Monday, October 7, 2013

A Note of Caution Regarding DollarClickorSignup

It's a given in the world of online earning that you will be scammed from time to time.  I've been burned a few times myself, though I've mainly lost time as a result rather than money.  By far my strangest experience with being scammed occurred with a GPT site called DollarClickorSignup.  To this day, I'm still not quite sure what happened.  I'd been a member of the site for years, starting when Lora still owned the site.  I even made the mistake of purchasing a lifetime premium membership there that gave me free referrals -- I call it a mistake not so much because of what the site did to me later, but because I never got much out of the deal...the site was always small and there weren't that many free referrals to be passed around to all the premium members.  Let's suffice to say I did not make a profit on that purchase.  Although it was a site I invested more into than I received back in return, I enjoyed the friendly atmosphere, the low minimum payout, and the reliable payments.  However, I was never a real heavy user of the site; there were always other GPT sites I preferred for offers and surveys.

Lora eventually sold the site to the owner of PiggyBankGPT.  I can't say I was thrilled about this -- sites often decline in the hands of new owners in my experience, but I knew nothing about the new owner specifically.  I also wasn't thrilled when the site stopped making payments through PayPal; as I recall, they were banned by PP because they were allowing members to play some sort of gambling game with their earnings.  I can't say I ever noticed or played the game personally.  I kept the site in my portfolio because I thought I might use it for Alertpay (now Payza) cash or Amazon gift cards, but I was an extremely inactive member after Lora had sold the site.  On one of the last times I logged into the site, I noticed something funny...inactive old me suddenly had a balance of around $5!  My first thought was that my lifetime upgrade was FINALLY paying off.  Indeed, I seemed to have an active referral or two.  Cool!  I was more surprised than anything else, and as I recall I didn't even bother to cash out my unforeseen windfall.  I doubt it would have mattered if I had...

One day soon after, I logged into my DCOS account and found out my account had been suspended.  The reason?  I'd been accused of using proxies, contrary to the terms of service.  I had the option of contacting the admin, which I did, and I proceeded to politely protest my innocence.  And I'm not kidding when I say "politely" -- I knew I'd never used a proxy so I figured it was an honest mistake on the admin's part.  At least, that was what I decided to assume until I had more information, and I doubted getting angry about it would do me any good.  Suffice it to say that I never got any sort of response to my protestation. The next time I tried to connect to the site, I got an Apache 2 test page.  The site appeared to be offline!  This changed my perspective on things...I decided that DollarClickorSignup had decided to scam all of its members and pull a "runner."  You might wonder why the admin would bother accusing me of scamming first, but it's not an unheard of tactic.  That's basically what happened with Future Game -- the guy running the site essentially said, "You're all cheating!" and closed it down without paying out most of the prizes.  I figured other members had probably gotten the same account suspension I had before the site disappeared. 

For months, I assumed that DCOS was dead and buried.  I kept searching for it on the Web, expecting to read scads of complaints or at least commentary on its disappearance, but somehow I never did.  One thing I did notice early on was that Google was displaying MY REFERRAL LINK on the first page of the search results when I searched for "DollarClickorSignup."  That was definitely odd, especially considering I'd not done that much promoting of my referral link!  I really don't understand why a referral link would ever rank ahead of a site's main page, but search engines can be's a phenomenon I'd noticed before, though I'd never been the "beneficiary" of it previously.  Anyway, I didn't really focus on that for quite some time because I still believed the entire site had closed down.  Still, when I noticed that other people were reporting still using the site and getting paid from it I realized that things weren't quite what they had seemed.  Evidently, I'd been IP banned from the site -- I came to find out that I also got an Apache 2 test page when I tried to visit GPTCashCow, a site I'd never been a member of.

So I'd been scammed, albeit in a bizarre way.  The odd thing is that other people seemingly weren't being scammed in the same way.  If you spend enough time on the Internet, you can find someone willing to call pretty much any online earning site in existence -- no matter how honest -- a scam.  I tend to dismiss those reviews which don't match my personal experience with a site, but this time I was in an odd position...*I* was the lunatic, the one person who had been scammed by a site.  Why me?  I still don't know and probably never will know, but I have two theories.  The first is that the new owner of the site resented the premium memberships that had been sold by Lora.  That would be understandable -- after all, Lora got the initial purchase money, but the new owner had to bear the costs of giving free referrals to premium members.  Getting rid of me offered a way for DCOS to save money; given that I wasn't very active, I was worth more "dead" than alive.  I would've thought that all premium members would've gotten the boot, though, in which case it seems like it would've been easier to simply do away with the memberships without banning people.  My second theory is that I was killed by my favorite search engine.  Since my referral link appeared on the first page of Google's search results, I might have gotten some undesirable referrals and been banned under the assumption I was creating fake referrals.  This theory is certainly more favorable to the admin -- it might even be called an honest mistake under the circumstances -- but I'm somewhat skeptical of it.  For one thing, wouldn't the admin be aware that these referrals were coming from Google?  Why was there no dialogue before I was evidently IP banned (and IP banned in such a way that I would think the site was dead rather than that I'd been banned)?  They knew I was a long-time member and someone who had purchased a premium membership.  If they ban everyone who gets bad referrals by default, anyone could force any other user to get banned by signing up under that user's referral link...what kind of system is that?  All in all, it stinks to high heaven.  At the end of the day, I do think DollarClickorSignup knew exactly what they were doing for me, even if I still can't understand the reason I was singled out.

So just what should this epic post mean to someone who is thinking about joining DCOS for the first time?  The main advice I would give you is to exert caution when dealing with the site.  If premium memberships are still being offered, I'd definitely tell you to steer clear of those!  At the same time, the reviews elsewhere on the Web are probably accurate.  Chances are the site WILL pay you.  But if it does end up scamming you, at least you'll know you won't be its first victim.