4. Who are ThisIsBlythe really?
When I started really digging into ThisIsBlythe a couple of things happened. The first one being learning about, and hearing from, people that had been ripped off by them and were trying to raise the alarm. The second one being learning just how just how much of a bottom-feeding low-life whoever owns ThisIsBlythe now really are, and the lengths they're willing to go to hide their identity and lash out at any criticism.
I want to start by linking to the blogs of people who have had horrible experiences with ThisIsBlythe:
- GinghamRose: https://ginghamrose.com/2020/10/15/blythe-doll-scam-thisisblythe-review/
- The Toy Box Philosopher: https://www.toyboxphilosopher.com/2022/05/patron-post-is-this-blythe.html
They both give pretty extensive reviews of other counterfeit Blythe dolls available on the market, as well as detailing some of the harassment they've faced from ThisIsBlythe after giving honest reviews of their poor experiences.
To both fantastic bloggers I want to say a big thank you for detailing your experiences despite ongoing harassment from ThisIsBlythe for doing so. Your contributions to our Blythe community are invaluable and neither of you deserve to have to put up with such mean nonsense. You also both helped me realise a few important things about ThisIsBlythe.
Down the rabbit hole we go...
GinghamRose received a doll from the AliExpress store The Show, and The Toy Box Philosopher mentions buying from ThisIsBlythe and AliExpress store BlytheHomes, only to receive dolls with the exact same return address.
It turns out ThisIsBlythe isn't your typical online store. In fact, they appear to not have any stock of their own at all. Even the fake dolls they sell for totally cut-throat markups, appear to be resales from unrelated AliExpress stores. This also explains why they're so happy to advertise the work of artists who have no association with them at all. They literally only ever slap huge markups on other people's product, and then buy it after the orders come in.
This not only explains their gross profiteering, but also why so many people seem to mention how long the wait times are to get their dolls. It also explains why they feel able to illegally share the personal data of people who complain about their service online. They don't have any professional oversight or standards and feel they can do as they please because they have worked very hard to bury any information about who actually runs this sham business.
Just a brief look at their TrustPilot reviews shows how prolific they are with this behaviour. In response to one review, they even illegally shared a customer's personal details publicly because they gave an honest 1 star review. ThisIsBlythe have also been known to threaten their customer's family members. Truly nasty and deranged stuff.
But that's not even where their gutter behaviour ends.
They also regularly commit perjury in order to attempt to remove content that isn't favourable to them on the internet. I mistakenly thought I'd covered my bases and their baseless legal threats couldn't affect me as I'd not bought anything from their site so they didn't have my personal information.
Oh how naive I was.
Turns out that they spend a lot of time online hunting down anyone giving them bad reviews, and sending bad-faith DMCA takedowns to their blogging platforms. What do I mean by bad-faith exactly? Well, let me show you the nonsense they threw at me:
As you can see, they barely even bothered to fill out most of the notice form. Clearly, this is something they do so often they just whizz through it whenever they spot someone trying to raise awareness about their true colours.
The images they cited are a photo of the fake "Jenna Anderson" and their company address. They literally have no legal grounds whatsoever to submit takedown notices for either of these images.
The first one is a stock photo image they do not own, and you cannot submit a legal DMCA notice if you are not the copyright holder.
This image was stolen from an AliDropShip Wordpress template called Rembrandt. That's why it's all over the internet. Many, many sites using AliExpress seem to grab this template, edit the bare minimum, and leave the stock images of fake staff on their About page out of either laziness or to make themselves look more legitimate.
Here is the image in it's original context.
The second is literally not something you can copyright. Addresses are not subject to copyright, for the obvious reason that people move and so won't hold the same address in perpetuity, and also it's publicly available information that isn't created by any particular person and therefore not subject to intellectual property law.
But ThisIsBlythe don't care about the law, they just exploit and abuse broken systems built around it. Most platforms do not have the human capacity to individually vet the DMCA notices they receive and so they implement automatic protocols in order to maintain what is called their "safe harbour" status. This is a status that ensures platforms are not held liable for the content hosted on them, as long as they comply with DMCA takedown notices and remove copyright infringing content. But like I said, they don't have the capacity to check whether the DMCA notices they get are all legitimate. They literally only check the formatting of the DMCA notice, no matter how obviously egregious the claim is.
So ThisIsBlythe spam out illegal DMCA claims in order to harass anyone sounding the alarm about their crappy illegal business, and get away with it.
In order to get your content put back up, you have submit a counter claim and provide personal information, including your contact information and physical address, which will then BE FORWARDED ON TO THE INITIAL CLAIMANT. There is no other mechanism to challenge a DMCA takedown that doesn't involve going to court. If you don't want to give your personal information to a literal con-artist with a proven track record of online harassment, then you have no way of getting your content back up. All for the sake of totally fake, entirely perjurious, DMCA claims.
How gross is that?!
All of this utter twaddle made me quite determined to find out who the heck is behind this stupid website. So I went back to digging into their domain records, and figured out how to get more information on the domain registration history.
That's when I discovered that at one point the domain registration was updated to include name servers pointing to an Anchor Branding. Remember those guys? The company that just happened to suspiciously share a business address with thisisblythe․com since the earliest appearance of the scam site...?
ThisIsBlythe hasn't always labelled this as their marketing address. Back when the scam version of the site first appeared in September 2017, this was the only business address they provided on their site.
When it comes to Anchor Branding, it turns out to be very possible to find out who owns that company. It's owned by a guy called Alper Dama who seems to spend a lot of time online promising people he can teach them how to get rich and linking to various things about how to go viral online and other such outlandish claims.
He claims to have a 6 figure income, despite his business seemingly residing in a rather ordinary looking block of residential flats. Curious.
So am I saying this guy is definitely the guy behind ThisIsBlythe now? Well, I can't prove that either way at this point. But I suspect that they have some kind of connection beyond marketing.
Maybe he did a rebrand for the ThisIsBlythe site and helped with web maintenance over the years and just skipped over all the misleading claims and copyright infringement. Maybe, whoever actually owns thisisblythe․com, just forgot to mention their business address is just the address of their marketing agency for a number of...years?
Though I do want to point out that the identical address appears on thisisblythe․com long before the name servers were changed to point to Anchor Branding in May of 2018 and a link to the Anchor branding page appears at the bottom of the ThisIsBlythe homepage as early as November 2017. Also, the thisisblythe․com site was pointing at Anchor Branding's name servers until as recently as 2019. So these two companies have been working together since the start of the scam.
I find it hard to believe that in doing all the marketing for ThisIsBlythe, Anchor Branding wouldn't have noticed the dodgy nature and reputation of this business. For example, this kind of suspicious behaviour: Using the Anchor Branding address to verify ThisIsBlythe is a real company for TrustedSite certification...
Despite their LinkedIn claiming their headquarters is the Alameda, CA address that I discovered before, doesn't in fact exist.
So far, I can't prove any link between Alper Dama and Blythe dolls aside from these weird domain and address shenanigans. But it's mega weird that both businesses have worked together for many years in some capacity or another despite ThisIsBlythe having no real contact or business information of their own on their own website. Surely a legitimate business would have had questions about their client declaring a fake persona as their business manager? So very curious...
Another thing I'm confused about is that I couldn't find any government/state registered company information regarding either business. Again, this doesn't prove they're not registered. Maybe the online records available to search are just incomplete or there's some loophole that doesn't require them to register as business. I know in the UK you're expected to register as a business for tax and other legal purposes, but maybe it's different in Canada and the USA? But even on the Vancouver Board of Trade website that Anchor Branding claims association with on their website, I couldn't find a single mention of them, and I couldn't find their business or Alper Dama in their membership directory. It's still possible that I'm just not able to verify that ThisIsBlythe and Anchor Branding are legally compliant businesses via the online resources at my disposal. But it's definitely something I wish I was able to dig into further.
The silver lining to all of the super horrible, and just out and out disgusting behaviour from ThisIsBlythe is that it fuelled me to create this site at least. Any DMCA takedowns they send this way are going straight in the junk folder where they belong. Though if I do get any nonsense, I'll be sure to post it here for the giggles.
Long story short, they messed with the wrong doll collector.