The Death Of

from the tragic-ending dept

Paul Alan Levy from Public Citizen has a detailed (and somewhat tragic) story of why the site InfomercialScams is no longer in existence, and the domains of the site are now owned by Video Professor, a company notorious for threatening online critics, such as those commenting on sites like InfomercialScams. The full story is rather involved, but the short version is that the original owner of InfomercialScams sold the site. The new owner instituted something it called its “Consumer Protection Program,” where it tried to get those critiqued on the site to pay. What was gained by paying is somewhat in dispute, but one can see how it could be seen as extortion. The new owners of InfomercialScams apparently (alleged by Video Professor, but denied by Infomercial Scams) offered to sell companies “immunity” from criticism, and also would drive more traffic to criticism of companies that didn’t pay up. If true, this is certainly distasteful and potentially illegal.

Video Professor sued, claiming that it also took away any Section 230 protections that had previously protected the site. As Levy notes, that would make for an interesting legal discussion, but could be troubling if it were found to be true. Either way, it’s not an issue any more, as the owner of the site eventually settled, and appears to have handed over the site as a part of that settlement. However, what’s still troubling is that Video Professor also sued InfomercialScams’ original owner, Justin Leonard, despite him having absolutely nothing to do with the new policies on the site (or anything to do with the site at all since selling it). As part of the settlement with the new owners, Video Professor also presented a settlement to Leonard, which would have made him “promise not to disparage Video Professor — or to host disparaging comments on any web site.”

Considering he shouldn’t have been a part of the lawsuit in the first place and the troubling implications of such a settlement on Leonard’s ability to post what could be a perfectly legal site that could potentially host such comments, Leonard has refused to settle and is fighting his inclusion. This is a sad story all around. The original site, which raised some important questions about Video Professor’s infomercial practices, is now gone due, in part, to what appears to be poor decisions by its new owners. But, at the same time, the attack on Leonard, the original owner, and the settlement demands just seem totally out of place. Especially given that Video Professor now has taken control over InformercialScams and all its related websites, it seems that the market is ripe for a new site that fairly discusses what infomercial vendors are pitching.

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Companies: infomercialscams, video professor

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Comments on “The Death Of”

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Ben Smith (profile) says:

Think Video Professor will sue if I...

I think Video Professor is a giant scumbag who preys on people who don’t know much about computers. His easygoing father-figure image attempts to make the ignorant feel comfortable buying his videos… and then he promptly rips them off by sending a bunch of overpriced lessons that the buyer didn’t really want.

This whole story is just sad. The “new” owners of really screwed themselves, and everyone who might have learned that the Video Professor is a ripoff by reading the site.

Someone will have to replace I’m thinking up domain names… suggestions anyone?

Anonymous Coward says:

running out of words mike? you’re up to 3x uses of the word “troubling” in this article alone. you’re really scared of stepping out into the world these days aren’t you?

on another note, the new owner was allegedly quoted saying that certain companies should have to pay “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to have bad reviews removed.

Anonymous Coward says:

We shouldn’t take attempts at Internet censorship lightly. Our mainstream media has turned into a bias entity that censors anything that may portray a message contrary to what they deem acceptable and we shouldn’t assume that the same thing can’t happen to the Internet. Back many years ago no one would have thought that our media would become so corrupt and likewise we shouldn’t ignore the potential threat to our freedoms on the Internet.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Furthermore we should try to get the media to stop censoring important news, even if that means overturning those currently in charge of the media and giving control to others. We need to demand more diversify over who controls the media instead of having so few entities own so much mainstream media.

Anonymous Coward says:

Does ANYBODY watch infomercials anymore? Shoot, I don’t even watch COMMERCIALS anymore unless I’m doing something that precludes using the remote to scan 200+ channels looking for something better to watch.

My opinion about products sold through infomercials (real products, not real estate scams and such) is: if you product were really THAT good, the stores would be beating your door down trying to get you to let them sell it. The phrase “not sold in stores” equals “cheap piece of cr@p.”

The Mad Hatter (profile) says:

It's a joke

They approach your company, usually claiming to have some ex-US government official as a board member, looking for a “story”, and offering to do you up for $$$.

Well, an ex-US government official really doesn’t do much for a Canadian, you could hire your own crew including writer for a lot less, and the hard sell was enough to piss me off totally against them anyway.

Still there are some people who get caught up in this scam, and that’s what it is. A scam. A costly scam. I wonder how many companies have gotten roped in?

Leo atreides says:


Video profesor is a real piece of shit i mean they dont really sell anything usefull and to be really honest you cant lear a thing from them that you cant learn for free using the internet

Videoprofesor i hope that you get fuked by a donkey ¬¬
lol the next video will be XDD
Video profesor will try to fuck his pc using an usb port XDD

Bill Gillies says:

The biggest scam on TV

I was one of “Video Professor’s” victims. I did eventually
get my money back, but it appears that only the most aggressive victims fight hard enough to get their mis-appropriated funds returned. I have truly never seen or heard of any scam artist more successful in taking money and “getting away with it” than this guy. I suppose that the “after-the-fact” small print somehow lets him slide legally, but his ill-gotten gains are no less the results of evil practices. I’m not surprised he purchased
“Infomercial scams”, which contained well over 500 valid complaints against him.

I Hate Crooks says:

332 complaints against Video Professor on Ripoff reports

I just checked out Ripoff Reports On Video Professor, Deceptive Trade Practices, There are over 332 Negative Reports. It’s time a class action suit be brought against this company, and brought to the attention of the Federal Trade Commission. Hiding the fact, that the cost of 3 CD, cost 189.00 plus the access to your credit cards, charging expenses at will. When one company does garbage like this, and gets away with it, then other garbage companies follow. It is time we get attorneys together to end this these Deceptive trade practices, and send a message to others like them. There is just to much Fraud and Deception going on in info-commercials, and its time it comes to a end!

zoe says:

Infomercial Scams

I hope someone will take up the cause as many people like me who are disabled are taken advantage of . If I start a new site like the old one but on the up and up where people just blogged in their experience do you think I would be targeted? Lots of us out here can’t get out and have limited funds. Can you all come up with a name for the site? Let me know if I should pursue this idea, Many Thanks

video genius says:

video professor, help me download your "product" on bit torrent

Don’t be fooled by his mild mannered “buy my product?” plea. This guy is a bully. We should all make an infomercial that shows how to download his “lessons” through bit torrent and put him out of business. (sorry Mr. Shearer, it’s true. They are all out there to steal) Now that would be a lesson! I find it ironic he advertises on CNBC and Bloomberg TV. Does he really think us day traders don’t know how to use Excel? By the way, there are still 260 complaints on dating back to 2002 about this guy, so he’s not as good at putting out fires as we think.




Austinite04 says:

Magic Jack

That “As seen on TV” item is legit. I have one, I have no issues at all with it. I have bought the 5 year plan. $60 for 5 years of 24/7 talk all you want., That can’t be beat. The only downside is you HAVE to have the computer on 24/7 or whenever you want to make/receive calls. That problem aside, Look at Vonage, it runs a “router” 24/7 and runs just as much energy, and costs up to $40 a month if you have the long distance and international calling included. I have had a few problems after sudden power outages, but already knew the solution. You just have to goto the registry in windows and remove the upper and lower filters. from a specific key. Just goto best Buy’s Geek Squad for that info. As for any other infomercial, don’t buy there crap, I bought the voice amplifier that you hold up to hear what someone from far away is saying, not for me, for a relative. She immediately said she heard too much even moving the thing made noise in the ear buds. that is a dud. Magic Jack is worth it. I don’t work for Magic Jack, in fact I’m unemployed.

Robert Crane (user link) says:

the good fight continues

sorry to here about this. it’s godd to know in the event someone tries the same shenanigans on me. for that i am grateful.

you see, i have a pretty popular humor blog that pokes fun at these sorts. like this on professor johnny here and his teachin’ ways.

so let it be known, the good fight continues, albeit with some laughs along the way.

Drew Cummings (user link) says:

Infomercial and DRTV Handbook

Want to avoid scams and consumer ripoffs? If you really want the inside scoop on the infomercial industry and how infomercials are designed, planned, priced, produced, marketed, and the elements that go into infomercials, I have just written and released a new book that will take consumers and marketers behind-the-scenes of the Infomercial and DRTV industry. It’s available on Amazon or Kindle and it’s called “The Infomercial and DRTV Handbook”.

Bob says: was a scam...

Guys, the site was a complete scam. They would post false negative reviews and then try to extort millions of dollars from the companies that had received the “reviews”. They were owned by the same guys that owned “The Tax Club” which was recently shut down by the FTC. Other companies that they own are also under investigation.

Although it would be cool if infomercialscams were a real legitimate site, it turns out that it was not. Maybe one day there will be a site like that, but this one was just a scam.

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