Troy International: Deceptive Practices & Questionable History

**ATTENTION: This is a great post on Reddit about “direct marketing” or “outsourced sales” companies. It was corroborates pretty much everything I’ve written in this post. Other companies you need to watch out for include Red Ten NYC, Limitless Marketing, 5 NorthI.D.B Consulting, and LIFE Long Island. This is another informative website about companies of this nature.

**ATTENTION: If you’ve ever dealt with Troy International or any of the companies affiliated with them (Northstar Consulting Group, Polaris, The Henry Group, EQM, EQ New York, Worldwide Marketing, The BBB Conglomerate and Noble Solution) please share your experience by comment below. Current and ex-employees, you are especially encouraged to share your experiences! 

This post is about Troy International, a direct selling company in Manhattan. I had a very negative experience being interviewed by them. I did extensive research after I left and what I found was disturbing. This post is a message to job seekers to be wary of Troy International and other direct selling companies.

Last week I saw Troy International’s Craigslist post:

In case they take the Craigslist post down, here's the screenshot.

I thought it was a good fit what I was looking for. I sent them my resume and cover letter.

Within a few hours I received an email from a woman named Anastasiia Oliinyk asking me if I’d like to come in for an interview. Anastasiia’s email signature said that she was the HR Manager at Troy International, Inc. I Googled her name (in quotes) to see if it was legitimate and the 3rd result on the first page was a LinkedIn profile for an Anastasiia Popova (I’m guessing she got married or divorced). The profile confirmed that she was the HR Manager at Troy International. Her profile is awful and her summary seems to be more appropriate for MySpace. This is her Twitter account and Facebook profile.

I emailed her back and scheduled an interview for the next week. I then went to Troy International’s website. My suspicions first began at when I saw how vague the website was. The company says they are in the sales and marketing industry but on the “Services” section of the site, they don’t go into detail about exactly what they do- they  just spout some overused business jargon. I found this very off-putting.  They also list 5 of their clients (including American Express) but they don’t say what they did for these companies. The logos only link to the companies’ respective websites. If you look at any other marketing firm’s website, they will almost always give a specific list of their services and have a portfolio of their work. Troy International’s website has neither.

The website has generic stock photos of Greek ruins (hence Troy) and office conference rooms. It doesn’t contain a single name of anyone who works there. The site also talks about the huge opportunities for growth in such a clichéd manner. Their social media pages show absolutely nothing about what the company has done or anything about the staff. Instead they are full of cheesy motivational quotes. Their Facebook page has a few pictures of the people who work there but they all are taken at a bar and none of the people in these pictures are tagged. A lot of the links in the “Social Media & PR” section don’t even work. But I then searched for Troy International on Ripoff Report but found nothing. That’s why I decided to go for the interview.

**UPDATE: My submission to Ripoff Report about Troy International got published. Check it out here.

The email that confirmed my interview told me that I would need to check in with security upon entering and show a valid picture ID. The security guard would then provide me with a visitor’s pass and direct me to their office. The day of my interview, the taxi driver dropped me off at the address on the website (690 8th Avenue, 5th Floor). The building was in between a souvenir shop and a McDonald’s. I saw about 10 people crammed in a dimly lit and tiny lobby (no security guard). I opened the door and there was a man in jeans interviewing the other people in the lobby, one after the other. I ignored them and went to look at the directory next to the broken down elevator. The sign said a company called EQM was on the 5th floor. Troy International’s name was not written anywhere. The man who was interviewing the others asked me what I was looking for. I told him Troy International and he said “It’s on the 5th floor. We’re all the same company.

I was very confused because Troy’s website said nothing about EQM. I asked some of the people what they were interviewing for and they all told me Troy International. I showed them the Craigslist ad on my iPhone and they all said it was the same one they responded to. I was even more confused because I thought I’d be  interviewed in an office setting. I had some time so I went to the McDonald’s and did some research. I Googled the address and one of the first results was a complaint on Ripoff Report about a company called Polaris / EQM. This complaint accused the company of only paying in commissions and having a very high turnover rate. I Googled Polaris and found this second post on Ripoff Report. Polaris was listed at a different address but I was sure it was the same company. The person who wrote said the following things (keep these in mind as you continue reading):

  • “…I didn’t have to sign in I was thinking to myself that’s odd? All companies usually have you sign in, in the lobby.”
  • “…about 12 people sitting waiting to be interviewed…The people seemed to be coming out of the interviews within 10 minutes. I thought to myself these are the fastest interviews of all time?”
  • “…was told to check off a list of verbs that describes me the most/least.”
  • About the 2nd interview: “they were going to have me go door to door to businesses to sell supposed Staples products? On top of that they weren’t going to pay me for lunch, transportation and I even read most times you dont get paid even if you make a sale. It’s a full commission job and I knew I sniffed something from the weird website, bio’s that look like they were written by a blogger, and worse yet that small, depressing, shady office.”

I went back into the building and climbed the dirty stairwell to the 5th floor (the elevator was broken). No one was there to ask me for ID or sign me in. I got to the 5th floor and walked into the open door. It was a dingy waiting room with cheap furniture and the paint on the walls was peeling (I wish I took pictures). The secretary at the desk was blasting crappy pop music through her iPad (hardly professional). She had me fill out 2 forms and give a copy of my resume. One was for my information (address, work eligibility, etc.) and the other was a stupid form asking me to check off words that described me the most and described me the least (same exact thing the person on Ripoff Report said). The waiting room had nothing that mentioned Troy, EQM, or Polaris. There was nothing on the walls nor were there were any brochures or flyers. There was a coffee table with a broken flat screen TV and some music CDs. I sat down and began filling the forms. I noticed that in the one room with with an open door, there was a huge rack (like ones in department stores) of suit jackets. I have no idea what this was for.

There were about 5 other people in the waiting room. Every 5 minutes people would come out of the other rooms and leave. Then the interviewers who came out after them would tell another person in the waiting room to come in and be interviewed. New people kept coming through the front door every so often. The person who was called before me went into an interview room. He came out and left within 2 minutes. A man came out of a room and called my name. He introduced himself as Jason and told me to come in his office. He sat down and told me to do the same. Next to me was a woman on a laptop. He introduced her as Anastasiia (same woman in the LinkedIn profile). He began telling me about the company (basically reciting what I read on the website). He glanced at my resume then told me about the interview process. If they liked me they would call me within a day. The 2nd interview would be me following around one of their employees for an entire day. The 3rd interview would decide if I’d be given an offer. He ended the interview and was ready to ask me to leave until I asked if I could ask some questions (something one would assume you usually do during an interview).

I started listing my concerns. I told him the office looked like they just moved in recently and Jason seemed caught off-guard and offended. I asked him about Polaris, EQM, and the vagueness of the website. Jason got extremely defensive and said Troy had no links to those other companies (despite them all being sales/marketing companies, being linked to the same address, AND THE GUY DOWNSTAIRS TELLING ME THEY WERE THE SAME COMPANY). He admitted that the position would be an outside contractor and not an employee. He started getting really cagey and then blurted that he the president of Troy International (as if this would give him some credibility) and wouldn’t say why he wasn’t mentioned on the website. I forgot his last name but I’m guessing that it’s Malone based on this LinkedIn profile.

**UPDATE: Jason Malone is the president of Troy International and the person who interviewed me. I emailed the company this post and he responded saying he is going to talk to his lawyers. This is his Twitter account and this is his Google+ account.

The really nice email he sent me.

The really nice email he sent me.

Jason told me that he had “lots of clients” (only 5 listed on the website) such as energy procurers (who often outsource their sales to outside firms). He said he had offices in Miami and Baltimore (not mentioned on Troy’s website). He kept trying to ask me what exactly I found suspicious despite me repeating myself.  I realized I wasn’t getting anywhere and I told him I’m not trying to offend him but I wasn’t interested in the job. We ended on a friendly note and I left the office.

**UPDATE: I came clean to Jason Malone and told him who I really was. I said I would no longer post on Troy International’s Facebook (but I would continue to post elsewhere) and I said he was welcome to refute any of the points I made. This is his response :

jason

And this is my reply:

me

EVIDENCE

When I got home I did further research and I found the following:

  • Another Ripoff Report post about Polaris.
  • Polaris’s Twitter. Last tweet was in December 2011 which said they are leaving 690 8th Ave, 5th floor. Their website is down.
  • Twitter profiles for two Polaris employees, John Palladino and Alisha Sims. Both profiles are nearly identical. They tweet about a woman named Elana Stein.
  • Elana Stein’s Twitter is linked to a similar marketing company, EQ New York, located at the same address.
  • press release that confirms Elana Stein worked at Polaris. This Manta listing say she’s the owner.
  • More on Ripoff Report about Polaris and EQM. This post mentions Elana Stein.
  • A listing for EQM. Says Elana Stein is the registered agent. This is very important. I’ll explain more below.
  • A blog post that talks about a similar company called Universal Online Promotions (and also mentions Polaris). The post talks about a man named Rafael “Raf” Diaz (president of Universal Online Promotions) and refers to him as a “douchebag”. Doing more digging I found this wedding website for Rafael Diaz and Elana Stein.
  • Elana Stein’s Tumblr. Similar dumb motivational quotes like Troy International’s social media pages.
  • Another company, The Henry Group, had the same address with similar complaints. The Henry Group’s website is also down.
  • More complaints about The Henry Group on Ripoff Report.
  • A very vague website (no longer active) about a company called Worldwide Marketing at the same address. Worldwide’s Facebook page is very similar to Troy International’s. It shows pictures of employees in the office and on a business trip but none are tagged.

Elana Stein is what everything has in common. She is connected EQ New York and Polaris, which are/were both located in the same exact address as Troy International. She is also connected to EQM. As I explained earlier, when I arrived at Troy International’s building, the directory in the lobby said the company on the 5th floor of 690 8th Avenue was EQM (in writing). The man who I met in the lobby said that EQM was the same company as Troy International! Furthermore, I found Elana Stein’s Facebook page and she is friends with Jason Malone. Jason’s Facebook profile confirms that he is president of  Troy International.

LinkedIn wouldn't let me see her full profile but Elena says she is the President of EQ New York.

LinkedIn wouldn’t let me see her full profile but Elena says she is the President of EQ New York.

This Ripoff Report post discusses The Henry Group and mentions a woman named Brenda Bernal. It also mentions that Elana and Raf Diaz are getting married. This other post also mentions Brenda Bernal and Elana Stein. Elana and Jason are both Facebook friends with Brenda Bernal. In addition, I found a profile for a Stefan Mainhart who is Facebook friends with Brenda, Elana, and Jason. I also found a profile for Rafael Diaz (Elana’s husband) who is Facebook friends with Elana, Brenda, Jason, and Stefan.

All of this is very unsettling. Troy International and all these other companies are definitely operated by people who know each other. My guess is that they change the company’s name (or form a new company) when people catch on to what’s happening. I’m not accusing Troy International of being a scam, MLM (multi-level marketing), or doing anything illegal. They are just being very deceptive. Direct sales companies, like Troy International are intentionally vague and make big promises to lure desperate job seekers, especially recent grads. They pay only on commission. They employ people as contractors so they don’t have to give benefits. These companies often don’t compensate their contractors for expenses such as transportation during work hours. Craigslist gives you the option of saying a job is a contractor position but Troy International conveniently neglected to do so.

These companies “hire by the dozen” because of their very large turnover rates (due to the frustrating nature of the job). I’m sure if you worked very hard at a company like Troy International, you could make a lot of money (most people don’t). But I wouldn’t ever trust a company that was so dishonest to begin with.

**UPDATE: I emailed EQ New York and they replied. They denied knowing anything about Troy International, despite them both being direct sales companies on the SAME EXACT FLOOR in THE SAME EXACT BUILDING. They have the same address listed on their websites! They told me to call and speak to Elana (who is Facebook friends with Jason, the president of Troy International). I also Googled the phone number they gave me for Elana and came up with two posts, one about Polaris and one about Polaris and The Henry Group.

My email to EQ New York

My email to EQ New York

**UPDATE: I found ANOTHER company operating out (at least in one point in time) of the 5th floor on 690 8th Ave. It’s called The BBB Conglomerate Network, a direct sales company headed by a man named Antoine Bell. The Facebook page (no longer active) says they are located at the same address as Troy International. But the website says they are located at 40 Exchange Place. This Manta listing also has them at the same address at Troy International. The website actually has a good deal of information, especially about Antoine Bell. I’ll email them and ask them how they fit in to this network. Here is their Google+ profile, Twitter, and LinkedIn profile. This is Antoine Bell’s Facebook profile.

WHY I KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT

A few years ago, I read a lot about a company called CorConcepts, located in McLean, VA and Chicago, IL. Their website is no longer active but their LinkedIn page is still up. If you Google CorConcepts, you’ll find a vast amount of complaints about the company. When I worked as a recruiter, I had two coworkers who worked for CorConcepts and both of them quit within a month. This post on Ripoff Report talks about CorConcepts. It describes their deceptive jobs ads and an interview process very similar to Troy International’s. Funny enough, the person who wrote the post mentions CorConcept’s vice-president “blasting inappropriate club music in the office”. The company hires people to work as contractors doing door-t0-door sales (subcontracting for large companies, such as Verizon). They offer no benefits, paid sick days, or compensation for transportation expenses.

CorConcepts is affiliated with a company called Cydcor. Companies affiliated with Cydcor “advertise entry-level jobs and management training, but in reality they are recruiting for door-to-door commission sales people”. Interestingly enough, I found this post that alleges that Polaris and The Henry Group are connected to Cydcor. But in the comments section, a representative from The Henry Group denies any connection to Cydcor. But a response to this comment says that The Henry Group switched from Cydcor to Credico, another direct sales company.

A biography of Cydcor’s president, Jim Majeski, says he developed “developed national sales and marketing campaigns” for numerous companies, including American Express, which happens to be one of Troy International’s clients.

LinkedIn wouldn't let me see his entire profile but Steven Trimble was an account executive at Cydcor and partnership manager at Pivotal Payments, another Troy International client.

LinkedIn wouldn’t let me see his entire profile but Steven Trimble was an account executive at Cydcor and partnership manager at Pivotal Payments, another Troy International client.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I’ve done my best to hold my tongue while writing with this. I hate being lied to and I really hate businesses that are untruthful. I think any educated person can see how bad of a company Troy International is. Their shady history (all public information available on the Internet) speaks for itself. Their website looks very cheap and and the lame business lingo they use on it makes me want to throw up. Their social media sites are pathetic and almost anyone with a brain can see beyond that lame motivational garbage they post. You’d think a company that does marketing would know better. Their name is even dishonest. They do no business in other countries. They have no substance and that’s why they lie. I, on the other hand, don’t have to lie.

I happen to know about companies like this because I’ve done extensive research on them for years. I’ve even worked for a couple that were the absolute worst (one being the infamous Vector Marketing Group who sell Cutco knives). But other people, especially recent grads, don’t have the experience I have. It’s only fair that they know what they’re getting into when they apply for jobs and go on interviews. But don’t let my experience prevent you from doing anything. You should do your own research and ask your own questions before you draw any conclusions. Good luck!

**UPDATE: Almost 24 hours after I wrote this post, it is the first post on Reddit’s NYC Job’s page.

Screen Shot 2013-02-06 at 5.22.21 PM

**UPDATE: Noble Solution is another company affiliated with Troy International

Since I wrote my post about Troy International, I have regularly been receiving messages from people thanking me for publicizing all this information. Many of them are glad they saw my post and didn’t have to waste time and money being interviewed by such a dishonest group of companies.

A few day ago, I received this email from a woman who was going to a second interview at a company called Noble Solution:

nobl

She informed me that Noble Solution was located on the 5th floor of 690 8th Avenue (same address as Troy International and the other companies). She decided to go for the second interview and then sent me this email:

Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 1.47.08 PM

I found Noble Solution’s website. The website describes Noble Solution as “strategic marketing company that focuses on event coordinating and market research, promoting programs for [their] fortune 500 clients”. Their main client is Assurance Wireless, “a federal Lifeline Assistance program brought to you by Virgin Mobile. Lifeline is a government benefit program supported by the federal Universal Service Fund”. The website also links to Noble Solution’s Google+ profile, Twitter, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, and YouTube Channel. The website, like Troy International’s, uses a lot of cliched business jargon that makes little sense.

The woman who emailed me informed me that a woman named Brenda conducted her first interview. Another woman named Tia (a “trainer”) accompanied her during the second interview. Noble Solution’s interview process seems to be identical to Troy International’s interview process. I did some more digging and found this blog post on Noble Solution’s website:

Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 2.16.50 PM

It was posted by a BBernal. This means that Brenda is none other than Brenda Bernal of the Henry Group, a Troy International affiliate. On Noble Solution’s Facebook profile, a man named Lee Tyler comments on several of the photographs. Lee is Facebook friends with Brenda Bernal, Jason Malone (Troy International), Elana Stein (Polaris, EQM, and EQ New York), Rafael Diaz (Elana Stein’s husband), and Antoine Bell (The BBB Conglomerate Network). Doing some more digging, I found this blog post about The BBB Conglomerate Network. A commenter named Hilly said she was contacted for an interview by The BBB Conglomerate Network a few months back but decided not to go. Last month she was contacted by Noble Solution for an interview. She was shocked to see that both companies did the exact same thing (direct sales) and were located at the same address (The BBB Conglomerate Network has since moved to 40 Exchange Place).

For added confirmation I looked up Noble Solution’s domain name and found out that the website is indeed registered to Brenda Bernal.

brenda

I also looked up the number on that registration (9152021229) and found out it was the same number for The Henry Group.

Noble Solution’s YouTube channel has this video of employees doing sales exercises:

When I did my initial research, I found a Facebook page for Worldwide Marketing, another direct sales company located at the same address at Noble Solution and Troy International. I found this photograph on the Facebook page which was taken in the same room as the video above. It is also the same office as Troy International. I’d recognize those ugly wood floors anywhere.

311790_482763381742639_126258182_n

All this evidence proves that Noble Solution is indeed part of the same network of direct sales companies as Troy International, Polaris, The Henry Group, EQM, EQ New York, Worldwide Marketing, and The BBB Conglomerate Network. These are all direct sales companies, operated out of the same address and by people who know each other. They change the company’s name (or form a new company) when people catch on to what’s happening.

**UPDATE: A few days after updating this post, I got this email! So awesome!

Untitled

**UPDATE: Northstar Consulting Group is another company affiliated with Troy International

 I recently received this email from a man who interviewed at Troy International with Jason Malone.

Screen Shot 2013-05-20 at 2.07.35 PM

He was reviled by Troy International and Jason Malone’s deceptive tactics and unnecessarily exhausting interview process. He was especially disgusted at the fact that the average person who worked for Troy International would make such a pathetic wage (impossible to live on in New York City). After he interview, he found my post and emailed me. He told me that he had also applied at The BBB Conglomerate Network and a company called Northstar Consulting Group (their website, Facebook page, Twitter, and Google+). As stated in the email above, he informed me that when Northstar Consulting Group called him, it said Polaris on his caller ID. He also sent me this email from an Anita Poon who works at Northstar Consulting Group:

anita

What’s interesting is that when I clicked on the website link in the email, it led me to a website for a company based in the UK called Fundraising Initiatives. It was only when I manually typed the URL into the search bar that I got to Northstar Consulting Group’s website. The website is the same exact layout as Noble Solution’s website, with a lot of the same text. An inside source at Noble Solution (who wishes to remain anonymous and I will respect this) told me that both companies used the same web designer.

Northstar Consulting Group says they “originally worked solely with Fortune 500 clients [and] built an unparalleled expertise for customer acquisition campaigns. By expanding [their] scope to encompass clients in the non-profit sector, [their] vision has expanded to provide fundraising services for several international charities and most importantly the noble causes they serve.” The non-profit connection would explain why the link in the email sent me to Fundraising Initiatives’ website. Fundraising Initiatives specializes in door to door fundraising, a sales tactic similar to Troy International and the companies connected to it.

Northstar Consulting Group is located at 40 Exchange Place, Suite 600 in Manhattan. 40 Exchange Place is also where The BBB Conglomerate Network is located. The Founder/CEO is a man named Bartholomew “Bart” Yates (Facebook profile and Linkedin profile). Jerome Fenton is the manager (Facebook profile and LinkedIn profile) and Anita Poon is the HR manager (Facebook profile and LinkedIn profile). Bart’s privacy settings do not let me see any of his Facebook friends but Jerome and Anita’s profiles do. Both of them are friends with Jason Malone, Anastasiia Popova, Elana Stein, Rafael Diaz, Antoine Bell, and Brenda Bernal.

Doing a little more digging, I came across this website that I had seen when I first wrote this post in February. The post is about Rafael Diaz but in the comments, Bart Yates is mentioned 49 times (use CTRL+F to find them all). The comments also mention Jason Malone, Brenda Bernal, Elana Stein, and Antoine Bell. People are very angry at them for being so dishonest and exploitive. Northstar Consulting Group seems to be a rather new company and there is very little else about them online. I’m sure this will change once more people learn what they’re up to.

Another interesting thing to note is that on Jerome Fenton’s LinkedIn profile, it says he is the CEO of a company called Centurion & Co. I found their website (as well as Twitter and Facebook page) which says they are a “promotional marketing company” located in Wesley Chapel, Florida. Their website’s text is very similar to that of Troy International and the others. I didn’t find any complaints about them but I did find a lot of their job ads. All the ads are for entry level sales and marketing positions. My guess is that they are another Cydcor-affiliated company.

27 thoughts on “Troy International: Deceptive Practices & Questionable History

  1. Still Mad

    Hello- I just wanted to let you know that there are many others out there who have discovered this scam and have tried to bring it to the public. I worked for a branch of cydcor called emprise marketing in Westwood, Mass – just outside Boston- aout 10 years ago. The person who hired me, Jess McCann, actually went on to some success, appearing on a TV show with Richard Branson called “the rebel billionaire”.
    The original name of this company- basically the top of the pyramid- was DS-Max in the USA or Granton Marketing in Canada. It was founded in Canada by a man named Avie Roth. Later they separated into the “services” side, called Cydcor, where employees would sell phone service or energy in your case, to businesses, and the “products” side called Innovage, which sold cheap Chinese electronics and toys door to door.
    There used to be a very active website where former DS-Max/Cydcor employees would gather and discuss the offices/history etc or this company. You may still be able to find it online- google the name “DS-Max the aftermath”. Also google these names for more info: Granton Marketing, DS-Max, Avie Roth, Innovage, Cydcor, Derek Colantonio, Larry Tanenbaum.

    You can email me if you want more. This is just the very tip of the iceberg. The wolfram site has a ton of info about what happens after you get hired.

    Reply
  2. Me

    Meh I would like a chance to speak with you about a similar happening I have gone through. Though mine was a tad different I worked there. How can I get in touch with you? I am really scared of giving out personal info due to this, but I believe I can help you on your quest in this information as well.

    Reply
  3. Jaclyn Hoffman

    I would like to say thank you for the information. Troy International called me for an interview tomorrow at 10am. I will respectfully decline their interview tomorrow. Great information! I wish people were like you with telling the truth…

    Reply
  4. Maggie

    Thanks so much for the post. I was about to apply for the position off of the craigslist ad and decided to google the company first, which is when I found your article. You saved me a day’s lost pay and transportation costs traveling to the city. Not to mention having to buy new interview clothes. At a time when my budget is extremely tight, this is a HUGE deal. THANKS!

    Reply
  5. Ada Liang

    Thank you so much for the post. It was very funny because I have received emails and calls from BBB, North star, EQE and NCGNYC at almost the same time for scheduling a first round interview. I was very confused and suspicious about it because they all have the same address and their websites basically look same and saying nothing. But I went for an interview this morning and guess what, exactly the same as you mentioned above. And the crappy music played at the front desk, can’t stand it. I think what they are doing is shady and dishonest, especially for someone who is recently graduated and trying so hard to look for a job, like me. Such a waste of time. I’m so glad that you posted this and I read it before I go any further.

    Reply
  6. Paul

    Thank you so much for having posted this. I just got a call from Troy International telling me that I have an interview. Because I’ve been scammed about 3 times on Craigslist, I write everything down whenever I have a representive call me about a job. After the phone call, I goggled the address and company name and found this article. Thank you so much for saving my time and effort. Its really discouraging for people who just want to find a job to have to deal with scams and dishonest companies like this.

    The internet has proven to be amazing but when companies like this try to exploit you, you sometimes wonder if the internet is really what its cracked up to be.

    Reply
  7. Tim

    Great to see this site. I was stupid enough to work for Troy international as I was desperate for a job. I had just graduated college and was willing to work anywhere. As you have so clearly explained, the company is very deceptive and will often make up reason why sales that you made did not go through. After I quit I never received the paychecks that I was owed. Another funny tidbit my team leader at Troy international is the same HR seem on the video above supposedly for another company. There are 3 different managers who work in that office and I guess they each have their own company name but all congregate together for morning meeting and Saturday wrap-up. But needless to say very underhanded company, terrible pay, and extremely unprofessional. If you have any questions I’d be happy to give more information. Thanks so much for helping to disclose the tactics of an evil company.

    Reply
  8. pbuchholz

    This is an excellent article. If I hadn’t seen this post and similar complaints on Yelp, I would’ve wasted the money it takes to go to NYC for a fake job interview. I applied to a Craigslist ad for a company called Red Ten NYC with the same advertisement that you have linked to your site, verbatim.

    The first thing that tipped me off was a number of spelling mistakes on their site, the use of only stock photos, and the fact that they don’t mention specifics about what they do. They even have a pie chart that amounts to %413 and isn’t even labelled. Luckily, my brother urged me to look them up on GlassDoors, and I found a wealth of complaints that linked them to NorthStar Consulting Group.

    I sent an email to the recruiting manager that linked her to a bunch of the articles, but I didn’t include this blog post because I didn’t want you to be targeted by them. I was really polite to her in case the company actually had any professional contacts they could use to defame me. Please let me know if you’d like any additional resources. Thank you so much for doing the research on this though.

    Reply
  9. Kay

    Shit I’m having an interview with Troy today. Maybe I shouldn’t go? How about another company called the Light in Group?

    Reply
  10. buffycup

    Wow. You really did your research. This is awesome, considering I was contacted by Noble Solutions today for an interview tomorrow. I literally began my job search yesterday, so I began researching. Everything was just as you described for the other companies. I always research NYC companies and this just helped prove everything my gut was telling me! Thanks so much!!!

    Reply
  11. Dan

    I’m from Toronto, Ontario Canada. Different company name: Worldwise Partners. I went through all the interviews and got accepted. From what I’ve read, it has exactly the same method of recruiting people.

    I am very skeptical of this, but I plan on going out for a week and see if they do pay me base of $175 plus the donor fee. If not, SCREW IT!ahah. Also Worldwise is said to originate from U.S, so it is a possibility this scam-like directing marketing firms are expanding..

    Anyways, great post man!

    Reply
  12. bbarnavi

    Hey, guys!! Hey, what?! The rabbit hole goes a lot deeper.

    I was once a victim of this employment scam’s branch in Silver Spring last year. I was desperate for work, and when two door-to-door fundraisers (whose identity I will not disclose for their own protection) came to my place. I signed up for the charity, and I asked if I could join their gig. Surely enough, I was given the contact information of Courtney Pounds, the HR manager for Fundraising Initiatives. I gave her a call, and she immediately scheduled me for an interview. The office:

    8630 Fenton St. Suite 814
    Silver Spring, MD 20910

    I go in (to my surprise, the office is situated right next to the National Association of the Deaf), and I find a bunch of interviewees for Fundraising Initiatives… and “Rock Solid Associates”? Funny, why would there be another name in the same space? I go in the interview with my A game, having been directed to a guy named Joe Meshak. Cool enough guy, ex-USMC, nothing too bad. Then after the interview was done, I was given to a guy named Ayush Sukhani, who directed me towards… the back entrance? I took the liberty to explore the office space, and I saw some “Verizon sales goals” drawn on the whiteboards. I thought this was a charity fundraising organization – where did Verizon come from?

    Fast forward a few days, when I get a call saying that I was accepted into the company, and that I should’ve gotten an e-mail. No, I didn’t. But I accepted in anyway, because I was ecstatic that I got a real job after so many years. (I later found out that said e-mail was in the spam folder. Really, no legit business would be flagged like that.) When I came in the office, I found out that Rock Solid was really in the midst of all this, even as they were Verizon FiOS sales and not charity fundraisers! What I later found out to be “Impact” was like a frat party, with pounding Top-40 club music (side note: you can only hear Avicii’s “Levels” SO MANY TIMES before it drives you nuts) and coordinated cheers. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it did seem pretty cult-like. I also found out about ANOTHER company called Arsenal, led by Xavier Otero. And yes, for some reason, they were “the fastest-growing company with offices expanding throughout the world”, except that no-one’s ever heard of them.

    I went out for Training Day, which was just me shadowing my recruiter in a middle-class neighborhood. (It’s not ALL ghettos, you know.) I survived, and I was willing to do more to earn my keep.

    It happened to be a Thursday, and Thursday nights were always “Team Night”. Basically, they give you the opportunity to hang out at a local bar over drinks and dance. This is where all pretense of professionalism unwinds.

    Anyways, I continued with the company, even hitting a donor on my very first door. I couldn’t complain about the $35/10hr-day base pay, even though I could really earn more at McD’s. I was even given the initiative to establish my own territory! But day after day of no sale, I was getting frustrated. I was getting frustrated over my own incompetence, particularly after hearing the “it’s your own fault for not succeeding” motivational rhetoric countless times after the office. Still, people continued to tell me, “hang in there – you’ll get something!” They tell you about the “Law of Averages”, but if you don’t do your research, you won’t know that it’s actually a gambling fallacy.

    BTW, all along none of us were compensated for transportation or food.

    As things continued chugging along, I met more big-name people during these motivational sessions. What are these names, you ask? Why, they’re none other than Raf Diaz, Bart Yeats (“c’est la practique!!”), Stefan Mainhart (a foul-mouthed mofo if I’ve ever seen one), and Derek Colantonio. During one session with Derek, he even straight-up gave a textbook description of a pyramid scheme! (Incidentally, while we were theoretically allowed to ask questions, my assistant manager kept shooting me down whenever I wanted to ask one.)

    What really raised my hackles was that after one Team Night, Ayush (manager of Ace Marketing – more on that later) wanted me to give him and his friends a ride back home. Being the perpetual nice guy, I volunteered. It turns out that most of his company lives in the SAME HOUSE! Plus, the so-called “business trip” from Virginia Beach was staying there, as opposed to a hotel like normal companies. They acted like it was the most natural thing in the world. After all, when you all transfer to a new location (for them, it was NYC, being a branch of Yeats’s North Star/Polaris), you’ve got to cut costs, right? This “cost cutting” excuse was also why Ace was sharing an office space at 8630 Fenton St. Suite 814 with Rock Solid, Arsenal (a branch of the now defunct 7 Marketing in Manayunk, managed by Stefan Mainhart), and Meshak’s Metro Marketing. (Both Ace and Metro are “fully independent”, in that they are separately incorporated LLCs, but fall under the banner of the public face of Fundraising Initiatives.) They are all “fully independent”, but at the same time they’re “rapidly growing” and share the same office space, techniques, circle of friends… WTF is going on?!

    After a few Google investigations, I confirmed how much of a scam/cult it was. So I tried to be the troublemaker on the inside, giving warnings to other prospective employees and planting thoughts of doubt here and there. After all, I tried to earn my daily base pay without really making an effort – an attempt to “scam them back”. In the end, I don’t know how successful I was, since I was fired for going outside of my territory (AKA catching Capone on tax evasion), but it’s my hope that I saved at least some souls. I filed a complaint with the FTC, which did as well as I had hoped any federal agency would – nothing. In the end, all I can do is warn people on Craigslist, CareerBuilder, and the like from wasting their time, effort, and money on this scheme. I may not bring down the Derek Colantonio Empire, but I’ll sure as hell make their lives more difficult.

    Reply
    1. Tim

      Couldnt have said it better myself. I worked in the herald square building location. They go by the name New York business partners. Inside their dinky little office where they always blast the same crappy music are 3 smaller offices for each of the scammers, I mean managers. My “manager” was Jason Malone who calls his company troy international. He claims that’s his middle name but I don’t believe anything he says. But that’s neither here nor there. Every morning we had the cultish “hey guys” to which we respond “hey what” it was all about high energy and cloaking everyone’s misery.

      We’d hear stories about some people bringing home good money but it was never anybody that you spoke with.

      You start off as an “account executive” and to be “promoted” you must make like 10 sales in 5 days I believe it was and get a checklist signed off which proved you knew a number of terms. I did all this but realized it was hardly necessary since a guy who I started with who got maybe half of his checklist completed was promoted the same day as me. They have to continually promote people in order for the new people “there are new people every week since people quit so often” to feel more confidant that there is upward mobility. But let me assure you that there is little to know difference between an account manager and a corporate trainer which is the next level.

      They are “smart” they don’t pay you till your 4th week or so and as a result the paycheck you receive is always 4 weeks old. The day I quit I was naturally owed 3 or 4 more paychecks which I of course never saw. Funny because Jason Malone texted me to let me know that my 55 dollar paycheck (zero confirmation or verification as to how he arrived at that number) was in the mail.

      There were a number of weeks where for one reason or another some of my biggest closings for a hundred plus dollars “didnt go through”

      Other times there were issues with my checks and Jason Malone said he would pay me soon and never did. I vividly remember one time I was owed $100+ dollars he slapped 50 or 60 bucks in my hand and that was that.

      They are not to be trusted to say the least. The deli people that we got to sign with us sometimes had smart owners who locked their con Ed account so no matter what, the provider wouldn’t be changed. When situations like those arose Jason Malone would call up as the business owner and persuade con Ed to switch their energy supplier.

      In fact when I was still being fooled I signed my mom up but quickly cancelled before anything went through and had my account locked. But a month or so later I checked the con Ed bill and the energy supplier had been switch. I speculate that Jason called in as a member of my family and had my energy acct switched.

      New York business partners claims to market for certain companies but actually have very little affiliation with any of these companies. Often times the company will simply buy items in bulk then pretend to market for them as they would do with staples and these discount dinner cards.

      Everything you ever hear anyone say at the company is a lie. Believe nothing. Chances are you won’t make any money. And what you do make will will have Jason Malone’s or someone else’s grubby hands in it.

      Be wary, as you can see these companies have lots of different names so that it’s hard to put a finger on which ones are scams.

      It was my understanding that raf Diaz is the big honcho along with his wife whose name escapes me but I believe it written somewhere in this article. I believe they all used to work for another company Polaris or something even before that and found shady ways to get rich and started their own “business”. Don’t get me wrong people are getting rich in this scheme, it’s just not gonna be you.

      They use tactics like if you aren’t doing well it’s your fault, law of averages yada yada.

      Don’t be fooled like I was as a recent college grad eager to start a career.

      Don’t mean to sound angry but I just am very not fond of Jason Malone haha. That’s why it made me so happy to see this site and the emails that were sent to him. Great job to the creator. Please everyone share your stories. As more useful info comes to me I will be back to post.

      Good luck to all in your future endeavors.

      Ps. A little more insight to day to day actives. After the first lame interview they call you back you go on day of observation where you watch some guy desperately go to every deli they see and try to change their energy supplier. Most of the owners have been through the drill a million times and say no but nybp teachers you how to lie and fool others.

      I once asked herard remy “hr” my team leader if he ever feels bad about tricking people he chucked and said “no, you stupid man” once you get the job you become the shmuck going deli to deli desperately trying to persuade the register person who hopefully has no idea what your talking about to sign up. You then hand them some random piece of paper that ends mid sentence. I’ve even been encouraged to sign people’s names if I was able to get the tax I’d and con Ed number. I didn’t want to go to jail so I didn’t do that. Don’t waste a month and a half going to random business as a private contractor trying to dupe people into needlessly changing their energy supplier or buying some other product that they probably don’t need.

      One last thing to show how shady they are. They advise new salesmen to not have taxes taken out per paycheck and collect random receipts to get tax write offs at the end of the year.

      Oh and finally they love to say you are a sales person you are a manager in training. The idea is that once you have all the acquire skills you can run your own Ponzi scheme. I mean business. It may not be a scheme so much for your money though they do jip you on paychecks but it is def a scheme for your time 7-530 or so, so that they can make a few more peanuts and you make just about nothing.

      Peace y’all

      Reply
  13. Matt Roome

    Hey guys…

    Sad to see such comments. I have been working with Troy for the past 6 months. I am currently a corporate trainer and have an awesome team of 3 people who I interviewed and trained in the entre-level side of our company.

    It’s funny how everyone says it is a scam when we have Fortune 500 clientele constantly offering bonuses as our branches continuously expand. I’m working with a client doing merchant credit/debit card transaction processing. On a weekly basis, I save small and medium size businesses an average of $100-$150 dollars a month in their processing fees. That’s pretty awesome.

    We are a direct marketing firm… Face to face sales. Our reps sell 5-7 times the amount per week than our client does internally. That’s why they outsource their sales to us because we’re good at it and have aggressive client aquisition abilities. Any marketing firm pays commission. We get paid upon account approval. If you prefer to sit on a capped salary and be “stable”… Go ahead and get a job working in a cubical or a fast food restaurant… Which most of you will probably end up doing, unfortunately.

    We have B2B (“business to business” for you business illiterate folk) and residential campaigns. The reason several managers will share an office space is because 1. It cuts the excess office space cost and 2. It enables teams from different campaigns to interact and learn from each other. We do not only have 5 or 6 affiliated offices. Each office is its own legal entity, part of the “Smart circle” network. We have over 700 offices internationally. We actually have a national conference in Philadelphia, PA this Saturday. There should be about 3000 people there along with the Vice Presidents from Verizon, AT&T, Pivotal Payments, Comcast, direct energy and many other clients. Guys like that don’t mess with scams. They use their common sense and invest where they will have 100% return on investment.

    If you were unable to hang and generate income for yourself, sorry about that. We look for managers and people with student mentalities. We are definitely NOT looking for kids who feel like they’re entitled to a cubical in Manhattan and $75,000 a year fresh out of college. Welcome to the real world…. you gotta earn your stripes here kids… and they DO NOT come easy.

    Feel free to give me a call anytime guys – 530.320.5209 (CA area code)

    Peace

    Reply
    1. Tim

      I love how all you losers use the tired old lines. If you wanna work in a cubicle… You’ll end up nowhere if you don’t work here it’s uncapped income! Just about everyone I worked with quit and the others sucked down newports and complained about having no money. Ive never worked in such a deceitful unprofessional environment and have only seen my income grow since quitting that farce. This is probably Jason Malone fresh from the bar writing some more nonsense haha I love it. I guess it is team night right?

      Everyone knows how much of a joke these types of companies are. Always funny to see one of the advocates come on and feebly attempt to exonerate themselves. No deal boss

      Reply
    2. Still Mad

      Ah- the “us vs them” mentality, one of the specialties of Cydcor/Innovage (or whatever they’re calling themselves these days). When working for one of these scam companies, you are told that 9-5 jobs are for sheep, and you are somehow elite for peddling worthless goods and services for no pay. I won’t waste my time trying to convince Matt Roome that he should get out of whatever “job” he is working now, but I will say that there will be a time (whether it be today or a year from now) where you will see the light or hit bottom in that business. When that day comes you will look back and see how idiotic you sounded when you posted your comments.

      I will leave you with this- maybe it will open your eyes:

      Warning Signs that You are in a Cult

      If you suspect the group you are in is harmful, but are not sure, ask yourself these questions:

      -do they claim to have a special corner on the truth, something no other group has?
      -are you told to not question what is being taught, as the leadership are godly, honest, have divine authority and you must trust them?
      -are you discouraged from asking questions as to why members have left, and expected to accept the reasons the group leadership gives you?
      -do they put down other groups, etc, while pointing out their faults and errors to build themselves up? do they use peoples faults as examples of what to do and what not to do?
      -are you made to feel your failures, as though your performance is not up to par to their righteous standards?
      -do they recommend for you to be around their people, expecting you to attend all group activities? if you do not, are you are questioned about your dedication?
      -do they stop you from reading anything negative about themselves?
      -do they call those who fall away enemies, dogs, or cancer, even using examples from the Bible or other such materials?
      -do they place and emphasis on evil “normal” people, declaring that the world outside is a threat to the group?
      -do they defend themselves in every area?
      -do they give importance to a spiritual goal, such as enlightenment, godliness, salvation, that has no real tangible way of being measured?
      -do they operate in humility, or seem arrogant, and make demands on you to obey, using such statements such as “real believers obey without question or if you really were a devoted follower you would do such and such”?

      See anything you recognize Matt? It’s a cult, and its been loooooong proven.

      Reply
    3. tamzarianarmin2 Post author

      Fortune 500 clients….woohoo! They don’t outsource their sales because you are “good at it and have aggressive client aquisition abilities”. It’s because they know they can save a shitload of money doing it. A Fortune 500 company would have to pay its own salespeople a base salary, commissions, and benefits. You ONLY pay on commission (and the pay is dirt) so of course they’d go with you. Funny you mention fast food places…your employees make less than people who work there.

      You guys are NOT marketing companies. You guys are SALES companies. For someone as arrogant as you, you sure don’t know the difference between these two concepts. You fail to mention this in your websites and Craigslist ads because you know sales is a dirty word and people will be on to you. Same reason you never mention why you hire people as contractors (not employees).

      I know you share offices. But how come when I emailed you guys about this, you always denied any links to the other companies? By the way, your “office” is the saddest office I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen classier flophouses. And how come so many of your other companies seem to go out of business so frequently?

      You sure love to name drop as well: “Verizon, AT&T, Pivotal Payments, Comcast, direct energy and many other clients”. ALL these companies use outsourced sales. As I said in my post, you’re not a scam as in you’re doing anything illegal. You just offer an extremely deceptive work environment with very dishonest tactics to lure potential workers.

      You guys prey on people, especially recent gradates. No one expects to make $75K coming out of college. But they expect honest employers, some sort of benefits, and some sort of safety net. You guys offer NONE of these.

      I know how you people operate. Every post I’ve read about companies like you, I’ve seen a token employee of the company write something in their defense. Yet your comments are buried by comments of disgruntled employees who have confirmed everything I’ve said here (and I’ve never even worked at a company like this). I’m just glad my post has stirred up enough controversy that you needed to come here and post your crap.

      Reply
  14. Matt Roome

    It’s okay, Tim. You’re a typical guy who didn’t see the big picture. Narrow minded American.. ignorance is bliss right? Enjoy your stagnant life style.

    Reply
  15. LaLa nonofurbusiness

    Everything about in this blog is true, I been working in one of the company you wrote about. I was left to be broke and has 0 dollar on my bank account when I started in this business I have about $1000 dollar on my bank account. I was working in one of the scheme company for about 3 months. Your in training to lie to people. You need to kiss the manager ass in order for you to so called to have your own business. Unfortunately I was stuck with bunch of untrusted people around me. Most coperate trainer has been in the business for more than a year and all of them are mostly broke to be honest. Managers treated you like shit it and use mind games in order for you to work like a dog everyday. They manipulate people believing you can grow in a business and be your own boss and make tons of money. All of them are cheap marketing manager. This scheme are internationals because once they promote someone they put them in one of the office they had open in the states or they will convince one of their coparate trainer to move across the world and rebuild their own team all over again. Honestly your not making any money because of all your expenses in the city. There’s other marketing company that pay better than this organization. They really brainwash you and you won’t have a life at all. No time to hang out with friends or get enough rest. They will work you to death and get paid the same amount as people who get paid in McDonald. Yes you can’t trust anyone in this business because they brainwash, it a cult, and no money coming in unless you know how to be the biggest lying bastard in the world. They are evil people and very greedy. I don’t get how some of them live with themselves everyday scamming millions of consumers and also lying to desperate people who look for jobs.

    I don’t know how I live with myself lying to people and yet get paid so low. Also get treated like a dog running around NYC. This isn’t a job it more like a slave work. Rich are getting richer and poor are getting poorer. I do want to have my own company but not learning to become a professional liar.

    I’m not going to kiss someone ass and commit illegal act in order for me to be a manager and own a company one day. The whole structure is bunch of bullshit. I wouldn’t consider anyone to work for them. Do your research before you go in any interviews! Which I should had done before I got stuck on this mess.

    Btw when they call you for interview it scripted! Lol

    I know that there was 2 managers that quit I guess being your own boss isn’t that fulfilling as they said to be. Cooperate trainer so called leaders don’t have money and most live with their family in NYC. I got more info how this whole structure work. I’ll keep it confidential instead.

    Reply

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