I’ve decided to call attention to the relationship between the popular package [Laravel Voyager](https://laravelvoyager.com/) and the company that owns it, [The Control Group](https://www.thecontrolgroup.com/).
I understand if this is viewed as unnecessarily antagonistic. My intention is to post my opinion about my values and I accept that we may not agree. I welcome disagreement and debate, and I'm trying to frame this as civilly as I can.
I was researching Laravel admin packages including Laravel Voyager for normal reasons. I played the video on the Voyager home page and recognized the logo for the company [Instant Checkmate](https://www.instantcheckmate.com/).
I verified that Voyager is in fact published and by the same team that makes products like Instant Checkmate and [TruthFinder](https://www.truthfinder.com/).
Ownership of these companies are woven into an interconnected set of shells and I didn't dissect it. You can explore them if you like.
Instant Checkmate and Truthfinder are technically and ostensibly valid companies with legal business practices. In practice, and this is my opinion, they are predatory companies that abuse public records in ways that the majority of citizens would find displeasing.
The business models for these companies include scraping and collecting public records, publishing subsets of the information online, and selling the full sets of information to consumers. You can search for your name on their website now to see what information about you they are selling.
These sites are generally shady. Many of the sites are interconnected, using different white label storefronts and otherwise obscuring the actual company ownership. They employ deliberately confusing anti-patterns, misleading language and other anti-consumer behavior to misrepresent the data they are selling. They collect, monetize and publish information about the citizenry without our permission.
Additionally, many users report inappropriate and misleading billing practices and charging credit cards in ways the user claims not to have anticipated.
The companies are frequently the subject of legal drama and some have been pursued by the FTC. In 2014, InstantCheckmate settled charges that they [sold consumer data in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act](https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/04/two-data-brokers-settle-ftc-charges-they-sold-consumer-data).
More resources about Instant Checkmate
I'm fond of the internet and I have strong opinions about what it should be and it what it shouldn't be. As a web developer, I'm one of the people that gets to shape it. I also get to share my opinions with my colleagues, and that's what I'm doing.
I'll leave it at that, and prompt you to decide how you feel about the information. I understand and concede the merit of many arguments that would say "no big deal," or "unrelated to the nice open source package."
I also want to offer that I understand (too well) that everyone needs a job and sometimes good developers who can make good open source packages just wind up working at less than glamorous companies. I appreciate the work that all open source developers contribute to the world, and I don't make any assumption about the character of the package developers themselves.
As a courtesy, I reached out to the Voyager team a few days ago and gave them a head's up that I intended to post this.
Edit: /u/devdojo from the Voyager team has responded in [this comment](https://www.reddit.com/r/laravel/comments/cm7i4j/laravel_voyager_published_by_shady_company/ew1vb8v/).