@TheSkeptic21 Let's ask @jburner and @carolynsargent if Ackman will open his $HLF call to questions?
— The Skeptic (@TheSkeptic21) February 28, 2014
Then she went dark. Even though I suspected she simply wanted my phone number for purposes other than speaking to me, I couldn't completely discount the possibility that she actually wanted to chat about Ackman's planned conference call. So, I called her office. I've only gotten voicemail and I'm a bit disappointed that she won't take my calls, particularly since she seemed to want to talk quite badly to me in her messages. I even called again today and got sent straight to voicemail after being transferred to her line by the receptionist.
Oddly enough, that same day around 4pm on Feb 28th, I received a very strange email. It was a domain activation email from GoDaddy for theskeptic21.com.
The problem is I didn't register that domain. In fact, I haven't registered any domains as The Skeptic. I only have the blogspot venue. A simple WHOIS search returns the following:
Registrant: The Skeptic 200 Madison Avenue New York, NY 10016 United States Phone:+1.9177082367 Domain Name: theskeptic21.com Created on.............: 2014-02-28 15:43:44 Expires on.............: 2015-02-28 15:55:42 Record last updated on..: 2014-02-28 15:43:44
Registrar: 2030138 ONTARIO INC. DBA NAMESBEYOND.COM AND DBA GOODLUCKDOMAIN.COM Whois Server: whois.namesbeyond.com Creation Date: 28-FEB-2014 Updated Date: 04-MAR-2014 Expiration Date: 28-FEB-2015
It was then brought to my attention that somebody was sending around a Herbalife distributor survey yesterday. The signature on the survey was Direct Media Survey.
If you also search for all domains registered to the same contact number (+1.9177082367) in addition to theskeptic21.com, another site also pops up. Should you really be surprised that the second site is directmediasurvey.com? Directmediasurvey.com is yet another falsely registered site and is the source of this Herbalife distributor survey. And wouldn't you know, when you WHOIS search this second site it shares the same basic registration information as theskeptic21.com. Both websites used the same fake phone number +1.9177082367 as the registrant contact number and the same address: 200 Madison Avenue in New York. The primary difference between the two is that directmediasurvey.com was created a few days after theskeptic21.com.
What is pretty hysterical about the whole thing is that whoever is trying to spoof me used my email address to activate registration for theskeptic21.com, which has since been suspended. Their ignorant lust apparently made them forget that the email would come to me and would require my activation. Reasonably enough, I would never activate a domain that I did not register, so I didn't activate it. I am not certain who registered it, but it was not me. At least they didn't make the same mistake twice.
Intriguingly, directmediasurvey.com is hosted and registered via GoDaddy and the domain went live without me ever having received an email. What's interesting is that when you search for both using the phone number both sites come up, but when you search by using the email address originally used to create theskeptic21.com email address as the search term, it creates a different result in which only theskeptic21.com comes up. That indicates the original registrant of directmediasurvey.com registered the domain under a different email address, (so they could activate it) and then retrospectively changed the contact information for the domain. Effectively, they used a traceable email address, which they verified with GoDaddy to register and activate the domain and then went back and updated the domain name contact information in an effort to cover their tracks and point their stinky thumb in my direction.
Couple funny things about the survey is that it reportedly got sent around to Wall Street-types and not Herbalife distributors. Although my modest sense of self importance makes it hard to believe, I suspect that Pershing Square, Global Strategy Group and Rubenstein view me as some sort of a threat and perhaps they concocted the domain registrations and the survey in an effort to compromise me in some manner. Either that or some short investor spun up the whole thing. I can only assume that whoever is responsible falsely registered the two knowing full well they were falsely using my information to register and that it would perturb me and force me to respond in some way. Whoever did it must be extremely naive though. In addition to being very easy to debunk and deactivate those domains there are some interesting legal considerations.
The Fraudulent Online Identity Sanctions Act (a.k.a. FOISA, H.R 3754) created some pretty serious penalties for those who submit materially false contact information in connection with a domain name used to commit a crime or engage in online infringement. In addition to shifting relief to punitive from injunctive in non criminal cases, if one were shown to materially submit false contact information in connection with enacting a felony, it automatically adds seven years on top of the sentence received. No negotiation, no pleading, just seven more notches on the bedpost of your federal penitentiary bunkmate. That's serious time for any midtown softy convicted of, oh I don't know, securities manipulation maybe?
I guess that after yesterday's press conference in honor of NCPW2014, I shouldn't be surprised about the false attribution. NY AG Schneiderman revealed the top ten complaints received for the state of New York, and number one on the list? Internet (privacy issues; spyware; consumer frauds) with 4,753 complaints.
And for the record, I emailed both Jennifer Burner and Carolyn Sargent asking if
"any member of Global Strategy Group or Rubenstein, their affiliates, assigns, agents or clients participate in any way in falsely registering domains under my contact information?"Despite their prior interest in talking to me, I have not heard back from either Global Strategy or Rubenstein.