Today I come across pretty interesting post on MSDN forums. To give your some background: recently (about a month ago) some company started to market suite of products that supposedly perform migration from SVN to TFS, backup of TFS projects, work items etc.
The inability to backup separate projects has long plagued TFS community; the company was mentioned in several blogs and in several MSDN postings. I was saying to myself "Kudos to those guys for doing that enormous work and implementing functionality even MS itself was unable to implement". Until today somebody (apparently the buyer of the said software) posted the following:
"... is a fraud company. I had purchased one of their products. The buggers provided me a *** software, which was good for nothing. I have even heard from a mate of mine in France that they charged the product amount and never gave the product.
Today - Even their website does not work."
Well, that surely sets off some alarms. So I indulged a bit in some hobbyist investigation and here goes the list of interesting facts:
- The company site is offline as of now; the domain was registered on April 19th, 2007, shortly before the first mention of the products offered appeared.
- Neither pricing information nor trial downloads of the products were available at the site (the site is only available now through Google cache).
- All posts pointing to the company site on MSDN forums were posted by the same user "gauravmangla". Looking at activity of the user one may see that user was registered on May, 2nd 2007 and all his postings are linking to the mentioned company site. No other posts by the same user are found.
- The only feedback posts on MSDN forums is by some user named "john.matthews01", registered on May, 26th 2007 and whose three posts are concerned solely with praise to the company software. No other posts by the same user are found.
- No customer feedback from real customers is found using Google (I mean feedback from real-life person non-affilated with the company); only mention of the software in TFS related blogs.
Before I compiled that short list, I was inclined to think that the company in question is new micro-ISV company (of the kind regularily discussed at JoelOnSoftware forums), perhaps with very decent offering that help lost of people in TFS crowd; but now I am of opinion that some fraud scenario might have been at work. My conclusions from that story - before buying something
- Download trial version; if no trial is available then reconsider
- Request client reference/search for users feedback; if none found then reconsider
- If the company is new and the price of the software is significant for you, reconsider
- Use credit card to pay for the software to make sure you get your money back in case of fraud
Update: I stand corrected as the owner of the company in question posted an explanation of the situation; the site is inavailable due to some internal problems ("... a disgruntled employee left our company and he was responsible for our web site. He changed all the passwords and removed all the web site code"); no products was shipped so far due to export limitations so the rumours of products beind paid for and not shipped appear to be just rumours without any solid foundation.
I do hope the company will be able to resolve the internal situation and resume business as usual.