What's a Shill?
Step Right UP!
If you look at the photo above you'll see a Carnival Barker; the archetypical Shill.
His job is to entice the public to pay to enter that tent. He collects the cash. He sells the ticket.
That is his job.
He gets paid for that job. He gets paid to get as many people inside as he can.
Often, at 'random' it will seem that he'll get a 'satisfied customer' (secretly, a fellow Shill) who is 'just like you', tell the possible customers of all the wonders he saw inside.
What is inside is usually mock and rubbish. If it wasn't, people would not need to be enticed to enter.
The Shill shouts about the wonders, because every sucker he pulls in, is money in his pocket.
No matter the nature of the scam, the nature of the Shill remains the same.
He is to rope in suckers to be ripped off.
Anatomy of a Shill
The most important facet of a Shill is that he is to appear 'one of us'.
No matter where he is situated in the scheme, he must appear absolutely average.
He looks like a working guy; stopping at that Three Card Monte table, making his bet, and winning!
He looks like a top executive;
"I invested with Bernie Madoff, and man....my money doubled in one month!!!!!"
S/he belongs to an online writing site, and makes claims about how s/he was always paid!
And you think to yourself,
'Hey...I could do that!!!!"
The nature of the Shill is that he must seem to come from among the 'ranks'.
You are never to learn he is the Scammer's Partner.
Shills, Dupes and Wookies
The Scammer would be nothing without the Shill to drum up business.
It is the Shill who does the advertising, who gives the testimonial, who brings in the marks, then fades into the crowd.
Actual Shills are paid. They take a cut of what the Scammer collects.
Many Shills get Dupes to do unpaid work for them. Some Dupes don't know they are Shills. They are just dupes who bring in other Dupes.
Take the average Ponzi; there are those who are hired at a set salary and paid a percentage for each Dupe they bring in. They know what they are there for.
They know they are Shills.
As a blind, Shills allow a few "Wookies" to "Win". These Wookies will run around raving about the scam and attracting new blood.
Once the Wookies have served their purpose they are tossed out as so much garbage.
Shills are every where.
They lurk in Forums enticing you to participate in this scam or that one. They post endorsements, testimonials...
"I lost 50 lbs in One Month using..."
"I make $1k working from home every week!!!"
"I made 6x on Factoidz what you make on Hubpages!!!"
These are shills.
You have no way of knowing what they are posting is true or false.
Why believe them?
If you do step into a scheme, read the fine print, read it again, and as soon as you
start to lose, cut your loses by getting out.
Anything that sounds too good to be true is.
Not that long ago, two rather intelligent chaps needed money for their education. They thought of a number of schemes and decided to get an Adsense account and create their own writing site.
They borrowed $10k from an uncle as a 'nest egg'. This was to make sure they could pay their users.
Just before the site became public, they filled it with plagiarised stuff; really good articles copy and pasted from other sites.
They'd do a few changes then publish it in the name of one of their 'duals'.
Then, using the names of their duals, they joined every other writing site and ran around praising the site.
New Users would arrive, see all those nice articles, assume the site was legit, and start posting.
The 'threshold' was $25.
Users were paid for articles, views, and likes. This meant that it didn't take a month for the User to reach the threshold.
The items posted by the User would replace the plag. stuff and the User would run around claiming what a great site it was.
Hundreds of thousands of people joined. Everyone got the first pay out, (that was what the 10K was for) and then...
Those who brought in 10 other users got the 2nd pay out.
Those who lived in the 3rd World didn't. Their work was getting views, hits, comments, but they were getting nothing. Their money went to pay new users.
This scam went on for a few years, and when the Owners got the money they were after, (and a few threats of law suits) they closed the site.
It was no accident, it was no unfortunate circumstance; the site was created to be a scam, and was a scam.
Years ago there were many paying sites. One could earn, easily, $200 or more a month, simply by writing online.
Then, the Scams began.
Some were accidental; for example, an Admin didn't budget for taxes. Suddenly he has to pay out more than half of what his Adsense account has collected.
This means he can't pay all those who should be paid.
Some create an online site as a scam. From day one it is created to get as many users as possible, to get as much Adsense coin as possible.
Everyone is paid the first time, regardless. The second time, only those who have brought in 5 new users and/or live in the First World.
Some of the Best writers are kicked off for no real reason and their work is confiscated so that it earns money for the site owner.
There are few sites which actually pay today. Most are scams.