Much of what is revealed here was learned through telephone conversations, and unfortunately I have no proof of those conversations. When I have written proof of different aspects of this story, I will link to either the screenshot, Skype convo, etc. with a number at the end of a sentence. Wherever possible I have taken screenshots containing dates. These screenshots are factual proof of my story.
In January 2011, I was told by an online friend of mine that BIG Mike Kotzakolios from Incansoft (hereinafter simply referred to as Mike) wanted to talk to me. I had come out with my plugin, WP Amaz-One, on December 10th, 2010, and Incansoft was an affiliate for the product, selling in the five figures (and that was just their share). The success of that plugin is what prompted him to contact me, and he wanted to talk about becoming a partner within Incansoft. (Red Flag #1 – when my husband heard it was the owner of Incansoft that contacted me, he said “Isn’t that the company with all the software that sucks?”) (I had used ArticleBot and actually did an experiment, counting the number of submission sites that AB was supposed to be submitting to…and very few of them were even legitimate and therefore, very few articles “stuck”.)
In the beginning of January, 2011, Mike had Ken Leatherman contact me via Skype to let me know that he wanted to talk to me. (Red Flag #2 - why didn’t he just email me? He knew how to get ahold of me on Warrior Forum.) So, we started talking on Skype. What he had wanted, basically, were my ideas. He told me that he was impressed by the fact that I didn’t know anything about coding, but went out and found a developer to create WP Amaz-One, and became hugely successful with it. So the pitch was, I share my ideas with him, he develops them by doing all the coding, I market the finished product, and we split the profits 50/50. He told me over phone convos that he was bored with Incansoft and needed new, fresh ideas. WordPress plugins were a good fit for his company, but he revealed that he couldn’t demand the prices he felt plugins would be worth because Incansoft products generally sell for less than $20.
It was agreed that we’d do a couple of projects together before entering into any formal partnership, to see if we work well together. Mike said that when we became partners at Incansoft after these first initial projects, we’d be making $5000 A MONTH! (Red Flag #3 – we were already making $5000 a month…Mike needed a bigger carrot, but we held on. Don’t ask me why, because in hindsight, I have no freaking idea why we didn’t bail at the $5000 mark.)
Here is the Skype convo where he initially contacted me around January 7th or so, copied and pasted directly from Skype (since I can’t make a screenshot of Skype): 1 You can see on the 27th, we begin developing one idea of mine called iMarkeTree.
The next few weeks were basically talking about iMarkeTree, developing the basic framework, etc. At one point, we actually started advertising it a bit, but everything came to a halt when, towards the middle of February, we told him we were having a plugin developed by my former programmer who’d created WP Amaz-One. This was was to be called WP PayMe, and would be kind of a RAP for WordPress. Our idea was to implement immediate split payments (as opposed to a rotation based payment system, like RAP) between the product seller, affiliate and/or equity partner. We also wanted to have One-Time-Offers, link cloaking, pre-made editable templates…there were a lot of features on our “wanted” list! You can see on the 24th, Mike actually starts calling the plugin by name – PayMe. And we were supposed to launch it by the end of February, but problems kept cropping up. Luckily, I had a great promo towards the end of the month, and so financially, we were okay for February. (I’ve only been full-time in IM for a little less than a year, so we’re still living project-to-project, much like people who live paycheck-to-paycheck. I was also under the assumption due to things Mike had said in our convo’s that everything we did from this point forward would be done together, and that I should concentrate on PayMe.) Here are the February Skypes: 2
We didn’t end up launching by the end of February like we’d hoped. There were a lot of what I now can see were excuses, but that’s simply my opinion, of course. I now believe that Mike was not prepared to be able to code this plugin – he admitted he knew nothing about WordPress and this was a relatively complicated project integrating WordPress, PayPal’s Parallel Payments API, etc.
We trusted him so much that we took this project away from the original coder, and let Mike convince us that the original coder was a scammer who only wanted our money. In my heart, instinctively, I knew this was bullshit, but I was blinded by the fact that it was “BIG Mike” that wanted ME to work with HIM. I was way too impressed with myself. That was Red Flag #4.
So, we continue to work on PayMe. As different parts get completed, I take screenshots and begin creating the PayMe User Manual. 3 (The user manual was originally saved as a .docx doc, but since many people can’t view that, I re-saved it as a PDF so more people can view it. Here is a screenshot of the Properties of the original .docx file showing the date it was created and the last date it was edited. 4) We (my husband and I) talk to Mike nearly every single night on the phone (he even told me that he got some kind of special Skype package so that he could call me more often and it wouldn’t cost him much). There were many nights we were on the phone with him for two hours or more, not just working on the plugin, but becoming friends (or so I thought). He mentioned things about how he has an English as First Language school in Greece, and how everything (even Incansoft) is in his wife’s name. He told us that nothing is in his own name. He also talked about his partners at Incansoft – said John Rogers was an awful internet marketer, and wouldn’t be able to make a dollar if it weren’t for him. He talked about people that are supposed to be his friends, like Ken Leatherman, like they were shit on the bottom of his shoe. He attributed everyone’s success to himself and made it clear that he didn’t think much of any one of his partners. I didn’t agree nor disagree because at that time, I held both Ken and John in very high regard. (Need I say that the way he talked about these people was Red Flag #5?) (Also, compare the screenshots of Mike’s manual to my own.)
So, fast forward to the end of March. I haven’t been putting out any products but have been patiently waiting to launch PayMe. I’m just barely making due on the products I currently have on the market. Mike says that he estimates that PayMe will sell 1000 copies to his list of 12000, at $27. John Rogers also sends out two emails to their list, preselling it. 5 & 6 (Compare those emails with the email Incansoft sent out on April 21st: 7 Sounds like they’re advertising the same product, doesn’t it?) Half of that total is $13,500, so I’m pretty darn excited about it. I’m excited too because I’ve begun leaking some details about the product on Facebook and here and there, and the response is amazing! People really, really want and need this and the more I talk about it, the more excited everyone is getting about it! (I also need it for my own business – anyone who knows me knows that my ideas are born from the needs I have in my own business and that of my associates.)
I’m getting a little nervous at this point because we’ve been working on this since the middle of February, it’s still not done, and Mike keeps running into problems either with WordPress or PayPal’s API integration (Red Flag #6). But he keeps telling me we’re “this close” and so, I believe him. I even played around with a test post on Warrior Forum for the sales letter on March 29th. 8 Here’s the actual sales video from that sales letter: http://www.screencast.com/t/eoJCZJcA, which was created on March 29th: 9
On March 31st, we were supposed to finally start testing PayMe with live payments. I can’t even express how relieved I was to be this close to launching it because at this point we are seriously running out of money. (There was constant reassurance from Mike that we were “so close” to launching and that when we did, we’d all be swimming in money.) Also, we’re incredibly excited to see what we’ve been working so hard on actually do what it’s supposed to do! Normally, Mike would call us around 3 or 4PM our time and that time came and went. We waited for his phone call so anxiously because we’re at a pretty critical time. No phone call – and this was the first time in over two months that he’d skipped out on a meeting we had planned (most times these phone convo’s were initiated by Mike – check the Skype convos and you’ll see a lot of him saying “can you talk tonight”, so this was very out of character for him). I get on Skype and try to contact him, to no avail. I even asked Ken Leatherman if he’d heard from him. Nothing. We actually started to worry about his health because he’d been working so hard on this and was putting in some really long hours on it.
The next morning I woke up to a very nonchalont, flippant email basically stating “sorry, wife had other plans for me”. The utter lack of respect totally pissed me off, and I emailed him with sarcasm, and then calmed down. That’s when his tune changed entirely 10. After that, I kept trying to email him and Skype him – I apologized profusely (still couldn’t see him for what he was even after that) and literally begged him to talk to me. He blocked me on Skype, blocked my email…gave me no way at all to attempt to talk to him. As it states in the email, he did take my WP PayMe website as well as our PayMe test website off of his servers, and I lost everything, while he still had a copy of the working plugin. (Two things to note here…Red Flag #7 was when he insisted on having both of those websites on his web hosting instead of my own, stating that since he had a dedicated server and I only had a reseller plan, his server would be more secure, and faster. I didn’t have access to his server logins. Why did I make such a stupid mistake? Simply put, we trusted him. And Red Flag #8 was that it was very difficult for me to get him to give me a copy of the actual plugin. He only did so when I explained that I needed it to make screenshots of uploading the plugin to WordPress. Even so, he had encrypted the source code – and never gave me an unencrypted copy.)
I wasn’t going to let him screw up the partnership because of his ego so easily, so I created a new email address and emailed him from that (BigMikeFan@gmail.com, if you can believe that.) The response to that email shows Mike’s true colors. 11 So he is not only cutting me off as a partner, but he’s now going to take what we had worked on with PayMe and sell it under Incansoft’s name.
At this point, I’m in shock. I just can’t believe that he’s going to take my name off PayMe and put it out himself. I spend a day or two in shock, then pull myself together and get to work. Financially, we’re okay and that was the most important thing at the time.
Around this time, I had a few staunch supporters who invited me to join Earn $1K A Day. I’d been looking for a forum where I could network and after being so badly burned, just really needed a community that I could believe in. People I like and respect in IM warmly welcomed me there and so I joined. I made a few posts there introducing myself, etc. and then decided that I truly didn’t want anyone to go through what I’d been through with this particular JV, so I decide to post, without names, about my story to tell people simply to BE CAREFUL with the people you JV with. Here is that forum post. 12 There was a lot of commiserating, challenging, etc. and eventually, Mike joined the forum (word must’ve gotten out) and posted this: 13. Here are all three pages of that particular forum thread, in their entirety. 14 – 15 – 16 (I apologize – I’ve had to remove the forum posts due to copyright issues.)
Now, I hadn’t really looked at the website we were to sell WP PayMe from or the PayMe test site – why would I – they had been taken off of Mike’s servers and there was nothing there. But there was one website that Mike forgot about – and this is where his greatest mistake lie. I had this website – http://lemonadedietinfo.com – that we had been using to do the initial tests with PayMe. Eventually, for the purpose of having a dedicated test site for the PayPal API, I bought http://paymetest.com, but initially, everything was done on the lemonade site, as we came to call it.
PayMe had a special feature – a right hand sidebar containing what Mike called “Quick Help” at the top. Quick Help, essentially, were tool tips that showed up in the sidebar when a field was hovered over. A really cool idea and one that I’m sure he is using in his plugin. Below the PayMe Quick Help was another sidebar box containing promos for other products…initially it was to show a blurb about the WP PayMe affiliate program. This box was controlled at the server level – so we would be able to change it at will and promote other products there whenever we wanted to. Here is a screenshot of the initial settings page of WP PayMe after Mike changed the product’s name to WP InstantPay. 17 This small mistake is how I’ve known the “new” name of PayMe for weeks now. Mike registered the WP InstantPay domain name on April 1st – the day we had our falling out. Here is the WhoIs for wp-instantpay.com: 18 (remember when I said everything is in his wife’s name? You can see that on the WhoIs for the InstantPay domain as well as here: 19 and here: 20.
At this point, a lot of you are probably wondering why on earth I waited this long to come out with this. I had a couple reasons. First, even though Mike is a dishonest crook, he’s not an entirely stupid dishonest crook. I knew he wouldn’t let this product die – there’s simply too much money in it. Also, I banked on the fact that he wouldn’t change much within the plugin. I knew he’d add things because there were certain things that weren’t yet completed with the plugin and features he had told me were too much of a pain in the ass to implement. I wanted him to launch InstantPay with the same exact presentation and function as PayMe had/has. I was afraid that if he knew I was going to out him as the thief he is, he would change the look of InstantPay so that it didn’t look, well, identical to PayMe. I was right.
Take a look at the sales video and the instructional video and then compare the screenshots in the video with the PayMe owner’s manual from link #3. The sales video (http://youtu.be/Kt7A-gpoHF0) was done on April 12th and the instructional video (http://youtu.be/GRZFxvzMDBM) was done on April 23rd. Also, compare the screenshots of my sales video for WP PayMe: http://www.screencast.com/t/eoJCZJcA.
On April 13th, Mike (who is a moderator at the MarketCrush forum run by Jeremy Kelsall and Don VanFossen) started a thread that was a very thinly veiled attempt to…well honestly I don’t know what his intent was, but here is that entire thread. 21 I had no idea it was posted, but a business acquaintance of mine, Danielle Schaeffer, let me know it was there. Both Danielle and Anita Cross posted in response to Mike, but he deleted both of their posts. Danielle had the foresight to save what she said in response to his initial post:
I always try to be a peacemaker. I tend to believe that communication and perceptions can be very tricky beasts, and because of that, I try to give the benefit of the doubt and help to resolve conflict between others. But…
I find this passive/aggressive, hypocritical, cowardly, and very thinly veiled attempt to target someone who has no voice in here, completely unacceptable and offensive.
Most of us here are members of other forums, or have friends who are, and we are aware that there is a ‘hidden target’ here. The subject was deemed ‘not for public discussion’ by the very person trying to take it public now, only where the opposition cannot defend themselves.
Some respect for our intelligence please.
If you believe you are so right, take the fight to where your target can mount their own defense.
I cant’ say who is right or wrong, but I do know there is more to the story than what’s been posted here. What I do know of that story, added to what I am seeing here, puts my money on the open field of fair play.
P.S. I am also highly offended by this notion that someone in financial distress is deserving of being treated like a second class citizen, having their confidences betrayed, and having their emotional well being called in to question.
After Mike deleted Danielle’s post, he emailed her this:
I deleted your post because you had to try turning it into a bashfest – you really don’t want to go there.
And she responded with:
No Mike, if I wanted to start a bashfest, my post would have been a 3 page diatribe detailing the whole story of what happened. I just insist on a level playing field and that turnabout is fair play.
Mike didn’t respond.
I don’t have the exact quote from Anita’s post but basically, it said “You didn’t create a great first impression with me.”
As far as Mike’s allegations in his “response” post after he deleted these two ladies’ posts, here’s my take, my responses in blue:
Although I would suggest to you for your own good to be very, very careful working with her – watch your back. She still owes another former “friend” of hers $1K who she conveniently “forgets” to repay when she has the money to do so.
This friend is Ken Leatherman. Back in October, I experienced some extremely unexpected financial strife. Ken gifted me $1000 with which to pay my rent and buy groceries. When I told him I wasn’t sure when I could pay him back, he told me that it was not a loan – that I could do some VA work for him in the future. I repeatedly asked Ken to give me projects when he had them, but he never did. After talking to Ken on Skype regarding Mike’s allegation that I owe him money, he again said that I don’t owe him anything. He told Mike about his giving my family the money in confidence, but has yet to ask Mike to retract his statement. I attribute this to the fact that Ken, for financial reasons of his own, is under Mike’s thumb.
To the person sending them – keep it up and I will out you, not only here, but pretty much all over the Internet. I will factually present my side along with clear evidence, starting with all of the information we found out about you and your spouse in Chicago. Did you really think I wouldn’t have a potential partner investigated carefully before committing to anything?
“The person sending them” – me – never even knew this thread existed until Danielle told me it did. And my question is – if he had me so carefully investigated and found things that he disliked, why did he go forward working on a project with me? I know why – he wanted my best ideas. And I am unsure what any of this personal information has to do with the fact that he stole the WP PayMe plugin and put a new name on it, other than creating a diversion away from his purpose. The factual side of things is being presented here, though what his perception is, is anyone’s guess. Mike has a large ego and a larger need for control over people he sees as subordinates, which is everyone.
One lesson out of this issue though is my comment about finding partners who are emotionally stable. This is exactly the sort of thing that happens when you start working with someone who shoots first and then aims later. Now this individual is in stalking mode…crying foul and giving friends a sob story, leaving out a numerous vital details and involving them in her efforts to cause problems. At the end of the day, the only ones who end up getting hurt are her friends.
Emotionally stable? Does expecting your partner to show up for a scheduled meeting qualify me as emotionally unstable? And, “in stalking mode”? “Leaving out numerous vital details”?, “efforts to cause problems”? I feel confident that the readers of this long story are not stupid and can see exactly how Mike tried to create the diversion to take away the attention from the real issue – that he stole my original idea.
What I asked Mike for on April 1st was to go forward with PayMe as partners as we had planned, and then part ways. What he has done is steal my ideas, my time, and 50% of the income from the WP PayMe n/k/a WP InstantPay project, which I am entitled to.
In closing, I’d like to say that I DO have the copyright on PayMe. Here’s a screenshot of the WP PayMe source code showing my copyright: 22 Mike himself coded that in, so how he can say that he owns the copyright…well, you decide.
The bottom line is this: WP InstantPay is stolen goods. The original WP PayMe idea, the payment flow, and 99% of the functionalities of the plugin were my idea. Mike has flounced and stolen it, because of a simple email he didn’t like, and is now claiming that it is his. This is at once ridiculous and ludicrous. He thinks that no one will challenge him. He thinks that he is “safe” because he is in Greece. He is solidly wrong on both these points. No amount of threats from him will change the fact that what he has done with our partnership and with WP PayMe is simply ethically deplorable, not to mention illegal.
Many times, over the phone, Mike told us stories about his older brother and how he used to beat Mike up and tell him he was “shit”, etc. I understand that everyone has baggage and personal problems. God knows, I’ve had my share as most of you probably have too. That’s just part of life. And while Mike has every right to this baggage, he does not have any right to personal attacks on me because he feels guilty for stealing WP PayMe. Nor does he have any right to “beat up his big brother” in proxy by beating me down in the IM community. As my associates and listmembers know, I have always tried to be very transparent with everything about my business. I didn’t come up with “antigurugirl” on my own – that was one of my former students that gave me that nickname, and it just kind of stuck.
The optimal solution is for Mike and Incansoft to be honest and cut me in on this for the 50% that I am entitled to. I know he won’t do that. I know he will come out with some very personal, over-the-top, shit-slinging response to this, and I’m prepared for that.
But if anyone of you reads this and one of you – just ONE of you – are more careful in your JV’s with other marketers because of reading this, then that is worth it to me. Think twice – protect YOURSELF first and foremost. PLEASE do this for your own good and the good of those that you’re providing for because in the end, THEY are what truly matter.
Note: I am not the only person who has been treated this way by Mike and his Incansoft staff. Read this.
I’ve just received this somewhat ominous email: 23 Do I think it’s Mike? Not really…I think it’s someone trying to start trouble by making me think it’s Mike.