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Monday
Mar282011

My Apology Offer to JAWA & Jason Hope

[For background information about this, start here: Explanation of Text Message Scams]

After John Yantis wrote this great piece in the AZ Republic, I was pretty sure I was done writing about JAWA and Jason Hope. I figured now that the AZ Republic is on it, I can move on. Then towards the end of last week, two amazing and unfathomable events occurred:

First, I received this 7-page cease and desist letter from one of Jason Hope's lawyers. The letter claims the following about my recent blog posts covering the Verizon lawsuit against JAWA and Jason Hope: 

I don't know much about legal terms and I'm not quite sure what all that means, but I'm pretty sure the above accusations are not good. As it turns out, I might be a criminal according to their letter. In fact, Mr. Enrico Schaefer (from TraverseLegal, the Lawyer representing JAWA and Jason) is quite convinced that I am in fact a criminal and that my reason for writing about text messaging scams is just to cover up my own crimes. Check it out:

Let me get this straight...to cover up my own unlawful activities, they are arguing that I am going around and accusing random innocent rich people of scams? Geez. Now, I'm really offended. Not about the accusations of being a criminal, but about the accusation of being the dumbest criminal on the planet. I mean what kind of criminal would go around accusing random innocent rich people of pulling scams?

So what does Mr. Schaefer claim are my unlawful activities? Well, shit! There is a whole laundry list of them. Here is a sampling:

Mr. Schaefer lists 9 such hideous crimes!

[Begin Rant]

Seriously dude? You think I'm writing about JAWA and Jason hope because I want to cover up my crimes for registering domain names? This is the best you could come up with? I mean you went through all the trouble of investigating me and the worst dirt that you could come up with is that I own the domain name PhotoDrop.com? And furthermore, you seriously think that PhotoDrop.com is in trademark violation for Adobe's PhotoShop? I especially love my top crime: registering the domain MacBugTracker.com. All of your research didn't show you that I have a software company, Axosoft, that makes Bug Tracking Software? What are you going to expose next? That I received a parking ticket in 1998? God, I wish I was writing this in text messages, just so I could write "LOL". Oooh, but that LOL might cost me $9.99 per month for the rest of my life if I sent it to one of your client's scam numbers.

[/End Rant]

The second thing that happened is that on Friday of last week, as some of our readers noticed, the AZDisruptors.com site mysteriously went offline. What!?!? How did that happen? It turns out that Mr. Schaefer took it on himself (or maybe he acted at the direction of his clients) to contact the hosting provider of AZ Disruptors, SquareSpace.com, and told them that they need to pull down our web site. Here is the kicker: SquareSpace actually complied with their request!

Now, I'm a HUGE fan of SquareSpace. These guys have done a phenomenal job of creating an easy-to-use blogging engine. It's truly an awesome product. So much so that they successfully raised $38.5 Million recently from Accel and Index Ventures. But here is what really pisses me off about Square Space: with just one random nastygram that they received from a lawyer, they took down my site without even contacting me first. They took it down and emailed me about it. Are you kidding me? That's all it takes to take down a site hosted on Square Space? Send a nastygram and bam! Apparently you can take down any Square Space hosted site with just a letter! No need to do a DoS attack on them. So much for Square Space's incredible infrastructure.

As I write this, the site is still hosted on Square Space because I re-enabled my content and argued back with Square Space's support team. They haven't responded to my numerous emails and my request to get a call back, but if the site mysteriously disappears one day, you'll know why. It might take us a day or two to get it back up and running on a different hosting provider.

(SquareSpace, if you are listening, you should call me - your support team has my number)

JAWA and Jason Hope's Demands

So what does Mr. Schaefer and his clients demand that I do? Here is a list of their demands:

Is that all?

And what do I get in return? Nothing! In fact, they intend to reserve the right to sue me at anytime in the future. These guys are not the best negotiators. I'm a little disappointed:

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I have to be honest here: I had to lookup what "panopoly" meant because I was pretty sure they weren't talking about Tom Cruise's ex-girlfriend. It turns out, there is no such word, but Google recommends panoply, which means what you would expect it to mean in context. It's a frivolous word. Saying "our clients reserve their full rights" would have had the same meaning, but if you're going to throw in a fancy word, at least spell it right.

So, of course, I had to go and find myself a good lawyer. Fortunately for me, on a recent trip to China with the AZ Tech Council, I happened to meet Jonathan Frutkin. Jon is brilliant and he probably even knows what panoply means. I bet he could even spell it! Check out his official response to the 7-page ramblings of JAWA's lawyers. I absolutely love the opening lines.

It's pretty pathetic that a scam artist with money can usually shut up the vast majority of people with such crazy, far-reaching and false accusations. From what I hear, this isn't the first time these people have tried to shut someone up and if I comply with their demands, it most certainly won't be the last. I didn't seek out to write about text message scams. It fell into my lap and I couldn't believe nobody was writing about it. Then I found out I was a victim. You could almost say that this story chose me. The stars were aligned and here I am. I'm not going away and I'm not about to retract my posts and say I was wrong, unless...

My Apology...

It struck me the other day that JAWA and the network of companies listed in the Verizon lawsuit have MILLIONS of customers! If in fact they are not involved in any sort of scam, then the vast majority of those customers must be happy customers who are knowingly and willingly paying $9.99 every single month on their cell phone bills. So I have an offer to make... 

I WILL DO ALL OF MR. SCHAEFER'S ABOVE DEMANDS AND I will record a personal apology video and promote the video on every domain I own (including MacBugTracker.com), under the following conditions:

  • JAWA Provide access to only 500 randomly chosen customers from the millions of JAWA customers who have been charged $9.99 per month on their phone bill. Of course, to alleviate concerns of tampering by either side, we would use a 3rd party polling company for the customer sampling. The assumption here is that there are Millions or more JAWA customers based on JAWA's response to the Verizon lawsuit.
  • The 3rd Party Polling company will then poll the 500 randomly chosen JAWA Text messaging customers to see if they are happy with the services that JAWA has been providing them through text messaging and the fees they have been charged on their phone bill

If only 25% of the 500 randomly polled JAWA customers acknowledge that they have knowingly been paying for JAWA's services and that they are happy with it, I will apologize profusely. Of course, the BS lawsuit threats would also have to be dropped, but the idea here is that if JAWA is in fact a company with MILLIONS of happy customers, it should be relatively easy to verify. I'm setting the bar unbelievably low too. If just 1 out of 4 customers are knowingly paying for JAWA's services, I will gladly eat my words!

And here is the best part, I'll pay for the whole test!

What do you say?

P.S. Mr. Schaefer, the next time you think you've found a person who is a criminal, as you say I am, instead of trying to bargain with them, try exposing their crimes so they stop doing them.

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Reader Comments (72)

His "in house" lawyers. Please. Go to any major law firm down town, talk to a litigator, and start a class action. Those $600/hr attorneys will eat his in-house council apart.

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBobby

I wondered if you'd get threatened with lawsuits. I love the response from your own attorneys. You're doing great work - keep it up! (and hell, I'd happily donate to a legal fund)

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSam

Wow. I'm completely glued to this story. Of course, it's unfortunate that the lawyers are now in the mix (which was probably bound to happen sooner than later anyway), but you're obviously doing the right thing by not bowing down to ridiculous demands with no merit.

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGuy Reynolds

1. It's DDoS, not DOS. But DOS is funny.
2. They really suck at PR.

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

Hamid... you are my new HERO!!! Seriously... you totally rock!

Those guys are absolute scumbags... your story PROVES it, Verizon's lawsuit PROVES it, AZ Central's story PROVES it, the Texas AG PROVES it.... and now this cease and desist letter with ridiculous accusations firmly PROVES the fact that Jason Hope and Jawa are thieving scumbags! (Damn... no maybe they will sue me)

The fact that they would try to harass you with "cyber squatting" is insane.... a quick search at...
http://www.dirtsearch.org with Jason Hope's name entered returns COUNTLESS CRIMINAL actions in Arizona courts, front search warrants, to HOA Scams, to no paying child support.... and MORE!

I hope that maybe you can make more transparent some of Jason Hopes past transgressions here.... or at least give them to your attorney to be used against him. Fight him at his own game!

It's funny how the "comments" from the Jawa employees suddenly and all at once stopped. There must have been a troop rally last week... some group direction given out.

Your idea of an independent survey/poll is brilliant! Never in a million years would they go for it, but brilliant none the less.

It looks like AT&T are "officially" looking into Jawa...
http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/ATT-Verizon-Jawa-Make-Millions-From-SMS-Scams-113383?nocomment=1

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTifaany

BTW.... Hamid... your first link to the Jawa Cease and Desist PDF file does not appear to be working.

http://www.azdisruptors.com/storage/LetterToShojaee03-23-2011.pdf <--Not working.

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTifaany

Hi Hamid... great work! Hang in there and expose these guys.

What is interesting is that the lawyer for Jawa is no saint, Enrico Schaefer from Michigan, has his fair share of time as a defendant. Nothing worse than the pot calling the kettle black!

http://online.co.grand-traverse.mi.us/iprodp/cccivild.cgi?casekey=00000180976
http://online.co.grand-traverse.mi.us/iprodp/cccivild.cgi?casekey=00000177758

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVincent Richter

Tifaany, that Jawa Cease & Desist link has been fixed. Thanks!

March 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterHamid Shojaee

Cease and desist letters are a nasty thing for service providers, I have plenty of experience with these myself, so I am sympathetic with SquqreSpace on that. However, they could have and should have notified you before taking the site down and now in addition to a class case suite against JAWA, you also have a personal case against their lawyers for making your site go down.

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

You can always call Hamid at [PHONE NUMBER REMOVED] for more information

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaw

@Law What's your motivation for posting my phone number?

March 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterHamid Shojaee

Guy,

1) Actually, it's a DoS. DDoS is a "distributed denial of service", with a bunch of computers acting to disrupt a site. This is a case of a single lawyer sending a highly-questionable letter to a host in order to make them remove the content. 1DoS, maybe. ;)

2) You are right. They suck at PR. A lot.

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Donnelly

You should get a new dress if you want to be a model http://thedirty.com/2011/03/hamid-shojaee-a-scumbag/

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIam in love

@law's paychecks are signed by Jason Hope... that's why the retard would post your phone number.

BTW.... you did look cute in that dress! :)

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChase Hope

@Iam in love > I thought that was a great picture of me. You should have seen the looks I got in super markets.

@Chase Hope > Thanks! I got that a lot in that outfit.

March 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterHamid Shojaee

Michael Donnelly - you're right. Is 1DoS taken as a domain?

Hamid - dude, is that what terrorists wear on vacation? *rimshot* Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week.

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

Go Hamid!!!

Really enjoyed the first installment of this story, and thought it was done... Now that they've "kicked it up a notch", I'll be happy to help spread the word.

BTW, we get a TON of traffic, right smack in the middle of JAWA's demographic.

Keep up the great work, and we've got extra space on our dedicated servers if you need to make a quick getaway.

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGreg Childs

Looks like 1/2 Jawa's revenue stream is shut down for the time being as another (Hamid's favorite carrier) AT&T officially announces they cutoff the short codes for Jawa!

How much $$$ does it take to build a 100,000 square foot house anyway?

http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2011/03/28/att-investigating-jawa-suspends-codes.html

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLarry Altman

In an effort to help Hamid with his legal defense of Jason Hope and Jawa... please TEXT the word "LEGAL" to 78224.
25 cents of every subscription will be used towards Hamid's Legal Defense Fund!

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March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLegal Aid

They just raised your bet...

When your side of the street is clean, none can intimidate you with frivolous claims.

When you're right, you're right. The truth prevails... we got your back!

March 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Witham
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