Updated: BoomerTowne.com Sues Ad Agency, Says Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel

November 9, 2008 · 13 comments

11/11: More related links: “Could have saved founder millions — had they listened,” “More Boomertowne.com follies,” and “Digital agency gets sued for no reason whatsoever
11/10: A source forwarded me a copy of the lawsuit and I’ve uploaded it for your reading pleasure here. Concierge Web, LLC (BT’s corporate name) says they paid Laughlin (their ad agency) $5.8 million+ over 2 years for a “basically worthless” website that brought in under $300,000 in revenue, when Laughlin estimated they’d have made $36 million. Concierge (BT) is suing Laughin for deceptive advertising, fraud, misrepresentation, breach of contract, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty. They want a jury trial and are asking for compensatory and punitive damages plus legal expenses. The suit was filed 3 days after BoomerTowne.com shut down.
Web site’s demise leaves people without payments” is the title of an article today on the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel‘s website. I spoke with their investigative reporter Ellen Gabler about BoomerTowne.com just over a week ago as she began researching the events that led to Herschel Peddicord‘s web venture going bust. She says that Peddicord, who initially blamed personal illness, “cheaters” and the economy in his email to me here, is now blaming Laughlin/Constable, the ad agency he hired to create the website. (Next to be blamed: delayed-onset angst over the cancellation of Gunsmoke in 1975, “I forgot where the office was,” and the war in Iraq.)
An interesting read if you have an interest in the case — unfortunately the actual case filings are not available online, according to Ms. Gabler.
If you’re interested in reading my prior posts about BoomerTowne, a list of them is here.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

BTUser November 11, 2008 at 8:10 am

Does this really matter to the users? Will we get anything from this?


moon November 11, 2008 at 8:44 pm

I think this could be positive for a couple reasons. 1) We are all now aware that they will possibly have some revenue coming in and therefore some revenue to come out.
2) Possibly the lawyers for Laughlin would be interested in a counterlawsuit – class action style. If not them, someone else who knows BT stands to get 17 mil.
3) I would be interested in the date that BT said “They should have known the numbers wouldn’t be correct” and see if it correlates to the date we all had to sign the new terms of service in order to be able to get points. That would show premeditation for fraud.
4) I wonder if there is any list anywhere compiled of those owed money so when a class action suit does launch, we’re already in one place.


Becky is an a** November 11, 2008 at 9:49 pm

Becky…It just seems you relish in people’s demise and many times propagate it. I saw you on GMA a few weeks back and you looked exactly how I thought you’d look. So sad to see really. Enjoy you’re little website.


TammyN November 11, 2008 at 10:49 pm

It’s hard for me to believe that there are so many people stupid enough to seriously believe they will get free money (something for nothing) from any online game site.
Then advertise their ignorance by complaining, posting how they lost money (as opposed to wasting time BY THEIR OWN CHOICE) in a bunch of forums, and even contacting authorities who don’t have time (OR MY TAXPAYER MONEY) to waste on such nonsense when they don’t receive winnings that cost nothing and was being given away for free to those willing to gamble some of their time.
If you enjoy playing or passing time on these sites then go ahead and enjoy as it is possible you may get lucky but keep it perspective. History shows that if these sites do pay, it doesn’t last long before they change or close the doors.


tlnblue November 12, 2008 at 3:32 am

Firstly, the failure of a website isn’t in Miss Becky’s or anyone else’s best interest, so why would anyone who wished to be compensated for their time and efforts “relish in its demise”? Also, commenting negatively about what someone looks like has the same impact on most rational adults as the ridiculous complaints did when made by jealous and immature people about Sarah Palin’s wardrobe while much more pressing and significant issues confront us.
Secondly, only the history of poorly run, mismanaged sites indicates they will not pay. While successful sites may alter the terms of service according to internal and external conditions, they continue to operate and they continue to honor their commitments. Those who take part in perfectly legitimate e-commerce opportunities have nothing whatsoever to feel guilty or foolish about. It’s always easy for short-term thinkers to blame the victim but that will not resolve the problems, in fact it generally makes things worse for everyone by sending the wrong message to the real culprits.
Thirdly, it will be interesting to see what the court decides. Something tells me the outcome will ultimately be a very expensive lesson about that nasty, lttle process I’ve often spoken about called “due diligence”….but, we’ll see.


star-searcher November 12, 2008 at 11:31 am

tlnblue -
I totally agree with that personal attacks are immature and pointless. However, promoting negativity towards a given website does have the potential to decrease their earnings potential thus effecting their profitability.
People who try creating game sites that offer FREE gifts do it as a business with the intention of making a profit. Obviously it’s a tough, unpredictable business and successes are few or short lived. I don’t believe anyone intentionally goes through all the time, work and expenses for the purpose of creating business they intend to have fail.
I also doubt that they did all this just to “rip” people off. If you believe that your doomed for disappointment in todays economy. Unfortunately, the economy is in such bad shape businesses are folding left and right. You wouldn’t expect to receive a refund from one of these established brick & mortar business after they close the doors. You need to be careful as it’s becoming apparent that any business is subject to failure these days.
I prefer the concept of “Common Sense” and “Personal Responsibility” for your actions and purchases.
I believe your right about what the courts decide (if they do) being an expensive lesson. Unfortunately the expense will be you and ME as taxpayers. Lawsuits to collect money from nothing will be judged frivolous and a waste of the courts time and taxpayer money. The Bottom line is what initially cost individuals nothing will wind-up costing everyone from a tax perspective.


James November 12, 2008 at 12:08 pm

Diverting the blame for the massive failure onto others is the MO of this individual. It has always been the fault of the employees or the consultants or vendors. Always an absence of mirrors.
It is just not rational to say you are just “the idea guy” and then go about the business of squandering millions of investor capitol on things such as national television ads and other wasteful roll the dice “ideas”.
No guard presiding over the cookie jar which resulted in a sad, but predictable ending.


tlnblue November 12, 2008 at 2:06 pm

Becky’s or any member’s allegience isn’t exclusively to the website owner, and telling the truth as the truth emerges isn’t the same as “promoting negativity.” There was no propaganda-ish reporting on this website of Boomertowne events as they unfolded, none at all. It was just the stark, naked truth about the status of people’s payments, company responses or the lack thereof and how to proceed with recoursive actions should members so desire.
Additionally, consumers have every right to alert others in situations where companies default on promises and/or breach contracts. Using member’s earnings to manipulate them into hushing up about the progress of payouts was a brilliant business strategy but as so many other site owners found out, it doesn’t work with everyone. I can see that it may be confusing to some as to what came first, the chicken or the egg….but it isn’t in any member’s best interest to “promote negativity” while they’re awaiting payment. That reasoning alone should lead one to conclude that there must be valid reasons behind any resulting backlashes. If a company disregards ensuring good public relations then they have no one to blame for profit losses but themselves.
One last thing, I do not consider my time, resources and energy to be “FREE” and neither has any of my employers throughout my life. When a site advertises compensation in return for certain actions, I expect them to make good on that promise. If they find that they are unable to maintain the ratio then I expect them to amend the terms as necessary. I do not expect them to ignore questions and disrespect the very people who recommended and supported them. If a company can no longer balance the books, I expect an update either via email or through the site.
Mr. Peddicord is suing another company for many of the same exact things he did to us. The irony in this situation has not escaped me.


BTUser November 13, 2008 at 7:35 am

The two blogspot links do not work. Just wanted to bring it to your attention.


Joe November 14, 2008 at 7:40 pm

I wonder if the investors that lost their butts on this venture still think he’s the man. Perhaps they should just feel lucky that there were a couple of people watching out for the interest of the shareholders last time around.Without them he would still be batting a big fat ZERO.


star-searcher November 15, 2008 at 10:48 pm

tlnblue – “I do not consider my time, resources and energy to be
“FREE” and neither has any of my employers throughout my life.”
My time,resources and energy as a paid employee are not free either. However, my time spent on a websites promotional scheme is free by my own choice and falls under the category of gambling with time as opposed to gambling hard money.
tlnblue – “When a site advertises compensation in return for certain actions, I expect them to make good on that promise. If they find that they are unable to maintain the ratio then I expect them to amend the terms as necessary. I do not expect them to ignore questions and disrespect the very people who recommended and supported them. If a company can no longer balance the books, I expect an update either via email or through the site.”
Try telling that to any of this shortened list of stores in bankruptcy:
Sharper Image
Harold’s Stores Inc
Tweeter Home Entertainment Group
Lillian Vernon
Value City
Goody’s Family Clothing
Linens ‘n Things
Circuit City (last week I saw a table up front promoting their “Rewards” program).
If you actually believe what you say, you need to rush out to some of these store and start buying your Christmas gift cards now while they’re still available. You can “expect” all you want but here on earth a little cautious wisdom works better.
“Gift card holders could lose more than $75 million just from store and restaurant closings in 2008, said Brian Riley, senior analyst at Tower Group, a consulting firm.”
As I stated earlier: “I prefer the concept of “Common Sense” and “Personal Responsibility” for your actions and purchases.” Personal Responsibility is something that’s seems to have gotten lost as blaming someone else for your problems has become the norm these days.
All that’s needed for someone to take your time or money is for you to let them. If you can’t take the hit, best find a method your more comfortable with.


Skyler November 22, 2008 at 4:08 pm

If Peddicord gets money from this suit, the former “Boomertowne citizens” can get the money owed from Peddicord. Peddicord is a criminal who defrauded countless people.
Laughlin/Constable are not the criminals.
Peddicord should face criminal and not just civil justice.


Skyler November 22, 2008 at 4:16 pm

Who posted Becky is an a**? Was it Peddicord?
Becky is a great person and runs a great informational resource.


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