Recently Google banned essay writing companies from advertising on Adwords. College students struggling to complete term papers on their own pay hundreds of dollars to these internet companies for completed work.

I was suprised to find that Google still allows illegal ponzi schemes to advertise with them. HYIPs, an acronym for High Yield Investment Program, is actually a simple ponzi scheme where older members are paid out on the pay ins of newer members. Its kind of like the US’s social security program except one is illegal and the other is not!

Next I checked Yahoo, they too allow these cons to perpetrate. To Microsoft’s credit, when searching HYIP ads were displayed however they directed to sites like ebay and less harmful paid surveys.

It does not take a genius to understand these web sites are scams. Some may first appear “legit” but all you have to do is take a look at their claimed returns. This is easy, common sense stuff. 22% a day? Yeah, I don’t think so.

Consider this excerpt from Wikipedia’s entry on HYIPs — “As a comparison with a typical 1% per day claim, Warren Buffett, one of the world’s most successful investors, made around 30% per year during his most successful period; that is on average, less than 0.1% per day. As the claimed returns of 1% per day are extremely unlikely to be produced legitimately, all HYIPs are therefore likely to be Ponzi schemes, and so most investors will in due course lose their money.”

Still don’t believe me? Do this search on Google — hyip site:*.gov This will give you a list of all of the documents US government web sites have concerning HYIP scams — and thats exactly what they consider them. You’ve got some reading to do.

The Evidence:

I decided to take some screenshots to show you exactly is going on. The first is from Google.com, searching “hyip.” Click to enlarge it to full size.

hyip google

The first ad is a little wierd. It includes GE’s logo on the page and only claims a 10% return. Perhaps legit? What really throughs me off is the ad copy “Tired of 3-4% Physicians go to work and I get Paid. I like that!” I don’t know about you, but that should send up the scam red flag — oh, and the domain is registered to some Jason Lavin at Golden State Communications through GoDaddy.

Below is a screenshot from another site that showed up on Google when searching “hyip.” The site is hyip-multiply.com and is listed as registered to Elizabeth Tyler at 5426 Rosecrans Lawndale, CA (could be fake whois, no clue.)

hyip multiply
(run the numbers on these, I find it pretty hard to believe anyone can deliver me $22 million tommorow if I pay them $90,000 today)

Yahoo’s results were even more obvious that they were scams.

hyip yahoo

The #1 result was “E-Gold Investment Programs” claiming a 22%-49% daily profit. It mentioned forex investments so I wanted to make sure that it just wasn’t some forex program entrepreneur cashing in on a hot search term.

It didn’t look like it. A screen capture posted below, from their FAQ — http://www.egoldinvestment.org/faq.php — specifically says “you will earn a total of 220% divided into 10 payments of 22% daily” That is definately a claim, not an alleged possible return that top FOREX investors make.

hyip rip off claims

HYIPs are very, very profitable for their owners. Many of their users do understand its a pyramid scheme. The attitude is that as long as I get in early enough, and re-invest my “earnings” I really don’t have much to lose. Thus, HYIPs continue to thrive. But, being a pyramid scheme eventually the smart users pull all their money out and move on. Then the party ends for every on left inside.

This is not a questionable or legal grey area — it is illegal! By allowing these sites to operate on their networks Google and Yahoo are hurting their own reputations and damaging their brands. This carries through to others who choose to advertise on the sites.

One of the screenshots above is from a site asking users to deposit up to $90,000 at once. If someone did that, and lost all of the money, how do you think that would change their opinion of Google or their trust perception of other companies advertising on Google?

Has either Yahoo or Google been too busy to notice the HYIP advertisers? For Google, certainly they spent some time and thought before purging essay writers from the system. Considering that Google and Yahoo will delete your Adwords/Yahoo Search Marketing ads for something as silly as a typo I consider it outrageous that they will allow ads to run claiming to deliver 22% daily returns.

23 thoughts on “HYIP investment ponzi schemes advertise on YSM & Adwords

  1. Great article Andrew. I hope other bloggers link to this one. This really needs to generate enough buzz so that the big guys pay attention.

  2. I agree completely and you have written an excellent piece here. I’ve encouraged Google to stop, but they don’t respond. Not only is it illegal, I believe a case could be made that Google is complicit in the fraud because they are making money off the ads.
    http://www.digitalmoneyworld.com/hyipe-gold-ads-by-google…..
    http://www.digitalmoneyworld.com/what-is-an-hyip
    http://www.dgcblog.com/?p=177

    I write about this topic often as I do not like the HYIP schemes which steal money. Unfortunately, I believe you are the only other person writing about this in the past 5-6 years besides me. Keep it up, at some point we will get noticed.
    Mark Herpel

  3. I love how google is committed to “user quality” yet still allows shit like this to happen.

    Imagine, a google user clicks an Ad and goes to a low quality arbitrage site. They don’t see anything they like, and they leave. The user loses nothing except a little bit of time. Google starts banning people doing arbitrage.

    On the other hand, imagine you’re a google user and click one of the Ads mentioned in your article. You give up a ton of money to an illegal pyramid scheme and get jack shit in return. The user loses a whole lot more than going to an arbitrage site.

    So why is google targetting small time problems like arbitrage while illegal scams get promoted through their adwords programs?

  4. some of these do work ,thats why they are around
    all cannot be dismissed ,though they may ponzi

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  9. I don’t think the search engines should be held to blame for allowing
    HYIPs. Ponzi schemes are always so obvious–right up front, where there is no substance. When the fallback position screams out at you that it’s the late-comer suckers who will end up holding the empty bag, the whole thing becomes easy to figure, and steer clear of.

  10. please kindly help us get the list of all the good and reliable hyip so that the frudulent ones can be known and track down.how can we truely know the real and sincere HYIP ones?

  11. Is there a way for checking if these website are legitimate? One would somehow like the offer of this website. http://www.tradeartgroup.com. Does anyone know if they are authentic. I have tried whois and it redirected me to another website asking me to fill information to receive full data on the registrar. How can i go about this.
    Kelly

  12. I can’t figure why so many people get so upset with these (what are really) fringe issues, when the most transparent stock scams are screaming at them for exposure. I write extensively on investment scams, and just completed a piece on stock options, which I think illustrates what I mean. I’ll say it again: this Ponzi-like clalptrap should be obvious to anyone with an I.Q. of a walnut, and should be brushed past in an effort to uncover more serious stuff.

  13. I was approached today by a friend of the family. A guarantee of 65% each year. She ends her email as follows: “If interested, I’ll tell you more. If not, don’t respond.” This same lady also sells a “health” product that she claims will keep her from ever getting cancer or AIDS. Need I say more.

  14. Some of these hyip are paying google an upwards of $800,000 to $1,000,000 per year in advertising. I think almost any company would look the other way to keep raking in those profits. The disapointing thing is it makes it harder for the little guy to be taken seriously when trying to raise money for legimitate projects.

  15. Have you ever tried to get one of these schemes shut down ? Even when they are quite clearly scams getting either the search engines or law authorities to do anything is almost impossible. And if you post any kind of citicism the companies post a copy of a lawayers letter and negative blog comments get deleted straight away. The company I went after is running a series of scams and i thought i would attack the most obvious as a way to get them shut down on the others. There is no interest until the thing collapses.

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