Thursday, November 8, 2007

Entering a Poetry Contest? Don’t Land Your Dick in a Bear Trap!

Four years ago, I entered a brutal metal song I wrote into a poetry contest just for shits and giggles. Since my goal at the time was to major in writing in college (I was in high school when I entered it), I thought that having been published would better my chances of work after I finished school. So I found a little website called Famous Poets Society, said “why not?” and entered the song in their free poetry contest. Then the bullshit started.

I got a letter that went along the lines of saying I was a finalist in their contest out of the thousands that entered and one of the prizes for being a finalist was to be published in their annual anthology of poetry.

Oh my fucking God! I’m not only a finalist but I’m going to be published! That should have been a dead giveaway to what was coming. Famous Poets Society is nothing but a bullshit scam along with Poetry.com. I did not know it at the time, so I blindly pissed away over $150 on a poetry anthology with dedication (to Odin of course), biography, picture and a penalty fee for having more than 21 lines. In the original entry I beat the length requirement by extending the length of individual lines, but in the final “published” version, I kept it as I intended and had to pay $1 for every line over 21.

Well, last year I found the truth about Famous Poets and was so fucking angry that if you were to have cut an artery, the force of the blood coming out would be equal to or greater than the speed and force of a bullet coming out of a high powered sniper rifle.

I contacted the Better Business Bureau and never heard back from them. I emailed the website and they only give me some crap about how “it’s not a scam to have to pay for your book”. Well, let’s see. As a finalist, I
won this book according to the letter they sent me. Therefore I would think since I won it, that it would be free. Second, you do not pay to be published if it is a poetry contest, only for entrance (which they did not have) and even if I did pay to be published professionally, shouldn’t I be making some kind of profit?

I looked up the number of publication at a bookstore and they said it’s not legitimate. And they are still telling me they’re not a scam? Well, if that’s true then surely I should be able to buy this book,
Great Poems of the Western World at any bookstore. Oh, wait. You specify on your website that you don't sell to retailers, but you can special order these books.

Okay then, I tried that. Still not possible. There is no record of any such book on the market even in special order, and the number of publication is
not valid in the United States according to Barnes & Noble, Borders, Walden Books or the Library of Congress when I typed in the number on a search page.

They sell a book on Amazon.com but it’s not the one I got. The book I was published in and received (fucking two years later) was
Great Poets of the Western World, not 100 Most Famous Poets (which is on Amazon) and it’s fucking $14.95 list price! I had to fucking pay over one hundred frigging dollars for my half printed, off centered, late arriving piece of shit made out of tissue paper!

Oh that’s right; I forgot to mention all that! The book looks like an amateur paperback glued together in some kid’s basement while he masturbates to
cartoon characters getting eaten. The text is not aligned at all and from page 11 through 100 it is nothing but faded, unreadable text from some moron who forgot to put a new ink cartridge in the printer:

Also, they said that I won a trip to Philadelphia to publicly read my song and receive my award at the Poets Summer Convention and Symposium. Oh wow! What the bloody hell could ever be better than that? I’m jacking off just thinking about it! I wrote a letter to them, stating that since I was in school it would be impossible for me to attend and receive my award. Well, I never got a response until recently when they said their conventions are in Reno.

That’s not what the little brochure they sent me says, and it’s even signed by Lavender Aurora, but wait, what’s that? What the fuck kind of name is that? I can see “Lavender” but the last name is just too strange. Why didn’t it click all those years ago? Because I was a stupid high school student who just wanted to succeed. Anyway, back to the subject.

It’s awfully strange when some of the names of these “poetry editors” sound like commercials. I know for instance, one name I got from Poetry.com when I entered the same song to them around the same time; one’s last name was “Mercedes”. What if I did that? How does Krowness Jaguar sound? Or Krowness Toyota? Oh I know, how about Krowness Natural Phenomenon of Lights in the Northern or Southern Sky Depending on Which Hemisphere You Are On so I can be more like Mrs. Aurora at Famous Poets? Bullshit.

Yet despite all these facts, I am still being told by those who represent Famouspoets.com that it’s valid, they’re not a scam and all that complete and utter bull. Go drink a bucket of diarrhea, assholes.

It should be clear that these people are not only a con out for your money, but also manipulative bastards that give you all these hopes of traveling to a big city for a public reading only to find out it’s not true. Moreover, they are rude and inconsiderate when trying to solve the problem via email or telephone and write/speak like a grade-schooler held back quite a few times. Come on guys, you can do better than that. Try DeVry, just open the door and you can get a basic adult education, it’s that easy.

Also note the lack of a valid business address on their website:

They tell you their town, state, zip code but no address! Apparently, Free Poetry Contest is all you need instead of something like 123 Smith Road when you're such a world renowned institute of poetry. And for some reason, I don’t really buy into the whole idea that a city in Oregon is called Talent. That sounds like a razor hand job to me, but the zip code is valid for such a place. The only thing remotely truthful they offer.

But upon further investigation I had a startling revelation. Their zip code is valid, but Talent, Oregon looks like the background to Napoleon Dynamite as this satellite image from Mapquest.com shows:

From afar and zoomed up to downtown Talent. This is where they publish happiness. And slaughter cows.

If these people are as big a cooperation as they claim they are, why are they not in a major city (let’s ignore the Hollywood variation of their name for now)? Why are they in the middle of a farming community in fucking Nowhere USA? It’s either an old Ma & Pa franchise doing all of the editing and publishing thousands upon thousands of poems, or it’s just bullshit. Guess which.

Then these douche bags have the nerve to say that the Better Business Bureau and RipoffReport.com are the real scams, not them. RipoffReport.com is a website were pissed off customers can post their complaints against shitty companies and get action taken against them. Famous Poets is all over that site, in other names too such as FPS, the aforementioned Hollywood’s Famous Poets and Friendly Poets.

There a lot of people there who are rightfully pissed, but it also allows rebuttals from the companies, and comments from users. Well, there are some interesting ones from Famous Poets themselves and one “customer” who is clearly a mole. This is the latter made by the spy:

Tari DeMario D.D. P.H.D.
San Bernardino, California
U.S.A.

I am A Lifetime Member of Both Famous poets and Poetry.com

I am Disapointed
[sic] in all this nonesense [sic] i [sic] am a Lifetime member of both Famous Poets society i [sic] have attended their Conventions and i [sic] Have won countless Awards and Moneys [sic] from Famous Poets and Poetry.com (International society of Poets) i [sic] thank [sic] they are great I cant [sic] understand why you all would Bash Two wonderful Poetry Programs like that they have always Lived up even more to what they Pertain They supplied Food Coupons for my Dinners and my Companion also was taken care of they are very nice people i [sic]
had a wonderful good time at all the conventions you all are wrong they did everything to meet my needs and are not Scamming Please stop Bashing them
'A Dedicated Member of Famous Poets Society and I will always stand behind them'

Here’s the link to the scam report and the comments just in case you’re an asshole who doesn’t believe me: http://www.badbusinessbureau.com/reports/0/004/ripoff0004506.htm

I love how he puts all those phony PhDs in his information and doesn’t even have the brains to put the periods in the abbreviation of it correctly. It’s Ph.D. not P.H.D. you dumbass. And the fact that he can’t even fucking spell correctly or punctuate at all adds to his obvious retardation. And of course you’ll always “stand behind them”. You like to give it that way, you whore.

Even stranger is that he lives in the same place that Hollywood’s Famous Poets works out of. Hmm. (This is
not a different organization; they are all the same in different locations and under different names. This one in Hollywood obviously and just regular old Famous Poets is in Oregon. Just I case you dumbasses can’t follow along with what I’ve been saying).

In the same link, there is also commentary from an ex-employee that is quite interesting:

JjHillsboro, OregonU.S.A.

more about Mark Schramm, pervert, liar and thief

The owner Mark is bigot, a liar and a thief. I worked for him and he has threatened me and my family with harm. He plays the roll of a nice guy, he is anything but, if anything he is a Jekyll & Hyde, a nut job. I am told by both men and woman, he is a pervert. Wonder what that is all about? He will make like he will rectify complaints on this site, but he does nothing and makes up ridiculous excuses and places blame elsewhere.I will be back with more and will send documentation that Dateline and 60 minutes will want to do a story on this creep! Come back soon, as I will be posting here documents that will reveal more about Mark Schramm, liar and thief along with pictures of his home and other revealing pictures.

Ouch, and I thought that they were so nice and caring too (but JjHillsboro, you've got to work on that grammar). It's a crying shame that nothing has come out of that and that this user has not (to my knowledge at least) done any detailed follow up or has received any more information that can put Mr. Schramm where he belongs: in a jail cell with Big Bubba:

After arguing with these assholes online for a refund and to simply admit what they were, they finally sent me this:

Last email from us. You're too rude and nonsensical. After this they get automatically deleted.

So these aren't real winners from last year?
http://famouspoets.com/mn.asp?pg=2005

This is done for our part. You are ranting and with each email look more over the edge of reason.
Good-bye,

Famous Poets
Where happiness is being published!


So asking for customer service and emailing them proof of the scam and having them deny it is “over the edge of reason”? Who’s really over that edge here? Well, if you’re going to be like that:

Now let’s take a look at those “winners” from last year; or any year for that matter. Why do these “winners” parade around in ridiculous robes designed to look like royalty? What does dressing up like an asshole have to do with poetry, aside from the obvious? The only person that should be allowed to dress in a king’s robe and crown without being retarded is a real king like Maddox.

Why do these same past “winners” appear on their website with their faces blurred and pixels clearly seen, something that happens when you blow up a picture on an inferior computer and Photoshop it (badly, clearly with no experience, or use Microsoft Paint) onto a portrait of King Louis XIV:

OMG! LOL, I totally buy it!

Wow, such authenticity. I simply get the urge to bow down to these alleged greats of poetry. If you cannot see that these are blatant Photoshop images, you should see an optometrist immediately or get a brain transplant. I’d recommend both. True, some actually did don the idiotic garb like complete morons, but I can grantee you that some in the above pictures did not. Don’t believe me? Well look at the crowns on the two left pictures. Now the ones on the right. See it? The red in the crowns in the images on the right are a distinctly bright hue. The same kind you find in Microsoft Paint and similar programs. To demonstrate, I put a box colored red by Microsoft Word’s drawing tool with the image from the website, now compare with said crown.

Also the man third from the left has a very exaggerated shadow (on his left), clearly the result of an inexperienced user on a superior program like Photoshop. And is it just me, or do the crowns in those two pictures look like they’re not really there, and only a computer drawing? And also, are all these people suffering from some deforming disease (especially the second one from the left)? Their faces certainly look it. Or is that just more of the bad Photoshop work? Hmmm.

I then proceeded to call these dumbasses and got the same load of bull, in addition to them insulting me and refusing to apologize or they would simply hang up for no reason or because “a real poet is on the line”. Oh wait a minute? I thought you were a big, world renowned cooperation? Now if that were true, why wouldn’t you have multiple operators standing by? And why was it that each time I called (since they kept hanging up on me) it was the same dumbass with fewer brain cells than Dr. Phil?

I’m never entering another poetry contest and neither should you. In fact, who really gives a rat’s ass about poetry anyway? Poetry sells incredibly lower amounts than novels. At least if you write songs (
real songs, unlike the constant drivel of bullshit coming out now about how you miss your useless, whiny girlfriend because you cheated on her with some slut next-door, just shut the fuck up and masturbate) you can earn a living and get your lyrics heard on a larger scale. Far better than traditional, unmanly, poetry.

I emailed back Famouspoets.com (from another email address of course because we all know that they blocked me for bringing them the TRUTH) and received two letters back that completely redefine the meaning of the word ‘bullshit’.

The first letter said:

My high school daughter was thinking of entering a poem she wrote in your contest but I would like to first have some questions verified that the site neglects to answer. You go into so much detail on how long you've been in business, what anthology is being worked on and the like but the following questions, which I would like to have answers to very soon are absent.

Is this a scam of any kind?

How come I've never heard of Famous Poets before?

Where is "Talent" Oregon? Mapquest shows that it is a single building on a one way street in a farming community.

Why do the winners of large cash prizes never make any news under a human interest category?

Why aren't your books sold in stores such as Barnes & Nobel, Walden Books or Borders?

The images of winners on the top border look as if they have been altered, why?

Why haven't I ever heard of these winners before, especially if they won so much money?

Why haven't I ever heard of Lavender Aurora before either?

The only reason I wish to ask these questions is because I am very concerned that my daughter may lose the rights to her work, especially since she wants to be a writer after college. I also do not want to have my daughter cheated out of her money. If she happens to win something, shouldn't it be free? After all it was a prize. I have heard stories where people who enter these contests must pay for their own prizes.

Please respond shortly. Thank you.

Well, for one email address I had to send it
twice because they never responded. However when the finally did, this is what I got:

Your questions are not really possible for us to answer adequately. To the first, no we are not a scam. And I don't know why you haven't heard of us, same applies to others of your question - I don't know. If you wish to call for more precise answers call 541-535-2500. If she enters she will never lose her rights to her poem and she would never have to pay for a prize, only for books and whatnot should she want one.

Thanks,
Famous Poets
Where happiness is being published!


Isn’t it strange that they can’t explain why I’ve never heard of them or why their “city” is a single building? Usually a reliable, worthy business would send news articles that mention them or links to a reliable video source to “enlighten” me so that I can see that they are recognized in public. Not a single thing like that here. Hell, not even a faked one!

Onto the second email. I sent them the same message as I wrote above, only changing daughter to son, made more focus on their conventions and sent it from another email address. This is what they replied with:

Don't understand your gripe. For one we held the convention and did award the prize money to the winning poets in attendance as selected by their fellow poets and the judges. Everyone who attended that we heard from enjoyed themselves immensely and said they would recommend it to others, or so their Evaluation sheets said. The event costs money to make happen and thus it must cost money for those who choose to attend. Can you think of any similar convention of the special interest variety that is free? There aren't any. We did everything we advertised in the brochure so there was nothing to be stupid about in believing, it all came true as planned and advertised. It's too bad you assumed the worse, I'm sure you did because the price tag was prohibitive. However, had you contacted us we could have arranged something. We let poets attend for as little as $150 just so they could take part. In fact some attended for free because we accepted their word that they would pay us afterwards and they never did. Guess you can't always trust a poet. But all that aside it was a great event and we're proud of it as we always have been of our conventions.

But thanks for sharing your thoughts. They are in the dark but now not as much perhaps.

Thanks,
Famous Poets
Where happiness is being published!

We let poets attend for as little as $150 just so they could take part.” Oh my fucking goodness! That simply can’t be! When I got a letter that said I was to be in Philadelphia (not Reno) it said it cost $300, not including the cost of travel because I would have to find my own way there in addition to paying for board, since the hotel it was held at had no information about booking in advance for this event. You’d think that if I was a winner, it would be paid for and I would be catered to.

Can you think of any similar convention of the special interest variety that is free? There aren’t any.” Yes, they are called prepaid. Business conventions are similar and are also prepaid, meaning that the company pays for it. They are not free, that is true, but they are technically free to the person attending. That is not the case with this.

Also, many people who win vacations (which may or may not be scams, I’ll be doing some research and revealing the truth on those later) are prepaid. The winner doesn’t pay a cent (excluding the entry fee or similar entrance payment) outside of the coverage area given to him/her by the contest/business/association.

They also claim they did everything that was included in the brochure. Well, I had to do some digging into my desk when I first got this shit and the brochure says that several famous authors would be there and that the winners would read their poem in front of them and on
national television. When was this aired? It had to be in the early morning right before I wake up to rain Hell upon the world and beat shit eating con artists to death with my undoubtedly huge wang. I’ve never heard or seen of any broadcasts made from theses conventions. More than likely they air them locally, but that would mean they lied about it being national. But then again, should we expect anything less from these cuntwats?

In fact some attended for free because we accepted their word that they would pay us afterwards and they never did. Guess you can't always trust a poet.” Jesus Christ Almighty! That is the biggest fucking lie ever! You can’t even attend their conventions unless you shell out in a fashion similar to a down payment, so this is absolute ass stew. Oh wait, it gets better. Look at that last part again. “Guess you can’t always trust a poet.

And this organization is supposedly made up of poets. Well, well, well. I guess they admitted they were a con after all! I mean, they just said you can’t always trust a poet; they’re poets so therefore you can’t always trust them.

Besides, what is this saying to all the other writers out there, and editors, publishers, agents, English teachers and the like? That I can’t always trust them. Okay kids, you heard the Famous Poet, don’t listen to what your English teachers tell you or even bother to read anymore, because it’s not always trustworthy. Go back to rotting in front of the TV while you play cheap knock offs of Mega Man and Grand Theft Auto because you’re parents are too cheap to get the real thing. It’s okay, our teachers and politicians have already lost faith in your future anyway so you may as well prove them right.

Going back to the first part of the quote, another easy to see lie if that if some attended free and never paid, why hasn’t there been any news about the legal process to obtaining this money? After all, that is technically stealing and fraud. And the IRS just loves that. Due to the lack of any legal actions there, only two reasons as to why exist:

a. A con artist cooperation such as Famous Poets Society isn’t interested in taking all the money they can from you,


Or:

b. It never happened.

I’ll place my bets on the latter.

I emailed these dicks one last time with comments from this article to prove it to them; well they didn’t get back for the longest time until they sent this:

We have nothing to say to you further. We answered, you replied with nothing worth answering back to. Since you don't have any plans of engaging us for a convention or anything else why waste your time and ours with pointless questions and insults?
Thanks,

Famous Poets
Where happiness is being published!
http://www.famouspoets.com/

This is my original message that the above reply is to:

Look, this isn't really hard to do. All you have to do is hit reply and you can send an email back:

So, since I finally received your poorly composed reply I have a few things to say about it. Did you even graduate from high school because that reply was so poorly done it seems that you did not. Also, what are "Lavender Aurora's" credentials? Where did she go to school, what was her degree in, what type of degree is it? As a consumer and under the Freedom of Information Act I am entitled to know this, especially if I'm going to be spending my hard earned money on it. And some points:

Can you think of any similar convention of the special interest variety that is free? There aren't any.” Yes, they are called prepaid. Business conventions are similar and are also prepaid, meaning that the company pays for it. They are not free, that is true, but they are technically free to the person attending. That is not the case with this.

You said the winners read their poems on national television. Why haven't I ever seen anything of the sort on? Is it only local broadcast (which would mean false advertising) or do you broadcast on private signal I'd have to pay another fee for?

Just wondering.

I gotta love how they still keep “Thanks” and “Where happiness is being published!” despite the nature of their reply. Douche bags. Well, this about wraps up the installment investigating the disgusting, treacherous, filthy, cock-sucking, ass spelunking scheme that is Famous Poets.

2 comments:

suetonius said...

This uncensored version of your gripe has a lot more energy than the watered down one. Either way, I hope somebody shuts these scammers down. Especially for preying on high school kids and younger. that's really a low blow. By the way, can anyone think of a word that rhymes with "silver"?

Cody Haag said...

Thank you very much for writing this. I just received the same "Youre a finalist!" Letter. Thank you for letting me know before I blow money on a scam. I'm only fourteen. It's sad that they trick peoplei not wasting their money, and even sadder that they scam adolescents.