“There are some distractions I’m hearing about out there,” said CEO Dean Blechman.
An audio recording of Blechman’s remarks is posted on DNA’s website. Two DNA pitchmen warmed up listeners by exchanging compliments with each other and lauding Blechman for nearly seven minutes before he offered his remarks.
Blechman described DNA as his “unbelievable vision” — for which he had come out of retirement to make come true. “I have a chance to make that really happen,” he said.
“My 30 years of my reputation in business stands for itself, no matter what distractions are out there towards Data Network Affiliates,” Blechman said, after mentioning his background in the natural-products industry with a company known as TWIN LAB.
Without specifying the distractions and what the critics have gotten wrong, Blechman suggested he’ll sue, targeting his remarks at “everyone that’s a distraction out there and anyone that’s printing stuff on the Internet or anywhere.”
“I’ll tell you one thing,” he warned in the recording. “They better be very, very careful of what they write . . . [b]ecause I have every intention of policing and pursuing every legal ramification . . . against anybody that’s reporting any information inaccurate to try to tear down what I’m trying to build here.”
DNA’s domain lists a Cayman Islands address, as does a companion domain: TagEveryCar.com. A “Contact Us” link at the bottom of the DNA website resolves to a page that says, “Contact Data Network Affiliates[:] Information is coming soon!” The TagEveryCar domain redirects to the DNA website.
DNA has delayed the program launch twice this month, and now says it will launch March 1. DNA says it is building a database of license-plate numbers.
In recent days, critics have raised issues ranging from propriety, affiliate training, safety and privacy to the ownership of the company and why the domains listed offshore addresses. A multilevel-marketing firm, DNA says it has signed up more than 37,000 participants to gather license-plate numbers.
Pitchmen for the company have identified the parking lots of Walmart, Target, churches, doctors’ offices and “anywhere” cars are parked as sources of plate data.
Promoters have provided little instruction on matters such as whether DNA members are required to obtain the permission of store managers, church pastors and physicians before recording the plate numbers of patrons or congregants or patients, whether members should obtain additional insurance protection or consult with an attorney before entering the license-plate number recording business and how members are required to behave if confronted by store managers and patrons, church pastors and congregants, doctors and patients and police.
Lionel Cesaire, one of the DNA pitchmen who introduced Blechman in the recording, previously described DNA as a company with members who would record the license-plate number of a hypothetical “red corvette” parked at Walmart at noon, a “doctor’s office” at 1 p.m. and “somewhere else” at 4 p.m.
Privacy advocates may take a dim view of the approach, raising concerns about both propriety and legality. Some DNA members have recommended that affiliates record plate numbers with video cameras. Such information easily could end up on the Internet, exposing people to invasions of privacy and triggering lawsuits. At the same time, DNA members who collected information for the company could stockpile it and offer it for sale to other companies.
Blechman thanked Cesaire for his introductory remarks, but did not reference Cesaire’s remarks in a previous conference call about recording numbers at churches, store parking lots and doctors’ offices.
In a promotional video on YouTube, Florida-based DNA promoter Jeff Long — whom DNA says has recruited more than 700 members — suggested prospects should behave “inconspicuously” when snapping photographs of license plates at stores such as Walmart with iPhones, Blackberrys and notepad computers.
Cesaire also has used the word “inconspicuous” when describing the recording of plate numbers, suggesting that members might want to be seated in their cars when writing down plate numbers in retailers’ parking lots.
Describing his own experience collecting plate numbers at Walmart by taking pictures of them while strolling through the parking lot, Long said in a DNA promo on YouTube that store patrons looked at him “weird.”
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€ Long said.
As Long’s video narration continued, he said, 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€
The video promo continues to appear on YouTube. A similar video featuring Long in which the words referenced in the paragraphs above appear to have been edited out was removed from YouTube “by the user” in the past several hours, according to the YouTube site.
The video also was removed from a webpage operated by an individual DNA affiliate believed to have spammed the PP Blog Thursday.
A link to the now-removed YouTube video was sent to the PP Blog in a pure spam post Thursday at 10:05 p.m. The sender targeted a DNA discussion thread, but attempted to post an ALL-CAPS sales pitch (italics added):
“WANT TO JOIN DNAâ€™s TOP TEAM AND LEARN THE TRADE SECRETS OF BUILDING A HUGE ORGANIZATION FAST AND FREE?
TO QUALIFY YOU MUST REGISTER TO BECOME A FREE AFFILIATE AT
[**SPAMMING LINK REMOVED BY ADMIN**]
SEE YOU AT THE TOP!
Later, a possible shill entered the thread, saying he was “tryin to sign up.” After that, a third poster left a sales URL in the same thread. The PP Blog attempted to contact DNA through its website to report the spam, but the site did not have a contact form.
In the recorded conference call, Blechman said members should be confident in the program.
“I am leading this company; I’m the CEO. I’m in charge. Every big decision is made by me and my partner, Arthur Kurek.
Kurek is president and chief financial officer of DNA, Blechman said.
In the call posted on DNA’s website, Blechman did not address any of the issues raised by critics. It is unclear if he approves of the Jeff Long video and Long’s plate-number collection method. Long has been identified in a DNA conference call as the company’s top recruiter.
Long recorded a similar video to recruit members for Narc That Car. The headline on the video now says, “NARC That Car – Don’t Join!” In the upper-right corner of the YouTube site, this message appears:
“This video talks about NARC That Car… IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON MARKETING THIS BUSINESS ON THE INTERNET DO NOT JOIN!!!!! NarcThatCar CANCELED AND DISABLED My distributorship because I put this video on YouTube…I’m now the #1 leader and sponsor in their BIGGEST COMPETITOR’S BUSINESS…DataNetworkAffiliates. Again…don’t join NarcThatCar if you plan on marketing on the internet!!!!!!”
Narc That Car is a Dallas-based business. Like DNA, Narc That Car says it is in the business of gathering license-plate data.