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Old 10-31-2005, 07:46 PM   #1
Amish Patel
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 96
Default Complaint: Hurricane Digital Media

Full Name:- Amish Patel

URL In Question:- DailyWrestling.com (seperate account on HDM - read the story)

Email Address: amish_patel_206@yahoo.co.uk

Nature Of Complaint:

I've worked with pretty much every advertiser there is to work with over the past 10 years, but today was the first time I've ever had the chance to deal with <Snipped personal attack for second time. Please keep things civil.> - CEO of Hurricane Digital Media: David Eastbrook.

Here is my story:

I started using Hurricane in May with one website and was earning fairly good revenue, and the publisher support was seemingly good. This continued and by last month, I had 5 sites added to my account. Revenue statistics for those interested:

Site Breakout 9 2005 765.76 11/10/2005
Site Breakout 8 2005 1852.78 10/1/2005
Site Breakout 7 2005 2225.03 9/2/2005
Site Breakout 6 2005 2019.44 8/1/2005
Site Breakout 5 2005 649.7 7/2/2005

Now this is where the real story begins. In August, I applied for a seperate account with Hurricane as I wanted the co-owner of my new website to have access to this and basically seperate things from which I owned 100%.

In the month of September, I went on a 3 day business trip and in those 3 days - my co-owner thought it would be clever to commit fraud against Hurricane and stack banners on a page to increase our revenue (this is for the seperate account) and therefore his 50% share.

Upon returning:

Code:
"Steven R. Christensen"
steve@hurricanedigitalmedia.com> wrote:

Your Hurricane Publisher Network account has been terminated due to violations of our terms and conditions.  Your ad delivery has been suspended.

We have a zero tolerance policy for malicious violation of our terms and
conditions.  Please remove all ad code from your site.  Payment will be
made for impressions delivered through 9/12/2005. Payments will not be
made for the period of recorded violation.

Sincerely,

Steven Christensen, CTO
Hurricane Digital Media LLC
6320 Monona Dr.
Madison, WI  53716
Phone:  608-222-1001
mobile:  608-695-0708
steve@hurricanedigitalmedia.com
 http://www.hurricanedigitalmedia.com
I was obviously shocked at what happened and eventually found out that for 3 days, impressions had been fraudelently generated. Needless to say, I released my co-owner and accepted full responsibility for his actions and accepted that my other site with the seperate account was no longer in the network. Below are payment stats for what I was owed for this account:

Site Breakout 9 2005 269.7 11/4/2005
Site Breakout 8 2005 1053.42 10/1/2005

My other account with 5 sites was fine and still running ads normally and earning revenue. Now here's when I noticed something was wrong. I was yet to receive the July payment from my normal account which was supposedly sent out 9/2/2005.

I emailed Steven who said he would follow up with David.... he sent this on 9/23:

Code:
Amish,

Your payment was posted this week. You should have it very shortly.

Best,

David Eastbrook

Hurricane Digital Media, LLC
6320 Monona Dr.
Suite 414
Madison, WI 53716

ph: 608-222-1001
I waited and still nothing.... It got to 10/4 and I had received nothing. I emailed David personally and asked him what was going on, below are his replies:

Code:
If our bank has it not cashed, I'll void the check sent and issue
another today. 

David Eastbrook
 
Hurricane Digital Media, LLC
6320 Monona Dr.
Suite 414
Madison, WI 53716
 
ph: 608-222-1001

---

Just checked, will post a replacement check in today's mail. Apologies
for the delay.

David Eastbrook
 
Hurricane Digital Media, LLC
6320 Monona Dr.
Suite 414
Madison, WI 53716
 
ph: 608-222-1001

---

I'll try to get it UPSed or something. You're in the UK, right?

David Eastbrook
 
Hurricane Digital Media, LLC
6320 Monona Dr.
Suite 414
Madison, WI 53716
 
ph: 608-222-1001
Soon after these emails, my main account was cancelled for poor performance as I had basically stopoped serving Hurricane ads due to poor rates. I had no problem with this as I would still get all the money owed.

Around 2 weeks passed and nothing. By this point I was now owed for July AND August on my proper account and August's payment from the account where the 3 days fraud had taken place.

I emailed and nothing - I decided to phone HDM and spoke to David. He informed me they were having cash flow problems, but would keep me informed. I thought that's fair enough...

Still heard nothing and phoned again a week or so later - David now informed me that all webmasters documented as commiting fraud were having all payments temporarily banned until they consulted with their legal team (load of BS if you ask me). He also told me that my check that was supposed to be sent on 9/2 for $2225.03 was actually sitting on his desk. Strange as it had supposedly been sent once.... voided, re-issued... and then UPS'd for a second time. Anyway, again, he said he'd let me know what was going on. Note that the first thing David told me when I called him up this time was that he was trying to get somebody in jail for fraud they had commited on HDM - I wonder why I was told that? Perhaps to scare me and stop me bugging them for the money I was owed during their critical financial period?

So last week I email David and tell him I don't really want to call America from my cell and spend ridicilous amounts per minute trying to get answers.... surprise surprise... no response.... yesterday I send a pretty emotional email trying to get answers about what was going on, and again, nothing.

SO..... around 2 hours ago I was angry enough to pick up my cell and hear the news I've basically known for weeks on end anyway - Hurricane were retaining all my money and never planned to tell me. While I cannot be sure, I would be willing to wager a lot that their current financial plight is the reason why I am not getting anything and they THINK they have their justification in those 3 days of fraud through my seperate account.

The conversation itself was very very interesting and I only wish you guys could hear a recording of it, because if that is how a CEO of an advertising company is supposed to act, I am very surprised.

David stuttered, was unsure of what he was saying/refering to and generally tried to direct all blame on me in this matter. Hell, he didn't even seem to know what HDM's own publisher agreements had in them! I asked him straight up to tell me yes or no whether I would get any of the money owed to me - guess the answer? I also asked how the company could be so unprofessional as to basically lie to me and also have him, the CEO, claim my check had been sent TWICE when infact it never had - "mistakes" apparently.

I was obviously angry and said that if my money could not be retained in my bank account, I would retain it through letting fellow publishers know exactly how this guy and his company generally operated. His reaction? "If you want to start a war with us, go for it."

I also asked him if he was basically telling me to get lost. Without hesitation, I was given a yes. Charming.

Do I want a war with Hurricane Digital Media? No.

Do I mind that I won't get $6,000+ that is owed to me? No.

Do I mind that I was lied to and treated like a scapegoat for their problems? Hell yes.

Again, I accept full responsibility for those 3 days of fraud and I still regret working with the guy that did it. In over 10 years, working with pretty much every advertiser, I've never been done for fraud and have never had money retained from me apart from when UGO went bust.

I urge fellow publishers to think very VERY carefully about giving a lot of your inventory to Hurricane. David also told me in this last conversation that "there doors were just about open" and they had got past the critical financial difficulties - somehow I just don't believe that, do you?

P.S. I asked David why the other account was getting punished - I told him to do an audit for all the revenue that had been earnt there as there had been ZERO fraud there. Apparently HDM and David only work on assumptions.

Last edited by Czar; 11-01-2005 at 07:25 AM.
Amish Patel is offline  
Old 10-31-2005, 11:02 PM   #2
hdm
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 2
Default

I have reviewed your account history, Amish. Payment that was due for July in the amount of 2225.03 is in question. This payment was for legitimate impressions and this payment will be sent via mail immediately.

All other payments are canceled due to evidence of fraud.

I will make one statement and then will consider this matter closed and answer only direct email messages in regard to the policies for security.

Fraud and abuse hurts ALL our clients as they are the people that lose the most money and this activity puts ALL of our clients at risk. We will not allow our clients who work very hard to create valuable content to have their contribution to the network diminished in any way to support those that would seek to shortcut it.

I require extensive and proven facts before I am willing to classify any activity as fraud as opposed to simply a mistake or lack of knowledge. However, any fraud will be treated with maximum penalty and no reservations as to the moral implications of such penalties. These penalties are to protect the interests of our clients and we will do so completely and without reservations.

If there are any questions or concerns about these policies you can address them to HDM support directly.

Thank you.
hdm is offline  
Old 11-01-2005, 03:18 AM   #3
Czar

Webmaster
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Posts: 9,506
Default

Thank you both sincerely for choosing to address this issue through our official complaint procedure. As per the standards of that procedure, this thread will now be locked to acknowledge that both interested parties have made their positions known.

I hope that Amish found Hurricane's response to be in-keeping with his expectations and that this issue will start to be amicably resolved from this point forward.

I thank both parties once again for making your positions known, to the benefit of all those who will read this thread.
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