Александр Попов (athunder) wrote,
Александр Попов

Scam alert: Review of dishonest and Illegit behavior of the founders of applian.com and zingtree.com

I've been a member of the affiliate program of Applian Technologies (applian.com), a company selling streaming media recording software, since about 2000. The tracking was done via Commission Junction affiliate network. Many Commission Junction advertisers have been rejecting my web-sites due to Russian language, my location or for various other reason. In fact many of them have been refusing my applications automatically without even considering my web-sites or traffic they generate. Even in 2000 there were plenty of people from Russia involved in various scams, money laundering and fraudulent credit cards, so it was very frustrating to try to legitimately make money from the legit traffic I was getting.

Luckily I found the affiliate program of Applian Technologies that accepted my application and was happy to pay me for legit traffic. It was OK at first and I was getting checks in USD that were successfully converted into cash via VTB and several other banks in Russia. Then I started having problems in the banks, because they wanted a contract that Commission Junction obviously didn't have. Then they also started asking to have the same name and address as in a passport, some kind invoice for every transaction and more. Although some things were easy to do, others like contracts were a real headache. It is so much easier to get an affiliate payment in the USA where nobody in a bank asks you anything about your checks, not to mention how easy it is to pay taxes from these payments.

So when Applian offered to pay me directly most of the commission while still tracking it via Commission Junction, I thought it was a good idea. I trusted the founders of applian.com (who are now the founders of zingtree.com as well). And I was getting my commission fully at first. I would send an invoice once in while (say once a year or once in 2 years), get all the papers for the bank and receive my wire transfer.

Then I sold my web-sites all-streaming-media.com and stream-recorder.com for only 50% of the yearly profit they were generating (I know this price offered by Applian was far from fair, but it was me who agreed, so I don't blame anybody for that). I started getting less affiliate commission via emoney.al.ru, but this still allowed me to make several thousand dollars since 2011 to 2017. The problem is that I didn't request payment, because of the problems with banks in Russia. I wanted to have a larger amount to be transferred, so that I don't have to provide papers and notarized translations to the bank and the Federal Tax Service of Russia for every little transfer (obviously it is much easier to do it in batches). Since I trusted the owners of Applian Technlogies, I didn't expect anything bad to happen. It appeared that I was so wrong.

When Applian closed its affiliate program at Commission Junction in 2017, I didn't get any notification. When I found this out it was alarming. I wrote to the founders and asked to send me a wire transfer. I didn't get any replies by e-mail, so I found out how to contact them via Skype. It appeared that they just didn't want to pay. They offered me to forget about all my affiliate commission for the past 6 years. They said I couldn't send an invoice after 6 years, that the situation in the company changed drastically.

But obviously it doesn't have to do anything with the term, because they didn't even pay for 2016 although I was requesting payment in 2017. Moreover my affiliate commission is not very large considering the sales Applian was generating in the past. So an honest person would just pay from his own pocket, even if it is done partially (by the mutual agreement) and via an installment plan. But this is not the case here. I didn't get a penny from Applian Technologies for all my work from 2012 to 2017.

Moreover since they refused to pay completely, I offered them to get all-streaming-media.com and stream-recorder.com domains instead of the affiliate commission, these web-sites seems to be dead for Applian anyway. If you try to enter All-streaming-media.com, you get the message "Deceptive site ahead". I warned the company about it about 6 month ago, but nothing has changed since then.

all-streaming-media.com (belonging to Applian): Deceptive site ahead

stream-recorder.com message board has some kind of technical issues. So basically it is dead for more than a month.

It is so frustrating to see deceptive content as well as the dead message board on the web-sites that I spent so much blood and tears onto. Although I don't want to be involved into streaming media recording anymore, I would rather resurrect the projects so that they continue helping people.

In the end I warned Bill Dettering and Tom Mayes that I would write about their dishonest behavior, so that everybody knows they can't be trusted. I also warned them that my experience shows that bad online reputation will cause them to lose several times more money then they refuse to pay. But this didn't even allowed me to get the dead domains.

I should have paid much more attention to the facts of bundling nasty adware or spyware with their free software. This was a clear sign that these people can not be trusted.

I highly recommend not to use any products or services from Applian or Zingtree. These people just can't be trusted after the rip off and bundling software with spyware/malware.

This is a huge amount of money for me these days. But sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. And although the law doesn't protect us from many scams, illegit and dishonest behavior, the laws of Karma are unavoidable. So if you do any evil, sooner or later you will face it from the other side. And I don't need to do anything for that to happen. The Universal Mind will take care of it by itself.

p.s. One of the software companies has sent me a wire transfer with the affiliate commission for the past 4 years recently. So despite what Bill Dettering claimed, this is only about honesty.

Этот пост на английском языке о том, как основатели applian.com and zingtree.com кинули меня на несколько тысяч долларов. Широкой публике это вряд ли интересно, но я вынужден написать об этой истории именно в своём блоге из-за его раскрученности.
Tags: affiliate, applian.com, illegit, review, scam, zingtree.com
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