Scams have gone Web 2.0. On Aug. 5, secret service officials raided the Quincy Fla. office of Ad Surf Daily, a purported online advertising company that the government says was little more than a Ponzi scheme.
Ad Surf Daily recruited members with dozens of YouTube videos featuring everything from company founder, Thomas “Andy” Bowdoin, discussing business with his attorney to ASD members praising their new found financial freedom.
The videos helped convince some that the company was legitimate. “People look at the Web site and it seems to good to be true, but then they Google it and if they see the first six people saying it’s good, then they think it’s good,” says William “Bill” Cowden, Chief of the Asset Forfeiture Unit for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. “Due diligence amounts to doing a Google search.”
Videos of members, such as the one below, were particularly convincing for some members.
Others videos, like this one with a talking frog, tried to convince people that the site was a legitimate advertising service, even though users didn’t need to have a real business to advertise.
Still other videos functioned like online infomercials, comparing Ad Surf Daily to Google, Amazon, and other successful Web companies without clearly explaining the business model.