I’m A Creative, Not An Idiot

Sleazy salesman pointing
The scams on us creative types never ceases to amaze me. We are often seen as people bordering homelessness who will do any “make money quick” scheme, as long as it involves being creative.

This is just an overview of a phone conversation I had this evening with someone trying to work that shtick.

First of all, the guy owns a real estate company, which should have been my first clue that the lines were about to get greasy. He said he had a bunch of videos he needed to edit which had “great potential” to make a lot of money for individuals. So basically, he was saying he had a “gimmick”, like he was a motivational speaker of some sort. Mind you, I have never heard of this guy. He said he knew someone I used to work with that “praised” my ethics, and got the referral from them. Ethics were pretty high in demand for this guy, because he said he could really “monetize” on these videos. Of course, I have learned to interpret this over the years as follows: “I want someone who has some ethics, because I don’t have many myself.”

Secondly, he went into the pitch. You can tell the pitch is coming. It is usually forwarded by “Well, let me tell you about this great opportunity I have here.” The opportunity he spoke of was how he had testimonials from people about his “inspirational and informative message” to people, about believing in themselves enough to make money through real estate. He also said he had collateral marketing in mind, using his website as a portal through which others could watch videos he did himself…You know, so people did not make the same mistakes he did. In fact, he told me of one “stellar testimonial” from a guy he helped when the guy was down, and showed the man he was “worth investing in”. Apparently, this man is now very comfortable and happy, all because of Mr. Shtick.

Thirdly, here comes the “stroke”. It’s used by every used car salesman on the planet, which makes you feel as if you need a shower after interacting with them. He tells me he knows some very high priced video guys, guys involved in the film industry (to show how “connected” he is, of course), who he could ask to help him, but he felt he would give someone else (essentially a peon like me) the opportunity. Oh gee! I feel so special! [Apparently he saw the few videos I had on my website, but didn’t bother to look at the Philly Puddy Production page or my IMDB profile at all.] The “stroke” comes in the form of this, though: “I want someone who does video editing, who can see the importance of what I do, and for an hourly rate work for me for 10 hours a week cutting these videos down to the marketable asset. Once the program starts making money, I want to basically partner with someone who will get in on a share of the profits.”

I tell him I already have a business partner. This really flusters him. I guess he thought I was going to drop everything me and my business partner have worked so hard for, for some unseen “potential”. Is this guy still in high school?! Maybe “unseen potential” is why people get involved in sick relationships, but it surely isn’t the basis for business relationship.

However, me being me, I humor him with a quick follow up after dropping the “I already have a business partner” bomb. “How much were you considering hourly?”

“Well, probably not as much as you are used to, I am sure…” and then goes on to avoid the question, telling me about the potential for the money I would make down the road. Yawn. Do any of these people understand how many times a creative person hears this in a month? A week? A day?

He gives me more inspirational bullshit. I listen, but I do so to make sure I put a kink in this guy’s technicolor dream coat when soliciting future creative people he wants to “partner” with. In my early days, I used to fall for this crap, and was left broke after doing tons of work. In all honesty, I wanted him to squirm a bit while I was on the phone after giving me his best line of bullshit. In this used car salesman’s words, I am also writing this down, because I want to help other people avoid the mistakes I have made…Except, I am offering this advice for free. You’re welcome.

He rounds out his sales pitch, thinking he has made me “reasonable” enough to basically take whatever he is willing to give me. But then he then asks, “Why? How much do you usually charge?”

Welcome to Pandora’s Box, bitch.

I tell him. I can hear his asshole pucker over the phone. It comes in the audible, “Well, I am not cheap, but…”

So I cut him off and give it back to him.

“You know, you should really believe in yourself. People often hire non-professionals to form the basis of their truly great ideas, only to see them fail because of the lack of professionalism shown in the foundation. Or, they try to do it themselves, and are not objective enough to see what other people want to see. You need to consider it as an investment in yourself, and the future of this great idea, which we both know has a ton of potential, correct?”

Now he starts to stutter and backtrack. Even insults what I do for a living by saying it is not “rocket science”, which is what everyone wants to hear about their career. Makes them feel good about themselves. Well, being a doctor isn’t rocket science either, but I would rather have a doctor who is a professional cutting me open rather than a doctor who “dabbles in some medicine and stuff”.

I tell him maybe he should ask some of his film friends to do it for that hourly rate, but I already know that is why he is calling me. They told him to get bent. No professional is going to help someone else get rich for $10 to $15 an hour unless you are working at WalMart. Then he gives me the sob story that “some initial investment needs to be low in order to get this off the ground” bullshit. Sure. How about I not invest my time in this project of yours? How about I invest my time with those who feel my expertise is worthy of investing in? He, like others, do not understand a creative makes their living off of this “non-rocket science” stuff…Sort of like a person who sells other people’s houses, which is not rocket science either, by the way.

He said he would get back to me. Sure. I will hold my breath until then.

Maybe he is going to go listen to some of his videos until he feels like he can follow his own advice?

Dear Fellow Business Owners

Recently, someone tried to scam me. I figured I would let all of my friends and anyone who is interested in on the joke. I immediately knew it was a scam, but I figured I would go for the slam dunk on it, since I like to mess with their heads. Yes, everyone thinks I am a nice guy…And there is a reason…It’s because I can handle my shit, and I do not crack under pressure. ūüôā

This is a derivation of the Nigeria 419 scam, and it has been duly noted on the interwebs. I am just putting the knowledge out there so you and others can be aware…Plus, I love to display how I mess with these folks.

The first email I received:

 

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From: Nicholas Lee <n-l@naasreg.cn>To: artist <artist@phillypuddy.com> Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2014 10:56 PMSubject: Brand Protection Notice phillypuddy

Dear CEO/Principal,

This is Nicholas Lee—Senior Consultant of domain name registration and solution center in China. Here I have something to confirm with you. We formally received an application on April 28, 2014. that a company claimed “RANTRANCE LTD” were applying to register “phillypuddy” as their Network Brand and some “phillypuddy” Asian countries top-level domain names(in/hk/tw/etc) and China (CN) domain names through our firm.

Now we are handling this registration, and after our initial checking, we found the name were similar to your company’s, so we need to check with you whether your company has authorized that company to register these names. If you authorized this, we would finish the registration at once. If you did not authorize, please let us know within 7 workdays, so that we could handle this issue better. After the deadline we will unconditionally finish the registration for “RANTRANCE LTD”. Looking forward to your prompt reply.

(This is a very important case, so please transfer this email to your CEO or Principal. Thanks a lot.)

Best Regards,

Nicholas Lee

Senior Consultant Manager

 

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First of all, everyone should be aware that if a company is going to try and muscle in on the brand name you already have established, they are not too bright, and you have nothing to fear. Secondly, no one would advise them to do so. This should make you go “ah-HAH!” rather than “Oh shit!” I laughed when I got this, because I knew I was going to reply, and I also knew I was going to insult the hell out of them.

So here is that reply…Which at first is always nice:

 

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Nicholas,

I would be the only one able to authorize, and I regret to inform you that I already have the name “PhillyPuddy” registered as a business in the state of Texas. Therefore, no, I would not authorize anyone to use it. I have been PhillyPuddy since 2000, and have owned the domain since 2005.¬†It was also trademarked in 2005.¬†It would be in the best interest of your client to find a different name.¬†Considering the fact we have done so much branding, if your client were to use PhillyPuddy, people will automatically defer to us, and that is never a good way to start off a new brand. And yes, we work internationally. Good luck to them on finding a replacement name though…And inform them about researching the name before they become sold on it. It happens to clients all of the time. ūüôā

Thank you for the contact. It was much appreciated.

Best,
Philip Lee

 

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I knew when I woke up this morning, I would have a reply already, because they think they have a fish on the line. This is when you have their undivided attention, and bring about the whoopass. They did not disappoint.

 

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From: Nicholas Lee <n-l@naasreg.cn>To: Philip Lee <artist@phillypuddy.com> Sent: Monday, April 28, 2014 7:28 AMSubject: Re: Re: Brand Protection Notice phillypuddy

(For our better communication, pls add my E-mail address to you whitelist. Thank you! )

Dear Philip Lee,

Thanks for your confirmation. As soon as receiving the application of “RANTRANCE LTD”, we checked and found “phillypuddy” is your company’s using name and brand. We are concerned that your brand name might be affected negatively by their applications, this is why we informed you. following Network Brand and domain names are applied by “RANTRANCE LTD”:

Network Brand: phillypuddyDomain Names:

“phillypuddy.asia

phillypuddy.cn

phillypuddy.cn.com

phillypuddy.co.in

phillypuddy.com.cn

phillypuddy.com.hk

phillypuddy.com.tw

phillypuddy.hk

phillypuddy.in

phillypuddy.net.cn

phillypuddy.org.cn

phillypuddy.tw

phillypuddy.šł≠ŚõĹ”

You know that the domain names registration is open in the world, “RANTRANCE LTD” also has the right to apply for the available domain names. you only have the preferential rights to register them.¬†At present, we haven’t passed their application, we need your opinion. If your company consider these names of importance to your company’s business or interest, I suggest that your company register these names first so as to avoid confusion or speculation. Of course, If you don’t want to protect your intellectual property rights, then my suggestion is your company give up these names so that we can finish registering for them as per our duty. Please give me your company’s decision as soon as possible in order to handle this issue better.

Best Regards,
Nicholas Lee  
Senior Consultant Manager 

*****************************************************************************************************

This message and any attachments are meant solely for use by the intended recipient only. Disclosure, copying, use or distribution of the information included in this message is prohibited without the written permission of MPE.

please consider the environment before printing this e-mail 

 

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Notice how the signature changed, or at least now it HAS a signature, and all of a sudden they have some professional looking stuff at the bottom to make them seem more “legit”. Even a nice little “care for the environment” has been added, when we all know that China has an even nastier environment record than the US at the moment…And that is saying alot. Again, this is to “dupe” people in the US who use this as a selling point for their companies, furthering their supposed “legitamacy”. In fact, they didn’t have it on their first email until they realized I was an American company. See what I mean?

Now for the whoopass:

 

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Nicholas,

We own two of the top level domain names: .com and .net. If your advisement for this company is to proceed, then you are advising your client to fight an uphill battle for recognition and branding, not us. In fact, our company does branding as one of our services. We don’t have to buy foreign domain names to understand the significant weakness of this advisement for your client. No one does.

(showing them we really don’t care what they think they can do)

Our brand name and intellectual property rights are solidified even if you do purchase those domain names, as we are a firmly established brand. We have our name established on all major search engines as well. So we encourage you to feel free and purchase them. You feel free to advise what you deem necessary for your client. We are not to be coerced into buying domain names we do not need to own in order to assert we are established, and your assertion we do has been noted. We have a digital trail depicting we have owned the name PhillyPuddy for years, as well as legal documentation on file with the United States government. Since we do business globally (including Asia), you are advising your client to go in direct competition with an established brand name. It will not be us who will have a hard time with intellectual property and brand name recognition. We have a 14 year head start, and we do this for a living.

(again, showing them how ludicrous their assertions are)

Good luck if your course of action is to advise your client to proceed. I will have access to this correspondence for future reference should RANTRANCE ever try to say they were “unaware” of this situation before they moved forward.¬†We will inform them of¬†youradvisement should this ever prove to be an issue for them. Please take time to research United States laws concerning this issue and all aspects of it. We are a US company, so they apply to us, as well as RANTRANCE should they ever decide to market in the US. We are under advisement we have nothing to worry about whether we purchase these Asian domains or not. Even if our brand name becomes confused in Asian countries, we still have established brand name recognition throughout the rest of the world. This we feel is a non-issue for us, whereas it might prove to be a sizable issue for RANTRANCE.

(showing them how stupid THEY are)

This will be our final correspondence on this issue. There is nothing more to discuss. Especially once I found this: http://tinyurl.com/k3h8k4q

And this: http://www.firetrust.com/de/blog/chris/domain-name-scams?page=40

How about getting a job? Wouldn’t that be easier and more honorable?¬†You might also want to consider checking INTERPOL about the legality of what you are doing. That applies everywhere…Including Asia.¬†

And just for the record, we have recorded your IP address. Don’t mess with a Texas technology company, and have a great day.

(signed with whoopass)

Best,
Philip Lee

 

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(What?! No reply?! Are those crickets I hear?!)

I mean, who would name their company RANTRANCE LTD anyway? What a stupid name. If they were considering something cool and fun like “phillypuddy” for their product, you think they would have put more thought into their established business name, right? ūüėČ

So again, if any of my friends who own businesses get emails like this, don’t sweat it. It is 100% false. Your brand is assured even if it WERE legit. Buying a domain name means nothing, and as long as you own Top Level Domain names, are registered as a business, and have been established for some time, don’t make more hassles for yourself. feel free to mess with them if you want. They can’t do anything to you. What they are trying to do is have it seem like they are doing YOU a favor, and the next step is having them purchase those domain names FOR you. You send them the money, and since they are such nice guys, they handle the hassle of purchasing those domain names…Even though all it takes is to go to a domain purchasing site and buy them yourself. A year later, you realize these domain names were NEVER purchased, and someone has over $300 of your hard-earned money. I have had to get smart to these guys ever since my band’s domain name was stolen back in 2005 (junkyphunk.com) by scammers, and then they attempted to re-sell it to me for $10,000. They actually thought I had that kind of money. Well, all they did was blow their money on a five year lease of the domain name, and now it is currently available again if I wanted to purchase it for $10. Allow me to mess with these guys for you. I have it in for them. They ruined a perfectly good independent music career for me. Now I just want to mess with their heads, and I share these antics with you all. ūüôā

For more information on this, refer to:

 

http://www.europeandomaincentre.com/pages/news-room/domain-management-news/hey!-got-an-email-from-china-domain-name-registration-center-asian-domain-registration-service-in-china-the-department-of-registration-service-in-china-etc.#.U16MnfldWSo

 

Have a great day, everyone…And keep your money. ūüôā

Love,

Phil