Super Rewards caught up in Virtual Currency controversy

TechCrunch's Michael Arrington was busy over Halloween weekend. After stirring it up (video) on Friday at the Virtual Goods Summit in San Francisco, he penned Scamville: The Social Gaming Ecosystem Of Hell and challenged the ethics of virtual goods offer providers and game publishers.

The three major ad networks that deal in virtual currency are OfferPal, Q Interactive, and Vancouver's own Super Rewards which was acquired in July for a reported $50 Million.

For those of you that haven't been accosted by these offers on Facebook, here's how Arrington describes a typical scam:

Users are offered in game currency in exchange for filling out an IQ survey. Four simple questions are asked. The answers are irrelevant. When the user gets to the last question they are told their results will be text messaged to them. They are asked to enter in their mobile phone number, and are texted a pin code to enter on the quiz. Once they've done that, they've just subscribed to a $9.99/month subscription. Tatto Media is the company at the very end of the line on most mobile scams, and they flow it up through Offerpal, SuperRewards and others to the game developers.

One of Arrington's beefs is that that mainstream media can't stop applauding the companies involved long enough to understand what they're doing - "The real story isn't the business success of these startups. It's the completely unethical way that they are going about achieving that success." This MSNBC video interview with Super Rewards Co-founder Adam Caplan is a great example.

Today Arrington followed up with Two Companies That Said No To Social Media Scams which includes yet another Vancouver connection - popular dating site Plentyoffish. As a result, Plentyoffish founder Markus Frind is sharing his experience with virtual currency on his personal blog today:

Looks like the media finally wakes up to the fact that much of the social gaming/virtual currency is in fact a complete scam. Its been a open secret for at least the last 3 years, that no one ever questioned any of this is absolutely amazing.

TechCrunch continues to uncover more dirt today with a guest post by BlitzLocal's Dennis Yu titled How to Spam Facebook Like a Pro: An Insider's Confession. While Yu has cleaned up his act and is no longer in the business of spam, he's open about his previous success generating millions of dollars from Facebook offers and his experience with the major players including Vancouver's Super Rewards.

SuperRewards is run by Jason Bailey (aka ChickenHole), who was able to quickly morph himself from Millnic Media to this new company. This fellow would call me up and yell at the top of his lungs, as I wouldn’t refund his money for setting up multiple accounts to game our network. I did refund his money, only once he agreed to a ban on our network.

So, is Arrington being too tough on the virtual goods industry or is he on to a much bigger story here?

PlentyOfFish (
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

PlentyOfFish is the world’s largest online dating site, with over 80 million registered users. Beginning as a small start-up out of CEO and founder Markus Frind’s apartment in 2003, it soon revolutionized the online dating industry as the first free site. Since its inception, PlentyOfFish has offered the first and most advanced matching system in the industry and a series of personalized... more

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

SuperRewards is a KITNMedia company. We have been in the CPA and performance marketing space since 1998. We are on a first name basis with the owners of most major networks. We've seen it all over the years and know the nuances of the industry. SuperRewards was established in the summer of 2007 shortly after the Facebook platform launched. It was an in house tool at first and was officially... more

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Rob Lewis

Rob Lewis

Rob is the President of Techvibes Media and Editor-in-Chief of  His diverse background includes stints in International Trade Finance, Web Development, and Enterprise Software and he is a graduate of the University of British Columbia, British Columbia Institute of Technology, and Simon Fraser University. When not running Canada's leading technology media property, Rob can be... more

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