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Old 05-08-2009, 11:05 AM   #1
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Is this website a scam?

Has anyone heard/been to the following website: kindledxpromo[DOT]com

They claim to offer a Kindle at half the price because it comes preloaded with books from other publishers. They offer payment through paypal, though, so shouldn't you be protected?

I don't like how they don't have a phone number, either.
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Old 05-08-2009, 11:13 AM   #2
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Their explanation as to how they are able to sell the device so cheaply.

My question is did this company exist before the Kindle DX came on the scene? Did they have similiar offers for the first two kindles or any other ebook devices?

Quote:
Promo Publishers, LLC is a digital publishing and promotions company.

Through our Kindle DX Promo, we enable authors to gain exposure for their works both efficiently and economically by participating in our unique promo distribution model.

How do we offer a 50% discount?

Aspiring authors participating in our program pay a fee to have their works included in a digital collection which we offer free with each Kindle DX purchased from our site. These fees are used to reduce the price of your new Kindle DX.

Our goal is to increase the accessibility and availability of digital content by offering affordable solutions to both authors and consumers.
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Old 05-08-2009, 11:52 AM   #3
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They are not listed with the Better Business Bureau and, when you try to pre order, you are directed to PayPal...
You know that they say... if it looks too good to be true...
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Old 05-08-2009, 12:10 PM   #4
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I'm pretty suspicious of this. I can't find any online record of the LLC name used on the Contact Us page, Promo Publishers, LLC., on file with the Georgia Department of State. The closest I can find is Publishers Promotions which is not an LLC located in a different city.

The website is registered to a person in Alpharetta, Georgia, not Atlanta. It was registered on May 7, a full day after the announcement of the DX. Sounds like a scammer opportunist to me. The address of the website registration is in a residential neighborhood. The registrant's phone number does have a current listing to the Alpharetta address but this could be a red herring. I can't find the registrant's name in the Georgia corporation index or online. The closest I can come is someone with a different middle initial.

The street address used on the Contact Us page is located in the Buckhead condo building in Atlanta. There is no online presence for Promo Publishers nor can I find a business associated with that specific address. I'd be concerned that it's a maildrop location.

While it says, "PayPal, debit cards, and credit cards accepted" the link takes you specifically to a PayPal payment page. There is no option to pay without the involvement of PayPal.

This throws up so many red flags that I wouldn't suggest anyone try it.

Edited to add: I did some more searching and see that someone identifying himself as "David" is spamming a lot of DX discussion threads announcing the half price promotion and directing people to the website. David happens to be the first name used for the website registration.

Last edited by avaloncourt; 05-08-2009 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:40 PM   #5
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I found the website through comments on an article of the Kindle.

The fact that he registered a day after the Kindle makes me suspicious.

As I figured, it's probably too good to be true, but I thought I would try anyway...
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avaloncourt View Post
I'm pretty suspicious of this. I can't find any online record of the LLC name used on the Contact Us page, Promo Publishers, LLC., on file with the Georgia Department of State. The closest I can find is Publishers Promotions which is not an LLC located in a different city.

The website is registered to a person in Alpharetta, Georgia, not Atlanta. It was registered on May 7, a full day after the announcement of the DX. Sounds like a scammer opportunist to me. The address of the website registration is in a residential neighborhood. The registrant's phone number does have a current listing to the Alpharetta address but this could be a red herring. I can't find the registrant's name in the Georgia corporation index or online. The closest I can come is someone with a different middle initial.

The street address used on the Contact Us page is located in the Buckhead condo building in Atlanta. There is no online presence for Promo Publishers nor can I find a business associated with that specific address. I'd be concerned that it's a maildrop location.

While it says, "PayPal, debit cards, and credit cards accepted" the link takes you specifically to a PayPal payment page. There is no option to pay without the involvement of PayPal.

This throws up so many red flags that I wouldn't suggest anyone try it.

Edited to add: I did some more searching and see that someone identifying himself as "David" is spamming a lot of DX discussion threads announcing the half price promotion and directing people to the website. David happens to be the first name used for the website registration.
Hi,

I'm the founder of Promo Publishers, LLC.

Many have seen and questioned the validity of our new site link removed.

I wanted to post here to assure you our 50% discounted Kindle DE Promo offer is NOT a scam, it's just a creative business model.

Thanks for taking time to ask us directly.

Here are the facts:

- My name is David.

- I live in Alpharetta, and use a Buckhead condo as my office.

- Promo Publishers, LLC is a registered with the Georgia Department of State.

- Payments are taken via PayPal
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:45 PM   #7
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Apparently David doesn't know how to use a discussion forum. Five posts with the same information?

Why would we ask directly? Every less-than-legitimate operation always has a good cover story. You haven't even provided that in your five repeated posts. It's very odd not to find any information about you or your business at all on the Internet. It must not be much of a business if even a search on your own name doesn't reveal anything. No website for your actual company. No references anywhere except information you have provided to a press release aggregator.

Hey David, how about pointing to the Georgia Department of State page referencing your LLC because it's not coming up in the search on their site.

You're not instilling a lot of confidence except to acknowledge that every item I uncovered is correct with the exception of the statement that you are LLC registered. You'll have to provide proof of that since Georgia doesn't seem to acknowledge it.

Last edited by avaloncourt; 05-08-2009 at 10:31 PM.
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:19 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by forkyfork View Post
They offer payment through paypal, though, so shouldn't you be protected?
No. Keep in mind that the Kindle DX is in pre-order and, per the Amazon website, "Kindle DX will be released this summer." There is no specific date.

Here's how a scam could play out:

1) Take a bunch of Kindle DX pre-orders at half price.

2) Keep siphoning off all of the payments as they come in.

3) Close bank account at the point the Kindle DX actually ships.

4) Disappear.

If you file a complaint, PayPal will attempt to withdraw the amount you paid from the registered bank account. PayPal will be informed that the account has been closed. You will receive a notification from PayPal that no funds could be recovered. You now have recourse to go to your card issuer to perform a chargeback but the issuer may reject that because you're beyond the time period allowed for a chargeback. That time period varies by issuer.

This is a type of scam that has happened many times with PayPal. Do some searching online and you'll find a lot of people left holding the bag.

Last edited by avaloncourt; 05-08-2009 at 10:24 PM.
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:37 PM   #9
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This just in:

Promo Publishers LLC is now showing up on the Georgia Department of State website.

Why didn't it show up before?

Because the LLC was registered YESTERDAY (May 7, 2009).

Here's a link to the page: http://corp.sos.state.ga.us/corp/soskb/Corp.asp?1555159

If there was ever a reason to avoid a company it would be to not hand your money over to an unknown with 1 day of operational experience.
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Old 05-08-2009, 10:49 PM   #10
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When you pre-order ANYTHING through Amazon (and most anywhere) they do NOT charge your card until the order has shipped. They *MIGHT* do a 30-day (max) hold on the amount, just to make sure your card is legit. Is the same true of your site, "David" ?

Isn't is ILLEGAL to take money for a product you don't have, way prior to you shipping it?
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Old 05-08-2009, 11:01 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by hybernation View Post
When you pre-order ANYTHING through Amazon (and most anywhere) they do NOT charge your card until the order has shipped. They *MIGHT* do a 30-day (max) hold on the amount, just to make sure your card is legit. Is the same true of your site, "David" ?

Isn't is ILLEGAL to take money for a product you don't have, way prior to you shipping it?
He's running charges through PayPal. It will immediately take the funds from the customer. No question about that. He's not using a real merchant account where he could simply just do an authorization to verify funds and then perform the charge later.
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Old 05-08-2009, 11:19 PM   #12
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Let's look at the math. The KindleDX costs $489. Half price is $244.50. So we must assume that sponsors are willing to pay $244.50 for you to receive the Kindle.

In addition, the half price company has operation costs. Amazon will ship them free to halfprice company. I assume halfprice will ship them free to you in order to be equivalent to Amazon. In addition, halfprice needs to unpack each Kindle and load it with their books. Then halfprice also wants some margin of its own. How much is this piece? Could be $25; could be $100; I don't know. However it is more than the $244 discount.

So, how do the content providers expect to get more than $250 in value?

1) The content is actually a subscription and you are required to sign a 'contract' for a multi-year subscription. Say the NY Times at $12 a month for two or three years. However, if this is what is going on, then it is not very transparent.

2) They are 'giving' away content in the hope you will buy new content from them. This giveaway model is NOT the same as what others are trying (ie, Baen, Doctrow, etcetera). The reason it is not the same is that they supposedly are paying you (subsidizing) even if you don't ever buy future content.

In contrast, Baen may give away some books to tempt you to buy more, but it does not really cost them anything to give away those books. Even if Baen's conversion rate is typical (1% to 5% of free readers ==> book purchases) they generate a net profit since the cost of giving away books is neglible.

However, in this promotion, there is a tangible cost to the giveaway. If everyone who gets a KindleDX buys additional books they must buy goods with a net margin of over $250 to pay off the subsidy. If only half of the recipients buy books, they must buy more than $500. At more typical conversion rates, each buyer may need to buy $2,500 or even $25,000 of goods.

Therefore, this program can not work unless all buyers are forced to buy goods; ie, see the subscription option in number one above.

So, I would either wonder just what I am subscribing too with my purchase, or I would be really skeptical that it could work.
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Old 05-09-2009, 07:26 AM   #13
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He's on the run. He's now posted, "ALERT: This is not a scam as some internet posters have suggested. Questions? Just ask." I'm so glad he put "ALERT" in there or I might have thought it might not be legitimate.

emellaich has brought up the financial realities of such a 'venture' but the Amazon side of things hasn't yet been addressed. David is going to be in line with everyone else getting these Kindles. I think we can confidently say that Amazon had no knowledge nor prior contract for supply of the devices since his company didn't exist until a day after the Kindle DX was announced. There obviously wasn't any agreement for digital distribution of this electronic collection of books since the company didn't exist to make such an agreement with Amazon. So, unless there was an agreement with Amazon or he's getting every Kindle shipped to him, load the content, and re-ship (added cost) the devices, there isn't much of a plan on the content distribution side. I guess he could ask that every person receiving one add a permitted email address for electronic distribution but Amazon just announced that the file transfers are going to be charged a per-Megabyte fee for the Whispernet service. Not exactly free.

Last edited by avaloncourt; 05-09-2009 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 05-09-2009, 07:58 AM   #14
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I just noticed that he's using GoDaddy to mask the actual host of his website. So, I looked to see what it really is. David is using a free trial period and a generic website template from a $4.99 a month website hosting company.

The website's real web address is actually: http://promopublishersllc.homestead.com/

This is the root page of the hosting company: http://www.homestead.com/

The phone number now being used on the website is a cell phone that once appeared on this page which was caught by Google's cache but has since been removed on the current live page:

http://74.125.47.132/search?q=cache:...26from_uri%3D/

Go to the front page of that website and search on property 3021. You'll find the "business offices" of David's Promo Publishers LLC. He's the owner of a residential condo on the 17th floor of a distressed building. David is renting out this condo for $2350 a month on a six months period.

So, the 'business address' is also an attempt at corporate transient rental housing. If he's renting it out he is neither living there nor working there. He's using the address as a maildrop. His real address is in Alpharetta.

Last edited by avaloncourt; 05-09-2009 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 05-09-2009, 08:32 AM   #15
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Thanks for doing all the research, guys. You seem to have good grounds for suspicion.

Promo Publishers seems to have joined this forum only to promote this deal. He is not in any way endorsed by the moderators at MobileRead. Basically, we don't know any more about him than you do.
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