Category: LeapFish

CEO Of LeapFish Removes Rebuttal To Click Fraud Bombshell

UPDATE May13, 2010: Things pertaining to LeapFish.com, their founders and management, along with related startups are no longer of interest to me, therefore no further comments are allowed on this post. There are also more reliable sources out there (such as Better Business Bureau) to help you make an informed decision about LeapFish.

***You may also want to know that the Law Firm of Daniel Bakondi, in San Francisco, CA, is investigating a possible Class Action Law Suit Against LeapFish.

About a year ago TechCrunch, world’s leading technology blog, wrote about threats of click fraud LeapFish employee used to intimidate potential clients into advertising on a newly launched meta search aggregator. The CEO of LeapFish, Ben Behrouzi, fired back with an emotional response, in which he seems to be “calling out” TechCrunch’s Robin Wauters for being “irresponsible and distasteful”. The original post appeared on February 4, 2009 at www.benbehrouzi.org – what seams to be personal blog of the CEO of LeapFish.

The rebuttal was taken down some time at the beginning of this year, 2010. The link http://www.benbehrouzi.org/2009/02/04/leapfish-gets-second-lashing-from-techcrunc/ seams to point to a page that no longer exists. The rebuttal was referenced by “online authorities” like Wikipedia.

It is possible that the post containing the rebuttal was taken by mistake. But in case it was taken on purpose, bellow is the copy of the original post minus the updates:

LeapFish Gets Second Lashing, Beginning to Think TechCrunch Just Doesn’t Like Us

Today TechCrunch covered LeapFish for the second time, but unfortunately they again did not focus on the engine itself or its future. Instead of discussing our new click free search technology or our recent increase in traffic, or the sheer number of advertisers/investors that have joined the program, Techcrunch made news out of an irresponsible act committed by 1 out of 80 sales representatives that we employ and set us up for ridcule instead. I was very disappointed at the way they handled this to say the least.

I’m beginning to think they just don’t like us. I hope I’m wrong. I did offer the following response, which I haven’t seen posted as of yet.

Robin,

We have completed an investigation and have dealt with the matter appropriately. However frankly put, I am disappointed at this post by you and by TechCrunch. You never contacted us to verify the information you posted or even checked to see what our position was as a company around such behavior before you published. You apparently called in but didn’t make the effort of speaking with someone about this. Frankly put, I find your post’s title and content irresponsible and distasteful. Nevertheless, I apologize for the poor choice in judgment by one of our sales representatives and we want your readers to know that we took swift and immediate action to correct the matter.

Additionally, we have called, spoken to and offered a sincere apology to the prospect that was mistreated. We have expressed our regret and embarrassment over the situation. We have also offered to pay restitution for any fees the prospect incurred and will cover any damages. Additionally, we will be offering a gift of a keyword of the prospect’s choice as a further sign of our apologetic stance.

Let me clearly state, that LeapFish has a 0 tolerance policy for the behavior described and in no way, shape or form endorses the behavior whatsoever. Our sales staff is not coached nor encouraged to engage in such tactics and this is a regrettable act by a single individual who exercised poor judgment using personal email accounts. Our entire sales staff has been met with and spoken to and been firmly reminded that we do not engage in such tactics nor will we tolerate it whatsoever.

Robin, I find your post unfair and damaging, but I harbor no ill will towards you and I hope that one day one of your posts will actually give fair attention to our true offering and features, as provided by Silicon Valley’s MercuryNews and the thousands of visitors, supporters, investors and advertisers of LeapFish.

I would be more than happy to discuss with you why LeapFish has a bright future, the real business model, its time horizon for delivering ROI and the expectations communicated to our thousands of advertisers/investors.

Thanks again.

Best,
Ben Behrouzi
CEO
DotNext Inc.

I personally have no interest in Wikipedia, but if you are a fan, you should make an attempt to correct the reference #8 on the following page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LeapFish

If you are interested to find out more about LeapFish I highly recommend LeapFish Review by Better Business Bureau.

New and Sexy LeapFish: But Framesets Can Present Issues.

UPDATE May13, 2010: Things pertaining to LeapFish.com, their founders and management, along with related startups are no longer of interest to me, therefore no further comments are allowed on this post. There are also more reliable sources out there (such as Better Business Bureau) to help you make an informed decision about LeapFish.

***You may also want to know that the Law Firm of Daniel Bakondi, in San Francisco, CA, is investigating a possible Class Action Law Suit Against LeapFish.

Update Nov. 9, 2009: It appears that LeapFish is no longer using framesets on their website.


A mention by US Today, stream of hundreds of Tweets , mentioned by hundreds of blogs, a “cutting edge” video on youtube- LeapFish.com relaunch can certainly be seen as enormous success, except…

The leading technology blogs continue to give LeapFish.com nothing short of a “cold shoulder”.

All the buzz surrounding the relaunch is focused on how sexy and nice looking the new website is, no one seems to be trying to “flip beyond the cover page”.

I would like to write about LeapFish’s implementation of framesets on their pages that may actually spook an unseasoned Internet user into believing that they are visiting unsecured websites.

If you search LeapFish for “Read Write Web” for example, the website returns nice clean results with the most relevant link in number one position:

Considering the average user expectation, most of us would expect to land on http://www.readwriteweb.com/ – it is however not the case with LeapFish. After clicking the the link you end up on a nice lookng LeapFish page which embeds (via frameset) the content from The Read Write Web and the LeapFish bar at the bottom of the page:

Click on the above image to view it in full size

While visitors to The Read Write Web may not care at all. Visitors to websites like Amazon can get confused and and may be led to believe that shopping on Amazon and other websites are no longer secure. Let me show you an example of what I mean. The following shot is of my Amazon account page while accessing the website directly (typing http://www.amazon.com into my browser):
Click on the image to view it full size

Click on the above image to view it in full size

The HTTPS as well as the lock icon are the basic signs by which an average internet can identify whether or not website is secure.

Now the screenshot of the same page but via frameset on LeapFish.com:
Click on the image to view it full size

Click on the above image to view it in full size

Both HTTPS and lock icons are missing. And the URL clearly says you are still on LeapFish.com. Even though I consider myself an above average Internet user, before I logged into my Amazon account via the frameset on LeapFish I had to check the code of the page first:
framesetcode
I wanted to know if my Amazon login info is safe with LeapFish. How many users do you think will do that?

Potential Issues With Google?

AdSense users can tell you how tough Google is when it comes to enforcing terms and condition and how easy it is to get banned. Google Search API TOS do not address the use framesets- so if you know if use of framesets allowed please enlighten me:
Click on the image to view it in full size

Click on the above image to view it in full size

If you are interested to find out more about LeapFish I highly recommend LeapFish Review by Better Business Bureau.

Trolls Are Not Allowed!

Within minutes of publishing last post I had a visitor- a very pissed off visitor. Who managed to spew his venom on Bill Hartzer‘s blog as well (Bill my apologies for the “nofollow” attribute, I do trust your website- I hate to give LeapFish any juice):
LeapFish Troll
While I can speculate who this “Anonymous” may have been- the only certain fact I know is that he came to read the post via Twitter after an entry was posted in my account that announcing that I have written the post.

There is no point to communicate with anonymous trolls like that. Most of the time they have no interest to hear what you have to say. They can’t contain their anger and spew their venom using bogus names along with bogus e-mails. I find it difficult to describe what do I feel about trolls like that- fortunately there are people out there who have their way with words (HT: Lord Matt) and I can’t agree more!

As sad as it is their behavior cast more shadow of suspicion and does more damage to themselves and the interests they try to defend and the companies they work for. Sad really but from now on……..

NO TROLLS ALLOWED!

LeapFish 2.0 Claims To Solve The Real Time Search. But Will They Survive Beyond 2009?

UPDATE May13, 2010: Things pertaining to LeapFish.com, their founders and management, along with related startups are no longer of interest to me, therefore no further comments are allowed on this post. There are also more reliable sources out there (such as Better Business Bureau) to help you make an informed decision about LeapFish.

***You may also want to know that the Law Firm of Daniel Bakondi, in San Francisco, CA, is investigating a possible Class Action Law Suit Against LeapFish.

Update: The new LeapFish has finally launched. You can read my analysis on LeapFish implementation of framesets and how confusing it can be for users.

After rather a painful year LeapFish.com- a meta search aggregator site just like Dogpile.com or Mamma.com, is ready to launch what they call it “LeapFish 2.0″- claiming that it will solve the real-time search.

Believe it or not I, of all people, was on of the “few privileged” to view their “test” products. However I could not keep quiet about my discovery:
LeapFish 2.0 Is About To Launch?
And of course LeapFish killed that subdomain few minutes after my “Twitter broadcast”. Did they find my viewing of their new product not welcomed? Or is it also possible I “tuned in” at the end of the exhibit of their product to their supporters? I will never find out.

The new design has many flaws and way too many Ajax widgets- it felt as I was looking at the dashboard of WordPress. It will cause a huge load time issues if released as it was seen by me yesterday. Sometimes less means more. The notion that LeapFish will solve the real-time search is a myth to say the least. It is no briner that search engine gurus like Danny Sullivan would never consider LeapFish as contender to solve the real-time search problems.

If you have never heard of LeapFish.com before here is a short history rundown…..

LeapFish launched about a year ago and was given a somewhat cold shoulder by TechChrunch. Instead of trying to appeal to the hearts and minds of the technology and online marketing crowd they were focused on their business more and got caught with their “pants down” by the same TechChrunch. After firing the employee who engage in the alleged click fraud described by TechChrunch, the leapfish CEO still tried to blame TechChurnch for disliking LeapFish:

I am disappointed at this post by you and by TechCrunch. You never contacted us to verify the information you posted or even checked to see what our position was as a company around such behavior before you published. You apparently called in but didn’t make the effort of speaking with someone about this. Frankly put, I find your post’s title and content irresponsible and distasteful. – Ben Behrouzi, CEO of LeapFish (you can find the full text of his rebuttal at http://www.benbehrouzi.org/2009/02/04/leapfish-gets-second-lashing-from-techcrunc/ – apologies to my readers for not providing a click-able link).

Dealing with criticism in an adult matter is not a virtue of LeapFish, instead CEO of LeapFish decided to go on a domain shopping spreethreatening to expose the “real’ Vlad Zablotskyy. I have to say that I am surprised they never threatened to sue TechChrunch- or Michael Arrington just laughed at the threat if they did in fact receive one. However is I was Robin Wauters I would make sure I own forever the .org .net and other variations of his name.

But the past is just that- the past. The true test for the company will be the future and in particular next few weeks and months. The first advertisers and investors are about to reach their first anniversary and their credit cards will be charged the renewal fee- it will trigger many to reexamine their “investement” in LeapFish. It would be in LeapFish best interest to have as few disappointed “investors” and “advertisers” as possible, and the only way to do so is to send your advertiser top quality traffic. While they may have been successful in selling their inventory (keywords)- the increase in traffic was and is disproportionately slow. Even the most favorable statistics from Compete.com (showing LeapFish as having almost 500,000 visitors in September)- do not justify an investment of $1,000+. Especially if LeapFish.com indeed has “hundreds” of advertisers in their system. I will do some math about LeapFish statistics in the upcoming posts. I doubt however the launch of their new product will stop the upcoming wave of dissatisfied clients- for LeapFish’s own sake and their future I hope I am wrong. Nor do I think this upcoming launch will bring the necessary volume of traffic to justify the price of advertising. Again I hope LeapFish proves me and other critics wrong for their own good.

If they don’t take drastic measures to purchase or otherwise increase traffic to their site- LeapFish, or at least their business model, will not survive beyond 2009.

If you are interested to find out more about LeapFish I highly recommend LeapFish Review by Better Business Bureau.

Disclosure: Everything written above is my personal opinion and my interpretation of events as I see them. You are free to form your own opinion which may or may not agree with the above post. You are however asked to show some manners (aka “being polite”) if you decide to leave comment below. The comments from LeapFish management will be moderated and may be removed if I find them inappropriate.

New Accusations by LeapFish CEO Ben Behrouzi

UPDATE May13, 2010: Things pertaining to LeapFish.com, their founders and management, along with related startups are no longer of interest to me, therefore no further comments are allowed on this post. There are also more reliable sources out there (such as Better Business Bureau) to help you make an informed decision about LeapFish.

***You may also want to know that the Law Firm of Daniel Bakondi, in San Francisco, CA, is investigating a possible Class Action Law Suit Against LeapFish.

Leap Fish CEO Ben Behrouzi has sent several threats to my attorney, accusing me to stalking his employees sending him personal threats, phishing and finally today accusing me to have authored negative reviews on Alexa. Here is the copy of his e-mail:

Karl,

Fake negative reviews on Alexa.com by a fellow that sounds awfully like our friend J

Below you will find a screenshot of 2 reviews starting from the top. The next screen shot you will see the author details of one of the reviews. The authors name is Mark Mark, which obviously is not real, but probably is pointed at Mark Kithcart our Director of Marketing… Lastly, you will find a 3rd screen shot where our friend mentions on twitter that an Alexa negative review was successfully made online. With pride mind you. Coincidentally his twitter remark and the recent Alexa negative review took place within 1 hour of each other according to Alexa. And he was the first to report it on twitter? Talk about real time news J Added to the list, clearly he is digging a bigger hole for himself with these back alley mob activities.

The following two images Behrouzi is referring to in his e-mail:

image001
image002
image003

Ben, I have always put my name to everything I ever said about your companies. And in my opinion they are crap. I do not need Alexa to tell you that, Ben. So go ahead sue me, but for goodness sake stop harassing me and my attorney!

Update: If my memory serves me well, there were few other bloggers who, after being encouraged by me left reviews with Alexa. Alexa have since removed those reviews as well.

If you are interested to find out more about LeapFish I highly recommend LeapFish Review by Better Business Bureau.

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