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Feb 06

CamSense.com – Bad Affiliate Program Warning – Update!

UPDATE: 6/10/2013 - There has been a positive update and I feel it needs to be given equal ink. Anchor links don’t work on WordPress, at least not this theme, so to see the update you’ll have to scroll to the end of the article…

I don’t often have to post a warning about affiliate programs because I’ve been around long enough to pick up on the tells that hint at scams. I can also usually detect those that are going to fail and disappear shortly. Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying close enough attention to CamSense.com, an affiliate program that is apparently operated by CC Network Inc. of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

NSF CamSense,com

This is the actual Camsense.com cheque that was not honoured, and that the company’s bank returned NSF (Non Sufficient Funds).

CamSense.com is a pseudo dating site, with people connecting via webcams. I thought that was a cool idea so I signed up as an affiliate. For a while all went well. I received payments relatively on time, but since none were large I’d expect nothing less.

My first clue something had changed for the worst should have come when I confirmed a cheque for just US$60.77 had been sent. A few days later I received an email informing me that the cheque had been stopped. The email suggested it had something to do with it being drawn on the wrong bank necessitating it be stopped and reissued. The same email assured me a new cheque would be issued immediately.

The initial cheque arrived of course, and it was dated the day affiliate payments were supposed to have been issued. However, it arrived much later than it should have if it had actually been posted on that day. I suspected this was a clever ploy to stall payment without actually breaching the company’s own affiliate program terms. Also, since it was only US$60.77 I saw no sense in making a big deal over what I assumed was simply a cash crunch.

The replacement cheque eventually arrived. I found it odd that it was cheque number 4, and had been filled out by hand. This did finally raise a flag. A new bank account, with no proper company cheques for a company I knew had been around for many years smelled fishy. It was in US Dollars, but was written on a bank in the UK. This is not unusual, but I suspected it could have been yet another attempt at delaying payment because overseas cheques take forever to clear.

Well, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when the check was returned NSF (Non Sufficient Funds) by Barclays Bank. The cheque bouncing was bad enough, but I had to pay twice for the currency conversion, lost the fee I paid to deposit an offshore cheque in the first place, and I had to pay an additional fee for my bank having to deal with a returned cheque. In all, bank fees and currency exchange totalled over 60% of the cheque amount.

Naturally I demand a PayPal or bank transfer for the original cheque amount that bounced, plus my applicable costs. In the email I assured CamSense.com accounting department I was not interested in another worthless cheque. Maybe I’m too trusting or just gullible, but even after all this I still gave CC Network Inc. the benefit of the doubt, thinking maybe some Nigerian identity scammer got hold of their affiliate list or something.

That was two weeks ago, and I’ve heard nothing back. Obviously there’s no honest mistake at play, and likewise no intent to honour what the company owes me. The only conclusion left is for me to accept that CC Network Inc., operating as CamSense.com, is either broke, or no longer to be trusted. Regardless, this firm no longer deserves my business and I strongly recommend no one else deal with them either.

I only ever promoted the CamSense.com site, but the same affiliate program includes other websites. I have to assume if  CC Network Inc. isn’t paying affiliates due money for the promotion of one of their websites, they’re unable and/or unwilling to pay affiliates period. Obviously then, the entire network of affiliate promoted websites should be avoided. The ownership records I was able to find through GoDaddy.com is…

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, LLC (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: CAMSENSE.COM
Created on: 25-Aug-03
Expires on: 31-Oct-13
Last Updated on: 20-Oct-12

Registrant:
CC Network Inc.

Zekeringstraat 17
Amsterdam, 1014 BM
Netherlands

Administrative Contact:
Watts, Charles admin@cameb.com
CC Network Inc.
Zekeringstraat 17
Amsterdam, 1014 BM
Netherlands
+31.205241300 Fax — +31.205241300

Technical Contact:
Watts, Charles dns@ccnwebcams.com
CC Network Inc.
Zekeringstraat 17
Amsterdam, 1014 BM
Netherlands
+31.205241300 Fax — +31.205241300

As always, if someone wishes to clarify something in this post, use the comment section below so my readers have the benefit of reading both sides of this sordid business.

UPDATE: 6/10/2013

Today is the end of this journey that started on December 14, 2012, and it was a satisfactory ending at that. I think the best way to explain recent events is to simply present the exchange of emails because they are quite self explanatory and make for good reading.

Ever so often I go back over the few unpaid affiliate accounts I carry as bad debts and send off a demand for payment. I do it to justify writing them off as bad debts, but mostly just to pee on someone’s brain who I feel is deserving of have their day spoilt a little. In the case of this outstanding NSF check the following took place…

Me sent Jun 7/13 to Payments @ CamSense.com
This check bounced and cost me $38 in bank fees. Send me the net amount now and I will eat the fees since you are obviously struggling if a small cheque is returned Non Sufficient Funds. It was not cheque number 793 either, it was cheque number 4, see attachment.


2012/12/10 #299175: Barclays Cheque 000793 $(60.77) $0.00
FYI: I removed the details other than what you need to validate it is a genuine cheque from you.
[CHEQUE REMOVED]
Paul (CamSense) to me July 9/13

Dear Mr Bowcott

I am sorry to hear about the problems you have had with your check, and my sincere apologies for the inconvenience this has caused you.

I can assure you that our bank accounts are well-funded at all times and it would be impossible for there to be insufficient funds to cover the check. Therefore, it is likely that there was some miscommunication between our bank and your bank, and I would like to get that sorted to ensure it doesn’t happen again. If you were able to send me a copy of the correspondence from your bank telling you that the check was not honoured then that would be very helpful. Additionally, if that documentation includes details of the banking charges you incurred as a result then I will be very happy to reimburse those in full, to your [REMOVED] account.

Tomorrow morning our accounting team will cancel the check and will send the payment of $60.77 to your Payoneer account as requested. To ensure we make payment to the correct [REMOVED] account could you please just confirm the cardholder name and the email address used to register your [REMOVED] account.

With kind regards
Paul
Manager
www.camsense.com

Me to Paul @ CamSense July 9/2013

Paul

Thanks for replying, although this was not my first communication on this matter.

My bank statements are with my accountant and it is tax time, so I am not going to bother her, so all I have is the returned cheque. If I am refunded the principal to post against recovered bad debts of 2012 that is good enough.The bank fees will have already been posted as an expense way back in February 2013 and included in my Q1 P&L filing. The check was issued in December 14, 2012 but not received back from Barclays as NSF until February 2013. Way too much accounting cost to sort out US$60.77 so better it is entered as a recovered bad debt Q2/13.

Attached is a screencap of my [REMOVED] account showing your account circled in red [DELETED]. Once the cheque was returned NSF and I received no reply to 3 requests to have the amount refunded, I deleted all reference to Camsense.com, assuming you were going out of business. So I do not know the email address I used, but the payoneer info on the account is correct and you can see clearly in the screencap it is live on [REMOVED].

I look forward to the promised payment arriving in my [REMOVED] account tomorrow morning your time, as promised.

Len Bowcott
OIRS.ca

From Paul @ CamSense to Me 6/10/13 at 3:03 AM (The company is located in the Netherlands)

Hi Len

Thanks for the info.  We will make the payment to your Payoneer card as soon as our bank has confirmed that the check has been cancelled, which should be very shortly.  You will receive an email from Payoneer as soon as the funds have arrived.

Regards, Paul.

Manager

www.camsense.com

This morning, 6/10/13, and before I had a chance to reply to this last email I received payment in full for the US$60.77 and the US$38.00 I was out in bank fees. So I am 100% satisfied.

Conclusion

What does this mean, besides I no longer have a beef with CamSense? Well, some may say they only paid me because I have venues through which I can cost an affiliate program operator far more than the amount they owe me by creating fully documented, bad PR that will drive away potential new affiliates, and for sure never recommend any of my ‘one on one’ tutorial students deal with them. This is true, but I don’t think anyone at CamSense is aware that this post exists. At least no one mentioned it, but of course without this update I could be getting a nasty letter from a lawyer demanding I remove it now that the account is paid in full.

But I always consider this, I have gone bust myself, more than once, and I can’t fault anyone for tripping when I did the same thing and recovered. Obviously CamSense made good, so that is something. There are still a lot of negative CamSense reviews on Google, but are they already settled and, unlike me, the authors are not as quick to post positive updates as they were to complain? I have to think so in light of my experience.

Will I use CamSense again now they paid up? I probably would, but I no longer have dating or live chat websites that would be suitable marketing venues. If I again enter that marketing arena I’ll post a chronology of events as a tutorial for my students,  reporting the good and bad experiences with CTR, conversions, payment, support and so on as another of the real time, affiliate marketing lesson I give.

2 comments

  1. Petro

    Thanks for the warning. I’m always looking for dating and travel sites with affiliate programs. It seems as far a dating sites go, if you give any other than the large, well established and obviously well funded a chance it’s a crap shoot as to whether they will pay you.

    Sorry to hear you lost out, because no one likes that… but at least you have a vehicle to get even. Me, I just have to go quietly away and feel sorry for myself.

    1. Len

      Petro, thanks for the sympathetic comment… I want to make sure you noticed that the issue was finally resolved… heavy on the finally, but it was settled in full which was more than I had hoped for.

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