Black Hills Today, a very popular online news paper based in South Dakota has been promoting USANA in several articles. What I discovered is that Black Hills Today CEO and Founder Scott Prentice is a USANA distributor. The articles promoting USANA have been written by Scott Prentice himself. What's worse is that within the article, he tells the reader to click on several USANA links for more information. When you click on those links, it takes you to Scott Prentice's own personal recruitment pages in an attempt to recruit new distributors in his downline. Remember, this is a newspaper doing this.
I've had a nice email exchange several months ago with Scott Prentice and it ended with a threat toward me. You can view the entire email exchange I had with the CEO of Black Hills Today.
Black Hills Today uses Google's News Service to promote the articles in the newspaper. So when you go to the Google Finance Page for USANA, Scott Prentice's articles where he promotes his own USANA business shows up as a news headline. This special news service provided by Google has one particular restriction that prevents Scott Prentice from promoting his USANA business in the articles.
The Google News Agreement states the following:
"2. Use of the Service. You may only display the content of the Service for your own personal use (i.e., non-commercial use) and may not otherwise copy, reproduce, alter, modify, create derivative works, or publicly display any content. For example, you may not use the Service to sell a product or service; use the Service to increase traffic to your Web site for commercial reasons, such as advertising sales; take the results from the Service and reformat and display them, or use any robot, spider, other device or manual process to monitor or copy any content from the Service. If you are uncertain whether your intended use of the Service is permissible, please contact us. In addition, Google shall have the right in its sole discretion to suspend or terminate the Service or your access to it."
In addition to Scott Prentice being a USANA distributor, it was also discovered by a colleague of mine that Black Hills Today was also vandalizing USANA's Wikipedia page around the same time Scott became a distributor for USANA and began writing several promotional articles in his newspaper. This can be found in Wikipedia's Records. Black Hills Today removed all negative and controversial information about USANA from the Wikipedia page. Since Scott Prentice was a USANA distributor, this can be considered a major violation of USANA's own Distributor Agreement and Policies and Procedures. It may also be a violation of Wikipedia's agreements as well.
When I initially made these discoveries, I gave ample time for Scott Prentice to disclose he was a USANA distributor on his newspaper, but he refused. So I revealed on the Google finance page for USANA that Scott Prentice was a USANA distributor and vandalized the Wikipedia page for USANA and Black Hills Today responded back with the following statement:
Date: Sat, Apr 19 2008 4:38 pm
"Scott Prentice is a distributor for USANA - He signed up as a distributor so that he could test their products & services. We often get asked to rate and review a company, its products and services. As he told "Ramp" in a personal email we don't except products from companies for free to test when we review them so that we remove all bias, unlike other news review agencies.
Ramp is clearly mistaken about our intentions and we have not been financially paid for our endorsements.
This person, Ramp; who we don't know also asked for permission to write articles in our publication and was denied all communication with our company and is clearly on a rampage to assonate the character and values of USANA and others who endorse good marketing sense and business practices.
Black Hills Today
Rampage@gmail will not disclose his name, yet attacks others online with his personal "Rants" and secret vale. It is people like this that should be banded by Google. Yes, in my research on USANA, I noticed Wikipedia had many outrageous allegations by others who try to do the same thing as Ramp and I did as I'm allowed; try to remove those allegations from my Wiki account. "
Granted, at the time Scott Prentice wrote this statement, he was not ranked on USANA's leadership levels. But time has passed and Scott Prentice is currently a "Builder", which means he managed to accumulate 2000 Group Sales Volume in a single week awarding him $200 in commission. Obviously his intentions had nothing to do with writing unbias articles about USANA. In fact, one of his latest articles, which is still featured as of December 30, 2008 at the top of USANA's news headlines on Google's Finance Page for USANA, attempts to pre-enroll Filipinos distributors from USANA new Philippines territory into Scott Prentice's downline! Read the article titled "Philippine Network Marketing" for yourself and then check out the link the readers are told to visit titled "PinoySuccess.com", which is Scott's pre-enrollment page. In the attempt that the owner of those pages removes or changes them, I will post a screen shot of the originals. Included in the article at the end is the following statement "More About USANA Launching in Philippines". You will notice that the word USANA is highlighted as a link. Following that link takes you to Scott Prentice's own personal USANA distributor page "http://www.onlinemembership.usana.com/"
So how is it that Black Hills Today can get away with this type of unethical marketing which violates both USANA's Agreement and Google's Agreement?