Robert summarized his understanding of ASD’s philosophy: “If you buy a $10,000 ad package, you get 10,000 ad credits – which earns you $100 a day for 125 days. Thus, in 25 days, you would get back $12,500. That’s a $2,500 profit.”
Robert said ASD appears to offer incentives for larger ad packages which seem to ensure larger payouts. “As far as I know, there is a running promotion on the Web site that agrees to match your ad package credits (investment) at 1.25 times the amount,” he said. “So $10,000 gets you $12,500 x 125 days, which is $15,625 – a profit of $5,625.”
He continued: “At all previous conventions, they offered promotions to double ad package credits to the purchasers and also match the amount to the person who initiated the sale. In addition, the immediate up leg gets 10 percent commission and 5 percent to next up leg.
“Take the last convention in Tampa as an example – that gathered $40 million in purchased ad credits. ASD gets $20 million off the top. Commissions are paid at 10 percent to the first leg and trickles up to total 11.1 percent paid commissions. Commissions are paid at 5 percent to the second leg, which also trickles up to equal 5.5 percent to reach a grand total of $6.6 million in commissions paid. Of the total cash ($40 million) gathered, $20 million goes to ASD and $6.6 million goes to commissions – which leaves only $13.4 million to be distributed towards payments promised to ad credits,” Robert said.
“Ad credits are $40 X 2 for the double promotion, plus $40 million for the match up leg promotion – which equals $120 million, paid at $1.2 million a day for 125 days. They can only pay these people for about 11 days with the cash on hand. From my best research, there have been five conferences/conventions in about 30 days which have offered double promotions,” he said.
“By the time the ASD conference hits Tulsa, the company could be $1 billion upside-down. I don’t see how anyone in Tulsa could get their money back out of this program. In fact, the odds are that no one, even as early as Saturday in Miami, could get their money back out,” Robert added.
“The argument from ASD is that they have additional streams of income. By requiring ad purchasers to surf, ASD asserts this activity creates value. However, given the promised payouts, outside revenue is irrelevant, insignificant and appears to be no more than a smokescreen,” Robert said.
Later, by e-mail, Robert asserted, “ASD charges one dollar for each ad package, and each ad package includes one credit. One credit equals one showing of your Web site (or the Web site of your choice). In my best assessment, the market value for one hit on your Web site is 1 cent or less, which is less than one percent of what people are paying for each ad package. Furthermore, the vast majority of the purchasers of ASD ad packages that I know are using somebody else’s Web site and don’t have any intention of utilizing the advertising services.”
However, Robert claims that ASD is careful to avoid rules governing ‘investments’ and ‘deposits.’ Terms and conditions posted note, “All payments made to ASD are considered advertising purchases, not investments or deposits of any kind. All sales are final. ASD does not guarantee any earnings and/or rebates. All rebates paid to advertisers are for the service of viewing other advertiser’s Web sites. All commissions are for referring advertisers to ASD. All advertising purchases are non-refundable after the passing of the 3 days right of rescission.”
To be sure, ASD Cash Generator doesn’t make it easy to understand its machinations, but it does appear to want to make it clear that its participants are bound by their decision to affiliate with the company.
From my own Web publisher’s standpoint, the ASD program appears on its face to be insane. Web site traffic creates value only when real customers respond to that advertising by purchasing products or services from the advertiser. Tulsa Today is successful not simply because we reach over 100,000 unique readers per month (2.8 million page views and 5.5 million hits in the last year alone), but because our readers respond to Tulsa Today advertising and discuss our news – which generates more advertising impressions and creates more sales.
To think that anyone could earn money by viewing Web sites when they have no interest in the content or advertised products of such sites is just silly. The old saw, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” would probably be a good phrase to remember right about now.
But the cracks in ASD’s foundation are beginning to show.
Currently, it appears that each conference/convention provides just enough cash to keep participants hopeful. In apparent propaganda, the company claims the tremendously positive response of the program has caused accounting process to be overwhelmed. A recent e-mail sent by ASD said, “The new ACH cash out process for U.S. members should be online, hopefully, tomorrow and the office will be back on track with cash-outs. There was a delay with cash-outs while this new service was put into place to replace direct deposit cash-outs. Also, Bank of America will now be handling the live check cash-outs for ASD. ASD will send the information to Bank of America and they will print and mail out the checks for us now. There was training involved with the Bank of America folks, teaching the ASD accounting people how to do the new ACH process. All of these new processes played into the delay of recent cash-outs. Again, please be as patient as you can.”
In addition, many members requesting some or all of their money back have been given the “Devil-in-the-Detail Shuffle.” Yet another e-mail from ASD points to the submission of conflicting names as a major issue in payment delay, saying, “Please make sure that you have a W-9 submitted to the ASD office (U.S. members only) prior to requesting a cash-out. Also, you must make sure that your name on your ASD Web site is exactly the same as what you have on your W-9. If there is even the slightest difference, then your cash-out will not go through.” Apparently, many members signed up as individuals, but turned in their W-9s with business names and tax ID numbers, which ASD claims has been a factor in the delay of payments.
In addition to last Saturday’s convention in Miami, events are scheduled for Saturday, July 19 in Arlington Heights, IL (outside Chicago); Saturday, August 23 in Tulsa, OK; and Saturday, Sept. 13 in Anaheim, CA – a two-day, quarterly ASD Conference called a “Mini-Convention.”
A cynic might suggest that there’s good money to be made outside every ASD conference/convention – just offer to save potential attendees thousands of dollars for a cool hundred bucks – then hand them this article and a simple business card inscribed, “Keep your money in your pocket and run like hell.”
About the Author:
David Arnett began his career in professional journalism in 1985 and has published Tulsa Today since 1996 – before Al Gore invented the Internet. He has won two national awards as a First Amendment Publisher. Arnett is a Constitutional Republican, Public Information Specialist and Conservative Media Critic. This analysis may be reproduced without charge with proper attribution and links back to the original source. Arnett is available for interview by recognized media.