Lumina Jewellery – Caught Red Handed

It may surprise you to know that there are companies out there who have absolutely no interest at all in creating a personalised website for their business that’s unique and tailored specifically to their own needs but who are instead, happy to steal design ideas and complete pages of content from other businesses.  That’s exactly what Lumina Jewellery which is run by Sara and Picky Saund did, they came across Stone Mania at least five years ago and decided that what we had created, was everything they wanted for their own business so set about taking as much from us as they possibly could. Purely by chance, I happened to land on their website a few days ago and this is what I found.

Let me start off by explaining something called plagiarism, this is the practice of taking the work or ideas of someone else and passing them off as your own.  Sadly some people feel this is perfectly acceptable and believe that due to the size of the internet, they’ll never be caught.

I have written about plagiarism many times over the years in various blogs but the focus of my articles has usually been about the accuracy of information that you read online in relation to crystals, rocks and minerals which is my business and my hobby.   Usually when someone plagiarises an article they will try and disguise the fact that the work is not their own by changing some words or adding in or removing a few lines.  By doing this facts and accuracy often become confused or lost and once the amended version is published, there’s a good chance it will be plagiarised again and the process of making it look like an original piece of work will then be repeated.  As this cycle continues, the article will shift further and further away from how it was originally written.  Plagiarism violates Google’s guidelines and procedures are in place to ensure those who are caught are punished and this will usually be done by the offending pages being taken down or even the entire website being blacklisted.

Lumina Jewellery like Stone Mania sells ladies gemstone pendants and some of their designs are quite similar so having landed on their website, I was curious to find out more about them.  The first page I clicked on was their Order & Returns policy because I had written a page for my website with exactly the same name.  I could hardly believe what I saw when the page loaded, this was MY Order & Returns Policy, the page that I had written for my website.  Almost nothing at all had been changed except of course for the company name which had been changed from Stone Mania to Lumina Jewellery.  I had written this long and detailed page back in 2003 when I built my website and it had been in place until about five years ago when the site was redesigned and updated.  At that time I also updated many of the information pages including Terms & Conditions and the Order & Returns Policy so I knew they had copied it at least five years ago.  I then noticed they also had a page called Shipping Policy which wasn’t a particularly unusual title but upon opening it, that too had been plagiarised and no changes at all had been made to that page either.  A third page called Our Photos which explained how we took photos for Stone Mania’s website had also been copied but that had been reworded in places.

The very detailed Order & Returns Policy on the website of Lumina Jewellery and they’d even kept our hyperlinks in place!

 

 

And the original page on Stone Mania

 

And then the Shipping Policy on Lumina Jewellery’s website

And the original on Stone Mania

 

This is their version of the page from our website called Our Photos

 

And this is the original

 

I then began noticing how the design of their website was strangely similar to Stone Mania before we had it redesigned and updated in 2013.  It had been some time since I’d seen the last version of our website so I asked the guy who hosts my site if he could dig out an old copy and upon doing so, it confirmed my suspicions, they had based the design of their site on ours.  The company name and logo was in the top left corner, they had a shaded bar featuring links to various pages, a large rotating banner which featured photos of their jewellery, the search box, shopping cart and tag line were all in the same place as they were on an even earlier design of our website but that was too far back for me to be able to obtain a copy.  There were just too many similarities for it to be coincidental.  The colours that they’d used, purple and yellow were almost the same as the lilac and yellow that we had in two of the octagon shapes in our logo, as it was back then.  Their logo which sits to the right of their company name, the one that’s also a kind of octagon shape, where did the idea for that design come from I wonder?

 

 

The original Stone Mania logo that was on our website until we had a new one designed in 2009. Two of the colours that we used were yellow and lilac

 

Even their tag line, “The natural beauty of gemstones combined with creative use of silver to breathtaking effect” although terrible, bore an uncanny resemblance to a tag line that we use in relation to our gemstone pendants “Transforming magnificent gemstones into breathtaking pieces of jewellery”.  The ladies rings on their website were organised into size groups which was very unusual to see online but it’s something that we used to do when we sold rings, they even had a section called “Stone Directory” but instead of writing about each gemstone individually, they just put a long list of gemstone names there.  Obviously they hadn’t managed to copy all the pages from the Gemstone Directory on my website yet!

This is a screenshot from one of my forum posts from 2009, it shows the tag line that we used to use before it was removed when we adding crystals, rocks and minerals to our collection.

 

 

I was just stunned that anyone could be so audacious, designing and building an online business takes a huge amount of time and effort and since being launched in 2003, we’ve put an enormous amount of work into our website and business as a whole and continue to do so on a daily basis.  We work hard to ensure ideas are original and that our site is well maintained and most importantly, that it’s kept up to date with new technology. Clearly Sara and Picky Saund of Lumina Jewellery feel there’s no need to go to such lengths when they can steal designs and information from another business and better still, one who has a very similar product.

I also discovered that Lumina Jewellery move around the country doing shows and fairs like Stone Mania did before we decided to trade solely online and then it occurred to me, I had seen their stand at a few different shows when I had returned in later years as a visitor.  It caught my attention because in all the years I had been trading, I had never seen a display of gemstone pendants and rings quite as large as ours, it was what we specialized in and until 2011, we sold little else.  The pendants on our large display boards always attracted plenty of attention and our regular customers recognised our stand as soon as they saw them.  The other thing that surprised me was how similar the set up of Lumina Jewellery’s stand was to Stone Mania.  I’ve seen them at three different shows, a circuit market in St Albans, one of the Rock n Gem shows and also at Winchester Christmas market and needless to say, I had traded at all three of those venues for many years.  I had even spoken to Picky in Winchester and commented how similar some of his pendants were to mine.  I could see their pieces were made in Jaipur in India just like ours were but there was a significant difference in the quality of the silver and craftsmanship.  They were basically made in the same way that ours were when we first started buying in India many years ago but we had come a very, very long way since then.

Out of curiosity I then searched for their Facebook page and guess what?  This is a screenshot from one of their pages, I have erased their photo due to data protection.

I wonder where they got the idea from to take photographs of loose gemstones before they were mounted into pendants and rings?  In 2007 we had many photos like this on our website that we had taken whilst buying stones.

 

This is another photo from Lumina Jewellery’s Facebook page, it’s them I assume with their suppliers choosing labradorite for their collection.  Nice stones!

 

 

But hey, wouldn’t you know it, we had a photo just like that on OUR website and it’s still there today!  This is US choosing labradorite for our collection, but those are not our hands, they’re our suppliers, I’m taking the photograph!  (I’m just trying to be funny!) The above photo was not taken by me so it’s their own photo unless they’ve stolen it from someone else which is a very good possibility.  Is this yet another coincidence?  You decide.

 

Here’s a nice photo of their stand at the Royal Berkshire Show, we used to do all the county shows around the UK as well.  Those boards full of pendants look very familiar as do the trays of rings on the counter and the display case in front of the board on the right side.  Nice black table cloth and I like the drapes behind the counter.  Wonder where I’ve seen that set up before?

Oh yes of course, we have boards just like that and we also had a huge selection of rings on our stand for people to try on.  This lovely photo was of our chalet at the Winchester Christmas market with our newly made boards and display cases.  I think it was 2006.

 

 

And this was Stone Mania at one of our very early shows back in 2003 or 2004, that’s quite some time before Lumina Jewellery started trading.  Looks very similar to their stand don’t you think?  Note the black cloth and I much prefer the drapes Lumina Jewellery has behind their stand to ours!!   Another coincidence?  I wonder……

 

Soon after landing on Lumina Jewellery’s website I filed a DCMA (a copyright infringement notice) with Google, plagiarism violates their guidelines and all such pages are reviewed and usually removed and permanently blacklisted.

I also sent an email to Sara Saund of Lumina Jewellery confronting her about what I had found on her website but needless to say, she didn’t reply.  What she did do very quickly though was remove the plagiarised pages and now they look like this

 

 

 

Sara probably thought having quickly deleted the pages, Google would no longer be able to find them and nor would I, however erasing a page from the internet does not mean it can no longer be found, especially once it has been cached.  Google takes regular snapshots of pages of a website and they’re dated and stored until it crawls them again to take a more recent snapshot.  I took these screenshots after Sara had deleted the pages so they may not be on her website anymore, but they’re still available to view through Google.

 

 

 

Sadly there are people out there who think it’s absolutely okay to plagiarise others’ work and many believe they’ll never be caught.  I have to say I’ve never heard of anyone stealing pages to put on their website that have been written specifically for another business to explain policies and procedures and literally not change a thing other than the company name.  To be honest I find that really weird.  Clearly Sara and Picky found us online, probably after seeing our stand at a show or in a market and decided our business model was exactly what they wanted for themselves so instead of using their own ideas and doing research to create a unique business that they could be proud of, they just copied everything from Stone Mania.  I can only assume they believed with the internet being so vast, they’d never be caught but that shows just how naive they really are.

Stone Mania has come a very long way since the company was established in 2002 and we owe everything that we’ve achieved to many years of very hard work, absolute dedication and possibly most importantly of all, an unwavering desire to succeed at building a unique and successful business.  As it’s plain to see from this article and the accompanying photos and screenshots, Lumina Jewellery have been caught red handed and don’t deserve to have a business at all.  One thing I am really curious about however, is did they even have a jewellery business before discovering Stone Mania or did they steal that idea from us as well?

My closing comments are simple, if you have information online that you want to keep safe, use a programme like copyscape regularly to ensure people don’t plagiarise your work especially considering these guys will now be on the lookout for new material for their website.

And most importantly always remember, Karma works in mysterious ways.

Karma – the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect).  Good intent and good deed contribute to good karma and future happiness, while bad intent and bad deed contribute to bad karma and future suffering

 

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Dave Adamson of SEO Juice – SEO Scammer

Less than 24 hours after posting my comments on one of Dave Adamson’s phony promo threads in the Warrior Forum, he deleted the entire thread.  In this one he even claimed that his company SEO Juice had been voted the forum’s best SEO service.  Once again he made statements and guarantees that are absolute lies.  The thread had been running for some considerable time and had received many enquiries.

As I suspected he may delete the thread, I took a screen shot of what I wrote

After posting this, Dave Adamson deleted the entire thread

After posting this, Dave Adamson deleted the entire thread

Understandably frauds never like to be put in the limelight and certainly don’t want others to be fore warned about how much damage they’ve caused in the past to previous customers.  They will therefore do whatever is necessary to try and erase this kind of publicity.  I completely understand why he deleted the thread, after all I have written in great detail about what he did that caused so much damage to my website and online business and have also highlighted the fake reviews that members of his own company were writing and posting online.

Stone Mania is a relatively small company which sells crystals, rocks and minerals online and during the ten years we have been in business, we have worked tirelessly to build a company which is well respected and offers outstanding service to its customers.  We have never once received a complaint about the way we do business or the quality of our products. We’re passionate about what we do and the last thing we needed is to see our online presence dwindle because of an idiot who’s main concern is to scam people for money whilst delivering black hat SEO techniques in return.

I initially contacted SEO Juice in good faith in the hope that they would be able to help increase traffic to our website and raise our Google ranking.  Little did I know at the time, but from his very first email, Dave Adamson started telling lies.  In response to my first communication he replied:

‘I am sure we can help you when the time comes that you need to switch to an English speaking and writing firm.  The main thing that troubles me with non-English SEO firms is that SEO requires a lot of content generation, it is not enough to simply put links out there, these links need to be backed by and often incorporating topic related content. If results are achieved without doing this properly it just isn’t a good foundation for your SEO because when the search algorithms catch on to the websites with poor grammar and little traffic the links are diluted and thus your rankings could slip.

SEO Juice then went on to farm out work on my website to an Indian company who’s English was very basic to say the least.  They in turn built hundreds of low quality, spammy links back to my website using the keywords we had agreed.  They also copied and pasted hundreds of times across the internet, a snippet of text from my own home page.

Shortly after terminating my agreement with SEO Juice and subsequently having found out what they’d done during the time they were working for me, I contacted Dave Adamson to ask for a refund of my money as per his guarantees.  He initially told me I wasn’t eligible for a refund as I had come to him directly through his website and the offer was only applicable for customers who came to him through the Warrior Forum.  In fact I had seen his various promotional threads many times before I finally decided to contact him and when I did, I chose to contact him directly through his own website.  This was my preference as although I often read comments in forums, I rarely post in them hence sign up to very few.  He then agreed to offer me a partial refund which I declined as he clearly states over and over again that if top five placements are not achieved for at least one of the agreed keywords, they’ll offer a full refund.

we refund all money

More refund guarantees

Guarantees made in promo in Warror Forum n/a to customers to come directly to SEO Juice's website

Guarantees made in promo in Warror Forum but they’re not applicable to customers who come directly to SEO Juice’s website

 

In response to the above email, when I signed up with SEO Juice, I was NOT asked at any time to accept any T&C’s.  After an initial exchange of emails, I clicked on the Small Biz Package link on their website which took me directly to PayPal where I made my first month’s payment.  At NO time was I asked to accept T&C’s nor at the time did they state on their website that by signing up with them, you automatically agree to accept their T&C’s.  Had I read them and seen that they farm some of their work out, I would have asked more questions.  Having said that, I do not have a problem with them farming work out providing it’s done legitimately and in accordance with the guarantees they make in their promotional ads.  Using companies who clearly do not have a good understanding of English and who use blackhat SEO techniques is far from acceptable!

SEO Juice’s promo ads in the Warrior Forum in which they offer a host of guarantees which are all lies have been posted on 19 May 2011, 4 July 2012, 30 August 2013 (and there’s probably many more that I have yet to find) yet he states in his email that on his website at the time I signed up (December 2012), there were no ranking guarantees in place.

Reply by Dave Adamson in forum posting

Mmmm, interesting, I signed up to the Small Biz Pack and Dave confirmed this package to me in an email.

Screenshot from SEO Juice's website at the time I signed up

Screenshot from SEO Juice’s website at the time I signed up

Years of experience

Years of experience, really?  In a forum posting dated 7 April 2012, he clearly states:

Almost two years in the business!

Almost two years in the business!

Yet in another forum posting dated 19 May 2011 he states:

In business for almost 5 years

In business for almost 5 years

The truth is that SEO Juice began life in January 2011 and Dave Adamson is the founder and principal consultant.

I hope I’m building up a pretty clear picture of what it’s like to do business with this company and my account is based purely on facts which cannot be disputed. Dave Adamson is a young man who may well be extremely enthusiastic and who I’m sure has an appetite to succeed, however if he believes he can deceive people and trample on them along the way, he’d better step back and think again.

In the email below, Dave Adamson put me right about the guarantees they offer and assured me they were NOT in place when I signed up with them yet I have screenshots of his promo threads which DO offer a money back guarantee which were posted on 19 May 2011 and 4 July 2012.  Neither of these dates are “well after” the time I signed up with SEO Juice in December 2012.  He also offered me a refund for the six months of work they had done on my gemstone jewellery website but strangely, the amount offered was significantly less than what I had originally paid which I have double checked many times in my PayPal account.

The amount offered was well short of what I had originally paid to SEO Juice

The amount offered was well short of what I had originally paid to SEO Juice

This morning I received an email from SEO Juice’s ‘HR’ department (how hysterical!) which advised me of the following:

email received from SEO Juice

email received from SEO Juice

This email really made me laugh, this young man is an absolute joke and it’s time he grew up and learnt how to do business properly.  SEO Juice is a small company which consists primarily of Dave Adamson, he works from home and Ally Church who works with him either part of, or all of the time.  This is the same ‘Ally’ who was banned from the Warrior Forum for writing a testimonial on the company which she worked for.  Even so, part of that same testimonial still appears in the promo that they use in various forums AND on their own SEO Juice website.

I wonder what room in the house the ‘HR’ department is in?  It even has its own email address!   I am very aware following extensive research that I am not in breach of ANY copyright laws and I would strongly recommend that SEO Juice’s ‘HR department’ familiarize themselves with ‘Fair Use’ laws with regards to copyright before sending out such emails.

Ally Church is Operations Mgr at SEO Juice. This testimonial is a screen shot from SEO Juice . net

And you don’t need to look very far to find even more proof from their website that this company is out to defraud their customers.  The next screen shot is also from SEO Juice.net and it states that the testimonials are real and come from real clients.  The company also GUARANTEES their work and offer continuous improvement guarantees.

All testimonials are from genuine customers, apart from Ally's of course!

Real testimonials from real clients, apart from Ally’s of course!

work guaranteed

And monthly reports sent to you by Ally Church

 

For those who may read my blog and think I should forget it and move on, let me just say that Stone Mania’s online business was steadily built up over a ten year period.  A massive amount of white hat SEO work went into building and promoting the website and we had a very good online presence.  We always followed Google’s acceptable methods of SEO and although we were doing well, we didn’t have the time to continue doing SEO ourselves hence contacted SEO Juice so they could take over.  Not only has our online business suffered immeasurable damage financially at the hands of Dave Adamson over the last twelve months, but we now have to start over again from scratch with our website.  We are not currently in the top 100 pages of Google for any of our most important keywords.

I would hate for any other online business to suffer in the way that Stone Mania has because of a cowboy SEO company such as SEO Juice and there is a very good chance that this will happen whilst he continues to post in various forums.

scoop intro

 

The full ad includes a testimonial from 'Ally' possibly the same Ally who is Operations Manager at SEO Juice

The full ad includes a testimonial from ‘Ally’ singing the praises of SEO Juice but this is the same Ally who is Operations Manager at the company and who sends out the monthly reports to the poor unsuspecting customers who sign up with this cowboy company.