ShopToEarn is a multi-level marketing company recruiting new members who can receive a small percentage of cash back on their internet purchases. If they recruit enough new people into the scheme, who pay the $450 fee and do some shopping of their own, they can make a little more money.

I have a dim view of this program, and so does Everyday Finance. The blogger at Everyday Finance was threatened by MLM attorney Gerald Nehra about posting his opinions on the company. The blogger amended parts of his original article, making it very clear that he was citing personal opinions (both good and bad) about the program. I got my own cease and desist letter this week from Gerry Nehra and Shop To Earn.

But that’s not enough. Now Gerry Nehra is demanding that the blogger take down his whole site or legal action will be taken. Are you kidding me? The blogger shouldn’t have to take down any comments about Shop To Earn and Shop To Earth, much less take down the whole site. Here’s Nehra’s latest note making this threat:

Your minor word changes DO NOT remedy the problem – the site should be taken down within 24 hours or the company will pursue all legal remedies.

Gerald Nehra

Counsel to ShopToEarn

Bloggers unite! We must stand up to rogue attorneys who make these kinds of threats to bloggers. Gerald Nehra and ShopToEarn have no right to dictate whether Everyday Finance exists or not. Posts about personal finance issues that don’t reference Shop To Earn cannot be controlled by them. They should not be allowed to bully bloggers in this manner.

Investigative journalist Gary Weiss has it right: The company is doing nothing but drawing negative attention to itself.

Sam Antar is weighing in too, saying:

It is unfortunate that too many companies like Shop To Earn are bullying critics with litigation. Critical analysis of companies is an important part of our vibrant capitalist economy and such free speech is protected by our Constitution. If corporate bullying is allowed to continue, our nation risks a downward spiral into crony capitalism.

If you believe bloggers need to be protected from outrageous threats like these, please write about Shop To Earn and Gerald Nehra’s threats on your own blog. Come back here and post a link to your blog. I’ll be following up on this issue with posts featuring all the bloggers who join the fight and take a stand against the bullying of bloggers who voice their opinions.


  1. Let_King_Solomon_Decide 07/15/2008 at 10:31 am - Reply

    Companies issuing cease and desist letters to critics is nothing new. If those letters go beyond that and include threats, it’s my opinion those bloggers should refer those letters Jonathan Solomon (SAIC of the FBI office in Miami).

  2. Pedro Menard 07/15/2008 at 11:30 am - Reply


    It’s really sad the company not understanding the kind of bad publicity this matter will arise.

    A company that doesn’t even want to hear different opinions is, right from the start, and regardless of anything else, a company I don’t want to do business with. Let alone one that threatens and tries to shut people up.

    I agree with what Michael Goode said earlier: I do not see anything in Everyday Finance’s post that could lead to a defamation suit. Furthermore, I think Nehra, the “attroney”, is now bluffing.

    Best Regards.

  3. Pedro Menard 07/15/2008 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    A simple google search lead me to this article by Mr. Nehra, MLM attorney (could he be the same):

    Among several other interesting opinions (which I will keep for later use), we can read the following (sic):

    “Buying for personal use at distributor prices rather than customer prices, while a savings, does not generate INCOME upon which one is required to pay taxes. Buying for personal use by itself is not an income opportunity. If the proposed business opportunity consists ONLY of buying for personal use and sponsoring more representatives, with no provision for sales to customers, it is flawed.”

    “Remember, one does not MAKE money when one buys any product or service for personal use. The application of this test should in no way imply that there is anything wrong or illegal about personal consumption. It is just that it alone cannot be the sole basis for a business opportunity.”

    “Reputable and legally designed and implemented multi-level business opportunities provide a money making opportunity SINGLE LEVEL to those who choose not to sponsor.”



    How much was it that you calculated, Tracy… was it about 9.000$ in shopping-by-clicking just to earn back your initial fee, considering a 5% discount rate?

    So much for your SINGLE LEVEL oportunity to MAKE money…

    Looks like according to Mr. Nehra own words, Shop to Earn is not a reputable, legally designed and implemented multi-level business opportunity.

    Best Regards.

  4. Ethan C. Nobles 07/15/2008 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    I’m not real clear on whether ShopToEarn means to abolish the Everyday Finance site entirely or just the offending page.

    Honestly, it doesn’t really matter as such threats do nothing but put a damper on the ideal of the “Marketplace of Ideas” — the notion that we arrive at the truth through encouraging differing opinions on subjects.

    Regardless of whether ShopToEarn is threatening to take legal action to take down an entire site or a page doesn’t really matter, though. That company is obvious run by weasels who wouldn’t be so sensitive unless they had something to hide. I’ll make sure to avoid them.

    Straight-shooting real estate

  5. Lee D 07/16/2008 at 8:38 am - Reply

    I have to hand it to you, Tracy. You sure know how to kick over an anthill!

    In general, when companies immediately lawyer up in the face of criticism, it’s all downhill from there.

  6. karin malchow 07/16/2008 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    Dear Ms. Coenen,

    I have posted an article in regarding this cease-and-desist order, linking to your original article.

  7. 5holeSAVE 07/19/2008 at 9:40 am - Reply



    Gerald Nehra…


    Seriously, is it now a bar requirement to sell your soul? You little wank (Nehra) you got no ground to stand on. This is clearly a freedom of expression issue, just like I’m free to say suck on my left nut, and you’re free to say no I prefer the right one.

  8. ModernRock 08/02/2008 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    This reminds me of Burnlounge, the company that was going to revolutionize the music industry. Burnlounge got sued by the FTC! In my opinion, ShopToEarn, is a waste of time and money. You’re not really building a business with them, you’re just participating in a grand scheme to recruit as many new victims as possible. The amount of money you’ll save by shopping through these sites is questionable at best, and in many cases, I think you’ll actually lose money. Avoid these companies like the plague.

  9. Alan Milner 08/28/2008 at 10:47 am - Reply

    Under federal statutes, personal opinions labelled as such are neither libel nor slander under the strict construction of the statute. In order for someone to liable for libel or slander, they must represent that the statements being made are matters of fact. If they are assertions of fact, they must be backed up with the requisite documentation. If they are assertions of opinion, they are protected by Freedom of Speech.

    In recent years, however, some courts have held that the owners of web sites are liable for statements appearing on their web sites, even if those statements are made in comments posted by visitors to the site. This is especially true in National Security issues. Web sites have been shut down by the government for hosting comments considered to be incitment to riot, to use the old term.

    This represents a considerable loss of our basic freedoms. I for one will contribute to any legal defense fund required in order to protect this blog, or any other web site, from this kind of harassment, and would recommend that a countersuit for harassment be filed in a court of competent jurisdiction.

    I am not an attorney, thank God, but I have employed enough attorneys to know when to use them and when to do it myself. In this case, a letter on the stationery of a major mouthpiece will go a long way toward quelling these offensive attempts at coercsion, or so one would hope.


  10. Tracy Coenen 08/28/2008 at 10:51 am - Reply

    You’re a good man, Alan.

    I regularly get emails from promoters of these MLM schemes who claim that I’m violating their right to free speech by not allowing them to comment on this blog. LOL – I sort of wish they’d brush up on the law on that one.

    They also like to claim that somehow I have a duty to be “fair” and offer them a chance to post their propaganda. I don’t believe it’s fair to post the propaganda of corrupt enterprises that cost consumers billions of dollars each year. So no, they can’t promote their schemes here.


  11. jake 10/13/2008 at 8:35 am - Reply

    You blog because you have nothing else to do.. When people respond back to you in referance to your blogs about shop to earn you do not upload them all, why because you want to be the right one. WEll tracy you are wrong, if you have not joined shop to earn then you can not have say on how it works, Back off and get a real job

  12. Tracy Coenen 10/13/2008 at 8:46 am - Reply

    Jake (Megan) – There are rules about posting comments here which are directly above the comment box, so you can’t miss them. Any comments that don’t follow these guidelines aren’t published. If you have something you’d like published, then you’ll have to follow the rules.

    Thanks for your comments about my career. I’m doing just fine as an entrepreneur, thank you, and I blog about companies like STE as a public service to consumers.

  13. jake 10/22/2008 at 8:25 am - Reply

    If you were doing so “fine” then you would not put down websites that YOU know nothing about

  14. wake up "jake" 10/22/2008 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Hey “jake” go google “syllogism” and see if it rings a bell.

    By the same token, if ShopToEarn were raking in the cash for you, you wouldn’t care what some anti-fraud website somewhere on the Internet has to say.


  15. Smarter than STE members 11/17/2008 at 10:41 pm - Reply

    This is a very dangerous company. It has a genius cover-up with its “save the planet” and “everyone shops online” crap – typical product-based pyramid scheme. Ask your friends if they make most of their money from recruiting or from their website. It is a simple shifting of money from the bottom to the top. Why do they make you spend $100/month on your website?? Because it proves the “legitimacy” that this is a real business. I have seen the online video, I have listened to the conference call, I have spoken with my friends that are doing this with a completely open mind, but I have also done about 8 hours of independent research as well. I could type for days about this.

    Bottom line, it won’t last, your friends that don’t join WILL eventually say “I told you so” and you will feel horrible about the scheme you either didn’t do proper research or you won’t feel horrible because you have no conscience.

    Tracy, when I first read one of your blogs I was an excited guy ready to make money with STE and thought you were so negative and cynical like everyone was saying! Now I know you are truly doing everyone a service. Thank GOD I didn’t lose $448 before researching and finding out what I was really getting myself into. Thank you!

  16. Not important 01/30/2009 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    Shop to Earn caused a man’s life this week. He shot himself because of your scheme. He was very loved. Live with this one STE!

  17. QBaNLiNkD 02/19/2009 at 6:15 am - Reply

    I was supposed to be handing over money today, in about 9 hours, to someone from shop to earn. I sure am glad i decided to google this.
    I just want to say thank you for saving me money.

  18. […] a lawyer and I don’t play one on TV. But I know that I have an absolute right in America to voice my opinions and otherwise discuss business models that I have a concern […]

  19. Dee 06/21/2010 at 9:13 am - Reply

    you’re missing the whole point.
    yes, Nehra may have not liked your blogs and they are off the mark of accuracy – your comments are just negative, not a true breakdown.

    any start up takes more people to make it successful.
    if people use their site, they get their investment back without anyone else signing up.

    when the numbers of members increase and people are buying from the stores they buy from, money making will be a daily.

    all networks are nothing without people.
    a retail store doesn’t survive just by opening the door – they need customers and referrals and a roi…..this is so basic and you’re turning negative on something so positive….especially in the state of the economy – if people can save gas, time and money – where is the problem? what is the scam?

    buying eco-friendly items is a pleasure – glad they are manufactured and isolated to make it easier.. most people who care, do want products that are good for themselves and the planet – this makes it easy. I’d rather be buying eco-friendly than insurance, but to offset one, I find pleasure in doing the other.

    look forward – the world in changing and this gives people what they want, lowest prices, cash they wouldn’t have had and time – eiliminating the need to spend gas or shop during store hours.

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