No real surprises, I guess. Arvind, CEO of Bubblews, confirmed today what many of us have said in the past:
Extract from Arvind talking to Bubblews users:
"I have already explained that the value in your bank was not tied to our advertising revenue. I'm not going to rehash that, or why it took so long for us to change it. You can go here to read about it: http://www.bubblews.com/news/9708943-learning-curve
Our wording was a little obtuse here. The implications obviously weren't clear, so I'll restate this: We reported lots of money that we didn't have. The money that you "earned" never existed. We didn't "steal" it and go on vacations to Aruba or buy motorcycles. It just didn't exist."
I must admit I made some money off Bubblews when the times were good, then jumped ship when they dropped the rates. They owe me $25 but that's a small figure compared to what they owe others.
I never stopped with HubPages, or my own websites. Bubblews were always too good to be true. Plus you really have to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket.
My sympathies to those who are owed money.
I totally agree and I've done things the way you have; I didn't think Bubblews was some kind of a godsend. I kept writing here at HP and on my websites, never wrote exclusively for Bubblews or even thought to do that. I was paid plenty of money by them. I'm owed a little but like you it's little compared to others.
Also, thanks for clarifying what's going on over there. I wondered what was going on with Arvind and the site, there's been lots of speculation, etc. Kind of glad he's upfront and just says they don't have the money. Of course, they always said payments would be based on what they earn from advertising.
I must be one of the only people who did not allow herself to lose money on that site! They paid me consistently for more than a year, and I made good money for doing practically nothing. However, when they changed the payment plan, I knew it was time to walk away. After they gave me my last redemption, I never wrote there again. Interestingly the bank there shows that I earnd $20. I didn't. I did not write one word. You gotta know when to ride the horse until it drops and then walk away. I never expected B to continue... there was too much fraud and it had a poor business plan.
I always received my payment, but I never did much writing there. I think I might have earned $150. At this point my balance is only around $8 and I won't write there anymore. Some of the members from a few of the foreign countries ruined that site. There writing was awful and they were getting so many views that they had to be cheating.
Yes, I'm saying "I told you so" too!
The very first time I came across Bubblews and read that they were paying for comments and likes (which advertisers don't pay for, of course), I knew they would be in trouble. Then I discovered they were paying a cent a time - probably at least double what they were earning per view, without even considering comments and likes. I rode the gravy train briefly as did many of us, but I'm not surprised they've hit the brakes.
When I first came across this post of Arvind's from 15 days ago that opened with the preamble:
"One of my selfish personal goals is to write more content, read more literature, express more feelings, and have more experiences than any other business leader in the history of the world."
and closed with the rallying cry of:
"We think outside the box, always
We see things differently, always
We want things differently, always
We push ourselves as a team, always
We will win, always"
words that came to mind were: bizarre, demented and megalomaniac. I found it comical in light of the December 31st Surprise.
Then I grew a little concerned. Had Arvind suffered a nervous breakdown at the realization of his company's impending demise. Some people can't stand to lose. Maybe he was already in a mental institution, paying orderlies a penny per character for access to the Internet in order to communicate with his "team."
Then comes this latest communication of his, so full of BS. "We did not know until 2 years into this game that we had no money to pay people the funds we had put into their banks." What a tireless con man he is. An arrogant sociopath working the public with more ridiculous lies. He really thinks he is so much smarter than the average guy, and they will fall for anything if he just comes clean with this disingenuous apology/explanation.
I amone of the unfortunate, they owe me $220 for year 2014 and$200 for year 2013 and noe that fella said i don't owe you anything? Stupid of me
Why does this scenario sound like a mini Enron?
I will just say that I jumped shipped when they moved the $25 payout to $50.
Makes me think about whatever happened to Triond ...
Good point and thanks for the accurate quotes. I am due a redemption from 12/10 so we will see how that goes.
My take is that it may survive but it is not worth my time. Good luck to all!
Wow, the comments under Arvind's post are hilarious. Looks like a virtual lynch mob is forming!!
he he he,,,,i knew that site was a not making what it claimed! i got 50 bucks from it writing crap! writing about the dumpling i ate yesterday and how i swallowed it slowly and people actually liked it....lol. My gosh. i have 30 bucks locked in it, not interested stopped writing there 5 months ago.
I actually wrote about going to the bathroom once. Funny stuff.
Once I wrote an article in which I told the readers "don't waste your time reading this article, there's nothing important in it." People still read it in droves.
A broken business model that promised the world and only delivered a small tropical island where people could lounge around in the sun. Reality soon set in when their food supplies ran out, they were scorched from the sun, and the fresh water that was promised turned out to be sea water.
The world is such a competitive place. There are no miraculous place for bad writers to go and make money. Money comes from hard work, grit and resilience.
I love that even then there are some people that are still brown-nosing. "I will never leave"... blah blah blah. I swear someone in the comments section even said "we love you" lol
Bubblews is dead to me. Except that I am engaging a troll who is trying to defend Bill Cosby is the comments section of one of my posts.
So the problems no longer caused by the fraud committing users of the site and Arvind not being able to go through and sort them from the honest users. They don't have any money! Duh we have all been saying that for a long time - he has to admit it or the "loyal" users will start to see that the detractors of the site are actually telling the truth.
So they have no money; or so they say..
So server problems in July that wiped out payments for the majority of users
Non-payment issues for August/September that finally resulted in Arvind's messages that people will be paid after 30, then 60 then 90 days as they had to sort the fraudsters from the honest users etc.
So all in all maybe 3 months of earning at the peak of the sites popularity when they didn't pay the majority of the users..
Lets assume $3 per thousand views - at more than a million views a day that is over $3k a day or around $100,000 a month. So if they have the money from those 3 months advertising that will be around $300,000 in Arvind's pocket..
Of course they paid a few people but then I am only basing the calculations on 3 months out of the July to November 5 month period
If my math is flawed please let me know..
Anyhow I guess there is still something there for the class action to go after..
I think you may be under estimating their income. Some of the captcha's were videos, that you had to watch from start to finish to get the "secret word." Then when you entered it, it was WRONG - watch the frigging video again, and again...
I assume advertisers pay more for impressions when a user watches a video from start to finish for 30 seconds, detailing how great American Express credit cards are.
Users were also encouraged to click on ads, so they should have had a decent click through rate with the targeted ads.
Site so slow to update and numerous glitches made you stay on each page staring at ads for an eternity.
I had estimated that the 2.5 weeks for the server crash were worth 150K in savings alone. I can't remember everything I based that estimate; certainly it was in large part on the comments asking for their redemptions to be paid detailing the astronomical sums owed; I have since recycled those memory chips to store better information.
I don't think LeanMan is underestimating their income at all.
Based on average rates for online advertising, they would've been averaging half a cent per view at best. They were paying out one cent per view PLUS one cent per comment plus one cent per like - neither of which advertisers were paying for. So their promised payouts were at least double their income, even without any fraud. They would've narrowed that shortfall by failing to pay some people, which I agree is an unprincipled thing to do. However I think they must've been very disorganised to be so blind, for so long, to how far out of kilter their business model was.
You have every right to feel aggrieved about their behaviour but the comfort is that young Arvind and his partners are far more out of pocket than you are. They're unlikely to ever recoup their original investment.
You are very generous in spirit, so it is no fault of your own that you give them the benefit of the doubt, which they do not, in my opinion, deserve.
I find it inconceivable that they just now realized they had a shortfall. Even a monkey knows when the jar of peanuts is empty. And regarding the initial investment, that's OPM. Other People's Money. Parents most likely.
Given their shady practices over the last few months, do you really trust that the numbers reported for likes, comments and views were always accurate? I would not put it past them to have reported lower figures than what the advertisers were seeing. And they had no problem ignoring redemptions time and again; savings, savings, savings.
If you have not seen Arvind's latest post, it's a good read. You can see how cunning and clever a sociopath thinks he is compared to his silly fellow man.
Whether my estimate is correct or an under estimate it makes little difference. The point I am trying to make is that even looking at a minimal level of earnings the amount of money that is now in Arvinds pocket is far from small......
I hope that a class action does go ahead against them or that some agency decides to investigate his fraud - because it is fraud no matter what their TOS says.... When it happens we will then know just how much that vile little man has stolen from people.
I never wrote on the site because it looked like something that this guy thought would be an easy way to make money off of people who are looking for an easy way to make money. That's never good. Of course some made money so they're defending the man/site, but come on, this man was a scam from the start. He knew from the start it would be short lived. It is fraudulent business.
I don't think it's necessarily, particularly, "generous in spirit" for someone to want to remain fair. There's the kind of blind benefit-of-the-doubt that makes people just think all is now well and all will be great from here on. Then there's the kind of benefit-of-the-doubt that reserves judgment, drastic actions/assumptions, but also remains cautious enough for the "benefit-giver" to watch out for himself and his own interests as well.
A lot of people on that site have a very legitimate gripe (although I imagine a lot of others contributed to the making of the problem in the first place and in one way or another). As far as who invested what in whom/what, or what the pay set-up on there was, I don't know enough about all that. The site looked like a big "horror show" to me when I first signed up; but I think detecting "baloney" may have been easier when the site was simpler. I can't help but think once they polished it up they may have attracted more sophisticated people; but also, whenever scamming/spamming is made more difficult, the scammers, spammers, and "borderliners" find less obvious ways of getting around things likes rules and geneal good faith of some endeavors.
I've never been all into B's, but I've been on there closing in (sort of) on two years now. I've made modest money on there (VERY modest), been paid, and didn't see any of what's there now reduced (at least not yet). BUT, I don't have thousands of followers/followeees and thousands of posts with zillions of tags and links to whose-ever posts, or zillions of comments from people who - it''s pretty obvious - are "borderliners" at best. So, I'm reserving judgment (but I have to see what changes they do in the next couple of months before I figure out if I have no use for the site or some use for it).
I don't think it's fair, though, to make the jump from what was legitimate grievances/grips to stuff like, "I wouldn't put it past him to......" or to make the jump from "they didn't pay redemptions" to "they had no problem ignoring redemptions". That's presuming to read someone else's mind. And, calling him a sociopath and whatever else, or saying what he "thinks", isn't just mind-reading. It's presuming to diagnose someone when that kind of diagnosis isn't even easy for professionals.
So, I don't think aiming to be fair by withholding assumptions and presumptions is being "generous of spirit". It's just using reason and logic in knowing which conclusions can and can't be drawn at the moment.
I don't know Arvind from Adam (as they say), but if anyone wants to make sure that any unethical behavior/practices are dealt with the way they should be (whether that's by B's members of anyone else); they'd better not make themselves look like borderline-crazy people (or at least not people who are out of control of their own emotions to the point where they're obviously being unfair who are making up stuff, unable to remain objective and reasonable (and use reason and logic).
I'm here wasting time because I don't plan to do anything on B's OR on here tonight (at least not with my own Hubs or any new ones). I just don't think, though, that people who decide to be cautious about sorting out what to do or think about something like the B's mess (not like it's the first Internet-site mess that's ever happened ) shouldn't have other people implying that they're too naive or stupid NOT to give at least some limited benefit-of-the-doubt for now.
Oh well, this whole Internet-writing/posting stuff is something I haven't been able to take very seriously since the first big Panda, and then the big "Stellar Thing", not to mention visions of mobs of people thronging between places like Squidoo and here and Bubblews, some thronging back under one or more new names, and then either staying or leaving (or both, for all I know) until "everyone" does the next mob-migration to the next place (and maybe back).
Really, as far as I'm concerned, good luck to the folks who own and/or run any of "these sites". WHAT a horror show it has to be to actually be the folks who have to actually deal with some of the "this stuff". At this point, all I can say is "OMG". THEN, who knows... tomorrow everyone will wake up, sign into HubPages and get something like, "Welcome to the New Bubblews/Squidoo/Helium/MyLot, where writers pay readers to read their not-so-stellar stuff". Really, I'm losing it (and my forty-whatever dollars on Bubblews is the same today as it was three days ago, plus a few cents, of course).
"Then there's the kind of benefit-of-the-doubt that reserves judgment, drastic actions/assumptions, but also remains cautious enough for the "benefit-giver" to watch out for himself and his own interests as well." - That time came and went a 6 months ago, when they dumped everyone's earnings in the "server glitch."
Not only was this mass refusal to pay the writers predictable, it was predicted right here on these forums a couple of months ago. When they announced that you could only redeem once a month, and would have to wait a month, then 60 days then 90 days to receive payment, it was obvious that they intended to keep the writers feverishly performing for as long as possible before pulling the rug out from under them.
There is no benefit-of-the-doubt to be had. If the company intended to cheat its users, then this is exactly how it would have played out, and it did.
How it has been working for people, is they ask for their redemption, let's say $240.00 and they get $13 deposited in their bank. I have a good idea how much work it takes on that site to earn $240.00.
It is horrible for someone to have put that kind of effort in to that site to receive a pittance in return. And hundreds, if not thousands have. Effort that could have been expended on something profitable; many here and on B cannot afford to waste time for nothing. That is where their "incompetence" becomes criminal.
I did not read on his mea culpa where he and his staff had skipped their salary payments to join in "taking one for the team." Would have been nice to hear they were suffering too, instead they simply didn't get new motorcycles or trips to Aruba.
Arvind begins his missive by equating himself to Abraham Lincoln, as a leader doing the best he can. And then he makes this grossly disingenuous comment that tells us just how false everything he writes is:
"Part of this was poor management of our vast growth and part of this was that sometimes, we are a little afraid of you guys . We've been entrusted with this great community, and you guys aren't afraid to speak your minds."
I think we all know that posts critical of B are deleted, critical user's accounts are also deleted and any criticism of Bubblews anywhere on the Internet is against the TOS and cause for forfeiture of your future redemptions. This sentiment in his last writing is so wholly false; I don't know how anyone could be hoodwinked into further association with that site, or into believing in his good intentions.
On another note - I do not see how generosity of spirit equates to stupid and naive. Perhaps that was projection.
I write under the name, &BigBrains on Bubblews, but this was my response to Arvind's latest confession/apology:
"So, you are absolved from moral responsibility because you promised to pay people in imaginary money, rather than real money?
You didn't steal any real money, just didn't pay out the promised money which never actually existed anyway?
And you failed to tell the truth because you were afraid of the consequences, regarding the users of your site?
Somewhat bizarre excuses and reasoning. I'm no lawyer, so I don't know what your position is legally, but it doesn't look good from here.
Regardless of the legalities, your behavior would appear to be most unethical."
Apparently, many people are falling for his lies. Every time he posts an excuse, there are as many people willing to believe him as there are who are convinced he is a fraud. I fall in the latter category.
Ah Solaras, what a great description. I couldn't have put it any better. This is criminal sociopathy at it's finest! I have also noticed that Arvind (or someone on his behalf) has been using new legislation introduced in May 2014 to get information about him removed from the internet.
Not so. I wrote a hub about it. I will be rich I tell you.
lol... You sir, could get blood from a turnip. You'll always end up on your feet.
That's a longtime expression in the USA, Mark - do you ever hear it in the UK?
We should create a thread to share those sort of cultural oddities. They're fun.
No Marcy - I have never heard that one. Blood from a stone - yes - we do that one OK. But from a turnip? I assumed she was pulling my plonker.
I'll bite - where do you keep your plonker?
Oh boy - don't bite. It is kept in an Englishman's trousers.
I thought it meant 'idiot', like the word 'dork.'
Maybe you should just write a Hub about it.
Yes - plonker originally meant someone drunk on wine... plonk. However the term "pulling my plonker" refers to an act of self-discovery carried out by someone else.
I can go no further with this.
Illustrating a Hub about that might be a problem.
Will has been active on the site in the last week; I wish he would come and have a laugh at us. The devil deserves his due!
I've been on Bubblews as &liamleather for almost 5 months, in that time I got paid only 290 dollars, while the site still owes me 1,800 dollars, which I will never see.
Like many people who received quite a bit of money from Bubblews (over $2500), I want to give Arvind a second chance. I hope he can restore his company and his credibility. However, I'm afraid that this may be the beginning of the end, and it really is too bad.
I love this argument to justify not paying redemptions and the responses to it.
"Our records were incomplete and there was a ridiculous amount of fraud. Even if you weren't manipulating the site, you were benefiting from those who did."
That is, writers did not deserve to be paid because fraudulent people clicked willy nilly on their posts without reading them. Writers were the beneficiaries of fraudulent activities and were somehow complicit in accepting ill gotten gains. WOW! Good One That!
Yes, and he did very little to discourage fraud. For a long time you couldn't even click to report an article that was obviously copied and pasted from Wikipedia or wherever.
He is trying to say sorry, but can't resist attacking his site's users.
Actually I think there is an element of truth in that.
I wonder how many Bubblews members say, hand on heart, that they didn't play the game of liking and commenting on other Bubbles so they would get likes and comments back? How many published at certain times of day to maximise the number of likes they got?
Why wouldn't they want to post at the best time for readers to find their posts. What is criminal or immoral about that? If they arranged a site that pays for likes and comment, why would anyone abstain from doing what the owners of the site are actively encouraging.
If the site owners find certain practices objectionable, it is their responsibility to fix it. Just like the refusal to pay people who edited their posts. That was their glitch that posts were reposted after editing.
It hurt no one, only offended some people's sense of fair play. The advertisers were not damaged. They don't care what post people see. But they used it as an excuse to deny payments; when they just needed to fix their own glitch and move on.
I agree it was extremely naive, or very stupid, of the site owners to think people wouldn't take advantage of the setup. But just because they were dumb enough to allow it doesn't mean we are completely blameless in doing it. I was just as guilty as anyone.
Mark puts it very well in his Hub:
Over 2 years is a stretch; they had to have known at the first 4 months there was an error in calculation, if that was what it was. They used this payment scheme to gather record numbers of users in record time. I suspect they had an end game in mind that never properly materialized.
If they had offered realistic payment for 400 characters, they would still have had my interest. There is room for a site to let people make money for small contributions etc...
I never earned these astronomical figures I hear being owed to people. Perhaps if I had earned $2500.00 I would look more kindly on them. I came into it wary, and left not long after. I was paid $280.00 and am owed $100.00 mostly in residual income. I don't really care about those funds. Being ignored and never receiving a response to my inquiries was more irritating. Knowing that this was an ongoing pattern, an ongoing fraudulent way of doing business, really has my ire up.
Many people have been badly hurt by their false promises. Arvind's arrogant proclamations add insult to injury. His attorneys must be ill to see him goading his users with his insults, that they don't even deserve the funds Bubblews put into their "banks," since they were feasting on the fruits of a fraud perpetrated in the Far East.
Classic Pyramid / Ponzi scheme tactics - promise unrealistic payments, get huge growth, with the growth enabling unsustainable payouts to a few; restrict payments; claim all sorts of excuses for delays in payments (technical issues, rule breaking, etc.), focus on the future to keep people's hopes up. Most pyramids come tumbling down when growth stops, payments even to a few falters, and the truth is finally revealed - there is no money left, the scheme was never going to work! Bubblews was clearly a pyramid scheme, and I like many people warned people about it right from the start. Tsu may be similar - has a pyramid structure.
So? The site allowed it, even encouraged it, and there was very poor control of unethical practices. Writers had no control over visitors to their pages. Blaming the victim is hardly appropriate.
Liking posts and befriending people is not against any rules.
Scamming is things like copying and pasting, spinning articles, paying people to like or comment etc.
I certainly never felt guilty about anything.
(Not that I ever fully took Bubblews seriously. It was a re-run of MyLot, but with an unsustainable payment scheme - not that MyLot worked out either when it was a paying site!)
I wrote there when they were paying, but made sure I wasn't putting much time into it. I never liked getting "likes" from people I'd never hear from again.
I'm not surprised, and gave up on Bubblews a few months ago. I always kept writing here and on my blog, and won't miss a lot of the garbage people were posting on Bubblews anyway. Anything that seems to good to be true usually is. I have a $30.00 balance there, but I don't care. Nothing I wrote is worth deleting anyway, it was only a paragraph about whatever popped into my head.
I wouldn't normally copy someone's post but this heap of absolute garbage caught my eye tonight. It's a Bubblews post...
i am so happy that in the last few days on here since after new year what i have really noticed is that i am getting more likes and more followers and comments and its got to me aswell to read more and comment more and respect the posts that people go and and do their hard earned time on i did before but more so now if their is one good thing thats really gonna come out of this is the fact that we will all feel closer together once we have got though all this and feel that we have done a great job so be proud
So much closer together, being compressed into that ever expanding black hole.
It would be cool to expand on what that person wrote and turn it into a novel. Joking.
I never did begin writing at Bubblews because I felt the payout sounded just too high for a publishing platform to be able to pay. On that note I kind of figured that it would open itself up to abuse by those who know how to take advantage of just such a situation. I am very surprised that Bubblews has held out as well as it has to this point.
Just sharing my thoughts on the situation.
It was going out on a (weak) limb for their idea - but, they should have started the site with a large investment and sponsors. I posted a lot of bubbles there and did make some decent money from it. I slowly weaned myself away from Bubblews and am finally gave up on it. I posted one more article, for old times sake, last week and that is the end of it for me. Bubblews was a good idea, but lacked some good planning and forethought.
It was predictable that it will be down soon. The apologies did not do any good, I think.
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