Zeek Rewards Ponzi points officially worth $0
One of the key factors in the perpetuation of the $600M Zeek Rewards Ponzi scheme was the company’s affiliates being able to deceptively advertise their accumulated Ponzi points as actual revenue.
Despite the rhetoric about retail customers, publishing spam on the internet counting as “work”, the mythical success of the Zeekler penny auction and what not, at the end of the day Zeek Rewards affiliates pumped money into the scheme and were paid new investor money – based directly on how much money they put in themselves.
For each dollar an affiliate invested, they were given a “VIP point” (after dumping some auction bids on fake customer accounts and publishing spam ads for the company). Each VIP point paid out a share of newly invested money daily, for a total of 90 days before expiring.
The problem lay with affiliates re-investing their daily ROI back into new points and simultaneously claiming that the money was actually paid to them first, before they re-invested it into the scheme.
The reality is that this money never existed. All that happened was a virtual transaction and the creation of new Ponzi points.
Analysis of Zeek Reward’s financials following the SEC bust revealed affiliates had generated roughly 3 billion VIP points through initial and continued re-investment.
If affiliates set their cash out at 100% and Zeek Rewards paid enough to ensure that no affiliates lost money over 90 days on their investment, this equated to a daily payout of $45 million.
How much money did Zeek Rewards have in their accounts?
$225 million dollars.
Taking in on average $5 million dollars a day for the month of July 2012 (the month before the SEC stepped in), it’s easy to see just how fragile the daily ROI house of cards was. And with ever-growing VIP point balances affiliates were generating, how ultimately it was destined to collapse under its own weight.
Despite all the points Zeek’s affiliates were generating, the money just wasn’t there to back it.
That of course didn’t stop affiliates from marketing their imaginary returns as actual earnings, despite never actually seeing the money (because it didn’t exist).
It’s sort of catch-22 if you think about it. Affiliates didn’t need to see the money because they believed they were re-investing it. This worked for Zeek Rewards because they didn’t have the money and played into re-investment to generate ever-increasing returns being a key component in the scheme.
Now, almost a year after the closure of the scheme and amidst a battle between initial investors who withdrew actual money and claim there were “no victims” in the scheme, those who invested later and lost their money and those who believe they lost money because the scheme was shutdown, despite the fact Zeek Rewards didn’t have the money to pay them, Receiver Kenneth Bell announced yesterday that affiliates will not be able to claim imaginary earnings or claim VIP point balances as actual money.
In a March 29th Motion filed by the Zeek Rewards Receiver, Kenneth Bell, he writes:
The Receiver omitted and is not requesting any information regarding “Retail Profit Points” that may have been accumulated by an affiliate.
Affiliates generated and accumulated by perpetuating the scheme that was created by (Zeek Rewards).
The vast majority of funds used to pay for an affiliate’s cash reward , which was based on the affiliate’s VIP point balance, were funds invested in (Zeek Rewards) by other affiliates.
There was little, if any, legitimate business revenue of (Zeek Rewards) that was used to pay any amount due or alleged to be due to a creditor or an affiliate of (Zeek Rewards).
Instead of funding distributions from the multi level marketing program with funds generated through actual business operations, the multi level marketing program merely redistributed payments made by one affiliate to another.
In examining these facts, the receiver has determined that because the VIP points aspect of the multi level marketing program did nothing more than redistribute funds between affiliates in Ponzi-scheme fashion, points generated by/or accumulated by affiliates will not be an includable part of an affiliate’s claim for purposes of receiving a distribution from the Receivership Estate.
So there you have it, on the record that Zeek Rewards’ Ponzi points are and always were worth dick.
The real value an affiliate contributed to the scheme was not publishing spam, creating or purchasing fake penny auction customers, it was directly tied into how much of their own money they invested into the scheme (and indirectly how much money they convinced other affiliates to invest).
These personally invested amounts will be all that is claimable to affiliates who participated in the scheme and did not receive a positive ROI. Those that did of course will be required to pay it back (despite running around trying to convince everyone nobody lost money in the scheme).
Having professed that VIP points were nothing more than a virtual currency that was completely worthless outside of the attached Ponzi scheme, the Receiver’s comments above come of course as no surprise.
So why am I sitting here writing about it?
Following the closure of Zeek Rewards a plethora of MLM companies have popped up, all using identical or slight variations to the Ponzi points model Zeek Rewards took mainstream.
- JubiRev accepts investments from affiliates in the form of “JubiBucks” and ultimately rewards them with “JubiPoints”. Each JubiPoint pays out a daily ROI for 80-105 days (determined by how much money an affiliate invests).
- GoFunRewards accepts investments from affiliates in the form of “Lifestyle Dollars” and ultimately rewards them with “Reward Credits”. Each Reward Credit pays out a daily ROI for 100 days.
- Vicesus accepts investments from affiliates in the form of penny auction bid purchases and ultimately rewards them with points. Each Vicesus point generates a daily ROI for “up to 90 days”.
- OurGV accepts investments from affiliates in the form of monthly membership fees and ultimately rewards them with “shares”. Each OurGV share generates a daily ROI (non-expiring).
- Bidify has undergone several revisions to its compensation plan following Zeek Rewards’ collapse, currently accepting investments from affiliates in the form of purchased bids and ultimately rewarding them with Customer Acquisition Bonus points (CABs). Each CAB point generates a daily ROI for 60 days.
- Blue Bird Bids accepts investments from affiliates in the form of monthly membership fees and ultimately rewards them with “shares”. Each Blue Bird Bids “share” generates a daily ROI (non-expiring).
As you can see, there’s no shortage of “revenue sharing” Ponzi points MLM companies with business models similar or identical to Zeek Rewards that have launched since August last year.
Why affiliates and the large factions of the MLM industry continue to believe that minor tweaks to the
Ponzi scheme revenue sharing model will somehow negate the basic underlying Ponzi scheme fundamentals of the model (affiliates invest money in one way or another and are paid a daily ROI from newly invested money) however, is beyond me.
With those who earnt money in the Zeek Rewards Ponzi scheme facing clawbacks forcing them to return anything they earnt over their initial investment into the scheme, those who lost money waiting almost a year and counting for a return of their money and now the confirmation that big “point” balances on a screen are just that and not worth anything, it doesn’t seem like the smartest of moves.