Soliciting Invasion


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Jun 3, 2000
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Okay this pretty much takes the cake. A guy comes into our showroom the other day and walks around pretending to be interested in our products. Then he drops the bomb. He says . My name is so and so and I'm with Y2K Marketing. Do you have internet? Yes we say warily. He says "Go to this site, and I think you'll like what we've done.
I'm too shocked to say anything but it looks like he has come in before and covertly taken pictures of our gallery and asked for brochures on our suppliers while posing as a genuine customer. The web site he built for us (without our permission) was pretty impressive, but I am shocked about this type of marketing and I feel like my privacy has been invaded.
What do you all think? Am I being too sensitive?
Wow! If this guy did, and he must have, surreptitiously take pictures in your shop and then 'created' a web-site, even if it was just 'for trial', seems kinda illegal, at most, and unethical, at best.
Perhaps Michael, who lurks on the Techie forum, might have some insight on this.

Scary! Especially if you consider the possible ramifications.
If that happened to me, I would have no reservations about downloading the site to FrontPage, editing it as needed, and posting it to the web host of my choice.

Keep in mind, that's coming from the guy who copies and enhances newspaper articles for framing, so consult your attorney.
You are not being too sensitive at all!

Without your permission he has stated for the world to see (and if I can see it, so can your customers, potential customers,and competition), your no quibbles money back guarantee, your turn around time of 8 weeks, and, in effect, has set store policies which you may have not officially endorsed.

And do you know for sure that the “Contact Us” information will get back to you and not be forwarded to some spammer?

It’s an attractive come on, but unless you subscribe to each and every policy on the site, I would be ripped and insist that Y2K shut it down immediately.
That person has posted your company on the world wide web without your permission. He has stated policy and pricing, used photographs that you did not approve of for that purpose.

What if you did not want additional advertising, like me? What if you have all the work you can handle?

I would be talking to an attorney so darn fast it would make his head spin. He had better be hustling his business, he is going to need the money for lawyers. That pisses me off just thinking about it, if someone did that to me. Besides that, I do not see anything " impressive " about what he did.

See a lawyer, sue the SOB.

...and on another tangent, (I'm ALTOGETHER in agreement with JRB) and, not meaning to be 'cheeky', but what's to stop him from 'building a website' that might be obscene, detrimental to your reputation, or otherwise negative.

John's right! Talk to an attorney, and sue this guy!
That is just down right creepy!
Talk about a hard cell!
How did he take pictures without you knowing it?

The guy has obviously done a lot of work to gather enough information to put this site together and it does look professional but since he didn't have your permission...
I would certainly tell him to "get lost." It might be a good idea to consult a lawyer. I'm not one to run to a lawyer if it isn't necessary but as I said before, that is creepy!
When we were kids, if we were wronged in some way, we usually just took the perpetrator out back and gave him a good thrashing. As adults, that's called assault and battery, we ain't allowed to do it. That's why we have lawyers, we pay them to do it for us. In this case, the lawyer will undoubtedly take it on a contingency basis. The clown deserves no better.

Well, I can't speak to the legality of what he did but I can inform you that the website work he did was very minimal and looks like it is based off a template... chances are he did this to many people besides you and used a similar layout for all of them.

All in all I'd say he probably spent more time in your store than in front of a computer.

I just discovered a collect call on our shop phone bill which supposedly came collect from an out of state number. It was $8 with tax and I would get it removed if it didn't take so much of my time to run it all down. A sign of ageing when my time is worth more than the principle.

What they have done is a little more than crossing the line. Send a letter stating you have consulted counsel etc. etc.
I agree - It is VERY creepy that someone would be able to do this w/o your permission. (Edit): Also, he needed a "release" signed by you before he could use-post-distribute-publish any photograph that he took. So you do have several legal options to consider. (end edit)

And, like Charles said:
"but what's to stop him from 'building a website' that might be obscene, detrimental to your reputation, or otherwise negative."

or, linking your site to a competitor, porn or some other unsavory area on the web?

On the other hand, you have to admire? (maybe a bad choice of word) his pluck. It is also possible he could be very naive in his thinking that you would be so pleased w/ the results that you would sign-up w/ him? Although the design is most likely a template, it didn't look that bad!
Unless there is anything incorrect on the site or it caused you a loss I don't know what your could sue him for???? Unfortunately being stupid isn't a criminal offense. I would tell this cat to remove the site in the next hour and don't ever plan on doing business with me. I would think then he would go away.

He might just be a misguided businessman that thought he was doing this big thing and was going to WOW you. Im just glad I have never ever been misguided or made business mistakes aren't you?

I also punched up citymax and as I thought they are web hosting outfit for noobs. (and boobs apparently) They have templates that you just plug and go. And judging from the graphics he has used he isn't too skilled either. I would say he is just a creep and could use a real tongue-lashing.

Compare your page to these: they are the same thing.
My husband just informed me that those pics were taken off our site. I guess he didn't have a hidden camera in the store although my chihuahua is quite upset at being called Barney and is ready to throw herself out of one of our upstairs windows.
Seriously though, this is just plain "rude" marketing and I will contact him to have the site taken off. I have made misguided mistakes in the past sure, but this guy is making a career out of it. He's old enough to know better, was well dressed, drove a Land Rover. Wasn't just some kid.
A little too aggressive for me I guess.
Randon question -
how would you handle it if someone came in today and asked for 20% off their purchase (as promised on your webpage thru May 10th)?

This has been common practice in the advertising industry whereas you prepare a "mock" ad for a potential client to "wow" them and hope to sell them an ad in their publication. They have speculated and put some time and effort into this.

In this case -though - they have "published" your information without your permission and of course, without cost but with the hopes you will buy from them.

I don't like that this is available to the public without your approval. I think a simple call to tell him to cease and disist (legal terms!?!) or you will seek legal support (to make him think twice before he does this again)... whether or not you have any legal grounds - who knows... you just want it to go away at this point.

Good luck...


PS and it is a "boiler plate" site...which is not the worst thing - a lot better than the one I created my now "unable to update" site because the vendor went away without warning.
You might hurry and get this off the internet, I found this under store hours:
"We are open 7 days a week 365 days a year."
Unless of course you REALLY are open everyday.

Originally posted by Ron Eggers:
If that happened to me, I would have no reservations about downloading the site to FrontPage, editing it as needed, and posting it to the web host of my choice.

Keep in mind, that's coming from the guy who copies and enhances newspaper articles for framing, so consult your attorney.
I whole heatedly agree with Ron. If you like it, save it and edit with the editor of your choice.
This is not the greatest site, I think if you wanted to you could possibly teach yourself to construct one-maybe even better. However that is not the point, the sleezey marketing tactics of this company is the issue. There is a fine line between being aggressive and doing whatever you want. He has taken it upon himself to do what he wants then try to charge you for it. Ron has a point...can you not copy the design of the site, change it up a bit and make it your own legally? Is it like artwork-if it is altered then it is a new work? I know it is a fine line also...ok just have a lawyer call him and put the smack down on him.

Like Roz says... this is not an uncommon marketing ploy. Like the pen company that sends you a sample pen with your company name on it. (...and, of course I use that pen!) I imagine this guy will respond to your request to get the "free promo" site off the internet. Try that before you call a lawyer. It's a lot cheaper.

Good luck!
Funny you'd mention the pens, Susan. For about ten years-in-a-row, the same California company sent me a sample of the promotional pens they wanted to sell me. The interesting thing was, they constantly mis-spelled the name of my shop as: "The Totel Picture."

I've saved every one of them, but I would never dream of buying pens from a company that can't spell "Total."

There are some typos in the sample website, BTW.
I dug this thread out of the archives to share a story. I have just opened and when I took out my business license my phone has been ringing off the hook. We have a “no call” law in Kentucky but I guess that doesn’t apply to businesses. Today as I was working with a customer, the phone rang TWICE. I heard one say (seconds before I hung up) we have already designed a web site we would like you to see. After the customer left I thought of this thread and decided to call them back.

The number is 713-780.2296 in TX. I think the name of the company is “websites” or something like that. When you dial the number it just rings and nobody answers. Then you hear an auto dialer pick up and dial. Just wait a few seconds and start saying “HELLO HELLO HELLO!”. Then somebody will start with his or her pitch. “Hi I’m some annoying jerk who just wanted to interrupt your business to let you know that we have already designed a website for your business and we would like to fax it to you.”

I had a good 4 minutes of fun before they hung up on me. Then I called back and did it again. I think they grossly underestimated the amount of free time a new frame shop owner has from time to time.