by Structured Settlement Watchdog
SSQ, which, despite outward appearances, appears to be ultimately controlled out of Vancouver Canada by Genex Capital and/or its designees, according to information that I have developed over the past 14 months, some of which has been posted here. We have more.
Ongoing Business Strategy?
Can the owners and controllers of SSQ website manipulate what are held out as reviews?
On February 27,2013 an " Editors Note" appeared on one of the "reviews" for JG Wentworth. It's also notable for appearing AFTER my January 15, 2013 postwhere I demonstrated in SSQ Settlement Quotes SEO Madness- 843 Steps Beyond, there were 843 footer backlinks from diverse worldwide locations promoting the Woodbridge review page on the SSQ website and 4,200 to a similar page regarding JG Wentworth. Many of the so-called "wordpress theme" pages provided 3-4 links back to SSQ. If the structuredsettlement-quotes(dot)com website were truly independent, then why would SSQ's Canadian owners and operators permit the SEO tactic to optimize the trashing of several of its competitors? Discussion of Word press themes with links in the footers as described in the January 15th post is fodder for SEO forums like Blackhat World.
Third party evidence suggests that part of the SSQ SEO strategy is to draw web traffic off the names and trademarks of its competitors in the secondary market and the names and trademarks of others in the structured settlement primary market, including life insurance companies that currently or formerly issued structured settlement annuities and casualty insurers. When these companies advertise onTV or radio and then consumers seek additional information about them on the Internet, SSQ's review page or listing for the target company comes up, often a top position.
As measured by Alexa on April 18, 2013, 4 out of 10 of the top queries driving traffic to structuredsettlement-quotes (dot) com from search engines are related to life insurers issuing structured settlement annuities, representing close to 14% of SSQ's Alexa search traffic came from these 4 terms
- New York Life Structured Settlements 5.78%
- Pacific Life Structured Settlement Quotes 3.07%
- Metropolitan Life Structured Settlement Quotes 2.49%
- Prudential Insurance Company of America Structured Settlement Quotes 2.49%
Other notable key words driving traffic to SSQ that supplement the perecentage include but not limited to, according to Alexa:
- John Darer Structured Settlements
- Metlife Structured Settlement Quotes
For any of the factoring companies that SSQ provides a review page there is lead generation angle for SSQ . Webpage links to the companies in the directory are not live.
When Did This Apparent Business Strategy Begin?
We estmate that the apparent business strategy began in or about the summer of 2011, based on a series of screen shots captured from the structuredsettlement-quotes (dot) com website by a third party. For example there were no competing company reviews on the SSQ site in March 2011 screenshot capture. Coincidentally the reviews began in the summer of 2011 when Andrew Cravenho is believed to have sold the SSQ web platform he developed to one of the Genex companies or its representatives.
Furthermore this is when on the timeline, the redirect scheme began involving webuypayments.net that later in 2011 embroiled David Springer and Sovereign Funding Group as defendants in lawsuits with competitors JG Wentworth and Woodbridge Structured Funding. The Woodbridge lawsuit against Mt. Airy, MD resident David Springer and Sovereign Funding Group, is still pending in Maryland Federal Court. We have reason to believe that during the relevant times, there was a business connection between Genex Capital/ Proctor and David Springer/Sovereign Funding.
When one puts 2 and 2 together, isn't the very notion of the SSQ as an independent bidding system. canceled out by the following statement on the SSQ website? "We shop your payments to our Certified Funders, leading funding companies in the industry pre-approved by us, thereby creating a competition to get you the best price while at the same time saving you the hassle and aggravation of having to deal with numerous companies directly". If the "us" is Genex Capital, then how independent is it? Now this is not to say that Genex Capital cannot get you a good price. But it certainly is not transparent. (emphasis ours). We had to do ALOT of digging to determine the Vancouver nexus from multiple sources.
What I am speaking to is:
Are we observing the promotion of independence (where there appears not to be) and is this something that deserves a serious examination when a company advertises that it has served over 11,000 American** customers to get new customers. Where is the transparency? I asked for this is May 2012 and all that happened in the following months was a ramp up in defamatory attacks against the messenger. Coincidence, or not?
Rule #9 of SSQ's Certified Funder requirements "No Anti-Competitive Practice". Whether or not you deem the conduct of SSQ and those who own or control it to be anti-competitive is subject to interpretation. Given what we've been able to develop and the steps that have been observed to have been taken to conceal the true ownership or control of the website I believe the answer is obvious.
The National Association of Settlement Purchasers states on its website that it is dedicated to ensuring the secondary market for structured settlement transfers remains fair, competitive, and transparent. Genex Capital was listed as a member of NASP at the time of posting.
**(upon information and belief structured settlement cannot be sold in Canada)