Nu-Life Owns The Trademarks For Innovage AND DS-MAX

Nu-Life, the company so mad at us about “adversely” affecting its DS-MAX trademark, saying that old DS-MAX became Innovage and Nu-Life has nothing to do with the actions of old DS-MAX or new Innovage…

….actually owns the trademarks for both DS-MAX AND Innovage.

Check the US Trademark Electronic Search System entries:


An odd coincidence, considering the perverse series of emails Richard Shapero (pictured, left), Director of Nu-Life, sent in an attempt to squash our reporting and assert such distance between the present DS-MAX and Innovage/Old DS-MAX.

Nu-Life’s ownership of J.U.I.C.E. is inconclusive, but readers may recall how in Brian’s experience and research, Aftermax companies used “Juice,” meaning, “Join Us In Creating Excitement,” as a term of congratulations. — BEN POPKEN

(Photo: Profiles Of Success In Business [PDF])

PREVIOUSLY: DS-MAX Tries To Shut Down Our IDT-Energy Investigation

UPDATE: Gaby sends a final email to Richard…

Gaby Darbyshire


cc Ranjan Das , Jack Smugler

date Jun 13, 2007 8:26 AM

subject Re: DS-Max

Richard, I am simply not going to engage any further on this matter. Please have your lawyers contact me direct if you insist on continuing this, this conversation is getting us nowhere.

However, you should be aware that your perseverance in this matter has naturally led us to investigate your company further in order to find out exactly what all the facts are in this web of intrigue. And so it is a surprise to discover that Nu-Life is the owner of record of the the Innovage trademark:

We of course now feel that it is important to provide this new piece of information for our readers in order to help clarify this complicated picture. It certainly muddies the waters concerning your attempts to distance yourself and DS-Max from the actions and practices of Innovage.

Perhaps we can stop this nonsense now and all get on with better things to do in our lives. We’ll move on to other stuff soon enough; but this story will run and run as long as you give us continued incentive to investigate your claims.

Regards, Gaby

[ed Note: No definitive ties have been established between Midtown Promotions and DS-MAX/Innovage.]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Hawk07 says:

    Any chance Advocare is in this fraud riddled orgy?

    I know a bunch of people that sell the happy pills, and I’d love to stick it to them.

  2. Trai_Dep says:

    Now I know what happened to Gollum when he grew up and bought a cheap navy blazer.

    The guy on the left is Gollum’s kid, I think. Boy what fun THAT childhood must have been. Must have been odd to learn how to lie to process servers before you’ve learned how to ride a bike…

    Eww. Horrible thought: imagine Mrs. Gollum, looking up at that while spawning Junior. Sh-sh-sh-sh-sh-udder!

  3. adrianadesigner says:

    I’ve been reading this for a few a for a bit now and never realized that all those shady people who would come to my door asking to see my ConEd bill for “savings’ were related to this company. Shame on them for being so shady.

    I hope that the AG in NY looks into this and shuts these jerks down!

  4. timmus says:

    I think it’s funny that when I saw that big graphic out of the corner of my eye, I thought it said SOULLESS.

  5. shoegazer says:

    Ugh, I hate ugly font MLM publications. They all seem to take a page (literally) out of those old 80’s Amway magazines. My dad used to get one every quarter boasting about directors holding yacht parties in the fucking Chesapeake Bay. Like that’s the pinnacle of success – renting a yacht.

  6. faust1200 says:

    Check out the dood on the left. Two words: pinky ring.

  7. homerjay says:

    One wonders if you may have gotten yourself too deep into something you shouldn’t have, Ben. You’d better be careful. That guy on the right looks ‘connected.’

  8. JustAGuy2 says:

    Is anyone actually _surprised_ that Innovage and DS-MAX are the same thing? Shapero was just a bit too insistent that the DS-MAX principals had transferred ownership of the name.

  9. Hawkins says:

    @faust1200: Oh, dear God, you’re right, the dood DOES have a pinky ring.

    I thought you were speculating.

  10. dbeahn says:

    Go figure, a shady company like nu life encouraging shady business practices in the companies it owns. Why am I not surprised?

    We’re talking about “multi level marketing” companies here. The WHOLE IDEA is to scam as many people as they can, and hopefully one in a thousand “succeeds” so they can keep scamming more people with their “opportunity”…

  11. anatak says:

    so let me get this straight….

    DS-MAX owns Nu-life, Nu-Life bought Midtown promotions from Innovage, who bought the rights to the DS-MAX name for use on T-shirts, pull-overs, dresses, slacks, and cheap suits? And Bobby McPinkyring is pissed (sorry, p*ssed) off because you posted his logo next to an article? It wasn’t even on a piece of menswear or ladies sportswear. Boy, he’s gonna be pissed (p*ssed) that you’re showing his pinky ring.

    I wonder if he has “DS-MAX” for the inscription on his ring?

  12. Ben Popken says:

    @anatak: Officially, Midtown Promotions is an independent corporation. However, it’s run just like every DS-MAX office. This is the same structure (clean corporation, dirty individual offices) Amway (now Quixtar) uses.

  13. Lyrrad says:

    If it’s a ring worn on the little finger then it might be an Iron Ring.

    This could mean that the guy graduated from an Engineering program in Canada. Notice the “Toronto Central Edition” near the top.

  14. anatak says:

    @Ben Popken:
    yeah, I was being facicious

  15. anatak says:

    BTW – Gaby’s last email was delicious. You must let us know if he responds

  16. girlfriend 6.0 says:

    I’m feeling juiced about this one.

  17. tvh2k says:

    JUICE by you Ben!

  18. JPropaganda says:

    JUICE! JUICE! That’s HILARIOUS!!! I love it! So much drama with the consumerist!

    BTW, why do you write about new york stuff sometimes, when you really live in Holland?

  19. iMike says:

    Freakin’ Canadians.

  20. homerjay says:

    @iMike: Thats right! Damn Canadians with their flappin’ heads so full of lies!

    I too want to hear what Gaby has to say next. That chick’s dynamite with a laser beam!

    Dood– Let me give you a brief explanation of who Gawker is. These are the people that brought you Gawker Stalker. If Tom Cruise and Rosie O’Donnell hasn’t had them shut down yet, what chance do YOU have???

  21. axiomatic says:

    Why is it that at the heart of every corrupt company there is an old guy running the “evil ancient business ideals” play book?

    I’m telling you, when the people born of the digital age are finally running all these companies I hope we can all get along better. I’m all for profit, but don’t be evil.

    (I’m 38 so I’m just barely part of the digital age. ;-) )

  22. axiomatic says:

    Also, I would not be surprised if the guy on the right is named “Shecky” or “Big Lou”. Wise guy if I ever saw one.

  23. anatak says:

    I don’t know. I’m betting he’s just some guy they pulled off the street for the picture so that it wouldn’t look like the company is just one guy and his “receptionist”.

  24. Trai_Dep says:

    Ten Reasons Why Consumerist/Gawker Is Based In Holland

    10) No export duties on da kind hashish

    9) Half of intern staff actually blond, short-panted, childrens’ choir members

    8) If there’s ever another Tulip Mania Bubble, BOY is Consumerist prepared!

    7) Only place where Ben can wear his extensive wooden clog & lederhosen collection without attracting too many snickers

    6) Columbia: too dangerous; Macao: too dirty; New York: too many transvestive former mayors

    5) Gaby is really big fan of Paul Verhooven; guess who fills out Incorporation Papers?

    4) Entire Gawker Global Media servers runs on… Yup: windmills

    3) Legal prostitution brings in dozens of Kroner per “impression” while Adsense brings in mere pennies. YOU do the math

    2) Bootleg selection of ABBA CDs in US so paltry compared to Europe

    1) Ben Popken is clever nom de plume for Rutger Hauer

  25. Trai_Dep says:

    Oh. My. GAWD.

    “Transvestive” = “TransvesTITE”


  26. JustAGuy2 says:


    Not only that, but “6) Columbia: too dangerous;”

    Morningside Heights ain’t _that_ bad. :)

  27. thelogic says:

    Anyone spy their photographs on pages three and four of the ‘Profiles of Success’ pdf? The new DS-MAX is so successful that they couldn’t afford to purchase the rights to use the actual photos, and instead used proofs. Sheisters…I’m sure David Biesse @ would love to hear about it.

  28. Venkman says:

    Hi– I’m the guy who normally posts as RampantOctopus on your site, changed to Venkman… You know, ghostbusters and all.

    Considering your rejection of my opinion as I openly admit that I am FORMER employee of SeneGence International– a party plan MLM– which, no doubt has it’s own fair share of poop being flung around in their name– I just wanted to lay my cards on the table and say one last thing on the matter:

    Your site, laudably attempts to protect consumers. The corporations that spawn MLMs, like the ones which we are discussing here today are not doing anything wrong, rather it’s the individual on the street, the same ‘consumers’ who you seek to protect that are taking advantage of others. Direct Selling is a viable and very equitable system of providing entrapenurial ventures with minimal risk to the general public. These companies are aware of the problems that exist, and they even have compliance officers who constantly review and terminate the distributorships of crooked downlines– and yes, that’s an never-ending task.

    MLM’s have a bad name because they look like pyramids–but, you know what, so does every corporation. The bottom line always gets paid dick until they move up, it’s as true at McDonalds as it is in any sales force. It’s simply a fact of commerce. It’s a distributor’s own damn fault if they flaunt the law to get ahead, and honestly, I hope those people do get caught– clearly they give the industry a bad name, just look at your opinion of them. If you think about it, you know that there are a lot of good people out there participating in MLMs. I’ve met them, you’ve met them, they’re everywhere in rural areas where high end boutiques don’t exist, it’s the Mary Kay lady, it’s Avon, it’s just that there are a lot of assholes out there too… The question is, why let the assholes ruin it for everybody? That’s why I defend DS-MAX and the like. Maybe DS-MAX sucks, I just don’t know, but now you know where I stand.

    For the record, I no longer work in the industry and I don’t have any plans to go back. It’s not that I dislike Direct Selling or MLMs, it’s just that I’m a video editor and that’s what I choose to do with my life.

    Also, just a comment on brandwashing, not to undermine myself or anything, but I thought this would amuse you… Amway is becoming Amway again and ditching the Quixtar and Alticor names (for now), check it out:

    I’ve said my piece and that’s the last you’ll hear from me on the subject.

  29. Flynn says:

    Venkman: The difference between a standard company and a MLM company is that you don’t see the fry cook at McDonalds expanding the business by recruiting new members to do his work for him. If the fry cook moves up the chain, hiring isn’t his primary goal.

    Even IF you model it after a franchise system, the core of any franchise is to find untapped territory. There is no concern for that in MLM, and the undercover story even showed that (the last day when they were running into already sold buildings).

  30. BII says:

    I want to have Gaby’s children

  31. royal72 says:

    @Venkman: you can blame the “the individual on the street” all day long if you like, but the simple fact remains the ones at the top, make money off of those shady, illegal, and immoral practices with a blind eye and less care than a common thief on the street… “but, you know what, so does every corporation” just doesn’t cut it, as an excuse to do whatever the fuck you want.

  32. Venkman says:


    You’re absolutely right, and you make an important distinction:

    It’s the bad “entrepreneurs”/distributors whose first priority is recruiting– that’s illegal. The money needs to come from sales of product or you are dealing with a pyramid scheme.

    ok… and now I’ll shut my mouth… for reals.

  33. The corporations that spawn MLMs, like the ones which we are discussing here today are not doing anything wrong, rather it’s the individual on the street, the same ‘consumers’ who you seek to protect that are taking advantage of others.

    @Venkman: If you’re hiring people who want to take advantage of your customers, you’re doing something wrong.

  34. Kimli says:

    I am really regretting my URL now (it has juice in it).

  35. jlrolin says:

    LOL, these guys almost sound like Wal-mart. They have stupid acronyms and team building songs. Brings me back to my days at Wal-mart standing in layaway watching all these idiots sing the Wal-mart song while I walked back to Tire and Lube and had a laugh with the real workers.

  36. karst says:

    They “borrowed” an acronym from Requiem for a Dream (a book/movie about loss, failure, and addiction)? How appropriate.

  37. sp3nc3 says:

    @Lyrrad: If it actually is an Iron Ring, then Mr. Creepy McShady needs to read up on that Wikipedia link.

    “The location of the ring on the dominant hand also means that it is the furthest from a wedding ring made of gold or other precious metals, which symbolises that monetary gain should not be what motivates an ethical engineer.”

  38. bhall03 says:

    Richard gave himself away with his June 8 email where he stated:

    “At the same time, we have advised you, that Innovage, formerly DS-MAX is not related legally to Midtown, and contracts exists as we believe separating these companies. Under contract law, sub contractors and contractors do have limited liability and responsibility.”

    If his company was really distanced from the new, he wouldn’t have this inside knowledge.

  39. NZDave says:

    IMHO there’s nothing actually wrong with MLM organisations… I have a problem with “recruitment based” MLM’s however… PhotoMax ( is another one of these Nu-Life companies to avoid.