As a Digital Marketing Manager for a National brand, I am responsible for £100,000’s per month on individual paid advertising campaigns, generating £Millions in sales and revenue every month.
When it comes to advertising online, whether it is Google Adwords (PPC), Banner advertising, retargeting, Facebook marketing or SEO, etc, I can confidently say that I am qualified to answer the following question.
Is Traffic Monsoon a scam?
Firstly, let me give you a story to shed some light on how these money-making schemes work.
A man buys a horse from a farmer for $1,000. He pays half as a deposit, and when he goes to pick up the horse, the farmer informs him that it’s dead. The man asks for a refund, but the farmer advised that he already spent it. The man takes possession of the dead horse and leaves angrily.
A month later, the farmer runs into the man at the bank and notices he’s depositing nearly $5,000 in cash. The farmer asks where he got it and the man says “Well, after you ripped me off, I started selling raffle tickets for a horse. I sold a 1,000 at $5 each.”
The farmer says, “Well wasn’t the guy pissed off to find out the horse he won was dead?”
The man smiles and says “yup, so I gave him his $5 back”
Now, back to traffic Monsoon.
Traffic Monsoon claims to deliver quality traffic through advertising on popular sites where your ads are placed.
When you buy advertising on the internet, you buy because you want people to click the advertisement, land on your website and take some kind of action, right? So now I will explain how advertising online works.
The highest and the lowest form of Advertising online
The best ad’s to buy on the internet are Google adwords or any other PPC (Pay Per Click) model.
Seth Godin coined it as ‘permission marketing’ because the visitor is looking for something specific and grants permission to see related results, even if that result is an advert.
PPC can be very expensive, depending on the market the advertiser is in, they could pay up to £50 a click, now that’s just a click from Google to your website, before the visitor even takes any other action.
Why so expensive and who would pay so much?
When a person searches on Google they have a specific intent in mind.
Let’s say someone types in ‘buy tyres for Audi A4’.
Google displays how many people have searched for this term every month, the estimated cost for a click to a website for that search term, the estimate costs is based on a bidding auction.
Think of it like ebay when selling something everyone wants, the more people that up the bid, the more you can earn from the sale.
You can imagine how beneficial it is for a tyre company to have this person come to a web page looking for tyres that is actually created with Audi A4 owners in mind.
If the price is right, the likelihood of that person buying compared to someone searching for ‘tyre information’ increases 100x.
Likewise, there are 10,000s targeted keywords that can make a company £millions every year in sales.
If a company can spend £1 on Google ads and generate £3 in sales, whilst after all costs the profit is £0.30p, you would consider that to be a successful model.
Let’s move onto the lowest common denominator – Banner ads.
Banner ads were massive in the 90s and early 2000s.
You can buy ‘impressions’ so every time a webpage loads the advertisers ad loads with it, this is counted as an ‘impression’.
I could buy 1,000 impressions for £10. This does not mean the impression is for every new visitor, it could be the same visitor roaming around 1,000 pages on a website (not that anyone would do this, but you get my point).
Banner advertising is not as popular anymore. It has been overtaken by more targeted advertising like Google Ads, but it does still exist, and can be effective and profitable if it replicates the same model as PPC.
If I visit a web page that talks about the ‘Dyson hoover’ and the entire website talks only about hoovers, then putting a banner ad on that website about ‘hoovers’ makes sense.
If the website owner is not familiar with the costs advertisers pay on PPC for targeted traffic, then an opportunity could be exploited.
Let’s assume I am a Digital Agency that buys and sells advertising.
There are billions of websites out there. Someone has to approach each of these sites and verify if they accept ads.
This is simply too much of an exercise for anyone company to do (unless you are Google).
So big Ad Exchange Networks were created; spending billions of Dollars recruiting and validating websites that accept ads and negotiating rates.
Google is one of those Ad Exchanges and the feature they offer to websites is called ‘Adsense’. Adsense is a clever integration.
Google talks with advertisers who spend on PPC and offers them traffic via the ‘Google Display Network’, but at a significantly lower cost.
Google uses its tools to automate the process of understanding what a website and its pages are all about and attempts to display related ads, since it does not control pages, content could vary drastically making it difficult to match the right ad.
Furthermore, Google does not know the intent of the person visiting the page (they may not have reached the website from a Google search), combining all of these factors Google sells ads on the ‘Display Network’ much cheaper than Adwords and share a fraction of that with the website owner.
Look at this way, There are 147 Companies That Control Everything. The diagram below gives you an idea.
Why do I mention this? Read the point I make below about Traffic Monsoon selling ads to advertisers at a rate of 10x to 100x of what they paid for them.
Ad agencies can buy ads from these Ad Exchanges in bulk cheaper and resell on to smaller agencies, these small agencies do all the leg work contacting advertisers to buy.
Here is the math’s.
An Ad Network buys 1,000 impressions for £1, selling to ad agencies for £2. Ad agencies go on to sell to smaller resellers for £3 and they in return sell to the advertiser for £5.
If you approach the website directly, they do not sell advertising to you, they redirect you to the Ad Exchange Network who in return will sell to you at £6 – £10.
It make sense for the Ad Exchanges to sell higher than the resellers without undercutting them, after all they do all the leg work in selling the ads.
For argument sake let’s say Traffic Monsoon is any one of these in the chain, they still have to sell the ads to someone else in the chain, either the agencies, resellers or directly to the advertiser.
Selling directly to the advertiser would be the most profitable, but someone has to find an advertiser that will pay the £10.
How difficult is this to do? It is extremely difficult.
For one, Ad Exchanges already exist and the businesses that collectively built them work closely together.
For Traffic Monsoon to create an Ad Exchange would cost millions (not going for billions, as they could target a few websites to advertise on only), assigning dedicated departments responsible for targeting businesses to buy ads along with all the additional departments to support these ones i.e. technical, accounts, legal, etc.
Don’t forget computers, phones, employees, servers, advertising, marketing, etc.
Most importantly they claim to share an insane amount of profits with you!
It’s simply not feasible.
For one it is a numbers game, with marginal returns, I am talking £0.03p profit per 1,000 impressions once you take away all your costs.
If you are able to sell millions of impressions daily it all adds up, but not until you start selling millions of impressions can you start seeing profits.
Look at this scenario.
I work for a national brand, an agency or a reseller gets on the phone to call me, this person must be paid a wage and potentially earns commission on the sale, they report to a Manager, their company has a HR team, a Director, computer, phone, etc.
This all has to be paid for.
How much do you think she is expected to sell in advertising space? It is usually in the 4 figures a month.
In most situations they will either arrange a webex call (online screen demo) or physically come to our offices, you know it costs about £250 for a return ticket from London to Manchester?
Needless to say after 3 to 4 phone calls, a webex demo and a visit from London we could turn them down for the service.
Now multiple that by 10, 15 or 20 pitches a month, coupled with advertising, marketing, conferences, etc.
How much do you think all this costs? Add that onto all the business overheads i.e. Wages, rent, equipment, etc.
How much does this company have to make before it can start seeing any profit let alone pay you?
Now, the first question you ask when you intend to invest in Traffic Monsoon is ‘who is buying the ads?’
There is a Whatsapp message circulating with claims of making over $400 in 4 days, is this too good to be true? According to what I have laid out above, too right!
If Traffic Monsoon buys ads for £10, miraculously sells it for £100, pays out all of their costs, takes a little for themselves (no one does anything for free} and pays you handsomely, then great; happy days for everyone.
But this does not happen in the real world.
Let’s say for argument sake, this is the claim. Tell them to show you the businesses that are buying the advertisements, accompanied with a quote from the Marketing Director stating how happy he is with Traffic Monsoon’s delivery of services and the amazing return on investment they have achieved.
Traffic Monsoon cannot generate these returns (for you) without selling ads 10x to 1,000x the price bought, above the industry standard pricing. Their sale people could either sell snow to Eskimos or sand to the Arabs, alternatively the ad buyers are complete suckers.
As I explained about the 147 companies owning all other leading brands, there are a handful of Ad Exchange Networks that target websites to integrate ads.
These Exchanges have rates the others buy and sell at. If Traffic Monsoon was a similar player, how can they possibly sell at a rate that’s significantly higher than the competition?
With a quick search online an advertiser can benchmark the asking price, the only difference then will be the quality of service if a competing reseller is slightly more expensive.
The Rise and Fall of Banners Brokers.
Last year we had Banners Brokers.
Unfortunately after declining a scholar who was pitching it, telling him that I had no interest and explaining exactly why this was a scam, he took me to another scholar to sell it on??
I was cringing throughout his presentation; he then decided to ask me what I now thought (kill two birds with one stone).
I had no choice but to ‘tell it as it was’. Fortunately he is a good, polite individual, took it on the chin and we dispersed amicably, but without a sale.
So why are upstanding members of the community promoting these schemes and also claim to be making money?
It is a classic bait and hook technique. The crooks of Traffic Monsoon rely on people’s basic human tendencies.
– We would all love to make money with minimal effort.
– Quick fast returns again with minimal effort.
– We all look towards the ‘other’ trustingly when it comes to areas unknown to us, even more so in a tech niche.
If it is an upstanding member of the community, considered to be an authority then we take their word as Gospel. Surely, the scholar or community leader would not be pulling the wool over our eyes?
The money pool.
All these people that are making money currently are all part of what I call the ‘money pool’, but look at it more like a funnel.
Like all money pools, they eventually dry up.
Everyone who makes money with Traffic Monsoon makes money from some else funneling money into the pool, at the top.
Think of a bank. A bank loans out money from people’s savings to those people who want it. If everyone who deposited money into their savings requested a withdrawal at the same time, the bank would not have the money to hand back, since most of it is loaned out.
It relies on people to leave their money in the bank, entices them to keep money in longer with a return of 2 to 6% in the form of interest, whilst at the same time lending out money, charging people 3% (mortgages) to 15% (personal loans), keeping itself profitable.
Traffic Monsoon plays a dangerous game.
As long as there are sufficient enough people adding to the pool, with sufficient enough people not withdrawing, then the money starts to stack up, like a saving account.
However this can only be achieved through signing up to their ‘revenue sharing traffic exchange site’ in other words, you (and all the other investors they convince to sign up) pay for one another’s revenue instead of the capital being invested into quality traffic or selling advertising on popular websites.
Eventually the number of people putting money into the pool slows down and finally dries up. This will trigger an alert and Traffic Monsoon realises the end is nigh.
Suddenly, you are hit with technical glitches in the system, messages of delayed payments, etc. the delays increase and you are scrabbling to the person who signed you for an explanation, but they are as clueless as you.
Eventually a representative on behalf of everyone else will talk to the Managing Director, he will claim to have the same issues as you.
Later on he will send out a Press Release stating that due to similar frustrations he has lost a lot of money and is now standing down, but forgetting to mention the fat commission he has generated and stored in a tax haven off shore.
Some people buying into Traffic Monsoon are smart and show restraint, they can make $10,000 to $20,000 or even more in the earliest days and pull out before it all goes belly up, but very few people have that level of restrained; like a gambler or an addict wanting to get that one more hit.
Me personally I feel sorry for the Sisters, Mothers and Grandmothers who are convinced by a friend or relative to put in that £500 or £1,000 from their life savings, never to see it again.
You times that by 10,000 people and Traffic Monsoon has a cool £10,000,000.
But don’t forget all the pocket change of £50, £100, 250, etc that also goes in, or even the heavy players who invest £10,000 after seeing those incremental returns, raking up Traffic Monsoons big pay day to £100,000,000+
Fortunately for Traffic Monsoon there are plenty who say, ‘I will try it and if I lose out on a few hundred pounds at the end, so be it’. If I got a £1 for everyone who said this to me, I would have also got a massive pay day.
“A fool and his money are soon parted”. – Thomas Tusser
[feature_box style=”13″ title=”Is%20Traffic%20Monsoon%20considered%20permissible%20(halal)%20for%20Muslims%3F” alignment=”center”]
Since a lot of Muslims are asking this question and steered towards Traffic monsoon, I have provided an answer from a Senior UK Scholar, Mufti (a title for a jurist) Shabbir, Blackburn.
Mufti Shabbir has reviewed the terms and conditions of the Traffic Monsoon scheme and can confirm that they do not comply with Islamic principles. For example, the Terms section on the website states, “If your account should go to inactive status (90 days with no logins), TrafficMonsoon will consider the account abandoned and will close it. All funds in the account will be forfeited and the balance zeroed. If you reopen this account the balance that was forfeited will not be credited back.” (https://trafficmonsoon.com/terms). This term clearly contravenes Islamic principles. As such, it is not permissible to participate in this scheme.
Some are arguing, ‘well… as long as I am active for 90 days, then this does not apply to me’, This is incorrect. The contract is valid according to Islamic Law (shariah) based on the terms and conditions stated and not what you may or may not do.