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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.


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.

Ben Behrouzi
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.


Google Local Ads: Post to Your Place Page

If you are using Google Local Business Center, you may have already noticed a new feature which allows you to post messages (limited to 160 characters) to you place page:
Post To Your Place Page Widget - Google Local Business Center

Each message will expire in 30 days from the time it is published. If you decide to include a specific link inside the message, it will be converted into an HTML (click-able) link on your listing page see example bellow of first message from The Chocolate Belles:
Place Page View
You can see Chocolate Belles live listing here.

This new feature offers you an additional options to promote specific events, services or products via Google Local Business Center.

According to Post to Your Place Page FAQ – you can only have one message at a time posted to your place page.

Disclosure: I currently advise The Chocolate Belles on Internet marketing.


20+ WordPress Plugins I Use And Recommend

I may have inspired Andy Beal to start using TweetMeme plugin on Marketing Piligrim, but he certainly inspired me more. Every time I come across a great plugin I promise myself to give credit to the plugin’s author as well as share with my readers how a particular plugin helped. Of course day passes by, then another and after a few days my desire to write about particular plugin slowly withers out. “It just a plugin”, I tell myself -“some one has already written about it anyway.” The truth is however that many of the plugins I use on my blogs make my life so much easier.

So here are some 20+ plugins that help this blog tick….
[click to continue…]


Troll’s Tale: Who Is “Steven Vaughan”?

This tale begins on one of my favorite blogs- Read Write Web. At the end of last year many blogs were posting “top 10 lists”. As with many other multi-author blogs, I have my favorite authors at Read Write Web- Jolie O’Dell is one of them. Jolie wrote an article in which she described who, in her opinion, deserved to be on the list of 10 worst failures of 2009.

I personally find such lists entertaining, and Jolie’s list especially delighted me. But, as you may may have already guessed, not every one finds such lists funny nor entertaining. Some one claiming to be “Steven Vaughan” was really upset with the article and went on with a personal attack against the author Jolie O’Dell:
Someone claiming to be Steven Vaughan attacks Jolie O'Dell
Of course Jolie’s response answers why the initial comment by “Steven” was removed:
Jolie O'Dell's Response
So what does this “Steven Vaughan” and I have in common? Evidently this “Steven Vaughan” is following my tweets. So he decided to pay a visit to my business blog:
Steve Vaughan again...
Of course Steven has no idea that I always disclose to my clients that English is not my native language. Plus my terrible spelling and grammar has very little barring on my work – I perform live interpreting, and in most instances (such as courts, testimonies, deposition and even doctors) my work is digitally recorded and is available for anyone who wants to question the quality and/or accuracy of my work. But I doubt Steven understands the nature of my business and visited my website only to spew his venom just as he did attacking Jolie O’Dell.

Steven’s comment on my blog of course were marked as spam. Steven Vaughan has never used my interpreting services therefore his opinion on whether or not I am good at my job is nothing but hateful attempt to damage my reputation.

But this is not the end of it. I knew I will be equivalent to “feeding the troll” but I did e-mail Steven telling him he is making a mistake and also expressed my concern about the company who’s reputation he may be damaging. That of course resulted in an exchange of about 26 e-mails- which I plan to publish next.

I am aware that this Steven has left similar hateful comments on number of of other blogs. It appears he leaves his comments using following e-mails: stevenvaughan1212@gmail.com and trumpzors@yahoo.com and operates from IPs originating in the San Francisco Bay Area. I also believe this Steven has operated a Twitter account “@idiotzapper”, which was deleted not so long ago probably because the account was used to attack reputation of another blogger and friend of mine. I also know that this individual often visits Contra Costa Public Library, in Pleasant Hill, CA- but not to read books, to use library’s computer to do his dirty work. If you have any information about this individual, I would appreciate your help. To get in touch with me, follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

I also have last minute advise for “Steven”- stop hiding behind the veil of anonymity and don’t ever write anything that you are not comfortable to put your real name on.

Of course if you are interested how this tale ends, make sure to subscribe to my this blog.


If Chris Was A Realtor…

One of the blogs I enjoy reading, and highly recommend it to anyone interested in on line marketing and social media, is that written by Chris Brogan. Not sure if Chris is hunting for a house these days or maybe just helping some one in real estate to marketed their website, the title of his latest his latest post certainly jumped at me- If I Were A Realtor.

If any real estate agent would set up to do only first three things from Chris’ list they, without a doubt, can dominate in their market:

  • I’d write a blog about the location where I was selling.
  • I’d take tons of pictures and post them on the blog.
  • I’d shoot walking tour videos all the time with a Flip camera and post them.

You can read Chris’ entire list at his blog, make sure to subscribe to his latest posts while you there.

I think it is always refreshing to hear a different perspective from someone who is not necessarily in our “niche” or industry. Yeah, I hear you. Any one could write a list like that, right?.. Wrong! While Chris is a marketing genius he also represents the mindset of today’s home buyer or seller. Home buyers and sellers no longer have little choice where to go. Plus, you are no longer the guy or the gall with “the book” in town.

On this note I would like to wish all the readers of this blog Happy Holidays and may the next year be the best year you have ever had!

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