Monday, August 03, 2009

Victoria Strauss -- Niche Age Media: Laray Carr Returns

One of the strangest schemes ever covered in this blog was a faux magazine startup called Laray Carr.

Operating out of Terrell, Texas, Laray Carr first came to my attention in August 2007 with a call for freelance writers, who could earn $50 per article for a minimum submission of 10 articles, paid on publication. The company purported to be planning to simultaneously launch 40 different lifestyle magazines focusing on food, fashion, music, home decor, and the like--yet with the launch date of September 20 only weeks away, was still scrambling to accumulate content. There was no website, and no information could be found on the company's owner, Quincy Carr. Company staff seemed to know little about Laray Carr's goals, finances, and business plans, and were unable to answer questions.

Red flags galore, in other words. Even so, many writers went ahead and submitted articles. But by September, with no payment forthcoming, writers began to get worried. Laray Carr became a hot topic on various freelancers' websites.

Over September and into October, a bizarre story unfolded. Most of the articles were ultimately rejected, on flimsy grounds, with a strange kiss-off letter. Those that weren't rejected were never paid for. Freelance editors, many of whom claimed to have done substantial work for the company, also weren’t paid. Web designers reported being asked to make multiple revisions to website templates, with the promise that payment would be forthcoming once the changes were complete--but it never was. Several websites appeared and disappeared, most incorporating grammatical and other errors. Supposedly custom-designed magazine covers proved to have (maybe) been stolen from other sources, or created using stock images. The company turned out to be doing business under several different names. The mysterious Quincy Carr was alleged to possibly have an arrest record.

Was Laray Carr investor bait? Did it plan to sell advertising and run? Or was it a genuine, if profoundly misguided and disastrously poorly planned, effort to establish a magazine empire? We'll never know. By the end of October 2007, Laray Carr had vanished without a trace.

Until now.

An anonymous tipster last week drew my attention to the possibility that Laray Carr had been resurrected as a company called Niche Age Media (over the weekend in which I wrote this post, the formerly-active website has turned into a placeholder, but here's a cached version), run by someone named Quinn Rhodes. I normally take such tips with a hefty grain of salt. On investigation, however, the similarities proved striking.

- Focus. Both Laray Carr and Niche Age Media were/are lifestyle magazine companies, planning the simultaneous or near-simultaneous launch of multiple publications: 40 for Laray Carr, 45 for Niche Age (this info appears in the press release area of the Niche Age website). Laray Carr's mission was to "connect to our readers’ most personal thoughts and ideas with an offering of magazines that speaks [sic] directly to them," while Niche Age wants to "enrich lives and strengthen communities...our magazines make life richer, fuller, & complete." Although Laray Carr's magazines were supposed to be national publications, and Niche Age claims a more regional approach, the range of subjects (home decor, food, wine, music, gardening, sports, brides, etc.) is also similar.

- Location. Both Laray Carr and Niche Age were/are based in Terrell, Texas. What are the odds that two separate magazine companies, each planning to launch multiple lifestyle magazines, would spring from this one town?

- Stiffing of staff. Laray Carr's M.O. was to hire staff on a contract basis, extract substantial amounts of work from them, and then never pay. Niche Age seems to be operating in the exact same way.

I've managed to locate and contact several Niche Age editors, all of whom tell me that they have done a lot of work for the company--but, despite the fact that their contracts stipulate monthly payment, have not yet received a penny. Their questions are met with excuses--funding problems, restructuring, the economy. Recently, they were told that the "taster" issues produced for the company's launch were no good and couldn't be used. Shades of Laray Carr's writer kiss-off.

At least one of Niche Age's web designers seems to be having the same kind of problem. See this complaint at a freelancers' website, from a designer who claims to have been hired by Niche Age, asked for multiple changes and revisions even after the website went live, and then never paid. This is very much like the experiences reported by Laray Carr's various web designers, such as this one or this one.

- Nonperformance. Laray Carr never got off the ground, despite elaborate promises and successively postponed launch dates. Niche Age also has failed to meet its launch dates. Per a May press release, its initial three magazines were supposed to go live by the end of May--but the website for these magazines (currently residing on the website of a web design service) is nonfunctional, and there's no sign that the magazines exist. Also in May, another press release claimed that other company magazines would "debut in the next two months"--but there's no sign of them, either. According to the editors I contacted, the magazines' print date was pushed back to July 31--but it's now August 3, and no magazines. Apart from several recent job postings, there's no public sign that Niche Age Media is active at all.

- Websites. Laray Carr's several websites were notable for poor writing and typos and other errors (you can get the flavor at this still-existing dummy version). Ditto for Niche Age, which among other things has an issue with the spelling of "its." The design of the websites, which each feature scrolling magazine titles and an animated masthead with rotating shots of magazine covers, is also similar. As is the propensity of both companies' websites to abruptly vanish and be replaced by page holders.

- And the clincher. Laray Carr was founded by Quincy Carr. Niche Age Media's head honcho is Quinn Rhodes (this name doesn't appear anywhere on Niche Age's website, but Niche Age's URL is registered to Rhodes. Suggestive, perhaps, but not conclusive. Ah, but guess what I have in my very own hands? One of Niche Age's PDF media kits. Just a little click on the Document Properties menu item reveals that the author is...Quincy Carr.

(The media kit is quite something, by the way. It's attractively-enough formatted, but it's poorly written and contains numerous errors (the magazines, for instance, are supposed to "premier" in June), statistics apparently pulled from the air, a really lame tag phrase ("Live Better. Where You Live."), and some truly unfortunate word and phrase choices, such as the "Eat Out the County" marketing program, or, under the heading of audience buying interests, "Wine Cellular Services.")

So it seems my tipster was correct: Niche Age Media is Laray Carr, reborn. Another play for investors? Another exercise in doomed ambition? As before, I suspect we’ll never know. One thing, though, is clear: for Quincy Carr (to paraphrase Jacqueline Susann), once was not enough.

46 comments:

Mags said...

This is a really bizarre story. What is the purpose of these enterprises? Quincy Carr has apparently scammed writers and editors and web designers out of work, but what is being done with this work? What has Carr gained? Is he/she using it to scam investors into giving him/her money? Or is Carr just a monumental dreamer without the wherewithal to follow through? I'm just lost. But it's a great story.

SB said...

I am without words. Except these, obviously.

Astounding.

Anne G. said...

Way back to Laray Carr - I'd queried them and received the contract and an email stating before I could submit anything I had to fax my social security info to them immediately. That to me was a red flag. While the true intention of the scam was never uncovered, the fact that many people did willingly send their SS number to this scam horrified me.

I don't know if the social security numbers were ever used fraudulently, but in my mind identity theft was always a strong possibility for motive.

Tina said...

grrrrr. What happened to all those police reports we filed (those who were screwed over the first time)? Are the cops in on this or why is nothing happening to this guy?

I have followed up with the police, told the FBI was even in on it, but nothing. NOTHING!

I don't get it!

Michael said...

You won me over with "Eat Out the County."

Eirin said...

"Eat Out the County" is terrific, if for all the wrong reasons.

I can't make out the agenda either. Unless Carr is under some weird compulsion to embark on grandiose and improbable schemes, it must have to do with advertisment money.
Despite the work put in by the various freelancers, that's the only possible moneytrail I can spot.

Genesis said...

I hate to admit it, but I was fooled by this "company" the first time around, too. I went on to sell the articles I had written elsewhere, but still. Also, I never provided any SS information.

Here's hoping they'll get this guy this time around!

caribbeanmuse said...

Thank you for posting this. This man must be stopped! I know a number of single, wah moms who have jumped at the opportunity to write for these magazines only to have spent enormous amounts of time and energy to write feature articles and provide photos for no compensation. I am still unclear as to how he benefits from these crazy start ups, unless he is just psychotic and gets a thrill out of the control he must feel when operating this way. Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to say that I was one of the writers stiffed this time around. Typically, I don't write anything on spec. I only accepted the assignments because one of the contract editors was a former business associate whom I trusted. Of course, she got stiffed as well.

This guy is slime. But I'm still so confused as to how this scam netted him anything?!?! Perhaps a few checks from potential advertisers? Otherwise, it's so elaborate and cruel, that it definitely falls into the category of evil.

Anonymous said...

Oh, one last detail. This time, he offered $500 for a feature story. So it was attractive to experienced writers who have been struggling a bit.

Anonymous said...

I am one of the writers who got pulled in by Niche Age. I haven't been paid. The magazines have not gone to press and been delayed multiple times. The editor I was working under hasn't bothered to communicate with me or let me know what happened. I had to hear it from another writer. She may have been scammed too, but she needs to relay this information to her writers.

Jim K said...

I live in Terrell. Has anyone contacted the Terrell Tribune? Maybe they can do some research on the ground here?

Anonymous said...

Ok everyone, the time has come where I have to say you are all right and I have been hit hard by this guy.. 6 weeks ago I was contracted by what appeared to be a legal document to the tune of $4k a month. I produced 49 magazine covers, a 12 page media kit and 2 fliers. Mr. Quinn has kept in constant contact with me until it was time to be paid. He has vanished and just by dumb luck and extra time I googled this last night and walla! This is what I found.. All of you and my theory of scam proven. What do we do now??? SOMETHING MUST BE DONE.

DeadlyAccurate said...

A google of Niche Age Media turns up a couple of Rip-off Reports with an address for Niche Age Media and Quinn Rhodes. I did a search on the address in google maps and looked at the street view. It's a suburban neighborhood, not a business district.

Anonymous said...

This guy Quinn Rhodes has resurfaced under another company name called Phase One events. Beware! He is doing event planning now and trying to get freelancers to work for him under the same month-long pay promise. I cant seem to uncover the scam, maybe he's trying to get these companies off the ground? I dont know. But he needs to be stopped.

Anonymous said...

This is the latest and the post has been deleted connected to this.


DFW (Dallas / Fort Worth) Taste Mall
Has anyone else spoken with a Quinn Rhodes from this company Phase One? I may be premature, but seems to have disappeared after requesting a deposit before ...
newyork.craigslist.org/mnh/crg/1296914350.html - Similar

Anonymous said...

This guy is unbelievable. I was affected as well by promises of huge opportunities and income. I really thought I had got that huge break all freelancers are sure will come their way after years of working online. I hope this guy rots a slow painful death. He has robbed, hundreds I'm told not only of money but hopes and dreams, the ultimate prize any of us hold.

He needs to pay, how can we make this happen? Surely, jail time is in order

Anonymous said...

I too was a victim of this company, Niche Age Media and Quinn Rhodes. I am a web developer, and I suggest that we all take the time to fill out reports on ripoffreport.com and file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, fyi they do NOT need to be listed with teh BBB in order to file a complaint. I intend to take legal action against them, the more people that post and share their stories the quicker word will spread about their deceitful practices. FYI here is some of the projecst they are doing:

www.phaseoneevents.com
www.regionsmedia.com
www.broadcastdfw.com
www.ondfw.com
www.everdaydfw.com
www.dfwtastemall.com
www.dfwlastchefstanding.com
www.americatastefest.com
www.dfwspot.com
www.dfwsn.com
www.nicheage.com

Also Quinn Rhodes is listed as the Admin on some sites and on others it is Mike Epson, so take note of his name as well.

Anonymous said...

How can some one get away with all this? I'm dumb founded he wasn't put away the first time. Quinn Rhodes or whatever the *^&^ his name is, is playing with people's lives. Who died and made him God?

Does anyone have any idea why this continues? Why are so many people effected by this and he still continues to do it?

I fail to see how any one could be so cruel as this, it is very eye opening for certain.

Victoria Strauss said...

Sorry I've been MIA from this blog post--I've been on vacation.

The Niche Age Media website seems to have gone belly-up--it will no longer load at all, not even as a placeholder.

I've been hearing from other editors and designers who've done work for Niche Age and Quinn/Quincy and haven't been paid. There may be an active police investigation at this point--I'm checking on that--and I'm also planning on contacting the officer who checked into the old Laray Carr scheme.

About Quinn/Quincy's motivation and purpose...he clearly has figured out (or thinks he has) how to start a company with zero cash. Hire people...promise them payment on delivery...use that work as investor/advertiser bait...and then, depending on whether his intentions are good or bad, either fulfill his payment obligations or abscond with the cash. Or, as may have happened in this case, be too incompetent to attract any advertiser money and crash and burn. Whatever the motivation behind it, it's a Ponzi scheme.

My personal hunch is that this is a roleplaying exercise for him--"Quinn Rhodes (or Quincy Carr), Magazine Mogul." Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to have the skills or contacts to turn it into more.

Last time around, with Laray Carr, there was fear that writers' work would be sold or used without their permission. That doesn't seem to have happened, so I suspect it won't happen this time either. But you never know, so I'd suggest that writers occasionally Google key phrases from their articles, just to be on the safe side.

I'll keep this thread updated with any information I receive.

Victoria Strauss said...

I did searches on the URLs listed in the comment above, and came up empty on most of them. Most are registered to a Mike Epson of Green Metro or Green Metro Group. No combination of these search terms brings up any results.

I did get a hit for "Phase One Events" (which by the way shouldn't be confused with several other companies by the same name), from (you guessed it) a freelancers' job site. The listing exhibits Quinn/Quincy's distinctive verbal stylings, and is seeking a graphic artist (22 bids) and an architect (7 bids). I've written a note to the site.

Anonymous said...

Victoria:

Please keep us posted. As you can see this man has really hurt a lot of people and we would love to see him be accountable for such an evil scheme.

Thanks for your hard work on this.

JG said...

If you do find out if there is an active investigation or you find the info on the previous case, please post it here or let me know where to look. I am taking legal action against him, and any more info or anyone willing to talk about their experience would be great. He cannot get away with this. FYI someone is working on the dfrwtastemall.com site, let's see what they put up. As for the sites listed above, Quinn Rhodes has involvement with them, I saw them registered under his account at AT&T hosting when I was doing work for him.

Anonymous said...

I am all for taking legal action. JG, how do I contact you? Send a sign of some sort.

I was scammed by Quinn as well, bad.

I recommend a class action suit.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes folks he is back and this time he wanted to build a 400,000 or was it 500,000 square foot building in which various restaurants and sponsors would just DIE! to get into in order to get the promotion.

The name of the event? DFW TasteMall

Originally it was supposed to be 10 events over the course of 3 months...the wheels fell off that plan pretty easily. Then we were supposed to have it in late september...yup the wheels fell off there as well...Then it got moved to Black Friday Weekend...The wheels are wobbling, but still on.

Now we were supposed to have it at Plano Park, well Plano park was too small. Then we were supposed to have it at the New Dallas Cowboys stadium...too bad they were using it that day. Next up was the Dallas Motor Speedway..Perfect right? Oh no! now we are hearing the cost of the structure is just INSANE and since we don't have any revenue coming in we can't afford it...DARN! So now lets look at the Dallas Convention Center..except wait..we can't bring outside food in unless we buy out the caterer,which of course costs money.

The hand wringing goes on and on....

I'll keep you all updated...my colleague and I have Quinn Rhodes on a string twisting in the wind...stay tuned

Becky in Texas, America said...

I was contracted to write for Kaufman County Magazine. I was not asked for my SS number. The last communication I had from an editor was at the end of May, and they have not responded to my follow-up inquiries since.

I not only took a day off of work to do the interviews, but burned a tank of gas driving the three hour round trip to Mabank and back...not to mention the hours spent at the computer writing the 750 word article. The people involved in the interview wasted their time as well!

While failed enterprises are not a rarity in business, something should be done to stop this guy if this is his standard MO and a deliberate scam. Outrageous!

Anonymous said...

I too was taken by the Nicheage scam. Admittedly it seemed to good to be true, but I was dying to start my freelance career. I am a bankruptcy attorney and have been monitoring the bankruptcy court dockets in hopes that Nicheage would turn up. No luck thus far. It seems that a scam company has no need to file bankruptcy. However, I will begin to monitor any individual filings under Quinn Rhodes, Quinn Carr, etc. However, I don't anticipate much luck as I'm sure he has run off with money and has no need for relief. Man this pisses me off.

JG said...

I would highly suggest people contact the Better Business Bureau about this company/man. Chris Burgess is the person I have been talking to at the BBB and he can be reached directly at 214.740.0863. The more people that report this, the more it will help those of us who are going to persue legal action and stop people like this from operating.

P.S. the website dfwtastemall.com has chnged in the last 3 days so something is still happening on that front. This is affiliated with another one of his "companies" called Phase One Events. Watch out for them as well.

JG said...

And the rollercoaster ride continues...

Now the Phase One Events website (www.phaseoneevents.com) is redirecting to regionsmedia.com, both of which Quinn Rhodes is involved with (I have emails from him to prove it).

I guess now, we should see some work requests from Regions Media. Oh, and by the way, the man who registered phaseoneevents.com and regionsmedia.com, Mike Epson, lives near Quinn Rhodes (about 1.13 miles, 1 neighborhood over) in Terrell, TX.

Victoria Strauss said...

JG, thanks for the update. I'm continuing to follow this, but don't have anything new to report.

Aglaia761 said...

HI Victoria,

Can you send me a copy of the media guide? I am currently putting together a document of all of the various aliases and company names I found online featuring Quinn Rhodes and Quincy Carr.

By the way, I believe his real name is Quincy Lamore Carr and he has a criminal record in dallas county with time served for fraud and theft.

Kristina said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Aglaia761 said...

Hi Kristina,

Do you have contact information for the police and Star Telegram?

I have compiled a document of Quinn's various aliases, company names, and any other information I could find on the web. I'd like to pass this info along to whomever you've been talking to.

Victoria Strauss said...

I deleted Kristina's comment, above, because it included unsubstantiated allegations of criminal conduct, and provided personal contact information. I'm re-posting it, with that info redacted, below.

Kristina, please contact me: beware@sfwa.org.

----------------------------

Unfortunately, I was another victim of "Quincy" and his latest failure, Niche Age Media.

I wrote three extensive articles (and also included accompanying photos) for one of his magazines that were approved and promised to go into print. And as you can guess, I never got paid.

"Quincy" never answered his phone, and would not return my emails unless I forwarded them to his "publication manager".

I'll copy and paste one of his last e-mails that I find incredibly humorous. This was in response to my e-mail when I let him know that I found several websites that thoroughly documented his "company" as a scam. Here's his response (please be aware it's hard to read as he seems to have the education level of a third-grader):

Quincy: These links to whatever information or resources you find is I already knew about this months ago, this stems from a form developer we worked with that had a dispute between him and the programmer again you keep trying to fan stuff up. If I was half as clever as a Bernie Madoff (the ponzie scheme guy ) and was going to cheat people out of something if it would be work, programming, editing, publishing, writing whatever some of you people seem try to fan up as some conspiracy to defraud someone. Like I said I'm tried of answering this kind of stuff ok so this is my last response to these kinds of emails l so CC everyone you want to see this email. So I will kindly say if your looking for a witch hunt please don't send to my email.
You know if you search hard enough you will also find people online that thinks Barrack Obama wasn't born in the USA, the fact is take what you learn online with a grain of salt and before you make snap judgments if a person that created 47 magazines , 22 websites, etc on therre own ok and was going to rip you off in any kind of way, would he be stupid enough to use his own name, talk with the editors and interview them for jobs, cont. to work when he could have disappeared, cont. to answer these emails when again could have just went poof ok do u get that. Think about it. I know money is hard to come by trust me i haven't seen a paycheck since December so I know how you feel. But please stop emaling me about this ok.

......As you can see, Quincy is a horrible speller and has no concept of proper grammar. At first I thought maybe he was in a hurry or typing via phone, but in reality he's just an idiot. I also found that his so-called "47 magazines" were NON-EXISTENT. That, along with his failure to pay me even one dime, is why I (and the editor I worked for) began investigating him.

After using some contacts I have with the Fort Worth Star Telegram, I found that Quincy was indeed a current resident of Terrell, has a police record [specific allegations redacted], and has very little documentation on file about his work history. He is a horrible "publisher", a scam-artist, and a definite waste of human life.

You could say I'm bitter, but I'm just being honest.

Also, I thought it might be helpful to include the contact info I have for him.

E-mail: [Redacted]
Home Phone Number: [Redacted]

I've tried calling but he never answers his phone. However, I know it's not disconnected because it keeps ringing. Feel free to call him. A lot. ;)

His "publication manager" (who is most likely Quincy posing as someone else) can be reached at this e-mail: [Redacted]

I'm hoping the on-going police investigation will bring this pathetic individual to justice and no one else will have to endure a messy situation like we have.

And FYI, the Star-Telegram is also interested in publishing an article about him once more details from the police investigation surface.

Victoria Strauss said...

Aglaia,

When people share documentation with me, they do so in the assurance of confidentiality. I'm afraid I therefore can't send you the media guide (plus, I have no idea who you are).

Contact me if you'd like to share information--thanks.

Anonymous said...

Fortunately, I only wrote a short article for Niche Age (Johnson County Magazine), and I didn't provide them with my SS#. The pay rate did seem too good to be true, so I should have known better, but that doesn't excuse this idiot for wasting my time. I will be much more careful from now on. I am willing to help with any investigation.

Jessica said...

I also was a victim for $750 (2 articles). I am in the process of getting the detective's name who is in charge of the other case and he is still pursuing criminal action against him.

Army of Mom said...

First off, if no one else has caught it - the word is VOILA, not walla.

With that said, I was scammed in and produced two very nice feature articles for one of these so-called start-ups. As an experienced freelancer, I always write first, get paid later. Occasionally, a client will pay half up front, but that is rare.

So, with a trusted source referring me to an experienced editor, I was ok with things. The whole one-week turnaround for a 1,200-word story was a bit odd, but not unheard of.

I took my losses with grace and sold one article to another magazine and gave the other article to a community newspaper.

I, like the rest of you, still can't see what this guy gets out of doing this. Very, very frustrating. Thankfully, I didn't put many hours into the project and I will still get some compensation for my work.

Thanks for the great blog post and information.

Ellen M. Kozak said...

Victoria, thank you for this whole post, which explains a lot.

I have been working with one of the unfortunate editors who was suckered by this guy. The price offered for the stories might have made doing them an attractive proposition, but the actual writer contract was so contradictory that I told the editor (who hadn't been paid yet either) to demand a check pronto.

I have seen people like this guy in publishing before, though not this bad. I had at first thought he was one of the "all hat and no cattle" wannabe publishers who tries to start a publication with no capital, hoping the money from the sale of ads will carry him through the first couple of editions. Then I started to look into his dealings, and I have been advising the editor with whom I was dealing to join with other editors (and any writers who were scammed) and take this to the Texas Workforce Commission and to the District Attorney for the appropriate county.

Unfortunately, this Quin/Quincy Rhodes/Carr does NOT appear to be as naive as the language in his contracts would seem to indicate. He has created contracts with just enough obfuscation that he might get away with not paying if a civil suit were instigated. However, if his pattern of practice can be proved, perhaps a criminal prosecution could be instigated by the appropriate authorities. (And, because he solicited people in other states, possibly a Federal criminal suit is warranted!)

In the meantime, "Army of Mom" did the most professional thing in not signing the contract and placing the work she had done elsewhere.

Just a suggestion, but if a contract is making up terms that you've never seen before (like "first national rights"-- of what nation?), or seems to contradict itself from one paragraph to the next, don't sign it. As a matter of principle, I don't believe in signing work made for hire contracts unless they are incredibly remunerative AND come from a reputable source. Virtually no publisher meets BOTH criteria-- and when they do, they can often be talked out of "work for hire" status for the work.

Anonymous said...

I also wrote a couple of stories for the Kaufman county magazine and was offered one of the editor positions. I declined the editor position after reading the ridiculous agreement.

I feel really bad for the people who did more work. I'm annoyed that I dropped everything to turn two stories around in 48 hours -- a requirement according to the editor. But, I realized quickly that I would never be compensated. The whole idea was insane in this economic climate.

Anonymous said...

Please - anyone who has contacted the newspapers or has detailed information as to an attorney who is handling the case or the police, please post your response here.

Like so many others, I fell for this as well and just received an email pointing me to this web page. I would like to be included.

Who does this guy think he is anyway? And yes, being in the publishing industry, you would think his english and typing would be much better.

Please keep us posted.

no said...

My name Is Clara Burrell and we did telemarketing for him way back in March and still have never been paid and he owes me 1040.00 and I do have a signed contract by Quinn Rhodes.
I would love to find an attorney that will go after him and get us our money and then put him in jail after we put a lien on all of his property or wahtever he owns.

Nichole said...

I was a victim too, but not as a writer. "Quinn Rhodes" of Nicheage Media hired me paint a portrait in spring of 09 through Guru.com, and we kept in great contact during the process. When the portrait was finished, he disappeared. Thankfully, I still have the painting, so I can reuse the canvas. But I have to wonder...who were the people in the photo?

I don't understand. What was the point of all this?

wanderingwind said...

I am a web development designer from India. And i was duped of some 1700$ by a person named Sam who was representing Green Metro Group. The email address was greenmetrogroup@aol.com.

They had asked me to revise templates of some 10 websites. And after i send the templates after a signed WDA.. But Sam vanished and i tried reaching him again and again till i realized i was duped.

I have a feeling this person is connected to all that has been discussed here.

Kindly update me as i would like to know if the law has caught up with them.

Thanks everyone

Anonymous said...

Hi all, I see your post in this blog.. I design a lot of brand for an agency in Tx (dallas fort worth) and one of 180 logos is for www.dfwsn.com! I have not the payment for nothing of these works from 1 year (I have started these works on febrary 09).. anyone have some news about that?

Alshoff said...

This is rather late, but I thought I might add some observations on what this person may have been doing.

A group of people called "Internet Marketers" buy articles on various topics. These articles are placed on blogs or webpages. These articles count as fresh/good content in search engines' (Google's) eyes. The Internet Marketer places advertising based on the articles' content/keywords.

The thing is that these articles are sold as PLR: Private Label Rights. The buyer is not required to identify the author. In fact, he/she claims it as her own and even rewrites it. (Rewriting is required in order to avoid the wrath of Google which does not look kindly on duplicate content.)

I believe Laray was attempting to purchase some high quality articles to later resell to Internet Marketers. The fact that he had a website with the word "niche" in it lends credence to this. ("Niche marketing" is a frequent focus of Internet Marketers.) The "magazines" he was creating were probably just webpages which would contain the purchased articles and a generous amount of advertising.

If you want to know more about this phenomenon which plagues the Internet, I suggest you Google "Warrior Forum" and just read message board for a while. You'll get an idea of how these people operate.