Part 3 of a series

“EXTREME traffic and EXTREME income!”  the tweets scream at you. How is anybody making money off of this ridiculous offer?  Let’s investigate the “Build Twitter Followers” scam:

There are many sites dedicated to this scheme, but the one I investigated was The MLM Mastermind System.

After submitting your name, email address, and phone number (we used fakes), you are redirected to one of the longest, strangest web pages I have ever seen. It goes on for miles! There are dozens of testimonials, anecdotes, and metaphors to explain why it’s imperative for you to expand your network, create new leads, and brand yourself to start earning money.

The spam-meisters explain that if you use their system, you can do all of these things on “COMPLETE AUTOPILOT” and start raking in the cash for free, with zero effort.  As you work your way through the page, there is not a single mention of a product of any kind. You grow your business by suckering other people into growing their business, which is growing more people to grow their business, ad infinitum.

There are all the telltale signs of a pyramid scheme—promises of get rich quick, low risk, high gain, work from home, etc. The system they describe for building this network consists of software tools that will perpetuate the type of spam Twitter messages we frequently receive. These are the terms to buy into the system:

“So here’s the thing, After your 7 day trial period for only $1, the ENTIRE system is still only a measly $49.77 a month. And you don’t even have to pay that until you’ve already started USING the system, and seeing how profitable it really is. After that, for literally a buck and a half a day you will be at THE cutting edge of this industry, and using technology to build your business easier than most could imagine.”

Unwilling to surrender my credit card or Twitter account information, I can only guess at what happens next. There are volumes of reports across the web about how companies like this use your information — charging exorbitant fees, signing you up for other similar services, and other types unsavory exploitation.

Since it’s all automated, as their network expands, they can tweet these messages every few seconds, and only a very small fraction of the people that receive the messages need to click through and sign up for it to become profitable very quickly. As it grows it creates a large, viral, financial ecosystem of its own.

Tomorrow: The Trump Network.

Part 1 in the series: Multi-level marketing

Part 2:  The teeth whiteners

Part 4: The Trump Network

Part 5: What to do about Twitter scams

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