We received this comment from Antony (who never leaves a website address in his comments or we’d link to him) on Why Your Amazon Affiliate Site Is Failing Miserably regarding a place called the OnlineHostingNetwork.com and a terrible Amazon affiliate store we stumbled across.
Hey El Admin,
You have just uncovered another scam. I wonder if you realize that. How about making this one yet another cautionary tale for your readership?
The owner of the first site – dwlane.com is likely out a lot of $$$ right now. Far more than the few hundred $$ a month than the Google Cash types take folks for.
While dwlane.com doesn’t look like much, it cost anywhere in the neighborhood of $1500.00USD to $6000.00USD to have “developed”.
The poor owner of dwlane is an innocent who fell for the high-pressure sales tactics of a group called the “Onlinehostingnetwork” who promises to build you an “Amazon Store”, often with a banner or two from a couple of other popular affiliate programs. They also promise a minimum of say, 10,000 (useless) clicks to “get your business off the ground”.
Of course, as El Admin notes, dwlane’s store is not likely to generate much if any sales. dwlanes “Coach” at the “Onlinehostingnetwork” will soon offer “help”. The “help”? Well, because s/he only invested $1500.00USD for the “Basic” package, the “coach” will do a hard-sell to get dwlane to upgrade to the “Platinum” package for about $3500 which is absolutely certain to generate the promised riches — likely another banner or two and some more empty promises.
Of course, even the Platinum level will begin to wear down dwlane’s patience after a while. However having invested so much effort (read dollars) in this website, the Coach will aggressively suggest upgrading to the 5K “Gold” package.
Of course the “Gold” package will be similarly yield nary a sale. At this point, the “Coach” gets harder and harder to contact since the max $$$ have been taken from the unsuspecting dwlane and heaven forbid dwlane should contact an attorney or the FTC or the local DA’s office in Phoenix. These schemes seem to thrive in AZ, possibly because of some loophole in the law. Also the “Onlinehostingnetwork” is likely to undergo a name change if things get complicated and will morph into one a new company name among the galaxy of similar operations that operate in this cruel manner. Company names in these sort of schemes change faster than you change your undergarments.
IMO, this sort of high-pressure, heavy-duty, big ticket scam is much more pernicious than even the slimy “Adwords Riches” spam offers that are all over our Inboxes each morning. The Adwords type scams which will create the headache of cancelling credit cards are pikers on the scale of evil compared to the outfits that “helped” dwlane create that “store”.
Those “stores” often wipe out the life savings of the unsuspecting and folks desperate to make a living in this so difficult times. Contracts are signed, in-your-face high pressure “investment” tactics have been honed by the “Coaches” and the companies behind them.
It’s enough to make one almost thankful if they’ve only been taken by a “Google Millions” scam which I believe was the impetus for El Admin starting this blog to educate folks to the lies and just barely within the law “opportunities” that we’re inundated with.
El Admin, I think it’s time for a new thread devoted to these types of operations. While I’ve only read of angry folks taken by “Google Riches”, I’ve been brought near tears after reading of folks who “invested” thousands of dollars in a “store” like dwlane.
Wow! Thanks for the tip Antony! Now we can not say anything for sure about the Online Hosting Network as there is not much information on their website at all and we have not heard any first hand stories of any users of their service. But, a quick investigation yields the following:
Bad Sign #1: No Information on the Online Hosting Network at the Better Business Bureau
There is no information on them at the Better Business Bureau that I could find, searching in both the US and Canada. That makes any claimed refund policy very hard to trust, since there is no history on if they have actually honored it.
Bad Sign #2: Onlinehostingnetwork.com Has a Private Registration
Try to do a whois lookup on onlinehostingnetwork.com. It’s registered through the Godaddy proxy service which keeps registrations private. There is no way to check on the businesses actual location or principal operators names or business history. You really want to give them thousands of dollars? Note that we here at The Electron Plumber have a private registration, but that’s to protect ourselves as some of the “offers” we call out have some very unscrupulous characters behind them. And we do not ask you for anything or sell anything. A real business that asks for your money through an online site should never have a private registration.
Bad Sign #3: The Website ohnlive.com Was Registered In June 2009
That’s about 4 months ago. onlinehostingnetwork.com was registered in March 2009. If they try to tell you they have been in business for longer than that, find out what their previous name and website was and let us know please. Looks like they are either brand new or might be trying to hide something. Either way, not instilling a lot of confidence.
Bad Sign #4: Plenty of Bad Reviews, Only One Good Review
Look around the internet and you’ll see nothing but people asking on various sites if they’ve just made a huge mistake by signing up with them. You can find one glowing amazing review on a Google help forum which in my opinion is either faked by an employee of the company, or from someone who doesn’t realize how badly they have been taken. That comment was written the day their website was registered, so maybe it’s a real customer who just did not realize yet. They claim how the site is amazing and how it will be money in the bank. Luckily they link the site name. Go look at the site and it’s a total failure. A bunch of affiliate links and direct links to Amazon.com pages, no content at all. There is only one link to it according to Yahoo from one Ezinearticle that is on an entirely different topic and no traffic whatsoever according to both Alexa and Compete.com, despite being close to two months old. Even a bad site with a tiny trickle of traffic should have been ranked by Alexa in two months, even if poorly.
Shoot! I Paid OHN but now I want my money back. What should I do?
- Don’t feel bad! Seems like hundreds if not thousands of people have been taken in by these sort of hard sell business tactics. It happens to the best of us.
- Call the Online Hosting Network and explain that you want a refund. If they won’t, explain that your next steps include disputing the charge with your credit card company and complaints to the BBB and the FTC. Be polite but very firm, ask to speak to a manager, and they might budge. People have reported in the comments below that they have gotten a refund of their basic package fees, but not other charges for “traffic” or “training”. Try going the customer service route to being with.
- If #2 fails above call/write your credit card company, dispute the charges and change your card number.
- Click Here to Share this on Facebook! Warn your friends not to get involved!, or Click Here to ReTweet this article.
- Report the Online Hosting Network to the BBB. The BBB already gave them an F, the lowest score, so it’s probably pointless.
- Report them to the FTC by clicking here. The FTC has become far more strict on advertising claims, especially related to claimed earnings potential from online money making programs. They’d probably be VERY interested to hear your story, especially anything an OHN sales person said about earnings potential.
But it all sounded so good! I’d love to make more money!
People keep asking if any part of the sales pitch is true. Can you actually make money with a website online? Yes, that part is actually true. Real big companies like Amazon and Walmart and Target and BestBuy will pay you commissions for helping sell their products and people do make an honest living at it working out of the comfort of their own home.
If you don’t want to try to figure it all out on your on, I only suggest the following place to learn:
Especially for you folks down under, since Affilorama’s offices are located in Christchurch, New Zealand. Why do I suggest them? There are lessons on their site, forums, and a ton of good advice, all completely free! They have a premium membership too that you can try for a week for $1 after you eat up all their free lessons.