Specific issues between Penguin Magic and Sankey Magic are completely confidential.
Apparently "specific issues" is meant to be a euphemism for "Sankey's claims that we sell unauthorized copies of his stuff" (which was the major point made in his VERY long newsletter entry, and which isn't addressed at all in Penguin's response). Penguin certainly doesn't blanche at public discussion of "specific issues" like the packaging of "Anytime, Anywhere."
Their letter is slick, though -- for a few I thought that maybe Karl Rove was moonlighting for the flightless bird...
Maybe this will be a cautionary tale to other creators... no matter how tempting offers from the rip-off outfits may be in the beginning, in the end you dance with them what brung ya.
For the benefit of those who aren't subscribers to Jay's list, here is the email that went out today from him:
To all of you who, over the past two years, have warned me about doing
business with Penguin Magic...
...YOU WERE RIGHT!!
Actually, I've had growing suspicions over the past 16 months, but I was
still really hoping I would never have to write this e-mail. I was really
hoping that Acar Altinsel and Maxwell Murphy at Penguin Magic would be
willing to be team players. But no matter how hard I've tried to make
things work with them (and believe me, I've busted my butt!)in the end it
seems they are only interested in one team: THEIRS.
I remember once reading, "How relationships begin is often how they
continue." I also remember how, when I first began doing business with
Penguin Magic a few years ago I received literally dozens of e-mails from
concerned magicians and mentalists around the world warning me about "the
Penguin Magic business tactics." Even seasoned magic dealers warned me
about "those Penguin guys" and how they have a tendency to sell knocked-off
versions of other people's magic products.
At one of my earliest meetings with Acar and Maxwell, I remember telling
Acar about the warnings and asking him, "How do I know you will never steal
from me?" He replied, "Because we don't steal from our friends."
I now can't help but wonder if I was ever really "their friend" or just
someone else they planned to rip-off from the very beginning.
Silly as it may sound, at first I believed Acar and Maxwell. I believed they
would be honorable business people. I guess because I wanted to believe.
That's just the kind of person I am. I want to think the best of people and
it takes a lot before I finally come to distrust them. But as the months
They replied to fewer and fewer of my e-mails and phone calls.
Advertisements they promised to place in magazines never materialized.
The agreed upon hotlink from the Penguin website to my site suddenly
Checks began arriving later and later.
And all the while, I would receive at least a few e-mails every week from
magicians complaining about the disrespectful service they got from Penguin
Then another strange thing started to happen. Penguin Magic started to order
much smaller quantities of some of my most popular products and in some
cases completely STOPPED ordering them...and yet they still advertised them
on the home page of their website! For example, over a year (!) went by
without them ordering a single "IN A FLASH," yet month-after-month it was
listed as one of their best-sellers. Hmmmm...
I started to have some very dark suspicions. After all, what could be
easier than having a printer punch holes in packs of cards and toss them in
baggies? And keep in mind that at this point they were the world's only
seller of Sankey Magic!
Then a few months ago, when I asked them if they were interested in joining
my newly formed world-wide network of authorized dealers, they jumped at the
chance. But AGAIN, almost from the very start there were clear signs that
they had no intention of playing by the rules...
For the first few weeks of September they posted many of my products at
lower-than-agreed upon prices and undercut all the other authorized dealers
they had just agreed to work together with!!
(In fact, up until the time of this e-mail, if you go to the very first page
of the "Jay Sankey Store" on their US website, you'll see that they CONTINUE
to advertise "Three Ring Circus" for $30 -instead of the agreed upon price
of $40 that all my other dealers are selling it at!)
And then in late September of this year, after they agreed to remove a
collection of "Free
Jay Sankey Downloads" (which I had produced as a way to thank my wonderful
customers) I received news that they had put them back up "behind the
scenes" on the Penguin website! (For all I know they are STILL UP!)
And in even just the last few days, the Penguin boys have pulled yet another
"fast one" and posted a parade of slashed prices on their UK website for
several of my newly upgraded products with the instructional dvds. Again
without my consent and in outright violation of the agreement they entered
into as an authorized dealer earlier this fall!
The list of Penguin Magic's transgressions and violations goes on and on and
As I said at the beginning of this e-mail, I was realy hoping I would never
have to "go public" with this information. After all, a business
relationship is like any other relationship: there are private sides to it
and it can sometimes take everyone a while to work out the kinks and
overcome misunderstandings and miscommunications.
But recently, when I received yet more e-mails from some of you complaining
that you had in good faith ordered from Penguin Magic some of my newly
upgraded products and then received in the mail some of the OLD and
OUT-OF-DATE products (!!!)...well, I knew the time had come to expose the
boys at Penguin Weasel for who they are. I just wouldn't feel right if I
didn't warn you, especially after all you have done over the past few years
for me, my wife Lisa and my son Mason.
I'm also extremely serious about honoring the trust given to me by all the
other dealers in my recently formed world-wide network of authorized
dealers. Unlike the unethical cowboys at Penguin Magic, many of these
dealers have families to feed and long-term ties to the magic community.
I hate talking badly about other people, but there was simply no way I could
remain silent while Penguin Magic continues to pull the crap they have have
been pulling for way, way too long. If I did that, I would feel like I was
letting down far too many honest people.
With that in mind, I would like to ask you to consider boycotting Penguin
Magic. Despite their clever web-marketing, they are still nothing more than
cold-hearted, flightless birds who have only got as far as they have by
riding on the coat-tails of other far more honest and creative people.
As a creator and manufacturer of magic products I have the final say in who
markets my products. But as the all-powerful CUSTOMER you in fact have the
final say in who will sell any products at all.
By finally going public with all this information, I'm trying to do my part.
No I hope you do yours. Vote with your wallet and let's all work together to
make Penguin Magic extinct today.
Thanks very much for your help!
PS. The fast-talking boys at Penguin Magic have only purchased a mere 25 of
each of my newly upgraded products with the instructional dvds. If they
continue to advertise these products for sale for even just another week or
so...I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions.