This entry was posted on
Tuesday, September 4th, 2012 at
8:56 am and is filed
under Tories! Tories! Tories!.
I blogged about Grant Shapps a few years ago. Back then, he sought to silence some serious questions about sock puppetry by claiming his YouTube account was hacked, and his final line in the sand was a claim that the alleged hacking incident was being investigated by YouTube/Google. I asked Grant Shapps about that last night. Here is the question he chose not to answer:
You claimed that Google/YouTube launched an investigation into what you alleged to be the hacking of your YouTube account. Nothing ever came of that. Would you care to explain why, and if you ever reported the matter to police?
During that incident I became aware of Grant Shapp’s wider use of alter egos, including ‘Michael Green’ of howtocorp.com (and howtobouncebackfromrecession.com, howtostartaforum.com, howtomarketwithtwitter.com, etc.) but today I’d really like to know more about his relationship with ‘Chuck Champion’ of howtopickupwomennow.com:
Perhaps Grant Shapps will inform us that the connection is ‘merely’ that howtopickupwomennow.com was one of the advertisers on the site savemysurgery.com, but the design, code and marketing and copy styles are identical to his* other ‘get results quickly without really trying’ scams, and his past behaviour (re: sock-puppetry denials) will count against him.
(*Yes, yes, yes. The paperwork shows the business is now in his wife’s name. But the advertising sales copy still live on many sites declares products to be the work of ‘Michael Green’, a “Member of Parliament”.)
Further, even if Grant Shapps can put a convincing amount of distance between himself and ‘Chuck Champion’, he has some serious questions to answer about site reputations he builds as an MP and then goes on to ‘cash in’ so it can be used as a patch on a two-bit ‘content’ farm where keyword-weighted links are sold for money. Shapps cannot pretend not to know what an online reputation is worth; too many of his products rely on teaching people how to falsify one.
I asked Grant Shapps about that last night. Here is the question he chose not to answer:
Where precisely do you declare the earnings from the keyword-weighted promotional links hosted on savemysurgery.com, and would you care to name any other party-political/campaign websites that you were involved in that went on to be exploited commercially in a similar fashion?
If I weren’t so preoccupied with other matters right now, I’d have a slew of other questions for Grant Shapps to read and ignore, but for now I leave you with this trail of scrummy crumbs in the form of yet another question:
Do you deny authorship of any of the following edits to Wikipedia? (note: each page contains a list)
(Psst! Over to you, Grant. Or Michael. Or Sebastian. Or Chuck. Or whatever your name is today. I’d like us all to be very clear on your view on the use of false identities for commercial and political purposes, just on the off-chance that you’re put in a position where you’re the main point of contact for complaints about sock puppetry from Conservative MPs, fundraisers, activists and what have you. Because I have just such a complaint, and it’s a whopper.)
UPDATE (12 Sep) – A considerable amount of time has passed since I put these questions to Grant Shapps, and the lack of any denial (while he was quick to produce a receipt proving he had worn a £4 tie) has cost him dearly. I have been very clear about what is indicitive and what is conclusive, but of course when valid questions are dodged, you will find conclusions being drawn regardless. Hell, I’m one of the people who drew my own conclusions after a few days. However, I should point out that Grant Shapps has now very clearly denied any level of involvement in howtopickupwomennow.com and I’m not only willing to accept this, I am also personally satisfied that there is no significance to the delay in his issuing this denial. I am at present seeking further information about savemysurgery.com, and how/why it was turned into a patch on someone’s content farm carrying an keyword-weighted link to ‘Chuck Champion’ and others, so that question stands, but in my view we are no longer in a place when one can fairly ask Shapps if he is/was ‘Chuck Champion’ of howtopickupwomennow.com and/or carry on as if that question stands unanswered. Cheers all.
By anubeon September 4, 2012 - 9:15 am
This really puts the not-quite-yet-official-news that Shapps has been 'promoted' to Tory party co-chairman into perspective. Clearly, the Conservative party feels right at home with a sockpuppeting sleazeball like Shapps fronting them. Wait, that's perhaps being a little ungenerous to the party. Rather, Cameron is right at home with a sockpuppeting sleazeball like Shapps fronting his party (not surprising really; former PR 'guru' Cameron must feel right at home with people of such 'character' and 'integrity'.)
I really, REALLY hope that Shapps is voted out come May 7th 2015. I couldn't bare yet another parliamentary term (and the knowledge that I'm surrounded by gullible idiots) of this shyster as 'my' MP.
By anubeon September 4, 2012 - 9:37 am
Although I must say. I don't see the similarities in design and code that you see Tim. Visually, they look quite dissimilar and whilst 'Chuck Champion' seems to have (or 'hired' someone to) hand coded howtopickupwomennow.com, 'Michael Green' seems to have used Microsoft FrontPage 6.0 (how lazy!) to design his run of the mill early 90s websites.
I haven't taken the time to review the code in detail though (I find the lack of tab formatting in 'Chuck's' site, makes the code a misery to inspect – how lazy! « Ha! A connection) so maybe I'm missing some less obvious common motifs and/or marketing code?
Regardless of whether 'Chuck Champion' (an obvious alliterative pseudonym) is in fact Grant Shapps, the latter is certainly involved in some rather cheap/lousy online 'wealth generation' schemes. That his sites (e.g. savemysurgery.com) keep company with similarly loathsome online 'content' producers is no surprise. A big reputation fail for Shappsy, me thinks. Especially in light of his record of sockpuppetry, twitter followback 'scams' and fake twitter followers.
By Tim_Ireland September 4, 2012 - 9:52 am
Will happily chat about where I see similarities if called for later (i.e. if Shapps denies this but we only have his denial to go on), but v. busy today. My apologies.
By anubeon September 4, 2012 - 10:19 am
I quite understand. I suspect that you'll get around to it eventually, as he will almost certainly deny (or not bother responding), and when it comes to Grant Shapps (and other hypocrites) you appear to be doggedly determined to call him (and them) out. :-)
Who in the name of hell uses Microsoft Frontpage 6.0 now-a-days⁈ ;-)
By Ajbb September 4, 2012 - 11:40 am
Here is a commentary on Michael Green’s reputation from: http://www.imreportcard.com/people/michael-green
“Michael Green Reputation
Based on my brief research, some members of the online community are somewhat unhappy with the over-inflated value of his accompanying bonus products. Even his own products are over priced with over-hyped sales pitch to accompany them. He seems to take a particular liking to the word secret when the describing his methods and techniques. The problem is, sometimes these methods are not really a secret at all.
This Internet Marketing guru makes use of fake numbers and false deadlines which correlate to the existing date the visitor arrives at his website. This serves as a familiar reminder of the way the way the late Corey Rudl used to market his products. Fortunately for his affiliates, there is nothing to worry about commission payments as most of his products make use of the ClickBank marketplace as the trusted third-party payment and marketing platform.”
By Duncan Edwards September 4, 2012 - 5:32 pm
Great summary, I expect you will be updating soon as more is coming out by the hour. His 'internet Guru' talents are criticised here http://www.imreportcard.com/people/michael-green where his courses are described as 'overhyped' and 'over valued'.
By James September 5, 2012 - 11:53 am
"the business is now in his wife’s name"
The same wife who also "works" alongside her mother in Mr Shapps' constituency office? Or does he mean Michael Green's wife?
By @scotchtwit September 22, 2012 - 7:35 am
Thank you The Guardian: only 3 weeks behind Tim. http://bit.ly/SfrkYW
By john problem September 23, 2012 - 6:03 pm
Our Prime Minister has missed his vocation (or has he?). He should have been an impresario. The latest artistes to be billed on his show comprise:
The Mystery Man – first you see him, then you don't.
The Money Man – a man who can make money disappear merely by saying 'expenses!'
The Snarling Man – who defies the police to arrest him!
The Laughing Lady – a star of the show – she gives money away!
Meanwhile… that well-loved ham, The Juggler, by popular demand, returns with his remarkable money juggling act!
The Big Community Circus is coming your way!