A copy of the author’s request that officially asks the United States Federal Trade Commission (US-FTC), the United States Department of Justice (US-DOJ), and the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (US-CFPB) to investigate Uber (NYSE: UBER) Lyft (NASDAQ: LYFT) Amazon Home Services (NASDAQ: AMZN) Handy HQ (HomeAdvisor, NASDAQ: IAC) Porch Group (NASDAQ: PRCH) DoorDash (NYSE: DASH) Gopuff (GoBrands, Inc.) Grubhub (NASDAQ: GRUB) Amazon Marketplace (NASDAQ: AMZN) Walmart Marketplace (NYSE: WMT) Realtor.com ReadyConnect Opcity (NASDAQ: NWSA) Zillow Flex (NASDAQ: ZG) Zillow 360 (NASDAQ: ZG) Opendoor Brokerage (NASDAQ: OPEN) Redfin Partner Program (NASDAQ: RDFN) Xome Concierge (NASDAQ: COOP) Rocket Homes (NYSE: RKT) mellohome (NYSE: LDI) HomeLight (HomeLight, Inc.) OJO Labs (OJO Labs, Inc.) Better Real Estate (Better Holdco, Inc.) Blend Realty (NYSE: BLND) Offerpad (NYSE: OPAD) Opendoor (NASDAQ: OPEN) Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN) FTX (West Realm Shires Services, Inc.) Gemini (Gemini Trust Company, LLC) Crypto.com Exchange (Foris DAX, Inc.) Binance (BAM Trading Services Inc.) Kraken Digital Asset Exchange (Payward, Inc.) Cash App (Cash App Investing LLC) Amazon Flex (NASDAQ: AMZN) Apple Pay (NASDAQ: AAPL) Google Pay (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google Adsense (NASDAQ: GOOGL) for possible violations of antitrust and consumer protection laws currently ratified and enforced in connection with alleged market allocation, consumer allocation, false advertising, unlawful kickbacks, wire fraud, issuing and passing digital pirate currencies intended for use as current money, and price-fixing practices.
Attn: Antitrust Division Office of Operations
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Room 3322
Washington, DC 20530
Attn: Office of Policy and Coordination
Bureau of Competition
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Room CC-5422
Washington, DC 20580
Attn: CFPB Regulatory Implementation
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
1700 G St., NW
Washington, DC 20552
The year 2022 is very likely the final year of a long-standing battle in e-commerce that will redefine the United States e-commerce as either: (1) highly raked, collusive, price-fixed, pay-to-play, allocated, low-quality, false ads channel, or (2) a pattern of novel open e-commerce channels. There is really nothing in between.
Violations of 15 U.S.C. § 1 Sherman Antitrust Act, violations of 15 U.S.C. § 45 FTC Act, violations of 12 U.S.C. § 2607 and C.F.R. § 1024.14 RESPA are presently and successfully aided by electronic interstate communications, otherwise known as wire fraud.
Further, violations of Article I, Section 8, Clause 5 of the United States Constitution in the United States that prohibits exchange, maintenance, coinage, issuing, and passing alternative digital currencies intended for use as current money, is not merely wire fraud but further, a conspiracy against the United States.
The severity of the damages and scale of these schemes must become the new normal for the DOJ, FTC, and CFPB when it approaches the sector dominated by (5EA) companies at the top of Nasdaq 100 that control over 60% of the entire Nasdaq 100 by market capitalization value.
Collusion agreements and pirate currency systems, supported by network effects of the Internet, have proven to be highly effective. Today, price-fixing and market allocation agreements are openly offered “as a service” to consumers in a “hub-and-spoke” fashion in massive trillion-dollar markets: online travel stay booking, residential online real estate, online home services, online ride-hailing, online food delivery, and other sectors of the United States economy.
Further, alternative digital currencies have now grown into a cult (see Web3) of VC-backed consumer-facing schemes and exchanges that operate in a number of sectors, where wire transfer and wire exchange fees alone are valued in tens of billions USD. The pirate digital currencies are a form of wire fraud that creates a supply of seemingly legitimate counterfeit money, in direct competition with the legal tender of the United States.
These schemes are not harmless.
(1) They are harmful to United States consumers.
(2) They are harmful to open e-commerce in the United States.
(3) They are harmful to legitimate online platforms that develop and maintain compliant digital services in the United States.
(4) They are harmful to individual compliant businesses that operate outside of named “hub-and-spoke” conspiracies.
(5) They are, eventually, harmful (yet seemingly beneficial in the short term) to the millions of “spokes” that collude with a handful of “hubs” in the United States.
(6) They are harmful to the United States government consumer protection agencies that must spend taxpayer resources to investigate and prosecute them.
(7) They are harmful to the United States court systems that must spend taxpayer resources to listen to their appeals.
(8) They are harmful to all United States citizens, friends, and visitors, even if they do not directly engage with these schemes, by the mere presence of wire fraud on the Internet.
(9) They are harmful to compliant innovation in any sector where they exist.
Subjected to these schemes, people, eventually, do not receive a full benefit of trust on the Internet, leading to lower aggregate sales volume via the Internet and the subsequent damages to the entire information sector around the world.
The United States consumer protection agencies must take these facts at full value because the schemes and companies listed in this report are real, and they are not new.
The aggregate damages that scaled wire fraud produces by means of false advertising, market allocation, consumer allocation, price-fixing collusion, exchange and distribution of illicit currencies, and hub-and-spoke conspiracies are as clear as day. Go look at them, and see what they do, count how many millions of third-party sellers signed allocation and price fixing (price parity) agreements with Amazon. These numbers don’t lie. There is no secret here.
There is, however, a pattern of wire fraud. From the millions of price-fixing agreements between Uber and local Uber drivers to hundreds of thousands price-fixing agreements between Realtor.com-Opcity and local Realtors – they are all exactly the same, a hallmark of a hub-and-spoke conspiracy schemes where spokes no longer act in any meaningful competition with one another, and act as hub’s integral vassals.
The United States is not the land governed by feudal tenure. The United States is the land of the free speech. The United States is the land of the free competition. The United States is the land of the law. The United States is the land of open and fair commerce.
These collusion schemes operate in plain sight because the Internet is not a plain sight environment. Wire fraud can be (and is currently being) aided by a “lipstick on a pig” flashy websites, and/or Super Bowl ads, Google Ads, and Facebook Ads, and other mainstream consumer exposure channels.
Open e-commerce is a pattern of communicating the availability of products and services to consumers because that relies on the fragile yet very powerful forces of an open competition between third parties, aka network effects produced by the Internet. Open e-commerce is a pattern of complaint platforms that encourage competition between third parties, rather than force third parties into agreements that restrain free trade.
The open competition relies on a single most powerful law for support: Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Without the proper enforcement of Sherman Act, open e-commerce is powerless against raked e-commerce. This law must be enforced if the Internet is to produce a service of competitive and transparent wiring. The wiring of the Internet is not accidental, it is deliberate.
Some of the largest digital platforms in the United States, such as Amazon Marketplace and Uber, are a product of deliberate hub-and-spoke consumer allocation and price-fixing between millions of small competitors tied into these hubs by the Internet. The Internet becomes integral to these schemes because it allows a much greater form of communication freedom than any other communication methods before it.
For example, Amazon third-party sellers remain small competitors to Amazon, bound as independent entities into a network secured by approximately two million identical and uncompetitive consumer allocation agreements with the hub. Each one of these illicit agreements places third-party sellers into collusion with Amazon, rather than competition to build a better Amazon elsewhere — why build a better Amazon if one can settle for collusion with it? There is no reason, in fact, some Amazon sellers are now massive VC-backed companies.
The United States attorney is obligated to advocate, on behalf of consumers, for the maximum fines available for these violations. The false notion that “big is bad” will not deliver these fines. This is why, thus far, the government has delivered no significant fines, and it has delivered no significant progress in e-commerce. The money derived by means of wire fraud is there. The law is there. You have the information and resources that you need. Where is your progress?
The United States attorneys have not delivered on the antitrust front because you had refused to accept the full weight of the fact that e-commerce is highly raked, and it consists of trademarked and nationally-known massive schemes that all utilize the Internet to promote activities outlawed under the federal law by means of wire communications between state borders.
Wire fraud is a federal crime, not a misdemeanor, and the United States government cannot allow individuals and corporations to earn a profit on such a massive scale by means reducing the integrity of the entire Internet, by means of reducing competition, by means of illicit agreements that restrain free trade, coupled by false advertising.
The following list of individual Internet schemes must become the aggregate core target for the United States government in 2022. These schemes are at the center of some of the biggest, the most damaged, and the most problematic B2C markets in the United States:
(1) B2C sales of Realtor services
(2) B2C sales of professional home services
(3) B2C sales of hotel stays
(4) B2C sales of consumer goods
(5) B2C sales of local transportation
(6) B2C sales of food delivery
(7) B2C sales of Cryptocurrencies (whatever that is)
(8) B2C sales of mobile phone applications and digital services
The following entities currently engage in price-fixing outside their “firm” with third party independent contractors via mobile online applications and websites across state borders:
Porch Group price fixes pay rates with a network of thousands third party home services pros (NASDAQ: PRCH)
Gopuff price fixes pay rates with a network of millions third party delivery drivers (GoBrands, Inc.)
Grubhub price fixes pay rates with a network of millions third party delivery drivers (NASDAQ: GRUB)
The following entities currently engage in consumer allocation outside their “firm” with third party independent sellers via mobile online applications and websites across state borders:
Walmart Marketplace allocates consumers and price fixes terms with a network of millions third party sellers (NYSE: WMT)
The following “shell” real estate entities currently engage in consumer allocation and price fixing outside their “firm” with third party independent Realtors via mobile online applications and websites across state borders:
The following direct cash home buying (iBuying) real estate entities currently engage in false advertising and make illicit “consumer steering” offers to third-party Realtors outside their “firm” via mobile online applications and websites across state borders:
The following entities currently engage in exchange, maintenance, coinage, issuing, and passing alternative digital currencies intended for use as current money via mobile online applications and websites across state borders:
Coinbase sells pirate digital currencies intended for use as current money (NASDAQ: COIN)
FTX.US sells pirate digital currencies intended for use as current money (West Realm Shires Services, Inc.)
Gemini sells pirate digital currencies intended for use as current money (Gemini Trust Company, LLC)
Crypto.com Exchange sells pirate digital currencies intended for use as current money (Foris DAX, Inc.)
Binance.US sells pirate digital currencies intended for use as current money (BAM Trading Services Inc.)
Kraken sells pirate digital currencies intended for use as current money (Payward, Inc.)
Cash App sells pirate digital currencies intended for use as current money (Cash App Investing LLC)
The following entities currently engage in employee misclassification via mobile online applications and websites across state borders:
Amazon Flex misclassifies delivery drivers as independent contractors (NASDAQ: AMZN)
The following entities currently engage in tying of digital services and market allocation via mobile online applications and websites across state borders:
Apple Pay unlawfully ties into Apple App Store (NASDAQ: AAPL)
Google Pay unlawfully ties into Google Play Store (NASDAQ: GOOGL)
Google Adsense allocates digital advertising space with a network of competing third party media publishers (NASDAQ: GOOGL)
Successful implementation of open e-commerce in United States requires full enforcement of existing antitrust laws that are enacted to protect consumers.
If you have a question or comment about an antitrust issue, you may submit it to the Bureau of Competition at the United States Federal Trade Commission and/or to the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice.
If you have a question or comment about federal consumer protection financial laws, including RESPA, you may submit it to the Office of Enforcement of the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau