LETTER TO READERS: PP Blog Calls Police, Turns Off Google AdSense Ads After Search Giant Refuses To Take Report About Chronic Harassment From YouTube Cyberstalker ‘unclefesta26’

Dear Readers,

YouTube and Google apparently are unwilling to do anything about the cyberstalker “unclefesta26,” who appears to be harassing the PP Blog (and others) from an IP in the United Kingdom.

First, though, let me share some of reasons for this post.

The PP Blog is a Google AdSense publisher. On Nov. 17, Google invited me to participate in a beta test of a tool designed to give publishers more control over the AdSense ads that appear on their sites. I eagerly registered for the beta program on the day I received the invitation because I sensed a gathering storm.

Indeed, one of the reasons I quickly registered for the beta program was that “unclefesta26” had used YouTube as a platform from which to poison the Blog’s brand by planting the seed that it cannot be trusted because of some of the AdSense ads that have appeared here. Here is one example. Here is another. I saw the beta program as both a welcome tool and a means of minimizing harassment from “unclefesta26.”

The PP Blog has thousands of readers. I have received only a tiny number of complaints about AdSense ads. By “tiny,” I mean no more than three in the past two and a half years.

If you’ve never had a stalker, these matters perhaps will seem trivial to you. But I necessarily have to spend time and energy monitoring this situation, which is chilling my ability to publish and earn a living in an atmosphere free of extortion — emotional or financial.

It’s important to note that “unclefesta26,” who previously was banned from posting on the PP Blog, also has used the name “Pistol” and “Pistol’s Pal” online. Stalking never should be taken lightly, especially when one has used the name “Pistol.”

A search of YouTube associates “unclefesta26” with approximately 311 videos. Virtually all of them harass his targets in one way or another. YouTube is providing the stage, contrary to its own Community Guidelines.

In any event, the new AdSense tool has been helpful in blocking certain types of ads from appearing on the Blog. The tool, however, is not perfect. Owing to a large number of variables that may trigger ads, I am not certain any tool can do a perfect job. One of the biggest variables of all is taste. What some readers may view as objectionable could be perceived by others as something worthy of embrace. The PP Blog does not establish the rules by which Google accepts advertisers.

What “unclefesta26” is doing is at the edge of irrationality, another thing wholly consistent with stalking. His IP has appeared on the PP Blog hundreds of times in recent weeks, according to our database — this after I had banned an earlier IP. I detected the new IP only days ago. It has become clear that “unclefesta26” is persistently videotaping the Blog, narrating passages from the Blog, scraping content to which he adds provocative sexual innuendo and employing a keyword strategy to poison the brand of the Blog.

How bizarre have things gotten? Well, “unclefesta26” is using the keyword phrase “anal exam” to confuse the YouTube public about the PP Blog. He is taking the PP Blog’s content, changing it to suit his ends — and then publishing commentary attributed to the Blog on YouTube.

I offer no apologies for seeking to make a living in my profession — in an environment that is affecting operations large and small as publishers scramble to remain relevant and even to hang on in the Internet Age. I have used the tool — and a previous tool provided by Google — to try to minimize the publication of ads inconsistent with the aims of the PP Blog. I cannot make it perfect — and now I have to deal with “unclefesta26” poisoning the PP Blog’s brand on YouTube.

In one of his YouTube videos, “unclefesta26” videotaped headlines that scrolled across the top of the PP Blog. He used software to insert a bogus headline, changed the wording on the Blog’s “Breaking News” graphic — and added text that a reader of the Blog conducts “Anal” exams — “That’s Arsehole or Asshole To You And I,” he noted — “On Person Or Persons Unknown.”

Here are some questions YouTube and Google should contemplate: What if “unclefesta26” and others like him go after other AdSense publishers? What if he poisons the brands of other AdSense-participating journalists? Will publishers become reluctant to carry AdSense ads because the price of carrying them is to be pilloried on a stage that Google itself provides? How many small publishers such as the PP Blog will become discouraged when they come to realize that Google apparently is unwilling to act in the interests of its own publishers?

Among the ad categories I have blocked are “Get Rich Quick,” “Drugs & Supplements” and “Weight Loss.” I also have blocked “Brokerages & Day Trading,” “Securities,” “Retirement Investments,” “Spread Betting” and about 18 other categories pertaining to finance, investments and pharmaceuticals/healthcare. I cannot make the system fool proof. I do not believe that Google can, either.

“unclefesta26’s” stock-in-trade is to lie in wait until he sees an ad on the PP Blog that displeases him — and then to produce a video of the story in which the ad appears. His general allegation against the Blog is one of hypocrisy: If I write about a court case in which damages were ordered against a company in a false-advertising case — and if Google places an ad in the story from a company he perceives to be objectionable — “unclefesta26” races to YouTube to skewer the Blog. At the same time, he is using his YouTube site to ridicule actual living, breathing human beings who support the Blog’s editorial mission.

Yes, “unclefesta26” even is using YouTube to harass the Blog’s readers. Looking at it another way, not only is “unclefesta26” attacking an AdSense publisher, he also is attacking the very people the AdSense program is designed to attract: readers interested in buying things and comparing options.

What he is doing is wholly unnatural and disturbing — and I say this as a person who spent seven years in the law-enforcement trenches before embarking on my writing career more than two decades ago. I have seen great harm come to the objects of stalkers — both physical and emotional. Stalking is never to be taken lightly. There is no doubt — absolutely none — that the behavior of “unclefesta26” is consistent with an obsession to inflict distress. It also is consistent with a pattern of refusing to stop no matter what — and that makes it dangerous. It is vulgar, to be sure.

“unclefesta26” was banned from posting on the PP Blog in June 2009 for chronic harassment of the Blog and its readers. The very nature of his cyberstalking site on YouTube demands that YouTube and Google pay attention. If I were David Letterman — and if this harassment were occurring in or near my home — “unclefesta26” already would have a date with a judge. He then could explain to the judge why he believes it legal to lift a person’s image off the Internet and create an animated video that depicts the person as a breast-squeezing pole dancer wearing what appears to be a diaper when he isn’t dancing in the buff.

I contacted Google by phone at its corporate headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., Friday at 3:31 p.m. (PT) to file a cyberstalking complaint against  “unclefesta26,” who has produced yet-another video designed to harass the Blog. It is possible — though not certain — that the video was made after “unclefesta26” made a fraudulent click on an AdSense ad that appeared on the Blog.

Even if the video “unclefesta26” produced did not use footage he accessed after making a fraudulent click, it still constitutes cyberstalking and harassment. I am not going to take it — especially not after the DDoS attacks by still-unknown parties against the Blog in 2010. They increased the Blog’s monthly costs tenfold.

Here, below, is “unclefesta26’s” most recent effort to harass. (The person depicted in the YouTube video is not “unclefesta26.” Rather, the person appears to be a Google advertiser whose ad appeared on the PP Blog):

Google No Help

You’ll note in the video above that “unclefesta26” took a screen shot of a story that appeared on the PP Blog Jan. 5. The screen shot includes a slice from an AdSense ad that appeared in the post. “unclefesta26” used the following keywords on YouTube to plant the seed that the Blog was engaging in illegal conduct: “patrick pretty hypocrite scammer ponzi scam fraud.”

In the past, “unclefesta26” has used a gmail address to email the Blog to nuisance it and to announce his latest YouTube efforts. Not only is he a cyberstalker, he also is proud of his efforts to use Google-owned properties to annoy and harass his targets. The part of the story that he does not tell is that he has been banned from multiple online sites for behavior consistent with cyberstalking and relentless hectoring.

Rather than hosting his own sites, “unclefesta26” relies on free services provided by Google. In the past, he used a free Ning.com website as a platform of harassment. He has a documented history of ignoring rules of decorum and of creating multiple identities to keep his nuisance campaigns intact. A moderator at one forum told me that “unclefesta26” created more than a dozen user identities in a single day. He created at least two user identities at the PP Blog and also appears to have the ability to use proxies to enter sites from which he has been banned.

My most unsatisfactory call to Google Friday lasted four minutes and 29 seconds. Google refused to transfer me to a person authorized to speak about security- and fraud-related matters and its AdSense program. Incredibly, Google explained there was no way to speak with a person who actually could listen to and field my complaint. In my frustration after hearing canned responses and after having had no luck in the past with getting YouTube to do anything, I voiced my displeasure, testily saying that I insisted on being transferred to someone in authority.

What I got was another canned response. It was like talking to a person who’d been programmed by geeks to say the same thing no matter what. It’s not a stretch to believe that the phone-answerer at Google would have told me to send an email had I called to report I’d just been mugged on the Mountain View campus or had seen a woman thrown forcibly into a car. The company seemed to care less that we had a common business problem.

I am not happy. The PP Blog produces revenue for Google and content that it eagerly indexes. The Blog is being harassed on Google-owned YouTube by a cyberstalker in no small measure because of its participation in Google’s AdSense program — and yet Google cannot or will not put me through to a person in authority.

“unclefesta26” apparently believes that any revenue the Blog receives is too much because Google sometimes delivers ads to the Blog that he deems objectionable — this while he uses phrases such as “blow job” and “flasher” and engages in bizarre sexual innuendo on his YouTube stalking site, which is equally unfriendly to women.

PP Blog Calls Police

At 3:42 p.m., after getting off the phone with Google, I called the Mountain View (Calif.) Police Department and asked to speak with a police officer. I identified myself and the location from which I was calling, providing a brief summary of what I sought to report. The woman who answered the phone did not identify herself as a police officer. Eventually I was placed on hold. The woman then came back on the line and told me the Mountain View department could not take my complaint, that I had to call my local police department.

So, at least for now, “unclefesta26” has demonstrated that people who wish to use YouTube to harass AdSense publishers and others have a safe haven. It will do absolutely no good to call my local police department in the United States. I had hoped that the Mountain View police would take a report and contact Google on my behalf to at least start the ball rolling — and that Google would call me back. It became next to impossible for me Friday night to think of Google as a company that cares.

At least temporarily, the Blog has removed the code that produces the AdSense ads. If Google is unable or unwilling to accept a phone call from an AdSense publisher who is being harassed on a Google-owned site, Google is not looking out for me. The run-around one gets when one seeks to speak with an actual human being in authority about legitimate issues of cyberstalking and fraud is unacceptable. At the same time, YouTube has permitted “unclefesta26” to create a stalking and hectoring site — one that not only is targeting this Blog, but also subjecting people who interact with the Blog to ridicule. One of his targets is a registered 501(c)3 corporation that works proactively with the U.S. Secret Service and other law-enforcement agencies to educate the public about scams.

I have sent three complaints about “unclefesta26” using the YouTube system of screens. The complaint system, which I first used months ago, is worthless in my view. I have never even received a response. The harassment has continued for well more than a year and even has been dialed up.

Given my background, I do not subscribe to the belief that the best thing to do about “unclefesta26” is to ignore him. He has been banned from multiple online forums for harassing behavior, which demonstrates a troubling pattern of persistence. The only other people ever banned from the PP Blog were “joe,” who threatened to start “fires” that Blog could not put out, and ASD mainstay Bob Guenther, who threatened to take measures to defeat the Blog’s security systems.

Given the DDoS attacks that were launched against the PP Blog in October and November — and a subsequent email it received that referenced “Doomsday” — the Blog has legitimate security concerns.

What “unclefesta26” is doing is both revolting and shameful.

And what Google and YouTube have done in response is equally revolting and shameful. They are permitting YouTube to be used as an agent of hurt. Both YouTube and Google have erected barriers that make it difficult for users to communicate with them in a meaningful way.

This, Readers, is what “unclefesta26” is doing to the chairman of a 501(c)3 corporation. The chairman proactively works with the U.S. Secret Service to combat fraud online:

YouTube and Google should be horrified. So should all advocates for safety on the Internet.

“Things like predatory behavior, stalking, threats, harassment, intimidation, invading privacy, revealing other people’s personal information, and inciting others to commit violent acts or to violate the Terms of Use are taken very seriously,” YouTube notes in its Community Guidelines.

Those words ring hollow to the PP Blog today.

Patrick

About the Author

20 Responses to “LETTER TO READERS: PP Blog Calls Police, Turns Off Google AdSense Ads After Search Giant Refuses To Take Report About Chronic Harassment From YouTube Cyberstalker ‘unclefesta26’”

  1. Sounds like this will evolve into a legal issue with unclefesta26 Google and others. I wish you well Patrick.

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  2. Edit:

    If you’ll establish a mechanism whereby those of us who wish to subscribe to your very valuable blog CAN DO SO, perhaps your COMMITTED readers can collectively offset the lost revenue attributable to your cancellation of the AdSense relationship. If enough of us do so, perhaps you can make it into a fee-based enterprise.

    Maybe a survey would help determine the wisdom of such a move. Depending upon the pricing and the percentage of your readership who respond positively to such an opportunity, your bottom line might actually improve – who knows?

    Meantime, as of today, I will boycott Google and YouTube unless and until your issue with them is resolved. I know they won’t notice my absence, but it is my small way of dealing with what is obviously a lack of customer service by yet another uncaring corporate giant. Their lack of responsiveness is unacceptable, and altogether too pervasive these days.

    -PWD

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  3. Great rant Patrick! Sadly the large online companies seem to have grown too big to be concerned for their users. Their treatment of complaints is only one side of it. Their policy of non intervention is healthy on the one hand, but also allows sites promoting illegal ventures to flourish.

    Cyberstalking is a low pastime, generally practised by people who are both bullies and cowards, not to mention obsessive and Cyberstalkers thrive in this environment

    The only comment one can make about the sad little man who hides behind the pseudonym Uncle Festa is that he is the biggest hypocrite of the lot. He professes to hate ponzis, but then spends his waking hours trying to discredit the very people who are trying to stamp them out. The ponzi pimps must consider him a great ally.

    (sorry did not add to his normally abismally low traffic count by clicking on your links)

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  4. It’s sad that an old Scottish drunk can get away with what he does online. Maybe more people need to call YouTube and demand that his account be terminated. Might not be a bad idea to contact the UK authorities and let them know what he is up to. I’d be willing to bet they already know his name, he probably does the same to his own countrymen.

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  5. It’s sad that an old Scottish drunk can get away with what he does online. Maybe more people need to call YouTube and demand that his account be terminated. Might not be a bad idea to contact the UK authorities and let them know what he is up to. I’d be willing to bet they already know his name, he probably does the same to his own countrymen.  

    If you have any evidence that this man is an “old Scottish drunk” who is harassing reputable journalists and researchers in the US, it would be a very good idea to get an investigative journalist from a Scottish newspaper to sort the matter out. I would be prepared to help Patrick get a press release to best broadsheet which is “The Scotsman.” There is also a very good Scottish evening tabloid. I am not sure of the name but I could find out. It may be the Scottish Evening News or possibly The Glascow Evening News.

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  6. If you have any evidence that this man is an “old Scottish drunk” who is harassing reputable journalists and researchers in the US, it would be a very good idea to get an investigative journalist from a Scottish newspaper to sort the matter out.

    Indeed it is true that this internet pest is “an old Scottish drunk”. He himself posted at a now closed forum how he drank daily and how he met his wife on one of his drinking binges at his local watering hole.

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  7. Indeed it is true that this internet pest is “an old Scottish drunk”. He himself posted at a now closed forum how he drank daily and how he met his wife on one of his drinking binges at his local watering hole.  

    In that case, let us gather the evidence for a press release. We would need to present it in the standard format. We need 3-4 lines from 4 people with some standing eg. Partick. Lynne and two others so I can print it out send it to the Editor of The Scotsman or any other Scottish newspaper where he lives. The fact that we have chosen to release it to Scottish journalists rather than English ones should make the guy think that we know what we are doing.

    I think that I know how to write a covering letter with sufficient punch to make somebody in the newsroom laugh about some unfortunate but reputable Americans who are forced to enlist Scottish journalists to desrtoy a bit of their cyberspace scum.

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  8. Patrick – is this matter of interest to Homeland Security, as the threat appears to be initiated from UK?
    Please continue to investigate and redouble your efforts – you are on to a growing issue – what can I, as your faithful reader, do to offer support?
    I agree with your concerns – please send frequent updates.
    Grateful for your efforts!

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  9. From the U.S. Department of Justice — Jan. 5, 2011, the same date reflected in one of “unclefesta26’s” cyberstalking videos:

    ______________________________________________________________________________The following post appears courtesy of Susan B. Carbon, Director of the Office on Violence Against Women

    January’s observance as national stalking awareness month gives me an opportunity to join with our federal, national, local and individual partners to once again focus on a crime that affects over one million adults in America every year.

    The statistics reflect, but often do not measure, the toll that this crime takes on the emotional, professional, academic and personal lives of its victims. In fact, stalking is not limited to those over 18 and is experienced by many adolescents and teens.

    Friends, families and communities are affected by this complex and often dangerous crime, sometimes mischaracterized as harmless or misinterpreted as expressions of concern and even love. Stalking is often hard to recognize. Sometimes, considered as bothersome and intrusive, it is ignored. Technological advances are an added tool used by stalkers to intimidate and control their victims. Many do not report their experiences to law enforcement because it is not immediately recognized as a crime. Some are unaware that it is defined as such in every state.

    The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) believes that the motto to “KNOW IT, NAME IT, AND STOP IT” captures the focus of January’s awareness campaign. Emotional responses to stalking include feeling afraid, vulnerable, anxious, depressed, stressed, unsafe and confused. The Stalking Resource Center of the National Center for Victims of Crime —launched in 2000 in partnership with OVW —provides resources to victims and those who respond and support them. The awareness campaigns are a call to action to speak out about the crime, report it and engage others in an ongoing dialogue. Educating ourselves and each other is an important step to encouraging and supporting victims to report the crime and stop the abuse.

    As President Obama said in his Stalking Awareness Month Proclamation, “Stalking affects too many Americans to remain a hidden crime, and a strong stand is required in order to both support victims and hold perpetrators accountable.”

    We join with the President and the Attorney General in getting out the word about this serious crime and continuing our commitment throughout this month and the coming year.

    Link: http://blogs.usdoj.gov/blog/archives/1128

    ____________________________________________________________________________

    I’ve gotten out the word about the crime; I have posted about it — repeatedly and publicly. And I have called Google and the police.

    Persistent “unclefesta26,” though, doesn’t care. This is dated today — a video he made featuring the entire column above:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQzjBQ8e8GI

    Patrick

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  10. Patrick – is this matter of interest to Homeland Security, as the threat appears to be initiated from UK?

    Hi Viva,

    I don’t see it as an issue of national security. I do, however, see it as an issue of personal security — for myself and others.

    what can I, as your faithful reader, do to offer support?

    You’ve shown your support by posting in this thread, Viva. Thank you.

    Patrick

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  11. Patrick:

    Uncle Festa’s videos are a major issue for you and your Blog. It is causing you financial harm. For that reason alone I hope that Federal Law Enforcement agencies (at least one of them) will go after this reprobate.

    While I am sure he thinks he is somehow discrediting me or Eagle, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact his latest pathetic attempt has shown how immature and despicable he truly is. They are no longer funny, but pathetic attempts from someone who has the IQ of the inside temp of a regrigerator, and desperately craves attention. I guess he thought by attacking the church I attend with his latest pathetic video was brilliant on his part. Actually it showed how reprehensible and a reprobate he truly is. But we do appreciate the hits to our webiste he has generated for us. He is like a gnat. A pest, but serves no useful purpose except in his own delusional mind.

    I do hope that someone from Google and YouTube does get back to you and takes action. We will support you in any way we can to stop his attacks against you and your Blog.

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  12. While I am sure he thinks he is somehow discrediting me or Eagle, nothing could be further from the truth.

    Hi Lynn,

    I agree he is not discrediting you or Eagle. What he is doing is stalking you and harassing you, while trying to poison and pollute Eagle’s name.

    At the same time, he is chilling the public and speech.

    Let’s look at Eagle: You run a nonprofit that works proactively with law enforcement to educate the public about scams. For your efforts, you’re being pilloried on YouTube, stalked, harassed and generally nuisanced.

    This is occurring during a period of time in which the United States is experiencing an unprecedented wave of white-collar time. At the precise moment in history in which law enforcement needs the most public support, “unclefesta26” is doing his best to exact a penalty on people willing to actually help the police.

    What’s the price for being an advocate for law enforcement these days? Well, bizarrely, it’s to get skewered, splayed and hectored on YouTube.

    It’s dangerous, Lynn. (I know you know that.)

    One of the reasons it’s dangerous is that he’s creating his own provocations. He needs to do it to feed his obsession — and no one can be truly safe in that sort of environment.

    Patrick

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  13. Cyberstalking of the kind that “UncleFesta” practices seems to be a form of internet perversion practised by those who would run a mile if they had to look their “victims” in the face and repeat what they had said when they were hiding behind their computers in their tartan pyjamas.

    People like “Festa” with their pathetic attempts to ridicule those who try to educate and prevent further ponzi frauds and other cyber crimes arejust moral bankrupts. Thanks to YouTube and Google’s non-enforcement of their own Terms and conditions, they end up becoming the ponzi pimps best friends.

    p.s. I bet he is getting his rocks off reading a whole blog all about himself.lol

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  14. Patrick, I have reported around 30 of the Uncle Festered videos on YouTube, they are tantamount to cyber-bullying and should not be tolerated. They serve no purpose, they are neither entertaining or educational. They are the ramblings of someone with little else to do other than to disparage, defame and commit libel if only to make himself feel “special”. He needs to be thrown off of YouTube and prosecuted.

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  15. Quick note:

    I have contacted Google again — this time by email. I am awaiting a response, but am advised I may not get one:

    “Thank you for your submission. Rest assured that we will review your comments and closely monitor your account activity. Keep in mind, however, that we may not follow up with you later unless we find a significant issue with your account activity.”

    Meanwhile, the stalking and harassment continue:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIBAYOs55zs

    Patrick

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  16. Did you really expect anything less from Festa?

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  17. It’s very disappointing that Google does such a poor job of policing their own services. A liability disclaimer is a poor substitute for taking responsibility. That being said I think it’s very possible that we’re over estimating Festa’s influence just a bit. Most internet savvy people become fairly aware of context when evaluating information online. Ulterior motives, particularly those as blatant as festa’s are clearly transparent and anyone gullible enough to mistake his rants for factual information probably have more important things to deal with online. Like E-mailing that wealthy Nigerian gentleman who needs a modest sum of cash to allow him to share his vast fortune.

    Thanks for linking to Festa’s youtube page Patrick. A few months back when I banned him from RealScam I quipped that I’d be honored if he added me to his slander channel. I more or less forgot about it till I read this blog post but low and behold I have been enshrined. My only regret is the speech synthesizer he uses is so poor you can’t really make my name out. No fear, at the end of the day he has to deal with himself far more than any of us has to deal with him and that my friends is self executing revenge at it’s finest.

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  18. Google, Facebook, Twitter and others understand only two languages: Money and law. Get a lawyer and sue them. You will see how fast they will want to talk to you.

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  19. Sounds like good common sense to me, Boris.

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