eCigClub Ripoff Report
Last night we received an email from an interested reader who alerted us to yet another e-cigarette scam. But this one is different. The website, ecigclub.com just might be the most convoluted “affiliate marketing” site we’ve seen in a very long time, but certainly earning the moniker of Scam Alert Brand.
Visiting the website, (ecigclub.com) is like peeling an onion. There are sidebar ads featuring V2, Green Smoke, and a couple of others, all linked with embedded affiliate code. There are standard graphics that are used in several of the other scam alert companies we’ve profiled before, as well as some of the worst writing skills we’ve ever encountered on the Internet. Strangely, the owner of the company does not try to hide whom he really is and what he does for a living, making it very easy to unravel the mystery of “What is eCigClub?”
WHOIS InformationDomain Name: ECIGCLUB.COM Created on: 05-Feb-13 Expires on: 05-Feb-14 Last Updated on: 05-Feb-13 Registrant: Heavenly HerbalZ.com 2433 Heermans Ave Scranton, Pennsylvania 18509-1243 United States Administrative Contact: Verkitus, John email@example.com Original Website – HeavenlyHerbalZ.com
Heavenly Herbal Z is a small Scranton Pennsylvania company trying it eek out a living selling some sort of weird herbal blends and oddly prepared e-liquids. Most of the pages lead to 404 “page missing” elements, so we’re not even sure if he is still in business. The company isn’t interesting enough to provide details about its products so if you are interested in learning more about them we invite you to click the link above.
Here’s Where It Gets Morally Questionable
eCigClub is merely a web page set up with various affiliate links and some poorly written “articles” about e-cigarettes. The owner is not connected to any of the companies in any other way than simple affiliate accounts.
Why Affiliate Accounts Are Bad For Business
We at Spinfuel think “Affiliate Marketing” can lead to horrible business practices, especially in this industry. The profit margin is so high in companies like V2, Green Smoke, et al, that some companies offer website owners 40% and 50% “commissions” on each product they sell through a specially coded link on the website.
The trouble begins when the unscrupulous companies entice otherwise honest people by offering very high commissions and those otherwise honest people give in and promote the hell out of that company’s products in order to put food on the table for his or her family, pay the mortgage, or stop the repo man from taking the car. People are just people after all, and protecting and providing for the family comes first. We get that.
We knew shortly after we launched Spinfuel that affiliate marketing could spell disaster. By condemning it from the beginning we took away any temptation that might make us want to taint a review in order to earn money. By never being faced with that moral issue we would either make it without selling our souls, or crash and burn. Either way, there would not be blood on our hands. Not everyone can be so idealistic.
Since Heavenly Herbal Z is such a poor amateurish website and e-cigarette product, it isn’t hard to figure why the owner of the company launched a convoluted affiliate marketing site like eCigClub. And since every graphic, every link, is embedded with an affiliate code it means any time someone comes to the website and clicks any of the links and winds up making a purchase the owner of Heavenly Herbal Z gets the commission. It is as simple as that. These companies would approve anybody as an ‘affiliate’ and just as easily as dead Chicagoans are somehow registered to vote in Chicago elections.
Sure, yes, the owner of Heavenly Herbal Z is morally bankrupt. But then a lot of people are. Some more than others, but to some extent or another many people just do not have the personal fortitude for self-sacrifice. “Doing the right thing” when the right thing will lead to eviction, going hungry, or losing everything, is a luxury today. To be immune to such temptations is a rare.
The owner of Heavenly Herbal Z is carelessly and without mercy (or much thought) hurting the very people he claims he wants to help with his magical blends over on heavenlyherbalz.com, so we have no qualms about adding and connecting his name and his company to all the search engine results for e-cigarette scams. If you can’t earn an honest living with your own business perhaps it’s best to seek employment with a fast food establishment. It’s honest labor.
What To Do?
Is the owner of eCigClub making any money? Who knows? But it doesn’t really matter if he is or not, the links on the site do lead back to some bon a fide e-cigarette scams, including some we haven’t yet created a Scam Alert posting for. (But we will)
No Flame eCig is a cookie cutter company in the same way Regal, Prada, XO, and all the rest are. The Terms and Conditions are exactly the same.
“Upon placing your first order for the Product you will be enrolled in the Company’s Program. As a member in the Program, We will immediately send you a Starter Kit which includes one extended battery, one atomizer, USB charger, one pack of cartomizers and an instruction manual and all you pay for is shipping and handling at a rate of $4.95 (USD). In other words, upon enrollment in the Program, you authorize Company to charge your credit card $4.95 (USD). As a member in the Program, you have 14 days to try the Product (the .Trial Period.). Please note that delivery time is subtracted from your Trial Period, and will reduce the number of days allocated to your Trial Period. If the Product is not right for you, call 1-877-647-3625 during the Trial Period, as long as you return the product in accordance with the time limit described in Section 4, Company will not charge you another dollar. Otherwise, at the end of your Trial Period, as a member in the Program, your credit card will be charged $109.67 (USD) for the Product you already received. Then 30 days from your initial order of the Product (and every 30 days thereafter), you will be sent a new supply of the Product containing 2 packs of cartridges, (A total of 10 cartomizers) and your credit card will be charged $69.62 (the .Monthly Fee.). Please note that Florida residents must add sales tax.”
Here’s another one. Same Terms and Conditions, only the dollar amount is slightly different
Membership Terms and Conditions:
If I enroll in the refill Membership program I am agreeing to be charged $99.99 in 15 days for the kit I received plus a 10-cartridge refill pack, and 79.99 +S&H each 30 days thereafter for a new 10-cartridge refill pack. My credit card will be billed and my shipment will be sent automatically at those times. Refill shipments will continue until I call to cancel my Membership at 1-866-830-2464, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I understand that my starter kit has a retail value of $99.99. If I cancel my membership but do not return the starter kit, I will be charged for its full value.
V2 and Green Smoke – What are they doing here?
The owner of eCigClub has affiliate accounts with V2 and Green Smoke as well. And although both of these companies are “angels” compared to the others mentioned above, they are damaging their brand by allowing eCigClub to market them on the same site as No Flame and eCig Brand.
Can we be as outraged at eCigClub as we are with the actual companies represented on the website? Well, yea, we can and we should. By actively seeking out unsuspecting smokers and pointing them toward companies like No Flame and eCig Brand, eCigClub is certainly an accessory before the fact.
Heavenly Herbal Z sells crappy products and to supplement his income the owner has turned to this ugly affiliate marketing scam to make ends meet. By all rights the guy should shut down his websites and seek an honest job, but as long as there are people who will take the bait there will be websites like eCigClub and companies that we feature in our Scam Alerts.
The only thing we can do, all of us, is to make sure the search engines are saturated with information about them. In the case of Heavenly Herbal Z and the owner, perhaps an email from each of us explaining why he shouldn’t be conducting business in this manner might be enough to make him walk away… but we wouldn’t bet on it.
As electronic cigarettes become more and more popular there will be more and more e-cigarette scams on the Internet. We will continue to bring these companies into the light, kicking and screaming if we have to, until such time as every potential victim realizes that they have a responsibility to read the fine print and always read the Terms and Conditions set forth on every e-cigarette website.