Friday, June 14,
Around May of 2012, I was an Inventor Member of the UIA, a post had come to my email looking for volunteers for the UIA, I volunteered and shortly after received a phone call from Mark Reyland, Mark offered various tasks and offered to pay me for those tasks on a per task basis, I worked for the UIA for almost a year, My first “Official Title” was Volunteer Coordinator, During that time I was still doing the work and research on the Inventors Rights Act of 1999. Prior to this I had no writing experience that would qualify my to re write any legislative document.
When I first got involved with this I did not know a lot about the UIA, I was simply a Member who had signed up a short time before, and wanted to volunteer to help, from my understanding, the UIA was supposed to be a place where inventors could go to get help from quality and trusted companies, other resources were available, to help inventors become successful. While I did not know a whole lot about the UIA, Mark Reyland pushed that it’s all about teaching inventors, later more derogatory terms were used, but I will get into the later.
Mark had met with me and I shared with him my invention, in which he thought was great, so did everyone I showed it to, but still do date I have no great success story to tell from any invention, even now why Mark thought I had any qualifications to do any of these Jobs I really do not know, maybe because I showed an interest, looking back, maybe because I would be easy to manipulate. With the Director, of Corporate Membership services, looking back and seeing the emails, I was really pushed into this job, almost goaded into taking the Job, that I KNEW I was not qualified for. This is part of an email I received when I was being asked to take the job
“Really….are you scared of this level of job? because if you are I'm going to make fun of you forever :)“
I am an inventor who to date has never brought a product to market, I had no experience in any of the positions I did with the UIA, I had to teach myself just about everything , when I had questions I would email them to mark for clarification, It is my opinion it was my level of interest in inventing or looking back now, an easy victim, I was never asked for any work history, references, or anything like that, I struggled with the decision to take the offer and had many discussions with my wife about it, I feared I could not do the job as described, Mark finally talked me into taking the position, and I jumped in head first not knowing what I was doing. I was simply a UIA member trying help people. Then is when I learned how the corporate membership programs worked, Patron Membership 500.00 per year with no ROI, a small business platinum Membership 3000.00 per year included 2 emails per year to advertise to the UIA members, and one blog a month, and a Platinum Membership which hekd the same ROI as the Small business platinum Membership5000.00 per year. In many cases even a large company could sign up for the 3000.00 membership it was said that its better to get 3000.00 from them than nothing at all. So even those “rules” were not enforced.
In a couple cases the UIA allowed companies to “pay to play” for emailing the UIA community, on one such case, Inventions Geneva was charged $500, for a patron membership and paid an additional $500.00 for the UIA to advertise their event. We sent out two emails for Inventions Geneva for the additional $500.
In the second case, Ron Docie signed up for a Patron membership and was allowed to advertise his services to the UIA community. No other Patron member was afforded this opportunity unless it was where I asked them to send me something for a blog post thanking our patron members.
Certain trades were made with companies to exchange services for sponsorship, Fargo Design, and a radio station both had services trade agreements. Trade a membership from the UIA for their services.
It wasn’t till all this started that I realized that even the telling the corporate sponsors we were emailing at this point almost 14,000 members, the fact of the matter is really this well that’s not quite the truth either, you see almost 14,000 is the member count, but what they don’t tell you when they send out the emails is the some 5000 of those who have opted out of receiving emails from the UIA, and it doesn’t tell you of the 2000 to 3000 errors it gets from people signing up with fake, or improper emails, so how many out of almost 14,000 wind up actually getting an email, if my memory recalls somewhere between 6000 and 7000 that actually receive the email, and then add the bounce backs that came to my email, either the email for that person had changed, required verification, unknown delivery recipient, so the number may be even less than that.
Initially, when I started the membership director position there was NO voting. It was simply a company would want to join, they would pay their dues and they were added to the website and blog pages. After the Jan 2013 (annual) board meeting the process changed. There are 5 members of the executive committee Mark Reyland (also the executive Director) Trevor Lambert, Ken Bloemer, Warren Tuttle (president), and Bill McHenry. Generally speaking I would do basic research on a company and send it over for a vote; the only NO vote I recall ever getting was from Bill McHenry. McHenry or Warren (I cannot remember which) initiated a conference call to discuss the company. After Bill presented his evidence as to why this company should not be allowed into the UIA, it was sent back out for vote, the votes came in 4 YES and 1 NO (the no was still Bill McHenry). It was a “majority wins” voting system, and once I had 3 YES votes I could send them (the new member) a link to make payment.
I received an email from a previous corporate sponsor who with their permission I will include their story where she says that their references were never even checked, The Company was promised a bunch of things that they never received, and feels taken advantage of as a corporate sponsor. The original letter is also on my blog. http://inventorswelcome.blogspot.com/
Thank you for your candor! I appreciate your honesty and boldness to step forward and "blow the whistle". I was actually offered your position by Mark Reyland almost a year ago and when I queried him on the outrageous requirements of the job position I never received an answer. I can validate your claim as I paid $5000.00 for a Platinum Membership and was never researched nor were my references called. A fact I found terribly disturbing given the level of "approval" i was supposed to be subjected to. I was promised that I would be invited to be a guest speaker at trade shows, attend VIP dinners where conferences were held and never received an invitation. I was fleeced for $5000.00 and couldn't even access the membership directory after paying. I could go on and on.
If you would like to discuss this with me further or need any fodder to substantiate your claims please feel free to call me!! I was left out to dry by the UIA at the Platinum Level and lost all hope in my invention and company.
I am SO appreciative you stepped out and brought this situation into the light!!
Identity hidden intentionally.
So I have to wonder now with the UIA, was it ever about the actual Inventor, or was it about the money, I think we all know the answer to that. I cant even count the times I was told that the amount of money coming in didn’t cover the “nut” I also know several weeks ago I was told directly by Mark Reyland that the UIA account had a over 700.00 negative balance, that is what he said.
While I didn’t know about any actual perks involved with the tradeshow sponsors. The only thing I found odd, is InventionHome was always a sponsor of trade shows, I don’t know if that is wrong, just thought that they were just hand in hand with the UIA. I do not know what or if they paid for sponsorships, as trade shows were not my department; it just always struck me as odd.
As far as my job with the UIA goes, I was never written up for anything, I was never reprimanded, I was never in any sort of trouble None! In reviewing emails I see a lot of praises for my hard work. I was terminated when I asked Mark to call me, related to being compensated for work I had completed 2 weeks prior in a text message which turned into a “back and forth” text argument that resulted in “the UIA will no longer require your services.” I was asked to take over firstname.lastname@example.org, because I was told by Mark Reyland that Roger Brown Inventor who had been answering the email was forced to quit doing the job, or face consequences greater than a few day suspensions he received from his workplace Edison Nation, and Roger Brown was to write an apology letter to John Young. SO I took over that Job and was promised 500.00 per month, at the end of April I sent a report of how many questions came in, I submitted the required information at the end of the month. I expected to be paid, when 2 weeks went by I sent mark a text message that said something like, Hey Bud, sorry for your loss, but when you have time I really need to talk to you about compensation on the inventing question thing. Mark sent back a nasty message I sent a nasty message, this went back and forth and then I received the UIA will no longer require your services, in a text message
Its interesting reflecting back and now that as I have talked to 2 other people who were offered this position, they were offered a higher pay structure than I was, example being, a full platinum membership costs 5000.00 and commission on the 2 other contracts were 1000 commission, but I was only paid 750.00 for the same thing, I wonder now looking at Mark Reyland told me they were never offered 1000, was Mr Reyland been pocketing 250.00 of each sale I made? I requested the procedures for hiring and firing and have not gotten a reply. Also wouldn’t the pay involved in any position be something that would have been voted on by the board? Or does this just another example where Mark Reyland is the board and makes all the decisions on his own? Why would my pay be different than someone else’s? I can see where as I had no experience in the beginning, to make a smaller amount, but I had proven my abilities many times over. I was also told that I would make a base pay of 500.00 per month, when QVC pulled their deal out I was told that I would no longer be getting a base pay, there were times where I worked all month and if a sale didn’t come in, I spent the entire month and made absolutely NOTHING.
I was accused of hacking into the UIA computer systems, when the fact is I simply logged in with the credentials given to me by Mark. I found it actually refreshing that in Warren’s message to the members he admits to what I had told everyone; they did indeed change the certification to (just) sponsorship, but he did not address why the UIA failed to inform the UIA community of this change.
I truly do not understand; even before all this there are tons of stories of how unethical Mark is and how he is giving the UIA a bad name, to the point I was told directly by Mark, that the negativity around him cost the UIA some $200,000 per year on a 3-year deal with QVC (Martin Bispels) . And I was told by Mark that Bill McHenry had asked for Mark’s resignation at some point to the board or maybe directly to Warren. Why the President of the organization would allow this I really have no clue.
If I could Make a recommendation to anyone it would be research, Not just the UIA, but any company, find out who you are dealing with, find out who is in the company research those people as well, I actually Have a few ideas on how to create an organization better than what the UIA is offering.