Monday, May 6, 2013

Writers Beware: The Blog Post Scam

Since 2008 I've experienced a number of scams, particularly when searching for jobs. Inevitably I've posted something about lessons or tutoring, or responded to ads about various jobs and I've received all manner of things back. This is usually through Craigslist, which I think has decreased since they started requiring payment for job posts (thanks Craigslist team for being proactive about this!).

However, it doesn't stop hardcore scam artists.

It doesn't stop people who, with only a hope and prayer, respond to praise that supports the pipedream they've nurtured for years.

It doesn't stop people like me, from falling pray to jerkfaces who say they will pay me for writing and then clearly won't.

Let me introduce you to Alex Hammer. Alex has been asking people for post for various websites since at least December 2011. When you contact Alex with your impressive credentials, hoping against hope that you can somehow get money for your writing, you may receive something from him directly. You may receive something from one of the equally duped editors he has "hired" informing you about a writing trial.

The trial goes as follows: 10 days (2 weeks of 5 business days) and 24 posts. Supposedly, if you as a writer were able to get through the trial, you would be compensated at $15,000 annually, plus any advertising revenue attached to your posts.

The trial made me a little nervous, but after I spoke with the editor (a woman who was genuine from the get-go and very excited about having me on the project), I decided I would try it. After discussing it with my parents, I decided to ask her some questions about compensation etc. She openly admitted she didn't know, and suggested those questions should be sent to Alex. When I asked my questions about contracts,  direct deposit or paypal, and linking to my blog etc, I received this response from Alex:

You've turned in a couple of mature articles but the burden is on you to make things work. We provide superior opportunities to superior candidates.
We'll see if you measure up.

This came after I received tons of praise from the editor for my writing. He didn't answer my questions. Concerned, I forwarded this response to the editor and asked her what she thought about this. She said she wasn't sure and that it was better for her to talk to him. She gave me some answers that seemed reasonable after having a conversation with him, so I continued sending posts to her.

Then yesterday late last night I received an email from the editor urging me to look up information about him online. It turned out Alex has been doing this for some time. If you look at this site in the comments section, you'll see another writer warning about this scam.

Editors for him weren't getting paid because like the writers, they had a trial of sorts (5 writers through the trial and they'd get compensation - which could be over 10 weeks of unpaid work!). Writers weren't getting paid even after the trial, so they stopped posting.

Today I received additional communications from Mr. Hammer, as follows:

You can send your posts directly to me. I think your writing is good.


So I replied:
I don't think we'll be working together from now on. I'm not interested in never getting paid.
Thank you,

He then replied:
I hate when writers jump to conclusions. It is not attractive. You can reach me at [deleted phone number because I'm a nice person even to scam artists.].

So I came back with:
I've been scammed with my writing before [not quite true, but I was fishing]. I would need more details about compensation and legal documentation before I can trust you. I'm sure you understand.

And his lovely response:
No I don't. I'm providing you this opportunity to speak with you because your first two articles had depth and were well written. That is the only reason. [Keep in mind when I tried to call him earlier about an "interview" he made no effort to return the contact, and typically people you want for a job you, well, actually try to connect with them!]

My final word:
I'm sorry. This feels like a scam to me. Unless you can prove unequivocally in writing this is not a scam, I cannot work with you.
Thank you,

He never responded.

It should be noted that beyond the fact this man has been preying on people's intellectual property, as well as their hopes and dreams of being successful writers, he is a "winner" in other ways. He was actually a candidate for the governorship of Maine, and has had his Twitter account suspended because of his fantastic people skills.

I will say this. Despite dealing with this person, there was one thing that worked out. I made a friend in the editor. I won't say more about her plans or about how I fit into them at the moment, only that her confidence in me (and gushing love of my writing) has been a breath of fresh air that has reinvigorated me in ways I didn't think I'd experience so soon.

The moral of the story is, even when you step in shit, if you look around, you'll see there's a beautiful pony.


  1. Hey Alexis
    I was one of the editors who was also duped for 2 days by this guy.
    Lovely fellow isn't he?
    When 'my writers' didn't produce the articles as quickly as he wanted them, he threw a temper tantrum and actually refused to talk to me for a while.
    After a day of getting angry spam messages calling me a quitter and other fun things, the silence was actually quite pleasant.
    Did you remove your articles from his site when you left? I recommended that to my writers and I think he lost a fair bit of work because of that.

    1. Dan, unfortunately I think your experience is one that is echoed by most of us taken in by this person.

      If I had access to the website I would have removed the posts, however I never had the passwords. The gentleman in question actually changed the passwords so even the editor at the time could not remove posts (even before she quit). It was a little unfortunate but honestly, even though the editor loved the posts I submitted, I wasn't submitting anything for which I had strong attachment.

      Also, I think he realized that giving writers passwords was a bad idea because eventually when we figured out what was going on we could do just that. Instead he wanted us to email the posts.

      The only thing I can say is that because nothing legal was signed etc, no contracts etc, it still looks like we retain the copyright of our works (though I'd want to double check that). Our work was being published with our names attached (in addition to submitting posts over email before the posts were made, giving further proof of our authorship).

      Thanks for posting your experience here! I just don't want anyone to go through the same thing we did!

  2. I was also duped by this guy and I think we need to expose him all over the Internet and craigslist so he doesn't do this to anyone else.

    1. That's why I wrote this post. I suggest writing about your own experience as well, if not contacting Craigslist and other blogger classifieds with your testimony to help prevent this happening to other people.

  3. I spoke to a Megan Dean, who said she was an editor. When she mentioned Alex Hammer, my radar went off. I Googled and remembered him from three years ago.

    Even then I told him 12K words w/o pay was ridiculous for any writer, esp. an experienced one, to accept.

    The editor claimed to not have any knowledge of Hammer's past. I sent her a copy of this blog. If she was lying - karma has a heck of kick.

    BTW - if you were not paid - the work is yours.

    1. It's unfortunate this has been going on for so long and that so many people have had their hopes and dreams played with. That was part of the reason why I wrote this post, because I knew there were people out there sharing my experience. I also wanted to make sure that if someone checked his name etc, they would be able to find my testimony and any comments that were written afterwards.

      Unfortunately a lot of con-artists can be very persuasive and use very convincing language, even if what they say makes no sense. If you're not prepared to deal with that onslaught, or don't have any experience with people lying to your face, it can be difficult to shrug off.

      All we can do is put our experiences out there to give writers a chance to protect themselves from situations like this. Hopefully a few people save themselves the heartache and trouble, and we can learn and move forward ourselves.

    2. I can vouch for Megan, she was as seriously screwed and clueless as the rest of us when it came to this. I am currently working on an endeavor with her and a few other writers who Alex screwed. I am excited about the project.

      Alex is the one who needs to be brought to heel for what he's doing to people. I don't know what he thinks he's getting out of this. Seriously, I honestly don't know why he isn't in jail as of now. But preying on writers is despicable and he is grade A sociopath. Karma is a b***h and he will get his comeuppance.

  4. Alexis,

    Thank you so much for posting! I worked for him for about a week, my editor was in his 3rd week. We were both duped, but you're right about the friendship because my editor is a good guy. We took down all of our posts off of the site and then put up one big post entitled "Alex Hammer is a Scammer!" I also put up a Craigslist ad mentioning his scam at:

    Alex then threatened my editor with notice of cease and desist, but he was clearly just trying to blow smoke. He also pursued an ill-attempt at a battle of wits with me, calling me "a follower, not a leader;" but I soon belittled his confidence by stating "you're a weak writer, which is why you steal content. You're a weak man, which is why you can't make a living without deceiving people." He never bothered me again.

    It is such a shame, but we all learned from our experiences. Keep up the good work and continue to truck through with your writing!


    Ps- He is very self conscious of his photo online, so consider using it! We used his photo on his own site and he said "take that down, you used the worst possible photo of me."

    1. Thanks for the encouragement! I totally need it (now in 3rd trimester and trying to publish 7 books before the baby arrives - maybe crazy, but I'm trying to do it anyway!).

      I think one thing we can definitely take away from the experience is our measure of personal strength. Clearly the people who are able to leave such a situation and continue to move on to do other things and make something of themselves are powerful people. I'll take comfort in that reminder. :-)

  5. GREAT! I was so excited for this opportunity but reading all of this makes me not even begin the trial. I emailed the editor and asked to have it in writing that my articles be removed if I don't get hired. She was very nice and yes, newly hired, and we spoke for 45 minutes about my writing everything it entailed.

    And here I was walking on sunshine. Ah well....NEXT!

  6. One last note: I was writing with the editor and a lot of her comments make me think that she's either clueless or totally in on it. I have a blog that I started in March ( and already have it designed really well. That site has been up since at least January and it still needs a lot of design work. The answer I received from the editor was: he's hiring/has hired someone to work on the site specifically....It took me 3 days with basic HTML skills to make mine look the way it does. If he can afford to pay 15-20 bloggers 1250 a month PER SITE then sure enough he could have hired someone to work on his site, for free, on a 'trial basis' and at least look decent. Hell, my site isn't beautiful but at least my slide bar thing (see, I don't even know what thats called!) moves and links to my posts.

    Also the editor basically said that she would notice red flags and if it didn't work out it wasn't the end of the world. While I agree with that, the world won't end, but as a freelancer I can't work for 4 weeks and not get paid. Worse, I refuse to have my content up on someone's site for free unless I give express permission for that to happen and I was told that during the trial my posts would be up on the site and she was not able to tell me they would be taken down in the event of not being hired, which she kept on guaranteeing me. Once I mentioned my 5+ years working in IP she kind of backpedalled and said that I can take that up with Media 2.0.

    Then I asked if there was a contract. She said no, "as long as I get paid every two weeks I don't need a contract". Again, as a freelancer, when I do work for people online I always require a contract otherwise they can just disappear. I'm not independently wealthy so to work for 4 weeks and not get paid doesn't work for me. I could be using that time on paid gigs or better yet, to write posts for my own site. I won't get paid but at least it's for me.

    I then brought up all the negative reviews and how not a single positive one was up. No one defended him but himself and quite frankly we all know why. She said that there have been issues with editors and writers in the past and that she had faith and trust and I had to as well otherwise she had a lot of other people interested. Basically I know she just wants to get through the trial herself in order to start getting paid and so far I'm the 4th person she's approved for the trial. So she says.

    Thanks again for bringing this to light and I hope more people see this and stop getting duped. I'm glad not a single post went up. This all happened in the past few days immediately after I read the negative comments which I should have done before but I'm glad I found out before I got my hopes up any further!


    1. Thank you for sharing Diane!

      Yeah I wish there had been posts about it when I was going through it, but there weren't (that's why I put this up in the first place!). I'm amazed at how many people have come forward about this and continue to come forward regarding this issue. I still haven't heard a single writer contradicting this post. If I do, I'm sure my jaw will hit the floor.

      In any case, we just have to keep working on our own things. I really believe that with enough time and effort, people can honestly get recognition and compensation. I'll cross my fingers that it's true for me this year!

    2. Same!!! In the meantime I'll do the same. Write for pleasure and if something happens...even better!!!

      Keeping fingers crossed!

  7. Alex Hammer scams his web designers as well. Pressure, pressure, you'll get paid when the site makes money. (and you never get paid) The position includes bipolar emails that last for months stating you are excellent, he begs your return with compliments, then 2 seconds later he is calling you names. Very nasty character. RUN! He posts on craigslist with hscpub

  8. I assume this is the same Alex Hammer asking authors on G+ to send him their work so he can help them get published for free - except not. Everything about his account SCREAMS scam, and I think most people see it too, but I see the occasional person responding to him in the hopes of fame and fortune for nothing. I wish people would do more research before getting into bed with folks they don't know.

  9. Stay far, far away from Alex Hammer! There's something incredibly wrong and even creepy going on there. I cannot go into details but this is a dangerous unbalanced human being.

  10. Imencourage everyone duped by him to comment (or put a rebuttal but with an "I agree with the con statements" title in the ripoffreport like I did (Mike Lata):

  11. Lol, apparently he con-ed some Amazon reviewers and Amazon itself (unless this book is actually a best seller):

  12. I had accepted a contract editing job offer the day before he left a message on my voice mail. I guess I dodged a bullet.

  13. Thank you for this post! Between this and a Rip-Off Report, I guess I'm also one of the lucky ones who didn't lose time and money. I had applied last week to one of his CL ads and was thrilled about the possibilities - AND about the message he left yesterday.

    However, I have tried to reach him three times now and just keep getting HIS answering machine. Now I'm thinking that NOT answering the phone yesterday (didn't recognize his name on the caller ID and was eating lunch at the time) and NOT getting through to him has been a blessing in disguise!

  14. I was also his victim--for 2 days when I had already had enough and quit. On the third day he wrote to me, telling me "if you're devoted I'll give you another chance." I wrote back a polite note that basically said "thanks but no thanks." He sent back a nasty e-mail and I called him a sick, f$%&*^% jerk who loves to throw temper tantrums. I hope he's out of business.

  15. OMG! I just read something else about this scam artist and it said his website uses viruses. For the 2 days I wasted with him, I thought there was something wonky about that site. Anyone who's used it--please be sure to scan.

  16. This person is sick and creepy. Several bypolar emails and refrences to God. He is a pervert and deeply troubled. Run. Seriously. He has multiple accounts on all the main channels. I wish I could go into more detail but I can't.

    Very much appreciate this blog post to help others.

  17. I have also been scammed by this guy! I was hired as an editor and only realized yesterday when he told me that the writers work wouldnt count towards their trial! Then I found all the information and called him out on it! And then the emails began! Sick guy

  18. Alex Hammer claims to operate a company called Media2Point0. He is currently "recruiting" and this is just a quick "watch out" to be cautious spending time with him. He's using normal job boards and from what I can tell he's a complete hack.

    In the summer of 2015 I was applying to a whole swath of publishing and media jobs. He calls me up randomly, without an appointment, and he begins to do an interview over the phone. But he doesn't identify himself at all. I was already wasting my time, but he had a lot of questions scripted and I was ready to try something new and take a risk.

    After the call he said he'd be in touch, and then four months went by. I had accepted an offer and was already totally enveloped with a new, interesting position. Around Thanksgiving of 2015 he sends a quick message, you are one of our top candidates. Oh good! Just a quick assignment away.

    The bullshit detector goes off, but I'm ready to see this thing through. He wants me to do some work for him, some spammy-sounding thing, an assignment to look at Youtube. Red flags all over. I Google this guy, he has this whole blog post of people complaining about him, half a dozen other venues about him being bad for business.

    I'm trying to get him on the phone - I really take issue with this sort of phishing Internet behavior. But also trying to get paid work without paying really sets me off.

    In any case, beware of this guy and Media2Point0. Don’t do free work for him.