WebsiteTester.Biz Pitched On Reborn GoldenPandaAdZone Forum, Plus MoneyMakerGroup, TalkGold And Other Ponzi Havens
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story originally was published June 30. The PP Blog later encountered a database problem, which caused the site to go down and resulted in the temporary loss of some data. The data now has been retrieved.
This story is about a new site known as â€œWebsiteTester.biz,â€ but some background is in order.
It turns out that the April reports of the demise of the Golden Panda Ad Zone Forum, which changed its name to the Online Success Zone (OSZ), were premature.
OSZ now is back online â€” and a poster is pitchingÂ â€œWebsiteTester.biz,â€Â which appears to be promoting itself as an upstart advertising â€œtestingâ€ platform.
Positioning surfing sites as testing platforms dates back at least to the CEP Ponzi scheme. Last summer, the failed AdViewGlobal (AVG) autosurf, which had close ties to the AdSurfDaily autosurf, was trying to reposition itself as an ad-testing site.
Just prior to going offline in April, OSZ was pushing Narc That Car and Data Network Affiliates, two highly questionable companiesÂ whose membership roster includes people linked to alleged Ponzi or pyramid schemes. OSZ got its start as the Golden Panda Ad Zone forum after the U.S. Secret Service seized more than $80 million from ASD and its purported â€œChineseâ€ autosurf companion, Golden Panda Ad Builder.
During the summer of 2008, with ASD at its zenith and about to be accused of operating a Ponzi scheme, a predecessor to the INetGlobal autosurf also was coming online. INetGlobal eventually morphed into a surf site that largely targeted Chinese members, according to the Secret Service, which is investigating INetGlobal as its operator, Steve Renner, is in federal prison serving time for income-tax evasion.
The ASD and Golden Panda money was seized amid allegations of wire fraud, money-laundering, selling unregistered securities and operating a Ponzi scheme. A forfeiture complaint in the case alleged a conspiracy with unnamed participants, and ASD was sued separately under the federal racketeering statute by members who also alleged a conspiracy was under way.
Participantsâ€™ marketing of WebsiteTester.biz. occurs against the backdrop of a forceful statement by federal prosecutors in Illinois that virtually all HYIPs are Ponzi schemes. Autosurfs are a form of an HYIP program.Â The business model of WebsiteTester.biz is unclear, and the company has not been accused of wrongdoing.
In the Illinois case, Pathway To Prosperity (P2P) was alleged to have operated a global Ponzi scheme that gathered more than $70 million and fleeced more than 40,000 people. Nick Smirnow, P2Pâ€™s operator,Â has a criminal past dating back to at least 1979, including convictions for breaking and entering, driving the getaway car in a robbery and cultivating and selling drugs. He also told a colleague he was involved in a double homicide in Canada and claimed to have ties to organized crime in Ontario, according to court filings.
Posts on forums such as ASA Monitor, TalkGold and MoneyMakerGroup sought to sanitize the P2P scheme, authorities said. This important piece of information seems to have escaped the OSZ forum, which apparently continues to operate on the theory that HYIPs, autosurfs and cash-gifting programs somehow are a legitimate form of commerce.
Incongruities abound in the autosurf and HYIP universes. â€œWebsiteTester.biz,â€ the apparent new darling of Ponzi boards such as OSZ, has a domain that is registered behind a proxy. It is unclear if any of its early boosters even know who owns the company or could name a single executive or a board member. Because the siteâ€™s business model is unclear, promoters are pitching a program they know virtually nothing about.
The mere fact the â€œopportunityâ€ is being pitched on the Ponzi boards shows, at a minimum, that promoters instinctively turned to the cesspools to drive business to the company.
On its website, Website Tester, which purportedly is in prelaunch,Â says this (italics added):
â€œFINALLY . . . This is the business you have waited for so long:
â€œIt is completely free, you earn through EVERYBODY who registers after you, even if you do not sponsor people; you must not sell or buy anything. Guaranteed!
â€œThe faster you register, the more can be your potential income, even if you do nothing else than register for free . . .
â€œHow does it work? â€“ Itâ€™s simple!
â€œA market research company from the USA is searching for internet users all over the world, who get paid for testing websites and giving a short opinion. You also can earn up to 1,000 US$ per month working 1 to 10 hours weekly.
â€œEven if the job as a website tester is not for you, you can earn two passive incomes month after month.â€
Excuse us while we vomit.
Based on information on the landing page of WebsiteTester, the upstart company appears to have a tie to an upstart, Las Vegas-registered company known as Alpha Market Research Inc.Â Alpha Market appears to have a Twitter site from which it relentlessly links to self-produced news releases that are posted on PRLog.org, a free press-release distribution service.
Hey, did you see how the SEC described a scam yesterday that allegedly relied on Twitter and Facebook to help line up people to be fleeced in a securities swindle?
Here is a paragraph from one of Alpha Marketâ€™s PR gems:
â€œGlobal marketing is nothing but marketing done on national and international level and which involves understanding the similarities, dissimilarities and taking advantage of the opportunities to attain the goal.â€
Here is another gem:
â€œWhen you buy something from eBay, Amazon.com or any online store, youâ€™ve participated in e-commerce.â€
Meanwhile, here is yet another:
â€œIf you do not have a ghostwriter writing your blog content, then it means you will need to spend some time writing some blog posts.â€
Separate from its news releases, Alpha Market says this (italics added):
â€œPotential clients who are disturbed by trifles during the ordering process are often unaware of exactly why. For you, the entrepreneur, the big questions remain: why did the potential client visit your website and why did they accept or not accept your offer?
Alpha Market Research, Inc. starts exactly at this point: we make your website available for thousands of AMR website-testers, assigned in groups of age and interest â€“ this way we get detailed feedback with an honest evaluation of your website.
Like WebsiteTester.biz, AlphaMarketResearch.com is registered behind a proxy. The Alpha Market site was registered May 28, according to records. The Web Tester site was registered five days later, on June 2. Alpha Marketâ€™s Twitter site appears to date back to June 4.
The buzz about Website Tester also is occurring against the backdrop of the launch of yet-another surfing company: AdPayDaily (APD).
APD, which appears to have promotional ties to ASD and AVG, is running an AVG-like series of promotions that offer bonuses.
Interestingly, APD, which appears to have only about 550 members despite virtually nonstop flogging for weeks, now says members can send in as much as $10,000.
Website Tester, at the moment, appears just to be gathering names â€” and generating excitement by publishing the names of the latest registrants on the left side of its landing page. The names suggest the enterprise is attracting many people from outside the United States, but it is far from clear if anything about the company is real.