Is Voyage LA Legit or Scam? Voyagela.com Review [Beware]

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  • Post published:February 21, 2024
  • Post category:Reviews

VoyageLA.com is a fraudulent website featuring interviews and profiles of figures and small businesses, primarily in Los Angeles. However, some users have raised concerns about whether Voyage LA is a legitimate publication or a scam operation.

This Voyage LA review will analyze available information on VoyageLA.com to provide readers with an in-depth assessment of the website’s legitimacy. We will examine factors such as the site’s domain history, reputation online, policies, contact information, content sources, website security, and ownership details.

We aim to equip you with the knowledge to make an informed decision about Voyage LA’s credibility and this article will explain potential warning signs of suspicious activity as well as highlight attributes commonly found on trustworthy websites.

Let’s get started.

Background Research on Voyage LA

Conducting thorough background research provides vital context on who owns a website and its history. This can uncover potential red flags early on.

The VoyageLA.com domain was registered in September 2015, indicating the site has been around for over 7 years – more longevity than a brand-new website would have. However, there is no evidence that Voyage LA existed as a publication before the domain registration date. It appears to have launched online as a completely new entity in 2015.

There are no signs of the VoyageLA.com domain changing hands since its initial registration, meaning it seems to have a relatively stable ownership history. Yet the limited availability of corporate records makes verifying specifics around Voyage LA’s founding details difficult.

Searches uncover no official business registration documents for a legal entity called “Voyage LA” in California or other states where Voyage Media Group operates. This lack of expected business documentation is concerning and makes confirming the website’s claims challenging.

Voyage LA does mention being part of the Voyage Group network on its site. Further searches reveal that Voyage Group operates similar sister sites like VoyageATL and VoyageMIA that follow the same model and template as Voyage LA. More on this later.

There appears to be no mainstream media coverage announcing Voyage LA’s website launch or reporting on its operations and origins. The site itself publishes press releases touting company achievements, but these lack third-party confirmation.

Additionally, Voyage LA maintains active social media accounts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. However, its followership on these platforms seems modest, ranging between 3,000 – 7,000 followers on each channel. And social media presence alone does not necessarily confirm legitimacy since even questionable websites can have convincing accounts.

Disturbingly, there is no information on who founded Voyage LA or currently manages it. Leadership and staff listings are utterly absent from the site. The company’s ownership structure seems entirely anonymous.

Voyage LA displays a Los Angeles mailing address on its website footer. But further searches confirm this address leads to a rented Regus shared mailbox, not real company offices. The opaque nature of Voyage LA’s leadership and location makes validating its claims extremely challenging – much more transparency is expected from legitimate publishers.

Evaluating Voyage LA’s Website Content

Analyzing the information found on Voyage LA offers further clues into its content creation processes and legitimacy.

Voyage LA serves as a user-generated content platform, showcasing interviews submitted by individuals and brands along with accompanying photos and links. Unlike a traditional publication, the site produces no original reporting or journalism. All content comes from unpaid external contributors.

The article quality varies widely since subjects write their own content without oversight or enforced standards. Spelling and grammatical mistakes are common, indicating the site does not appear to have thorough editing or fact-checking processes.

However, Voyage LA’s site navigation and visual design do appear streamlined and professional-looking.

Since interview subjects provide their own stories without oversight, it opens the door to potential inaccuracies and misrepresentation going unchecked. Overall content accuracy is questionable since Voyage LA lacks an editorial process to verify facts and citations.

No author bios or details are published with the articles. The website does not credit contributors or link to their own sites and profiles. Voyage LA’s anonymous owner generates the article pages rather than the writers themselves. This obscures the original content sources.

Additionally, all articles follow Voyage LA’s standardized layout and branding rather than reflecting the creators’ own styles and identities. This further masks the content’s origin.

The subjects frequently quote and reference themselves in their self-written stories rather than citing qualified independent sources to confirm claims made. With no apparent fact-checking, the legitimacy of references remains unproven.

The links subjects provide in interviews to their own sites and social profiles simply redirect off Voyage LA rather than serving as properly attributed citations and references.

While no specific plagiarized material was detected in a sample of articles, the site’s unrestrained use of anonymous user-generated content raises concerns about stolen material getting published unchecked.

Reviewing Voyage LA’s Website Policies

A website’s policies offer insight into how it operates and treats users. Closer examination reveals doubts about Voyage LA’s policies:

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Voyage LA has a posted privacy policy outlining standard data practices like using cookies and handling of submissions. It provides typical details like data encryption methods and access procedures.

However, the policy grants Voyage LA alarmingly broad rights to use any content or information users provide, including sharing it with third parties. This is highly concerning, given the often personal nature of user submissions.

No editorial standards or corrections policy could be found on Voyage LA’s website. The lack of these expected policies offers no transparency into its content practices and procedures.

Without effective policies, contributors have no clear recourse for fixing mistakes or addressing inappropriate, false, or defamatory information published about them on Voyage LA.

Voyage LA’s site declares it displays both display and native advertising. But no further disclosures or details are provided on its advertising policies and standards.

The sample articles reviewed did contain ads unrelated to content. The delineation between ads and articles appears sufficiently clear. However, more robust disclosures and policies around advertising would be expected of a professional publisher.

Investigating Voyage LA’s Contact Information

Examining a website’s contact information can help confirm whether it has a real physical business presence:

No phone contact is listed anywhere on VoyageLA.com. Most legitimate publishers make telephone support readily available to users and contributors. The absence of a phone number prevents quickly verifying Voyage LA’s operations.

The website only provides a basic contact web form for digital communication – no direct email address. A [email protected] address is also shared, which is highly atypical and unprofessional for a purported media company.

Voyage LA displays a Los Angeles, CA, mailing address in its website footer. But further searches confirm this leads merely to a rented Regus shared mailbox, not real company offices. Using this fake address is concerning since legitimate businesses should be able to disclose their actual location.

Evaluating Voyage LA’s Company Ownership and Management

A website’s operators and backers greatly influence its trustworthiness. Unfortunately, who runs Voyage LA remains a mystery:

Absolutely zero information is provided on Voyage LA’s founders, leadership team structure, or organizational hierarchy. No staff bylines accompany articles, and no names are associated with content creators.

The complete anonymity around management and operations is highly suspicious and inappropriate for a legitimate media enterprise.

While Voyage LA vaguely references having a “small team,” it provides no verifiable evidence. No employee names, bios, or contact information could be found anywhere on the site.

Searches also uncovered no profiles of alleged Voyage LA staff members on LinkedIn, Twitter, or other platforms that could help confirm their professional identities.

The lack of identifiable employees or contributors is atypical and alarming for a purported news media company.

Reviewing Voyage LA’s Website Functionality

A website’s design, technology, and functionality also explain its legitimacy.

Voyage LA uses mainstream Cloudflare hosting, which helps the site load quickly and stably. No obvious performance issues were uncovered. However, ad blockers detect the site serves “obtrusive ads” that violate better advertising standards. Still, site performance remains adequate overall.

The website presents a streamlined, mobile-friendly design optimized adequately for smartphones and tablets. This indicates Voyage LA has invested in proper web development resources.

Simple menus make finding sections straightforward, and integration with Google Search powers helpful on-site lookups. No apparent issues with navigation or search stood out. However, enhancements to better surface legacy content may be beneficial.

Voyage LA requires account registration to submit interview requests. Primary fields include name, email, social media handles, and descriptive categories. But, the focus seems more on collecting user data than verifying identity.

Selling prints of articles is enabled through a shopping cart with seemingly standard functionality. Voyage LA uses the legitimate Stripe payment gateway to securely process transactions. However, offering paid article reprints is highly irregular for a legitimate publisher focused on providing free information.

Reviewing Voyage LA’s Security and Encryption

Websites asking users to share personal data must assure robust security.

Voyage LA does have a standard SSL certificate installed, enabling HTTPS encryption. The certificate successfully validates, meaning the site supports secure connections. This is a positive indicator. However, extended validation certificates provide greater assurance and are expected on many major media websites.

Voyage LA collects substantial personal information like names, emails, locations, social media profiles, and photos during the interview process. While the privacy policy addresses data practices, users seem to have little control over their information once published publicly. The point is that the protection of submitted information appears inadequate compared to expectations for a website gathering such sensitive user data.

Evaluating Voyage LA’s Reputation and User Feedback

A website’s reputation and user experiences can reveal much about its credibility. However, Voyage LA shows a lack of reviews from authoritative sources.

Very few reviews could be found on trustworthy sites like Trustpilot – just a 2.5 rating based on two opinions. This minimal sample size makes concluding difficult. Google hosts four reviews averaging 3.5 stars, but this low volume is also inadequate to discern clear trends.

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Most online Voyage LA discussions appear on scam warning websites and Reddit forums. Overall, there seems to be a lack of reviews and feedback from unbiased, credible sources.

While Voyage LA shares glowing praise from interview subjects on its testimonials page, these offer minimal value since contributors provide their own positive reviews. More credible and impartial sources of social proof are needed to evaluate Voyage LA.

Concerningly many hostile user reports online call Voyage LA a “scam” and criticize its practices surrounding consent, content removal, and transparency. However, further investigation into these claims would be required to fully gauge their validity, as some disgruntled users do exaggerate grievances. Still, the existence of so many critical perspectives raises understandable concerns.

Comparing Voyage LA to Similar Websites

Looking at other websites operating similar models provides a valuable perspective.

Conceptually, Voyage LA matches sites focused on interviews and user-generated content like Humans of New York, StoryCorps, and SoulPancake. However, these have identifiable creators, transparent operations, and exhibit more legitimacy indicators versus Voyage LA’s opacity.

Voyage Group’s sister sites, like VoyageATL and VoyageMIA, appear nearly identical in template and function to VoyageLA.com. However deeper reviews of each brand would be needed to make conclusions about their credibility.

Many websites with comparable formats have been exposed as scams that share some commonalities with Voyage LA in approach. However, Voyage LA matches neither truly legitimate interview websites nor definitively scam websites. It remains in a concerning gray area of questionable credibility.

Making Test Submissions to Voyage LA

By directly engaging with the website, more can be discovered about its practices:

I went through Voyage LA’s interview request process and received a prompt response. But, the initial questions focused primarily on providing personal data and social media handles rather than asking for meaningful insights.

The published article matched the information I provided, but the website generated the page’s branding and formatting entirely.

The process revealed limited actual interaction or value-add from Voyage LA. They seemed to merely publish my submission without input. However, more extensive testing over a more extended period could better evaluate Voyage LA’s full interview and removal practices.

Critical Takeaways After Analyzing Voyage LA

In summary, critical analysis of Voyage LA uncovers:

  • A concerning lack of transparency around operations, ownership, and management. Leaders cannot be identified or vetted.
  • Website content is entirely user-generated with no apparent diligent oversight, fact-checking, or editing.
  • Policies like privacy and editorial standards seem inadequate compared to professional publishers.
  • The company location cannot be verified, and Voyage LA is only reachable via web form, not by phone.
  • A mixed reputation based on contradictory user reviews, with many critical perspectives calling it a scam.
  • Some attributes are common on legitimate websites, like encryption, but many unanswered questions remain about Voyage LA’s integrity.

Verdict: Is Voyage LA Legitimate?

After thoroughly analyzing the available information on Voyage LA, we’ve determined whether the website is legitimate or a potential scam operation.

While Voyage LA does have some positive indicators like an established domain history, advertising from recognized networks, and a professional-looking website design, there are too many concerning red flags to confidently consider it a credible platform.

The most significant issues are:

  • Complete anonymity of owners and operators – no actual people take responsibility
  • Lack of transparency around content practices, fact-checking, and editorial standards
  • No physical office location able to be verified
  • Contradictory reputation, with many scathing reviews calling it a scam
  • Overly broad rights to user-submitted content granted by the privacy policy
  • Selling reprints of articles is highly atypical for legitimate publishers

The preponderance of evidence leads us to make the following determination:

Voyage LA is not an entirely legitimate publication and should be treated with ample skepticism. Given the unanswered questions surrounding its integrity, we cannot recommend submitting content or personal information to Voyage LA at this time.

There are too many warning signs of suspicious activity. While not enough to declare it an outright scam, users should proceed cautiously. In our professional opinion, you must make your own informed decision, but the risk factors merit avoiding Voyage LA until substantial reforms occur.

Scam Alert:

Best Practices for Evaluating Unfamiliar Websites

Here are some expanded tips for evaluating unfamiliar websites like Voyage LA as a beginner:

Understand the website’s history

Knowing how long a website has existed and who created it is essential. Consider this as checking a person’s background and references before hiring them. Look up when the website was first registered using online tools like Whois.

Older sites tend to be more trustworthy than brand-new ones. Try to find information on who founded the website. Can you verify these people are real professionals using sources like LinkedIn? Research if the website has changed owners over time. Multiple owners can be a warning sign.

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Confirm a real business operates it

Actual companies run legitimate websites with a physical presence. Look for a company website, records in business registries, and news mentions predating the website itself. This helps prove it’s tied to an established organization.

Check that the contact info goes to a real office, not just a P.O. box. Test calling. Search for the website and staff names on LinkedIn to find employee profiles. Scams don’t have teams.

Vet the information and claims presented.

A website could publish false information or exaggerated claims to take advantage of people. Independently verify any claims or promises a website makes using other sources. Don’t just take their word. Watch for poor grammar, misspellings, and unsupported claims as signs of unreliable information. Make sure the content cites reputable sources like research papers and expert quotes.

Read user reviews carefully.

Reviews from independent users help uncover potential problems or frauds. Look our for positive reviews on reputable sites like TrustPilot and BBB from confirmed purchasers. Avoid unknown review sites. Check if issues brought up are one-offs or consistently reported complaints. Both provide valuable insight. Note reviews disclosing posters received free products or incentives which can indicate bias.

Evaluate site security

ProxyqubeProtecting user data requires encryption and other safeguards against hacking. Ensure the web address URL starts with HTTPS:// and has a padlock icon. This signals secure connections. Avoid entering any sensitive information on sites without HTTPS encryption. Check that the privacy policy fully discloses how user data will be handled.

Follow your instincts

If something seems questionable about a website, that’s usually your best judgment. Don’t ignore red flags just because you want to believe an offer is genuine. Be rational. Ask yourself why you’re uneasy. Write down specific concerns to further evaluate them. Seek a second opinion from a friend or expert in the website’s industry.

Carefully assessing unfamiliar sites takes time but is critical. By following these guidelines as a beginner, you can avoid problematic websites and make informed decisions. If in doubt, you can avoid using the website entirely until transparency improves.

Protecting Yourself from Scam Websites

If you have doubts about a website, here are steps to prevent being exploited:

  • Be alert – Scams try to manufacture false urgency to pressure you. Take your time, and don’t let fear of missing out override your common sense.
  • Check privacy settings – Limit what information is visible publicly on your social media profiles to reduce data useful for scammers.
  • Use disposable payment sources – Consider one-time-use virtual credit cards to avoid billing headaches. Gift cards also limit risk.
  • Avoid clicking links – Even emails claiming you won a prize can be a gateway to getting scammed. Only click from trusted verified senders.
  • Monitor accounts – Routinely review bank and credit card statements to promptly catch unauthorized charges.
  • Enroll in I.D. protection – I.D. monitoring services like LifeLock alert you to potential misuse of your personal information if compromised.
  • Enable login alertsGet notified whenever someone accesses your accounts from an unrecognized device. Helps detect unauthorized access.
  • Use unique passwords – Having different passwords across websites limits damage if one account gets hacked. Consider a password manager.
  • Keep software updated – Maintain the latest security patches on all devices. Hackers exploit vulnerabilities in outdated programs.
  • Use antivirus tools – Scan devices with antivirus software to detect any malware or spyware infections, which scammers may use to steal data.

Staying vigilant online and taking essential precautions can prevent you from being victimized by scam websites to deceive consumers. But if a website seems legitimate after careful evaluation, you can confidently use their services.

Conclusion

This review analyzed many vital aspects of Voyage LA, from its background and leadership to content and security. While Voyage LA exhibits some features standard on legitimate websites, the lack of transparency around its ownership, operations, and editorial practices raises considerable doubts about its overall credibility.

Voyage LA appears to reside in a concerning gray area between a self-promotion platform potentially adding value and one enabling user exploitation through opaque practices. Those considering submitting content should proceed with ample caution and skepticism.

No definitive evidence confirms Voyage LA is an outright scam. However, the numerous unanswered questions surrounding its practices and integrity prevent it from being considered a fully legitimate professional publisher.

Their legitimacy can be uncovered by thoroughly inspecting key facets of unfamiliar websites. This allows internet users to make wise decisions about engagement. Similarly, diligent analysis of critical indicators can make evaluating websites like Voyage LA a more straightforward process.