Richard Lewis Discusses TmarTn's Latest Venture: A Pyramid Scheme
A new situation involving famous YouTuber, Trevor "TmarTn" Martin, has surfaced, thanks to a pair of smaller YouTubers. In separate videos, Eight Thoughts and GOH GAMER detail how TmarTn was promoting an app with an affiliation program that functions exactly like a pyramid scheme. The story was later picked up by Richard Lewis, who added on to the research, exposing TmarTn’s new venture for what it really is.
TmarTn made various headlines recently when he and several others were caught in a scandal involving a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gambling website that they owned but were not upfront about. In fact, TmarTn made videos claiming to have stumbled across the website, called CS:GO Lotto, even though he himself served as its owner. The situation led to a now popular phrase “Hey I just found this cool new site…”. TmarTn initially went into damage-control mode and attempted to put disclosures on his videos after the fact. Though the controversy has died down, TmarTn is now involved in a class-action lawsuit. Soon after the news was released, CS:GO’s publisher, Valve, sent cease-and-desist letters to many well-known and wildly popular CS:GO gambling websites.
As the video explains, TmarTn recently posted a video titled “No Infinite Warfare Collector’s Edition?! + HUGE IW/MWR GIVEAWAY!” and in the description mentioned giving back to his fans. Though the video has now been taken down, he talked about a new app called “United Games” and told his fans that he is an affiliate and they should sign up for it.
This is where the story gets interesting. United Games turns out to be an upcoming sports betting app where users can bet on live events with in-game tokens that can be purchased. Accumulated tokens can later be used to obtain real prizes. Though this model is not illegal and is really an evolution of fantasy sports betting, TmarTn denies that this is a form of betting.
TmarTn tweeted to Eight Thoughts, “...United Games has NO betting factor whatsoever.”
You’d think that after the CS:GO Lotto fiasco, TmarTn would step away from any sort of betting website or app. However, this is not why videos were made on the subject.
As he apparently mentioned in his deleted video, TmarTn is an affiliate of United Games. As an affiliate, it is expected the TmarTn would benefit in some way by advertising the app. But the United Games affiliate program is quite different from those that we typically see in esports. Instead, it acts more like a pyramid scheme.
According to the United Games Affiliate Commission Program, users who sign up as affiliates are placed into "tiers" such that a person you refer to become an affiliate is listed as a lower tier than you. The process continues, as your affiliates can recruit others that will become part of your network. Affiliates benefit from those they refer to the app and earn a commission based on purchased tokens. As in general pyramid scheme fashion, those in the top tiers of the network benefit from those on the bottom.
A scheme like this is perfect for someone with a large social media audience, such as TmarTn. With millions of subscribers/followers across YouTube and other social media, TmarTn could easily refer thousands of users to the app and benefit from every single one of them moving forward. The problem, as Richard Lewis points out, is that TmarTn did not mention this at all to his fans. Something he also failed to mention is that it actually costs money to sign up as an affiliate with United Games. On top of a one-time sign-up fee, a monthly fee is required to keep the affiliate account active.
In response to Eight Thought’s video, United Games sent him a letter in which they state TmarTn is independent of United Games. They also state that “...it appears [TmarTn has] engaged in promotional activity neither approved or authorized by United Games." Also in the letter, United Games denies that the app has any form of gambling, mainly due to the fact that players are “rewarded for their individual achievements, regardless of how other players do."
Though TmarTn has ceased advertisement for United Games, who deny their affiliation with him, sharing the app with his vast fan base does not benefit the image many now have of him.
What are your thoughts on this new situation? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @GAMURScom.
Josh Billy is a long time Call of Duty fan and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Orbit_CH3MISTRY.