The Unbearable Likeness of Digital MLMs

Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a business scheme. There are three principal characteristics of this type of business scheme. First, newcomers to a business scheme paying money up front to join the business scheme. Second, those who participate in the business scheme are required to use their own social network to market the goods / services featured in the scheme. Third, because of the “upstream / downstream” nature of the MLM, those who join the scheme in the beginning do make significant amounts of money. The money that they make comes from the up-front fees paid by those who join the scheme later on. The amounts of money made by joining the program are not sustainable, and there are many cases where eventually the MLM collapses because new joiners cannot be found at a sustainable rate.

Michael Crawford stands in front of Tasha and his jet
The Unbearable Likeness of Digital MLMs

In watching video advertisements on YouTube, from time to time I get ads for what I think is a new type of MLM based on making huge amounts of money online somehow linked to options trading or currency trading. They are not selling physical products with intrinsic value like supplements, or oils, or clothes, or makeup. They are trading only in the idea of making money with little or no effort, time or money.

Quantum Code : (also and

There are loads of trading app, lifestyle trading, financial freedom and get rich quick courseware ads being shown on YouTube. And as experiments in amateur acting, they have a certain level of charm. The first advertisement that I saw which seems to fit the patten of digital MLM was “Michael Crawford”’s Quantum Code. It is “trading at the speed of quantum.” The only problem is, quantum is not a speed, it is an amount. In fairness, it turns out that there is a thing in hacking called a quantum server which is able to server up fraudulent content to the victim faster than the legitimate server, but still I think the word quantum is being used incorrectly.

“Hi there, my name is Michael Crawford, yes that guy you might have read about in Forbes and other financial magazines.” The interesting thing about Forbes is that they were well known for printing paid sponsored content that looks like an editorial. For example, OneCoin creator Ruja Ignatova is known to have run an full page ad on the inside cover of Forbes Bulgaria that intentionally looked like a cover page. So one, being is Forbes magazine is not the biggest deal in the world, and two, even after all this time, I still have not heard of Michael Crawford outside of this YouTube ad. When I google Michael Crawford a Broadway actor comes up. So when googling Michael Crawford, the name Andrew Lloyd Webber literally ranks higher than the Quantum Code guy.

Guaranteed to Make Unlimited Profits Every Day Forever

The Quantum Code scheme as explained in this advertisement sounds a lot like the lightning-fast trading scheme described in the Tessler scheme described below. SO I conclude that Michael Crawford, or whoever is paying this actor, is an earlier adopter than the Stephen Abrams (or whoever is paying that actor) from Tessler. Which is odd because either they are the same thing, or they are competitors. If they are competitor’s, what does that say about Michael Crawford’s statement that Quantum Code is “the only 100% guaranteed way to make unlimited profits every day forever”?

Now, in this video the actor says that this video won’t be up for too long. It was almost a year ago that I first saw this ad, and in its recent run I have been seeing it for about two months.

There is also an element of sexism in this video that I feel needs to be called out. Michael has an assistant named Tasha. Tasha stands behind Michael patiently while he gives his initial pitch outside the private jet that is the first prop of this video. On the plane, she hands Michael the laptop when he asked for it, and she later serves him a drink on the plane. Now, as his assistant, Tasha would have already had access to Quantum Code, making unlimited profits every day. Why does Tasha not have her own jet, with someone else serving her drinks? And then whoever was serving Tasha drinks would also have access to Quantum Code, and they could buy their own jet. Even the pilots on the jet should be millionaires by now. What is the point of being a millionaire if you have to work for someone else, going where they tell you to go and doing what they tell you to do whenever they want to? Have they all somehow been brainwashed, or become sexual slaves of this mastermind Michael Crawford? And if Michael can enslave them, why should I believe I would be safe if I gave him my contact details?

So to summarise, Michael says that he worked for years as a high frequency trader in New York, he knows nothing about trading, yet he developed the software that trades using an EXACT formula, and everyone in the building is a millionaire. The only question I have is, why did he leave Tasha on the plane? I think she is in danger.

A bit later in the advertisement at about the 21-minute mark Michael claims to be trying to call an investor Cindy on Skype. Cindy does not answer the call, so Michael says, “she must be out shopping.”

So Cringe I Just Couldn't

Around this time Michael claims to interview Robert from England and Mark from Australia. Honestly, the accents that Robert and Mark were imitating were so bad I had to put the video on mute just to get through it. During the interview with Mark, it is revealed that the initial buy in is $250. He says he borrowed the $250 from a friend because he was dead broke. Now, fraudulent investment schemes are bad, but fraudulent investment advertising that encourages you to borrow money to make the investment is even worse. This number 250 is also important, because it is a number repeated by the other ad campaigns listed below in this post, whether it be 250 pounds or 250 dollars. Mark says, “Michael, I literally love you more than my own family.” We should also be concerned for Mark’s safety as well. In all seriousness, it is this author’s opinion that Michael’s members – the people represented by the actors that have been hired – are the “downstream” in this digital multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme.

It is a bit confusing at this point in the video around the 25 minute mark as Michael seems to indicate that he stole the Quantum Code from another company, where the coders were, “slaving for 16 hours a day making minimum salaries.” So, they don’t have Stockholm Syndrome?

It is interesting though that just after this, Michael shows that the has set up a new trading account with “Porter Financial”. He deposits $250 from his credit card, and says that he will show you how to do this and then hook up the Quantum Code software to this trading account. We know that in order to open a brokerage account, a formal onboarding process must be completed where the individual enters into a contractual and legally binding relationship with the brokerage firm. Documents regarding financial liability and risk must be read, understood and signed before the account can be set up. Within those documents there are clear statements that capital is as risk, there is a significant chance that the money invested can be lost. No legitimate financial services company will promise “100% guaranteed … unlimited profits every day forever”.

At the end of the video, an hour later Michael is in his home and he checks the account that he has just created. The $250 from an hour ago is now $3,850. In this screenshot on the menu bar there is a menu “Education”, and this reminded me of OneCoin, which was also a digital MLM. OneCoin’s actual product was not the cryptocurrency, but was “education” in the form of PDFs that cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars each.

Also on a page in a screenshot currency pairs are shown.

Click Money / Money Click :,

This campaign is targeted specifically at the UK market in the London area, as London is mentioned many times throughout the advertisement. The logo clearly looks like it says Click Money, but the text on the website says Money Click. No, I went back and looked at the video: After Julia and Harry introduce themselves, Julia says they are the creators of Click Money. Hmmmmm….

By the way, the “Report o abuse / spam” link at the bottom of the page is an invalid link.

I noticed that this web address ends in the top level domain (TLD) name .cfd. As stated by, the “.cfd will be used in the promotion and communication of CFDs as a transparent and viable investment opportunity offered by IG Group, and more in particular its brand IG Markets, its affiliates and partners that are associated with the product.” Therefore it stands to reason that Click Money is an affiliate and / or partner of the IG Group and is involved in options trading.

Gemini :,,

So if we remove the “secretapp” from the beginning of the Click Money URL, we get a differently named but very similarly structured campaign called Gemini. There is a video advertisement on the web page that is similarly formatted to the other video ads. In the Gemini ad, A new York Times front page is shown to highlight a date of September 27, 2016.

Later in this same ad, a guy is driving around an urban area is a white high-powered sports car. He parks the car on the street, gets out, and offers a woman walking down the street an opportunity to make money. She says she is late for work, doesn’t have time to hear about the opportunity, and continues on her way. Then there is another guy in very bright sneakers walking on the other side of the road. The main actor hails this second actor, the second guy crosses the street, and it turns out he is interested in hearing about the opportunity. So, logically, they go for a pint of beer in the middle of the day while the first actor explains the investment opportunity.

Brandon and Jerry drink a pint of Guinness while making money.
"I have 100% trust in my software."

Gemini :,,

A shorter version of the above video appears with a different URL to click through to. Brandon is the salesperson who says he is an engineer, driving the white Lamborghini around an urban commercial district. Jerry Price is the name of the be guy in an orange t-shirt and loud sneakers who agrees to have a beer in the middle of a day with a stranger making a video for a financial company. As with the other videos in this post, Brandon emphasizes to Jerry that “$250 is the minimum required deposit for Gemini to trade with.” In the video Jerry earns $245 profit in a little over two minutes on after he turns on the auto-trading option. Brandon tells us that two years ago he was working for his employer in Silicon Valley on The Alpha Code, a predictive algorithm. After he doubled a thousand dollars in one day, he recruited is work colleagues to create Gemini One. Now Brandon is offering us Gemini Two, the most powerful predictive algorithm the world has ever seen. Unfortunately, with all that money, Brandon still can’t afford a quality video production team. Interestingly throughout this whole video Brandon never gives his surname, but at about the 17-minute mark he does say that Jerry was inducted into the program in 2015.

Tessler :,

One of the boldest in my opinion is the Tessler add for which promises $5,700 per day. At the beginning of the advertisement the announcer promises that you will be able to "get started in less than seven minutes from now." It is noted that the video is 33 minutes long.

In this ad Stephen Abrams walks up to a suburban house with a solitary woman named Katie, about which he has details. She recognises his face, and immediately invites her into his home, where of course the cameras are strategically placed to film them sit down at the couch where her laptop is open, to log into her account. Stephen watches closely as Katie enters the login credentials to her financial services account, and they see her first days $5,700 for the first time. “No risk involved, mathematically impossible to lose money…100% free, f… r… e… e… free!” As stated in the ad, participation in the program requires a fee of $28 per day. Relative to $5,700 per day, $28 dollars per day is very little, but every thirty days, $28 amounts to $840 per month. So up front, even though Stephen said he will charge nothing, he does admit that nearly a thousand dollars per month will be owed.

Stephen Abrams says that “Lead Patterns” are very important, and he wants us to remember “Lead Patterns”, even though he does not mention it for the rest of the roughly 30-minute advertisement.

Why Sell What You Could Do Yourself?

In wondering why a millionaire would want to sell their get rich quick scheme online, we know there are cases of shady entrepreneurs who do have a method for making money quickly / easily. It then turns out that those methods violate the terms and conditions of the platforms on which they are operating. At some point they get banned from that platform, and then must resort to selling the method because they cannot exploit the method directly. I have no evidence that this is the case for the advertisements described above, but when looking for Occam’s Razor, this explanation does fit the bill.

So if you find yourself asking, “if this method is so good, why are you selling it to me rather than doing it yourself?”, the answer may be that the salesman has been caught doing what they are doing and banned from running that scheme their self.

There are several common threads in all of these ads. Of course they are all about making massive amounts of money with no effort and very (relatively) little upfront investment. The advertisements are generally about 30 minutes long. They all have a black or white bar at the bottom where a transcription of the ad appears. The main speaker in the video is always a man, and any woman who has a speaking role in the ad is blond, except in the Gemini ad, where the woman who refuses to talk to Brandon is brunette. The format of the websites is each very similar: Under a banner there is a video on the left and a name, email and phone entry form on the right, and then supporting evidence below with investor testimony quotations etc. I mention this because when ads for different companies within the same industry are formatted the same, that strongly suggests that the company producing and creating the advertisements is the same company. They have found a formula that works, and they stick to that formula.

In and of itself this is not a bad thing. However when what is being sold is an online multi-level marketing scheme, the ultimate truth is that the source of guaranteed revenues for you is still dependent on your ability to get new members to sign up to the digital MLM. Ultimately, there is no real product or bona fide service being sold. Only the first adopters make the revenues advertised. The returns promised are not sustainable, and they fizzle out over time. The last people to join the MLM lose the most.

Quick tip: In YouTube, generally you cannot seek forward and back within the video ad. You can pause and play the video, and skip the video. However, if you use the video pop-out feature that places the video outside your browser in the lower right-hand corner of the screen, in that mode you can click on the read timeline to go anywhere you like within the video.