Banners Broker Q&A with Terry Stern
Banners Broker Scam Update

Banners Broker Q&A with Terry Stern

If you have been following my features on Banners Broker, you may be aware that I was recently invited to Canada to explore their brand new Ontario headquarters. This came after I accused the program of being a scam in these two posts:

In response to the criticism, I was contacted by Terry Stern who is the International Public Relations Director at Stellar Point (acting on behalf of Banners Broker). Terry offered to fly me out to Ontario, put me up in a hotel, and show me exactly how the company operates.

It’s a generous invitation, and one that I plan to accept, although I will be paying for the tickets and hotel out of my own pocket.

Due to work commitments and the fact that my passport is currently floating around the US Embassy, I am unable to make the trip until March.

In the meantime, I suggested that Terry could respond to some of the most pressing criticism directed at BannersBroker in a Q&A session on this blog. He agreed, and you are about to read the full unedited exchange.

Note: There are various questions where I asked Terry to elaborate and provide further detail. Terry declined for the reasons stated at the bottom of this post. In the interest of complete transparency, I have included the unanswered questions and marked which ones Terry did not wish to respond to any further.

Banners Broker Q&A

Finch: First of all, it’d be great to hear some official figures on the money currently circulating in BannersBroker. Can you tell me, a) how much money has been invested in to the system by affiliates, b) how much money has been withdrawn from the system by affiliates, c) how much money is currently sitting marked ‘My Total Earnings’? These figures should help us get an idea of the ratios, margins and overall profitability of the program.

Terry Stern: a) No, this is private information of which no private company would release. b) Again no, private companies don’t release this type of information to outside sources. c) To provide you with this information would disclose proprietary systems that would enable anyone to replicate what BBI does. This is what allowed BBI to be accepted by the Brokers we do business with.

Finch Note: Banners Broker is not shy of boasting at seminars about how much money the program has already paid out, so this was news to me.

Finch: Banners Broker denies that it is an ‘investment’ of any kind. So what is it?

Terry Stern: Banners Broker International is a direct sales company just like any other direct sales company, whereas we buy or manufacture our products, mark them up and resell them to affiliates.

For example, the Broker sells ad space to an advertiser for $10,000, BBI offers to fulfill their obligation for $5,000. BBI resells the ability to generate traffic to an affiliate for $1,000 and upon completion gives the affiliate $2,000 for doing so while retaining $3,000 profit. This is just an example, but it gives you an idea of how the opportunity works.

Finch: The problem with this model is that there is no shortage of advertisers with budgets far bigger than Banners Broker who will also fulfil this obligation for $5,000. What makes you think BannersBroker can get a discount on the ad space but another advertiser can’t?

** No further comment from Terry **

Finch: Banners Broker has made numerous presentations on the ‘$500B/year Blind Network’ that governs how advertising space in auctioned over the web.

This is a remarkable claim considering global advertising spend across all media types was only forecast to grow to $465.5 billion in 2012. When you break the ad spend down to just online advertising, the number drops to $83.2 billion. Only a percentage of this is spent on blind networks…

Terry Stern: …According to a report released by Visual.ly, the total ad spending for 2012 was around $529.5 Billion, with approximately $94.2 Billion spent on online ad spending. Other sources show anywhere from $500 – $600+ Billion, with over $160 Billion spent on online ad spending. There are many sources of information to gather statistics on.

Finch: And I haven’t yet found a single source that acknowledges the presence of a $500/B Blind Network. Can you show me one?

** No further comment from Terry **

Finch: Banners Broker talks of the ten major brokers that work with ‘The Blind Network’, but there is little to no evidence outside of Banners Broker that such a network exists. Can you name the ten brokers, explain The Blind Network, and tell us why nobody else is talking about it?

Terry Stern: This is actually untrue. Blind Networks are a common term used in the online advertising and mobile advertising industries. They’ve been written about by multiple authors, advertising companies etc. OpenX even has on their website the definition of what a Blind Network is. There’s no need for me to list them over and over when the information is readily available.

Finch: You are dodging the question. We all know that blind networks exist, but Banners Broker promotes the concept of a singular Blind Network, of which there are 10 major brokers. Once again, can you tell me the names of those ten brokers?

** No further comment from Terry **

Finch: Banners Broker regularly claims that money paid out to its affiliates is not derived from advertisers signing up on BannersBroker.com, but rather it comes from advertisers being recruited externally on The Blind Network. Can you explain what the company means by this?

Terry Stern: It’s very simple really. The Blind Networks offer low pricing to direct marketers in exchange for those marketers relinquishing control over where their ads will run. Blind Networks achieve their low pricing through large bulk buys of typically remnant inventory combined with campaign optimization and ad targeting technology. “Blind” networks do not allow advertisers to know which site their message will appear on. Most general ad networks offer some transparency related to which sites are a part of a network, or allow for editorial guardians to prevent an ad from appearing on a certain type of site.

Where Banners Broker International comes in, is that they purchase ad space that these ads will appear on in bulk, and the Blind Networks service those spaces through providing ads with the advertisers paying the network for doing so. There are a substantial number of websites that allow for advertising to be placed on them, and those sites are paid based on the number of impressions they boast. Since each site that’s a part of the network is required by the network to have a specific traffic flow-through, the networks are able to sell those impressions and space to resellers. BBI comes in at this point. BBI purchases the ad space on the websites that are looking for ads through the Ad Network, then the ad network services those spaces with ads. BBI generates an income through the difference between what the Ad Network charges the advertiser, and what it costs to pay the publishers. When an affiliate purchases a package from BBI, they are purchasing a pre-packaged amount of ad space, with different propagation time-frames. As the panels run, they symbolize an ad space on a website in the network, and the traffic that’s viewing that ad space. The rate the affiliate pays is more than BBI pays for the ad space, and the amount BBI pays the affiliate is less than it earns for the network. This is how BBI generates the bulk of its revenue.

Some have said that they don’t see their panels moving regularly, this is because the panels don’t move in real-time, and were never advertised to do so.

Finch: You say you purchase ad space in bulk. Well, that makes BannersBroker an advertiser (regardless of whether it resells the space). You are purchasing ad space on a publisher’s site. Advertiser.

You are in direct competition with other large advertisers who want to purchase that same ad space, and are also willing to buy in bulk. The only difference is that they don’t have to pay any affiliates, which gives them a competitive advantage and allows them to price you out of the market. Your mark-up is unrealistic and impossible to sustain.

It is an inevitability of using a model like this:

advertiser > broker > broker > network > publisher

Instead of the tried and tested streamlined model:

advertiser > network > publisher

You say networks ‘are able to sell impressions to resellers’. Forget resellers. The only thing the network does is sell impressions to advertisers. You may be a ‘reseller’, but first and foremost you are an advertiser. And a very disadvantaged one in the sense that you have 300,000 affiliates riding your back.

I’m not even going to breach the subject of panels and packages. They have no relevance in the real world.

So I ask again, how is this a sustainable business model?

** No further comment from Terry **

Finch: If the advertisers that BannersBroker relies on to pay its affiliates are not being recruited on BannersBroker.com, what role do advertisers who sign-up through the website play? Where are their ads being shown?

Terry Stern: Any advertiser that signs up through the website goes straight through to the Ad Networks we are involved with. BBI takes a ‘finder’s fee’ for bringing in new advertisers, and pays the affiliate 10% of the amount the advertisers spends.

Finch: Long shot, are you prepared to reveal any names of advertisers?

More importantly, if you are working with multiple ad networks, how is it decided where a campaign will be run? If I’m an advertiser, I’m at a severe disadvantage if I’m paying a premium to have less choice and less control over where my ads are served. What do I gain by using BannersBroker?

** No further comment from Terry **

Finch: The websites on The Choice Network appear to be owned by the same company. Much of the content might fairly be considered ‘junk’ and there seems to be almost zero organic traffic on these sites. Can you explain why they would be considered a valuable proposition for an advertiser’s ad spend?

Terry Stern: The Choice Network is in a BETA stage, and is currently under review.

Finch: Why is there no mention of this to paying advertisers?

** No further comment from Terry **

Finch: Can you detail the nature of the past relationship between Banners Broker and Clicksor? Is it not correct that until recently, the company used the Clicksor Reseller Network to serve ads?

Terry Stern: This is actually correct. You must keep in mind that the arrangement BBI has with the Ad Networks it does business with is not a typical ‘reseller’ relationship. Clicksor in itself is a small piece of the whole, but still capable of meeting the demands of BBI. With the addition of another Ad Network, we’re now capable of meeting the growing demands and offer new products, and it’s only a matter of time now before other Ad Networks come aboard.

Finch: The Clicksor Reseller Network specifically states that it will only grant the third party access to its publishers, not its advertisers. So, if Banners Broker used this network, can you explain how the model works without having to recruit advertisers through BannersBroker.com?

Terry Stern: As I previously mentioned, we have an a-typical relationship with Clicksor due to the nature of the initial proposal we made to them. Unfortunately I am unable to give additional details regarding that relationship as it’s proprietary information regarding our business model.

Finch: I would agree that your description of the ‘reseller’ relationship is certainly not typical. It’s not typical because it makes no sense. As an advertiser, if I want to run ads on Clicksor’s blind network, I sign up through Clicksor and setup my campaign. There is no need for a broker.

Without attracting advertisers, BannersBroker brings no value to the table. The relationship is built on Clicksor’s platform, using Clicksor’s publishers with an advertiser who signs up via Clicksor. You are suggesting that Clicksor is then going to share a slice of the pie with BannersBroker. Why would they do that?

The purpose of the Clicksor Reseller Network is to give you, Banners Broker, access to the publishers that are signed up with Clicksor. The responsibility falls on you to recruit advertisers. It’s what defines you as a broker, and it’s the only reason why Clicksor would share their profits.

It’s all very well to say that the above does not apply because your relationship is not ‘typical’. You’re damn right it’s not typical. Let’s start by getting to the bottom of how it’s even possible.

Please explain exactly, in the most simple form, how your Reseller relationship differs from the standard Reseller relationship. And more importantly, why it makes sense for a) Clicksor, and b) the advertiser.

** No further comment from Terry **

Finch: Here’s a quote from a BB presentation: “In the beginning, Chris Smith went to the 10 banners ad brokers and proposed that he create a relationship with them as a broker of a different type. All but one of those companies refused. One mid sized broker could see the potential.

Can you describe the nature of this relationship that he proposed?

** Terry declined to comment **

Finch: It’s well known that Rajiv Dixit, Chris Smith and David Hooker like to travel the world holding seminars to attract affiliates. Can you explain why there is no evidence of a Banners Broker presence at any of the major advertising trade shows?

** Terry declined to comment **

Finch: Rajiv Dixit is well known for his involvement in the controversial ICF World Homes program, which was effectively shut down by the Canadian Competitions Bureau. David Hooker was also Director of Sales and Marketing at Herbalife, another company facing allegations of illegal pyramid trading. Very little is known about CEO, Chris Smith. Can you describe his background and what he did before founding Banners Broker?

** Terry declined to comment **

Finch: One of the great hooks behind the Banners Broker business model is that it helps the ‘little man’. As a philanthropic cause, doesn’t it make more sense to operate a streamlined business model (without affiliates) and then, say, donate to charity?

Terry Stern: This is the business model that was chosen. The affiliate program gives everyone interested, or who may have failed at building an online business before, the opportunity to succeed and generate revenue from an online business.

Finch: Why choose the least effective form of financing? There has to be a reason why a vastly inefficient affiliate model was favoured over venture capitalists. What is it?

** No further comment from Terry **

Finch: I’ve read reports on this very blog of $300 purchases resulting in profits of thousands per month. The affiliates see your company as a remarkable opportunity to make money (who could blame them?). I see those affiliates as more of an achilles heel.

If we are to assume that Banners Broker ‘borrows’ $100 Million from affiliates to leverage the company’s ad/pub growth, and if we take an extremely conservative estimate that the end goal of those affiliates is to double their money, that means that – effectively – Banners Broker has borrowed $100 Million while paying another $100 Million in interest (expected affiliate payouts). That’s an instant APR of 100%.

You have spoken on a number of occasions about the potential of leveraging affiliate purchasing power. My view is that it is a curse, not a blessing, when the expected returns (indeed, the reported returns) are so high.

A venture capitalist or an investment bank would take one look at your business model, give you the cash – if it’s up to scratch – and only ask for a fraction of the return. That’s more growth, more purchasing power and far LESS support tickets than you receive by using affiliates. What are your thoughts on this?

Terry Stern: This is where most become confused and accuse us of being something other than where we are. We do not guarantee that you will double an affiliate’s money, we state that after the first two complimentary cycles have completed, that an affiliate will have twice what their initial inventory purchase was valued at. They will either have their initial purchase price available in their ewallet and a matching amount in panel inventory, or they will have twice their initial purchase value available to them in inventory. After that, it’s up to each affiliate to manage their business according to what their individual goals are. We do not make claims offering obscene amounts of money, or that you’ll make thousands each month. The returns are completely dependant on the efforts of the affiliate. Yes, there have been some issues with conflicting verbiage that has been used in the past, which is why the company has created the roles of compliance and public relations in order to correct these issues.

Furthermore, it’s currently being introduced that affiliates must have running campaigns as part of their businesses. This isn’t a ‘sit back and do nothing’ business, this business requires attention in order to work optimally, and since this business is about brokering ad space, it’s important the affiliate understands the business through utilization and application.

Finch: With all due respect, the archived BannersBroker Facebook and Twitter feeds are littered with examples of guarantees and false promises. The entire business was launched on a promise of ‘doubling your money’.

Here’s the BannersBroker.com homepage, as it appeared days after launch:

BannersBroker Doubler

You are now saying that you’ve never guaranteed doubling the affiliate’s money, despite hundreds of examples of such promises, both online and offline at events.

Do you not feel that the 300,000 members who’ve signed up to BannersBroker should be entitled to full refunds given that many of them have been recruited under misleading advertising?

** No further comment from Terry **

Finch: What makes the company think Banners Broker is operating a sustainable business model when a competitor could enter the market with the exact same model and undercut you by not taking on affiliates?

Terry Stern: In order for your assumption to be valid, you would have to fully understand the details in the BBI business model, which isn’t a standard reseller’s agreement, and you would have to have access to the algorithms that are used to support the system. There are many companies that ‘undercut’ others, which is what defines competition. It’s like how Coke and Pepsi are constantly undercutting each other to gain larger sections of the marketplace.

Finch: Affiliates are told that BannersBroker requires work to succeed. They are encouraged to build their own ‘Banners Broker business’. Can you explain, in market terms and as a value proposition, what this business is?

Terry Stern: The business simply put, is brokering ad space for advertising. The more affiliates an affiliate can bring into the network, the more they are able to take advantage of the credit incentives the company offers. As previously mentioned, affiliates are now also being required to run campaigns. The business is about brokering ad space, and an affiliate can run a campaign to promote their BBI business, but they still must run a campaign as part of their business.

Finch: You say affiliates are being required to run campaigns. What kind of campaigns? And why should they have to run them?

** No further comment from Terry **

Finch: Paying affiliates internationally via a pre-funded Mastercard is considered by some to be a form of money laundering. Money laundering or not, it’s a very strange method of payment that is not available through any other reputable ad networks. Why hasn’t the company set up international direct deposits or even cheques as a payment option?

Terry Stern: In order for the automated software to work properly for everyone, the company needs to have options that everyone can use. Since PayPal doesn’t work for every country, and bank transfers become complicated with some countries, in addition to placing additional delays on the time it takes for payments to propagate, additionally, some affiliates that come from poorer countries may not have bank accounts due to the complications involved in getting one. Since the system needs to provide options that accommodate all affiliates, only those methods that can actually be used by every affiliate are considered and used. The BB Card is an approved method of transferring funds accepted by all countries we do business with, provides the shortest amount of time to process, and enables an affiliate to gain access to their funds quickly.

Finch: You mention ‘automated software’. It seems that BannersBroker payments are anything but automated, otherwise there would be a consistent pattern to when they are received.

Why does every payment method have to accommodate all users? If that was the case, there would only be one payment method. You’ve already shown that you are willing to be flexible otherwise it would be just STP, or just Payza, or just the card. Why not extend that flexibility to reputable payment processors that work much more efficiently with much less hassle?

** No further comment from Terry **

Finch: Can you explain why the company requires notarised user ID from affiliates when its competitors do not?

Terry Stern: Since we do business internationally, we are required to verify the identity of each person we do business with, just like a bank does with KYC “Know Your Customer”. The payment provider we use requires that we provide them with specific ID verification samples in order for them to approve payment processing for that affiliate. All information we collect to provide ID verification is passed to the payment processor who validates that information prior to accepting payment requests for them. If they fail verification, they are unable to be paid until they have solved the issue. Any ID accepted by BBI on behalf of affiliates, is kept in the strictest of confidence, and is only provided to the payment processor with the same level of confidence. There are multiple forms of ID that are accepted, and notarization demonstrates that the person in-fact matches the ID form used.

I am unable to speak on behalf of other companies since they have their own criteria that they are required to comply with.

Finch: Many affiliates will be keen to hear why their payments have become more sporadic. Standard members were originally told they would have to wait 7 business days to receive withdrawal requests. They now have to wait 20 calendar days, and many members have reported waiting significantly longer. The delays are consistent with a pyramid operation where it takes longer and longer to fund the exponential increase in withdrawal requests. If that is not what is happening, what would you say is the real reason behind these payout delays?

Terry Stern: BBI is unable to control the time it takes for payments released to their institutions, as once funds are released, it falls to the institution to release the funds according to their protocols. It usually takes 3-5 days for the funds to be released from the BBI banks following a request. From there it takes an additional 3-5 days to transfer the funds in order for the institution to verify the request. Once the institution receives the funds, it is up to them how long to wait to release the funds, we can’t dictate that. This is why BBI is transitioning everyone to the BB Card. Once the funds are released to be loaded, the cards are loaded right away and the delay is minimal.

Finch: The company has implemented a requirement that 3 months advance notice be given for any withdrawal over $10,000. We know that advertiser revenue enters the system as soon as the impressions have been bought. In fact, on BannersBroker.com, the advertiser is required to pre-fund his account before he can run any ads. This advance payment means the strain on cash-flow should be minimal. Why does it take 3 months to issue the larger payments?

Terry Stern: BBI has investments in various places, with the time it takes to gather the funds from the various institutions to meet the requests by our affiliates. It’s a well known fact that financial institutions invest the money placed in their trust. Even PayPal follows this practice. In order for sums to be processed, first the financial institution must request the funds to settle our request, then our request needs to be processed. Once the funds are processed they need to be dispersed to the various financial institutions, they must then process the requests and then the payments are released to the individuals. For extremely large sums the timeframe takes longer. You must understand, that the amounts BBI requests isn’t for one affiliate but for hundreds, so the amounts are quite large and require enough time to safely ensure that all funds are available to the affiliates.

Finch: Yes, it’s a well known fact that financial institutions invest money placed in their trust. But when I go to draw a large sum out of a bank, I’ve never been told to go and take a seat and wait for 3 months, certainly not for $10,000. Either you have the money or you don’t. If your investment in ‘various places’ is slowing down the withdrawal process to such an extent, dare I say the company should stop investing in ‘various places’ and focus on improving its cashflow so affiliates can get paid in a timely manner?

** No further comment from Terry **

Finch: When Banners Broker was launched in 2010, it was advertised as a ‘straightline cycler doubler’ on its official blog, on its Twitter account, in YouTube videos and in promotional materials provided to the HYIP community.

Here are tweets archived from Banners Broker in 2010 and early 2011:

7th December 2010
“The Banners Broker Queue is at 6 Days to start Doubling! Where else can you double your money this quickly? A LOT of Members Doubled Today!”

22nd December 2010
“The time frame to double will always fluctuate, but currently we are at an amazing fast past with only 3 days to start doubling!”

8th January 2011
“We are at an AMAZING 2 days to start doubling!!!! This weekend only. Now is the time to buy Packages. Spread the word!”

22nd January 2011
“Welcome back the 2 DAY QUEUE! That’s right, we are sitting at 2.5 days for you to start doubling your money. Buy a package now and get in!”

Can you explain how the company has undergone such a radical transformation from self-proclaimed ‘straightline cycler doubler’ to the most rewarding advertising/publishing platform the world has ever seen?

Terry Stern: This is an exaggeration. The platform isn’t the most rewarding, although we appreciate your stating so.

In the beginning, admittedly, the wording wasn’t chosen with the delicacy and precision that it should have. This is why Stellar Point has introduced their international compliance and public relations departments, not just in Canada, but in every country they operate in. Currently the wording for much of BBI’s marketing and training materials is undergoing revision to correct the inaccuracies in how the programs and company were described. Verbiage aside, the program does provide what it states, to provide a return following the completion of the two complimentary cycles, equal or greater than the initial inventory purchase value. Once again, after that, it’s up to the affiliate to move forward according to their individual goals

Finch: Yes, you have introduced a compliance team a full 24 months after the launch of the program. Meanwhile over 300,000 affiliates have already joined the program – many under false pretences of doubling their money.

Given you are accepting that the company has been falsely advertised and misrepresented by both affiliates and your own website, shouldn’t your customers be entitled to full refunds?

You have taken their funds happily whilst using misleading advertising, and being compliant for over 2 years in allowing the false misrepresentation of your company by affiliates.

I’m sorry, but a vow to ‘fix things’ for the next 300,000 affiliates is unlikely to please many of the existing 300,000 affiliates who feel they’ve already been sold down the river.

** No further comment from Terry **

Finch: Banners Broker was launched privately in the HYIP community, a space notorious for ponzi schemes and false ‘get-rich-quick’ claims. Why did the company choose to target the usual ponzi players for its seed investment as opposed to an investment bank, a venture capitalist or, say, Mike Arrington?

Terry Stern: Simple, because this is where people looking for affiliate and self-generated business opportunities look for new ones. The community is also where legitimate companies looking to source affiliates for their programs, not all of which are ‘ponzi’ schemes, and the intention wasn’t to source seed investment, but as mentioned previously, those that are looking for an opportunity to succeed online where they may have previously failed.

Finch: Self-assessment deadline is rapidly approaching in the UK where many Banners Broker affiliates will be required by law to report their full online earnings. What tax advice would you give to your UK affiliates?

Terry Stern: None, BBI doesn’t provide tax advice. Each affiliate is their own business entity, and thus are responsible for their own accounting and taxes. Realistically, affiliates should speak with an accountant to determine what the best advice would be.

Finch: When filing a tax return, the Banners Broker income listed under ‘My Total Earnings’ should be declared as earnings even though it hasn’t yet been withdrawn. Would you agree or disagree?

Terry Stern: Disagree, an individual doesn’t pay taxes on earnings they haven’t drawn.

Finch: Regarding the Banners Broker office raid in Goa:

At the time of writing (and according to the North Goa Courts database), Ana Luisa Onofre Alves Bento, head of BB India, is awaiting a court hearing after charges were brought under IPC section 4, 5 and 6 of the PCMC banning act 1978, 406 and 420.

‘Mischief’ from a past employee was the reason given for the trouble in Goa. Can you give a little more detail about the exact sequence of events and the nature of the charges?

Terry Stern: Unfortunately I am unable to comment on an ongoing investigation and court case.

Finch: David Hooker was quoted by a Banners Broker employee as saying that the Goan office would be open on the Saturday following the raid, and that the entire event had been a misunderstanding. We are now hearing that the office was willingly closed as the company had already made plans to move to Bangalore. Was the Goan office closed by the police, or was it closed willingly?

Terry Stern: The office was closed by the Police, however the company was not closed down and is still actively operating in India. In November of 2011 a decision had been made to move the company to Bangalore, the “Silicone Capital” of India due to it being more conducive to BBI’s expansion plans.

Finch: In David Hooker’s statement, he says:

PS: Please be informed that although Mr Edney Heredia has been terminated from Banners Broker he continues to be one of the directors, and 50% shareholder in the company as he refused to relinquish his shares in the company. He tried to sell his shares for $50,000 and when this was refused he reduced his request to $10,000 which was still refused by the Executives of Banners Broker International.

$20,000 seems like an extremely modest valuation. Can you disclose on what basis the offer of $10,000 for 50% of the company was refused?

Terry Stern: The company Banners Broker India was initially set up to operate on behalf of BBI and provide training and marketing services. This function has been passed to an Independent Contractor and as such, the company has no value. Mr Heredia has shares in a company that has no function or value. Paying $10,000, $20,000 or $50,000 for a company without value seems a bit ridiculous does it not?

Finch: On one hand you say the company has no value and its function has been passed to an independent contractor, on the other hand you say the company was not closed down and is still actively operating in India with plans to move to a large new office in Bangalore. Which is it?

** No further comment from Terry **

Finch: There are conflicting reports over how BannersBroker plans to deal with bloggers – like myself – and critics posting ‘negative’ pieces about the company. Just recently, Lorenzo Guarini, a leading Banners Broker ambassador was quoted as encouraging affiliates to “ignore the negativity online and get on with [your] businesses. They [Banners Broker] are going to have a bit of a blogging war, by having BB writing negative blogs about the negative bloggers which should be fun.”

This contradicts the official line of communication, clearly, as I am sitting on a cordial invitation to visit Canada and explore the head office in person.

What is your official response to the naysayers and critics? Should we be prepared for targeted hate campaigns, legal action or open invitations to Canada? Is there anything you’d like to say?

Terry Stern: I’ve actually already responded to this on your blog but I’ll say it again here.

Neither Stellar Point nor Banners Broker International is launching any type of ‘hate campaign’ or ‘blogging war’ against those who have expressed negative opinions about our company online. Every company looks to protect its image, however, I will not resort to that sort of behaviour. An invitation was sent to 4 people, 2 have accepted, 1 has refused and 1 has not acknowledged the invitation at all. So far, I have not received any dates to which any of those contacted would like to visit, but the offer stands.

I made this offer in order to allow those that would say negative things without having first-hand information, to have the opportunity to see and learn first-hand who we are, how the system operates, and have their questions answered in-person in-context rather than through text where the message can get lost or edited. Once they’ve had their questions and concerns dealt with, they can report back on us with factual first-hand experience and knowledge, whether they feel we’re legit or not, and everyone is satisfied.

I don’t like the “schoolyard rules or etiquette” like I’ve experienced on some forums/blogs. Our doors are open. If people want to know what’s really going on, come visit and find out for themselves, but to quit guessing and making a fool of themselves. They really don’t have the answers they think they do.

Finch: You were recently quoted on this blog as saying:

BannersBroker used to have regional offices set up in each country they did business in. The problem arose whereby the people running some of those offices chose to stray from the official method of doing business and implemeted their own procedures and instructional techniques. This resulted in some of the problems we’ve been talking about on the blogs and forums, where misinformation was handed out, and affiliates were told the wrong thing to get them to sign up. One such issue was in fact in the UK, where the representative there started charging affiliates for support when he should have referred them to BBI. He also signed up people under false pretenses to the tune of $4 Million which he placed in an offshore account. You already have heard of what’s going on in India.

This leads to a few obvious questions.

Firstly, is the UK representative you are referring to Ian Driscoll?

Shouldn’t members who signed up to Banners Broker under these false pretences be entitled to a full refund?

What action is being taken against the individual in question?

The official line on Driscoll’s departure was that “We wish Ian Driscoll and his wife Leslie all the very best for their new business venture.” Do you not think your UK affiliates have the right to know if their former recruiter stands accused of stealing $4 Million of their money?

** Terry declined to comment **

In Conclusion…

As you can see, Terry declined the opportunity to reply to many of my follow-up questions. He gave this reasoning:

I’m letting you know, that I won’t be responding to the follow up questions. I’m not doing this out of malice, but rather basing it on the fact that my responses are being viewed through eyes that are comparing the company to traditional forms of using ad space rather than truly reading what I’ve been describing. Even reading through your follow up questions, it became apparent that you’re still looking at BBI as though they were an advertising company and not a broker.”

“As a result of this, I’ve composed a rather lengthy post, but a comprehensive response to you and those reading your blog, regarding once again, who the company is, and how it works. Everything there is the same as has gone to different governmental organizations around the world describing who the company is and how it operates. Hopefully this time people understand a little clearer how the whole process works, and find better things to do with their time than try and twist minute details into synthetic issues for debate.

You can read Terry’s full response here.

I want to thank Terry for taking the time to answer (some) of my questions.

It would be easy for Banners Broker to ignore this blog and allow their devoted followers to dismiss the previous scam warnings as misleading lies and malicious ‘hate blogging’. Some will certainly try that tactic.

I appreciate Terry’s attempt to respond to the criticism, and I hope our exchange quells the ridiculous rumours that a ‘crack legal team’ is about to take action against me, and people like me, who speak out against the program.

Have any of the arguments put forward by Terry Stern changed my view of Banners Broker?

Unfortunately, no.

The core business model just does not stack up, and there are too many questions that remain unanswered. These were not difficult questions.

While Terry is quite within his right to refuse to comment, I reject the idea that “you’re still looking at BBI as though they were an advertising company and not a broker” qualifies as a reason for why some of the questions were passed over.

I look forward to visiting the Banners Broker HQ first-hand in March. Until then, I’m afraid my advice remains to avoid this program. If you already have money invested, I suggest withdrawing as much as you can as quickly as you can.

Banners Broker Scam Update

UPDATE 28/2/2013: Just days ago, BannersBroker announced the reopening of their Indian office in Goa after ‘the conclusion of a police investigation’. Once again, they have been caught lying. Click here to read the full court order, which explicitly states that the company’s accounts are frozen, and their assets remain in police custody.

UPDATE 29/1/2013: I have just posted a full Q&A session with Terry Stern, the International Public Relations Director representing Banners Broker.

BREAKING NEWS 31/12: Banners Broker’s Goa office has been raided and shut down by the police. The company has been charged under IPC section 4, 5 and 6 of the PCMC (banning) act 1978, 406 and 420. Full announcement here.

UPDATE 4/1: Amid growing speculation over the future of Banners Broker India, CEO Chris Smith has cancelled the company’s ‘World Tour’ that was originally planned to reach Kolkata in February. Smith insisted that Banners Broker is ‘fine’ during his Friday conference call. He blamed ‘a little mischief’ from an ex-employee for the criminal charges brought against the company. The investigation is still ongoing, and the Banners Broker Goan office remains closed. More information here.

* * *

In October, I made a post about Banners Broker being a suspected ponzi scheme. To say that the post has gone viral would be a massive understatement. It is currently drawing several thousand hits per day, with 357 comments and counting.

My Hate Mail has also been buzzing left, right and center.

While that initial post was designed to raise awareness of the scam, critics have said – quite rightly – that it doesn’t offer enough evidence to say, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that the program is a ponzi scheme.

Personally, I wasn’t expecting there to even be a debate. It’s pretty obvious what Banners Broker is.

But perhaps I am guilty of overlooking the fact that most people who invest in Banners Broker have no exposure to the real online advertising industry. It is not so obvious without that first-hand experience.

I’ve decided to release this second post to provide a more cohesive look at why Banners Broker stinks, and how we can make such assumptions about it being a ponzi scheme without a single piece of ‘definitive’ proof.

If you haven’t read the first Banners Broker Scam article, I suggest you start there.

Banners Broker in the Media

Before I get in to the evidence and lies, I want to address a common misconception that it is only small-time bloggers who are posting negatively about Banners Broker.

The BB apologists seem intent on tarring us all as sad-acts who have nothing better to do than watch and wait for a good thing’s demise.

I prefer to call it an investment in the public interest. Many people are going to be harmed by the collapse of Banners Broker, and it is not just bloggers who are taking notice.

The Irish media has devoured the fanciful business model after leaders Rajiv Dixit, Chris Smith and co rolled in to town for a gala last month.

Here’s some of the press coverage:

Banners Broker in the Sunday World

Banners Broker in the Sunday World

Sunday World BB

Rajiv Dixit's Pyramid Past

The next time Banners Broker tells you that the negative criticism comes from ‘bloggers with hate agendas’, feel free to ask whether they consider the Sunday World (a major Irish red-top with over 1 million readers per week) in that same category.

The History of Banners Broker

The Banners Broker you see before you today, the alleged worldwide advertising force, is quite a radical leap from the Banners Broker that was announced to the HYIP scene in 2010. Here’s Kul Josun explaining the origins of the program in a very old and very revealing video:


“Banners Broker: Welcome to the worlds first cycler doubler, where you can double your money without signing up one person. Join for free and change your future today.”

To all the commenters in the last post who asked for a definitive piece of evidence that Banners Broker is a ponzi scam, this might as well be it. Upon launching, they branded themselves to the notorious HYIP community as the world’s first ‘straightline’ cycler doubler.

What this means is that your payouts come from within the system (cycled) directly from sign-ups below you (a straight line).

Here’s a fun task for you:

Go to Google, and search “straightline cycler doubler“.

Here you will find a revealing look in to the world of Banners Broker before the modern narrative of an online advertising network.

Look at the early press releases, look at the very first forum posts, look at the YouTube videos. Tell me it doesn’t stink.

Now tell me why this company should be considered in the same breath as real online ad companies.

Why did Banners Broker brand themselves as a moneymaking system to the HYIP community when the nature of their alleged business model (if it were true) would be more fitting on TechCrunch?

Banners Broker Uncovers Industry Shaking Algorithm; Banner Ads Never to be the Same Again!” (Yeah, I never saw that headline either.)

The answer is because Banners Broker’s roots are tied to the shadiest realms of HYIP. Recycled cash is the real source of their revenues, not an industry-changing algorithm in the online advertising space. And that’s why Banners Broker pitched their company directly to the kind of individuals who would be looking to invest in it: amateur investors a few small worlds away from Silicon Valley.

To put it simply: they know the hand that feeds them.

And it is not advertisers.

My favourite part of this video is Kul laying the smack down on other HYIP programs, “The hype and maths don’t work. Period.” And yet, he brags…

Straightline Cycler Doubler

Seems like a legitimate online advertising company!

Seriously people, these opportunities do not exist legally. Not in this world or the next.

Anybody who tries to convince you of such BS should be red-flagged and banished from business conversation for the rest of his days.

Before you invest in the next get-rich-quick program (or Banners Broker if you are new to the idea), consider that the world’s greatest investor – Warren Buffett – has written his name in to history by producing an average annual return of just over 20%. A staggering feat in the investment arena.

Now ask why Warren Buffett isn’t investing in the ‘stock’ of Banners Broker panels, a program that the apologists claim can deliver an upwards annual return of 300%.

The answer is because Warren Buffett prefers to work with real companies, not smiley faced Primark suits fresh off the back of a ‘World Tour’ lorry.

Chris Smith… The Man, The Myth, the Stock Photo

In the video above, you will notice that it introduces Chris Smith as the mathematical genius behind Banners Broker. Except that isn’t the same Chris Smith who can be found travelling the world today.

In fact, that Chris Smith is a stock photo that can be purchased for £18.00, which was evidently too much for “We Are Cash Rich” Banners Broker as they have cropped it above the watermark:

Chris Smith, Changing Skins

Small details, guys.

I hate to point out the sheer unprofessionalism of this company by resorting to stock photo CEOs, but it goes a long way to understanding the bigger picture. We are dealing in smoke and mirrors.

Nothing is ever what it seems with Banners Broker.

“In Defence of Banners Broker…”

You may have seen this article, Debunking the Scam, that attempts to explain – in Clickbank sales letter form – ‘how the Banners Broker model works’. It has become the Bible of Cult BB, a source that is supposed to deflect all criticism. There’s just one problem: it’s a steaming pile of you know what…

Let’s look at some of the points raised:

From Debunking the Scam

So the product of Banners Broker is: Advertising Impressions.

The end user – the advertiser, who never sees or hears of Banners Broker, gets ad space that hosts his advertising, and visitors to the various websites where that ad is displayed, see that ad.

There’s the product.

Hold on, hold on. WHAT? This is one of the stupidest defence arguments I’ve ever heard.

The advertiser never sees or hears of Banners Broker?!

That’s a pretty dumb theory considering an advertiser needs to sign up through BannersBroker.com before he can use the advertising system. Or is that just there for show?

The purpose of Banners Broker is to act as the middleman and broker ad impressions. We already know that Banners Broker gains access to publisher websites by brokering through Clicksor as a reseller (see this description).

Note here, “Selling traffic has not been this easy before. Become a Clicksor authorized reseller now and experience the simplicity in selling traffic to your advertisers.

Clicksor provides the publishers. It’s up to Banners Broker to provide the advertisers, which is the whole god damn point of reselling. The fruitcase above has clearly not understood this when he comes out with tripe such as “the advertiser never sees or hears of Banners Broker“.

I mean, come on dude. Does the following link mean nothing to you?


I suppose the advertiser has to sign up wearing a blindfold then?

Or is – as I somehow suspect – the argument designed to distract our attention from the fact that not a single Banners Broker advertiser is known to exist?

Moving on to his next crazy suggestion…

From Debunking the Scam

Banners Broker is just what it says – a broker in the banner advertising field. A unique broker – unique in that no one else does what they do.

What’s a broker? The dictionary says: “a broker is a person who buys and sells goods or assets for others.”

Banners Broker “brokers” in a slightly different way than has been done before on line… here’s an overview:

There is a network of websites and advertising companies that comprise what is called the “Blind Network”(Click here for definition) (an Internet ad industry term).

Note, that I didn’t say – Banners Broker operates within a Blind Network.
They operate within T-H-E Blind Network.

The same Blind Network that millions of advertisers and publishers already operate within.

The same Blind Network that successfully generates BILLIONS of Dollars of revenue every year.

This isn’t something invented by someone to trick you – it’s how the on-line advertising industry works – (so how can these so called “insiders” be inside anything but their own rear ends?)

Let me keep this short and sweet. There is no such thing as ‘THE Blind Network’.

If ‘THE Blind Network’ is real, and Banners Broker operates within ‘THE Blind Network’, who else operates in ‘THE Blind Network’? What is ‘THE Blind Network’?

And if Banners Broker is a pawn in somebody else’s ‘THE Blind Network’, what makes their business model so special that it can’t be replicated by a competitor? Ever heard of the law of competition? Unless Banners Broker took out a patent on banners, we need to have a serious adult discussion.

If we are to believe the margins – eye-watering as they are – why isn’t every single broker in the world rushing to be a part of THE Blind Network?

Answer: There is no such thing.

This idiot then goes on to contradict himself by saying that Banners Broker operates in the same Blind Network as millions of other advertisers and publishers.

So what is its competitive advantage?!

Again, no mention of what this Blind Network actually is, or who runs it… Who needs details, right?

Note on the author: Seriously, who hyphenates “on-line“? Can we really trust that this guy has departed the twentieth century? Maybe the Millenium Bug struck after all.

In a recent development, Banners Broker has debunked any suggestion that it is ‘THE Blind Network’.

The Blind network is NOT created/nor owned by BB, but controlled by 10 other brokers, including Google.

I’m sorry, but this explanation is also a pile of steaming BS. Are we to believe that Banners Broker is brokering ad sales through Google, now? Complete rubbish. Google does not need a company like Banners Broker. It has its own properties to handle publishers and advertisers: AdSense and AdWords. There is no ‘broker’ middleman.

The Choice Network… Now Comes Served With Ads (Or Does It?!)

A key point in my first post on Banners Broker was that the so-called Choice Network was no more than a damp fraudulent squib. The websites in the network clearly belonged to Banners Broker, and none of them had advertisements from legitimate companies.

Well, there must be pigs flying in the sky, because the BB apologists are telling me that the Choice Network is now fully operational, and filled with real ads from real companies.

I took a few minutes to verify their claims, and sure enough, ads from reputable companies are now displaying:

WillHill ads

Hold on, though. Before you get excited, we should know better than to take what Banners Broker says or does at face value.

Is this advertising campaign really running through the Banners Broker Choice Network?

No, it’s not.

Banners Broker is serving these ads from ox-d.bannersbroker.com, which can be IP traced to New York City where the server is owned by OpenX Technologies:

OpenX Technologies

OpenX is a powerful ad exchange that offers publishers the chance to sell their own inventory, or broker through the OpenX Market where a number of renowned brands can pick up the scraps. Brands like… WillHill.

It’s debatable whether Banners Broker invested in the Enterprise Edition or the Free Version (for hobbyists), but what certainly isn’t debatable is the fact that these ads you see on the Choice Network do not come from advertisers signing up to BannersBroker.com.

They are sourced from the OpenX Market, probably as remnant traffic.

You could sign up to the same service today and have your very own ‘Choice Network’ up and running in hours.

One thing is for certain, you will soon see that actually, yes, it is possible NOT to make money with the Banners Broker system. The real one, anyway. These ads produce only an industry standard return, nothing like what would be required to turn a bunch of third party investors in to millionaires.

So, what are we to make of all those months where the Choice Network was stuck in ‘Test Mode’? I guess that’s how long it took BB’s in-house programmers to configure OpenX across their portfolio of dud sites.

Changing the face of the online advertising industry?

Yeah, that might take a while.

Note: Thanks to the helpful peeps over at RealScam for piecing together this latest lie. They’ve been tearing the scheme apart with much greater dedication than myself!

Once again, we could forgive the lies surrounding the Choice Network if the flagship Blind Network delivered on its promises. But it doesn’t. And one begins to question whether it ever will…

An Update on My Experience as a Blind Network Advertiser

How many BB investors have actually advertised on the Banners Broker Blind Network? I know a lot of them like to talk about it, as if it’s some kind of revolutionary invention.

But have they actually tried it?

I have.

In my first post, I mentioned how I had setup a campaign on the Blind Network. 7 weeks later, I decided to login and see how my campaign had performed. Boy, what a disappointment.

After negotiating the new security gateway…


(Seriously, who asks for FIVE security questions? Even my bank only needs two. I guess they’re harvesting security answers as well as passports these days…)

I finally reached the reporting section for my test campaign…

Blind Network Test

Yes, in over 7 weeks of running a broadly targeted campaign on the Blind Network (one category in the UK), I have received a grant total of 866 impressions! That’s a total advertiser spend of just over $0.86 in 7 weeks.

If Banners Broker can’t send 1000 impressions of traffic to a UK campaign in 7 weeks, how in the name of Lucifer’s balls is it able to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue?

Tell me, apologists! How does an advertiser spend millions of dollars on this platform when I can’t even spend ONE dollar in 7 weeks?

What you see above is the Banners Broker’s take on a ‘campaign report’.

So, let’s say I’m a professional media buyer.

Where do I find my breakdown of performance by creative? By channel? By hour? Where do I exclude targets (a damn near critical option for blind networks)?

Banners Broker tells the world that it is paying millions of dollars to its affiliates. Maybe that is the case. But the money is damn sure not coming from advertisers. I beg anybody to test this joke of a system and tell me otherwise.

Banners Broker and Clicksor

If we crawl through the heaps of misinformation on how Banners Broker actually serves its banners, it becomes clear that the company is brokering through Clicksor (a broker within a broker, if you will).

Clicksor is a legitimate company that I have worked with in the past. I’m sorry for sullying their names in the same sentence as Banners Broker, but we have to point out some crucial information:

In the latest 2011 data, Clicksor’s parent company Yesup Ecommerce Solutions Inc posted annual revenue of $17.5 Million dollars.

And yet Banners Broker claims to have paid out over $100 Million dollars, by brokering through Clicksor.


Why is Banners Broker’s $100 Million in affiliate payouts not reflected in Clicksor’s accounts? They are receiving the same advertiser trade and they are further up the chain.

We would have to assume that Banners Broker is the only company working with Clicksor, and that Clicksor is the only part of Yesup producing revenue, and even then the maximum revenue pales in significance to what Banners Broker claims to be paying out to its affiliates. The markup must be astro-bloody-nomical.

It’s an economical impossibility.

Which is why Banners Broker has acted quickly to change its story.

David Hooker, BB’s latest snake-oil man, addressed this issue directly at the recent Irish gala.

The Empower Network reports:

“His presentation consisted of filling us in completely on how the Blind Network works and how it has 10 major Brokers running it. How Banners Broker linked up with the smaller of these Brokers (Finch: He stresses ‘smaller’ for good reason. He knows the previous numbers and ‘direct relationship’ clearly identified their model as a fraud)) and how now one of the largest Brokers has given green light to link with them. Chris later said that the linking up of software is almost complete and they will soon be good to go.”

If you know anything about advertising through a blind network, this is pretty hilarious.

  1. What advertiser in his right mind is going to work with a broker that re-brokers through any 1 of 10 different networks? Why would the advertiser not just go direct to his broker of choice for half the price… and, screw it, some actual control over his ads?

    It’s like me saying, “I want you to give me £1 for an ice cream that we both know you can buy for 50p. Except, I’m not even going to let you decide which ice cream you have. I’ll take that extra 50p and pick whichever of the 10 vans I want to buy it from (even though you may have a preference!). Then I’ll go to a bunch of investors and pitch them my breakthrough idea on the basis that brokering ice cream is the “next big thing” and billions are made every year by doing so. How about we ask for £3000 for the Black Cone Package – ‘Double your Cornettos, Magnums, and Twisters in a month!’ Yeah, pop-business. The proles will love that.

    There’s a problem with the model. People aren’t stupid! They know where they can get their ice cream for 50p, and they are not going to pay you double for less choice and poorer service. The same applies to the Banners Broker business model. Advertisers are not stupid. They are not going to pay Rajiv Dixit and Chris Smith more money in return for less ads and less control over where they appear.

  2. In any case, who are these ’10 major brokers’ that Banners Broker has suddenly started working with? Why no names?

  3. Tell us David, has Clicksor become the “smaller of these brokers” because you’ve been found out – publicly – by claiming to send your traffic through a network whose parent company reports only a tiny fraction of your own claimed revenues? I guess if you announce “10 major brokers” (conveniently without naming them), we can’t look in to their much more transparent workings and directly shoot your bullshit down for what it is.

It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?

This is a lie aimed squarely at the bullet holes shot in the previous lie.

Note: We know that Banners Broker has been brokering solely through Clicksor because publisher.bannersbroker.com can be IP traced directly to a Clicksor server. Good luck split testing that with your 10 other brokers!

Get Paid by Turtle Mail

When working with reputable companies, you expect to also deal with reputable banks.

When working with Banners Broker, that is not the case.

Withdrawal requests are handled in one of three ways:

  • The pre-paid BB card
  • Solid Trust Pay (STP)
  • Payza

The withdrawal methods vary from country to country, but it’s immediately clear that accessing your funds is not going to be as easy as it should be with a world renowned advertising company. There are no cheques, no direct deposit, not even a PayPal option!

With all due respect to Solid Trust Pay and Payza, their brands are known for dealing with the type of Internet businesses that can’t get approved anywhere else. They are staples of the HYIP community. And as for the pre-paid BB card (for some investors, their only option), this is the equivalent to being paid in cash.

You might as well be receiving an iTunes gift card.

Hey, give it 3 months and that will probably be the only payment option left.

There is absolutely no excuse for:

  1. Withdrawal methods that require the user to jump through hoops with notarised ID before he can get his money.

  2. Taking weeks, sometimes months, to process the bloody transactions in the first place. All the while charging the user on time every time for admin processing fees and traffic packs.

Banners Broker will take your money, but pay you only when they feel like it.

Which soon will be never.

They claim that their payouts are running smoothly with minimal backlog. A quick search of the Internet and that is clearly not the case. Selective payments rule the day.

The Tax Conundrum

A wise man once said, “The only thing certain in life is death and taxes.

All money earned through Banners Broker is taxable, even the money that you haven’t yet withdrawn. Yes, your total account balance would be considered a form of stock in the eyes of the exchequer.

This leads to the rather awkward situation where Banners Broker investors need to be paying tax on income that they haven’t yet received. Failure to do so is in clear breach of the law (I’m referring to the UK, you will need to research this if you live elsewhere).

Let’s get this straight…

You are liable to pay tax on ALL of your “My Total Earnings” minus the costs accrued from account fees and buying traffic packs.

Your account might look like this:

Total Earnings: £15,000
Withdrawals So Far: £2,000
Invested in to the System (Total Costs): £3,000

Total Earnings – Total Costs = Taxable Profits
£15,000 – £3,000 = £12,000

Basic Tax Rate is 20%
(£12,000 x 0.20) = £2400 now due in tax.

So let’s say you have managed to withdraw £2000 from Banners Broker. You now need to pay the taxman £2400. Doesn’t sound like such a good investment, does it?

You are at a loss.

It’s not going to get better either! The Banners Broker system is designed to exponentially increase your My Total Earnings while allowing you to withdraw only a small fraction of your funds. It’s a bait ploy. But fatally, it assumes that you are the kind of person who doesn’t bother paying tax.

Well, do you?

With the January 31st deadline for self-assessment rapidly approaching, there are a lot of Banners Broker investors that are now required by law to hand ALL of their profits to the taxman while waiting for Banners Broker to pay the rest of their earnings.

Will that happen? Of course not.

If you don’t care about being involved in a ponzi scheme, I highly doubt you care about paying your taxes. But you should start thinking about it.

Lies, Lies, and More Lies

Troy Dooly recently posted an article on MLM Helpdesk writing off Banners Broker as a ponzi scheme. Here’s how Banners Broker chose to deflect the criticism:

Banners Broker Troy Dooly

Yes, by falsely claiming that the article was written in an attempt to extort money in return for deletion.

Talk about a stroke of twisted genius. I hope Troy sues.

Here’s more from David Hooker on the subject of us pesky bloggers speaking critically of Banners Broker:

The Empower Network reports:

“He also talked about how he tackled the bloggers that were writing negative stuff. One was a friend of his and wanted Banners Broker to pay him £900 to correct his negative story!!!!

Another one, when offered the chance to come to BB International to see for himself what Banners Broker does, declined, and said he was broke!”

Hooker wisely opts not to name any names. If he did, he’d be sued to Kingdom Come.

This is the current tactic for deflecting criticism: accuse the blogger of trying to extort money. Well, if I hear even the slightest whisper that this article is written to extort money, I’ll be unleashing a lawyer so far up David Hooker’s arse that his next rousing presentation is delivered directly to a judge.

I guess rejecting all criticism as an attempt at extortion sums up the state of mind at Banners Broker HQ perfectly. What are they scared of in there?

Common Misconceptions

Let’s play some FAQ with the common responses from BB apologists. If you read the comments from the last post, you’ll already be familiar with the holding patterns and the dumbfounded logic.

I’m making XXXX/month from Banners Broker. It’s negative people like you who will never make money online! I’ve quit my job already!

I’ve said it so many times that my fingers are starting to resent the same keyboard bashing:

The fact that you have made some money from Banners Broker does not mean that it is anything less than a ponzi scheme. It just means that you are luckier than the poor suckers further down the food chain.

Important! The high balance in your account does not mean that the money is yours. It is text on a screen. A promise in a hurricane. The money is only yours when it lands in your bank account and for most people, this is the where the frustration begins.

Money withdrawal times are increasing. Payout methods are decreasing. Excuses are growing more and more ridiculous by the day.

Just because a page in cyberspace says that you have $17,000 waiting for you on the other side of the rainbow, that does not make it so. Weigh up how much money you have invested versus how much you have withdrawn. Now do an honest appraisal of the situation: “Have I really made money here? Or have I inherited a gigantic stack of IOUs?

But I’ve met Chris Smith and Rajiv Dixit in person! A scammer would never show his face in person.

If you believe this, God help your wallet for it is ripeth to be plucked.

History is littered with ponzi schemers that travelled the world to sweet talk their prey. Take a look at Bernie Madoff. He hardly lived in the closet.

Why would a ponzi scheme go on a World Tour if it wasn’t credible?

Good question.

Let me rephrase it.

If Banners Broker is truly about a revolutionary advancement in the online advertising industry, why is the company touring for investors instead of advertisers?

It is advertisers who make the BB world spin round.

They are the ‘alleged’ heart of the business, the rainmakers if you will.

So why is there no evidence that a single Banners Broker advertiser exists? Why does Banners Broker spend its days trawling the world for fifty buck investors when its the big brand advertisers that pay the bills?

This company cannot survive without recruiting a large number of the most reckless advertisers under the sun (who also conveniently have the most extravagant budgets).

How do they recruit these elusive, nonchalant big-spenders (who don’t care which of the 10 networks you throw their ads on for twice the price)?

It’s certainly not by going on tour at advertising trade shows, or reputable conferences, or by offering a single interview to a reputable trade journal.

No, no.

The CEO of Banners Broker prefers to spend his time sharking across the dancefloor at Irish galas, eyeing up the next Primark suit for a Yellow Panel bonanza.

Chris Smith's lucky day
Sourced: http://www.realscam.com/f8/banners-broker-hyip-ponzi-scam-897/index123.html

He calls it networking. I call it a waste of bloody time for somebody who *allegedly* has much bigger fish to fry.

You don’t find Zuckerberg skirting for fifty bucks on the outskirts of Mumbai.

How can it be a ponzi? It doesn’t require referrals. I can make money without referring a single soul!

Practically every big player in Banners Broker is sitting on a mountain of referrals. It is the secret sauce behind their incomes.

True, you don’t have to refer people to join the program. But at this stage in the game, you are going nowhere fast if you choose to sit still, waiting for your panels to progress. This program is designed in such a way that dragging in more investors is the safest way to guarantee your own investment.

If you think the program can survive without referrals, you might want to consider this latest nugget from the Banners Broker blog:

“BB will be around as long as affiliates want to remain a part of the program”

Freud must be smiling in his grave.

Banners Broker is approved by MasterCard. Do you really think MasterCard would approve a ponzi scheme to use their cards?

This is such a nasty little lie that Banners Broker has been forced to tell its affiliates that, actually, there is no approval from Mastercard, and indeed no backing whatsoever. Banners Broker buys its pre-paid Mastercards from Vector, an independent reseller.

If you think there is a legitimate relationship between MasterCard and Banners Broker, I would advise that you keep it to yourself. Banners Broker are now so hypersensitive about this damaging lie that they are terminating the accounts of users who imply any such relationship exists.

If it was really a scam, it would have collapsed already.

There are some ponzi schemes that have lasted 20 years and there are others that have crashed and burned in 20 days.

If you believe that size or longevity defines a ponzi, let me assure you: it doesn’t.

It only defines how memorable the ultimate collapse will be.

In Summary: What is Really Happening?

For those of you who don’t have the time or attention to read all of the above, here is the bullet point breakdown of what is currently happening with Banners Broker, and what you can expect to happen over the coming months.

  • Your Panel Movements Will Grind to a Halt – Thousands of BB members are already reporting that their panels have been static for days, and that they have been slowing over the last few weeks. There’s a very simple explanation for this. Banners Broker doesn’t have the cashflow to pay what it owes, or to deliver the returns that it is promising you. Certainly not over the Christmas period where members are rushing to withdraw. Your panels are going to move slowly probably for the rest of Banners Broker’s very short-lived existence.

  • Withdrawals Will Continue to Take Forever – It’s not going to get better. The Banners Broker program is showing severe signs that it is overstretched. You don’t need me to tell you that withdrawal times are getting worse. Compare them to six months ago.

  • More ‘World Tours’ – Banners Broker is losing the online battle for publicity (with articles like my last swamping their brand at the top of Google), which is why it is throwing resources in to offline ‘tours’ as a means of recruiting new investors. This looks set to continue in to the new year with a tour of India planned. Will Banners Broker make it that far? I couldn’t possibly say. But if you’d like a long list of ‘deeply troubling questions’ to ask them in person, feel free to email me.

  • The Press Will Continue to Circle – The Sunday World has reported three negative stories in three weeks on Banners Broker. The Irish Examiner is also chiming in. I know for a fact that at least two major UK newspapers are interested in the fate of the scheme, as I’ve been speaking to them personally. Expect to hear lots more negative press about Banners Broker in the following weeks. The knives are being sharpened from all angles.

  • The Trolls, Shills & Pimps Will Blitz the Comments – The slightest hint of criticism and they always do. Just ask yourself, “What is their motivation?” If they were really making money from Banners Broker (and I’m sure some of them are), why do they care what anybody else thinks? The reason they defend this program so devoutly is because their future income depends on it. I hope that this post convinces you to think twice about your own.

Is Banners Broker ‘Definitely’ a Ponzi Scheme?

In my last post, I came to the judgment that Banners Broker is a well-disguised ponzi scheme. I stand by that judgment.

In the comments, I faced a lot of questions from readers who thought I couldn’t possibly say with ‘100% conviction’ that it is definitely a ponzi scheme. As much as it pains me to admit this, they are correct.

Theoretically, there is still a tiny chance that Banners Broker isn’t a ponzi scheme. Until the inevitable collapse, there remains a tiny shred of doubt.

The problem for those who back Banners Broker is that it is down to them to answer: “If Banners Broker isn’t a ponzi scam, what could it possibly be?

The existing business model is riddled with flaws and impossibilities. There is simply no way that the money being paid to investors could have been delivered by online advertisers in the model that Banners Broker is claiming. Zero chance.

And that’s where this research ends.

If you believe that Banners Broker can operate as something other than a ponzi scam and deliver such spectacular returns, you are welcome to carry on believing, to keep on throwing your savings at the cause.

If, like many, you are coming to suspect the workings behind Banners Broker for something more sinister, you may wish to cancel your ticket to the BB World Tour, roll out your mock-Bannatyne accent and repeat this loud and clear:

I’m out.

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