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Salty Droid

BlogWorld III :: Attack of the Journalists

BlogWorld & New Media Expo co-founder and CEO Rick Calvert needs me to be wrong :: because if I’m right … then he and his sham of a scam disguised as a convention are very much part of an ugly and shameful problem. But I fucking doubt I’m wrong :: which is why instead of agreeing to give a BlogWorld keynote … I scared Rick Calvert away with some super easy questions.

Rick likes thinking about tacos :: not about his own culpability in the suffering of others … so he was none to pleased when he looked into my robotic mirror mirror and found himself lacking. He was even less pleased shortly thereafter when hip-as-shit tech culture site The Verge printed a big important article independently substantiating many of this site’s primary themes.

So Rick Calvert contrived a solution to his problem that wouldn’t require any genuine self-reflection :: he’d hire a real reporter to get to the bottom of how I never really get to the bottom of anything because I’m not a real reporter … it’s all just fat jokes about fat girls and baseless innuendo. Says Rick

“It won’t be a hit piece full of insults. It is a simple objective piece of journalism. The problem is; it has taken us weeks to find someone willing to even consider writing the story. No one would speak to a journalist on the record about you for fear of being associated with you.”

Huh :: I’m confused … didn’t The Verge just do objective journalism on the topic? BlogWorld seemed to think so back in May when they told Joe Flatley they “loved” the article and asked that he and the other senior editors of The Verge make a Vergecast like appearance at BlogWorld to have a similar conversation about scammers. But like myself :: and Doggie Stylish :: The Verge declined … so I guess that left Rick Calvert free to say stuff like …

The Verge video and blog post was an awesome production but horrible journalism in my opinion. They did not question any of your accusations which a good journalist would do.

Would a good journalist accept a paid assignment from BlogWorld to write an “objective” story about an open critic of BlogWorld? Prolly not :: but ReadWriteWeb reporter and BlogWorld speaker Dave Copeland certainly would … and did. Dave was sent a press copy of B.J. Mendelson’s Social Media is Bullshit :: this half sentence from his ridiculous and scathing Amazon review pretty much sums up his journalistic stylings …

“I did put the book down about two-thirds of the way through …”

Great job … D- for effort.

Dave’s talk at BlogWorld 2012 was called “Reporting for Bloggers” …

Dave showed several examples where he “busted” a story or presented an entirely new spin simply by talking to people. When you get too far from original sources, not only is your information more likely to be incorrect, but you’re only repeating information that can be found elsewhere online.

Yes :: it’s good 2 talk 2 people … expecially original sources with firsthand knowledge.

Speaking of the opposite of original sources :: first hand knowledge :: and good journalism … HARO. Help a Reporter Out is a web-based service :: founded by BlogWorld speaker Peter Shankman :: where people who aren’t journalists can go to find people who aren’t experts … it’s a win win for ignorance and injustice for all. The fucking d-bag who entered this HARO request in early July should have listened to Dave Copeland’s late June BlogWorld speech about seeking out original sources …

31) Summary: Are All Internet Marketers Scam Artists?


I’ve been reading the Salty Droid with a great deal of interest, and have been intrigued by his claim that “you can’t make money online.” The site’s founder was a prime source in a video and commentary by the Verge taking down the entire Internet marketing segment as being a syndicate of scam artists.

I want to kick the tires a bit harder on the Verge’s commentary and do some actual reporting to test the claims. Are there legit Internet Marketers and Affiliate Marketers online? What should content providers know and what questions should they ask before signing on or, even more importantly, entering payment info?


This is for a leading industry Website with high traffic levels. I am looking for expert commentary and data for a serious, investigative piece, not product pitches. Thanks.

HARO query 31 was entered by an anonymous media outlet because The Salty Droid is scary to journalists as Rick Calvert has noted :: but HARO query 32 regarding a unscary social media privacy law … was entered by Dave Copeland at ReadWriteWeb.

The morning after I published BlogWorld in Scamworld :: I got this direct query from Dave Copeland … finally getting around to original sources a month later I guess …

I’m working on a piece about you and interested in getting your input. Would you be available for a phone or email interview?

If I had to characterize my reporting so far, it would be something like this: you have good intentions and questionable techniques. There are also allegations that you make accusations without presenting clear-cut evidence to back them up. As you must know, you have supporters and detractors and I have spoken with both.

Full disclosure: I’m a freelance journalist and have been asked to look at your allegations as objectively as possible by NMX/Blogworld and write something for their blog. I’ve spoken twice at their conference and I am scheduled to speak a third time in January. All three talks have been on content development/effective writing techniques.

Allegations that I make accusations without evidence :: sweet fucking Moses that sounds serious … even if it is a tad bit unspecific and without the backing of evidence.

I was unable to find a single person who talked to Dave Copeland for this alleged story. I asked him to name a supporter of mine he’d spoken with … he did not. I asked him to name a detractor of mine he’d spoken with … he did not. I asked him to deny putting in the HARO request … he did not. But he did have this to say when I didn’t use HARO to solicit his comment for this article …

“[A]fter strong differences of opinion on how the story should be reported and written with the party that hired me, I suspended work on the story which may explain why you think I did not interview any of your supporters … In any case, once I realized I was not going to be paid for the work without compromising my own ethics I suspended work on the story.”

The ethics are strong in this one master Yoda.

When I reached out to Rick Calvert for comment about Dave Copeland’s sudden outbreak of ethics :: he said …

I have been on-site producing an event and traveling since it ended without a good internet connection.

and …

Sorry Jason I was writing a long email reply but its midnight here an I have to pack for a 4:30 taxi to the airport tomorrow. I will get back to you tomorrow night Munich time.

and …

sorry Jason. I am traveling (in Amsterdam this morning) I really do want to respond to you and will. I am packing and heading off to the airport to fly home now. So on a plane all day.

and …

Sorry for not responding Jason. It wasn’t out of a lack of respect for you or lack of interest. I was working our event in Spain, took some time off afterwards and then got sick when I came home.

Blah blah blah :: those lame excuses spanned two weeks of pestering … and once again Rick Calvert had no answers to some very simple questions. Although he did say this …

I am still committed to having an objective journalist vet your posts about our event and our speakers.

Or instead :: you could just ignore me and vet your speakers as your fucking baseline of responsibility … but I guess I don’t know conference organizing like Rick Calvert does.

Anywayz :: I thought I’d put my “questionable techniques” aside and help a reporter {and a Rick Calvert} out by doing some of the orignal source interviews that Dave Copeland couldn’t bring himself to do because HARO is the answer to all his official journalist prayers.

Dave asked Internet attorney Mike Young to do an interview :: but when Mike agreed … Dave declined. Mr. Copeland did not disclose to Mr. Young that he was writing his alleged article at the behest of BlogWorld. I asked Mike if he was surprised to learn about the BlogWorld connection …

I was surprised that Copeland was writing for BlogWorld. Let’s face it, of all the toes you’ve stepped on exposing scams, Calvert really wasn’t even on the radar of those looking for payback.

Yep :: very strange … the devil works in mysterious ways.

Mike Young would have been a good person for a reporter writing about The Salty Droid to interview :: because he’s been lurking around Internet Marketing and e-commerce since long before this site existed … and has been a reader and participator here since the earliest of early days. Mike has previously represented some of the people called out here :: and he and I have not always agreed on everything … so I asked Mike to comment honestly about my reckless disregard for the truth like Dave Copeland should have.

You and I differ on some of your targets. However, I’ve never gotten the sense that any of those you’ve written about was done without performing an investigation or lacking a good faith belief that your target was in fact a scammer or aiding and abetting scammers.

Let me borrow from the old joke about the kid digging through the manure pile trying to find a pony. In this example, the kid is the MMO customer.

I believe your expectations are the “guru” always knowingly cons the kid to think there is a pony (something of value). In contrast, my view is that sometimes the “guru” isn’t running a con but really believes there is a pony beneath the pile of crap, i.e. don’t assume evil intent where ignorance will suffice as the causation.

With a few exceptions, it’s the same result for the kid …a pile of manure instead of a pony.

Even with the exceptions, more often than not, the pony discovered in the pile is dead (no longer works to MMO) or on its last legs (rapidly becoming obsolete).

In spite of all that manure&pony talk :: the dude sounds like a lawyer … something I’ve regularly noticed in the hundreds of other conversations we’ve had over the years. Here’s a Reporting for Bloggers tip :: and a Reporting 4 Reporters Who Don’t Use HARO tip … always make yourself known to the lawyers. Which lawyers? ALL the fucking lawyers :: if they’re on your thing … you’re trying to talk to them.

CFTC attorneys Timothy Mulreany and JonMarc Buffa know what I’m talking about :: because they’re on my thing … and I’m trying to talk to them.

Instead of taking to HARO to talk anonymous shit about The Verge :: Dave Copeland could have contacted Joseph Flatley directly and asked him about the article … and about the extent and nature of his research. But he did not :: so I asked Mr. Flatley for a response …

This is a really bizarre request to put out there, especially on something as tacky as HARO. I would love to speak to whoever wrote it! Asserting that my Scamworld story is some sort of ‘book report’ about the Salty Droid website shows that either this person doesn’t know how to read critically, or that they are trying to smear me by spreading the fable that I didn’t do any original research for this piece; which, again, is obviously bullshit if you read the thing honestly. I hope this character can sleep at night knowing that they’re willing to flush journalism down the toilet for what is probably an insignificant amount of money. That said, The Verge spent a great deal of time, energy, and resources on the Scamworld story, and we’re all very proud of it.

My goal was to tell a story that has been floating around the blogosphere in bits and pieces for many years, one that has been largely ignored by larger publications. Over the period of time I spent researching this thing, I could not help but constantly find that Jason Jones had been there first. We were both writing on the same subject, and I find his reporting to be impeccable — how could we not come up with similar conclusions? Any real journalist would have the same experience.

So, yeah, mystery HARO person… do some ‘actual’ reporting. Kick the tires a bit. I would love to see what you come up with. I just hope that HARO was the beginning, not the end, of your story.

Ye hope in vain sir … ye hope in vain.

Says Rick Calvert in our comments

“All of the people in the verge scamworld story may be scammers, but you go far beyond that. Why didn’t they choose to cover all the people you cover here?

They mention lots of other names I don’t recall seeing on your blog and seem to have had endless space for the story.”

So they’re just parroting my accusations without doing journalism :: but they don’t mention all the scammers I’ve mentioned … and they do mention some that I haven’t mentioned? That’s some seriously stupid shit right there. But okay :: why Joe Flatley … and as a follow-up … why isn’t there more mainstream media coverage of this plague?

Scamworld is a vast, difficult topic, and the mainstream media generally has no use for vast, difficult topics. But I am trying my best to bring this issue to people’s attention.

There is no way we could have fit every creep, victim, and humorous anecdote into the first story. But that’s OK — wait until you see what The Verge is working on now…

Personally :: I want to hear more about smartphones … so I hope it’s that … but in spite of what Frank Kern pretends to believe in public … The Verge doesn’t really give a shit what I want to hear. If they did :: Colleen Conaway would have featured in the first story … because I push for that whenever I find someone to push. It’s a signature story here at The Salty Droid … and it’s about everything this place is about. Dave Copeland was attempting to write a ‘book report’ on The Salty Droid :: so Colleen’s sister Lynn Graham should have been one of his first contacts … but for reasons known only to everyone but Dave Copeland … Lynn wasn’t trolling HARO for publicity opportunities.

I asked Lynn what she thought about people who characterize this site as hateful and vindictive :: like you can see Rick Calvert doing in a chat with Dave Copeland the morning after SaltyDroid vs. BlogWorld II published. Here’s what she said …

Hateful and the name Jason do not EVEN belong in the same sentence! When my family was in crisis and the story about what happened to my sister Colleen at a James Ray International event was coming to light, Jason himself contacted me and helped us through a very difficult time. Through his many blogs he has uncovered valuable information and he has come into contact with many people who were able to help us piece together my sisters final moments. He has supported us personally with his phone calls, emails and texts and he has been patient and encouraging when I was at my wit’s end. He did this without any prior knowledge of my family, without any monetary gain and he continues to be supportive even though we have never met … that does not sound like a hateful person to me!

The story of Colleen’s death was an important part of the James Arthur Ray story :: and it was covered by several major media outlets … I asked Lynn how Jason compared to other reporters on the case like Dave Copeland should have …

I know Jason to be only a seeker of the truth. At times when I would contact him upset about something I heard had happened to my sister … he was the one who calmed me down and said we would have to verify the validity of the claim. It is this attention to detail that not only makes him equal to other investigative reporters but surpasses them at times.

Jason (Salty Droid) has been more helpful to me and my family than he will ever know. I will never be able to repay him all the good deeds he has done for my family and myself in particular.

But she is repaying him :: because she says nice things like that to him … all the time. Lots of other wonderful {but hurting} people do too :: a testimonial page for this site would have anyone with a heart in tears … because this place matters. And guess what Rick Calvert? I fucking care about the people this place matters to :: and I fucking believe in what we’re all trying to accomplish here … which has got jack squat to do with calling Rick Calvert and Naomi Dunford fatties.

But seriously … how fucking fat are these fucking fatties?

Our friend Alison Navarro is another soul for whom scamworld was so god awful destructive that Jason decided fake robotic featuring her by name couldn’t possibly make things worse. Considering how Alison’s story here made easily the biggest splash to date :: thanks Kevin Smith …

The story was centered around the blogging about blogging bloggers :: and BlogWorld directly. It should have been another early official reporting stop of Dave Copeland … but no.


Lots of well-meaning people thought I should accept the BlogWorld speaking invite :: but even though it was pretty damn highlarious … this fake robot can accurately report that Jason Jones was completely offended by the invitation. Ms. Alison’s still deteriorating life inside Plunderland was all he could think about while he was trying to softball Shane Ketterman. I’ll let Alison explain :: like Dave Copeland wouldn’t … and didn’t.

When you told me you’d been invited to speak at BlogWorld, after the initial humor of he situation faded, I was just left with disgust. How dare they invite you to speak? How dare they ask you to give implied credibility to those glorified snake-oil salesmen who use cult tactics and NLP (which, frankly, is new-age-speak for brainwashing from what I’ve researched) to foist fraudulent “products” on unsuspecting consumers who are just genuinely trying to make their lives better? How dare they ask you to dignify their convention of the lost and rip-off artists by being a speaker when you lose countless nights of sleep trying to expose those scams for what they are? Are you serious?

What was my reaction? It made me sick. To think of the way Dave came back from BlogWorld a totally different man than the one who’d been playing Lego with our boys every night for years; that he came back frightened of the Wendy’s drive-through and smelling like liquor and cigarettes, two things he’d avoided his whole damn life? With receipts in his pockets and suitcase for drinks for two, with “souvenirs” for the kids consisting of things he bought in Raleigh from the newstand because he’d forgotten all about them while he was there?

The last texts I had on my phone from Dave prior to his leaving on November 1st were from BlogWorld. He texted me when he got there to say he’d arrived; he texted me every night before the kids went to bed to say that he missed me so damn much and then he came home and was blank, like the part of him that could care had been systematically erased. Yes, I’ve seen the pictures online where Dave and Naomi didn’t pick up their BlogWorld passes - but you want to tell me that BlogWorld had nothing to do with what happened to me, my kids, Dave’s family? You want to assure me that BlogWorld was a completely innocuous convention of innovators and freethinkers and innocent marketers after my life fell apart within days of my husband’s return?

Fair enough, Mr Calvert; go ahead and tell me that. But you better give me proof that every speaker there has been investigated to the extent that Jason investigates his targets. Give me proof that everything they do, everything they sell, every “big name marketer” that my husband invested his time, money, and trust in is morally and financially without blemish. Or, that if they have blemish, they’re willing to discuss and explain their mistakes and own up to them. Because God knows, everyone makes mistakes in life; the difference is, these folks seem to want to pretend they’re infallible and they’ve learned their lesson, all while trying to sell something new based on the reputations they made while selling the things they’re apologizing for.

No offense, Salty, but if you’d gone to BlogWorld and lent them your credibility by default? I’d’ve written you off without a damn good explanation. Jesus told me I had to forgive - he didn’t say I had to trust you again afterwards.

Yeah :: Jesus was smart … trust and forgiveness are different things … like tacos and burritos.

doggie style

Ms. Navarro :: who is still not divorced in spite of Naomi Dunford’s recent defamatory sales page claims to the contrary … is part of our fledgling non-profit which aims to use the Internet to protect the people who are the Internet from the Internet.

I still feel that what you do is important. I feel that what the new group is attempting is equally important; reaching out to people via a more family-friendly language and inviting others to speak in an open forum… It gives me a lot of hope for cleaning up the internet, honestly. After everything, I think I deserve a little of that hope.

She does deserve a little hope :: and so too do the endless fucking thousands whose similar stories she bravely represents in the face of slings and arrows … volleyed by the wicked … and the intentionally incompetent.

Tomorrow :: and tomorrow :: and tomorrow … maybe things will be different?

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