Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Herbal King/Elite Herbal: Legal actions in New Zealand and United States

So I have been blogging a lot in the past about the investigation by Department of Internal Affairs in New Zealand, an investigation that came to our knowledge shortly after a BBC radio programme that I participated in pointed at Genbucks, Shane Atkinson and that Indian company that I may not mention by name: ________ (*) as being involved in spamming.

Today a media release regarding the result of this investigation was published by Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) in connection with a related press release from Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States.

Media release from DIA: http://www.dia.govt.nz/press.nsf/d77da9b523f12931cc256ac5000d19b6/fc151f432926dba2cc2574e200723e07!OpenDocument

As it can be read then Shane Atkinson, his brother Lance Atkinson and a third individual from New Zealand are now facing a case against them in High Court for spamming (among others then the Herbal King / Elite Herbal sites), and if found guilty will face a penalty of up to $200.000 (New Zealand Dollars)

The media release also mentions that Shane Atkinson was a co-manager at the Genbucks Affiliate programme, that the products being spamvertised was manufactured and shipped by ________ (*) and that the Sancash affiliate programme was used to recruit and pay the spammers (the people actually sending the spam emails) to market the Genbucks/_________ (*) products.

This fits well with the research I have conducted myself and shared with you on this blog and which have also been supplied to DIA and are part of the evidence in the case.

What I have now learned is that what happened when DIA raided properties in Christchurch, New Zealand and Shane Atkinson was put under investigation back in December 2007, was that the brother of Shane, Lance who was the primary person responsible for recruiting the spammers to the Sancash affiliate programme, closed down Sancash (I have blogged about that earlier), stopped the work with Shane and instead teamed with US-based Jody Michael Smith and together they made the Affking (Affiliate King) programme, where I guess a lot of the old spammers from Sancash moved to. The domain affking.com was registered on December 17th 2007, a few days after the BBC Radio Programme that I participated in was aired, and at the same day where DIA raided the properties in New Zealand.

It is this part of spamming operation (affking) that FTC has now put an halt to through a temporary injuction. Press release can be found here:
http://ftc.gov/opa/2008/10/herbalkings.shtm and besides that a memo from the court is publically available and can be found here http://ftc.gov/os/caselist/0723085/081014atkinsonmemo.pdf

(*) Reference to entity has been temporarily removed due to temporary injuction 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 injuction (order) can be found here: