BlitzLocal CEO explains how to trick people

In a strange TechCrunch article by BlitzLocal CEO Dennis Yu – that was met by even more bizarre praise of Dennis Yu for sharing his information, while being met with little contempt – the former FaceBook spammer explains how to trick people in order to make money.

Dennis Yu of BlitzLocal states, “I finally came to this realization: People on Facebook won’t pay for anything. They don’t have credit cards, they don’t want credit cards, and they are not interested in shopping. But you can trick them into doing one of three things:

  • Download a toolbar: It could be spyware (such as Zango) or something more legitimate, such as Webfetti or Zwinkys.
  • Give up their email address: You’ve won a “free” camera or perhaps you’ve been selected as a tester for a new Macbook Pro (which you get to keep at the end of the test). Just tell us where you want us to ship it.
  • Give up their phone number: You took the IQ Quiz, so give us your phone number and we’ll tell you your score. Never mind that you’ll get billed $20 a month or perhaps be tricked into inviting 10 other friends to beat your score.”

Note: According to the TechCrunchies the FaceBook income distribution as of December 3, 2008 was:

Income>$60K : 65%
Income>$75K : 51%
Income>$100K : 33%

Source: Income Levels at MySpace and FaceBook users at

Of course, demographics on FaceBook have been changing over the years, so that data may or may not be relevant although it would seem to cover a time period close to the time period that BlitzLocal CEO Dennis Yu discusses in his article.

Dennis Yu of BlitzLocal later goes on to make this statement:

“Here’s what ad networks struggle  with—to either run what ads make the most money or else be forced out by other ad networks willing to be shadier than them.”

REALLY? There’s no “third alternative”? I mean, don’t MANY companies in MANY fields (that don’t ultimately resort to incredibly shady tactics) have to deal with this issue EVERY SINGLE DAY?

And what exactly are the ad networks being “forced out of”? I’d love to hear EXACTLY what he meant by that.

Maybe what’s more confusing is whether or not Dennis Yu even believes all of that or not, because later in the comments section he says to Jeremy Palmer of the following:


Thanks for the kind words. See you at ASW in Vegas?

And it’s not to say all ad networks are scammers– there are good and bad ones, just like in any industry. You just have to watch out for certain types of offers and business practices.”

Wait, didn’t Dennis make this statement in the article:  “Here’s what ad networks struggle  with—to either run what ads make the most money or else be forced out by other ad networks willing to be shadier than them.”

What’s most telling in the TechCrunch article, though are these comments by BlitzLocal CEO Dennis Yu:

  • “If you want to provide the pristine user experience, you’re taking a massive hit to your earnings, maybe can’t pay your mortgage, or whatever. How do you feel about that?”
  • “You hit the nail on the head. We’re going the “straight-laced” route because it actually will make more money in the long run.”

Read that LAST statement carefully. Doesn’t it seem like Dennis Yu of BlitzLocal is implying that if it were more profitable to continue to run a shady business that’s what he would do?

Also enjoyable was what appears to be BlitzLocals’ Dennis Yu’s attempt at a pre-emptive strike at his critics by saying, “The nature of your reaction probably says something about what you do”…and of course the usual attack on critics as “bogus moral posturing”.

In the article, I didn’t see any evidence of Dennis claiming to change his ways because it was the right thing to do. Instead he pointed out that it was more profitable to go straight, and also suggested people take a look at his list of clients, which I thought was a good idea, so here they are:

Yep, certainly a pretty impressive list of clients, so it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

Read the original TechCrunch article here, (which strangely is extremely mundane and obvious considering the amount of of accolades posted in the comments section).

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  1. There is significant difference between the court of public opinion and your analysis here. I’d invite you to take a hard look at why that’s the case. In any new channel, the first ones on the scene are the spammers, who are eventually followed by mainstream advertisers. Thus, you actually can have it both ways in the long-term– to make profit and to feel good about what you’re doing.

    The proof is in the pudding– look at the shift of ads that are running on Facebook. We have been working closely with Facebook over the last year to bring in name brand and small business clients. As this is a work at home focused blog, consider the significant opportunities that Facebook advertising opens up for stay at home moms and other folks who need that flexibility.

    While it might be fun to attack me, perhaps the larger issue is of more practical value and interest to your users.

  2. That’s the problem, Dennis.

    You think people like me are doing this because “it’s fun to attack you”. Yet another way for you to deflect your critics with what it seems you consider to be clever words.

    I personally helped Senior Litigator Collot Gireaurd at the FTC on the In Deep Services case and spent hundreds of hours of my own time helping gather evidence on that. In fact I signed an affidivat and agreed to testify in that case, which was part of their preparation for filing the original injunction.

    I spent THOUSANDS of hours of my own time on the phone and in various discussions on my blog with people helping them recover money from people like you at NO cost to them at all, because these were the elderly, illiterate, or people about to lose their homes and/or having just lost their jobs.

    You, the CEO of BlitzLOcal say I do this because “It’s fun to attack you”.

    I spent what seems like a lifetime with people in tears having made on last stupid mistake during a time when there was zero tolerance in their life for stupid mistakes.

    I helped a ridiculous amount of people file complaints in the Google Money Tree case here (which as of today has generated 847 comments on this blog) which was ultimately used to do their National Consumers League warning about Google Money Tree here and that was just one of dozens of companies (operating under literally hundreds of different names) I was helping people file complaints against and recover money from during that same time period.

    You say I do this “because it’s fun to attack you”.

    I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to help people take the next steps in various types of fraud from my good friend Lynndel Edgington at who works with an assigned federal agent and who was one of about 20 people in a recent closed door Washington meeting with the heads of various Federal agencies working on a new white collar crime initiative.

    You say I do this “because it’s fun to attack you”.

    I spent time learning how to help people from a good friend of mine at my kids’ school who’s a former attorney with the Missouri AG’s office and getting to understand the flow of how cases are typically picked up by the various state and federal law enforcement agencies and where people can make the most impact initially when reporting crimes.

    You say I do this “because it’s fun to attack you”.

    Rest assured, I do NOT do this “because it’s fun to attack you”.

    1. I do this because I actually have a conscience and compassion for all the people individuals such as yourself (or at least the former version of yourself) have hurt.
    2. I do this because I was lucky enough to have parents who were activists during the civil rights movement and didn’t put money ahead of doing what’s right
    3. I do this because I believe in a world where actions can and should have consequences while still allowing perpetrators to heal, grow and change, even if that world doesn’t exist right now

    I do NOT do this “because it’s fun to attack you”.

    But I suppose you’re right, people should read your write-up. But more importantly, people at the FTC should read it to gain a better understanding of the game, because you are definitely right that it is impossible for them to keep up, but then, it always will be, so what’s the point of them even trying?

    You’re whole attitude just seems completely different than the ex-cons Lynndel keeps in the loop with – Barry Minkow and Sam Antar (Crazy Eddy), but as I said only time will tell.

    Just a personal recommendation (and I mean this in the most compassionate way), you might consider not using phrases like “court of public opinion” which sound reasonable, but actually are meaningless without any form of constrained context. It’s very reminiscent of the type of shady language from which you are trying to distance yourself.

  3. Btw, here’s what me “having fun attacking a company” (or concept) actually looks like:

    I knew that New England Conservatory training would come in handy some day. :-)

    And of course the – How I made 10 Billion Dollars Posting a Link on Google parody site which was recently retweeted by Matt Cutts here

    And here’s what me “doing analysis” looks like, in which I often do attempt to use some humor:

    You’ll see some interesting comments from Commercial Litigation specialist Michael Webster, who is a regular follower of this blog and has a very deep understanding of misleading advertising law which he covers at his site

  4. …And information about what sophisticated scamming looks like:
    TrendMicro investigations on a cybercrime hub in estonia

  5. Paul,

    Wow– this is impressive! I wish there were more people like you. Send me a note at my email if you’d like chat further– got some things that I’m not going to post publicly, but which you might be interested in.

  6. elizabeth shaw says:

    Thank- you Paul, for your conscience and hard work. You are a god-send to people like me who are wanting to truly make some money using the vast possibilites of the internet, yet not wanting to be robbed in the process. May God bless you for your efforts.

  7. Dennis Yu… you’re a psychopath.

    It’s people like Paul of that have the courage to flesh scum like you out.

    You coming clean is of no use. You’re mocking the victims. And you know it.

    And let me guess — your heroes in business are probably Dan Kennedy, right? Kennedy is the King of the Psychopaths — getting pleasure out of tricking those out of their last dollar left on their credit card.

    My favorite part is that you call yourself an “internet guru” on your own website. Why not just kick it up a notch and call yourself god while you’re at it.

    And I’d hardly consider myself a guru if I got 16,628 visits this month to my website.

    May an angry mob of restless guru bashers keep you from sleeping at night… oh, that’s right — you’re quoted as saying this, “Likes SEO, web addicted, enjoys rock climbing, dislikes orange cars, laughs at people who sleep.” I guess you don’t need sleep after all.

    You’re a genuine 100% POS. Why don’t you ask a gamer what that acronym stands for.

  8. Paul,

    Never forget:
    cui bono

    “Who benefits?

    Why would Dennis Yu come clean? Why now?

    I’m not sure about his language and comments at TechCrunch… I’d rather watch chrome rust than waste a single nanosecond of my time on this piece of filth…

    … But you wanna bet he’s now coming clean to promote his new “cleaner” business?

    You wanna bet this is preemptive, damage control because he knows he was going to get busted for bad behavior?

    Did Mr. Yu even apologize once for this? Or did he blame others like a good psychopath does?

    And I love this quote:
    “Send me a note at my email if you’d like chat further– got some things that I’m not going to post publicly, but which you might be interested in.” It never ends with this guy, does it?

    Hey Dennis… I’ll send ya’ a note — hope you like it.

    Oh… I can’t wait… maybe he’s going to show us how he rips off ol’ grannies for fun and profit. After all, old people, “… Don’t have no money and have no credit cards and don’t want to pay for stuff.”

    Where is the outrage? This guy basically admits to convincing 13-year old teenagers to download “free” ringtones… only to have their parents get hit with a monthly charges and by blitzing their parents phones with worthless crap offers.

    CPA marketing — gotta love it, right?

    And about the Dan Kennedy analogy… we both know most marketers look up to Kennedy. They convince themselves that it’s okay to stretch the truth and hide continuity offers deep in the fine print (if at all), etc.

    For those of you who think Dan Kennedy is all that, take a look at this locked (hidden) thread at the Warrior Forum:

    And for those of you who gave up your phone number once hoping to get one of those free $25.00 Walmart Gift Cards and now get an endless parade of spam phone calls, you can thank the ol’ mighty Dan Kennedy and his associated boiler room operations in Southern Florida. Look into convicted criminal Elliot Krasnow, too. These guys all know each other and laugh at the “stupid masses.”

    Dennis Yu is a coward who hides behind his computer and thinks he’s saving himself by coming clean now. Give me a break. He’s sick.

    Keep on exposing these criminals, Paul. I will.

    • @Markus Allen | Stompernet Exposed

      Agreed that a pre-emptive damage control is required by Dennis in this situation to really scale his new, allegedly cleaner business to any appreciable size.

      Whether all of this translates into Dennis turning a “new leaf” I don’t know – only Dennis fully knows that at this point.

      However, that being said, if I were a potential client of BlitzLocal…personally I’d approach everythiing with EXTREME caution, especially when it comes to local search in which is a prime area for pricing abuse right now and an extremely easy target for scammers.

  9. Yes I think we can learn a lot from him.Really cool tips for taking people in confidence.good advice on how to trick people.

  10. @Markus Allen | Stompernet Exposed
    “CPA marketing — gotta love it, right? ”

    So true – and the facebook apps and ads is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Look at the flogs for Acai, teeth whitening, Google work from home ‘kits’ etc, etc – the ads for these are all over the place. As are the thousands of complaints about these CPA ‘offers’ from the people who have been tricked into signing up and then got hit with the hidden negative option monthly charges…

    Everyone and his dog is jumping on CPA right now (look at wickedfire or warriorforum) so the situation is only likely to get worse.

    Just to add a comment to one of your forum posts which mentioned CPA Arbitrage – this has been relaunched recently. I have had emails from Allan Gardyne and from Mike Young (yes that Mike Young – he is also their legal counsel!) promoting it:

    Also your comment about Mike Filsaime’s AffiliateJump and how the ‘gurus’ [hate that word!] would not touch it with a barge-pole – not entirely true: if you check out their JV blog Top 20 you will see it was promoted by:
    Howie Schwartz
    Gary Ambrose
    Keith Wellman
    Jeff Johnson
    Shawn Casey
    Jobcrusher (Eric Louviere & Dan Hatfield)
    John Reese
    Frank Kern
    Tellman Knudson
    Russell Brunson
    Stephen Pierce
    Gabor Olah
    Jeff Paul (IPN LLC)
    JP Raygoza
    Omar Martin
    Saj Purkayastha
    Anik Singal (PPC Classroom)
    Mark Lareau (ZDM Videos)

    Paul at work at home truth has done a great job in creating awareness, digging into these scams and most of all by helping people. As have a few others digging into this cesspit and exposing their findings:
    and others…

    Let’s not forget that these CPA offers target some of the most vulnerable people (elderly, unemployed/people on low incomes etc) and I have seen posts in forums from people who admit to being in tears after being tricked into signing up for something which had hidden charges and then being hit for hundreds of dollars in charges and overdraft fees on top, wondering how they are going to pay the rent or buy food this month having had their money taken without their knowledge.

  11. Internet marketers are about useful to society and the economy as
    They are the people that the book “The Sociopath Next Door”
    was written about.

  12. Thanks for bringing up Arbitrage Conspiracy, John. CPANinjas was another CPA course that received an interesting warning from Jeff Johnson. Here’s what he put in his email promoting the product:

    “A month or two ago I reviewed a preview copy of the new “CPA Ninja”

    It was solid.

    But one word of advice…

    Do NOT use the “fakereview blog” techniques there were showing in
    their pre-launch videos.

    I have never used fake review blogs to sell products…

    And neither should you because the FTC is going after people who set up
    “fake review blogs” to promote products.”

    I certainly agree with the fact that you can learn a lot from people, even if they are doing certain things you absolutely detest. But personally I’ve found it incredibly difficult to find CPA offers to promote that don’t have serious problems from an ethical standpoint.

    Or maybe I’m just not looking hard enough.

    It would be interesting to do a random sampling of offers from various networks and score them based on factors such as conspicuous disclosure, fake “As Seen On” logos, and fake testimonials, etc.

  13. Not sure why I didn’t think of this before, but the deceptive phone billing Dennis talks about is reminiscent of the Azoogle case in which they settled with the Florida AG’s Office for $1,000,000 – You can read about that case here

    Which was later followed by The Useful Settlement

    Of interest is the closing statement at DMConfidential:
    “Clearly, there is a price to be paid for “leadership” in setting standards in, or improving the online advertising industry; $1,000,000.00. How many affiliates or networks can afford to lead that way? With $2,000,000.00 now sitting in the Florida OAG’s trust fund, and the Attorney General loaded with information based on “cooperation” from Azoogle and The Useful, it appears we’re going to find out in 2008. Stay tuned…”

    You can get a comparison from the top two reports listed here:

    Those are broken down by category.

    One caveat would be that there’s really no way to extrapolate that data to the actual number of victims, because it’s not based on random sampling.

    However, the reports do indicate that the number of complaints filed related to business-opportunity and work-at-home fraud complaints have nearly doubled from 2007 to 2008.

    I suppose the one twist (innovation?) BlitzLocal may have added was getting people to refer friends and relatives in order to scam them out of their money as well.

  14. I was wondering why Dennis had disappeared from this discussion…then I saw ShoeMoney’s post today – one day after I made this post…

    ShoeMoney – Rise and Fall of a Con Man in the Affiliate Industry

  15. Paul. This post is going to get you a ton of traffic thanks to Shoemoney’s post.

    Isn’t it ironic that Jeremy Shoemaker is calling out this fraud. After all, Shoemoney’s famous AdSense check is an obvious photoshop fake (Google doesn’t send “cheques” to American publishers).

    It’s also funny that Shoemaker mentions Markus Frind — you might scan his big AdSense “cheque” too — it’s another obvious photoshop fake.

    I’ve been screaming about this for years… but most people “don’t like me to be so negative.”

    There’s a very important lesson to be learned from here…

    … The Big Lie, first coined by Adolf Hitler in his 1925 autobiography Mein Kampf, was made famous by Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister for the Third Reich…

    … The idea was simple enough: Tell a whopper (the larger the better) often enough and most people will come to accept it as the truth.

    I must admit LOVING the criminals come out of the woodwork and trying to save their a*sses on this steaming pile of dung. I bet this gets REALLY interesting over the coming days and weeks.

  16. Paul. I appreciate your carefulness here…

    … But the “check” is spelled “cheque” — take a look:

    Also, this “cheque” has two typestyles — Courier and some sort of Helvetica… Google only uses Helvetica on their checks. Just compare your own AdSense checks and you’ll see the difference.

    Finally, Shoemoney ADMITS he faked this check when he got busted:

    Every time I’ve pointed this out at the Warrior Forum, my post got deleted.

    These criminals all work together to fool the masses.

    • @Markus Allen | Stompernet Exposed:

      I’ll take a look at my next Adsense check when it comes.

      The two threads you posted don’t seem to be about the Adsense check – they appear to be about his Azoogle Check publicity stunt.

      I noticed your comment about the routing number being blurred out – but what’s stranger to me is that the PAYEE is blurred out. The only reason I can think of doing that is to hide corporation information, which I suppose there would be valid reasons for doing, such as making it harder to reverse-engineer marketing methods and traffic sources.

  17. Yes… correct. It’s not about AdSense checks…

    … It’s about Jeremy Shoemaker’s pattern of lies. Someone called him out on the AzoogleAds’ check being faked and he “came clean.” He claimed it was a joke. Will Jeremy soon come clean about his AdSense check, too?

    Keep in mind that Shoemaker’s AdSense check was his ticket to fame sort of speak. He faked it ’til he made it. And he hasn’t looked back since.

    By the way, these checks appear to look real to me — compare it to Shoemaker’s and Marcus Frind’s “cheques”:

    Take another look at Shoemoney’s “cheque”… Google doesn’t use the word “Amount:” next to the amount.

    And the likely reason the routing number is blurred out is to prevent critical thinkers (like us) from comparing checks. Google’s routing number will almost always be the same. There’s ZERO benefit of the criminals (Shoemoney) from blurring out the routing number, right?

    Folks, wake up! You’ve been fooled.

    In the true fashion of mocking the victim, Shoemoney continues to post a picture of that fake AdSense check on his blog.

    By the way, I tried asking him about the check… not once… but twice… and each time my blog comment was quietly removed. And since then my IP has been banned.

    Maybe he can come here and set the record straight.

  18. Paul asked me to have a read of Dennis Yu’s confession post, and give my 2 cents worth. The best thing I can say about it is that he sure made the Prosecutor’s case easier for him/her. Nothing like a signed confession to prove your case.

    But what is truly interesting to me is that Dennis doesn’t feel that anything he has done is wrong. Kind of reminds me of a person who is a major promoter of HYIP scams, but claims he is only “expressing his opinion,” not giving investment advice, or refers anyone. He is the one who also believes this with all his heart and mind, and I quote: “IF I was wrong in what I am accomplishing, I might consider that, but since I have made huge sums myself and have helped others to do the same, you’re just spouting through an empty head….as usual.”

    Now he was defending a scam that went bust that he was involved in that exceeded $500 Million Dollars in losses, and he “helped others” do the same, but there was nothing wrong with what he did.

    He also said, and I quote: “I was shown how to use apparent scams and make money before they go down and since I DID NOT refer anyone to any program, I hurt no one.” The same person who brags about he has helped all these people make money from scams, and those who followed his advice and lost everything they invested, I guess he doesn’t consider that “hurting anyone.”

    Whether it is in the HYIP scam business, Investment scams, Identity Theft, E-mail fraud, etc., none who do it feel they are doing anything wrong. So Dennis is in good company, if you are a crook that is. Nice of him to admit it. One more thing Dennis, you won’t be able to plead the 5th.

  19. I’m pretty much done with this, Paul.

    In the time that we’ve invested on this, we could have knocked out a $49 infoproduct and generated a nice lump of cash for ourselves.

    Tthe lack of outrage here (for the exception of a few people like us) says it all. And this isn’t the first time. Every time I expose these criminals, it merely gets swept under the rug.

    People LOVE to be lied to. And they sit on their hands and do nothing about it.

    Yes, Dennis Yu appears to be a fantastic liar. But he’s going to get away with it because those who read this will be silent and people have no memory anymore. Silence allows these criminals to continue on with their crimes.

    Staying silent is exactly what these theives want you to do… it’s called the Delphi Technique/Method. Look into it. I did.

  20. Someone at ShoeMoney just pointed out this at the BlitzLocal site:

    “We are pleased to announce that Stephan Spencer, Founder and President of Netconcepts, has agreed to join the Board of Advisors of BlitzLocal. Stephan is an industry veteran in Search Engine Optimization, inventor of the GravityStream technology, as well the author of the upcoming Art of SEO being published by O’Reilly. ”Were I able to choose anyone in the world of SEO to join the team, my pick would be Stephan. I am thrilled to have someone of his caliber with us!” says Dennis Yu, CEO of BlitzLocal. In Stephan’s words, “I am honored to have been invited to join BlitzLocal’s Board of Advisors and look forward to serving as a resource to Dennis and his team.” Other members of the Board of Advisors include Gillian Muessig, Todd Malicoat, and Chris Downie.”

    Of course whether or not any of this is or was ever true is an unknown at this point.

  21. Commercial Litigation attorney Michael Webster has posted additional insights on the original Jeremy Shoemaker post in his post titled What is the con here which provides an alternative perspective.

  22. the shoemoney azoogleads check was for a magazine cover, you guys should get some friends or fresh air, who cares if the adsense check is faked or not.

    at least the azoogleads check was for an magazine article and he never said it’s real, it was just people like you who brought this rumour up and he even commented later in his image gallery where the check was posted at this time that it is photoshopped for the magazine.


  23. Affiliate marketing is tool and like any other tool it can be used for good or evil. Affilates have the choice of whether to use this tool for good by promoting legitimate businesses offering products and services or to keep focusing on get-rich-quick schemes that soak the unsuspecting. Affiliate marketing itself is not negative and can be quite positive.

    No amount of laws nor the largest of governments can protect individuals from con artists. People have to stop being sheep and start using their brains. Those intelligent enough to find ways to make money need to grow a heart and focus on making the world a better place instead of stealing – and make no mistake about it – that is indeed what promoting what you know to be deceptive truly is.

    Affiliates can choose whether to be ethical or to take advantage of people. The world is as it ever was with most choosing to be unethical. I believe we will all be judged on our actions in the end.

  24. Hi Paul got here from saundrak blog and I would like to know what I can do to get some or all of my money back from Thrive(bright builders)Ins. they took me for about 5000g any help or answers.

  25. Scott,

    Which is the Saundrak blog?

    Have you already filed a dispute with your credit card company?

    One thing I would recommend you do is see if you can get ahold of the person in this discussion:

    Who was working on getting his money back. I also posted information there about Utah Division of Consumer Protection action taken against the company.

    Since that division has previously taken action against the company I would recommend you also file a complaint with them:

    And call as well (phone numbers are at the bottom of the page).

  26. Hi Paul heres where I found you at
    Yes I filled a dispute and thanks I’ll check it out, if you have any more info send it my way thanks again Scott

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