I spend a lot of my time warning people against joining certain programmes.
I tell them that 'this scam, or that scam' is a Ponzi and I usually get the same response:
'It can't be a scam. It's paying me money!'
And I always give the same answer.
'Ponzi's ALWAYS pay out in the beginning.'
There are lots of people who join these schemes knowing full well they're illegal and really don't care. If you're one of those, this page isn't for you.
But if you genuinely don't know how advertising scams work, then hopefully this page will save you from losing your hard earned money.
What is an Internet Scam?
There are an infinite amount of money-making schemes on the internet.
Not all of them are scams. But the Golden Rule holds true with all of them.
If it SOUNDS to good to be true. It IS to good to be true.
If somebody is promising to DOUBLE, TREBLE, QUADRUPLE your money in a certain number of days, it's a scam. Period.
But what if it isn't so obvious? How can you tell the good ones from the bad?
To answer that, I have to explain how the real advertising world works.
Let me take you back to the days before the Internet.
Back then, the main source of Advertising came from newspapers, TV and radio.
Newspaper advertising hasn't changed much over the years. An advertiser still pays the newspaper a fee to publish the advertisement in the paper. The papers with the highest circulations can charge the highest fees. The Advertisers pay this because the readership is so much larger and they have a better chance of selling the products to a wider audience.
The same applies to TV and radio. Higher (or lower) advertising fees are charged depending on the viewers or listener numbers at any given time of day.
The best programmes, with the biggest audiences, will generate the highest advertising revenue.
Fast forward back to today and the basic concept still hasn't changed, but the internet has given us a different way of advertising that the other more traditional methods can't match. Namely, 'Banner Advertising'.
Banner advertisements are produced within a set space on the website pages. It's the same concept as before, but now they can target the audience much better, give you different sizes of banner in various site positions and again, you pay accordingly.
Sound complicated? It isn't really. Just imagine the internet as a series of different newspapers.
You might have a gardening newspaper whose readers are a captive audience for any gardening products. You may be an advertiser who sells rose bushes. It would make much better sense to pay for an advert in a gardening newspaper than say, a music newspaper that has a younger audience not renowned for their gardening interest!
So you rent a 'space' that can be put onto a specified, targeted site for the maximum amount of exposure. And if, for instance, somebody googles 'ROSE BUSHES' your ad will automatically appear! Very clever eh?
So what is 'traffic'?
Traffic is the amount of visitors that a site gets.
Every time you click onto a website, that click is recorded.
The more traffic a website gets, the more popular the advertising space is. The biggest and best websites in the world will carry the biggest and best brand names with the biggest budgets.
And they make their money two fold.
They make money when you buy their products.
And they make money when you click on an advert on their website - ANY advert, either theirs, or their competitors because the advertisers pay per click. So it's in their interest to have the best websites - that attract the best adverts - that will have the highest number of clicks -that will generate the most amount of money.
In simple terms, I'll use this website as an example and try to explain.
This site is small. I decided to carry adverts to find out for myself how the advertising business works.
To start with, I wasn't allowed to carry adverts until I had regular traffic.
I average 500 visitors to this site every day. Everytime somebody clicks on an advert on this site, the advertiser pays Google a set amount and Google then pay me a small percentage of that.
Some days I make nothing. Some days a 1p. On a good day I make 20p!
So to make any kind of decent income from any given website, you need HIGH volumes of REGULAR traffic, day in, day out. Preferably to different people, all of the time.
Based on this information, it's easy to make comparisons
with how these Internet Ad scams really work.
The 'product' these schemes sell are disguised as 'packs' of advertising, or advertising 'credits', or some variation on that theme.
So, based on what I've said already, how can you buy a 'pack' of advertising that enables you to click ten times a day onto adverts that only members place and only members see?
How do these companies make any money if the money you originally gave them is effectively refunded back to you, with an additional ($10) amount on top? And yes, you will probably have to pay a membership fee, but it doesn't make commercial sense.
It's like putting an ad in your local paper and the paper refunding your advertising cost and then sharing the newspapers profits with you just because you brought a paper!
The Closed Loop
The 'closed loop' schemes are the most blatantly obvious examples of ponzi's. Imagine if the newspaper you brought only ever had 'members' who brought it. Nobody else was allowed to see it. And these limited readers had no intention of actually READING the adverts in the paper or buying the products. They just brought it knowing that they would eventually get a full refund of the paper and a share of the profits from its sale.
The paper would close pretty quickly wouldn't it? Why would advertisers pay good money for adverts that nobody would ever buy from ?
Advertisements appear on websites for as long as the advertiser wants them there.
They may change campaigns or have different offers. But the length of a 'campaign' will vary depending on the sales of that product or the sales offer available.
So when these schemes continue to specify that credits/packs/points will always 'expire' on a specific time scale, again, how does this equate to real advertising?
The truth is, it doesn't. How can it?
The reasons these packs 'expire' is, a/ to make you spend MORE money on new ones , and b/ to keep your money inside the system they create for as long as possible.
How do they do this?
BY MAKING YOU BELIEVE THAT THE MONEY GROWING BEFORE YOUR EYES IS REAL.
The formats on all these scams may be different but the core is usually identical.
They'll all tell you that it's best to leave your money INSIDE the system to let it grow.
(Which, of course, it does. Its programmed to.)
They'll all tell you that you can use your 'earnings' to buy MORE packs.
This gives you the illusion of 'something for nothing' - which makes you feel RICH and encourages you to part with MORE real money to buy MORE packs.
They'll all tell you that your money will grow faster if you don't withdraw it.
(Which, of course, it will. It's programmed to.)
And, if you DO try and withdraw it before you're supposed to, people will tell you not to!
'WITHDRAW small amounts?'
'Are you stupid?'
'This business is solid.'
'If you withdraw, you'll hurt all of us who are working hard to build this business up!'
'ARE YOU INSANE!'
This can be translated very easily into:
If people withdraw -
the PONZI collapses!
YOUR 'EARNED' MONEY
The computer programmes these systems use are just that:
Not banks. Not building society's. Not payment processors.
And computer programmes can do anything the programmers want.
The fact is, the money you pay these people goes directly into their bank accounts.
Its gone. What's left is monopoly money to play with that you now think of as real.
Vast sums build up. But can you ever access all of it?
Is it tied up in accumulated earnings/matrixes/levels or points?
Ask yourselves this question?
Can ALL the money on my screen, (in ALL my various accounts) that I've 'earned', be accessed instantly at the touch of a button directly into my bank account?
If the answer is YES - then its a VERY good ponzi!
But I'm guessing the answer is NO?
Which leads me nicely onto the best part:
I've purposefully left this one to last. The reason is this.
Time and time again, I get the same comment.
'You're WRONG! You don't HAVE to refer to make money in this business! I made loads of money and never referred anyone!
Unfortunately, this saying is true. You don't HAVE to refer people to make money. Your earnings will still 'grow', just not very much.
And since the 'products' they sell don't generate profit, they need a constant supply of fresh money from elsewhere or the scheme will crash. So they encourage you to recruit your friends, family and work colleagues with incentives and different referral levels to keep the money flowing in.
And if you DO refer, you'll make the kind of money that the major players shout about.
The players that wave the large cardboard cheques with thousands of pounds written on them.
The players that tell you that you can't lose with this programme.
The players that tell you that you'll make vast sums of money with hardly any work!
The players that tell you its EASY to just click ten ads a day.
These players play YOU.
They make their money from YOU.
They don't care about you.
They aren't your friends.
And they will most definitely NOT help you when the scheme crashes.
Which it will.
And these players will just move on to the next scam. And the next. And the next... with YOUR money!
The definition of a PONZI or PYRAMID is a scheme that uses NEW affiliates money to pay OLD affiliates the money they think they've 'earned'.
It's that simple.
They may be disguised with levels/matrixes/points or panels but they all mean the same thing.
Things to look out for:
1. Does the company have an office that people can visit? NO.
2. Does it have a direct dial phone number or email address? NO.
3. Can you pay using your credit or debit card directly? NO.
4. Do you have to pay via a payment processor? YES.
5. Do the referral commissions earn you more than 'products'? YES.
6. Does an internet search have any scam warnings? YES.
7. Do any of your friends or family think it's a scam? YES.
8. Does it sound to good to be true? YES.
Try this test as well, to be sure:
Google '*company name, SCAM'
Does it have lots of posts saying it's a scam?
Does it have ads on it's website for OTHER similar schemes
instead of well-known brand names?
Does it have a long list of levels/matrixes?
Does it promise 'to good to be true' returns?
If your answers match mine, then in all probability the company is a SCAM site.
Companies use payment processors exclusively to prevent a 'Chargeback' on your account.
It's a prime indication of a SCAM and means that when the company closes, you will have lost all your money.
And if you're STILL not convinced,
Then actually READ what people are saying about it.
Lots of people saying a company is a scam is the biggest red flag of all!
And if you've been caught out?
Bare this in mind-:
The receivers who've been winding up ZEEK rewards are now actively going after the big players who recruited so many innocent people into the scam.
So just in case you think you've made money with one of these schemes - don't spend it all at once.
Any money you may make over and above your initial investment ...will eventually have to be repaid.