Online businesses, is it all a scheme?

I’ve been doing a little research lately. Only because, you know, having two jobs already isn’t enough for me…

So far, I’ve investigated one “scheme” and other than not knowing what exactly its for, it seems to be a sure way of making a bit of pocket money. This is how (to my understanding) it works:

  1. See an online ad, sent inquiry to the address provided.
  2. Receive a reply from someone live. Pay a fee of R250 once off to get training manual.
  3. You now place online adverts everywhere you can, inviting other people to join, at a low cost of a once off fee at R250.
  4. They deposit the money into your account, you keep it as your commission, and they do the exact same thing.

Now, this is where you guys come in. I’ve done the above, and my questions are as follows:

  • There is no official website to flip through. Only the person who placed the ad can be used as a source for further information.
  • It seems like the idea is to gather as many applicants as possible, and get them to find more applicants.
  • There is no “product” selling whatsoever, you place and ad and the people enquire with you.
  • Aside from time consuming replies to queries, and advertising for free online, there’s not much work to be done, from what I can see.
  • Do you find this intruiging?
  • Is there anything you think I should be aware of going in?
  • What is the point to this whole idea?
  • Do they want to gather email addresses for a database?
  • If so, what for?
  • What is the point, and what do the beings above get out of this other than a bunch of people advertising to get other people to advertise?
  • Most importantly, is this legal? Am I going to get into trouble?


  1. boldly benny says:

    Hi Sheena, this sounds like a dodgy pyramid scheme. Your only contact is someone’s e-mail address? I would see if you could meet someone from this scheme and find out a bit more information. Just the constant setting up of adverts seems strange. Maybe it’s just me but I would want all the information before I A.)parted with R250 and B.) put my name behind this.
    If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from personal experience – there’s no such thing as easy money and if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from other people’s experiences (and if it seems easy, often it is a case of easy come, easy go!) Also, I’d be careful what I put my name on. If this thing crashes and burns you’re not sure who you burn and how this can come back to haunt you. This is just my advice based on how I would approach it.

  2. leez says:

    NOOOOOOOOOO. In all that is good. Don’t do it. Do you not watch Oprah (her holy worship queen of media) ? Do not ever give out your banking details.

    Now that they know where t deposit the money they also know where to take everything you have. They will continue to trade on your name and Sheena Gates will have no money. none.

    Just this morning I had an email from a woman who wanted to give me at least half a milliuon towards my church. Yeah right.

    I can’t believe it. i’m writing a letter to Oprah (her holy worship the queen of media) to tell her another sheep has fallen to the wolves.

    *sigh* tsk tsk. *leez shakes his head*

  3. Silent One says:

    That my dear is a scam. Its easy, Why don’t you just place adverts and send them a letter saying place adverts and send this letter. Its a huge Ponzi.

  4. Andrew says:

    Its a standard garden variety pyramid scheme. “A pyramid scheme is a non-sustainable business model that involves the exchange of money primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, usually without any product or service being delivered” Roughly speaking its the same a a multi-level marketing scheme except these have products (i.e, Herbalife, Amway). Its usually only the first few level participants who make any gains – the exponential nature of these schemes are physically impossible to sustain. Mostly they are illegal. Shoo, what a mouthful…

  5. shebee says:

    Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for your comments, you’ve provided a lot of insight. I’ll definitely give it some serious thought.

    Hello to the new people!

  6. Stewy says:

    This is what’s called the Ponzi Scam (aka: pyramid scheme) and it is illegal in South Africa to post those types of ads. I don’t think it’s being actively enforced, however.

    But for my viewpoint it isn’t the illegality that prevents me from trying such a scheme. I just couldn’t live with myself knowing that I conned desperate people out of R250. Those who fall for this type of scam are usually those who can least afford to lose it.

  7. Simon says:

    Uhm… dodgy pyramid scheme. Nothing more, nothing less. In order for it to work someone has to lose money – think about it.

    Let me guess, the “training manual” said ‘this is not a pyramid scheme’ right? When they say they aren’t, it means they are 😛

    Honestly though, did you really have to ask? I mean isn’t it obvious?

  8. shebee says:

    Just to update everyone, I’ve had a refund and am not going to continue with this. Thank you for your insight – and no, it really wasn’t that obvious to me. But I’m glad I found more out about it.

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