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Banners Broker is one of those Biz Opps that sounds like the ultimate golden goose. I mean it used to be that everything you read about this service screamed its praises.
At least one member claims to have made $85,000 or more from it, others report pulling in £1,500 a month and then there are those who say they’ve made £100 or £200 here or there.
Fans on forums and bulletins whoop and cheer at the thousands they’re making every month. Online ‘reviewers’ use outrageous superlatives to describe how fantastically straightforward and profitable it is…
Forgive me if I do the opposite.
I have absolutely no time for Banners Broker. In fact I’m extremely concerned about everything I’ve ever heard (even the positive) about this enterprise. I’ll explain why in just a moment but first let me put my affairs in order.
If you’ve used and/or are currently making money using Banners Broker then genuinely good luck to you. I wish you every success. However I would also urge you to get out while you can for reasons that I hope will be clear.
What is Banners Broker and how does it work?
That’s the millionaire dollar question and frankly I find the whole concept of Banner’s Broker utterly bamboozling. Moreover the thousands of comments posted online by members are often confused, baffling and contradictory.
“But Tom!” I hear you cry “I’ve looked at their website and it makes sense to me”.
That’s because at face value it seems fairly straightforward. The basic premise is that it works a bit like Google AdWords in the sense that Banners Broker claim to act as brokers between online advertisers and publishers. So effectively they trade in banner advert space – which is where the money is with this one apparently.
Ok that sounds reasonable enough… so where do we come in?
As an investor you buy banner space packages on sites “owned and operated by Banners Broker” and get paid according to the number of impressions on a given site displaying the ads. The more banners and the more hits you have the more you get paid. Again there’s a sort of logic to that.
At this point all logic seems to fly out of the window…
The problem I have with the Banners Broker story is WHY? Why is anyone from the outside (i.e. us) required in this equation?
Why does a banner advertising company need funding at all? It shouldn’t need any investment because there should be no costs involved. This is a digital space, not a 250ft billboard being installed on the side of the Empire State building.
But let’s fantasise for a moment. Let’s assume that funding is somehow magically required for these banners (it feels ridiculous typing that). Why exactly would a company choose a broker that’s randomly funded by members of the general public with no online marketing expertise? Surely you would advertise via a broker that lets you to advertise anywhere, not just on sites they own. Would you really expect a business that sells banner space to own the kind of websites you’d want to advertise on?
As far as I can tell there is no real advertising or product whatsoever – nothing I believe any real business would actually pay for or profit from.
I would love to see one of these adverts actually being displayed online (for a reputable advertiser) on a website that I’ve actually heard of.
In fact I’d settle for seeing ANY of these adverts on ANY website – no matter how dodgy. Where are they? With 250,000+ members (apparently) I would expect to be able to find just one advert.
I know I’m labouring the point here but the fact that they state that these banners appear on websites that are “owned and operated by Banners Broker” seems ludicrous. Unless Banners Broker secretly operate and run millions of successful blogs, online magazines and hobby sites I simply cannot imagine how their service would be attractive to advertisers.
However just because I don’t understand it, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong – so I did some more digging…
I asked someone who uses (and has made money) from Banners Broker what they thought…
I was all set to test Banners Broker with my own money for the sake of this report. I’d read all the reviews and glowing testimonials and even though I didn’t really understand what it was or how it worked I got the impression that you could still make money from it as a wide-eyed newbie.
But the fact that it I still didn’t ‘get it’ was still really bugging me.
I knew someone who’d been using Banners Broker for several months and was starting to make a little bit of money from it so before I put down my own cash to trial it for Insider’s Edge I decided to give them a call hoping so they could fill in the gaps.
I came away from the phone call feeling even more concerned.
He absolutely could not explain what the business end of the deal was (i.e. how on earth the Banners Broker model provided value to anyone) and certainly didn’t have proof of the adverts in action. His attempts at explaining how it worked were at best a rambling rehash of the nonsensical information posted in the user guide and on the website – a lot of disjointed waffle about colour coded panels and sales funnels.
In fact by the end of the conversation he himself come to the conclusion that it is a very complex, very well put together pyramid scheme that uses a credible-ish sounding ‘advertising broker’ cover story to hold it together. He started working at his own exit strategy on the phone in fact.
I decided at that moment that for ethical reasons I simply could not get involved in this one at all. If it is indeed a pyramid scheme (as I suspect) then any money that I make would be at the expense of those who enrolled after me.
Is Banners Broker just an elaborate pyramid (Ponzi) scheme?
Well when you enlist on Banners Broker you need to part with some cash to buy banner space to get started. They offer various different packages: Starter, Basic, Business, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate. The cost of these packages range from between $25 and $3,655. That’s a lot of money and the blurb about each package is written in such a way that it entices you to buy the most expensive one you can afford.
Now if this banner space doesn’t really exist, if it’s all just smoke and mirrors, what are you actually left with? Nothing tangible. No product, no service…
What you are left with is thousands of people pumping money into a scheme that encourages more people to join. The more people that join and sign up the more money there is to trickle down to and pay the older members. Older members rant and rave about their success (because they are genuinely making money, even if they don’t really understand why) which in turn encourages new people to join and keeps the system ticking along.
(Oh yes and surprise surprise the fastest way to make money using Banners Broker is to get others onto the service – although you don’t have to do that to make money).
That’s these kinds of schemes work. It’s a pyramid where money gets shovelled across from person to person until eventually the whole thing collapses in on itself – and you definitely don’t want to be there when that happens.
More points of concern…
In order to get paid on Banners Broker you have to use a site called Payza (formely AlertPay) or Solid Trust Pay. Many users have used these money transfer portals without incident but did found some worrying allegations and complaints here and here. You can also get money loaded onto pre-paid credit cards which you can then use to withdraw money from cash points.
Hang on… Pre-paid credit cards?
I don’t know about you but that’s about as reassuring as a punch in the face. Why don’t they just leave the money in a brown paper bag stuffed in a PO Box in Smugglers’ Cove?
In my eyes a legitimate business should be able to pay money owed to you by cheque, direct bank transfer or via PayPal or a channel that isn’t quite so convoluted, poorly regulated and anonymous.
I won’t get into the nitty gritty of who’s behind Banner’s Broker but there are a number of folk online who claim that the creators have been behind ponzi ‘scams’ in the past. Rather than copy and paste the various debates here if you’re interested you can see a lively back and forth here.
Now while all of this may be concerning, you may be thinking – “hang on people are making money out of this, what’s to stop me doing the same?”
Well the thing about pyramid or ‘ponzi’ schemes is that they do actually work for a time. The early adopters, the folk who get in quickly, will profit from the fresh blood that comes on. The scheme gets paid so they get paid and so on…
It’s only when the scheme is saturated with fewer and fewer new entrants putting money in the pot (and more and more old members waiting for payouts) that the whole system starts to collapse and fall in on itself.
I would argue that Banners Broker is fast approaching (or has already approached) that point. If it is, as suspected, just another pyramid scheme then it simply can’t keep operating at the same rate for much longer and there’s going to be a lot of very disappointed, angry and out of pocket people – and I don’t want you to be one of them.
If you’ve been lucky enough to make money out of this one great – but please take your money and run and don’t pump any more money into the pot.
If you’re thinking of getting involved here’s my advice:
If you can’t understand the basic fundamentals of how the business works. If it sounds too good to be true and if there are a lot of question marks over how it operates steer well clear.
I have no doubt I’ll get hellfire, fury and maybe the odd death threat for writing this but frankly I don’t care. My only concern here is that you involved in something you might quickly live to regret. I’m sure the debate won’t end here and please do feel free to leave your comments below.