Beefgate - The Story of a Competitor's False Accusations and Use of Web Bots to Attack Us

Greg here, CEO of The Manly Man Company. We recently became aware of a competitor committing libel by publicly making false and defamatory statements about myself and the company I co-founded, The Manly Man Company.  The accusations made by Andrew “Arthur” Summers and Say It With Beef are objectively false— not backed by proof because none exists.  He has falsely accused us of manipulating Google Rankings stating we are posting 1000’s of fake reviews. We do not post fake reviews nor have we ever paid for a review.  Oddly, after accusing us, he was caught [w/ evidence] attempting to manipulate the same Google Rankings. While this has now unfortunately crossed a line requiring our legal team to get involved, I want to provide you the facts about these false accusations and information that may help you determine the character and motivations of our competitor and accuser.

 

SIWB Commits Libel by Falsely Accusing The Manly Man Company of Manipulating Google Rankings by Publishing Fake Reviews

Our companies both sell our versions of a Beef Jerky Flower bouquet which is a unique and popular food based gift for men. His business has been suffering a significant decline in sales that he attributes to his fall in search engine rankings for all related keywords. Instead of considering Google is ranking our page higher than his due to a variety of factors which indicate our website is more popular and our products offer more value, he is publishing false allegations that we are somehow manipulating Google's search results to beat him out in the rankings. The accusations made by Andrew “Arthur” Summers and Say It With Beef are objectively false— not backed by proof because none exists. For example, the manifesto on his website alleges we, The Manly Man Company post fake reviews as a “Black Hat” SEO (search engine optimization) tactic that resulted in outranking him on Google’s Search Engine for all the main keywords he targets. Oddly, on this same page he openly asks followers to help manipulate his website's Organic CTR (click-through-rate) by searching several keywords he lists and clicking on his website in Google’s search results, to improve his SEO efforts  (July 27, 2019 3rd party archive).  "Organic click-through-rate (also known as “Organic CTR”), is the percentage of searchers that click on a search engine result"  (What Is Organic Click-Through-Rate?).  While it is unfortunate to hear this companies owner may be forced to close his business due to lack of sales, it is more unfortunate he is placing the blame anywhere but upon himself.

Firstly, I would like to state I do not wish for anyone to be in a position of having to face shutting down your own business.  My co-founders and I have been there before, many times.  It is a terrible sickening feeling, loosing so much of the valuable resources you have put in along the way such as time, effort and capital.  But something valuable is also gained through failure, we learned how to successfully run a company and what works or more importantly doesn’t work.  It is these experiences that have strengthened our ability to make better decisions on how to operate and run our company successfully.  This I believe is the critical differentiator between these two companies and what has helped make us more successful.  We also have significant digital marketing and search engine optimization experience which has helped boost our presence in search engines such as Google and gaining top placement in their organic search engine rankings thus beating our competitors in these results.

Instead of placing blame on himself and his business for his decline in search engine rankings he is accusing us of posting fake reviews to boost our status in Google. Firstly we do not post fake reviews nor have we ever paid for a review, that is not a business practice that we employ, nor would we ever need to.  Secondly, that’s not how Google ranks sites.  He is ignoring the most obvious and true explanation for the amount of reviews we have and our rankings in Google.  Our products are more popular than his and we experience a significantly higher sales volume than him.  It is clear, that he is in disbelief that our product and company is more popular with consumers than his.  When Google sees that we have more traffic, more purchases and a better conversion rate on our site versus our competitors, they [Google] determine these users are finding more value from our site versus competitor sites for these respective search terms.  Since more value is found on our site by consumers, naturally Google ranks our site higher making it easier for their users to find the products they are looking for.  As a consumer, I trust that Google, the largest company which reportedly employs the highest number of PHD's in tech, has built a robust enough algorithm that considers many, many, attributes to rank a page and prevent manipulation of their results.  There is a reason why they are so successful, they are extremely good at filtering search results that are relevant for you and that bring you the most value.

It is sad to see that with the decline in his business, his attempts to recover have escalated in desperation.  This new tactic of publishing false and libelous accusations against us crosses a legal line and we will be forced to take legal action if he doesn’t correct course immediately.

 

SIWB Attempted to Manipulate Their Own Google Rankings After Falsely Accusing Us, Then Tries To Cover Up Their Tracks

While he is falsely claiming we are manipulating Google’s search results he is explicitly asking Google users to manipulate these results by directing them to search for these keywords and click on his links to help boost him in the results.  Google my keywords (jerky flowers, beef jerky flowers, jerky rose bouquet, etc.) and click on my result. DON’T click on my ads – the ones at the very top with the green [Ad] box next to them. That costs me money.”  You can find this on his manifesto page (sayitwithbeef[dot]com/competitor) and scrolling down to the last few paragraphs.

 

Update: Within 24 hours of posting this statement, Say It With Beef has edited their manifesto removing their request of Google's users to manipulate search results in their favor.  But a 3rd party archive displaying this act to manipulate Google's search results saved July 27, 2019 can be viewed  here on Archive.org to verify the authenticity of our screenshots.

 

 

SIWB Screens Their Own Reviews

Furthermore while he is claiming that we are manipulating reviews, he has clearly stated and confirmed within his manifesto that he engages in the practice of manipulating and moderating his own product reviews by only selecting specific reviews to be published,  “As always, I will ONLY approve reviews from people I can verify as having actually purchased.”  You should not accuse a competitor of manipulating reviews, while you are doing it yourself.  You can find this on his manifesto page (sayitwithbeef[dot]com/competitor) by clicking link “How Can I Help” expanding more content then clicking “Leave Us A Review”

 

 

 

SIWB Attacks Our Website with Their Bots - Violating Our Terms of Use Policy

In his desperation to compete he has now published libelous statements.  We are concerned with how he will escalate further considering his background, experience and capabilities as a cyber-securities specialist as well as his recent use of illegal and destructive tactics against competitors.  Where does it end?  He has already stated in his manifesto that he has worked with a team of hackers previously and to reporters (Media Post Article July 26 2019)  that he has created bots targeting our website as well as many other Shopify stores.  This deliberate intrusion violated our Terms of Use Policy sections 12h and 12i (https://manlymanco.com/pages/terms).

 

 

 

SIWB Falsely Claims They Are The Original Creators of The Beef Jerky Bouquet

SIWB is not the originator of The Beef Jerky Bouquet concept, nor are we.  Yet he continually claims we stole this concept from him, fueling his own narrative in the minds of anyone willing to listen.  As far back as we are aware, Beef Jerky Bouquets were a thing starting back in 2006.  This news article from 2011 shows a woman named Cindi Whalter started selling Beef Jerky Bouquets on her website beefjerkybouquet[dot]com well before SIWB ever existed.  What's more interesting is the strikingly similar unregistered trademark she used for this business .... "Say It With Meat."  By running this Google Search you will find a list of 3rd party and media results that shows her use of "Say It With Meat" as an unregistered trademark for her beef jerky bouquet business.

 

SIWB Attacks Character of USMC Combat Veteran Business Owner to Desperately Gain Support

Everyone is surely entitled to their own opinion, however he is constantly publicly  attacking my character to create his own false narrative and gain support.  I am not going to tell you how you should feel about him or me, but rather I will share some information about our founding team as well as a few of his statements and let you make the decision to our character.  What's important is not only the context of these statements but the language he chooses to convey his message.

Our founding team consists of my beautiful wife Jacquie, fellow USMC Veteran Ben Wynkoop and myself.  While we all pride ourselves on our products and the amazing customers we have, we are also people who take extreme pride in doing the right thing. Doing the right thing goes a long way back.  I am tremendously proud of becoming an Eagle Scout at 17 before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 2002 and serving two tours.  Both experiences taught me extremely valuable lessons in civic duty, but more importantly how to be a better person.  Unlike the narrative that Mr. Summers has created, I am not a "spoiled rich kid" from California set out on a quest to destroy him by committing fraud.  I am a veteran who put himself through college and started this business with all my credit cards maxed and very little money in my pocket.  In fact the last two years attending UC Santa Barbara I camped to save money while I attended school.  I put everything on the line with this business and at many points even came very close to bankruptcy.  Needless to say, the struggle has been very real.  Everything we have built here we earned through hard work, sleepless nights and perseverance.

 

 

Update: Say It With Beef has since edited their manifesto, but a 3rd party archive saved July 27, 2019 can be viewed here on Archive.org to verify the authenticity of our screenshots.

 

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us here.  I sincerely thank you for your time!

 

Greg Murray

CEO/Co-founder | The Manly Man Company
USMC Veteran