Banners Broker Are Paying Out!
Banners Broker Scam: Get Your Money Back
Banners Broker Q&A with Terry Stern

Banners Broker Are Paying Out!

Shiver me timbers.

You heard it through this guy first.


Richard Arblaster, take a bow.

This is by far the creepiest shit I have seen in all my years of affiliate marketing.

Edit: Evidently Richard wasn’t as keen on recruiting affiliates as he originally made out. He’s set the monstrosity to private.

For what it’s worth, BannersBroker is not paying out. BannersBroker is broke.

Banners Broker Scam: Get Your Money Back

It’s been a while since I posted a BannersBroker update. Some may be familiar with my coverage of the company from these previous posts:

For everybody else, I apologise. What follows is not likely to make much sense unless you’ve been watching the ponzi unravel over the last 12 months.

The Current State of BannersBroker (Have we got all day?)

To say that BannersBroker is unravelling would be to say that the Titanic got a little damp on her way to New York. Sinking ship is an understatement. BannersBroker, as an investment proposition for anybody reading this today, is absolutely toast.

It is dead. Game over.

If you put money in to this programme today, you will not see it again.

While we can speculate with conjecture over what is actually happening behind the scenes at BannersBroker HQ (and I know many of you are), it has been confirmed that the company is under investigation by the Ontario Securities Commission.

That does not bode well for BB, and it is the reason why you see CEO Chris Smith brandishing buzz words like “active business” and “non-passive“. The company is trying desperately to paper over the cracks and present BannersBroker as a legitimate business, but it’s too late.

The reason for this post is due to recent evidence that it might not be too late for you to get your money back.

Note: But only your initial investment and subsequent deposits minus withdrawals. If you think you’re actually entitled to those ‘net profits’, you should go slap yourself with a wet fish.

Getting Your Investment Refunded

Credit for this information goes to user asdfghjkl on the Money Maker Group forum.

I have received a full refund into my bank account from BB/Stellar Point INC after threatening legal action in the Ontario Small Claims Court to recover my initial deposit. A group of us here in the UK (my upline and other referrals of his) have had significant success with this approach. 3 of us have had full refunds so far.

If you want your money back my suggestion is do this ASAP!!

I didn’t need to take them to court. Just threatening to was enough to get my account with them banned and after a couple of letters from their legal team a full refund was made to the card so originally paid on. Actually made a good return as the British Pound had strengthened compared to the USD over he last 6 months.

I can’t really speculate but it was very clear to me they didn’t want to go to court hence the full refund.

– User asdfghjkl on Money Maker Group

BannersBroker is understandably reluctant to have anything to do with a court order. In terms of legal footing, they are about as ready to engage as a deer in the headlights.

If you have made an investment and missed your first payment, threatening legal action is the best way to get a response (and your money back).

Whatever you do, don’t call the support team. Any support team that takes your money on a ‘per question’ basis is a complete fail on all accounts.

Some excellent steps for how to start the refund process are available on this BB Fightback Facebook page. It includes an email template that you can send to Stellar Point today.

The Banners Broker Ponzi Scam Facebook page, along with RealScam and the comments section on here, are the best places to check for regular updates on users’ attempts to get investments refunded.

You will have to wait until you’ve missed a payment cycle before you can start the legal proceedings (or threatening them at the very least).

Fortunately, it doesn’t look like you’ll have to wait very long.

Chris Smith’s Endless Excuses for Nil Payouts

Below you’ll find a timeline of recent excuses for why BannersBroker members haven’t received full payments. Now bear in mind the company policy that ‘negativity’ should be punishable by account termination.

Any member who complains about these delays faces the likelihood of having his account suspended. Or he would do if BannersBroker bothered to check their Facebook pages (last update in March and counting).

Here’s Chris Smith doing what he does best. Talking complete indecipherable rubbish:

23rd May – Last Payza payout, in terms of the order, people have asked about the dates — there are 2 reasons, one is a mistake and one by design. With Payza, it’s an Excel sent to the system and it pays based on that file. I created this file and put it together. It is date order, but if someone has say 4 pay requests, we will pay one and move to other members . When I did this, I sorted by ID’s, and I forgot to sort by Date (by person). So someone may have received an April payout and March is still pending. By design, due to the OSC investigation, we did choose some of the members who have never been paid before, so that everyone got their money back.

Finch: Were you not paid due to the OSC investigation or because Chris Smith is simply that incompetent? Who knows?

31st May – Payouts – I mentioned on Friday that we were doing STP last weekend, but it was not completed. We will be doing that this weekend. It is a batch upload, so there must be an Excel file that must be done correctly. In the past there were errors with that batch file, so now have to make sure everything is correct. There is alot of important data in that file and it invoves alot of money.

Finch: So a giant company like BannersBroker processes payments manually in an Excel spreadsheet? Seems legit. But not just an Excel spreadsheet! An Excel spreadsheet with errors in it.

7th June – STP payout yesterday. It took longer than anticipated, but did go out. (Finch: No it didn’t) We have alot of positive comments from members (Finch: No you haven’t). If you haven’t received yours you will be on the next run (Finch: No they won’t). Payza is coming up shortly. I hate to give definitive dates. But it will be soon.

Finch: Realising that a new line of defence is needed, Smith plucks a points system out of his arse…

14th June – Payouts: We do have a point system for payouts. It’s not alot different than before. Let’s say if you have a $2K w/d on Jan 1st, than another on Jan 2nd, same person. Person B does a request on Jan 5th for same $2K. Order is Person A gets w/d, then person B, then Person A, in that order. Points are assigned by order. Your first request will get more points than your next requests. More points are awarded if this is your first withdrawal.

Finch: Here’s a simple concept, Chris. Pay your members in full. Is BannersBroker no longer ‘cash rich’?

21st June – Next Payday: we were hoping to get Payza out last weekend. we cannot send it out if it’s not accurate. (Finch: You seem to send out payments with inaccuracies all the time, sometimes to the wrong account. Never stopped you before.) I am very confident that if it’s not today, then it will this weekend. I will make it a point to see that it goes out. STP will be shortly after that. We want to keep people satisfied. We are going in a point system order, predominantly by date, so everyone will not get a payment. However, everyone will get paid so please be patient.

Finch: A hilarious contradiction at the end there, synonymous of the misinformation this ‘company’ breeds to stay alive. All members are equal, but some are more Simon Stepsys than others.

Those are the excuses from the last month, but they stretch all the way back to January and February. For a full timeline of lies and deceit, check out the Banners Broker Iceland page.

Want to know a golden rule of running a ponzi scheme? Never tell your members why you can’t pay them. Blame it on everything under the sun, including your own incompetence, but never ever reveal the truth – that the pyramid is unsustainable, and the men at the top have milked it dry.

Clarifications and Conclusions

Several months ago I received this email from a reader who attended a local BB recruitment drive:

“You may or may not be pleased to know that you were personally mentioned by David Hooker I believe his name is, their Compliance Director, he advised us to ignore your blog, I think they are trying to pre-empt the fact that people will try and do research. They also interestingly claimed that your wife (?!?) is a BannersBroker Affiliate. I somehow doubt that is true, but I think you should be aware that that is what they are claiming.”

“It was your wife he said, he implied you had her join in order to try and drive revenue from banner advertising on your own site higher. The manner in which it was said was just outright nasty.”

Firstly, my ‘wife’ was actually my fiancee, and we’re no longer together. Secondly, she hated BannersBroker just as much as I did. Thirdly, what difference would that make to the banner revenue on this site?

Maybe we need to get Terry Stern in here to provide some simple explanations.

So, BannersBroker’s Director of Compliance (no less!) gets his balls in a twist with yet more malicious lies designed to pull the wool over cautious investors’ eyes. Upon being confronted with the remarks over email, Hooker feigned a ‘misinterpretation’ and promised not to run his little mouth in future.

Evidently the promise didn’t extend as far as his Facebook ‘fan’ page where he is still blabbering pseudo motivational bollocks to anybody who’ll listen.

David Hooker scammer

“Courageous! Determined! Driven!”

If this man has conned you in to handing over your hard earned cash, feel free to pay his page a visit and tell him what he really is.

For what it’s worth, David has recently removed any reference to Banners Broker or Stellar Point from his LinkedIn page. Make of that as you wish.

Another lie I’d like to put straight:

“Heard at a meeting in about the start of February (2013), that BannersBroker flew you to their HQ after seeing the bad press you had spread. They said it changed your mind about them. I just want to confirm whether that is true or I misheard?”

It’s not true, and I doubt you misheard.

I’ve had a few emails from BB apologists – presumably trying to bait me – by interpreting the months since my last post as a sign that I’ve ‘changed my mind’ about the scam, or that I’ve been bought out.

The reason I’ve been quiet is actually far simpler. I haven’t had to defend myself.

When I originally posted about the scam in October 2012, I was pelted with abuse from trolls, shills and damn near anybody with a penny invested in the scheme, as well as being publicly slandered by executives (!!) at Banners Broker recruitment drives. Time was always going to shine a rough light on the BB business model, and so it has.

The users who flocked here to defend the scheme can now be found venting their anger at BannersBroker instead, or promoting the next garbage ponzi. Some, to their credit, have publicly admitted that they were conned.

There’s no shame in being swindled by an international crime syndicate that has dedicated a lifetime to fooling you. Unless you let it happen repeatedly.

Where is Rajiv Dixit?

It comes as surprise to nobody that our friend Rajiv has decided to keep his head low since the damaging security investigations kicked off. This is a man already linked to other failed scams, like the ICF World Homes scheme that he swears was legitimate but somehow still ended up frozen by the Competition Bureau.

When the Securities and Exchange Commission come knocking (as they have been recently), Mr. Dixit knows he’ll be paying the piper some jail time.

I’ve heard some thoroughly unsavoury stories about Dixit that I can’t repeat here for obvious reasons. Some who know Raj on a personal level would be more than happy to throw him under a bus. And from what they’ve told me, I wouldn’t blame them.

In a bid to keep angry affiliates at bay, Raj changed his Facebook name to Rajeeve EswarRao, before seemingly deleting himself from the social network altogether.

Not sure where he stumbled across such a PR masterstroke. Maybe the Handbook of How To Run A Company Like Google?

What about Chris Smith?

How much does anybody know about Chris Smith… really?

Other than the fact that he used to be white?

Smith is the last man standing who is a) dumb enough or b) getting paid enough, to continue talking shop with angry BannersBroker investors.

My impression of Smith from his rumoured links to securities in the past is that he is a pawn. He doesn’t seem smart enough to mastermind a program like BannersBroker, but is happy to stick his face on the front cover.

The general consensus is that Dixit pulls Smith’s strings, so that Dixit can stay somewhat out of the spotlight. As for the ‘geeky genius’ who created the multi-million dollar Banners Broker algorithms? Wake me up when he has a Wikipedia page.

On the subject of Banners Broker management…

I read a depressing post on Facebook yesterday from a BB affiliate criticising the recent troubles, but still refusing to write off the company:

“…Love BB, Hate the managers who run it!!”

Edit: The original message was much longer but evidently the user doesn’t wish to be quoted. See the comments!

This kind of apologetic bullshit is the reason why the scheme hasn’t yet imploded. The managers who run BannersBroker ARE BannersBroker. They are the men who sat around a table and devised this damn near incomprehensible system with one intention: to fleece you of your money, and to get richer themselves.

Another depressing comment:

“OK there are far more experienced players in the on-line advertising industry, but had BB started out purely as an advertising company, I’d have no doubts they would have attracted some long-term business partners.”

Banners Broker has never been involved with the advertising industry. Any revenue they make from the banners on their network will be pennies. It saddens me that people are still falling for this idea that BB are transitioning towards a more ‘non-passive’ business. It has always been a ponzi scheme. You can’t pluck a legitimate advertising business out of the carnage just because the Ontario Securities Commission is on to you.

So I guess the real question is…

Are you going to let them get away with it? Will you continue to buy the panels lies?

The sad thing is, many affiliates will.

It’s a cultural hallmark of greed and easy-living. You’re told that you’re just ‘one week away’ from receiving the riches you were promised, and you continue to believe. A week turns in to a month, still you cling to the belief. When somebody tells you to join the Next Big Thing, you dive straight in because you want to believe in your divine right to easy money – no matter how many friends and families you trample over in its pursuit.

Note: If anybody asks you to join FlexKom, Ripplin, or Adhitprofits, do yourself a favour and don’t. Vultures like Soozi Scoones and Jamie Waters would sell your dying grandmother if it earned them a pot to piss in.

There’s no magic pot of gold under the rainbow and there’s no magic business waiting to fall out of Chris Smith’s arse. Only jail time, and hopefully lots of it.

Eventually BannersBroker is going to disappear and the ‘negative bloggers’ like myself who have been predicting this demise for a year will watch on as the lemmings join yet another get rich quick scheme.

Why? Because of the greed.

I hope those who are still clinging to a belief that BannersBroker somehow has legitimacy will wake up and smell the coffee. For those who are taking action to get their money back, good luck to you. I hope you don’t make the same mistake again.

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.

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