Normally I think people who post anonymously online have a right to their privacy and their identities should generally not be revealed. I make exceptions under certain circumstances. Joecool for example, I originally uncovered when he was (falsely) accusing IBOs of threatening his family and later was shown to be posting under different names, pretending to be IBOs or former IBOs in different Amway groups. As far as I’m concerned, once you cross from sharing your opinion to fraud and libel, you’ve relinquished your right to privacy.
While Joecool remains the most prolific anti-Amway obsessive on the internet, back in 2010 another reared their ugly head – “Anna Banana” and her blog “Married to an Ambot“. On her blog, Anna Banana doesn’t hold back, with regular foul-mouthed tirades against Amway, Amway products, and her former upline. The comments she allows are often even worse, with crude anonymous abuse of the worse sort. I sometimes wonder how much of it is hers rather than legitimate commentary.
When the blog first launched, there were suspicions that Anna Banana was yet another Joecool alias. These were raised even further when I discovered “Anna Banana” was the name of a bar just down the road from Joecool’s then place of work. I did some checking with others and concluded that, unlike a number of other blogs, this one was actually a legitimate newcomer, located in the Pacific North-West of North America. Since then I haven’t particularly followed her blog. Any attempts to engage in adult dialogue on her website have been returned with childish abuse.
In April this year though, Anna Banana highlighted some comments on her blog that she says were directed towards me. Comments like this –
“You took my friend and soon you’ll regret this scambot.”
“Typical Scambot unit! I sure hope your upline programmed a few more lines to defend your mission for Scamway/Quickscam. Those like you took my friend and I’ll make sure to make you regret it Ambot!”
“The countdown has begun Ambot! The day when I shall have your head and theirs overlooking my nightstand will not come too soon shitway. I swear, they should upgrade your programming, that old recording in your memory-bank is starting to piss me off scamshit!”
People were posting death threats against me on her blog, and she apparently found it amusing and worth highlighting. Given that Amway critics had already posted my name and address and photos of myself and my children online, and that Anna Banana was regularly allowing her commentators to link to this information, this was more than a little concerning. The entire tone of her blog and her comments does not engender confidence that these are in jest. Needless to say, such activity is also illegal for both the poster and the publisher (Anna Banana).
As far as I’m concerned, if you publish (and encourage) death threats against me you have well and truly relinquished your right to privacy.
So who is Anna Banana?
The internet isn’t as anonymous as you might think. People often leave traces they forget about, like Joecool leaving his email address published on links on forum posts, which allowed me to identify him. Has Anna Banana done similar? I’ll admit, she’s been careful. She gave no email address on her blog to contact her that I could find, and she never comments on my blog, make it difficult to trace her internet address or other information. When she has commented elsewhere she’s always been careful not to give away too much. Trying to work out her story was difficult, as many of her rants seemed to be about issues that must have been more than a decade ago (talking about tapes) yet she also spoke about other things as if they were recent, even current. Much of the stuff she talked about seemed like little more than caricatures of Amway criticism rather than actual experience. About all we knew was that she was married, she and her husband had been IBOs more than once, and they’d been associated with WWDB.
To see if I could find anything about her, I looked again at her website, and in particular the “source code”. I’d done the same thing with Joecool and several other blogs and discovered that they were using the same google adsense code – identifying them as being by the same person. There was one clue on Anna Banana’s website. She had some code called “IP Blocker” that is used to redirect people from certain internet addresses to other websites so they can’t read (or comment) on her website. This is the code –
The code had a member ID – “mermaidude”. Could that tell us anything? I went to google.
“mermaidude” isn’t a common internet nickname, indeed it appears to be unique. A review of the (many) links google revealed showed that “mermaidude” has been active a long time on the internet, with interests ranging from geocaching, to recipes, to horses and dogs. There were also three email addresses and a name that kept coming up –
- Cheryl Rhodes
Cheryl Rhodes? That name sounded familiar. If you regularly follow this blog, it should sound familiar to you too. Back in August 2009, Cheryl Rhodes and her husband Kerry Murphy launched a class action lawsuit against Amway Canada, claiming they lost over $15,000. Without going in to details, using the links from the google search, it wasn’t difficult to confirm that Married to an Ambot’s Anna Banana= firstname.lastname@example.org= email@example.com= firstname.lastname@example.org= Cheryl Rhodes, wife of Kerry Murphy, of Cloverdale, Surrey, British Colombia, Canada, and original plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit.
The case was thrown out last year, but from the court documents we do learn a little bit about our friend “Anna Banana”. According to the judgement, Kerry Murphy was an IBO on at least 4 separate occasions –
- From 1980-1982, but “did not follow-up or purchase any products”
- October 21, 1999 until December 31, 2001
- May 22, 2002 until December 31, 2002
- June 5, 2008 until December 31, 2009 , with the last activity in August, 2009
Based on her blog and the court documents, we also know that Cheryl Rhodes aka Anna Banana was part of this on at least the last 2 or 3 occasions. I suspect the May 2002 registration may have simply been a late renewal. These multiple registrations bring us some understanding of Anna Banana’s often confused and dated complaints about Amway.
Along with Married to an Ambot, Cheryl Rhodes has been quite busy on the internet. She also has the following blogs –
along with the defunct
And a bunch of older ones as well. She’s also got a twitter account and facebook page –
And has self -published a couple of books –
She also had a blog up about the class action at
But in July a funny thing happened. You see, as an experiment I posted Anna Banana’s identity over on AmwayWiki and also mentioned on Amway Talk that I’d successfully ID’d her. Within a day or so, “Anna Banana” suddenly announced that she wasn’t actually running her blog, she just emailed her posts in to an administrator who did it for her, and the Cheryl Rhodes WordPress site got pulled down as well, replaced with a post that could only be considered bizarre unless you knew about the connection with Anna Banana –
This blog did lead me to assist another blogger. Shortly after I started this blog last year another blogger contacted me and asked me if I’d take over their blog. I declined because I don’t have the time. I don’t keep this blog updated so I didn’t think I could come up with material to take over someone else’s blog either. The other blog is anonymous and I prefer to use my real name, so it would not have worked out. Then they emailed me again to ask if I could temporarily take over the blog administration because of a shared computer situation and not wanting others to know the identity. They would email me posts and all I would have to do was upload them, and because I like the blog I said I’d do it for awhile which turned into a few months longer than I expected. Even though it wasn’t taking much time to copy, paste, and upload I asked them to find another administrator to take over their posting and they finally have.
Yup Cheryl, we believe that. You just happened to be contacted by another blogger who, just like you lived in British Colombia, had a husband involved in Amway with WWDB several times (and at the same times as you), both husband’s did things like bought digital recorders, and amazingly, Anna Banana used some of your long-term email addresses for their blog setup, started the blog not long after you launched your class action, etc etc etc – and despite all of this real friendly behaviour to you ,and clear dislike of Amway and apparently terrible experience – never joined in to the class action with you and Kerry!
Here’s the thing, Cheryl. You’re claiming that your wordpress blog led to Anna Banana contacting you to help administer her blog. You started that blog in September, 2011. You first added the “mermaidude” code to Married to an Ambot back in January, 2011.
Sleep well tonight Cheryl.
Are you getting advice from Joecool or something? He tried similar things to hide his tracks. Don’t worry though Cheryl, if anyone ever tries to sue you for your libelous posts on Married to an Ambot, I have even more proof than I’ve given here. Indeed I’ve already given it to some interested parties. Oh, and trying to hide your tracks like this is a bit pointless – Canadian (and US) law has established that publishers of libel are guilty as well. So your excuse that you’re just helping publish it wouldn’t work anyway!
But don’t let it disturb your sleep too much though, I get the impression they don’t think you’re worth the effort. Still, you never know. Must be a worry, what with the court already awarding costs to Amway for your failed lawsuit. What would a libel lawsuit add to that? And in Canada of all places, which doesn’t have the more relaxed free speech provisions of the US!
Anyway, with the help of some friends who kept copies, Cheryl’s old wordpress posts do tell us a little bit more about her Amway experience. We find out, for example, that her and her husbands sponsors was a guy called Neal Powzun, and –
“Our line of sponsorship was World Wide Dream Builders (WWDB). People in our upline were Neal’s sponsor, Jimmy Schaeffer, Robert Goodheart, Ron Maitland, Esmon Emmons (Platinum), and Fenton Eng, (Emerald). I was told Fenton had been personally sponsored into Amway over 20 years ago by Dean Kosage who was represented to us as a Diamond.”
It’s nice to be able to connect some names to the abuse on her blog. It offers some interesting insights too – for example on her blog she’s incredibly abusive towards her upline platinum (Emmons, we now know) and makes various claims about him, including that he’s regularly in and out of qualification. Yet in 2008 he qualified for Achievers and in an affidavit during the Canadian class action, he declared an income of over $100,000/yr.
Ms Rhodes has indeed been taking lessons from Joecool – publish whatever you want, facts be damned!
So there you go. Anna Banana of Married to an Ambot is Cheryl Rhodes. I wonder if she’s as foul-mouthed with all her friends back in Cloverdale.
Oh … and if I’m every mysteriously beheaded, you might want to let the police know where to find Cheryl.