If you have not heard about Public Likes, you probably don’t have Whatsapp. Their links are spreading like wildfire, and its all on the promise of quick, easy money.
Kenyans are not only used to getting conned, but I think they actually enjoy it.
First and foremost, the rule of the thumb is that anyone promising you money for doing nothing or almost nothing, is probably lying. And it explains why the victims of such schemes are almost always the financially unstable. Most of the people who have money understand that it doesn’t just fall from the sky.
So what is this Public Likes?
Basically, it is a website that pays you to view adverts… yeah, really.
When you create an account, you get the starter plan that gives you 5 adverts to view every day. For each of these adverts, Ksh10 ($0.1) is credited to you. So you can easily make Sh50 ($0.5) per day.
But there’s a catch. You can only withdraw your money once you reach Sh2500.
At a rate of Sh50 per day, it will take you 50 days. The prospects are not very lucrative as you can see.
But the ‘considerate’ fellows at Publiclikes have a work around for this problem. If you want to bring down the number of days it takes you to get paid, you simply upgrade to the ‘Basic’ account.
After paying Sh4500, your daily viewing limit is increased five fold to 25. Now you have the potential to make Sh250 ($2.5) per day.
Assuming you log in every day, it will now only take you 10 days for your first payout, and about 18 days to recoup your money. Remember we live in a world where making 10% of your invested money per year is considered decent. And someone is promising you 100% in 18 days.
With this Basic package, you can potentially make Sh7500 per month.
But what if you want to ‘earn’ even more? Once again, the ‘considerate’ guys at Public likes have a workaround.
For only Sh14,000, you can upgrade to a Premium, account. Here your daily limit is raised to 50 ads per day, meaning you can potentially make Sh15,000 per month. Everything else after the first month is pure profit.
But what if you want to make even more money? It so happens there is the Gold plan where you have a daily limit of 100 adverts. Your monthly income will be Sh30,000, but for this you have to pay Sh90,000.
Meaning everything after your 3rd month is pure profit.
They also claim to pay you to like Facebook pages, but I did not find this option while preparing this article.
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Why Public Likes is a Scam
1. The advertising eco-system does not work like this.
Advertisers do not pay for their ads to be shown to paid people. They pay for their adverts to be displayed to relevant people. For example, if a hotel decides to advertise, they will target people who have an interest in this service, eg. travellers, tourists etc. Google and Facebook for example have a way of knowing what you have been searching, which explains why you are always bombarded by relevant ads on these two platforms.
Paying a jobless person in some cyber cafe to view your advert makes no sense to any business.
2. The pay is too high.
Worldwide, advertising rates are measured per 1000 views (most of the time). Meaning the advertiser negotiates a rate with the media company for every 1000 times their ad is viewed. There is a lot of science that goes into this, but the average in the US is around $5. That means the advertiser pays $5 (Sh500) every 1000 times their ad is viewed.
It so happens that the United States rates are the best in the world. Here in Kenya, this rate is constantly under $1 (Sh100). Often it’s as little as $0.5.
Then comes along Public Likes. For a single view, they are paying Sh10 ($0.1). That means for 1000 views, they are paying Sh10,000 ($100). Without exaggeration, Public Likes is the best paying company on earth.
3. Faulty Mathematics for Business
Serious companies do their mathematics and risk calculations right. In Public Likes case, there’s a big discrepancy between the Premium plan and the Gold plan.
You pay Sh90,000 for the Gold plan, and will only break even after the 3rd month, and henceforth earn Sh30,000 a month.
However, if you buy 6 premium plans at Sh14,000 each (Sh84,000 total), you will break even after only 1 month, and henceforth make a total of Sh90,000 a month. You can use your friends and family’s phone numbers to accomplish this.
4. This not new.
There are literally hundreds of examples online. The best example is SocialTrade that stole over $500 million from 7 million Indians. The similarities between these two are shocking. Read the story on this link if you don’t believe.
And the thing is, this Indian scam was paying Sh1 per like, not the Sh10 being offered by Public Likes.
Why is Public Likes paying?
Well, as with any pyramid scheme, the first people are paid in a bid to lure in more.
The guys behind this site most likely had a big budget to start with, which they paid the first people. These first people then spread all the referral links you’ve been seeing around, and more people join.
Then these new people start paying to upgrade their packages, and before long, most of the country is looped in.
One morning, halfway through your Sh90,000 plan, you log in to Public Likes and you’re greeted by a 503 error.
I don’t know when the fun will end, but believe me it will. And there will only be one winner.
So, Is Public Likes a Scam? YES IT IS…. A BIG ONE.
Now READ: How To Spot a Real Estate Scam