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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Investor Alley => Topic started by: MMM on March 01, 2014, 10:46:33 AM

Title: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: MMM on March 01, 2014, 10:46:33 AM
Hi all,

In the past, there has been some discussion about the KISS trust company on this forum. Various opinions were expressed, including one where a senior member of the group wrote "This scam product has been discussed here before.  Stay away.  It's a marketing ploy."

That discussion happened to make it to the first page of Google, and someone from the KISS trust company noticed. They did some snooping, dug up my family's street address (which I deliberately do not make public on this blog) and their law firm sent us a slew of registered mails.

Inside the mail was a legal threat insisting that I take the post down because of it allegedly being untrue and libelious.

I forwarded their complaint to a lawyer friend of mine, and he is looking into it in more detail to make sure we are within our rights to leave the post up.

An update on this: It is absolutely within my right to leave that post up. The well established "Section 230" rules explicitly let website owners off the hook for things their users say (as long as they are not intellectual property violations): https://www.eff.org/issues/bloggers/legal/liability/230

It appears to me that the KISS trust company has a practice of Googling itself and trying to censor content and discussions that it feels are "libelous". And this definition even includes some random person expressing the opinion that the company is a scam.

And since their law firm would obviously be aware of that section 230 limitation, it also appears they sent me that threat to intimidate me, even knowing quite well that I could not be held responsible for the user's post.

I'll leave it up to the readers to decide if this is a good business practice. If not, you might want to spread the word of this incident, so others can be warned about the company's business tactics. Just be careful, because the next registered mail might be in YOUR mailbox!

If I hear from them again, I may have to make a top-level MMM article to document what has happened, because shit like this really should not be happening and the world needs to be warned about companies that attempt it.

You don't "protect your company reputation" by gagging others who speak out against it. You protect it by doing good work and making sure that your OWN website displays accurate facts.

Any further legal help would be welcome, since it would be nice to work against this from both ends of the table.

Another update: they DID continue the harassment, by sending me a second complaint about THIS thread. Fuck that. Here's the main-blog article as promised: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/03/11/mmm-receives-legal-threats-great-lawyer-wanted/

This is not intended to harm the company's business - simply to report what they are doing, so they will stop doing it. If KISS issues an apology and a promise to NEVER harass any website owner again over similar complaints, I'll gladly publish their retraction and all will be well.

If they continue to raise the threat level, this story just might become interesting enough to get picked up in the Washington Post! We can hope, anyway.

This
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: matchewed on March 01, 2014, 10:54:37 AM
IMO that is a bullshit move on their part. That's all I've got to say on that subject. Wish I could help in some way.

*edit* added IMO for clarification that the aforementioned bullshit move in no way represents fact; unless it is a fact that attempting to scrub any negative reviews of your product or services is a bullshit move.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Daleth on March 01, 2014, 10:58:45 AM
For future reference, when we post opinions about certain products, funds, etc., we should all make a practice of prefacing it with the words, "In my opinion..." As in, "In my opinion, X product is just a marketing ploy" or "In my opinion, it seems like a scam" (as opposed to "is a scam").

With the disclaimer that this kind of thing has to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and I can't provide legal advice in advance about stuff people haven't written yet, at least in the US it is all but impossible to bring a libel case against an opinion that is clearly labeled as such. Libel means posting false FACTS about someone (a person or a company)--facts as in, statements that can be objectively verified as either true or false--and opinions by definition are not verifiable facts. (That's why I suggest "seems like a scam" rather than "is a scam" above--to ensure that you're so far into the opinion zone that no competent lawyer will bother harassing you.)

Note that this only works if what you're posting actually is an opinion. You can't say, for instance, "In my opinion, the CEO of X company is a felon." He or she either is or is not a felon--that's objectively verifiable--so calling it an opinion doesn't save you from a libel charge. The distinction is subtle; probably if you said, "In my opinion, the CEO of X company should be prosecuted for a felony," that's pretty clearly an opinion.

This FAQ is about defamation, but the rules are the same:
http://www.chillingeffects.org/defamation/faq#QID715
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: LDoon on March 01, 2014, 01:02:52 PM
Remember that sending take-down letters is fairly cheap (at least in the legal world) and that it's the next steps that get expensive.  Glad to hear you're having your attorney handle it though. 

You might consider either revising / updating the forum engagement rules.  Or add a click-acceptance disclaimer each time a user wants to post in or view the forum (i.e., user acknowledges that the views expressed herein are not the necessarily the views of Mr. MM, and that the information is not fact-checked.  Enter at your own risk, etc.).
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Exflyboy on March 01, 2014, 01:29:28 PM
I guess whatever we feel about this we have to be careful, because we basically can't afford it. Just to defend yourself against a big lawsuit could seriously challenge someone's financial independence so it would be wise not to "poke the bear" so to speak.

Frank
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: MDM on March 01, 2014, 01:37:46 PM
Topical thread over here: http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=107952 (http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=107952)

Especially down at post http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=107952#p1971344 (http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=107952#p1971344)

Perhaps MMM's attorney could collaborate with Boglehead's attorney.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: foobar on March 01, 2014, 02:57:07 PM
Sending registered mail for legal issues is pretty standard. Aren't you required to have a registered agent if you want safe harbor protection for running the forums?

FWIW most of the current legal cases absolve sites of legal responsibility for posts (assuming the site is following proper legal procedure). The posters on the other hand are held liable for their actions. See the various yelp and angie lists lawsuits over the past 3 years.  Wether calling a company a scam is libelous is something for the lawyers to hash out. I am sure the legal fees will far exceed any damages awarded:)


Hi all,

In the past, there has been some discussion about the KISS trust company on this forum. Various opinions were expressed, including one where a senior member of the group wrote "This scam product has been discussed here before.  Stay away.  It's a marketing ploy."

That discussion happened to make it to the first page of Google, and someone from the KISS trust company noticed. They did some snooping, dug up my family's street address (which I deliberately do not make public on this blog) and their law firm sent us a slew of registered mails.

Inside the mail was a legal threat insisting that I take the post down because of it allegedly being untrue and libelious.

I forwarded their complaint to a lawyer friend of mine, and he is looking into it in more detail to make sure we are within our rights to leave the post up.

But to be safe, I removed that thread for now and decided to let you all know that this is the reason.

It appears to me that the KISS trust company has a practice of Googling itself and trying to censor content and discussions that it feels are "libelious". And this definition even includes some random person expressing the opinion that the company is a scam.

After all, you wouldn't want random strangers saying mean things about you on the Internet, right? Best to try to silence them all.

Heck, maybe I should start doing this too - threatening MSN, Yahoo, and Conde Nast (who owns Reddit) every time somebody says something "libelious" about me or the MMM blog in general. That would greatly improve the blog's reputation and we could finally get the respect we all deserve!!

I'll leave it up to the readers to decide if this is a good business practice. If not, you might want to spread the word of this incident, so others can be warned about the company's business tactics. Just be careful, because the next registered mail might be in YOUR mailbox!

If I hear from them again, I may have to make a top-level MMM article to document what has happened, because shit like this really should not be happening and the world needs to be warned about companies that attempt it.

You don't "protect your company reputation" by gagging others who speak out against it. You protect it by doing good work and making sure that your OWN website displays accurate facts.

Any further legal help would be welcome, since it would be nice to work against this from both ends of the table.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: BPA on March 01, 2014, 03:40:16 PM
Interesting.  I'd never even heard of the K-word Trust before (can we call them that or is The Trust that Cannot Be Named a better idea?), but I do think that I would never want to do business with a company that would try to silence critics rather than do something to rectify the problem. 

Methinks this is an example of Corporate Complainypants.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Fireman on March 01, 2014, 03:58:15 PM
I did a quick Google search and found lots of positive information including links to their website, their blog, and several articles mentioning the company, all positively.  None of the typical review sites even popped up in the first two pages and BBB had them at an A+ with no complaints even filed in three years.  Either they are squeaky clean or you're not the first person to receive some sort of cease and desist order.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Nords on March 01, 2014, 04:47:00 PM
Any further legal help would be welcome, since it would be nice to work against this from both ends of the table.
I'm not a lawyer, MMM, but the last FinCon had at least one lawyer give a talk on this subject.  You might want to e-mail PT Money for the names/experience of the legal experts (and the bloggers) who have dealt with these cases.

As annoying as businesses like this may be, "in my opinion" they're not worth the respect of a response.  Far more is achieved by ignoring them than by confronting them... or by forwarding the letter to Liz Weston, Jean Chatzky, Farnoosh, and the rest of the media!
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: sol on March 01, 2014, 05:04:50 PM
I'll own up to being the source of the problem, the original poster who labeled these folks as dirty.  Hooray, I finally amounted to something in life!  I got MMM in trouble!

My scam designation was in part based on an earlier thread about KISS Trusts, which is now apparently lost to the sands of time because I've been unable to find it.  There were several people here talking about the services these K-holes were promising, and how they are essentially just branding an existing form of legal document with a catchy name and then charging a premium for it.

Setting aside for a moment the ridiculousness of holding MMM liable for my mouth, I didn't mean "scam" in the usual context of "will take all of your money and move to China" but rather in the "will blatantly over-charge you for services you don't need while making promises they know the can't keep."

In most cases a 529 plan is a better option, in the typical scenario of wanting to set aside money for a descendant to be paid out in the event of your death.  In all cases the best option is to just stay alive, or die and use your will to give the money to the people you want to have it.  All of the claimed tax benefits of these trusts are wishful thinking.  Everyone pays taxes, and attempts to dodge are just going to get you in trouble.

From my understanding, the KISS Trust basically work like this...

1.  You want to give money to your kid (or whoever).

2.  So you give your money to me instead, irrevocably, with instructions that I should give it to your kid.

3.  I charge you a fee to give your money to your kid, slowly over time. 

In the meantime, all of your money is mine to do with as I please. I can invest it, spend it, lend against it, use it as capital, or wad it up and smoke it.  As long as I promise to pay your kid some amount (which is less than you gave me) over time.  And even if I don't, what are you going to do?  You irrevocably gave your money to me.  It's mine now, and all you have to show for it is my good word that I intend to give some of it back.

Is this really any more unethical than a mutual fund that charges you a 2.5% fee to invest your money in funds that underperform the market as a whole?  Or a financial advisor who recommends investment because he gets a commission if you buy particular funds?  Probably not more unethical, but neither is this a service the world wants or needs.

The KISS Trust people are VERY good at PR.  All of the earlier negative reviews have mysteriously disappeared, and now all google finds is their carefully crafted PR message, including illegitimate "endorsements" taken out of context like the Bogleheads thread linked above.   

Now they've gotten every financial blog in the multiverse to write about their product, usually favorably.  But I'm not a blog, I'm just some guy with no financial interest in whether any of you buy their product or not, and my honest opinion is that these guys are modern day snake oil salesman, prepackaging an existing product in a fancy wrapper and exploiting the financially illiterate masses by blanketing the internet in astroturfed pseudo-reviews. 

There, NOW they have an unfavorable review on the internet to worry about.  I hope that I've included the phrases Kiss Trust and KissTrust review in this thread often enough that it rises to the top of the google search results.

And if the Kiss Trust people are upset about it, MMM can have them send me a cease and desist letter for reviewing their product online. 

My apologies to the MMM family for complicating things by voicing my opinion on the internet.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: nyxst on March 01, 2014, 05:14:09 PM
Totally sucks :( that is all.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: ch12 on March 01, 2014, 05:41:49 PM
I saw Mrs. MM's tweet about the legal action: https://twitter.com/mrsmoneym/status/431844469109846016

Thanks for being open with us. Seriously, IMO they don't have legal grounds to sue MMM (the corp/blog). Tim Ferriss gamed the way that people would Google Tim Ferriss Scam by making an article pretty much titled that. You can protect your internet reputation in better ways than threatening a blogger for hosting discussions.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Fireman on March 01, 2014, 05:50:41 PM
I hope that I've included the phrases Kiss Trust and KissTrust review in this thread often enough that it rises to the top of the google search results.

Top of the third page!
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: sol on March 01, 2014, 06:01:14 PM
Top of the third page!

Good, maybe their PR people will register here just to give us their side of the story. 

Or maybe they'll just have their lawyers send MMM another letter and he can take this thread down too.  You know, just to be safe.  Just in case.  While the lawyer looks into it.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: MilStachian on March 01, 2014, 06:13:11 PM
Class act KISS Trust!  I'm sure threatening legal action is a great way to gain new customers! 

I hope everyone on the interwebs comes across this post and sees what you're really all about.  Maybe we can promote it by all mentioning their name more?

KISS Trust!
KISS Trust!
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on March 01, 2014, 06:14:58 PM
Top of the third page!

Good, maybe their PR people will register here just to give us their side of the story. 

Or maybe they'll just have their lawyers send MMM another letter

Probably this.

Companies resort to legal threats because the complaints/reviews are legitimate.

I, for one, would donate to an MMM legal defense fund, if necessary, to keep speech free on the forums and keep slimy companies from abusing the legal system to silence legitimate criticism.

I also find it ironic that Kiss Trust blatantly stole the words of Bogleheads users (above) and then when caught claimed the comments were "part of the public domain."

Yeah?  Well so is my opinion that Kiss Trust sucks*.

I also note that the Bogleheads post about them is page 1 of Google.  Maybe someone can post in that thread about the lawsuit, linking to this one?

*Note: This is an opinion, not a statement of fact, and represents solely the opinion of this author, and anyone else who posts agreement, not necessarily the owner of this blog.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: MMM on March 01, 2014, 06:45:39 PM
I, for one, would donate to an MMM legal defense fund, if necessary, to keep speech free on the forums and keep slimy companies from abusing the legal system to silence legitimate criticism.

Aww, thanks Arebelspy. But don't worry, this forum can probably afford to pay for its own legal hassles, just because of that ad banner at the bottom. It gets enough occasional clicks, multiplied across many views, to pay for Sol's indiscretions ;-)

WE should all be donating to YOU and the other moderators, for the excellent work you do behind the scenes keeping this forum running so well. And for encouraging me to set it up in the first place. And equal thanks to all the people who host the questions from newcomers.

This is a great forum and an incredible community, which is probably why the forum alone now gets something like 3 million pageviews per month and shows up at the top of Google whenever anybody mentions anything. Let's use this power for good.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Fireman on March 01, 2014, 07:44:29 PM
A cursory look at their review page and the Bogleheads logo and content appear to have been removed.

The heavy handed tactics by SuckTrust reminded me of a negative review gone awry (http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/11/18/this-couple-found-out-the-hard-way-that-writing-a-negative-online-review-could-land-you-a-3k-fine-and-wrecked-credit-score/).
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on March 01, 2014, 08:04:47 PM
Companies attempting legal action to silence critics, and it becoming a much bigger deal than if they ignored it is called the Streisand Effect (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect).

Maybe Kiss Trust will one day be on the example list on Wikipedia.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: foobar on March 01, 2014, 08:21:33 PM
I think your descriptions of trusts is probably liberalous:) I haven't read about KISS trusts in particular but no trust administrators  don't own the money. The trust does and the trustees have a ton of guidelines to follow. The ones I have seen always have an investment plan of some type (ranging from  specific mutual funds to general advice guidelines) and withdrawal rules (get 4% of the value per year with the trust paying out 100% on the 40th birthday).

That being said make sure a trust makes sense before committing to it. Most of us can get by without funding trusts until after we die (i.e. don't want you 18 year old to get 500k). And if you have a complicated situation (net worth north of 5 million, multiple spouses and step kids, want to skip a generation with an inheritence...) you should probably talk to an attorney that knows a lot about your specific problems.

I do love the example of 5000 dollars being worth a million(nothing like getting 11% after taxes and fees for 60 years) when the kid cashes in the trust 60 years later. Sounds great but in 60 years a million dollars is going to be more like 200k in todays dollars. Still a nice gain but it doesn't sound as cool:)

I'll own up to being the source of the problem, the original poster who labeled these folks as dirty.  Hooray, I finally amounted to something in life!  I got MMM in trouble!

My scam designation was in part based on an earlier thread about KISS Trusts, which is now apparently lost to the sands of time because I've been unable to find it.  There were several people here talking about the services these K-holes were promising, and how they are essentially just branding an existing form of legal document with a catchy name and then charging a premium for it.

Setting aside for a moment the ridiculousness of holding MMM liable for my mouth, I didn't mean "scam" in the usual context of "will take all of your money and move to China" but rather in the "will blatantly over-charge you for services you don't need while making promises they know the can't keep."

In most cases a 529 plan is a better option, in the typical scenario of wanting to set aside money for a descendant to be paid out in the event of your death.  In all cases the best option is to just stay alive, or die and use your will to give the money to the people you want to have it.  All of the claimed tax benefits of these trusts are wishful thinking.  Everyone pays taxes, and attempts to dodge are just going to get you in trouble.

From my understanding, the KISS Trust basically work like this...

1.  You want to give money to your kid (or whoever).

2.  So you give your money to me instead, irrevocably, with instructions that I should give it to your kid.

3.  I charge you a fee to give your money to your kid, slowly over time. 

In the meantime, all of your money is mine to do with as I please. I can invest it, spend it, lend against it, use it as capital, or wad it up and smoke it.  As long as I promise to pay your kid some amount (which is less than you gave me) over time.  And even if I don't, what are you going to do?  You irrevocably gave your money to me.  It's mine now, and all you have to show for it is my good word that I intend to give some of it back.

Is this really any more unethical than a mutual fund that charges you a 2.5% fee to invest your money in funds that underperform the market as a whole?  Or a financial advisor who recommends investment because he gets a commission if you buy particular funds?  Probably not more unethical, but neither is this a service the world wants or needs.

The KISS Trust people are VERY good at PR.  All of the earlier negative reviews have mysteriously disappeared, and now all google finds is their carefully crafted PR message, including illegitimate "endorsements" taken out of context like the Bogleheads thread linked above.   

Now they've gotten every financial blog in the multiverse to write about their product, usually favorably.  But I'm not a blog, I'm just some guy with no financial interest in whether any of you buy their product or not, and my honest opinion is that these guys are modern day snake oil salesman, prepackaging an existing product in a fancy wrapper and exploiting the financially illiterate masses by blanketing the internet in astroturfed pseudo-reviews. 

There, NOW they have an unfavorable review on the internet to worry about.  I hope that I've included the phrases Kiss Trust and KissTrust review in this thread often enough that it rises to the top of the google search results.

And if the Kiss Trust people are upset about it, MMM can have them send me a cease and desist letter for reviewing their product online. 

My apologies to the MMM family for complicating things by voicing my opinion on the internet.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Cheddar Stacker on March 01, 2014, 09:07:15 PM
*Note: This is an opinion, not a statement of fact, and represents solely the opinion of this author, and anyone else who posts agreement, not necessarily the owner of this blog.

Maybe we should all just put this in our signature line? It should be the default setting when you create an account. Good luck with this BS MMM!
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: BPA on March 01, 2014, 09:21:16 PM
At the risk of sounding like the MMM equivalent of a Trekkie, this reminds me of when that dickhead credit card company tried to get "Badassity" removed from the site banner and they were jettisoned instead.

Principles matter.

Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Justin234 on March 01, 2014, 09:29:28 PM
I would like to just note, perhaps tangentially, perhaps not, that Kiss Trust has a Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiss_Trust

It my own personal opinion (and not the opinion of the manager of this site, original poster, or any other thread participant), that their Wikipedia page is a glorified advertisement. If you look at the edit history, it was almost entirely written by editor "Bart.the.bard", whose only other editing contribution was to the article on "cover-up" (hmm... small irony there?)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Bart.the.bard

This is the type of article that, in my opinion, tends to be set up by a company representative in order to just sit there on Wikipedia, sending the message to curious potential customers that they are somehow noteworthy. No other Wikipedia article links to their page.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:WhatLinksHere/Kiss_Trust

I'm no expert Wikipedia editor, by in my opinion the article should either be deleted as not noteworthy, or toned down to be more neutral, perhaps by including information about controversies regarding their PR behavior.

I will add that it is, in my opinion, a travesty that Kiss Trust has a Wikipedia article and Mr. Money Mustache does not.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: MMM on March 01, 2014, 10:12:39 PM
That's interesting, because on July 20th, 2013 a user calling himself "BartWilson" signed up for this forum, and for his first two posts, wrote promotional-sounding things about KISS trust.

The posts were noticed and flagged by Sol on September 13th, and the account was deleted. We still have the online records with timestamps of everything in the moderator section of this forum, which is why I was able to look it up just now.

It could easily be just a coincidence, but who knows - in a company that manages its online reputation so actively, it is entirely possible that they have fake people out there adding promotional content.

This happens VERY regularly on this forum - almost every day, the moderators have to flag and delete fake corporate people pretending to be real people who are recommending products and services via thinly-veiled advertisements.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: jnik on March 02, 2014, 07:07:11 AM
This type of thing is red meat to the good folks at Popehat (http://www.popehat.com/free-speech-resources/) (link to their free speech resources page, which, like all free legal advice, is 100% guaranteed to be worth what you paid for it.) There's also a "contact" link there in case things escalate and they may be able to put up a request for pro-bono counsel.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: ScienceSexSavings on March 02, 2014, 11:40:44 AM
I hope that I've included the phrases Kiss Trust and KissTrust review in this thread often enough that it rises to the top of the google search results.

Top of the third page!

I found us near the top of the second! We're gaining traction!
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: foobar on March 02, 2014, 01:59:43 PM
Need to cross post to a bunch of other threads if you want to improve your google page rank.:) (Actually I don't think this works anymore).

Popelink did have a link to one of the resources I remember: http://www.dmlp.org/section-230 . The game of chicken is that if you do nothing and the sue, you both are spending 20k+ in legal fees to have the case dismissed. Who wants to burn 20k more?

I hope that I've included the phrases Kiss Trust and KissTrust review in this thread often enough that it rises to the top of the google search results.

Top of the third page!

I found us near the top of the second! We're gaining traction!
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: sol on March 02, 2014, 02:12:49 PM
I found us near the top of the second! We're gaining traction!

In that case, I'm sure the KISS Trust people have already found this thread as part of their routine review of their product's online reputation, and will show up here in short order.

I for one welcome their participation, as long as it's civil.  I'd love to have a knowledgeable company rep come explain why they think their product is worthwhile.  Because I don't see it, but I'm open to being educated.

But my expectation, based on their previous posting here and similar goings-on in the Everest Wealth Management thread (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/welcome-to-the-forum/everest-wealth-management-threatens-mmm-blog-with-legal-action/), is that we'll instead see anonymous vitriolic rantings posted from a newly created account with less than five posts.  These litigious companies aren't usually interested in actually engaging the online community, they just want to whitewash negative reviews. 
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: davisgang90 on March 02, 2014, 04:16:05 PM
In my opinion the KISS trust folks sound like cyber-bullying douchebags.  But of course that is only my opinion and all.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: soccerluvof4 on March 03, 2014, 05:04:28 AM
I think a simple disclaimer on posts/view points automatically when a user replies would eliminate any risks. We all have a right to our View points.  Seems like just some simple language will clear this up.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on March 03, 2014, 08:14:45 AM
I think a simple disclaimer on posts/view points automatically when a user replies would eliminate any risks. We all have a right to our View points.  Seems like just some simple language will clear this up.

From what I understand of the internet, this isn't even necessary. MMM is not responsible for our opinions. (Of course I am not a lawyer, and he/anyone else should consult their own on that.)

But usually site owners don't want to fight it due to the legal expense involved, even if it is a bogus claim.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: oldtoyota on March 03, 2014, 08:39:38 AM
Companies attempting legal action to silence critics, and it becoming a much bigger deal than if they ignored it is called the Streisand Effect (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streisand_effect).

Maybe Kiss Trust will one day be on the example list on Wikipedia.

Love the Streisand Effect. I never gave much thought to KISS before. Now, I'll know to avoid it--thanks to their cease and desist letter!

Sol--You troublemaker. =-)

Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: tomsang on March 03, 2014, 01:01:25 PM
In my opinion, I think we should all support them.  Is there a way to Google something, have their glorious business be listed, click on the link to learn about their wonderful products, and allow Google and others to make a few bucks on adclicks?  If there ad budget is spent by MMM, then they will have less dollars to attract the sheep.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Silverado on March 08, 2014, 07:28:07 AM
Stripping out the actual content of this thread, it really shows the true colors and strength of the group here. Really appreciate hearing some of the behind the scenes work MMM and the mods do to keep the signal to noise ratio so high. Great stuff.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: webguy on March 08, 2014, 09:01:44 AM
I have experience with companies like Kiss Trust. Working in the online product space I come across companies all the time who fake positive reviews and leave false negative reviews on competitors sites to destroy their reputations and funnel users to their product or service. I don't know whether or not the product is a scam, but frankly I wouldn't want a company who acts in such a deceitful way to have their hands anywhere near my money. If they can use underhand tactics to forge their online presence then you can be assured they won't hesitate to do the same in order to keep as much of your money as possible.

If you're looking for a Kiss Trust review, searching the internet for "Kiss Trust scam" to see whether or not they are legit, or just searching for "Kiss Trust" then my advice is to look a little deeper than the first few pages of Google and consider why all you're seeing is rainbows and butterflies from these . It's my opinion that any company who silences anyone who voices their honest opinion about their product or service can NOT be trusted. They obviously have something to hide.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: starguru on March 08, 2014, 02:17:30 PM
The folks at popehat.com (a First Amendment blog) deal with exactly this type of thing.  MMM might want to give Ken over there an email. 
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: LowER on March 08, 2014, 05:28:14 PM
EDIT: Please disregard.  I only re-posted MDM's URL: http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=107952.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: webguy on March 11, 2014, 01:53:39 PM
It is my opinion that this post is now #8 on the 1st page of google: https://www.google.com/#q=kiss+trust

Nice work Kiss Trust. You might have just shot yourself in the foot.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: jordanread on March 11, 2014, 06:39:13 PM
Nice work Kiss Trust. You might have just shot yourself in the foot.
Oh, and I'm sure (my opinion is that) the new post on the blog helped a lot, even if he didn't mention them by name.

And @sol...I found it!!! And it's all your fault :P
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Bank on March 11, 2014, 07:02:09 PM
I look forward to continuing to not buy KISS products.  Bunch of donkeys.

*This is my personal opinion and does not reflect the views of the owner of this blog.  As far as I know.*
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: dragoncar on March 11, 2014, 07:13:47 PM
Commenting to follow thread.

Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Ohio Teacher on March 11, 2014, 07:52:39 PM
Front page of a Google search!  https://www.google.com/search?q=kiss+trust
I had never heard of the Streisand effect before, and evidently neither had their minions.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: jordanread on March 11, 2014, 07:53:18 PM
EDITED: Because, as usual...arebelspy is the bestest grown up. :-)
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on March 11, 2014, 08:09:29 PM
I would personally vote not to do that in this thread (amusing as it is), lest a searcher for Kiss Trust comes across this thread searching for them and decides that we are the immature ones, rather than Kiss Trust.  I'd say edit that out, let's stick with the facts, but up to you guys.  :)
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: dragoncar on March 11, 2014, 08:14:39 PM
(amusing as it is), lest a searcher for Kiss Trust comes across this thread searching for them and decides that we are the immature ones

I'm not sure they'd be wrong, but I can remove it.  I kinda feel like that ship has already sailed.

Edit:  although my (non legal advice) opinion is that clearly satirical juvenile joking is far safer as protected speech.  So it would probably benefit MMM to characterize us as a bunch of smart asses that nobody would ever take seriously. 
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on March 11, 2014, 08:23:54 PM
Yeah, but when the story blows up and press come to cite this thread, it'll be better to have it "clean."  ;)
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: jordanread on March 11, 2014, 08:29:23 PM
Yeah, but when the story blows up and press come to cite this thread, it'll be better to have it "clean."  ;)
To that end, I would like to re-iterate that, all joking aside, we would more than welcome a civilized discussion with KISS Trust or their agents (especially if they identify themselves as such) to answer questions and respond to any statements that may or may not have been made.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: dragoncar on March 11, 2014, 08:30:21 PM
Yeah, but when the story blows up and press come to cite this thread, it'll be better to have it "clean."  ;)

I doubt it would blow up.  Unless MMM told his story to one of the many reporters who have interviewed him
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: jordanread on March 11, 2014, 08:33:00 PM
I doubt it would blow up.  Unless MMM told his story to one of the many reporters who have interviewed him
I think the power of the community could definitely make this into a thing.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on March 11, 2014, 09:03:09 PM
Yeah, but when the story blows up and press come to cite this thread, it'll be better to have it "clean."  ;)

I doubt it would blow up.  Unless MMM told his story to one of the many reporters who have interviewed him

Probably not, but you never know.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: odput on March 12, 2014, 06:14:26 AM
A Google search this morning shows that results 1-3 are the kiss trust website and various sections of their site, #4 is the kiss trust wikipedia site (probably managed by their folks) and #5 is this MMM thread....nice work mustachians....we are now the top non-kiss managed search result and oh yeah, did I mention that the Google headline is the title of this thread?  So now anyone who looks at the first page of Google knows what kind of practices this company engages in

Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Nothlit on March 12, 2014, 06:52:39 AM
Google search results are often "personalized" such that they automatically rank pages higher that they think might be more relevant to you. So if Google knows you regularly visit the MMM forum, they are more likely to rank a search hit on the MMM forum higher for you than for someone who doesn't regularly visit MMM. One way to get a truly generic Google search results page is to use "incognito" or "private" mode in your browser when performing the search.

When I searched for "kiss trust" just now, this thread was #4 while I was logged in to Google, and #5 when I was in incognito mode. A similar Bogleheads thread was #5 while logged in, and #9 while in incognito mode.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: odput on March 12, 2014, 06:59:44 AM
Oh Google...you know me so well

However, using incognito mode, result is the same...#5 on the list

Since I don't want to derail this thread with a discussion about Google, perhaps we should all bombard our local news outlets with these ongoings and see if any of them pick up the story?

Maybe the local Maryland station would send out their call for action team or whatever investigation people they may have
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Fireman on March 12, 2014, 07:49:55 AM
Third (https://www.google.com/search?q=kiss+trust&oq=kiss+trust&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i61l2j69i59l2j0.2845j0j7&sourceid=chrome&espv=210&es_sm=91&ie=UTF-8).

Barbara Streisand, eat your heart out.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: EngGirl on March 12, 2014, 08:04:53 AM
IMO, good decision to aggravate a whole bunch of outspoken, tech savvy, financially literate people KISS Trust! Brilliant PR move!
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: tomsang on March 12, 2014, 08:21:02 AM
Did you read their wiki page?  They have a section on criticism that mentions their legal action to suppress negative legal actions. Do we have any Wiki editors who can beef up all the various suppression that has occurred? That could be educational as people look to wiki for information

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiss_Trust

If this thing goes further it will be interesting to see what pops out of discovery.

Please provide a list of all cease and desist orders that you have sent since inception

Please provide an explanation for each of these on why you were suppressing the discussion

Please provide support for all of your claims made 

Please provide a list of all aliases that were used on all social media websites

Please provide a list of all comments made your agents on said social media sites

Please provide all financial statements and audits

I guess it would be discovery so you can drop the please. What other information will come out during discovery?

All comments and questions are my opinion

Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: workathomedad on March 12, 2014, 08:44:18 AM
Their attorney appears to specialize in Criminal Defense and not this kind of work - I'm confused?

http://www.markbwilliams.com
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Lentils5eva on March 12, 2014, 08:45:36 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratton_Oakmont,_Inc._v._Prodigy_Services_Co.

This is a pretty interesting and similar case.  Stratton Oakmont, which people will recognize as Jordan Belfort's firm in the Wolf of Wall St., had a similar practice of suing ISPs for things posted by community members.  The NY courts ruled that Prodigy could be held responsible for what its posters said because it exercised editorial control over the boards.  Section 230 of the CDA was enacted specifically to overrule the Stratton case, and to immunize forum providers/managers from precisely this type of liability.

Just noting that there's a long and storied history of shady financial companies trying to use the legal system to shut down people trying to expose them.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on March 12, 2014, 08:46:04 AM
Did you read their wiki page?  They have a section on criticism that mentions their legal action to suppress negative legal actions. Do we have any Wiki editors who can beef up all the various suppression that has occurred? That could be educational as people look to wiki for information

That is new, as of today, but definitely a good idea.  I'm sure they monitor that, and will start an editing war over it through.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Lentils5eva on March 12, 2014, 08:51:09 AM
Also, I laughed out loud at the point in the letter where we got to the "RICO claims."  That old MMM, such a Racketeer Influenced, Corrupt Organization.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Runge on March 12, 2014, 09:29:24 AM
Did you read their wiki page?  They have a section on criticism that mentions their legal action to suppress negative legal actions. Do we have any Wiki editors who can beef up all the various suppression that has occurred? That could be educational as people look to wiki for information

That is new, as of today, but definitely a good idea.  I'm sure they monitor that, and will start an editing war over it through.

I just checked the wikipage, and someone has already removed the criticism section.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on March 12, 2014, 09:41:09 AM
You know what would be HILARIOUS? If this turned out like...

http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/04/the-madness-ends-lawyer-charles-carreon-to-pay-46100/

That Oatmeal situation was a great one.

http://theoatmeal.com/blog/funnyjunk
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on March 12, 2014, 09:45:19 AM
Did you read their wiki page?  They have a section on criticism that mentions their legal action to suppress negative legal actions. Do we have any Wiki editors who can beef up all the various suppression that has occurred? That could be educational as people look to wiki for information

That is new, as of today, but definitely a good idea.  I'm sure they monitor that, and will start an editing war over it through.

I just checked the wikipage, and someone has already removed the criticism section.

Hah.  Of course.  Maybe someone can restore it. 

(http://blog.stackoverflow.com/wp-content/uploads/wiki-revert-lolcat.jpg)
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: odput on March 12, 2014, 10:15:44 AM
Did you read their wiki page?  They have a section on criticism that mentions their legal action to suppress negative legal actions.

I assume whoever put that on there is an MMM forum user and is following this thread, so, whoever you are: please, please, pleeeeeaase add this scenario to the Streisand Effect wikipedia page
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Spork on March 12, 2014, 10:26:44 AM
Did you read their wiki page?  They have a section on criticism that mentions their legal action to suppress negative legal actions. Do we have any Wiki editors who can beef up all the various suppression that has occurred? That could be educational as people look to wiki for information

That is new, as of today, but definitely a good idea.  I'm sure they monitor that, and will start an editing war over it through.

I just checked the wikipage, and someone has already removed the criticism section.

and the removal has been removed...
 (Undid revision 599295171 by x.x.x.x (talk) If you think the section needs deletion please justify that and/or use talk page.)
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: dragoncar on March 12, 2014, 11:32:11 AM
Did you read their wiki page?  They have a section on criticism that mentions their legal action to suppress negative legal actions. Do we have any Wiki editors who can beef up all the various suppression that has occurred? That could be educational as people look to wiki for information

That is new, as of today, but definitely a good idea.  I'm sure they monitor that, and will start an editing war over it through.

I just checked the wikipage, and someone has already removed the criticism section.

and the removal has been removed...
 (Undid revision 599295171 by x.x.x.x (talk) If you think the section needs deletion please justify that and/or use talk page.)

If it hasn't been covered by actual journalists yet, it will probably stay removed.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Mt Tahoe on March 12, 2014, 11:44:07 AM
I am all for sticking it to the "kiss trust" company. If they really do offer a bad product, then the people should be able to voice their opinions. I can't stand bullying and especially when a law firm does it.

I seriously don't think they have much ground to sue....
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: lsm on March 12, 2014, 11:49:42 AM
Longtime reader, first-time poster.

I'm an occasional Wikipedia editor, and I'd be glad to add KISS TRUST as an example on the Streisand Effect page if appropriate once the dust has settled.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on March 12, 2014, 12:07:43 PM
Longtime reader, first-time poster.

I'm an occasional Wikipedia editor, and I'd be glad to add KISS TRUST as an example on the Streisand Effect page if appropriate once the dust has settled.

Welcome!  The way they're handling this, I wouldn't be surprised.  If they're smart they'll realize letting it die out is their best case scenario.  I'm skeptical they're that smart though.  ;)
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: jbmatth on March 12, 2014, 01:34:21 PM
It will be interesting to see how this all pans out, in my opinion.  I'll follow along for the ride.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: LanceBurkhart on March 12, 2014, 05:15:43 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratton_Oakmont,_Inc._v._Prodigy_Services_Co.

This is a pretty interesting and similar case.  Stratton Oakmont, which people will recognize as Jordan Belfort's firm in the Wolf of Wall St., had a similar practice of suing ISPs for things posted by community members.  The NY courts ruled that Prodigy could be held responsible for what its posters said because it exercised editorial control over the boards.  Section 230 of the CDA was enacted specifically to overrule the Stratton case, and to immunize forum providers/managers from precisely this type of liability.

Just noting that there's a long and storied history of shady financial companies trying to use the legal system to shut down people trying to expose them.

LMAO. Kiss trust is in good company*

*This post contains no statements of fact, only the opinion of LanceBurkhart. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. Void where prohibited. Some assembly required. For external use only.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Paul der Krake on March 12, 2014, 05:21:02 PM
Well, it even made Hacker News a few hours ago, which is probably why the forum was down earlier. I would pay good money to sit in the same room with a bucket of popcorn in my hands at their next board meeting.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on March 12, 2014, 05:36:57 PM
Well, it even made Hacker News a few hours ago, which is probably why the forum was down earlier. I would pay good money to sit in the same room with a bucket of popcorn in my hands at their next board meeting.

Forum was down due to a database error, not traffic.  Bummer that it was down while on HN.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Joggernot on March 12, 2014, 05:49:35 PM
IMO KISS Trust has done enough to make themselves noticeable.  IMO I'm helping MMM out by posting this note.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: sol on March 12, 2014, 06:01:54 PM
Forum was down due to a database error, not traffic.  Bummer that it was down while on HN.

The Kiss Trust site, meanwhile, is still dark.  Either they've closed up shop to hide out for a while, or the increasing distribution of this story has flooded their servers.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Fireman on March 12, 2014, 06:32:50 PM
LMAO. Kiss trust is in good company*

*This post contains no statements of fact, only the opinion of LanceBurkhart. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. Void where prohibited. Some assembly required. For external use only.

Batteries not included.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: hybrid on March 12, 2014, 08:17:02 PM
Well, you guys can do what you want but I'm not investing with folks who look like this, not even if I have a fistful of dollars and I'm back in a New York groove.

 
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: foobar on March 12, 2014, 09:21:54 PM
They have grounds to sue. But the suits should be directed at the poster not MMM.  S/He is the one responsible for the comments. At least until some court overturns the past couple of cases on these type of issues.

I am all for sticking it to the "kiss trust" company. If they really do offer a bad product, then the people should be able to voice their opinions. I can't stand bullying and especially when a law firm does it.

I seriously don't think they have much ground to sue....
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: NickNam on March 12, 2014, 09:55:08 PM
Just wanted to chime in my support MMM ! Don't let them bully you into submission. Willing to support financially as well to a fund.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: sol on March 12, 2014, 10:08:17 PM
They have grounds to sue. But the suits should be directed at the poster not MMM. 

That's me!  I've already volunteered to receive any and all cease and desist letters.  If I lose the case, I'll redact my review of their product and say I'm very sorry.  You really think I'm legally barred from saying I think their product sucks? 

Go check out publicshaming.tublr.com sometime and then come back and explain to me why I'm legally liable for making disparaging comments on the internet.  If we're going to use our judicial system to enforce politeness from here on out, I'm pretty sure I'm a loooong way down the list of potential offenders.  First up, anyone who's ever posted a bad review on yelp or amazon or ebay. 

The problem that the KISS Trust people (aka Eastern Point Trust Company, website also dark atm) have has nothing to do with some random people on an early-retirement forum who may or may not think their product is a predatory financial scam designed to fleece financially naive people out of their hard earned money.  The forum discussions of their product would have stayed an obscure corner of the interwebs forever if their PR person had been a little less overzealous about trying to whitewash all discussions of the company, or had been a little more skilled when attempting to "anonymously" astroturf the forum discussions.

But since MMM put the legal threat up on the front page of the blog, suddenly the audience for this matter has exploded.   Now it's on hacker news, soon popehat, then reddit if they keep this up.  The KISS Trust and Eastern Point Trust Company websites are already vanished from the internet, maybe a deliberate attempt to lay low for a while (would be my vote in their place) or maybe a result of a bigger audience flooding their servers.  Hard to say.

Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: dragoncar on March 12, 2014, 10:47:45 PM
They have grounds to sue. But the suits should be directed at the poster not MMM. 

That's me!  I've already volunteered to receive any and all cease and desist letters.  If I lose the case, I'll redact my review of their product and say I'm very sorry.  You really think I'm legally barred from saying I think their product sucks? 

Go check out publicshaming.tublr.com sometime and then come back and explain to me why I'm legally liable for making disparaging comments on the internet.  If we're going to use our judicial system to enforce politeness from here on out, I'm pretty sure I'm a loooong way down the list of potential offenders.  First up, anyone who's ever posted a bad review on yelp or amazon or ebay. 

The problem that the KISS Trust people (aka Eastern Point Trust Company, website also dark atm) have has nothing to do with some random people on an early-retirement forum who may or may not think their product is a predatory financial scam designed to fleece financially naive people out of their hard earned money.  The forum discussions of their product would have stayed an obscure corner of the interwebs forever if their PR person had been a little less overzealous about trying to whitewash all discussions of the company, or had been a little more skilled when attempting to "anonymously" astroturf the forum discussions.

But since MMM put the legal threat up on the front page of the blog, suddenly the audience for this matter has exploded.   Now it's on hacker news, soon popehat, then reddit if they keep this up.  The KISS Trust and Eastern Point Trust Company websites are already vanished from the internet, maybe a deliberate attempt to lay low for a while (would be my vote in their place) or maybe a result of a bigger audience flooding their servers.  Hard to say.

The question is whether this press constitutes bad press.  For all we know, it will raise awareness and get them customers.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: cowstash on March 13, 2014, 02:57:38 AM
Did you read their wiki page?  They have a section on criticism that mentions their legal action to suppress negative legal actions. Do we have any Wiki editors who can beef up all the various suppression that has occurred? That could be educational as people look to wiki for information

That is new, as of today, but definitely a good idea.  I'm sure they monitor that, and will start an editing war over it through.

I just checked the wikipage, and someone has already removed the criticism section.

Hah.  Of course.  Maybe someone can restore it. 


The KissTrust wikipedia page is super weak (by Wikipedia standards) and will likely be taken down as it has been Nominated for deletion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Kiss_Trust (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Kiss_Trust)). They don't even cover their tracks well or do reputation management right. First source: http://www.crunchbase.com/company/kiss-trust/revisions (http://www.crunchbase.com/company/kiss-trust/revisions) a Crunchbase wiki page created entirely by their own company. The third and fourth sources are for straight up Kiss Trust press releases published on other sites. At this rate, the only notable/verifiable element in the article is their legal pursuit of MMM!

And for an added bit of irony, scroll down and check out the edit history of the account that created this wikipedia page! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Bart.the.bard
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: BPA on March 13, 2014, 07:23:12 AM
Did you read their wiki page?  They have a section on criticism that mentions their legal action to suppress negative legal actions. Do we have any Wiki editors who can beef up all the various suppression that has occurred? That could be educational as people look to wiki for information

That is new, as of today, but definitely a good idea.  I'm sure they monitor that, and will start an editing war over it through.

I just checked the wikipage, and someone has already removed the criticism section.

Hah.  Of course.  Maybe someone can restore it. 


The KissTrust wikipedia page is super weak (by Wikipedia standards) and will likely be taken down as it has been Nominated for deletion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Kiss_Trust (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Kiss_Trust)). They don't even cover their tracks well or do reputation management right. First source: http://www.crunchbase.com/company/kiss-trust/revisions (http://www.crunchbase.com/company/kiss-trust/revisions) a Crunchbase wiki page created entirely by their own company. The third and fourth sources are for straight up Kiss Trust press releases published on other sites. At this rate, the only notable/verifiable element in the article is their legal pursuit of MMM!

And for an added bit of irony, scroll down and check out the edit history of the account that created this wikipedia page! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Bart.the.bard

They couldn't "get us" if we published bad press for KISS Trust as Facebook statuses?  If most of us have good reputations as far as money management goes amongst our friends, it wouldn't make as big of a statement as a high google ranking, but it might have some impact.  Or is there something similar we could do?  I'm not saying that MMM should remove this thread...far from it.  It would just be another avenue for expressing our opinions about this company.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on March 13, 2014, 07:24:58 AM
And for an added bit of irony, scroll down and check out the edit history of the account that created this wikipedia page! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/Bart.the.bard

Bahahha

Also hilarious: They changed the criticism section to read "Kiss Trust is currently involved legal action defending its rights against false and defamatory comments."

Not only is that sentence an incoherent mess, it's not criticism.  Hopefully someone will edit it back (until the page is deleted, as all discussion seems to be heading that way (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Kiss_Trust).)
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: odput on March 13, 2014, 08:18:14 AM
Not only is that sentence an incoherent mess, it's not criticism.  Hopefully someone will edit it back (until the page is deleted, as

It now reads: Kiss Trust has been accused of making frivolous legal takedown requests and legal threats against web site owners for users commenting negatively about their business.

Seems like we will have a Wikipedia editing war until it is deleted, although I do find it funny that one of the people on the deletion discussion calls out that "Note that 50.204.172.183 resolves to a Comcast Business connection in Warrenton, VA, which matches kisstrust.com's WHOIS record"
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on March 13, 2014, 08:57:43 AM
Whoever is doing the Wikipedia editing, posted on the "talk" and "deletion" pages: thank you.

Maybe Kiss Trust will learn from their mistakes, but the only way to have that happen is for there to be consequences.  Having their sham Wikipedia page corrected is a simple, but effective one.

Thanks.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: totoro on March 13, 2014, 09:09:26 AM
I agree. Thanks to those who have edited the Wikipedia page. 
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Boss Frog on March 13, 2014, 09:59:48 AM
Hello, first-time poster.

I became curious about this KISS Trust, and decided to do a little digging.  What I have found confuses me.  Can someone explain it to me?

I will try to stick to cited facts only here, and I'll just go through it step by step, then summarize my confusion at the end.

Source: http://www.news9.com/story/24945303/kiss-trust-and-eastern-point-trust-company-announces-merger-acquisition-of-presidio-securities-inc

From this source we learn the following:

Quote
Kiss Trust is a service of Eastern Point Trust Company


Quote
Eastern Point Trust Company is a non-depository trust company with multiple regional offices. Eastern Point Trust Company provides fiduciary and trust administration services for clients located in all 50 U.S. states, the U.S. Territories, across North America, South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia.

Quote
Floyd Simeon [is] Chairman of Eastern Point Trust Company


OK.  If we take it from wikipedia just to cross-check, we see similar information:

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiss_Trust

Quote
Eastern Point Trust Company is a non-depository, multi-state trust company providing services across North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Eastern Point Trust Company’s brokerage subsidiaries are also regulated by FINRA and the SEC.

So on one hand, EPTC does business internationally and in all 50 US States.

On the other hand, I got confused when I reviewed their IRS filings, available here:

Source:   http://citizenaudit.org/208327672/

Note that these filings are explicitly marked "Open to Public Inspection" - I believe because of the tax-exempt status they have claimed.

The signature on the latest of these filings is Floyd Simeon, so I have to believe this is the same Eastern Point Trust Company, and not some other entity with the same name.

From these filings we learn that EPTC is a 501c3 tax-exempt organization, currently with zero liabilities and total assets of $860.

Taking it chronologically it goes like this:

In 2007, the first filing, we see that the entity was initially called the "Financial Literacy Union" and Edward Armand is signing the documents.  The entity was funded by $500 of "contributions, grants, and similar."  Another $500 of the same is added in 2008.

Because the entity is funded by grants etc, it is "publicly supported" which is how it qualifies as 501c3 tax-exempt.

Their website from the filing seems to be gone or down right now, but the front page of it can be found in the wayback archive here:  http://web.archive.org/web/20110707074948/http://flunion.org/

There you will see that:

Quote
The mission of the Financial Literacy Union is: ·

- Increase the wealth-creating assets of Americans through research, education, service and alliances; and
- Advocate for the public policy in areas that affect the financial and tax burden of Americans.


By Jan 3 of 2014 that website seems to redirect to KissTrust.

In the 2010 filing (received in Aug 2012 tho) it starts to be signed by Floyd Simeon, and is still branded as Financial Literacy Union.

In 2011 we still have the FLUnion name, and there have been no further movements of money - the assets of $1,000 remain, and there are no contributions or expenditures yet.

The 2012 return brings a name change to "Eastern Point Trust, Inc." and some small amounts of money begin to move.

The form declares $1,250 of "contributions, gifts, grants, and similar" which constitutes the total revenue.  And then there are $1,390 of total expenses, although although I don't quite understand the itemization.

Also of note in this form:

The purpose of the tax-exempt status is "education and financial literacy."

In this year, the entity's accomplishments were "school financial scholarship program - 5 persons" with expenses of $600.

The officers receive zero compensation of any kind for their efforts.

At the end of the story we have Eastern Point Trust Company, a tax-exempt entity with total assets of $860.

My Confusion:

OK so the "pure facts" part is over from here.

I am very ignorant in these matters of corporate structure and tax filings.  Please do not construe my question as accusation, it is not meant that way.

But can someone explain to me how it is that EPTC is both a multi-national business with subsidiaries and services doing business all over the place, and also a tax-exempt charity with $860 in assets and almost no movement of money?

One final note...  The name mentioned in the threat letter, "National Trust and Fiduciary Services Company" if I google it...  well, let's overlook what the top result is, but the Terms and Conditions of Kiss Trust result (down now, but visibile in the google search result as www.kisstrust.com/terms.htm‎) says "Eastern Point Trust Company is an affiliate of National Trust and Fiduciary Services Company, Inc."

But I can't find much documentation about that entity, beyond some trademarks and patents that it owns.

Thanks for any insight.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Trirod on March 13, 2014, 10:34:55 AM

But can someone explain to me how it is that EPTC is both a multi-national business with subsidiaries and services doing business all over the place, and also a tax-exempt charity with $860 in assets and almost no movement of money?


Most likely they are two separate legal entities with the same name.  I see the non-profit entity is registered in Maryland.  I searched a bit for the for-profit trust company, but couldn't immediately find anything on that.  Note that one is "Eastern Point Trust, Inc" and the other is "Eastern Point Trust Company"
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: skyrefuge on March 13, 2014, 11:20:46 AM
But can someone explain to me how it is that EPTC is both a multi-national business with subsidiaries and services doing business all over the place, and also a tax-exempt charity with $860 in assets and almost no movement of money?

Ha, I was just going to come here and make a post noting how easy it is on the Internet for a company to seem much larger and more "serious" than it actually is. My policy these days is to assume that any "company" on the web is really just one dude, until I learn otherwise.

But hey, then you went and did even more research than me! Nice work!

It looks like there is more than one dude behind Eastern Point/Kiss Trust. On LinkedIn I was able to uncover 6 people associated with the operation. That doesn't mean there aren't more, they just might not be very LinkedIn-active. Half of them have the same last name (Armand), and one of the others, chairman Floyd Simeon (https://www.linkedin.com/pub/floyd-simeon/44/93/555) is primarily a builder in New Orleans (and one of the Armands formerly worked with him in construction). One of them is an office manager, so they do presumably have one actual office at least.

From that perspective, I can actually sort of sympathize with them here. Rather than some Big Financial Company coming down on MMM, MMM is actually the Goliath (in terms of Internet presence and reach), and I see how comments on his forum *could* contribute disproportionally to the overall impression of the company. And also how all this attention could take down a website that isn't used to anywhere near the volume of traffic it's now getting.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: DeepEllumStache on March 13, 2014, 12:07:56 PM
Interesting...

Hold on, I need to pop some popcorn for this...
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Ashyukun on March 13, 2014, 12:46:43 PM
From that perspective, I can actually sort of sympathize with them here. Rather than some Big Financial Company coming down on MMM, in terms of Internet presence and reach, MMM is actually the Goliath, and I see how comments on his forum *could* contribute disproportionally to the overall impression of the company. And also how all this attention could take down a website that isn't used to anywhere near the volume of traffic it's now getting.
Except for the fact that unless you were expressly looking for negative comments about them- and looking HARD since it seems like the original post wouldn't have shown up particularly high on the Google search for them (at least originally)- most people not already reading these forums would not have seen anything sol said about them. And when they were searching hard to find and deal with any potential negative comments, they reached a junction in their path with three possible routes:

1). Do nothing. You're never going to satisfy everyone, so a few complaints or negative comments isn't going to break them
2). Start a civil, open dialog on said forum with full disclosure of working for the company and try and address the complaint.
3). Threaten legal action for a forum post

The chose poorly and chose #3. If your product ISN'T kind of shady or questionable and you can make a reasonable defense of it, #2 is usually the best approach to take- if you can explain/defend your product and practices and are solid and you're not a dick, you can probably garner some new customers. I've seen this countless times on other specialty boards (usually auto enthusiast boards where vendors will address and resolve issues and basically prove they stand behind their products).

This was essentially David walking up to Golliath and throwing pebbles at him for something one of Golliath's buddies said about David and keeping it up until Golliath got annoyed and yelled at him to knock it off, attracting the attention of everyone else around and noting how foolish David's actions are.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: annann on March 13, 2014, 01:00:04 PM
Are you aware that anyone can post to recommend the Kiss Trust entry be deleted from Wiki?
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Alfred J Quack on March 13, 2014, 01:43:18 PM
Are you aware that anyone can post to recommend the Kiss Trust entry be deleted from Wiki?

Are you aware that anyone with a valid e-mail address can create an account to do the action described?

*Note, this is not an invitation to do so, just noting specific possibilities on current technological facilitating functions.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: ohyonghao on March 13, 2014, 06:03:15 PM
I've also added this story to my blog, which gets about 2 visitors a day. :-)
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Woodreaux on March 13, 2014, 06:30:48 PM
I've also added this story to my blog, which gets about 2 visitors a day. :-)

I visited it today. Hopefully that bumps your numbers up.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: foobar on March 13, 2014, 08:57:04 PM
You can google any of the zillion angie list or yelp lawsuits about this in the past 3 years to learn that you are liable for your posts in a lot of cases. The argument that everyone else is doing it also tends to be a pretty weak defense.  I have no clue if you post meets the standard for libel (haven't seen it and definitely don't know all the case law. In general opinions are fine "i.e. it is overpriced product" are fine. Lies "They are a bunch of criminals" aren't. Unless of course some of them do have criminal records that you know about:)) You can redact your product but in theory they can sue you for damages (i.e. your post caused them to lose 500k). And the sucky part is that even if you win, you have to waste your time and money defending yourself.

Most of these cases are still pending so it isn't very clear how far you can go. If I had to guess you would be in the clear (court would probably rule that a reasonable person would take your post as an opinion) but you never know.





They have grounds to sue. But the suits should be directed at the poster not MMM. 

That's me!  I've already volunteered to receive any and all cease and desist letters.  If I lose the case, I'll redact my review of their product and say I'm very sorry.  You really think I'm legally barred from saying I think their product sucks? 

Go check out publicshaming.tublr.com sometime and then come back and explain to me why I'm legally liable for making disparaging comments on the internet.  If we're going to use our judicial system to enforce politeness from here on out, I'm pretty sure I'm a loooong way down the list of potential offenders.  First up, anyone who's ever posted a bad review on yelp or amazon or ebay. 

The problem that the KISS Trust people (aka Eastern Point Trust Company, website also dark atm) have has nothing to do with some random people on an early-retirement forum who may or may not think their product is a predatory financial scam designed to fleece financially naive people out of their hard earned money.  The forum discussions of their product would have stayed an obscure corner of the interwebs forever if their PR person had been a little less overzealous about trying to whitewash all discussions of the company, or had been a little more skilled when attempting to "anonymously" astroturf the forum discussions.

But since MMM put the legal threat up on the front page of the blog, suddenly the audience for this matter has exploded.   Now it's on hacker news, soon popehat, then reddit if they keep this up.  The KISS Trust and Eastern Point Trust Company websites are already vanished from the internet, maybe a deliberate attempt to lay low for a while (would be my vote in their place) or maybe a result of a bigger audience flooding their servers.  Hard to say.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: mikefixac on March 13, 2014, 08:57:33 PM
Kiss Trust appears to do more than simply sending threatening letters to MMM.

Possible evidence of astroturfing, the legalities of how the its business was created are just a few questions that need to be answered.

I would hope an investigative reporter look into the actions of this company and an IRS audit.

Since Kisstrust must surely be about trust and handling money, they would be open to have their books and business practices put under a microscope.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: burly on March 13, 2014, 09:15:28 PM
Makes you wonder.... If they would've had a Trust officer / PR person call MMM and say they wanted to set the record straight and get an interview post on the blog, this would have been beneficial for both parties (if indeed they are not a SCAM - referencing one's opinion on this site - not mine, someone else's - hence not making this a libelous post)... but nope, had to take the 'high road' and send threatening letters....
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: MrConstitution on March 14, 2014, 04:52:28 PM
I came across the situation regarding MMM from an article posted on Techdirt. What can I say, I always keep up to date on issues regarding website owners. While I run and operate my own website and message forums, going on ten years now, I'm aware of the rights and responsibilities I have as a website administrator. While the members of my community don't post anything slanderous or libel, which is against the policy of my site, I was appalled that MMM received a Cease and Desist regarding the discussion of Kiss Trust and the discussion of "Kiss Trust".

Far as what I do know, business, corporations, governments and people cannot order you not to discuss something. Discussing "Kiss Trust" would be a violation of MMM's constitutional rights as guaranteed under the First Amendment. These are absolute and it seems like Kiss Trust is trying to throw every possible law at your site in an effort to scare you guys into backing down.

While this is not legal advice, as I would advise MMM to consult an attorney, I don't believe there is a single court in this country who would find for Eastern Point Trust Company or Kiss Trust because this would be violating your constitutional rights. If a court found for Kiss Trust, the federal appellate courts would, more than likely, overturn that decision. If they didn't, it would not survive a U.S. Supreme Court challenge.

I'm just appalled that Eastern Point Trust Company would try to scare you guys into removing your topics or posts discussing Kiss Trust.

The only thing a court could do is order you to remove the offending messages. They would not force you to remove the topics discussing Kiss Trust. Eastern Point Trust Company is just on the losing side and they simply don't want this going to court, because they would lose. They would also have to prove the defamation in the posts on your forums, and those are hard to prove, unless the posts are blatantly false.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: bwall on March 14, 2014, 06:57:42 PM
[And when they were searching hard to find and deal with any potential negative comments, they reached a junction in their path with three possible routes:

1). Do nothing. You're never going to satisfy everyone, so a few complaints or negative comments isn't going to break them
2). Start a civil, open dialog on said forum with full disclosure of working for the company and try and address the complaint.
3). Threaten legal action for a forum post

The chose poorly and chose #3. If your product ISN'T kind of shady or questionable and you can make a reasonable defense of it, #2 is usually the best approach to take- if you can explain/defend your product and practices and are solid and you're not a dick, you can probably garner some new customers. I've seen this countless times on other specialty boards (usually auto enthusiast boards where vendors will address and resolve issues and basically prove they stand behind their products).

Very good point. I agree wholeheartedly that it would be kinda cool if a rep from KISS Trust came to the site and explain why it wasn't poor value, as Sol stated, perhaps ineloquently as it turns out.

But since they chose to send threatening letters it got me to thinking. . . . What if someone had called Bernie Madoff a scammer in 1998, a good 10 years before the scam was uncovered? If Madoff had sent threatening letters, taken this person to court and won, would the guilty sentence then be vacated after the fraud was uncovered? Or by some other mechanism could the court try to turn back the clock or restore the lost honor of our hypothetical libeler after the fraud was exposed? Obviously, in this hypothetical the person had the opportunity to make his case in court and lost, but that still wouldn't change the fact that Madoff was later declared to be running a scam. Perhaps a legal form of 'DNA exoneration' where there was only money at stake and not a person's life?

And then I got to thinking further, just because I find this so fascinating:

I do like to watch 'American Greed' a television show about the kind of scammers that take your money and run, it did get me to thinking: 'If I were looking to acquire a lot of other people's money and use it all for my own purposes, then the business model employed by KISS Trust would appear to be an attractive method to achieve this goal.' Perhaps this is why KISS Trust is so vigilant to protect their reputation? I would like to state for the record that I do not understand the KISS Trust business model very well and I would welcome anyone, KISS or even one of their competitors to explain where the safeguards are so that customers' money cannot simply disappear.

I guess that KISS Trust will remain silent on this issue and these posts as they have sent nasty letters to MMM. Perhaps this would be a good opportunity for the competition to come forward and explain why their products available in this field are indeed a good value? Sol expressly asked for this and no one has stepped up. I'd second his request and ask:

Why are the KISS Trust products (or similar) good value?

Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 on March 14, 2014, 08:18:13 PM
(also commenting to follow thread)  We should always be careful not to jump out and say something that puts the forum owner at risk.  Like Pirate Bay and Napster, it's a sad day when they provide a good outlet for discussion and some bad apples get carried away at the wrong time.  The internet will overcome, however we are setting good people back by rushing the process, if we get carried away bashing Kiss Trust during a legal encumbrance.  The best thing ever would be to stay quiet after their ham-fisted accusations, getting all 'lawyer up and death-match' benefits no-one.  We (Mustachians) are in another unique position to change the course of law, we should respect this moment and do the right thing, which involves a little humility and being open-minded.  I do think that judges, if it gets to that, appreciate plaintiffs that are confused by how screwed up legal machinations are.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: DoubleDown on March 14, 2014, 09:13:35 PM
I do think that judges, if it gets to that, appreciate plaintiffs that are confused by how screwed up legal machinations are.

If only that were true! Unfortunately it's almost always the opposite. Judges are far more likely to resent plaintiffs that do not have a solid command of the legal machinations, and will not extend any mercy or gentle treatment for ignorance of the system. But that's just me railing on some of the aspects of the legal system, I would never expect this situation with MMM ever to reach court.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Bigote on March 15, 2014, 04:19:04 AM
There's now an article about all this on Techdirt. 

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140313/07405826562/company-fires-off-legal-threats-to-site-owner-over-third-party-forum-post-self-inflicted-damage-ensues.shtml

Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Blindsquirrel on March 15, 2014, 07:35:44 AM
   Learned a lot from the techdirt article. It appears that the trust people engage in Astroturfing  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astroturfing    which is a new one on me. If you look at them on Wikipedia it looks like the wrote their own entry given the rainbows and sunshine on the page. Good luck MMM, I enjoy the blog immensely and the board.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on March 15, 2014, 08:23:55 AM
There's now an article about all this on Techdirt. 

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140313/07405826562/company-fires-off-legal-threats-to-site-owner-over-third-party-forum-post-self-inflicted-damage-ensues.shtml

Wow, that was quite informative!

As the article says, Kiss Trust has kinda stepped into it...
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: EscapeVelocity2020 on March 15, 2014, 08:45:23 AM
I do think that judges, if it gets to that, appreciate plaintiffs that are confused by how screwed up legal machinations are.

If only that were true! Unfortunately it's almost always the opposite. Judges are far more likely to resent plaintiffs that do not have a solid command of the legal machinations, and will not extend any mercy or gentle treatment for ignorance of the system. But that's just me railing on some of the aspects of the legal system, I would never expect this situation with MMM ever to reach court.

You're probably right, fortunately I only have had one brush with being in court and I'll do anything to avoid going through that again (shivers).  Talk about a screwy way of trying to formalize common sense...
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Alfred J Quack on March 15, 2014, 03:41:53 PM
Lol... After reading the Techdirt article I went to the Kisstrust.com webpage. Scrolling down I noticed a Batmobile (technical drawing of it anyway (http://www.kisstrust.com/images/batmobile.png). I find it distasteful that a company with these business standards uses a comic-hero's car who is big on justice and ethics...

Also makes me wonder whether they pay copyright fees for images hosted on their site...
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: clifp on March 16, 2014, 03:17:57 AM
This is one of the more popcorn worthy fights on the internet.. It seems almost to one side,  since Kiss Trust seen to have neither the law nor justice on its side.

I wonder how much Kiss Trust legal fees are going to run.. I am hoping for a lot.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Thomas on March 16, 2014, 12:14:10 PM
...
 makes me wonder whether they pay copyright fees for images hosted on their site...

I wondered the same thing about their front-page picture that prominently features two products from a well-known fruit based computer company.
I'd like to fill the rest of this comment with negative words for search engines to associate with Kiss trust, but they seem like the kind of company that wouldn't see the humor in that. I doubt they see stealing images for use on their website as theft of intellectual property, but would probably complain loudly if anyone were to share bits and pieces of their overpriced Mad Libs-style trust document.

(Mad Libs is a registered trademark, and the worlds greatest word game, created by Leonard Stern and Roger Price)
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Mr Mark on March 16, 2014, 05:44:49 PM
The legal over-response to a simple opinion on a blog forum is indicative of having something to hide, it seems to me.

It reminds me of similar companies in the financial services area with significant fees. De veer group, for example. Very litigious, because they are indeed high fee, and any rational investor would avoid it. But with advertising and a commission driven sales force, people will buy in my opionion what are inefficient financial products, even things like variable annuities and universal life.

"The Lady doth protest too much"

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_lady_doth_protest_too_much,_methinks

Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: cowstash on March 17, 2014, 09:18:00 AM
Want to know something interesting I've found? The attorney who sent the latter letter(s) to MMM, George S. Robinson IV, claims on his website to, among other things, represent NSA contractors http://www.2rlaw.com/george.php

 
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: KingCoin on March 17, 2014, 01:50:49 PM
The legal over-response to a simple opinion on a blog forum is indicative of having something to hide, it seems to me.

I don't know. I'm inclined to be mildly sympathetic. If you were looking to use a boutique financial service company, and the third link on Google loudly proclaimed that it was a "scam", how would you feel about using that company, even knowing that it's just the opinion of a random forum user? How would you feel if a top Google link groundlessly claimed that your company was a "scam"?

Where they went wrong is not trying to resolve the issue amicably like human beings. It's amazing what a friendly appeal for understanding and sympathy can accomplish. There were probably five different ways to skin this particular cat without resorting to the legal system.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on March 17, 2014, 02:17:09 PM
The legal over-response to a simple opinion on a blog forum is indicative of having something to hide, it seems to me.

I don't know. I'm inclined to be mildly sympathetic. If you were looking to use a boutique financial service company, and the third link on Google loudly proclaimed that it was a "scam", how would you feel about using that company, even knowing that it's just the opinion of a random forum user? How would you feel if a top Google link groundlessly claimed that your company was a "scam"?

I agree with that, and agree they could have handled it better.  I'm more sympathetic to Kiss Trust than I am the other company threatening lawsuits, due to the fact that the other company has a history of this (see: LTR blog) and had an employee coming on and anonymously astroturfing (AND Kiss Trust's complaint was more legitimate, i.e. the comment they wanted taken down was more libelous than the LTR comment about the other company).

But either way, legal threats aren't the way to go.  Open and honest communication is.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: sol on March 17, 2014, 05:12:17 PM
If you were looking to use a boutique financial service company, and the third link on Google loudly proclaimed that it was a "scam", how would you feel about using that company, even knowing that it's just the opinion of a random forum user? How would you feel if a top Google link groundlessly claimed that your company was a "scam"?

I'd agree with you, if the threatened legal action was about the supposedly libelous "scam" claim.  Except that MMM removed that thread as requested, and the OP* promptly posted a retraction.  All subsequent legal threats have been to suppress THIS thread, or any related discussion of the company's legal threats or other business practices.  They're literally threatening legal action solely to prevent us from talking about their threats of legal action.  This no longer has anything to do with the (now deleted) original comments.

and had an employee coming on and anonymously astroturfing (AND Kiss Trust's complaint was more legitimate, i.e. the comment they wanted taken down was more libelous than the LTR comment about the other company).

Let's not forget that the KISS Trust people also tried to astroturf the forum (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/investor-alley/kiss-trust-has-sent-a-legal-threat-to-this-blog/msg233029/#msg233029) months ago, when Bart showed up and, as his first two posts, started talking about what a great product the Kiss Trust was and didn't we all want to learn more about it?  The only difference between that little piece of astroturf and the Everest Wealth Management astroturf is that the KISS Trust attempt was blatantly obvious and was removed as spam, while the Everest Wealth Management attempt was slipped into an existing thread and remained anonymous for multiple posts before being discovered.  Let's not give the Kiss Trust folks at Eastern Point Trust Company any credibility on this issue just because they were spammier about it.

*OP=sol=me, talking about myself in the third person.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on March 17, 2014, 05:18:08 PM
Both of those paragraphs make excellent points.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: dragoncar on March 17, 2014, 05:26:25 PM
Why did MMM remove the entire thread?  As I recall, he originally redacted just the offending post.   Will future threads discussing KISS trust be deleted as well?
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on March 17, 2014, 05:33:05 PM
Why did MMM remove the entire thread?  As I recall, he originally redacted just the offending post.   Will future threads discussing KISS trust be deleted as well?

He removed the offending quote in the Long Term Returns thread where Everest Wealth Management was discussed.

The entire Kiss Trust thread was deleted.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: dragoncar on March 17, 2014, 05:36:11 PM
Why did MMM remove the entire thread?  As I recall, he originally redacted just the offending post.   Will future threads discussing KISS trust be deleted as well?

He removed the offending quote in the Long Term Returns thread where Everest Wealth Management was discussed.

The entire Kiss Trust thread was deleted.

OK... why?  I'm guessing there will eventually be another KISS thread.  Will it be removed immediately, or only if people make similar comments?
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on March 17, 2014, 07:23:38 PM
Why did MMM remove the entire thread?  As I recall, he originally redacted just the offending post.   Will future threads discussing KISS trust be deleted as well?

He removed the offending quote in the Long Term Returns thread where Everest Wealth Management was discussed.

The entire Kiss Trust thread was deleted.

OK... why?  I'm guessing there will eventually be another KISS thread.  Will it be removed immediately, or only if people make similar comments?

I think MMM removed it while figuring out his legal options and discussing with lawyers. It was removed pre-main blog post.

I can't speak to future actions, by I'd assume more lawsuit information may be forthcoming at some point as they progress.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: dragoncar on March 17, 2014, 07:27:51 PM
Why did MMM remove the entire thread?  As I recall, he originally redacted just the offending post.   Will future threads discussing KISS trust be deleted as well?

He removed the offending quote in the Long Term Returns thread where Everest Wealth Management was discussed.

The entire Kiss Trust thread was deleted.

OK... why?  I'm guessing there will eventually be another KISS thread.  Will it be removed immediately, or only if people make similar comments?

I think MMM removed it while figuring out his legal options and discussing with lawyers. It was removed pre-main blog post.

I can't speak to future actions, by I'd assume more lawsuit information may be forthcoming at some point as they progress.

Ok, thanks... I know you can't speak for MMM, but I was a little confused about assertions that the threats haven't worked.

Also you forgot to /shrug this time! 
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on March 17, 2014, 07:30:27 PM
Also you forgot to /shrug this time! 

Did I?

/shrug

;)
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Fireman on March 17, 2014, 07:31:24 PM
The legal over-response to a simple opinion on a blog forum is indicative of having something to hide, it seems to me.

I don't know. I'm inclined to be mildly sympathetic. If you were looking to use a boutique financial service company, and the third link on Google loudly proclaimed that it was a "scam", how would you feel about using that company, even knowing that it's just the opinion of a random forum user? How would you feel if a top Google link groundlessly claimed that your company was a "scam"?

Where they went wrong is not trying to resolve the issue amicably like human beings. It's amazing what a friendly appeal for understanding and sympathy can accomplish. There were probably five different ways to skin this particular cat without resorting to the legal system.

Except, when this all started, the link was in no man's land on the third page of Google.  It wasn't until after the Streisand Effect kicked in that Google's page ranking moved this, and other negative information about KissTrust, to the first page.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Khan on March 17, 2014, 08:12:27 PM
Props to MMM for fighting, I hate bully tactics.

Also, Sol, your post is on techdirt lol.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: sol on March 17, 2014, 09:05:40 PM
Also, Sol, your post is on techdirt lol.

Yea, of the many tens of thousands of words I have contributed to the internet over the years, that one line of text has reached more eyeballs than anything else.  Sad.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: dragoncar on March 17, 2014, 09:20:52 PM
Also, Sol, your post is on techdirt lol.

Yea, of the many tens of thousands of words I have contributed to the internet over the years, that one line of text has reached more eyeballs than anything else.  Sad.

Did that many people read it?  The article only has 26 comments and 19 likes.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Fireman on March 17, 2014, 09:35:01 PM
Also, Sol, your post is on techdirt lol.

Yea, of the many tens of thousands of words I have contributed to the internet over the years, that one line of text has reached more eyeballs than anything else.  Sad.

Did that many people read it?  The article only has 26 comments and 19 likes.

I did.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: sol on March 17, 2014, 11:14:31 PM
Did that many people read it?

It's not really a very high bar.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Spork on March 18, 2014, 08:03:15 AM
Did that many people read it?

It's not really a very high bar.

so, would it be safe to say your assertion that more eyeballs had seen it was a bit of a scam?   ;)
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: cowstash on March 20, 2014, 09:30:07 AM
Hmm, it seems that the administrators of Wikipedia have taken down the sham article about this company (mostly because they wrote the whole thing in such a glowingly obvious way): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiss_Trust
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Pixelshot on March 26, 2014, 06:17:11 PM
In my opinion, Kiss Trust should hire a proofreader:

"Contrary to the contents of the post, Kiss Trust in not a 'SCAM'." (their words from Letter 1, bold added) Very professional.

I'm just sayin.

Oh, and don't you mean DMCA (as in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act), not DCMA?  --  unless of course you mean to suggest that your argument is supported by the Defense Contract Management Agency, or a perfectly respectable clothing company, which certainly has no affiliation with such hackery.

Once again, this is my opinion. By the way, the fact that I have to even say "in my opinion" is disgusting evidence that this lameness should never happen.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: doc_quincy on April 02, 2014, 08:01:43 PM
Google search results are often "personalized" such that they automatically rank pages higher that they think might be more relevant to you. So if Google knows you regularly visit the MMM forum, they are more likely to rank a search hit on the MMM forum higher for you than for someone who doesn't regularly visit MMM. One way to get a truly generic Google search results page is to use "incognito" or "private" mode in your browser when performing the search.

When I searched for "kiss trust" just now, this thread was #4 while I was logged in to Google, and #5 when I was in incognito mode. A similar Bogleheads thread was #5 while logged in, and #9 while in incognito mode.

I'm a single mom with a 4 month old daughter considering alternative ways to save up for my daughter's university education. I originally signed up for a Kiss Trust account when my daughter wasn't born yet but she didn't have a Social Security number then so the registration didn't go through. I have never heard of Mr. Money Mustache before and searched Kiss Trust with Google in regular mode today and this thread came up as #4.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: jordanread on April 02, 2014, 08:30:48 PM
I'm a single mom with a 4 month old daughter considering alternative ways to save up for my daughter's university education. I originally signed up for a Kiss Trust account when my daughter wasn't born yet but she didn't have a Social Security number then so the registration didn't go through. I have never heard of Mr. Money Mustache before and searched Kiss Trust with Google in regular mode today and this thread came up as #4.
That is the most inspiring story about KISS trust I've heard so far. Welcome!
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on April 02, 2014, 08:35:45 PM
Google search results are often "personalized" such that they automatically rank pages higher that they think might be more relevant to you. So if Google knows you regularly visit the MMM forum, they are more likely to rank a search hit on the MMM forum higher for you than for someone who doesn't regularly visit MMM. One way to get a truly generic Google search results page is to use "incognito" or "private" mode in your browser when performing the search.

When I searched for "kiss trust" just now, this thread was #4 while I was logged in to Google, and #5 when I was in incognito mode. A similar Bogleheads thread was #5 while logged in, and #9 while in incognito mode.

I'm a single mom with a 4 month old daughter considering alternative ways to save up for my daughter's university education. I originally signed up for a Kiss Trust account when my daughter wasn't born yet but she didn't have a Social Security number then so the registration didn't go through. I have never heard of Mr. Money Mustache before and searched Kiss Trust with Google in regular mode today and this thread came up as #4.

Check out the main site/blog - a lot of unconventional thinking there, but it can be pretty amazing if you read it and it changes how you approach finances.

Having your financial house in order is one of the best things you can do for your kids.

Congratulations and welcome!
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: doc_quincy on April 03, 2014, 10:26:54 AM
That's interesting, because on July 20th, 2013 a user calling himself "BartWilson" signed up for this forum, and for his first two posts, wrote promotional-sounding things about KISS trust.

The posts were noticed and flagged by Sol on September 13th, and the account was deleted. We still have the online records with timestamps of everything in the moderator section of this forum, which is why I was able to look it up just now.

It could easily be just a coincidence, but who knows - in a company that manages its online reputation so actively, it is entirely possible that they have fake people out there adding promotional content.

This happens VERY regularly on this forum - almost every day, the moderators have to flag and delete fake corporate people pretending to be real people who are recommending products and services via thinly-veiled advertisements.

There is a BartMan who I think is the same person posting promotional information about Kiss Trust on 11 December 2013 on bogleheads. He joined on the same day as that only single post credited under him:

http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=127905&p=1878371&hilit=kiss+trust#p1881699

Out of curiosity, has anybody actually invested in Kiss Trust for their kids here? What are your opinions about Trust Egg? I am not financially savvy as everybody here and I reckon it's never too late to learn after all those exhausting days in the clinic and sleepless nights of working in the hospital. I was almost happy when I heard about Kiss Trust - put in money and make them do the work like KISS as in Keep it Simple Sexy. Guess that was too good to be true.

Thanks for the welcome guys! My financial education starts now. :)
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: dragoncar on April 03, 2014, 10:31:53 AM
Google search results are often "personalized" such that they automatically rank pages higher that they think might be more relevant to you. So if Google knows you regularly visit the MMM forum, they are more likely to rank a search hit on the MMM forum higher for you than for someone who doesn't regularly visit MMM. One way to get a truly generic Google search results page is to use "incognito" or "private" mode in your browser when performing the search.

When I searched for "kiss trust" just now, this thread was #4 while I was logged in to Google, and #5 when I was in incognito mode. A similar Bogleheads thread was #5 while logged in, and #9 while in incognito mode.

I'm a single mom with a 4 month old daughter considering alternative ways to save up for my daughter's university education. I originally signed up for a Kiss Trust account when my daughter wasn't born yet but she didn't have a Social Security number then so the registration didn't go through. I have never heard of Mr. Money Mustache before and searched Kiss Trust with Google in regular mode today and this thread came up as #4.

Check out the main site/blog - a lot of unconventional thinking there, but it can be pretty amazing if you read it and it changes how you approach finances.

Having your financial house in order is one of the best things you can do for your kids.

Congratulations and welcome!

Congratulations?  I didn't get any congratulations when I signed up.  I demand congratulations!
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: doc_quincy on April 03, 2014, 10:41:16 AM

Check out the main site/blog - a lot of unconventional thinking there, but it can be pretty amazing if you read it and it changes how you approach finances.

Having your financial house in order is one of the best things you can do for your kids.

Congratulations and welcome!

Congratulations?  I didn't get any congratulations when I signed up.  I demand congratulations!

Belated congratulations for joining @dragoncar! ;)
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: arebelspy on April 03, 2014, 11:30:53 AM
Congratulations?  I didn't get any congratulations when I signed up.  I demand congratulations!

What an egregious oversight!

Congratulations dragoncar!

(http://static.someecards.com/someecards/usercards/1332281068514_4276983.png)
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Paul der Krake on April 03, 2014, 11:47:29 AM
I am not financially savvy as everybody here and I reckon it's never too late to learn after all those exhausting days in the clinic and sleepless nights of working in the hospital. I was almost happy when I heard about Kiss Trust - put in money and make them do the work like KISS as in Keep it Simple Sexy.
I know that's not what you meant at all, but this got me thinking- I'm going to start my own KISS trust-esque company.

It will work the same, but I will have reps roaming hospitals' maternity wards looking for ecstatic parents to sign them up! With the rush of emotions and promises to each other of being great parents, what better time to enroll them in dubious financial schemes?
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: dragoncar on April 03, 2014, 12:23:05 PM
I am not financially savvy as everybody here and I reckon it's never too late to learn after all those exhausting days in the clinic and sleepless nights of working in the hospital. I was almost happy when I heard about Kiss Trust - put in money and make them do the work like KISS as in Keep it Simple Sexy.
I know that's not what you meant at all, but this got me thinking- I'm going to start my own KISS trust-esque company.

It will work the same, but I will have reps roaming hospitals' maternity wards looking for ecstatic parents to sign them up! With the rush of emotions and promises to each other of being great parents, what better time to enroll them in dubious financial schemes?

Sell them Gerber Baby Life Insurance too, while you're at it.  Did you know that baby funerals cost up to $100,000?????
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: doc_quincy on April 03, 2014, 07:16:18 PM
I know that's not what you meant at all, but this got me thinking- I'm going to start my own KISS trust-esque company.

It will work the same, but I will have reps roaming hospitals' maternity wards looking for ecstatic parents to sign them up! With the rush of emotions and promises to each other of being great parents, what better time to enroll them in dubious financial schemes?

You know that actually makes so much sense especially IF that were a legitimate financial scheme. I would have signed up in a second. Lol. In Chicago where I delivered, a photographer would go around the hospital and take photos of your baby on the day she was born for 15 minutes for FREE with the option of getting the digital copies and prints for $300-800. Not a bad gig!

Baby funerals at $100K. You must be kidding! Is the casket designed by Chanel? But seriously, it sounds like no one here actually signed up for any of those trusts? Can a newbie start a thread?
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Bank on April 04, 2014, 05:26:53 AM
Doc - I think you're right about the lack of KISS Trusts in these here parts.  Most of us tend to go for simple, low fee investment and planning solutions.  If we want to fund post-secondary education, we open a 529 account.  If we want to ensure our kids are provided for, we buy term life insurance, etc.

There's no doubt there is a place for trusts in certain people's plans (most of us here are objecting to KISS being a deceptive and nasty company, not all trusts).  For example, with large estates.  With the right trust you can skip a generation's worth of inheritance taxes.  So go ahead - fire up a thread, buy a bike, and dive right in to the community.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: cassandratoday on February 17, 2017, 09:50:03 AM
Besides their use of threats as part of their brand management strategy, why is Kiss Trust a worse way of starting a trust than the alternatives? (Not asking whether trusts are a good idea or not; rather, if a trust, why not Kiss?)

And assuming a reasoned argument against Kiss, what are the alternatives? (besides the obvious, retain a trust attorney)

If this information is in these three pages, apologies for missing it. It's hard to find anything other than "Kiss Trust bad", though I do recognize that the original topic here certainly illustrates one bad thing about Kiss Trust's marketing plan.

Also, links are fine. I don't expect people to necessarily take their time to write explanations for me when I can read them on the web.

Thanks.
Title: Re: KISS Trust has sent a legal threat to this blog
Post by: Heroes821 on February 17, 2017, 01:47:32 PM
Besides their use of threats as part of their brand management strategy, why is Kiss Trust a worse way of starting a trust than the alternatives? (Not asking whether trusts are a good idea or not; rather, if a trust, why not Kiss?)

And assuming a reasoned argument against Kiss, what are the alternatives? (besides the obvious, retain a trust attorney)

If this information is in these three pages, apologies for missing it. It's hard to find anything other than "Kiss Trust bad", though I do recognize that the original topic here certainly illustrates one bad thing about Kiss Trust's marketing plan.

Also, links are fine. I don't expect people to necessarily take their time to write explanations for me when I can read them on the web.

Thanks.


Regardless of any links that people might add to answer your question, this thread is from 2014 april. I'm confident that many things have changed in three years.