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General Category => FAQ on games, gaming & IT => Topic started by: kat on December 01, 2010, 03:22:06 AM

Title: Illusion Mage, 3D Magix Pro, Mirage Wizard are scams - do NOT buy
Post by: kat on December 01, 2010, 03:22:06 AM
UPDATE V
Illision Mage has now found its way on to download scrapers, traffic harvesting and click-bait web sites like SoftwareInsider.com and soft112.com. 'Offers' and 'downloads' are nearly always fake or bait 'n switch as their purpose is to farm traffic for clicks and Ad revenues, or occasionally linking through to eBay listings or other stores, outlets and pages where 'Illusion Mage' is bundled together with other obsolete software and sold "for the convenience". None of these sites appear to have a report feature (aside from eBay).

UPDATE IV
IllusionMage (Illusion Mage) et al Affiliate program and sales continue to be facilitated via the Click2Sell.eu affiliate platform who currently don't have a mechanism to report items sold through their platform.

UPDATE III
Current product names under which this scam persists; Illusion Mage, IllusionMage, IllusionMage 3D, 3DMagix, 3D Magix Pro, Mirage Wizard, 3D Animation Software, Illusion Mage 3D Software 2.2, Illusion Mage Video Training Program, Illusion Mage 3D Animation Software, Illusion Mage Suite, Mirage Wizard.

UPDATE II
It's been confirmed that you might be able to get a refund or get your money back on Illusion Mage/3D Magix Pro purchases through your bank or payment gateway so it's imperative that you follow the steps below, and where/if necessary, point them (the banks etc.) to this topic so they can confirm the refund request/reversal event against the facts presented here. However, and as mentioned below, it's important to understand that getting a refund on the Illusion Mage scam may be dependant on how your bank works, not all of which have the same refund policies in place. So check with them to make sure.

UPDATE I
If you've found yourself at the receiving end of the Illusion Mage, 3DMagix, 3D Magix Pro or whatever else '"Seth Avery" decides to call this 'product' and want your money back, there are a couple of things you can do to properly seek remedy against the payment. Note that these may vary depending on your geographical location so, although Mr Avery states clearly there is a 60 day refund policy, if you're in the UK making a purchase, your 'right' to expect what you paid for is protected under a 14 day return/refund Statutory Right (this has to be a legitimate grievance by the way, faulty goods, goods not as described and so on.. it's not normally binding where you simply change your mind after purchase - remedy in those situations are at the discretion of the seller, not the buyer).
It's then just a question of seeing what response you garner from the Banks, unfortunately there's not too much more consumers can do beyond this. If the Bank or your payment gateway doesn't cancel or issue a charge-back on the transaction then you'll have to consider the money lost.



Download 3D Magix Pro and Illusion Mage FREE (http://www.blender.org/download/)!

That's right, download the very latest version of the industry leading 3D software application free by clicking here (http://www.blender.org/)! Why pay $100 for a "deluxe" version or $50 for a "standard", or even more when the price goes up at a whim, when you can GET IT FOR FREE!. Start making models like Pixar in minutes, Dreamworks in mere seconds using the big red "Make Cool Art" button and much more included. Click to download FREE 3DMagix and Illusion Mage (http://www.blender.org/).

If you clicked the links above, congratulations on not being duped.

Duped? Why what do you mean?. Well, it's like this. The 'software' or 'suite' that is "illusionMage" and/or "3DMagixPro" is essentially an out-right scam, an old product, with the same content re-branded and resold when too many people become aware of the scam. The core product is in fact nothing more than a ZIP file containing Blender 3D, with minor re-branding, several obsolete Open Source applications, some ripped third-party filched PDF's and other stolen misappropriated community authored material[link (http://www.katsbits.com/smforum/index.php?topic=215.msg1236#msg1236)]. All of which can be found within a few minutes using a search engine, and all freely available.

To put it in a way that might be found on Wikipidea;
Quote
IllusionMage is a electronically distributed 'eproduct' attributed to a fictitious 'owner' whose identity has changed on a number of occasions (http://www.katsbits.com/smforum/index.php?topic=215.msg1366#msg1366). The product itself is a ZIP or RAR archive (depending on source) comprising a number of freely available and Open Sourced applications and other materials; this includes (but is not limited to), a typically outdated version of Blender 3D (http://www.blender.org), and miscellaneous community authored documentation.

Other names the bundle has or is being sold under include "IllusionMage3D", "3DMagix" and "3DMagixPro". There are also a number of associated domain names[1 (https://www.katsbits.com/smforum/index.php?topic=215.msg1237#msg1237)][2 (https://www.katsbits.com/smforum/index.php?topic=215.msg1241#msg1241)][3 (https://www.katsbits.com/smforum/index.php?topic=215.msg1333#msg1333)], typically registered by third party sales affiliates.

Criticism: IllusionMage has come under heavy criticism by many prominent Blender news sites and community figures, including Ton Roosendaal the founder of the Blender Foundation (http://www.blender.org/blenderorg/blender-foundation/press/re-branding-blender/), BlenderNation (http://www.blendernation.com/2011/02/02/3dmagix-and-illusionmage-scam-or-open-source-leeches/) et-al, due to the way attribution is often obfuscated, making it unclear to prospective customers that they are in fact purchasing material that is freely available elsewhere on the Internet from less dubious sources.

Who is behind IllusionMage, 3DMagixPro et-al?
No-one knows exactly. All that is know is what's publicly available on illusionmage.com. The 'owner' of the scam turns out to be a deliberate fiction; the personal photograph of 'Seth Avery' used in all their marketing is a stock photo (https://www.katsbits.com/smforum/index.php?topic=215.msg1248#msg1248), with other marketing materials misappropriating the identity of a real Seth Avery, a University Resercher (https://www.katsbits.com/smforum/index.php?topic=215.msg2189#msg2189) who naturally wants to distance themselves from this confusion.

The business itself, also called "IllusionMage" (according to their ToS), has a P.O. Box registered in New Zealand, which implies the owner of the scam, or at least the person responsible for the paperwork, is also a New Zealander (or someone with access to the Box). There are references to other "companies" these are not revealed so prospective customers may be dealing with any manner of entities.

What is IllusionMage/3DMagix Pro exactly?
Essentially, Illusion Mage is a 'suite' of applications and tutorial material (https://www.katsbits.com/smforum/index.php?topic=215.msg1107#msg1107), though ostensibly an old re-branded version of Blender 3D (http://www.blender.org/) (pre-2.49 although this may have been updated to early 2.5x), also includes re-branded versions of CreaToon (http://www.creatoon.com/), K-3D (http://www.k-3d.org/) and Pencil (http://www.pencil-animation.org/).

Why the controversy over IllusionMage/3DMagixPro?
The controversy is essentially one of "Open Source Software leeching", i.e. the misappropriation of software applications and/or materials  released under various 'open' or 'free to use' licenses, or abandoned, obsolete or no longer supported, and typically at the expense or loss of the originating author or authors - a particularly irksome and ironic aspect of these types of scams is that many of the applications sold in the bundles like IllusionMage died through lack of funding.

So why can't IllusionMage be stopped or sued?
IllusionMage, and other Open Source Software Leeches, generally can't be sued or touched 'legally' because they typically dance one step on the right side of license compliance. This is often because 'free to use' software's only meaningful condition in this context is "attribution" - an acknowledgement of point of origin (typically a place or author). Unfortunately, the manner of attribution (who, what, when, where) is rarely defined in any detail, leaving leeches like IllusionMage only being required to simply mention "Blender" somewhere, anywhere once, to pretty much be in full compliance. As can be imagined, under such circumstances, sales material can make all sort of claims, misdirect, misinform or otherwise obfuscate the true nature of the product for sale, it is a form of bait-n-switch, making the prospective customer think they are purchasing one thing when they are in fact buying something else.

Why is IllusionMage everywhere and yet no-one has heard of it?
Marketing. The apparent success of IllusionMage is down to the fact that the author/owner of the 'suite' has generated and extensively used all manner of fake Illusionmage reviews, fake IllusionMage articles, even fake IllusionMage anti-scam and fake IllusionMage anti-ripoff reports. All this fake material is initially published to a collection of article syndication websites, which then distribute it all over the Internet through a network of subscribers looking for 'unique content' (ironic given that most articles are duplicates of a master document with a few changes here-and-there), who don't care or don't vet their content. This technique is consider a form of "traffic tunneling" or "revenue funneling" because all of it points to the same destination, the (currently) Click2Sell purchase page.

For consumers, the use of spam like this goes beyond simply product marketing; there is so much of it in fact that it's extremely difficult to find any truly genuine reviews of, or complaints about, IllusionMage, they are simply pushed out of the way by the shear volume of article spam. This obviously creates a false impression of the product that is a challenge to counter, and easily catches unsuspecting fish.

It's worth pointing out here that Search Engine providers like Google, Bing et-al consider this type of activity an abuse of their services and often penalise individuals and entities that engage in it. Naturally once they find out of course.

How can IllusionMage be stopped?
As alluded to above, as the entity behind the scam has been careful enough to stay just on the right side of licensing requirements (no matter the flimsiness of this fact), the only entities permitted to pursue action against them would be the Copyright or License holders for the software and training materials being used. As much of it is Open Source, prosecuting misappropriations or infringements is complicated, something that's easily taken advantage as in the case of IllusionMage and its 'owner'.

Having said this it doesn't mean there aren't things that can't be done. Primarily scams survive on duping people so the more education and awareness that can be brought to the fore the better; forum, website and social media posts for example, spread the word, but are often spammed themselves with further supportive spam (note that very few will actually have purchased and used the 'suite' and instead will reply a number of the same sales points).

What to do if you purchased IllusionMage after finding out it's a scam
Getting a refund on an IllusionMage purchase will depend a great deal on the merchant system used to process payments. Naturally with IllusionMage being a scam they change vendors each time one shuts down on them. As such check the Terms & Conditions as relevant to refunds and repayments - if the provision is available, file a complaint against the seller with the Vendor, if enough are received Vendors will be obliged to deal with the matter. If payment was by Credit, Debit or other 'card', contact the payment provider to see if a reversal is possible. File a complaint about the seller again. The point is to lodge complaints with as many 'authorities' as possible (payment gateways, service providers etc.), cutting off potential options they can use to accept payments.

(https://www.katsbits.com/images/news/illusionmage3d-details_sml.jpg) (https://www.katsbits.com/images/news/illusionmage3d-details.jpg)
(https://www.katsbits.com/images/news/illusionmage3d-scam-comparison_sml.jpg) (https://www.katsbits.com/images/news/illusionmage3d-scam-comparison.jpg)
(https://www.katsbits.com/images/news/illusion-mage-fake-articles-scam_sml.jpg) (https://www.katsbits.com/images/news/illusion-mage-fake-articles-scam.jpg)
(https://www.katsbits.com/images/news/illusionmage-fake-anti-scam-articles_sml.jpg) (https://www.katsbits.com/images/news/illusionmage-fake-anti-scam-articles.jpg)
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3DMagixPro scam
Post by: kat on December 04, 2010, 06:08:07 PM

It appears that the 3DMagix scam is back, this time as "3DMagixPro" (3dmagixpro.com). Same deal, same 'package', different presentation (but the same as Illusion Mage). This time promoted by "Cody Landon" a "Software and Graphics Engineer" - can't be that good of an engineer if he can't tell he's reselling Blender 3D and community generated content again!.


Again the scam is deceptive in it's presentation on just what you're buying, if 3D Magix Pro isn't a piece of software (Blender 3D in this case), then just what are you buying (that is meant in terms of who owns the material being sold and not the bullet point list of 'features', "Cody" didn't write it, so did he get permissions for inclusion)? If the previous iteration of the 3DMagix scam and the Illusion Mage scam are anything to go by it's likely nothing more than other peoples stolen and uncredited material packed up into a 'product' of dubious origins. Buyers beware. Oh and just as above, forget about support of any kind. Don't say you haven't been warned.


Note the striking similarities between the 3D Magix Pro (below) and Illusion Mage web sites.

3DMagix Pro scam


The 3D Magix Pro scam is purchasable through PayPal via a 'company' called "Frontier Inc." ("Frontier Entertainment" - not to be confused with the said same Frontier Entertainment game developer, one can quite easily speculate that the 'name' was chosen as yet another tool to purposefully deceive). Illusion Mage is purchased through clickbank.net (which seems act as payment gateway for a lot of similar looking 'services').

3D Magix Pro purchased through PayPal via 'Frontier Entertainment' (not the same company as the game development studio)

Illusion Mage purchased through Clickbank.net

Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro scam
Post by: kat on December 05, 2010, 03:33:17 AM

This is what's was in the 3D Magix (Pro) package (see footnotes below). It can be safely assumed that this is also the contents of what's in the 'new' 3D Magix Pro and Illusion Mage 3D packages;

So... it's quite a sad collection then, relative to 3D Magix, 3D Magix Pro and Illusion Mage being the superduper, mega-excellant, pixar-liscious package that it isn't. It's all out of date, being for the most part about Blender 2.34 or 2.36, which must be about five or so years old now? Not only that but no real care has been given to the materials selection in terms of there being any particular learning chronology; "Seth Avery", "Cory Landon" or whatever his name is, has quite literally  grabbed some  files off the internet and bundled them together in RAR and ZIP archive  which he's  simply reselling 'as is'. There's nothing of any inherent value created by doing this. You can't even argue the "convenience" angle because the material is  useless given how Blender has changed since 2.34/6, especially with 2.5 series out now. The truth is out now, so hopefully this information will serve to inform the unsuspecting ahead of the fake articles and junk anti-scam reviews he's spammed the Internet with.


Is 3D Magix a scam? Yes.


Is 3D Magix Pro a scam? Yes.


Is Illusion Mage 3D a scam? Yes.


Footnotes:


**: Most if not all the videos included in the package are freely available from - http://www.ibiblio.org/bvidtute/. Material is released under artlibre.org license (which does allow "commercial use" but appears to require attribution and not just license inclusion).

Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro scam
Post by: kat on December 05, 2010, 11:34:28 PM
Two images sourced (thx Walli (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showpost.php?p=6791152&postcount=7)) to their original owners (both of which have non-commercial use clauses on their work);
http://smokejaguar.deviantart.com/art/Industrial-Modeling-Basics-CC-69375720
http://night-fate.deviantart.com/art/manipulation-tutorial-18-126417602
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: kat on December 27, 2010, 11:22:52 PM
Obviously with Christmas having just been and gone, reports are coming in that people have fallen foul of the Illusion Mage and 3D Magix Pro scams. The question then is, how do you/my mum/dad/aunty or the relative that bought Illusion Mage/3D Magix as a Christmas present for you or someone else get their money refunded? I doubt the "60 day money back guarantee" is worth the virtual paper its written on so...  what you need to do is issue a charge-back on the Illusion Mage/3D Magix Pro purchase through the debit/credit card, PayPal, or whatever mechanism was used to buy the fake product. Let them know the reason, that Illusion Mage/3D Magix Pro are 'fake' products sold through deliberately misleading advertising (point them at this topic if it helps explain things to them). You can then also let Clickbank.net know they have a fraudulent seller using their services, although it's doubtful anything will be done there as Clickbank appears to be used quite extensively by 'scams' of this nature.

Finally, as readers of this topic have already been doing, drop KatsBits (info@katsbits.com) a line and let us know about your experiences with the Illusion Mage/3D Magix Pro scams. The more awareness brought to bear on this scam, the better.
Title: Illusion mage/3D Magix article and review spam
Post by: kat on December 28, 2010, 11:26:36 AM
Be aware there are a good number of new articles appearing online, which incidentally have appeared within a few days of each other over the Christmas/New Year period on more websites than Yell.com has in its directory, all attesting to how "great" IllusionMage3D and/or 3D Magix Pro are and how they're genuine products. They're not of course. It's all smoke and mirrors.

As before, these new articles repeat claims of being "honest" and "personal" reviews of IllusionMage, which again, they're not. But that's besides the point because in suggesting that these reviews are "personal" and "honest" the author is tapping into a well understood and used psychological sales 'trick' that takes advantage of a fundamental 'flaw' (as salesmen liken it to being) in way we process the information we absorb; that we are more likely to believe something when it's told to us by someone. This means our initial assumptions about a product, whether founded in truth or lies, if not countered, are believed because we generally 'trust' what we're told; a review on a web site that appears to belong to a 'person' (as opposed to a business) plays into the aforementioned 'flaw' because we automatically assume the contents to be true by association - it's on someone's personal site so must have been written by a person, therefore it must be true/real, even if the opposite is in fact the case (notwithstanding the originating articles author being a real person, obviously).

This is why scams work, something that's exacerbated (for consumers) if sellers are not honest from the outset. If that's the case then it's relatively straightforward to manipulate the initial assumptions made about a product being looking at; we only start to get a hint that something's wrong when we start to see the same information appearing over and over again in different guises, the IllusionMage article spam being a case in point as it all tends to cite the same bullet points from one article to another despite the apparent differing authorship - it's one thing to cite product features, but quite another to find a users experience of using the software (the 'review') to be, word-for-word, almost identical to dozens of others.

For this latest crop of fake reviews and articles on IllusionMage/3D Magix Pro there's an added twist; repeat references to the products "Sales Rank" and "Refund Rate". In the context of this scam, this is a misappropriation of sales data directly associated with Clickbank.net, the payment and affiliate gateway through which IllusionMage is being sold and the scam carried out, for the express and deliberate purpose of lending an air of faked authenticity - by citing these numbers the scammer is reinforcing the perception of the products 'persona', making it appear more 'real' and 'truthful' than it actually is. Sales Rank and Refund Rates information is not generally available to the public, so your common-or-garden-varity article author doesn't have access to the kind of numbers that would facilitate their being able to calculate a score in the first place, that is of course, unless they're an affiliate themselves, in which case they would have access to their own sales numbers, based on commission, from which they would then be able to calculate the Clickbank Rank and Rate. It's all relative though as only the original product seller would have a true picture of the items Sales Rank and Refund Rate and as these new articles prove, even that's faked for the sake of the scam.

(https://www.katsbits.com/images/news/illusion-mage-clickbank-scam.jpg)

Screengrab from Clickbank.net, each Facebook 'like' shown in the above image is someone 'earning' an affiliate commission through the promotion of the scam (or just a 'like' based on not knowing what's actually going on) - obviously this does mean watching out for fake IllusionMage Facebook profiles, groups and pages set up to promote the scam (of which there are a good few, report them as "spam/scam") if you find them).
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: JeroenM on February 01, 2011, 01:00:52 PM
Hi,

I registered especially to bring you up to date at this one.

Ton wrote an article about this rebranding, scamming and leeching thing with 3dmagix(pro) and IllusionMage at http://www.blender.org/blenderorg/blender-foundation/press/re-branding-blender/

He also published some more sources of the images used on these scamsites with links to the respective webpages of the rightful copyrightholders.

Greetings

Jeroen
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: kat on February 01, 2011, 01:10:38 PM
Thanks for posting the info, it's certainly good to see Ton finally addressing the issue directly that's for sure ;)
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: JeroenM on February 02, 2011, 11:15:47 AM
Some action is being taken. I can't do much myself because I don't run websites and stuff but read all about it on Blendernation. http://www.blendernation.com/2011/02/02/3dmagix-and-illusionmage-scam-or-open-source-leeches/
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: kat on February 02, 2011, 11:25:57 AM
Thanks for the headsup.. just posted some comments there.

[edit] turns out (thanks to "Paul" posting the link on BlenderNation) that all the video tutorials included in this 'package' are grabbed from http://www.ibiblio.org/bvidtute/ as they're released under "Art Libre" license, which does allow "commercial use" of material so long as attribution is stated, not just license inclusion.
Title: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro (affiliate) domain names
Post by: kat on February 02, 2011, 01:33:41 PM

Domain names associated with the scam, likely registered using aliases or third parties (affiliates).

illusionmage

illusionmage3d

illusionmage3danimationsoftware

illusion-mage-3d-animator

3d-image-software

softwarefor3d

3dmagixpro

3dmagix

Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: JeroenM on February 02, 2011, 01:58:46 PM
Kat,

On your post of 1 december you show this picture of a supposedly anti scam website called scamx.net. I visited this site and afterwards googled it, and my impression is that this isn't an anti scam site at all.

Just have a look at the results that i got

"The 31 Day Fat Loss Cure SCAM | Scam   - [ Vertaal deze pagina ]8 Jul 2010 ... Is The 31 Day Fat Loss Cure SCAM or The Real Deal? The truth will shock you: Download The 31 Day Fat Loss Cure From This SECRET Link The 31 ...
scamx.net/the-31-day-fat-loss-cure-scam - In cache"

"Compete Tick SCAM | Scam   - [ Vertaal deze pagina ]18 Nov 2010 ... Is Compete Tick SCAM or The Real Deal? The truth will shock you: Download Compete Tick ... Compete Tick is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by ScamX.net… ...
scamx.net/compete-tick-scam - In cache"

"SportsBettingSolutions.net SCAM | SCAM   - [ Vertaal deze pagina ]Is SportsBettingSolutions.net SCAM or The Real Deal? The truth will shock you: Get SportsBettingSolutions.net From This SECRET Link If you are wondering.
scamx.org/sportsbettingsolutions-net-scam - In cache"

"GrammarSoftware.net SCAM | SCAM - [ Vertaal deze pagina ]Is Grammar-Software.net SCAM or The Real Deal? The truth will shock you: Get Grammar-Software.net From This SECRET Link If you are wondering about.
scamx.org/grammarsoftware-net-scam - In cache"

There apear to be two sites: scamx.net and scamx.org. Different design but the same articles. And all of these articles start with exactly the same phrase: Is [product] Scam or The Real Deal etc.

The SECRET link will invariably lead to the site of this "product"



My impression is that scamx.net and scamx.org actually try to cover up scams.

There is an antiscam website called scams.net (notice the slightly different spelling) www.scams.net but this site is a forum and doesn't seem to be too active.
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: kat on February 02, 2011, 02:18:03 PM
Oh I completely forgot about that so thanks for posting the update. And yeah, it's basically another article syndication site, albeit just dealing with spamming fake 'anti-scam' articles, after the traffic for affiliate link earning and Google Advertising. Wouldn't surprise me to see ClickBank associated with those other scams as well.
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: JeroenM on February 02, 2011, 09:04:07 PM
Kat
You write up above that
Quote
He's been exceptionally busy for the last couple of months in fact, submitting 'fake' reviews and articles to all manner of junk review sites; posting links and fake comments to others saying how good the product is; even posting fake anti-scam articles on anti-scam web sites to deliberately trick those looking for imformation about this scam into thinking it's not and buying into it. It's a win-win; he gets sales from the product, and income from Advert and affiliate traffic. Trouble is, it's all done  fraudulantly.
(same post of december 1)

I doubt it. Have you seen this?

http[:]//www[.]3dmagix[.]com/affiliates.htm
http[:]//www[.]illusionmage[.]com/affiliates.htm

He probably got help. There have to be people who fall for this.

[EDIT] neutered the links, don't want those sites getting any link benefits from here. kat
Title: More Illusion Mage/3D Magix scam websites
Post by: kat on February 02, 2011, 09:40:20 PM
Interesting to note that some (fake) video 'testimonials' have been added to some of the sites now (they were't there before), all apparently hosted with rackspacecloud.com (#c2913102). Whoever is really behind this must have spent a fortune registering alternative domain names, hosting, file distribution networks.. and all for traffic funneling. A few more domains;
Not to mention specifically targeting people that don't know any better by keyword stuffing the junk articles with search terms they typically use, never mind Blender... it's pretty deliberate stuff.
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: kat on February 02, 2011, 09:46:26 PM
..He probably got help...

It's not "help" so much as "affiliates".. That's how these scams work, someone puts a product up for sale on ClickBank.net/cbengine.com and people linking back to it get a cut of the price. The articles spam is to capture Google advert revenue, that's what was meant by the "win-win" comment. There are entire networks out there taking advantage of this kind of thing.
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: JeroenM on February 02, 2011, 10:07:33 PM
With "help" I mean that he's tempting, or luring if you like, people to do the job for him through his afilliates program.
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: kat on February 02, 2011, 10:21:11 PM
Personally I'd be less kind than saying they're being lured... participation in this scam seems largely 'deliberate' from what I've been seeing over the past few months looking at what pops up, so I don't get the same sense of the affiliates being 'hoodwinked' or otherwise 'persuaded' into taking part - they see price, see the percentage commission, create the account and then add the links to their already established traffic funneling networks, usually already carry dozens of other link-backs to other items for the same reasons. They class this kind of thing as "marketing entrepreneurship". We'd call it something else ;o)
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: JeroenM on February 02, 2011, 10:34:55 PM
Agreed, But my point is: he gets people doing the job for him. And personally i think that includes writing all those "reviews". At http[:]//www[.]illusionmage[.]com/affiliates.htm he even offers prewritten article packs (point 5 an 7 of the affiliates program)
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: kat on February 03, 2011, 06:58:11 AM
Oh yes that's what I mean, that's how these affiliate systems work, you get more people on-board if you can make it easier for them to do so. It's all very deliberate and calculated to get the highest returns possible with the least amount of effort (or originality). When I first started to look into this in early December last year, search results pulled in around 90k depending on which terms you used - "illusion mage", "illusionmage", "illusionmage3d" and so on. Now some of those return 250k+ search results, all of which will be earning Advert revenue from Google, you don't get that kind of return without a concerted effort on behalf of the participants.
Title: Affiliates keyword stuffing the illusion mage scam
Post by: kat on February 03, 2011, 08:25:28 AM
Wow! Talk about keyword stuffing!
Quote
3d animation
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animation software
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Title: Even Seth Avery is 'fake'!!
Post by: kat on February 03, 2011, 03:52:33 PM
Aaaand a lovely picture of Seth Avery himself.. who also happens to be "Christian Outreach Spokesperson", a "Coffee merchant", and a "Glamour boyfriend" (whatever the heck on of those are!). I don't know how he finds the time in between all the jet-setting he must do to inspect the plantations, being a playa! all the while running this scam (thanks to "Ste (http://www.blendernation.com/2011/02/02/3dmagix-and-illusionmage-scam-or-open-source-leeches/)" for finding these).

(https://www.katsbits.com/images/news/seth-avery-illusionmage-3dmagix-scam.jpg) (https://www.katsbits.com/images/news/seth-avery-illusionmage-3dmagix-scam.jpg)
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: Matika on March 22, 2011, 12:14:58 AM
Like another person, I joined this form so that I could post on this topic, though since I am here I might look around and rethink about using blender.

Anyway, the owner of IllusionMage has gone to another level. He now is going to 3d sites and collecting email addresses from their forums and sending an email offering a limited time offer to buy IllusionMage for 47 usd, with all the bells and whistles.  But when you get to the site it is a bait and switch.  He does himself an in justice by changing the price to 77 usd for the complete program.  That little step alone caused me to do more then just check the legit of the program.  Where as in a short time I was led to fox which had pulled his ad, then share4you which gave me this link.  A good friend emailed me telling me he was going to buy this for me if I had not already purchased it.  Fortunately he emailed me before buying it.   It was mentioned about no response to support.  He can a test to this as he emailed the owner asking if it could work with poser and never received a response.   So again, the man has sunk to a new low by lifting our email address from forum sites.
Title: Illusion Mage / 3D MagixPro email list
Post by: kat on March 22, 2011, 12:59:19 AM
Thanks for posting this info. It's good to know you caught this in the nick-of-time before anyone coughed up and lost their hard-earned money, which you won't have got back, I don't think anyone ever has.

The type of harvesting you mention is pretty common practice sadly. It takes advantage of the fact that forum and site admins often leave their member lists either visible to all and sundry, or visible to all members without taking the time to properly 'vet' people signing up. I do my best to avoid that on KatsBits.

I have to say that a good part of the reason these guys are able to 'get away' with what they're doing is because the Blender Foundation is not being as proactive as they could be in protecting the Blender brand name; sitting on ones laurels and indirectly defending this type of thing isn't effective license or 'rights' protection regardless of it being open-source material; it's doing more harm then it appears they realise because nothing is being done to properly redirect the misinformation that's now spreading like a virus on the 'Net.
Title: How to get refund/money back on illusion mage scam
Post by: kat on March 24, 2011, 04:23:48 PM
[copied body of this to first post]

If you've found yourself at the receiving end of the Illusion Mage, 3DMagix, 3D Magix Pro or whatever else '"Seth Avery" decides to call this 'product' and want your money back, there are a couple of things you can do to properly seek remedy against the payment. Note that these may vary depending on your geographical location so, although Mr Avery states clearly there is a 60 day refund policy, if you're in the UK making a purchase, your 'right' to expect what you paid for is protected under a 14 day return/refund Statutory Right (this has to be a legitimate grievance by the way, faulty goods, goods not as described and so on.. it's not normally binding where you simply change your mind after purchase - remedy in those situations are at the discretion of the seller, not the buyer).
It's then just a question of seeing what response you garner from the Banks, unfortunately there's not too much more consumers can do beyond this. If the Bank or your payment gateway doesn't cancel or issue a charge-back on the transaction then you'll have to consider the money lost. For further information about ClickBank and both it's Sellers and Buyers Terms & Conditions see the following:
It's important to point out that ClickBank itself is not a scam, however, it's services are used by scammers and whilst they may have a non-tolerance policy in place on such things, it relies on their being notified of such by customers.
Title: "3D Magix Pro" name confused with products by "Magix Gmbh"
Post by: kat on March 26, 2011, 01:47:42 PM
Was doing a bit more research on this last night when it occurred to me that the name "3D Magix Pro" is probably a deliberate choice of confuse the scam bundle with products from Magix (http://www.magix.com/); whilst Magix don't have a "3D Magix Pro", they do have a "3D Maker" and various "Pro" packages - "Video Pro X", "Movie Edit Pro" and "Xara Designer Pro".

This conclusion is highly circumstantially speculative of course, but I'd bet a hot-dog with everything on it that that assessment (based on my "Real Life[TM]" job) is pretty much 99.999% accurate due to 'his' use of the same tried and testing patterns of strategic placement all black box web marketeers use to funnel traffic to the pay-dirt, ones that are easily recognisable and is very deliberate.

What this means is that when a person searches using "3D", "Magix" and "Pro", Magix products pop up in the results because the search engine latches on to those words as they appear legitimately in their products, thus lending 'Seth Averys' scam an additional layer or apparent legitimacy to the unsuspecting. All in all this whole thing is a very calculated scam the Blender Foundation is woefully remiss in not tackling beyond posting a notice on a site that you won't know existed if you didn't already know what "Blender 3D" was.
Title: Domain names pushing illusion mage scam
Post by: kat on March 30, 2011, 03:30:42 AM
A couple more domains associated with propagating the scam. And as a sign of just how desperate 'he' is to push this junk all over the internet, take note of the domains being registered, spam personified. Wouldn't even be surprised if 'he' is using the same software forum spammers use to generate names by sandwiching a 'legit' name (one that reads as a proper name) between different letters of the alphabet.

Don't click the links below by the way, they don't go anywhere by the way, they're 'active' to make them visible to bots.


As an aside here. It's interesting that most of the review sites pushing this junk for their 12 pieces of silver turn off community comments, have a 'moderation' policy in place the means the truth about the scam never gets posted (that puts the admin's of such places culpable in scams like this, irrespective of their rather broad reaching terms of service - if comments are actively blocked it means someone has made a judgment call in favour of allowing the scam to be continued), or have no way to get in touch with them to bring the issue to their attention - the usual way is to send a message to "abuse@[domain name]"; much of that gets bounced. Some even go so far as to have links to the FBI's Internet Crime Bureau, the Internet Crime Complaints Centre and a host of other law enforcement departments. All for the sake of adding to an already false impressions that plays with people perceptions. Sheesssh on a stick!

And by the way... what happened to Googles recent algorithm change that was supposed to hit article farms and content spammers hard?
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: mikshaw on April 06, 2011, 02:19:41 AM
[sarcasm]No, this is no scam.  It's capitalism at its finest[/sarcasm]
This guy has uploaded a number of promotional videos to YouTube as well, and regularly deletes any comments that mention Blender.
Title: Seth Avery appearance change & fake video reviews of illusion mage
Post by: kat on April 07, 2011, 08:04:11 PM
According to one of many, many fake video reviews of Illusion Mage posted to YouTube (remove square brackets - http[:]//www[.]youtube[.].com/watch?v=dR2zgRLaEvI [1:12 mark]), "Seth" has had a lot of plastic surgery recently to change his appearance (see attachment), he'd make Nicolas Cage and John Travolta proud!.

[sarcasm]After notifying the FBI he was about to change his appearance he was told him to remain out of sight so people wouldn't make a connection to his previous appearance (http://www.katsbits.com/smforum/index.php?topic=215.msg1248#msg1248). However, his desire to gorge on his ill-gotten gains meant his not being able to resist showing 'his' smirking mug in yet more Illusion Mage videos[/sarcasm]

[EDIT]image removed at the request of the real Seth
Title: IllusionMage being pulled from stores
Post by: kat on June 27, 2011, 07:01:48 PM
Word is coming in that more and more store fronts are pulling this product as soon as they find out it's a scam. So if you're on any mailing lists and/or members of various stores and shops that sell software, let the owners know as soon as you see anything to do with this scam pop up on their networks. Spreading the word works and is a more effective way of shutting down this kind of shenanigans.

[EDIT] Speaking of business resellers... Although IllusionMage now appears to be removed from ClickBank.com's searchable catalogue (it doesn't turn up in product search results), they still appear to be acting as a payment gateway for Messrs Avery's when clicking through from the IM web site. This probably means that affiliates can't sign-up directly on ClickBank any more, but they might still able to earn their ill-gotten gains using the gateway.
Title: Youtube users are the another target...
Post by: alzarac on July 20, 2011, 03:10:17 AM
Well, I feel very sad about this, because I am a 3ds max user and I have some videos posted into youtube and the last week I have received a private message from a youtube user, that ask me to publish a link into one of my video descriptions and he will pay me for this... at the begining this proposal doesnīt sounds extrange, because, he wasnīt the first one who said me this, but like the other people who ask me this, the first thing I ask him was, which kind of link or which kind of site he wants to publish... and the surprise... was this... the link redirect to Illusion Mage... and I must be honest. I didnīt know about this before, because I am not a Blender user, but I have some Blender knowledge, and I recognize some screenshots, so when I saw this site I feel that this software has something wrong... and thatīs how I finished here... telling my story. Well, just to resume, I told the guy that I donīt want to be part of this scam and hope he never ask me again for something like this. Hope this  could help the Blender comunity and hope Blender take actions against people who want to gain money using others works.

P.S. I have send to him this link http://www.blender.org/blenderorg/blender-foundation/press/re-branding-blender/

P.S. My english isnīt the best but hope you guys understand what I said  ;)
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: kat on July 20, 2011, 04:01:17 AM
Thanks for posting the info alzarac. Might be worth reporting the guy to YouTube if they have offending (IllusionMage/3DMagixPro) videos in his profile (otherwise YT will ignore it).
Title: Re: Seth Avery appearance change & fake video reviews of illusion mage
Post by: JeroenM on July 22, 2011, 12:55:27 PM
According to one of many, many fake video reviews of Illusion Mage posted to YouTube (remove square brackets - http[:]//www[.]youtube[.].com/watch?v=dR2zgRLaEvI [1:12 mark]), "Seth" has had a lot of plastic surgery recently to change his appearance (see attachment), he'd make Nicolas Cage and John Travolta proud!.

[sarcasm]After notifying the FBI he was about to change his appearance he was told him to remain out of sight so people wouldn't make a connection to his previous appearance (http://www.katsbits.com/smforum/index.php?topic=215.msg1248#msg1248). However, his desire to gorge on his ill-gotten gains meant his not being able to resist showing 'his' smirking mug in yet more Illusion Mage videos[/sarcasm]

[EDIT]image removed at the request of the original Seth

I knew i saw this picture somewhere. I thought it was on facebook or something like that. But no. Here he is:
[redirected to post below] (http://www.katsbits.com/smforum/index.php?topic=215.msg2189#msg2189)
Oh and yes. He's also on LinkedIn: [redirected to post below] (http://www.katsbits.com/smforum/index.php?topic=215.msg2189#msg2189)

[EDIT] see post below & message from real Seth (http://www.katsbits.com/smforum/index.php?topic=215.msg2189#msg2189)
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: kat on July 22, 2011, 06:21:40 PM
That sir, is an excellent find!. If that is the Seth Avery, I wonder how well it would go down with the University that he's involved in (the author of) several scams past and present. I can hear the reasoning behind it now... "I just did it to raise funds for my degree and PhD, I didn't mean anything by it. Beside the license says I can". It could also be that the scammers came across this obscure web page and 'hijacked' the guys name and photo to lend credibility to the scam. Would need to look into this one.
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: JeroenM on July 22, 2011, 08:39:21 PM
That sir, is an excellent find!. If that is the Seth Avery, I wonder how well it would go down with the University that he's involved in (the author of) several scams past and present. I can hear the reasoning behind it now... "I just did it to raise funds for my degree and PhD, I didn't mean anything by it. Beside the license says I can". It could also be that the scammers came across this obscure web page and 'hijacked' the guys name and photo to lend credibility to the scam. Would need to look into this one.
My gut feeling says it's the latter. If you google the name "Seth Avery" you'll find that the name is not that uncommon. Granted: it's not exactly like John Smith, but still there are quite a few Seth Averys floating around the net and on the social networks. Combined with the fact that 'our' "Seth Avery" uses a bogus photo which he grabbed from the internet my (completely unreliable) intuition tells me that the whole identity is fake and that neither the name nor any of the pictures fit.
Lets not forget: Ton Roosendaal assumed (and probably right) that Illusion Mage and 3DMagix are set up by the same  person or organisation. But the "creator" of 3D Magix calls himself Cody Landon.
For a bit of "fun": google pictures on the name of Cody Landon and make sure that all your safesearch settings are off. And I warn you: it's pretty shocking.
Title: Just a few more domains pushing illusionMage
Post by: kat on August 15, 2011, 07:07:45 PM
Just a few more domain names pushing the IllusionMage scam.
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: dsol on September 14, 2011, 07:14:06 PM
I've just set up a twitter feed for the other 3D app I use - Lightwave -  and within minutes I had these schmucks following me, hoping I'd follow them - or just link to their site no doubt.

I reported it as a spam account. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the account, or else I'd recommend others report them too. They're probably spamming with multiple twitter accounts. Scum.
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: kat on September 14, 2011, 07:38:49 PM
Thanks for posting. Yeah they pretty much need you ("us") to follow their accounts to lend credibility to their spurious products. Twitter et-al seem very slow to act, if at all, on these sorts of 'infringements'. And so long as they have a gateway through which they can monetise (ClickBank) then they'll keep doing it.

Slightly OT: I was watching TV the other week and saw Mr Avery's original picture being used in some personal injury accident claimant advert.. very funny stuff (not seen the advert since unfortunately).
Title: What is IllusionMage3D? (summery/review)
Post by: kat on October 08, 2011, 01:45:52 AM
IllusionMage is a electronically distributed 'eproduct' attributed to a fictitious 'owner' whose identity has changed on a number of occasions (http://www.katsbits.com/smforum/index.php?topic=215.msg1366#msg1366). The product itself is a ZIP or RAR archive (depending on source) comprising a number of freely available and Open Sourced applications and other materials; this includes (but is not limited to), a typically outdated version of Blender 3D (http://www.blender.org), and miscellaneous community authored documentation.

Other names the bundle has or is beening sold under include "IllusionMage3D", "3DMagix" and "3DMagixPro". There are also a number of associated domain names[1 (http://www.katsbits.com/smforum/index.php?topic=215.msg1237#msg1237)][2 (http://www.katsbits.com/smforum/index.php?topic=215.msg1241#msg1241)][3 (http://www.katsbits.com/smforum/index.php?topic=215.msg1333#msg1333)], typically registered by third party sales afflilates.

Criticism: IllusionMage has come under heavy criticism by many prominent Blender news sites and community figures, including Ton Roosendaal the founder of the Blender Foundation (http://www.blender.org/blenderorg/blender-foundation/press/re-branding-blender/), BlenderNation (http://www.blendernation.com/2011/02/02/3dmagix-and-illusionmage-scam-or-open-source-leeches/) et-al, due to the way attribution is often obfuscated, making it unclear to prospective customers that they are in fact purchasing material that is freely available elsewhere on the Internet from less dubious sources.
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: kat on March 03, 2012, 05:41:22 PM
...It could also be that the scammers came across this obscure web page and 'hijacked' the guys name and photo to lend credibility to the scam. Would need to look into this one.
Turns out that this is in fact what has happened here. The real Seth got in touch to say the image posted was indeed of him and he wasn't aware of, nor in any way associated with, the fake "Seth Avery". In other words, he had had his identity stolen by the people behind the scam so they appeared 'real' and legit.

If there were any doubts about the legitimacy of Illusion Mage/3D Magix Pro this should put the final nail in that particular coffin as a most definite not only scam, but actual fraud. As a result the images have been removed for the time being at his request.
Title: Re: Illusion Mage & 3D Magix Pro *is* a scam
Post by: savery on March 03, 2012, 09:30:22 PM
Hi - I am the "real" Seth Avery. I was very surprised to learn that my research group photo had shown up on this message board! Thank you for removing my image.

If possible, could the post which links to my real LinkedIn profile also be removed? I would like to distance myself from this as much as possible.

Thanks,
Seth
Title: ClickBank blacklists IllusionMage & 3D Magix Pro seller scam
Post by: kat on January 10, 2013, 07:18:12 AM
It's taken a long time (and probably a lot of complaints) but ClickBank has finally seen fit to suspend the 'IllusionMage3D' et-al MarketPlace Account (URL reads as their being blacklisted - "errCode=blacklisted&cbhopvendor=illusion3d"). Whilst this is good news, it is somewhat disappointing that it had to take such a long time for it to happen, one wonders about the people ripped off in the meantime and are CB going to claim the funds back?.

The bad news? Unfortunately 'they' have found a new Market Place seller, click2sell.eu.

(https://www.katsbits.com/images/misc/illusionmage3d-clickbank-suspended-blacklisted.jpg)