As some of you may already know, eQuery Online is back in operation and is sending out emails soliciting new customers.
What you may not be aware of is this: they are a complete and utter SCAM!
How, you ask?
Well, the fine folks (and when I say folks, I mean one guy named Scott Rhodes) is the same person behind such other scams as Hollywood's Next Success Screenwriting Competition and Raven Magazine.
Scott operated as 'Michelle Miller' and 'Beth Taylor' during his Hollywood's Next Success scam. This scam included taking hundreds of dollars from aspiring screenwriters, then announcing the 'winners' on their website. And you know the funniest part? None of the winners or scripts attributed to them ever existed!
Then Scott became 'Zane Valenti'; a men's magazine publisher. In that scam, he had a few thousand copies of a really dodgy magazine printed up, then called for subscriptions on his website. But guess what? Not very many people ever received the first magazine. Nor did they receive the following issues. You know why? Because none were ever made or printed.
And now he's back in action as 'Dominic LaPaglia' at eQueryonline.com! Pretty sad state of affairs when you have to fall back on one of your failed scams.
But why is he falling back on an old scam?
May have something to do with the fact that his 'Zane Valenti' persona has legal action pending against him in the United States, and had to flee to the Phillippines.
Why? Because in his many Raven Magazine SPAM mailings, he contacted well established groups like photography association members, claiming that their organization gave their names and emails, then offered them discounts as members. So these associations chimed in when outrage was expressed, saying "We've never heard of this guy or his magazine!"
Rather than take his outright lies as fun, they decided that it was unacceptable and filed suit against him. Good for them! If they can catch him!
Here's the address for the Hollywood's Next Success competition, as per their emailings:
And here's the address for Raven Magazine, as per their domain name registration:4647 Kingswell Ave #134
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.whois.net/whois.cgi2?d=ravenmagazine.com4647 Kingswell Ave #134
Los Angeles, CA
And on all three of their websites, they had design work done by Pulse Rate Design. I took it upon myself to contact Pulse Rate Design and dig a little further.
All I could get out of them of something they saw as suspicious is that they had done some recent work for eQuery Online's 'Dominic LaPaglia', but when the bill was paid, it was paid by a Scott Rhodes in the Phillippines.
Hmmm. That wouldn't be the same Scott Rhodes, whose name was on press releases for Raven Magazine, and its parent company 'Energize Media Inc.'?!
So...HNS and Raven share an address. And Raven and eQuery have the same person funding their web design work.
And having (stupidly) submitted scripts to Hollywood's Next Success a few years back, I was a little curious when this email landed in my inbox:
Knowing Scott's scam from the HNS competition of completing fabricating winners and their scripts, I decided to look up some of these so-called 'sales' that his service had made.FOR SUBSCRIBERS ONLY -- Chandler Bing
1. Opportunities to Get Noticed
2. Who's Paying For Screenplays
1. OPPORTUNITY TO GET NOTICED:
eQuery Online is currently allowing screenwriters to use its email query service for HALF
OFF. Script info including logline is addressed BY NAME to hundreds of studio execs,
producers, managers and agents.
Their website can be found at http://www.equeryonline.com
They LIMIT THE NUMBER OF USERS to only 10 writers per week and commit to those 10 writers
on a FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVE BASIS. Logging on to their website right now lets you
reserve a spot for the period starting WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 9th.
"I received 15 requests in one day from industry people! 12 want to read the script...and
the others want me to send them the synopsis!"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
2. PAYING FOR SCREENPLAYS:
Writer Bill McConnell sells his drama spec "The Dying Time" to Merchant/Ivory Films for
low six figures.
Fox 2000 pays low-six figures to writer Art Gibbs for his spec crime drama script
Comedy spec "Better Half" earns writer Eric Chasin low-six figures from Alliance Atlantis.
Writers Sara Penn and Riley Bedard get mid-six figures from Spyglass Entertainment for
their thriller spec "Pulse".
A drama spec "The Spitfire Complex" gets mid-six figures for writer Chris Gambino from
Lions Gate Films pays mid-six figures to Scott Markey and Greg Szew for "Android City",
their sci fi comedy spec script.
"Boxcars", an urban drama spec from Damon Pettigrew earns him high-six figures from
Writer Jay Karz cashes in for high-six figures from New Line Cinema for his suspense spec
Universal pays out high-six figures for spec romantic comedy "Teacher's Pet" to writer
$1 Million or more:
Writer Barry Zoller enjoys seven figures from Sony Pictures for his dark comedy spec
What do you know...not a single one of those writers, or those scripts, exist, let alone having been sold to the companies mentioned! No mention in Variety, Hollywood Reporter or even ScriptSales.com. That's a bit strange, isn't it?!
I wonder how Sony would feel if they found out they had just brought the 'Clones' spec script for a million dollars?!
There's more, but to go on would be rubbing it in. They all used similar registrars and web hosting services for their websites. They all paid for their goods and services through a man named Scott Rhodes. Oh boy.
So there is no eQuery Online or Dominic LaPaglia. There's no Michelle Miller or Beth Taylor at Hollywood's Next Success. And there's no Zane Valenti at Raven Magazine.
There's just a sad little man named Scott Rhodes, hiding out in the Phillippines, hoping his latest scams get him enough to pay the legal fees if/when he's extradited back to the USA.