Thoughts

Two spyware companies slapped down by the FTC

The FTC is to be praised for its efforts in shutting down spyware companies. In its latest coup, two of them, Spybot.net and Odysseus Marketing, were fined and closed, and their owners are now responsible for payment of the fines. The FTC wants to put a permanent halt to their services, and to make them cough up all the money they made: over $4 million. I hope they shake them for every penny!

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Reviews

Caveat emptor: Davison Inventegration will just take your money

I’d forgotten about my bad experience with these people until they sent me some spam a couple of weeks ago. To return the favor, I’m going to tell you what I know of them, and believe me, it’s not pretty…

These days, they’ve got a new domain (davisongetresults.com) which acts as a forward to their old domain (davison54.com). They’re billing themselves as the inventor’s helper, and say they can “get your idea to market”. They’re still brandishing their “Inventegration” process, and they’re still puffing up their feathers about their proven experience of getting products to market. Check out the products they have gotten to market, and you be the judge of whether you’d call that experience. I have to chuckle at their marketing language: “Davison is fast becoming the industry leader when it comes to preparing and presenting new product ideas to corporations for possible licensing.” Compared to whom? By the way, surf the site to find out more about this Davison fellow, but you won’t find his full name or photograph anywhere. Does that begin to tell you something?

I’ll let you discover their website and judge it by yourselves. Let me not waste time and tell you about my experience. In ’03, I had an idea for a new faucet and fell for one of their spam emails. I contacted them, got their information package, and, not knowing any better, decided to go ahead and try to use them. The first step was their “confidential and professional” evaluation of my idea’s marketability – in other words, they would let me know whether my idea was worth pursuing. Hey, sounds good, right? I decided to go forward. In a couple of days, they contacted me and told me in no uncertain terms that they thought my idea was wonderful, and that they’d love to help me sell it to companies. I notice now they’ve gotten away from that nowadays. On their site, they say: “Davison does not perform analysis of the potential feasibility, marketability, patentability or profitability of ideas submitted to it.” But they WERE doing this when I dealt with them. So I guess they discovered it got them into too much hot water and decided it wasn’t worth it…

After telling me how good my idea was, the fellow with whom I dealt, possibly Davison himself, proceeded to give me the hard sell. They wouldn’t go ahead without a professional market study. After all, how could they gauge my idea’s marketability without one? No matter that they had just performed a professional analysis of my idea, a market study was still needed before we got to the good part, where they prepared my idea and marketed it to companies through their “exclusive contacts”. The cost, you ask? Oh, a mere $800, or a little less than that. For me, since I was cash strapped at the time, Davison would be able to take $100 off. What a nice guy, right? So I waited, and waited, and waited, after putting the bill on my credit card, and finally got my “professional market study”. I still have it, as a memento of my foolishness. It’s a bunch of web pages, printed out and stuck in a cheap binder, some from retail websites, and some from the US Patent Office database, where did a simple query on faucets. Basically, it’s all stuff marginally related to my idea, that they searched hastily and printed out. I could have done this myself in about 1-2 hours, but I ended up paying about $700 for it instead, because my powers of judgment must have been sleeping then.

So I figured okay, this sucks, but let me see what the next step is. I called them – they didn’t call me anymore this time. Davison probably figured that if I’m moronic enough to want to go forward after that botched up job they called a market study, then I deserve to lose my money… So I called him, and asked him how we’d proceed. I expressed my disappointment with the “market study”, and he said, nonchalantly, that that’s how they’re done… Ahem… Then he said all the preliminary steps were done, and and all we’d need to go forward with right now was the preparation of my product, and that he had the facilities to help me with that. I asked, what about presenting my idea to companies? No such thing yet, he said. We don’t want to risk rejection of your idea. First we need to prepare a model of your idea, so they have something in front of them. I knew I shouldn’t ask, but I did anyway… How much would it cost? Only $10,000-12,000, he said. (!)

It was then I realized I’d been strung along and pumped for cash, because I’d been a fool. But I figured, hey, let me do my homework, right? So I told him I needed to think about it, and I hung up the phone. Then I did my homework, which I should have done months before, and learned my lesson the hard way. Davison is part of a group of many inventor helper companies that have sprung up recently, that will pump naive inventors like me for money. The fools that we are, we believe they’re really interested in helping us, when all they care about is getting our money to supposedly “package our product for the market”. Their fees are ridiculous, and they don’t care if our ideas are good or not, but we fall for it, because we don’t know any better. If you don’t believe, do a search on the internet for “davison inventegration” or “davison idea” and see what you’ll find. Here is a sample of what’s there. Even the FTC has a published brief that was filed against these crooks, for “deceptive practices”.

I was a gentleman with him back then. I called him a couple of days later, and told him I was disappointed with the so called market study, and that I wouldn’t go forward with their “inventegration” process. This whole dirty matter would have stayed safely in my past if they hadn’t spammed me. Well, if they’re so thoughtless that they won’t let sleeping dogs lie, I hope this teaches them a lesson, and it teaches you, the reader with an idea, NOT to use them.

Updated 5/26/10: The FTC has gotten involved with Davison, due to all the claims people have filed against them, and Davison has settled and mailed checks to the people whose money they took under false pretenses. I received two letters (with checks enclosed), one in 2009, and one in 2010, mentioning the FTC lawsuit settlements. I’m posting them below for you. If you didn’t receive a settlement check and you’ve lost a lot of money with Davison, my advice to you is that you look into your legal options — talk with a trustworthy, knowledgeable lawyer and see what’s to be done.

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