The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
SMI, Inc. (SMI and Associates, Sports Marketing International)SMI, Inc. Takes Advantage of Young, Naive Graduates/Studens

SMI, Inc., Sports Marketing International, SMI and Associates, SMI is a scam! There are SMI, Inc. ads up all over the internet. CareerBuilder,, Companies like SMI, Inc. are constantly changing their name to avoid being found out and to avoid prosecution... their former name was Boomerang Marketing. SMI, Inc. currently goes by subtle variations of Sports Marketing International... (SMI and Associates, SMI, SMI, Inc... you get the point)

I (along with many others) have offered information on this filthy company, SMI, Inc. under it's former names on this site and on [redacted].com. To avoid repeating myself, refer to the pages and comments regarding SMI and Associates or Sports Marketing International.

SMI, Inc. is the same company... They may have a new manager, now (Kelley), but it is the same corrupt, conniving company with the same address and contact information and same abusive, dishonest tactics.

I beg you, if you are currently interviewing with, working for, or considering sending your resume to SMI, Inc... get out now! Please, do not waste your time and money at SMI, Inc; nor, support any of the SmartCircle companies by buying any of their coupon books, etc.


  • Da
    damnliars Aug 04, 2011

    After I was called to set up an interview I decided to try and do some research on the company called Hardknocks Marketing, Inc. I was unable to find any info by doing standard searches, not a good sign I thought. Then I found site after site loaded with warnings and complaints and I realized that I would not be going to my interview at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow. The scam is now apparently operating out of Downers Grove under the name Hardknocks Marketing, Inc. I am disappointed because I was excited about getting an interview and now it seems as if its not worth my time or gas money

    0 Votes
  • So
    soundslikescam Jul 27, 2011

    Now they are "Hardknocks Marketing Group". The name really gave it away for me...

    "Hardknocks Marketing Group, Inc.
    3130 Finley Rd Suite 510A
    Downers Grove, IL 60515
    Office: [protected]

    Thank you for your interest in Hardknocks Marketing Group, Inc! Your resume has been processed and we are interested in speaking with you further about your background and career goals. Hardknocks Marketing develops and executes innovative marketing campaigns for clients throughout the Orlando, Seattle, North Jersey and Chicago areas. We lead the market in communications and promotional advertising, dealing with high profile retail clients. Our list of clients has tripled; our struggle is not how to grow; it's how to keep up with our ongoing growth!

    The next step in the interview process will be to contact us at [protected] to set up a one on one meeting with our interviewing manager. Thanks again for your interest and we look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Lena Kolsch
    Human Resources
    Hardknocks Marketing Group, Inc."

    0 Votes
  • Ju
    justlookin4truth May 11, 2011

    They are now operating under View Marketing Inc. Thank you for applying for a job with View Marketing.  We  would like to inform you that management would like to meet with you for a interview! They reviewed your resume and feel you are qualified for some of our open positions. They also compared your resume to others received and feel that you have the right skill set and experience they are looking for in an employee.

    This is our busy season and unfortunately interview times are limited. Please contact myself at the Regional HR Department to secure a time for an interview at [protected].  If I do not answer, I may have just stepped away from my desk momentarily so just leave me a voice mail with your name and number and I will get right back to you!

    Amanda Valenzuela
    Human Resources Manager


    0 Votes
  • Rd
    rdranki1 Mar 04, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Thanks for posting this. I think ill call tomorrow not to go into my training and warn all employees about this job. Clearly this company is full of [censor] who got no life bit to make others believe tjat they have a future ripping hard working americans into doing this [censor]. I will never buy any packages from this com panies ever again and not recommend it to anyone. If i could i would put all u [censor] out of business

    0 Votes
  • Rd
    rdranki1 Mar 04, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I think in general you guys are a bunch of idiots. I will warn everyone about this company.

    0 Votes
  • Be
    Beware of this scam Jun 09, 2010

    Thanks to all for posting on here.. I could of really wasted my time!

    0 Votes
  • Be
    Beware of this scam Jun 09, 2010

    Here is the latest info on the business name they are now working under. BBB Record ties them to the same names listed above and gives a list of other business names they are known as. They are now Operating out of Downers Grove IL. They are all over Career Builder Do Not Respond it is not a legit employment option.

    Back to top
    BBB Accreditation

    This business is not a BBB Accredited Business.

    Back to top
    BBB Rating for Source

    Based on BBB files, Source has a BBB Rating of B+ on a scale from A+ to F.

    Reasons for this rating include:
    Length of time business has been operating.
    Click here for an explanation of BBB Ratings

    Back to top
    Business Contact and Profile for Source

    Name: Source
    Phone: [protected]
    Fax: [protected]
    Address: 3130 Finley Rd #510-A
    Downers Grove, IL 60515
    Original Business Start Date: February 2009
    Principal: Mr. Doug Ascher, Founder
    Customer Contact: Mr. Doug Ascher, Founder - [protected] or [email protected]
    Email Address: [email protected]
    Incorporated: February 2009, IL
    Type of Business: Marketing Programs & Services, Advertising/Marketing Agencies, Non-wearable Promotional Products, Sales Promotion Service
    BBB Accreditation: Source is not a BBB Accredited business.
    Additional DBA Names: SMI
    Evolution Inc.
    The Source
    National Promotions and Events
    Evolution Advertising
    Sports Marketing, Inc.
    Source Marketing
    Spartan Marketing
    Evolution Marketing
    Fast Track Marketing
    Source Marketing Inc.

    Back to top
    Business Management

    Additional company management personnel include:

    Micheal Kriss

    Related Businesses

    0 Votes
  • Ra
    R A B Jul 27, 2009

    Was emailed back by SMI, in which they misspelled my first name (first red flag). They told me to call to set up an interview. When i called, their number was "being checked for trouble" all day and on into the next work week. Red flag number two. Three, this place has changed its name so many times that it is a bit more than suspicious. Three strikes, you're out. Where there is smoke, there is fire. Ummm, I can't think of any more cliche terms but this place sounds like it is b.s.

    0 Votes
  • Ca
    CasualMBA Jun 30, 2009

    I was suppose to go in this afternoon for an interview. After reading all of this back and forth banter I have decided to save the gas money. I am lucky to be one of those casual job seekers so I am not just going to "take the bait" on any email sent to me. It sounds like SMI needs to do some damage control, eve if the allegations are false it is a big red flag when you type in SMI or Doug Ascher into google and the first thing that pops up is MLM, SCAM, AVOID, and COMPLAINT. So either all of these allegations have merit or one of SMI's competitors is doing a tremendous job with their guerrilla marketing efforts.

    0 Votes
  • Sa
    Sad&jobless Mar 30, 2009

    This is really scary =( I just received an email from Sport Marketing Inc, and they want me to call to schedule an interview =( After reading this, I feel really betrayed ALMOST. Why would people do such bad things to people who just want to work for a living.


    0 Votes
  • Fo
    Former Employee Mar 17, 2009

    2nd attempt I sent you a message so please read it. If we know each other than thats great, maybe we can catch up on things.

    I have done legal research on these companies with the help of an attorney I know. Basically these companies violate quite a few ordinances, and are on the fringe of being legal. The only reason lawsuits haven't been flying around is because of their incorporation and little ties with Smart Circle. Since the individual affiliate companies have NO clients (they are Smart Circle's clients) and only sell their coupon books, if a rep is misleading it usually goes to smart circle and not the affiliate company. Also with the lack of a paper trail the customer gets after a sale, its virtually impossible to file a complaint against the said company.

    In closing, if you are back working with Doug than good luck man, and if I know you then let me know how its been there. But you need to look at things face value. There is so much better out there especially if you have the dream of owning a company.

    0 Votes
  • Le
    LeeS269 Mar 12, 2009

    2801 S. Fairfield Ave, Suite A
    Lombard, Illinois 60148


    Thank you for applying for a job with FAST TRACK. Management has reviewed your resume and compared your qualifications and skill set against our hiring criteria as well as against other resumes submitted. After careful evaluation we are eager to meet with you in person to discuss your potential employment with our organization.

    Congratulations on being selected for an interview. We are currently in our busy season and our interview availability is limited. Please contact me as soon as possible to schedule this appointment.

    Thank you,

    Ashley White
    Human Resource Director

    0 Votes
  • 2n
    2nd attempt Mar 10, 2009

    If you were a top sales rep, what is your name? I know Greg. He's an idiot. I know Doug. He's one of the best guys you'll ever meet. When were you around? I probably know you.

    I quit the company due to Greg Mertes even though I was the top guy. I knew Doug from different functions but never personally. I had called him a couple times and he seemed like a good guy. When he came in and cleaned house and fired Greg and revamped the office, I came in to get my last check and he sat me down and apologized over and over for Greg.

    To make a long short story, he gave me extra stroke (a raise), told me how he was going to run things, and needless to say, I came back to work for Doug and am now getting ready to go open an office again. Some of what's posted on here is definately true of the way Greg ran the show. But a lot of what's written on here, is pure blashpemy by people that failed at something and now want to turn the blame on others. Again the truth lies in the middle and that's all i have to say.

    Whomever "Former Employee" is, I'd love it if you posted who you were, we might know each other.

    0 Votes
  • Co
    complaintcraigs Mar 05, 2009

    I believe that SMI is now using the name Fast Track as well.


    2801 S. Fairfield Ave, Suite A

    Lombard, Illinois 60148


    0 Votes
  • Fo
    Former Employee Feb 26, 2009

    The Truth shall set you free,

    Let me start by saying that some of what you are saying is truth and some is complete nonsense that you have no idea what you are talking about. You seem to be taken back by the thousands of posts from people who were hurt or misled by Smart Circle and their affiliates. You have posted this exact same post on rip-off and other consumer advocate boards.

    - First off Greg Mertes was a down right unethical ### of a man! I know that sounds harsh but its the truth, he literally hurt hundreds of people and misled many customers as well with his dirty tactics. I worked with him for a few months and saw first hand what he preached, so I can understand the anger that people post on here against him.

    - But why did Doug Ascher promote Greg? Doesn't that look like poor judgement on his part? Either way Doug may be a great guy and trying to put his business on track but one good person doesnt save a business from all the bad apples who are your affiliates.

    - Sports marketing is a member of the BBB and has been for a whole 23 days. Ive checked out all your other affiliates on there and hardly any others are members, so again one good person doesnt save from all the bad ones.

    - Have you looked at Smart Circle on BBB? They have a current rating on C-. Check out their complaint section where youll find plenty on material about unethical and misleading sales reps, so obviously your crappy training methods have spread across the country.

    - No, you have NO clients! Smart Circle has the clients and does most of the research for you. And why does Smart Circle pay for your Incorporation fees? It's so they have no legal ties with you and take no responsibility with what you do at your business.

    - You're absolutely right you do 100% sales. And its great that you let people go on a Day of Observation to see what you truly do. Its a smart business tactic considering you're in door to door sales.

    - Now Ive heard you and others within your company throw around the case of Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York, Inc. v. Village of Stratton. I don't know if Doug tells you to say this or what but obviously none of you have gone to law school. The case specifically interprets law changes for Stratton, Ohio (not the whole country as you presume). And here is a transcript from the case

    * Held: The ordinance’s provisions making it a misdemeanor to engage in door-to-door advocacy without first registering with the mayor and receiving a permit violate the First Amendment as it applies to religious proselytizing, anonymous political speech, and the distribution of handbills. Pp. 9—18.

    The case had NOTHING to do with door to door sales, but with religous and political material ONLY!

    Most cities and townships still have a Green River Ordinance in effect. It requires that YOU as an individual get a solicitors permit from the bureau or Police department if you are selling outside business premises. Im assuming you never called any bureaus to confirm that because I can name off at least a dozen suburbs in the chicago area that require it. and finally, a business seller's permit and a solicitors permit are not one in the same! You can't have one and not the other if you do outside door to door sales!

    - If you are an independant contractor then you also need an individual business license to sell (since you are considered running your own business) otherwise you'd have to be under employment with SMI. Unfortunately I know all your outside sales reps are on 1099, and therefore explicitly violate state laws.

    - 10 hour days!! Are you kidding me? I was an account manager and was putting in at least 12 a day for 6 days a week. Do the math for me...72 hours a week. I also made the top ten sales rep list a couple times and earned a little over $1000 in a week. Again do the math...less than $14 an hour. And most reps are making less than that if thats considered top ten in the country! You guys are working for peanuts and with no benefits.

    - Lastly, I want to say that I encourage entreprenuership. I am a business owner of my own and am excited with the new challenges and goals I face every day. However I downright despise companies run by people who break the law and are unethical and misleading. If you ever break the top echelon of distributors and make it a business of your own I wish you luck. Right now these companies operate at a staggering 1500% turnover ratio!! If you know how to calculate turnover costs you'd be getting out fast! Its simply because people don't want to do door to door sales in the rain or cold, getting paid next to nothing for it and recieve no benefits just for some pie in the sky dream!

    0 Votes
  • Th
    The Truth Shall Set You Free Feb 22, 2009
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Speaking out against the SLANDER of SMI and Associates
    Unfortunately, in today's world, a person can post anything they feel, and despite it's inaccuracies, it can be taken as gospel truth by those less informed. It is now necessary to refute the blatant slander that has been posted here.

    To whomever is writing the unfactual slander against SMI and Associates,

    It is obvious you are upset at somebody. You have cut and pasted this exact post anywhere that will supply you a sounding board. If you were wronged by someone, we can understand your anger. But instead of spill venom on an internet site, why not come down to the office and explain the problems that you ran into. We have never had one issue...ever, with a former associate. In fact most former associates still come by and say 'hi' from time to time. We really do value what you have to say and what you experienced. we just feel though, that you've got some of your 'facts' wrong, and we just want to clarify those for you:

    1. Greg Mertes ran a business in the same building. It was a different company; not Sports Marketing Int'l. His company and Sports Marketing Int'l were supplied by the same printing company. Greg was developed and promoted through Doug's training program, but after Greg continued to say and do shady things, he was terminated and his business was shut down. If Greg told you or anyone 'not to pay taxes' then he was wrong. His dishonesty is probably why he no longer is associated in any way with the current office here.

    Please call the Better Business Bureau if you would like. Sports Marketing International IS a member and an accredited business. We are very proud of being asked to join and we will continue to honor their values and mission. There are NO investigations and NO legal actions against Sports Marketing Int'l, nor have there ever been. We are extremely excited to say that in today's day and age of 'corporate greed'.

    2. Sports Marketing Int'l is NOT a MLM. Please refer to any respected business website to further understand the differences between MLM and the basic 'laws of expansion'. A great source would be award-winning author Robert Kiyosaki, who has written numerous times on such topics.

    3. You wrote, 'They will tell you they have 'big wig' clients like the White Sox. This is NOT a marketing agency. It is door-to-door dishonest soliciting.' and
    'Please do not fall for their schemes! Sports Marketing International doesn't do a stitch of marketing consulting work for any sports teams (or any other place for that matter)'

    To clarify, we have represented over 21 professional sports teams, 2 arena league teams, 3 minor league baseball teams, 78 golf courses and numerous other clients in various industries. We are currently doing a joint venture with the world's largest retail chain. You, or anyone for that matter, are more than willing to come in and see the promotions we created and sold for the above mentioned places. I can't imagine these places would be willing to work with us if we weren't a 'legitimate' business.

    4. We absolutely, 100%, do SALES. It's never hidden. Our human resources admin tells everyone when they call in, that there are 'outside sales' involved with all openings. You do realize that in today's economic times, that sales is probably the safest industry because it is directly related to the bottom line. Also, the interview process involves the interviewee literally spending a full day with a sales rep. You get to see EVERYTHING about the company before coming aboard. How many companies run their business this transparent? As far as independent contractor/employee roles go, we have both. There are many industries that do this; insurance, real estate, graphic design, amongst others. When someone begins at Sports Marketing Int'l, whether it's as a W-2 employee or a 1099 contractor, they are given the proper paperwork and told of all the tax breaks/requirements and incentives associated with each.

    If you were wronged by Greg or felt he lied to you, that's an issue with Greg, as he is not this company, nor does he represent the way this company handles itslef.

    5. 10 hour days are NOT common? Maybe in Europe they aren't, but here in the U.S., the average American worker puts in over 44 hours a week, and this doesn't include commute or work that needs to be taken and completed outside of the office. Ask anyone that has become a CEO or top end manager at a firm, and they'll tell you that more hours you work has a direct correlation to the money that you make and the advancement you achieve. The median income for the people above the age 25 was $32, 140 in 2005 and that's BEFORE taxes. If you want to put in average hours (over 52 hours/week when 'take home' work is included), you can expect average pay ($32, 140) and quite frankly, most people don't want to be average.

    6. Sales and marketing go hand in hand. When we create our 'incentive-based' marketing packages, we do ALL the demographic research behind the pricing, packaging, and territory planning involved. We also do ALL the sales. After a sale is completed, we capture the consumers' data, and that as well, is tabulated and given to the client once we are done selling. So, the clients we represent, can further evaluate their consumers information. Event sales, B2B sales, and retail sales have been around forever and in NO way is it dishonest. If you are referring to permits needed, all Tax ID #'s, seller's permits and forms are on file. Also, just so you know, there is no permit needed for individuals to go business to business. Here's the US Supreme Court's findings:

    'The U.S. Supreme Court on June 17, by a vote of 8-1, invalidated a Stratton, Ohio ordinance that required canvassers to register and obtain a permit from the mayor's office before going door-to-door promoting any cause (Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York, Inc. v. Village of Stratton). The Court held that the ordinance violated the First Amendment.'

    7. Laslty, the US economy is in shambles, and it is that way because of all the major corporations that our parents probably dreamed we'd work for some day. 'Go to school. Get a good job with a big company. Work your way up and then retire wealthy and happy on their pension' That's all we were told growing up, right? Look, we know that not everyone is cut out for sales and marketing, not everyone wants to work more than 40 hours a week, and this isn't the place for everyone that wants to get into marketing. But, we are very proud that our company has opened up numerous people into business for themselves, represented major league sports teams across the country, and continued to provide a career path for those that have higher aspirations despite the economy around us. You are correct when you say not everyone makes it to the top when they start here, but that's anywhere you work. If you would like to tell us your concerns please call us and schedule a meeting with Doug, he'd gladly make time to listen to your concerns.

    Again, our business has experienced immense changes over the past 6 months (changes that we think are for the better) and we encourage you to come see those changes and tell us your thoughts, as opposed to slandering the company and Doug's name through unfiltered and unregulated medians like 'internet blogs and message boards.' Our industry might not be for you, but that doesn't mean it's not for everyone. In fact, some would argue, that our philosophies and marketing and sales strategies, are the future of the industry. Then again, don't take my word for it. Take the word of the over 400 companies that we've worked with over the past few years from San Diego to New Jersey and everywhere in between.

    0 Votes
  • Sc
    Scam Revealer Feb 18, 2009

    SMI in Lombard, Illinois is sending out false press releases under the name of Jessica Graham.

    How do I know that they're false? The numerous misspellings and grammatical errors, besides that the article is poorly organized and lacks any kind of clear message are a dead giveaway. Also check out for more details of how to spot a false press release. This company periodically sends out false press releases to combat the image problem they have. Do a Google search on the SMI and Associates, SMI, or Sports Marketing International and more negative sites will show up than positive. SMI sends out these press releases as another ploy to mislead potential job seekers Googling the company to get a little extra info.

    0 Votes

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