Monday, June 8, 2015

Attention Anyone Doing a Crowdfunding Campaign, Don't Use Crowd PR Guru AKA Top Level PR AKA First Wave PR, It Only Annoys Me

It gets you results? Yeah, sure.
UPDATE 10/17/16
Apparently they now are going by, "First Wave PR," because the latest name now has enough negative reviews they had to change it again.

UPDATE 5/24/16
I am now calling for stories from people ripped-off by Top Level PR/Crowd PR Guru.

UPDATE 4/1/16:
It seems that Crowd PR Guru changed their name some time ago to, "Top Level PR." They are still apparently awful and should not be used. Just a heads-up for everyone. I now present my original post...

I hate it when a website known as Crowd PR Guru contacts me and asks me to promote something, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Read on for an explanation of just what Crowd PR Guru is and why it annoys me so much.

I may not be a highly respected journalist or anything of that sort, but I have been at this blog long enough that I'm considered a member of the media by a variety of people. A lesser-known member that sites like Bleedingcool could squash like a bug, sure, but a correspondent of popular-culture nonetheless. This has resulted in my occasionally getting emails from folk about their comic/movie/video-game/etc.

Sometimes a person writes me to ask if I would like to review their new comic, sometimes a guy or gal has a comic-related infographic they would like my thoughts on, then other times I might get an inquiry about if I would consider discussing a particular magazine column--one strange request was when a men's fitness magazine asked if I would like a copy of their article where they interviewed Chris Hemsworth about his workout routine to get his, "Thor-body." As my idea of a workout is a brisk walk I politely declined. I always am happy to get these messages and talk about whatever is mentioned if I feel it makes sense for the blog, so that isn't an issue.
One thing I get somewhat regularly are requests to talk about crowdfunding campaigns done via Kickstarter or Indiegogo. When an individual behind one of these actually writes me a personal note about why their project is the culmination of a dream and years of hard work, that makes me eager to talk with them more about their campaign. However, there exists a website people can pay money to which claims it will help get their Kickstarter or Indiegogo funded beyond their wildest dreams thanks to its expert skills in PR. This website is Crowd PR Guru and I can honestly tell you when they try and get my attention I just laugh.

Crowd PR Guru tells people how they write-up these individualized press releases which they send out to members of the media--like yours truly--and us media contacts apparently get so excited we post about the project and that somehow gets a campaign a ton of money. Well, as a member of the media I can tell you that every "individualized" press release I've gotten from Crowd PR Guru reads almost the same word-for-word except for how they change-out the name of the project and the brief description they give about it. Otherwise, it is hilariously tragic how grammatically atrocious and robotic the emails are.

Plus, it really irritates me to think someone went and spent 500 dollars or even 1,000 bucks on this joke of a company when they could have put that money toward the project they so desperately want funded, but for some reason don't even have the time to put forth the effort to contact me personally about. My feelings are if you have enough money to hire a shoddy PR team for your comic/movie/whatever, and don't even have the time to tell me about it, why should I give you any of my time? Show me you really care about your creation, make it clear you put your blood, sweat, and tears into what you've created so far, and are ready to put in even more work to get it finished and sent-out to others.
You really don't need the guru.
Crowd PR Guru messages make it apparent what Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaigns I want to avoid, not support. Should you ever engage in your own crowdfunding campaign please, I beg of you, don't use Crowd PR Guru. You will only perturb me (and I imagine many others), and I doubt you will find their so-called "services" to be much of any use.

15 comments:

  1. I was recently contacted by TurnkeyPR (based on a crowdfunding forum found here: http://crowdfundingforum.com/archive/index.php/t-12490.html they are the renamed Crowd PR Guru) and everything they said SEEMED really professional. I went so far as to have them send me a paypal invoice and said I would talk about it with my hubby and do some online research. Well, I found a lot of bad reviews on yelp, and one or two good reviews. Honestly I'm not finding a whole lot at all for a PR company that should be all over the news if they are doing as well as they claim. What I suspect is, they HAVE successfully promoted a few campaigns that they just got luck on and everything came together. However, most don't do well, thus the reviews. I don't think they are a scam (they are an actual PR company and they do actually send out PR stuff), they just aren't as good as they claim. I still WANT to believe that they will help me raise thousands of dollars on my kickstarter, but honestly $495 is too much for me to chance it with all the negative feedback I'm seeing. What are your thoughts on facebook ads? There's a company called kickstartmyads.com that seemed to be getting some positive feedback recently. I know facebook adds are hard to do well (you have to know how to properly target your audience), and some people say they don't work at all, but I think they do work when done right. Any thoughts?

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  2. Hey Lydia, thanks for your question! Also, I hope my post was of use in you learning more about Crowd PR Guru--or whatever they are calling themselves these days.

    I checked into it with various sources and these, "kickstartmyads," people are someone to tread VERY carefully with. I've observed a lot of negative comments from people who used them, and very few positive ones. A lot of folk indicated that it would be easier (and cheaper) for someone to just take-out their own Facebook ads, and that the Kickstartmyads people tend to make pretty ugly ads unless you pay the higher amounts.

    If you do want to pursue them, my suggestion is you ask them for references from other people they have assisted. Any ad agency worth its salt (big or small) will be able to supply you with a list of satisfied customers who can be spoken with. Then, you can learn from these people what they maybe would have done differently and make sure that if you do go with the kickstartmyads company how to get the best service for your money.

    I hope my answer helps and good luck!

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  3. I wish we'd seen your post earlier David. Apparently Crowd PR Guru is going by Top Level PR these days and it's embarrassing to admit that we fell for their song and dance. I hope you don't hold all the annoying correspondence you receive against the project creators, these guys are expert con-artists. Thank you for trying to save other project creators from this very unfortunate situation!

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  4. Melanie, I am sorry to hear you found yourself a victim of Crowd PR Guru AKA Top Level PR. I hope my post can help others avoid them, and that you work to tell other people to not use them either! I know they look snazzy and like they do a good job, but I've heard from everyone that once they get your money, it's all downhill from there.

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  5. We also got an email from toplevelpr today. I checked online and found a lot of self published articles, which made me wonder. So checked their domain information. They just started in feb 2016 (!) but claim to already have over 3000 customers :). Thank you for bringing to my attention who's behind it. I'll do my marketing myself I guess :) .

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  6. I also got approached by TopLevelPr . But it is a scam. They are the same people behind Crowd PR Guru. They are active with their new website since 2016 (look it up). I was really concidering them, but found it odd that all the reviews and posts online where them marketing themselves. The same happended here. They use Fiverr reviews, and non of the campaigns add up. I checked 6 of their so called customers, but each single one of them is fake. The campaigns excist, but people behind it are different. The pictures they use are fake (check it with google image search). Even their 'CEO' is not who he pretends to be, I get an article from Harvard with a totally different name and person. It's a scam... Be warned!

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  7. I paid for a $495 package with TopLevelPR. They did NOTHING for me. I pushed them once via email and they responded with "hey, something is posted here and there" which was true, but posts nobody saw. I could rant for while about the emails they send out periodically giving the appearance of activity, but the bottom line is nothing happened and NO ONE should use their services.

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  8. TopLevelPR aka Crowd PR Guru is a scam! They claim that they've helped over 3000 campaigns, are long in the market and the number one PR service for crowdfunding. Yeah right... Even the pitch (their so called trade mark) I got was lousy written... I should have seen this post before and checked their credentials !

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  9. And it's not Toplevelpr aka crowd PR Guru, but Toplevelpr aka Crowd PR Guru aka Turn Key PR. These guys have been scamming people for years, and change their website when there are to many reviews. Lets bring all victims together?

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  10. They are now First Wave PR (www.firstwavepr.com).

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  11. They changed their name AGAIN? Goodness gracious. Thanks for telling me!

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  12. Correct. And they also work under crowdfundsocial.com.

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  13. very sad :( I wish I had read this earlier .. terrible experience with First Wave PR
    It's definitely a scam and we had no idea.

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  14. Update, they also operate under crowdfundsocial and smartboostsystem for Indiegogo. First hand experience here: http://electrogirl.com.au/2016/10/26/crowdfund-social-one-part-of-an-alleged-big-internet-scam-buyer-beware/

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  15. They now operate under PRkick (prkick.com). The same thieves, using exactly the same packages, slightly different website and fake reviews as usual. It seems that they are recycling their articles. Do a bit of research on when they started to create the articles about their service, age of the social media accounts and domain.

    These thieves also run smartboostsytem and crowdfundsocial. Worst kind of people imaginable.

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