Tag Archives: Pekka Somerto

How to handle an unwanted blogger – the Valkee solution

Imagine the following: You have a company selling some unproven wonder treatment to naïve customers. You get maximum-level political support – even from the President of the Republic and the PM. You’re getting multi-million public and private funding enabling you to produce “research” to bolster your marketing.

But the target population still doesn’t believe you. An ugly makeshift website with an unfriendly blog draws as much attention as your glossy campaign. Although it is maintained anonymously, it has higher credibility. The facts presented there are a threat to your business, you want to get rid of that. What shall you do?

Here is, what Valkee Ltd did.

 

1. Send a threatening letter

in which you demand to shut down the website.

cease-and-desist letter by Valkee's CEO Somerto

 

If unsuccessful,

2. Let your lawyers send a threatening letter.

cease-and-desist by Borenius law firm

Luckily, you have Borenius, a leading law firm, at hand – at the expense of others.

 

If unsuccessful, start some

3. Text message stalking

somerto-sms1

Send the messages preferably in the morning (before 7:30 a.m.) or at night (after 8:00 p.m.). You may achieve a good shock-and-awe effect when the target is with the family, not expecting anything bad.

somerto-sms2

 

If unsuccessful, make a

4. Denunciation to the police.

The outcome may be disappointing (detailed description of the case here), because the website/blog does nothing illegal. The presented facts are correct, as you know.

 

Anyway, if unsuccessful, try a

5. Second complaint to the police

in which you decry the activities of that blog as a vital threat to your business. Urge the police to do anything soon. At least, it will keep the blogger busy and under pressure.

lawsuit2-4[1]

 

If all those methods are unsuccessful,

6. Hire a private investigator.

This may be outsourced to some of your pals. Their growing concerns about the failing investment could make them try a whole bunch of unconventional measures. You must convince them, that all negative publicity is caused by that blogger and his friends, not by your foul claims.

valkee-amateur-spies

Security expert Dave may find out interesting things about one’s personal life (cut out from the JPG above). Keep it for later use. But next time avoid leaking the memos, because of your sheer incompetence with web techniques.

  • Guessing game: Who hired David as a private eye?
    • Hint 1 (symbolic picture):
      (symbolic picture only)
    • Hint 2: it begins with M.

 

If still unsuccessful,

7. Contact the blogger’s employer.

This is, of course, a do-not for a civilized person. Use only if despair strikes. You may try to find out more details about your target. Or simply ask random things, to make clear you’re despicable enough to actually play that card.

Be aware, that the HR department may be used already to 3C-requests (criminals, crooks, and crackpots) due to the nature of that institution. Your questions may be redirected instead and cause further damage.

update: Pekka Somerto contacted my employer via phone and from a DNA welho.com e-mail (probably he changed it now to Elisa.fi). I received a HR call at home on my day off, and had to explain. An uncomfortable situation, as you may understand./-Ed.

 

If all is unsuccessful,

8. Leave the company

after all you’ve done.

thelastoneswitchesoffthelight

Your pals/investors could help with parachuting you into a leading position elsewhere – even with comparable pay checks.

valkeelisa

Then resume where you stopped: Selling flimflam devices. Enjoy life!

***

Surprise: Elisa Oyj sells Valkee-succeeding Oura crap

Some twists in the Valkee saga still may surprise me. That one is hard to comment:

Oura-Valkee-Somerto-Elisa

Oura-Valkee-Somerto-Elisa

[ background 1 ] [ background 2 ] [ background 3 ]

The Oura ring is another gadget linked to unfounded claims, misleading advertising, and Valkee. Elisa Oyj‘s new Business Development Director is the former CEO of Valkee, and multiple Valkee employees now appear at Oura, which original name is JouZen Oy. Valkee’s co-founder is listed among the inventors of Oura’s founding patents. Among JouZen/Oura leaders is Petteri Lahtela, from Valkee’s Japan operations.

A so-called butt-on-bucket constellation, with helping hands by good old boys.

The 3rd Relaunch of the Valkee Scam: “SummerLight”!

With worldwide sales nearing zero, the finnish earlight maker Valkee Ltd undertakes the next (and probably last) “relaunch” of its 10 year-old scam. The product is now called SummerLight. The accompanying website summerlight.com is a shady copy of the previous humancharger.com fraud.

valkee-summerlight-therapy-deviceNo further comment needed.

Update: Valkee’s scam sites won’t open w/ earlightswindle.com referrers. They also block me on Twitter. OMG. OMG!!1!

Valkee Ltd, Elisa Oyj and TEKES: Good Old Boys at Work

Valkee Ltd’s previous CEO Pekka Somerto has a new job, he tells at LinkedIn: Business Development Director at Elisa Oyj, a major finnish operator traded at the Helsinki stock exchange.

I won’t again talk about what I call his competitive relation with the truth, which he has publicly demonstrated at several occasions. I am just wondering how they took into account his performance as CEO of Valkee Ltd. Here the figure for his tenure, quite exactly that specific interval.

Valkee results in Pekka's tenure

Nothing against the new job. He is qualified. But at Elisa’s board of directors is Petteri Koponen. In the specific sub-commitee he is responsible for recruitment to the leading posts in the Corporation.

Koponen is founding partner of LifeLine Ventures, together with Timo Ahopelto, Valkee’s chairman. LifeLine is the lead investor in Valkee.

Ahopelto again is at the board of the tax-funded TEKES agency. And the biggest single Investment of TEKES goes into … LifeLine Ventures. As well as most of it investments. TEKES again has poured millions into Valkee.

Corporate governance, Finland style.

***

Personal note: To my knowledge, Valkee’s leaders have told investors and others, that I am a malicious person with an agenda to bring down Valkee. I may advise Elisa Oyj to look rather at the company turned down by a blogger, not at the blogger who turned the company down.

I have no specific hatred towards Somerto.

 

 

New (not so) independent study: Valkee’s HumanCharger is a placebo (Update)

The finnish earlight maker Valkee Ltd is putting all-in on the american market after plunging sales in Europe. Its product, the premium-priced placebo HumanCharger, is sold with wonder claims online by Walmart and others:

Walmart as a co-scammer!

  • Keep in sync, all the time: regular exposure to light helps maintain the rhythm of our natural body clock, so with HumanCharger you always feel “in sync”
  • Better sleep, better health: HumanCharger reduces the need for excess sleep and reduces food cravings associated with jetlag, tiredness and low energy levels

At the same time, the second independent study about the device’s effects (or the lack thereof) is published. The result … is the same as in all other placebo-controlled tests.

Independent trial: Valkee is a sleep and mood placebo

It is concluded that transcranial bright light, at times where conventional light therapy has phase-advancing properties, did not influence any sleep parameters differently than placebo.

This is by no means surprising, as the first independent trial, published in November 2013, came to similar conclusions with a somewhat different methodology. Valkee’s HumanCharger has no effects on circadian rhythms. The new independent study is from the University of Bergen, Norway. With 50 participants, it was adequately powered to detect any effects consistent with Valkee claims.

The company has admitted, that their earlight doesn’t have any physiological effect comparable to standard light therapy. Their own data also show, that it does not influence Melatonin or Cortisol like real light therapy. Now we know, it doesn’t improve or at least change sleep in any way.

The HumanCharger does not influence the biological clock.
No “better sleep. better health – sync with the sun”. It’s all made up.

Ironically, Valkee Ltd is just touring the US with exactly these false claims. The company has been presenting on the Consumer Electronics Show CES2016 from Jan 6-9 in Las Vegas. It would be interesting to see the reactions of any resellers, when they realize that the HumanCharger again is scientifically demonstrated to be humbug.

 

Update 1: I got the study pdf. Cool, that was fast! Big thanks to J. – and to all the other nice readers whose support I am experiencing regularly.

Update 2: According to the small print in the full text, Valkee Ltd paid 12.000 Euros for this trial. That’s more than for the ice hockey trial a few years ago. But they did not get full control over the results and the publishing. Literally a bad investment. (16.1.2016)

HumanCharger study done to counter critics, disappears again (X-mas special 4)

Dozens of hilarious details about Valkee Ltd’s HumanCharger scam go untold because they don’t warrant a full blog post. As a Christmas present, here are some of such pearls.

When Finland’s Valkee Ltd re-launched their earlight device in 2015 under its new name HumanCharger, there was an exceptional piece among all the PR articles which simply reuttered their press release.

Fierce Biotech criticism

This is the first placebo-controlled trial ever conducted for a bright-light device, the company said.[SIC!] The data may be designed, at least in part, to address allegations widely publicized online that the company’s product is a scam.

Stacey Lawrence of Fierce Biotech had a bright moment.

You may wonder how the company can be forced into a study because of this blog and a few articles elsewhere. And how could they possibly even succeed?

Simple as it is: Valkee bought the “evidence”. The study has disappeared from the net and Valkee’s websites again, but is still available in full from earlightswindle.com/gloom (PDF). The small-print in the last paragraph reads:

We would like to thank Clinius Ltd., an independent company, which conducted the study on behalf of Valkee Ltd.

The study is not done for any scientific purpose and as such unethical from the start. And it’s unclear who the real investigators were. Clinius is a company from Helsinki, Finland.

 

Stay tuned for the next part tomorrow, and the best of all on December 24th!

HumanCharger endorses Zapper scam (X-mas special 2)

Dozens of hilarious details about Valkee Ltd’s HumanCharger scam go untold because they don’t warrant a full blog post. As a Christmas present, here are some of such pearls.

Valkee recently retweeted a nice, very telling picture.

HeartMath, Zapper, Valkee!

The HumanCharger among other travel essentials. HeartMath and Zapper. – Wait, WHAT?

HeartMath

The HeartMath Institute claims to have technologies to reduce stress, give energy, etc.pp. It says to be built on science. It is detailed here on a professional website:
HeartMath BS

“extensive research and findings on stress, heart intelligence, coherence and the energetic connection between all things are featured”

No further questions. They tell that people’s hearts are magnetically interconnected and communicating. Read it in full on their site, which is quite impressive.

 

The Zapper

The Zapper actually doesn’t differ much in principal structure from the HumanCharger (see picture). As a notorious bullshit, it’s a textbook example for quack. It’s quite famous. People are buying these boxes from different manufacturers. If you have time, look at the site of Dr. Clark, mother of all zappers.

Excerpts taken from Dr. Clark’s : “The Cure for all Diseases” Book

It cures all diseases, right. Not making this up! All diseases are caused by the same single pathogen, an intestinal parasite. A worm, which then can be killed by such a device.

zapper variant

Evolution of scams

So there we have them in a perfect arrangement. Ingenious. I couldn’t have done it better – though I cited the Zapper scam from the very first day on earlightswindle.com.

HeartMath, Zapper, Valkee!

 

The Christmas Special continues tomorrow with a more serious revelation. Stay tuned!

Valkee Ltd doubles the bribe! (X-mas special 1)

Dozens of hilarious details about Valkee Ltd’s HumanCharger scam go untold because they don’t warrant a full blog post. As a Christmas present, here are some of such pearls.

Is there any positive Valkee review written without bribe changing hands? Usually it’s the device itself: Bloggers, journalists etc. get a “medical iPod” (Valkee slogan) for free. Though it’s totally useless compared to the popular music player, and it has no medical effect, it somehow looks nice and that’s what everyone writes after “testing” it.

The review won’t be negative, because it’s 200 Euro a piece. You’re made to think you’re one of the chosen few. Instead, Valkee has given out many hundreds of the “Chargers”. A logical move, as there are thousands unsold devices in stock, and any short blog post is worth more than the few Euros for the 2 LEDs.

With Valkee Ltd going its natural course, this idea metastatizes further:

 

Bribing the same writer twice

Valkee doublecrossed tech writer Robin Wauters back in 2013.

Robin Wauters Tech.eu

Now he has used the trigger words jet lag in a tweet and is provided with the second, identical device.

Robin Wauters bribe 2

Note the word borrow! After Slush 13, the honest one of all the “journalists” really wanted to return the Valkee device. It came out, that Valkee had no wish and no procedure to accept any such return.

 

Doubling the loot

To get rid of the stockpiles, the innovative Valkee Ltd just came up with a new breakthrough idea. Send two instead of one.

Rubbish twice No shit!!

The Christmas special continues tomorrow, with more Valkee buffooning.

U.S. FDA refused import of Valkee HumanCharger devices

Valkee Ltd now began the third launch of their product – the second relaunch of the LED headset – with its new target North America. But: How could the mighty U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allow such a scam device onto the market?

It turns out, they didn’t. The FDA had refused the Valkee “HumanCharger” import into the U.S.A. earlier this year. For a number of reasons, mainly misbranding.

fda-refusal

There are several ways to get “approved” by the FDA, depending on the classification. Valkee’s HumanCharger got no 510(k) clearance, and certainly not a Premarket Approval (PMA), for which one must present sufficient clinical trial data.

It is not listed as approved with the FDA (the listings here) in any possible way. [- If any reader has additional information, please let us know. -]

That, however, does not mean it is sold illegally. Many light therapy devices, for example such for cosmetic uses, are exempt from FDA regulation. Then they can’t make relevant medical claims. That’s exactly what Valkee Ltd demonstrates: The device is sold as a lifestyle – weight loss aid – sleep promoter – energy booster. Just typical scam claims. It may work on tech people who are prone to fall for such innovations.

as jet-lag cure ...

Valkee does not need any research staff for this strategy, the marketing trial being published. So the company fired its Research Manager Heidi Jurvelin, the Research and Science Liaison Manager Melanie Rueger PhD, sales people, and replaced the CEO Pekka Somerto with Aki Backman. (Jurvelin and others now appear at Valkee’s sister project JouZen Oy  aka OURA, fulfilling predictions by the social media influencer Vesa Linja-aho: Valkee scales down to a sales bureau, and JouZen takes over.)

The new course is set. Personally, I would miss this absurd tale when it came to an abrupt end, now as they finally seem to stop scamming of sick people and look for the too-healthy jet-set clients. However, it does not look good for Valkee Ltd. There are many wonder treatments for jet lag already.

 

***

p.s. at least left Valkee

  • Heidi Jurvelin (to JouZen/Oura)
  • Melanie Rueger
  • Tuukka Josefsson
  • Tero Vallius (to JouZen/Oura)
  • Jonna Muurinen

 

Valkee Ltd vs. Earlightswindle.com: Shutdown Attempt, Legal Action Fails (2. update & document)

The finnish earlight seller Valkee Ltd. sent forth lawyers and tried to misuse police force in a failed attempt to silence this website, which is criticizing the company’s practices. The prosecution was stopped now by the officials, declaring there has been no wrongdoing.

The full document set is not yet available to the public, because it may still be sealed by the authorities. However, according to Finland’s laws on Freedom of Information, after any investigation the material shall be in the public domain. Earlightswindle.com tries to get the scans as soon as they become available. By now it can only describe and cite without revealing the acting persons’ names. It shouldn’t be so hard to guess. See update section below.

 

Behind the scenes

Valkee Ltd demanded to close this website within weeks of its establishment in late 2012. Until then, the critical view on the once-applauded, self-declared startup firm had less than 50 visitors. The first deadlines set by Valkee’s board expired without effect.

valkee-letter-2013

Strangely, all communication was sent to a certain person which Valkee claims to be behind this project. There’s never been any message to the e-mail address given for this purpose from the very first day. They did not demand factual corrections. Instead, the earlight firm made clear that this website had to disappear before it could be noticed by the general public.

The successive additions to earlightswindle.com during 2013 coincided with Valkee’s problems after reports by a now-critical mainstream press, and the widely recognized 2012 FlimFlam award. Social media picked up the Valkee story in August 2013, overshadowing the launch of the Valkee 2 device. The company had a defensive reply attached to its most important campaign in years. A catastrophic event in marketing terms, followed by the even more devastating independent trial countering their 2013 Christmas campaign. Something had to be done.

 

Police is called in

A Valkee representant made a complaint to the finnish police in January 2014. Earlightswindle.com was said to cause massive damage to the company. The person they made responsible should be punished, and convicted to pay compensation.

In May 2014, a renewed complaint came in. Valkee saw this site as a vital threat to its operations and shareholders. It urged the officers to act immediately, because now a twitter account EarLightSwindle existed, making the information available to an even bigger audience.


Warning: Clicking this is hurting Valkee (says Valkee).

lawsuit2-4[1]

(update: p.4 of complaint no.2, Valkee’s CEO said this post to be a pure canard. OMD)

Legal grounds

Finnish libel law only covers insults against persons. It rules out punishment for criticism made about one’s business, or science. But there is a foxhole: If the criticism is too sharp, and may directly harm a specific person, it leads to prosecution. Such cases went through the High Court with considerable sentences. The criticism on this site is extreme, and the things told here are likely to hurt persons involved. Yet, it had to be false and mendacious. The truth cannot be unlawful.

  • First, [X] declared to be Valkee in person (“Valkee henkilöityneenä”). Everything said about the company would mean him, because he was speaking for it on countless occasions, and is presumed to be its face.
  • Second, criticism of his work would ruin his career as a researcher.
  • Third, authorities had never investigated Valkee for fraud or anything else, and therefore it cannot be called a scam.

Would that have gone through, it would have enormous impact on free speech in Finland: It would be a punishable offence to use the word swindle, scam, hoax (“huijaus”) without a court decision.

480px-Free-speech-flag

Unthinkable? Not for Valkee, the innovative young firm from Oulu Helsinki.

Fortunately, earlightswindle.com is in English and made for an English-speaking audience. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines a health fraud scam as:

products that claim to prevent, treat, or cure diseases or other health conditions, but are not proven safe and effective for those uses.

Valkee Ltd has sold, or is selling, the earlight devices for

  • Migraine
  • Shift work disorder
  • circadian rythm shifting
  • optimizing cognitive performance
  • Bipolar Disorder (!!), and
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder.

It has no accepted evidence for any of those claims. It has only an approval for SAD. So Valkee is per definitionem a scam, or health fraud, or however one may call this. Practically, and in legal terms. The FDA exculpates that fully, without any need to explain, or to understand scientific details.

 

Closing the case

After one year, the officers working on the case and the prosecutor made the decision to end the investigation, because it is highly unlikely to lead to a conviction under these circumstances. There has been no wrongdoing. Valkee has left only the possibility to call on a civil court. The chances to win the facts are near zero, after it was made clear that nothing unlawful happened. But the company has money left. It would not surprise if they make a last stand.

The important message is, that here is no slander, no lies, no defamation. Don’t expect Valkee to accept that. Be sure, Valkee will not be prosecuted for … at least not for their false claims about earlightswindle.com.

 

Some words in private

This thing has caused me sleepless nights, as you may understand. Not so much because of the criminal case in itself – the website was considered court-proof from the beginning simple because of its factual correctness. It shocked me, after all I’ve seen from Valkee, that they are willing to misuse authorities and to mislead them with such bogus claims.

Oskari Onninen seems to be correct when he notices:

This is Valkee, a company of two truths. One the company’s own, the other the outside world’s. Comparing them is like reading Russia Today and the New York Times at the same time and trying to assess whether Vladimir Putin is a good guy or a crook.

And if a Valkee-truth is collided with another truth, the company is instantly at your throat.

The original, 50+ pages lawsuit material contains absolutely incredible misconceptions, false translations and awesome claims by Valkee. This post may be updated with that if readers wish so.

I never told about these Valkee activities before, though I know that “the Internet” hates such commercial censorship. I was just so fed up with the evil. On the other hand, the finnish scam company knew what they were taking on. They knew it would become public one way or the other.

Now I need some time out.

CU./-ed.


UPDATE 2.4.2015:

Mr [X], who filed the complaint for Valkee Ltd, did not want the documents online – for personal reasons, he said. Fine with me, although disappointing for some readers: Saves time and money. His decision demands no comment.

I have the complaint scans here, and if someone wants them, you’re free to check it, if you don’t put them online. I gave my word.

Then I discovered, that Valkee’s PR-mistress kittikatti alias Christina Forsgard was retweeting foul and despicable claims about me to over 6.600 persons. These may not be aware of the role she played in the scandal.

forsgard-crackpot

– The prosecutor would’ve had stopped the investigation because only a fine (= and no jail term) was to be expected. As if our “too liberal justice system” prevented a conviction. Absolutely awful. Just think a moment: If that would be a reason for stopping, how could anybody be fined at all in Finland? Forsgard must have known that this is rubbish.

– The prosecutor’s decision would not tell, if there had been a crime or not.

– The prosecutor would have looked, if I did harm to [X]’s family. This is an extremely abject claim, and there was not a single word about this even in the complaints. Of course the prosecutor didn’t check this. Unbearable.

So here is the prosecutor’s decision in full. See for yourselves.

 prosec000  prosec001  prosec003

 “… THE CASE:

[X] is suspecting [Ed.] to have committed defamation by making untrue claims and hints about Valkee Ltd. and [X] on the website earlightswindle.com. [Ed.] is also suspected to have maintained the website korvavalohuijaus.com, where also Valkee Ltd’s earlight device was criticised. [Ed.] had also given an interview in the YLE TV program MOT: The Earlight Tale. (…)

GROUNDS:

(…) the investigation shall be stopped on grounds of the crimes’ negligibility, because the prosecutor would not be able to bring a charge. Also, there is no important public or private interest in bringing a charge.

(…processual law tells, that) the official prosecutor may abstain from bringing a charge, if the expected sentence is no more than a fine… or if the crime can be seen as negligible.”

It tells, that the prosecutor is allowed to drop charges, if no more than a fine is expected. Only then. This is not the reason, this is the condition for stopping.

The next paragraph cites the defamation chapter of finnish penal law, and that criticism of one’s business, science, politics, etc. is not libel, if it can be seen as acceptable. As I told in the post above.

“In the present case, [Ed.] has criticised the company founded by [X] and the device which is developed and manufactured by them. Therefore his criticism is about business and science. It is a new product, about which absolutely no independent study results are available. [not true, /-Ed.]

Taking into account the newness of the device and the method, and the lack of evidence, it is understandable that it is met also with fierce criticism.

The vast majority of [Ed.s] claims are about the efficacy of the device produced by the company and its possible benefits for users. That is criticism related to business and science. For that, the criteria of defamation according to penal law are not fulfilled. Even if some of the claims would be false, these would be negligible. [Ed.s] claims and his criticism of Valkee Ltd. and [X] do not exceed the acceptable.”

Then the points of the 2 leading GROUNDS paragraphs are affirmed.

For those who are familiar with finnish lawsuits, the prosecutor is going very, very far, as he can, in making clear that there is nothing punishable. The statement even rules out that charges could be brought for other claims.

The text even tells, that it is OK to criticise Valkee Ltd, because there is no accepted evidence. Thanks for that nice feature, Mr Pyykönen!

It is absolutely disgusting to see, how Valkee’s PR people work. Making statements for those, who do not check the facts anyway. Or for those, who aren’t aware that Valkee’s words always have to be checked. They are seldom true.

FYI: Valkee Ltd told it has nothing to do with that lawsuit. Ok. Readers know by now, that everything written here is provable and correct. Just because lawsuits are expected. QED. I see this as a nice joke, and there is no need to answer that nonsense defense.