Tag Archives: Viggle scam

Complaints against Viggle after PERK aquisition abound

Recently SFX Entertainment Inc. the owner of numerous entertainment companies including Viggle filed for bankruptcy protection. Viggle was sold in a fire sale for a reported $4.7 million dollars in stock to Austin-based Perk.com. Perk purchased the Viggle mobile app and tablet application, patents and intellectual property, brand and advertiser relationships, and a direct sales force.

This was supposed to be great news for Viggle users, but guess what? It was not.

Since the acquisition things have only gotten worse, which is hard to imagine since things were so bad BEFORE they sold to PERK. Check out this “Viggle Sucks” Facebook page which was set up in 2012.

This is a mere two days worth of a few reviews from March 10th to March 11th, 2016 from mixrank.com.

Fraud! Deserves a Class Action Suit     

Years of using this App for what I was lead (by Viggle) to believe were obtainable item (iPhone, Kitchen Aid Blender etc.) I accumulated over 550,000 points by checking in daily for over 4 years. Now with this laughable switch by Viggle, my approximately 550,000 Viggle points are now worth a measly $25.00 in a gift card if I transfer them over to the new perk point system. This seems so devious and misleading and quite possibly fraud by the Viggle folks. With so many users in the same situation, it may be time to bring this to a class action stage. Dear Viggle, do rit by your persistent and loyal users and please make this right. Karma is a wicked b$&ch, trust me I know.”

“Moot bug ridden app ever     

App crashes many times per hour. Worst app I have ever used in history since the Viggle takeover by Perk. Not even close.”

Epic Fail     

I upgraded my viggle to perk and sweet baby Jesus it was the worst decision ever!! I lost all my points which I probably wasn’t gonna use but still they were mine!!😡😡”

Going, going….GONE!     

What the “bleep” happened? Like other reviewers here have stated the last update and recent changes makes the app useless; most of the options (along with your history) no longer work, can’t see my music, my shows, bonus shows, or even your old viggle points. Touching a link just gives you a white, blank screen. And the whole perk points transfer neither works or is well explained. The Viggle points saved don’t appear or transfer to perk points. Very little instruction and NO customer support! Previous emails, questions, problems were at least answered and addressed. Now when support and help is needed the most it feels as if they downgraded the app, sent all the staff away, closed up shop and took your long earned points with them. With all these complaints and issues you would think something could be done. Very disappointing.”

Run….     

I have used this app since it the start. I had millions of points and kept them as a rainy day fund. But, Perk took them all and did convert them.  I started Perk with 50 points. I lost all of the points and now they have lost hundreds of thousands of customers. I have to ask – was it worth it?”

This app is no more than thievery     

I “earned” over 850,000 Viggle points. To wake up one day and they were ALL gone. 0 balance. This app robbed me of my time, of my good word(for some reason I use to praise this app in its beginnings), and of hopes of grandeur that they promoted. There is zero reason to use this app. You get no rewards, you just get jerked around….”

Horrible App/Update     

Rather than pay out the value of the millions of previously accumulated Viggle points, we now have to continue to use this worthless app just to be able to convert points to the slightly more useful Perk points. Which, by most attempts, is a futile effort as the app continuously crashes when playing ads. As soon as I can convert my accrued points and get at least something of value for my hundreds of hours of use, I will be deleting my account and removing all traces of this waste of space from my device.”

_______________________________________________

I agree that it does deserve a lawsuit—several lawsuits for fraud. So how did the fraud work? Well the Viggle execs coerced users into watching TONS of advertisements with the promise that they would receive points worth money. Then Viggle slowly started reducing what users could purchase with said points until the value became nearly negligible.

So Viggle made millions in advertising dollars thanks to users watching the ads and then reneged on their promise to deliver something of value in return. That is called “bad faith” and it’s called “fraud”. And users and investors who were robbed by Viggle after the recent bankruptcy should look to Google.

So why should investors look to Google for answers? Because Viggle operates Wetpaint. Viggle bought Wetpaint in 2013 for 30 million dollars. Wetpaint.com was one of the big entertainment websites that Viggle was making money off of on advertising with their app. Google was constantly giving Wetpaint priority over the primary sources in search ranks as well as in their answer box.

The analytics data provided by Google would certainly make the company look great to investors and advertisers and look like it had objectively created real value.

Imagine the glee of advertisers when they saw the statistics showing how often users clicked on ads and how long they watched said advertisements? Of course without the knowledge that it was done with coercion and fraud.

In short Google has single-handedly created a giant illusion of value around a site where none really existed. If investors were able to show that Google was showing favoritism to the website based on advertising dollars and not based on objective signals of quality then they could show that Google knowingly helped deceive investors into thinking this company had real value.

And if Google was inflating their analytics data like “bounce rate”, page views, time on page, etc then that is fraud and that data was used to defraud investors and advertisers into thinking the company had more value than it did.

Viggle is not an anomaly. There are countless examples of sites that offer little intrinsic value to readers, yet somehow dominate search results. If those sites are blindsiding investors by collecting millions in investment revenue showcasing their impressive Google stats and then declaring bankruptcy then Google is very likely participating in fraud.

 

Viggle stock price is tanking and so is their rep

So I was introduced to Viggle when they bought out Wetpaint — the world’s worst celebrity news site. Wetpaint had a very long history of dominating organic search results using very shady Black Hat tactics to promote low quality articles.

So in December 2013 Viggle owned by Billionaire sleaze-ball Bob Sillerman –acquired Wetpaint for $30 million.

Now Wetpaint is part of the Viggle app which allegedly allows people to make money while watching television.

But if you read the reviews on the app, they are deplorable.

“The standard rewards structure breaks down to getting a penny for matching a song, and 2 cents for watching an hour of TV. A song download is 3,500 points and a Redbox 1-day DVD rental is 4,000 points. This means 25 points is worth a little less than a 1 cent. Even if you watch tons of TV you still have to keep checking in on your phone (exposing yourself to even more ads) so they know you didn’t just leave your phone by the TV all day. The rewards won’t even be cash as the only gift cards offered are to Redbox, Windows Store, and 1-800-Flowers.com.”

The writer goes on to say…

“Here’s my lightning review: Don’t bother. I try to keep an open mind about some of these programs, but this one just sounds awful. From reading various reviews, even the loyal users say the rewards have gotten steadily worse over time. Make money while sitting on the couch and watching TV? Honestly, how did you think it would turn out?!”

If you Google the app you will find countless complaints from users about how the app does not work and how Viggle slashed what users can get for their rewards points.

Here are a few comments, but don’t worry, there are 1000s of comments out there that say essentially the same thing…Viggle sucks.

“Awful. About a month ago a $10 coupon for Buffalo Wild Wings was 30,000 points, but now it’s 60,000 points! Those investors in Viggle will be very disappointed because my friends, and me too, are deleting the Viggle app.
Waste of time!!”

“Don’t waste your time, they took away all the products and gift cards, over 700,000 points gone to waste!!!”

“Viggle sux.you can only buy TV or movies down loads.You can get the same thing from show box for free.”

And as of today January 8th the stock price is 24 cents!!! — a 5 year all time low. Remember in May the stock price was “soaring” as much as 60% to over $2, but even then the fundamentals were not there to support such explosive growth.

If you have ever read their articles they are cringe-worthy. I say cringe-worthy because they do not even get the most basic facts right, like someone’s name, occupation, or Hometown. And they are nothing but clickbait. They are a content sweat shop and they absolutely dominate the SERPS with garbage.

Their SERP domination suggests to me that they are “buying” this favoritism from Google and if you read the article below you will see Google has a patent that would allow for such activity.

Wetpaint and Viggle are sleazy. They have a long history of theft. And now they are not only stealing from small publishers and advertisers they are stealing from investors. Investors should be angry with Google which propped up this shell game for years—constantly giving them priority in rank while the site offered zero intrinsic value to anyone (just like the Inquisitr) despite countless claims being filed by publishers.

I saw some people insisting Viggle is a giant ponzi scheme and I’m sure they are right. Let’s hope this house of cards collapses sooner rather than later.

New complaints about Viggle aka Wetpaint from employees

Wetpaint makes my blood boil. They are nothing but clickbait and spam posing as legitimate news. They have taken this site which offers zero intrinsic value to the reader and turned it into a 30 million dollar business using NOTHING but shady tactics and black hat SEO.

Anyhow, here are some excellent and by excellent I mean telling reviews from Glassdoor.com on WetPaint aka Viggle including a sexual harassment complaint against billionaire CEO Bob Sillerman. BTW the positive reviews all look fake.

“Cons

It quickly fell apart. Complete lack of upper management and unrealistic goals for every time. Before one thing is fixed, they try to add a new product and it just doubles the amount of issues, while decreasing the userbase. It’s only a matter of time before this place completely shuts down and everything everyone worked on becomes a waste of time. How some of these people have jobs is mind boggling. It’s tough to ask questions without getting your head bitten off and/or completely ignored. Everyone here is fake.

Advice to Management

just give up already and shut this place down. people are miserable and the app is failing. hiring people with no experience is just wasting more time.

2. Pros

No one really cares about the quality of your work.

Cons

It’s been a sunk ship for a long time now.

Advice to Management

Viggle is a mediocre product lead by a team of decidedly mediocre people. Every decent employee has already left. Leadership and Human Resources routinely lie to employees, creating a culture of deception. The goal seems to be to create the perception of a working product and company, rather than put forth the effort to build one. Employee reviews, app ratings, user numbers, revenue, everything is a disingenuous distortion with the hopes that some poor sap will come in and buy out the company before it runs dry and everything comes undone.

The CEO, Bob Sillerman, grabbed another man’s testicles from behind in the middle of an entire team meeting. In an office where the sign on the men’s bathroom read “Alpha Males” (opposite “Females”), it is no wonder that sexual humiliation is shrugged off. Assault is only assault if you’re not a billionaire.

3. Pros

I don’t think there is a pro. Don’t work here.

Cons

The “goals” are never achievable because there is never a realistic plans to achieve those goals. Management always keeps everything secret from people do produce work. I always felt that the the management doesn’t care about the workers, and don’t make any accommodations to help or energize the employees.

Advice to Management

Stop buying companies and focus on the talents under Viggle. Make realistic and clear plans.

4. Pros

Great location and office, including subsidiaries on the West coast.

Cons

Awful culture of mistrust, back-stabbing, dishonesty. People are treated as “resources” and company values are nothing more than a lip service. Because of this, people who really know what they are doing are leaving or have left. Remaining leadership is completely incompetent and all products are deteriorating fast.

Advice to Management

Leave. Now.

5. Cons

I say Wetpaint “was” above. The Seattle office has all but shutdown. There is a hostile environment coming from the new parent company in New York. Wetpaint has lost so many people recently in Seattle that teams are having to pull way too hard to keep up. The dev team is unable to keep forward progress. Don’t come work in the Seattle office unless things take a 180.

6. Cons

You work for Viggle. Worst company of all time.”

In addition to that as a smaller publisher Wetpaint has stolen from us numerous times and refused to give us proper source credit. And the few times that they have conceded and given us a link, it’s a ‘no follow link’ so thanks a lot A-holes. Thus they still outrank you with the content they stole from you while they tell the Google bots that even though they found your information credible enough to steal that you are a ‘spammy’ site and don’t deserve credit for the link.

As a side not if you have to ever reference WetPaint please give them a no follow link because they will do the same to you.

I find the publishers and editors there to be compulsive liars and opportunists.

Here are my personal complaints and demands.

I would like Wetpaint to stop abusing and stealing from publishers. I would like Wetpaint to cease and desist from employing their link schemes with the Examiner and other sites where they give and receive erroneous and fraudulent source credit in an effort to dominate the SERPS — And to stop publishing the exact same story multiple times in an effort to monopolize the entire first page of the Google results for a single popular search term.

It’s an insult to the reader’s intelligence to think we do not notice these things. Until then I will continue to expose them along with a large coalition of small publishers who are sick and tired of being bullied by WetPaint.

Google “news” websites change dates or publish duplicate stories to manipulate SERPS

Again my question is when will Google’s words match their actions. I started noticing several websites changing dates to manipulate their SERP rankings. Sometimes they would make the date more current so the article shows up as a recent news story and sometimes they would back date so it looks like the website was first to publish something. Sometimes they would do both. Either way these sites were violating Google’s guidelines and not being penalized. In fact in some cases listed below you can see a site has their two duplicate stories at the top of the cue.

Here is the infamous Wetpaint. I couldn’t figure out why the same article “meet the contestants” by Wetpaint… kept showing up in my Google News alerts. I noticed the date change countless time but was only to screenshot 3 of those changes. You can see 4/20/2015, 4/22/2015, and 3/16/2015 are the EXACT SAME article and finally 3/11/2015 is slightly different but contains the exact same information reworded. None are the original publish date. You can see on the bottom example all they do is change the title a tiny bit from “meet the guys” to “meet the lucky guys”. Both try and coerce you to “click through their gallery”–same gallery. wpdateswpdateseThe March 16th date is a lot earlier than that article was published. Look…. the date of all the photos isn’t until 4/2015. How can the photos have a later publishing date than the actual article?

Because Wetpaint is changing the dates of their articles. Notice they created one that would be really early even before the official spoilers were released so they look like they are first, then one that they change to keep current so it always shows up in recent news. So their strategy is to have at least two duplicate articles. One to be first, one that they can continuously change to keep in news. wppicdates wetpaint-datechange-meet Here is another one of my favorite Wetpaint changes. The article name is “Who is Eliminated contestant Carly Waddell?”. The article is dated January 15th, 2015, 1 week after the show premiered. Carly did not get eliminated until week 7. wetptdate-changes

Wetpaint needs to be more careful when they backdate so they don’t back date a story so far back that it is before it even happened!

Here is another big site that follows the same pattern as Wetpaint called Heavy.com…

heavy-change-datesYou may argue they changed the text a tiny bit, but it’s the same information–even the exact same title.

Here is another one from Bustle.com. You can see its from 13 hrs ago screenshotted May 4th. EXACT same article below dated April 16th. You can also see it’s being reissued as “news” on May 4th.

You can see each of these examples are “news” sites. bustledatechange2bustledatechange Bustle kept changing the date of this article up until early May. BTW Bustle.com is a Google Venture project. They received $100,000 in seed money from Google. The rest of their $6.5 million in seed money came from telecomm giant Time Warner so are these “start-ups” getting special treatment since big tech owns a stake?bustle-8

As a side note, one of my favorite parts about this news story is where the writer claims she doesn’t know whether Craig passed the BAR or even took it! Talk about click bait!

Here is an instance where the same site, The Inquisitr changes a few words but writes the same article and both articles are at the very top of the cue. shawn boothridicIs this seriously acceptable for a “news” site? This is clearly manipulation designed to deceive the user. And none of these are small sites. Wetpaint recently sold for $30 million dollars and has been getting away with this sort of behavior for years.

UPDATE 1/2016: The parent company of Wetpaint aka Viggle recently filed for bankruptcy after taking millions from investors. I suggest the investors and their attorneys look at Google for artificially inflating the value of Viggle–keeping Wetpaint at the top os SERPS despite black hat techniques. Also look at the connection between Adwords PPC campaigns and how they ranked for search terms. If there is a connection (and I strongly suspect there is) that would show that Google conspired to artificially inflate the value of the company.

The other sites are very highly ranked despite this behavior in addition to other manipulative tactics. The Inquisitr has been caught plagiarizing content and printing hoaxes—not to mention their painfully slow page load time…over 4 seconds! Slower than 93% of other sites yet The Inquisitr tops the cue every time multiple time with duplicate content. So does Heavy.com and Bustle.com.

These sites are making millions of dollars off of this coercive and deceptive behavior. How much longer will Google look the other way?

I have started putting a list together of very spammy sites that do not belong in Google news. If you have any to add let me know.

  • Wetpaint.com
  • Examiner.com
  • Ibtimes.com
  • Heavy.com
  • Capitalwired.com
  • Latinopost.com
  • observerchronicle.com
  • movienewsguide.com
  • bharatpress.com
  • nysportsnut.com
  • beaconreview.com
  • Bustle.com (a Google venture comp)
  • India.com
  • Timesofindia.com
  • postpioneer.com
  • dailytimesgazette.com
  • reporteradvocate.com
  • morningledger.com
  • usfinancepost.com
  • bulletinecho.com
  • wkrb13.com
  • benchmarkreporter.com
  • thestandarddaily.com
  • whatlauderddailysciencejournal.com
  • bulletinecho.com
  • thesilverink.com
  • picayuneleader.com

WetPaint profits soar proving content farms & black hat seo still rule the internet

Three years ago the giant internet reality show content farm WetPaint was purchased by mobile App company Viggle which is a company that allows people to earn “rewards” for using their entertainment app. And despite the declining quality of their content, WetPaint is celebrating some explosive growth—52 % Year-over-Year Revenue Growth and 116% Increase in Net Registered Users.

But 52% growth is easy when you employ black hat SEO techniques with total impunity from Google and when you flat out lie to customers about what you will give them if they frequent your site.

The big question is why did Google allow WetPaint to grow to this point given their long history of horrible content, and allegations of content theft and schemes like unnatural linking and changing dates on news articles and NOW a HORRIBLE mobile app that appears to be defrauding customers to top it all off?

Google continues to assert that “content is king”, yet this site which is a self-proclaimed content farm continues to rise to the top of the SERPS despite being filled with inaccuracies, misspellings, grammatical errors, unnatural links, stealing from other bloggers and worst of all non-existent content.

We showed several examples of WetPaint engaging in some really shady behavior like stories which promise to answer a question in the title and then give the reader nothing, giving the actual sources of their news stories “no follow” links so they outrank the sites they are stealing from. And now, in keeping in line with their long long track record of shady-ness and making millions by pretending to offer customers one thing and actually giving them nothing, an App that does the same.

So anyway Viggle aka WetPaint just launched an app which allows you to get “rewards” for reading their ‘nontent’. And as you might expect the reviews are not good.

Here are some of the comments I found:

“What nobody seems to see is that the Viggle TOS states “Additionally, points need to be redeemed within twelve (12) months from when they were obtained or they may be forfeited.” What this means is that in order to obtain the points required for the cruise, (4,000,000 last I checked) within 12 months a person would have to earn an average of 11,000 points every day. Trip impossible – from what I’ve seen.”

“Viggle does not work! All I got out of this is constant marketing emails with offers I can only get if I buy something. These crooks should be fined and/or imprisoned!”

Here’s a post from an unhappy customer which aligns with countless other reviews.

And a comment:

“Once a day they put up a certain amount of one gift card, like Sephora, Best Buy, Chili’s, etc. and they don’t tell you the time or how many are available, and it’s your responsibility to look for it. They announce it on Facebook the day before and don’t tell you the time. You have to check to see if it’s available and if it is, then you can get it if it’s still available. SUPER discouraging, SUPER dumb and I’m REALLY over Viggle. ”

And here are a slew of bad reviews for the App. As a side note the “good” reviews look like they were all written by Viggle empoyees.

“The app frequently does not credit my account with points after I have watched and logged into a show. I have contacted customer service, but they were unhelpful and would not credit my account.”

“Won’t even give me my bonus points for my check ins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“I remember when viggle was”nt a cheapskate but now it got worse. Horrible app to earn gift cards, they just keep on rising the prices for the rewards.”

“Used to be able to get 18,000 points very easily in a week. This app slowly deteriorated and now it’s awful. I mean the whole point of the app is to earn rewards! & they’re making it very difficult. It was fine a month go but now, 62,000 points for a $25 gift card is absurd. Goodbye viggle.”

“This is by far the worse app i had it used to be the best at one point but since everything has gone up and points down viggle is not longer of any of my interest. I have 26500 points an it doesnt let mme cash in fr my rewards. Be aware they are crooks. Not recommended. You have been advised.”

“I would have hoped that Viggle would take customer feedback as constructive criticism to improve their product. Instead, Viggle’s Customer Support main role seems to be to turn their customers away by quoting rules from their policy instead of listening to individual situations. Viggle has the potential to be a great app. The concept is very appealing; however, when the app does not perform as promoted, you begin to feel disillusioned. And when their “customer support” makes you feel like you are erroneously using the app, you then feel exhausted. At this point, using the app is no longer fun, but rather a source of unnecessary frustration.”

So why is horrible content king? Why is WetPaint enjoying explosive growth? I suggested that Google was being biased in putting WetPaint at the top of the SERPS since Google actually owned WetPaint via AOL. And they also keep putting their pal the Inquisitr at the top of the cue who engages in unnatural linking with WP.

I suspect Google is well aware of the low quality content and is ignoring it for a reason…money. But seriously how much bigger is a sleazy company like this going to get? After all DemandMedia got bigger than the New York Times content farming. The sky is the limit until Google starts enforning their own policies and cracking down on internet parasites like this.

I hope that more people will demand Google put this site in its proper place in the SERPS….at the bottom.

BTW check out reviews from ex employees of WetPaint aka Viggle….they are priceless!!

UPDATE Jan 08, 2015: WetPaint aka Viggles stock price at 24 cents!!! I guess investors are figuring out what crap this app is.