Sunday, December 30, 2007

Allen Vartazarian and Anthony Zanontian: The Truth Behind the Valleywag Article

On December 29, 2oo7 posted a misleading article regarding Famesource, stating that we have been paying people to register as members on our site. If you have not yet seen this post, you can find it here:

They also tried to take a stab at our lovely CNN host Nicole Lapin:

In response to these false and misleading posts, we emailed the editors demanding clarification. Here is the original email we sent to Valleywag (sent 12/30/07 at 1:53 AM)

" Dear Mr. Nicholas Carlson,

Thank you for taking the time to write about Famesource on Valleywag and, more importantly, for giving us this opportunity to respond. After reading this post, it is very clear that your “tipster” miscommunicated an offer we have in place to drive traffic to We are not offering any monetary incentive for people to sign-up, as your article suggests. Like any Cost Per Action (CPA) offer, we are looking to work with a person and/or company that can drive US traffic to our site and we are willing to pay for every new member that registers as a result of this traffic.

This is no different than advertising on Google Adwords, Azoogle, or Hydramedia, all of which offer a CPA service. After dealing with a number of these CPA companies, we found that many of the campaigns were being managed by people in India. Since Famesource has been completely self-funded by the two of us, we made the choice to try and cut out the middleman. We want to emphasize that we are not paying any individuals (from India or anywhere else in the world) to join Famesource; we are only trying to strike a more affordable CPA deal.

The funniest part of all this is that we have not even found a qualified party to work with overseas, not even a single sign-up! We would appreciate if you could clarify these points in your title and article because it wrongfully tarnishes Famesource’s wholesome nature, which we have worked so hard to maintain. In the future, we encourage you to contact us before making any claims about Famesource or ourselves as we are more than happy to discuss any matters in more detail.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.


Allen Vartazarian & Anthony Zanontian
Co-Founders, "

and the response from Owen Thomas (Managing Editor, received 12/30/07 at 7:00AM) was...

" Allen,
Thanks for writing in. You're welcome to leave a comment on the post.
- Owen "

So, we attempted to leave a comment on the post only to find that it was never published. The comment that we attempted to post was the email seen above, which clearly describes our situation.

After we saw that our comment was not being published, we sent them the following email (sent 12/30/07 at 11:02 AM):

" Owen,
Between 9:30AM and 10AM, we attempted to leave a comment on the three postings regarding Famesource, clarifying the false information presented in the posts. As of 10:53AM, none of these comments have been published.
We are more than willing to provide statistics from Google Analytics proving that our membership is not coming from India. As stated in our previous email, we are not paying anyone to join, we are simply looking for an affordable affiliate partnership.
Please understand that if you don't correct these false and misleading statements, we will have to seek legal counsel.
Feel free to contact us directly to discuss this matter.

Allen Vartazarian & Anthony Zanontian
Co-Founders, "

As of the time of this post, we have not yet heard back from Valleywag and, as a result, we wanted to make this clarification before anything gets out of hand.

Included below is a snapshot of our Google Analytics which proves that only 1.2% of traffic to Famesource is from India. Furthermore, if you search the word "India" in the search box on our site, you will find that only 63 out of approximately 10,000 profiles contain the word India.

What we are offering is no different than an affiliate program, where people/companies get paid for directing traffic that converts to membership. Furthermore, if Valleywag had taken a moment to do some research before blindly and maliciously posting about Famesource, they would find that we specify in our responses to all potential online marketers that all traffic must be from the US.

If anyone wishes discuss this in more detail, we are both very accessible.

We encourage you to share your thoughts by commenting on this blog post, as well as on the Valleywag post. Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

Allen Vartazarian & Anthony Zanontian

UPDATE: Our comments have been "approved" and posted on the Valleywag posts, about 4 hrs after we submitted them. We also received an email today (January 2, 2008) from "Gaby Darbyshire" the VP of Finance and Legal at Gawker Media (Valleywag's parent company) defending the blog posts. After a few minutes of discussion and debate, Gaby agreed to change the title of the blog posts to something they feel is more accurate. It is important to note, however, that a subtle change in the title does not correct the false information being presented within the post.

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Anonymous webgenie said...

that is ridiculous, how can they say those things?

December 30, 2007 at 5:23 PM  

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