Having spent the last hour trying – and ultimately failing – to talk a simpleton out of a pyramid scheme/cult, I am now too charged to sleep.  So blogging seems like a sensible way to let off steam.

Tonight, I have learned a valuable lesson: When someone is embroiled in a pyramid scheme, by all means, do your best to give them good advice. Just don’t expect any results.

Take it from me, anyone daft enough to get sucked into an elaborate, if shoddy, scam is too daft for logic or reasons or facts.

So who’s causing all this trouble and why?

The suspect company (or front) is something called Talk Fusion and they specialise in something called ‘Network Marketing,’ whatever that is.  It appears to  involve recruiting other people to ‘buy into’ the product, but it’s hard to determine what the product specifically is.

They boast about being an expanding multi-million dollar company and make spurious claims such as “By 2013, it is estimated that over 60% of all online content will be video. Talk Fusion is perfectly positioned to capitalize on this trend.” How do they work this out?

Additionally, there are also claims that the company has both a workforce and customer base of 100,000. Suspiciously similar figures if you ask me. Don’t most companies like to have more customers than staff? It’s probably easier to make money that way.

As with any pyramid scheme, exists solely to dupe unwitting individuals into parting with their cash. Cash they make working for whoever. It’s one of the classic scams and it’s amazing that it still somehow works in this day and age.

Like all scams, the idea is simple. You get people to give you money in return for you convincing them they’ll make millions out of their initial investment.

Nigeria’s main export is this kind of scam and I say that with no facts whatsoever, but you can believe it if you want to believe it!

Quite clearly, this does not work and the only person who seeks to profit is the person at the top of the proverbial pyramid, in Talk Fusion’s case, this person is a hillbilly called Bob Reina, more on him later.

Talk Fusion’s style is to hold seminars which punters pay to attend on the basis that TF will make them rich. At these seminars, no doubt eerily similar to cult indoctrination ceremonies, people meet the supposedly rich and famous executives, who tell them how anything is possible as long as they have blind faith and of course pay them money for their ‘support.’

Now, the sort of people who fall for this kind of trick are unequivocally life’s losers. They have little going for them and lack the sense needed to figure out how the world works. This may seem extremely patronising, but it’s true. These people are vulnerable and they’re easy to exploit.

I’ve been following TF for some time now, ever since the nameless simpleton starting making vague references to attending seminars and showing signs of “blue sky thinking” on a popular social networking site.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been paying close attention to his updates and last week he began repeatedly posting long-winded messages about a conference in London for which he was offering tickets. Unsurprisingly, no-one replied.

Furthermore, the tickets had been purchased by the hapless simpleton’s hapless mate who, from what I can tell, is also a halfwitted mark.

So let me take you on a tour of the murky world of Talk Fusion.

Google Talk Fusion and before you’ve even finished typing, the autocomplete raises some alarm.

Get onto the actual TF website and you’ll be bombarded with brightly coloured bullshit and a collage of sports cars, cruise ships, smiling, good looking families and silhouetted men playing golf at dusk.

Click on “opportunity” (yes, opportunity, not opportunities, weird) and scroll down. Here you will find a phrase which welcomes you to “The WORLD’S FIRST INSTANT PAY Compensation Plan! Now, I don’t know about you, but that sounds to me like a pyramid scheme. Admittedly, a convoluted and nebulous pyramid scheme, but a pyramid scheme all the same.

According to the simpleton, TF have a 1:1 ratio binary. If you can tell me what this means, then please do, because to me it sounds like garbled jargon.

Now let’s take a look at the progenitor of Talk Fusion, Bob Reina. His personal website shows a picture of a chubby, ex-Florida cop (I wonder why he left the force) who is a self proclaimed “animal lover,” draw your own conclusions on that.

His biography begins with an unattributed quote: “Do not wait for your ship to come in – swim out to it.” Sounds like Mikey Mouse bullshit to me, the kind of insufferable guff spouted by people who love slogans.

Apparently, Bobby R started TF when, in 2004, his Internet Service Provider (AOL) told him it wasn’t possible to send video email. God knows, why but it’s what the website says.

Anyway, aside from the fact we live in a world that already has Skype – which TF uses for so-called ‘webinars’ – the concept of video email is both odd and practically redundant. What’s stopping someone uploading a video to of any number of websites and embedding it in an email? Absolutely nothing.

At the bottom of Bobby’s bio, you will find another quote, this time attributed to Winston Churchill.

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”  Giving to get? PYRAMID SCHEME!

You might’ve noticed by now that I haven’t really said what Talk Fusion actually do. It’s not through lack of trying, I assure you.  Nowhere on their corporate website does it actually explain what they do. There are reams of obsequious horse shit, none of which cites any external references, but no evidence of what they do and how they do it.

I had been wondering, if TF had hundreds of thousands of employees and customers and operated in 85 countries around the world, why had I never heard of them.  Perhaps I just hadn’t been looking in the right places.

The simpleton told me about something called Alexa Rankings, which supposedly rates Talk Fusion very highly. I’m unsure of the criteria, but Alexa Rankings can’t possibly wrong, or even a fix, could it?

Well…

A damning indictment indeed.

So what can this possibly mean? Well I would say that Alexa is just another front that’s connected to Talk Fusion. Scammers of this nature are a bit like serial sex offenders, they always want more. However, if Alexa isn’t directly connected, it still isn’t held in very high esteem, so it’s rankings are virtually useless anyway.

So that’s it then. Two hours of my life devoted to pyramid schemes, half of which was spent explaining the obvious for no particular gain.

But I’m determined to make this count for something, so if you also know a sucker who’s fallen for this sting, then share your stories.  We can have a good old laugh and despair at the state of the world we live in.