ULTAWARE, I've had some unpleasant experiences with the company, actually. I borrowed the tuition money (as they heavily encourage) to attend their December 2004 "Free Enterprise Forum" in Los Angeles -- $3,750 at their "discounted" price, along with airfare, hotel accomodations, and food (all additional expenses they don't cover for that tuition price).
The Forum was a great big group hug experience, with moderate amounts of decent educational content, but minimal real value. All the "networking contacts" I made there fell out of touch very quickly after the forum ended. I've been told by a few people that the only real way to stay in contact with some of the people one meets at these things is to keep going back (once you've paid tuition once, you can return for the last weekend portion of any Forum for free), but that gets pricey and also goes against the promises made by the group. There [i:443e23ca20]is[/i:443e23ca20] a decidedly cultish feel to the whole thing, though.
When I returned from the December 2004 forum, I held in my hand a check from another IBI member (that would ultimately bounce) for a project he wanted me to work on, only to cancel the project once he realized I wouldn't do the work for free. Another client that had expressed interest in my services engaged me and my team for about ten hours of work, and received a comp showing the graphic design work we'd prepared for him, then decided he didn't have any money to pay us to actually complete the work.
I wrote about my experience with IBI Global, and published that article online (at [willfe.com
]). That article was published in November of 2005.
The company has since threatened to sue me for posting my complaints about them. During the past month, they've offered me decreasingly attractive "settlement agreements" to avoid a lawsuit; the most eggregious one to date demanded I post a humiliating public retraction (that they'd written for me) essentially stating I overreacted to the bad business deal with that other member, and was quick to blame IBI Global for the mess because I was upset that a romantic fling didn't come about from my attendance of the December 2004 forum (no, I'm [i:443e23ca20]not[/i:443e23ca20] making that up).
Details regarding the litigation can be found at [willfe.com
]. It's a long document, because they've pulled a lot of stunts in the last two months. They haven't stayed quiet about the situation; while asking me to keep things confidential, they've gone out and made public postings about me on at least one forum (linked and documented from the above URL), and I suspect are prepared to do so further. They don't have a case (the lawyer I reviewed their complaint with says I have a valid First Amendment defense against their claims) but they may be hoping I'll back down since a lawsuit could get expensive.
I'm going to be appearing on Tom Martino's Troubleshooter radio broadcast tomorrow morning (Monday, April 10, 2006) around 10:00am mountain time to talk to him about these people and solicit a bit of help in dealing with them; it's a nationally syndicated radio show and can be listened to online at [2005.khow.com
Feel free to contact me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you have questions or want more information about my experiences with IBI Global, and stop by the web site I linked to above for [i:443e23ca20]lots[/i:443e23ca20] of detail about the whole mess. I do also describe there what the Free Enterprise Forum itself is actually like, and I link to other articles that describe others' experiences with the group as well. I'm not the only critic they have, I'm just apparently the only really vocal one. I hope to encourage others to come forward with this.
Thanks, and good luck if you're dealing with them too!