Category - Life of Finch

1
My First Regrettable Acts of 2014
2
Moving to the USA: Final Preparations
3
Banners Broker Scam – Don’t Let It Affect You

My First Regrettable Acts of 2014

December 31st, just gone 1pm:

I’m enjoying a very small window of opportunity in No Man’s Land. The abyss between getting drunk and merely thinking about getting drunk.

No work today.

Today is my Sabbath.

I know a lot of affiliates are curiously teetotal. The idea of getting wankered is seen as a threat to one’s ability to make money online. Forgive me… for I am British.

And so, New Year’s Eve is my favourite night of the year.

Perhaps it’s the clean slate ahead.

The chance to wake up a new man on January 1st:

A pang of motivation, a bubble of new goals, the itch to get started.

But first… a roaring headache.

Desperate measures.

Taxi to Spoons.

All day breakfast. Nose an inch above the plate. Toast crumbs dribbled in beard. Don’t give a fuck. The Vodka shakes. What are these stamps on my hand? Taxi home. Feeling nuclear. One false step and I’ll blow.

An afternoon nap, swiftly interrupted. The sprint is on.

A bout of the shits.

Oh fuck, why Tequila?

Uncontrollable remorse.

An evening hangover, morose sorrow. Get walked by the dogs.

Eyeful of daggers for anybody in sight.

Home, sofa, primal groans.

A Recovery Twister:

The Recovery Twister

Miracles do happen.

The fog lifts, a haze departs – memories of Amsterdam – I’m… why am I drooling?

A calm wave of serenity.

A vision.

2014: I’m having you by the balls.

And in that priceless moment, just before ordering a savage Meat Feast and internally combusting once and for all, I really mean it.

Happy New Year, Affiliasphere.

Moving to the USA: Final Preparations

Hard to believe we’re already 1/16th of the way through 2013, right? How are those New Year’s Resolutions working out?

Shelved until 2014? Completely forgotten? Laying in a pile of abandoned gym spandex?

Good. I’m glad we’re on the same page.

Last October, I posted about my plans to move to the States, crack the American Dream, build a house and live happily ever after.

True to form, my plans have changed about seven times since then. First I was staying in London, then I was going back to Thailand, then I was looking at the South of France, and now I’ve finally decided on Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme America.

It speaks volumes of my indecision that – in the last week alone – I’ve had emails from 3 different affiliates on 3 different continents all thinking I live near them.

No, I’m not some kind of direct marketing gypsy, I just really suck at finding the right property.

My fiancé and I both work from home, and we both like to travel, which means deciding where to move is a liberating joy, but one that can lead to episodes from The Shining if we’re not very bloody careful.

Don’t… touch… me. I’m… typing.
Don’t… touch… me. I’m… typing.
Don’t… touch… me. I’m… typing.

Renting in London: The Road to Ball Ache

If you’re going to live and work in the same building, it really needs to feel like a home.

But how can you make somewhere your home if you need written permission to hang a photo on the wall? Or to give it a lick of paint? That is the problem with renting in London, and it is the straw that broke this camel’s back.

For such a vast monthly spunkage of money, you would expect a home in return. What you actually get is a roof over your head and a pain in the arse. Several of them if your estate agent is Haart.

I want to own what I live in, but I don’t want to pay hundreds of thousands for a shoe box in Fulham. The alternative is a safe family home in suburbia where Costa marks the nearest attraction, and the next bus terminates at death. Or worse, having kids.

Ultimate bitch point: I don’t want my local food store to be a Budgens. I want to live in a country where Budgens is just a bad dream.

One of the great hooks of America is the opportunity to build our own home; something brand spanking new, so fresh we can still smell the timber.

I want something that has enough square footage to incorporate two home offices, a swimming pool and a snooker room.

She wants… to decorate it with candles, cushions and throws. Why are women like that?

Alas, America is the best choice. It’s also the most exciting choice.

You guys have a lot of cornfields. But you also have a lot of exciting, vibrant cities. New York City, Miami, San Francisco, Las Vegas… the mind reels with bright lights and a lifetime of Hollywood.

I’m sorry in advance if I besmirch any of the above with my presence.

Knock knock, America

Want to know how the immigration process for moving to America goes?

Very, very slowly.

I’m only just over halfway through the process.

Not only has the ordeal wiped crucial centimeters off my hairline, but it’s butchered at least 80% of my mornings with fun activities such as:

  • Chasing vaccination files
  • Pleading with the police for my arrest records (Disclaimer: There are none)
  • Spending time in photo booths
  • Kicking photo booths
  • Swearing at photo booths
  • Buying enough stamps to post myself around the world

I haven’t even had my medical at the US Embassy yet. There’s still a chance they’ll turn me back when they find my blood pressure reading says **AFFILIATE MARKETER**

Of course, there are things I will miss about London:

My friends and family

The hardest part about relocating is leaving behind your friends and family. I got homesick while living in Asia, and much of it was down to the false belief that I was disconnected from my loved ones. I felt like I was missing out on something, although I could never quite put in to words what that something was.

When I got home, it was great to see everybody. But people move on with their lives. They don’t wait for you to come ‘home’ to continue theirs.

Homesickness has very little to do with your location. It’s how content you feel with your day-to-day living. That means embracing wherever you are, not trying to crawl home to the nest, just because it feels familiar when your current surroundings do not.

The incredible NHS

Health care is a super important issue to both my fiancée and I. There was a point in November where we had reached an agreement that if Mitt Romney won the Presidency, we would stay in the UK. I don’t want to get overly political on a humble marketing blog, but it’s fair to say that we will miss the National Health Service that is available in the UK.

The NHS is a brilliant institution and part of what makes Britain great. It is a lifesaver for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

The infuriating but begrudgingly effective transport network

No TFL is going to suck.

I’m sure I’ll feel guilty for mocking the Picadilly Line within about 3 weeks of our separation. Even for those occasions where it really, really deserved the scorn.

It also means I’ll have to buy a car when I land in America.

For all the hate that gets directed at Transport For London, very few cities can claim to be as well connected. Until it snows.

It snows, we perish.

The ability to keep calm and STFU

There’s a certain way of life in London that can be summed up quite simply, “I won’t bother you, if you don’t bother me.

If you’ve taken the tube before, you’ll be aware that it extends to just about all lines of communication. “I won’t catch your eye – even though I’m the breadth of a nose hair away from your face – if you won’t catch mine.

To tourists, we must come across as the least social animals on earth. But to a Londoner, that moment of sweet purposeful avoidance tells us that we’re home.

The glorious tropical climate

Yeah, about that…

Moving to America from London

Show me the plane, already.

I’m hoping to make the jump across the pond on March 25th, as long as I get through the visa process in time.

It can be quite stressful to hop continents. And it will be the third time I’ve done so in 3 years, but it’s also very exciting. I can’t wait to meet new people, explore new cities and chase that elusive American dream.

Which may or may not be Taco Bell, screw you.

Banners Broker Scam – Don’t Let It Affect You

UPDATE DECEMBER 20th – I have posted a brand new update on the Banners Broker Scam. Read this new article for a more complete breakdown of the facts and evidence.

Banners Broker is one of the most popular MLM programs of recent times. It also happens to be one of the most sophisticated and bloodsucking ponzi schemes I have ever come across.

Banners Broker is based around an industry we know a lot about – online advertising.

Before I continue, let me point out the obvious. This post is not written for my usual readers.

If you’re expecting tips that can improve your ROI, or increase your conversions, this post will flop like a wet flannel. Guaranteed. But I do have a motive for writing it. Over the last few months I have seen some of my nearest and dearest plunge head first in to Banners Broker. And they are not the only ones.

The program is alleged to have attracted over 160,000 investors.

A large number of these investors will be left out of pocket when the scheme inevitably collapses.

What the Banners Broker Scam Claims to be

“A revolutionary way to earn revenue online.”

Are you prepared to have your mind blown?

Here is a video that describes the Banners Broker business model.

If, while listening, you begin to feel drowsy, or if the unmistakeable whiff of bullshit lodges itself up your nose, fear not. I have yet to speak to a single honest soul who could watch the whole 9 minutes and not come away feeling disorientated, mind-fucked, and a little bit uneasy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9NSXz2t9vM

Rule number one of any ponzi scheme: Do not give anybody the slightest hope of understanding your business model.

Update: The guy whose hilarious example I used to explain the Banners Broker business model has contacted me asking for his content to be removed on copyright grounds. Fair point. Well if he’s not happy with me quoting it here, I will link to it instead. Enjoy the read!

Yes, an advertising platform where not only are you the advertiser – but you’re the publisher too! You buy ad space on your own rented property. Then another advertiser buys space on it. Then magic happens. And somehow you come away with a 100% ROI.

As you would expect with any ponzi scheme, very few investors take the time to understand how this ad-pub nonsense works.

I guess it’s just as well Banners Broker simplifies the art of online advertising in to six coloured panels. They might as well have named them after the Teletubbies.

Panel prices, Banners Broker scam

Buy panels… get paid?

Double your money by doing nothing, stupid! Let’s hear how this works…

As a quick example, if you bought the red package when you first joined banners broker, this would have included the yellow, purple, blue, green and red panels within your purchase.

Your purchase would have cost you $1225 (including first month admin fee).

The red panel takes the longest to mature out of these panels (5-6 months). So within that time you would have paid $15 x 5 = $90 in admin fees.

After a few weeks, the yellow panel would have paid out and you would have received $20. After that, the purple would have paid out for another $60. Then the blue after that with another $180. This is followed by the green with $540. Finally, the red is the last one to mature paying out $1620.

So all in all, your costs were $1225 + $90 admin fees = $1315

Your gross income over that time period was: $20 + $60 + $180 + $540 + $1620 = $2420

Your profit = $2420 – $1315 = $1105.

Source: The Banners Broker System

Don’t you see?

What we have here is the most remarkable online advertising loophole known to man.

While the rest of us mere affiliate marketing mortals have been investing thousands for a slender 25% ROI, Banners Broker users have been buying ‘impression panels’, waiting a few months, then banking the handsome rewards.

It makes you wonder what really goes on behind this advertising system. How are Banners Broker managing to double your money, as well as taking their own cut, in an industry which has never been more competitive?

The answer, of course, is that Banners Broker has nothing to do with online advertising. The talk of ‘impressions’, ‘inventory’ and even ‘banners’ is a complete and utter fraud. I’m not a man for conspiracy theories, but if this smokescreen hasn’t just reached out and slapped you in the titties, you need new glasses. There’s a very simple explanation for how users are able to double their money with Banners Broker – and that is by recruiting other investors. It’s a cash cycler. Simple as that.

I’ll show you the joke that is the Banners Broker advertising platform later in this post. But let’s take a look at who runs the Banners Broker ship. Who is in charge of the world’s most remarkable online advertising platform?

Who is Behind the Banners Broker Scam?

You’d think the men behind Banners Broker would have surfaced on TechCrunch by now, right?

An advertising network that ‘doubles your return’ even if you are one of 160,000 unskilled investors who knows nothing about advertising. I mean, wow, that’s a story. If I had discovered such a system, I’d be fighting off venture capitalists from day one. At the very least, you’d expect these guys to show their faces at a reputable advertising conference.

I asked a couple of reps if they’d heard of Banners Broker when I attended London Adtech. The answer I got – to be expected – was a “Say what?” Followed by lots of LOL when I explained their scam.

Banners Broker Scammers

Image source: Real Scam forum

This blog has a lot of readers in the advertising space. So, let’s see. Has anybody encountered the urchins above at a trade conference? They claim to be paying out over a million dollars per day to their ‘investors’. That’s a lot of banner impressions. You’d think somebody must have dealt with these people.

For a company aiming to topple Google in the future (LOL), I’d expect to be reading books on these wizards.

Evidently they have yet to crack the customer service nut. I dropped their support an email offering to spend $100,000 on their platform. You will hear nothing back. In the advertising business, especially in such uncertain times, $100,000 ad campaigns do not go unanswered. Unless what you are actually running is a Ponzi scheme.

But wait, who is this Rajiv Dixit? He is the Head of the Banners Broker Canadian HQ, but his name looks familiar.

Ahh yes, Rajiv Dixit. The same Rajiv Dixit of Ontario, Canada who co-ran the notorious ICF World Homes scam in 2009. He was shut down by the Competition Bureau.

Now ask yourself this.

  • Is it likely that since ICF got busted, Raj Dixit has grown some morals and uncovered a remarkable win-win business model in the online advertising industry (that blows Google out of the water)?
  • Or is it likely, as I somehow suspect, that Raj Dixit is still a scumbag? And that Banners Broker is his latest fraudulent enterprise?

Would You Trust Your Online Advertising to this Company?

You’d think that Banners Broker — a rapidly growing company paying out over a $1 Million per day — would have a pretty cosy office setup, right? I’d expect some bean bags, a gymnasium, maybe even a flash canteen serving only organic.

Wrong.

Here’s the Canadian ‘HQ’ of Banners Broker:

Banners broker scam HQ

Silicon Valley, move the fuck over. The big boys are in town. And they work… above an autoservice garage? Seems about right.

But remember guys. This is not a ponzi scheme!

Update: Since this post went live, Banners Broker have changed the official address on their website. It now points to a slightly more impressive building in Whitby. My guess? Probably a virtual office.

If we really want to be pedantic, we could reference the fact that ComScore has never heard of Banners Broker. Neither has a single advertising trade journal, or anybody at an ad conference who wasn’t cackling with laughter at the very thought of their preposterous claims.

Exposed: The Banners Broker Advertising System

Okay, enough of the anecdotal BS. The most damning evidence against Banners Broker is what happens when you actually log in to experiment with their system.

I was pretty inquisitive to explore the Banners Broker inventory. I am, after all, a hungry lion when it comes to new traffic sources. I like some Google, some Facebook, some Plentyoffish, some Pulse360.

Alas, the Banners Broker advertising platform is a damp, fraudulent squib.

It has two options for advertisers.

  • The ‘Choice’ Network – Pick the website you want to advertise on.
  • The ‘Blind’ Network – Choose your category (5 choices!) and hope for the best.

I tried both platforms, and here’s what I found…

The Choice Network

Advertisers who like to have full control over their placements may choose to run traffic through the Choice network. Simply pick the websites you want your banners to show on, upload the banner, and you’re good to go.

Considering how many ‘impression panels’ go sold every day, I was expecting the Banners broker inventory to stack up favourably to a respectable marketplace like, say, BuySellAds.

Yeah… not so much.

I first chose to run a financial campaign.

Here are the websites I could place my ads on:

The Choice Network

Five whole websites! You better be housing the world’s most highly trafficked financial websites or I’m going to get antsy.

Let’s take a look at website number one.

150Cash.com

Banners broker scam

150Cash has not been updated since April 2012. The posts are junk. There is not a single comment on the site.

Furthermore, there is not a single banner. Not good news for Banner Broker, being the broker and all, as they must currently be making $0 from this site.

As an advertiser, I hate to say it, but I will not be investing in this site.

Let’s see what other inventory the Banners Broker ‘Choice Network’ has available:

ForSaleorBail.com

The ponzi scheme in action

ForSaleorBail has also not been updated since April 2012. The posts are junk (all 7 of them in the space of 5 days). There is not a single comment on the site.

Oh, and the banners that Banners Broker are selling through this site? No takers. Despite it being just 1 out of a very small pool of 5 sites in their ‘financial portfolio’.

As an advertiser, I will not be investing in this site.

ProsperGo.com

Prosper Go?

ProsperGo… has not been updated since April 2012. The posts are junk, and there are only 3 of them. Not a single comment posted. And yet, Banners Broker expects reputable advertisers to buy space on this site?

Yep, you guessed it. I will not be investing in this site.

There’s a peculiar trend to the websites that Banners Broker wants you to advertise on.

They were all created, in a hurry, during April 2012.

It’s almost as if Banners Broker in a rush to add legitimacy to their pathetic advertising service, created these websites themselves.

Do you know what else is interesting about these websites?

They are all located on the same web server:

Laughable Banners broker

It’s laughable, really. Imagine if Google slapped together a bunch of shoddy two cent WordPress themes then asked for your money.

When I confronted the drones of Banners Broker over these glaring faults in their advertising system, I was met with a rather blunt excuse:

It’s in Test Mode.

It would be nice if they’d informed their paying advertisers who – to this day – can sign up and spend money on a system that is in ‘Test Mode’. Now that’s not very professional, is it?

Alas, let’s talk about the Banners Broker ‘Blind Network’. It’s the crown jewel that nobody can say is in ‘Test Mode’. With investors earning millions every day, you would expect a show-stopping ad platform. Unfortunately, that’s not what you are going to get.

The Blind Network

Ready to be blown away by the targeting features of the world’s most remarkable online advertising platform?

This is it:

Banners Broker Blind Network

Yep, seriously. That’s all there is to it.

The next page asks you to upload your banner, while kindly waiting 5 minutes because it won’t appear immediately. I’m not sure what happens in this time. Presumably it’s to give you the opportunity to reconsider. Instead of advertising on Banners Broker, maybe you would care to engage in the world’s longest facepalm?

Two things I noticed about the Blind Network:

  1. Banners Broker has done away with CPM bidding. That was for the dinosaurs anyway, right? Instead it is fixed price bidding. You buy impressions. And hope to God that your banners land on the right pages. Pages are divided in to categories. This is your only targeting options, besides Country. But don’t worry. This is the same platform that is going to topple Google and double your money.
  2. It doesn’t seem to serve any ads. After 3 days, I still haven’t managed to use my 1000 impressions. It’s not like I was targeting down to the keyword. This was a broad campaign aimed at every website in their ‘Business and Commerce’ category.

Of course, I don’t want to get hung up on the bleeding obvious.

One glance at the Banners Broker advertising platform and anybody who has collected even 30 seconds of experience with a real advertising platform will write it off for the garbage it truly is.

But that’s irrelevant. Ponzi schemes don’t need to sit on good advertising platforms. Just a big enough pile of steaming bullshit will suffice.

Why Banners Broker is Dying

Banners Broker has been going strong for a couple of years now.

I have no doubt that many investors have made a genuine profit from the scam. In fact, to this day, most of the experiences associated to Banners Broker have been positive.

One search on Google and you will find drone after drone after tireless drone. “I’ve been paid!“, “I just made my first 1K!“, “I make real money with Banners Broker“.

The beauty of Ponzi schemes is that for the majority of their existence, you have no reason to question how the system works. Or why it works. You just accept the fact that you’ve been paid, along with hundreds of others.

You reinvest and you reinvest until one day – BOOM!

Banners Broker doesn’t respond to your withdrawal requests anymore.

Raj Dixit has run off to his next scam. The money you invested has been shovelled away to an offshore account in Belize (seriously, that’s where they’re banking!). You will be lucky to see a single penny.

When will this Judgment Day arrive? The writing is on the wall. It will arrive very soon.

The Banners Broker ponzi spread across the Internet like wildfire through much of 2012, but it has been losing steam at an alarming rate.

The forum threads are dying, negative attention has been drawn to the business model, and the Banners Broker management are implementing a number of ‘damage limitation’ ploys to slow down the speed at which members can withdraw their cash.

This does not bode well in the run up to Christmas.

If history says anything about an online ponzi scheme, it’s that members are far more likely to be cashing out in the holiday season. Banners Broker cannot ‘feed’ its existing members. The cycle of new victims is no longer enough to feed the chain.

It’s impossible to say whether Banners Broker will make it beyond Christmas. But I would be incredibly surprised if it lasted through to spring. If you have been coaxed in to this program, get out while you can. You may still make a tidy profit.

Give up the dream that you are involved with a legitimate online business. Banners Broker is a ticking time bomb. And when it blows up in your face – which it will – you don’t want to be at the back of the queue with a lawsuit and a sore arsehole.

A lost investment may actually be the least of your worries.

I find it shocking to consider, but it seems that thousands of Banners Broker users have been persuaded to supply their passport scans as a form of verification. I can’t for the life of me find one good reason why any advertising company would need this information.

Don’t be surprised if you find your identity stolen several months from now.

I would certainly not be trusting my intimate details to a guy like Rajiv Dixit. But hey, that’s just my opinion.

It’s your choice.

The Psychology Behind the Banners Broker Scam

It’s all very well for me to write a 3000 word post ‘hating on Banners Broker’ (as I’m sure they’ll brand it). But there will always be another Banners Broker. There will always be another ponzi scheme using cunning and elaborate ploys to steal away with your life savings.

If you want to avoid these traps, the real change has to come from within.

Unless you are an millionaire, there is no online investment program that can provide a truly risk-free future without great skills on your part. Getting something for nothing just does not exist.

Ponzi schemes and fraudsters are adept at preying on two human flaws: greed and entitlement.

  1. Greed: The idea that money grows on trees and you can have as much of it as you fancy.
  2. Entitlement: The idea that making money requires no skill-set, no hard work, and no risk. In the real world, it requires all three.

But we’d love to believe otherwise…

Every good ponzi scheme capitalises on these flaws. You can stay protected by arming yourself against naivety.

Truly, if you want to become a millionaire, you have to give a million pounds of value back to the world. It does not happen on auto-pilot. There is only one ‘get rich quick’ ticket, and you can buy it in your local post office.

It’s called a lottery ticket.

When you separate yourself from the odds of fate handing you a winning Lottery ticket, you’ll get on with the real task of adding value to the world. I’m afraid you will be waiting for a long time if your business partner is Banners Broker.

Recommended This Week

  • Don’t join Banners Broker. It’s a scam.
  • Do subscribe to the Survival Kit below. It’s free, and it’s not a scam.

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