Normally, I’m pretty a pretty laid back person–but once in a while someone on the blogosphere makes me mad, and then I have to call them on their bullshit. Such was the case last year when another hockey blogger stole content from my site. What is irritating me now is a relatively new person on the sports card blog scene, a fabrication known as Sports Card Girl.
Be warned–do not buy anything from Sports Card Girl. Her website is not secure, and the whole thing smells of a scam.
Sport Card Girl started following my blog last week. Whenever I get a new follower, I immediately check out their blog or website. Upon looking at “her” site, many of the links were broken. Intrigued, I did a bit more digging around. Here is what I figured out.
#1 – Too good to be true
Yes, it is completely possible that a super-attractive woman would like sports cards AND blogging AND also happen to run an online retail store. Possible, but highly unlikely.
Many companies have hired attractive women to promote their goods. My old boss–who once worked for Marvel Comics–told me that he used to hire Playboy Magazine models to work at the Marvel Comics booth at Comic-Con. Sex sells.
And those Topps “Rip Party” videos feature an attractive model/spokeswoman. Everyone does this–from beer companies to automobile manufacturers.
The pretty girl that you see on the Sports Card Girl website is just a spokesmodel. No harm in that, but it gets better (and worse!)
#2 – Her name is Brandy Ruth
Well, that’s the “character’s” name, Brandy Ruth. And she is an attractive woman–a “babe,” you could say. Babe Ruth. Obviously, an alias–and a poor one at that.
#3 – Have you seen the videos?
Pretending to be the blogger that “she” isn’t, Sport Card Girl has a website, a Twitter account, and a blog that features videos of the model opening packs of cards and such.
One video is particularly telling, where the pretty girl opens up a box that has a signed football helmet inside. Once she gets the box opened, she goes straight for the certificate to read off that it is a Cedrick Benson autograph. Most REAL collectors would look at the item first, and then the certificate of authenticity.
In another video, the footage is flipped. You can tell because the text on the cards is backwards.
This just gets funnier and funnier.
#4 – Her website uses a foreign IP address
A foreign IP means that “her” website is hosted overseas. Why, when there are tons of web hosts in the United States? Over the weekend, fellow blogger and Twitter user Project1962 brought this matter to light, and questioned “her” use of a foreign IP:
Aug. 20, 3:09 PM – @SportsCardGirl what’s your true story? Why the suspicious IP address and the overabundance of stuff for sale?
Aug. 20, 6:28 PM – @Project1962 I hire people to help promote my site (who doesn’t outsource). I have all this stuff to sell because I’m starting a business
Aug. 20, 6:41 PM – @SportsCardGirl Fair enough. It still doesn’t explain the foreign IP address. Not hating, just questioning.
Aug. 20, 6:43 PM – @SportsCardGirl To me it looks like a dist. trying to use a pretty face to boost sales. I could be terribly wrong but that’s my thinking.
Aug. 21, 10:17 AM – @Project1962 i have outsourced to other countries for building links for my site (main purpose of building up search engine rankings)
Aug. 21, 10:18 AM – @Project1962 well, I am trying to turn my hobby into a business. After all, who wants to work for someone else? This is 2yr in makings 4 me
Sports Card Girl didn’t really explain that too well, did “she?” Why a foreign-hosted website? And how can a new business afford a TON of product and to outsource for help with search engine rankings? If none of that is suspicious to you, read on…
#5 – “She” writes like an ESL student…and a man
In my August 14 write-up about the upcoming Ultimate Memorabilia 10 set from ITG, Sports Card Girl gave this lively response:
“Cool cards, but expensive hobby, that best way to have it like what they have said is a group break. And it is fun doing it also.”
A day later, she replied to a thread on The Real DFG:
“I like your story, it is true that a woman [sic] are hard to understand (you can’t read their minds). Just be thankful and place the cards that matters [sic] to you. Keep it simple but contented.”
What…? I know we live in the age of LOLspeak and Tweeting. But who really wrote this? This “broken English” grammar ties in nicely with the website having a foreign IP address.
And what REAL woman (singular) would talk about women (plural) in the third person? According to my girlfriend, an actual woman would say “us” or “we” when referring to women as a collective group.
#6 – “Her” site is NOT secure
Thus far, all of these points have been to prove that Sports Card Girl is not a real person, but a fabrication–a model/actress and a piss-poor social media user. Most likely, this is the efforts of two or more people here. “She” likes and agrees with everything on other blogs, and seems to have an awful lot of trading cards for sale. So I tried to buy something, and noticed that the pages that collect personal data (name, address, payment information) are not secure.
A secure page starts with https in the address bar–the “s” stands for secure. Here is an example of a secure web page:
A non-secure page starts with http–no “s”–and is fine for most web pages so long as you are not entering any personal data. Here is an example of a non-secure web page:
Pages that collect personal data on the Sports Card Girl website–as illustrated above–are not secure. Name, email password–all that stuff could easily be intercepted by a hacker if you input it into that site.
Of course, credit card information should never be entered on an unsecure page. Strangely, payment information is collected on another site, which brings me to my final point…
#7 – Who is really selling these cards?
I decided to go through the order process, and bail out once it asked for a credit card number. I added two items to my cart:
- 2004-05 Upper Deck Exquisite Basketball Cards Hobby Box/Pack @ $2,300.00
- 2010 Donruss (Panini) Classics Football Hobby Box @ $99.99
I tried creating an account on “her” site, and that did not work (strike three!).
But I was still able to check out my $2,400 “order.” After filling out a a fake name, I was told that the final step of my order would take me to Amazon.com
Upon clicking to Amazon.com, I discovered that one box of cards would be shipped by an Amazon.com Marketplace seller named hotwheelskingdom, while the other box would be fulfilled by Georgetown Card Exchange, Inc.
I went back and tried ordering a different product to see what happened, and according to the Amazon checkout it would be fulfilled by Charm City Cards.
So, who is really selling these cards?
Is Sports Card Girl just a front for a conglomerate of Amazon Marketplace sellers who need someone sexy to sell their stuff?
Or is “she” really a third party that is trying to cull personal data from sports card collectors easily hypnotized by boobs?
Update (9-14-2010): Things didn’t end here. Read what happened after I posted this article.