A SILENT DEATH? Did GoldenPandaAdZone Forum For Autosurf Shills Follow Surf’s Up Into The Electronic Graveyard?
Has the Golden Panda Ad Zone forum, which was renamed the Online Success Zone after federal agents seized tens of millions of dollars from AdSurfDaily and Golden Panda Ad Builder in 2008, followed the Pro-AdSurfDaily Surf’s Up forum into the dust?
The website URL — http://goldenpandaadzone.ning.com — now is returning the same error message Surf’s Up produced when it went missing early this year. Other failed autosurf forums on ning.com have generated the same error message.
It was not immediately clear how long the Golden Panda Ad Zone forum has been offline. The forum was a meeting place at which promoters shilled for autosurf programs, cash-gifting schemes and other questionable “business opportunities” such as recyclers.
It is believed that every single autosurf program pitched on the Golden Panda Ad Zone Forum collapsed or is in the process of failing, giving the forum an unblemished record for failure. In recent weeks, the forum was used to promote MLM programs such as Narc That Car and Data Network Affiliates.
In one memorable video, the forum pitched multiple surf programs that reportedly collapsed this year or last after the spectacular seizures in the ASD case. These included — but are not limited to — Biz Ad Splash, AdGateWorld and Daily Profit Pond.
Biz Ad Splash purportedly was operated by Clarence Busby, who presided over the collection of more than $14 million before it was seized in the ASD case and an untold sum with Biz Ad Splash. AdGateWorld, meanwhile, collapsed after collecting an untold sum and purportedly being sold to buyers in the “Middle East.”
Daily Profit Pond, which suddenly went missing just prior to Christmas in 2008 after collecting an untold sum, also was said to have collapsed.
In AdGateWorld’s earliest days, the acronym “ASD” appeared in its Terms of Service, which suggested the surf simply copied and pasted terms from one program to another.
The Golden Panda Ad Zone forum also was notable for promoting MegaLido, another program that resulted in a spectacular flameout prior to the 2008 Holiday Season, and a host of cash-gifting schemes promoted as “Pay It Forward.”
“Pay It Forward” is a promotional scheme by which members sign up under each others links as a means of assuring they can build downlines or establish relationships with like-minded participants.
Autosurf programs that pay a lower daily rate “normally have sustainability,” a forum pitchman counseled prospects in a video. He cited no authority for the claim, but noted that 7 percent to 14 percent a week was a “really, really good” return that no bank could match.
“I can assure you [of] that,” the pitchman said, noting that higher return-on-investment surf programs “just tend to go away quicker.”
MegaLido, he explained, might have been a clunker because its advertised payout rate of about 13 percent a day perhaps made it unsustainable. How a program that paid a lower rate of say, 1 percent a day or 365 percent a year, could be any more sustainable without being a Ponzi scheme never was explained.
Like their brick-and mortar cousins, autosurf Ponzi schemes are not sustainable. They sustain themselves temporarily only through the use of smoke-and-mirrors, paying old members with money from new members to create the mirage of sustainability and performing other sleight-of-hand such as “80/20″ programs to minimize cash outflow. Ponzi scheme operators typically siphon funds paid by investors, which is a form of theft. Prosecutors view the money as proceeds of a crime.
Like the Surf’s Up forum — but to a lesser degree — the Golden Panda Ad Zone forum became an outlet for members to complain about how the government views the autosurf “industry.” Some members complained openly, if not bitterly, about perceived “slow” refunds as a result of the seizure of assets connected to ASD and Golden Panda.
Those assets were seized amid wire-fraud, money-laundering and Ponzi scheme allegations — but members continued to push surf programs even after the seizure, while still complaining about “slow” refunds.
The complaints continued even after the government explained it had not perfected title to the seized assets because of court challenges by Andy Bowdoin. Although the government now holds title to the assets, an appeal filed by Bowdoin in one of the forfeiture cases — and the prospect of a Bowdoin appeal being filed in a second case — means that restitution could be delayed even longer, prosecutors said.
Some Golden Panda Ad Zone members positioned new surf programs as a means by which ASD and Golden Panda members could recover losses. Like Surf’s Up, entire threads went missing at the Golden Panda Ad Zone forum.
One thread that went missing pertained to a surf program purportedly operated by ASD Chief Executive Officer Juan Fernandez after the ASD seizure. Some Golden Panda Ad Zone membersÂ used religion in their sales pitches.
Religion also was an element in ASD pitches. ASD President Andy Bowdoin told a crowd assembled at a company “rally” in Las Vegas that he thanked God for making him a “money magnet.”
Prosecutors said Bowdoin family members and at least one insider embarked on a spending spree less than two weeks after the Las Vegas rally concluded on May 31, 2008, purchasing cars, jet skis, a boat and haul equipment — and retiring the $157,000 mortgage on the Tallahassee home of George and Judy Harris.
George Harris is Bowdoin’s stepson. Members later said he was the co-owner of the AdViewGlobal (AVG)Â autosurf, which crashed and burned in June 2009, after launching in the aftermath of the ASD seizure and in the weeks after a key court ruling went against ASD.
Some members of the Golden Panda Ad Zone also pitched AVG, despite everything that had happened to ASD, Golden Panda and a related surf known as LaFuenteDinero. There were reports later that at least $2.7 million was stolen from AVG, but the reports have not been confirmed.
After AVG announced a suspension of cashouts last summer and exercised its version of a “rebates aren’t guaranteed” clause, the surf said that, if the program restarted, an “80/20″ program would become mandatory.
AVG pitchmen started out by saying the surf paid about 1 percent a day — or 365 percent a year — an amount the Golden Panda Ad Zone pitchman described as reasonable and sustainable forÂ autosurfs in general.
The claims were made despite the fact that prosecutors had laid out a case against ASD that its 1 percent daily payout rate was unsustainable and that the surf was insolvent.