UPDATE: June Ends With No Cell-Phone Plan From Data Network Affiliates; Company’s ‘Nature Of Business’ Under Review By BBB

June closed with no cell-phone package from Data Network Affiliates (DNA), despite claims on YouTube that the firm offers “unlimited” talk and text with a free phone for $10 a month.

Separately, the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida and the Caribbean now says it is looking into the “nature” of DNA’s business and assigned the firm an opening grade of “C-” on its 14-step ratings scale. In recent weeks, DNA, whose website is registered behind a proxy in the Cayman Islands, has listed a street address in Boca Raton, Fla.

It is not unusual for the BBB to give a company an acceptable rating while it is gathering information and then adjust the rating based on the information it collects. Narc That Car (Crowd Sourcing International) once had a “B-” rating from the BBB. Narc/CSI’s rating eventually was lowered to “F,” but could have remained stable at “B-” or even improved had the organization been satisfied by the explanations it received from the Dallas-based company.

The information the BBB now has on DNA can aptly be described as threadbare. No complaints have been filed against the firm, according to the BBB. The BBB’s listing for DNA first appeared in late June.

Like Narc/CSI, DNA purports to be in the business of paying members to record the license-plate numbers of automobiles for entry in a database. The BBB has raised pyramid concerns about the business model Narc/CSI employs.

DNA originally positioned itself as the “free” alternative to Narc/CSI, which charges “consultants” an up-front fee of $100 to qualify to become data-gatherers and earn the right to recruit other “consultants” and receive commissions based on their recruiting prowess. Like Narc/CSI, DNA said its database product would be helpful to law enforcement and also could be used as a tool to locate abducted children.

Although positioning itself as “free” and signing up members by the tens of thousands, DNA later pitched a $127 upgrade that purportedly would make it easier for members to enter plate data. The company described its “free” data-entry module as a clunker in an email to members. The company later pitched members on a purported “magnetic” healthcare product and also said it offered “juice.”

DNA has been associated with a series of communications that even its former chief executive officer described as bizarre. The former CEO, Dean Blechman, resigned Feb. 24 while the company was in prelaunch. Blechman said the firm delayed his resignation announcement for nearly a week, and then butchered the announcement when it finally was issued in early March.

By April, DNA said it had entered the cell-phone business, declaring “GAME OVER — WE WIN” despite the fact it appears to have had no experience in the cell-phone industry. The company announced it would offer unlimited talk and text with a free phone for $10 a month, but then withdrew the announcement three weeks later, saying it had not studied cell-phone pricing prior to advertising its purported $10 plan.

The $10 plan was advertised by DNA pitchmen on both Craigslist and YouTube. Some videos on YouTube implied that DNA was offering a branded I-Phone from Apple for $10 a month. Apple did not respond to requests for comment on DNA’s purported branding program.

DNA, which has used a free Gmail address to conduct customer service, has published an image of an I-Phone for weeks. DNA’s website advertised “Full Operations” for cell phones beginning in “June 2010.” A link on that page leads to a page that incongruously says, “DNA Cellular Begins Full Service May 2010.”

Visit the BBB’s early listing on DNA.

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5 Responses to “UPDATE: June Ends With No Cell-Phone Plan From Data Network Affiliates; Company’s ‘Nature Of Business’ Under Review By BBB”

  1. Patrick, this revelation completely amazed me !!! Who would have expected a lie from an online opportunity?? I am flabbergasted !!

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  2. Don: I am flabbergasted !!

    Don,

    At least you weren’t flabbergasted !!!!!!!!!! :-)

    That may come, though.

    Regards,

    Patrick

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  3. I’m sure it is all a big misunderstanding. They actually meant June of next year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did I set a record for !?

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  4. Lynn wrote: I’m sure it is all a big misunderstanding. They actually meant June of next year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did I set a record for !?

    I responded:

    Lynn,

    My memory is a little fuzzy, but I seem to remember that a MegaLido pitchman describing the “offshore” benefits of the surf in the aftermath of the ASD seizure used nine exclamation points in the first 21 words.

    That’s likely not a world record in the surf biz.

    On the subject of DNA, it seems to favor ALL-CAPS and breathless prose in general.

    Patrick

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  5. Things are not going well for DNA or APD. Seems APD is having payment problems, and is now asking its members to “roll over” their cash accounts back into the business. Hmmm, now where I have heard that one before? Both of these will be lucky to last the month.

    I still think I get the record for the having the most number of exclamation marks for “one sentence” in one post. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (But just in case, I think this now gives me the title.)

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