SocialTrade.biz, owned by Ghaziabad-based Ablaze Info Solutions Pvt Ltd, claims to provide a unique concept of online barter system through its Social Media Exchange (SME). However, on probing further, the whole scheme looks like a money circulation scheme, where the user gets paid not for clicking on more 'likes' or promotions, but by enrolling more people in right-left (binary) combination.
The website claims "Social Media Exchange acts as a platform where a give and take relationship is built between different customers. You make others popular and others advertise you in return. SME refers to reciprocity (exchange) between two or more actors, generally for mutual benefit."
Ablaze Info Solutions, under the SME offers four different ‘packages’ to earn money. This ranges from Rs5,750 to Rs57,500. On buying one of the packages, the user receives commission for daily tasks at the rate of 5Rs per click. The company does not mention what is ‘R’, but it appears to be denotation for rupees. In addition, there are promotional and referral income, which at present is 1000Rs for selling two packages in 1:1 business volume (BV) format. This is nothing but the binary format used by most multi-level marketing (MLM) operators.
The company also claims to provide an income, based on the BV and social trade package (STP), of 50,000Rs to 2 lakh Rs per week, which is says is ‘capped’. It also deducts administration charges on the promotional income besides deducting tax at source (TDS) too.
There are few things or claims made by Socialtrade.biz that appear to be either inappropriate or not in right context.
1. Legal documents: On its website, Ablaze Info Solutions displays small images of four documents, its PAN card, registration certificate, ISO certificate and service tax certificate issued by Central Board of Excise and Customs. For someone, who has no knowledge of company businesses, this may appear as sound reason to believe that the company as genuine. However, none of the legitimate companies need to display such kind of documents on own website. For example, check the website of Tata Motors, the country's largest vehicle manufacture. Such reputed companies have no need to display similar documents to show its 'legitimate business' like Socialtrade.biz.
However, most of the ‘legal documents’ displayed by the company are not relevant to its Socialtrade.biz. For example, the ISO certificate is related with IT business of Ablaze Info Solutions obtained before commencing Socialtrade.biz.
2. TDS deduction: Socialtrade.biz says, "Company deducts TDS from both ‘Promotional Income’ and ‘Daily Task Payment’ and deposits it to Government as per the laws. Promotional Income – 5% from total income. Daily Task Income – 10% from total income."
This claim is bizarre. This is because Ablaze Info Solutions or anyone else simply cannot decide the rates for TDS. It is the job of the tax authorities. There are different types of rates for TDS depending upon the source of income as per the Income Tax Department
. The claimed payout to members from Sociatrade.biz may come under Section194J of the Income Tax Act and would attract TDS deduction at a rate of 10% on total payouts and not depending upon the type of income, like promotional or daily task income.
3. Payout packages: As we all know, several sites like Google and Facebook pay money to sites hosting their ads. This is mostly based on cost per click (CPC) or click through rate (CTR). There is another factor, the keyword that decides the CPC or CTR. Most effective keywords and the subsequent CPC or CTR receives good rates from advertisers. However, for the hosting sites, the income is not too big (as claimed by Socialtrade.biz) and that too varies as per the total number of visitors and clicks on the particular advertisement.
However, none of these appears to make any sense for Socialtrade.biz. Because it feels one person will pay the other for such clicks and vice versa and both will earn money! “On one hand, it allows you to increase your social penetration and internet popularity while on the other, you get paid for promoting others on social media, which implies a user is both a consumer and service provider,” the website says.
In short, as per the company claims, once you buy a STP 100 package by paying Rs57,500, you can earn a maximum of 2 Rs per week.
According to one person, who is in this business, Socialtrade.biz says that it is promoting websites of clients. “However, most of the websites are not active and appears to be created in-house and yet they claim to pay five rupees for promoting these sites,” the person, who does not want to be named, says.
In short, the claims and use of attractive terminologies like Social Media Exchange may sound too good, but Socialtrade.biz shows all the signs of a money circulation scheme and nothing else. Few years ago, one company Speak Asia too entered in the market by claiming to provide big income by just filing out surveys on the internet. This claim and the company’s modus operandi were exposed by Moneylife. Main promoters of Speak Asia are absconding and the so called ‘investors’ who invested their hard earned money are doing rounds of the courts to recover their money.
Since there is no email ID of Socialtrade.biz or Ablaze Info Solutions mentioned on their website, we sent them a message through their online facility. We will incorporate their response in this story as and when we receive it.