Cambridge Who's Who

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Cambridge Who's Who
Type Private
Industry publishing
Founded Long Island (April 4, 1975 (1975-04-04))
Founder(s) merge of Manchester Who's who and Empire Who's who
Headquarters Uniondale, New York
Area served Worldwide, mainly English-speaking countries
Products Who's who registries, available via membership
Employees ca. 150[1]
Subsidiaries Metropolitan Who's Who
Website www.cambridgewhoswho.com

Cambridge Who's Who is a vanity publisher[2] which highlights people's professional careers by publishing encapsulated biographies.[3] For additional payment, the publisher also provides other promotional services such as press releases, videos and Executive of the Year awards.[2] The company is located in Uniondale, New York.

History[edit]

Cambridge Who's Who, also known as Worldwide Who's Who, is located at 498 RXR Plaza in Uniondale, New York.

As of July 2006 Cambridge Who's Who was established as a merger between Empire Executive and Professional Registry, Inc. and Manchester Who's Who Registries, Inc.[4]

In July 2007, Cambridge Who's Who completed its acquisition of Metropolitan Who's Who, also based in Long Island.[5]

As of 2014, Cambridge Who's Who operated under the umbrella name of Worldwide Who's Who (Worldwide Publishing) and was primarily owned by Randy Harris Narod. Narod also owns Sugar LI (a night club in Carle Place, NY), Butera's Restaurants, DaVinci's Restaurant, Bellmore Bagel Cafe and the Long Island Bagel Cafe chain. [6] He famously disputed with Helmer Toro, former owner of H&H Bagels and convicted felon, in 2012 over a trademark issue. [7] In 1998, Narod consented to findings that he arranged to have an imposter take the Series 7 and 63 exams on his behalf. He was censured, fined $50,000, barred from association with any NASD member in any capacity and required to disgorge all monies earned by him while associated or otherwise employed in the securities industry. [8]

Controversy[edit]

Cambridge Who's Who advertises itself as a database of professionals and "an honor limited to individuals who have demonstrated leadership and achievement in their industry and occupation".[9] It typically solicits persons to list with an unsolicited letter proclaiming that they have been selected for the honor.[10] The company will interview the prospective listee, after which the company will ask the listee for money.[10]

The Guernsey States' Data protection office advised the island inhabitants that the company would charge them hundreds of dollars for non-existing member benefits, even if it was advertising itself as a free service, and that any personal detail submitted to this company could be sold to other companies. It further advised that they shouldn't reply to letters from the company and shouldn't even visit its website.[11]

Writer Beware, a watchdog group from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, published an article from Victoria Strauss explaining that her husband had received an unsolicited email from the company just because he was inside her writer insurance. She claims that there is a network of inter-connected who's who scam companies that keep recycling themselves, and that this company is actually the same company as Metropolitan Who's Who since their logo designs and solicitation letters are identical. She also says that the company was the result of the "merge" of Manchester Who's who and Empire Who's who, with the last company having many complaints registered with the Better Business Bureau. She also says that the Cambridge and Empire companies use hard-selling telephone techniques, first selling themselves as a free service, then giving a high price, then lowering it to make people believe that they are getting a good deal. She says that the companies have many complaints against them in the internet, and that one blogger that denounced them was menaced with legal action, and another blogger was sued for $7 million in damages.[10]

AOL's Daily Finance reports other problems: while the company's name suggests an association with Cambridge, it is actually located in Long Island, as of May 2010 the only way to contact the company was via email, and the privacy policy allows to sell the information to any third party.[12]

In 2006, the company sued Ripoff Report and the Better Business Bureau in the United States for defamation but settled the suit in January 2008.[13][14][15]

In early 2009, Cambridge Who's Who was involved in a breach of security. An executive, Harsharan Sethi, discovered that a set of five back up tapes, or electric storage devices, containing confidential financial information of approximately 400,000 members of Cambridge, as well as thousands of Cambridge employees, were missing and unaccounted for. Sethi urged officials of Cambridge to report the data loss to "appropriate authorities", but the officers alerted no one of the breach. [16]

In 2010, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) labeled the company as a Who's Who scam.[17] There were hundreds of consumer complaints filed against Cambridge Who's Who with various complaint bureaus, reporting fraudulent practices. In early September 2011, the BBB reported 414 complaints filed since April 2007. Based on the confirmation and nature of these complaints, the Better Business Bureau denied accreditation to Cambridge Who's Who.[18] As of 2012, Cambridge Who’s Who had a C grade with the BBB based upon 356 complaints in 3 years.[18]

In 2012, Cambridge Who's Who settled with the Oregon State Department of Justice to pay $15,000 to Oregon consumers, to pay $13,500 to a consumer protection fund, and to bring its sales tactics into compliance with the state's fair trade practices laws.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Who We Are, Cambridge Who's Who 
  2. ^ a b c "Vanity Publisher Agrees to Pay Restitution and Change Sales Script". Media Release. Oregon Department of Justice. June 13, 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  3. ^ "Cambridge Who's Who Publishing Inc.". BBB Business Review. Better Business Bureau. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  4. ^ St. Petersburg Times (Florida) March 22, 2007 Thursday (Lexis). Also merger announcement and general FAQ's in company's website
  5. ^ General FAQs. When was Cambridge Who's Who® established, Cambridge Who's Who, retrieved 27 August 2011 
  6. ^ Randy Narod.com. http://www.randy-narod.com/]
  7. ^ The Wall Street Journal - "Ex-Owner Pokes Hole in Bagel Story". http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444025204577547483187024146.html]
  8. ^ FINRA Disciplinary Actions, December 21, 1998. Also [1]
  9. ^ "Cambridge Who's Who About Us'". Cambridge Who's Who. 2009-08-31. 
  10. ^ a b c Victoria Strauss (2007-04-26), Victoria Strauss -- Beware Who's Who Schemes, Write Beware, watchdog group of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America 
  11. ^ "Islanders warned about scam mail'". BBC. 2009-02-21. 
  12. ^ Beau Brendler (5 May 2010), "Are you Cambridge Who's Who material? So are we all", Daily Finance  (see also Privacy policy in company's website)
  13. ^ The Guardian (London) - Final Edition. December 20, 2008 Saturday. Guardian Money pages, p.8.
  14. ^ Cambridge Who's Who Publishing, Inc. v. Xcentric Ventures, LLC et al, case number 2:2006cv06590 Filed: December 11, 2006 Court: New York Eastern District Court
  15. ^ Cambridge Who's Who Publishing v. Xcentric Ventures, Citizen Media Law Project, links to many of the case papers
  16. ^ Judge Stephen A. Bucaria (25 July 2011), "Sethi v Narod et al", Sup Ct, Nassau County 
  17. ^ "Experts warn against business scam". Salt Lake City: ABC4. July 8, 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2012. 
  18. ^ a b Better Business Bureau: Business Review Reliability Report for Cambridge Who's Who Publishing Inc.

External links[edit]