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“Deeply Insolvent” Banners Broker to Surrender Assets
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FinchPremiums.com – 20% Discount & Affiliate Program
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FTC Now Requires “Sponsored Post” Disclosure

“Deeply Insolvent” Banners Broker to Surrender Assets

It looks like justice is finally catching up with Chris Smith, Rajiv Dixit and the men behind Banners Broker.

Two years ago, I wrote a series of posts exposing Banners Broker, a so-called ‘online advertising broker’, as a sordid ponzi scheme.

I received all kinds of threats, smears and public verbal bashings.

You can read the 2000+ comments from these posts to see just how personal it got:

This week, liquidators obtained a court order to seize all assets owned by Banners Broker International (BBIL), and to force its owners to reveal the whereabouts of money taken from affiliates.

Court papers labelled BBIL “deeply insolvent”, but that hasn’t stopped many affiliates clinging to hope of payment on the company’s official Facebook page.

The Banners Broker website remains ‘temporarily closed’.

bb-closed

BBIL has been granted continued use of telephone numbers, facsimile numbers, Internet addresses and domain names providing all payments are made at the normal price. The website will stay physically online for now (despite being closed), but a host of other BB services including: all computer software, communication services, banking services, reservation systems, credit card processors, payroll services, and armoured car services (lol) are now restrained by the court order.

Remaining BB disciples are being coaxed in to accessing the TalkingBB forum for the ‘full story’ of what’s happening.

Yes, the TalkingBB forum.

Or as I prefer to call it: Animal Farm.

An Orwellian hideout if ever there were such a thing.

To gain access, you must register, post once in a vetted forum, wait for approval, and then swear on your dog’s life not to emit the slightest whiff of negativity or face an instant lifetime ban.

I’ve seen some ‘ignorance is bliss’ circle jerks in my time, but this one takes the biscuit.

Anyway, if you want the real story on why Banners Broker is finished, look no further than the recent court orders.

You can view them here: Banners Broker in Liquidation

They are crystal clear and devoid of ‘trolling’, as court papers tend to be.

Highlights from the Court Orders

Seeing how there are still believers who refuse to accept that Banners Broker’s demise is anything less than Chris Smith ‘making a few changes to the website’…

Feed the Trolls

court-lies

…I thought I’d post some of The Best Bits from these latest orders.

Remember B-Believers: The court is not a troll.

Banners Broker Scam

If Banners Broker was to do something shady, like, I don’t know, completely lie about its sources of revenue or the nature of its clients… then this spells trouble.

Banners Broker Scam

Shiver me timbers. Accounting records? Contracts?

I guess we’re going to find out the truth about where all those affiliate payouts came from.

Banners Broker Scam

WANTED: Video recording.

If only to answer that burning question: is the real Chris Smith black or white?

Banners Broker Scam

And here is why the Banners Broker website is offline.

It’s the last remaining artefact of a company that has, for all intensive purposes, ceased to exist.

Disclaimers

I hate to have to include this, but there is an ongoing rumour that I have somehow profited from writing negatively about Banners Broker.

Some have even claimed I’m linked to a ‘troll list’ of former BB members now trying to claim back money by dragging the company’s name through the dirt.

Troll List

Let me be clear on this:

1. I have not pocketed a single penny from Banners Broker.

I have never been a Banners Broker member, affiliate, or investor.

My first exposure to Banners Broker came through a family member investing her money in it. I was immediately suspicious over whether her earnings could be sustained, or legally explained.

So I investigated the company — the online advertising sector is how I make my living, after all. I can see bullshit for bullshit — but what I found was worse than bullshit:

A shining turd of a ponzi scheme.

A scheme so far detached from how it said it made money that I simply had to blog about it.

2. Neither do I make money by blogging about Banners Broker.

I lose money.

Yes, it’s a waste of my time to be sitting here trumpeting about a bunch of fraudsters who will soon meet their comeuppance. But I do it anyway because I’ve had my name and character slandered by them.

Call it a pastime, if you will.

The second attack against me is that in an interview two years ago, I referred to myself as an Internet scumbag, and therefore cannot be trusted.

Seriously, I shit you not.

This quote has been immortalised in the BB Handbook of Responding to Criticism.

Q: “Hi Finch, tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from, where do you live now?”

A: “Well, I’m a 24-year-old affiliate marketer, which I guess is interchangeable with Internet Scumbag.”

Banners Broker latched on to this quote and used it as their single line of defence against my 30,000+ words of arguments dissecting their dysfunctional, fraudulent business model.

When was the last time you heard a senior director of a respectable company rebuke public criticism by insisting “it’s okay, guys, don’t listen to Finch, he called himself an Internet Scumbag in 2012.”

Well, of course I did.

I’m British.

Self-deprecation is what we do best.

What these MLM guys don’t understand, and I’m talking to the ‘Oh here I am driving nowhere in my rented Mercedes whilst recording a YouTube video about my latest whack-job investment that you should definitely sign up to under my link’ is this: the joke is on them.

I may be a self-professed Internet scumbag, but at least I’m not in the throngs of a mid-life crisis, willingly selling my friends and family down the shitter for a 20% commission.

Now that’s a scumbag.

What’s Left?

Beyond the lunacy, there is genuine tragedy to the unravelling of Banners Broker.

And that tragedy is the many real lives that it has affected, and still affects to this day.

Just last week, a post emerged on Facebook of a former affiliate who couldn’t handle the guilt of involving his family in Banners Broker.

He had encouraged them to set up accounts, with good intentions no doubt. But what are good intentions to a bunch of fraudsters riding high on those deposits? Those lifetime savings, plunged in to a program that is rigged to fail from the very beginning?

This man’s family lost all of their money, and he couldn’t live with the guilt.

Wracked with depression, he hung himself.

This is a terrible story, but a familiar ending to anybody who has witnessed the fallout of other pyramid schemes.

The lies they spread, the false hope they bring, the relentless incentives to involve your friends and family… it’s sickening. And of course, exquisitely executed. A perfect fraud.

Scams like Banners Broker ruin lives.

Even those ardently defending Banners Broker to this day… you know it. Deep down you know that as a ‘get rich quick’ scheme, it’s over.

If you have been affected by Banners Broker, I hope you do three things:

1. Check out this post on Tara Talks. A comprehensive guide to getting your money back. It’s not guaranteed to work given the “deeply insolvent” nature of what’s left of BBIL — but it’s better than nothing.

2. Learn for the future: if somebody promises you life-changing money for doing relatively little — it’s too good to be true.

3. Stop blaming others. The reason Banners Broker has failed you is because it was rigged to fail you from the very start. All ponzi schemes are. They feed the men at the top, the Chris Smiths and Raj Dixits of the world, whilst taking from the poor at the bottom.

Following the story of Banners Broker has been a real eye opener for me.

A descent in to some truly fucked-up minds, not least the havoc they can wreak on those who buy in to pipe dreams too easily.

I hope justice is served, and I’ll be following the Canadian court proceedings with interest.

FinchPremiums.com – 20% Discount & Affiliate Program

I’m happy to announce the launch of FinchPremiums.com.

No, it’s not another blog.

It’s an online store where you can buy Premium Posts, as well as a selection of other marketing products by myself and those that I trust (coming soon).

The store is currently only selling Premium Posts Volumes 1-4, but the greater flexibility means that I will be able to offer you discounts, bundle packs, and other good shit you might like.

There is also, finally, an affiliate program.

Create a user account, apply for the affiliate program, and you will get 25% of the revenue from any customers you send.

Haven’t read Premium Posts yet?

To celebrate this joyous occasion, for the next 24 hours only, you can use coupon code LAUNCHDAY to get 20% off your entire order.

This means you can steal my entire set of Premium Posts for $80. A bonafide snip, god damn it!

But only for the next 24 hours.

Enjoy.

FTC Now Requires “Sponsored Post” Disclosure

News has broken today that the FTC is making a change to the “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” for the first time in almost 30 years.

Here’s what you need to read:

“The revised Guides also add new examples to illustrate the long standing principle that ‘material connections’ (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers–connections that consumers would not expect–must be disclosed. These examples address what constitutes an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other ‘word-of-mouth’ marketers. The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.”

Source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10367464-93.html

Failure to disclose payment terms can now result in an $11,000 fine. A drop in the ocean for many successful affiliates, but the deterrent itself will probably shave off more profits than the fine.

Now while this is obviously relevant to floggers, it applies pretty directly to those of us in the affiliate marketing blogosphere. Personally, I think it’s a welcome change. It was only last week with the re-design of this blog that I added an Important Information page to vent my own frustrations with the blogging for riches business plan.

There are bloggers out there – hot shot super affiliates – who will shotgun their readers with any crap that pays a commission. It only takes one reputation built on sand and naive new marketers will buy in to just about anything. While some financial disclosure isn’t going to stop that, it will hopefully expose a level of doubt in what some of these super affiliates will sell their word for.

As far as flogging goes, I can’t see this change making life any more difficult than it already is. If you’re a flogger, you should already be painting your pages in an endless wall of disclaimers. It’s necessary to cover your back. As far as I can see, most of the high exposure flogs are already small printing in the fact that they’re paid a commission.

The real problem for the FTC is policing these changes. How do you tell the difference between word of mouth friendly praise and a second motive of money changing hands? Sure there are affiliate links being dropped, but it wouldn’t surprise me if some of these sketchy companies started implementing a new off-site method of tracking. A “we’ll catch your referral on the other side” type mentality. It’s also pretty damn hard to nail a Paypal transaction on a sponsored post. How are they going to bust these private sponsorship agreements?

Good luck to the FTC. You’ve got your work cut out.

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