I have been looking even more into the connection between Herbal King/Elite Herbal, Genbucks, __________ (*) and Shane Atkinson and what a tangled web, I don't think I have discovered everything and still I don't know where to start and stop.
Maybe it's a good idea to start with listing what is already known and reported in my past posts about the Herbal King/Elite Herbal spammings
- 8-9 months ago I found out that the validation in order forms of Herbal King/Elite Herbal sites was poor and I was able to inject a little piece of code that sent a request back to one of my servers when orders was read. I then discovered that the orders was read by a few different IP-addresses one belonging to ____________ (*) in India and one being a DSL connection from the provider IHug in New Zealand. I send complaints/questions to both companies but didn't get any further, actually from _______ (*) I never received a response despite numerous emails + faxes
- 3 weeks ago I was contacted by BBC who was doing a radio programme about spam and they had choosen Herbal King/Elite Herbal spam as their subject as they was also very tired themselves of the numerous spam mails from these spammers. They wanted to dig further into the connection to ___________ (*) and New Zealand that I found. BBC ordered some products from the Herbal King/Elite Herbal sites and received email verification that the products would be shipped from Ukraine or India (Two locations where __________ (*) is represented). BBC found out that the payment was done through ServePay.com, and looking at the WHOIS information for this site led them to Genbucks. BBC called Genbucks and the responding employee more or less admitted to being an department of ___________ (*) and also that the Herbal King/Elite Herbal sites was theirs. BBC also used the New Zealand link and IHug (owned by Vodafone) to get the name of Shane Atkinson, known for spamming years back but supposed to have left this "business". Shane denied allegations when contacted by BBC.
- After the BBC radio programme was broadcasted the New Zealand authorities chose to raid properties in Christchurch, New Zealand. The New Zealand authorities was already investigating these people and was afraid they would be alerted by the attention drawn to them by the radio programme.
So far so good. Next question is how tight is the connection really between the Herbal King/Elite Herbal spammings, Genbucks, ___________ (*) and Shane Atkinson.
What led me from Herbal King/Elite Herbal and to _________ (*) was the little piece of code showing that __________ (*) was reading orders exactly as I typed them in at the order page of Herbal King/Elite Herbal sites. This just shows some kind of connection, but not really how tight. It could be a single ____________ (*) employee helping a spammer without the knowledge of the corporation, it could be that _________ (*) was supplying an interface for customers to automatically submit orders and therefore didn't know anything about the products was being sold etc. So __________ (*) could have given me a well made up explanation like that and I would probably have believed them . Ignoring my complaints just made me more curious.
What led BBC from Herbal King/Elite Herbal and to Genbucks was the ServePay.com service on their bank statement. When looking at WHOIS information for this domain you could see the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. I say "could" because the day after the BBC radio programme was broadcasted the WHOIS information on ServePay.com was changed so it now looks like this
So it seems like they have chosen a WHOIS protection service but I never heard of this one before and then I discovered that the address shown for this WHOIS protection service is the same address as shown for Genbucks themselves
And when looking at the WHOIS information for safe-whois.com this actually pointed me directly back to Genbucks too... so not very succesfull attempt to hide that ServePay.com is owned by Genbucks.
So Genbucks is also pretending to be a WHOIS protection service besides being a payment gateway. Actually I have found out that Genbucks is behind a lot of different sites not only related to their herbal products, many different payment processing sites (servepay.com, custpay.com, ezbill.biz, nzbill.com), E-trading bureau approving their own sites, PageRanking services ranking their own sites highly, Pillranking sites ranking only their own products and all with good reviews etc. Unethical marketing if you ask me but again I'm only after the spamming...
Last week when trying to track down further evidence of the connection between _________ (*) and Genbucks I came across a web design portfolio of a Canadian web designer at http://www.x-jhed.net/portfolio.php which showed that he had actually created design for both Genbucks.com and __________ (*). Luckily I have a screenshort of how it looked like a week ago
Notice the second + fourth reference in the fourth row, that is Genbucks + ________ (*). If you go to the site today then the Genbucks reference have been removed. Is that just a coincidence? I have send en email to the owner of the site but have received no answer yet. But actually some of the other references is for Genbucks related sites too.
To see if I could find further indications of the relationship between __________ (*) and Genbucks I got access to the incorporation documents and other public documents for ____________ (*) (Fee of 50 Indian Rupees ~ 1.2 US Dollars in fee to Indian Government... what a bargain). I could see that after one of the directors resigned earlier this year there is now two owners/directores of __________ (*) back, __________ (*) and ___________ (*). Also one of the readers of this blog sent me a comment about GenPharma International also being related to __________ (*) so I checked their incorporation documents too and correct two of the owners of GenPharma International is ____________ (*) and _____________ (*).
This is interesting because I searched a little in the historic WHOIS information (thanks to domaintools.com) of some of the Genbucks domains and discovered that back in 2005 the genbucks.org domain had a ___________ (*) registered as the owner of the domain with the same address in India that _____________ (*) used in the incorporation documents for GenPharma International. Now adays they have the Genbucks "WHOIS Protection Sevice" listed instead on the genbucks.org domain.
It should also be mentioned than even though Genbucks show an address in the republic of mauritius on their homepage then it's public known (they have confirmed so in the Genbucks forums) that they are based in India.
But back to the name _____________ (*), because it actually turns up ones again (nicely spotted by Susan from Spamhaus) and this time we are really talking something extremely interesting, a Genbucks affiliate blogging about Genbucks. See his Genbucks blog and notice the third section
The blogging affiliate has been so lucky to meet the owners of Genbucks and have even been taking a nice picture. And the name of the Genbucks owners are Shane and _______ (*)! Based on the image on this site www.clueby4.com I think there is no doubt that Genbucks owner Shane is actually Shane Atkinson and my guess is that the other Genbucks owner ________ (*) is actually __________ (*) which as mentioned is also one of the owners/directors of ___________ (*) and GenPharma International. It seems like the connection between Herbal King/Elite Herbal, Genbucks, __________ (*) and Shane Atkinson is even tighter than first expected.
But the tangled web is even bigger. I mentioned the E-Trade Bureau (etradebureau.com) site that Genbucks owns and which approves Genbucks own sites. There was one of the sites listed that at first didn't seem directly related to Genbucks but it still caught my attention because it was a dating site in New Zealand, webdate.co.nz. When I went into the dating site I found a banner at the bottom advertising 'SpermoMax' which is a Genbucks product but noticed than instead of the normal spermomax.com site this banner linked to spermomax.co.nz (a domain also owned by Genbucks) and I noticed that it used a payment processing site called nzbill.com which was also different from the other site. I searched WHOIS information for nzbill.com with the expectation to find Genbucks once again listed as owners but I got a surprise
It's not Genbucks listed as owner, but a company called Etech Media in Christchurch, New Zealand, the city where spammers were raided by New Zealand authorities few days ago. The company can be found on etechmedia.net. When looking at the contact page on the site I saw the contact email and instantly I had that feeling that I had seen the name 'jas' before
And correct. If you go back to the image of Shane and __________ (*) you also see a person named Jas and refered to as Affiliate Manager at Genbucks.... again one of those "coincidences" and the next one was only a click away when I looked at the portfolio for Etech Media
All 6 websites listed there are sites belonging to Genbucks and another funny little thing is that at least two of the sites (scibody.com + le-nile.com) is also listed in the portfolio of the Canadian web designer I mentioned earlier. Maybe he did graphical design and Etech Media did backend programming...
Scibody.com is actually a site belonging to Genbucks that sells MP3 Players. As can be seen from the news bulletin from ___________ (*), then ___________ (*) is actually involved in business with the same range of MP3 Players
My guess is that when New Zealand news sources says that "Two christchurch businessmen was interviewed during the raid" it could very likely be businessmen with a business name of Etech Media, but it's only a guess.
There is probably more relations to be found If I look in all the corners but I think by now there should be no doubt that there is a tight connection between Herbal King/Elite Herbal sites, Genbucks, __________ (*) and Shane Atkinson.
What we can only wait for now is for the New Zealand authorities to find out exactly how many people was involved in or knew about the heavy spamming done to advertise the Herbal King/Elite Herbal sites, and that is my main interest, because in all this untangling of different companies, sites etc. it's important to remember that being owner of different companies is not illegal or necessarily a sign of cover-up, it's actually very common. It's also worth remembering that probably most of the Genbucks affiliates are using legal methods to advertise the products, I think some of Genbucks "marketing practices" with E-Trading bureau that approves their own sites, Pillranking sites that make review of their own pills etc. are unethical but probably not illegal, and personally I doubt (without any evidence) that their pills actually have much effect, except maybe psychological, but the fact is that all in all then if it wasn't for the spamming it would probably be a legit corporation and affiliate programme.
(*) Reference to entity has been temporarily removed due to temporary injunction placed on the blog and the author of this blog in the case CS (OS) 218/2008 under process in Delhi High Court. Further information about the injunction (order) can be found here: