Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Analysis of Wazzub May Announcement: fallacies and propaganda

Previously a post here in "A MLM Skeptic" highlighted Wazzub's "May 2012 announcement" as a prime example of "bandwagon fallacy" as it was used no less than FOUR TIMES in that single announcement.  It is also full of other logical fallacies, omission of truth, and other problem as well. We will go through the announcement with a fine-toothed comb and see how much real info is there and how much propaganda, by applying a little skepticism.

Full screenshots will be taken to prove that the words were not taken out of context.

There are no less than EIGHT problems in their announcement, IN ADDITION to the four bandwagon fallacies we've identified earlier.

Exhibit 1: "We have 6 million members!" 

Already discussed in Bandwagon fallacy post.

Exhibit 2: "Our servers are overwhelmed"

Wazzub says "We are handling up to 2 signups per second! Our servers are overwhelmed!"

So what exactly is a server doing that would cause it to be "overwhelmed" by merely 2 signups per second? First, let us examine how complicated is a "signup" page.

In a signup page, you enter info like name, e-mail, and that's pretty much it. In case of Wazzub, you are given a referral ID that you will use, but that's easily "hashed" from the primary autoinc key field which is probably a number. For those of you who have actually programmed web apps (ASP, PHP, CFML, CGI, etc.) this is like baby steps, little more than "hello world!" and "Web developement Introduction"  So how can this simple operation be overwhelming a properly implemented server?

They can't make their server handle as simple as TWO database write ops and TWO database read ops per second! We are talking about modern computers that runs in GIGAHERTZ territory, or BILLIONS of operations per second!

Yet they want you to believe that "Everybody who tries to tell you that a start-up company could have handled traffic like this easily, with a basic server knows nothing about servers and web hosting - or he is lying."  Unfortunately, this is a false dilemma. There are a couple other possibilities, such as

  • Wazzub has a lousy webhost
  • Wazzub has lousy web server(s)
  • Wazzub has lousy web programmers
  • Wazzub has lousy database server(s)
  • and so on

Keep in mind that Digg, back in 2006, was running the ENTIRE Digg website, serving 200 million page views per month, using only 3 PHP servers and 8 small database servers. And Digg's webpage involves INFINITELY more complicated operations than a simple signup page!

Exhibit 3: Ignore the naysayers

Wazzub says that critics are just nasty people who say bad things about them, about how they will never success and so on and so forth.

This is a strawman argument, because they are portraying skeptics as cynics. The difference is simple:

Wazzub says: "We will succeed."

Cynic says: "No you won't."

Skeptic says: "Can you prove that?"

And there are plenty of ways Wazzub *could* have proved to the public, as many companies have done in order to attract investors and/or customers, by starting with proper transparency. Does Wazzub have the proper leadership, resources, and know-how to be successful?

There was no reply. Instead, Wazzub issues these "they just wish us ill" type replies, and they have been doing so for SIX MONTHS. 

Exhibit 4: We are real because we say so

Yes, you can find Wazzub registered in Oregon, but not as Wazzub, but as "GIT Global Investments", which is neither global, nor doing any investments. And we don't know who owns it or runs it.

So why is the office in Las Vegas NV, if the company's registered in Oregon? There never was an answer, only some "Tu Quoque" replies, like "other companies do it too!"

And why do they show the ENTIRE BUILDING, if they are only renting two rooms (used to be one) inside?  (Incidentally, a few other scams do the exact same thing.)

Also, they say they have four employees doing admin and support. Why do they need TWO SUITES to do it? How big are those suites? If they need two, does that mean they are size of walk-in closets? (Yes, I'm joking here)

Then they go on a tangent:
Other than those 4 employees, our team consists of more than 20 people from 7 different countries, all of them addicted/committed to turning our project into a huge success because they KNOW that this is so SPECIAL.

Wow, this is so vague it means NOTHING. What do these 20 people do? "Turning our project into a huge success" doesn't mean anything. For all we know these are dedicated spammers out there to drum up support for Wazzub (maybe they are!)

Exhibit 5: Be vague, blame some nebulous threat, not our fault

Yes, there's quite a few websites that make money through advertising. And there are quite a few websites that makes money through affiliate marketing. But how many actually do *both* advertising and affiliate? Not Facebook.  Not Google.  Not Yahoo. Lousy examples. 

But let us continue. Blame the cheaters, sure.

If you only want people's e-mail address, of course people will make up an e-mail address to test your sincerity. So how *can* you tell if a real user with a "secondary" e-mail, or a truly fake e-mail with no real person behind it? Not with only the e-mail address, you can't. So what will this "anti-fraud department" do? Are they going to 'test' each and every one of these 6 million members? Like send them a CAPTCHA? Any one who don't reply correctly in 72 hours is dumped? (Gee, I wonder how many would be left after that)

But also consider this alternative explanation: that you've been the victim of classic low-balling / foot-in-door technique. They have you enter e-mail address now, but ask you for name, birthday, and government ID later, all in the guise of "separate out the cheaters".  If they had asked for all this info outright, you'd call them a scam. But if they used the "anti-cheater explanation", you'd give it to them, because you ALREADY GAVE THEM YOUR E-MAIL.

Not only that, the "find the cheaters" excuse also gave them a perfect reason to NOT PAY ANYONE (because they haven't found all the cheaters yet).  Care to guess how long that would last?

Exhibit 6: Facebook is afraid of us because we say so

This is partially addressed in the bandwagon fallacy explanation, but we'll go into the conspiracy theory side.

Confident, simple, and suggestive... these are all classic propaganda techniques. It is also perfectly one-sided, and left out the obvious reason why Facebook would ban Wazzub... Because Wazzub members are spamming. It is actually quite similar to Hitler calling Churchill and Roosevelt "warmongers". It is also a classic bully tactic: blame the other side.

But notice the graph itself:

There is no company called Wazzub International ANYWHERE. (company name is GIT Global Investments, look it up)  Indeed, Wazzub itself is reduced to community website only, based on a $300 off-the-shelf script. The actual business is now called "Perfect Internet".

Why would Facebook be afraid of a bunch of spammers advertising a company that doesn't exist? 

Exhibit 7: Look at us, we got a community website up in less than a week! Hooray!

Sounds impressive, until you realize they licensed the script by paying $250  for DZOIC Handshakes Pro with extra $50 to eliminate the DZOIC banner in the footer. The graphics already exist for the most part.

Why would buying an off-the-shelf script AND customizing website using MOSTLY EXISTING ART take a week? It should be done in like a day, two at the most! Are they really that lousy web developers that they can't write a signup properly (see Exhibit 1 above), nor customize and existing script within a reasonable amount of time?

Exhibit 8: Let's kick some shadows... using someone else's art? 

Wazzub claims they were hacked, and they are kicking them back.

But did they license the picture? Because it ain't free.

Also note the title: "fight against the own shadow". Is Wazzub trying to tell us that they hacked themselves?

Exhibit 9: Recycled old saying suggests that Michael Anthony DeBias wrote this "announcement"

Note the saying "Understanding is the beginning of respect".

If you search Google, you will NOT find this saying ANYWHERE EXCEPT Wazzub fan sites, where they simply repeat whatever Wazzub posts.

That is...  EXCEPT ONE PLACE.  Spoken by none other than: Michael "Anthony" DeBias himself. is a failed launch by Michael Anthony DeBias back in 2010 where he listed small jobs that paid like pennies to people who want to 'test' websites, with optional "premium" membership (paid, of course) for "premium listings". It died within 6 months. Many people suspected this "interview" to be self-written or ghost-written and completely fake.

And now, this saying resurfaced on Wazzub, where we had identified Michael Anthony DeBias as definitely involved, as it is his phone number that was listed as Wazzub Las Vegas contact number on domain registration.


The rest of the reply is just some grandiose promises, but is is basically ANOTHER delay, that they consider "beta launch" until July 31st, and you *can* still join and maybe get some $$$ if they do ever pay out. So they had already delayed launch like 2 to 3 times. April 1st, then April 9th, then a lot of nothing, and now, August 1st.

What *else* are they going to ask of you next? Delay until January 1st, 2013? They want 10 million "real" members?
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  1. Exhibit 2: So what exactly is a server doing that would cause it to be "overwhelmed" by merely 2 signups per second?

    - To be fair, they didn't say it was because of 2 signups per second.
    They say they have "6 million" members and those people would be logging in and doing stuff to load their servers.

    1. Actually the screenshot *did* say that at peak times, their servers are handling 2 signups per second. Their SIGNUP server, not their regular web server.