Wednesday, April 26, 2006

SEC Attorney Kelly Bowers comments on Charis Johnson's New Business

As promised, I followed up on my initial promise to contact the SEC regarding Charis Johnson's new business venture, Startup Street. I first contacted the SEC's press inquiry office who referred me to the individuals responsible for the initial filing against Ms. Johnson and 12 Daily Pro, the SEC's Pacific Field Office. In the press release by the SEC, three individuals are named - Randall Lee, Michele Layne, and Kelly Bowers. Each of these are attorneys working for the SEC's field office and are responsible for filing the injunction against 12DailyPro.

After contacting Randall Lee, I was referred to Kelly Bowers. Mr. Bowers was kind enough to speak with me regarding the questions about Ms. Johnson's new business. I asked him whether or not the SEC injunction prevents Charis Johnson from starting a new business and he said that it does not. The SEC filing only prevents Ms. Johnson from advertising and selling unlicensed or fraudulent securities and nothing else. So, at this time, Charis Johnson is free to start any new business she likes and to continue starting and running any new ventures, as long as they do not have anything to do with the selling of unlicensed securities. Mr. Kelly Bowers told me he could not comment further on the legality or legitimacy of Charis Johnson's new business, but the injunction does not prevent her from running it. This would presumably also make her blogging legal.

This answers the question of whether or not Ms. Johnson is allowed to run a business under her previous company name, LifeClicks LLC, or her new business name, BizClicks LLC, at least as far as the SEC is concerned. As I have previously posted, the registration info for the domain startupst.com was registered under LifeClicks LLC, which was the same name used for the now defunct 12DP registration. Even though, as some people have pointed out to me, that the company is registered under the name BizClicks, the domain registar WHOIS data clearly shows otherwise.

Still, the purpose and function of Startup Street is uncertain. Since it first opened, the site design and functions have changed quite a bit, and it now seems to only carry tutorials and guides for individuals on how to make money and is only selling information and referrals to affiliate programs and advertising companies, such as AdBrite. Many people have expressed concern that the site is just a simple ruse to collect individuals personal data to be sold to third parties for marketing purposes, but that has yet to be shown.

The site does come with a legal disclaimer though, which states the following:

Legal Disclaimer

All of the programs and website listed here were researched by our staff. We do our best to provide you with accurate information and recemmendations. However, we make no representations or guarantees of the quality of the products or services that you may individually purchase from these vendors. We also make no guarantee that you can or will earn any particular amount of money with any site or program listed on our site. Your sucess and earnings with any online venture are directly related to your own efforts, not in any way to information provided on this website.
Clearly many people will still be skeptical of anything Charis Johnson does now and in the future because of her past association with 12DailyPro, which the SEC labeled as a "massive ponzi scheme". Yet, there are still faithful and true believers in Ms. Johnson and might continue to follow her like a lemming to the edge of a cliff.

But, as Mr. Bowers stated before we ended our phone conversation, that as for the legitimacy of the work of Ms. Johnson, I would need to read between the lines and "draw my own conclusions".

Monday, April 24, 2006

Give Yourself a Free 2GB of Hard Drive Space

Thanks to Google, we now all have super huge email accounts, probably more than we can remember. With the introduction of Gmail, other free webmail services in turn increased their space to match that of Gmail's 2GB of storage. Next to that fact, Google gives you 100 invitations so you can let your friends join up and get a Gmail email account too. If you've been living under a rock and don't have a Gmail account yet, you can sign up for a spooler service like isnoop.net or afraid.org where you can get in a queue line for an invitation to sign up. Or just ask anyone you know, more than likely they already have accounts.

But, thanks to an ingenious creation, you can use a Gmail account as a separate storage device. A bit of software called GMail Drive shell extension lets you add your Gmail account onto your system with a drag and drop feature to upload and store files. All you need is a Gmail account, and the software.

Since most everyone already has a Gmail account, you can simply invite yourself to create a new one for the storage space outside of the one you just use for the purpose it's intended - sending and receiving email. Once you've invited yourself, just click the verification link to create a new Gmail account and call it whatever you want. Since it will be for storage purposes only, there's no need to worry about having a vanity address. Just fill in whatever name you want and any address with a password and you'll have a fresh new Gmail account ready for storing files.

Next, simply install the Gmail Drive Shell Extension and put in the name of your new email address, password, and check to remember your account. Now when you go under 'My Computer' you should see that you now have an extra drive listed at the bottom called 'GMail Drive'. From there you can drag and drop files into it just like a regular folder, move, copy, delete and copy back to your hard drive. You can even right click on it and go to properties and see how much space you are using and have free like a regular hard drive. The other nice thing about this is you can use it on the road and have access to your files virtually anywhere, without spending money on one of those expensive flash or mini-USB hard drives.

Unfortunately, you don't seem to be able to install multiple drives with this program. If you could, you could use all your invitations to yourself and have yourself an extra free 200GB virtual hard drive, but Google probably wouldn't like that too much.

None the less, it doesn't seem to be against their terms of service to use this utility. But, so far, this seems to be the only utility of it's kind (that I'm aware of) that lets you take advantage of the large storage space of free webmail systems. In the future, we might see ones for Yahoo or even 30gigs.com. The other disadvantage of this is that you can't let other people access this drive publicly unless you give out your password. For needs like that, you would have to use a service like Rapidshare, MegaUpload, SaveFile, RocketDrive, or YouSendIt. All of those services (with the exception of RocketDrive) will delete your file after so many downloads or a certain period of time, or if no one downloads it for 30 days or so.

Either way, this is a very interesting concept and hopefully more software developers will make other programs to have similar functions for other file storing systems. Until then, enjoy your new 2GB of free space.
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