Coca Cola Removes Claim About Sugar and Diabetes

In the 8 April 2015 video report below, Greg Johnson of the Consumer Defense Resource Group criticized a statement by Coca Cola (UK) that claimed there was no connection between sugar consumption and diabetes. (See from 13 minutes 8 seconds until about 15 minutes.)

By April 11 the statement about sugar and diabetes was removed from Coca Cola’s website.

The article below documents the controversy and provides evidence of the statement that has now been removed.

Holding Companies Accountable

Most of us have had the experience of being in a conversation or discussion with someone and at some point the person responds, “I didn’t say that.”

Consumer advocacy is sometimes like a discussion that criticizes advertising, product labeling, or public statements made by businesses.

Yet, in the Internet age, with less information in print, companies can rewrite their webpages or completely take them down if they are caught making false statements. It’s the same as claiming, “I didn’t say that.” For a consumer advocate, it’s frustrating because you’re constantly dealing with a moving target.

Google Search Results on Diabetes Sugar and Coca-Cola

At the time of this writing (12 April 2015), if you do a Google search for diabetes sugar coca cola, the top (non paid) result out of 623,000 is a statement from Coca-Cola about sugar and diabetes as shown below.

“The reason I knew to search on diabetes sugar and Coca-Cola is because I’d seen the claim on their website years ago, and wanted to review it once more for inclusion in my video.” ~ Greg Johnson

These search results will be changing in the near future, because Coca-Cola has now removed their statement on sugar and diabetes.


Recording and Preserving Removed Internet Content

Fortunately, we’ve placed a saved version of the page in PDF format on Scribd, as shown below.

In addition to saving PDF versions and screenshots of web pages, it’s possible to use the Internet Archive service. The screen shot below is from the archived page as it’s existed for several years up until this week when it was taken down. This screen shot dates back to October 2013. Other more recent screenshots are also available.


Coca-Cola’s Statement on Sugar and Diabetes

Below is Coca-Cola’s present statement on the link between the sugar in their products and diabetes.

Yep, as you noticed, they’ve taken it down. No apology. No revision. No public statement. No forwarding link to more information. Nothing. To their credit, at least the document that had been there for several years directed consumers to the American Diabetes Association website.

Presumably the powers that be at Coca-Cola later decided that the American Diabetes Association might not be a resources they’d want their existing and potential customers to know about. Maybe they are worried about sugar being the next tobacco, along with the health risk and legal implications that go along with it.


Measuring Impact

Sometimes in consumer advocacy work, we are able to engage in a discussion with representatives of a company. This helps document the process, and demonstrate that our work is having an impact. However, there are circumstances where a company won’t comment, won’t respond, and won’t acknowledge that any problem exists or existed. This is to avoid any appearance of fault or legal liability. Because of the huge sugar related lawsuits that may be looming on the horizon, it’s not surprising that Coca-Cola quietly took down their webpage and isn’t going on record about any of what you’ve just read.

Beware of Third-Party Banking Chat Services

Some banks use third-party vended solutions for their customer service. This puts consumers at risk of inadvertently exposing their personal financial information and making it available to someone your bank does not guarantee, fully endorse, review, or control.

Below is an example of a bank that doesn’t provide direct chat support to their customers, but instead outsources it to an inexpensive provider.

If you click on the Contact Us link at the bottom of their site, rather than going to a traditional contact page with an online form or information about locations and phone numbers, a warning message pops up stating:

You will be linking to another website not owned or operated by University of Iowa Community Credit Union. University of Iowa Community Credit Union is not responsible for the availability or content of this website and does not represent either the linked website or you, should you enter into a transaction. We encourage you to review their privacy and security policies which may differ from University of Iowa Community Credit Union.

That’s not very reassuring. If a financial institution feels the need to provide such a disclaimer, they may want to reconsider using what appears to be a less than trusted source.

This statement suggests they don’t know for sure how the third-party provider’s security policies differ from their own, “We encourage you to review their privacy and security policies which may differ from University of Iowa Community Credit Union.”

The resulting chat window appears without providing any information about the chat service provider or what their security policy is.

It’s absurd to think that someone would try to track all this down in a moment when all they want to do is get their customer service need addressed.

An additional usability problem is that users who click on the ‘chat bubble’ icon at the top of the page will be taken directly to the chat session without seeing the disclaimer above.

Whatever company they’ve hired to provide chat support can’t be as good as talking to your local banker.

If you’re working with a financial institution that uses third party customer service chat services, it’s recommended that you directly communicate with your local bankers by phone or stop by the bank for your customer service needs. If you don’t have strong ties to the bank, or are shopping around for a bank, you might want to find one that can offer customer service that’s more personalized and secure.

The screen shots below show more details. Click on an image for a larger gallery view.





Buy Local? … Hardly anything is really ‘local’ these days

Buying local is something we can do to help the economy, increase jobs, and reduce our negative impact on the environment. We feel good when we buy local products made in small batches by community artisans.

Unfortunately, hardly anything is really ‘local’ these days.

Often, we’re buying ‘local’ from someone else who purchased items online and had them shipped from China. So, there’s nothing local about that, except for the fact that someone is scraping profits off the top and overcharging us for something we could buy online. That’s just getting ripped off locally.

Food products advertised as ‘local’ are often only locally marketed or locally distributed. Once these businesses get popular enough, their supply chain expands beyond the local community, beyond the state, and often beyond the local region to keep up with demand.

For most food products you can do a little investigative work and look up the plant number for the product. This will tell you where it’s actually being manufactured.

Go to a local craft show, and you might find items being sold that were purchased on Amazon or from online wholesale distributors. Or, perhaps the materials were purchased from China, then after minimal processing, resold as locally made.

It’s important to evaluate the sourcing of materials and labor for what we buy. What tools and machines were used? Where are those tools and machines from? Are they made in USA?

Buying local involves a lot more than just visiting a store that put a buy local sticker in their window.


Below is an infographic about the benefits of buying local.

CustomMade Buying Local Infographic

Why Buying Local is Worth Every Cent Infographic by CustomMade

Misleading Product Labeling of Natural Foods

A common practice among food producers is to overemphasise the ‘natural’ wholesomeness of products.

This article offers two examples out of many, and is not intended to be singling out a specific product, but instead identifying an overall trend of misleading advertising.

Vegetable Chips

As you can see from the packaging below, the Baked Vegetable Crisps by Good Natured Selects, are stated to have half a serving of vegetables in a single ounce. The ingredients featured predominantly on the packaging are spinach, carrots, and red pepper.


Elsewhere on the product packaging, you’ll see selected contents listed (spinach, carrots, and red bell peppers).


If you go to the product page on the company’s official website, you won’t see a list of ingredients.

The ingredients are only listed on the product packaging itself in the nutrition panel as shown below.


As you can see from the list of ingredients above, the chips have more sugar in them than carrots, red peppers, spinach. In fact, there’s more maltodextrin than spinach. The exclusive emphasis on the vegetable contents is misleading considering that these are added in such a small quantities.

For this product, the sugar content is surprising, yet not extremely high at 3 grams per bag (about 10% of the product is sugar). So, what we learn is that the veggie ingredients are less than 10%, and judging from the list, spinach is likely in the single digits.

An example of honest advertising would be Terra Chips brand veggie chips. They are vegetable chips that don’t just contain vegetables, they actually are vegetables.

12-Grain Bread

Brownberry 12-Grain Bread is another example of a product that overemphasizes certain desirable ingredients, in this case various grains. A consumer wanting to eat significant amounts of diverse grains, might buy the bread for this reason.


However, a quick look at the ingredients shows the following:


So, in fact, the bread has more iron, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, water, and sugar than the other 10 grains that are advertised on the product.

An example of honest advertising would be the Ezekiel 4:9 multi-grain bread. It’s advertised as a multigrain bread, and these are the ingredients: Organic Sprouted Wheat, Filtered Water, Organic Sprouted Barley, Organic Sprouted Millet, Organic Malted Barley, Organic Sprouted Lentils, Organic Sprouted Soybeans, Organic Sprouted Spelt, Fresh Yeast, Organic Wheat Gluten, Sea Salt.

PaperKarma Website Displays Random User Email Notice

PaperKarma is an amazing app for iOS, Android, and Windows mobile devices. The app lets you take photos of your unwanted postal mail and submit them for removal from the sender’s list.

For some reason, at the time of this writing, the website is showing a password reset request for a random user. It shows up, and then disappears for anyone visiting the site. See below for a screen shot. Click the image for a larger view. It seems that everyone who lands on the site is inadvertently initiating a password reset request that’s being sent to Visit the website to see for yourself.


Google Promotes “The Interview” Movie and Tobacco to Under-Age Viewers While Offending Billions of People — Gets Kicked Out of China


The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rates movies based on a variety of criteria and determines an acceptable viewing audience. According to (the MPAA rating site), The Interview, by featuring Seth Rogen and James Franco, is rated as ‘R’ due to “pervasive language, crude and sexual humor, nudity, some drug use and bloody violence.” Colombia Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment were in the news due to conflicts with North Korea over the movie.

This article isn’t intended to be a review of the movie, but instead an assessment of how it has been promoted, and what the impact has been.

Since its release, and up to the time of this writing, Google has been promoting The Interview in the Google Play store side-by-side with children’s games as shown below.


The Interview seems out of place with game titles like Club Penguin, Gummy Drop!, My Emma, and Pop Bugs. It’s like advertising cigarettes to children. In this case, it’s literally true since the film shows people smoking. There’s a legal disclaimer at the end of the film stating that the use of tobacco in the film wasn’t a paid endorsement (just a free one).

A Popular Genre of Cinema

There’s unarguably a popular genre of vulgar and gross teen comedy films like The Interview that have a cult following — even among adults. Just as comedian Sarah Silverman draws crowds of people to be entertained and offended by her shocking and often ‘inappropriate’ style of vulgar humor, films like The Interview are praised for their shock value and intentional offensiveness.

Such content seems to be increasingly in demand. Just as people pay to go on a roller coaster ride at an amusement park, people are equally willing to pay to be shocked by entertainment that is offensive. They want to be offended. This explains the popularity of films like American PieThe Hangover, JackassSuperbad, and others.

Problematic Promotion

However, the promotion of The Interview is problematic. First, the movie received world-wide attention by the news media. Capitalizing on this, Google is promoting the movie in a way intended to reach a wider general audience than these films are generally intended for. Of course, the original news stories weren’t part of the formal promotion of the movie (unless the news media was manipulated by the entertainment industry for promotional reasons).

Unlike a movie theatre where people can be easily ID’d prior to entering, or accompanied by an adult, streamed movies on the Internet are delivered to millions of homes with little or no restriction to who might viewing.

When you watch the movie, there is no clear rating declaration at the beginning. So, many viewers, young and old alike, who might otherwise avoid such content, will be lured into viewing the movie based on the trailer and numerous fluff reviews.

The Ramping Up Effect

The movie ramps up the levels of bloody violence, vulgarity, and nudity toward the middle and end, so that parents watching the beginning of the film to preview it will conclude that it’s typical teen humor.

Similarly, the average viewer will be drawn in as far as they are willing to go, and like the frog in the kettle, will find toward the end they are taking in images and content they might otherwise have avoided.

It may seem a little nit-picky to bring up such points. To those who are immersed in the violent visuals of today’s ‘first person’ video games and fully acclimated to vulgarity on television, in the movies, in music, and in comedy, The Interview probably seems fairly normal. To those who aren’t regularly exposed to that kind of content, the film probably seems inappropriate and culturally insensitive.

Lack of Targeted Promotion is a Disservice

Ultimately, Sony and Google do a disservice to the film and the genre by not limiting its promotion and release to a warm market. When this happens, reviews are skewed. Rather than having a film watched by and rated by the people who might most enjoy it and appreciate it, the film is released to people who aren’t acclimated to that particular brand of humor — and possibly never will embrace it.

The film is now being pushed to a world market, that’s already primed with interest, yet perhaps unaware that the movie contains crude humor and graphic bloody violence.

What’s unfortunate is that the film could have just as easily been produced in a way to meet PG-13 standards and been much more successful, and more widely appreciated.

Cultural Sensitivity and Global Response

At the time of this writing, the film has earned nearly $18M and is Sony’s top online film ever. (Source: NPR). So, American’s have spoken, and they’ve said, “We like this kind of humor, and indeed this kind of movie, more than anything else presently available.”

The film is perceived in the U.S. to be an act of demonstrating free speech, a criticism of North Korea, and in this case, a victory over those who would threaten to censor the film.

To foreigners watching the film, it is perceived as an example of American humor and the content produced by the U.S. film industry. It’s become our ambassador to world community (at least during its 15 minutes of fame).

Because of its content, the film serves to embolden those who advocate censorship of content from “the West.” In this regard, it provides an abundance of examples showing why anti-American jihadists should continue their struggle through war and censorship, concluding “If this is what America has to offer, we don’t want it.” The film is a Christmas gift to those who want to portray Americans as vulgar.

Google Blocked in China Days After Film Launch

While The Interview intends to be about North Korea, the potentially offensive jokes could just as easily be poorly received by people in other countries such as China, for example.

Drawing from bigoted caricatures, the movie pokes fun at portraying how Asians sound when speaking English. This is an outdated trope that is viewed by some as funny, but perceived by others as borderline offensive. At one point in the movie, someone holding a cute puppy proclaims, “Guess who’s going back to America where they don’t eat doggies?” Making fun of people with Asian accents, and making derogatory references to the animals eaten in Asian countries, might make some people laugh, but other people could very well take offense at these jokes.

It’s not surprising that only a few days after the heavy promotion of this film by Google on their search page, in the Play Store, and through a direct email campaigns. China has now blocked Google Gmail and Google’s search page.

The Search Page Campaign

Below is Google’s home search page as of Christmas morning. With the power of reaching approximately 210 million people every month (about 7 million people per day), Google chose to promote The Interview on Christmas day with a direct link to the streaming movie in their Play store. Click the image for a larger view.

Google promoting The Interview on their search page with a direct link to the streaming movie in their Play store.

The Email Campaign

The screen snip below shows an example of the direct email campaign launched by Google to promote the movie on Christmas day.


Disingenuous Disclaimer

At the end of The Interview, during the final moments of the credits, a legal disclaimer from Sony and the film’s affiliates states:

“The characters, incidents, and locations portrayed and the names herein are fictitious, and any similarity to or identification with the location, name, character or history of any person, product or entity is entirely coincidental and unintentional.”

You’ve got to be kidding me. So, it’s entirely coincidental that there’s a country called North Korea and political leader called Kim Jong-un. Did the producers really say, “Oh, really? Wow, we had no idea when making the film that these places and people actually exist! What a coincidence!”

That’s like someone slapping you in the face, and then saying, “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize I just slapped you in the face. (slap again) Was that your face? Oh, I’m sorry. (slap again).”

It would have been more sincere to say something like, “We intentionally spent millions of dollars making fun of another country’s leader, and joking about his assassination, and we knew full well we were doing it.” At least that would be honest. So, now we’re offensive and misleading. Great. This should generate lots of support and goodwill.

Movie Review of The Interview

This is likely a film that is destined to win the “Worst Movie Ever” and “Best Movie Ever” awards in the same year. For further reading, you can click here for a thoughtful movie review of The Interview.

Movie Poster

Below is the movie poster for The Interview.


North Korean Reaction

For those unfamiliar with the controversy surrounding the film, here is a brief excerpt from the Wikipedia page about the movie and North Korea’s response to it — which suggests they didn’t find the humor in the movie.

On June 20, 2014, Kim Myong-chol, an unofficial spokesman for the North Korean government, said The Interview “shows the desperation of the US government and American society … a film about the assassination of a foreign leader mirrors what the US has done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine.”[16]

On June 25, 2014, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the state-run news agency of North Korea, reported that the government promised “stern” and “merciless” retaliation if the film were released, stating that “making and releasing a film that portrays an attack on our top-level leadership is the most blatant act of terrorism and war and will absolutely not be tolerated.”[17][18] The Guardian wrote that the film premise “touched a nerve inside the regime, which takes a dim view of satirical treatment of its leaders and is notoriously paranoid about perceived threats to their safety”[19] and that North Korea had a “long history of sabre-rattling and of issuing harsh threats that it does not act upon.”[20]

On July 11, 2014, North Korea’s United Nations ambassador Ja Song-nam condemned The Interview, saying that “the production and distribution of such a film on the assassination of an incumbent head of a sovereign state should be regarded as the most undisguised sponsoring of terrorism as well as an act of war.”[21] The Guardian remarked that his comments were “all perfect publicity for the movie.”[21] On July 17, 2014, the KCNA wrote to U.S. president Barack Obama, asking to have the film pulled.[22]

In August 2014, shortly after The Interview ’​s release was delayed to December 25, it was reported that Sony had made post-production alterations to the film to reduce its insensitivity to North Korea. These changes included modifying the designs of buttons worn by characters, originally modelled after real North Korean military buttons praising the country’s leaders, and plans to cut a portion of Kim Jong-un’s death scene.[23]

Rogen predicted that the film would make its way to North Korea, stating that “we were told one of the reasons they’re so against the movie is that they’re afraid it’ll actually get into North Korea. They do have bootlegs and stuff. Maybe the tapes will make their way to North Korea and cause a revolution.”[11] Business Insider reported via Free North Korea Radio that there was high demand for bootleg copies of the film in North Korea.[24] The human rights organizations Fighters for a Free North Korea and Human Rights Foundation, which previously air-dropped offline copies of the Korean Wikipedia into North Korea on a bootable USB memory device,[25] plan to distribute DVD copies of The Interview via balloon drops.[26]

Update: 31 December 2014

As of 12:30 AM on 31 December 2014, Google has modified their promotion of The Interview in the Google Play store so that it is no longer listed adjacent to video games for kids. We applaud Google for their prompt corrective action in this matter.

Google MyTracks: Crowd-Sourced Collective Brain Drain

MyTracks is a software app for Android devices that was initially developed by Google under a closed license. Here’s a brief introduction to the history of MyTracks from WikiPedia:

The application made its debut on February 12, 2009 under a closed license.[1] A year later on March 28, 2010, Google announced the release of the source code and open-sourcing of the application, stating “The collective intelligence of the development community will create a more powerful, more intuitive, more useful, and more robust My Tracks.”[4]

It’s nice of Google to acknowledge the value of the “collective intelligence of the development community.”

It’s certainly true that community driven collaborative, cooperative, collective, and open-source projects produce great results. MyTracks is a great example of this.

The first major re-haul of the application came on July 13, 2012 when Google released version 2.0 of the application. Version 2.0 introduced a new interface, support for playing back data in Google Earth for Android, improved charts, and additional statistics.[5]

Shortly after all of these beneficial enhancements and features were added to the MyTracks app, Google promptly announced that they would be discontinuing the app as an open source project, and bringing the programming code (developed by the public) back under a privately owned license.

This raises questions about the fairness of a private for-profit enterprise using “the collective intelligence of the development community” for their own personal gain without offering any compensation to those who invested their time in the project.

The kind of people who dedicate their time to developing open source software do so out of a belief in the open source principles, such as the collective public ownership of open-source projects and what they produce.

If the developers involved knew that their contribution would eventually be privately owned by a for profit corporation, would they have contributed so much time helping develop MyTracks?

Considering the substantial contributions of the open source community to the development of MyTracks, should Google be obligated (or feel morally compelled) to give something back?


Apple App Store Pricing Model Flawed

Over the past 30+ years, there has been a pricing model for computer programs that has generally worked quite well: Anyone buying a new product pays full price, and people who are already a customer using a previous product get a discount.

This pricing model seems fair for everyone involved. Users of a program pay a small price for the marginal incremental benefits they gain when getting the next version.

This helps software developers because even if a marketplace is saturated, they can at least make some money selling upgrades.

With the Apple App Store pricing model, once a consumer purchases a software program for their phone or computer, they get free upgrades for life. This pricing model can only work in the short-term because new sales will diminish as the program is more widely used.

Vendors will be pressured to constantly find new customers, since their existing customers won’t be paying for any future versions of your flagship products.

Imaging having a company with hundreds of employees working all year long preparing to launch the new version of your software program. When the program goes on sale, there are millions of downloads. However, those millions of downloads don’t produce any revenue because they are for people who already paid for your product in previous years.

Business doesn’t work this way. Usually, whatever industry you’re in, you build a customer base and continue to sell to those customers — new products or enhancements to existing ones. This customer base is a kind of equity. You don’t have to re-create your entire customer base each year.

Eventually, software developers will grow tired of working hard to make their programs compatible with the latest devices and operating systems, as well as adding new features, yet not be financially compensated for their ongoing work.

What we need is a pricing model where a new software purchase might cost $5 (for example), and upgrades would be $1. At least software developers could rely on some income for their ongoing work.

Janet Wilson 786-480-7658 SCAM FRAUD

Text SMS Message Exchange with Janet Wilson

On Friday, 17 October 2014 at 12:43 PM CT we received a text message from someone claiming to be Janet Wilson. Here are some excerpts from the exchange we had with this person. Our replies were brief, so they are not reposted here. However, as you can see by these messages, there are grammar errors and incomplete sentences.

  • I am hearing impaired you can only text me or email me, this is Janet wilson,can you handle website design for my new company? i will like you to get back to me via email address at thanks, Janet
  • or can we talk more here pls
  • i have new company and the company based on importer and exporting of Agriculture products such as Kola Nut, Gacillia Nut and Coaco so i need a best of the best layout design for it. can i have anyone that you havd done so far for a company so that i could know where we start. i will like to hear from you asap.
  • sorry for the delay
  • sorry am currently in west africa to get some agricultural products and my photo grapher busy to snap some products which am going to use with the design so am
  • i send you email recently you can check your email and get back to me with the total estimate and hope we could start working before i would be back
  • okay i will like to know if you accept credit card for the payment and i would be expecting your qupotation any time from now
  • vefry urgent sir
  • if it possible by next week i would be happy
  • may i know your name and location?
  • i just wanna sure of
  • am very happy to know you and I hope you would put smile to my face after you finish up with my company’s website
  • i hope we could disscuse a little about my company website here?
  • i willl like to know how long it will take you to design and hosting bcus am need it very urgenly

After the comment about being in Africa, I asked what time it was there. This is the reply I got.

  • 12:40
  • i understand you sir ?

So, I asked:

Is that 12:40 AM
12:40 PM

and got the reply:

  • are you not ready to finish up with me here
  • i have many assignment to do here cus i want to know the total cost and i will like to know if you accept cc for the payment ?
  • check this site for the quote anyway Http://

Email Message from

I’d also sent an email message in response to the initial text message. This is the response I got from Janet Wilson:

From: janet wilson <>
Date: Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 5:47 PM
Subject: Re: Website Design

Thanks for your reply,

I am hearing impaired you can only text me or email to get all the info about my company website, that is the why i was texting to confirmed if you could Handle design for the website and i am happy to see your reply, i hope we could successful work together.

i have new company and the company based on importer and exporting of Agriculture products such as Kola Nut, Gacillia Nut and Cocoa so i need a best of the best layout design for it and can i have anyone that you have done so far for a company so that i could know where we start or check out this site but i need more perfect than this if its possible.






That all i can provide from my means and i hope you understand what i listed above or should use this sample below to give me the quote for the website;

Kindly checkout this sample and also use it to give me the estimate for the design and hosting;

I will love to know your name and location, I hope to hear from u soon.



[There were 497 blank lines here that have been removed in reposting this.]

Janet Wilson
Tel: 469 874 0016

Feedback from Others

Here are some quotes from others who have apparently been contacted from the same person or people. In these examples the originating number was 502-822-6036 (a Louisville, Kentucky number). These comments are from a page on, a site dedicated to identifying unsolicited telemarketing scams.

  • “This same Janet Wilson contacted us about a website and had a similar story about going out of the country to “Indian” and needed to pay a consultant, etc. She texted us numerous times and the by email using the email too. Total scam!” (14 October 2014)
  • “BEWARE! I just received a text that says: ‘I am hearing impaired you can only text or email me and This is Janet Wilson, can you handle website design for my new company? i will like you to getbackto me asap. thanks Janet.’ Her email is:  Then she went on to explain that she is a music teacher and instructor for disabled kids. Which seems nice but many red flags are flying here. Her texts all have grammar errors, typos & her story has many inconsistencies. She also said later in the texts that she can hear but cant talk. And she lied about knowing one of my current customers. When I confirmed with the customer they do not know her. SO, I began searching for her online and did a phone number search. That is how I found these responses & felt it necessary to share my story too.” (11 August 2014)
  • “This person contacted me via text about a fake business proposition and said he would send me $5000 on a credit card if I could send him back $1,500 to pay a consultant. His name was obviously fake, he gave a fake referral name and said he couldn’t talk on the phone because he was hearing impaired.” (26 March 2014)
  • “I received the same sort of text message. He wanted a website and hosting urgently. He indicated that he was from Kentucky but presently in Africa “to get some agricultural product” and will be back to states in two weeks time. Gave a bogus name as a referral. Kinda creeps me out.” (2 April 2014)

Republic Wireless and the Motorola Moto X Motomaker

Update: 26 November 2014

This article had previously been titled “Republic Wireless Misleads Consumers About Motorola Moto X Motomaker.” However, on 26 November 2014, Republic Wireless made a public announcement stating that they would soon be supporting the second generation Moto X phone through their own site and through the Motorola MotoMaker page.




Since the original posting of the article below on September 30, continuing through October and November, we contacted Republic Wireless and Motorola about the concerns expressed below. Representatives at Motorola seemed concerned and stated they would escalate this issue. Absent any official statement from either company, we can’t know what impact we had on bringing this clarification about, but we’re thankful that Republic Wireless is now acknowledging the existence of the Motorola Moto X 2nd generation phone and the MotoMaker program.

* * *

Moto X Moto Maker is NOT Discontinued

If you do a Google search for Republic Wireless Moto Maker, you’ll find over 300,000 results. The top results are for the Republic Wireless page that informs consumers about the Moto Maker program.


If you visit the  Moto X page on the Republic Wireless website, you’ll see in big print that the phone can be customized, and there’s a bright green button that states, “Design your Moto X Now.” (Click image below to enlarge).


If you click on that button, you’ll be taken to a page with this statement on their website:

Customizable Moto Maker options for Moto X have ended as of 9/23/14. Normally this page would tell you you’re leaving Republic Wireless to go build your very own Moto X on Moto Maker. But! All the Moto X Moto Maker phones are sold out. No more. Done-zo. All gone. Finito. (source)


This statement would lead people to believe that the customizable Moto X design is no longer available. That’s just not true, as can be seen on the Motorola Moto Maker web page.

Honesty is the Best Policy

It would be more honest and transparently informative to simply state the following:

“The Motorola MotoMaker program is still alive and well. However, we just don’t currently have that as an option at Republic Wireless. So, if you’re really set on buying a customized Motorola phone, you can still do so, but you must use another wireless provider. We hope to offer these in the future, but can’t promise anything.”

For some people, their device of choice is really the deal breaker/maker and they will choose a carrier accordingly. Many people who chose the iPhone early on when it was first offered, had to switch carriers to AT&T in order to use that device. People switched by the millions. They cared more about the device than they did the service provider.

Republic Wireless needs to do the right thing, and let consumers know that the MotoMaker option is still available, just not with them as a carrier.

Poor Customer Service Experience

If you try to engage in a chat session with customer service at Republic Wireless,  you’ll likely be mistreated. At least that was my experience (see transcript below). In fact, had the customer service person been a little less defensive, this article might not even have been written.

Here’s the customer service chat exchange from today at 1:43 PM inquiring about this issue:

Republic Wireless (Brandon)

Hi, How may I help you?


On this page, you prominently advertise the Moto X and the ability to customize it: https://republicwire…

There’s a button that says, “Design Your Moto X Now”

Clicking on the button takes you here:

Here’s the statement on that page:

Customizable Moto Maker options for Moto X have ended as of 9/23/14. Normally this page would tell you you’re leaving Republic Wireless to go build your very own Moto X on Moto Maker. But! All the Moto X Moto Maker phones are sold out. No more. Done-zo. All gone. Finito.

Republic Wireless (Brandon)

We recently stopped the Moto Maker option. If you go onto our main page you will see that the link is not there anymore. It ended on Sept 23


… but Moto Maker wasn’t an option on your site, it was and still is an option on the Motorola site. The statement is a bit misleading.

For those really wanting a customized Motorola phone, it is actually still available.

Telling the truth may result in your losing customers, but it’s the right thing to do.

Republic Wireless (Brandon)

I am telling you the truth. The Moto Maker option through Republic ended on Sept. 23


What I’m saying is that the statement on your site is a bit misleading, that’s all.

Some people really like the idea of making a custom phone. They will be lead to believe that option isn’t available any more. So, they will just go ahead and get a non-customized phone through Republic Wireless. Then later, they will find out that they could have had that amazing customized phone they really wanted, but they would have had to go with another carrier. This is the point left our on your website.

All I’m saying is that for those customers who forgo the customized phone, believing (from reading on your site that it’s no longer available), those people will feel mislead.

Your statement should read, “You can still customize your own Moto X phone, but if you do, you’ll need to find another carrier. Republic Wireless only offers two designs (black and white) of the Moto X.” It’s really just that simple. Just let people know that there’s another option.

Republic Wireless (Brandon)

Thanks for insight. However, if you click on the link, we are not misleading. We are making it clear that Moto Maker option is not available through Republic as well as giving you the date. Also, we are allowing you to sign up for updates in case the option becomes available with future devices.

Brandon has closed the chat.

Rude Customer Service Person

While I was typing a reply, the chat was abruptly ended by the customer service representative (Brandon). This is the equivalent of hanging up the phone on someone.

Republic Wireless Website

The image below is a snapshot from the Moto Maker page on the Republic Wireless website from 30 September 2014 at 2:00 PM CT. They are leaving their Moto Maker landing page live, presumably to bring in search traffic, then misleading people into believing the Moto Maker is discontinued. Click the image for a larger view.


Republic Wireless Statement

After Tweeting about this issue, using the @republicwireless tag, there was an immediate response from the company via a direct Twitter message stating the following:

“Not even sure where to start with that one. 1st Gen Moto X phones were sold out on the Moto Maker site. They have since been replaced with 2nd Gen Moto X options available for pre-order through certain carriers. Regardless – Moto X phones on Moto Maker with RW service are currently unavailable. While we may understandably be in one of the most hated industries known to man we’re a small startup of people trying to disrupt said industry b/c we feel the same pain points with it you do.”

That said, apologies you were left unsatisfied with you chat session. Brandon is one of our favs and we’re glad to talk.

Public Interest

There’s significant interest in this issue as represented by the hundreds of people visiting this page. Recent visits (as of 10 November 2014) are represented on the maps below. Click an image for a larger gallery view.

Research, Advocacy, Awareness, Prevention, Support

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