Honesty of Investimonials
Quality of Reviews
Character of Timothy Sykes
Marketing Genius of Timothy Sykes
Business Model of Investimonials
Behold the marketing genius of Timothy Sykes. A true, modern day PT Barnum that can sell ice castles to Eskimos.
Investimonials is part of the Timothy Sykes neighborhood of trading related websites and promotional products. A channel that allows ‘anonymous’ users to post positive or negative reviews about trading and investment related products and services.
Unfortunately, Investimonials is also known as “ShillVille.” Where a pay-to-play advertising model allows negative reviews to be removed, and positive reviews to be stuffed like starving refugees onto the promotional pages of whoever is willing to pay an aggressive advertising fee.
Before believing any of the reviews on Investimonials, readers should consider the advertising model that taints the legitimacy of the ‘user contributed’ reviews and content.
Thanks for reading today’s review of Investimonials
What is Investminonials? The Investimonials website is a trading review website. I am pretty sure that 99.9% of TradingSchools.Org readers are very familiar with Investimonials. Not a week passes where someone emails me and asks, “can I trust the positive or negative review on Investimonials?” Today, I would like to talk about Investimonials.
The website was founded by world-class, master marketer Tim Sykes back in 2010. In my opinion, this was the first ‘trading review’ website that really caught fire with the average retail investor. When Tim created Investimonials, it really touched a nerve and caught on quickly with users. Using SemRush Analytics, we can see that at one time, the website was extremely popular and typically generated about 100k to 200k monthly visitors. In the past four years, the traffic at Investimonials has been consistently declining and currently averages between 10k and 20k monthly web visitors.
In the past couple of years, the popularity of the reviews has also been decaying rapidly and the website is now poorly managed.
It is important to note that the reviews are ‘user generated’, in other words, anyone can create a free account and write whatever they liked or disliked about just about any trading product.
The purpose of this review is to take a closer look at the business model of Investimonials, to talk about the declining reputation of Investimonials, and discuss the loss of 90% of the site’s daily web visitors. I also want to provide details and examples of why the website is suffering from a crisis of legitimacy.
The Investimonials Business Model
At first glance, Investimonials appears to be a relatively clean-review website. The initial impression is that all of the content has been contributed by an anonymous user community. But with all review websites (including TradingSchools.Org), we have to ask ourselves about the motivations of the website owner. In this case, Tim Sykes, the originator of ‘trader porn’, there is one thing we know for sure about Tim Sykes–he loves money and he loves to show it off.
Anyway, I am not going to bash or trash Tim Sykes. But users should be aware that the underlying monetization method for Investimonials is ‘pay-to-play’ advertising. The following is a screenshot of the ad costs.
As you can see, there are a couple of different advertising options. The first option is a simple fee of $197 per month, which allows the trading vendor to list their trading product, and then the vendor has the opportunity to “interact” with whoever begins to write reviews about the trading product.
It is important that we take a moment and talk about the term “interact.” What exactly does “interact” mean? In short, for a monthly fee, Tim will allow select vendors to post rebuttals to negative reviews. And, it appears that Tim also gives the paying advertiser the additional opportunity to “pad the reviews” In other words, the advertiser can strategically solicit reviews, or perhaps create false reviews, in order to portray the trading business in a more positive tone.
In my opinion, allowing people to pad reviews and stuff a page full of positive reviews is highly unethical. Some might even call it, “shilling.”
But, what happens when a trading vendor begins to accumulate a massive amount of negative reviews regarding their trading product? What happens if page after page of these negative reviews from angry consumers create a ‘shit-storm’ upon the business of the trading vendor? This is where things get interesting.
In conversations with various trading vendors that have advertised with Tim Sykes, they describe a harrowing and perhaps unfair situation. In short, as negative reviews begin to pile up, the vendor becomes desperate to rescue the reputation of the trading business. And so they contact Investimonials in an attempt to have the negative reviews removed. And this is where Tim Sykes drops the bomb on the trading vendor. In order to remove negative reviews, or be considered for removal, the vendor must now increase the monthly advertising fee from $197 up to $497 per month. Sure sounds like extortion, but it is not. It’s perfectly legal.
If you pay a little more, then you get a better product review profile. Refuse to pay Investimonials, and your review becomes smattered with negative reviews and comments. As TradingSchools.org readers have discovered, the vast majority of trading educators are scams. And, they deserve a negative review.
In my opinion, allowing a trading vendor to remove negative reviews is a flawed strategy for a public review website for a couple of reasons. First, it propagates and perpetuates everything that is wrong with the trading educational business. By allowing a crappy, scammy vendor to simply pay to make the poor reviews disappear, then the trading vendor has no motivation to offer a better product. In comparison, at TradingSchools.Org, we try and motivate the vendor to cut out the crap marketing. We never offer to remove a negative review or a negative comment for a fee. Our primary goal is to ‘bend the arc’ and bring vendors back into a more honest dialogue. Often, we will write a negative review and encourage the vendor to pick up the telephone and see what we can do to improve the negative review.
Secondly, by charging vendors to remove negative content from posters, this creates the additional problem of verifying who is actually creating the negative review content. Example: the popular review website RipOff Report is alleged to have hired writers to produce massive amounts of negative content through an intermediary. The 3rd party content would then be posted on RipOffReport. The net effect is that the established business would eventually have to address the complaints by contacting RipOffReport and beg to have the negative content removed. Unbeknownst to the business, the creation of the negative content was actually commissioned by RipOff Report. Sounds illegal right? It’s not. RipOffReport hides behind the shield of a law named the CDA or Communications Decency Act, subsection 230, which grants broad immunity for web publishers.
Some readers might be shocked to learn that many review sites produce negative content, with the sole purpose of selling a negative content removal service.
In a nutshell, sites like RipOffReport have figured out a way to monetize the situation by charging a fee of several thousands of dollars to be “RipOff Report Verified.” Sure sounds like a sneaky hustle to me. As we compare RipOffReport to Investimonials, we can see the fingerprints and similarities emerge. One has to wonder if Tim Sykes is also employing the same strategy. Another glaring conflict of interest is that Tim Sykes also offers various trading products through Profit.ly and TimothySykes.com. I find it highly dubious that all of the vendors that Tim Sykes personally promotes, as well as his own trading courses, are practically devoid of negative reviews.
Finger prints of the hustle
One of my favorite websites is Archive.org. You can check the history of just about any website. It shows what content was being displayed at different points in history. Let’s take a look at a very strange situation…one of the trading companies that my audience often complains about is FousAlerts.com. TradingSchools.Org gave Cameron Fous a very poor rating. He is a hardcore ‘trader pornographer’. Pictures of yachts, nearly naked women, fancy vacations, $100k+ sports cars, outrageous claims of trading profitability…without any verifiable proof that Cameron Fous has ever made a nickel at actual trading. Individuals that are very unhappy with Cameron Fous have turned up in droves to complain on the message boards of TradingSchools.Org. You would think that the negative user comments on TradingSchools.Org would be congruent with the reviews at Investimonials.com. They are not. Something very fishy is happening. The following example is a screenshot of the overall reviews of FousAlerts at Investimonials. Notice how wonderful the ratings?
Wow, 70 user ratings. A nearly perfect score for all products of Cameron Fous of FousAlerts.com. And page upon page of glowing and positive reviews. Looks sterling to me! Based upon these reviews, I want to sign up and become the next day trading millionaire.
However, a review of archive.org, specifically searching Cameron Fous reviews reveals that over 100 reviews have been removed. Some of these negative reviews are a real gem of revealing information. Have a look:
I don’t want to solely pick on Cameron Fous. The truth is that if you compare Investimonials today with Investimonials over the course of the past few years, it is obvious that they are suppressing the vast majority of negative information from the companies that are heavy ad spenders. Not cool Tim.
In my opinion, the reason why Investimonials continues to suffer from collapsing web traffic is because the general public is finally starting to realize that Tim Sykes doesn’t really give a shit about them and that the monetization of reviews and comments is his first priority. It is really a shame because so many people have lost massive amounts of money trusting the information that they read on Investimonials. They believe that the reviews on Investimonials are legit and unbiased. Only after they purchase the various products and services being offered at Investimonials, do they later realize that the reviews were probably all hand selected and curated by the vendor themselves.
Obviously, TradingSchools.Org is a direct competitor to Investimonials. And yes, we do monetize some of the reviews. However, TradingSchools.Org gives a negative review to nearly every vendor. Not because we like giving negative reviews–but because we honestly and sincerely feel that the trading product offers very little in value, and is sometimes an outright fraud.
Wrapping Things Up
Managing a trading review website is not easy. Doing it honestly, and ethically is even more difficult. The temptation to take negative reviews down for payment is always looming and tempting. In all honesty, I struggle with the temptation every day. And I struggle with the temptation of writing positive reviews simply because I like the person providing the trading service. Some of these online characters are quite charming and manipulative.
Well that’s it for today. Thanks for reading. Just wanted to rant and express my irritation with Investimonials and Tim Sykes. As usual, thanks for taking the time to comment and express your opinion in the comments section below. And it would be greatly appreciated if the audience can tell me how to do a better job. Without your input, I am just ‘winging it’.
Ah, Investimonials, yes. I know this through Peter Davies/Jigsaw.
i dunno professionals use his tools may be it’s good person in charge however, if that’s the next gen ..
didn’t feel supported
interlinked, ok, but ..
say dnt use charts but still does himself ..
Then the education bit is poorly written
It’s changed, the site, now check out the vid there ..really condescending ..
In the free ebook says scum of the trading world then does the exact same thing .. certifiably insane ..
ofc, that is the def of sociopathic ..
goes by the name of DionysusToast warns of ppl who hang around forums yet does the same ..
Fuck man at least give him some credit for entertaining. His videos are the most hilarious things I ever saw, well worth the money. I’m also sure he makes money after 15 years of trading, he even says he makes 10x more from DVDs, but who cares if he is honest. Sometimes I believe this website gets some compensations for the occasional good reviews
Is there a reason why you haven’t yet directly attacked Sykes?
Obviously you know he’s a bullshitter and scammer who has stolen MILLIONS of dollars from people.
But… is the lack of proactive exposure of his scam due to him having so much money that you’re concerned he’ll attack you or set his fake accounts / minions to hurt you?
I mean… you’re pretty-much called him a scammer numerous times indirectly….
So why not finally be a leader for change and write a summary page that everyone can point to…
Sykes other scammy newer sites:
Looks no different than a typical modern day glossy site with traderpawn.
He must be getting desperate with investiscamma losing traction where many of the scams previously shilled there have been exposed as frauds on tradingschools. i.e. Kavan and Bond aren’t doing so well and Warrior looks like they are doing their own thing with “trust”pilot and looking more like Levin’s shamrock crew, as country house leaf-raking gray-hoodie trifecta.
lol, Sykes has recently done another blog against his “haters”. Same mo as all the other shamsters, pretend to be on the side of the retailers, call other vendors scam like they alone are legit, dole out more shill student ‘monials. He even stuck in the make “$500-1k/day” trope in his blog rant.
Most people say to ignore your haters, but I prefer a different approach
Read this new post to see why I will ALWAYS respond to my haters
I refuse to tolerate any lies being spread about me and my teachings
And remember, my first millionaire student was also my first hater so I give everyone a shot
Read my response to several lies and learn why teaching is truly my life
So you haters better think long and hard before trying to lie about a person’s mission in life
WT now has real review posts on its first page on investiscamma. So they are no longer in the censoring deal and investiscamma hasn’t bothered deleting anymore. Clear signs TS has made an impact.
meanwhile b__ks is so insignicant there is only one post back in 2013
Negative reviews are either deleted or put at on the last few pages, they know most people are always looking for the mot recent and many dont bother looking at the back
Good coverage of the history investiscamma. Probably the main reason it has faltered in site visits is precisely because of tradinschools’ effectiveness in waking up more prospective retail traders with realistic reviews and posted testimonials. I’d noticed that investiscamma’s WT review page has less shilled testimonials and less rebuttals by Ross precisely because everyone knows the game is up thanks to ts so that even the webmaster has been lax in deleting negative posts and maybe WT has even pulled out of their shady censoring deal and moved on to trustpilot which is no better.
I’d noticed in this review the photos of Sykes don’t have his trademark smirk, lol. Also, he has a different new girlfriend than the blonde who he talked to in the background udio when he initially started ripping people off with his 2k course. So Sykes still beats out tradingfratboy and Fous in the tradep*rn showoff videos, lol:
Gal Br$$ks site is above Investimonials with web traffic and has doubled its traffic since Emmett’s review and no negative reviews on Investimonials! The only thing stopping him will be the CFTC. I hope the CFTC is taking our concerns seriously!
Certainly Gal Gadot is making $$ this year whether she’s related to “b__ks” or not.
Br$$ks’ crappiest book has 10 reviews on there, no articulate negative reviews just like at Amazon, “It’s written by a successful, serious trader; you can currently listen [BUY!] to his daily commentary on a website run by and for fans of his method. Google “Al Br$$ks” to find the website.
As Emmett’s review shows the books are marketing material for the course and webinars, not the ideas of an instutitional trader as he presents himself to be. The post-review increase in traffic on his sites shows how we need everyone to submit CFTC or Interpol complaints against Br$$ks to stop his reign of delusional exploitation before the next generation is destroyed by this guy’s selfishness.
Notify Interpol? Couldn’t we just call the A Team, if we can find them or the Expendables.
MacGyver, I forgot about MacGyver.
I pity the fool that messes with Mr. T.
“pity the fool” who blames their losses on a video course and never sent in their cftc complaint.
God we need an update on the Brooks review, statements that will force the CFTC to act. Futures Mag, Futures.io and Brooks/RichardHK are laughing to the bank with the big increase in web traffic and $100 increase in cost of non-downloadable course while he now hides claims of being a consistent daytrader. Wayback machine doesn’t lie!
I bet you are the only one in the retail world that claims b__ks is the biggest reason for trading failure. There is little sane reason for anyone else to send CFTC complaints on your behest. b__ks is nothing compared to SchooOfTrade which got fined by the CFTC but they are still going on. Best to sue b__ks yourself.
yep, next is the show on investigative stories of the CFTC of insignificant complaints of balding palm readers laughed at and tossed into the wastebin, or actually never written.
lol, last “good” review of the book is back in 2013 on investiscamma same as the site review before tradingschools existed.
Nice to see you back here Pete. I was a bit worried about you. Why are we speaking about Al Brooks in code?
he wasn’t gone totally. ‘Toto’ peeped out and yapped a few times since Pagetrader review.
The negative reviews and in the Trash. One of Investibullshitters tactics to reduce negative reviews was to disallow you to post a review if you had responded to someone’s comment about a product. Then of course once Emmett came along they started removing any reference to his site.
There are some bad reviews, here is one I left for tradenet: Kiss your $ Goodbye
“Entertaining videos on YouTube. Mier Barak, founder/moderator, knows how to trade. Chatroom good. That’s it. Do not pay for training or join prop team…you must double your account plus 2k before they will even consider profit sharing. Colmex is a cfd broker and takes the other side of the trade, especially on shorts. Thus, if you make $ they lose. So, if you have success they will seek to send you packing. For entertainment only. You want to trade via prop, then go with Cy Trading Group or somewhere else. Tradenet is definitely a bucket shop.” – Granted, there is little transparency with that sight. Thanks for the review
i wish to update my review of Tradenet. I heard they made some changes, so i went back to them for the buying power & i like the platform. Spent several months trading w them before i blew the account (Gamblers Ruin). They did evefything they said they would, provided good service and value. i dont recommend day trading but if you insist, tradenet provides easy access and no pdt. just dont be mad when you go broke
This touches a nerve of trusting 3rd parties now a days and in my opinion goes beyond just trading-related review sites. After being disappointed so many times, I have taken the rather cynical stand to ignore any positive review on websites, magazines, social media and awards, not just for trading-related products, but any product as reviews/awards for other products suffers the same as you described in the article.
I always wondered why the reviews on that site are always glowing. The next question I always seem to have is…..when will some of these trading educators and chat rooms get taken down by the justice system? They must be breaking some laws by front running their customers in these small cap pump and dump stocks. They are promising returns returns that don’t exist and uninformed new investors or wannabe day traders are losing their savings so they can sell another DVD. I mean that is just sad and pathetic for these slimy sites to prey on people that don’t know better until it is too late. If you do the math, I bet the money lost by new traders over the years is substantial enough to start an investigation. If a room or educator has been PROVEN to front run their own customers then…when will they at least be forced to halt operations? Hopefully karma will have its day. I hope people do their homework before paying for any trading service. Buyer beware!