Is Tsu a Scam? 6 Things to Consider

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There is a new social network on the block. Tsu promises to split its advertising dollars it makes off of sharing your content with, well you.But is Tsu a Scam?surfweb

Tsu plays into the human desire to ‘get rich quick’. No effort required on your part beyond inviting your friends and family.Then just keep posting stuff like you already do! This kind of model has been on the internet forever.  Once upon a time, long since gone companies,  paid you just to surf websites, use toolbars, fill out surveys, read email, heck even use a search engine. The result is always the same and it will be here.. Company folds after they get the money to pay their investors/they get enough money…  from “your friends and family”.

I’ve seen complicated formulas and math talking about the possibilities of your massive profits on Tsu.  Whatever numbers and magic hoopla you’d like to put, In my opinion, Tsu is a scam. Spend your time on your OWN website creating your OWN content and spam your network with that..

You’ll be better off.

Why should you listen to me?  I own a social network. Yup. Girlfriend Social is the largest women only friendship social network in the world. I use advertising on the site but also offer members the option to pay for upgrades so they don’t have to see or be a part of advertising. I know exactly how much money it costs to keep servers going, continue to pay for advertising, keep security going and a million other things that running a major website does. I DON’T compete with Tsu (like so many have accused me of). GFS lets women meet local real life friends. Niche. More like Meetup. Facebook, tsu, G+ etc are similar sites.. but we are not  competing for the same audience. I also own several blogs and other websites that use affiliate marketing and advertising models. I’ve been doing this part of the internet for many many years.friend300

If you seriously want to make money on the internet in some way, you can.  Make a blog or website. Publish ads or charge a membership. Profit…  This will take awhile and a fair amount of effort but you can “make money”. Probably even enough to go out to dinner a few times a month.

1) The Advertising Model….

I can’t quite get a legit answer from the website about their advertising model. One site says that it shares the total revenue the website makes each day with every user. One site implies you will get part of your advertising that your content/ users you invite content specifically makes.  (If you have a link to their clear advertising model shown in Terms of use/outside the website before you sign up.. please post in the comments and I will update here.. so Far, nothing exists that shows CLEARLY what their advertising model in fact IS.. no matter what your friends say..) Whatever the faulty model is, the second the social media gurus and black hat scammy people get to the network 2 things will happen.

1) The site will be made into a spammy spam game. “Share the post and get all your friends to share it so we all make .00001 cents!” will be the norm. Users are currently reporting massive reshares, like and follow schemes and SHARE ALL THESE POSTS in buckets already.

2) Just to point out how silly this all is…Based off of the first link news article above – It says Tsu will share total ad revenue among users for the day.  So, Let us say there are 100 members and they split 100$ of total revenue for the day, everyone gets 1$. When there are 100 million members there likely wont be 100 million dollars in revenue.(No not even Facebook makes 100 million in revenue each day. http://investor.fb.com/results.cfm) You will be getting less than $1. Each user, each person invites will “weaken” the worth of the network causing eventually people to make fractions of a penny. FRACTIONS OF A PENNY on actions. Do you stop for a penny on the ground? 5 cents? Do you see this going any other way?

11/2 – Update – Tsu has now included a lovely graphic on their FAQ. This is new, but still doesn’t really tell me anything. There is no contract, we don’t sign anything, and It’s still not perfectly legal clear what happens with what. Or what happens for those located outside USA. Or how we will magically get paid beyond some references to more than 600 requires an American Social security number…  This is NOT how affiliate or money pay out website do things. Google doesnt. Affiliates do not. Amazon Does not. Choose wisely my friends.

 

2) Is TSU a Ponzi Scheme/ Pyramid Scam / MLM Marketing Fraud?

I’ve seen people call Tsu a Ponzi scheme, Tsu a Pyramid scam, and Tsu a MLM marketing Fraud…

Ponzi schemes typically make new investors pay money. They pay that new money to “old investors”. So since Tsu is not asking for money, it is not a Ponzi scheme. Although Ponzi has typically become a commonly used word for “a scam of some type”. Pyramid or MLM Scam is better towards what Tsu is than Ponzi scheme as shown with the FTC warning about such things…  http://business.ftc.gov/documents/inv08-bottom-line-about-multi-level-marketing-plans

” If the money you make is based on your sales to the public, it may be a legitimate multilevel marketing plan. If the money you make is based on the number of people you recruit and your sales to them, it’s not. It’s a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are illegal, and the vast majority of participants lose money.”

Your “sales” here are advertising dollars on your content and how much money you get paid seems to be directly related to how many people you help recruit in(again not proven because I hear conflicting information but inviting users seems to play a key part in getting paid). To me that falls into the FTC guidelines listed above, but since there isn’t a clear document about their payment plan its hard to say 100% for sure. Either way, play it safe and don’t play into it.

11/2 Update – It seems that “infinite thirds/who you recruit” does indeed play an important role in how much money you make, but recruiting anyone does not SEEM to be required at all. So… If you must Tsu, Play it safe and don’t spam your network. See how much money you make. It’s been reported by several in the comments, that without inviting “children”, you pretty much are not making any money.  That falls again under Pyramid mentioned above. But you decide.

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3) The Payout … When You Get Your Hard Earned Money….

According to the monetization terms on their website…. “As such, you will receive periodic deposits in your Tsū bank account, which are directly related to your usage of the Service.” The money goes into the Tsu bank, not yours. No bank information, paypal, check cashing, tax information for foreign countries, etc…. is included absolutely anywhere at any time in any of the legal information. I have no idea right now how people will ever get paid.

Honestly, You’d be lucky to make 5$ from their non published model. It will require a $100 to pay you(AGAIN according to their FAQ.) That is something you or the majority of people who use tsu will never actually earn because you are making fractions of a cent each day. Or say 1 cent a day… ( a number I’ve seen a few people saying they have earned) It will take 10,000 days Or roughly 28 Years to earn $100. Are you making less than a dollar a day? And how many hours are you putting in? Your pay rates here then are less than a newspaper route or data entry jobs listed online.

And that is if the payout doesn’t really go down (which it should based on the other things I mentioned). This minimum payment required is a common tactic to hold funds till you reach a threshold. Yes lots of legit companies do this, but they have legit ways of making the payout amount. Not one user has reporting being paid the magic $100 so far from Tsu. This will leave a nice pool of “ad dollars” sitting around for the company to pay off VC(Venture Capital.. you know the 7 million dollars they were LOANED by people who want it paid BACK) with because people can’t get to the magically upper end for payout. It has been stated that Tsu will have you invest these “tsu dollars” back into some kind of currency you can use on the website itself instead of a payout/cash to you personally.  Again, none of this is clear. You MIGHT be able to make the $100 by of course spamming the entire internet and everyone you know for the next 6 months. Work hard for that 100$ payout folks.

11/2 Update – TSU has published some information about using your banked tsu dollars to offer you discounts on products they partner with… some kind of shopping network err coupons.Or payment transfer system. Again. Nothing in any official document but that seems to be their plan for those who don’t hit that Magic $100 price point.

payment11/19 – Supposedly 2 super power users have reported making the $100. Kevin Hinkle and Andrew Fromm. Both have more than 10 thousand people following them. Kevin has almost 20k. Two out of supposedly 1 million users. You have better odds on winning the lottery for $100. Or making more money by doing data entry in a 3rd world country. Andrew posted a picture of a hand written check then called me and this post out. Yes. Hand written. As you can see others are also questioning “why would it be handwritten”.. but for me to question it, threat worthy and is “grasping at straws”. It was handwritten to Andrew Fromm’s company name. Yes. His company name. Perhaps he struck some kind of deal? Perhaps he doesn’t want his name associated with the scammy looking website since he is a professional? Or are you able to just say my company made this under your personal account? I don’t think the IRS will like that. Any which way.. I assume tsu does not plan on sending out many checks if they are hand writing checks.(or to any foreign countries – Many countries especially poor ones, do not have the ability to cash american checks.) And what are the tax implications? Money earned in the USA has to follow the IRS guidelines and taxes removed. You don’t just get “free money” even from the internet. The IRS gets its part. Even from lottery winnings. Since Tsu’s whole slick is YOU GET PAID FOR YOUR CONTENT.. you’d think that check writing software would have been a bit more of a priority in that 7 million invested. But it’s not really. You get paid in TSU dollars and few people will ever get REAL dollars. That’s the plan. AGAIN, There is still zero facts on what you get paid for, although Tsu shows a nice views and shares graph under your account.. you get a standard “tsu royalties .04” each day with zero explanation. Zero contracts. Zero terms. Who knows what you get paid for and when.

4)They will Run a Social Network on 10% of Revenue…

… Really… 🙂 Servers, Bandwidth, Security, Staff members, Support teams….. on 1Business Marketing Flow Chart0% of revenue. This means if somehow it IS possible all of these will be lacking. No support, Hackers paradise since there is no security teams on it, and slow slow servers. As one person (Greg Crichton) on my google plus post about it pointed out, It doesn’t even have https/SSL Website security installed. That’s like doing banking on a non secure network! (The SSL issue has now been corrected)  Many users are reporting that the website is “not accessible” or “offline for maintenance” already.  This has not changed in the first month and only gotten worse. This is a sign of things to come while it attempts to deal with the growth and issues appearing on the website.

Some of you seem to think your content can do better on its own. Launch a blog and do it. You’ll quickly see how expensive it is to “run a website” and “host/publish photos” and most importantly… “get advertising traffic”. 🙂 What Tsu is telling you it can do on 10% of ads? Plus Tsu already owes a fair amount of money to the venture capital money it already took? Good luck on that model folks.

11/21 – TSU has announced that they now allow you to transfer your tsu dollars to other tsu members. Or you can donate to charity. You won’t get a charity tax receipt though. Tsu will. They will also take 3% more out of your tsu dollars. So they are now taking 13% of your revenue on these transfers. You can not transfer money in at this time. So you will just buy a coffee for your friends with you 3$ you spent 3 months making. Solid time investment.

How long before for the #TransferTrains start? First everyone donate to Bob so he can hit $100. Then we will donate to Sally so SHE can get $100… lol.  Hook you in the promise of money. And then skim more money from the top. I can actually picture the founders sitting around at a pub somewhere… LETS COMBINE PAYPAL, BITCON ANDDD A SOCIAL NETWORK… lol.. Even though none of them have any experience in ANY of those fields. What a joke.

 

5) We Need to Take Back Our Content….

I’m also not exactly sure about these “I make content that I share on social sites…  so I need to stop these companies from profiting from MY content” type comments. I own 100% of my own websites and I do in fact make a living from that. If you want to use someone elses websites, you are uh… using them and can pay upfront to use them or you can pay by have ads served to you. This is the internet. You exchange your ‘content and information’ for ads.

I COULD place videos completely on my own blog instead of on YouTube for example, but how many people would see it? How much will it cost to have those videos streamed on my server time after time? You are also paying for the promotion your video receives as being a part of the 2nd largest search engine  in the world. This is your “cost” for using these websites. Don’t like that idea? Start your own.

No one reading this signed up on Facebook or Twitter to “make money”.. (ok some businesses did).. But most people did because you wanted to see what your friends were doing without calling them, connect on interests, follow famous peoples doings, look up people you went to high school with and mostly… to stay involved in peoples lives. You were never there to PROFIT. People saying “I get my $1 more than Facebook ever paid me” are misled. You’ve made countless dollars in value from using facebook to connect with people you care about. If you go to a free event, meet some friends,  but the event organizer has a sponsored table/advertisers there… you do not DEMAND the event organizer pay you and the other attendees. The Organizer wouldn’t be able to have a sponsor if you didn’t “go to the event” and “provide content by talking with others”. Just what Facebook does for you Right? So why exactly does Facebook owe you money if obviously the event organizer in this example does not owe you money? Seriously. That’s what the Tsu supports are saying is OWED to them. EVERY SINGLE PERSON who is making this “TAKE BACK MY MONEY” comment is saying something equally illogical.

 

6) But what does it hurt? How can you judge a Network that isn’t very old yet?

I think people don’t value their network as much as they should. Your social network is a precious thing you have worked hard to build through real life or online friendships. You develop trust and experience as an expert about things. Every single person has from the Social media gurus to the person who just updates their facebook page with photos of their kids. Their social network views them in some way. Social expert or Mom with kid photos. Do you want that opinion to include the person who invited them to an affiliate scheme that will likely mislead and rip people off?

There is currently NO delete button to remove your TSU account permanently. BIG RED FLAG. If i “own my content” and a bunch of other hoopla on the typo filled FAQ, why can’t i takeout my content at any time? This is common tactic with new websites because “user count” is more important than anything. They make it difficult/impossible for you to remove your account so they can report to their investors that “Numbers are Up!”. Its been mentioned you can email support and they will eventually remove it, this has not been proven, timeline, etc as of yet. There is no automated way to do it but they are “working on this basic core feature of any website”. If they really believed all the fluff they say in their FAQ about what’s yours is yours, the lack of delete is a big flag saying that wont hold true.

Update 11/02 – they have added a TSU delete from the FAQ when you are logged in. Shares may not be removed so be careful what you share.
I have seen countless online friendships end because some people feel TSU is a scam and some supporters spam promote it every few minutes. If you want to TSU, fine. Try not to spam your friends.

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But lets forget all that for a minute…

People will do what they will, but spamming your precious network with invites to an unproven, heavily weighted against it Monetization Model is certainly not on MY to do list.

If nothing else wait a few months till a bunch of people get the “magical Bill Gates sending you 100$ for each person you forward it to” paychecks…  If this magic network works against all the logical odds.. you have lots of friends and family members to pull into it for eternity. No rush required. Or are you people that desperate for money that you will play into this pipe dream with ZERO proof of it working?

 

HOW TO DELETE YOUR TSU ACCOUNT…

If you have already signed up… According to the terms of service You can fill out some kind of form to get your account removed/deleted at some point…

“You can deactivate your Tsū account by logging into the Service and completing the form available here. If we terminate your access to the Service or you use the form detailed above to deactivate your account, your photos, comments, likes, friendships, followers, digital or real assets held by Evacuation Complete and all other data will no longer be accessible through your account (e.g., users will not be able to navigate to your username and view your photos), but those materials and data may persist and appear within the Service (e.g. if your Content has been reshared by others).”

Google+ for example completely deletes your account and removes all pictures you share leaving an X on any reshares of your content. They are in fact.. “gone”. Facebook encourages your to deactive your account, but after several hoop jumps you can delete your account on their various servers after 14 days. Your content SHOULD be removed from Facebook after that. ANY social network should have delete account as part of a ‘6 year plan’ like tsu supposedly does. Block, edit and delete are simple straight forward core parts of a network or website. The fact they “forgot it”, and the fact they have not FIXED this (Folks its handful of lines of code… seriously) shows they don’t want to fix it yet.(looks like it now does)

If you signed up already I recommend removing as much as possible, attempting to find their delete form and stop sharing or putting anything you value into it… for the possibility of pennies.

UPDATE 11/2: Looks like Tsu has finally added a delete button available through the FAQ But unfortunately your stuff will still be available for others who shared it like mentioned above.

BUT IT’S JUST FOR FUN….I’M NOT THERE TO GET RICH QUICK!

I’ve had a few people mention they are “just using the network because its clean and fun and new”. If this is true, I believe you have the option to turn monetization off (thats been mentioned but I actually can not find any information about this in the FAQ, Terms Etc in any way. Can you find where to turn it off someone?) Till someone shows me how this is done, its required to be on the site. But the reality is fine folks, if you are spamming/begging invites to everyone you know… You do not fall into the “its fun” camp. You are kidding yourself and you are hoping to cash out on this….likely with a “Even if its a few bucks, thats more than facebook ever gave me!” type of idea…..There are many other social networks out there,(Google+ comes to mind with it’s zero ads) that do not play around with these things, for you to “have fun on”.   It’s nothing to me, but I hate seeing people get ripped off or mislead by unethical companies. I mostly made this post to link to people that asked me about it and “why are you not there”. Do what you will, but realize currently “taking a chance to check it out” can have repercussions that I’ve listed above because you can not delete your account at this time.

What about Legal Issues?

A final little update here. Google and YouTube specifically have spent a ton of money to detect when you are using someone elses copywritten material in videos you upload to try and make money off of. You are not allowed to monetize your YouTube Videos that include copywritten stuff. Violators are banned. This technology is funded by part of that “revenue” that these companies are making that Tsu is only going to be getting 10% of.  They will have no such technology. More legal stuff brought up by another Google plus folk, Debashish Samaddar, who mentions the possible legal issues that are sure to happen.
“Tsu claims that if, and when, the original content creator issues a DMCA take down notice then Tsu will take the content down. But that takes time and within that time Tsu will have already made money. And distributed it.
1. Are they going to take the money back from whoever it was paid to?
2. Sometimes the content creator may not even know that their content is used, so a DMCA notice may never be issued and Tsu will continue to make money and distribute it. Potently unethical and illegal position.
3. For content that is distributed under CC-NC (Creative Commons, Non Commercial) sharing the content is not necessarily a commercial act so it preserves the CC license terms, but it circumvents the license by indirectly making money using that content. Grey area, but potentially illegal.”
Very Very valid points. And what about these lawsuits downstreams? LIke your friend you invited reshared illegal content… are they going to take back your penny too? It’s been pointed out the current TOS say whatever happens legally is your fault. Not sure how that will hold out, but i don’t want to be sued for something someone else shared. Even if there is a chance of it.

10/26 Update:
Many user have confirmed that TSU is now implementing a 5(24?) post a day limit to try and combat the obvious spam that has sprung up. Even good users who were doing well thought out post have been hit with the draconic limit the first week that the network has been in existence. This quick rule actually will help to combat spam slightly, but will basically limit 100% the ability to get anything more than pennies a day and the rest of this article will remain true. Many users have also reported zero way to delete their account and zero response from the “support” email about deleting. Please feel free to comment if you have in fact got you account removed this way. Until then Do not expect to have your account removed any time soon.

11/2: Tsu has added a delete from their FAQ and has published some sort of “Picture money model” on their FAQ. It still is not clear. It sure is not a legal contract signed document. Tax info for foreign countries (commonly called a w8 for those outside US), DMCA not discussed and I’ve read things about the CEO’s plan to implement a “tsu shopping network” so you can spend some of your hard earned tsu dollars on coupons towards products they partner with…. Awesome… or something.  Looks like their model continues to be sketchy and not fully laid out.The addition of a delete is a positive sign if you want to try your chance at making some pennies, but remember that the TOS still says items can/will remain on their servers so be careful what you share.

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Sure are a lot of people attacking me for this opinion. Sorry some critical thinking is offending you. So as always, please use TSU if you want but think about what rights you have and what you have agreed to, because TSU sure is not telling you and so far… they sure are not paying you(Anyone been paid 100$ yet? its been over a week…) to promote their site so much.

Final Note: I am locking comments on this post because i’m tired of being personally attacked and insulted across the internet for asking some questions and stating my opinions. I am also tired of over 20 JOIN ME ON TSU SPAM INVITE LINKS a day that I have to moderate in the comments. Honestly.. I just don’t care anymore. If that means “i’m wrong” because I should accept being called a bitch, dumb, thief, slut, whore, cunt(yes people are calling me all those things in public posts all over the place)… because I asked some question (Really people.. really? You’ve wrote “You deserve this because you posted a blog with your thoughts!” all over the place too)… Then so be it. I’ll leave this here for people to decided.  I wrote this post so I could send it to people spamming me their links and asking why I was not there. It went viral online and has made people act like its some kind of witch hunt on me. Carry on with your pitchfolks rage Internet. I’m done playing.
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11/24 – The threats continue. I’ll post the screenshots here. It seem Andrew Fromm does not like his full name associated with this stuff and is threatening to “tsu” me for posting this.  Of course after he publicly posted that I needed to see his hand written check shown above publicly on his tsu profile. 2 out of 1 million users have gotten paid somehow. No screenshots of how they did though. HORRIBLE ODDS. My entire article still stands above with most users reporting earns between $.10 and $5 in the first month.  I did not post Andrew Fromms comment on this blog because he was rude. I removed ANY comment that was rude, insulting, or included a spam link, as do most bloggers.  I left lots of “positive” tsu comments below that managed to not call me names. Logical discussion is good.  There is little logical discussion happening anymore, just people insulting me personally, as you can see folks. I’ve updated this post over 30 times since posting to include where tsu has changed my original points.  The Tsu supports sure are angry. You judge.

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Author

AmandaBlain

Business Owner & Geek Girl. Likes Technology, Virtual Reality, Video Games & Social Media. Over 5 Million followers on the internet. I'm press at a few places. I own this site, World Of Geek Stuff -http://www.worldofgeekstuff.com and Girlfriend Social - http://www.girlfriendsocial.com

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