Vlad Zablotskyy, author of the “Go Beyond MLS” blog has received a Cease and Desist letter from ePerks — a company that signs up agents (and others) to offer discounts to consumers.
Vlad posted an article today titled, “Chilling Effects: How a Behemoth Company Can Silence A Blogger“. In this post, he outlines some previous posts he’d made about ePerks, and prints the C&D letter from the ePerks attorney in its entirety.
In his post Vlad states, “The (C&D) letter contains nothing but untruthful accusations”.
The posts, and hundreds of comments on them, have been removed. (But may be coming back?)
My only experience with ePerks was when I was given the opportunity to write a paid review for them on my blog. Before I could decline, the review site pulled the request citing the check to pay them had been returned for non-payment.
I grow weary of companies sending out threatening letters making all sorts of demands. Personally I wish Vlad hadn’t pulled the posts. But he needs to do what he feels is best. Maybe instead of sending out whiny threatening C&D’s, ePerks should fix all that is giving them a bad perception. (There are many forums out there filled with reports of ePerks spam).
I suspect this won’t be the last time we see a law office threaten a blogger….
March 17, 2008 at 4:46 pm
I have been threatened a couple of times and I always stand my ground. I won’t let someone bully me or tell me what I can or can not say. i have been threatened with legal action too, I consider it part of my job.
March 17, 2008 at 4:49 pm
I think threats from attorneys are just going to get worst. What really sucks is the fact that we have to weigh if “being right” and having the freedom to post our opinion about someone is worth the lawsuit. Even if you “win”, you could still loose. **sigh** so much for the freedome of expression….
March 17, 2008 at 4:50 pm
I wish I did not take the posts down either. But I have learned from my mistakes.
I appreciate your link, however I think you might be unnecessarily exposing this blog to attacks from ePerks including their lawyers.
February 23, 2010 at 5:30 pm
Was this issue ever resolved? I am curious as to the outcome of the C&D letter as ePerks has trailed off the map.
Late Night Austin Real Estate
March 17, 2008 at 9:28 pm
One thing I love about the internet is a C&D letters usually bring about more negative publicity for the company. I also dont like eperks strategy of advertising through paid posts
March 17, 2008 at 10:59 pm
That was quite a letter!
Paid posts are not for advertising, but for links. If you are doing paid reviews, be careful. It’s a good way to see your blog stripped of it’s ability to pass page rank.
March 18, 2008 at 1:06 am
Vlad wrote; “I appreciate your link, however I think you might be unnecessarily exposing this blog to attacks from ePerks including their lawyers”
ePerks and / or their lawyers are more than welcome to come after me. I am the one fully and solely responsible for this post. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 480-235-4447.
Bring it on. I double-dog dare them.
March 18, 2008 at 1:27 am
I had never even heard of ePerks until just now (which I suspect is true for most people). Totally okay to send me the posts they insisted be taken down. I have a URL that is hosted in Australia and I love legal threats.
March 18, 2008 at 9:40 am
Thanks. No need to for these articles to be hosted in Australia. In fact I have just updated my yesterdays post and have allowed access to post titled “ePerks- a Scam or a Gem”. Most of the accusations in C&D is based on that post.
I also should mention that one of the post, which I will recover as well, had nothing but constructive criticism for their model. I have been in the world of online marketing for quiet some time and I found it strange that a company in generating a pre-launch buzz relied exclusively on paid reviews. Exception being that one commercial where woman Realtor gets killed.
They could have probably generate more attention if they spend the money they paid bloggers on two or three PRWeb press releases.
Jay thanks again. Your post is quite innocent really. I guess I am overreacting. But, I still have chills going down my spine every time I read the C&D.
March 18, 2008 at 11:09 am
In a stroke of irony, I got a voice mail from a Greg Rider this morning (in violation of Do Not Call rules no less). Greg was from “ePerks Real Estate” and was “in need of a Phoenix agent – lot’s of opportunity!”
I guess the other 20 Phoenix agents they have signed up don’t need any opportunities.
I won’t be returning Mr. Rider’s call.
Or, maybe I will…. 😉
March 18, 2008 at 11:27 am
Here in NJ they did not manage to get that many agents…. In fact I think so far there are only two in central part of the state. But then again NJ is very small comparing to other states.
Good luck Jay if you are going to give them a try. 😉
May 26, 2008 at 2:15 am
My only experience with ePerks was when I was given the opportunity to write a paid review for them on my blog.
Paid reviews in blogs?! That would explain some of the absurdly positive comments we see bobbing in the blogosphere surf. I assumed it was more like “I’ll put you over and put myself over for finding you in the process.” I didn’t realize people would prostitute their blogs by writing paid reviews without notifying their readers. I would think a revelation like that would cost a blogger his or her credibility.
May 26, 2008 at 8:56 am
Frank, many bloggers are doing great jobs with paid reviews. Although I personally am against the paid reviews after this whole fiasco with ePerks. I know a single mom who makes extra cash with the paid reviews and she did not loose any credibility as far as I am concerned.
May 26, 2008 at 8:58 am
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I did a total of three paid reviews on my blog — 3 out of over 1,000 posts. And all were clearly disclosed and identified as such.
Every service I’m aware of that “brokers” paid reviews requires the writers to disclose that it is exactly that.
I don’t do them any more, because I great weary of sifting through all the requests. But I don’t see anything wrong with doing them as long as they apply to and offer your readership something and are fully disclosed.
May 26, 2008 at 11:09 am
Jay, I appreciate that you also believe in full disclosure. Yesterday I found an old “prediction” somewhere else that brokers would probably pay $395 a year for Zolve without a second thought. My first thought was “how could anyone be so wrong”, then I saw the comment about paid reviews and I started to wonder if that blogger was trying to hoodwink his audience. Talk about unbridled optimism!
May 28, 2008 at 11:44 pm
ePerks and the paid bloggers they use is funny the more you look into it. After I wrote my blog at ActiveRain about their Lawsuit against Vlad I googled ePerks with my stumbleupon tool bar on and I see they had been stumbled, so I checked it out and laughed my ass off. The person that stumbled ePerks with a glowing report is a 25 year old guy in Malaysia.
What the heck does he know about a real estate lead generation company in the US. Nothing I’m sure except that he was paid for his stumble. LMAO, what do you think they pay bloggers in Malaysia? 10 cents maybe? Lol
July 15, 2008 at 12:12 pm
So they paid for a Stumble as well? Interesting. I’ve had several of my posts Stumbled and while you do get traffic, the bounce rate usually isn’t that great. I think the lawsuit has done more damage to ePerks then everything else combined.
July 15, 2008 at 1:02 pm
No they did not pay anyone to stumble their website. In fact, most of the reviews on stumble are not favorable to them either. I ma not sure they even know what SumbleUpon is.
July 15, 2008 at 10:30 pm
Vlad, I disagree, as I posted above their first stumble was by a 25 year old guy in Malaysia giving them a glowing report that sounds like it is right off there sales script. Definitely a paid stumble.
July 15, 2008 at 11:27 pm
Dennis, I thought C Richey was referring to me in his comment. They guy from Malaysia might have been a blogger like myself who wrote a paid review for them and then decided to give them an extra bonus in a form of a stumble. Can it be looked at as bought stumble? I don’t know if I would go that far. Besides, one stumble did nothing in terms of traffic. SumbleUpon is only good if you like to engage in it’s community.