Watch Out for Mediation.com

by Jim Melamed
September 2012

Also see: "BBB Complaints Against Mediation.com"

Jim Melamed

After 30 years in the ADR field, the last 17 as CEO of Mediate.com, I have sought to never speak negatively of any other practitioner or ADR organization. Unfortunately, I feel like I need to here violate this commitment. I recommend that you be wary of Mediation.com given their documented fraudulent means of operating and selling. Simply as an illustration, try to figure out who these folks really are, and their prices for services, at their own web site.

Disclosure: Please understand that there is NO affiliation whatsoever between Mediate.com and these people. In fact, please see Mediate.com's Cease and Desist Demands to Mediation.com from June and July (in bold below).

If you are not familiar with the background here, you can get up to speed by reviewing these other resources on this topic:

Please also note that the original complaints that stimulated this discussion were not offered by me, but independently by a savvy colleague who did lots of research and developed an irrefutable 30 page PDF document setting out the unfortunate behavior at Mediation.com and Arbitration.com.

As shown in the links above, Mediation.com and Arbitration.com have appropriated the good names of 1000’s of ADR professionals. As shown below, they have specifically appropriated my name and reputation and the good name of Mediate.com in seeking to rapidly grow their business.

Here is the new information that I have from other ADR colleagues. I did not request any of this support, but have received many dozens of these confirming and supportive notes. I have ultimately concluded that I also owe this disclosure to the field.

Note that the below resources are posted “most recent on top.” Thus, the oldest postings at the bottom include the original contact by Mr. Rough and also my two ‘cease and desist’ emails sent to Mediation.com and Arbitration.com during June and July 2012. Additionally, I told Mr. Rough to stop his deceptive sales techniques during more than one phone call during this period.

From KR to Jim Melamed (9/27/2012)
Hi Jim,

Thanks for this outreach. I've been wanting to touch base with you about my own experience.

A man named Lee Rough contacted me about 6 months ago - aggressively. I finally agreed to a phone meeting about 4 months ago.

He clearly was trying to sell me something for over $500. My reaction was to learn how mediation.com differed from you.

Lee told me you two knew each other well. In our conversation, he stated he feels the name Mediation.com draws more hits than Mediate.com. He said people relate better with mediation than mediate.

He offered me a number of "pro bono" services but in the end, payment was the goal. I declined more than once. He offered to send me samples of work I could expect from his business. I left it with him I would be glad to take a look at what he was speaking about but that I would not leave mediate.com and that I was still not convinced it was even wise to be listed with both. I never have heard from him again.

I've pasted a dictated phone message he left for me in the event it helps you in any way. It is interesting that the numbers he lists for reaching him actually do not. I got a song and dance about this aspect as the conversation launched. My impression of him is a used car salesman.

I'm now sorry I did not alert you months ago but he certainly got no encouragement nor promise of my business. Here is the message. I can download the voice part if that can be of any help...just let me know. GOOGLE VOICE MAIL MESSAGE: . . . This is Lee rough and I am a partner of mediation dot com. I received your information from media Dot Com and to melamet you that your credentials are just exemplary and we wanna be associated with you and we'd like to speak to you on mediation dot com specific to what you do. Because, but I think you do is just tremendous give me a call directly at (561) 271-6484 or you can email me at Lee at mediation dot com for the best time for you would like to speak. Look forward to speaking to you can't take care.

From BG to Jim Melamed (9/27/2012)

They called me the other day. They said that mediate.com was upset because a merger offer was rejected. I told them I was going to sit it out until things get resolved.

-----Original Message-----
From: JAMES MELAMED [mailto:jmelamed@mediate.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2012 2:10 PM
To: BG Subject:
Re: Beware of Mediation.com and Arbitration.com

Hey B,

We are not on good terms with these folks. They are not, in my opinion, a credible company that I would want to be associated with.

Thanks for your support. I will keep you informed.

Jim

From BG to Jim Melamed (9/27/2012)

On Sep 27, 2012, at 8:38 AM, BG wrote:

I was in fact contacted by this outfit. When I told them that I simply could not understand how mediate.com did not sue them for trademark infringement, they responded that they were are on very good terms with y'all. I guess that is no longer the case, if it ever was.

B

-----Original Message-----
From: jmelamed@mediate.com [mailto:jmelamed@mediate.com]
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2012 11:31 AM
To: BG
Subject: Beware of Mediation.com and Arbitration.com This note is being sent to all Premium Members of Mediate.com.

I want to encourage you to review the article and attached materials at www.mediate.com/articles/MediationdotcomFraud.cfm

While we certainly welcome additional honest and credible online services for mediators, I do not believe this is the case with Mediation.com (or Arbitration.com).

In sum: Mediation.com has apparently populated a database with as many as 300,000 "mediator profiles." If you are a mediator, your profile is almost certainly among these listings.

Google searches pick up these individual mediator "listings" and consumers are taken directly to individual listings and given the illusion that they are contacting their chosen and desired individual mediator. Unfortunately, these contact messages are never in fact delivered to the desired mediator but, rather, are redirected to others who have paid (reportedly $500) to be listed on Mediation.com.

In my judgment, this company is fraudulently appropriating our good names and professional reputations and directing business intended for a specific selected professional to others, all without our knowledge.

For these reasons, and also a number of other issues of misrepresentation reported to us by Mediate.com clients, I feel it my responsibility to encourage all mediators and ADR professionals to be wary of listing with Mediation.com and Arbitration.com.

Again, please review the article and attached materials at www.mediate.com/articles/MediationdotcomFraud.cfm for full information in these regards.

Best wishes always,

Jim Melamed, CEO for Mediate.com

From NM to Jim Melamed (9/27/2012)

Hi Jim: Thank you very much for the email regarding mediation.com. I am going to investigate and review the material you sent and follow up with mediation.com. As you know I have been a long-time and loyal Mediate.com member and I value Mediate.com as a leader in our industry, holding great respect for the work and exposure to conflict resolution. I, as a business owner, do not appreciate business that are less than ethical.

From GK to Jim Melamed (9/27/2012)
Jim,

Thanks so much for the head's up. I was approached by these folks. In fact they as much as suggested that they were very friendly with you and Mediate.com and that you had suggested that they should contact me to be the "official mediator" in this territory! It's been a few months ago now, but that's how I remember the conversation. If you can confirm that they are doing what you suspect that they are doing--redirecting inquiries to their approved-for-a-fee mediators--then I would think that you should consider filing a complaint with the consumer division of the attorney general's offices in the states where they are doing business.

It's disappointing that there are so many people in the world more interested in making money than doing the right thing!
From JT to Jim Melamed (9/27/2012)
I was contacted earlier this week and was given a demo of their site. You're right, the annual premium I believe is $500. I didn't go with their service as I am pleased with Mediate.com. Thanks for the email.
From MC to Jim Melamed (9/27/2012)
Jim, I have asked to have myself removed from this site. Thanks for the heads up.
From DD to Jim Melamed (9/27/2012)
Jim -- to reinforce your warning about Mediation.com, I was called by someone claiming to be their CEO; I cannot remember his name. He told me he was a 'colleague' of yours and that I should join his roster. I declined.
From DS to Jim Melamed (9/27/2012)
WOW, Jim. Put the snake in jail!! What will be your next steps?? Anything we can do to help?
From MS to Jim Melamed (9/27/2012)
Dear Mr. Melamed:

Thank you for this important information! As the Ombudsman for the International Foundation for Online Responsibility, I would like to discuss this appropriation issue with its executive director, to explore avenues to confront and address this practice.

Would you have any problem with me discussing this issue with the objective of confronting this misappropriation?
From MP to Jim Melamed (9/27/2012)
Thanks Jim, Yes, I was contacted and they were very aggressive and nasty when I said I wasn't interested. hope all is well with you
From CCto Jim Melamed (9/27/2012)
Jim, do you know whether anyone has contracted the Federal Trade Commission about this behavior? If you think not, let me know and I'll file a complaint.
From DP to Jim Melamed (9/27/2012)
I took a call from what I though was Mediate.com (Jim Melamed’s group) today only to find out that it was a cold call for a new mediation “directory”. What I learned disturbed me a bit. So I’m letting you know what I found on you while trying out this “directory” fairly randomly in various parts of the country. I am also copying leaders of reputable mediation groups in case this affects their members or panelists. Mediation.com has apparently populated a database with over 300,000 “profiles”. Yours and mine were among them. So Google searches would presumably pick up these “listings”. But the interesting part is that users are then given the illusion that they are contacting us (or other “listed” mediators) and those messages are apparently being redirected to people who have paid to be listed on Mediation.com. I have asked that my “listing” be removed so messages intended for me are not redirected to others who pay to receive them. The email exchange with Mediation.com is listed below. I have also attached screenshots of the sequence I went through for each of you too. I would want to know if this happened to me, so I’m passing along this unfortunate news.
From WG to Jim Melamed (9/27/2012)
I was in fact contacted by this outfit. When I told them that I simply could not understand how mediate.com did not sue them for trademark infringement, they responded that they were are on very good terms with y'all. I guess that is no longer the case, if it ever was.
From MP to Jim Melamed (9/27/2012)
Thanks Jim, Yes, I was contacted and they were very aggressive and nasty when I said I wasn't interested. hope all is well with you
From Jim Melamed to Lee Rough of Mediation.com (7/11/2012)

-----Original Message-----
From: JAMES MELAMED
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2012 14:46:15
To:
Subject: Re: Follow up Lee,

I need to again insist that you cease and desist contacting any and all members of our online directories for your commercial gain. We had two more reports today. I am keeping records of all these. I would rather not need to register a formal complaint. Please have your company and staff stop this immediately or I will take action.

Jim Melamed, CEO, Mediate.com

From Jim Melamed to Lee Rough of Mediation.com (6/08/2012)

From: JAMES MELAMED
Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2012 04:59:49 -0700
To: Lee Rough
Subject: Please take note and confirm

Lee,

I hope that you are well.

I received this note yesterday from one of my staff:

HI Jim, I got off the phone with JWM (Client ID 7198). James called to renew and wanted to mention that he is receiving calls from Mediation.com offering featured city/area code placement/services He said, they made it sound as if they are/were/ or will be future "collaboration or affiliated" with us and used your name. I said that I wasn't aware of any collaboration but I would pass on the information to you and thanked him for the info.

-Alexander

This is the third client that I have directly heard from saying that you or someone with Mediation.com is using Mediate.com and my name in your sales efforts. On behalf of RIS and Mediate.com, I need to ask that you and your employees CEASE AND DESIST this sales behavior IMMEDIATELY AND COMPLETELY.

By Jim Melamed, CEO, Mediate.com

From Lee Rough of Mediation.com to Jim Melamed(4/25/2012)

From: Lee Rough
Subject: Re: your contact
Date: April 25, 2012 9:02:10 AM PDT
To: JAMES MELAMED
Reply-To: Lee Rough lee@mediation.com

Jim,

Thanks for getting back to me. I would like to speak with you regarding a couple of potential mutual benefits. I would like to tell you my background and have an intelligent conversation one owner to another

Please let me know when you are available

Look forward to our discussion

Lee Rough Mediation.com

------Original Message------
From: JAMES MELAMED
To: lee@mediation.com
Subject: your contact Sent: Apr 25, 2012 11:57 AM

Lee,

Josh in my office mentioned that you called today.

How can I assist?

Thx

Jim Melamed for Mediate.com


Attachments



TomPronesti.jpg About Tom Pronesti  (TomPronesti.jpg)
Mediation.com Fraud Exposed.pdf Mediation.com & Arbitration.com Fraud Exposed  (Mediation.com Fraud Exposed.pdf)
mediationsalesads.jpg Call Center Sales  (mediationsalesads.jpg)

Biography


Jim Melamed co-founded Mediate.com in 1996 and has served as CEO of Mediate.com ever since.  Mediate.com received the American Bar Association's 2010 Institutional Problem Solver Award.

Before Mediate.com, Jim founded The Mediation Center in Eugene, Oregon in 1983 and served as Executive Director of the Academy of Family Mediators (AFM) from 1987 to 1993. Jim was also the first President and Executive Director of the Oregon Mediation Association (1985-86). Jim's undergraduate degree is in in psychology from Stanford University and his law degree is from the University of Oregon.Jim has received the following awards: The Oregon Mediation Association's 2003 Award for Excellence; The Oregon State Bar's 2006 Sidney Lezak Award of Excellence; The Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) 2007 John Haynes Distinguished Mediator Award; and The 2012 Academy of Professional Family Mediators (APFM) "Getting To Yes" Award.



Additional articles by Jim Melamed