News Corporation, part of the Rupert Murdoch empire, with US$55 billion in assets, has refused to run my ads in its publications. Why? Because IHRB runs ads in its publications. The company enjoys annual revenues of US$32 billion. Mr Sam Cohen of IHRB places full-page ads in a range of publications, including ‘Nine To Five’ magazine controlled in Australia by News Limited. Here’s what happened:
25 MAY 2010: I wrote to the Editor of ‘Nine To Five’ magazine saying, ‘…I wonder if it disturbs you, as it does me, that your magazine is accepting ads from the Institute of Hair Regrowth and Beauty (IHRB and Sam Cohen). It is understandable that the revenue is important to your business, but at what ethical costs? In my opinion, IHRB is a total and utter SCAM. I have dedicated a website to the alleged scam called www.IHRB-Story.com… I know that you cannot know about the conduct of each and every advertiser. However, what is your company policy in relation to an advertiser that is a 100% scam? …Would you care to investigate my claims, and if you did, would you ever refuse IHRB’s advertising? Would you expose such a company as part of your community service, and as part of your investigative reporting to assist your readers? If you do not wish to reject further ads in your magazines (or newspapers belonging to your group), would you accept ads from me as an advertiser, warning people about IHRB, and pointing them to my site? If so, I would appreciate speaking with your Advertising Manager so that we can negotiate rates.’
26 MAY 2010: The Advertising Sales Manager responded, saying, ‘Thank you for your concern regarding IHRB advertising in the Nine to Five magazine. We, like every media organisation, follow the guidelines and advice based upon legislative requirements and regulatory authorities information. We are not aware of any notification issued from regulatory authorities which suggests that IHRB advertisements are misleading. Before refusing an advertisement on the grounds that the advertiser is making fraudulent claims or is conducting a scam, we require advice from a regulatory authority to cease accepting advertisements from the advertiser before we halt our business relationship as an advertiser may make a claim against us that we are restricting their trade which is breach of legislation. This protects all clients from being simply accused by their competitors of wrong doing, hence gaining an advantage in the market. I am not questioning your research or knowledge regarding this situation, but we must remain impartial to all parties, until notified by the appropriate governing bodies. I would suggest that you refer your concerns and information to the Office of Fair Trading or to the Australian Consumer & Competition Commission for investigation and determination. With respect to you publishing an advertisement in Nine to Five alerting readers to your point, unfortunately we would need to reject this, as we would not have the correct regulatory body substantiating their position.‘
On the one hand, the Advertising Sales Manager understands that there is legislation in place that is known as ‘Restraint of Trade’. Yet it seems that he has no problem in restraining my trade. He is restraining me from placing an ad to warn people about something that is misleading and harmful. Isn’t it fascinating that despite my site and my offer to prove my points to him, he still did not want to know. I am highlighting something important, yet there was no interest whatsoever.
27 MAY 2010: I wrote to the Editor of ‘The Wentworth Courier’ where IHRB had placed ads in the past, and where I had seen the ad that finally led me to go to IHRB and part with my money. I sent a note similar to the one above. I also asked about advertising in that paper. The Editor wrote back and said, ‘I’ve forwarded your message on to my advertising manager and have been told that this company actually doesn’t advertise in the Wentworth Courier. Please contact me if you have further concerns…’
27 MAY 2010: I sent a letter to the Chairman of News Limited. In part, it said, ‘…I also suspect that you and your Board would be appalled to learn that you are providing a vehicle for a suspected scam.’ Sadly, to this day, I have received no reply.
28 MAY 2010: The Group Manager of Direct Sales and Online for Cumberland Courier Newspapers wrote to explain similar things about following guidelines and legislative requirements. He concluded, ‘Regarding carrying advertisements by you against IHRB (as you suggest in your letter), as the advertisements would not be advertising specific goods or services, we would need to seek our own legal advice. If you wish to provide the specific wording you are considering advertising, I can arrange that advice.’
28 MAY 2010: I replied to the Group Manager, saying:
IHRB had placed ads with the ‘Wentworth Courier’ at a time when the Therapeutic Advertising Council had sanctioned IHRB. PDF attached .
For example, The Resolution Panel had made a determination in January 2007, asking IHRB to cease the ads.
By January 2008, IHRB had still not complied, so the Advertising Council reported them to the Secretary of the Department of Health and advised IHRB that it was in breach. I have all the documentation , but I wish to keep this email brief.
By August 2008, ads were still appearing in the ‘Wentworth Courier’ and other publications.
By September 2008, I became a client, and was given offending material to take home.
To this very day, the IHRB.com website is still misleading people…
I lost $3,700. A man called me this week saying that he had lost $12,000. Many others have contacted me with sad stories.
The Office of Fair Trading was lied to, and it has no power.
My specific matter will be heard by the CTTT on the 10th of June 2010. Even if I win my case, it does not stop him.
Every second-week IHRB is advertising in ‘Nine To Five’ magazine…
The response given to me by the ‘Nine To Five Advertising Manager’ is completely unacceptable in a supposedly-civilised society. What about your corporate governance? Or what about the mission and values that your Directors espouse? When will corporations stand-up and make decent decisions? We see Bernard Maddoff can rip-off US$40 billion from people, and we wonder how it was allowed to continue. We hear about Worldcom and Enron. We see the Global Financial Crisis and wonder why and how no-one stood up to stop it.
I am appealing to you and your organisation to stop allowing this man to rip people off. People who are too embarrassed to do anything. One lady called me this week and said that she would rather lose her money than have anyone know that she went there or that her hair is thinning. No-one wants to speak up. And now your company is not listening.
I fully understand what your note is saying. However, may I pose this question to you, and please bear with me and with the following crude and vulgar example. But I need to make a point, so here goes: Suppose that an advertiser of yours advertised holiday packages called ‘Happy Days’. What if I were to tell you that the advertiser is selling weekends in North Sydney where adults come to rape 10 year old girls and boys. Sorry about this crude example. And suppose that I take you to the building and show you the full view of kids being brutally raped. If you see it with your own eyes, would you stop publishing the ads? Of course you would say that you might call the police. Yes, but in the IHRB example, I can’t call the police (funnily enough we did call the police after Sam Cohen threatened me with violence). However, the police cannot act in such commercial matters. So supposing that you see full well that something bad is happening, would you stop the ads? Or would you still allow the raping, saying that until Happy Days is shut down by the authorities, you have to accept their ads?
Are you really saying that even if I showed you kids being raped, you would not stop the ads? Respectfully, this is precisely what you are saying in my scenario. You want to wait for legislation or some authority. I have been working on this for nearly 8 months… because it is my civic duty to ring the alarm bells. And you are refusing to even listen and learn, hiding behind noble, legal sentences.
Why would you not care to use your own initiative? Is it not your company’s job? Is it not your company’s responsibility? I fully understand your note, and agree with you, but we are dealing here with what I believe to be a 100% scam. What on earth do corporations mean when they speak of corporate social responsibility? What of corporate ethics? What of values? When and how do these kick in?
You mentioned that I had previously received a note from your colleague. His note said that he would refuse my ads. And now you are hinting that you cannot take an ad from me unless you clear it with your legal department.
May I ask why you would not want to call your legal department NOW and ask them what they think your company should do, having been told that I can prove to you that IHRB is a 100% scam. Ask your legal department NOW if, after I am ringing the alarm bells, armed with my evidence at www.IHRB-Story.com, whether or not your company has a civic duty to investigate IHRB which is using your vehicle to commit crimes. I know that you are not the police, but you are facilitating IHRB, and in an innocent, macabre way, profiting form the ads.
Indeed, you are all busy, and you enjoy the revenue. But I will not insult you by that suggestion. I still presume that Mr Rupert Murdoch would rather that we all did the right thing.
I have called every possible company, agency, and health department. And the dominoes are all lined up. But it is a slow process. I have a big job ahead of me, and it is all on track, but each process is hideously slow, and each department points me to another. No one seems to engage their brain. In the end, it will all come out in the open because I am confident that he will be stopped, but it is a slow process, because of responses I receive, similar to the response I received form your colleague yesterday, who disgusted me about our civilised society.
Is ‘Nine To Five’ one of publications? If so, why is it still taking ads? The ads are supporting an illegal activity. I can prove it to you. If you would like, I can phone you at your convenience…
The first step would have been to get your company to see that we have a civic duty. The second would be for your group to stop taking IHRB ads. The third would be for your group to hopefully find it interesting enough to conduct an expose on this man because he will be going down, in due course, and you would not want to reflect back and realise that your company had missed an opportunity to do the right thing.
If none of the above appeals to you, then I am left with the expensive option of advertising. Your colleague yesterday said that I cannot advertise. You are now asking me to tell you what the copy would read. I am not yet sure, but something along the lines of alerting people who know of this company to contact me, and those who have not yet been bitten to take heed. This is right off the cuff and would need much more careful crafting, but why would your company tip-toe around something so important, making my life difficult. I have nothing to gain. I lost $3700, but have since spent over $40,000 and months of my life working on this, never expecting to recover any money. I am doing this because we all owe it to each other in a civilised society, riddled with scams and charlatans who affect innocent people.
In my opinion, a man is scamming your readers. Do you not have a duty to your readers? Why would your company stop me, when it does not wish to stop IHRB?
I would welcome your call at any time. If you prefer emails, that is fine too.
Incidentally, out of courtesy, I should mention to you that yesterday I wrote to your Chairman. And I am days away from writing to Mr Murdoch in the USA.
16 JUNE 2010: I had received no reply to my plea, so I re-sent the email saying, ‘I had not heard from you and was not sure if you intend to reply. Thank you.’
17 JUNE 2010: The Group Manager replied, ‘My advice to you is as was originally communicated, and it is the same as it is to any consumer who has a grievance with an advertiser – that is we suggest referral of concerns and information to the Office of Fair Trading or to the Australian Consumer & Competition Commission for investigation and determination, or if you believe criminal, the Police. We follow the guidelines and advice based upon legislative requirements and regulatory authorities information. At this time we are not aware of any notification issued from regulatory authorities which suggests that IHRB advertisements are misleading.’
It is clear that the Group Manager did not understand that his publications were publishing ads while the TGA’s own Therapeutic Advertising Council had sanctioned IHRB. So indeed, there was a resolution that such ads be withdrawn, and Mr Cohen had continued to ignore the ruling! Further, the previous email had asked me to furnish my wording so that the News Corp legal team could assess it. I provided my general intention, and did not hear back. I was ignored.
17 JUNE 2010: I replied, ‘There was the matter of my request to advertise with your magazine. I would like to know if your magazine will accept ads as per my request below. The CTTT meeting went ahead, but was moved to a date yet to be set while IHRB has time to prepare its defence.’
18 JUNE 2010: The Group Manager said, ‘If you have ‘specific copy’ you want to include in an advertisement, please provide it to me and I can advise you as to whether we can publish on your behalf.’
23 JUNE 2010: I included a draft of the ad shown below and wrote, ‘I have attached a rough layout. Naturally the design could be tweaked and produced professionally so that it is more in keeping with your publication. 1) I would like to establish that you can run this ad. 2) I would appreciate speaking with someone to obtain quotations and to understand the options. I believe that ‘Nine To Five’ would be the best vehicle at this stage.’
24 JUNE 2010: The Group Manager wrote, ‘Dear Mr Nader. Following our communications and after reviewing your proposed advertisement, I am writing to advise you that we are unwilling to publish the advertisement you provided on Wednesday 23rd of June. Yours sincerely.’
Dear reader, can you believe this? I would have thought that any publisher would be interested in protecting its readers. Many former clients of IHRB have contacted me with a wide range of issues, including serious medical complaints. Each of us is having to fight the battle one at a time. It is draining and exhausting to expect a society to fight against scammers. One man I know can lose all his assets just fighting Mr Cohen and IHRB, yet he is pressing on, needing to expose this man. The evidence is overwhelming. Many of us feel duty-bound to expose this alleged scam. Our efforts are made doubly-hard by bureaucracy and now, by one of the world’s largest and most influential news organisations. News Corp is refusing to listen. I am trying to protect its readers. I was one of those readers who was affected by an ad in one of News Corp’s publications! Such news organisations thrive on news stories each day. Why is this not a news item for them?
1) New Corp runs hundreds of publications. Is it refusing to listen because it has a conflict of interest? If so, what about all those motherhood statements about the ‘letter of the law’ and the ‘spirit of the law’ that are featured at the News Corp site? Click here  and read the sections on the left of that page that speak about Corporate Governance and Standards of Business Practice. What do they mean?
2) I am a small-time advertiser and former client of News Corp. I am asking to place more ads at my expense. They refused. I am bringing a sensational story to this group, and they do not want to hear it. I am trying to assist the community, and no one cares. Ok, indeed, there are rules, and the executives are being careful. Pray tell, is there no corporate, social, business, commercial interest here?
3) Is News Corp saying that every story that it runs, must first be approved by the authorities? For example, if someone calls any of their hundreds of news rooms, and says, ‘Hey the man next door just ran out with a gun. I heard screams and gun shots. I see blood all over the window. I see a mad man shooting in the street…’ Is it News Corp’s policy to say, ‘Sorry, this is not a story. First go and tell the police and when the police advise us that a man has been arrested, we will come and file a report.’ Another example would be, ‘I know this guy called Bernard Maddoff. I am a former client of his. He scammed me out of 3.7 billion dollars. Can you please stop him from advertising with you…’ Is that not a story?
Whatever happened to investigative journalism? I am willing to pay for ads to do the job of the newsroom. Yet, I am also saying that we have a company that is illegally selling medications without a doctor’s prescription. It is changing the dosages with no qualifications. It is risking people’s lives using non-approved dangerous medications such as Loniten whose manufacturer warns of possible heart failure. Loniten is not approved for hair growth! From my experience as a victim, I know that IHRB is withholding important information-sheets and not passing them on to clients, and not outlining the risks to its clients. From my sad experience, I was ripped off. In my opinion, IHRB is scamming. It is lying big-time. It is conning people. I have evidence that IHRB is tampering with labels on medications. It is affecting people’s health. It is abusing clients. It is taking money for nothing at all. It is offering a money-back guarantee that is false and fake and not honoured. Is that not a story? And we still want to talk about McLibel, and Enron, and Worldcom, and Corporate Governance and ethics? When oh when will this world grow up?
On 12 July 2010, News Limited permitted Sam Cohen to publish an advertisement in which he mentions my name and this site. It seems odd that News Limited and ‘Nine to Five’ magazine would allow him to do what he likes, yet refuse me the opportunity to assist the community by exposing IHRB. Read about this development here. 
Here is the link  to the News Corp site that shows how large and powerful this organisation is. The site summarises the company as follows:
‘News Corporation (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV) had total assets as of March 31, 2010 of approximately US$55 billion and total annual revenues of approximately US$32 billion. News Corporation is a diversified global media company with operations in eight industry segments: filmed entertainment; television; cable network programming; direct broadcast satellite television; integrated marketing services; newspapers and information services; book publishing; and other. The activities of News Corporation are conducted principally in the United States, Continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, Asia and Latin America.’