Digital Age Marketing Scams:


A bountiful harvest of apples may still conceal a worm.

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The information age is changing just about everything. Few barriers now lie between content creators and the end user. But the marketplace is full of choices, and making money from creative endeavors can be challenging. Less challenging (and less scrupulous) is profiting from the endeavors of others with ebook marketing scams. Enter whom you might see in your inbox as “” or “McNew Publishing.”

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Letting people know about your new creation is the challenge. Quality work can go unseen. However ebook marketing may be one of the few areas in which money is being made. Authors, striving for sales, confident in their work, contract promotion services. I’ve hired many contractors over my writing career for a variety of services. Almost all were professional, and the interactions good.

I contracted for a one-time $12 promotion for the first book in the Tethered Worlds series, Unwelcome Star. It was seemingly a modest introductory offer for placement on their website and perhaps inclusion on their mailing list. Ebook marketing companies are popping up, and this one seemed new and hungry for business.

As Dire Straits would say, "That ain't workin'... Money for nothin..."
As Dire Straits would say, “That ain’t workin’… Money for nothin…”

Their services bore little if any fruit. About three weeks later I noticed hundreds of dollars of charges on the credit card I used to pay them. Unauthorized charges stemming from Of course I immediately contacted them, trying to pierce their internet insulation.

Eventually I got an email from a representative named “Shivangi Mahesh ACCOUNTING SUPERVISOR” who suggested going to some online form page. No acknowledgement or even discussion of the fraudulent charges occurred, which obviously was not satisfactory. Repeated pleas for communication from Mr. Mahesh went unanswered, eventually forcing me to cancel the credit card.

If the story ended there, the lesson learned would be enough, but there’s one final chapter. I surmise Mr. Mahesh or someone from Publishing was not pleased with my complaints about their unauthorized charges. Though the bank re-issuing my credit card is charged with keeping my information confidential, Mastercard inexplicably exposed me to serious fraud by sharing the new card with the very organizations whose charges I was contesting.

Business arrangements for you are 'opportunities' for others.
Business arrangements for you are ‘opportunities’ for others.

The eBookPro cartel racked up over $7000 in charges before I canceled the second card. One charge alone was for $3200. All this from a simple, one-time $12 trial. What tips can be taken away from this incident?

  1. Take your time. Sign up for a potential marketing firm’s mailing list and see it for yourself.
  2. Monitor the social media of new firms to ascertain more about their legitimacy and results.
  3. Seek out online forums and writing groups for more information on potential service providers. This may be difficult for new companies in this fast-paced publishing environment, but it’s worth trying.
  4. Analyze your credit card statements. Scam artists may start with a small charge to test the waters.

Your marketing dollars are an investment in yourself, they should command scrutiny. When that’s not enough, be ready for the necessary hassle to get your money back, like I did. It was no fun, but the commerce in which we engage in the free marketplace almost always reconciles fairly, and this truly was an exception. There are reputable companies out there, run by good people who will show your self-investment the respect it deserves. Find them.

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The Tethered Worlds universe still uses currency. But some planets wouldn’t take too kindly to fraud. But worlds are as diverse as those who settle them. Some bring forth heroes of noble character, and some spawn those who would seek to control others. Read the Tethered Worlds books and join Jordahk’s family in fighting for what’s right.