Am I being Scammed Again?

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scammer

scammer

Some of you know I manage an article directory type website called www.GreatManagement.org.

It is a website that holds hundreds of articles covering the subjects of Management and self-development from a number of different authors including myself.

When I first set-up the site, my mentor at the time suggest I ‘go live’ with at least 200 articles. This was to give a good first impression to visitors.

My mentor could supply them for me (for a fee).

He did and I published them all with a link back to the original source.

That was back at the beginning of March 2008.

Last week I receive this email from one of the article authors:

Subject: Invoice for our article used

Question/Comment: Please be advised that this serves as an invoice for five articles that you have used on your site, written by xxx, at a discounted rate of $150.00 U.S. This fee covers use UP TO June 24, 2010.

Total owing: $650.00

Please make payment to

Name and Address

Due to your use of our material without permission and/or without proper credit boxes, you MUST contact us to confirm payment arrangements by June 25, 2010 end of business, to avoid legal action, DMCA action, and notification of over one million visitors to our sites each year, that you are a copyright violator.

I didn’t see the email, at first.

This is what the original author wrote on his Facebook account a day later:

Here’s the message I posted to a fellow who appears to have stolen some of my articles and used them without permission. Apparently he’s not responding to me, so here’s how we handle things, at least to start:

I have not received ANY response from you regarding your theft of my articles and violation of my copyrights, so we start fighting back, enlisting the help of others who belief theft of intellectual property is wrong in the social media world. The first step will be the blogging, facebooking and tweeting about you until a) you rectify the situation b) pay the money you now owe me as a result of the use of my articles, and c) apologize publicly.

In addition, I’ll be contacting all of the authors of material you use to inform them and advise them of their options. Then there will be take down requests to your webhosts, and a few other things, including submitting the bill for $650 to a collection agency.

I make my living by writing. You try to take money out of my family’s mouth, I take it personally.

The fella’s facebook account (at least one) is http://www.facebook.com/andrew.rondeau and if you’d like to drop him a line to explain how you feel about intellectual property theft, heck tweet him at: http://twitter.com/andrewrondeau

I hadn’t responded within a day, so he goes public!

Not a lot I can do about that. That’s the freedom of the Internet.

Thing is I recognized the author’s name and I was sure I had agreed with him that I could use his articles as long as I link-backed to his site. I had no evidence of this – it was just my memory.

First thing I did was delete the articles. He asked for “a) you rectify the situation” – I did by deleting the articles.

I replied on Facebook – explaining what I thought we had agreed and ending with “Apologies if I am mistaken.…” (covering point “c) apologize publicly.”).

He was having none of it. There was no agreement, nothing – as far as he was concerned.

This is what he said:

Andrew, You are lying. I can say that because in 17 years, except for a handful of articles we NEVER allow anyone to republish our articles on the Internet in public places. EVER EVER. As indicated you owe me $650 for past illegal use. Your outright lies in public prompted me to look at who else you are stealing from. You, Sir, have a serious serious business and legal problem.

As for waiting to give you a chance to respond. Funny, that. You accepted my friend request 24 hours before you responded, so that doesn’t fly.

(He doesn’t know I outsource the acceptance of Facebook friend requests).
So, what’s it going to be? I’ll check back later today for an answer, and it better be the correct one that includes an apology, a commitment to pay me what you owe.

As for none of my articles on your site, not anymore. You took them down for which I thank you. I DO have screenshots as proof.

In the next few days, I’ll be profiling you in depth and explaining how you “generate” content for your blog, and a few other nuggets. It will appear on my blog and I’ll start linking to it and letting people know every day until I get paid.

FWI, I get several million targeted visitors each year. And, now that you’ve outright lied, I’m not settling for anything less than what is owed. It’s up to you. I have better things to do than this, and I’m sure you do too, but NOW, I’m really angry.

Wow – he’s getting really ‘shirty’ now!

I was wrong – my memory was wrong. I thought I had an agreement in place but had no evidence.

Powerful tip: If you have any agreements in place with others – keep a record of what was agreed.

Then I remembered about my mentor at the time providing the articles I could legally use.

Luckily I did keep all those emails and there was the authors articles – listed in the articles my mentor said I could legally use on my site – which, of course, I did with a link-back.

I explain the situation to the author. This is what I said:

I have completed some more research on the history of this situation.

I was shocked and concerned to find out that some of the content which I posted on my site, belonged to you. As a small business owner, I understand the importance of intellectual property, and how you must have felt when you discovered your work had been plagiarised on my site.

When I first launched my article directory site, I purchased article sourcing services from a freelancer (by the name of xxxx). Xxxx sent me 200 articles which at the time he assured me were legally useable. I subsequently used the materials which he had provided for me, in good faith that I was not infringing copyright or abusing someone’s intellectual property.

Had I known that my earlier outsourcing decision would have resulted in this unfortunate event occurring, I would obviously never have published the work.

I hope you will take xxxx to task over this matter, as I intend to do, as it is evident that he is selling your words under false pretences.

Please let me know what steps I may now take to resolve the issue, and I will do all I can to address the problems which I unwittingly caused through my outsourcing decision.

If you would like to contact xxxx, I’d be delighted. I’ve forwarded on the e-mails which demonstrate that I was purchasing the articles in good faith, and had absolutely no way of knowing that I was contravening copyright or reproducing your work deliberately.

With best wishes, and apologies for the misunderstanding,

Andrew

Fairly civil, I thought!

I sent the author a copy of the original email from my mentor (at the time), listing the articles I could use.

The authors reply:

Thanks for the response. I tend to be reasonable about such things unless I feel I’m being lied to.

There is a bottom line in this case and that is that you are responsible for the content on your site, as we all our, at least morally, and perhaps legally too, although that depends. If you were deceived by someone, than that is an issue between you and the other person, and I should bear the consequences of your mistake.

I’m sure you understand that republishing of articles reduces the value of the originals in a number of ways — search engine placement, and sales, both, since I charge for the use of most of my articles to customers.

So, I feel compelled to stick to the amount in the invoice and ask you to make arrangements with me for payment via credit card or some other method ASAP. The correct amount should be $750, but I gave you the figure $650 by error, so I’ll stand by the latter figure. If you do that, I’ll be glad to post publicly that we have come to an agreement on the issue.

Here’s the thing. I suspect that in fact almost all of the articles on that site are stolen. At the least, you did something unacceptable and that is it appears that you removed the copyright notices from the articles. It kind of stretches credibility that you have permission to reprint articles from Dave Thomas, Trump, and a number of other celebs, and I suspect the other 100 or 200 article authors have also been victimized.

That does not put you in a good light. I’m not sure what I care to do about this larger issue. You may know that I AM a writer, and that I do take copyright stuff seriously.

WOW. I am a thief!

If I took articles from my mentor and he said I could use them, I did.

This may be very naive on my part but when you ask a mentor to supply articles I can legally use and they supply them…you use them.

I wasn’t going to check every single one – all 200 of them to see if I could. That is what I was paying him for.

Today, the author has blogged about the whole episode. He mentions me by name, my site and the fact that I lied about having permission. This is the bit about me thinking I had a prior arrangement with him

He doesn’t mention about me outsourcing the supply of legal articles to use.

The BIG question?

Do I fight back, do I ignore or simply continue to defend my case?

I know I have done nothing wrong. I had an agreement with my mentor to supply legal articles to use. The articles gave credit to the authors.

The only thing I am guilty of:

Being naive and believing what the mentor had provided was ok to use.

Of course, I am now concerned are there any other articles that fall into the ‘illegal’ category that were supplied by the mentor. For that reason, I have turned off the site so I can check with the mentor.

The author has now called me liar, a cheat and a thief – in public – well around the web!

Now I’m thinking is this guy a scammer?

No, he can’t be but he seems to be going over the top and that’s what scammers do.

I suppose if someone out there on the www has got it in for you – there’s not a lot you can do, is there?

Did you also notice I have yet to mention the author’s name!

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58 Responses to Am I being Scammed Again?

  1. Lance Nelson June 28, 2010 at 3:28 pm #

    Hi Andrew,

    I know you as 100% honest.

    It’s a scam: nice try. If a lawyer was lookng at this he would be looking at evidence fo requiring payment. Defend yourself by all means but public slagging matches that go over the line are not things facbook or twitter likes… so i would notify them if it persists.
    .-= Lance Nelson´s last blog ..Bansko Jazz Festival Programme 2010- The Doctor Reveals All =-.

    • Andrew
      Twitter:
      June 28, 2010 at 5:44 pm #

      Lance,

      Thanks for the tips, re: Facebook and Twitter.

      I will see how much further he goes and report it, if needed.

      Andrew
      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Am I being Scammed Again =-.

  2. Niche Think Tank June 28, 2010 at 3:52 pm #

    Andrew, I would first confront your “Mentor” and talk to him about what he gave you to use and see what he says. I would then also talk to a lawyer and see what they say about the usage. I would then scour the site of the person who is slamming you and see there is a usage clause anywhere on the site and see if you can fit into that some how.

    I believe if you change a certain percent of the material used you will be ok, but that has to be before you use it.

    I’m going to email you.

    BTW what he is doing is spammy, shammy and scammer like.

    Personally I would ignore the person, and wait for a legal notice. BTW a legal notice won’t come via email. It might, but to be really enforceable I believe it has to be hand delivered or at least mailed via USPS.
    .-= Niche Think Tank´s last blog ..What we can learn from Bruce Lee about Blogging =-.

    • Andrew
      Twitter:
      June 28, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

      Thanks – I appreciate the sound advice. The articles were not changed and I added a link back to his site.

      For all I know, he changed his copyright words / statement AFTER we had taken a copy.

      Looking forward to see what you say in the email.

      Andrew
      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Am I being Scammed Again =-.

  3. Joel
    Twitter:
    June 28, 2010 at 6:03 pm #

    Interesting! Obviously I believe I know you and believe you wouldn’t do anything like this deliberately. Honesty is always the best way forward and the fact you post about this and don’t name the person involved speaks volumes.
    .-= Joel @ Blog Solutions´s last blog ..The Wider Picture Of Blogging =-.

  4. Frank Jovine June 28, 2010 at 6:55 pm #

    Andrew,

    I know it stinks when someone steals your property, it happened to me a couple of years ago, but I let it go. At first, I was upset because the person left no credit to where they got the article from. I moved on within a couple of days and chalked it up to experience.

    Hang in there!

    • Andrew
      Twitter:
      June 29, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

      Frank,

      A lot of my content gets “scrapped” and gets posted elsewhere.

      I never bother to follow up – perhaps we should.

      Andrew
      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Am I being Scammed Again =-.

  5. Blaine Moore June 28, 2010 at 7:37 pm #

    If he holds the copyright then he has the right to sue you for the use of the articles if the person who provided you the articles didn’t have the right to provide them.

    That said, it’s time for your lawyer to take over. You have removed the offending content from your site, so contacting your site’s hosting servers shouldn’t make any difference…especially since you have already taken down the entire site to determine what you are allowed to keep up and what you aren’t.

    If he continues to email you just respond that you are currently handing over management of this issue to your lawyer. I’d also determine where your mentor got the articles from and determine if there might be any truth to the accusation and whether you can continue using what you already have.

    Based on the behavior you’ve outlined, I think that you are probably getting scammed since it is unreasonable to expect a response within 24 hours. See if you can determine if the site he is sourcing as his own actually belongs to the author, and see if anything actually progresses through legal channels.
    .-= Blaine Moore´s last blog ..Black Fly In My Eye 10 Miler 2010 =-.

    • Andrew
      Twitter:
      June 29, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

      Hey – thanks Blaine. I appreciate you coming across and sharing your advice.

      I will do some more digging before deciding on the next stage.

      Thanks.

      Andrew
      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Am I being Scammed Again =-.

  6. Michelle Vandepas June 28, 2010 at 2:57 pm #

    Hi Andrew.. I found the site where he blogged. his Alexa ranking is 4 million plus. and yours is well, lets just say YOU get the traffic here.
    Someone ‘stole’ my property a couple of years ago. I used Twitter and the guy took down my property within hours of me discovering it. He kept saying he didn’t know, and I kept saying OF COURSE you knew. We were in a polarity stand off. Who was right? both of us of course! IT was our opinion and knowledge.
    So , what to do?

    if it were me? I’d put up a disclaimer on your site that you have permission. take down his stuff, send him a certified letter saying you took down his stuff and have NO KNOWLEDGE of any copyright infringement.
    and move on.
    .-= Michelle Vandepas@life purpose´s last blog ..Voting Party for Michelle on OWN =-.

    • Andrew
      Twitter:
      June 28, 2010 at 5:41 pm #

      Thanks, Michelle.

      I am close to being at the stage where I just move on now.

      I’ve written to the mentor as well, to see if they are still around.

      Andrew
      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Am I being Scammed Again =-.

      • Michelle Vandepas June 28, 2010 at 5:43 pm #

        Andrew – when I put my story on twitter a couple of years ago a lawyer came to my rescue and gave me free advice…… ?
        .-= Michelle Vandepas@life purpose´s last blog ..Voting Party for Michelle on OWN =-.

    • Mitch June 28, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

      Michelle, I agree with your comments but just a reminder, Alexa ranking is one of the worst indicators of a site’s traffic and that’ s why no one goes by it, no advertising agency on the planet. Alexa only includes people who use the Alexa toolbar and only people in certain niche’s would even know what that is. I know for a fact I get tens and in many months hundreds of thousands of more hits than many sites with alexa rankings far higher than mine but sports fans are likely to know or care too much about Alexa. 🙂
      personally I think that’s the least reliable grading tool out there..
      .-= Mitch´s last blog ..2010 World Cup Brazil vs Chile – Round of 16- Justin’s Free Pick =-.

      • Michelle Vandepas June 28, 2010 at 5:43 pm #

        Thanks Mitch! Good reminder….
        .-= Michelle Vandepas@life purpose´s last blog ..Voting Party for Michelle on OWN =-.

  7. Debbie
    Twitter:
    June 28, 2010 at 3:15 pm #

    Hi Andrew,
    Andrew you have to be the most honest person I know. I think this guy is trying to scam you. Or maybe it is because you are doing so great with your business that it is driving him a little nutty.
    What is really appreciated is you letting all your reader know how some people can try to scam you and the ways they use to do it.
    Guess it comes down to always covering your track in life when every you do anything. You never know what maybe hiding in the little cracks ready to pounce on you..
    You hang in there, because honest always comes out on top.
    Debbie
    .-= Debbie @ Happy Maker´s last blog ..The power of wasting time =-.

  8. Mitch June 28, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

    Andrew, don’t mess around with this. Get a lawyer. You have to have legal rights as slander isn’t part of freedom of the press and if he is going to call you a thief, he needs to have proof and it needs to be deem ed that way in court.
    .-= Mitch´s last blog ..2010 World Cup Brazil vs Chile – Round of 16- Justin’s Free Pick =-.

    • Andrew
      Twitter:
      June 28, 2010 at 5:45 pm #

      Thanks for the advice Mitch.

      Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that stage – we shall have to wait and see.

      Andrew
      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Am I being Scammed Again =-.

    • JR
      Twitter:
      June 29, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

      I agree with Mitch completely, what he’s writing is slander as you have proof that you had a strong belief that you were using the content legally and ethically and if he’s going to make statements like “your a thief” which is not intended as his opinion, but is intended as fact then I believe that’s slander.

      Sorry this happened to you, I do not think he has a case, and him writing his erratic posts about you in the long run should not harm you.

      Sure sounds like he just wants money and I would do nothing more with him, unless you get a legal notice.

      I think you need to talk with your mentor as well and find out what is going on.
      .-= JR ´s last blog ..Does Blog Post Frequency Affect Google Rankings =-.

  9. Bruce June 28, 2010 at 10:52 pm #

    If this guy was serious, he would be using legal channels. He is a con man and probably does not own what he is accusing you of stealing.
    You need to protect yourself, as it seems that you know this fellow (the possibility of a prior arrangement) and he seems intent on inflicting some punishment on you. The burden of proof is on him to prove you did not have permission to use these articles.
    You can look at Googles indexing to find shots of his site. If it is well trafficed, that should not be a problem to find shots of any disclaimers from the time you used the articles.
    Except for payment, there isn’t much he can do to you as your site is off line. I encounter this in America quite often,scammers come to our clinic, get treated, then return with a Lawyer claiming they were injured when they fell off of a stool, but told no one while they were here. I have insurance against such claims. When I put together my llc, I bought similar insurance for the business, if you have it talk to your agent, insurance companies have some tough attorneys working for them. I am always glad they are on my side.
    Here, ignorance is not considered a credible defense. Get your ducks in a row and don’t give the guy a dime until you have your lawyer look over his claim and have him sent a cease and desist order. Do not communicate with him via email, only recorded telephone conversations in which you set forth the agenda or through certified mail or through your attorney.
    This may just be a lesson learned, or it could be painful, you did not have written protection in place before, get it done now.
    .-= Bruce´s last blog ..Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-06-27 =-.

  10. Jen June 28, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

    Hi Andrew,

    As many people on here have already attested, one of the things you are known and liked for is your honour as a first-class business owner. You have nothing to fear from people who are seeking to profit from your success. If I were you, now, I would move on from this rather pathetic slander and leave it behind. You are not vindictive or malicious enough to fight this guy on his own terms, and therefore it makes sense to put it down to experience, as previous comments have already advised.

    As for me, the fact remains that you changed my life and business through the help you have given to me. I’m not prepared to listen to anyone who is attempting to run you down. They don’t know you, how much you give to everyone you support through your business, and what a damnably decent guy you are. I’ve worked with you professionally for about 15 years now, and know you are one of the good guys!

    I hope this stupidity resolves. It’s unfair, unjust, and almost laughable, knowing you, that someone could accuse you of wittingly taking something without payment. I know that anyone who has had the benefit of working with you knows that too. You have nothing, at all, to prove right now.

    Jen
    .-= Jen @ blog writer´s last blog ..How to cheat at writing =-.

  11. Dana June 28, 2010 at 10:09 pm #

    So sad you go through all this mess.

    From what you tell in this article, I think the author have right to pursue you as well as you have right to pursue your “mentor”. In this situation, as others already said, you should pursue your “mentor” to clear the issue.
    .-= Dana @ Blogging Tips Blog´s last blog ..A Tool To Improve Our Affiliate Earning =-.

  12. Typhoon June 29, 2010 at 8:45 am #

    Just forget everything andrew…You just took the steps that is enough i.e. removed the content, and apologized to him. Now, I don’t find any need of paying him any kind of compensation and that too $650 for those 5 articles? Means, are they so good enough and top ranked on Google and able to make him that much money???..Ahh…I don’t think so.

    Don’t get scared by him as nothing will happen and everything will slowly forget of what happened…Just ignore him..And if you want to settle it down permanently just ask him to make a descent compensation amount..Everyone will laugh at what he is asking as a compensation 😀

    I find no one supporting that Robert since he appears to be a very weird guy…

    We are with you!

    PS. I don’t think that this case will require any lawyers or attending any courts as this is such a small case while compared to other big copyright issues.
    .-= Typhoon´s last blog ..How To Create A Super Commented Guest Post =-.

    • Andrew
      Twitter:
      June 29, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

      Thanks for your support – I really appreciate it.

      A lot of advice from everyone. Just need to absorb and make some decisions.

      Andrew
      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Am I being Scammed Again =-.

  13. Joseph Archibald June 29, 2010 at 3:55 am #

    Hi Andrew, I can’t offer anything much further than what everyone else has already said with regards getting a lawyer. Although it would appear that the chap who is intent on your jugular is not at all approachable with regards to coming to a reasonable agreement.

    I’m really ‘confused’ that this gentleman continues to say you are a liar and a thief when it is so obvious to EVERYONE else that you are entirely the opposite!

    If you were that person, then by all means, do push ahead and get the $650 or whatever payment, but because you are not at all this person – why does he not just let this be… Slap on wrist and then get along with his business of writing.

    Fine, we are aware that you were somewhat naive (sorry Andrew, you know what I mean here, right?) in that you trusted implicitly what your mentor was telling you and offering you and you went ahead with this without fully checking for yourself. But in all honesty, to be as abusive and threatening as this gentleman is – simply due to a bit of naivety, is beyond belief!

    I’m really sorry this is happening to you! Lessons learned for the future, but so much suffering in the meantime.

    Best wishes Andrew!
    Joseph
    .-= Joseph Archibald´s last blog ..Help- Google has SANDBOXED supplementals my Web Site- =-.

  14. Benjamin June 29, 2010 at 5:13 am #

    Andrew,

    As usual, I find myself agreeing with Bruce. The wronged author’s story stinks of pure B.S., but his threats are just enough to make you want to take it seriously.

    Neville Chamberlain made the same mistake with Hitler. Just because someone can string words together to sound reasonable… doesn’t mean they are anything resembling reasonable.

    This guy clearly wants some money from you… and if he was as well trafficked as he claims to be, $650 wouldn’t be worth wasting his time. If his family is hungry, why is he spending time defaming you when he could be writing? It is also possible that he just enjoys causing suffering. This is the only way many people feel they have power in the world… to create suffering for others.

    For what it is worth, I’m 100% behind you… I love your blog, and what you are doing. You have obviously touched a great number of people in a very positive way. Any time I buy an internet marketing related product, I check here to see if you have an affiliate link to it.

    As a final thought… there’s an old saying: Never wrestle with a pig in the mud!

    Why?

    Because you will always lose, you will always get filthy, and the pig loves every second of it.

    keep smiling,

    Benjamin
    .-= Benjamin@Online Free Self Hypnosis´s last blog ..Podcast – Intro to Stress Reduction =-.

    • Andrew
      Twitter:
      June 29, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

      Benjamin,

      As a final thought… there’s an old saying: Never wrestle with a pig in the mud!

      Why?

      Because you will always lose, you will always get filthy, and the pig loves every second of it.

      I love that!

      Made me smile.

      Andrew
      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Am I being Scammed Again =-.

  15. Candy Graham June 30, 2010 at 1:53 am #

    @xxxxxx is on my Twitter Troll List and has been for quite some time. Like benjaminlangley said, “there’s an old saying: Never wrestle with a pig in the mud!

    Why?

    Because you will always lose, you will always get filthy, and the pig loves every second of it.”

    Just substitute Troll for Pig. Trolls love the attention.

    Good Luck,

    Candy

  16. Bonnie Landau June 29, 2010 at 8:46 pm #

    Hi Andrew,
    It’s funny, I haven’t been around for a while, busy with life, and I came to your site today because I just knew you would have an answer to a question I had. While I don’t know you personally, I know you online, and I have to say, you are one of the nicest, most up front people I have encountered in the bloggosphere. And to be honest, I think that is exactly why this guy has picked you.

    I have a lot of experience in my life of dealing with individuals who do not perceive reality the same as I do. This guy sees the situation from his point of you, and he refuses to budge from that position. It’s obvious that no matter what you say, he has chosen to focus his anger at you, and your responses to him are inflaming that anger rather than changing his mind.

    This is now a PR challenge, and you have a network that can assist you in combatting it. You have done exactly what a major corporation would do in a situation like this – admit their mistake and make apologies. While there is nothing you can do to take down the comments he has said, I’m sure if I took a vote, many of the commenters here would be happy to help refute what he has said by creating positive blog posts about you or commenting on his blogs (if you’d like to release his name).

    Intellectual property on the web is not a concrete science yet, so I’m not sure you can do much more than let this blow over. It is complicated by state vs. federal laws, and can often be governed by where the server resides rather than where the person resides. Proving you “stole” his work would be extremely difficult, especially since you gave him a link back. Advice from a lawyer might settle the matter of the $650, but I think only time will resolve the negative words this guy has published.

    I hope this isn’t more input to confuse you. Just trying to help. You really are one of my favorite people on the web, and I found myself very angry reading how this guy is treating you.
    Take care,
    Bonnie
    .-= Bonnie Landau´s last blog ..10 Ideas for Blogging When You Don’t Have Time =-.

  17. Dennis Edell June 29, 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    Andrew, you know me, I know you, please take this as it is intended. You are right, and wrong.

    Whether he is scamming you or not, I do not know, that’s not what concerns me here…although, where is his proof that they are his?

    You did everything correctly, took them down, apologized, etc.

    What did strike me however was it seems you might have tried “passing the buck” once or twice to this mentor.

    I also know you as 100% honest and beyond.

    I’m sure you did outsource it. I’m sure you did have no idea of any possible wrong doing. I’m sure the mentor was the scammer, assuming this lunatic is correct.

    However, at the end of the day, our websites, our businesses, our whatever, is OUR responsibility. Know what I mean?

    Keeping that in mind, while he did go waaaaay over the top in many ways, especially time allotted before going off, he was right about one thing…..he deals with you, you deal with the mentor.

    Still friends? 😉
    .-= Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing´s last blog ..You’ll Want to Read-Comment-Share the Following Posts ASAP – Please- =-.

    • Andrew
      Twitter:
      June 30, 2010 at 10:30 am #

      Dennis,

      I am coming to the same conclusion – I deal with the author and I deal with the mentor.

      Still friends? Of course…I really appreciate your opinion.

      Andrew
      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..The Bloggers Holiday- How To Manage Your Blog While You Are On Vacation =-.

      • Dennis Edell July 1, 2010 at 6:45 pm #

        Phew! 😉

        I knew you’d get it, i just hope others do.

        You see it all the time too, I’m sure. Everyone at some point, whether they know it at the time or not, try to use either “monkey see monkey do” or “he told me too’ approaches.

        Bright side – you now have a legitimate-1st hand experience, I’ve been there-platform to teach others.
        .-= Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing´s last blog ..Organization is a MUST I’m Taking Time Off…Line =-.

        • Andrew
          Twitter:
          July 5, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

          Dennis,

          I do get it. Just annoyed with myself and my mentor.

          Andrew
          .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Is The Internet Making Us Less Sociable =-.

          • Dennis Edell July 5, 2010 at 4:55 pm #

            Is there an update on the mentor?
            .-= Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing´s last blog ..Aweber Affiliate Link Contest Update – WINNER- =-.

  18. Terrance Fulton June 30, 2010 at 7:16 am #

    The guys an idiot. First of all, the ‘internet police’ don’t have time for situations like this. You aren’t going to get in trouble for apparently stealing 5 articles. The articles are worthless. Your host on the other hand, is what you need to worry about. Some hosts are stricter than others. If you no longer have the content, your host will likely be okay with it. I mean, they want your money.

    Right now, your only dilemma is this. Do you really want to be ranked decently high in Google for an article about stealing articles when people search your name? It is for this reason that I don’t facebook message the guy myself to argue with him.

    • Andrew
      Twitter:
      July 5, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

      Thanks, Terrence. The site is down until I find my mentor and sort it all out.

      Thanks for the advice – really appreciate it.

      I didn’t delete the Facebook messages as I wanted to be open about it. Last thing I wanted was people finding out via other methods and thinking I was hiding something.

      Andrew
      .-= Andrew @ Blogging Guide´s last blog ..Is The Internet Making Us Less Sociable =-.

  19. Amy LeForge June 30, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    In all the articles I’ve ever seen on what to do if someone steals or scrapes your content, the first step is to send a cease and desist letter. That seems the reasonable thing to do. Even if this guy has legal standing to claim damages and so on, he’s not being reasonable.

    Shame on him. The world doesn’t need any more craziness.
    .-= Amy LeForge´s last blog ..The Towel Saga- Continued =-.

  20. Ian July 2, 2010 at 1:05 pm #

    Sorry to see what you’ve been going through Andrew. Unfortunately I have nothing to add in the way of advice. Thanks for sharing this with us – it serves as a pertinent warning as well as a great ‘heads up’ for us all.
    Keep your chin up and sod the b*****!!
    .-= Ian´s last blog ..Surgery for Tennis Elbow =-.

  21. Eat Smart Age Smart July 2, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    Andrew,

    I’m late at the party here, but this is incredible.

    Have you seeked legal advice on the matter/

    Can you contact your former-mentor at all?

    Wow – it goes to show how careful you MUST be.

    Krizia
    .-= Eat Smart Age Smart´s last blog ..New England Soup Factory Cookbook More Than 100 Recipes from the Nations Best Purveyor of Fine Soup =-.

  22. Sherri--Being the Change I Wish to See
    Twitter:
    July 4, 2010 at 5:27 am #

    Andrew,

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. This guy is clearly a bully, and he is scamming you. Otherwise, he would have made his demands through legal channels.

    First, I wouldn’t pay him a penny until he does this legally and proves enough for you to settle with him out of court. If he contacts you again, tell him to put it in writing and send it certified mail to your attorney. He will have to present real evidence that you did what he says you did.

    Since he chose to defame you in public without proceeding legally, I would sue him for 2-3 times what he is demanding you pay him for slander and defamation of character plus any harm he has done to your business revenue, attorney’s fees and court costs.

    I would have your attorney contact both facebook and twitter and get his accounts suspended.

    In the meantime, I would not wait on your lawsuit. Even if you do owe him for his articles, you proceeded properly. No matter what, he has no right to defame you on the internet. He also needs to prove you owe him the money. Don’t pay him until he presents proof and you get a court order to either appear or pay.

    He’s blustering about playing hardball. I would stop messing around and play hardball for real. This is not vindictive or revenge. It is handling the situation professionally.

    If he’s legitimate, you will likely come to an out-of-court settlement. If he’s not, it could save you a lot of money and your reputation. If you sue him, you may not get any money other than attorney’s fees and court costs.

    Work on contacting your mentor separately. His documentation may actually help you in court. If your mentor has evidence he had permission to sell the articles and the bully changed his TOS, then the burden of notifying everyone about it and sending out invoices for payment falls on said bully.

    Make him prove it. He’s tried to damage your reputation and business so make him prove that you did something wrong. Don’t just roll over and move on. He may keep this up if you bring your article site back up, which you have every right to do. American hosting companies cave when anyone complains about copyright infringement, even if it has no basis. They don’t want trouble so they shut you down and it takes a lot of legal work to get your content, let alone getting them to continue hosting it. If you don’t have an American hosting company, you have less to worry about.

    The only way to make a bully leave you alone is to overpower him. It sounds barbaric but it’s the only thing that works.

    Best of luck,
    Sherri
    .-= Sherri–Being the Change I Wish to See´s last blog ..Twisted bin Logic…Beware- =-.

  23. Luqman July 6, 2010 at 8:45 am #

    I think the guy is just after the money and he dont want to listing your explanation. Since the site is offline now, let see what he is going to do.

  24. Patrick July 6, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    This is pure Blackmail.But you said that the articles were provided to you by your mentor and that too for a fee so you should contact your mentor and explain him the whole situation.May be he will understand it and handle it in a better way since he know from where he got those articles for you.
    .-= Patrick@Reverse Phone Lookup´s last blog ..How to Trace Mobile Phone number in USA Canada and Caribbean Islands =-.

  25. Leah July 7, 2010 at 6:43 pm #

    Wow! I am so sorry to read this! I personally would not send him 1 penny.

    You paid for what you thought was original content. I’m sure by now you have rounded up all the documentation.

    Per the original contract via your mentor you gave link attribution. You should check the wayback archive to see if you can document this if you can’t find it in the Google cache.

    You should also tell this bottom feeder that he should immediately cease & desist in his public defamation of you and post a retraction. -> you should contact an attorney like Sherri mentioned above & get this guys Facebook & Twitter account suspended.

    Good luck!
    .-= Leah´s last blog ..Free Open Stock Photos- Images and Graphics for Your Website and Presentations =-.

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