ePerks – I Am Not A Minion Mr Cook

In what seems to be an impartial report on the ePerks vs Vlad lawsuit, Mr Ron Cook, the lawyer representing Brabus Ventures, owners of ePerks, made the following highly controversial statements.

Clearly, his minions out there are rallying behind him [...] They are trying to live off the company and raise their blog ranking. It’s really disgusting.

Mr Cook, what is really disgusting is that a failed startup, ePerks, is now trying to somehow recover some or all of their initial investment by taking an innocent blogger to court.

The article also elaborates not only on the legal threat to Vlad, but also to Trace at Broker Science, who has already made his response.

ePerks vs Vlad

He suggested that those taking part might be doing this for some alternative motive, purely for links.

Whilst I appreciate links, I could honestly have knocked out at least 5, possibly 10 solid pieces of “linkbait” or topical commentary in the 60+ hours I have already devoted to helping Vlad, most of which was in the last week, though it is hard to count time accurately when you have a 1 year old.

Next I am sure they will start suggesting that Vlad is in some way offering some form of monetary compensation for help. Nothing is further from the truth. I made a significant donation to Vlad’s legal fund.

Vlad is one of my most regular readers, and a good “online” friend – at no time has he ever asked me to write about his problems with ePerks. I am extremely loyal to friends.

I am also passionate about disclosure, and the type of shilling I have seen from what appears to be “minions of ePerks” have me reaching for napalm – the best cure for ridding the world of disease infested insects.

ePerks Real Estate on Blogging Zoom
ePerks on Real Estate on Propeller
ePerks Real Estate on Digg
ePerks Real Estate on Mixx – that one is currently popular on the front page

Special mention for ePerks Real Estate on Reddit – Mary’s blog isn’t ideal for Reddit, after all it has more than 2 colours and include graphic elements.
Then again, the only advertising like content on the blog is for products actually sold by Mary and her team. On Reddit any progression will be a running battle of those that read the post vs those that take 1 second hit back and then down vote. Every vote counts, at least for 30 seconds.

Social Media Tip

A great way of monitoring lots of discussion around a particular story is to monitor a search on Friendfeed.

You can either use a standard search for ePerks Real Estate on Friendfeed or you can use an advanced search using &public=1 to get content from the whole of Friendfeed.

An easy way to bookmark discussion threads for a later date is to then “like” them

I do expect Mr Cook to publish a retraction on the blog he doesn’t have – he has a website, but the designer still offers “doorway pages” as part of their service. I hope he hasn’t been asking his web designer for SEO advice regarding this case.
Mr Cooks website ranks 5th when searching for it with very specific search terms including full company name and location – I won’t bother linking to it.

Most of the links above are to promote a story on Mary’s website, not my own. Most of my readers will know Mary as REBlogGirl

Mary has written a really good overview of the ePerks story that anyone can digest

Mary and her company specialise in custom blogs for real estate with hosting and they are offering a semi-custom blog plus a year’s hosting to anyone who blogs about the ePerks scandal – this doesn’t include their custom lead generation system or domain registration.
It is a very generous offer, and I hope lots of bloggers take her up on it.

Place yourself in Vlad’s position – what would it do to your life? Yeah… exactly – Digg Stumble Propeller Mixx Zoom Tweet the hell out of Mary’s post – it is your freedom at risk

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Comments

    • says

      Igor I deleted the links, they just went to a “this page does not exist yet” on Wikipedia, which is just a terrible user experience.

      Linking to non-existant pages on Wikipedia is worse than linking to stubs.

      • says

        Andy, no problem, but that is how Wikipedia functions. They are call Red Wiki Links. Any Wiki you go to you will find Red links. Red links or links to an article that does not exists yet are created by one editor, another editor who chooses to start an article will add content to that article. Another editor will wikify the content to make sure it conforms to Wikipedia notability, reliability, and verification process.

        It is team work. I understand you are not familiar with building a Wikipedia article and thought I did something disregarding Netiqueete, but I assure you I have not.

        If anyone here interested in creating the Wikipedian articles for Brabus Ventures and ePerks please do. If you need help in understanding how an article is created please come see me on my Wikipedia page and I will instruct you. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Igorberger or you can Tweet me. http://twitter.com/igorthetroll

        Also Andy, an article may not even be notable per Wikipedian policy, but there are benefits to that. Email me and I will explain.

  1. says

    Andy, I admire your loyalty and it’s good to know that people like you are out there. I’ll stumble the story again, keep it up.

  2. says

    Andy,

    Thanks for you tips on how to use Friendfeed. Like most of us Internet enthusiasts, I signed up for Friendfeed, but I really haven’t done anything with it. I am going to try to do a search and follow a topic right now. It will help my blogging efforts.

  3. says

    Well… I guess this is a complement to Vlad but realy to suggest that a hierarchy obviously exists in a decentralized environment is to talk complete and utter **** (insert choice word here). Then again it seems that this is what the minions of you know who are best at. Feel free to quote me on that.

    “Minion is a term for favourites or protégés, especially those of a monarch or prince at a royal court. Unlike a henchman or lackey, although of subordinate rank to his patron a minion is likely to be of noble birth or to be raised to the nobility, and is more of a companion and confidant to him than a servant or bodyguard.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minion

    Honestly! It’s a wonder they lasted as long as they did.

  4. says

    Minion. I just feel the need to type that as often as I can now. Never been called that before, but I’ll take it. 1 point for ePerks for the most creative use of insults I’ve seen recently. What I want to know is how can one Company employ, contract, grow in a test tube so many people with so little self control and so much anger. I’ll say it again- ePerks: get some real attorneys, a real PR firm, put Ben on some heavy meds and at least try to salvage this situation instead of making it worse.

  5. says

    2 points to REBlogGirl for best comment so far :-)

    Andy – not to go too far OT, but as this moves on and on around the net it gets me wondering…

    How do you suppose this may effect “reviews” in general in the future? Will we have to make them more “plugs” then honest reviews, out of fear?

    Stupidity aside, this sets a tone, and not a good one. I sure as hell couldn’t afford the wrong end of a lawsuit.

    Perhaps an idea for a future article/post…

    • says

      Dennis it frightens me too, it is not just because Vlad is a great member of my community that I am voicing such strong opinions.
      Vlad actually got involved with paid reviews very much because of me, and stopped doing them out of fear after this ePerk’s incident.

      It is really hard for a blogger to remain objective as it is, especially with claims that payment affects their abiity to give fair commentary.

      With the threat of lawsuits, in some ways it makes it worse, but at the same time it might offer some level of protection.

      It is complicated, but yes it is something I need to address in a blog post

  6. says

    I’ve never done anything like PPP out of Google fear, but i would like to privately advertise…I guess “super picky” might be the order of the day now.

    I figured you were the best to do that post, you’ve been champing this more then anyone…Vlad is lucky to have those like you on his side :)

  7. says

    I am with Andy 100%. Since I met him online a little over a year ago we stood together on a number of issues. Andy is a great guy, even though we may not see eye to eye on an issue sometimes, but he is always objective and investigates what the grievances are about.

    When I was wronged by Danny Sullivan on Sphinn Andy might not have agreed with me in the beginning, but a few months latter he took the fight to Danny!

    I trust Andy as Human Rights advocate for Bloggers, and I stand proudly with him in solidarity.

    Andy, thank you for being my friend and one of my allies.

  8. says

    Thanks for the heads up on the friendfeed connection, I’m going to have to check that out- I always get overwhelmed trying to keep track of conversations across several social networks.

  9. says

    I would be interested to see if this firm ever makes some kind of retraction or even tries to saver their name.

    I’m not closely linked to either of these companies but I am in real estate. I’ve read blogs as a part of my daily routine to keep abreast of the real estae community and different changes in the market place.

    I can assure you, I’d never attach my name to a company like EPerks.

    If their lawyer thinks that the blogging community out there are “Minions,” then he is seriously mistaken.

    We all read the news and all know what is going on. The power of blogs is as powerfull as any other for of media.

    EPerks – if you were smart, you would turn all of this publicity into positive publicity and do the right thing. As a business entity, from a PR perspective you can turn all of this negative publicity around and boost your organization. However, I get the feeling that there are too many ego’s at stake and that will never happen.

    My two cents as one of the minions.

  10. says

    I love the graphic (and the movie).

    I posted up this story on my blog and was glad to find some press here.

    The eJerks seem to be pretty darn arrogant. It’ll catch up with them.

  11. says

    I just did some more quick research on the whole case…And Mary is right! It does seem like ePerks is trying to take down Vlad but having the opposite effect. HA! Good job supporting Vlad, I’ve stumbled this page.

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