Saturday, April 04, 2015

What's The Difference Between Ugotposted And Angie's List?

TW for revenge porn Revenge-porn website operator convicted in San Diego”A San Diego man charged with running a revenge-porn site where people posted nude pictures of their exes has been convicted of more than two dozen felony charges.Kevin Bollaert was found guilty Monday of identity theft and extortion.It’s one of the first convictions under a new California law that outlawed revenge porn.Authorities say Bollaert ran a website where people posted explicit images of their ex-lovers and their names and hometowns without consent, and a second website the victims could contact to have the images removed — for a fee of up to $350.Authorities say Bollaert made tens of thousands of dollars.In court, Bollaert’s lawyer, Emily Rose-Weber, argued that the business may have been immoral, but it wasn’t illegal.”Source
Kevin Bollaert
A 28-year old California man, Kevin Bollaert, operated a revenge porn site,, at which nude images of people were posted by jilted lovers and cyber hackers without their consent as a form of public shaming. About 10,000 images, mostly of women, were posted to the site. Victims who contacted the website to complain about the nude images were directed to another website,, where they could get the images removed from the website after paying a fee of between $250 and $350. Bollaert earned about $900 a month from and collected about $30,000 from victims during the nearly one-year period he was in business. A San Diego Superior Court judge sentenced Bollaert to 18 years in prison after he was found guilty of six counts of extortion and 21 counts of identity theft.

Angie's List supposedly posts customer service ratings of service providers based upon its members experience with those providers, which its paid members rely upon in choosing a service provider. According to a recent class action lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania, Angie's List is accused of manipulating those consumer ratings. The lawsuit claims service providers can rank high on Angie's List even though they've been negatively reviewed by consumers. Negative reviews of service providers who pay hefty advertising fees to Angie's List are suppressed according to the lawsuit so members are unable to see negative reviews. According to the company's most recent earnings statement, it earned over $241 million in revenues from the service providers it rates compared to about $64 million it collected in membership fees from a little more than 3 million members. If the allegations contained in the class action lawsuit are true, it's hard to see much difference in the way Bollaert operated his revenge porn site and the companion reputation repair site and the way Angie's List collects protection money from service providers to restore their image.


Anonymous said...

I am not an attorney but isn't this why the RICO law was created to prevent this forced extortion? My view is from the business owners who in effect "paid" to have their businesses marketed to keep negative reviews from the public.

Seems like this is a double edged sword in terms of the apparent member manipulation and the perceived Racketeering that occurred to businesses forced to $$$$.

Gary R. Welsh said...

If the allegations of how the business is being conducted are true, both civil and criminal RICO laws would come into play.

Anonymous said...

And shouldn't this article, just as all the recent, accurate AI articles about the political scam that is called "Angie's List" make ardent Angie's List devotee
Democrat City County Councilor Zach Adamson [and the other Councilors just like him] cringe in shame for his puppy-dog adoration and apparently deep desire to burn OUR $18.5 Million tax dollars as was proposed before the LIE that is was RFRA that scotched that deal? Oh wait... I used "cringe in shame"- that could never happen...not from any politician.

Anonymous said...

Angie's List now appears more of a "Protection Racket" than a legitimate consumer reporting agency. I found this definition of a racket and I think it fits: "A racket is a service that is fraudulently offered to solve a problem, such as for a problem that does not actually exist, that will not be put into effect, or that would not otherwise exist if the racket did not exist. Conducting a racket is racketeering. Particularly, the potential problem may be caused by the same party that offers to solve it, although that fact may be concealed, with the specific intent to engender continual patronage for this party."

Is Angie's List the protection racket, wherein it indicates that they could protect a service business from potential damage, damage from publishing true consumer reports?

The correlation of threat and protection may be more or less deniably veiled, allowing some level of plausible deniability, distinguishing it from the more direct act of extortion. Nonetheless, it is what it is. Now a court needs to rule.

Anonymous said...

I cancelled my membership last week after reading about how they wanted to fleece us for 18 million and because of the lawsuit. Their business model is indeed a scam given that the concept they sell of client based reviews cannot sustain the business without compromising credibility. Also, their blatant attempt to spin the latest religious freedom act shows they cannot be trusted. I hope many other local clients wake up.