Finalta was a company, apparently based on Lantana, Florida.
The company - headed by some guy called Tapio Lönnqvist - advertised its services in sfnet hierarchy of Usenet back in 1997 and later, and stayed in the 'net up until 1998 or so, then they mysteriously vanished (or perharps they just changed the name). They sold "business ideas" and starter kits for instant moneymaking schemes (yeah, right):
If you stop to think for a second, I guess you can see what sort of business model these things are based on.
So, the company advertised their goods for some while, then a netizen called Jukka Pöyry stepped forth, and politely told people that "hey, this Finalta corporation is trying to screw you over, don't be an idiot, even kids know this sort of things just don't work".
He made a web page about Finalta (and other scammers), journaling his E-mail exchange with the Finalta people.
Some things that turned out:
- Finalta "Asiakaspalvelu osasto" (sic), "Customersupport Department", couldn't spell worth a damn in Finnish.
- No, they didn't know anyone called Tapio Lönnqvist, the support was run by someone called "Victoria Neimann".
Finalta threatened to sue Pöyry, and they filed a report of offence. The local police department received a fax (sent WAY after Floridan business hours, raising suspicion that Finalta key people would actually be in Finland), and the polices asked Pöyry a couple of things. Of course, since Pöyry had done nothing wrong, no further legal action took place, even when Finalta wanted to see $$$some money$$$ from him. (The legal system of Finland still seems to have both the sense of humor and sense of justice. =)
The feedback from other netizens was entirely in support of Pöyry, of course - and people who had fallen into Finalta's scams told about their experiences.
Finally someone under pseudonym "Anastasia Fraudman", who happened to live where Finalta said they lived, sent facts about Finalta and digital photographs of Finalta headquarters (lone-looking mail box in post office)... and also some more humor about Finalta.
So, Finalta got laughed off the Usenet - and their web businesses didn't seem to fare any better.
(In the last phase, they seemed to try to sell their stuff throught ad pages, and even made fake porn sites...)
Hiroshima '45 :(
Tshernobyl '86 :(
Windows '95 :|
FINALTA '97 :)
- T-shirt design competition winner =)
Source: Jukka Pöyry's web page (http://www.saunalahti.fi/~jpoyry/huijarit/)