Saturday, 3 September 2016

Guilty until proven innocent


The Paypal Saga 

A traffic exchange that I own had its Paypal account limited a few months back. What had I done? Did I pay commissions to the wrong person? I thought all my customers were happy ones. What did I do? Why? There are many questions. I still don't have many answers. One really frustrating thing was...I did really well the month before grrrr......Now this!

It all started with the email:

We have recently reviewed your PayPal account activity and determined that
you are in violation of PayPal's Acceptable Use Policy regarding your sales
or offers on rewards4surfing.com.

As a result, your account has been limited temporarily.

To help us resolve this, you will need to:

- Remove PayPal as a payment option, as well as all references to PayPal,
including the PayPal logo and/or shopping cart, from rewards4surfing.com.
- Submit the online Acceptable Use Policy affidavit.

The PayPal User Agreement, which you read and accepted when you created
your account, states that PayPal, at its sole discretion, reserves the
right to limit an account for any violation of the PayPal User Agreement,
including the Acceptable Use Policy.

Under the Acceptable Use Policy, PayPal may not be used to send or receive
payments that support pyramid or ponzi schemes, matrix programs, "get rich
quick" schemes, or certain multi-level marketing (MLM) programs. In
addition, only approved MLM programs may be allowed.


Ok this is one of those phishing emails right? So I logged directly into Paypal via my browser to find the message in there. First thoughts: have I paid someone who is not in good standings with Paypal? Looking through the last months payments nothing seems odd. I just paid commissions but I don't actually know who these people are. I paid for a promo..twice deliberate from me.

Next I call Paypal. First thing they are asking me is do I know what Traffic Monsoon is? What? I joined when it first launched and I heard Paypal limited them...I didn't know the details then. So I told them I didn't know much about them. They couldn't tell me why my site was limited. I told them I was into advertising just like many other traffic exchanges out there. I bought the LFMTE script just like the majority of other TE owners. Why is R4S targeted? I was told just click the 2 tick boxes on my Paypal account, read the terms and user agreement etc and the site will be unblocked. I kept asking them what did I do? This is his reply: Talking to him was "talking to a brick wall" (his quote) he wasn't going to even try to answer any of my questions and was quite rude and arrogant, treating me with disrespect. Is this customer service? I think NOT! 

After the review I was lucky the account was limited to only a weekend. 

Next email: Thank you for making the necessary changes in order to comply with PayPal's Acceptable Use Policy. After a recent review of your account, we have found that you have completed the requirements to remove the limitation and have granted an appeal.

Please note that your use of PayPal for further sales that are in violation of our Acceptable Use Policy may result in a higher or even permanent account limitation.

In this regard, we would like to remind you of our policies. 
Under the Acceptable Use Policy, PayPal may not be used to send or receive payments that support pyramid or ponzi schemes, matrix programs, "get rich quick" schemes, or certain multi-level marketing programs. In addition, only approved MLM programs may be allowed.


I also had to remove ALL references to Paypal on  my site meaning the signup area PLUS all buttons EVEN AFTER the limitation has been "appealed"

In order to comply with our Acceptable Use Policy and return your account to good standing, you will need to: 
- Remove PayPal as a payment option, as well as all references to PayPal, including the PayPal logo and/or shopping cart"

BUT their reply to me for further information is this: PayPal has made the business decision to not support this type of business model and therefore requesting the removal of PayPal.

Why does this matter?
A good explanation is below from THIS site: 
"...the hard truth is you cannot stop accepting them (Paypal).
Paypal has made the reputation for being the easier, faster payment processor out there which caters to lots of people.
No matter how frustrating it is, buyers still insist on paying with Paypal.
It is an epidemic and at worse, sales slowly start to decline as you halt Paypal as your payment processor.
Paypal has brainwashed users into using them, so stopping them completely is almost near impossible unless you are okay with some decline in sales.
Best solution is to simply be alert and to not do any sort of action, activity that provokes a Paypal limitation."
Ok it's my turn to have a say about how Paypal are treating THEIR customers. Yes our community are their customers! Do you pay a fee everytime you send/receive a payment? We pay them for a service. Are they delivering?

We see Paypal as a "temporary" placement of funds before these get transferred to our bank account or we buy something. They are a medium. They are not a law unto themselves. If we deposit money there it is not THEIR money. FULLSTOP! 

Quote from Anon:

"If I were a gigolo and the next morning I go deposit say $500 cash in my physical bank account, the bank teller will NOT be asking me where the money came from.

SO WHY ARE PAYPAL WORRIED AND CONTROLLING ABOUT WHERE WE EARN OUR MONEY TO BE DEPOSITED OR WITHDRAWN IN OUR PAYPAL ACCOUNT?"

However, when does Paypal have the right to NOT let us use our own funds? In other words LIMIT our Paypal acounts where we cannot send/receive or transfer our money into our bank accounts. With the right to CLOSE an account and lock funds? There seems to be a snowball effect currently. More and more of our community owners are reporting limitations and now more well known traffic exchanges and mailers are too. Even ones that have been around for several years. Paypal continues to limit accounts of many affiliate marketers/ owners in our industry. 

Yes, we have to abide by their terms and conditions, we have to be real people, but to rob people of not accessing their own money is the crime. They have no right to limit our business activities without substantial warning and justification. We can try to defend ourselves, email Paypal, call them but when a decision has been made we don't seem to be able to change their minds.

Even if a "limitation" has been lifted and I continue using the account it may be permanently closed...that's blackmail if I ever heard it! Yes I'm not keeping much money in that account just in case they just simply freeze my account. They didn't even give me warning for the limitation to begin with why trust them now!

I was prepared to email Paypal with my plea to prove my site innocent. This whole incident has made me feel like I have done something wrong! I changed my whole site to be in good report with Paypal. I changed the account levels to just one just in case they misinterpret the MLM structure. One referral level but with a choice of 4 upgrades seems easy enough to understand for us but who knows how Paypal views this. They probably think I have referrals 4 levels deep! 

Another owner whos account also got limited tried to email Paypal:

"sent a detailed email with every feature we offer and how it works and how it doesn't break any terms of theirs.. that didn't help and I doubt they even read it...none of (this) really makes sense...we have renamed some features to be on the safe side...still were out to get (us). Actually went really bad when I asked for them to re-check...and limited the account again after giving Paypal admin access."

Great! I'm not sure I want to give Paypal any excuse now to relook at R4S. They may also find something else to re-limit my account. I try to have minimal money sitting in that account now. I do not want to be under their radar. Im hoping over time that I might email them to see what eventuates. No loss if they decide to limit when I have taken out the money already into another payment processor. I do not have anything to hide though. This is another point. No matter what they will try to find some reason to label R4S as ponzi.

I grabbed what money I had in there and transferred it to my personal Paypal. I kept ringing weekly to try to get other people to answer. Some were nice and positive others not so nice. It really depends on the person I spoke with at the time. 

Paypal also told me and gave 30 days to cancel all subscriptions because Rewards4surfing is not allowed to receive or send through Paypal. Then the thought dawned on me after much chatter with other owners why some of us were targeted. Paypal thinks R4S is a "pyramid or ponzi schemes, matrix programs, "get rich quick" schemes, or certain multi-level marketing programs"

After removing the Paid to Click section from R4S, rewrote/added TOS and Refund Policy etc I unfortunately don't think I will be able to convince Paypal to fully let me use them as a payment processor because they have written off my site as some sort of junk site.

I have a business model just like most te around and dont pay more than 30% comms. I was going to email them to prove that its NOT the case. But now I'm not sure I will get anywhere. 

I wonder if we should all petition Paypal to not lump TE in with other bad owners eg. Traffic Monsoon and ask for our business model instead of presuming we are bad. I was paying members the commissions they are owed. My Paypal account was only limited for a weekend but I am not allowed to send/ receive payments for R4S. Tell that to my upgraded subscribers who I had to email to cancel. Anyway any good petition sites? As a community we are all at risk eventually. We are guilty unless we prove we are innocent.

I still pay via Paypal now but with NO note attached. Hence I have to ask members when they want to be paid to send via support ticket so I have a record.

When I finally spoke with someone at Paypal they told me the issue. They again told me they don't like my business model. So YES I now have to prove R4S not like Traffic Monsoon which I think started this whole thing. (They told me the Traffic Monsoon story) They suggested I prove that I'm not like them.

Prove Thyself Worthy: Some considerations why R4S is NOT a Ponzi

Ponzi definition: A Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors. Ponzi scheme organizers often solicit new investors by promising to invest funds in opportunities claimed to generate high returns with little or no risk. In many Ponzi schemes, the fraudsters focus on attracting new money to make promised payments to earlier-stage investors to create the false appearance that investors are profiting from a legitimate business.(https://www.sec.gov/answers/ponzi.htm)


It seems Paypal would like us to not pay out commissions and keep the money for ourselves?

So Paypal obviously thinks TEs involve investments. Do they realize that R4S offer FREE memberships PLUS upgraded members are just paying for a quicker timer and advertising each month in that cost? If people don't want to surf to earn credits, they can spend money to receive credits, and/or banners/text impressions. No TE would claim that they are "a get rich quick" as they simply are not. When members pay for an upgrade they get something tangible in return at relatively low prices. 

R4S ensures that more money stays in the site than goes out and adjusts prices accordingly. R4S makes the most to gain from a sale not a member. Just like any business should. Sustainable business model, focusing on sales.

Members can choose to be FREE where there is NO monetary payments. Referrals are earned not bought nor sold. There is NO requirement on the part of a member to refer. R4S does not pay to refer. 

R4S is a traffic exchange. This is an advertising platform period. It consists of surfing: looking at other members (free or upgraded) websites in return for people looking at your websites.  It is straight commission based even for free members. Most of the profits/revenue go back into promoting the site!

The cheekiness of Paypal, an email I received 2 months later:

"We've noticed your business hasn't been making as many PayPal sales as it used to. If you’ve hit a stumbling block or aren't sure what your next step with PayPal is, give us a call and we’ll help get you back on track." :o I wonder why??? I could be really sarcastic here!


There has been many threads to what has been going on in our traffic exchange/affiliate community. Here's a few other useful blogs about the issues with Paypal:

http://kurthilliard.com/how-many-traffic-exchange-owners-lost-paypal/

Follow the Traffic Monsoon case http://behindmlm.com/companies/traffic-monsoon

What we can learn from all this?
- never buy overpriced advertising packages lol
- if you have money in Paypal get it out quick before they limit you paying your members. 
- Owner DID pay his members their legitimate earnings it was only when Paypal limited his Paypal account and he couldn't pay his members when the problems started
- Paypal may "limit access to your account, restricting: Access to your funds; and/or
Your ability to send or receive funds and make withdrawals." Without warning! They only need to suspect a site and they can limit the associated account.
https://www.paypal.com/au/webapps/mpp/account-limitations
- Don't tie your money up 100% with Paypal use other payment sources as well.
- Paypal can't dislike our referral program they used to have one themselves
- Paypal don't like certain transactions (still trying to work out which ones)


Some sound advice: 

1) The #1 RULE and the most important rule is to not offer commissions to more than one person per sale - they (Paypal) will consider this multi-level. 

2) When displaying your membership options - do not use the words LEVEL - use something like membership benefits.

3) When displaying your compensation plans - be sure to mention the commissions generated are on the sales of products and services from their direct referrals.

4) Make sure that you have your Terms of Service page accessible on your main website - which is the part viewable by everyone without having to log in to an account. Include a disclaimer on HOME page and MEMBER HOME page that this is not a get-rich-quick-scheme, R4S only pays 1 level of direct referrals only, that fraudulent activity from any or all members will not be tolerated

5) Make sure you have your contact information displayed on your website: Owner's information and Contact details are a must. When someone contacts you please do yourself a favor and respond within a reasonable time. A reasonable time frame would be 2-6 hours. Anything faster than 2 hours only works to the owners advantage. If you are not able to respond in that time frame - be sure to mention it.

Feel free to list the sites that Paypal have targeted in comments. To the members of those sites, be patient and DONT BLAME THE OWNERS!


Monday, 4 April 2016

Easter Egg Hunt results



For some Team Phoenix news I have stepped down from leadership role. Being a leader is not a time consuming role but a role model role. I felt that my enthusiasm wasn't as great about the CTP teams and I cannot keep up with qualifying when needed as I have a really busy offline life currently and other online projects being worked on. Being owner/admin of 2 sites is also time consuming and thats my online priority.

Now for the followup to the ClickTrackProfit Easter Egg BadgeHunt.

This time I had to do things a little different. I bought less badges, again only 2 and really concentrated my time on them. Alas, I had to think outside the box a bit as one of the weekends I would be taking my son interstate to table tennis tournaments so I needed the badges to be given somewhat automatically.

Luckily, I knew this is advance and bought only 2 badges. Ok, what did people have to do to receive their badgehunt badges?

For my personal badge I concentrated on this blog. All new subscribers got the link on day 2 or 3. If they were already subscribed they could either join under a program as my referral from a set list or send me CTP tokens. All results are for during the dates of the BadgeHunt. Results are below:

New subscribers: 24 (im a little disappointed with that result)
Referrals to programs: 6 PLUS $10 in upgrades
Tokens: 160 plus

For people that like to monetize that: It cost me $25 for a badge.
At CTP every 50 tokens costs $20 to buy. Tokens: $60  worth

I have made a profit "in theory" without taking into consideration the subscribers and referrals.($70)

The other badge are for my 2 Traffic exchanges I co-own. For both badges people had the option to purchase for the badge for each TE.
Come and find Easter Egg number 133 there are 2 ways to get this EGG.
Chance 1) Surf the Mix It Up promo Mon-Fri (14th-18th March) OR the Mon-Fri (21st-25th March) and the link will UNLOCK at R4S as long as you have the same email address at both sites.
Details of MIU: 
We are calling it the Mix It Up Rewards contest.
It runs weekdays to Friday. (Mon-Fri)
Surf 1000 over the week...
At BOTH R4S and MMX
can be in one day or smaller amounts over the week...at each site to be in the draw for:
$1
2x .50 cents
.20 cents
5000 zubees (zubee username required in profile)
50000XP (ctp username required in profile)
500 credits
1000 banners
1000 texts
1000 square banners
Thats 10 winners total. All prizes sent via MoneyMakersXchange
A new Top surfer leaderboard has been set up to keep track of your surfs at each site!
Chance 2) Simply buy something at R4S (link will unlock) or MMX and the code will be sent manually to you via CTP. Please ensure you have your CTP username in MMX.

MoneymakersXchange
New members : 56
Sales: Over $40.
For Rewards4Surfing this is the 3nd time it has been involved in a badgehunt.
New members: 57
Sales: Over $300 (an increase on last time)

Also, I can't believe I didn't made it into the Top 75 to win $5 cash  but I have 114 points for my team season to use! 114 badges I personally collected. Out of a possible 160. I would love to see what the cutoff of the Top 75 actually was as no leader-board was provided!

In conclusion, I acknowledge the limitations of this hunt. Less new members, less subscribers. Maybe due to the fact that most CTP members are already members/subscribers? However, another successful ClickTrackProfit badgehunt which will help any program owner with their promotions, affiliate or a blogger like myself. A highly recommended promotion tool!





Monday, 25 January 2016

On the TO DO list today...Focus!




This is to all the TE owners out there who look back on the day and ask "Where has my day gone?"



I went out side to water the garden. As I turn on the hose I look over at my car and decide that it needs a wash.

I decided to wash my car. As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on the hall table. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car. I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the trashcan under the table, and notice that the trashcan is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the trash first. But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the trash anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my checkbook off the table, and see that there is only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go to my desk where I find the bottle of coke that I had been drinking.

I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. I see that the coke is getting warm, and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need to be watered. I set the coke down on the counter, and I discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers. I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table. I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, we will be looking for the remote, but nobody will remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.

I splash some water on the flowers, but most of it spills on the floor.
So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day: the car isn't washed, the bills aren't paid, there is a warm bottle of coke sitting on the counter, the flowers aren't watered, there is still only one check in my checkbook, I can't find the remote, I can't find my glasses, and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm really tired. I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail.


(author unknown)


I don't know about you but I'm not that old and still get distracted easily. This can easily happen to us online also. Count how many tabs you have open right now! I have proven my point.

Sometimes it is soooo hard to focus on one thing to completion that I recommend some sort of note taking and check list. Our attention goes to so many things and areas not just online but offline too. The issue is not just to FOCUS but to PRIORITIZE your day.

For me I make sure my promos are all set for my traffic exchanges, Rewards4surfing and MoneymakersXchange....the day before. That the emails are all written. That it is in the Promo calendar. Then everything should fall in line around this. Then there is Facebook and Skype. Great for communication but also great for distractions. I have an A4 note book that I use for my notes and each page is one day. It has the sites I want to surf also for that day too.

I would love to hear from you all how you spend your days online and how you organize yourself. Let's get ORGANIZED so we all don't end up like we are having a wasted day like the above scenario!