A mysterious phone campaign has been making the rounds of the collision repair industry Monday morning, asking body shop professionals their thoughts on a controversial “Anderson Cooper 360” piece.
The call, from someone named “Grant McNeely” (the spelling is obviously unclear) leaves an email message linked to the domain www.cnnfollowup.com, which itself links back to the article on the original Feb. CNN “AC360” piece.
The caller seems to imply he is from CNN, though he doesn’t say it directly. A CNN senior producer has said it was not from the network.
“We’ve been getting a lot of mixed reviews since it aired from body shops,” the caller says. “Some are for insurance steering, but a lot are against it. And we’re trying to do a follow-up edition, and we need to know if your shop is for insurance steering, or against it.”
He then starts to give a number, getting as far as “1-800-26–” before reversing and asking the recipient to email him at the CNNfollowup site.
It appears to be a robocall; another version provided to Repairer Driven News seems to start in the middle of the message.
Repairer Driven News has obtained a copy of the complete call. Listen to it here: Call from “CNNfollowup.com” seeking comment.
We’ve left a phone message at a number displayed on caller ID and also emailed the email address provided in the call.
What we know
A message to a collision repair professional by Scott Bronstein, senior producer on the “AC360” piece, also indicates that the call has nothing to do with CNN:
“I do not know this person sending these. To my knowledge we at CNN have not sent anything like this about any follow up. The phone and email sent with those notes (are) not CNN numbers or addresses. Sounds (very) suspect to me and not legit.”
Caller ID reveals a number linked to rural Rhododendron, Ore.
The location and a WHOIS search for the CNNfollowup domain also indicate the person has no affiliation with CNN, which is headquartered in Atlanta, Ga.
The URL is linked to Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Domains By Proxy, a third-party service for buying a URL, similar to a remailing or call-forwarding service. Its slogan is “Your identity is nobody’s business but ours.”
Here’s the details from WHOIS, a service by the international Internet regulator ICANN:
Name: Registration Private
Organization: Domains By Proxy, LLC
Mailing Address:DomainsByProxy.com, Scottsdale Arizona 85260 United States
For comparison, here’s the details for CNN.com:
Name: Domain Name Manager
Organization: Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Mailing Address: One CNN Center, Atlanta GA 30303 US
Featured image: A mysterious phone call seeking input on a CNN “Anderson Cooper 360” report is tied to the URL www.cnnfollowup.com, which redirects to the CNN coverage online. (Screenshot of CNN.com after redirection by CNNfollowup.com)