he said "Does not look like one of ours." Below is another site just like 2freelaptops.com except the page background is green and you only get one laptop.
gift page: http://www2.freelaptopsdirect.com/SplashPage.aspx?g=c5e96e08dbaf4e98ba32fec51f61e011&c=9445&se=01
I have reposted the whois info for Robert Celsi as it contains the Austin, TX address. In case anyone forgot, Robert Celsi, from CRS, was the registrant for brandnewprizes.com that had a Texas address.
Again, there is Nick Brown. gift50.com linked to a CRS site, but I'd like more proof that Nick Brown is CRS to avoid any mistakes. We know the Rockefeller Center address was CRS and it was a NY location, so there may be a connection to Nick Brown. Nick Brown has his own lead generation company, Best World Media: www.bestworldmedia.com -- Could he be running these sites on his own, and is in no way tied into CRS? Or is he on a text messaging job CRS put him on? There is a wealth of information on him, and must I credit this blogger: http://fixedgear808.blogspot.com/2011/04/gift50com-spammertelemarketer.html -- I will paste a written portion from Duane's blog to ours so we learn more about him. But first, take a look at the screen shot of the contact page, and please view the whois again.
This telephone number is on Nick Brown's whois info as well as in his contact information for Best World Media: (646) 338-8558.
Now read this from Duane's blog...
"The (646) 338-8558 phone number given has been called by some one who read this blogpost (see comments section) and the people answering claimed to have no knowledge of GIFT50.COM, so I advise against calling them, as an innocent party may be involved. The owner of the website may have either entered a false number in their registration or has since changed their number to avoid complaints from people angry over being textspammed."
I pray he didn't register with some random number that just so happened to be somebody else's! Wish we knew whether the number was never his, or that it was at one point. Why wasn't it removed from Best World Media's contact page? I can see someone forgetting to update their domain registrar, but your own company web site? How does he receive his business calls? This unsettles me.
Domains owned by Nick Brown: AidTest.info, bestworldmedia.com, Gift90.com, giftcard2.com, Money600.com, outsidecathin.info, ViewMyNewsCore.com, AidPeril.info, ScatHin.info, BareAid.info, EastAid.info, AquiVed.info, MONEY500.COM, LAPTOP55.COM, MONEY600.COM, gift50.com, and over 100 other domains.
I collected the domains from Duane's blog as well: http://fixedgear808.blogspot.com/2011/04/gift50com-spammertelemarketer.html
Not sure what to make of Nick Brown. He's a textspammer, we know that much. And gift50.com links to a CRS site by Robert Celsi, so shouldn't that automatically put him in the CRS category? Should I close this case by putting Nick Brown with CRS? I have tried to close it but something is pulling me back...I need to keep going. This case will remain open until the investigations are done.
Alright, we have another DIY... Please read my write up below on Brightfire, LLC., and President Ivor Clarke to get acquainted with the company and man behind it's operations.
Ivor Clarke, President of Brightfire, LLC., established Brightfire, a technology startup that has built tools and processes to increase effectiveness in affiliate advertising and e-mail marketing. In 2009, Brightfire won an eBay auction for a personal video recorder blog called PVRblog which they paid $12,110.00. Through Brightfire's DBA, Great Hills Media, a gift program is maintained. Mr. Clarke was once Program Manager at Microsoft, and brought compelling user interface design to software products as President of Simple Factors, based in Boulder, Colorado. He was also product lead for Net Monitor and Capital Thought, where he managed the development and design of multiple web-based applications. Mr. Clarke then served as Vice President of Product Development at Skylist, and was Director of Development at Datran Media. His spare time is spent hiking and skiing in the Colorado Rockies. Ivor Clarke is from East Thetford, Vermont. He studied Information and Decision Systems at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Next, let's take a look at one of Brightfire's gift sites...
gift page: http://mygiftcardspot.com/
full policy from mygiftcardspot.com:
entity search results:
Great Hills Media, LLC., the company name in the policy, is what led me to Ivor Clarke of Brightfire, LLC. Great Hills Media, LLC. must be a DBA for mygiftcardspot.com. The entity results link together Ivor Clarke and Great Hills Media, LLC. I asked them about their gift program, and will post their reply as soon as I get it. This might be another one we can test! Below are the Brightfire addresses.
PO Box 3109 #31365
Houston, TX 77253-3109
9020 N. Capital of Texas highway Suite I-380
Austin, TX 78759
ARG Insider is back with a Caivis update. Read what he has to say.
ARG Insider, "You will be happy to know that Caivis closed down their Colorado office last month and has laid off all the people who worked in that office, including the VP of Technology for the promotional marketing/freebies division."
ARG Insider, what about Caivis' main office in Washington, DC? Will it be closed? I doubt it with XL Marketing Corp/XL Education Corp under it's belt, which doesn't ease my mind as the gift program can be fully executed again. Did anyone else who was part of the freebie division work out of New York? There are New York connections, so it seems likely for those in that division to function out of New York as well. As thrilled as I am to hear that their Colorado office has shut down, I am leery. It would take nothing for them to restart it again. Even after all the lay offs they could hire a new team. I'm willing to bet Steinberg would hire an ex-employee or two to help him out, too. If you wouldn't mind, could you answer a few more questions?
An anonymous person performed a site search for me since I was busy. Their results are below for your review.
"and the results are:
prizevenue.com their biggest site is still running. the home page is a $500 visa gift card to help the economy
prize1online.com became some on-demand research website but the URL is still the same
however the prize1online.com/status webpage is still up and running but they took the CS email down
thegiftit.com same story as prizevenue.com even the same gift
i found another gift from them: http://www.thegiftit.com/HJKhm61dd8684?sud=CD120455 its 5 offers for a sarah palin book
mfl-rewards.com still running. main site is a disney dvd package
mfl-center.com is still running and the main gift is a apple ipad
here is another gift for $100 in grocery money http://www.mfl-center.com/JR05761dd8641?sud=1391
the status pages except for prize1online are all operating like normal
also i found a few of their gifts being advertised as recently as the end of last year confirmed and possibly april of this year. the sites were points2shop type of websites so that is legit advertising"
Would you know why these sites are still up? Do you know when they'll be taken down? How can we be sure that Caivis isn't pulling one over us? That is all for now. ARG Insider, thank you for giving us an update. And a big thanks to the anonymous person for searching out the Caivis links!
mmmm, look at these savory deals...
*4th of July link list*
http://www.e-consumergift.com/?session_id=d5ed32e09f7511e09edfe729b8df804b - 8 offers, no refs/$250.00 supermarket gc of your choice (Visa option)
http://www.grandsavingscenter.com/?session_id=09c32a2ca03c11e09d7dfbeaa68cb92e - 10 offers, no refs/iPad 2 in color of your choice
http://www.myrewardscenter.us.com/?session_id=6874c350a03c11e0b0e9da815407cece - 10 offers, no refs/$500.00 Visa
http://www.consumerresearchbureau.us.com/?session_id=c33bf2b8a03c11e09e420b355407cece - 10 offers, no refs/$500.00 Visa
http://www.consumergiftcenter.us.com/?session_id=f9f0094ca03d11e0a9b748cfa68cb92e - 10 offers, 1 ref/$500.00 Applebee's gc
http://www.consumergiftcenter.us.com/?session_id=34a506c8a03e11e0aef91b825407cece - 10 offers, 1 ref/$500.00 Ticketmaster gc
http://kohlsgiftcard.giftcertificatedelivery.com/form/iframe/35716/6634/?&ref=35716 - 10 offers, 1 ref/$500.00 Kohl's gc
http://www.officialsurveypanel.com/?session_id=a2ab87bea03e11e0846e90d1b7df804b - 10 offers, 1 ref/$500.00 Visa gc
http://www.publicsurveypanel.com/?session_id=d14840c6a03e11e0a2227441a83e1266 - 10 offers, 1 ref/$500.00 Visa gc
http://www.publicsurveypanel.com/?session_id=1f19c734a03f11e0b2be1d2ca83e1266 - 10 offers, 1 ref/merchant gc of your choice
We've covered a LOT of ground so far; new companies, new CEOs, new sites, new deals, everything NEW! Such remarkable progress we have made. However, the main issue at hand are the CRS disqualifications and the lack of decent DIY deals. There haven't been any $300.00 check reports, so they haven't mailed the settlement money to members. Seems like they would have done that, OR made the decision to pay those not connected to Ms. Kyle's classes by now. Will try to be have a positive outlook on all this as hard as that is. I've just been disappointed at the way things have turned out. I hope it gets better.
I am proud to announce our FIRST DIYfreebies donation!!! cannmj1, from our forum, donated $40.00 to DIYfreebies.com. Let's give him a round of applause!! From all of us at DIYfreebies.com, we say thank you. No matter how big or small all donations are appreciated by DIYfreebies. Have a happy 4th of July everyone! Be safe, and have fun!!
Bye for now,