Why I removed my smokoo post

You may have noticed that I have removed one of the most popular posts on my site about Smokoo.

Earlier today I got a phone call from the guys at Smokoo who asked me to remove the post, as it was reflecting their company in a negative light. They have offered to have a meeting about this, as they claim to have an open door policy, as well as give me an insight into how the business operates.

I complied and removed the post, as there is a whole other side to this story, which unfortunately I can’t divulge into at the moment in public.

To date the post had over 6,000 unique views, as well as over 140 comments from users on the sites. The post ranked as the number 1 post when searching google for the keyword “smokoo”, above the companies site.

This is the first time that I have ever been asked to remove a post, and to say I am bleak, is an understatement. Unfortunately this time it was a bit to close to home to ignore :(

31 replies on “Why I removed my smokoo post”

Of course, this will just have a “Barbara Streisand” effect, because your original post is still cached, and it’s not at all difficult to find!

You have broken the code, stand by your guns or your word is worth nothing, hey maybe they give you free stuff

You got my support mate, opinion is the greatest form of information when making a decision. I still think it sucks that they made you take your post down. Where is the freedom of expression and the right to an opinion there. My me really wonder how dodgy smokoo is now !

Very intriguing especially the part about the whole other side to this – I still think Smokoo is the biggest scam this side of the sun – its a pity these guys continue to “trade” unabated

Mad! Whatever happened to free speech? Can they do that? I’m dead keen to know the full story.

Bid or Buy had a site for a while called maxbid, which I see is still going. Same deal as these smokoo expletives.
I’ve been grumpy old manning about this sort of thing for a while now. winikhaya and every SMS to win competition should have a gambling/ lottery license.

These okes need to be forced to advertise that they if you make use of their services, you are GAMBLING.

@Fred & @Marcie

Thanks for the comments guys. Much appreciated. They actually gave me something to laugh about.

Free stuff rocks, and it would seem you are a teensy bit jealous :)

But thanks anyways. Your comments and visit to the site just means more traffic, which means more free stuff for me. It’s a win win situation :)

Hmmm.. very interesting indeed. Best they open their doors and let all us cynics in. To say I’m a big Smokoo cynic is an understatement.

Hey Mark,
Hear them out and then post your revised opinion. Their margins appear to be high, but not obscene from what I can tell. I just don’t like services where it is not clear to the “buyer” how it works and what you are in for. Legal yes, morally defensible, not so sure.
PS Apple’s margins on the other hand I would classify as obscene!

lol Marc.

I don’t know why anyone would be jealous of someone who has no morals, and only writes good stuff about the person who gives him the most free stuff.

Your site is indeed a good read, as your antics are the reason the SA system is so corrupt. Who cares about doing a bad service when you can just pay off someone to tell them you are good?

Viva Marc Viva. Sell out to the lowest bidder.

I read the original article – quite interesting.

I’m not quite sure why it’s called a scam? The rules of the auction are clearly defined, and people understand what they are getting into. This is undisputed.

I think there is a line between journalist, and an opinion piece stating smokoo is a scam. I find that without a right to respond, these sorts of ‘articles’ are very one sided.
I agree the guys make money/margin on products, but then again…I’m sure they are running a business?

I think this penny auction stuff has an element of skill as well as luck. Reminds me of poker.

But to go out there and label them a scam. That is not fair, nor correct.

I’m so tired of these “big” guys coming along and making us bloggers fold by putting pressure on us. Our blogs are our places to exercise freedom of speech and Smokoo have no right to tell you to remove the post. They clearly did something wrong and they must take the hit, no think they can walk over us. If they have a legitimate reason, then that’s a different story, but my opinion is to leave it up. Imagine they emailed HelloPeter and told them to remove a complain, HelloPeter would laugh so hard!

We mustn’t let these guys get away with things. Send me the post, I’ll republish it on iMod :P

@Chris Smokoo have every right to ASK for the post to be removed, and the Marc had every right to say NO. But he didn’t.

The fact it was removed suggests their complaint had enough merit to convince Marc he had done something wrong and take it down – I can’t think of any other explanation.

@Greg – I don’t completely agree. I say that when someone like Marc has a big team come to him and (most likely) firmly asks for it to be removed, he feels somewhat intimidated and anxious and thus obliges.

Please don’t make assumptions. The post was removed from my site for a number of reasons, which could have had severe knock on effect. Unfortunately in this case I would prefer for you not to make judgments before knowing the facts, and due to the sensitivity of the topic (and outcomes), I cannot publish those facts in the public domain.

@Mark without divulging any information whatsoever, assumptions are what is going to happen.

@Chris been there, done it, got the t-shirt. You wait for some kind of lawyer letter before you take it down. Then you have something cool to show. I run a local large torrent site, and they tried to intimidate me legally. I waited for a lawyer’s letter, made a small site tweak, did a rebuttal, never got a reply from them, site is still up.

They have to formally reqest something in writing, etc; if it gets to that stage and it looks serious then you always have an ace in the hole in that you can just diffuse the situation by taking the content down.

Unless of course it was genuine intimidation like “I know where you live, and your dog’s going to die”.

Marc, you’ve left us all too curious now… you’ve gotta share SOMETHING dude!

What knock on effect? To you or to others or to Smokoo?

Smokoo to me always sounded like smokel which is to do under handed dealings.

I didn’t read your original post but here are my 2 cents.
They might be a legitimate website but it is gambling even though it does not state that upfront. From all the forums you can see how poor people lose R200 – R300 on an MP3 player worth R500. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the there margins sometimes go beyond a few 1000%.

Morally I think casinos are wrong as they prey on the poor and ill informed to make money. Smokoo in my opinion is the same. It doesn’t mean because there are not so bright people out there that we must take advantage of them.

Business has become so immoral these days and this is not the only company which is taking advantage of the masses.

It truly is sad and I actually think that no matter what you say Marc I do not think that anything can justify you not speaking up against this. I know I do not have all the facts but I am seriously struggling to come up with plausible reasons why you agreed to take off the post. Were they holding a poor orphan over a tank of sharks and threatened to drop her if you didn’t take off your post?

Part of the issue here is defining a “scam” per se and being sure that you can back up the words you write. Having a business model that is based on people being greedy and gullible may be of questionable ethics or morality, but it does not necessarily make you “scammer”.

If you set out to con people out of their money, different story.

Smokoo explain the rules – if you’re too blinded by the thought of a bargain to work out the odds, and you don’t do as they suggest and observe how it works before diving in, then “caveat emptor” – buyer beware, you’re a fool and you and your money will be soon parted!

Their average gross margins appear to be high, but not obscene – somewhere around 50 to 60% – I did the math on the deals I could see a few weeks back.

Call them what you like, but they’re not scammers and I think Marc did the right thing to remove his post.


Arkell vs. Pressdram
An unlikely piece of British legal history occurred in the case Arkell v. Pressdram [1]. The plaintiff was the subject of an article relating to illicit payments, and for a change the magazine [Private Eye] had ample evidence to back up the article. Arkell’s lawyers wrote a letter in which, unusually, they said: “Our client’s attitude to damages will depend on the nature of your reply”. The response consisted, in part, of the following: “We would be interested to know what your client’s attitude to damages would be if the nature of our reply were as follows : F-ck off”.

Hahaha – too funny!

Been monitoring the site but looking at that which doesn’t meet the eye and there is without a doubt something VERY dodgy on the go. Marc, if you removed the post there was obviously good reason to do so, reasons I’d prefer not to mention in a public forum

Where’s there’s smoke, there’s always fire…

They’re a dodgy bunch of buggers people…

They did the same to me. I refused. My opinion can not be bought and I was very clear that it was my opinion based on my experience of their site. If they wanted different opinions they had to change the site, not just ask me to remove it. My post is still one of the top ones when people google for Smokoo and I’d rather that they read that and then make up their minds than get sucked into thinking they can really pay R35 for an iPad. People are by and large gullible, and if Smokoo is not going to look out for them, I sure as hell will.

The possibility that penny auctions may be declared in South Africa seems to be a real possibility.However when Smokoo advertises that an auction is finished & no winners are announced is that because nor enough bids were made?. Am I naive to assume that people really believe that if a product went for e.g. R112.00.[ie. 11200 bids] that Smokoo were losing out. If that article cost Smokoo less than R56000.00 [each bid costs R5] they made a profit depending on their overheads.

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