Experienced = ME.
So. Ever heard of mystery shoppers? Reputable companies hire people to shop and review.
I remember somewhere that I’d checked a box that said I’d like to be contacted about a mystery shopper job. Then I quickly dismissed what I’d checked.
About a week later, I get this email that states I’m getting a package-letter with instructions and a check for deposit. I ignored it and deleted it. I thought it was spam. A few days later, I get another email. Deleted. Then I get another email, so I go through my email program to create a filter that will send to the trash all further emails from this perseverent person. Then I get this express mail envelope that has a letter of instructions and a check for $2,350. I’m to deposit the check, then “review” Western Union and send money to two people on the list of instructions.
At this point, I *should have* ran a search on Western Union and Mystery Shopper. Stupid me. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
I sent the check to my bank (I don’t have a car) and waited for it to be deposited. Then I mentally deducted my fee, $250, plus transaction fees for the Western Union transfer, and waited to be able to get to a Western Union. In the meantime, I spent the $250 on clothes and food.
Finally, I get a ride to WU. I send $925 to one person. Then I go to another WU outlet to send the other, but the transfer is rejected. I get home and I get a call from my bank. They tell me the check is suspicious and they have to send it back. It’s been five days since the deposit and they’re only now realizing the check was a fake? I’m pissed!
Now I owe $925, plus any money I spent that went beyond what I already had in the bank before this fiasco started. I call WU, ask them to reverse the transaction. They do, but they can’t refund it through my debit card. I have to pick up the cash. I can’t. I forgot to renew my goddamn state ID.(I don’t have a car so no point in having a Driver’s License) So they have to send me a check. Let me tell you. My review of WU is that they SUCK.
Now I’m waiting for the check. I went online to research how to make a complaint about these people. I find out from the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) that there’s a scam out there about mystery shoppers and Western Union. I report them. I go to my state attorney general and report them.
Now, I’m going to be missing $250 of income after my regular deposits go through and I get the WU check mailed to the bank–or if I can get a ride to a Moneypass ATM to deposit it. PLUS I’m accruing late fees of $5 per day. I’ll have to call the bank after everything’s settled and ask if they can refund the fees. They’ve done it before. This time, I need some special understanding on account of my MASSIVE stupidity.
I don’t fall for scams easily. Experience has taught me a lot about viruses, fake emails, the whole bit. Ruined two computers thanks to viruses about 8 years ago so I know better on that score. I recognize bad websites when I see them. I have safeguards on my browser and my pc that protect me. Even so, I recognize the crap that doesn’t get filtered.
But I didn’t recognize this.
I am so fucking stupid.
So I’ve asked via my website and my Facebook page if there was anyone who could help me out, send a donation to Paypal. Two friends were able to send me a little money on Facebook. But my website? (joysgate.com) Silence. Dead, dismissive, useless silence.
I have, on average, 25 visitors per day. At most, I’ve had a 1,000. There are periods where my website traffic surges for a while, then fades back, and repeats itself.
But ever since I put up the site, and it’s been maybe 2 years for the current incarnation via WordPress and Godaddy, I’ve received a total of 2 comments/contacts. 2. No feedback. No comments on content.
I understand the percentages of readers who give feedback. I understand the percentages of social interaction. I understand what’s needed for the advertising, the personal appeal, the outreach and general likeability of a website/website owner. And still, not a damn word except to ask to put in a link on a links page or ask about a PDF download. Outside of that, nada, zilch, bupkiss.
So, I’ve had a tantrum. A fit. A good goddamn resentment melt-down. I’ve removed all content from my website. I am a fanfic writer. I write smut (gay men smut). People tell me they like what I write and that I’ve gotten better (people on FB or LiveJournal or Dreamwidth, where the fandom generally hangs out). And there’s a fandom website out there created to archive all of the writers and creators of fandom-derived entertainment called Archive of Our Own. I donate to it and I house all of my fic there. So now my website just redirects visitors to the archive. Maybe one day I’ll put all the content back up, but frankly, I don’t see that happening. It isn’t appreciated, my work isn’t appreciated, and I’m too pissed off at both readers and myself to waste time on something that isn’t appreciated.
At least I put a Paypal donation button up. Not that it will do any good. Sigh. Shit.