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Accountant stole my affiliate marketing business idea!

Discussion in 'Business & Tax Advice' started by tomlondon, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. tomlondon

    tomlondon Junior Member

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    You won't believe this - I started working on IM about a year ago, starting from absolutely zero knowledge about website design, HTML, CSS, SEO, SEM, affiliate marketing, backlinks, SERP etc. I learned everything just by g00gling information and I identified a niche, created a few websites and about August I started making enough money to start worry about taxes etc. I went to register a Limited Company and I found an accountant to help me with the bookkeeping and taxes, as I also have day job. Now, get a load of this: last week I checked my /\dW0rd$ creatives to make sure they show up (with preview tool obviously) and I noticed another website showing up in the sponsored search results with almost identical creative promoting exactly the same product. Quick look at the new competitor website and a quick whois search and it turns out THE WEBSITE BELONGS TO MY ACCOUNTANT :lol: I called the muthafucker immediately, he started talking about having the same idea before I came to see him - whois search actually shows the domain was registered A DAY AFTER I first saw him. I don't mind competition, it is a feature of market economy, but if you open a bakery you don't expect YOUR ACCOUNTANT to open a bakery across the street :) Well, his website is crappy compared to my one and I haven't really noticed any less clicks, my CTR remains roughly the same, he is outbidding me on some keywords, I am outbidding him on others, but clicks became about 20% more expensive. My earnings have not changed, but it is bound to have some adverse effect on the business. Naturally, he is not my accountant anymore, but there is a question: how can I make his life online more difficult? I don't want to do anything I can be arrested for :D so no DDOS or anything that can be traced back to me. Any other ideas?

    I have just bought the domain <accountantname>sucks.com and since his company name is quite unique I won't have a problem placing in the 6oo61e first page organic search result for his company name. I plan to describe what happened and perhaps stop at least some people from sharing their financial details and business ideas with him. He won't be really able to do anything about this since it is a true story, I am not making anything up so it is a freedom of speech thing. Does anyone have any funny ideas on how to make his online property worthless?
     
  2. Blueprint

    Blueprint Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Have him for breaching "IP" on the banner ads and he'll be stopped - Intellectual property is a world wide recognised and upheld law, just process a claim and also claim it cost you clicks, with him using the same banner.

    Also don't use the domain, he'll have a counter argument, just simply post a post up on scam report and seo the hell out of that so THAT report finishes above his in the SERPS! That'll at least 1/2 business when anyone googles him! Trust me - that works!
     
  3. meathead1234

    meathead1234 Moderator Staff Member Moderator Premium Member

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    Send his host a C+D. Most will comply if you word it properly.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  4. Pikachoo

    Pikachoo Junior Member

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    Have a Digital Millennium Copyright Act DCMA take down notice issued. That should take care of the website.
    Then take him to court for unprofessional conduct. These people are supposed to subscribe to a code of ethics and are regulated (e.g. talk to AICPA in the US or CIPFA in UK ). He should be looking at a hefty fine at least.
     
  5. angelas111

    angelas111 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    yeah, those scam sites always show up high in the serps. like complaintsboard, rip-off report, etc. this is why you never tell anyone what you are doing. this happened to me a few years ago on a very profitable ebay product i was selling by my friends sister.
     
  6. Delboy2424

    Delboy2424 Regular Member

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    check out who he is registered with - likey he is ACA,ACCA or CIMA as CIPFA is more related to public finance (charities and non-for profit etc) as opposed to sole traders and limited companys etc.

    He should if qualified have letters after his name, post them here and I will help you out and tell you who take it up with - assuming he is uk based, although these are globally recognised qualifcations and you can report in any country.

    Report him to the regulatory body concerned- and believe me this will cost him a lot more than what he would make if he gets struck off - just be careful you dont get called to task over derogatory and liabelous comments with a new venture - exhaust the "official" routes first.

    Any member found guilty is officially named and shamed in the publication circulars of the memberships - full name, address etc so he would get enough shame from having this published in a circular of potentially millions!!!



    Oh and for future reference, an accountant is only interested in how your figures stack up and where the numbers come from NOT YOUR METHODS - the only time you need to divulge any methods if you are asked by either HMRC or IRS.....in others words, if you are making money and you get asked how by an accountant ....tell him he does not need to know - you are internet marketing on commission....
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2010
  7. bertbaby

    bertbaby Elite Member

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    If he is certified then you can cause him some pain as a customer who was a victim of his fraud!
     
  8. bigg_capp

    bigg_capp Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Dude Blueprint is right on the money,

    Post on Scam report and SEO the hell out of the account firms name and location. It should be pretty easy because there will be no competition. So for "Smith & Associates CPA" is your first term and "CPA, Hoboken, NJ"
    would be your second term. Then in the scam report post a copy of the who's who and the date, crop just enough so they see his info, and not your site information and he will have to respond to the report, which might prompt him to take down the site.

    He will definitely lose business. People just searching for his address would see the report, and there is no way in hell they are not going to read it. You would be actually doing a good thing.

    Just reading this pisses me off. I'm all for competition, but not your Accountant!! My accountant could ruin me, he knows more of what I'm doing then my girlfriend.

    Good luck - Plus you came up with that idea you will have more.
    -Capp
     
  9. Delboy2424

    Delboy2424 Regular Member

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    Here for example is a widely available disciplinary list on CIMA - more details are given in the circular to the membership - its the first page I always go to - :D

    HTML:
    http://www.cimaglobal.com/Professional-ethics/Professional-standards/Conduct/Published-decisions/
     
  10. angelas111

    angelas111 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    by the way, my accountant knows that i am a "web developer" and never asked me anything further accept what my expenses are. when i told him he didn't even want to know what "captcha credits" are.
     
  11. tomlondon

    tomlondon Junior Member

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    Thanks for all the replies, I can't really sue him for copyright infringement as he didn't exactly copy it down to the last letter (although his website T&Cs and Privacy Policy look almost identical to mine). I will certainly go ahead with the scam reports and blast the report page to first page of Google, when you google his company name there are only 58000 results... If I can't SEO a website for a phrase with 58k competitors I should probably look for another job.
    As someone said above, you expect competition to catch up with you at some point, but you don't expect it from your accountant who reconciles your bank statements and sees where the money is coming from, how much you spent on 6oog13 /\dw0rd$, how much on fiverr or peopleperhour. Your accountant will see the notes on the invoices that will say "manual social bookmarking" or "xrumer blast" and it doesn't take an Einstein to put this all together. Someone said above that the accountant knows more than his girlfriend - definitely! I once tried to explain my wife what a linkwheel is or a nofollow and she almost passed out of boredom LOL I tried to get her to write some SEO articles or at least register me 10 free \/\/0rdpr3$$ or 81ogg3r blogs and she couldn't even do that :) she is lovely, but pretty useless when it comes to IM :)
     
  12. lawgnome

    lawgnome Newbie

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    Sue him. Go have a free consult with a business lawyer and maybe he'll take the case on contingency. If the damages are enough a lawyer should take the case on contingency. Certainly a nastygram from a lawyer couldn't hurt. Because the guy was your accountant he had a fiduciary relationship to you. You might be able to get him for some kind of ethical breach or perhaps a malpractice claim. A lot like lawyers, accountants aren't supposed to use their client's information for personal gain. Laws are different in each state so see a business lawyer.
     
  13. trophy247

    trophy247 Newbie

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    Wow this is a crazy story! I agree with lawgnome, this guy sounds like he totally breached some sort of professional conduct statutes. If as you say, can prove the guy registered the domain the day after you saw him and the site matches your niche, sue him. You could get a pretty good pay day out of the deal.

    Please keep us updated on what happens, interesting stuff.
     
  14. oxgman

    oxgman Newbie

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    Definitely not cool. Don't know how it works where you are but trying to sue only makes money for the lawyers so would advise against that. Having said that, he might have professional indemnity insurance that might payout rather than go through a protracted suit.

    It might be worth having an 'informal - off the record' discussion to talk about the ramifications of his actions and see if he wants to settle.

    Just my 2 cents worth.
     
  15. thisismymp3

    thisismymp3 Power Member

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    ripoffreport.com
    consumercomplaints.com
    consumerist.com

    make a complaint there with this company name in titles saying you went to him for accoutning and he took ur business model!!! lol

     
  16. SleepieGirl

    SleepieGirl Regular Member

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    why would you tell your accountant all of this information anyway?
     
  17. nanavlad

    nanavlad Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    He is some sort of a stupid scumbag. lol
    unless he is planing on giving up his accountancy career and going into IM, he has left himself wide open to unethical behaviour charges,
    Not only will the Appropraite accountants body be interested, but also the tax authorities,
    Unthical behavior by an accountant would lead to a mistrust between him and the Tax dept, This would make his accountancy workload 10 times higher.

    When he signs that your books are OK, he is really putting his reputation on the line,
    and so the tax dept, usually only give a brief perusal at the books

    If he loses that trust, then they will examine everything he submits.

    Anyway best of luck, this guy is screwed, whatever way you look at it,
    Up to you how you approach him.

    Professionals Live and Die ,by their reputation
     
  18. dvno879

    dvno879 Regular Member

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    hahahahhaahha woooooowwwwww.. thats too funny!

    but why are you so scared of him? if you've been in IM for a year you should know the ins and outs pretty good and be able to outrank him in SEO.

    If your doing adwords campaigns then how does he know your keywords your bidding on, and how do you know its him?

    If you want to get back at him, get proxys and use different browsers and click on his adwords ads if you know which ones they are!!!!


    PM me for more info as I've fucked a lot of people up that double cross me as well...
     
  19. enrikole

    enrikole BANNED BANNED Premium Member

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    I am sorry and I dont mean to be rude , but LOL

    That sucks.

    I quess as mentioned earlier. He is coping you. That means that you should always be a step ahead of him.

    Dont start doing anything stupid like clicking his ads, since that will only get him pissed and give him idea to do the same. (chances are that he has not thought of that)
     
  20. navycliper1

    navycliper1 Regular Member

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    lesson learnt, you're careless right from start.