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.