Blokt.com got in touch with an online company that offers ICO marketing services ranging from basic graphic design and building digital marketing strategies to featuring fake team members and high positive ICO ratings on specialized websites. Here is what we found.
“Did you know 97% of all ICO’s will fail due to lack of credibility!”
That was the punchline ToDoICO.com used to start pitching its various bundles of services when contacted by blokt.com via its web portal. In fact, the website, up and running as of press time, only advertises for a variety of legitimate digital marketing-oriented services, from graphic design, online marketing and advertising to writing about customers’ offerings and pitching them to highly trusted media outlets, the likes of Forbes, TechCrunch and The New York Times.
Services Advertised on the Website
Under the services tab, the company proposes to advertise customer’s offering in all the 1,000+ games said to be developed by them, in the form of banners, static images or short video ads. Other initial coin offering (ICO) advertising services, which include but are not limited to writing, editing and distributing press releases following meticulous SEO guidelines in order to make web search engines push the ad content to the top of search result pages. Social media ad services include growing the clients telegram community with potential investors from within the crypto world.
The company allegedly also helps customers with seed investment for their early ventures and helps launch an ICO crowdfunding campaign for start-ups that have already developed a minimum viable product (MVP). It also offers to pitch the project to its network of “Shark investors,” with the guarantee that “they will take a look at the ICO.” The email blast service, on the other hand, offers to advertise the ICO to numerous independent investors using the company’s database of emails.
Who Owns ToDoICO.com
ToDoICO.com names another firm, allegedly launched in 2009, named “Black Sands,” to be its parent company, without giving any further details. After an investigation, we shortlisted two websites that can be the one referred to as the parent company.
The first one Black Sands Entertainment is a comic book series developer. However, Black Sands Entertainment is launched in 2016 and appears to turn a credible and legitimate business. The second website we found, and which we think is more likely to be the one referenced in ToDoICO website, is The Black Sands SEO Blog a website that only features an entry published on January 29, 2018, discussing SEO best practices, and how to harness it as a powerful digital marketing tool. The website refers to his owner as “Clark”. We contacted both websites to know whether they own ToDoICO.com. While Black Sands Entertainment President Manuel Godoy denied his company owns ToDoICO.com, we have not received an answer from the Black Sands SEO Blog yet.
Investigating deeper on The Black Sands SEO Blog, blokt found out that the domain is registered under the name Key-Systems GmbH, a Germany-based Internet solution company that essentially provides web hosting and domain registration services.
The ToDoICO.com domain, however, was registered in May 2018 through the US-based domain name registrar Namecheap Inc. The real owner of the domain name used the WhoisGuard service offered by Namecheap while setting up the website. The latter is, in fact, a privacy protection service that prevents people from knowing the real identity of the website owner. The domain owner’s address is a PO box address in Panama.
Services Advertised Via Email
Even though the website advertises for seemingly legal services, the email we received from a person who claims to be the manager of ToDoICO.com and goes by the name of Angela Hall was overwhelming. She said:
“We can help you with:
- Credible Team Members – 25 ETH / Member for 3 months
- Credible Investors – 25 ETH / Investor for 6 months
- Credible Advisers – 25 ETH / Adviser for 6 months
- Getting a High Positive ICO Rating – 100 ETH Total
For Team Members, Investors & Advisers – They will pass KYC and update their LinkedIn profiles to reflect association with your ICO”.
She then added:
“We also have 4 Marketing Packages that can help you with generating hype:
Trial – 1 ETH – Guaranteed 100+ Small Publishers
Starter – 10 ETH – Guaranteed 1 Big Publishers & 1 Medium Publishers
Professional – 20 ETH – Guaranteed 2-3 Big Publishers & 2-3 Medium Publishers
Ultimate – 30 ETH – Guaranteed 3-4 Big Publishers & 3-4 Medium Publishers
- Larger publishers are Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc, Huffington, etc.
- Medium publishers are Feedster, Dzone, Investing, Medium, etc.
- Small publishers are ABC News, NBC News, Yahoo Finance etc. (100+ Networks Included in all 3 packages).”
The email ends with a PS mention that warns receivers to be wary of scams, to only work with established companies, to ask for references and assess whether the service price makes sense, or rather a too-good-to-be-true kind of one.
Clients are invited to use a unique address (https://ethplorer.io/address/0x1e9aeb6b7f9e4d53e1f865c3a20dd371854b016b) to pay for the selected pack of services.
We got a second email from the same person, who this time was referring to herself as being the “Head of Sales,” offering a “limited time promo” on the full-service package.
The email reads:
“I would like to offer you our limited time promo, only for the first 10 clients.
Our Full Service ICO Management Package Normally @ 100 ETH – Now Payable in your ICO Tokens for up to 80% discount.
So you only pay us 20 ETH in Ethers or Bitcoin and 80 ETH worth of your Tokens. Our interest is aligned with the success of your ICO, and we know we can make it happen.
Full Service includes the following Services:
Ultimate Marketing Package, Bounty Campaign Management, Shark Funding Package, Website Development if needed, White Paper Creation if needed, 3 KYC Passed Team Members and/or Advisers and/or a mix of them, HitBTC Listing Fee – You will need to make sure you meet their requirements of not being a Security. We will start the listing process and pay the fees. After which you will work directly with them to get listed.”
In fact, the ICO landscape remains highly unregulated, which has left a void for frauds and false advertising service companies like ToDoICO.com to thrive and take advantage of the hype behind blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
Added to that, inexperienced investors and people who seem to be blinded by a foolish dream of getting rich overnight could simply fall down for such embezzlements. Blokt.com advises crypto investors to remain cautious, do their due diligence, cross-verify facts and allegations and reach out to regulators before considering investing their money in ICOs.