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Pay per click: Webwork based on complex business model | Noida News – Times of India

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Social Trade and Webwork Trade Private Ltd are ‘pay per click’ schemes but the business models are different. The difference between Social Trade, offered by Anubhav Mittal of Ablaze Info Solutions, and Webwork, whose “publishing programs” are offered by directors Anurag Garg and Sandesh Verma, is that while Social Trade’s business model is based only on revenue from the investors, Webwork‘s model gets revenue from “publishers” as well as from registered shopkeepers and product sellers.

Webwork has created a webpage, addsbook.com, where some shopkeepers and product sellers are registered, according to the company. These shopkeepers would pay to ABC Associates, Webwork’s sister concern. In effect, the company gets money from these registered shopkeepers and from the “publishers” who buy its plans.

However, legal and financial experts have warned investors to exercise caution before putting their money in the programs of these companies in absence of any one law to govern the internet-based business models.

Social Trade operated through a maze of dubious URLs sent to the phones of subscribers that they were asked to click on. These would sometimes be links to Facebook or Twitter profiles of other subscribers. However, there was apparently no promotion happening because a fake server was set up where these links would terminate.

According to the UP special task force, the total amount that has been duped from over six lakh investors is around Rs 3,700 crore. The major cause of failure of the scheme was that subscription money was their only revenue.

According to Webwork director Anurag Garg, the company’s sister concern, ABC Associates, takes ads from a set of shopkeepers registered on the webpage addsbook.com and Webwork generates hits through likes on those ads.

On every ‘like’, a publisher is paid Rs 6. The company takes money from a publisher to provide them links of these shopkeepers.

It is this difference on which the latter claims to be doing “genuine business” even as Social Trade has been termed a scam by the police. Legal and financial experts have said that the investors must exercise caution before investing in such companies and check its background so that potential scams can be avoided.

Sumit Aggarwal, former assistant legal adviser at SEBI, told TOI that there’s a trend of building up fake profiles with group activity, made to look like legitimate profiles or reviews when they become members of various pages.

“Operators of these may claim that they are not doing anything illegal and there is no loss to anyone but it needs to be appreciated that regulatory laws and consumer protection norms and laws ensuring free and fair cyber spaces, override the applicability of such claims under general laws,” he said adding that credibility of information on internet is at stake.

Financial experts agree that recovery of the money already invested in these companies is “very difficult” now.

According to details of the company directors on the website of Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Webwork has been registered in Kanpur on December 10 last year post demonetisation. Its registration number is 087134.

While the directors claim that they have been paying all the taxes legitimately, experts say that the same is not enough.

“Providing taxes on any income does not make the activity itself legitimate. Similarly, whether you call yourself publisher, consumer or any other name does not provide any immunity,” Aggarwal said adding that it appears a matter of time for government to intervene.

that it appears a matter of time for government to intervene. “Even when it involves only small amounts of money per consumer (known an “entry fee” “subscription fee” or other names), these brand-building models may be violating special laws designed to protect investors, such as Consumer Protection Act, Information Technology Act, Indian Evidence Act, Indian Penal Code, SEBI/RBI Act, Prize Chits & Money Circular Schemes (Banning) Act etc. A model without an underlying economic purpose and based on engineered information, certainly raises a policy concern,” he said.