Data Network Affiliates (DNA) Promoter Describes Program As ‘Cause’; References Walmart Parking Lot; Says Members Should ‘Snap’ License Plates With iPhones, Blackberrys
UPDATED 12:15 P.M. ET (U.S.A.) Without raising the issues of propriety, safety and legality, a promoter for the Data Network Affiliates (DNA) multilevel-marketing (MLM) program has produced a sales video that instructs members to “snap photos” of the license plates of cars.
The video is 8:40 in length, and appears to be an upline promotion that is available to DNA downline members in a specific group. A “Join For FREE Right Now” button appears below the video, and the link resolves to a DNA registration page that may be on an insecure site. The sign-up link is on an “http” page, as opposed to an “https” page, although the URL includes the word “securesite.”
“The company’s going to pay you $25 to do this,” the narrator said in a YouTube video. He recommended Walmart parking lots as a source of plate numbers, and also “malls, shopping malls, shopping centers, grocery stores, banks” — and “anywhere” there is a group of parked vehicles.
The PP Blog became aware of the video after the link for it was used in an ALL-CAPS sales-pitch spam attempt at the Blog. It was not immediately clear if DNA, whose domain is registered in the Cayman Islands, had a policy that prohibited affiliates from spamming to drive business to the company.
Also unclear is the process by which recipients of email and forum spam from DNA promoters would contact the company to report affiliate spam. A “Contact Us” link at the bottom of DNA’s website says, “Information is coming soon!”
DNA has been in a state of prelaunch for weeks, twice postponing launch dates in February and moving the launch date to March 1, according to a countdown clock on its website.
The link to the video was at a URL of a domain registered in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The narrator said he had “personally sponsored” more than 400 DNA members in two days.
In the video, the narrator described DNA as a “cause” that sought to involve “millions of people” and put “millions of eyeballs” in the business of recording license-plate numbers. In various audio recordings by DNA, pitchmen have referenced the AMBER Alert program, although a recent recording by the company says DNA is not affiliated with the national child-protection system administered by the U.S. Department of Justice.
In this story, the PP Blog describes a DNA audio recording in which a pitchman shared a vision of an America in which DNA members would record the plate numbers of cars as they moved from destination to destination during the day.
A hypothetical “red corvette” could be spotted at Walmart at noon, at a â€œdoctorâ€™s officeâ€ at 1 p.m. and somewhere else at 4 p.m. â€” with DNA members recording the plate number at all three locations, according to the recording. Meanwhile, in this story, the PP Blog reported on a DNA audio pitch that described “church” parking lots as a source of license-plate numbers.
In the YouTube video posted on the Myrtle Beach domain, the narrator instructed viewers to “stop whatever you are doing.”
“This is huge,” he said. “This is truly the wave of the future.” During the video, the promoter described his experience of recording plate numbers. He motioned as though he were snapping photographs, while instructing prospects to do the same.
“Now, there’sÂ people out there that will pay big, big, big bucks for this data, OK? ” he said. “And that’s the reason that these people (DNA) are willing to pay big bucks.”
He did not disclose the names of any companies for which DNA was collecting data. Nor did he describe whether permission needed to be obtained from retailers to snap photos of their patrons’ license numbers or how DNA members should behave if confronted by retailers, patrons or police.
Many retails chains have policies that limit or prohibit solicitation on their properties. The video provided no guidance on whether individual DNA members should increase their insurance protection or advise local authorities that they were canvassing the parking lots of doctors’ offices, churches and stores to record license-plate data.
A Dallas-based MLM business — Narc That Car — has a similar program involving the capture of license-plate numbers for entry in a database.
UPDATE 11:59 A.M. (See comment below that explains there are two versions of the DNA promo video on YouTube, one that is 8:40 in length and one that is 8:48. The longer version includes this narration about DNA promoter Jeff Long’s experience recording license-plate numbers in a Walmart parking lot:
â€œPeople looked at me kinda weird. But I didnâ€™t care. You kind of do it inconspicuously. . . . because . . . you know, everybody, â€˜Why are you taking a photo of my car?â€™â€
The narration in the 8:48 version continues:
â€œWho cares what people think? Who cares what people are going to . . . look at you weird? Whatever. Because as you do this, and you record 20 license plates, the companyâ€™s going to pay you $25.â€)