Monday, November 26, 2012

Brio's Latest Scam, Part II: The Money and the Tech, and the People, and the Money

UPDATE: The Indiegogo campaign has apparently been removed, and it seems that some or all contributors' money may have been refunded.  Curious!  Apparently Brio's story is that an "admin account" was hacked and the hacker removed the campaign.  The mother's story is that she believes the Brio Bunch, and the event is still on.  Thanks to an anonymous commenter for the tip!

With about a week and a half left of Brio's groveling campaign, let's examine some other angles.  The concept of the project itself was addressed in our previous post here.

Apparently, Brio has scheduled this birth for a month out and publicized it heavily without doing a single thing to make it happen.  They have no skin in this game (gee, there's a surprise), unless you count the $5 contributed by "Denver Doula," the undisclosed amount (thought to be around $10 based on an analysis of early contributions) contributed by Karl Clinger, and a couple of other contributions by known cronies as viewable here.


This campaign is a "flexible funding" campaign, which means that when they don't meet their funding goal (or even come close, unless those investors Kyle promised back in the beginning come through, maybe), the contributions will not be refunded.  Brio will get to keep what was contributed, minus a 9% service fee to Indiegogo.  In other words, they make grand promises, take other people's money, and show nothing for it.  Deja vu, anyone?  I wonder if the people who jumped on the bandwagon - especially those who bought "perks" like advertising or a month-long replay - understand how the funding for this campaign actually works.  I wonder if Brio will still try to make a shoestring broadcast of the birth happen, with some cheap and/or borrowed webcams, or if they will simply do nothing, except blame the "haters" and have Naomi send some sugary non-apology emails to the people who gave money for nothing.  

So let's look at "The Tech and The Money."

The Tech: The fancy cameras that they want to buy look pretty nice, but the battery life on the setup is only a couple of hours.  Granted, precipitous births do happen, but they probably want to be prepared for a long birth.  This is going to mean hooking up to a power source and hindering the movement of the POV cameras, or having a back-up battery for each camera, switching them out, and constantly re-charging.  So there will definitely be feed interruptions if the birth is not precipitous.  Also, who is going to be the battery doula?  Then there are the Mac Minis supposedly required to process the feed.  My guess is, somebody wants new toys.

The Money: Again, this whole scheme might have a little more credibility if Brio were putting in any money to buy the toys.  Also, for a group that claims to have so much technical and networking savvy, they appear to either have a blind spot or be purposefully inflating the prices.  A relatively quick search turns up the equipment they have put out that they intend to use for lower prices than what they show on their little infographic, sometimes to the tune of hundreds of dollars per setup, and that is from somebody not putting in a great deal of time.  If they were to dedicate a bit of time and effort to shopping, they could likely realize some pretty heavy savings.  And they claim that they are putting in the money for personnel, travel, etc - I would love to know where they are getting that money, particularly when they have well over a quarter million dollars in judgments and debts that they haven't paid a dime towards, and they have a history of not even being able to pay their own rent.  For greater amusement, look at what would be done with any money exceeding their goal (not that that's going to happen).  It would be evenly divided five ways between:

  • Brio Birth - of course!  Fancy dinners and toys aren't cheap.
  • The birthing family - makes sense.  If she's going to display her birth to the world and deal with the invasion of privacy and the disturbance of the birthing process, she ought to be compensated.
  • "The PR/Advertising & Tech team" - so, by all appearances, the Brio Bunch.  Hey!  That ups their share to 40% of the extra money that's not going to be there!  Surely they couldn't be playing a shell game for additional personal gain...
  • The mother's maternity and wellness center - now that's a good cause, especially in Texas, which is not known for its friendliness to birthing mothers.
  • A fund for another family to do THIS SAME THING!  And I'm sure Brio will be there, cap in hand, asking for more money.  Of course, I'm sure Brio will be holding this fund, which means it's in the hands of their excellent stewardship.
Then, of course, there's that other element - the People.  I don't know this mother, except by all the information she's been putting all over the internet in connection with this project (and I think she protests a bit too much about not wanting to show off).  I don't know the midwife, or the doulas.  But I do know the Brio Bunch, and that gives me a bit of a sick sense about the entire project.   


  1. Huh...that's bold. I can think of several people who might be interested in this.

    Does the Ack Pack know about this?

  2. Ya really gotta see this one!

    And then the mom's response as well

    So, when are they going to come clean with the TRUTH!?

    Sound much to familiar to me when they lied to many educators and then said and did another thing. Kinda sounds like the parking pass scam idea, too? "I didn't say they would be sent out!" Remember that? the song goes, "Tell me lies, tell me, tell me lies, Oh no no you can't disguise"

  3. I heard that some of their backers have now backed-out. The stuff is hitting the fan.

  4. Those screens -- oh, my, just too, too much!! Nothing has changed much in "Brio World", has it?

    1. "Screen SHOTS" -- oops! Laughing too hard and not paying enough attention to my typing! :)

  5. It looks like the posts from the screenshots have already been deleted from Brio's wall. Kylomi's delete button is heating up again! The old, standby "hacker" defense may be withdrawn. Pay no attention to the buffoons behind the curtain!!!

  6. They are up to almost 19,000 fans now on Facebook.

  7. Now this is interesting... Apparently they still intend to broadcast the birth if they don't raise all the funds. Or any of the funds, at this point? Check it out:

    Interesting that what they say the funds will go for keeps changing. And what is Brio going to use to foot "their part" of the bill? They're hugely in debt, running from garnishments and account shutdowns, what money do they have? I guess they did swindle those six people into a virtual training recently...

  8. Yep saw that, so goes back to saying, then did they REALLY need that money? Are they gonna come clean with the real truth? I'm taking bets for not. And wow, 19K! That's impressive. Esp. many of the new people who just LOVE their information that they are putting out. Ummmm....recycled blog posts, posting others photos as your own, and just reposting of followers questions, oh and I forgot...their scams. So, I guess people love hearing about scams. Glad to see there are some big names out their that think they are slime.

    And I've a time-line of events question that's bothered me awhile. Who designed the logo? Was that an educator?

    And I wonder as well what are they tell their newest educators about the hack that happened? I really am impressed at the rate of hacks that happen to them and the amount of accounts that get dinged and closed. Just crazy! Glad to see others are on that as well.

  9. Emily Fontes designed the logo very early on.

  10. They are almost at 20,000 now. Could they be buying likes? Is that possible? How can they get that many fans in a day?

  11. Yes, actually, there are companies that you can contract with to basically "buy" likes. From what I've heard of those companies though, often the "likes" are not very good quality. They may not be in the country you want to do business in, or they may not really be interested in your product.

    Another theory about how they are getting so many "likes" is their habit of copying other people's graphics into their own photo albums, and then sharing them. This is actually something they can get sued for as IP infringment...I wish someone would do it!

    One particular thing they have copied into their own albums is the video "8 Month old boy gets cochlear implants" (or some other similar name). It has been "liked" many thousand times, shared many thousand times as well. They get a lot of people coming onto their page and asking about updates on the boy. Naomi claimed yesterday that she didn't know who the original poster was, but it took me all of about 2 minutes to find the mother's Facebook page...starting with a Google search that led to the oringal YouTube posting, then another Google search of the member ID from YouTube that led to a Pinterest account, and then from there I got a real name that I looked for in Facebook. Not hard at all!

  12. The Indiegogo campaign is still down now, what, 6 days? I think that if it was merely an issue of hacking, it would be back up by now!

    Indiegogo's story is that the account was NOT hacked...but rather that their algorithms picked up possible fraudulent activity on the account, which led to them shutting it down until that was investigated. (This information was of course promptly deleted from Brio's event page.) Of course the 6 days down issue again raises an interesting possibility that Kylomi were not able to explain away the "fraudulent activity" in a way that would satisfy Indiegogo and allow the page to be reinstated.

    I suspect the fraudulent activity may have been Kylomi making many of the donations in an effor to "prime the pump" to get other donors. Denver Doula was listed a was donor, as was Karl. There was a donor named "homebirthdad" that I suspect was Kyle. Another named donor lists Brio Systems on his Linked In profile as an employer. These were all in the first 10 donors. 4 other donors in the first 10 were listed as "anonymous." Anyone want to put odds on those also being "internal" donors? And finally, the one $100 donor I believe was the company that was supplying a water birth pool for the birth..perhaps a $100 donation in lieu of discounting the price for the pool? If you removed that $100 donation from the mix...the average donation was $11. Not a lot of people rushing to pick up those pricey advertising options or "Become a Brio Birth Pro" option. This is merely my SPECULATION. I have absolutely no proof that this is the "fraudulent activity" that Indiegogo picked up on. I don't know if they care at all about "priming the pump." I also have no way of knowing if any of the anonymous donors were internal.

  13. Waterbirth Solutions pulled their sponsorship and support. Indiegogo saw the court documents about Kylomi's judgment with AAHCC and pulled their fundraising efforts due to that. Orbit Broadband is reconsidering their support too. One supporter got a refund from Indiegogo and then found out about the court docs and will not be supporting them anymore. The truth is catching up to them.
    It takes only a few moments to contact the supporters of their latest scam and give them links to court documents. It speaks for itself. People are realizing the truth and pulling away. The court documents are public knowledge and the facts are the facts. Start sharing this public info so no more innocent people get caught in their web of lies.

  14. Instead of paying for another mom's midwife, maybe Naomi should pay the one who caught her second baby. Or pay their debts. You know, do something honest.

  15. Kylomi need to face the facts that they need to go out and get JOBS. Once they have those jobs I'm think the AAHCC should garnish their wages. But they will only be able to garnish a portion as the courts will allow Kylomi a portion of their wages to actually live on...which I'm okay with. I'm sure that as it is right now, the only way they are staying afloat is through WIC and a generous amount of food stamps. I have no problem with people who are struggling in this economy taking advantage of safety nets like these...but it does irritate me to see people like them making use of government safety nets a lifestyle.

  16. The truth is coming out:

  17. Did you see Ellen Contard's diaglogue with Brio on the Live Birth event page. Hysterical!

  18. Brio removed Ellen's posts. Truth hurts.

  19. Hmm...Kylomi, you stole over $40k from me and physically attacked my wife. For the life of me, I can't imagine WHY I might have weapons-grade hate for you worthless slime bags.

  20. If you go to the event page, on the bottom left under the RSVPs, there's a "report" option where you can report it as spam/scam.

  21. I have to admit, that little... Conversation... This morning was quite cathartic in many ways. :-) That said, a friend said something in private conversation that really resonated with me in terms of how far I've come in terms of hate, forgiveness, etc. (thanks, friend!) I'll paraphrase...

    If Kylomi turned around and made good on their debts, then made an honest go at starting a childbirth organization with their own resources, I would not stand in their way. (/end paraphrase) I agree with this wholeheartedly, no reservations. I would not work with them or support them - I don't forget where a hatchet is buried - but I would consider their past a closed book. I would not put it out there for the world to see, and judge, thus hindering their (hypothetically) honest efforts. I would not lie if someone asked about it, but I would tell the whole truth, including what reparations were made. To me, that is not "hate." It is quite the opposite.

    My family and I still deal every day with the damage done to us by Brio. That is our reality. I don't expect they'll ever give us a dime toward the literally tens of thousands of dollars of debt we are paying off on their behalf. But my husband and I can look at ourselves in the mirror and truly love who we are. We can look at the debts we've paid off and say we did that honestly, through our own hard work and even harder choices. We can know in our souls that we never caused, or even had the appearance of causing, the death of anyone's babies. It doesn't undo the damage, but it beats the alternative.