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Reasons To Hesitate On Zer01's Unlimited Mobile Offer

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the past-performance-no-guarantee-but-it's-a-big-hint dept.

Businesses 122

alphadogg writes with an excerpt from Network World that might save you some money: "Imagine downloading a two-hour HD movie in three minutes to your new cell phone, then plugging the phone into your TV to watch the film. Make unlimited phone calls, surf online as much as you like and send unlimited text messaging for $70 a month, without a contract. Sign up to sell the same service to other people and get $10 a month for each person you sell to. That's what a group of related companies including Zer01 Mobile, Buzzirk, Global Verge and Unified Technologies Group are promoting heavily online and at industry trade shows. The offer is attractive enough to garner coverage in top business and technology publications, at least one positive review from an analyst and even a 'best in show' award from a magazine at the CTIA wireless industry trade show earlier this year. Does it all sound too good to be true? If so, that's because it probably is. What little information is available about the services is technically inconsistent, and doesn't match up with public records."

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Too good to be true? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28761991)

They had me at pyramid scheme.

Re:Too good to be true? (2, Funny)

crispin_bollocks (1144567) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763819)

The mortgage biz is slow, gotta find something new

Oh come on people (5, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762005)

Surely email has taught us that we can absolutely trust anything offered for sale by someone u51Ng 1337 sp34k! Shame on you.

Re:Oh come on people (0, Offtopic)

daveime (1253762) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762873)

Seven puppies were harmed during the making of this post.

Apparently, this is no longer a problem ... puppies can now be cloned ...

Re:Oh come on people (2, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764003)

Apparently, this is no longer a problem ... puppies can now be cloned ...

      Cloned puppies can be harmed, too!

Re:Oh come on people (1)

foxx1337 (1292800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762875)

hey!

The laws of physics called (5, Insightful)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762025)

They want to speak with someone over at Zer01, something about "exceeding sane limitations of the electromagnetic spectrum".

An HD movie in 3 minutes? Even if they are calling "480p" HD, there is no way in hell that is transfering wirelessly in 3 minutes to a cellular device.

Trying to sign everyone up as a sales associate just proves it is a scam.

Re:The laws of physics called (1, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762143)

something about "exceeding sane limitations of the electromagnetic spectrum".

Actually, it was a prank call. The "electromagnetic spectrum" is not a finite resource. It would be more practical to say "with existing technology and certain economic factors, paying $70 for this is flatly unfeasible."

Re:The laws of physics called (4, Insightful)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762535)

They are claiming use of the 2100mhz spectrum. Given the spectrum they are claiming to be using, there is no way to use cellular technology (wireless towers, multiple customers handled per tower) to get those types of speeds.

Sure, if they crap all over everyone's licensed EM bands they could maybe pull it off, but even then they would encounter issues with running enough fiber out to every single cell tower to support users on any arbitrary tower pulling down in excess of 200mb/s, assuming a well compressed, somewhat short, 5GB HD movie.

It is just not possible with using a cellular network laid out how we presently do it. Even using some futeristic weird uber-mesh network it would be hard as hell to pull off, and even then, you would need more than just some small slice of the 2100mhz band.

Re:The laws of physics called (3, Insightful)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762653)

Screw the wireless part! I want to see a drive that can dump 5GB in 3min, within the constraints of a phone's power capabilities!

Re:The laws of physics called (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28762677)

5GB in 3 minutes is not even close to 200MB/sec... it's not even 200Mbps. It's 27MB/sec, and to me that's a lot more plausible than any of the rest of your comment holding water after failing to approximate basic arithmetic by a full order of magnitude.

Re:The laws of physics called (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28762771)

don't confuse bytes and bits

Re:The laws of physics called (1)

CecilPL (1258010) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762915)

Good thing he didn't.

Re:The laws of physics called (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28762909)

27 megaBYTES/sec * 8 bits per byte = 216Mbps.

Re:The laws of physics called (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28762925)

5GB in 3 minutes is not even close to 200MB/sec... it's not even 200Mbps. It's 27MB/sec, and to me that's a lot more plausible than any of the rest of your comment holding water after failing to approximate basic arithmetic by a full order of magnitude.

The GP was refering to "Mbps", so he wasn't off an order of magnitude.

200 Mb/s / 8 bits per Byte = 25 MBps

And if you want to argue that 200 Mbps isn't fast enough for 5GB, neither is your 27 MBps:

5GB * 1024 (MB/GB) / 180 sec = 28.4 MB/s.

Re:The laws of physics called (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28765545)

5GB in 3 minutes is not even close to 200MB/sec... it's not even 200Mbps. It's 27MB/sec, and to me that's a lot more plausible than any of the rest of your comment holding water after failing to approximate basic arithmetic by a full order of magnitude.

Lets see 27MB * 8 = 222.22Mb

Not close to 200Mb.... How about greater than 200Mb

Re:The laws of physics called (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28765199)

Well.. the bitwidth isn't entirely limited. There are, after all, an unlimited continuum of states in the analogue signal that can be assigned bit values. Of course, you have to be able to pick those out above the noise, but error correction helps, and you can use quadrature to take some advantage, and of course, there's always turning the power knob to eleven: nothing raises S/N more obviously than a big S.

Re:The laws of physics called (3, Insightful)

Frnknstn (663642) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762755)

The "electromagnetic spectrum" is not a finite resource.

Yes [wikipedia.org] it [wikipedia.org] is. [wikipedia.org]

Re:The laws of physics called (2, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764157)

Even without enforced frequency allocations, I would hope that people would not be making casual use of x-rays for communications devices.

Re:The laws of physics called (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765011)

That might be the closest thing to "embracing transparency" that AT&T has ever tried...

Re:The laws of physics called (1)

Retric (704075) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765341)

A network of Radio telescopes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_telescope [wikipedia.org] targeting fixed locations would have close to unlimited bandwidth. You are ultimately limited by diffraction for each part of the spectrum but that limit get's insane.

Re:The laws of physics called (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762145)

It's this movie [imdb.com] . Unfortunately there's no sound.

Re:The laws of physics called (1)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762363)

That's only on WinCE phones...

Re:The laws of physics called (4, Insightful)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762161)

I have a 1080p copy of a movie at home and it's ~8GB.

8 GB in 180 seconds = 364.09 mbps.

um.... no

Re:The laws of physics called (2, Informative)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762889)

doing the math, that's 45.5 MB/s, pretty much the sustained data transfer rates of a SATA hard disk.

and that over a wireless link, right ?

I hate to bust their scam, but you're gonna need a very special, fine tunned setup to get this kind of transfer rates over _wired_ gigabit ethernet. the fastest wireless standard is 54 mbps (not counting draft standards), 1/20th the performance of gigabit. to transfer an SD movie over wireless from my linux notebook to the PS3 takes about 30 min.

if we take the comparativelly slow data rates of HSDPA 3G cell networks, even the best operators top at 14 Mbps, which would require buffering to watch a standard def movie.

to get the kind of speeds these guys are talking about, they'd have to use link aggregation/trunking to combine almost 100 HSDPA channels to match gigabit ethernet's speed. completelly unrealistic.

Re:The laws of physics called (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763125)

doing the math, that's 45.5 MB/s, pretty much the sustained data transfer rates of a SATA hard disk.

More like half the sustained speed. My several year old 320G SATA drives manage 55-60M/s sustained no problem, the newer ones are closer to 90-100M/s (and yes, that's plain old 7200 RPM drives, not the fancy Velociraptors or anything).

Re:The laws of physics called (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762369)

well, i'm sure that's not impossible. but i'm also sure it can't be done for at least another 10-15 years...

Re:The laws of physics called (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762545)

And everybody has to live in Microwave-safe suits.

Movie in 3 minutes? No problem...! (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762623)

You can have a two hour movie at 1080p resolution in 1Mb of data if you're not too fussy about image quality.

 

Resolution is one thing, bitrate is something else.

Re:Movie in 3 minutes? No problem...! (5, Funny)

CecilPL (1258010) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762963)

Here's an example - Star Wars EpIV in 10MB [asciimation.co.nz] . I'm pretty sure you could compress this below a meg.

And you can make it 1080p if you increase your font size!

Re:The laws of physics called (3, Informative)

SlashDev (627697) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762639)

1) What if your handset supported 4G? 2) Did they specify the length of the film? :) 4G can support 100Mbits/s while moving and 1Gbits/s while stationary, that translates to downloading a movie (no telling how long) in a few minutes. "The Japanese company NTT DoCoMo has been testing a 4G communication system prototype with 4x4 MIMO called VSF-OFCDM at 100 Mbit/s while moving, and 1 Gbit/s while stationary. In February 2007, NTT DoCoMo completed a trial in which they reached a maximum packet transmission rate of approximately 5 Gbit/s in the downlink with 12x12 MIMO using a 100MHz frequency bandwidth while moving at 10 km/h,[12] and is planning on releasing the first commercial network in 2010." Source DoCoMo.

Re:The laws of physics called (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763525)

There's no point in comparing what people can get in a technically advanced country to what we can get here. Between Comcast and the one or two other providers who cringe at the thought of offering any sort of actual competition, we should bless our lucky stars to have a tenth the bandwith at thrice the cost of what people can get elsewhere, even in spread out countries like Canada.

Re:The laws of physics called (1)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764797)

This is the great thing about low interest rates. If there's any potential to break even and possibly make a profit, it gets funding.

Re:The laws of physics called (2, Insightful)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765103)

Lovely lovely speeds, on an isolated unpopulated cell tower. Two customers on that tower downloading movies? Speed cut in half. Aww crap, 100 people? You are going to be waiting awhile.

And again, speeds would need to be around 45 MegaBYTES per second, well over 300mbit, and even if we cut that down to just 100mbit per second, do you really think companies are going to run enough fiber to give each user on a tower 100mbit of bandwidth on every cell tower in a city?

The difference between what almost any standard can theoretically support and what you actually get is pretty significant, but large numbers do make for nice press releases.

The handset can support 5G at 10G (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28765589)

But it won't help you a bit without a network infrastructure thate Zer01 simply don't have. You can't use AT&T's network, which is barely 3G and get 4G speeds.

Re:The laws of physics called (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28763741)

480p is just the resolution, that states nothing about the bitrate or length.

peter

Re:The laws of physics called (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764059)

An HD movie in 3 minutes? Even if they are calling "480p" HD, there is no way in hell that is transfering wirelessly in 3 minutes to a cellular device.

Even if the cellular network could handle that throughput, the phone could not. Without a TCP Offload Engine, a CPU is progressively taxed the higher a system's throughput is when transferring data. With the bandwidth required to download an HD movie in 3 minutes the phone's processor just couldn't handle the processing required but TCP is notoriously bulky and I don't think it is used by cell phones so maybe whatever transport protocol they use can support that kind of throughput with little overhead. Any one know for sure?

Re:The laws of physics called (1)

Com2Kid (142006) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765049)

When downloading a file through your phone's web browser you most certainly are using TCP/IP.

That said, the processor in many cell phones is no less powerful than the processor in many home routers, typically it is an issue of a MIPS CPU versus an ARM CPU, but in a general sense they have similar capabilities (specialized instructions on each not withstanding).

In other words, my phone has a 600mhz CPU with 256MB of RAM, I don't think TCP/IP is going to be the limiter.

Now the crappy SD chipset implementation, ah, that might pose some issues! :)

Re:The laws of physics called (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765121)

An HD movie in 3 minutes? Even if they are calling "480p" HD, there is no way in hell that is transfering wirelessly in 3 minutes to a cellular device.

Sure you can. I do that all the time. You just need to do away with some of your preconceptions.

Watch this. On the left I have a phone. It's a standard, off the shelf model, the same kind you can pick up just about anywhere pretty cheaply as long as you're willing to sign in blood.

On the right, a microSD card packed with about eight gigabytes of hard core, er, family friendly and perfectly legal video. Again, just a standard card you could buy from a store. Well, one that carried SD cards. Perhaps you shop smart, shop SD Mart.

Start the timer. In less than two seconds I can pick up the card with one hand, move it across the desk and plug it in to the phone. That's eight gigabytes of transfer in two seconds or 32Gb/s. All without using any wires, just fingers and those little metal contact thingies on the card. That's almost as much bandwidth as a station wagon filled with DLTs.

There you go. 32Gb/s of wireless transmission. Just remember not to divulge any of the details I have shown you to the investors until after you get their money.

Full stop (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28762035)

From TFA

One key player in the network of companies is Mark Petschel. He's the CEO of Global Verge, the multilevel marketing firm...

Whenever MLM [wikipedia.org] (multi-level-marketing) rears its ugly head, that's a good sign for me to avoid company like the plague.

Re:Full stop (5, Insightful)

e9th (652576) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762099)

When a company's CEO is on probation for security fraud, that's not a good sign either.

Re:Full stop (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762223)

That just means that he is an experienced bad boy with proven interpersonal skills!

Re:Full stop (1)

robot_love (1089921) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763035)

When you put it like that, it makes me want to date him!

Re:Full stop (2, Funny)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765767)

Given your username, I might not mind seeing that... what sort of appendages does your robot-self have, and how would you be using them on Mr. Securities Fraud?

And yet he's out...? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762599)

And yet he's out-and-about, which makes little sense to me. Probation should mean that he has a PO, has to make regular reports, and at least is under some scrutiny to ensure he doesn't pull the same crap again. Seems like nobody's paying attention though.

Re:And yet he's out...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28762837)

You are think of probation for poor people.

Re:And yet he's out...? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763607)

But he *isn't* pulling the same crap. This is *different* crap.

Re:And yet he's out...? (2, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765779)

Let me help you out. You see, his attorney actually went to law school with the judge. His son is dating the DA's daughter, and a generous contribution to his campaign for re-election has recently been made by an anonymous donor.

whats this (1)

Dayofswords (1548243) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762053)

i thought companies were trustworthy honest people, they would never lie to us

MLM (5, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762057)

Sign up to sell the same service to other people and get $10 a month for each person you sell to.

That makes it multi-level-marketing (read: "legal pyramid scheme"), which should be an instant clue to anyone to avoid it.

Also, reading the article, it's a $70 initial fee to do the MLM part, and $40 monthly fee, which means if you sign up 5 people, it will take 7 months to break even.

You can probably make money faster by picking up loose change.

Re:MLM (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28762323)

mod parent up for the love of god

Re:MLM (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28762667)

Done.

Re:MLM (2, Funny)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762333)

by picking up loose change.

Especially if the change is loose in someone's pocket ;)

Re:MLM (1)

Tired and Emotional (750842) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762553)

Or by standing in the street playing the violin.

You don't need to be able to play the violin to make money playing one on the streets. In fact its a positive advantage not to - shopkeepers come out and pay you to move away.

Re:MLM (2, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763595)

I haven't completely read the article, but this doesn't sound like MLM. In MLM, a person will get a cut of the revenue from the people who sign up under the people he signed up. This sounds like a discount for a referral, which can be perfectly legit. My webhost will give me a hosting credit if I refer someone who signs up. I've never even tried to get the credit, even with people I did suggest use my host, but that isn't MLN -- it's an incentive to make a referral.

Note: I am not a MLM junkie by any stretch of the imagination, and like every(logical)one else, view all MLM schemes as scams. I don't see single level discounting as multilevel though, and they can be quite legitimate as a way to get an occasional discount, but are obviously not a way to make a living.

Re:MLM (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764227)

Re-reading it, you're right. It looks like a simple affiliate program like the ones at Amazon or Dreamhost (both of which I use). I jumped the gun on that one.

Still, any affiliate program that requires a $40 monthly fee should really make someone's hair stand on end. The $70 initial fee is insane too.

I agree MLM is a scam. Anyone who can make money doing it could make money being a real sales/management person at a normal company. I just find it slimy.

But any product where, as a part of the initial pitch, they tell you "... and sell to your friends for money!" really sets off warning bells. "Refer a friend and get $10" is one thing, "Sell us a ex-friend and get $10/month" is another.

Re:MLM (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764291)

I'm pretty sure it is MLM. My mom forwarded something to me a few weeks ago that mentioned Bizzerk; when I checked it out, the information discussed the differences between traditional multi level marketing and a forced matrix scheme. It was pretty obvious.

Re:MLM (1)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765791)

I'm actually surprised Amway never got into the cell business. They did jump into the Internet with quixstar, the 'oh we're not amway - this is different' branch of the company that is now branded as amway. I guess technology might not be the best thing for their business plans.

First Post (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28762069)

At least it would have been if I wasn't using Zer01's service.

I for one (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762073)

welcome our new A.I. overlords, and look forward to jacking into the Matrix.

Or I could just use the phone to order a movie... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762081)

I mean, Comcast used to let me call this actual American person that would order a movie for me... I usually got the person because I owed them money, but then she'd put my film order in...

Nice tether (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28762091)

$80 isn't exactly a screaming deal.

However, it would be nice to tether one of these up as opposed to Verizon or Sprints 5 GB a month bandwidth limit.

Ponzi pyramid peddler (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28762101)

It sounds like all this guy does is set up ponzi schemes and then the state shuts him down, the circuit court rules that he must pay fines, but all he does is move on to the next ponzi.

So, where do I sign up and give him my $70?

An internet-era pyramid scheme? (1)

TerrenceCoggins (1601371) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762131)

Do we also get access to their warehouse of super-low-priced items but for a 1000%-off discount if we refer 10 people too? I read the article up until the part where it is revealed that one of the masterminds behind this sch-- operation was recently convicted of fraud.

Phantom phone? (4, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762133)

Does this remind anyone else of the phantom. [wikipedia.org] An electronic device that sounds too good to be true gathering investment money, the people who were supposed to be developing the thing have "offices" which are not really there.

Of course in this case, one of the guys involved already has a record. At least with the phantom no one was outed as a known fraudster beforehand.

I'm guessing that in 10 years, Zer01 will come out with a handy device to hold your phone up to your ear for you.

Re:Phantom phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28762397)

Had this story been about Duke Nukem Forever, then maybe. A product talked about for years, soaking publicity and R&D money, then never actually surfacing. That could be incompetent project management, though.

This is straight up malicious intent as far as I'm concerned.

Re:Phantom phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28762765)

You assume that the Phantom was ever intended to be released.

It's funny, and a bit disturbing... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762305)

How, on the one hand, society makes it ever harder to escape your past(even shit entry level jobs can come with background and credit checks, never mind trying to get cleared, or the whole sex offender registry thing) while, somehow, certain people just seem to float right through, skipping from one scam to another, seemingly impervious.

I wonder how it works. Is it the charm that sociopaths are known for that allows certain people to do it? Are the rules different in certain areas? Are most of the barriers actually illusory/psychological? Why doesn't an attempt to legally incorporate a new business include a "do any of your officers have a background in crime, particularly white collar crime?" check?

Re:It's funny, and a bit disturbing... (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762635)

Why doesn't an attempt to legally incorporate a new business include a "do any of your officers have a background in crime, particularly white collar crime?" check?

That's a real problem. People barred from involvement in the securities industry keep slipping back in. Bar owners barred from holding a liquor license often end up doing some deal as a "silent partner".

I get complaints from "web businesses" who want to operate anonymously, because SiteTruth [sitetruth.com] down-rates them for that. (It's a criminal offense to run a business anonymously in many jurisdictions.)

Re:It's funny, and a bit disturbing... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28763065)

I kept hearing things about some site called "Google", so I tried running it through SiteTruth. Turns out it's some shady, fly-by-night company. Phew! Glad I had SiteTruth to warn me.

Re:It's funny, and a bit disturbing... (3, Insightful)

CAlworth1 (518119) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763689)

Even better, try entering sitetruth.com - apparently they aren't too sure about themselves...

Re:It's funny, and a bit disturbing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28764751)

Oddly if you try Yahoo, who sponsors their results, you get a bunch of trusted hits.

Re:It's funny, and a bit disturbing... (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765733)

I kept hearing things about some site called "Google", so I tried running it through SiteTruth. Turns out it's some shady, fly-by-night company.

Yes, Google is in the doghouse again. [sitetruth.com] Google is hosting some phishing sites, which were reported to PhishTank. SiteTruth blacklists any domain with a hit in PhishTank. On any given day, about 50 to 100 well-known domains (out of the 1.5 million in OpenDirectory) are on the blacklist, [sitetruth.com] generally because of sloppy security. Microsoft, Yahoo, and eBay used to be on the phishing blacklist, but after some nagging by us and The Register, they've mostly plugged the security holes involved. The blacklist is updated every 3 hours, so companies that clean up their act quickly don't stay on the list for long.

Domains on the blacklist are usually 1) free hosting services, 2) URL redirectors like TinyURL, 3) DSL providers with weak abuse departments, and 4) sites with a software bug that lets other sites use them as a redirector. Some companies in those categories are good at quickly cleaning out such abuses; others just don't seem to care. In each category, there are plenty of companies who don't have such problems, so there's no reason to give anybody a free pass.

It says something about a company's abuse department if they're on that list for more than a day or two.

Re:It's funny, and a bit disturbing... (3, Insightful)

durdur (252098) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762651)

A lot of crime floats under the radar. If you've been scammed out of a few hundred bucks, you can try getting the police interested but likely they won't be. Better to take the guy to small claims court, if you can find him to lay a summons on him. Eventually if somebody scams enough people out of enough money they may rise out of the general level of scum up to a point where law enforcement will get interested. But it takes a while, and some people manage to avoid consequences for a good long time. It's a little harder if you're a corporation and have to be or look semi-established, but there's still inertia/time lag before you get noticed and somebody decides they have a case against you. Look at ZZZZ Best.

As for business licensing requiring a clean slate - even if this were a good idea, the guys who take your money and give you a license are bureaucrats, not cops. And you don't pay them enough to have them check everybody who comes in the door for past misdeeds.

Re:It's funny, and a bit disturbing... (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763025)

Look at law enforcement. Through citizen measures the modern police force is trained to deal with 4 kinds of crime.

1. Drugs from massive increases in the war on drugs to mandatory sentences. Most of the cost of sentencing those criminals will be paid back into the pockets of jailers, administrators, judges, cops and other industries that feed, cloth, and charge 20 dollars a phone call to a 50 year old man incarcerated for half of his adult life for doing drugs.

2. DUIs and Traffic Enforcement. This is big big bucks to most counties as the average corrupt county can make almost as much writing tickets as they do on sales tax but not property taxes, yet. DUIs in Oregon for instance can be given at 0.1 if the officer testifies you were impaired. There are almost no dash cams in Oregon so good luck on getting the DUI taken off because you can't even get the accusation of one taken off.

3. Gangs, which is not always tied in with drugs. Some police forces now actively intimidate any one that dresses like a gangster like following them in cars, pulling them over for driving a low-rider and other profiling.

4. Morality police, which throw homeless people in jail for sleeping on the sidewalk or breaks down camps of homeless people. Takes down signs/ads which are lewd or lascivious. Arrests a disproportionate amount of strip bar customers for DUIs ( this happened in Arizona in the late 1990's from Mormon police ).

Back even in the 70's this started to change for the worst because before that after the 1930's and into the late 50's I would say we had a golden age of policing that saw a more equitable prosecution of the law and even though there were terrible racial persecutions back than, at least sometimes they police were just following antiquated laws and procedures instead of hiding their true racist/sexist/moral prejudices under a shiny badge.

Re:It's funny, and a bit disturbing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28762867)

It's largely just a knowledge barrier. The difference between Donald Trump and your local retail employee is that Donald Trump knows the art of the deal (or whatever you want to call it).

He can come up with a quality project idea,
sell the idea to investors,
find the right contractors to do the labor for him,
grease the right government officials to get it approved,
and make whatever his cut is.

None of these steps require the approval of an HR drone. This is how he went from being billions of dollars in debt a few years back to however many millions he has today (which makes the whole process easier).

Re:It's funny, and a bit disturbing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28763183)

I wonder how it works. Is it the charm that sociopaths are known for that allows certain people to do it?

Exactly.

Creating sex offender lists or making people register with their parole officer will not slow down a gifted sociopath. They are better at this game than we are. Politicians and most cops have no chance at controlling them.

Re:It's funny, and a bit disturbing... (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763665)

Why would politicians want to hinder their own kind? I don't know much about cops ... I'll leave that assessment for others.

Re:It's funny, and a bit disturbing... (1)

tehdaemon (753808) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763893)

Because, to a true sociopath, their 'own' is a group of one. Themselves. - That is the defining characteristic of a sociopath. To them manipulating other people - including other sociopaths - is no different to them than manipulating bits is to most /.ers. The rules are a bit different, and that is about it.

T

PS, politicians hinder their own kind all the time, it is called 'campaigning for office'...

Contempt of Court (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28762309)

Just throw the CEO in jail already...

Fraud is a good business model (4, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762399)

Enzyte [wikipedia.org] , despite the conviction of the founder and his mom for fraud, is still in business. They are still heavily advertising on TV, and apparently they are expanding and hiring. So there doing quite well for a company whose business model was proven unlawful in court.

Too good to be true (3, Interesting)

xpro42 (1234496) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762409)

I'm glad to see this story on slashdot. I've been following it since early June when I first heard about this service from a random guy at an oil change shop in a small town in MS. My first thoughts when I heard the HD movie in 3 minutes was yeah and I got a bridge to sell ya. Then a week later I saw the same service being advertised on a game server in the FPS I play. The guy advertising it was all the way up in Canada. I thought to myself, wow if this is a scam they've got a lot of people suckered in already. This service was suppose to go live on July 1st; however, that date got pushed back to mid-August last I checked. My instincts all scream that this is a scam, especially about the bandwidth. I noticed that on the buzzirk page they have removed the claim of offering 180 Mbps. It was there last month, but not now.

Pyramid Scheme? (3, Funny)

TheModelEskimo (968202) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762411)

Is this one of those multi-level marketing (a.k.a. pyramid) schemes? I cannot WAIT for my neighbor with the jacked up Humvee to scrape the "MONA VIE" crap off his back windshield and replace it with a bunch of l33t h4x0r jargon. :-)

Re:Pyramid Scheme? (2, Funny)

homer_s (799572) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762563)

Is this one of those multi-level marketing (a.k.a. pyramid) schemes?

Nope. Their model is a trapezoid - much more stable.

Re:Pyramid Scheme? (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762869)

Is this one of those multi-level marketing (a.k.a. pyramid) schemes?

While they're similar, and MLMs attract scammers and workarounds to convert them, MLM and pyramid schemes are distinct.

In a pyramid scheme, all or part of the cost of joining up becomes income to the members of the path through the pyramid above the new member. In a MLM, only part of the price paid for the sales of actual products is raked off. (Think of a MLM as a manufacturer-wholesaler-retailer network with the wholesaler (and his cut) replaced by a pyramid of "associates".)

Pyramid schemes are generally illegal. MLMs are generally legal, if they keep their act clean.

Which is a very big IF. There are lots of ways for a MLM to skate around the rules and become a pyramid scheme. And even those which don't tend to become cultish and drift toward scamming.

Ars Technica was a little skeptical too (5, Informative)

e9th (652576) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762607)

Last March, Ars Technica wrote: [arstechnica.com]

Zer01 says it can offer unlimited cell calls (via VoIP) and cell data through a unique relationship with AT&T. AT&T isn't talking, and the particulars of the deal fly in the face of similar virtual mobile network operator deals past and present.

Everything you know is wrong! (3, Insightful)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762629)

Interesting that he can get salespeople to pay him to work for him. All that crap they taught me in school about wages and salary obviously was backwards.

Re:Everything you know is wrong! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762769)

Dude, what they taught you in college is wrong.

There are 3 facts to life.

1 - there is always someone trying to scam you.
2 - If it's too go to be true, then it is.
3 - There is a new sucker born every minute.

The world is full of suckers and the stupid. I know of Doctors that were stupid enough to send $20,000US to some dip in Africa for a piece of some BS scam they are trying this week.

Humans are stupid, if you can attach any greed to it, they become 20X stupid than they were before you mentioned money.

This is how these scammers that do MLM get people to pay to work for them. Read up how Amway scammed the world into making the Van-Andel and Devos families in michigan the richest Multi Level Marketers on the planet.

when you did Amway you had to buy the crap, a specific amount every week. they feed you promises of "we will get people above you" and other ilk just to get you to buy the repackaged stuff they sell at inflated prices.

This is how it works, you pay to do their work.

Re:Everything you know is wrong! (1)

mr_stinky_britches (926212) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763407)

Well said -- If I agreed with you anymore, I suspect we would cease to be differentiable entities...at least here on /.

Ditto the fundraising organizations (4, Insightful)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763757)

Fundraising organizations that help schools, churches, etc raise money for projects are equally as bad as MLM. They are essentially getting FREE labor, and not paying into Social Security, Medicare, providing benefits or anything. Many times the schools have to pay up front for a certain amount of product, and if they don't sell it they are stuck with it. There is almost no risk for the fundraising organization while the school or Church or whatever shoulders most of the risk or shares the risk with the parents of the underage labor pool. Meanwhile, the corporate campuses of some of these outfits are just insanely lavish and huge. Their only real cost of business is sending people out to beat the drums at the schools and churches.

Re:Everything you know is wrong! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28764599)

I still have night terrors from Devos's gubernatorial campaign.

I did derive a certain amount of enjoyment watching his well funded confidence go to pieces though.

Sound like LOCALNET from 1996-97 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28762657)

In the mid 1990s there was a multilevel marketing company called:LOCALNET. It claimed to have the technology to push high speed internet and broadcast quality video through ANALOGUE phone lines! No DSL needed! Big names were involved. The technology was never released. A lot good people were burned. There were stories that the demos of the technology were rigged from the start

Nice try, submitter (4, Funny)

Bookem Danno (84959) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762693)

You don't want me to sign up so that when it turns out to be AWESOME later on, you can get 10$/mo for referring me.
I'm on to your scheme, I WILL BUY A DOZEN!

Re:Nice try, submitter (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28763817)

You don't want me to sign up so that when it turns out to be AWESOME later on, you can get 10$/mo for referring me.
I'm on to your scheme, I WILL BUY A DOZEN!

Send my your name address and phone number. I will sign you up right away. Also, please include a blank cheque, your Social Security Number. This way I can verify you. You might want to inlcude your bank balance.

The lies! (-1, Troll)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#28762713)

I can't believe how decietful this is. It is all so misleading and lying and I can't believe anyone would think this is real.

Isn't anyone else outraged that we never get to know what's so great about Zer01 all thanks to the article smearing the company left and right for no reason at all?

Re:The lies! (4, Insightful)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763297)

He's not selling to technical people who can do the math.

He's selling to people who will hear the pitch and think, "Holy shit, people will line up around the block to get HD movies on their cell and plug it into their TV! I've GOT to invest in this right now, and get in on the ground floor."

Look at what he's got already: postive reviews, awards, and a front page on /. I guarantee you that the next rounds of adverts in an investment magazine will have these awards highlighted.

"Holy shit, not only is this a great-sounding idea, but it's won a CTIA award. It's... fucking legitimate! Cut this guy a cheque, and do it before some other asshole does!"

The system requires travelling to other dimensions with different physics in order to work, but other than that, it's a great idea.

Re:The lies! (4, Funny)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763637)

The system requires travelling to other dimensions with different physics in order to work, but other than that, it's a great idea.

Oh great. You had to do it didn't you? You've just provided them a citable reference that they can use to claim "Out of this world service".

Re:The lies! (1)

robphreak (1367665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763911)

Cut me a cheque. I have the patent for downloading movies to you cell and displaying on you TV. If you don't beleive me call the US Patent Office and have them look up and verify pantie: 10000293747995500

scams and profit (2, Insightful)

tommyatomic (924744) | more than 5 years ago | (#28763299)

Rarely do fake pyramid scam companies collect real income in a recession with the increasing number of sufficient savvy consumers increasing. Therefore they must get their employees to pay the company instead of paying their employees. Its a law of reverse proportions scams (I made that law up).

Step 1 Create fake miracle product.
Step 2 Hire employees as product advocates swearing by the awesome majesty of imaginary hardware/service.
Step 3 Convince employees to pay employer instead of being paid themselves.
Step 4 PROFIT!!!!!!!!!! and Create a new identity to hide from the multi-state angry mob of rightfully vengeful customers.

Can't afford another pyramid (1)

tiger32kw (1236584) | more than 5 years ago | (#28765439)

I already give all my money to Amway Global :(
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