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FIB - Scams 101 - Ye Olde Archives
Posted By: Mel. White In Response To: 12dailypro (Pat)
Saturday, 21 January 2006, at 9:40 a.m.
In Response To: 12dailypro (Pat)
> My son is wanting to invest into this "scheme" as I call it. I
> just wanted to see if you had any info on it and if you believe it to be a
> scam or money laundering...
You sound as though you've run into some red flags. Your "BadBusiness" alert sense is right on the mark, here. This particular business model was tried some five years ago and collapsed within 8 months.
So let's follow the money trail:
You've got Willing Surfers who pay to get into the program.
You've got Desperate Websites who will pay those surfers to see their website.
Sounds good, right? LAST time it was tried (in at least eight different variations of this same scheme, the Desperate Websites found that people were flocking to them by the thousands... and they were having to pay those surfers.
However, nobody was buying.
The big guys weren't interested in paying to have people surf to their sites. Amazon.com, for all its economic problems in the first 5 years never offered a bounty for people to come look at their site. Instead, they advertised in more effective arenas (radio, tv, newspapers, magazines) and did other innovative things to gain capital.) Cory Rudl and other long-term business advisors didn't bother paying to have people come to their sites.
So the only ones paying are the desperate. They are not going to continue to shell out money for years and have only 3-4 sales per year. If they become wildly popular, then they're not going to pay for surfers, because they will have better (free) advertising through word of mouth.
Finally, the surfers. This is what collapsed the program last time.
You're in an international marketplace. You can't say "Okay, we're ONLY going to pay the people with incomes of over $30,000/year who are interested in this stuff." Last time, the third world countries (India, Mexico, Korea) hopped on this bandwagon because $5/day is just nearly a week's wages in some of those places.
Word got around fast. Website owners who checked their logs found that they were paying for hundreds of clicks from people who couldn't read English and couldn't afford anything they were selling. College students also got into this with the intention of making extra money... just surf, click on some links, set a timer and wait till you'd been on the site long enough to collect money, and surf away.
Prices for surfing dropped drastically in an effort to make people stay longer and to keep the websites that were paying monthly fees. This had the effect of sending the American surfers away (the pay dropped and the rules changed) but in the third world countries where $2 could feed a family for several days, word was spreading about this free money that anyone could have by going to a cybercafe and surfing.
Then the autosurf software companies hopped in. You could set your browser to do a timed surf with this software, go off to dinner and collect the price of dinner while you were away from the computer.
The small pay-to-surf ones collapsed quickly. Two of the big ones stumbled onward but the pay got smaller and they eventually collapsed as well.
Oh... and they'd lie about who their customers were, keeping names on the rolls long after the website had quit paying for page views.
This one's got a few hooks (they require you to upgrade and pay more money to surf within the first month) and may be combining it with a ponzi type operation (paying the first members from the new members.)
Anyway... bottom line is that the model has been tried before and they haven't addressed any of the problems that made it collapse last time. It'll run into the same thing IF they ever get it off the ground.
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