50 Responses to “Conrad Saam, the “ethical marketing expert” scammed me into selling my website”

  1. Conrad Saam October 24, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

    Mandy –

    So there’s this line in the Godfather (the book, not the movie) where Michael’s rejoinder to the comment “its nothing personal, its just business” goes something like this:

    “The Godfather takes everything personally. If a friend of his were hit by a bolt of lightening he’d take it personally. And that is what makes him great.”

    So its mostly unhelpful for me to tell you this is just business, because of course you take something personally that you’ve worked on. I’d feel the same way. The reality is, had you known who I was you would have asked for a lot more and I would have ended up registering something like mockingbirdie, or mockingbird-marketing or some such other second rate domain and you’d have $300 less in your bank account. But, my genuine apologies that the way this went down made you feel bad.

    As for Dave – he’s my cousin and a drummer in a band in London and an all around great guy.

    You’ve got my email address now . . . feel free to use it.

    Conrad

    • mandy October 24, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

      I wouldn’t have asked for more, I wouldn’t have even entertained selling it to you.

      Pardon me if I don’t exactly subscribe to your moral compass when it comes to judging if people are great guys or not.

      And I’m sure Stacey will share this story in all her speeches about legal marketing. In fact, from what I hear, she already is. Maybe you can add it to your next speech as well.

    • Michele Price @ProsperityGal October 24, 2014 at 8:24 pm #

      Guess what Conrad, you explanation ( EXCUSE) is a poor one.

      You knowing LIED to get an asset. Wonder how your clients would feel about doing business with you if they knew that?

      Oh wait, I can tell them now we have social media. Get ready, you pissed off the friend who has some digital chops and is not afraid to use them.

    • David Burch October 25, 2014 at 12:56 am #

      What a douche bag!

    • David Burch October 25, 2014 at 12:57 am #

      I’d say this is fraud.

    • Shannon October 25, 2014 at 4:24 pm #

      It’s ok to lie if it gets you what you want, right? Glad Conrad’s ethics are there for all to see.

  2. Jamie October 24, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

    I’m glad you shared this deceptive practice with the public. The ‘this is just business excuse’ that Conrad shares in his comment below your post is a sorry excuse for someone who clearly states on their ABOUT US PAGE “We’re upfront, honest.” Business is full of people who step all over other people to make a buck and I’m sick of it, too. Let’s get together and send a quick press release to all the local news stations and printed papers, magazines, and newsletters in Conrad’s hometown and let them know what’s going on. He wants to get a higher SEO ranking? How about we put his name at the top of that ranking for a few years with some bad press.

    • lenny October 24, 2014 at 9:07 pm #

      This is a brilliant idea. I would sever all communication with this guy. He has shown his true self. He works for lawyers. They can be the worst of humanity so he is a good fit!

      Write a piece about Ethics and Authenticity for PRSA and PR Daily.

      Then go take a yoga class and smile again. You wanted to do a good thing for someone. Don’t let them steal that from you!

      • Stacey Burke October 25, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

        Lenny: You too please do not make sweeping generalizations about lawyers. There are bad apples in every group of people, including marketers, as this article shows.

  3. Chris October 24, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

    Wow. Conrad, you are a bit of an asshole. I give you credit for having the balls to come on here and comment on this article about you, but your response just proved what an a-hole you are.

    Mandy, I hope you took a screenshot of his reply and continue to expose him. Let’s play a game. For SEO purposes, change the title of your blog post to “Conrad Saam, the “ethical marketing expert” scammed me into selling my website.

    Make sure that it’s reflected on your URL as well, so that whenever anyone googles Conrad Saam, there’s at least a chance that this shows up. The same way that Santorum is “That frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex.”

  4. Sarah October 24, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

    I guess the saying my grandma said is right: if you’re an ass in your personal life, you’re an ass in business. Thanks for confirming that, Conrad.

    It’s people like you who give marketers a bad name—and I hope your bad name is known to all before this is over.

  5. Wendy Piersall October 24, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

    Conrad’s “apology” is the crappiest apology in the history of crappy apologies. “I’m sorry that you didn’t like the fact that I lied and manipulated you” is a shit way to do business – and live life. I can only hope you get to see the day when Karma comes for her payday from this douchebag dude. It will be a sight to behold, that’s for sure.

  6. B October 24, 2014 at 10:00 pm #

    So we are to believe you would not have sold this guy the domain at all? Hard to believe in the slightest. What would make you willing to sell to someone you thought was a random dude in London vs a person in your same industry? Are we to believe that your heart strings were pulled so tightly by this “drummer” that you let it go? Or was this story posted two years after the fact due to the success of the company and subsequent domain name that you feel cheated out of money? I’m going with option B. And anyone who says money isn’t everything in this scenario is a liar because your business and hit count generally reflects revenue stream.

    • mandy October 24, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

      I think anyone that knows me, knows it was in fact the first and not Option B. As you can see from my email thread. It was posted 9 months after intial conversations began not 2 years. I don’t want more money, I want him to #giveitback. I’m sorry you feel that money is everything. I think if you see those who are speaking with me and supporting me, don’t feel that way. And if I wanted I could stoop to his level to dish out what he started, but I’m not. I’m telling my story.

  7. B October 24, 2014 at 10:13 pm #

    But the basis of your story is that you want something back because you have seen the future and it works better for you now. Clearly in the past, it was worth $300 or else you truly would not have let it go.

    By your philosophy, now that I know where I am at in life I should be able to ask for things back like money, CDs, old clothes, or other things I had deemed not important enough to keep at the time but I want back now because I see how they could fit nicely back in to my life. Even if those things were given away on shady pretense, I can’t ask for them back so far down the road, especially if I reached a deal involving the exchange of monetary goods that did benefit me at the time. Because in the end, that is just business. Like it or not.

    • mandy October 24, 2014 at 10:20 pm #

      Thanks for weighing in. I think we can just agree to disagree. I think I also stated that the purpose of my blog was to expose someone who preaches ethics in legal marketing but does not practice them. I was lied to – entered into a contract under a lie – that is not ethical. And I knew when I hit “Publish” on this post, I would get the “that’s business” argument thrown at me. It’s not how I practice business but I do recognize that is how others practice business.

    • Chev October 25, 2014 at 9:59 pm #

      Wow, you sure do sound a lot like that Conrad chap. Funny that.

  8. Jeremy Goldman @jeremarketer October 24, 2014 at 10:24 pm #

    Hi everyone! I’m a friend of Michele Price’s – Michele, thanks bringing my attention to the story so that I can let everyone know about Conrad’s shady business practices.

    And “B” – it’s relatively convenient to hide your identity on a thread involving somebody who hid their identity, in order to support the culprit in question. I’m pretty sure people see through that.

  9. Jeff Belonger October 24, 2014 at 11:15 pm #

    WOW!! I get business and I sometimes get how one must twist things.. maybe another reason why I never made millions so quickly in the mortgage business, because I wanted to treat others the same way I would want to be treated.

    But this is just SAD, PATHETIC and not BUSINESS… unless you are in the crook biz! To just flat out lie to get something? And yes, I believe in karma, but the problem I see.. some people are not affected by karma. and Maybe Conrad is one of those people, who can do this to others in life and that it never comes back to him. I hope it does!!

  10. Justin Chaschowy October 24, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

    Sorry but I’m not really buying your whole “support local bands” spiel. If you didn’t want to sell it you didn’t have to. He didn’t put a gun to your head, and you got your money.

    In my opinion you weren’t scammed, you were simply social engineered.

    No sympathy from me.

    • Daniel J. Cohen October 29, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

      Well, we know not to trust you Justin.

      At least you had the guts to put your name I guess.

  11. Recycle Ben October 24, 2014 at 11:57 pm #

    Dear B
    (Or should I be addressing it Dear Conrad?)

    The facts:
    Someone approached the holder of a url to sell subject url under false pretenses. This is well-documented. This is similar to misrepresenting the condition of a used car, ownership of a bridge in Brooklyn or outright lying to a prostitute that you don’t have aids. It is irrelevant what you paid for the car, the bridge, the “evening of fun or the url.” Someone lied, deceived and obviously feels no guilt about the lie. “That’s business.”

    That’s sad.

    If Conrad had any moral conviction, he’d graciously offer to return the url to the seller for the original purchase price, with the condition that it not be resold to a competitor of Conrad’s within 24 months. (I’m holding my breath.)

  12. B October 25, 2014 at 1:56 am #

    Nope, I’m not Conrad, nor have I met him. But as a person who has done business in the real world, it’s rarely all warm and fuzzy. The fact is she entered in to a business agreement, albeit under some false pretenses. If she REALLY didn’t want to sell it then she didn’t have to, but clearly $300 was valuable enough at the time even if she feels it was worth more. The end result is the URL is someone else’s now, and he was correct that the chances were high that had she known who he was at the time she would have asked for more.

    Also, Conrad has already posted (first, as a matter of fact) so why would he create this name? Clearly he is fine with letting people know he is aware that she has some ill feelings about this deal. And the only reason to feel that way is because A. She now sees the value of the domain now or B. She cares to start back up her business and again, there is value in that domain to her again. Simply wanting it back to let it sit and do nothing just because she’s sad about how it all went down is a waste and that’s the equivalent of a child who left the playground angry and took all of their toys with them just to spite the other children.

    And local bands? Not even in the same country. Not buyin it at all.

    • Daniel J. Cohen October 26, 2014 at 7:30 pm #

      So it’s a waste to let a domain sit but it’s perfectly valid to bullshit your way into owning that domain.

      Right.

      I can see why you didn’t use your full name. It would have publicly called your heart and brain into question.

  13. Stacey Burke October 25, 2014 at 3:15 am #

    Dear everyone:

    Mandy was working with me at the time this fraudulent act took place. She posted on her Mockingbird Marketing (page rank 3) website that she had closed up her business and was now working in the legal marketing space. The home page message directed her followers to my website (just because she is a kind person who wanted to keep her MANY fans and friends aware of her pursuits and not because I asked her to).

    She spoke with me in passing about emails she received after she posted about her foray into legal marketing from an overseas band looking to purchase several domain names of high page rank to direct the link juice toward their new band website. Mandy was very reluctant to give away her domain – at that early time of our work together, she was in many ways still in mourning over the move away from her own entrepreneurial endeavor. We spoke about it and I read the emails and even listened to the “demo” music the band sent her to give her a taste for their sound.

    Was it a coincidence that someone who follows me on social media and has interacted in the same social media circles as me for years would happen to see that my SOLE employee owned a website that was worth something and that it mentioned legal marketing and linked to MY website, and only THEN decide to become “Mockingbird Marketing?” I don’t know – that would be one astounding coincidence.

    Mandy – for those of you commenting on here who do not know her at all – is hopelessly devoted to non-profit work, the fine arts, and gives of her time and of herself beyond measure. I watched her tirelessly give marketing advice to arts groups, friends, and non-profits in her spare time when she was able to escape my task mastering. She truly is a giving, kind soul who does not care much about money or fame or notoriety. She loves art and artists and theater and music and is one of those people that I like to say farts rainbows. Her sunny disposition was a welcome contrast to my own often sullen and intense demeanor. So to those of you who say you don’t buy that she gave up something valuable of her own to help a struggling band – I promise you she did. I watched her do it.

    The timing of her posting is correlated to Google calling her cell phone today to verify the phone number associated with her own Mockingbird Marketing listing. It has nothing to do with a desire for money or to hurt anyone.

    We spoke a few times about what to do concerning Conrad’s deception at the time it happened and I was reluctant to encourage her to speak out. I felt that making waves with someone like him, who has built his career upon bashing other legal marketers, might come back to bite me in the ass. I reached out to him myself and got his mobile number but never called. Mandy and I eventually decided that while terribly shameful, we would both move on and focus on our own positive futures.

    I am proud of Mandy for speaking out and standing up for herself. It takes a lot of guts to admit that you, as an experienced and successful digital marketer, were fooled by a scammer yourself. So not only did she stand up for herself but she also admitted that she made a mistake too. She trusted in someone that did not deserve it (and in fact was a fraudulent account holder and not a real person) and transferred a domain name in reliance upon the fraud presented. The poster of this blog can admit she made a mistake but the one who wronged her cannot? Odd.

    The way I understand the law is that if she was fraudulently induced to transfer, the transaction might actually be void; or at the very least be subject to a lawsuit.

    Conrad: Admitting that you lied and cheated a sweet, honest, kind, hard-working, giving, good person and saying that is how you “just do business” is honestly shocking to me. During your time with Avvo, you were someone that I looked up to and followed as a mentor in the digital space. I would hate to think that behind the persona you put on for the public online and when you speak lies a person who has such a cold heart.

    Sincerely,

    Stacey

  14. Sick of these Guys October 25, 2014 at 3:31 am #

    Mandy,

    You may have been a bit overly trusting in terms of this cesspool called the internet superhighway, but your heart was in the right place, and it pains me to see you get shafted for it.

    No matter how many websites they launch or Rotary Club speeches the give, people who behave the way Conrad Saam behaves are doomed to be bit players. But as you clearly care about social justice and doing the right thing, I feel it is important that you throw sand in the gears of Saam’s toxic, nasty low-rent tactics.

    Please, please change your title from “How I got duped by the Marketing Expert” to “How I got duped by so-called ‘Marketing Expert’, Conrad Saam”. This will rank at or near the top of page one for his name, and will force him to spend 100x the $300 he screwed you out of to try to recover his “name.”

    And Conrad — screw you, like anyone believes that you are not “Dave”.

  15. Ev Tyler October 25, 2014 at 5:24 am #

    B, you’re absolutely full of it and clearly contributing to this conversation solely to insult the owner of this website (or you’re a Conrad supported masquerading a someone who’s not met him, which is also embarrassing). Do you realize the inherent foolishness of saying “the fact is that she entered a business contract albeit under false pretenses”? A business contract built on *false pretenses* is unethical, and she has every right to bring attention to the ethical breaches of a person who otherwise preaches about ethics in marketing.

    I have no desire to argue with you on any personal level, but the logic of your argument relies on acknowledging one part of the reality of this situation while ignoring the other. Mandy was not “social engineered”, she was lied to. The only honest aspect of this transaction was the aspect of it in which Mandy directly took part – the transaction itself. While one can speculate that she’s not being totally honest about the “bands” aspect of this story, that really doesn’t matter, because she did not manipulate anyone into entering a business agreement under false pretenses.

    The business world is rarely “warm and fuzzy” — you’re right about that. However, if you’re suggesting that people should be able to lie freely as part of their business model, I think that you’re better off selling lemons in a used car lot.

  16. The Texafornian October 25, 2014 at 5:54 am #

    These are the kind of shady business practices that piss people off.

    Anyone who knows Mandy knows that she’s a good (and trusting) person who genuinely cares about the arts and music. All you have to do is look at her LinkedIn profile to see that she’s spent half her professional career working for local arts non-profits. So it’s more than a little convenient that the entity that wanted to buy her domain was a small local band. Was she naive? Maybe. Did Conrad Saam purchase her URL under false pretenses? ABSOLUTELY

    By his own admission in the comments above: Conrad Saam is a liar. Conrad Saam is a shady businessman. Conrad Saam is proud of having no ethics. (BTW – All subsequent commenters, please refer to Conrad Saam by his full name…it’ll do wonders for his Google search results).

    If there’s one thing the internet loves, it’s exposing liars and hypocrites like Conrad Saam.

    Conrad Saam thinks he’s clever by posting cynical non-apologies. But if Conraad Saam were really smart, he’d be emailing Mandy with a sincere apology and an offer to fairly compensate her for the domain name he stole from her. In return he have would have Mandy agree to immediately disappear this blog post forever before it starts to gain traction on social media. If Conrad Saam is the marketing expert he claims to be, I’m sure he knows that internet vengeance can be swift and brutal with the effects hard to erase. A quiet little blog post on Friday can easily becomes the most commented story on Valley Wag Monday. Why? because everyone hate liars and hypocrites.

    Mandy, forget about your URL. It’s gone. Let him have it

    Conrad Saam, you screwed over a good person who didn’t deserve it. You may think you got one over on some random chick from Houston, but Mandy has friends, lots of them…and they’re well connected…and they DEFINITELY know how to use social media. There is still time to do the right thing, for everyone. Otherwise you might find yourself wishing you had just paid a fair price and been honest to begin with.

  17. Waste Stream Guy October 25, 2014 at 11:43 am #

    The irony is that ANY attorney who learns what this guy did will say to himself…I definitely want Conrad Saam working for me. It’s literally the social proof that would make an attorney excited. Sad but true.

    • Stacey Burke October 25, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

      Take it easy there on lawyers. That’s quite a generalization.

    • Erin October 26, 2014 at 6:55 am #

      Yeah, take it easy there. We’re people too. I would never hire someone like this guy.

  18. Cory October 25, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

    I have several thoughts on this topic. Hoping I state them all clearly and concisely. Here goes:

    Mandy, I feel for you on many fronts. I’ve had employees literally try to take control of my newly aquired business (over 11 years ago). When I fired the husband and wife team for this, I offered them both more severance than either of them deserved based on their actual history and work experience with the company (a total of about $15k between them). They sued me for $100,000.00. They were devious people. I found out after they left that he had submitted false commission reports for sales he never made to people who did not exist. When I told this to labour relations, that employee repeated it to him (something I did not expect) and I was accused of slander (it’s not slander if it’s true. And I did have proof of it.) Later, at a peer association meeting, the wife chose to sit two seats away from me (no one in between us) and mid meeting tried to accuse me of something false. When I responded to her she called the police and accused me of assaulting her (didn’t happen!) At the end of a 10 minute phone call with the police officer I was assured that “it sounds like any normal peer association meeting interaction” and so no further action would be pursued by the police. Later, after settling with these people because the stress of it was harming my mother’s health (she was a partner in the business with me), the husband lied to a colleague saying they “had been awarded $50,000.00”. The truth is they were not “awarded” anything: we settled, the actual settlement was for much less than $50,000.00, AND, they (and us) had all agreed as part of the settlement NOT to discuss the details of the settlement with anyone who had not been a party to the settlement (I’m not using names here so I am not breaching that agreement.)

    I could literally keep writing for an hour about all the other shady things these people did and lies they told and relationships I lost because of that situation.

    What did I learn?
    1. You have to stand up to bullies, liars, cheats and scumbags. They can not get away with that. You have to say something so other people can at least learn what kind of people they truly are.
    2. Sometimes you end up “losing” to A-holes just to get rid of them. Break away from their influence at some point or you’ll be bitter for the rest of your life.
    3. Even though you sometime “lose” to A-holes and losers, they will ALWAYS get what is coming to them (related or unrelated this A-hole got cancer after all this happened).
    4. It is important to forgive – for your own health and well being sake. You can’t force the Ass our of A-hole.
    5. You are not defined by how that A-hole saw you or treated you. They were a selfish, greedy, moral-less hater who used you.
    6. You may be right and still lose if you are not as shrewd as your opponent. So become as wise as possible and don’t stoop to the A-hole’s level. Rise above it. Even while fighting against their injustice.
    7. Learn from your mistakes (even if they only include not being as shrewd as your opponent). How were you naive and what could you do differently next time.

    Part of the pain of that settlement was the fact that my lawyer put a junior lawyer on our case and he was just not equal nor equally prepared for the experience of the tiger shark lawyer they hired against us. Our guy was overwhelmed and recommended caving in basically, which is how it feels to have settled that quickly.

    I learned from THAT, too. Ten years after settling that lawsuit I hired that same tiger shark lawyer to represent me in my divorce (after 9 months at attempted mediation failed).

    In an unrelated matter to that stated above, I was contacted by someone who wanted to purchase a domain that I own which I was planning for future development. I do or have owned over 200 domains at one time or another. This particular domain was special to me since it spoke to my identity quite strongly. I asked the person emailing me why they wanted this particular domain – what was their business, cause or intentions for this particular domain. When they refused to answer me I took that to mean they had significant gain, $$ or otherwise, to receive by using it, so it must be worth a lot to them. Since I didn’t want to sell it anyways, I figured I’d test their resolve. I said I didn’t want to sell it, I did have plans for it, but if it meant that much to them they would have to pay me $10,000.00. They said no and I never heard from them again. I might have sold it for a lot less if they had Ben honest with me about their intentions (and if I could verify they were legit), but since they weren’t being upfront with me I wasn’t going to attend their party. (Something I learned from the first situation above.

    Mandy, this Conrad Saam truly deceived you. You were also naive in not doing the proper background check. That doesn’t mean you deserve what happened to you. Not at all. But, and I realize it’s still fairly fresh (9 months vs the 10 years I’ve had to process my situation), let me encourage you to let it go. For your own sake. In your heart I mean. Don’t let one A-hole throw you off your game. Don’t suffer anymore. He will get what is coming to him. You were right, but he was more shrewd. He sucks. He’s an A-hole. Don’t get caught in his trap.

    I wish you all the best! You’ve got a great group of friends around you. You’ll go on to do even greater things. I just know it!

  19. Emo October 25, 2014 at 5:10 pm #

    this is gonna turn out badly for ole’ connie – ain’t no two ways about it

  20. Todd Mintz October 25, 2014 at 6:35 pm #

    Mandy, I have received several such emails that I’ve tracked to representatives of multi-billion dollar corporations that included fake social profiles to support the fake person trying to buy my domain for cheap. Conrad’s email that you’ve shared is a rather poor effort compared to the ones I’ve received and traced. It’s of no better quality than the ton of Nigerian #419 spam that you clearly recognize.

    I could easily see where you find what he did to be unethical.

    However, you did no due diligence on the prospective purchaser. You took a story that’s clearly BS to most who would read it and accepted it at face value. That’s your error and you’re not owning that. It’s also clear that you’ve placed a very low value on your domain and your work product and you’re not owning that either.

    I don’t think Conrad’s comment to you was appropriate and I think he fanned the flames of the comments that followed. However, ultimately, you’re responsible for making the deal, not Conrad.

    • mandy October 25, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

      There were other email corresponsdence where I requested further information from the band member and questioned as to why I could find no evidence of them online. But thank you for your thoughts and candor. I guess I’m just hopelessly naive and believe in the good of humans. Thanks goodness for people like Conrad and you to knock those thoughts out — if only briefly.

      I have no issue with the site being worth more or less. I don’t claim to be a web developer, designer or SEO expert. In the end, its only worth what someone will pay for it. I take issue with how Conrad Saam negotiated the deal.

  21. Emo October 25, 2014 at 11:06 pm #

    Your commentary is asinine, at best, Todd Mintz. Not to mention rude. Well, LahDeeDah.. ..you’re such a mensche for not being taken like Mandy was. We’re all very proud of you.

    Mandy, don’t feel the need to defend yourself or your actions. This Conrad Saam scumbag babmoozled you, plain and simple. He did not ‘negotiate a deal…’ He lied and cheated and bullied you. It’s NOT YOUR FAULT.

  22. RJ October 26, 2014 at 1:51 am #

    Conrad Saam- I saw your 3rd attempt at an apology, and you may have finally gotten it right. Mandy may well forgive you. If anyone could, it sounds like her heart is big enough to do so.

    But in actuality, since you may have technically committed a crime, and were by all accounts quite proud of it, I’m not yet convinced. I’m not sure if you are sorry, or if you are sorry you got publicly called out with such force and conviction. There is a big difference. Your first two attempts at an apology suggest the latter. If Twitter wasn’t lit afire, would the real apology have ever come?

    Mandy- Trust your heart, but watch your back. He has proven to be a pretty smooth talker.

    If Conrad is now willing to “negotiate”. May I suggest the following terms.

    1.) Return of your domain and/or fair equitable market value. Much, much more than $300. Perhaps since you are of such kind heart, said payment to be paid to the cause of your choice

    2.) Ask him if “Dave” is really a cousin in London, or if that was an attempt to continue to perpetuate the fraud

    3.) Ask him if “B” was a surrogate of his, acting on his behalf. Time to come clean on everything here.

    4.) That this exchange remains part of the public record to remind us how critical it is for all of us to maintain the highest levels of transparency and integrity

    5.) And last but not least, I suggest the words “honest, ethical…” be voluntarily removed from his website and marketing material for the foreseeable future. Need to earn those back. And that might take time…

    Start there, and good luck. We need more people like you Mandy.

  23. Chase October 26, 2014 at 2:15 am #

    It is unfortunate that someone like Conrad feels the need to lie and cheat others out of their hard work, even if she was willing to sell at that time. Thanks @ProsperityGal for posting about this on your Facebook page and bringing the story to more people.

  24. Matt Haiduk (@matthaiduk) October 26, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

    I think that the only reasonable way for this to end is for him to give you the domain back. Then he and his shamefully unethical tactics can go find another job- preferably with a mentor who can show him how to do it correctly.

  25. Michele Price @ProsperityGal October 26, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    Not sure I think the answer is for him to keep the domain.

    But, that is up to the both of you.

    I can say it was not a smart move on Conrad’s part to not just give it back anyway.

    WHY?

    Because now there will always be doubt in my and everyone else’s mind that he took responsibility for his actions.

    His actions do not show the proper remorse that returning the domain would have given him.

    Therefore, it feels hollow.

    • Daniel J. Cohen October 26, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

      It IS hollow. It’s the easiest act to see through. Ever.

      Mandy, I’m in the camp that believes you “let him off light”, but that is up to you. I am going to vent though, partly because I think the following is worth considering for the business sphere at large:

      1) I think he not only isn’t sorry, but likes all this attention. I also think he is going to use it behind the scenes as a case study in how to turn a bad situation into profit and demonstrate that you can overcome reputation challenges.

      2) The site traffic he is gaining from this, as well as how he optimized his article, will lead to more attention for Mockingbird Marketing. I’m afraid this may be a scenario where no publicity is bad publicity for him.

      3) Someone who rips people off and only apologizes after getting brow-beaten and exposed a mere few days later is NOT sorry.

      4) Someone who works in “ethical legal marketing” and does something like this is too far gone down the business ethics rabbithole to ever trust without some sort of earth-shattering moment or journey through the hills of a foreign land or something. Conrad Saam is, from here forward, a scam artist, a bullshitter, a con man, and a thief. “Con”… what an appropriate shorthand nickname. He should take his place a few rungs below Nik Richie on the marketing ethics ladder.

      5) The fact that he will brand using Mockingbord Marketing and that this will all fade away smacks of injustice to me.

      If I were in your shoes, I would have accepted the URL back, printed the story there, explained what you thought overall and kept the site up as a memorial to why and how he was everything described by the social media masses, a reminder as to why not to trust him.

      Why? Because others will probably get taken by him later after the news moves to the back page.

      Should he be punished forever for this transgression? No. But should he be pushed out of his niche? Absolutely.

  26. Dave McClave October 26, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    As a marketer, I can say for certain that Conrad was unethical. I have been harshly criticized by other markers in my region for not being a “shark.” Additionally, I have made less money than they have. But I sleep better at night, and I feel a lot better about myself and how I do business for my clients. To deceive someone just to get what you want in a deal is unethical, no matter how you look at it. To say that unethical practices are “just business” is a lie in itself. If your business requires unethical practices, you are, by definition, unethical. You don’t have to be a shark to win the game, and honest people do come out ahead.

  27. Emo October 26, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

    This is poetic. Google “Conrad Saam Scumbag”

    Latest Company To Discover The Streisand Effect: Casey Movers

    from the how-not-to-internet dept

    Earlier this year, I was at a conference where there was an entire presentation on The Streisand Effect. Considering I first came up with the term and have chronicled it over the years (and had already been asked to speak on a different topic at the conference), I offered to help out with that session — and got back no response. I went to the session to watch, and it was a really fun session, which didn’t need any help from me at all. It was done by Conrad Saam, who works for Urban Spoon (and previously Avvo) and had a ton of great examples of the Streisand Effect and the impact on online reputation management.

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121115/02262421053/latest-company-to-discover-streisand-effect-casey-movers.shtml

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect

  28. Schooley02 October 27, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

    Conrad has lost his integrity for $300.

    I love how the web exacts justice on those who drift to the dark side! It’s not just politicians and celebrities. Everyone leaves a digital paper trail that can be used for or against them.

    The web has so many moving parts and is constantly evolving. It makes it very easy to take advantage of others online but you lie in the bed you make.

    I agree with Mandy and most everyone else on this post. There will always be the few people who agree with the “just business” mentality of it (I’m looking at you B) but that is old world thinking. These days, that is a path that leads to a ruined name/brand.

    Thanks for sharing Mandy and lots of great comments everyone!

  29. Kelly October 27, 2014 at 10:49 pm #

    Wow. How pathetic. If he’s going to do this for the domain, how else will he try to screw people over?

    I went to the mockingbird site; the first thing I saw was “Escape FindLaw.”
    Then, I went to FindLaw.com. Realized that FindLaw was part of Thomson Reuters.

    I remember reading about them and found this:

    “We were recently recognised by the Ethisphere Institute as one of the 2013 World’s Most Ethical Companies (WME).

    This is the sixth occasion, and the fifth year in a row, that Thomson Reuters has been honored for promoting the highest ethical standards.”

    http://blog.thomsonreuters.com/index.php/thomson-reuters-named-one-of-ethispheres-2013-worlds-most-ethical-companies/

    I know which company I will NOT be working with…

  30. Samantha Collier October 28, 2014 at 2:28 am #

    Hi Mandy,

    His actions were completely wrong and unethical. It’s funny how we think we can hide behind social media or email profiles. It’s a very hard lesson to learn but the truth always comes out. I’m sorry you had to go through this.

    Samantha

  31. Ed Schipul October 28, 2014 at 9:47 am #

    @Mandy + 10 karma points for having the courage to post this.

    Still, as a friend, I caution that while you will win this battle, the victory can ring hollow over time like a traffic accident caused by another driver. It is an empty victory to be the lone survivor regardless of fault. Be careful for your sake, not his.

    @ConradSaam – What? Really? Seriously, you don’t want this to be your “rahobed” moment. And you clearly don’t know Mandy. I suggest you don’t try to bribe her. It’s not who she is.

    “But you know that you did the wrong thing. That’s the main thing, isn’t it?” – Frank

    Mr. Saam – Positive alternatives? Have you offered to make a donation to the arts charity of her choice in her name? Or to the arts charity of YOUR choice in YOUR name? Say treble damages and round up? And then perhaps don’t crow about it publicly right before an apology post on a domain obtained through subterfuge. The latter comes across as disingenuous at best.

    If Mandy declines, have you considered just supporting the arts in your community given that was the guise you used to engineer the transaction? Cause that’s the thing, see, it’s not being tricked alone. It is the fact that you researched and specifically tricked her knowing her motivations. Your behavior has a high yuck-factor.

    Heck, maybe just rent Le Mis on Netflix. Anything genuine. Anything genuine? Or is it all “just business” Saam I am?

    @MandyGraessle @ConradSaam – y’all work this out. Park the domain on the audobon society’s donation page for mockingbirds. Here’s a link http://birds.audubon.org/species/normoc . And then talk to an attorney, a good one because there are a lot of good attorneys who understand creative problem solving and can help you solve this. Y’all work this out. Then have the attorney who handles your conference call mediation, once resolved, propose to moderate a panel at SXSW where you both can talk about this wreck and how you SOLVED IT. Turn this into a positive. Please.

    • Daniel J. Cohen October 30, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

      Ed,

      I really appreciate the positivity you express here. The only note I would make is that I don’t think this should ever be held up as something that advanced the career of the deceiver.

      So no SXSW panel, at least not any time soon. Maybe waaaaay down the road, when it really is in the rear view and everyone sees a new Conrad. But this whole event doesn’t sit well enough for the perpetrator to get credit for “making peace”.

      Sometimes, people mess up. And when they do, they lose their spouse, career, business, car, or whatever it is they put at risk. I don’t like it, but that’s the way it has to be sometimes.

      Does that mean the person is bad forever? No. But they have to take their lumps and learn from it.

      Given Mr. Saam’s first less than stellar apology and reluctant willingness to accept that he was unethical, as well as his extremely questionable behavior surrounding the Massachusetts Bar Association event, I don’t think he has demonstrated reflective change.

      Positive is good. People have to be ready though.

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