Date archives "March 2006"

The Stormpay Saga (scam?!)

Stormpay is a online payment processor, just like PayPal. Unlike PayPal, they allow their services to be used for multi-level marketing, adult entertainment, gambling, and until recently programs known as Auto Surfs.

Auto Surfs are like traffic surfers, where you surf through a number of other peoples websites, building up credits to have your website viewed by other people doing the same thing. Obviously this is incredibly tedious work, and the quality of traffic is zero (it won’t make any sales).

Auto Surfs differ to traffic surfers because you can minimize your browser window and leave it surfing all the sites over night while you are asleep. That makes the traffic credits you are building up worth zip, because no one actually has to look at your website.

So what is the point of the Auto Surfs if the traffic is worthless and a waste of bandwidth? Well, if you pay the company some money to “upgrade” your account,then you can receive commission on all your surfing. So you might upgrade your account to a $100 level, and earn $10 commission for each day of surfing you are doing for 15 days. So for your $100 “upgrade” you get $150 back in commission.

It doesn’t take a financial genius to realize that this is just a money moving scheme akin to a ponzi, masquerading as a legitimate webmaster traffic tool. No such investment can pay out the interest rates promised by these companies in the time periods they offer.

The money does infact come from other members “upgrading” their account. So when you boil down to it, these programs are ponzi’s, which are illegal.

What’s the point of the above information? Well, in Stormpay’s terms, it explicitly states that ponzi’s, pyramid schemes, gifting programs and other forms of financial fraud are not allowed to use their services.

So…these autosurfs are in the wrong if they are using Stormpay as a payment processor? Well, yes, technically they are. But on the flip side, Stormpay knew that autosurfs were using their services for months and months. They even verified the identity of several owners of autosurfs.

Because Stormpay charges extortionate fees due to the high risk industries they serve, they made a small fortune in fees collected from all the money flying around.

At the start of February, they froze the accounts of various auto surf companies, on the pretense that they were operating against the terms laid out in their Terms & Conditions – which technically they were. But why did it take them almost a year to decide to take any action? In the meantime collecting thousands of dollars a day in fees.

So, with the accounts of these autosurfs frozen, people suddenly realized that they could stand to lose a lot of money (when the ponzi collapsed, I don’t know what they would have done), so in their thousands, they started doing chargebacks on their credit cards. Unfortunately the credit cards honoured these requests and took the money back that Stormpay had accepted.

Now the fallout from this situation is just making itself felt. Stormpay is following the money trail of all the people that profited from the autosurfs (with other peoples money) and returning it to the main autosurf accounts for “redistribution to the rightful owners”.

The knock on effect that this is having is tremedous. I run a membership site that charges $47 per year or $97 for a lifetime membership. Last week I started to notice that dozens of chargebacks were appearing. Soon my account was over $1000 in the red. Fortunately for me I didn’t have a bank or credit card account associated with my Stormpay account or else I’m sure I would have been charged the difference.

My Stormpay account is now frozen and I cannot login due to it being suspended.

In total, I have lost over $6000 due to the actions of autosurfs and Stormpay – whom I think are both to blame.

The entire chain of events that I have described above was a disaster waiting to happen. Once the autosurfs collapsed (ie. there’s not enough new money coming in to payout the older ‘upgrades’), people would have started doing charge backs. By intervening when it did, Stormpay simply speeded up the process.

Who’s to blame?
Answer: Everyone involved in the autosurf arena.

Autosurfs are to blame because they were operating ponzi’s and allowing a payment processor which could be funded by credit card, and could therefore be charged back.

Stormpay are to blame because they allowed the autosurfs to operate using their services with full knowledge of what was going on – PayPal wouldn’t have allowed it for a second.

Members who ‘upgraded’ are to blame for putting money into a high risk financial scheme by using their credit cards! If you haven’t got the money to waste in pie in the sky opportunities, don’t go taking out a high interest loan which must be paid back no matter what.

Unfortunately for stormpay, they may have thought that they were doing the right thing, but they have f%&ked up big time, because they’ll never recover from this 🙂

Ain’t No Stopping Us Now! Woot!

I realize that I haven’t been updating this journal quite as much as I should have, but then again, according the the web log stats, it’s only me and my mum that’s reading this (Hi Mum!), so is there any point? Well, it helps me put things down on paper and organize my thoughts to see where I am, so it helps me, even if it bores any readers to death!

I know I should be writing about funny, human interest things, like which lady I’m seeing, or what stupid thing my housemate has just done or what crisis I’m having (I’m a guy, we don’t do crisisesesese(sp?!)).

Well, sorry, but you’re not going to get any of that on here, it’s a business blog about business things. Maybe you’ll pick up some tips along the way and see that working from home isn’t as carefree as you might think.

1. HYIP Junction
Work has started on this mega portal. It is expected to take 3-4 months, and at $30,000 it is our most ambitious project to date. My involvement in this project has been to create the programme requirements document (PRD) which is a word doc that describes to the programmers everything that we need. I have created a full HTML mock up of the site with everything, the rating stats, the members area, the forum, the new advertising system, the admin area everything.

SIDENOTE: If you are ever going to get something created by programmers, if possible always create a HTML mockup of exactly what you want. If you want a content management system, create a HTML site of exactly how the admin area should look. Not only does this cut down on development time (HYIPJunction went from a 6 month project to a 3-4 month project due to the mockup), it also ensures you get exactly what you want.

HYIPJunction contains so many brand new, never seen before features that I just can’t wait to see it launched. The advertising system is revolutionary, I’ve never even seen this method on any other website, I should patent it! The members features and site features just means that it becomes a no brainer for every HYIP member. So watch out TalkGold and GoldPoll! We’re moving into your territory now!

2. MegaToolKit
ARAGH! I know I keep mentioning this one all the time, and I know it should have been launched in January (*side long scowl at Paul*), but it really really is very nearly ready to go.

We’ve decided to use the membership site script from Mike Filisaime’s new package, but we still haven’t received it! Our hands are completely 100% tied until we get this software.

In the meantime we’ve been working hard to add more and more content and value to the package to make it a truely no brainer. We’ve spent over $1000 on brand new graphics for ebooks and software covers, headers, footers, backgrounds, membership cards and so on. We’ve (I) also spent dozens of hours customizing various private label ebooks and software to become part of the JuicySolutions products range. We’ll be giving all this away as part of the MegaToolKit package.

The next feature we’ve been working on is a brand new monthly membership site that will cost ordinary members $30-$40 monthly, but MegaToolKit members will get a lifetime membership as part of the package.

Why is this new monthly membership site going to be a truely no brainer for anyone looking to make money? Consider the following features:

– 150 Brand New Private Label Articles Every Month
– 3 Brand New Private Label Ebooks Every Month
– 3 Salesletters For The Ebooks Every Month
– 3 Complete Set Of Graphics For The Ebooks Every Month
– 5 Brand New Private Label AdSense Sites Every Month
– 5 Brand New Graphics For Any PLR Product On The Market
– Free Unlimited Domain Hosting
– 5 Brand New Mystery Private Label Products Every Month

Each month you will be getting well over $5,000 worth of products, graphics and services for from just $30. You can upload all of the sites and start making money straight away. Within a few months you will have dozens of money pulling, adsense clickin’ websites.

Not a bad package for the price, eh? This makes it truely a no-brainer for anyone buying the MegaToolKit package because they get a lifetime membership to the monthly membership site (we can’t tell you the name of it just yet).

3. abcHYIP
This is my site, the software is currently in beta testing stage, unfortunately I can’t tell you who’s testing it just yet because they are still developing their websites. Hopefully after a couple more weeks of beta testing I can start selling for real (yay!).

4. AdSense Sites
My adsense dreams of world domination have fallen by the way side recently due to constantly being down in Brighton giving Paul a kick up the arse to do some work (the guy would do anything to get out of what he should be doing!). As such I haven’t had a chance to work on any more sites or develop existing ones.

However, I’ve just had my best month ever in AdSense (yay!), but well short of my goal of $100 a day. One site has been doing pretty well for me, because its ranked really well in the search engines. I also have a list of absolutely fantastic keywords and niche markets. I have had a small script created for $200 that will help me exploit this niche market no end. I just need to find the time to create the sites and start promoting them.

5. HYIP101
This has just had another storming month. Not quite as big as January’s but twice as good as all previous months nevertheless. We have quite a few plans for this site in the near future, including a big update for the ebook.

6. HYIPAdvertiser
This is a HYIP Advertising Forum where everyone is free to register and post their ads in the appropriate sections. It still needs a few modifications before it’s ready, such as limiting the post count to two posts per day (so people can’t spam the board) and not allowing any replies to posts (it’s just a classified ads forum and we don’t want any flame wars to start), and installing a mod_rewrite mod that creates search engine friendly URL’s.

This site has the potential to be massive based on the popularity of another free classified ads forum which has over 112,000 members!

There’s a few other projects going on in my world, but those that I have mentioned above are the big things. Over the coming months I should be seeing some big results from all of them 🙂