Timeline Suggests INetGlobal Was Pounding Clickbank Vendors With Traffic From China In Months Proceeding Raid While Sucking Bandwidth And Destroying Conversion Stats

EDITOR’S NOTE: Untargeted, unfocused traffic and participants who did not have websites to advertise are two of the issues in the AdSurfDaily autosurf Ponzi scheme case. They also are issues in the INetGlobal case.

UPDATED 8:20 A.M. ET (March 10, U.S.A.) Public records and other information suggest INetGlobal was becoming largely dependent on cash from Mainland China and was routing unwanted traffic that did not convert into sales to the sites of Clickbank vendors — while passing along the bandwidth costs to the vendors and grossly distorting  their conversion statistics.

In an affidavit for a search warrant, the U.S. Secret Service, citing an analysis of INetGlobal’s money stream by an unnamed employee, said “at least 87% of the company’s revenue was generated from sale of memberships to members residing in China.”

The affidavit also describes an INetGlobal function in Flushing, N.Y., on Jan. 23 that was attended by at least two undercover agents.

About 400 people attended the function, the Secret Service said. The “majority” were Chinese. Attendees to whom an undercover agent spoke “had either little or no facility in English.” The agent noted that that “conference registration took a long time because nobody at the registration desk spoke Chinese, and many of the conference attendees could not make themselves understood in English.”

Moreover, the agent said, when INetGlobal owner Steve Renner “asked, through an interpreter, how many people in attendance had their own business . . . only two raised their hands.”

One attendee — an existing INetGlobal member — was asked by the second undercover agent if she had a website to advertise in INetGlobal’s rotator.

The INetGlobal member — a woman Renner had identified as a “New Jersey resident making $6,000 per day, or $180,000 per month” — said she had no site to advertise in the rotator because having a website “was not required,” the Secret Service said.

A second INetGlobal member approached by the same undercover agent was asked if he had a website to advertise in the rotator. This member — a man described as telling the agent he made $3,000 a month in INetGlobal — explained that he had a website, but did not post it because “it was ten years old,” the Secret Service said.

Renner was observed telling different stories, the Secret Service said. One version had INetGlobal posting $25 million in revenue in December; another version “a short time later” pegged the figure at $20 million. Renner also said “iNetGlobal’s search engine, Access, would soon rival Google’s.

“Renner did not explain to the crowd that Access was simply a link to another search engine, and that an Access web search was just the same as a web search on this other search engine,” the Secret Service said.

Despite the claim that INetGlobal’s search engine would rival Google’s, the Secret Service said, internal company emails discussed “the possibility of the other search engine cutting the link and thus taking down Access.”

A Public Tip-Off From Renner Himself That INetGlobal Was Up To No Good?

Meanwhile, web records suggest that INetGlobal — at least for a time — either took it upon itself to add the sites of Clickbank vendors to its advertising rotator or instructed members who did not own businesses to add Clickbank links, an act that resulted in a surge of traffic from China that led to few if any sales. The apparent lack of sales suggests that Chinese members viewing the ads either did not understand what they were viewing or were viewing the ads simply to get paid.

At the same time, web records suggest that INetGlobal was relying on the websites of individuals and companies that had no tie to the firm to provide surfers something to see in the firm’s advertising rotator — at the bandwidth expense of the unaffiliated companies and individuals, at least some of whom were Clickbank vendors.

One of the Clickbank vendors — writing on the Digital Point Forum Sept. 26 — reported that he was studying his Clickbank affiliate stats and discovered something “REALLY messed up.”

The vendor reported on Digital Point that the ID “inetgbal’ suddenly was sending  junk traffic that “appears to be coming from China.”

The vendor published screen shots to support his claim and noted, “If you do a ‘surfin demo’ on the iNetGlobal website, you’ll see it takes you to random CPA offers and Clickbank products.”

On Sept. 27, the vendor reported on Digital Point that he considered the traffic problematic and was considering a means of blocking it at the server level with the use of an .htaccess file.

Working with .htaccess files, which can be used to block traffic from an IP or IP range, is not for the faint of heart. It is not uncommon for inexperienced webmasters to bring down their own servers or create an endless loop of error messages when attempting to tweak server behavior with an .htaccess file.

Recognizing the dilemma, the Clickbank vendor put out a call for “good coders” to walk him through a fix for a problem he believed INetGlobal was causing for him.  Other posters inquired about the possibility of asking Clickbank to block the unwanted affiliate link.

The discussion on the forum suggests INetGlobal was creating a situation in which Clickbank affiliates might have to incur an expense simply to block unwanted traffic — while creating the additional burden of polluting conversion statistics, potentially making the products less attractive to affiliates.

If, say, a product ordinarily made one sale per each 100 views of an affiliate link — and if INetGlobal suddenly sent through 1,000 page views from China (er elsewhere) that did not convert because the traffic was untargeted or people simply were surfing to get paid — a vendor’s conversion rate could drop from one in 100 to one in 1,100.

On Nov. 6, 2009, a person posting as Steve Renner — the “Director” of INetGlobal — appeared at Digital Point. A little more than a month later, Renner was convicted of income-tax evasion in a case brought in September 2008.

Less than three months after Renner’s tax conviction, the Secret Service asserted that INetGlobal was part of an international Ponzi scheme that had engaged in wire fraud and money-laundering.

“The problem was we had no Daily Budget in place and so traffic was running rampant,” the Digital Point poster purporting to be Renner explained on Nov. 6.

The Clickbank vendor did not mince words in his response to the Nov. 6 post. Others were equally unhappy.

Visit the intriguing thread on Digital Point.

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4 Responses to “Timeline Suggests INetGlobal Was Pounding Clickbank Vendors With Traffic From China In Months Proceeding Raid While Sucking Bandwidth And Destroying Conversion Stats”

  1. Interesting thread. He got called on being the scumbag he is and just kept at it instead of bailing. That probably helped get him caught also.

  2. I read a lot about Inetglobal and I know a lot of Inetglobal members. They have same feeling as I have. We like Inetglobal’s concept and products! For those opponents, some of them are knowledgable but they don’t understand Inetglobal. They have little research but a lot of critique. They should study more and they will agree with me.

    Nobody is perfect. At least Inetlgobal is working hard to improve everyday, at least Intglobal is taking care members, at least Inetlgobal is building up bridges for individuals, entrepreneurs, marketers, internet service providers……and the whole world!!! Can those opponents and their friends do it and offer benefits to the societies??

    About Click Bank, they should be grateful to Inetlgobal! Click Bank is getting popularity among tens of thousands Inetlgobal members worldwide. Inetglobal has been introducing potential customers to all Click Bank ads. All these create a lot of exposures for Click Bank ads. Who can guarantee a sale just surf an ad? But if there is no exposure, there will be absolutely no result. Click Bank is smart, they see the positive results are building up with Inetglobal members.

  3. Jesica,

    You are welcome to share your views here, of course. But I’m thinking you’re also visiting other sites and that you’ve cut-and-pasted the thoughts you expressed on those sites here.

    Honestly, you might want to re-think that approach. Please know that I don’t mind at all that you want to share your thoughts — but I would appreciate it if the thoughts you share here were based on a post you read here, and that you compose original posts here, rather than recycling posts you’ve made elsewhere.

    jesica: About Click Bank, they should be grateful to Inetlgobal! Click Bank is getting popularity among tens of thousands Inetlgobal members worldwide. Inetglobal has been introducing potential customers to all Click Bank ads. All these create a lot of exposures for Click Bank ads. Who can guarantee a sale just surf an ad? But if there is no exposure, there will be absolutely no result. Click Bank is smart, they see the positive results are building up with Inetglobal members.

    Respectfully, jesica, this argument is not persuasive. Clickbank vendors want traffic that converts into sales. I’m sure they mean no disrespect to the Chinese people, but it is questionable whether many, many INetGlobal members whose principal language is Chinese even can understand the English-language offers placed by Clickbank vendors.

    I speak and write in English; I would not have a prayer of understanding an ad in Chinese.

    Let me give you an example: I’ve noticed that a Chinese media outlet or two has written about the INetGlobal case. I viewed the stories in a Chinese-to-English translator, and the meaning still was not clear to me. I have not written a story about the Chinese media reports because — even with the translation — I could not fully comprehend the meaning of the stories.

    On another matter, untargeted, unfocused traffic affects the conversion stats of Clickbank vendors. The mere fact that the vendors are receiving such traffic can make a popular product appear to be unpopular. That is unfair to Clickbank vendors because it distorts one of their key metrics: conversion rate.

    It becomes even more problematic when one considers the fact that INetGlobal members are getting paid to look at ads. Such traffic is of HIGHLY DUBIOUS quality. Throw in the language barrier and it is DOUBLY HIGHLY DUBIOUS.

    Jesica, no autosurf has EVER survived. The surfing model gets tweaked constantly, and the mere fact it gets tweaked demonstrates — in my view — what law enforcement calls “consciousness of guilt.”

    The purveyors of autosurfs know both the legal and the public-relations vulnerabilities. The tweaking occurs as a result of those vulnerabilities. They might as well take out an ad in the New York Times that screams, “COME INVESTIGATE US!!!”

    I have not seen an autosurf yet that was adequately capitalized on start-up to take the Ponzi argument totally off the table. I’ve seen plenty of surfs that claimed to have multiple income streams to fund rebates without resorting to using money from new members to pay older members.

    I’ve watched all of them fail — one by one. I’ve seen most — if not all of them — rely on some sort of repurchasing scheme to sustain themselves. It was obvious that it was just a ploy to slow down the Ponzi and horde cash.

    AdSurfDaily tried it. AdViewGlobal tried it. BizAdSplash tried it. AdGateWorld tried it. Lots and lots of surfs tried it. Each one of them is as dead as an unfortunate skunk in the middle of the road.

    INetGlobal also had a repurchasing scheme, according to the Secret Service. In fact, according to the Secret Service, an undercover agent even confirmed it with INetGlobal’s support operation — and also confirmed that the repurchasing program could not be turned off.

    One final point: I’m wondering if you think that INetGlobal and its members should get the chance to ride free on the bandwidth of Clickbank vendors?

    It’s likely a lose-lose proposition for the vast majority of Clickbank vendors: They get no sales because unfocused, untargeted traffic they do not want does not convert, and they also get stuck with the bandwidth costs and any costs that may surface as a result of trying to block the traffic at the server level. Even if they don’t rack up bandwidth and other costs, the unwanted traffic can affect them in other ways:

    Server errors because of too many simultaneous connections. Slow server response time. Frustration on the part of people actually interested in buying the products, but can’t do so because of artificially induced downtime and server errors.

    Moreover, the vendors might have to take the time to contact Clickbank, which creates labor for two parties: the vendors AND Clickbank.

    And all so InetGlobal members can get paid for clicking on ads.

    At a minimum, it is rude and a highly objectionable business practice that may force INetGlobal or its members’ will on people and companies that want no part of INetGlobal.

    Beyond that, though, the Secret Service and federal prosecutors say INetGlobal was engaging in wire fraud and money-laundering and had bank accounts shut down as a result of a bank’s suspicion it was being used for a criminal purpose.


  4. […] two months earlier, in September 2009, some Clickbank vendors were complaining that links to their businesses were […]