Laptop Magazine Rescinds 'Best Of Show' Award For Zer01

from the taking-it-back dept

Last month, our own Derek Kerton wrote a long post detailing many of the questions raised by the overhyped mobile service startup Zer01, which appeared to be making a bunch of claims that it couldn't live up to (some of which were impossible) and failed to substantiate a bunch of other claims. Oh, on top of that, Nancy Gohring uncovered that it was involved in a sketchy multi-level marketing scheme run by a guy who is currently on probation after pleading guilty to securities fraud, and who's been known to have run similar sketchy MLM schemes. The whole thing was incredibly questionable (though, there were a few true believers -- i.e., people who'd already dumped a lot of money into the scheme) who continued to insist it was real. The one bit of support those folks seemed to have was that LAPTOP Magazine -- a well-known and well-trusted tech publication, had given Zer01 a "Best of CTIA" award. Except... that's now gone. Last week, LAPTOP rescinded the award for the first time in its history, noting not just the ethical questions raised by others, but the fact that the company did not live up to much of what it had promised the magazine. That included a promise from Zer01's CEO right after the initial allegations came out that he would send them a phone to test by the following week. One of the big concerns is that no one has been able to actually test one of these phones. But the phone never showed up. LAPTOP concludes its retraction saying:
At this time we can only urge extreme caution to those interested in using or selling Zer01's service.
And, yet, the "true believers" (some might assume "suckers") continue to show up in our comments insisting that this magic phone service is almost here. But exactly none of them has responded to Derek's original call, to find someone who's actually used a phone, noted where the company's engineers are located, where its towers are, who the network provider is and what the supposed patents are. Until someone can actually answer all those questions, it's pretty difficult to assume there's anything at all here.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    you want a name well for now my name is fred., Aug 10th, 2009 @ 6:11pm

    "the "true believers" (some might assume "suckers") continue to show up in our comments"

    If they are that easy to trick, perhaps you might want to give them some masnick-aid to drink.

     

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  2.  
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    DJ (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 6:22pm

    Two words...

    Buyer beware

     

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  3.  
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    slackr (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 6:26pm

    Easy peasy

    Surely this is the easiest thing to solve when someone throws down a 'prove it' challenge. Send them a phone and let them test the service. Show them the hardware and the network. It's not like the publicity is a problem as EVERYONE knows it is already coming...isn't it? If there are bugs still to be sorted that's understandable but nothing...? Call me a skeptic.

     

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  4.  
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    Shawn (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 6:28pm

    Re: Easy peasy

    You sir, are a skeptic!

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    interval, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 6:48pm

    Oh I See...

    Kinda explains the Nigerian 419 Scam a little. People seem to simply put on blinders on-line...

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 6:52pm

    I should get a patent over anything that's made of matter.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    mechwarrior, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 8:00pm

    It seems the victims have turned into the scammers. Poor sods dont know better.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    joe, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 8:34pm

    The ineluctable modaity of the visible

    The site is still online. Likewise the Laptop Magazine Award.

    It seems to me that a number of parties could stop that web site with a well crafted (dare I say it here?) CMDA complaint to the hosting service. The AT&T coverage map is being used. Laptop Magazine's name and logo is being used, The CITA Wireless 2009 logo is being used. All are copyrighted.

     

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  9.  
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    Mike C. (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 8:35pm

    Puh-lease... it's easy to see what's happening...

    They're just waiting for their killer game to be finished as a companion download....

    Duke Nukem!

    /sorry - had to.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2009 @ 6:33am

    It's funny to read the comments on Laptop from the true believers. They sound EXACTLY like the defenders of free energy machines. They've been getting suckers to invest in them for years and have still yet to deliver any free energy machines. Too bad Zero1 didn't just say "God told us how to do this." Then everybody would believe them.

     

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  11.  
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    another mike (profile), Aug 11th, 2009 @ 1:40pm

    additional items for sale

    If any of Zer01's investors are interested in additional opportunities, I have a bridge in New York, waterfront properties in Yuma, and the bank information of a Nigerian finance minister available for them.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Tech Tom, Aug 12th, 2009 @ 10:38am

    The real scams are overlooked

    I read the article that Laptop rescinded the award because of ethical reasons. I wonder what ethical reasons their referring too? Is it the fact that the CEO of GV was on probation? That has nothing to do with the technology and the fact a ZERO1 (That's the company that created the technology) promises that the product will be released on a given date and then it doesn't happen is nothing new. Its plenty of companies that miss the release dates. Microsoft, Apple, and a slew of others. Having VOIP on a cell phone is not anything that's not possible. I current have a VOIP program on my current cell phone to lower the cost of my cellular minutes. It connects to the WIFI network or the data side of your service to make the call. People get confused with what is written in a magazine and whether a product received an award. Now what if the article was rescinded because the magazine receives advertising dollars from the big 4 companies and someone said they would drop that deal. Would this warrant a reason to change their minds. Yes in the world of million dollar advertising deals that's becoming more difficult to land and maintain. Yes the industry spends millions to advertise to all of us the gadgets and not the service. Now people say why would I buy Zero1's service verses Boost Mobile. Boost Mobile is a MVNO they have no network but piggy back off Nextel's network. They purchase time on the network so how unlimited is it? If you know anything about the service, its not the best and its not truely unlimited everthing. How many people you know that have these cheaper services say the calls drop, or I can't call from certain areas. Talk to a few people that have the service.

    People get hyped when they hear a product is being introduced through a network marketing company. But what they do not see is you market products for businesses for free everyday. Next time you hop in the car, look at the back of your car and see if you have a tag somewhere from where you purchased the vehicle. Now a celebrity gets paid to drive around and you do it for free. Realize, its nothing wrong for having anyone market a product. The sales people in the Carrier store get paid off your monthly bill. Its another conpany that are selling the 4 carriers service and when a person buys the phone and make monthly payments, the person generates a percentage from that bill. Why is it wrong for YOU to make money from a cell phone service?

    Excel Communications was the first company to change the long distance game, with it they took and used regular people to get the word and the service out. A lot of well-known companies did this for plenty of products. Too many people jump the gun to call something a scam. I see a lot about this and that company being a scam, the true scam that should be receiving a lot of bark is GAS prices. If the demand is down and the supply is up, how can the prices continue to go UP! If the CEO of all these trouble companies continues to get paid a high salary and they lay the people that do all the work continues, that's A SCAM! Going through a credit check for a phone and having a contract is a SCAM! Do you go through this for your home phone? NO. You cut it off when you don't need it anymore, no penalties, no paying to get out. Overseas this does not exist, you change when you want to without penalty. WAKE UP PEOPLE AND FIGHT FOR WHAT'S RIGHT. DON'T WORRY ABOUT A COMPANY ATTEMPTING TO INTRODUCE A NEW TECHNOLOGY WITH NEW CULTURE, IF IT HAPPENS AND THE SERVICE IS ABOVE AVERAGE YOU'LL GET IT. THIS IS JUST LIKE THE PEOPLE THAT BOYCOT WAL-MART AND THEN THEIR THE FIRST WAS SHOPPING AND ENJOYING THE SAVINGS.

    Before I say this is a scam, I'll wait and see if the service comes out.

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Tech Tom, Aug 12th, 2009 @ 10:45am

    Re: Oh I See...

    That Nigerian scam never compares because its based on greed. They offer a huge lump some of money in return for what is considered a small amount from the mark.

    People join home base business because corporation pay is totally down and the scandals on that level ruin people lives between corporate executives doing wrong, to outsourcing, to layoffs to save money, to illegal mergers like when a company purchases a competitor. Its good MLM companies out their like Pampered Chef now owned by Warren Buffet! Franschising is not an option for most and that's not guaranteed to be successful but you would be out 6 figures or more, not a few thousand.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Tech Tom, Aug 12th, 2009 @ 10:52am

    Re: Easy peasy

    I would say really to that. Did Blackberry send sample phones to potential customers and that would be a lot of samples. No they marketed the phones technology and samples went to the magazine writers and technology outlets. MLM is just that, I give you the phone and you showoff to friends, family, and other people. I suspect that the technology maybe there because its not hard to do even without tapping the cellular networks but you need to tap a WIFI network. That is the next coming of what we call cellular service. Why because some people can't make or receive calls from some locations because of the signal limitation but WIFI signals are more reliable and you can make the connection from those same locations. So what if this happens and the call quality is better than what you have, and the cost savings is there. You're not going to get the service? If this saves me $200 or more dollars I will find a distributor. I hope they pull it off because technology is evolving quicly - just look at the Internet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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