Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Wednesday 8/8/2001The wild frontier of the Internet has attracted its fair share of shysters -- actually, my email seems to get more than its fair share of the same. If I believed everything that comes in, I'd now be a multi-billionaire, as thin as a rake and fantastically well equipped.

Wednesday
8/8/2001 The wild frontier of the Internet has attracted its fair share of shysters -- actually, my email seems to get more than its fair share of the same. If I believed everything that comes in, I'd now be a multi-billionaire, as thin as a rake and fantastically well equipped. If only they were true... One of the first indigenous Chinese frauds comes to light today: buy a thirty quid membership card for a website and earn thruppence a click from the adverts thereon. Sounds no less silly than many a .com business plan; and it was only when the authorities found that the company wasn't bothering to log the clicks that the full audacity became apparent. At least the punters only stood to lose around four hundred yuan -- thirty quid. A friend reports that the pernicious Women Empowering Women (do a Google search for details) pyramid scam is going strong in London, with venues packed out by applauding hoards every night this week. Men are not allowed (and get roundly condemned for being repressive if they criticise the scheme), but the maths is clear: for every one person who profits, eight lose out. I know of workplaces where managers pressure staff to join, and of people losing many thousands of quid because they were near the bottom of the scam. It's scary that such an old-fashioned, dangerous and obviously flawed idea has such fervent followers, and a sobering reminder that logic and experience are about as useful as a lard toothbrush when people get religion.

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