Sunday, June 2, 2013

What's the Truth About Duvamis?

While trying to watch a Youtube video, I saw an ad for something called "Duvamis". It's supposed to be a way for people to find-out "who they really are" and the ad - which has a long version and a short one - reminded me very much of Scientology, both for its content and its production quality.
You can see the long version here

Being a curious guy and having nothing else to do, I watched the entire ad and then tried to find their website.
The site wasn't hard to find with a simple Google search, but there wasn't much content.

Duvamis also has a blog at which claims to offer users a place where they can "express their inner selves" or some bullshit like that.

A quick WhoIs search informed me that is an anonymously-registered domain and its IP address is out of Sofia, Bulgaria.

Now, my instincts began to warn me of a potential scam. Why Bulgaria - a country whose law enforcement abilities against Internet crime are not exactly stellar, mostly because they have no law applicable to the Internet - and not the United States or Western Europe? If they have nothing to hide and only want to help me "find-out who I really am", why hide behind a cloak of anonymity?

Hey, it's entirely possible that these guys are on the level, but too many questions about Duvamis are left unanswered.

As a side note, I found it rather interesting that "Duvamis" is also the name of a fictional person in World of Warcraft. Duvamis was an 80th level gnome mage who was last active on WoW in July 2010, which is only a few months before the domain was registered.

I found that to be particularly interesting.

Personally, I'd advise anyone to stay away from these people.

Special thanks to a reader who did more thorough  background research into Duvamis than I had the time or opportunity to do. With his permission, I have added it to the body of this blog:

A friend asked me to look into this. Message I sent to him below.

"It is definitely weird. The WhoIs information for Duvamis is private but the WhoIs information for the site they're hosting the CSS information on is not.

Which lead me to:

WhoIs information for that opens up a connection between them and:

Both Bulgarian Innovation Projects and Eagle (formerly Orel) Invest look like private equity firms focused on investing in technology. It isn't really suspicious that a fledgling social media site with enough money to launch a relatively high profile ad campaign on Youtube would have investors, and these sorts of companies create shells within shells within shells in the US to dodge regulations, not sure how it works in Bulgaria though.

What is suspicious is that all the names listed under the WhoIs are aliases, two out of three of which seem to share a naming convention with a Youtube commentor named Dragomir Dmitrov with a brand new account that's affiliated with Duvamis.

The person for is Atanas Rakov, and the person for is Atanas Dimitrov, there's a third name on that doesn't fit the convention. All names listed under WhoIs appear to be aliases with no internet history at first blush.

In addition both and share the same real world address, which appears to be an apartment complex, not office space, although I'm not overly familiar with Bulgarian architecture and zoning so don't quote me on that.

The only thing that makes me hesitate to call this an out and out project with malicious purposes is that everything not directly associated with Duvamis has been around for more than a few years and there isn't any chatter about past scams that I'm seeing. So maybe legit, maybe not, I don't think there's anything else for me to find without engaging in dirty tricks."
Since the posting of this blog entry, I haven't seen any more ads for Duvamis on YouTube. I'm not saying that one had anything to do with the other. Looking through the comments sections of both of their videos, I discovered that I wasn't the only person who had doubts about it.

Signing-up for an account reveals Duvamis to be a sort of social networking site. As of right now, there's very little in the way of content on the site and very few users, most of whom aren't active beyond setting-up their homepages or "Visions" as Duvamis calls them. The website even has its own way of telling time (too complicated to explain, but it's weird) and they use odd terms for the various sections.

I'm not sure if Duvamis is a social networking site that's trying to be a religion or a religion trying to be a social networking site.

Either way, it's too weird for me.

Duvamis' ad campaign is the perfect example of doing it wrong.

Duane Browning
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