Feeds

MS website trumpets 'pyramid' company

Quest for gold turns nasty

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

A case study on Microsoft.com is unwittingly promoting a company which has been accused of operating a pyramid scheme targetting people in south-east Asia and Africa.

This page on Microsoft's website explains how Hong Kong-based GoldQuest International Ltd made big savings by moving to Windows Server 2003. The page proudly trumpets GoldQuest's achievements and "500,000 active customers in 120 countries".

"GoldQuest has grown into a ecommerce powerhouse, generating 70 per cent of its $200m annual turnover online," the page gushes. Microsoft claims it has saved the company $82,000 a year in IT costs and helped it increase revenue by $10m a year.

The only trouble is, GoldQuest has been accused of operating a form of pyramid-scheme targetting gullible folk in some of the world's poorest countries.

The company, based in Hong Kong, sells "commemorative" gold and silver coins. But people are encouraged to gain commission by getting more people to sign up. If you can sell coins to two other people, who in turn must recruit two more, then you start receiving commission.

A spokesperson for the Central Bank of Sri Lanka's legal department told The Register that it was investigating GoldQuest with the assistance of the police.

A campaigner in Sri Lanka told us: "It's a nasty scheme. I first heard about it in 2003 and even quite educated people have fallen for it." He explained that the company had also targetted Ethiopia, Sudan and Tanzania.

Sri Lanka's central bank has made four separate appeals to the public to avoid such schemes.

In Bhutan, the Royal Monetary Authority reportedly warned the public about GoldQuest, saying: "The pyramid will collapse eventually when more members cannot be found, besides it does not generate any productivity."

According to Iranian state media, authorities in the country recently arrested "some key members of this group," while Iran's central bank declared GoldQuest activities were illegal and against Islam.

A spokeswoman for Microsoft told us that GoldQuest is "managed by a partner" and the case study was prepared by a partner for the launch of Windows Server 2003.

We asked GoldQuest for comment, but it did not return our calls.

More details here, here, and here. ®

Related stories

FX rip-off dotcom wound-up
Compensation for pyramid scheme victims
The economics of spam

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nokia offers 'voluntary retirement' to 6,000+ Indian employees
India's 'predictability and stability' cited as mobe-maker's tax payment deadline nears
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
It may be ILLEGAL to run Heartbleed health checks – IT lawyer
Do the right thing, earn up to 10 years in clink
France bans managers from contacting workers outside business hours
«Email? Mais non ... il est plus tard que six heures du soir!»
Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend dies at 68
RIP Blighty's best-selling author of the 1980s
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.