Tuesday, March 14, 2006

How The Mighty Have Fallen - StudioTraffic Near Collapse

Another large auto-surf, StudioTraffic, is starting to crumble under pressure and lack of new customers. A recent announcement made by owner "John Horan" shed light on the problems ST is facing and the fact that individuals who are "in profit" should not expect to get paid.

Studiotraffic was at one time, considered the most solid and only stable auto-surf/HYIP available, as it had been in operation for several years, running several side companies which claimed to help keep it in profit.

I received this news few hours back. Our top management has resigned. This means that offices in US, Canada and Spain will be closed.

With this shocking news and with recent problems with stormpay, I am sad to inform some changes which will affect members.

Members, who are in profit, please stop surfing as we can no longer afford it. We hope you will understand that we have done our best and this is something similar to natural disaster which is beyond our control. If you have funds in studiopay or in your studiotraffic account, please take note that in our TOS, we have never guaranteed payout. Your payout is determined based on our advertising revenue. Less advertiser revenue means that we need less people surfing. You can, however, still use your account for advertising purposes.

I am sure there are people who lost money with stormpay. We are victims too. Stormpay is still taking money from us everyday, we are not sure when they will stop and have expected that we lost our reserves (hundreds of thousands) we have with stormpay.

All is not lost as we can still depend on local funding from our offices worldwide. However, with top management resigning and offices closing down, we will lose almost 90% of funding.

Members who are not in profit, please send email to notinprofit@studiotraffic.com. What we will do is that in the coming months, we will seek venture capital and raise funds. Once we raised these funds, we will send it to you. Do take note that we are not obligated to do refunds or to send you back what you sent in. When you upgrade, you are getting accesses set with different account level so you can advertise your products or services better. When you upgrade, we have a refund policy where we will return you what you sent in, in the first 7 days. After the initial cooling period of 7 days, we are not obligated to do any refund as it is assumed that you accepted what you received.

We are doing this because we want nobody to lose any money with us. Please give us a reasonable time to do this as we need time to get it arranged. You can, however, still continue to use your account for advertising purposes which you have paid for. There is no need for you to continue surfing. All of you will automatically receive shares to all studio programs. If we cannot manage to raise venture funds, we will sell your shares in all studio programs and pay you back so it is the same.

We will close down studiopay website for a couple of months because with Studiopay staff resigning, we do not have enough manpower to handle it. We will do a complete restructuring with a new management team in it. Once ready, we will bring studiopay to public.

I hope all members will understand that we have done our best and what happened is something beyond our control. All studio programs will continue to run. We will continue to allow signups to basic accounts. Most of our current advertisers have mentioned that they do not need high level account holders to surf. As long as we can get a lot of people to see their ads, they are willing to continue to advertise with us. Our expenditure will be reset to the lowest because we will be getting only basic accounts members to surf.

After this, we will, most likely, have less than 15 staff working on this. Due to shortage of manpower, we can only attend to non profit members for the time being. Please send to notinprofit@studiotraffic.com.

As for other members, once we get everything back, we will continue to get you back to surf. Please give us some time to work things out. Please do not send emails because we do not have enough manpower to handle it.

Members please do not worry. As long as we start afresh, we are confident to turn things around and it will be better than before. Many of our staff has indicated that they would like to continue to help out without any payout. If you like to help us further, please email to support@studiotraffic.com.

I hope all members will understand that we are doing the best we can. We will continue to work hard and make sure no one loses money with us.

It should now be clear to anyone who is involved or associated with ST that is simply another auto-surf ponzi, just like 12DailyPro and needs to be shut down completely. If you have a StudioTraffic account, I recommend immediately emailing the administrator and demanding that your money be withdrawn and your account be closed. It is also important to complain to the authorities in the United States, where the program is supposedly based. You can complain to the following agencies for fraud at Studio Traffic - even if it doesn't recover your funds, it might help stop anyone else from signing up for this site.

Internet Complaint Center
Federal Trade Commission
SEC - Investment Fraud
National Fraud Center
GPT Boycott

StudioPay was/is acting as an unlicensed payment processor which is illegal in many states. You can find out where to report StudioPay to at this thread on TG.

Unfortunately, there is only sketchy information on the address of ST and it's associated companies. I have no idea if the below information is correct, but was taken from individuals on talkgold.com and from domain registration records. If anyone has the correct information, please forward it to me or post it in a comment.

Administrative Contact:
Domain Registration
Ben Stellar (admin@studio5000.com)
Fax: +1.5413453276
Ramon Arias Avenue, Maheli Building,
Office 12-E,
Panama City, NA


214 Courtwright St.
Fort Erie
Ontario, L2A2R8

Phone number:

(905) 994-1066

Fax number:

(905) 994-6699

Tax ID: 203117670

Lorraine Brennan Yahoo IM: impatientlywaiting2001
Jennefer Cullinan Yahoo IM: dreamcatchersps

John has changed his yahoo id, used to be studioplayer2005.

They have a variety of domains that include

A sample complaint letter should look something like this

On xxxxx (date) I signed up for the Studiotraffic.com web site program which is advertised as being an 'auto-surf' program that pays you to view ads (rotating websites) at a certain percentage per day. Upon initially signing up, you are given a free upgrade of $10 to start with. In order to be paid 1% (the advertised rate) you must view 300 web sites per day through their viewing system. On xxxxx (date) I upgraded my account by sending $xxxx dollars through an online payment processor, StormPay (or egold, etc), to Studio Traffic to be able to receive 1% daily interest of the investment, which would equal $xxxx monthly. After the upgrade, each day you were required to view 100 websites daily for the 1% interest and to receive credits to be used to advertise a web site of your choosing to be placed into the auto-surfing rotation. You are also invited to sign up members under you as referrals in a type of downline system where an individual earns a percentage of the payment that the referred member puts into the system.

At the end of each month you can request a pay out through their payment processor called StudioPay, which required me to fax in a copy of my drivers license, a bank statement showing my address, and a voided check. It also required me to show a valid credit card number and link to my checking account through its routing numbers. Once the payment was requested through Studiotraffic, it was processed through StudioPay which took out a percentage transaction fee, and then was withdrawn to StormPay (or whoever) which took out another transaction fee.

At some point in time Studio Traffic stopped processing payments to me and many other members and began closing individuals accounts and freezing their money. I received an email today that my account had been frozen because I was "in profit". (If this happened to you - otherwise, describe your specific situation) I attempted to contact their customer service to ask what this meant and was told that because I had made more money than I had put into the system my account was suspended and I could request a "settlement" of $xxxx, which I was unable to do because of supposed system errors.

Recently there has been rumors online that Studiotraffic's online payment processor, Studiopay was hacked. Individuals posted pictures of user's drivers license, checks, credit cards, and other relevant information from their accounts on online message boards and discussion forums. Studiopay sent an email out asking people to inform their local police that their id had possibly been stolen and inform their banks and any other agency relevant to identity theft.

Please order a free copy of the Consumer Action Handbook for 2006 put out by the US government.

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Top management quitting - Studiotraffic Forums
Help Shut Down StudioTraffic Now!

Texas Attorney General Shuts Down Online Payment Processor EMO

Online payment processor, EMO, has been shut down by the Texas Attorney Generals office. This comes at the heels of the shut down of 12DailyPro and the debacle involving 12DP, StormPay, and many other online auto-surf companies. After 12DailyPro had it's account frozen by StormPay, it was attempting to use EMO as a backup payment service.

EMOCorp was an Ithaca, NY based online payment processor that used web based money orders to transmit money to customers.

According to the complaint by the Texas AG, EMO cannot account for more than $5.4 million of customer transactions and is not a licensed payment processor in the state of Texas. What was unknown to many people before the 12DP/SP incident was that payment processors must be registered in certain states, according to their laws, to act as a bank or money transfer service.

This is a very big concern with customers since most of the use of these online payment processors involved a level of trust, as they require levels of verification in order to use their services - sometimes including a copy of a drivers licenses and voided checks. The Texas AG considers EMO an insolvent company, which insinuates that the operators of the company may have embezzled the funds that customers placed into EMO.
Court order against unlicensed online payment service


Associated Press

Texas has secured a court order for a receiver to take over operations of an unlicensed online payment service based in Austin.

Attorney General Greg Abbott today announced the state has obtained an order to freeze the assets of E-M-O Corporation.

Abbott says the company can't fully account for more than five-point-four (M) million dollars consumers had in their accounts.

He says E-M-O documents show only three (M) million dollars -- in cash -- on hand.

Abbott also says the company isn't register with the Texas Banking Department and never obtained a license as a money services business -- as required by law.

Company officials didn't immediately return a call to The Associated Press for comment.

View the press release from the Texas AG against EMO here

The Texas Department of Banking

Court order against unlicensed online payment service - Dallas Morning News
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