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MyAKA Closing Its Second Number Service

This email originally distributed to MyAKA customers April 14th, 2016

Dear MyAKA Member,

It is with much sadness that I am writing you today, to inform you that we must close the MyAKA service as of Midnight, CST on May 15th, 2016.

Over the past four years we’ve worked to fill a need and provide a privacy service to you, our loyal customers.  Unfortunately, we were unable to expand the service to a level of sustainability and we have been left with no choice but to cease its offering.

How this affects your MyAKA number.

Your number will remain active until Midnight, CST on May 15th, 2016.  You will not be charged for this period and will receive no future billing from us.

In order to keep your number active beyond this period, we recommend that you transfer your service to Grasshopper.  This company is providing an exclusive option to MyAKA customers of a $75 dollar discount towards their service.  Grasshopper has a stellar voice/sms service with all the features you’ve enjoyed from our MyAKA service.  In addition, they offer more robust routing and administrative functions, as well as iPhone and Android apps.  They are backed by Citrix, a well-funded, publicly traded company which has been in business since 1989.

If you wish to transfer your service to Grasshopper, please visit the below link (you must use this link for the $75 discount).

http://grasshopper.com/?ghpc=myaka&ghpcamt=75

Porting your number from MyAKA to Grasshopper can take up to two weeks so we encourage you to signup with their service as soon as possible.  The signup and transfer process is made simply by Grasshopper, but you will need to know two key pieces of information.

Signup:

After choosing your plan, be sure to check the option “Keep Existing Number”, enter your MyAKA number and choose “Not Listed” under carrier in this step.

Transfer:

Follow the instructions emailed by Grasshopper after you complete registration.  You will be asked for the name of your current provider and address as listed with them (your Customer Service Record).  Please use the following:

Twilio, Inc.

548 Market St #14510

San Francisco, California 94104

SID:  Please write support@myaka.com for SID

We have also attached a brief tutorial to help you move through the process as quickly and effectively as possible.

If you do not wish to transfer your service to Grasshopper, you are welcome to seek other alternatives.  The porting process to any service can take up to two weeks, so it is important to being the transition, ASAP.

What happens after May 15th?

At Midnight CST, on May 15th, 2016, all MyAKA numbers will cease to work.  Within five business days of this date, all customer information will be purged from our system and deleted forever.

Thank you.

We would like to extend our sincere thanks for your support.  We have worked very hard to help you achieve privacy and every moment has been an absolute privilege.  We hope that you have enjoyed the service and have found it to be useful.  Our only regret is that we were unable to grow MyAKA to a level which assured we didn’t have to send this communication.

Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions or concerns you may have.

Sincerely,

John Skorick

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MyAKA C&D from Intelius

Good Times: When Intelius Threatens to Sue

Intelius, chief among stalker websites, once threatened to sue me.  Here’s why.

Prior to launching MyAKA we entered beta with a few trusted partners and visions of a successful Google Adwords campaign.  Naturally we added targeted terms such as ‘second number’, ‘private number’, ‘alias number’, etc… but thought there must be a way to also gain some creative lift.

Being that MyAKA was created as a means to combat stalker websites like Spokeo and Intelius (and the hoards of others) I thought what better way to reach the people who need our services than to target these purveyors of privacy invasion.  And so, we setup a number of campaigns targeting keyword terms which these enablers of creep bid on, such as “how do I find someones address”, “locate (insert name)”, “Where does (insert name) live?” or work or hangout or…you get the point.  Then it dawned on me.  The people who are entering these terms are the creeps, perverts and stalkers who are trying to track someone down and find where the live.  We don’t want to associate with this riff-raff, we need to reach their intended targets.  But how?

We decided to bid on the company names such as “intelius”, “spokeo”, “white pages”, “people finders”, etc…  The idea was that people would be trying to find out how someone, such as a complete stranger, found out where they lived and showed up at their doorstep to harass them (or worse).  They would find the names of these companies, search for them and our ads would be displayed telling them how to mitigate the stalkers best friend.

Within 2 hours of our ads going live, legal from Intelius sent me a C&D.

Now, I realize that bidding on another’s company name or TM isn’t proper etiquette but I felt that exposing their practices was more important than playing nice.  I thought it very interesting how quickly they responded but also, what a great way to get the word out about these creeps and what we’re doing to try and harm their privacy invasion business.

I consulted with our attorney and, shock and horror, they’ve been involved in a number of lawsuits where they were the plaintiff gripping about this and that. Color me dismayed that a company which sells peoples private information to complete strangers is also a lawsuit troll. I was quoted mid-five figures to defend a lawsuit and, as a boot-strapped startup, we couldn’t fund the defense so I decided to take the ad down and look to raise awareness to their shenanigans through other means (like blogging!).

If only I’d been as clever as The Oatmeal and raised attention to their shitty business the world would be a much better place.

I’m sorry I let you down world.  You too, dear reader(s).

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