Dear friend and fellow athlete,
Regrettably, this week’s EliteFitness.com News tells how Anthony Roberts, a former friend and business associate, and his colleague Brian Clapp, raped me, the EliteFitness.com site, and our members - almost bringing us to our knees in the most hateful display of arrogance and backstabbing our community has witnessed since EliteFitness.com went live in 1996. Today, you'll learn the facts of how Anthony Roberts, his partner Brian Clapp, and their sites Steroid.com, RoidStore.com, and BuySteroids.com, have tried relentlessly to seize control of EliteFitness.com and ultimately try to gain control of the community that you, our members, have worked so hard to create. And you'll learn how our community got sued when we discovered that while their Steroid.com site pretends to support and educate bodybuilders, it actually exists to cheat its members into buying the fake steroids that they sell at their sister site, the RoidStore.com.
You need to hear about this terrible state of affairs because you should understand the gravity of the situation for our community of members. After all, EliteFitness.com represents the largest archive of bodybuilding and anabolic steroid information that has ever been assembled, and I will not allow this enormous knowledge base that you helped me amass since EF’s founding in 1996 to be lost. These are the facts about how Anthony Roberts, a friend and colleague of mine, and his partner Brian Clapp, with their sites Steroid.com and RoidStore.com plotted to take control of EliteFitness.com by filing a frivolous lawsuit in Texas and by flooding our Internet Service Providers (ISPs) with notices demanding that our entire web-site be taken offline. And regrettably, this is a lesson in how my stubborn loyalty to someone I liked and trusted almost destroyed my website and me in the process.
Everything started with a talented entrepreneur who went by the name of Jeff Summers and was owner of a company called Impact Nutrition. Jeff was the inspiration and mentor of Steroid.com and RoidStore.com. For years, unscrupulous supplement companies have used deception (I call it “trick supplements”) that attempts to fool you into thinking that you are buying anabolic steroids when instead, you are being sold nothing of the sort. Novice bodybuilders pay dearly for stuff that would never be considered anabolic or muscle building. This has gone on for decades, but not until the Internet and Jeff Summers came along was anyone as successful at deceiving guys into thinking they were buying anabolic steroids when they definitely were not.
Jeff Summers and his company Impact Nutrition perfected fraudulent supplements as steroids marketing. Jeff Summers of course was not the founder of Impact Nutrition’s real name. In this business, many people participate on discussion forums or write articles using a pseudonym. Jeff Summer’s real name was Bart Harcourt. Those of you who have been around EliteFitness.com for any time at all know that we would never reveal the identity of anyone who chooses to use a pseudonym. Anthony Roberts is not a real name, nor is Anthony’s other pseudonym “Hooker.” But we would never tell you Anthony’s real name no matter what this guy does to me because you need to know that without your trust, EliteFitness.com would be nothing. When you do business with EF and even when people try to screw us, our iron clad policy assures you that your personal information will never be sold, misused or mishandled. Anthony Roberts does not afford others the same level of professionalism as some have found out the hard way. Divulge any of your personal information on his sites at your own risk.
Enough digression, the reason I have no qualms letting you know that Jeff Summers was an alias for Bart Harcourt is because Bart is dead. At the height of Impact Nutrition’s rise, Bart was bringing in about $1 million a month from the sale of fake steroids. Bart lived in a mansion, drove a Lamborghini, and partied like a rock-star. But, Bart, like so many other successful entrepreneurial athletes, self-destructed. As is so often the case, injectable anabolic steroid use leads some athletes to the injectable opiate based pharmaceutical Nubain, which athletes prize for its pain and cortisol suppressing properties. Nubain also frequently leads athletes to other opiate based narcotics and in Bart’s case, he became addicted to heroin. Sadly, Bart died of a heroin overdose about a year ago.
Anthony Roberts idolizes his partner Brian Clapp and Brian Clapp idolized his friend Bart Harcourt. So when Bart died, and there was a void to be filled in the bogus steroid market, Brian took everything he had learned from Bart and formed the site RoidStore.com, designed to pimp fake steroids at a level no one had seen before. He also registered BuySteroids.com and other domain names which are other fronts for his RoidStore.com site. In order to find customers, he copied the EliteFitness.com ideas for an anabolic steroid discussion forum community and he partnered with Anthony Roberts - a guy who was only thirteen when EF went live - to write steroid related articles.
Running EliteFitness.com is expensive and we earn the money needed to keep such a large operation going in three ways: through advertising, downloadable e-books, and from your support when you become a Platinum Member. Many EliteFitness.com clones stay online by dealing steroids and they use their forums to generate prospective customers that they can then sell drugs to. The idea behind Brian and Anthony’s Steroid.com site is actually quite ingenious. Steroid.com pretends to support and educate the bodybuilding community, but at the same time it really exists to cheat its members into buying the fake steroids that they sell at their sister site, the RoidStore.com. So although they are not exactly dealing drugs, by dancing around some of the Federal Trade Commission’s rules about truth in advertising, they can make a fortune by selling stuff that pretends to be anabolic steroids but isn’t. Now Brian is the one raking in the cash, living in a mansion, and now he’s the one driving the Lamborghini perhaps even the same one that was once owned by his mentor Bart.
You have to give Brian and Anthony credit, it’s a great idea really; use your Steroid.com EF clone site to sell fake steroids in your very own RoidStore. But their idea has one major problem. You see, most businesses are successful because of repeat customers; however, you can imagine that after you buy something from the RoidStore only to discover that it is not an anabolic steroid, you’re not going to go back and get ripped off again. And so, in order for Brian and Anthony to keep Steroid.com going and to keep gas in the tank of that Lambo, they have to continually find new suckers to buy the fake steroids they sell at their RoidStore.
Here’s how it works:
RoidStore.com sells an oral supplement called “Deca 200” which is a name that sounds an awful lot like pharmaceutical giant Organon’s injectable prescription drug nandrolone decanoate that Organon markets under the brand name Deca-Durabolin. RoidStore claims that “Deca 200” contains a nutritional supplement blend with a name Brian made up called “Nandeconate”, which is definitely not the drug made by Organon.
RoidStore sells another oral supplement called “D-Anabol 25” and they say it contains a nutritional supplement blend with the made up name “Metandesenolone”. Isn’t that curious? “D-Anabol 25” made from “Metandesenolone” sounds an awful lot like the real brand name drug Dianabol produced by pharmaceutical giant Ciba containing the real pharmaceutical methandrostenolone.
RoidStore’s “Tren 75” contains a nutritional supplement blend with a cool sounding fabricated name “Finabolan”, but it does not contain a bit of the real drug trenbolone acetate, which you will find in pharmaceutical giant Hoechst-Roussel’s brand name drug Finaplix.
RoidStore sells something they call “Var 10” which they say contains a nutritional supplement blend with the name they made up of “Oxantrione”. But guess what? “Var 10” doesn’t contain any of the real drug called oxandrolone put out by pharmaceutical giant Searle that Searle sells under the brand name Anavar.
And here’s one of my favorites.
RoidStore sells another oral supplement called “Winn 50” which is a name that sounds an awful lot like pharmaceutical giant Upjohn’s prescription drug Winstrol, which is Upjohn’s brand name for the generic pharmaceutical stanozolol. RoidStore claims that “Winn 50” contains a nutritional supplement blend called “Vanazolol”, which is definitely not the same thing as stanozolol (Winstrol).
Guess who owns the trademarks for D-Anabol 25, Deca 200, Winn 50, Tren 75, Var 10, Nandeconate, Vanazolol, Metandesenolone, and Finabolan? Think it’s Organon, Ciba, Hoechst-Roussel, Searle and Upjohn? Nope, you would be wrong. These trademarks although they sound a lot like the real thing are all owned by Brian Clapp’s company Anabolic Research, LLC.
I wanted you to know what was really in some of RoidStore’s supplements, so I got my hands on a bottle of “Winn 50.” When you get the bottle you find out that “Vanazolol” is actually a proprietary blend of DHEA, taraxacum officinale, (better known as dandelion - yes, the flower) as well as iron, vitamin b12, caffeine, and vanadyl sulphate. All at a retail price of only $95 per bottle! Yes, for a hundred bucks, you could take a pill that wouldn’t help you much more than a multi-vitamin, a salad and a cup of coffee.
So how in the world you may wonder did I get mixed up with Brian Clapp and Anthony Roberts?
In 2006, Anthony approached us about writing an e-book about the new use of peptides and insulin growth factors in bodybuilding and we said that we would read it and sell it for him if he wrote one. We also designed a personal consultation program for Anthony that would enable him to sell hourly consultations to the EliteFitness.com members. The result was a collaboration between my staff and Anthony called “Beyond Steroids” and as steroid books go, this one is really pretty good. The book and the consultations sold reasonably well, we got to know Anthony better and trusted him and we even made him a Chairman Member on our forums.
We had worked with Anthony, promoting him and his book for a long time, when he introduced us to his partner Brian and said that Brian wanted to advertise on EliteFitness.com. Having no idea at the time about the connection between Steroid.com and RoidStore.com, we signed an agreement to run Brian’s advertising on the EliteFitness.com site thinking we would be promoting Brian and Anthony’s Steroid.com discussion forums. But we got screwed big time. We had an agreement with them obligating us to run their ads, only to discover that we were not going to be running Steroid.com ads at all. Instead, they forced us to run banners advertising their RoidStore because the guys on Brian and Anthony’s Steroid.com site weren’t buying their garbage any more. I got suckered just like their customers, but my hands were tied. Because we had a signed contract, they forced me to let them run their banners, although throughout, I never censored what our members had to say about their products and you can read our members' thoughts in these discussion forum posts.
Finally, in the late summer of 2007, our arrangement with Brian came to an end and we got to pull their RoidStore banners. And I thought that I had heard the last of Brian and his RoidStore. Although the writing was on the wall, I was still unaware of how thick Brian and Anthony’s partnership was and that all along, Anthony had become the darling of Elite just to manipulate us to advertise RoidStore. I’m sure the two of them laughed at me all the way to the bank.
But that was not the end of my foolishness. More and more of my site’s Moderators and Administrators began to complain about how Anthony’s actions on the forums were becoming increasingly erratic and abusive of our members. And in addition, while we were selling his personal consultations, we would find out that he was not speaking to the guys that had paid for his consults at the scheduled times. Many paying members were getting increasingly disappointed and angry. I stupidly decided to remain loyal and kept him on as a Chairman Member of the site – although by this point, I too had become concerned about him as a number of our Moderators were suggesting that they thought Anthony had a substance abuse problem.
I told them emphatically that I did not think that Anthony was involved in recreational drug use. However, his increasingly volatile behavior on the site and his attacks and tirades on the Mods and members in combination with what we knew had happened to the Steroid.com mentor Bart Harcourt and his heroin overdose did make me worry that Anthony might be slipping down that same devastating path and that he had gotten himself mixed up in something he was unable to control.
The final straw came when Anthony asked me to ban another Mod who is a friend of mine because this Mod allegedly suggested that one of Anthony’s friends might not be a natural athlete. Imagine that – who would ever think that a friend of Anthony’s might not be natural? I tried to reason with him and told him that I had no intention of banning this Mod and that if he was upset, he should go on the forums and share his friend’s perspective – not try and get me to censor a legitimate discussion that was not even taking place on the public forums. This made Anthony enraged. We knew that we could not have him around anymore and so the Admins decided to suspend his account on the forums. I was really sad about the decision. I had always liked Anthony and was glad to help give him his start. I also thought he showed so much promise. In a weird way, I felt like I had when my first girlfriend in high-school broke up with me – I wondered what I myself had done wrong.
At the same time, I felt relieved, because I thought I was finally done with the Anthony Roberts and Brian Clapp dog and pony show. I said to myself, “I’ll just continue to sell Anthony’s book, pay him his royalty, and we’ll all move on.” But I did not realize Brian and Anthony’s primary goal was to get RoidStore back on the EliteFitness.com site any way possible. And they intended to sue me if they needed to in order to get the RoidStore.com banner ads back on our forums.
And so, this past winter, we got served with a lawsuit.
In March, EliteFitness.com was served with a lawsuit brought in Texas by Brian Clapp and his company Dynamic Sports Nutrition (Steroid.com) that also employs Anthony Roberts. Brian’s attorney is a guy named Paul Beik who's fresh out of law school and works for Egbert Law Offices. And you’ll never guess what the suit is about. (Actually, you can read the whole thing if you google it as it has been posted online.)
Here’s a summary of what EliteFitness.com is getting sued for:
As you know, we market and sell downloadable e-books that are written by various different authors that we represent. One of those authors is a guy who writes as Dino Strong and who wrote what many of our members consider to be the best guide to anabolic steroid cycling ever written. The title of the book is Anabolic Gameplan. In the lawsuit brought by Dynamic Sports Nutrition, Brian and Anthony allege that Dino Strong copied a book by Anthony Roberts titled Anabolic Steroids Ultimate Research Guide.
Dino Strong writes a book and EliteFitness.com gets sued by Brian and Anthony. Dino himself is not even named in the lawsuit. And get this, they have not yet told us in writing what they allege was copied. I’ve been told that a few paragraphs they claim Dino copied were posted on their sites, but they have not to this day sent me anything more formal telling me what Dino did wrong. What’s crazier still is that Anthony Roberts got a pre-release copy of Anabolic Gameplan and read it before it ever went on sale. Although he did have a few comments and suggestions, back when we were working with him, he certainly had no problem with our selling Dino’s work.
To make matters worse, after they filed the lawsuit, they sent demand letters to all of our ISPs threatening them that they would be sued too if the entire EliteFitness.com site was not taken offline. And for forty panic inducing minutes on February 29th, they actually succeeded in having our entire site shutdown until our lawyer explained things to our ISP.
Here’s what they want: “Plaintiff (that’s Brian and Anthony) seeks statutory damages in the amount of One Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($150,000.00) per willful infringement and Thirty Thousand Dollars ($30,000.00) per non-willful infringement.” And they want this money from me, not Dino Strong, the book’s author.
Needless to say, I was furious when we got served with a frivolous lawsuit. So, I called my attorney and told her to get ready to fight. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not a big fan of attorneys (except for my members who are attorneys – I love you guys) – whenever I have had dealings with lawyers in the past, the only people that tend to come out ahead are the attorneys! Fortunately, my lawyer talked some sense into me. She told me, “You don’t want litigation in Texas – it will cost you a fortune – and even if you win, there is no upside for you. Furthermore, you’ll have to hire counsel in Texas and that’s very expensive too.” And she was right, I’d much rather see some of that money go to AmFAR (The American Foundation for AIDS Research) and Feed the Children, two charities that I have supported for years, and of course, I’d much rather spend that money improving the EliteFitness.com site or spend it on myself.
So I took her advice and we proposed a settlement that would have me pay Brian an amount greater than the ENTIRE profit that EliteFitness.com made on the sale of the Anabolic Gameplan e-book. Why propose something so generous? Because I learned from my attorney that it would be far cheaper to give them everything we got from Dino’s book than to fight the lawsuit in Texas. And I learned that the most they could conceivably expect to win would be $750 to $30,000 – and probably a lot closer to $750 than $30K. In exchange, both Brian and Anthony would have to agree to drop their lawsuit and agree not to sue us again over anything else that had happened in the past.
Finally, my lawyer learned from theirs what they really wanted. What they really wanted was advertising on EliteFitness.com -- and TONS of it. To be specific, they wanted $180,000 in advertising and cash too that I believe would be used to pay their attorney. Essentially, they wanted to plaster RoidStore.com banners on every page of the site.
Well, I definitely was not going to make that same mistake again!
So, what we proposed was a settlement of cash and an advertising credit of $40,000. They would agree to suspend their lawsuit and work with our sales team, to come up with an advertising package that would meet their needs and at the same time not be abusive to our site and our members like their RoidStore ad campaign had been. If an ad package could not be worked out with them, then they would get to start their lawsuit up again. Believe me, I HATED the idea of paying those losers anything, especially since I did not write the e-book in question, since Anthony had received a copy before it went on sale, and since no one believes that any significant copying ever took place at all.
But, the two of them think they have me over a barrel and are determined to extort as much money and advertising as they possibly can. And my willingness to try and settle with them for the sake of saving time and money, has been misconstrued as weakness. The mere thought of their winning the lawsuit seems to have ignited a deluded power play fantasy where they believe I will be unable to afford my lawyers and my site would somehow be turned over to them. Brian and Anthony would not budge from their position of demanding $180,000 in advertising plus a cash payment too. And I still can’t understand why they attack us so viciously after we helped launch Anthony’s career and wrote him royalty checks for 2 years.
And that’s where this sorry state of affairs stands today. I have just hired a team of lawyers in Texas and I have resolved to spend whatever it takes to defend our site and our members. So, we’re off to the races defending a lawsuit over something I did not even write and spending thousands in the process. The irony here is that most likely, the judge will find that the copyright for Brian and Anthony’s book is invalid. To add insult to injury, according to my friend Bill Llewellyn, who authors the Anabolics series that he updates every year, Anthony and Brian plagiarized his work extensively when they wrote their book Anabolic Steroids Ultimate Research Guide that they claim Dino infringed. And Bill has agreed to testify on our behalf. The good part of Bill’s testifying is that Anthony and Brian cannot enforce a copyright that is shown to be invalid itself. The bad news is that fighting them will cost a small fortune – money that we had set aside to set up a second datacenter to host EliteFitness.com and offer our members even greater privacy and security in the event of any type of service interruption at our current datacenter.
Now, we need help. I’ll keep you posted on how this plays out and I’ll let you know how you can help us in the weeks ahead. I’ll also let you know about some of the life lessons I have taken from this experience because I do believe that life teaches us lessons that make us better people as we go onward. And regardless of what you may read elsewhere, I want all our members to know that EliteFitness.com is solid and here to stay. I appreciate your reading this long-winded letter – if you have gotten all the way to this paragraph, then you are a friend of EF indeed. And I hope that God-willing, we’ll be back to discussing bodybuilding and fitness in this weekly newsletter in the very near future.
Here's a link on the forums to discuss this newsletter.