December 10 2007

AGLOCO Doesn’t Pay To Surf, Joins Deadpool

Duncan Riley


If it was a bad idea the first time around, it’s probably a bad idea the second time around too. Mike was harsh on AGLOCO, a variation of the failed AllAdvantage pyramid scheme from a few years ago, when he wrote about their launch. He was right to question the business - they’re closing down. The following email was sent to at least some AGLOCO members:

We would like to update you on the status of AGLOCO’s operations. We continue to believe in the AGLOCO concept, but our revenue is currently not sufficient to give Members a meaningful distribution. And though there are increases in membership, the resulting revenue is not enough to support operating costs. As a development team we are unable to continue to use our savings to fund the operations. If any Member would like to pursue continuing the operations of AGLOCO, you may contact us at .

We would like to thank every Member for supporting our effort to bring a piece of the Internet directly to the user. We hope that we can find a way to keep the operations going.

AGLOCO is the reincarnation of AllAdvantage (complete with some of the same founders), a Web 1.0 company that paid users for viewing advertising through a toolbar. The founders, who blamed the stock crash in 2000 for the AllAdvantage faiure, claimed they’d get it right this time around. In particular, the ability to highly target advertising would allow them to generate enough revenue for a sustainable business.

Apparently they were wrong. AGLOCO joins the TechCrunch Deadpool.

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  1. What's Hot

    Looks like they are about to shut the doors.

  2. Peter

    It seems like some people never learn anything from the past.

  3. Phoenix

    Alright! I attempted to try AGLOCO. It was a very abstract site and something always seemed fishy. They came up with a user bar which was supposed to be part of the browser but it never worked like it claimed it would. It was huge and took ages to download but at the end of it, it did not work. The site UI is pathetic and looks like some pyramid scheme.

    But I think they successfully managed to install spyware in a lot of our computers!

  4. Ben M

    The thing about pyramid schemes is that they don’t have to be sustainable as long as you get in early enough. Hence, people will never learn if they think they’re early.

  5. Personal Development for the Book Smart

    You’ll see another similar company pop up soon and you’ll see people taking part again and the cycle’s going to repeat itself. I’m willing to bet my money on it.

    One word - Greed. It’s part of human nature.

    Personal Development for the Book Smart

  6. CAR

    I attempted also to try AGLOCO and was excited at first until things seemed odd, bar had so many problems. web site looks like a kid made it from middle school, how did i sign up i dont know. i feel bad for people who wasted so much time like John Chow who has like 50k people or something.

  7. Martin

    I totally agree with Peter. I think it’s just not the right time to do something like this.
    I tried one similar model years ago as a user and it’s simply a bother to get paid to browse and get all this advertising. It’s a simply no no.

  8. David Lawrence

    No money ever changed hands. No money would ever change hands from the users to the company. To say this was a pyramid scheme is to remain ignorant of the facts.

    As one of the largest referral pool creators, with over 53,000 referrals in my pool, I’m sad that Agloco wasn’t able to achieve profitability and has closed its doors. But please don’t think that anyone is or would have been taken advantage of in some sort of pyramid scheme. This keeps being stated as though it was fact, and it is not.

    To fund a pyramid scheme, you need to have the participants feeding the scheme cash. That did not, nor would it ever have happened.

    Hopefully, that’s clear, and those that post from here on out won’t make that same fundamental mistake.

    And my credibility will not suffer a bit. We tried to make a go of it, and it didn’t gain traction. That’s it, plain and simple.

    David Lawrence

  9. rc

    i tried it and its boring!


    trading tennis blog

  10. Russell

    I knew this is going to happen…

  11. Evangelist

    If it was a bad idea the first time around, it’s probably a bad idea the second time around too.

    Okay… that statement may not apply for all ideas though.
    Some of the ideas could initially flop because the market may not be ready… like the swap/barter idea which originally flopped. the same if implemented the right way could very well work now.

  12. Dominic Hodgson

    always fills me with confidence that a company uses a or web address to handle their main company email..

  13. David Lawrence


    What company was that? Certainly not Agloco, whose main company email addresses were,, *name* etc.


  14. Duncan Riley

    the email in the post (we received it from several sources…so I believe it to be legit) has a address.

  15. David Lawrence

    That was the blog of an independent Agloco member. Please don’t confuse the two. I assure you that Agloco’s company email accounts end in Hopefully, you’ll amend that comment to reflect the facts.

    You also shouldn’t refer to either Agloco or AllAdvantage as pyramid schemes. Is it just that that makes for better copy, or is there another reason why you refuse to accept that no money was ever put into the company from its members? I know that TC isn’t held to the same high standards as a traditional news organization that actually checks facts, but nonetheless, it isn’t accurate to refer to them as pyramid schemes or scams.

    The structure is similar to a Ponzi scheme only in that there are multiple levels of referral, but that’s where the similarity ends. Wouldn’t it be cool if TC actually examined what happened with AllAdvantage and became the reference model of truth rather than another regurgitator of falsity? You’d probably get more traffic if people started saying they could get the real story here instead of repeating what others incorrectly assert.

  16. Mobile Answers-Mashup

    I knew it, I even wrote an expose article on it in my blog. Also they paid John Cho money to endorse it, and lots of people actually bought into his claims, which serves them right.

  17. Shams

    I visited many websites mainly blogs who talked very loud about Agloco. I was wondering how they are such big mouths for something which seemed like nothing.

  18. freeadlists


    So what’s next for

  19. Chris R.

    Wow, this was a bad idea.

  20. the barking dog

    Ah, memories. One of my first site coding forays was a site randomizer that would generate a slot-machine like image, along with mostly-random URLs. The image was always in the same spot on the page so that I could leave it running with a program running on my desktop that would move the mouse cursor around and click on that one particular spot on the screen.

    Why? So I could have the AllAdvantage toolbar running on my machine at work, make it look like I was surfing, and collect some extra cash while I went home for the night. I can’t remember how much money I made at it, but I got a good laugh out of sticking it to the man while I made a profit on his stupid idea and never had to look at an advertisement. That’s why these pay-to-surf schemes will never work. Most users probably won’t game the system like this, but they *will* game the system.

  21. Aidan Henry

    It was only a matter of time. In fact, I was counting down the days til I saw this article on TC… and here it is!


  22. ITrush

    We should learn from our mistakes.


  23. Shawn Collins

    @David Lawrence The e-mail from AGLOCO in the last day was sent from “ Service []” and the body of the e-mail instructed people to contact them at

    I’m not well versed in e-mail headers, but the one with the latest AGLOCO message has their server information and the e-mail was personalized.

  24. Steve Ballmer

    Didn’t they make aluminum sheets or something?

  25. WizCoder

    So many people promoted them, so many join, what now?

  26. whydowork

    Shawn Collins is correct that the email was sent from the Agloco company and NOT an Agloco member.

    Ballmer I think you’re thinking Alcan, or Algoma Steel..both quality companies that won’t be dead pooled anytime soon.

    I predicted the collapse of this puppy on my blog from the beginning. I’m just hoping all that data they’ve collected does not go to waste :)

  27. Emil J Lesner

    My problem was the “link” at the bottom of my monitor never worked properly. I could never see the “offer” and then when I clicked on it, it would try to open IE, never Firefox.

    I don’t know, maybe I stupid, but if it doesn’t work, who’s going to use it?

  28. Emil J Lesner

    Clarification, I could never see the “offer” completely. I would click on the small portion I could see.

  29. Fonds

    I was an All Advantage user and I liked the idea and I got some money out of it. I think the idea is so appealing that somebody else will try it again :,)

  30. Andrew Laffoon

    Despite all the talks of a bubble, this is a strong sign of sensibility in the market. Sites like AllAdvantage lasted far longer in the Web 1.0 bubble. It’s good to see that the market economy is more in touch with reality this time around. Let’s hope it continues… :)

  31. Herb

    AllAdvantage gave me years ago my first internet income- a cheque about 85 USD ;-).

  32. Josh

    Yes, it is about time. The funny thing is, as they close, another one opens. TTZ Media is releasing a very similiar product, complete with Ponzi scheme and all. And people like John Chow, who get paid to promote these things, talk about how great it is. Then his thousands of followers go and sign up. Wait a year or two and we’ll be back where we started. Some people really never do learn!

  33. mark

    #30, the reason AllAdvantage lasted longer than this iteration is that they had big buckets of cash, whereas this version had smaller buckets. It’s a fine idea, but it will never make money so long as the cost of customer acquisition is bigger than the payout. Even after ratcheting back payments in the pyramid, AllAdvantage was burning cash so much faster than they were getting new users that they could never make money. I figured this out on a piece of paper during a presentation by Jorgensen in ‘99 when they still had cheap digs.

    The 2006 VentureBeat coverage ( was pretty poor - they were talking it up, albeit skeptically. I wish I had the skill to convince people I was right in the face of obvious flaws the way the guys at AllAdvantage and Agloco do. Maybe getting the Washington insider access is the way to go :-)

  34. Paul

    The only company that will pay you to surf is the one you currently work for. At least mine pays me to do that… I just don’t know how aware they are of it.

  35. Big Bopper

    @ all those saying how appealing the idea is:

    Sure, the idea of money for nothing has always been appealing. That doesn’t make it the foundation of a real business. Anyone who’s ever done the math on this idea knows that it doesn’t net out. How these scammers managed to raise so much VC off it, is one of the great lessons of the dot-bomb era.

  36. Thomas

    It’s funny, people immediately railed against sites like TradersNarrative - - for explaining how ludicrous Agloco was; “It is a poorly conceived scheme that appeals to those who know very little about finance, share issuance and regulation.” Wonder where all those smug posters are now?

    Take that John Chow ;)

  37. Richard;gt;This guy nailed it months ahead of everyone else.

    John Chow’s reputation is in tatters. If it ever was pristine, that is.

  38. Richard

    oops, here’s the link:

  39. Jim Kukral is the only real solution that delivers tons of cash and a flood of traffic for doing nothing. This one works!

    Sign up today, many are becoming rich in hours, with no work!

  40. Anonymous Angel

    No surprise here. I only first heard about this ridiculous concept a few weeks ago but my instincts told me it was complete rubbish…and indeed it was. I was astonished to find that a bunch of Stanford MBAs were wasting their time on this worthless idea. I know many fine people with MBA degrees from that institution, so I was stunned that an idea which appeared to have no value would attract so many of them. Has Stanford let its standards slip? I doubt it, but the eight or so Stanford MBAs who worked on Agloco should keep their affiliation with this “company” off their resume lest they find it impossible to land a real job or damage the brand of the school.

  41. Alex

    I got sick of people who think they will get rich over night…
    A year or two ago when agloco appeared.. See this a lot of people will join a lot of people disappointed …
    Grow up..
    which seems to real to get rich is not real…About :”John Chow’s reputation is in tatters. If it ever was pristine, that is.” Yes…

  42. Ahem


    They founded AllAdvantage before coming to the GSB. They figured that with the markets being back up and the masses being interested in making some cash on the internet (what with all of the google/facebook/etc success) that they could build a superior model and relaunch under a new name. However, looking at the company it seems that they involved too many people (see the bio page if it is still up) too early with minimal success. The root of the problem seems to stem from the fact that they were unable to quickly develop and launch a functional toolbar; the centerpiece of their revenue model.

  43. Big Joker

    David Lawrence…trying so hard to justify all the time and effort you put into recruiting people into this nonsense. A toll-free number to answer questions about AGLOCO? Other than the co-founders who invested their time and savings in this garbage, you are probably their #1 sucker. Write it off and do something more productive in the future.

  44. Sipboy

    The best way to succeed is find something you love doing and build on that. These get-rich-quick schemes will never work for the average person because the only person getting rich is the person promoting the concept. I think this is the case here.

  45. David Mackey

    Hmmm…People are being awfully hard on David Lawrence, and I must say, I more agree with his perspective on this issue. It seems to me that there is a high amount of questionability in the fact that the email came from a domain rather than an agloco domain, also the Agloco website does not reflect any such shutdown, nor does the official company blog. Duncan - I think you may have jumped the gun on this one, I’d check your sources. This seems like a phishing scam to me.

  46. Dejan

    It came from an email, the live mail is only for reply obviously.

  47. Escer

    David, I think your credibility will suffer a bit.

  48. Fiar

    I was never comfortable with the idea that they wanted my personal information, right down to address, banking info, and so forth, before allowing the toolbar to be installed. That’s a gigantic red flag right there.

    If they were legitimate the steps would be to allow installation, then send an email when they have money to pay me in order to complete the process. Then I could fill in the rest.

    Adsense lets you provide financial information after the fact, when Google finally needs the info.

    I’m glad to see one more scam bite the dust.

  49. Skunkfeathers

    The old addage “if it sounds/looks too good to be true”…from Nigerian 419ers, to phishing scams, online bank/credit card scams, and online “something for nothing” scams, the Internet is replete widdem. There will, of course, be more. The scammers seem to manage to stay one step ahead of the unwary.

  50. Thomas

    The fact the Agloco Blog hasn’t been updated since October doesn’t help either… or the website for that matter too ;) Regardless… Agloco turned out to be the joke many expected it would be. No doubt they’ll resurface again in a few years - maybe this time they’ll actually get the software in place instead of empty promises for months - at which point most who’d signed up couldn’t be bothered.

  51. David Lawrence

    Fiar, that simply isn’t true. Ray Everett-Church, their Chief Privacy Officer, has made the point several times on my radio show and in interviews, that Agloco purposely did not ask for any personal information other than an email address. You were NOT asked for your mailing address. You were NOT asked for your banking information. And to say so is to be inflammatory and completely untruthful.

    I fielded over 500 messages from people who had signed up, and wondered how Agloco was going to effect payment to them, since they had not been asked for any such information. The fact is, and I would appreciate you correcting yourself so that this doesn’t get repeated as though it was true, that Agloco, as AllAdvantage had, did not want to acquire any personal information before they absolutely needed it, most likely just prior to their initial payouts.

    I received the email in question earlier than most, as I was a founding member of Agloco. I have been as fair and open as anyone possibly could be about Agloco, and I’m afraid this isn’t a phishing scheme - Agloco is looking to either find a new partner, or shutter.

    My reputation doesn’t really matter - I’ll be fine. But do not disparage John Chow or any of the other top referrers - he was NOT paid to promote Agloco, nor was I. I was proud to be a part of this effort, naysayers and grave-dancers here notwithstanding. Bragging about sticking it to the man says far more about your morality than it does about the founders of Agloco - they were hardly “the man”. Hopefully, no one games any of your efforts on the web.

    And I’d do it again in a heartbeat - AllAdvantage was a huge success for over a year and a half, and suffered the same fate that tons of other sites suffered - the total collapse, the dot-com bust, of the advertising world at that moment in time (2000-2001).

    I haven’t decided what to do with - if Agloco officially announces they have closed, I will probably create a commentary about the company and its efforts, if for no other reason than to memorialize the truth, not the flailing about I’m seeing from some posters here.


  52. thashow

    D. Lawrence made some excellent points that I don’t think will be considered; The people who tried it out, lost nothing by trying; If it would’ve worked out, they would’ve gained a tremendous amount of money - for doing nothing.

    Then we’d be talking about how Duncan Riley knew Agloco was going to succeed. How he told a friend when he first heard about the concept, and thought to himself “that’s gonna work!” ….

    Tis the problem with an uneducated society; People don’t have time, really, to learn anything. Too busy trying to stay afloat… So if someone says it was a pyramid scheme, the many uninformed will run with that. That’s good enough for them; That’s really all they had time for.

    This was a good idea, that was (once again) poorly executed; The idea failed, not because it was a bad idea, but more likely because it was the same people, who just didn’t Learn from their first go round; Who’s to say they won’t get it right next time? … or that somebody else may not take what they started, and churn out a better more solid way to make the idea work for themselves, and everybody who gets involved.

  53. sqjtaipei

    I got some nice checks from AllAdvantage which is why I was more than happy to give AGLOCO a chance as well. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out… and I didn’t get paid. What am I out? 5 hours a month of having about 1cm of my screen taken up by the viewbar… I’ll be OK.

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