The social media marketing world is full of false promises, scams, and schemes, and some of the biggest perpetrators of these scams are the individuals behind EarthWeb.com and JonathonSpire.com.
If you’re reading this, chances are that one of their many fake businesses and review sites have crossed your path. Whether you’re a business that has been a victim of their shady methods, a customer that got scammed, or just doing research on whether or not they’re trustworthy (short answer: they’re not), this post is for you.
Not only do these sites sell spam social media services, jeopardizing the accounts of their customers, but their fake review sites spread false information about their more legitimate competitors in order to continue promoting their low-quality, often dangerous, products under the guise of being different, unrelated companies.
Despite hundreds of official complaints and negative online reviews, this web of scam sites continues to function and harm both consumers and legitimate businesses.
To protect yourself and your accounts, read on to learn more about their web of fake businesses, review sites.
We discovered JonathonSpire.com and EarthWeb.com after stumbling across their false negative review of our site, QQTube. Within a few sentences it was clear that they had no experience with our site, services, or customer support - and that they were more focused on promoting their own fraudulent services (UseViral, SidesMedia, and StormViews) as an alternative while pretending that these services were from a different company.
Both sites made false blanket statements regarding our website and services without having any evidence to back it up.
In the sections below we’ll break down their claims and explain how they’re false, how both JonathonSpire.com and Earthweb.com don’t practice what they preach, how they’re owned by the same group who have a history of scamming, and how they’re benefitting from creating fake reviews about their competitors and scamming their customers.
How JonathonSpire.com & EarthWeb.com Are Connected
JonathonSpire.com has been around since 1998 and since then has accrued overwhelmingly negative reviews across the internet from customers that they’ve scammed:
One interesting thing to note about JonathonSpire.com is that there is no real individual by that name. In fact, the image used is a stock photo, which can easily be verified:
EarthWeb.com has been around since 1994, and has a long history of posting fake reviews and plagiarizing content from their competitors. The authors credited for their blog posts are also fabricated. On the false negative review of QQTube, the author credited is “Jason Wise”, who is also listed as the editor of EarthWeb.com.
Based on our research, we discovered that Jason Wise is also a fabrication. Below you can see that the same profile image has been used across various websites (including neonacademy.io, guru.com, econobay.org (since removed), and tokkea.io/ru) under different names:
The individuals behind this scam purchase domains as they expire and use them for their backlink profile in order to increase their rank. They then restructure the site and start their own blog. By doing this, they’re creating the illusion of high quality content.
As you read on, check out our Web Of Scams section for an extensive list of all the sites owned by the individuals behind this collection of scam sites, along with sites that are collaborating with or benefitting from their fraudulent practices.
EarthWeb Fake Reviews Exposed
In September 2021, Earthweb.com published a false negative review of our site, QQTube.com. They frequently update the posting date in order to rank higher in search results, but the content first appeared back in 2021. It’s clear that they have no evidence to back up their claims, so below we’ll break down their review step by step and provide evidence to the contrary.
The author opens with this statement:
“They [QQTube] also claim to offer 1000 free views, but nothing is free, so of course, there is a catch. They ask you to register and give your email, which means they want your information to constantly pester you to buy their services.”
Our Free Offer is, in fact, 100% free with no credit card information required and no strings attached. All we require is for customers to register an account, since there is no way to place the order or monitor it without being logged in. You’d be hard pressed to find any site in any industry that provides a free service without requiring customers to log in or sign up, since it would be logistically impossible.
As for our newsletter, we never deliver spam to our customers. Our newsletter emails range from order confirmations, deposit confirmations, and occasional deals or updates on specific services.
We also have no issue with customers unsubscribing from our newsletter. The option to unsubscribe is clearly stated at the bottom of each email, and customers are always welcome to reach out if they’d rather we unsubscribe them. After unsubscribing they can still continue to place orders or remain registered.
They then go on to state the following:
“The views that you will get from QQTube are fake, so they won’t do anything in terms of helping your YouTube performance.”
The author of this post has admitted they have no experience with our services, and has not offered up proof to the contrary. Had they even done basic research into our services, they would’ve learned that QQTube is strictly a middleman of all services provided, bringing buyers and sellers together. When a seller comes to us they are required to read and accept our Terms of Service which strictly prohibits any use of bot accounts in the delivery of services.
If a customer believes that a service does not meet our requirements or violates our TOS, we encourage them to bring it to our attention.
They then criticize our customer dashboard:
“QQTube markets this as a really awesome feature that will give you a lot of great and valuable information, but it’s nothing more than a progress check on the packages that you’ve purchased.”
Our customer dashboard not only allows customers to monitor the progress of the orders they’ve placed, but it also allows them to report any issues they may experience or cancel an order for certain services.
Many of our customers manage social media profiles for numerous clients, so the ability to monitor and control their orders in a straightforward way is extremely important to them.
Next, they critique the amount of information we provide for each service:
“The one thing that you should keep in mind about these packages is that they don’t mention anything about quality, nor where the engagements and subscribers will come from. These are all likely to be fake, low-quality engagements and subs that won’t actually help your account in any way.”
Every service available on our site has a detailed Service Description that includes the location of the engagement, the delivery speed, requirements to place the order, restrictions that may prevent an order from going through, and any additional relevant information.
Along with that, customers can easily view the star rating and customer review of every service directly from that services’ order page:
Next, they go on to criticize our site disclaimer:
“They [QQTube] also have the disclaimer that they are not affiliated or endorsed by YouTube, which means their service is frowned upon by YouTube, putting your account at risk of violating terms of service.”
The fact is, YouTube does not have any partnerships or affiliations with sites that sell these services. We include this disclaimer for basic legal reasons - we do not claim to be working with YouTube (or any social media platform) or have the ability to provide direct advice on how to “go viral” or qualify for YouTube’s Partner Program.
Coincidentally, both UseViral and SidesMedia - two sites that both EarthWeb.com and JonathonSpire.com frequently promote - also include disclaimers at the bottom of their sites:
Any site or provider that claims that they can guarantee a channel or social media profile can go viral or qualify for monetization, sponsorships, or partner programs is lying and most likely engaging in predatory tactics to gain their clients’ trust without being able to deliver on their promises.
EarthWeb.com then goes on to claim our pricing and delivery options are confusing:
“The bad thing about QQTube is that their pricing options are really confusing. They are not clear about how many you’ll be getting, so you really have to pay attention, and they also appear to be recurring, as they say, 500-10,000 per day, but these plans are one-time purchases, so it’s not very clear why they add their services like that.”
Yet again, proof that they have no experience with our site. Every service price and estimated delivery speed is clearly stated and readily available for customers to refer to before they place their order.
On our Services & Pricing Page, users will see a price based on an order quantity of 1000. That does not mean you have to purchase 1000 and that does not mean it is even possible to purchase 1000 in some cases. The total price you pay for the order will be based on the actual quantity you purchase, and it will be automatically calculated for you when you input your order information (URL, quantity, etc) on the New Order page before you place your order so you can easily determine the exact price for any order amount.
All of the services on our site are completely different and they all have different order minimums and order maximums. When you look at the New Order page Service Description, if you scroll to the bottom of the page you will see the order minimum and the order maximum listed there.
None of our services are recurring - they are all one-time purchases. We do not offer subscriptions.
As for the speed, the estimated delivery speed for each of our services is stated in both the service title and service description. These estimated delivery speed ranges are set by the specific provider. For example, if a customer places an order for 10,000 views on a service that lists an estimated delivery speed of 5,000-10,000 per day, that means the customer can expect to receive a minimum of 5,000 views per 24 hours, possibly more. In other words, it could take 24-48 hours for an order of 10,000 views to complete delivery for a service with an estimated delivery speed of 5,000-10,000 per day.
Based on the customer messages we receive via our support chat and email, we’re confident that this information is easily accessible to everyone who visits our site.
Next, they review our service retention times without even knowing what this is actually referring to :
“It also mentions something about retention, and it says things like “10-50% retention.” If that’s to say the followers will remain at these percentages, this is a terrible retention rate and your followers will basically all drop off. Not only that, sometimes they discuss retention in terms of seconds to minutes, and it also says things like “random retention.””
It’s clear that not only do the bloggers at EarthWeb.com have no experience with our services, but they seem to have little experience with social media marketing services as a whole, particularly YouTube. If they did, they would know what “retention rate” is actually referring to.
Retention does not refer to the rate at which engagement is retained for each service. A 10-50% retention rate does not mean that only 10% of the engagement ordered will remain.
Put simply, audience retention refers to the number of viewers watching a video and at what point they leave. Retention can be seen in YouTube analytics approximately 72 hours after views are added to a video. This will be under Audience Retention in YouTube’s analytics.
Many YouTube services offered on our site list retention percentages as an added bonus alongside the main service of Views. If a service lists a random retention rate, that means a specific retention rate is not guaranteed for that service. However, for customers who are specifically trying to improve their retention times, there are many High Retention Views services offered that provide guaranteed higher retention rates.
Reading the Service Description on the New Order page for each service will provide detailed explanations for all of these metrics. We also provide in-depth guides on our blog regarding retention and watch time for users who are new to the topic.
YouTube looks at the retention rates of a video when determining what to recommend to users in the related videos sidebar and the homepage.
Finally, EarthWeb lists the following elements to take into consideration when evaluating a quality company:
- Subscriber Quality
- The Availability of Info & FAQs
- Clear Delivery Timeframes
- Visible Pricing
- Terms of Service
They claim that QQTube.com lacks quality in these elements, so we’ll be breaking each one down below:
All of the services on our site have a clear service description provided, which includes information on the geo-location, delivery speed, and any restrictions or requirements that the particular service has.
When it comes to the quality of the service, it’s important to remember that QQTube is strictly the middleman bringing buyers and sellers together. When a seller comes to us they are required to read and accept our Terms of Service which strictly prohibits any use of bot accounts in the delivery of services.
The Availability of Info & FAQs
Along with the detailed service description for every service, we also have a regularly updated FAQ page with information on a variety of topics.
We also have a blog where we provide in-depth guides on different social media platforms and specific services, industry news and updates, marketing tips and tricks, and posts like our Link Extraction and Service Type guides that can help customers decide which service is right for them and how to place their orders easily.
And of course, if a buyer or seller has any additional questions we offer 24/7 customer support via email and live chat.
Clear delivery Timeframes
The delivery timeframes for all of the services offered on our site depend on the specific amount that a customer orders. Every service title and description has an estimated delivery speed range clearly stated. Taking into account the amount they ordered, a customer can easily determine how long their order will take to deliver and monitor the progress via their customer dashboard.
The Services & Pricing page lists the price per 1000 units for every service. Along with this, once a customer inputs their desired order amount and URL on the New Order page for a specific service, the price is automatically calculated for them.
Many of the services listed on our site offer maximum flexibility for customers, which means they can order very specific amounts of each service. Because of this, it wouldn’t make sense to list out the price for every single amount of every single service. By offering customers the choice when it comes to the exact order amount, they can take control of their social media growth.
Terms of Service
The terms of service for QQTube.com can be easily accessed here.
JonathonSpire Fake Reviews Exposed
JonathonSpire.com has also published a false negative review of our site QQTube.com. Again, they provide no evidence to back up their false claims and outright admit that they have no experience with our services - even our free offer - and that they’ve never contacted our customer support.
Not surprisingly, the introductory paragraphs are almost identical to those in the EarthWeb.com review:
Their review opens with two charts depicting their “Top Alternatives” to our site:
This alternative is UseViral.com - a site that they have repeatedly promoted as an alternative to various providers, and one that is clearly affiliated with their company. In fact, the first thing you see when visiting EarthWeb.com is a popup ad for UseViral:
They then go on to make the following statements:
“QQTube is a company…claiming that they also offer 24/7 support for all of their clients. Judging by what we have seen before with companies like this, we think they’re a scam.”
We offer 24/7 customer support via both email and live chat for all visitors to our site, whether they’re registered or not. We offer live chat when we have Customer Support Specialists available that are trained to handle it, and we attempt to have chat available as much as possible. Along with that, users can always open a customer support ticket via the Contact Us form on our site, or their QQTube dashboard, or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if they have a question or problems and we will respond within 12 hours.
“QQTube also talks about offering 1000 YouTube views for free, and we’re not quite sure how this works. What we do know is that nothing is free, so we’re sure there’s a catch to this so-called deal. We assume that they get you to fill out a survey to receive this – doing so is a standard of the industry these days. So, either this is the catch, or there’s more.”
We do not require customers to fill out a survey in order to qualify for the Free Offer. As we explained in response to the EarthWeb.com claims:
Our Free Offer is, in fact, 100% free with no credit card information required and no strings attached. All we require is for customers to register an account, since there is no way to place the order or monitor it without being logged in.
Anyone curious about how our Free Offer works only needs to register and visit our Free Offer page, where the steps are clearly outlined.
“They also say that they offer each client a dashboard, where they can take a look at their analytics and how they’re helping their profile. They seem to have everything in line and a good thing going on, but we get a sneaky suspicion that they’re just trying to automate everything with a bot and take a shortcut, which is only going to bring the wrong type of engagement to your account.”
We do have a customer dashboard where every customer can view their current and past orders. The dashboard allows customers to monitor the progress of the orders they’ve placed and allows them to report any issues they may experience or cancel an order for certain services.
We are the middleman that brings buyers and sellers together, and it is against our terms of service for sellers to use bot accounts in the delivery of services. Our team at QQTube is comprised of real people, not bots. When you reach out to our customer support, you will always receive a response from a real customer support agent.
“They say that they are an established provider, but again something’s just not adding up for us.”
QQTube is an established provider, we’ve been in business since 2013, a fact that is easily verifiable.
JonathonSpire.com once again includes a chart listing their top rated tools - including UseViral, StormViews, and SidesMedia - all of which are companies that are owned by or affiliated with them:
They close with the following statements:
“Their [QQTube] price points are all over the place, confusing, and not particularly affordable, either. They’re cheap.”
Somehow JonathonSpire.com claims that the services on QQTube.com are both “not particularly affordable” and “cheap” - an interesting contradiction. The services available on our site are for a variety of price points, so there’s something for everyone. Users can calculate the exact price for the specific amount they wish to order by inputting their desired amount on the New Order page, where the exact price will be calculated for them.
‘Fake engagement isn’t safe on any social network. YouTube does have an algorithm that can detect fake engagement.”
Again, QQTube is strictly the middleman. When a seller comes to us they are required to read and accept our Terms of Service which strictly prohibits any use of bot accounts in the delivery of services.
“Companies that are legit will make sure to set their prices to reflect the quality of their features, so if you end up having to pay a little bit more for something, it’s because they’ll be worth it.”
The services available on our site are for a variety of price points, so there’s something for everyone. The price is calculated by the provider of the service and is based on a variety of factors. For customers concerned about the quality of a service, the rating is readily available on both the New Order and Services & Pricing pages where other customers have left their rating and review on the performance of the service.
“When you come across a company like this, if they’re legit, they should be able to talk a little bit about the team that’s behind their products. This is important – it means that you can get to know the people that have come up with their services, and they can gain the trust of potential clients. If they don’t have this, then they’re most likely a scam. As you might have already guessed, we couldn’t find anything on their website that talked about a team or anything, which is definitely concerning.”
The above statements are particularly interesting considering that we’ve proven that both “Jonathon Spire” and “Jason Wise” of EarthWeb.com aren’t real people. Their “team” is entirely fabricated - yet they accuse their competitors of being a scam if they don’t share information about their team. There are many reasons why a site would not share personal information about their workers, the most obvious being privacy. This doesn’t make them a scam, especially when they have real customer support agents answering customer questions to back up their services - something that JonathonSpire.com and EarthWeb.com are notorious for lacking:
Next, we’ll look into the three most frequently promoted sites that appear on JonathonSpire.com and EarthWeb.com as “alternatives” to QQTube and many other providers.
One of the most frequently promoted sites on both JonathonSpire.com and EarthWeb.com is StormViews.net (previously known as StormViews.com)
StormViews is a provider of YouTube likes, views, and subscribers that markets themselves as selling “100% Genuine YouTube Likes, Views and Subscribers”.
One of the first things they mention is that they offer 24/7 customer care:
“Call the Stormviews team any time of day or night for the best help around, and we'll get you sorted out very quickly.”
They don’t list a phone number, but they do have a contact form available. We tested this out and sent a general service question on August 25th, 2022, but to this date we have yet to receive a response:
They also didn’t send us a confirmation email after our message was sent.
They frequently mention their 24/7 customer support as a big reason why customers should choose their services, but it’s clear that they have nothing to back it up with.
They also make this statement:
“Stormviews.net is known for imparting high-quality service to its customers.”
As you can see from their customer reviews, this is misleading:
They were also promoted on thesmallbusinessblog.net (another site owned by the same individuals behind JonathonSpire and EarthWeb), where customers commented regarded their scam tactics:
Their FAQ is filled with similarly misleading statements and vague responses where they avoid answering the question:
They also claim that there is zero risk when purchasing YouTube engagement:
This is misleading to customers. Reputable providers will always put customer safety first, however, no provider can guarantee that a customer’s account/channel/profile etc will not be banned or at risk, since that can depend on a variety of factors on the customer’s side, the provider’s side, and the platform itself.
They continue to make vague statements with the rest of their FAQ responses, like this question regarding how long their subscribers last:
One interesting element of their site is their Terms of Service, where they state that they are not affiliated with Instagram in any way. Currently, they only offer YouTube services, not Instagram services, which means their Terms of Service is out of date and inaccurate. They also state that they require Instagram login information to deliver their services:
The bottom line is, StormViews.net makes misleading statements and false promises to the visitors of their site, they lack the 24/7 customer support that they advertise (we contacted them and never received a reply), and their negative customer feedback speaks for itself.
Next up is SidesMedia, another commonly promoted site on EarthWeb.com, JonathonSpire.com, and thesmallbusinessblog.net:
Just like StormViews, SidesMedia promotes their 24/7 customer service. However, we have yet to receive a response from them after we reached out via their contact form on August 25th, 2022:
They also promote their customer reviews on their website, however there is no evidence of legitimate customer feedback elsewhere on the internet. They have no entry on an established site like Sitejabber, and the first results for “SidesMedia review” are blog posts from JonathonSpire.com, thesmallbusinessblog.net, and Earthweb.com, which we’ve established are all owned by the same individuals.
We did, however, find reviews on Reddit where customers complained of not receiving what they paid for and never hearing back from both SidesMedia or Useviral:
We also noticed that their footer is strikingly identical to the one used on UseViral, though this is unsurprising considering that most of these sites are run by the same people:
The lack of legitimate customer feedback available and their nonexistent customer support, paired with their similarities to UseViral and the fact that they’re promoted by the individuals behind an established scam makes SidesMedia highly suspect.
Finally, UseViral.com, the most promoted site on both EarthWeb.com and JonathonSpire.com. In fact, the first thing you see when visiting EarthWeb is a large banner advertising their services and offering a discount:
Of the three sites we reached out to, UseViral was the only one that got back to us.
Much like SidesMedia, there is a distinct lack of legitimate customer feedback on UseViral. They have no listings on Sitejabber or any verified review sites, and the only non-promoted reviews we could find were complaints:
Once again, the top results for “UseViral review” are from JonathonSpire.com, EarthWeb.com, QuantumMarketer.com, and Increditools.com - all owned by the same individuals.
UseViral.com also lacks an About page, or any information on how their services actually work or what to expect.
On their homepage, they also claim that their services will never get your account flagged or banned. As we explained in the section on StormViews, this is an irresponsible claim to make, as it is never within a provider’s control to make guarantees like this.
The bottom line is that there are no sources of legitimate customer feedback for UseViral. All of the top ranking reviews are from fraudulent blog sites that are all owned by the same group of established scammers, and who regularly promote UseViral to their site visitors as an “alternative” to other providers.
In their reviews of these other providers, they make false claims and make various accusations towards sites like ours. Whether UseViral is directly owned by this group of scammers, or merely affiliated with them and paying for the promotion, the fact is they’re using underhanded and scammy tactics to spread false information on their competitors.
Web Of Scams
Based on our research, we’ve discovered that the individuals behind JonathonSpire.com and EarthWeb.com own and operate a large number of websites that sell social media services and post fake reviews. They also have collaborators that may or may not be directly owned by the same group of individuals, but are still benefiting from this scam and are misleading their customers.
To help you avoid their web of scam sites, we’ve put together an infographic as well as a convenient list of all the fraudulent instagram growth sites, fake review sites, and any additional sites that are owned by or are collaborating with these scammers.
Fake Review Sites
- jonathanspire.com (now redirects to jonathonspire.com)
Fraudulent Instagram Growth Sites
- Social Steeze (shut down)
- Magic Social
- Rise Social
- Social10x (shut down)
- Social Envy (shut down)
- Phoenix Social
- gainmorefollowers.com (now redirects to earthweb.com)
Additional Sites Owned By SocialSteeze
- Bountii.com (now redirects to earthweb.com)
- Bumped.in (now redirects to earthweb.com)
- SelectedBest.info (now redirects to earthweb.com)
- pixelb.in (now redirects to thesmallbusinessblog.net)
- FreeYourSpine.info (now redirects to geekhealthjournal.com)
Additional Sites Collaborating With SocialSteeze
- Stormviews.net (previously stormviews.com)
How To Keep Your Sites & Accounts Safe
Now that you know which sites to avoid and the history behind their established scam, how can you find a trusted provider to help improve your social media standing?
When it comes to buying social media marketing services, it’s important to do as much research as possible in order to keep your accounts and business safe, and to avoid losing money to scammers like the group behind EarthWeb.com and JonathonSpire.com.
It’s important to find reviews directly from real customers at a reputable site like Sitejabber.com that collects legitimate customer feedback. You can see by their customer reviews that JonathonSpire, Earthweb, and the rest of the sites owned by or related to them are fraudulent and known scammers, and that the only positive reviews available for SidesMedia and UseViral have been made by these scammers.
Legitimate sites will also have active and efficient customer support, either by email or live chat. If you can’t get ahold of anyone who can answer your questions, consider that a red flag. As of posting this, we have yet to receive a response from StormViews or SidesMedia which we sent via their contact form on August 25th, 2022. Based on feedback from customers and competition alike, it's clear that it’s nearly impossible to receive a response from JonathonSpire or EarthWeb.
Next, check their deposit methods. Are you depositing funds securely, or handing over personal information in a questionable manner?
Also be sure that you’re purchasing services from a site that gives you control over your orders. Can you monitor your orders once they’re placed? Can you flag or report any issues with your orders? Being able to actually confirm that your order has been placed is important, especially if you work with clients and have many orders to manage and keep track of.
Doing a bit of initial research can save you tons of time and money in the long run, so be thorough!
We hope that this post helped you learn about the web of scams run by the individuals behind JonathonSpire.com and EarthWeb.com. Whether you’ve been directly impacted by their fraudulent behavior as a customer or competitor, or you’re looking for a provider and want to make sure you’re receiving trustworthy information, it’s important to stay informed and know which sites to avoid and why.