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A two for one modeling agency scam review and Update!


[UPDATE: March 2008]
      The Desk was contacted recently by a representative of ExploreTalent.com from Los Angeles. The rep claimed that they were under new management and that the new owner was taking the business down the road to being a completely legitimate modeling agency...AND... That the 'background check' company was a racket and was trying to bilk money of a now totally innocent and up front company.
      The Desk agreed to take another look.
      As a result of that conversation and promise the Desk went through the investigation of ExploreTalent's operations all over again.
      The Desk ran down ads and looked up models. A member of the Desk's inner circle ran an ad through their agency for models. And so on. For a couple of weeks....
      And here is the update:

Easybackgroundcheck.com is most likely a scam as well. They do seem to practice corporate espionage as a matter of course. Don't use them, don't send them money to review your rating, if you get a letter or anything from them, send it to your State's Attorney.
      Back to the modeling agencies.
      If you're looking to start out as a model or a photographer.... Go Local FIRST. Use a photographer that answers their own phone, that you can meet in person without driving three hours, look at examples of their work, and so on.
      For the local ad, we got responses from all over half the country. That's not exactly what we were looking for.
      New bottom line.... YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PAY UP FRONT- for 'membership', 'access' or anything else! That is the first warning sign of a crooked outfit.

Start Here: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/services/model.shtm

And- www.crimes-of-persuasion.com

Check out this list: www.modelsresourcecenter.com

      See more links below.

[End Update]


Toospoiled.com and Exploretalent.com
the Desk is not in the habit of hotlinking to criminal outfits, sorry

      There's a couple of modeling scams that have come to light recently.
      Both promise potential models that their pictures and bios will be in front of thousands of casting directors and talent agents. Both crow about how they have the ear and eye of elite professional photographers and directors and have spawned the careers of several rich and famous models and actors.
      Have they?

      Well.... in a word.... no.

      Yes there may be a FEW working models and photographers and others who find some work and make some sales through the sites.
      Just like the various job search and resume faxing outfits might find somebody work once in awhile.
      However, the Vast Majority of their members and users will end up with a bill and a bad taste in their mouth and a bunch of spam in their inbox which is attempting to bilk them out of even more money. In the mean time... all they will hear from the agency is excuses or, even worse, silence.

      Of the two looked at for this article: toospoiled and exploretalent, they seemed to be tied neck and neck for which is the most overtly criminal.
      But the edge may go to exploretalent in the photo finish however because its owner is a certified crook. Owner Blake Yoon was convicted in California of another talent racket. He has since moved to a new address and is back to his old tricks.

"The Internetís largest Talent resource and promotional website," announced in 2004 it has 290,000 members. The owner of ExploreTalent.com, Blake Yoon, is a convicted criminal, whom, the LA Times reported, was previously in prison. He has since admitted under oath in 2004 most of his company's income is from the sale of photoshoots and portfolios. A ruling was made against his similar company, BAMModels.com, after they charged over $4,000 for photography and a portfolio, and the ruling also showed his company is illegal.
http://www.easybackgroundcheck.com/- IS A SCAM AS WELL, see update above!

      Toospoiled.com says their membership is free. However, models CAN NOT sign up for a free membership without entering credit card billing information for which plan you want to sign up for, you have to go with either 19.95 a month which lists your portfolio and bio or 3.95 per booking but which puts ads on your page. It is unclear as to whether or not the twenty dollar membership allows the advertising on your model page.
      However, you are also encouraged to upgrade your membership to as much as thirty bucks a month for other benefits.

"TooSpoiled is 100% free."

After reviewing the booking requests, the models and/or actors may purchase each booking request (meaning purchase the right to submit their information for that opportunity) for afee of $3.95. Alternatively, models and/or actors may purchase an unlimited package for $19.95 per month. Models and actors may stay on TooSpoiledís website for an unlimited amount of time for free without ever having to purchase a Booking Request.
Toospoiled.com

      Toospoiled has a wonderful list of affiliate companies: Sony, Comcast, Citi Financial, Discovery Channel, even Better Homes and Gardens. However the Desk was unable to verify ANY of them with the named companies. No mention was on anybody's news pages, the only reference you can find with Discovery Channel, Comcast, or any of the others in the same sentence is on the toospoiled.com page. See screenshot below article.
      If they have an affiliation, it would appear to be a one-way affiliation. And it would not surprise the Desk at all to find out that the matter would be news to Citi and BH&G as well.

Links will open in new window

      There ARE legitimate Talent Agencies with National and even International reach out there, besides the huge mainstream modeling outfits like the Ford Agency www.fordmodels.com.
      OneModelPlace.com is a good one. So far the Desk has not been able to find where the owner of that service was convicted of anything nasty.
      Model Mayhem is another one. A friend of Mrs. Desk has been in touch with several people who work through their site: modelmayhem.com NOTE: Their site was recently undergoing re-modeling. (bad pun intended) It should be back up shortly.
      And Ms T's photoshoot model, Lawrence, works out of http://www.phillyfaces.com Other major cities have similar local agencies. Teresa's Photography website is http://teresasdesk.com

      Now some basic advice.

      LOOK at the site. Is it well done? Is the text well written or does it have a lot of typos and misspellings and other errors in it. Look at the photos, some of these sites use photos that have been lifted from other sites! That's not a good sign is it?
      READ before you SIGN anything. READ MORE before you PAY for anything. Including the fine print, and there is always fine print.
      Ask Questions and check out the answers. And don't believe the sales bunny. Get in touch with models outside of their site. If the agency starts badmouthing everybody else, or does too much boasting about how great they are (toospoiled does both) ask a lot more questions.
      Check out model and photographers forums. Ask about the outfit you are in touch with and see what comes back.
      If the agency claims some supermodel is one of their clients, go to her Official Web Site (not their 'myspace' page) and look it up. Most likely, if she is, it will be listed, if not.... run.
      Check out the Better Business Bureau. Membership does NOT necessarily mean the outfit is on the up and up, but, most outright crooks don't apply for membership.
      Expect results. If you don't at least get a query in a reasonable amount of time, ask why.
      Do not pay in advance (at least don't pay a whole lot up front sometimes it is legit!) and DO NOT authorize an automatic payment. Use a credit card instead of a debit card, and Check Your Statement for odd charges afterward.

      If you do sign up.... Try it for a month and see. If you are not happy, CANCEL and tell your credit card company that you did cancel it. Just in case.

More at The Media Desk's Urban Legend and SPAM Info Page http://www.themediadesk.com/files/urban.htm

The image below is from the toospoiled.com affiliate page.
NOTE: none of the logos were 'clickable' nor was there any other information on any company listed.

End Model Scam.....



    [NOTE: OneModelPlace, Ford, and the other legitimate businesses listed are owned by their respective holders, including those identified by logo in the graphic. No mentioning of them is to be taken as an endorsement either way of or by the Desk.
    The Desk is not affiliated in any way with any of them (besides Mrs. Desk that is)... or very nearly anybody else anywhere.
    The Desk Email Address is DrLeftover(-at-)themediadesk( -d0t- )com email scrambled to screw with spammer robots. Please put "model scam article" in subject line to make it stand out from the spam.
Thank you ]

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