Hello everyone. I am pleased to announce that my 5-year DIYfreebies anniversary is this month, and you're all a part of tonight's celebration! Let's revisit this past year's events. On October 10th, former ARG CEO Brad Powers was spotted breaking bread at a NYC restaurant with his old buddies from ARG, and Caivis's own, David Steinberg. The restaurant photo unveiled a camaraderie among them; such loyalty and lighthearted rapport can be found amongst those who share a similar interest, and who have worked closely together in the past. That is why they work so well in the present. Though some of us suspected it, that photograph proved the bond was as strong as ever, and that Brad never walked away. More on this can be found here: "Valentine's Day special, Part 2...." Now for my annual favorite: "DIY Halloween with I-Deal crediting issues and disqualifications..." - I was really proud of how well written my I-Deal letter was, and the manner in which it was presented. They never answered it, but I know they read it. I accomplished the daunting task of approaching them with their gift program's problems, and I assisted members along the way. Annual highlights include: Solving both WRS Consultants and Consumer Online Rewards cases in ONE DAY, finding the Brad Powers/ARG restaurant photo, and facing DIY challenges head on while engaging companies!
We made it!! 5 years on, this blog still has a place in cyberspace. That's something to celebrate. I am just amazed at how much we've accomplished since the start of DIYfreebies on June 16, 2008. It truly is wonderful to be writing this blog after so many years. I look forward to what's ahead. :)
In our last entry, I noticed the policy link on newgiftdepot.com's survey page directed me to the policy for Coolsavings, a site under Nuitech's DBA, Q Interactive, Inc. So I asked them if newgiftdepot.com and topbrandgifts.com were their sites. Below is their response to my e-mail.
date: Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 7:35 PM
Are these your sites? newgiftdepot.com and topbrandgifts.com? I ask because when registering for newgiftdepot.com the policy link at the bottom of the survey page directed me to a policy for Coolsavings.com, which is a site that is managed by Q Interactive, Inc., a Nuitech DBA. topbrandgifts.com is also connected to newgiftdepot.com. I organize my sites by company name, so knowing which company these belong to helps me keep good records.
Any help is appreciated.
"From: Yourrewardstoday Support
Date: Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Subject: In response to your message
Thank you for your inquiry. topbrandgifts.com and newgiftdepot.com are not our sites.
*** DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL. THIS MAILBOX IS NOT MONITORED *** Please use the contact form provided at our website if you have further questions.
Support" So I checked Nuitech off the list. Who owns newgiftdepot.com and topbrandgifts.com if not Product Test Panel and Nuitech? Although the company is unknown, I gathered some interesting info, and the more information you collect, the closer you get to solving a case. I have member complaints and the address for the newgiftdepot.com/topbrandgifts.com domains is of interest. We'll start with a complaint from reviewstalk.com, and my message to the poster who'd written it.
"Consumer complaints and reviews about newgiftdepot.com Keemer
Nov 26, 2012 no iPhone Three month ago I have received a message through my iPod stating I have won an iPhone, and i had to send them a fee. I did, and never received the prize! What liars!"
My message to poster:
"wozniack May 22, 2013
I read your complaint on newgiftdepot.com. There was a fee? How much was this fee? I ask because with these kinds of sites you normally are required to complete offers (book clubs, skin care products, and so on...) to receive a prize. I've never heard of a company charging a fee for a reward. Not that I doubt you, this is very interesting to me.
I will explain what I do and who I am. :) I am a blogger and internet watchdog for the freebie industry. My blog, DIYfreebies.com, has shielded members from scams, and has helped them earn rewards from legitimate networks. I've been investigating newgiftdepot/topbrandgifts domains for several months now, and have been trying to figure out who they are. That is how I found your complaint. We might be able to help each other.
I would like to help you with your situation, if at all possible. You may contact me at email@example.com
I have a MAJOR problem with a company requesting a fee. In all my freebie years I have never paid a "fee" to get a prize. I don't doubt this poster AT ALL, I am just bothered by it. This is a new approach spammers are taking to scam. If the poster had said they were required to complete a set of offers that would make sense to me, as you have to do offers to get rewarded. Spammers have now targeted iPod owners. Did this person mean they were spammed through their "iPod" Touch? Because I don't think you can receive messages through an actual iPod mp3 player. The point is, this individual paid money for something they never received. If I am lucky enough to get a response from this person, I will report what I find out in my next entry.
A similar complaint to the one above:
"newgiftdepot.com A pop up came up and told me I won an iPad but I entered my information and I did not get anything. Internet One day I was on my iPod Touch until suddenly a pop up appeared and said you won an I pad. I entered my information and it said it will be there soon. A year passes and still no I pad."
This complaint is similar to the first one. I bet the previous poster meant they got the message on their iPod Touch just like the one we're looking at now. This person, however, didn't mention a fee, they just said they entered their information, and was told their prize would "be there soon." Then a year passes and nothing comes. The complaints are both for newgiftdepot.com, so the messages these individuals received are from the same company. I will continue looking into the complaints on newgiftdepot.com/topbrandgifts.com.
Another concern is the address for newgiftdepot.com/topbrandgifts.com. When you Google the gift site address at 1350 E. Flamming Dr., it pulls up results for 1350 E. Flamingo Rd. instead. Take a look...
newgiftdepot.com's address as per the whois report:
Google search results for 1350 E. Flamming Dr.:
1350 E. Flamingo Rd. is the location of a shopping center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Its possible for these addresses to both be real, but what if one isn't? 1350 E. Flamming Dr., newgiftdepot.com/topbrandgifts.com's address, would be nonexistent if it wasn't in the whois info for both domains. I've read whois reports in the past containing information that was too much like that of another company, and other whois reports that had suspicious characters. Those type of findings often lead to scam operations. The addresses are too much alike. Is the 1350 E. Flamming Dr. address a fake? If so, is the company stationed at the shopping center location? Are they using 1350 Flamingo Rd. to mask their real address? The whois report only lists "Customer Service" as the registrant. Nobody's name can be found, and the phone number digits are all 5's.
I wonder if anyone has tried sending something to the newgiftdepot.com/topbrandgifts.com address. If so, was their mail returned? I think I will write them a letter. If their goal is to scam, they won't care if the address isn't real. If it happens to be a real address, they may respond to it, OR somebody else at 1350 E. Flamming Dr. will. Most DIY companies put a real address in their whois info, and on their gift sites. So it will be interesting to see if my mail is returned, or if somebody else responds. The next piece of evidence suggests payment, or the promotion of a newgiftdepot.com site.
A Yahoo! member's post. Taken from Yahoo! Answers:
Show me another »
Is there FREE tutoring for a iPad 3?
I want to get a iPad 3 and I seen things for tutoring like this and I was wondering if there is tutoring for one?
3 months ago
Reply from Yahoo member:
No but you can get one for free here
3 months ago"
If someone posts a link, they may have been paid, or are spamming the link for money. It may also be someone from the company posting links online to get traffic to their sites. Wish I knew which one it was. But this gives us something to go on if nothing else. In my text spam search I found a name for a company out of Wilmington, Delaware, which had 76 complaints alone on scambook.com.
According to this information, the company name for vcardsecure.com is Bonus Reward Center. The whois report for vcardsecure.com lists the registrant as Dan Lettler from Los Angeles, CA. Below is the address, telephone number, and e-mail from this whois report.
343 Vista Street
Los Angeles, CA 90024
We know Dan Lettler owns vcardsecure.com, now let's check out the e-mail. The firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail address is in a whois report for another domain. The domain is click56.info, and it is registered to a Sandra Skiops in Huntington Beach, California. Below is the whois report and address.
3206 Beach Blvd
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
The same e-mail in Sandra Skiops's registrant info instantly links her to Dan Lettler. Both individuals are in California as well. I continued on with my search on Bonus Reward Center, and the Wilmington, Delaware address, and pulled up a result for a gift site containing Bonus Reward Center info...
The fourth result is for "toprewardsspot.com." Text taken from the result, "Mar 4, 2013 - To claim your gift please mail your voucher to Bonus Reward Center 1000 N WEST Street, Suite 1200, Wilmington, DE, 19801" I clicked the "Terms and Conditions" link for toprewardsspot.com, which took me to the following page...
Right off I knew toprewardsspot.com was connected to Product Test Panel as SubscriberBASE, Inc. is Product Test Panel. The message directs you to the customer service area to check status. So I clicked the "clicking here" link, and was taken here...
This is a Product Test Panel login page for toprewardsspot.com. Since toprewardsspot.com had Bonus Reward Center's info on their Terms and Conditions page, we can conclude that Bonus Reward Center provides a service for Product Test Panel, or they actually are Product Test Panel with Bonus Reward Center being Product Test Panel's DBA. Another possibility is that Consumer Research Corporation (aka Product Test Panel), who stated they were "steering away from DIY sites" in 2011, started up a new gift program under the name Bonus Reward Center. Doesn't make sense though because they wanted to get into referral-based sites after DIY; but obviously they've had active DIY sites since that statement in 2011. More on that statement can be found here: "Christmas tree glows..."
I sent Product Test Panel the following e-mail:
date: Thu, May 30, 2013 at 5:27 PM
subject: Questions about your company's web sites...
I have a couple questions. First, are rewardzoneusa.com and toprewardsspot.com your web sites? And is Bonus Reward Center at the address below a DBA managed by your company, Consumer Research Corporation, aka Product Test Panel? Or does Bonus Reward Center simply provide you a service?
Bonus Reward Center
1000 N West Street, STE #1200
Wilmington, DE 19801
Also, is your company shutting down? I ask because your main web sites, www.consumerresearchcorporation.com, and www.producttestpanel.com, are no longer in operation, and someone told me a while back that Consumer Research Corporation would be shutting down. But I wanted to make sure of that since there are sites floating around that are similar to your gift program's sites (Product Test Panel).
I'm sorry in advance for asking so many questions. I am just trying to figure out which companies these sites belong to before I sign up for them.
Thank you so much
That sums up all my questions on Product Test Panel, so I am hoping they provide an answer. I asked them if the site rewardzoneusa.com belonged to them to rule out Product Test Panel. One of their sites slightly resembled a Product Test Panel site, which is why I asked them, but it is now gone. I will, however, post the current RewardZoneUSA site for our review...
The front page has a Representative Sample page just like Product Test Panel, but both Representative Sample pages are worded differently. And the program requirements for rewardzoneusa.com and Product Test Panel are entirely different. Reward Zone USA requires you to complete two Silver offers and two Gold offers, and for prizes with a value of $100.00 or less; three Platinum offers, and for prizes with a value of more than $100.00, and eight Platinum offers within one day. Product Test Panel gives you 90 days from the time of registration to complete offers, and satisfy all other requirements. The registration page isn't like Product Test Panel, though it's similar to other gift program registration pages.
The status page is also completely different from Product Test Panel's.
P.O. Box 461
New York, NY 10163
The RewardZone USA address out of New York is unlike Product Test Panel's addresses as well. Product Test Panel has always had physical addresses, and in places other than New York. As of now, RewardZone USA is its own independent DIY company, as I see no Product Test Panel connection. Both RewardZone USA and newgiftdepot.com/topbrandgifts.com sites should be avoided until they are proven legit.
My earnings from Apr 1 – Jun 1: $10.00 from Clorox; $75.00 in Tango cards, and a $30.00 virtual Visa from Toluna; $5.00 Tango Card from Media Insiders mobile app; $10.00 amazon code from SurveyScoutResearch; $185.00 in amazon from Memolink. It has been a good 2 months for me freebiewise! Please contact me for invitations to these points sites and survey panels. :)
Good info this month. newgiftdepot.com/topbrandgifts.com updates, Dan Lettler and Sandra Skiops, new companies!! Not to mention its my 5th anniversary. I'm just so happy to share it with you all. I plan on throwing myself a mini party for our blog's success. This truly has been a wonderful experience for me; met a lot of great people, built contacts with major corporations and, more importantly, I have helped others. And I can continue to though I'm taking time off from now until October. Please read the second paragraph.
Starting now, I will have the summers off, and the month of September, before I blog again. The reason is that I have gotten busier in my personal life, and it will give me more time to conduct my investigations and gather info between each post. However, my most recent entries will be updated EVERY month with new links. For example, when I am gone in July, I will update June's blog with new links. So please check back often. I'd like to think less posts make it easier for the reader to keep up with my ramblings. It also greatly reduces my workload, and I am not rushed to get the information out there every two months. I have given this a lot of thought, and think I made the right decision.
Hurry on over to Part 2. of our anniversary blog for new info on I-Deal and the Consumer Gain case!
See you there...