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Sunday, 30 March 2014

Naughty, naughty: BizSummits, CFO Summit, CIO Summit, CMO Summit rip off photos from other sites.

[Note, BizSummits replaced all of the unlicensed photographs shortly after I pointed them out on this blog]

I've been tracking the spammy activity of BizSummits on and off for a while, most recently with a very annoying spam run that has been plaguing website operators with fake notifications.

I'd never really looked that deeply into the BizSummits operation though, but even though it promotes itself through spam I had assumed that there was a real business at the end of it.

But when I started to look into their websites, it quickly became apparent that a great deal of the material was faked.

Most of the sites use the same material, so let's start with forwd.net/cfosummit/about.html which is an "About Us" page.

It features a photo of a group of people.. you'd assume that it was one of the "Summits" that BizSummits promotes. After all, if you have all these people meeting up all the time then surely it would be easy to snap a photo.

Let's look more closely.

It turns out that the picture is stolen from the blog of the US Ambassador to Iceland and it shows a group of Icelandic executives meeting with an organisation called the Young Presidents' Organization which is completely unrelated to BizSummits.

So let's look at the "Why Join" page at forwd.net/cfosummit/whyjoin.html which features a bunch of happy-looking individuals.

Let's look more closely..

This image is stolen from a company called Deceuninck nv. And it isn't just a generic stock photo, their website lists everyone in the photograph and identifies them as being employees.


Let's look at the "Members" page next at forwd.net/cfosummit/members.html

It shows a photograph of someone who is presumably speaking at one of these Summit events.

Errr... no. This is Professor Michael Porter speaking at the World Economic Forum. Professor Porter would be a highly influential and important person to have on board. But his name doesn't appear on the list of "Members & Speakers".

Let's look at the "Topics" page at forwd.net/cfosummit/topics.html


Who's in the photo?


That's a publicity photo of Niels Stolberg. Stolberg's company collapsed and is the focus of fraud investigations. Given the controversy surrounding Mr Stolberg, would it be appropriate to have a picture of him on your site? Odder still, Mr Stolberg seems to have no connection at all to BizSummits.

Now we turn our attention to the "What's New" page. Who are the people having a discussion? People at a BizSummits seminar?


Let's look more closely.

This image can be found on the page of the NG Utilities Summit in Australia (open the lightbox). If you look carefully, you can see the NG Utilities logo on the woman's badge on the right. Despite having "Summit" in the name, this is nothing at all to do with BizSummits. If BizSummits really held any meetings then a photo like this would be trivial to take.

The next page is "Questions" at forwd.net/cfosummit/questions.html. Well.. we have a few already.


Who's in the picture?

These are a couple of executives from WebTrends. As far as I can tell they have nothing to do with BizSummits, and the photo has just been stolen.

Incidentally this page contains what I consider to be a flat lie:

Why was I Invited to Join?

Either a member nominated you, or we specifically wanted your company involved and researched the best executive.
The evidence I have provided about this firm shows that they simply scraped your name from your company website and guessed your email address. Is that research? I don't think so.

The next picture to deconstruct is on the "My Login" page at forwd.net/cfosummit/login.html


You probably already guessed that the guy in the photo has nothing to do with BizSummits.

That's because this is Dr. Thomas R. Insel who again has nothing to do with BizSummits.

Finally, we come back to the home page.


Who is in the photo?


These are apparently the senior management of BHP taken in an AAP photo. What do they have to do with BizSummits? It seems nothing at all.

In fact, the only original piece of imagery I can find is this promotional video:


The video is meant to be an endorsement. But who is this woman? Who does she represent? What exactly is she endorsing? The video is professional looking but deliberately vague.

Incidentally, if you want to see what Michael Price, the CEO of BizSummits looks like, here he is:


This copied material doesn't just exist on a few websites, it exists on a LOT of cookie-cutter sites, all presumably marketed through the same spammy approach.

  • CFO Summit (www.cfosummit.org)
  • CIO Summit (www.ciosummit.org)
  • CMO Summit (www.cmosummit.net)
  • COO)Operations Summit (www.theoperationssummit.net)
  • Corporate Counsel Summit (www.thecorporatecounselsummit.org)
  • Corporate Development Summit (www.corpdevsummit.org)
  • Customer Service Summit (www.customerservicesummit.org)
  • Engineering Summit (www.theengineeringsummit.net)
  • Executive Summits (www.executivesummits.org)
  • Hospital Growth & Excellence Summit (www.hospitalgrowthsummit.org)
  • HR Summit (www.hrsummit.org)
  • Product Development Summit (www.productdevsummit.org)
  • Project Management Summit (www.projectmanagementsummit.org)
  • Public Relations Summit (www.thepublicrelationssummit.org)
  • Procurement Summit (www.procurementsummit.org)
  • Quality Management Summit (www.qualitymanagementsummit.org)
  • Risk Management Summit (www.riskmanagementsummit.org)
  • Safety Management Summit (www.safetymanagementsummit.org)
  • Sales Summit (www.salessummit.org)
  • Supply Chain Summit (www.supplychainsummit.org)
  • Training Summit (www.trainingsummit.org)
Ask yourself this question.. why is it that a company such as BizSummits, that is supposed to organise all of these meetings, cannot get around to taking any photographs of those meetings themselves? Surely it wouldn't be difficult to do? And yet almost every image is copied from somewhere else. What kind of company does that? Is it one that you feel comfortable doing business with?

71 comments:

Member Services said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Hi Conrad, it is Michael Price. As you probably know if you googled I have invested in many companies but do keep track of BizSummits as that one is near and dear to me since I helped them originally found it back in 2004. First, thank you for your alert about the inappropriate unlicensed images where shortcuts were obviously taken. I followed up yesterday with their marketing manager and she has quickly attended to and corrected that if you wish to now verify. I have also asked them to review their marketing practices to at least verify CAN SPAM Opt Out compliance (opt-in is probably the most ideal to your point but they will certainly review it). They also offered a year's membership in your choice of Summits if that would have any value to you, just choose one and in the comments mark "per Michael Price" and Kristin Mathias who heads their customer service will set you up (ie maybe the CIO Summit might best suit you)? The downside is that they do send a lot of emails to their members which you are not fond of (monthly meeting invite, monthly meeting summary, monthly articles, monthly book summary etc) out of disclosure. btw I like your blog (to my detriment this time as spamhaus's human pinata last week for two of the many companies I invested in--showed the posting to my wife that I finally reached the pinnacle of something :) but oh well, I still like your site. If there are any questions you may reach me directly at 770-998-9999 x.9 (easy one to remember). Thanks again for pointing out the above (appreciated) and cheers! -Michael Price

atlbythelake said...

Thanks, Conrad. Good analysis! The response, supposedly from Michael Price, is less than reassuring.

Unknown said...

Hi Alex, it was definitely me posting and I agree that Conrad did an excellent job (hopefully we addressed most of his good points). I shuttle between Silicon Valley and Atlanta not too far from you most days if you have any further questions by phone at the number above or in person (I also do a lot of volunteer mentoring with the startups and accelerators around Georgia Tech and no, they are not spam related :). Thanks. - Michael

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing this info on the fake CFO Summit...it saved me from a $50K mistake! Cheers!

Kristin Mathias said...

Hi Conrad, we just received an autonotice about the comment from Claire Le and were again hoping you would consider archiving/mothballing it because readers see the misleading title which is why the commenter incorrectly surmised BizSummits is a fake after reading it. I think you know it is not, we are glad to immediately make you a member of one of the groups if wished so you can login and watch/listen to hundreds of past meetings (impossible if it were really a fake), and we are also glad to cover your airfare from the UK if you wish to attend any of the in-person events (next on the schedule is the HartfordSummit.com in a few weeks and then a series in Chicago in April including a CIO roundtable you might have interest in attending). Thank you for your consideration.
- Kristin Mathias, Dir. of Customer Service, +1-404-220-8700, service@bizsummits.org

Unknown said...

Fake, we showed up for a conference that doesnt exist. The hotel didnt know anything about it and was wondering why their property is being advertised in the materials.

Mr Bowen said...

HI Conrad
Michael Price and Bizusmmits continue with their scams. the whole organization is a fake and now he is advertising tech summit events that don't exist.
Here is an event for San Francisco that is suppose to take place next week
I called the Hotel and they have never heard of them
http://bayareatechsummit.com/
none of the sponsors on this site are aware they are doing this event either, because they are not!! Its a total scam

He has events scheduled up and down the west coast and is actively selling sponsorships and the events will not take place.

this guy needs to be stopped and quickly.

Conrad Longmore said...

@Jan S and Mr Bowen:
I've never seen any evidence that these summits either exist or don't exist in a physical sense. I believe that there have been virtual summits though. As for the sponsors.. well, what exactly is a sponsor? I think that term might be open to interpretation.

I've asked the hotel to confirm if the summit is indeed running at the hotel in SF.

Mr Bowen said...

Conrad - I called the Marriott in San Diego, they never heard of Bizsummits and there is no tech showcase going on there either.
http://sandiegotechsummit.com/

Corbs said...

Conrad - I work for a small tech company in San Diego. I head up the marketing lead generation efforts. I recently got an email from a "shelly Fitgerald" asking me if i would like "a table" to present at the San Diego Tech Summit. I had never heard of Bizsummits so i did some research and it brought me to your blog. I went so far as to call the hotel in San Diego that the event was suppose to take place, the Marriott Marquis. The hotel had never heard of them. There is no event there on the 8th. I have emailed Shelly and called her numerous times for an explanation and never have heard back.
I'm not sure what their end game here is, hard to imagine keeping and money from exhibitors if an event does not take place. but one thing is for sure, there is no tech summit in San Diego next week.

Kristin Mathias said...

Hi Conrad, this is Kristin with BizSummits customer service again. I was just notified of these new postings and looked into it. A reminder to any reader that the temporary placeholder photos you blogged about above were corrected within days by our marketing director last year.

In any case, the source of the two new postings above is likely a past employee. He may have misappropriated our event mailing lists for his own purposes/events, emailed our exhibitors and registrants, redirected exhibitor payments to a new company he formed, and was unfortunately terminated. We think he plans to use this blog as some kind of example that our events are not taking place. Therefore below are proof points of some of our events and you are welcome to contact them to verify as follows:

1. Example Recent TechSummits Event Hotel Contacts:
- Jacksonville Tech Summit, Wyndham Riverwalk Hotel, Gigi Kosalko, 904-421-4481.
- Miami Tech Summit  (miamisummit.org) Hilton Miami Downtown, Jenifer Caison, 305-374-0000.
- Gold Coast Summit (goldcoastsummit.com), Boca Raton Marriott at Boca Center, Chesley Barker, 561-620-3718.
- Atlanta Tech Summit (atlantatechsummit.com), W Atlanta, Christopher Eatmon, 404.733.6968.

2. Example Recent TechSummits Exhibitors.
- Quantum, Nashville Tech Summit, Courtney Frazer, 720-504-5499.
- Unitiv, Atlanta Tech Summit, Jenny Winkler, 678 455-9445.
- Pulse Secure, Atlanta Tech Summit,  Craig Sirois, 214-405-2335.
- ITPointe, an Altek Company, Gold Coast Summit, Audrey Levi, 786-249-0195.

Since he tried to take over our events on the very same dates we are rescheduling some including San Francisco (reschedule date should be posted in a few days). If you could share the IP address of the two postings above that would be very useful should we pursue legal court action to stop the illegal defamation and misappropriation of our IP assets. The posting times also coincide with crank calls our TechSummits leader had at the same time with just weird laughing on her voicemail (scary situation).

Any reader is welcome to contact me or the other staff on our team. Thanks so much.

- Kristin Mathias, Dir. of Customer Service, +1-404-220-8700, service@bizsummits.org

Kristin Mathias said...

P.S. The defamatory "Mr. Bowen" posting above is likely the terminated employee (new profile just created with 1 view which was mine).

Conrad Longmore said...

Hi Kristin,
Are you saying that sandiegotechsummit.com and bayareatechsummit.com are not yours then?
Thanks

Conrad Longmore said...

The SF Marriott Marquis says here: "Unfortunately, we do not see a record of this event, Conrad. You may want to reach out to the event coordinator for info."

Kristin Mathias said...

Hi Conrad, due to the confusion on locations on the same dates by the former employee the San Francisco event had to be rescheduled to September 17th at the JW Marriott since the Marriott Marquis could not accommodate that date (hotel contact is Flavia Oliveria at 415-229-9461 if you feel a need to verify). Several other dates had to be moved in order to provide time to contact the registrants and exhibitors to brief them on what happened (posted on TechSummits.org). Incidentally your blog is likely being used by the former employee, on the posts above note that "Mr. Bowen" is a brand new registrant with no other activity (likely the past employee), "Corbs" is a also a brand new registrant who has only blogged here (likely the past employee), and Jan S (Jan Stordahl of Minnesota) is unlikely to have flown or driven 1,000+ miles to a half-day event (we are investigating her tie to the former employee). One of our employees over these TechSummit series is very concerned about her personal safety after receiving crank calls at times similar to the postings above, it is a scary situation. In any case, you now have 9 independent persons/companies who can confirm that we have held these events above so there should be no doubt. Thanks.

Unknown said...

Conrad, I started Tech Summits. Below is an open letter i sent out to the IT vendor community, this should clear up this confusion. thanks
______________________________________________________________________________


You may have been contacted by a representative of Tech Summits and I wanted to clear up any confusion that is being created.
As founder of the Tech Summits concept, I partnered with Michael Price of Bizsummits to do my event marketing in January 2015. Shortly after, It was brought to my attention by one of my sponsoring companies that Mr. Price and his various organizations could be considered spammers. After doing my own research into the background, I decided I could no longer continue with the partnership. I knew I had to re-launch and rebrand the company and had no choice but to distance myself so as to not further impact my events and my reputation, one which I have built over 20 years working with IT Industry leading manufacturers and their partners.

I rebranded and started a new company with Karen Healy, (No Relation). Karen is a 30 year veteran of the events industry. She launched Gartner IT Symposium and IT Expo years ago. Her reputation and credibility is in keeping with the brand I had initially intended to create. Together we have created G2 Summits. www.g2summits.com

I apologize for any confusion this may have caused you and for the inconvenience of being contacted and given misinformation. If you have any questions please contact me directly.

Should you be inclined to find out more, please see the following links:

http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/topic/14015-strange-little-messages-dont-parse
http://www.cs.wustl.edu/~levine/spam/MichaelPrice/index.html

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=bizsummits+michael+price

http://blog.dynamoo.com/2014/03/its-fake-bizsummits-cfo-summit-cio.html


Thanks and we look forward to continuing to work with you.

_____________________________
Mike Healy
 978.375.0057 |  203.684.5980 |  mike@g2summits.com

Unknown said...

Conrad
BTW not one of these CIO events ever took place...
http://www.execsummits.com/
I'm sure a few people got burned. the pictures on this site are a fraud and all the quotes..the same game per usual for MR Price.

Kristin Mathias said...

We are so sorry everyone has to endure these posts by Healy. For the record, he has self-identified himself in this blog, we did not identify him. Healy was terminated on May 26th of this year after an internal investigation and is no longer associated with us in any way. As to Healy's allegations, we have offered the host of this blog Conrad (and for that matter any reader of this blog) recordings of any particular online event by contacting me directly at Service@BizSummits.org. We can also provide over 60 testimonials from recent attendees of our TechSummit events that I think Healy is referring to by contacting me, both of which would be impossible if Healy's allegations were truthful. Again we apologize for Healy's belligerent posts, we wish to distance ourselves from any former relationship with him, and hope he will focus on others in the near future as it is somewhat frightening. Thank you all for your understanding.

- Kristin Mathias, Dir. of Customer Service, +1-404-220-8700, service@bizsummits.org

Unknown said...

Kristin i was never an employee. never.... and Michael Price did not end the relationship, I did. I ended it after finding out the way he runs his business. He is a con man.

per usual you dodge the point. Did one of the CIO events that are listed on execsummits ever take place? NO they did not. 12 face-to-face events are listed at various hotels for June and not ONE took place. I called the hotels to check. not one.
How many people singed up and are owed refunds?? a few i'm sure
you are part of a fraud.

Kristin Mathias said...

Again for the record Healy self-identified himself above and then solicited a defensive response with his defamatory post, we certainly did not publicly identify him.

To Mike Healy, your assertions above just don't agree with our HR records which show that you were terminated on May 26, 2015 for cause and the matter was turned over to the authorities. The FBI has authorized us to publicly state that they are looking into the matter. Your posting about our June events above seems disingenuous because you were aware the staff person planning them had to pick up your duties when you were terminated which led to the postponement of those June events that needed more registration work. Every person who registered for her planned June events was either not charged to begin with or refunded in full within days of registration without exception so your assertion that refunds are still owed to them is false. It seems you are highly disgruntled and angry but can we please take any further discussions regarding HR matters etc off this blog and just contact me or the relevant person directly? For any outside readers we ask that you not conclude Healy did anything illegal at this point and to presume Healy is innocent of any criminal act unless formally charged and proven guilty in a court of law.

- Kristin Mathias, Dir. of Customer Service, +1-404-220-8700, service@bizsummits.org

Kristin Mathias said...

Again if any outsiders are reading this blog, Mike Healy self-identified himself (we did not identify him) and he elicited a corrective reply with his defamatory comments. Mike Healy, our HR records indicate you were an employee despite your claims otherwise and anyone who wishes may contact me for a copy of your employment agreement on file bearing your signature. As to your defamatory comments about our June in-person events, you are well aware that Shelly had to take over your duties when you were terminated on May 26, 2015 after an internal investigation and as a result the June events she was planning had to be postponed as they needed more registration work. Your claim that some registrants were not refunded is not true -- anyone who had registered either was never charged or refunded within days of registration without exception. I realize you are very disgruntled but let us take these HR matters off the public blogs, contact me or your former supervisors if you have any further comments about your discharge or related matters.

- Kristin Mathias, Dir. of Customer Service, +1-404-220-8700, service@bizsummits.org

Unknown said...

Allow me to self identify again Conrad. thanks

Kristin your HR records are wrong. I was never an employee and if you produce any kind of record as such it is a forgery and a lie. I was paid as a subcontractor based on paid sponsorships commission only. There is a distinction here Kristin and one that is recognized by state and local as well as at the federal level. If i was an employee Michael Price owes taxes on my behalf...you might want to double check with him on this, i'm sure he will clear this up for you.

Fact. Michael Price offered me a job, sent me a signed offer letter, i declined. We worked together to "test" things out with a verbal agreement only and me as a 1099 contractor. After finding out the way he does business I chose to "opt out." something that Michael Price does not obviously understand.

Kristin - FACT. I was never terminated. Of course an email went out to me saying i was, but i had already told Mr. Price that our relationship was over. There is a difference and remember now, you cannot "terminate" someone who never worked for you. again distinction to be made here. The department of unemployment can clear this up for you.

Kristin, The events that you point out above in your post on June 5th with all the references to contact?? Those were all events that i sold produced and hosted. In fact Michael Price only went to Hartford and Atlanta as an attendee. Shelly Fitgerald, who was my assistant, and is now running tech summit events, never went to one of them. NOT one. She was suppose to go to Nashville, near where she lived, but "her truck broke".

BTW Shelly Fitgerald knew i was ending my relationship with Michael Price and wanted me to hire her. She wanted to sell sponsorships. She referred to the events she was doing in June, the one day workshops that were all canceled , as "a disaster" and that without my events that she was "on board the titanic." and worried about her job.

Kristin - i am not disgruntled, but thank you for your concern, not in the least. I have no "former supervisors" there to contact. What does that event mean? You try and sound like your general motors, you don't even have an office...
Bizsummits, techsummits, all the various URL's and websites are a total sham...your total scam artists and everyone knows it.

Unknown said...

Conrad, its me mike healy again.... self identifying..yet again.
Not everyone has been refunded for cancelled Bizsummits/techsummit events. This came to me yesterday. They are owed 2500 dollars and the list goes on.
_________________________________________________________

You should demand it
Contact Shelly Fitzgerald (fshelly0@gmail.com) I'm no longer with Tech Summits....



-----Original Message-----
From: Tony Cannizzo [mailto:stonebranch.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 9:40 AM
To: Mike Healy
Subject: RE: Tony, question

Nope

-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Healy [mailto:mike@g2summits.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 9:37 AM
To: Tony Cannizzo
Subject: RE: Tony, question

That is what I thought. Did you get your money back for Chicago?

Kristin Mathias said...

Our relationship with Tony Cannizzo is just fine thank you. If anyone questions this you may call him directly at +1-404-580-3451.

- Kristin Mathias, Dir. of Customer Service, +1-404-220-8700, service@bizsummits.org

Unknown said...

Yes Mathias Tony called me today and thanked me for helping him get his money back. I love public blogs. Glad he got squared away finally after so may unanswered phone calls

Ahh but wait...
Here is yet another
Tegile Systems is owed 4,000 dollars for cancelled events . Shelly i guess has forgotten their phone number? could you reminder her? they have made numerous attempts to contact her

"Hi Mike
Thanks for the call today. As you can see from this email - the last contact I had with Shelley was in June. . The refund is to be $4000."

Mathias, Look forward to hearing when they have been squared away too. Keep up the good work!

Unknown said...

Mathias ... Here is another one for your cancelled event in Little Rock. I assured him you would see to the refund immediately.
____________________________________


My accounting department is telling me they are not seeing a credit on our AMEX for this. Can you check on that?

Tommy Bacon
Senior Sales and Support Manager
Complete Computing, Inc.
www.complete.com

Unknown said...

Mathias - Please contact your supervisor and have them contact Tegile Systems about the refund due them for "cancelled" events. It would appear that Shelley is not responding and the 4k they are owed is still outstanding.
Thanks for your immediate attention to this matter...


From: Kristy Morris [mailto:
Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 2015 9:54 AM
To: Mike Healy
Cc: Eve Acosta; Stacie Del Castello
Subject: RE: Tegile

Mike –

I received some feedback from one of my team members in the South East that Tegile is waiting for a refund on some Tech Summit events that we had paid to sponsor and were cancelled. Are you aware of this issue and can you help us determine what the status is of the refund. I have cc’d the events team to provide additional details.

k.

From: Mike Healy [mailto:

Unknown said...

Mathias - The next step is for us to contact the BBB
Get these people their money back....



I did not. I've been consumed with a mother in the hospital and a daughter that got married last Saturday. Just now catching up. I will be in the office on Thursday. My cell phone is.......... That is the best way to catch me live. I appreciate your help.

Tommy Bacon
Senior Sales and Support Manager
Complete Computing, Inc.
www.complete.com
E-mail: Tommy Bacon
My Direct Phone Number:

-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Healy [mailto:mrmichaelhealy@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2015 2:51 PM
To: Tommy Bacon <>
Subject: RE: VCSO1 BizSummitOrder: TechSummit Sponsorship Order

You ever get your money back?

Skylance Computer Services said...

I appreciate the info that was up here, and a couple other sites. Maybe this group of con artists should have stuck to safer waters. It appears to be hubris for them to attempt to pitch the scam to IT professionals. How else could they figure they wouldn't get caught?

What tells me it's a scam? Well, I was suspicious of an email to a wrong name and unassigned email address in the catchall. Written as a "follow-up", to which no original had been sent, it advertised this "Chicago Tech Summit". Basic internet search didn't find a page 1 result. The hotel was listed as the point of contact - and they knew little about it. Theemail source listed a "shelly-mac" as the device, signed by the above mentioned Shelly Fitzgerald. The source IP was for a "columbussummit.com" (66.118.163.227), mentioning the "chicago-summit.com" (69.94.129.202). Both domains registered in June with privacy over whois info. Finding the "sponsoring company" was not forthcoming, but whois information, including Ms Fitzgerald, with a valid phone number was obtained through techsummits.org.

What else tells me this is a scam? Well, aside from the email body, there is the "confidentiality notice" in the signature, which lists contact information as a Thomas [Redacted] with an address in Kankakee, IL. A basic public records search shows that two men with that name are known in the US - one in Michigan, one in Indiana, both "senior citizens", and neither having anything to do with the private residence wrongfully used as a contact point.

How about the website? It looks like their script kiddie ... err "webmaster" hasn't learned how to build a credible site yet. They're still using stolen photographs from other sites. The domains have only been around since 2015 (some only two months), yet they have a list of "past presenters". Funny that many of those in the list have nothing to do with "tech", and seem to be in alphabetical order through Chiquita Brands. There's also the "logo-collage", and a very generic timetable of events.

It's amusing that "security" is an issue alleged to be discussed during the summit, yet their signup and payment page is non-secure.

It's also amusing that for such busy executives running so many big "summits", that they have time to personally spar with bloggers.

Kristin Mathias said...

Hi Jake, thanks for the feedback (very good input) and we hope to make improvements from it. You are still very welcome to attend the event and that way you could determine if it is worthwhile or not instead of opining that it is not without having attended. We hope to see you there and thanks again.
- Kristin Johnston, Director, Customer Service

Skylance Computer Services said...

So, what confidence is this supposed to instill? Does this mean that they're going to spend money on a digital camera, and take pictures of an actual event (if one happens), instead of using other people's photos? Does this mean they'll hire a webmaster who does more than copy & paste company names? Does this mean that they'll use their actual contact information, instead of giving other people's name and address as "contact information" in their wrongly addressed scam... err "advertising"?


The timetable doesn't "pop" for me either. Between looking like an attempt to shoehorn so much into so little, the detailed timetable looks like it was an attempt to throw a lot of terminology, with little substance. The amount breadth intended for each half-hour provides little expectation of more than a surface mentioning. Considering that actual seminars are conducted on aspects of these topics, it would make sense that these sessions would be minimal for time constraints. Considering presentations I've made on security and malware, alone, I'm not sure the benefit of the short-short version to a professional.

Skylance Computer Services said...

I think it's safe to say I can opine without attending, from a professional standpoint, and be either dead-on, or in the ballpark.

My professional opinion is that this is somewhere between "scam" and "waste of time and money". What screams of scam? Addressed to a wrong name, addressed to an unallocated address, written as if there was a pre-existing relationship or communication, uses fake contact information, hides actual contact information, has a poor looking website - on a recently registered domain, refers to "past events" which are not verifiable, lifts photographs from elsewhere on the internet - instead of taking them from "actual events", lists irrelevant "sponsors", etc.

Frankly, there's nothing here which fosters any confidence that this would be worth the costs - real and opportunity - of traveling to one of these "summits". Based on presentations which I have made on some of the topics, I have great doubts that much worthwhile will be touched on in a series of vaguely worded half-hour sessions.

But hey, good luck to you...

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kristin Mathias said...

Our last few conferences this month have been very successful with great attendance. We now have even more favorable reviews from those who have attended and our BBB rating remains an A+. We believe that all 3 exhibitors during the transitionary period from the past worker commenting above to new staff have been successfully rescheduled or taken care of except for Tommy Bacon where we have left both voicemails and emails into him (hope to resolve that shortly). If for any reason that is not the case or there is any other exception they may contact me or Shelly over our Tech Summits division directly for prompt attention. Thanks all.

- Kristin Mathias, Dir. of Customer Service, +1-404-220-8700, service@bizsummits.org

Skylance Computer Services said...

Perhaps the snake-oil *summits folks should take some refreshers on plagiarism, as well as their liberal use of other people's photographs:

Their claim for opening segment:
The Latest Security Detection and Response Tools

Cyber security incidents are increasing in both scope and scale every day. Our defensive mechanisms have been outpaced by the scope and scale of malicious cyber activities. Cybercriminals are agile and, as long as organizations predictably follow best practice in their security strategies, cybercriminals will remain a step ahead.

Came from:
“Cyber security incidents are increasing in both scope and scale every day. Our defensive mechanisms have been outpaced by the scope and scale of malicious cyber activities and, as a result, this issue now sits as one of the most important emerging security challenges facing our countries today”, says Melissa Hathaway, Council of Experts, Global Cyber Security Centre (GCSEC), Rome, Italy.
http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_109346.htm

Cloud Infrastructure Services Trends

At its full potential, cloud computing can accelerate business innovation and transformation. The adoption of cloud computing is best characterized as a journey that occurs over time and in stages. IDC research proposes five stages of cloud maturity: Ad Hoc, Opportunistic,

This was copied word-for-word from an IDC white paper... In fact, the clipping for the "session synopsis" fails to either hide their plagiarism - or trim it to a complete sentence or thought.




Unknown said...

Received an "response" email from this company regarding the CMO Summit. Never saw the first email/no timestamp on the original message.

There's a lot of supporting evidence this is a scam, or at least some shady practices:

http://taliashewrote.com/marketing-directors-targeted-in-scamspam/

http://taliashewrote.com/ever-been-threatened-on-your-blog/

http://blog.badera.us/2008/01/cio-summit-phishing-scam.html

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150919/19402432299/business-with-shady-history-sues-former-employee-calling-it-shady.shtml

http://www.bbb.org/atlanta/business-reviews/professional-services-general/bizsummits-in-atlanta-ga-27255671/complaints

Kristin Mathias said...

Hi Josh, we are definitely legit, there are a ton speakers listed on our site, and I am glad to send you meeting summaries or recordings of any particular speaker if wished which would be impossible to do if we were not. There were some recent postings on the blog above by a person who used to plan some of our events (in both his and alias names) but it was worked out. If any questions just call me at 404-220-8700. - Kristin Johnston, Director of Customer Service.

T.J. said...

I stumbled across this blog after attending one of the recent tech summits. It wasn't even close to what the agenda said on the Website. In a nutshell, they definitely hold events, but in my personal opinion, even for a free event to listen to a bunch of sales pitches, it wasn't worth my time. They essentially get a bunch of decision makers from companies in a room, then charge sponsors to come sell products. If you pop into the different tech summit Websites, they all look the same, have the same content, and have the same contact (Shelley). You can Google around and form your own opinion, but if it tells you anything, I was a bit skeptical about what kind of event I really attended. That's how I stumbled across blogs like this.

Kristin Mathias said...

Hi TJ,

We are always striving to bring the best to our guests at the Tech Summits, so thank you for your feedback. We encourage our presenters to discuss best practices/recent initiatives in the field, but once they get on the stage, the mic is theirs. We will work better with the companies going forward to ensure content is delivered and that there is less focus on what might be considered by some as self-promotion or a sales pitch.

Thanks again for your attendance and feedback,

Kristin (Mathias) Johnston
Director of Customer Service

Kristin Mathias said...

Hi Conrad, could we kindly ask you to archive the "It's a Fake!..." blog post or at the very least edit out the defamatory "It's a Fake" words in the title which is highly misleading and libelous? We have offered you definitive proof in our 4/10/2014, 1/21/2015, and 6/5/2015 replies. You can also pick out any past speaker or meeting date on any of our sites and we can provide you with both the recording of the meeting and the pdf summary of the meeting and even the speaker's contact info if you wish to independently verify which would be impossible to do if "It's a Fake" as you wrote. A majority of the negative postings on your blog were from a terminated employee/contractor who launched a competing company while we were paying him then used fictitious profiles created the day of each posting in other's names to appear as if multiple people were complaining. We addressed the unlicensed photos issue within days of your original posting and confirmed back to you at that time (taking corrective action based on your feedback). When executives research us before joining they come across your blog title "It's a Fake" and then opt not to join that group which causes our group serious economic harm (some of our group members are in the UK) and deprives those who elect not to join of some really good speakers and ideas. We have provided you with absolute proof that your blog title "It's a Fake" is untrue, libelous, and violates the UK Defamation Act of 2013. You definitely made your point about the unlicensed photos oversight and we corrected it in days. Thank you very much for your kind consideration.

Kristin Johnston
Kristin@BizSummits.org
+1-404-220-8700

Home Design Coach said...

Wow, definitely a waste of time and miss representation of what it truly is. Being personally invited to a summit full of some of the Top Leaders in the industry. Common really!

Unknown said...

They're still kicking in 2017! I just got an extremely suspicious email from a "Shelly Fitzgerald of Houston Tech Summit, as a reminder ... but the fake original email is just the body of this email made to look like it was a response. I did a quick search and found this blog post. Thanks for the heads up!

Kristin Mathias said...

Hello to all who've left these last few comments - I am director of services in this company and I can assure you this is a legitimate company. I'm sorry that you feel this way, but this is the truth. Thank you for your feedback!

Kristin Mathias said...

Hi Jeremy,

Thank you for your feedback but you are very wrong in your assumptions. We are rated A+ with the BBB and can provide ample information to you if you choose to assume otherwise. If you'll notice in the comments - we do hold actual events and all of our emails are legitimate. Scamming people is not what's going on here. If there's any information you'd like on how to attend a seminar or a web conference, please let me know. As we are a legitimate company, these resources would be available to you, unlike a "fake" company would. Thanks again for your feedback!

Kennedy Smith
Director of Account Services

Unknown said...

Hey Mike Healy stop sending me those junk e-mails that try to bait ppl, thanks.

Unknown said...

Every few months, this really irritating Shelly Fitzgerald emails everyone in my company with this crap, and I politely have asked her 11 times to take me off her list. She refuses and just keeps spamming and scamming. Here is our communication:

Re: Invitation to Milwaukee Summit
Administrative/Associations/Conferences
x

Shelly Fitzgerald via sendgrid.me
12:39 PM (5 hours ago)

to me
Hi Cindy, some time ago you had inquired about speaking or having a tabletop at the yearly Milwaukee Tech Summit. I think we may have an open slot in 2018. The Milwaukee CIOs and IT managers would appreciate an update from Elevated Services. May I send the 2018 sponsor kit for your review?


Kind regards,
Shelly Fitzgerald
Planning Director
Milwaukee Tech Summit
Shelly@MilwaukeeSummit.com








-----Original Message-----
From: ME
Sent: 07/18/16
To: Shelly Fitzgerald
Subject: Re: Invitation to Milwaukee Summit

ME
12:41 PM (5 hours ago)

to Shelly
Shelly, See below for the exact same response I sent you in July:

WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO REMOVE ME FROM YOUR LIST????????????????????????????????????????????
Jul 17, 2017



to Shelly

In our email exchange on 7/18/16, I politely explained that we climb cell phone towers and that we have nothing to do with IT. I have visited your website, and I did not see a single vendor on the list of vendors that would possibly benefit us or give just cause to travel three states away to visit.

But please do forward me a list of the CIOs, IT Directors, and IT Managers in Milwaukee who would really like to hear an update from us. I'd love to know exactly what kind of update they would like to hear because I can't for the life of me imagine that they have ever heard of us, much less have an idea of what we do in order to need to be updated about it.

Honestly, this email is written in such a way that it has no hope of engaging me. My takeaway? "Hi- it's me again. I know you said last year that you weren't an IT company, but I've done absolutely no homework since then to find out what kind of company you are or what services you provide. I'm just trying to sell space at my conference, which I know has nothing to do with your industry."

Please remove me from your list.


Thank you,

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Helene said...

.... And still kicking in 2019. Now, it's a "Women's Leadership Summit" in DC, and Boston, and elsewhere? Here's the link for the DC "event." http://washingtonwomenleaders.org/

Initial contact was an email from Shelly Fitzgerald. Now it costs $199 to register (but lunch is included!).

Thanks for keeping this blog post alive.

Almost Fell 4 It said...

OMG I can't believe I bumped into this site by accident. I was looking where to post a warning about Washington Women Leaders (WashingtonWomenLeaders.org). They seem to be a well-thought-out scam to get you to participate in a conference by inviting you to be a speaker and afterward telling you that you are waitlisted for next year but that you should register as soon as possible to attend this year because it's a great way to see the flow and meet some of the others. The incredible thing is that the person who wrote to me is this Shelly Fitzgerald several of you are mentioning here!! Or maybe it's a different Shelly Fitzgerald also sending shady emails to people about conferences??

Anonymous said...

Just an FYI, these guys are still at it in 2019. I just received an email from Shelly Fitzgerald for the Atlanta Women's Leadership Summit, more spam. I'm so thankful I found this blog.

sideh2o said...

I received an email from "Shelly Fitzgerald" inviting me to the Philadelphia Womens Leadership Conference scheduled to take place on October 11, 2019 at the Rittenhouse Hotel. The grammar of the original email was bizarre:

"Hi Janet, I found your Linked In Owner Profile interesting and we would invite your presence at the yearly Philadelphia Womens Leadership Summit. Would it be okay to pass you the event day and details? Let me know if okay to send the details, thanks Janet."

The event page was soliciting a $199 registration fee. I called the Rittenhouse Hotel. There was no event scheduled for October 11th.

freddysaid said...

from: Shelly Fitzgerald
to: --redacted--
date: Aug 21, 2019, 9:25 AM
subject: Jasmine, question on --redacted00.
mailed-by: sandiegowomenleaders.org
: Important according to Google magic.

Hi Jasmine, I found your Linked In SEO Manager profile interesting and we would request your attendance at the annual San Diego Women Leaders Summit. Would it be okay to relay to you the date and schedule? Let me know if okay to send the details, thanks Jasmine.


Cordially yours,
Shelly K. Fitzgerald
Organizing Director
The San Diego Women Leaders Summit


Commence the research:
- No page 1 results for the site (http://sandiegowomenleaders.org/) They don't appear anywhere in the first 5 pages.
- This blog post, however, ranks #2 when searching for "san diego women's leaders summit shelly fitzgerald" and the original post and entire comment thread is compelling evidence enough
- FAQ pages lists contact info for Shelly@womenssummit.org rather than ShellyF@sandiegowomenleaders.org
- Domain age for the site is only 1 year (created on 8/4/2018) - unlikely then that there have been many or any previous "San Diego Women Leaders Summits"
- Online presence: the only backlinks the site has earned are on Sponsorship opportunity pages for other "summits"(ex. http://sitesserve.com/womensleadershipdallas/sponsors.html ; http://urlserve.biz/womensleadershiplosangeles/sponsors.html ) where in they are soliciting money from businesses to sponsor these "events"
So far, it seems like this website and this whole summit do not exist outside of their own scam bubble.
-

Anonymous said...

I just received a poorly written email from Shelly about a NY Women's Leadership Summit. I have paneled or spoken at several industry events in NYC and assumed it was another invitation to speak. I am very happy to have stumbled upon this blog. What a shame that people/companies continue to take advantage of others for themselves. I have blocked future communications from Shelly as I see they ignore the Federal Unsubscribe Law. I guess a fine is less than a scammed sponsorship.

Unknown said...

Apparently now it's a Women's Leadership Summit? I was just contacted by this Shelly Fitzgerald. Weird.

Joy aka GoddessJoy said...

Just got an email from the Shelly Fitzgerald person. Did a google search and here I am. Ginna avoid that mess.

Meg said...

Thanks, everyone, for your work on this fraud. I just want to note (for any future searchers) that I just got contact from a Shelly Fitzgerald to speak at "Dallas women's leadership summit". Something seemed fishy, and it followed the same pattern another poster noted: a follow-up to an email that I had never received, a weird security line at the end of the email that included my name, and a website with "past presenters" though I couldn't find any instance of this conference happening before.

Thanks for looking out!

Lori said...

Still going in 2019! Same MO. I got an email out of the blue "following up" on a "previous message" that I'd never received. I replied and said I was unable to participate. Then I got another email from "Shelly" claiming to be "following up" on her reply to my reply (which I also never received). And it was totally nonresponsive - "Can you check your availability and mark your schedule?" YEP, I already did, and that's why I said no to start with.

I confess I don't understand the purpose of this. What do THEY get out of these weird fake "follow up" emails?

Unknown said...

Still at it Aug 30, 2019
Got this email from Shelly Fitzgerald Of course I thought it was weird she was not just contacting me through LinkedIn. I looked up The Denver Womens Leadership Summit....does not exist. I tried to find her on Linkedin....she does not exist. She had my business name wrong and not my current last name. I never responded, she sent a follow up asking to send me info.

Hi Melissa, I found your Linked In Owner profile interesting and we would ask your attendance at the yearly Denver Womens Leadership Summit. Is it okay to email you the event date and agenda? Let me know if okay to send the details, thanks Melissa.


Truly yours,
Shelly K. Fitzgerald
Planning Manager
The Denver Womens Leadership Summit

Ashley said...

its 2019 Shelly Fitzgerald emailed me inviting me to a SF women leaders summit. Theyre still scamming people!!

Anonymous said...


2019 and still going strong...

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Shelly Fitzgerald
Date: Fri, Nov 8, 2019 at 10:16 AM
Subject: Carrie, following up on Ciphrex.
To: Carrie McQueen


Hi Carrie, we are finalizing the annual San Diego Womens Leadership Summit and were hoping you could attend this year.  Would it be okay to send you more about it?


Cordially yours,
Shelly Fitzgerald
Planning Board
The San Diego Womens Leadership Summit

Anonymous said...


New one seems legit: http://www.sandiegowomenleaders.org

Andreas_Art said...

Received this email today. Looks like they're cherry picking email's from LINKED IN. Ton's of misspellings and grammatical nonsense.

-----------------------------------


[EXTERNAL]

Hi Andrea, I found your Linked In Senior Leasing Representative profile interesting and we would invite your presence at the annual Seattle Womens Leadership Summit. Would it be okay to email you the event date and outline?


Best regards,
Shelly K. Fitzgerald
Planning Committee
The Seattle Womens Leadership Summit

-----------------------------------

I don't know who this is, but I'm glad I found this blog.

thanks for your help!


kat said...

Shelly is still at her scams. I just got a suspicious email for orlando woman's leadership summit. I see her scams all the way to 2015, it's now 2020.

Sister Wolf said...

Shelley just emailed me! Why hasn't anyone thought of a way to con them back??

Unknown said...

Looks like Shelly is back at it again.
Received this today 4/15/20

http://lawomenleaders.org/

looks exactly like the C?O sites posted in this blog.


Hi Brook, I found your Linked In Administration Operations Manger profile interesting and we would request your presence at the yearly LA Women's Leadership Summit. We also have a good Covid-19 plan with a remote view option for safety. Is it okay to relay to you the details?


Best regards,
Shelly K Fitzgerald
Planning Committee
LA Women's Leadership Summit


If your out there Shelly "I'm not a Women."

Nicole said...

CHARLESTON WOMENS SUMMIT SCAM WITH SHELLY FITZGERALD IN 2020. Don’t fall for it.

Ebony said...

They're at it again. This is the new one:

Got this email:
Hi -----, I found your Linked In Usability Professional profile interesting and we would enjoy your participation in the Washington Women Leaders. We are temporarily meeting by web for safety but hopefully back to in-person once safe. Would it be okay to email you the details?


Truly,
Shelly Fitzgerald
Organizing Director
Washington Women Leaders


From this email: ShellyF@washingtonwomenleaders.org
which comes up on the web, nowhere. Addressing my professional job at my personal email.

washingtonwomenleaders.org and http://grandrapidshrsummit.org are both associated with this email.
Looks just like the site above. She's not found on either site.

Unknown said...

2020! It appears they've pivoted to address COVID so they are web seminars now. Pretty clever.

Received an email from Shelly Fitzgerald, written as a follow-up (no original email, this tactic is so infantile), wanted me to participate in Florida Women Leaders. Check out how many "Women Leaders" identical websites they've made 'around the country' using the exact same website:

https://www.google.com/search?tbs=sbi:AMhZZiu5FOHphMPwZKCQyjDabTdwp6fhStQ_1iNoKbLZ3_1w93rP2o_1VN0_1dwcAau3dxyaius5xEOe2cFAYck5xgxPvjWWYc1nGvnzVj74mgvYXQYzJAmcb_1VV_1MgMCXafQZa9Y2h0vhrs11lPh89kKITUIDxgLkwoFnG9HjMgEKfKY4FI0B3hNYci7ruZAxgTCaXlc0H026QfZH3-tRHD3UDf7lxvSs7neLh-RcKT7qbWtidf-YU5scTHGlcWsqe82TB6lCQUMXfPKdASwJjZgvVDNDnN9O2c-Be9Tjj0Lh3JcZ1HhuklkVX1FgbB_1mRYzk0hMEp94yMRhaqqOiv1gPjOBB4Qccfx5w&ei=up6AX_WUNoHZ5gLKpaXYBA&start=10&sa=N&ved=2ahUKEwj12ZywhajsAhWBrFkKHcpSCUsQ8NMDegQIJhA2&biw=1841&bih=1285

Sarah S. said...

Thank you for your site! I just got one of these solicitations for a new iteration of these "BizSummits" under the name "California Women's Leaders" cawomenleaders.org. Thankfully, because I then googled "Shelly Fitzgerald" and found your site, I didn't fall prey to it. This is still alive and still low down. The website had some other key clues that it was a fake, such as may other "women leaders" conferences (one for every major metropolitan area), and copy that wasn't proofed well enough -- it referenced a different city for this supposedly California event.

sharon said...

Oh, hello there from 2020 where I found this after having some really weird and suspicious email conversations with Shelly Fitzgerald about a Women's Leadership Conference. At first it seemed weird and a bit spammy/desperate. Then today it started to seem more scammy than spammy, so I started digging.

Look familiar? http://sfwomenleaders.org/

To my more polite than I needed to be reply (after getting 3 emails in a row), I got a ridiculous 4th email.

My reply, Friday:
Thanks for reaching out. It looks like it was a year ago that you had written and asked if you could send me more information about an event and I replied that you could. I didn’t hear anything else for a year until this week when I received information from you about an all-day event less than a week away and with multiple emails asking me to share with others. I won’t be attending, not in small part because it is way too short of notice and because there is a cost that isn’t disclosed readily in our email communication.

I’m not comfortable promoting this to others, especially because it isn’t clear what I would be promoting. I dug deep to see what the organization is, and found only this:
The Women's Leadership Summit is a fast growing membership organization of over 14,000 women in executive and leadership positions who are committed to the development and advancement of women in the corporate arena.

As a public librarian, I am not particularly involved in or interested in the corporate arena. In addition, at this point I only support organizations that are explicitly anti-racist and address feminism and women’s leadership from an intersectional lens, centering the voices of BIPOC women by ensuring that they make up a balance of speakers, leaders, and voices, by providing ease of entry into the organization for traditionally underrepresented groups, and also by clearly stating that in their materials.

I do appreciate the work you are doing, but felt it was only fair to explain why I’m not interested in attending/joining, in case it might bear some influence. 😊

Have a good summit,
Sharon

What I received this morning:

Hi Sharon, just a final note that we are kicking off our annual San Francisco Women Leaders Fall calendar this week and would enjoy your participation if you have not registered already. Any help putting the word out to others is much appreciated (registration covers them for a full year). Thanks Sharon! - Shelly

***
I hope they don't get too much money from people.

hcbflorida said...

I got it too, but from a Shelly Fisher.
Hi Heidi, there were several key speaker additions to next week's Florida Women Leaders meeting below. Could you share the updated agenda and upcoming schedule below with other women you think would enjoy it and managers at good companies who might like to foster and support their upcoming women? This month's meeting will also be recorded for those tied up that day (registration covers them for a full year). Thanks Heidi! - Shelly
Gotta be the same people, right? shellyf@flwomenleaders.org