SHADES OF AVG: Upstart AdPayDaily ‘Surf Scolds Members For Not Understanding The ‘Program’ After Pumping Bonuses For Weeks
AdPayDaily (APD), an upstart surfing company whose membership includes participants in the alleged AdSurfDaily Ponzi scheme and the failed AdViewGlobal (AVG) autosurf, is lecturing members on proper behavior.
AVG, which had close ties to ASD, became infamous for scolding members
In an unsigned post on its free WordPress Blog, APD, which does not disclose its ownership and registered its domain behind a proxy while plying participants with bonuses and asking them to recruit prospects willing to fork over $300, told members they needed to get a grip on the “program.”
The Blog post is dated June 21. During the very same week a year ago, the AVG autosurf was in its death throes. News about AVG’s suspension of payouts amid a bonus flap was announced one year ago today. AVG had close ties to ASD. ASD’s offices in Quincy, Fla., were raided by the U.S. Secret Service on Aug. 5, 2008, amid allegations of wire fraud, money-laundering, selling unregistered securities and operating a Ponzi scheme.
Like its predecessors ASD and AVG, APD has been flogging bonus programs for weeks, including a “Special Memorial Day Weekend Promotion” in which members were offered a “200% Ad Point bonus on all purchases, with outside funds, of $500 to $2,500.” By June 8, APD was hawking “an exciting New APD promotion.”
Reps who recruited “at least” three new advertisers willing to plunk down $300 were offered “a 200% Ad Point Bonus on the new advertisers [sic] sales,” plus a “200% Ad Point bonus on their own purchases.”
It its June 21 Blog post, authored after the bonuses were advertised, APD explained the bonus offerings in hard-to-decipher language.
“Reps who are also Advertisers, [sic] are required to qualify for Bonus Ad Points they receive when they make a purchase as an Advertiser,” APD said in the Blog post. “For example, if you are a Rep and you make a $1,000 purchase as an Advertiser, as a Rep you are required to make a new sale or sales that equal or exceed the number of Bonus Ad Points you received when you made the purchase.
“In this example,” the post continued, “you must make a new sale or sales that equal or exceed $1,000 and up to 50% or $500 of those new sales can come from your Cash Account. If you choose to use your Cash Account to purchase additional advertising, to qualify for the Bonus Ad Points, you must make that purchase within 30 days of your advertising purchase. Reps will have a total of 50 days to make the required sale, as long as they have used their Cash Account to purchase additional advertising within 30 days. Otherwise, the Bonus Ad Points will expire and be deducted from their Ad Point account.”
APD, in AVG-like fashion, then scolded members in bold type.
“The purpose of the qualification is to prevent Reps, who are also Advertisers, from only purchasing advertising to earn two times the cost of their advertising,” the company said in the Blog post. “This type of behavior is a money game and that is not acceptable behavior or the intent of the APD program.”
Perhaps adding even more confusion, APD noted, “Referring Reps who made the sale will still receive the commission but the Bonus Ad Points they received for unqualified sales will be deducted from the Referring Reps [sic] account when it is determined that the Rep they referred did not qualify for the bonus Ad Points.”
Plied with a virtually endless series of bonus programs and claims that $5,000 spent on advertising with AVG turned into $15,000 “instantly,” members sent untold sums believed to have totaled in the millions of dollars to the surf.
AVG launched in early February 2009. In late January, the surf denied it had any affiliation with ASD after AVG’s graphics appeared in a webroom controlled by ASD. The AVG graphic listed the company’s address as 13 S Calhoun Street, Quincy, FL 32351 — ASD’s address.
The appearance of the graphic was explained away as an “operational coincidence.” Incredibly, the AVG spokesman who explained that the company had no affiliation with ASD was a former ASD employee who testified on the company’s behalf at at evidentiary hearing in 2008.
Equally incredibly, the spokesman explained that Gary Talbert, an executive at ASD who filed a sworn affidavit on ASD’s behalf in the court case, was AVG’s chief executive officer — all while insisting the two companies were not affiliated.
In March, AVG incongruously announced that Talbert had resigned as CEO but would remain in the “accounting” department — a strange place for a former CEO to land. The company also announced that its bank account had been “suspended,” but continued to pitch bonus programs relentlessly.
AVG, which purported to be headquartered in Uruguay while also citing U.S. Constitutional protections, then became the center of a firestorm. An affiliate used a forum set up by some moderators of the now-defunct, pro-ASD Surf’s Up forum to explain a complex method by which AVG prospects could pay sponsors for “page impressions” (ad-packs) to qualify for bonuses.
Under the method, prospects would make a private agreement with sponsors to pay the sponsors and make AVG the final recipient of the money. Sponsors would deposit the money in their individual bank accounts. The sponsors then would send the sum via wire or overnight mail to an offshore payment processor, and then wait for the sum to be credited to the sponsor’s account at the processor.
Once the sponsor’s account was credited by the processor, the sponsor would instruct the processor to send the sum to AVG. Because the sum somehow had to get back in the hands of the prospect after its hemispheric trip, the sponsor would apply the funds to his AVG account and then use AVGâ€™s internal system to get the money or the value thereof to the real customer, the prospect, for the purchase of page impressions and to qualify for a whopping 250 percent bonus.
Some AVG members described the convoluted, multistep process as a helpful sponsor going the extra mile for a prospect. Others called it an invitation to be indicted for wire fraud, money-laundering, tax evasion and securities fraud.
AVG crashed and burned a year ago today, suspending payouts and threatening members and the media with lawsuits for sharing the news.
See earlier story on APD.