I first met Shawn Hogan in late 1994 on Internet Relay Chat (IRC).   Anyone who knows him well knows that he is one of the most giving people on the internet.

You probably know him though from his internet marketing forum at digitalpoint that has been running for over a decade.  It has almost 18 million posts and over 700,000 users.

In 2007 eBay charged Shawn with,  what boils down to,  (IMO) cookie stuffing.   The charges were initially many counts of “wire fraud”.

Shawn has publicly stated that he was very open about everything he was doing with the eBay affiliate program and posted a very long and detailed story about it all.  It sounds crazy but I can personally corroborate a lot of it.

In May Shawn finally decided it was time to stop the good fight and be done with this whole thing.  He agreed to pay a small fine and serve 5 months in the pen.

Yes thats right…  eBay alleged he defrauded them of $28 million dollars but let him off on a fine of a few thousand dollars and a few months in prison.

I asked Shawn before he went in if he had any public statement.  He sent me this:

I’ve spent millions in legal fees over the last 7 years, and taking both the criminal and civil stuff to trial would have cost many millions more. So I look at it this way… I’m not sure we would have lost the case had it gone to trial, but there’s no guarantee. It’s cheaper to settle/take a plea deal, and not have to worry about something crazy happening in a trial where a jury feels like they are doing you a “favor” and fine you $10M restitution and put you in prison for 10 years.  When the option presents itself to do a global settlement that ends the criminal and civil suit, spend a few months at prison camp, well… it’s something you will seriously consider regardless if you think you could have prevailed in the civil or criminal suits. After 7 years neither had even gone to trial yet and would have cost many millions of dollars to defend (so in a best case scenario, you are out millions of dollars to defend something, and probably spend another 5 years of your life dealing with the legal system). Just want to get all this dumb stuff over with really. 🙂

Shawn believes in standing up for himself. If you remember, a few years ago, he stood up to the MPAA when they sent him a demand letter for pirating a movie. They were only demanding he pay $2500 but Shawn fought it. After spending over $100,000.00 in legal fees he won. Just to prove a point. Wired Magazine id a huge featured article on him labeling him a “hero”.

I am upset about this situation right now. Not because of him being in prison… More so because of all the people talking smack about him. You don’t know what happened… you were not there…

In addition to providing a free forum, Shawn also made the Digital Point Coop link network. I am not going to get into what the network did but lets say it made a LOT of people a LOT of money. I know many that made millions of dollars with it. Personally I did very well with it. And Shawn did all this for free.

So all you people talking smack about him shut your hole. Did he do you wrong? No.

By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

26 thoughts on “Shawn Hogan Is in Federal Prison”
  1. Love a guy who stands by his friends and speaks up for what is right. Well said Jeremy! Hope Shawn serves some easy time and gets back to work in a few months!

  2. Props to ya Shoe. Some might see this as a wrist slap but IMO eBay got off easy because Shawn was tired of having it hanging over his head. Kudos to him for putting it behind him, and can’t wait to see what ingenious business he comes up with now that he has tons of free time to plot and scheme 🙂

  3. Shawn is one of my inspirational figure..
    Sad to know about his prison time.
    Anyways, he has guts to do! God bless him.. 🙂

  4. You’ve always been a class act Jeremy. Shawn made the smart play, no question. And I don’t doubt a word of his story.

  5. Shawn will be come back stronger and more determined. I’m glad this is behind him, Shawn is a great guy and a heck of an entrepreneur.

  6. I can see eBay’s side of it. His big explanation on your site 4 years ago was quite the tale.

  7. A lot things changed since 2005/2007 and good thing is eBay did understood value of affiliate program and moved it in-house and tightly managed it. Now it is one of the biggest money making machines out there.

    Conflict between eBay and Shon is their own thing… I just want Shon to get out of this forever and start fresh in 2015. I mean it’s like a gravity you can fight but you never win to get into conflict like this. Internet was wild west at that time and still it is but things are changing.

    Both sides demonstrated and said enough. We all know there is no black or white only 50 shades of gray unfortunately this is one of them.

  8. Wow, been following this crazy shit for years…Not surprised that he caved and took a plea though, regardless of whether he was right (and I have no trouble believing that what he said was 100% true) I think anybody would take a deal like that just to get the shit over and done with and spare the risk of getting railroaded at trial…

    It’s too bad, always had a lot of respect for Shawn and the stuff he did for the affiliate/ecommerce industry …the old link network gave me a fair hand up getting some sites up and trafficked back in the day.

  9. Shawn basically just took one for the affiliate marketing world. Poor guy.
    eBay’s already getting Karma points back at them since Google smacked their organic rankings.

  10. That guy has balls, he even put a smile face in his public statement!

  11. This is some news which most of us like me don’t know.
    I used to visit dp forums a lot and get quite useful tips regarding blogging to marketing from there.
    It seriously a useful forums for person like me who are new to this blogging world.
    Sad Shawn you have such a beautiful forum which helped uncountable people in making career on Internet but you did something unexpected.

  12. I can remember staying up late with Shawn many nights back in my “SEO Guy” days. Going over plans for the link network, helping him with his forums and sharing pics of our hot girlfriends lol (we were very young back then lol)

    It really is too bad for Shawn, the guys a ROCK STAR!

    The problem with rock stars is they often get way too much attention (not all of it positive) – this is just a case of some corporate asshole getting his panties in a bunch because someone MUCH SMARTER than him managed to take advantage of a situation.

    Be safe Shawn, you’ll be home in no time!

  13. It seems to be a pretty intense story. And who knows what was really going on – it’s always hard to see things from outside – and even if you would have more insight information – I guess it shouldn’t be our job to judge. A similar case happened last year when Kim Schmitz (better known as Kim Dotcom) was put into prison – and after a year of fighting it turned out that he was innocent. Anyways, I hope that we’ll also see a happy ending for this case.

  14. I don’t know what really happened but I DO know that people love to judge without knowing the whole story. Good for you for standing up for your friend.

  15. I have been following this story for years, thanks for sharing Shoe, Shawn is a great guy in this industry.

    Mike Maillet
    NetProfitMedia.com

  16. Hey Jeremy, it’s great the way you have stuck up for Shawn with this article. It sucks that his way to end this mess sooner and for less money was by going to prison. Hopefully he will be rewarded soon after he gets out of there for all his contributions to this industry.

  17. Actually, every affiliate marketer who had a cookie wiped by Sean was “harmed”. A lost cookie meant lost money, in fact all of the millions Shawn made with the cookie scam belonged to other people, regular users of his forum mostly. My beef isn’t with Shawn though, it’s with eBay. Where do they get off spending millions keeping him in court when they knew full well in advance what he was doing and even encouraged him?! The money spent on legal fees, by ebay, was straight off the backs of their sellers too(in the form of increased fees) which is just wrong too. eBay didn’t lose a dime, EVERYONE DEALING WITH EBAY DID!

    Keep up the good fight, always.

  18. This just yet again proves that it doesn’t matter if you’re right. If you go against a big company, you’re screwed. Nobody is going to help you.

  19. No matter what happened in the past, you have to feel for the guy, and I hope he deals with prison in a positive way – has he actually gone inside a proper prison or just some sort of camp for softer criminals?

  20. […] ended up facing criminal charges and did a plea bargain that sends him to prison for 5 […]

  21. […] ended up facing criminal charges and did a plea bargain that sends him to prison for 5 […]

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    […] ended up facing criminal charges and did a plea bargain that sends him to prison for 5 […]

  23. What point did he prove by fighting the fee for pirating a movie? That stealing movies is ok? Or did he really not pirate the movie?

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