Paid-for website traffic… too good to be true?

Express Flux
Express Flux

You betcha! Buyer beware.


UPDATE: A kind reader has informed us that Express Flux also goes by the name Conversionease.
Let us know if you see them advertising by any other names.


The following is a personal review of Express Flux for Shopify.

Recently a client emailed me an offer they had received via their website form. The offer claimed that for the low price of $US14.95, they would receive up to 160 unique visits per day for a month. Visits would be generated from a variety of sources including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Their offer also stated the following:

  • Your website’s Alexa Rank will increase due to the increased constant traffic that you will receive after you place the order
  • Long-term SEO benefits for getting constant traffic
  • You URL is likely to get higher search engine results positions for the targeted keywords as well as for other long tail keywords

These are very bold claims indeed, and all for just $US14.95. Seems like a no-brainer right?

Well, given it was a Saturday morning and I was unable to attend my regular fitness Bootcamp due to injury… I decided to delve deeper into this offer from Express Flux, Shopify.

Now to protect the identity of the company offering this deal, I have decided not to name them. Lol… just kidding. Of course, I am going to call them out, they are a pest in our industry and are most likely scamming a scary amount of customers. So thank you for this opportunity to inform my readers – Express Flux Ltd (of Romania).

Here at Creative Digital, we run a small Shopify website selling print on demand t-shirts. We use this website to explore the increasingly popular Shopify platform and how it can benefit client projects, and it is a lot of fun!

So I signed up for Express Flux’s one month offer.

It is easy to see how someone could be fooled by their offering. Upon signing up, an email was received from Lara the “Shopify specialist @ Express Flux”, explaining the process and how I would receive an additional 5% visitors so that I am satisfied. Wow – thanks, Lara!

Next, I installed a script from the Full Story (www.fullstory.com) application that would track each unique visitor and their interactions with the website. This application is excellent for seeing how visitors use a website and where you are potentially losing them due to page layout etc.
We also navigated to the real-time traffic tab in Google Analytics. This function gives a lot of quick information about a visitor, including the referral source, location and number of page views.

Within the hour we were receiving new traffic. It must be noted that our Shopify website gets very little traffic currently, so any new traffic stood out dramatically. There was one referral source of this traffic – Facebook.

The locations appeared to be from 4 to 5 sources throughout the USA and Canada. What we also noticed immediately was that a large percentage of the IP addresses were coming from AWS servers (Amazon Web Servers).

Finally, the traffic came in waves each hour. Very consistent blocks, in fact.

Given we work a lot with Facebook advertising and know that it can take up to a day for an advertisement to be approved, it seemed very odd that they were able to generate this traffic organically via reasonable means so quickly.

The Full Story application gave us even more valuable information. Each “visitor” arrived at the homepage. They then clicked immediately on our home page banner – which is actually linked back to the home page (don’t ask). So in the space of up to 15 seconds, they arrived, clicked once and then left. Every single time. You could even see that the location of the actual mouse click was consistent… every single time!

The following article from The Wall St Journal outlines why the AWS origin mentioned above is relevant:

https://blogs.wsj.com/cmo/2015/06/05/fraudsters-use-amazons-cloud-to-create-fake-web-traffic/

“But topping the list of “bad” ISPs was Amazon’s AWS cloud service. Unlike the other companies, AWS doesn’t offer high-speed Web access to consumers. Instead, its cloud computing platform has been twisted by fraudsters to create artificial bot traffic and to disseminate it across the Web.”

So to cut a long story short, it was pretty evident that this was not legitimate traffic. It is effortless and cheap to obtain Task Automation Software these days. In this instance, all that would be needed is one Facebook post that included the url for our Shopify website. The automation software would then click this link and undertake actions set by Express Flux eg. clicking a banner.

The following response was received from Lara when we questioned their offering based on the above analysis:

“Thanks for reaching out! I have no idea what you are talking about, we never had any such issues with past customers. Either way, to keep everyone happy and since you’re coming up with such accusations, I’ll go ahead and refund the full order amount. The money should be back into your Paypal account soon!”

Again, thanks, Lara. But no, we will not be recommending your services to our clients.

We hope this might help someone who is looking to pay for such a service.

Be extra careful and do some research first.

Our next article will be looking at platforms such as Freelancer.com and Fiverr.com who offer ridiculously cheap web design (amongst other services).

29 responses to “Paid-for website traffic… too good to be true?

  1. Hi! Thanks for this research. We got the same offer through our contact form and what made it suspicious to us was:

    *Lara uses a gmail address, not so professional……
    *There is no address or anything that mentions a business location or country on their website
    *The chat window that is mentioned isn’t there.
    *All ‘reviews’ have odd sender-names as if no one wants to fill out their real name.
    *The ‘recent sales windows’ pop-up at regular (high frequency) intervals. This is just an app that anyone can install and adjust as desired . All senders/buyers are anonymous which isn’t the case if they are real sales.

    Clearly these guys are running a fake business targeted to desperate unexperienced shop owners that can always afford 15 USD. I guess they are making a lot of money and there’s no one stopping them.

    1. Crazy that they are able to operate unregulated eh?! Good on you for doing your research. I’ve had several clients talk to me about similar services after reading this article so the experiment was worth doing! Nice site by the way and thank you for commenting.

  2. Thank you for the leg work! I also just got the message and was looking into them first. Every little bit I spend as a small business needs to be productive. I will steer clear!

  3. Hi Mike, Unfortunately i was one of the “suckers” and signed up for this crap. I too called out “lara’ about the service andwas given the refund. Unfortunately i then left a 1 star review on ExpressFlux on Trustpilot and have since been harraassed non stop by this ‘Lara’. Even though they refunded my money they started sending me the traffic again and threatend to “ruin your online reputation forever, both business and personal”. Like someone who doesnt know what they are doing they did send me all of this in writing which i have collected for my attorney. My question is do you know of any programs or anyway to block those fake clicks without affecting the real traffic coming through my store? Thanks for the info

    1. Thank so much for your message Kayla. Sorry to hear you too were duped by this feral company. One device I could suggest is using the Cloudflare CDN. Cloudflare filters traffic to your website (as well as providing some really good performance enhancements). You are able to block IP addresses and countries – http://www.cloudflare.com

        1. Thanks Mike. Appreciate the info. This guy just doesnt stop. You say the company is in Romania, but the who is seems to be using a very well used phone number from MN and address from Panama. And with the way this person “talks” its pretty clear that they are very well versed in the American English language so I am assuming that they are in the US. My attorney is reaching out to other lawyers who are well versed in online activities in order to find out more info and pin down this person and their location but any additional information you may have will be most helpful.

  4. Hi there. Thanks for posting this. I just received a message from a Nicole at an AOL address soliciting these services. This one claims that their services start at $25 and that you can select a plan or combo that is most suitable for your needs. Then, at the end, the message says to hurry up because the 50% reduced prices will return back to normal. It’s interesting that Shopify flagged this message as spam. Maybe this company has already been reported so many times that they are developing a reputation. That may also explain why they have seemingly upped their prices from the $14.95 that some of you mentioned here. I’m glad I looked them up and came across this review. That company needs to be shut down. I guess the best we can do is put the word out and hope for others to do their due diligence so they don’t fall prey to this scheme.

    1. The internet is like the Wild West right now IMO. There are so many scams being advertised by large companies eg. Facebook without regulation. Unfortunately it seems money talks. Thank you for replying, your comment will help someone else for sure 🙂

  5. Oh My Word!! Thank you so much Mike. I literally was one click from paying for the ”STARTER” for $24.99 . My guts told me something wasn’t right about these people, because I tried to find a review about ” EXPRESS FLUX on YOUTUBE and there was nothing, which was very strange. I wondered why something that good wasn’t reviewed on YouTube. Hahaha…

  6. Do you all have any practical advice as to what to do if you are one of the naive and purchased this service?
    Do I just write “Lara” and tell her I’ve discovered her targeted traffic is just a bunch of bots and to give me my money back?

    Thanks, and sorry to sound so dumb!
    Allison

  7. NOTE: Express Flux also go by the name conversionease

    I run a small shopify store, and on Aug 6, 2019, 7:52 PM, received a SPAM flagged email via our store contact form from [email protected] with contact number 0042322234215 (Czech Republic it seems).

    The @aol.com contact address gave it away IMO. Also, I did a simple google lookup for ‘shopify conversionease’ and as you down the list, you see many small websites that have had their comments pages spammed with the same copy/pasted sales/intro blurb.

    Yes, this is a scam, yes follow your hunch 😉

    1. Thanks for this David. I will add an update to the article to mention their alternative name. With folk like you we will win this fight 🙂

  8. Hi guys, I was just looking at their service and always try to do some independent snooping and am so glad I found this article. I have been doing SEO on and off for years and at one point the non-bounce traffic would supposedly help boost your organic rankings but I am sure because of scams like this Google took it out of their algorithms.

    Anyway, the email I received was from Kristen, her email is kristen dot jones87 @ aol dot com and now the link sends you to: conversionease dot com. And on the email itself you click on conversion-ease dot org (which makes it even more scary being a .org address). I am putting the new info on here in hopes that if someone searches Conversion Ease they will find this article and not get duped into buying fake traffic and what looks to be even bullied for an honest review.

    Thanks!

    1. This is fantastic Brady! I am so glad you posted this info. If ok, I will add your content to this post or a new one a bit later today. We might just win the war…

  9. Hi All,

    Good day to all… I was also thinking on signing a starter service with them… fortunately, my hunch just do not felt too good and so I snoop around…

    Apparently, the have been using the following names:- conversion-ease dot org, conversion-eaze dot com besides conversionease dot com.

    I did a Lookup and found these:
    1. conversion-ease dot org is 2 weeks 1 day old.
    2. conversion-eaze dot com is 1 day 13 hours old.
    3. conversionease dot com is 2 months 3 weeks old.
    4. expressflux dot com is 6 months 3 weeks old.

    The 1st 2 sites will get re-directed to the main conversionease dot com.

    Hope this helps…
    Guan

    1. Thanks for the comment. I took the links out of your comment if ok, as I do not want to provide them with any traffic.

  10. Thanks everyone I will not be using this site as I too received an email from Martha from conversion ease or should I say conversion disease. Martha has an aol email too eew! So the only traffic I get is blimmin Martha from conversionease! Doh!
    Shopify should stop them using their logos and stuff as it nearly made me trust the site. Thanks for the research

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