In October 2018, Mike Podesto, a resume competitor and the owner of Find My Profession, began writing fake 1-star reviews of me (Wendi Weiner Attorney Resume Writer) and other prominent executive resume writers, while also writing self-ranked top 10 lists and fake 5-star reviews of his own business to deter our Google traffic and harm our businesses and professional reputations. I want to share with you the events over the course of the last year and a half, but I want to start with the most recent fake negative review left about my business.
Mike Podesto’s Most Recent Fake Yelp Review
On February 24, 2019, I received a 2-star review from “Keith B.” to my Yelp page.
The image of “Keith B.” depicts a delivery guy from a Ring camera doorbell photo (seen below) that could only be accessed and downloaded by the homeowner or resident of the home. Now, look at a picture of Mike’s blue house easily found on his Google Maps page, located in Parker, CO (where “Keith’s” city/state is listed). Notice the architectural detail by the door. It’s a similar, if not, the same structural detail from a different angle.
Coincidentally, Mike has a 5-star review from “Keith Butler” on Google promoting his Top 10 Resume Writing Services for Executives LinkedIn article.
Now that we started with the end in mind, and showed you Mike’s deceptive marketing practice of leaving fake negative reviews on competitor’s pages while writing 5-star positive reviews on his own third-party sites, let me bring you back to the beginning of how it all began and how the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has since intervened with an advertising report on Find My Profession.
Mind you, this fake review isn’t a one-time event and I am not the only competitor of Mike Podesto’s who has been repeatedly targeted.
How It All Began With Mike Podesto
In 2017, Mike Podesto reached out to me on LinkedIn trying to solicit me as a writer for his new resume business. I ignored multiple messages until July 25, 2017, when he asked about my business and my prices. At that point, I told him that I didn’t outsource my work nor work for others.
Soon after our exchange, Mike Podesto wrote a post on LinkedIn stating, “I was shocked to discover that there are professionals out there paying $2,500+ for a resume. I don’t care if you make $50,000 or $500,000, that is insane! First things first. Call 911. Report this robbery…..$2,500? Really?”
Mike, being new to the industry, may not have realized that there are hundreds of executive resume writers that charged $2,000 and above. I have never begrudged anyone for what they charge as long as they bring value and results to their client. It’s unfortunate that Mike seemed to feel the need to attack those of us that are able to command these prices because of the work we do. He was of course entitled to his opinion just as I am. But despite ridiculing those that charge $2,000 and above, Mike then decided to embrace us and piggyback off our reputations through a series of SEO-targeted articles that self-reviewed us and then dropped fake 1-star reviews on us. These articles came a few months after he gave birth to the LinkedIn Top 10 Resume Writing Services for Executives List.
The LinkedIn Top 10 Resume Writing Services for Executives List
In early February 2018, I received a call from Mike Podesto, telling me that he was writing a top 10 executive resume writers list and he wanted to put me on it. I told him I did not want to be associated with someone who publicly attacked higher-priced executive resume writers. He stated he was going to write it anyway.
In February 2018, Mike launched his top 10 list on LinkedIn, self-ranking his company, Find My Profession, as #1 without disclosing he was the author (in direct violation of FTC advertising guidelines.).
Several prominent colleagues were also put on the list.
The image below is an updated version of the article using the 2019 year in the title, but you can see it was originally published on February 23, 2018 (note: the comments were disabled around February 2019 after the resume industry was put on notice of his deceptive marketing practices).
On that same date, I blocked Mike Podesto from my social media accounts because (1) he knew I said no to being on the list, and (2) I did not want to be associated with a top 10 list that committed a deceptive marketing practice. Important to note, several resume writers reached out to Mike asking to be removed from the article. He refused, threatening to leverage his “influence” on LinkedIn.
Significantly, I rank on page 1 of Google because of my media features (which are high-ranking domains that link back to my website), and the other prominent writers listed in that article do too. By putting us in that article, Mike knew if the article hit Google, it would drive it up the first-page rankings since LinkedIn has higher authority than our own websites, and consumers/job seekers see LinkedIn as an influential site.
Mike’s article hit the top of page 1 just below PPC advertisement links. So much for ridiculing $2,000+ resume writers. It seems as though he wants to be just like us. 😉
Mike Podesto’s Fake Reviews of Wendi Weiner
On October 23, 2018, 8 months after Mike Podesto published the LinkedIn article, which ranked at the top of page 1 on Google, I randomly received a 1-star review on Trustpilot (a site I don’t even use, but one that Mike promotes all over his website and LinkedIn profile).
The fake reviewer was named “Zachary Taylor.”
First, I have never had a client by this name. Second, my resumes are written from scratch, so I would not have “copied and pasted the content” into a “nicer format/design.” But most importantly, I referenced back to the 2017 LinkedIn exchange I had with Mike when he was trying to recruit me to write for his company where he says, “I like the resumes you make, the samples look nice.”
On its own, this is a small circumstantial detail. But, keep reading.
That SAME day, within minutes of each other, FIVE $2,000 executive resume writers listed in Mike Podesto’s Top 10 LinkedIn article also received 1-star reviews from “Zachary Taylor,” using similar language saying the resume was not worth the price paid.
In the words of Miss Hannigan, “Leaping Lizards!”
Do you believe that “Zachary Taylor” invested in FIVE $2,000 executive resume writers (i.e. $10,000) and is displeased with ALL FIVE?
“Zachary Taylor” also claims in his reviews that he reported this to the “National Association of Resume Writers” (note: NARW is not a real resume writing association — you will learn the significance of this slip later on).
The real organization, the National Resume Writers’ Association (NRWA), was never contacted by “Zachary Taylor.”
The same “Zachary Taylor” review was then posted to my Google account using the name “Stacia Hartman.”
I also never had a client named “Stacia Hartman.”
“Stacia Hartman” also provided a 1-star review of one of the prominent resume writers who also received a 1-star review from “Zachary Taylor.”
Do you believe that “Stacia Hartman” invested in TWO $2,000 executive resume writers and is displeased with both, as well as the “price” paid?
On that same date the “Zachary Taylor” and “Stacia Hartman” reviews were posted on Trustpilot and my Google page, a review from “Hans Keener” was also posted to the Google page of one of the other $2,000 resume writers placed on Mike’s top 10 list.
Looks familiar doesn’t it? Scroll back up and compare.
Curious to see who “Hans Keener” was, I looked him up on LinkedIn, and noticed a written recommendation Hans posted on Mike Podesto’s LinkedIn profile back in September 2017:
It seemed rather odd that BOTH “Hans Keener” and “Stacia Hartman” had the SAME “1-star” experience with TWO $2,000 executive resume writers in October 2018, advising their resumes were “no better than the one I originally sent her.”
It also led me to wonder that if “Hans” was so happy with the work that he so openly praised Mike Podesto for, would he have needed to go to TWO different $2,000 resume writers??
Wouldn’t he have just gone back to the original writer who was a “great asset” to him??
Yes, I too hear the chants of that famous line from The Princess Bride…
The Correlation of Fake Reviews to Mike Podesto’s Reviews
It didn’t stop there. I subsequently discovered a post on the Indeed career forum by “Stacia Hurley” advertising Mike’s top 10 list with his company in the #1 slot. I later learned that Mike had been all over the Indeed career forums promoting his top 10 list.
This specific post by “Stacia Hurley” stated: “I used Find My Profession. They have a 60-day interview guarantee and it fit more with me as I am seeking executive roles.”
Then there was the glowing 5-star review by “Stephanie Hurley” on Mike’s Google business page in early 2019 promoting his company’s services and letting the world know that her “experience with Find My Profession was unlike any other career service” she had used.
Sounds like a classic advertisement and not even a real review, doesn’t it? I’ll let you read it for yourself…
“High-end resume” in 2015 that was “$2,000” and it didn’t work, but in 2019 you paid a “new company” that had a “high number of 5-star reviews?”
The review’s language seemed highly suspect, but, more importantly, what about the number of aliases that all linked back to Mike Podesto: Stacia Hartman, Stacia Hurley, Stephanie Hurley….this is starting to sound like the movie Sybil.
Of important note, the day before the fake reviews were posted to my Google and Trustpilot pages, Mike Podesto updated his LinkedIn article to promote his company, Find My Profession, as the #1 executive resume services company for 2018 and 2019, and informed his LinkedIn network of the new 2019 list. The timing couldn’t have been any better for him.
Mike wrote on his LinkedIn post listing the “pros” for why his company was #1, specifically stating that Find My Profession “is the most reasonably priced resume writing service specifically for executives that we could find. The website was also very clean and easy to navigate.”
Prominent $2,000 resume writers were being bombarded with fake 1-star reviews, and Mike Podesto was just sitting there collecting all of these 5-star reviews (from the same or similar aliases) on his Sitejabber and Trustpilot pages.
He was also getting recommendation after recommendation from his “massive LinkedIn network,” many of whom could not speak to actually working with him (as a client), but they were commenting left and right on his posts to accelerate his visibility on there and draw more traffic to his page and the Top 10 article.
Mike promoted his brand while those of us with fake reviews were stressed out and sending letters to third-party sites trying to get our fake reviews removed.
Wendi Weiner Attorney Resume Writer Retains Legal Counsel Against Mike Podesto
On the day this happened, despite being an attorney, I retained my own legal counsel and sent a cease and desist letter that specifically advised Mike the following: “While the fake reviews have been reported as false and requested for removal, this correspondence serves as Ms. Weiner’s formal notice and demand that you immediately retract any and all fraudulent reviews regarding Ms. Weiner and her business, and cease and desist from writing any further defamatory reviews, articles, and/or other material regarding Ms. Weiner and her business.”
Mike’s response to the cease and desist letter included these statements:
I highlighted the words “Sitejabber and Trustpilot” because Mike Podesto never posted fake reviews of me on Sitejabber, but one of the prominent writers on his top 10 list had been bombarded with multiple fake reviews on Sitejabber and Google. To date, she still has 3 fake 1-star reviews from Google that cannot be taken off.
Mike’s name-dropping of “Sitejabber” was a slip on his part, but an important one to be remembered.
BTW, the Trump reference was probably the strangest thing I’ve ever seen in a cease and desist response. One for the books!
Mike then stated:
I reported all of the fake reviews to the senior legal team members and compliance teams of the third-party review sites. Mine were taken down immediately within hours, but for my colleague who was carpet-bombed with 20+ fake reviews, it took over a month, even longer.
5 days later, Mike published an article about me entitled “Wendi Weiner Lawsuit Against Competition for Fake Reviews.” He attached the link to the post and broadcasted it to his “massive” LinkedIn network. If it got enough clicks, it would rank on Google when you searched for my name.
In the article and post, Mike doesn’t tell you that he was the recipient of the cease and desist. BTW, that photo that Mike used was reproduced (without permission) from a podcast interview I did with Ryan Rhoten, which is my highest listened to podcast interview to date. Done of course to create confusion for others.
Mike Podesto Writes More Fake Reviews of Other Competitors
$2,000 executive resume writers weren’t the only ones in receipt of fake reviews from Mike Podesto. Those offering similar services to Mike’s company in Colorado and across the U.S. were also targeted. Check out this 1-star review placed on this company’s Google listing which actually uses Mike Podesto’s fiance’s name (Erica Romo) and makes false accusations of sexual harassment (note: the second fake review listing another employee of Mike’s company was removed after reporting — I also have that screenshot down below — but the company was unable to get this one removed):
It should be noted that GetFive reached out to Erica Romo on LinkedIn and the photo was then switched to the one above. The company’s response to the fake review was posted after learning of this article. This was the original one that had a 1-star review from “Steven Lowell” (he’s also associated with Find My Profession as per his LinkedIn profile):
What’s actually most disturbing about that is not just the fact that it’s a fake review, but it also alleges a fraudulent sexual harassment claim by Mike’s supposed fiance or as he terms his “wife.” As someone who has been an actual victim of sexual harassment and who has several close friends that are rape survivors, I was appalled that anyone would even contemplate posting this type of false statement to harm another person’s business.
Below are TWO 1-star reviews posted to a company called Talent Works in Colorado. According to their LinkedIn information, Talent Works is a direct competitor to Find My Profession and Mike Podesto’s AND they are in the same geographic area.
But, this is what’s even crazier folks. The two 1-star reviews that Talent Works received were ALSO from names of people directly associated to Mike Podesto: “Erica Romo” and “Jonathan Damora.” Notably, the “Erica Romo” one has since disappeared, but it was the same account used to post the 1-star review to the above NY business, GetFive.
Now, here’s the interesting part. When you click on Jonathan Damora’s profile on that Google review, this is what pops up:
Again, a 1-star review of a competitor, but glowing 5-star reviews of Find My Profession.
Jonathan Damora may have been a client of Mike Podesto’s because of the personalized recommendation he wrote to Mike’s LinkedIn profile in 2016, but nothing on Jonathan Damora’s LinkedIn profile would lead any reasonable person to believe that he’s a senior-level professional, a VP, or a 6-figure earner (like that Google review claims) since he is openly listing himself as a “Entry-Level Engineer” (also reference the attached resume he posts to his profile).
Let me put all of these facts together for you: (1) Jonathan Damora, a recent college grad, wrote a LinkedIn recommendation in November 2016 for Mike and his LinkedIn profile notes he’s an entry-level engineer; (2) “Jonathan D.” wrote a 1-star review for a resume competitor of Mike’s in April 2018; (3) “Jonathan Damora” wrote a 5-star review on Google for Find My Profession around August 2018 boasting that he got a “VP position” which we know he doesn’t have, and (4) that same “Jonathan Damora” wrote a 1-star review of Talent Works in Oct 2018.
At this point, I am left to wonder, did Mike Podesto create an email address posing as “Jonathan Damora” and post these misrepresented and false reviews and further implicate his own fiance as well?
Imagine if your business had a fake review (or multiple ones) and couldn’t get it (them) removed? Do you know how damaging it can be to your company’s reputation? That’s what these companies have been dealing with for 5+ months. Yet, when the NY company confronted Mike’s fiance via LinkedIn, the photo was updated to a fake one found on Google images. So, either she’s part of this or he’s controlling her LinkedIn profile. Important to note: after the re-launch of this article, Erica’s LinkedIn profile was disabled.
***UPDATED NOTE: Coincidentally, approximately two weeks after I filed suit against Mike Podesto (suit filed on 4/2/19) and referenced this article in the complaint, the above-mentioned reviews from “Jonathan Damora” and “Erica Romo” disappeared, 5-star reviews for Find My Profession were modified, and 1-star reviews that had been up for months for other resume competitors also started disappearing. A copy of the 15-page complaint filed in Florida federal court can be viewed here.
Harassing and Cyberbullying of Prominent Resume Writers
In December 2018, prominent $2,000 resume writers (5 of us who were on his top 10 list) began receiving harassing emails from an alias called “Resume Harassment / Resume Harassment Prevention Team.” We were told this individual bought malicious sites with our names on them and unless we complied with the demands outlined in the emails, the individual would disseminate them to our community of 2,000+ resume writers by accessing membership lists to the organizations in order to disparage us.
Below are some of the things put in writing to us. In this first email, we were referred to as “pieces of sh*t.” Lovely, don’t you think?
There was also this:
I circled that “NARW” slip because that was the second use of the “NARW” acronym. Important to mention, some of the writers’ husbands (who owned businesses) also received emails from “Resume Harassment” with the threats of harm to their businesses as well.
A screenshot of what my malicious site looked like. Note the irony of the headline, “Harassing One Competitor at a Time Since 2018.” The reference to “resume scandals” was also lifted into the subsequent NARW email.
Of even greater note, this is Mike’s recent personal website he just launched around March 24, 2019. Strikingly similar to the malicious site that “Resume Harassment” launched about me in December 2018, don’t you think?
While we are on the topic of Mike’s new site, he advertises himself as a loving new husband to be in 2019, and the proud owner of the fluffiest German Shepard around.
I don’t know about you, but as a dog owner for almost 13 years, I have always only posted real-life pictures of my shih tzu, not ones lifted from a website of an online pet shop based in India:
I also cringed at that my animal lover friends.
Another interesting find on a reverse Google image search is the Find My Profession co-working space as advertised on its Google page:
Here’s the real co-working space:
Previously, Mike Podesto had up this picture on his Google page claiming it to be his office building — the lifted image of a medical office building based in Massachusetts with the Find My Profession logo embedded on it on the right-hand side was a really nice touch:
So, we’ve got a trail of fake 1-star reviews easily traceable to Mike Podesto and Find My Profession (plus those fake 5-star reviews that correlate), a lifted photo of a German Shepard from an online shop based in India, and a display of his “office” on his Google maps page that’s really a co-working space in LA.
Let’s move onto the set of facts of screenshots. It can only get better from here.
Mike Podesto’s Fake Yelp Review of Wendi Weiner in Dec. 2018
On December 17, 2018, I sent a letter to GoDaddy’s Chief Legal Officer to get the malicious sites taken down. They were removed within 45 minutes of my letter submission. Within an hour or two of the sites being removed, this 1-star fake review posted to my Yelp account:
I never had a client named “Resume H.” but I had received all kinds of harassing emails from “Resume Harassment” and “The Resume Harassment Prevention Team.”
Important to note, “Resume H.” also posted a question to Mike’s business Yelp page, asking about the company’s resume pricing:
I’ll let you draw your own conclusion there about why “Resume H.” posted a fake review to my Yelp page, YET coincidentally asked about Find My Profession’s services and pricing.
The fake review was taken down within 24 hours upon reporting to Yelp’s legal team.
Fake Resume Association Pages on LinkedIn
In February, I learned of the creation of a fake PARW (Professional Association of Resume Writers) page on LinkedIn, which oddly had Mike’s company (Find My Profession) logo on it. That page is still on LinkedIn and can be found here. (note: that it has now been updated in the title as “Professional Association of Executive Resume Writers,” but there is no such known organization).
Read the overview of the organization, and hop over to Mike’s LinkedIn page. Take note that Mike lists on LinkedIn that his company, Find My Profession, was founded in 2015. He also refers to his company as top-rated in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
If you’re a consumer searching for the PARW organization on LinkedIn, and come across that page, once you click on the website link, you will be sent directly to his company website.
I also learned there was a second fake PARW page on LinkedIn, this time using the trademarked logo from PARW to defame and disparage the organization. Of important note, Mike was removed from the PARW organization in November 2018, and this screenshot shows the statement was posted 3 months ago (November).
I proceeded to notify the 1,500+ members of PARW in an email, stating “The organization has been falsely impersonated (twice) as well as defamed.. I am deeply saddened and outraged that anyone would do this. It is a slam against all PARW members as well as a personal insult to the integrity of our organization and industry.”
I asked everyone to report both pages as fraud or impersonation thinking that collectively, we could get both removed if enough reports were filed.
Within hours of posting my comment, the page was removed.
Here is the real PARW LinkedIn page:
Wendi Weiner Puts the Resume Industry on Notice of Mike Podesto’s Resume Scams
At this point, Mike Podesto has published more than 60 articles self-ranking his company Find My Profession as #1 in every major U.S. city, Canadian territory, even Australia and India, and for every industry (sales, marketing, operations, etc. and even law!).
Mike Podesto continued to add me to multiple lists, directly ignoring the cease and desist letter from my counsel. A few days after my email to PARW about the fake page on LinkedIn, I wrote an article putting the entire resume industry and potential consumers on notice of the deceptive “Best 10” Resume Writers and “Top 10” Resume Writers lists.
In that article, linked here, I take you through the pattern of Mike’s deceptive practices that have been ongoing for more than 1 year.
The fake Yelp review (the one I posted at the start of this article) came down at 6:30PM on February 25, 2019.
About an hour later on February 25, 2019, I received an email from an “NARW Resume” at Gmail account with a message and link to an article entitled “Wendi Weiner Attorney Resume Writer – Police Report!”
Remember, the “NARW” acronym was used in two of the fake reviews from Trustpilot (image above), and again in the “Resume Harassment” email (image above)?
Don’t forget the connecting link of “Resume H” writing me a fake review AND posting a question to Mike’s Yelp page asking about cost of his services.
The email subject line and article heading of at first glance makes you think I had a police report filed on me.
“Corruption” and “dirty writer” were the choice nouns and adjectives used to describe me. Hey, there’s a first time for everything.
The article referenced in the email openly disparages my legal career (calling me a “failed attorney” which is now being used in the metatag), attempts to negate my industry experience and my writing experience (FYI, I was teaching college writing classes while Mike was still in elementary school), berates my $2,500 resume prices (a continued thorn in his side), falsely claims I have been writing fake reviews of Find My Profession, and at the end, refers to me as someone who would be “behind bars” soon (i.e. a felon).
Note, I have been a licensed attorney, in good standing, since October 2004, and have never been in trouble with the law (other than a speeding or parking ticket).
The defamatory email was disseminated to hundreds of resume writers in the two national organizations (email addresses are accessible in membership directories). In total, between the two organizations, there are 2,000 members. The email was sent in batches of 10 addresses at a time so the sender wouldn’t be pegged for Google spam. The intent was clear: (1) put a red herring out there for resume writers (my professional colleagues) to start to question my credibility and trust as I continued to report to them and the federal agencies about these top 10 list scams, and (2) get enough clicks to the article to have it rank on Google, drive traffic to my name, and defame me to prospective clients by making them think I was a criminal and someone writing fake reviews of my competitor who I had sent a cease and desist to back in October.
The email was signed, “We are Anonymous.”
Is it really anonymous when there’s a (1) link to a website URL with an article from the Find My Profession website and (2) from an email account that uses the same acronym seen repeatedly in past fake reviews and harassing emails disseminated to other prominent writers on the top 10 list??
In the interim, based on research, Mike has bought thousands of illegal back-links to his site, bulldozing my Google listing so his articles rank whenever people search for my name. Let me show you.
Mike Podesto’s Negative SEO Attacks on Wendi Weiner
Over the course of the last year, my SEO has changed dramatically. High-ranking sites like my HuffPost column (which I’ve had since 2016 with dozens of articles, some that have gone viral) and my own LinkedIn profile have sunk below Mike Podesto’s defamatory articles about me. When I perform an incognito Google search for “Wendi Weiner attorney,” this is what you see:
It’s impossible for Mike Podesto’s website, which has lower domain authority to rank higher than my own LinkedIn profile and HuffPost column. Watch what happens when I hit page 2 in the results on this search:
You see all of those random links? They are links that Mike Podesto paid for to buy page rank on Google so he could use his defamatory articles to further negatively impact my SEO, hurt my business, and sully my well-established professional reputation.
Any resume writer or consumer who gets curious about these articles and heads to Mike’s website will realize he’s a competitor resume writing company. They will see a website filled with stock images and no actual face of him anywhere unless you really dig deep into the site. If they research him enough, they will realize that he’s not a “Forbes Writer,” he’s not featured in Recruiter Magazine, he’s not a credentialed resume writer from an industry organization, and he is not a member of YEC (Young Entrepreneur Council). The page is disabled.
Being called a “failed attorney” by Mike Podesto, a recent college grad who proliferates deceptive marketing practices in the resume industry for more than a year to hurt well-established $2,000 writers and other competitors, implicates himself in a response to an attorney demand letter, and falsifies his credentials and client reviews in multiple documented instances to the public, is quite the low-blow, don’t you think?
Remember, Mike has 60+ articles that he’s written, still self-reviewing himself as #1 against every resume writing company out there. He openly bolstered on his website that Find My Profession was ranked as #1 over 75 times in 3 years (with these fake badges plastered on his website that have only been removed as of March 27, 2019 because the BBB admonished him):
I’m no mathematician, but if there are 52 weeks in a year, 3 years makes that 156 weeks, which is about two “#1 awards” a month.
How could it be possible that the resume industry has been around for 20 years and no other writer has achieved this incredible and high-ranking honor except Mike Podesto, who just joined the industry only 2 years ago according to business documents?
The last 18 months have given me flashbacks of the scene in a Few Good Men (one of my all-time favorite movies) where Tom Cruise says to Jack Nicholson, “Did you or did you not order the code red?” Then Jack Nicholson says, “You can’t handle the truth,” just before Tom Cruise lays down all of the evidence.
I’ve only scratched the surface with the screenshots I’ve attached to this article. There are dozens more.
Mike Podesto Has Affected the Entire Resume Industry
This is a story about how Mike Podesto tried to intentionally, purposefully, and willfully hurt MY business and the businesses of OTHER $2,000 executive resume writers and competitors with MALICE through fake reviews, self-ranked lists, and vitriolic SEO attacks.
This is a story about how Mike Podesto has kept writing list after list (more than 60 articles to date) even after being put on notice by the Better Business Bureau attacking AN ENTIRE INDUSTRY, and bullying each and every person who tries to stop him, shed light on, or challenge and confront his deceptive practices.
This is a story about how Mike Podesto has put up self-review after self-review of resume writers throughout the world while deceptively marketing his own against the FTC guidelines.
I ask you ladies and gentlemen reading this, who thought that an industry filled with mentorship, support, and kind collaboration could ensue this much drama?? Oh, but it continues.
Mike Podesto’s DMCA Takedown Activity
After I originally published this article, a few things happened:
Mike Podesto filed a DMCA takedown of this article and my resume scam article claiming that I infringed on his copyright. By the way, Mike only learned about how DMCAs work after I filed one on the malicious sites that lifted my website content. He’s now used them as a weapon to keep his malicious and defamatory content up about me and others, while also seeking to use them as an attempt to silence anyone who writes a responsive post that sheds factual light on his behavior.
His first one was filed the first week in March while I was traveling internationally and on a short vacation to Mexico with my husband (you can verify that on my social media). My original host provider (BlueHost) did not allow a counter-notice to be filed, and I missed the emails about him filing a DMCA. So, by the time I learned about what was going on when I returned (which occurred while I was in the middle of a grocery store), my website was shut down.
Unable to speak to someone from the legal department that night, and upon learning from its legal policies that BlueHost does not allow its users to file a counter-notice to a DMCA (which is actually unheard of), I migrated to a new host that night (since my website is the lifeline of my business), and Mike sent them this email the next day not realizing I was already up and running via a new host provider:
Copyrighted images? Does he mean the ring camera pic of the delivery guy at his house? Or the fake reviews he’s written about me and countless competitors on Yelp and Google? Or the fake 5-star reviews he’s posted on Google to puffer his business? Or that fake office that he claims is Find My Profession’s co-working space? Or the pic of the fluffiest German Shepard?
“Highly slanderous spreading false information?” Last time I checked, the BBB, the national consumer agency, just issued an advertising report on Find My Profession on March 20, 2019 that supports the information put in these two articles (scroll down for that link). They note that Find My Profession failed to provide substantiated support to the claims of publications, reviews and testimonials, and its self-ranked awards and top 10 lists.
Trying to divert business from mine to yours? I guess Mike Podesto easily forgets how he has two articles published from the Find My Profession website ranking on page 1 for my name and “attorney resume writer” (that he bought paid links to via black hat SEO) with false information and accusations about me, including claiming I won’t be thriving when I’m behind bars (i.e. I’m a criminal)? These are ones that Mike hopes my attorney clients will see and hopes they avoid working with me. These are the ones he sent to my professional colleagues.
Actually, I’m just standing my ground and finally sharing my side of the story with clear factual support to:
(1) put the careers industry on public notice of what’s been going on for over a year;
(2) document the false and disparaging claims Mike Podesto has put out there on the internet (ranking for my name) about me to prospective clients and other business contacts, and
(3) provide further documentation for the federal and state agencies since this is an important public interest issue.
Last time I checked, that’s called fair use.
Mike Podesto’s Continued DMCA Takedown Activity
A few days later, Mike filed yet another DMCA trying to take down my site again.
This time, when I filed a counter-notice, it was done by my personal counsel, noting Mike’s material misrepresentations and the fact that I am actively pursuing a libel claim against him for the false and defamatory articles he has continued to publish about me. It can be read here.
This article was thus re-launched effectively after the 10-day period.
BTW, take notice of the fact that during this 10-day period, Mike launched his own personal site (the one that mirrors the look of the malicious site he launched about me in December shown above) trying to positively impact his SEO while still continuing to hurt mine with his defamatory articles that remain up, continue to be updated with false facts and assertions, and again, ignoring my counsel’s letters and demands to him. Despite receiving a pre-suit defamation and final cease and desist letter from my counsel on or about March 13, 2019, Mike Podesto has continued to publish material misrepresentations about me.
This is his Twitter page:
“Have a blessed day” is the infamous closing statement in the “Angela M.” emails that he would generate from firstname.lastname@example.org to resume writers notifying them of being put on his top 10 lists. No coincidences.
Find My Profession’s Advertising Review by the Better Business Bureau
During the 10-day period while this article was down, the Better Business Bureau issued an advertising review of Find My Profession, which discusses many of the same items I have written about in my two articles regarding Mike Podesto and Find My Profession’s deceptive marketing practices and harm to other businesses through these practices.
To date, Mike Podesto has failed to fully comply with their requests for modifications or provided substantiation to the advertising claims. You can read the full report here.
The BBB report was since updated on March 27, 2019.
Despite being censured by the BBB, Mike Podesto has continued to author various articles, still promoting his company as #1. He’s relentless. In fact, in a recent article, he published this statement taking more stabs at $2,000 resume writers.
One other interesting point in this article. Take note of these statements at the very end about testimonials on a company’s website:
Now look at the “Jonathan D.” review posted to one of these third-party sites back in April 2018 about a resume competitor to Find My Profession and Mike Podesto:
That’s the same Jonathan D. alias who wrote a 1-star review of Talent Works calling them a “scam” and who also wrote a 5-star review of Find My Profession highly recommending them because he landed a “VP position” from the resume he got with them. That’s the same Jonathan D. who is an entry-level engineer as advertised on his LinkedIn profile that also has his resume posted. I will re-post those Google reviews here again for easier review and comparison in case you forgot:
Note: On March 27, 2019, Mike Podesto removed the #1 badges from the Find My Profession website and the BBB updated their report noting that it “re-examined the advertising at the request of the business. As of March 27, 2019, Find My Profession discontinued the following advertising claims: Award-winning claims and images (“Voted #1 Best Resume Service”)”
Despite removing the badges from the site (but not its Google listing), Find My Profession now claims “it has more 5-star reviews on trusted third-party sites than 99% of executive career services.” Well, that’s a pretty easy qualification to meet when you are known to post fake 5-star reviews for your company and 1-star reviews of your competitors (as shown in this article).
Further, the website still asserts that Find My Profession has locations in 30+ major U.S. cities, and each of those cities has a link to a Top 10 article that he’s authored self-ranking Find My Profession as “the #1 rated professional resume writing and cover letter service in ___ (name the city)” while also noting that Mike is seen in publications like Forbes and Recruiter, which he is not.
Thus, to date, there is still false information and advertising being promoted by Mike Podesto and Find My Profession, not to mention a continued perpetuation of known false statements about me.
How Resume Writers Can Combat Fake Reviews
If you are the victim of a fake review, consider retaining legal counsel to document the fake review to the party (should you know who it is — in my case I did). If you have been a victim of this situation like I have, reach out to me so that we can continue to report it to state and federal agencies. They are listening. Consumers should be aware of deceptive practices as well.
Final Thoughts on Mike Podesto’s Fake Reviews of Wendi Weiner
If you’ve made it to the end of this article, congrats! That was a lot to ingest.
You’ll realize I’ve learned a lot from Mike’s cyberbullying and cyber-attacks, and I hope my story will: (1) inspire those who fear Mike to pass along this article to their own network, (2) become empowered like myself and stand up fearlessly to his keyboard tactics or any cyberbully for that matter, and (3) promote the integrity of the resume industry.
Remember, Mike only feels powerful in front of that keyboard. I actually envision him sitting at his computer in his jammies (like he mentioned in his GoFundMe page for his website), day after day, trolling my website (and the websites of hundreds of resume writers) masterminding how he can try to hurt my business and my SEO, as well as hurt the businesses of hundreds of resume writers, instead of actually building an ethical business.
I hope that one day Mike can put his keyboard hands to work and match even 1/8 of the success I’ve achieved in my “failed attorney” career and writing career (which spans more than half of his existence).
Maybe I can teach him a lesson or two on how to build a real business and reputation based on merit, truth, and honor.