This is my direct reply to Steinmetz's latest dishonesty. My public response is also available. This email was timestamped Nov 10, 2005 8:07 AM.
Of course. Plan on it being up.
Your note is at points factually questionable, and will be demonstrated to be so, but as Mark noted NationMaster Watch was established to do"nothing but follow the permutations of Nationmaster's highly unusual customer relations policy." This certainly falls into that category.
As I hope you know by now, I try to be polite and professional. Certainly when I referred to your "good faith" actions earlier, that was an example of this: I was giving you the benefit of the doubt.
I am thankful NationMaster decided to do the honest thing here. However, as you will note I had basically "given up" on gaining a refund some time ago. There were three posts about NationMaster's poor service, none recent.
What worries me much more are your unethical legal threats. You have yet to apologize for calling a negative review defamatory. Worse, you've yet to retract your statement that "If you do not take down the offending content by Monday, it's over to our lawyers."
Given NationMaster's history of this sort of thing (see Pat's comment at http://simonworld.mu.nu/archives/131220.php, and a brief discussion of NationMaster's possible misuse of Wikipedia material at
I think it would be best if NationMaster renounced and retracted its earlier threats.
This is the first direct communication between Mr. Steinmetz and I after his ultimatum. As you can see, NationMaster was unable to back up its threats.
Note that this email by Nation Master contains factual inaccuracies. See this tdaxp post for a commentary. Most worrying is that he has yet to apologize for the false charge of defamation, or unambiguously retract the abusive threat of lawyers.
Steinmitz's epistle is timestamped Nov 10, 2005 5:29 AM:
You were billed through PayPal on Sept. 21st 2004. You complained to us on Sept. 28th, 2004. Priya responded on Oct. 15th 2004 and gave you instructions on how to cancel your account through PayPal (since were not able to do it for you, as per PayPal rules at that time).You responded with a friendly "I appreciate your assistance and reply," on Oct 17th. On March 21st 2005 you are billed again, meaning the PayPal account had not been canceled (again, completely out of our hands). You sent an e-mail to Priya on April 1st 2005 in which you were obviously upset, but still did not unsubscribe yourself to our service. Priya responds on April 8th outlining again the directions for unsubscribing. As Priya mentioned in this e-mail, "I state this again - we CANNOT unsubscribe you from this end when you pay through the PAYPAL gateway. Paypal insists that they be the ones sign out their own members. It is their policy, not ours."
We suggest in the future that you understand with some payment gateways there are technological restrictions that prevent publishers from having the power that you may like them to. We did always offer an alternative payment gateway using your credit card (and even recommended this on the site) but you chose PayPal. We find it disappointing but also telling that you never raised an issue with the PayPal resolution centre, which is the normal route PayPal users take when they have a dispute with a seller.
Lastly, since we are now an entirely free educational site that values the input from our users and the community we've grown, we consider this payment matter closed, particularly considering we have given you a refund.
We invite you to publish this e-mail in its entirety on your blog.
Steinmetz renews his legal intimidation, responding to my request for good faith. This short email is timestamped Nov 5, 2005 9:02 AM
If you do not take down the offending content by Monday, it's over to our lawyers.
In response to John Steinmetz's Repitition of His Bad Faith Demands," my email was timestamped Nov 5, 2005 7:44 AM:
I hope we can continue to operate in good terms.
However, your most recent post indicates that you at the very least have been operating in bad faith. You made a request and offered to fix a problem in exchange --- I complied with the request -- you did not fix the problem. Likewise, it indicates that you entered into a contract that you had no intention of keeping and, sure enough, violated at the first opportunity.
Further, you have yet to apologize for falsely calling a negative review "defamation."
As a show of good faith, I am altering the original post's title -- an action that is above & beyond what you originally requested.
NationMaster had no write to continue billing me after I cancelled in the first place. If you wish to operate in good faith, I am sure that you will fix this problem immediately.
Replying to my previous email, Steinmetz's note is timestamped Nov 5, 2005 2:04 AM:
Glad to be on good terms, and we welcome any support or constructive comments from any of our users, particularly our former supporters.
Once these blogs posts are down, along with the heading titles, we will certainly refund your money.
Thanks for the quick reply, and updating your blog topic. However, the headline [Nation Master is a Scam (Avoid Nationmaster)] is still there, and I've just discovered you also have these blog posts too:
We have no supporter section and Viswa Priya no longer works with us. We would appreciate it if you took down all of these url's and I'll get Luke to return all of your money back straight away. We're just a bunch of stat geeks trying to make a cool site - hope you understand.
In response to John Steinmetz's Bad Faith Additional Demands. This email timestamped Nov 4, 2005 10:00 AM:
Thank you for the friendly and civil reply. I will keep mine in that tone, too.
I am very happy that Viswa is gone. Likewise, I am happy to similarly update the the other posts that related to my negative experiences with your company. I try to keep all information on my site up-to-date, and posts relating to nationmaster are no exception.
I am very happy to work with NationMaster on further updates. Considering how this dialogue began, though, perhaps it is best to await the olive branch you previously offered.
As a geek, I'm very happy to go that extra mile for fellow geeks. :) However, when their first email to be is rather legalistic, maybe it is best to walk together in baby steps :)
In reply to John Steinmetz's False Accusation of "Defamation", timestamped Nov 4, 2005 8:02 AM:
Thank you for your email. I feel like I have been on hold at a call center for a long time, and finally got someone on the line who knows what is going on. Thank you.
I apologize if you found the tone of my post uncivil. I try to be polite. If my tone was harsh, it is because what I wrote was true: your company took my money, and kept taking my money, after I tried to cancel. I know if a corporation would do that to you, you would not be happy, either.
Please apologize for calling the original post defamatory. It was not. It accurately reflected what happened to me.
I would admire a company that honestly tries to make amends. But not one that calls negative reviews "defamatory," and then tries to buy off so-called "defamation."
You owe me money.
Likewise, it is impossible for me to "call" you when you do not leave a number. A small matter, to be sure, but just as it is impossible to take down "defamation" when there is none, it is impossible to call a number with no digits!
That said, let's hand each other olive branches. The text of the negative review is down (http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/04/01/nation_master_is_a_scam_avoid_nationmaster.html).
This was your demand.
The first letter I received from NationMaster in this latest round of abuse. It is timestamped Nov 4, 2005 7:01 AM.
My name is John Steinmetz, Content Manager for NationMaster.com. I am writing to you regarding your dissatisfaction with us and your defamatory [sic] posting at: http://tdaxp.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/04/01/nation_mas...
Since we have discontinued the supporters area and made our site entirely free to all users, we would appreciate you pulling down this post. NationMaster has always attempted to be a resource for everyone on the net, and in an effort to fulfill that mission, we no longer charge our viewers to access the correlations, scatterplots and additional graphing tools.
In addition, we would like to extend the olive branch to you, by offering a full refund of your supporter payments if you take down the above blog topic. It is harmful to our business, and I assure you, we are not a scam site [sic]. I personally work at getting content online that will be free for everyone, and that is a tremendous service and analogous to the ideals of the information revolution. We originally charged for a few graphing tools in order to support our operations here, and any problems we have had with the supporters area have been nullified by making the site free.
Once the url above is down, Luke will re-pay you in full. If you choose to leave this url up, we will consider legal action.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to call on me [no number was provided].
Welcome to NationMaster Watch! My purpose here is keep an eye on Nation Master: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Please feel free to comment with any hints, tips, help, or concerns. l
I am starting this blog because of NationMaster's history of caustic, deceitful, and extortionist behavior. Throughout the posts on the website, hyperlinks and emphasis will be added by me for clarity and content.
Thank you for visiting this website.