The Myka BitTorrent Box Looks Like a Scam

Myka, a new BitTorrent enabled set-top box was about to enter the market last year, and received widespread coverage online. The project soon went silent, but this weekend they have made the news again with another promise to ship soon. Don't fall for it though, it has scam written all over it.

scamInitially, the pre-ordered Myka boxes were scheduled to be shipped in the Summer of 2008, but months have passed, and nothing happened. When we reported on the ‘product’ last year, we noted that we hadn’t seen one “in the flesh” and now, almost a year after the product was announced, all the people who ordered a box are still waiting for it to be shipped.

In addition, the company ran banner campaigns on several websites that were never paid for – TorrentFreak included. Myka’s Dan Lovy contacted us last year to ask if we were interested in promoting Myka through a banner campaign. After several emails back and forth we agreed on a good rate, and put the banner up in the sidebar. The campaign ran for over a month, but we had no choice but to remove it when Dan went silent.

We never received any money for the banner campaign, and we were not the only site Myka scammed into advertising their ‘product’ for free. From then on all emails remained unanswered, until May 2008 when Dan emailed us to say that they had received a round of funding, and that he would pay up soon. That was the last time we heard from him.

Around the same time, a discussion on DigitalSpy got quite heated when someone seemed keen to promote the device and was confronted by users who were concerned at the lack of a real company name, amateur website, no real-world address and no contact details other than an email address. Indeed, even the Myka.tv domain details are protected. Not exactly confidence inspiring.

Then the whole project seemed to die. Customers who had ordered the device never heard from the company again, and the website was never updated. Only a month ago NewTeeVee reported that they were still promising to ship the pre-orders in the Summer of 2008, while through neglect the Myka forums were taken over by spammers.

Six months later after being informed of the mess on their forums, someone claiming to be Dan Lovy posted on CrunchGear yesterday, saying “I’m Dan Lovy, chief cook and bottle washer at Myka. Just spent a lovely evening cleaning out the forum. YES, the factory is springing to life.”

But what inspired this reappearance by Mr Lovy? In an unforeseen turn of events, Myka has announced it is ready to ship their set-top box in the coming weeks. The news was picked up by Engadget and the previously-mentioned Crunchgear, with Dan Lovy himself encouraging people to order a box, saying “Have you ordered your MYKA today?”

No thanks. When building a business and embracing partners and customers alike, you have to build trust. Our advice; don’t buy on their promises, they break them. Time and again.

Update: Only a few minutes after we published this article Dan Lovy contacted us to say [insert all possible excuses here].

So, he is alive, and we have no doubt that he’s a real person. We did find out that he never got the funding he told us about a while back. Last week he wrote this at the Small Business Ideas Forum: “Most recently I launched www.myka.tv We generated hundreds of news articles and orders (alas, in this economic climate we have been unable to raise the money needed).”

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