We Were Contacted By A Purportedly Multimillion Dollar Company Who “Suggested” We Put Our Events On Their Website. After We Refused They Posted Events Using Elements Of Our Event Name And Text
TL;DR: To us, it looked like a large company in New York was trying to strong-arm us, a locally-based small business, by taking actions meant to bully us, deceive the public and hurt our business. A major event platform agreed with us. For more tips, check out this article on avoiding scam bar crawls.
WE’VE RUN THE RENO ZOMBIE CRAWL FOR 15 YEARS
At Crawl Reno, we’re tremendously proud of what we’ve built. What started off as a few hundred people visiting a handful of bars has grown into a world-renowned event that pumps money into our local economy and helps over 40 bars, restaurants and retail shops employ locals through the fall and winter every year.
These may be goofy, but we’re serious about throwing a good time and boosting our local economy. Crawlers get impressively designed keepsakes and maps and are able to stretch their entertainment dollars with over one hundred different specials on food, drinks and rooms at Reno’s luxury hotel resorts.
UNFORTUNATELY, IF YOU BUILD SOMETHING GREAT, SCAMMERS COME OUT OF THE WOODWORK
Over the last 10 years, tons of scammy national crawl companies have popped up who are known for mass producing sub-par events. In one day they post hundreds of events around the country in cities they know nothing about.
These companies churn out hundreds of events in cities across the nation in one day on sites like Facebook and Eventbrite. People sign up expecting well planned events because they make grand promises like “this will sell out!” and “the biggest event of the year!” When the day comes, they’ve done little to nothing to organize an event. Bars don’t even know they’re on, crawlers are left let down and confused, with just 3 or 4 locations sometimes miles apart.
We don’t think these events are good for communities for several reasons, so instead it’s smarter and safer to support locally-located promotors who live where they promote an event.
WE WERE CONTACTED BY ONE OF THESE COMPANIES WHO THOUGHT WE WERE A BAR IN TEXAS
Going through our Instagram we got what many people encounter on the internet, just not what you expect from a company. This sounded oddly like someone hitting on us, which was… intriguing?
We knew this company put on what they call crawls, but from what we gathered they seemed to just sell tickets to events that didn’t look well organized.
SO WE CHECK OUR DMs…
PUBCRAWLS.COM SEEMS TO THINK WE ARE A BAR IN TEXAS.
What part of “Crawl Reno,” let alone our description, sound like a BAR in Dallas, Texas? We’re clearly in Reno and we promote bar crawls already.
Do they not know where Reno is? If so, they obviously have no business putting on events here.
(Full conversation at the end of this article.)
PUBCRAWLS.COM SUGGESTED THAT WE PUT OUR EVENTS ON THEIR WEBSITE, ALONG WITH THEIRS
In talking to them it became apparent that they seemed to have a pattern of flooding a market with events and then possibly messaging whoever locally put on crawls and pressure them to put their events on PUBCRAWLS.COM. There doesn’t seem to be any benefit to the local company but instead this strategy seems to use like a way to pressure small businesses into working with them.
We already sell our own tickets. We explained that we don’t think companies who run events from miles away do a good job and said we’d talk to them but only after they pulled their planned events in Reno.
They continued to seem to come on strong with this offer to put our events on their website. When we refused, they said this:
OBVIOUSLY, WE REFUSED TO WORK WITH THEM
After the conversation ended, we thought the situation was over and went back to work. But what we saw next from PUBCRAWLS.COM seemed like the most scammy thing we’d ever seen.
THEN IT HAPPENED… ON SEPT 15TH WE FOUND THEY HAD CREATED A FAKE LOOKING EVENT USING OUR INFORMATION AND TRADEMARK
WAS THIS MEANT TO GET CRAWLERS TO SIGN UP THINKING THEY WERE GETTING FREE TICKETS TO OUR EVENT?
To us, this seems like a big New York company using unethical tactics meant to confuse the marketplace, hurt our sales and deceive the public.
THEIR EVENT USED OUR EVENT NAME
PUBCRAWLS.COM posted an event on Eventbrite using our event name. They added “Halloween” and “Bar” to Reno Zombie Crawl, which we noticed they didn’t do in other cities. Just Reno. Everywhere else that we checked it was just called “Halloween Bar Crawl.”
IT ALSO USED MANY EXACT PHRASES FROM OUR EVENT
PUBCRAWLS.COM also included copy taken directly from OUR website about OUR 2021 event. It was more than just a similar name- it seemed to us that they went to our website and took elements from our description of our event and even the exact special features that our bars had put together from our 2021 Reno Zombie Crawl.
They also placed the event on the day and times of ours.
And marked it free.
They still haven’t listed any bars for their events, or many details outside of what they copied from our old event.
An annotated image of the event is at the bottom of this article.
UPDATE: EVENTBRITE TOOK DOWN THE FAKE EVENT THAT WAS USING OUR INFORMATION!
We are STOKED that Eventbrite took action! Unfortunately companies like Eventbrite won’t know that these companies operate like this unless you report them!
Beware of companies listing bar crawls in a large number of cities- they obviously cannot keep track of who they’re talking to or where they are located, let alone put together a quality event.
Crawlers, it’s safer sticking to locally-based event promoters who you know do business ethically, understand the city they’re working in, and who care about benefitting their local community.
And if you’re a local event promoter, DON’T BE BULLIED! Take action because you might be surprised like we were!
CRAWL RENO HAS GREAT PLANS COMING UP AND WON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY CHUCKLEHEAD COMPANIES FROM OUT OF TOWN
These companies rely on people to NOT know who they are, where they are or how they operate. That’s why we’re putting this out there.
If you see scams, report them and make sure that neither you nor your friends get tricked.
THEIR EVENT FILLED WITH COPIED TEXT
Here’s the event:
Here is the full version of the conversation.