That John Bell

That John Bell John bell has been a professional web design, developer, and marketer since 2008 and software developer since 2017. Currently serving as an entrepreneur, he currently owns and operates several business serving marketing and analytics services.

22 March 2018 ~ 0 Comments

What Traffic Exchanges REALLY Need in 2018

One of the 48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene, is the law to “Preach the Need for Change But Never Reform Too Much at Once” and it basically says to speak of needing to make changes in the related topic, but not to necessarily make those changes yourself.   The theory behind this, as I understand it, is that as the advocate for reform you are in a position to accept credit if those changes prove successful, while simultaneously avoiding fault when the changes lead to detriment, as it was not you who enacted them.

In that vein, throughout the last decade or so that I have been in this business I have seen countless people come up and try to rise to leadership status by doing just this, and even former leaders doing this exact same thing.  Saying that if only we (as a group of related businesses) made changes x and y, then more people would be successful. Or if we only did things differently, people would find it easier to succeed.

Combine that with the romanticizing of the past, and we end up with an echo chamber of people shouting the need for change, while not making any changes themselves.

We Don’t Need To Change

The internet as a whole has grown up quite a bit of the last twenty years, and so have consumers.  The wants and needs of consumers are not what they were twenty years ago, and the fact that our market remains viable even today after so many others have come and gone is a real testament to our EXISTING ability to adapt and change to the needs of consumers and the constraints of constantly evolving technology.  When I hear somebody trying to say that some drastic change is going to supercharge the industry as a whole, I can’t help but roll my eyes.  I’ve watched it evolve over the last decade, as many of you have as well, and what the market really needs is not to reinvent itself, but to keep pulling on the threads and pushing what DOES work, to the further limits.  The bread and butter for advertising businesses is creating conversions for your customers, and if for whatever reason you are unable to measure the conversion rate of your clients (FIGURE OUT HOW TO, THAT IS YOUR BUSINESS) then the second way to test is revenue.  If you’re not converting, people won’t buy.  If you are — then they will.  If your business is experiencing growth, then keep doing what you are doing.  It’s dangerous to start making drastic changes to your business if you are in a period of growth, you want to increase the growth and if you are at an early stage of business then the wrong decision could cost you that forward momentum.  Tangent aside, changes are good if you need to see growth, but that’s not what Traffic Exchanges need right now.

We Need Community

The obstacles continue to fall onto the Traffic Exchange community, and not by the way of declining market share, but outside obstacles entirely.  Payment processing companies have been wreaking havoc on our market.  Business owners are being left in limbo searching to find a good payment processing solution.  I can tell  you from my own experience that this can be absolutely devastating to a business.  If you cannot accept payments, then you are no longer in business.  It’s as simple as that.  The one’s that are facing these obstacles and yet still hang on and still fight and still search for that perfect payment processing solution deserve our support.

We don’t need radical changes or big updates to our business model, the model works.  What we need is each other.  We need to support the people who are digging in the trenches and fighting tooth and nail to be able to provide a service for you.  It’s been a rough couple of years in the traffic exchange market and those that have persevered are the best our market has to offer, the old cliche that the cream always rises to the top has proven true yet again and what we have left are a group of people who have the mindset and what it takes to create absolutely amazing services, but the only thing they lack is our support.  That’s what the Traffic Exchange market needs.  That’s ALL that it needs.

So how do you support them?  It’s easy, actually.  Like I said earlier, the conversion rates are the cream of the advertising business.  You should absolutely not sign up or opt in to anything that you are not genuinely interested in, however the easiest way to support a traffic exchange owner is to focus.  Pay attention to the ads that are being displayed, and if something interests you then act upon it.  People don’t advertise products or services for their own satisfaction, a lot of people have really incredible products and services that can help make your life easier, I can’t even count high enough to tell you the number of high quality products and services I have found through traffic exchanges, including some delicious jerky.

The second best way to support them is to purchase advertising or upgrades.  When a payment processing company struggles and can no longer do business, the websites who use them lose all of their subscriptions, and obviously, the ability to accept payments with that provider.  This is generally a fatal blow, as building up network trust and client subscriptions can be an expensive and time consuming process, so if you find value in the services being offered then vote with your wallet by purchasing their services.  This is especially vital to the hard working people in our market, our friends in chat, our friends who are just starting businesses, and really for any market.

There are a lot of business owners who are struggling right now, for no reason other than misdoings and illegal activities of payment processing providers.  In general, a business fails due to inability to meet the demands of the market, but these people are running successful businesses and being dealt huge blows by third parties.  The best thing we can do to help, and for our market in general, is to be active, support, and engage in the traffic exchange market we have all grown to love.

22 March 2018 ~ 0 Comments

A Tale of Three Payment Processors

It’s been a very interesting last few years in the world of payment processing.  They say you’re supposed to open with something that hooks people, but that first sentence is likely the most boring thing I’ve ever written, however if you are involved in online retailing you have likely experienced some turbulence with your payment processing as well.

Everything was Great… Until it Wasn’t

In my little niche of the internet, myself and my peers rely heavily on payment processing companies to process our transactions.  One thing that we, and likely others, have noticed is that while the internet is reaching massive growth, payment processors seem to continue to be deeply lacking.  Anyone who has been doing business online more than a decade will have all kinds of PayPal horror stories to share with you.  Although PayPal users have recently faced another stack of hurdles, but they’re not the only payment processing company to have caused struggle for the online business community.


The year it all began to go down.  PayPal has always had strict restrictions on what countries they do business in, because of this there was always a demand for secondary processors on websites.  At the time, in my niche, a company called AlertPay filled that void.  Everything was going great for many years, consistent transactions, businesses were growing, and payments were flowing without a hitch.  Then one morning countless people woke up to log in to their AlertPay account to find the seal of the Department of Homeland Security.  As it turns out, AlertPay was operating without licensing.  The assets were seized and members were directed to contact the Department of Homeland Security to file to get money back from their account.  I was one of the people who filed however of course heard nothing back.

After the shut down, AlertPay (as the story goes) sold the property to MH Pillars Ltd, a company based in London formed in 2005.  The site reopened promptly as a payment processor Payza.  Payza has since become heavily invested in filling the void in crypto-curency exchanges and transactions, focusing mostly on Bitcoin and Altcoin in addition to transactions through nearly all global currencies.  But it was with a very rough start.


In late 2013, Payza’s US operations were suspended and asset seized.  They cited this to be due to the AlertPay fiasco of a year prior and the websites previous owners.  It took about six months, however US services were ultimately restored after which they continued uninterrupted.


In early 2016, the US Consumer Finance Protection Bureau re-categorized online payment processing companies as pre-paid cards.  This raised their level of liability with banks for transactions made through their service.  It made it easier for consumers to get refunds on purchases made using third-party processors, but at the same time greatly increased the risk of the processor’s.  The timing made for a perfect storm as at nearly the exact same timing as the announcement, a Ponzi Scheme that had taken more than $200 Million dollars from users through PayPal was targeted by the Securities and Exchange commission.  PayPal went out in full force and combined their client websites.  The SEC action and the CFBP decision made PayPal aggressively revisit it’s policy, and nearly all of my friends and colleagues became no longer eligible to process transactions on their website.   Many now relying on Payza and crypto-currencies.


In 2017, PayPal was sued for their role in the Ponzi Scheme perpetrated by Charles Scoville.  The plaintiffs claim that PayPal knew that Scoville was operating an illegal Ponzi, however chose to continue to do business with him.  Since the SEC Case against Scoville is still proceeding, a tenth circuit court judge placed a stay on the case.  The reasoning behind this decision was two fold, first according to SEC rules parties involved in SEC suits cannot be involved in other suits that do not include the SEC, so the SEC must be party to the case in order for it to be pursued.  The second reason was that the case involving Scoville and the SEC was still preceding, and the evidence of wrongdoing lies in the result of this case.  Simply put, if it turns out the Scoville somehow miraculously wins his case and is proven not guilty of criminal activity, then that would make PayPal not guilty of a crime by doing business with him.  That being said, Scoville was operating a very clear and obvious Ponzi, he seemed to behave as though it was a legitimate business but to a person who has crossed a fair number of online Ponzi schemes, it was immediately evident what was going on.  When he is found guilty and the case against PayPal is resumed, this could lead to even more reactionary measures by the company.  It’s unlikely the processing company would be bankrupted, however they would certainly want to further minimize risk by removing dealings with even more digital good sellers. This is something any online business owner who uses PayPal needs to be aware of, as the experiences many felt in 2016 could very well be coming again.


And history repeats itself.  In March 2018 Payza’s US operations are shut down by the Department of Justice.  As it turns out, MH Pillars, the company that acquired AlertPay, was operating Payza without a license to process payments.  The exact same thing AlertPay was shut down for.  The interesting part about this, is that they claimed that the investigation had been going on for 6 years.  As it turns out, MH Pillars just happened to be owned by the original owners of AlertPay.  The sale of AlertPay to MH Pillars was a cover as they were simply different businesses registered to the same set of brothers, only this time they are also being accused of Money Laundering.

What’s Next?

So now what?  Many business that relied on AlertPay were pushed to PayPal, who then pushed them to Payza, but now what?  What is to happen to the countless business who have relied on PayPal and other online payment processors?  I can’t help but wonder why there is so little innovation and competition in this field, obviously there is a lot of risk in processing such a high rate of financial transactions, but there is even higher demand.  Besides Stripe and a couple others, there really haven’t been many entries into the payment processing business for as long as I can remember.   Regardless of if it is risk, or regulatory burdens that are keeping people from starting these businesses, the result of having such a limited availability of them has caused to the end of thousands.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...