Stealing Trust

Recently we filed a law suit in the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska against David Sullivan individually and d/b/a Big Blue Dots. You can see the full suit here.

The short story is Mr. Sullivan was using my face and copyrighted photograph to promote his fake news site.  You can see his site here.

We allege, in our lawsuit, that Mr. Sullivan’s web site contains a fake news story and fake comments from fake people in an attempt to dupe unsuspecting consumers into signing up for a monthly subscription service.   In the suit we are seeking recovery of damages, profits from the infringing use, our attorney fees and some other miscellaneous stuff.

We have had to defend our trademark and copyrights many times this year against people who have used our images and trademarks on Google AdWords, Twitter, eBay, Facebook and other means.

In some of our more public lawsuits there were a lot of very disparaging comments made about em and my company.  For example comments that we are now the RIAA of the affiliate marketing world.  That we are trying to get rich off of suing others and many other comments that kept me up at night.

The fact some people think we were making money from lawsuits is pretty crazy. I guess most people have no clue how expensive litigation is.  In 2009 even after all the successful settlements we were still very close to $100k in the red for legal.

Defending your brand is not cheap.

Let me take you through the process to help you understand how it works and how it comes to this point.

Some people might ask why all the hassle if it is not profitable.  Well if you do not defend your trademarks/copyrights you can lose them.  You have to take action.

The problem is that most of these people make it very difficult to contact them.  They use anonymous registration services and other means to protect their identity.

You can try to send your cease and desist letter to each and every contact you can come across.  But, I have never had anyone ever return my email complying with what I asked for.

So, then you have to pay your lawyer to subpoenas to the web hosting company, domain registrar, and/or affiliate company to get them to release the information.  Not all of them cooperate, and some go out of their way to be very uncooperative.  This costs time and money.

Sometimes just to break through all the barriers these guys setup to protect their identity can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

At that point you are not just sending a cease and desist letter for them to stop using your banner, you also have to try to recoup your legal fees + damages.

The person who is using your stuff probably thinks you’re bluffing and ignores your settlement demands.

At that point you have little choice but to either take the loss, or file suit.  Jurisdiction is argued, motions are filed, more motions are filed and soon you probably have racked up $25 to $50k in legal expenses.

I never understand why these people let it get this far.  If they just would have complied with your original C&D it would have been much cheaper for them.

I know what some of you are thinking: why is my brand so important to me?  Well for those who aren’t familiar I will tell you.

I have been drawing the ShoeMoney logo since I was 12 years old.  It’s something I am very proud of.  I have come a long way with a lot of hard work.  A long the way we have been able to create many products and services to help people make a lot of money on the internet.  We have built up trust with a lot of companies and people.  People who we have done business with in one way or another for the last 7 years.

The ShoeMoney Blog was my first entry into helping people make money online.  I never really intended it to be that though.  The ShoeMoney blog was just a place where I could throw up pictures, rants, and occasionally walk throughs on how to make money on the internet from my own experiences.  Somewhere along the line it gained some traction and became an authority in the space of making money on the internet.

I have spoken at over 50 industry leading events world wide in the last 7 years almost all of them in regards to making money on the internet.

I put on free local meetings (Nebraska People Making Money Online Group) for individuals and businesses to assist people in making money on the internet.

I host my own conference called the Elite Retreat.  We charge $5,000 per person but limit the capacity to only 30 people.  The events sell out usually the first week.  We have always offered a no questions ask money back guarantee.  In 5 years nobody has ever taken us up on that.

I started a advertising network called AuctionAds in March of 2007.  When we launched AuctionAds there were many companies doing the exact same thing that we were (display advertising network built around the eBay API and affiliate network) including eBay who at the time we launched had millions of dollars and many years invested in their product. We worked 20 hour days during AuctionAds.  David did all the technical stuff and me doing all the marketing.  We did what other companies were not willing to do and were rewarded handsomely for it.  By July of 2007 (only 4 months after launch) we had 25,000 active publishers doing millions in revenue.  AuctionAds was a great new alternative for people to make money but it quickly grew too big for a company of 2 people to handle.  So we sold it.  After only operating it for 4 months.  It was the hardest but most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life.

In late 2008 we launched ShoeMoney Tools.  A very advanced suite of internet marketing tools to help people make money online.  The site has been very successful for us.  We currently have over 2,000 paying members.  On the bottom of every page on the site is a cancel link. To cancel your account you just click a button, not many people take us up on that either.  Often times we refund people if there is any question or misunderstanding.

In May 2009 I released the ShoeMoneyX free 12 week training course.  It was a very low level “introduction” to the world of making money on the internet.  We have had hundreds of thousands of people download the course and the feedback has been amazing.

This January we are going to launch the ShoeMoney System. Highly influenced by the ShoeMoneyX feedback, the ShoeMoney System will be a complete step by step video walk through on how to make money on the internet.  No fancy theories, no bullshit.  I take regular people of the street many who never even used Facebook or twitter at all and step by step teach them how to make money. Unlike many systems out there this one will be amazingly low priced but have a huge library of content.  But if for whatever reason doesn’t think it’s worth the cost there will be a 30 day money back guarantee.

So, why am I telling you this?  Because I want you to understand all the blood sweat and tears I have put in for the last 7 years to build an incredibly strong and trusted brand in the field of making money on the internet.  I also back up every product I have ever sold with a zero hassle money back guarantee.

I am also a very public person.  If someone needs to get a hold of me I have made it extremely easy for them to do so.  In addition to the contact form on my blog – my personal cellphone number, email, and business address are publicly listed on every domain we own.  Sure I get a lot of solicitations and crap but it’s more important to me that people get ahold of me if they need to.  As I said before I speak at many conferences all over the world and have no plans to stop any time soon.  I am not hiding from anyone.

My mom says since I was born I always tried to be the hero to everyone.  I still have the problem.  I don’t care who you are or what you do or even what you have said about me previously on the internet. If I think I can help you and I have the time I will.  Ask anyone who has ever met me in person.

I wrote last week about where there is trust there is always someone willing to buy it.  Our brand has become so trusted and authoritative in the space of making money online that we have occasionally selectively licensed out the use of our copyrighted photos to companies.

But in my opinion people like this David Sullivan guy are just outright stealing trust… Using my face to promote… well just look at his site.  It’s my nightmare.

In the Sullivan case we fully expect to be awarded a 6 figure judgement + legal fees.  We have Google, the FTC, and most importantly the law on our side.

Shoemoney is the main man behind….. Who am I kidding? You already know who he is!


49 thoughts on “Stealing Trust”

  1. Liane says:

    I’ve read this first on my inbox- and that was the only newsletter email as far as I can remember that I read from start to finish.

    So many things to say. The most memorable line Jeremey ever said was “I have been drawing the ShoeMoney logo since I was 12 years old”… and that tells a lot on how hard he worked on building the Shoemoney image.

    I just wish the best of luck to him- and to Sullivan… well he’s in a lot of trouble.

    1. I saw that logo story too…….the bottom line is that piggybacking on somebody else’s success (especially without their implicit consent….) is not a long term sustainable solution……somebody is going to get hit in the pocket…….HARD

      1. Yes Jeremy is very aggressive when its a matter of his brand, goodwill and prestige and I think this is very good as well.

        If you not stop first one to doing such kind of things with your brand than other will come and join his team. So in that case fighting with them will be a tough nut to crack.

        So at first case … just hold them and beat them like hell.

  2. chester says:

    Wow, that’s a lot to spend on legal fees. Shitty. Good luck trying to defend your brand!

  3. chester says:

    Wow, $100k ain’t cheap. Good luck defending your brand!

    1. I already saw this in my email this morning.

  4. S Ahsan says:

    Shoe gets what he wants just because he knows what he is doing; that why i respect his authority. People have always used this method to promote their stuffs and will keep on but its always best to act against it. I love shoe for his credibility and will always support him.

  5. Tuan Anh says:

    Good luck with Shoe$$$

  6. Jeremy,

    You are the bright light in a sea of ‘dim-bulbs’. These posers who think they can steal your brand are such losers.

    What benefit is it to them in the short term to make a few bucks, only to have pay big time in the end?

    I guess some folks would just quit, I am so glad that you went after this criminal and that he pays dearly for his dishonorable choices.

    Thank you for all of your support and the Shoemoney System. I know my success will be sustainable and honorable as my legitimate online business grows.

    Respectfully,

    Nicholas Chase – the video guy from BlogWorld Expo 2008

  7. What I’m wondering is did John Chow object to johncow.com (which obviously seems like a take on johnchow.com)?

    1. Interesting take on the johncow.com thing… although at that time John had those issues with google… maybe if that happened now John might feel differently about it

      1. There’s also a site called notjohnchow.com that is basically piggybacking off the name.

        1. LOL. Half the blogs out there feel compelled to mention John Chow just like the celebrity magazines fell compelled to mention Paris Hilton.

  8. i wish you best of luck John! I know you’ll win.

    1. It’s actually Jeremy Shoemaker (Shoemoney). Not John.

      1. Seems to me that he read few para and added his comments without seeing the case details and all.

  9. TradeProfits says:

    Sad is has to be like that but I guess that when you reach that point you will run into such problems. However, certain benefits comes along with such a name as well 🙂

  10. Trust is surely really important for blogger, there fore i understand that you decide to sue every brand (trust) thief.

  11. Melvin says:

    lols. even though I read that this can be republished, i really didn’t think someone would put it as a blog post.. 😀

  12. EarningStep says:

    yeah.. today person just weird enough to make me laugh

  13. Ramanujam says:

    My respect for Shoemoney keeps growing with each and every post like this!

    Btw, is AuctionAds dead now? I remember that MediaWhiz renamed it as ShoppingAds but nothing is there on the website now.

  14. George says:

    Hi John, thanks for sharing.

    Yes, it is very annoying and expensive when people steal your stuff. Perhaps new laws can be created to make it easier to track down and stop people who steal stuff on the Internet.

    By the way, congratulations on selling AuctionAds. I would love to read more about it.

    Looking forward to the new ShoeMoney system!

  15. fas says:

    That shoemoney logo is like 20 years old now 🙂

  16. Nick says:

    It’s really expensive when people steal your stuff, but $100k is a lot to spend on legal fees. Good luck defending your brand!

  17. I remember when Mr. Clean Shoemoney sucked my $49.50 once, how hard it was for me to receiver that money from him..long series of e-mails…but i know he is a nice man.

    1. What’d you buy from him that you didn’t like? I’ve haven’t heard much about his products, but they seem to look pretty decent.

      1. “Shoemoney Tools”

  18. Palabuzz says:

    This is the second time that he is sending someone to jail.

    1. I don’t think the guy is going to jail lol… just legal fees and such

  19. Jeremy’s check image with face and all looks pretty popular with 89 copies on TinyEye http://bit.ly/ShoemoneyCheck

  20. It can take up to two years to gain someones trust yet you can lose it all in as little as 7 seconds.

  21. Lawyers suck, they just cost way too much money. What a screwy legal system we have when it costs you that much money to claim what is rightfully yours.

    1. Lawyers suck? You don’t have to pay lawyers if you don’t want to! Try defending a case yourself 🙂 or get a free public defender – many countries don’t even offer that.

      1. No, they suck! Whats a plain “right vs wrong” shouldn’t cost 100K just because of all the legal bulls*%t that is worded in only a way a lawyer can understand. So there has to be tons of paperwork, depositions, etc. And the judges? Former lawyers themselves.

        Hell, less than 100 years ago, you would get hung in the middle of the town for stealing a horse, let alone going around pretending to be someone else.

  22. roddy says:

    I actually found this post kind of intresting as Jeremy makes the assumption or insinuates that people implicitly trust his brand and I suppose some people who are new to online marketing do but I have personally always found shoemoney,s image and interactions with the online community mostly shallow self centered and self serving so I find the mother teresa bleeding hart routine kind of hard to swallow there is no doubt he has a brand that he can and should defend but on the other hand we have to remember that we are talking about an individual that many professional affiliate marketers view deep suspicion and distrust I suppose shoe money is kind of like Google some on the things they do are interesting and useful but when you look at their behavior and actions as a hole as opposed to the sound bites, the big picture is much creepier and sets alarm bells off in your head!

  23. Sunduvan says:

    While I agree with defending trademark or your hardwork online, we must remember that it can’t be done. It is because the more you punish those people the more they will do it and eventually it will get out of your hand. Imagine if you sue one today..then tomorrow you got to sue 3 people..then the number keep multiplying. You ended up spending most of your time in the court of law or with the lawyer and no time to maintain your money making blog,..eventually your blog will die out and your resource exhausted. How do you think about that? It is an online world, everything is for displayed and so it is expected that some of our work will be copied by others. I believe in what God said ” the hand that is giving is much better then the receiver”. I don’t mind if anybody copy whatever in my blog for all that matter. It does not make me any poorer and my blog is still making me some money and the beauty is I don’t have to spend time in the court of law or with lawyer or wasting money paying lawyers. And I feel happy being the one who give something to the people instead of receiving. That is what I think about it.

  24. Amazing what some people will do to make money. Even if I means deceiving others!

  25. The only thing that is yours on that lame website is the Google paycheck, but I wouldn’t even know it was your photo………. Seems like a huge waste of cash to chase some tard for a pic of a Google paycheck…….

  26. Ya trust is something you need to value in life.

  27. This is horrible… amazing that people would go down to these depths just for a quick buck.

  28. AlbertoPL says:

    I’ve actually seen that fake ad numerous times as popunders and whatnot… frikkin annoying.

  29. Scott says:

    That sucks you are down almost 100k. I wish you the best with this current lawsuit.

  30. Major suckage. Good luck. Take that guy DOWN.

  31. Custom Essay says:

    I just commented at another post of your blog that, it is difficult to protect your content on internet. First of all, you will never come to know who is using your material, and if you know then you can not take action, if he or she lives outside USA.

  32. Bidet says:

    It can be really expensive trying to defend your brand but it has to be done, in the end its all worth it when the good side of law wins.

  33. That sucks you are down almost 100k. I wish you the best with this current lawsuit.

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