Purse.io is now closed

Years ago I wrote enthusiastic reviews about Purse.io, but then I did not continue anymore. Why? The reason is probably the same about why right now it’s going out of business.

I did my first order with them in november 2014, and it was almost perfect, but then I stopped using them, because the fill rate was low: not too many buyers willing to lose 15-20% of value to get bitcoins. I then tried again years later, in 2016.

I immediately felt that something was wrong. If in 2014 I had to choose a low discount in order to have my order filled, in 2016 buyers were accepting ANY discount. Just for fun, I setup an order for a vacuum cleaner with 40% discount, thinking “anyway nobody is going to buy it”, but it was filled immediately. Somebody was happy to pay $200 to get $120 in bitcoins. Weird, right?

In the next days, another order with a cheap book was filled, with steep discount.

Watching the receipts in the packages, I noticed that something was off. The buyer was the same, but the Amazon account was different. One was sent from Amazon France, as a gift from a guy with a French name, another one was sent from Amazon Italy, as a gift from a guy with an Italian name. Both shipped with overnight shipping!

This immediately rang an alarm in my head! I contacted Purse support:

But nothing was wrong to them. The buyer replied with an excuse like “I got an amazon.fr gift card so I setup an account there to use it”, and got away with that.

So, in september 2016 I stopped using them again. Later, in beginning of 2017, they send me an email, stating that now the security is much more improved, and they not only rely on Amazon security checks, but also they check their buyers.

Now, if you think about Amazon security… if you buy something with Prime overnight shipping at, for example, 6 pm, it will get delivered the next day, in the morning. There’s simply no time for them to cancel the order if the card owner or account owner disputes the charge! And when you add a new card? I don’t know about Amazon.com, but on my local Amazon they just ask the front digits, expiration, and that’s it! No CVV2, no charge code confirmation, no OTP code.

If a scammer got hold of some Amazon credentials, he could login, add a new address, send something there, and the original account owner will notice something wrong several days after delivery!

For some reason I believed their new security, as they stated to have acquired a leading fraud prevention technology, so in march 2017 I ordered a movie in DVD.

Everything looked fine.

Then, a few months later, the Vacuum cleaner I bought the year before, it broke. I contacted Amazon support for replace it, but I couldn’t! Because they got a chargeback for that, the account was frozen.

I couldn’t trust Purse.io anymore, and I stopped using it. Maybe on Amazon.com it was safer to use, because there are many people that get paid with Amazon.com coupons after doing Mechanical Turk tasks. So I thought that this was over. It wasn’t. June 2017. Local police come to my address investigating my latest Purse.io order.

I showed them all my Purse.io emails, how they let me believe that it was 100% legitimate and that I did the purchase in good faith. I had to go to the Carabinieri office to release an official statement, I was questioned for around an hour.

Some months later, Purse.io announced that only Amazon.com order would be accepted, removing support for other regional sites.

Installing Odoo is easier than ever

Odoo is an ERP with a lot of interesting features but has a big flaw: the installation is very complicated, making it almost mandatory to subscribe to Odoo Enterprise, which for a small business is insanely expensive.

Fortunately, on GitHub there is a script that simplifies the installation, and a lot!

Run install.sh on your Linux server, wait a few minutes and you will be given your login/management data at the end! Fantastic!

Only european PLA

I got a 3D printer and so I searched for a reputable filament supplier.

All of them stated “this PLA has European origins”, or “the pellet used for this filament doesn’t come from China, but from Europe”, as if this is a mark of quality. This is why this doesn’t mean anything.

The cost of raw materials

The most popular plastic for 3D printing is NatureWorks PLA 4032D. A 20 kg box costs 140 dollars, 6 euro for each kg. If we order a ton, wholesale, the price is much lower!

This is the price in China:

“Chinese” PLA, chemically identical to the “European” one

22 yuan for 1 kg is around 3 euro, to which you have to add shipping fees. You can’t get shipped 20 kg of plastic pellets with the UPS, or you will pay 300 euro to get 60 euro of raw material! You have to make a LCL (less than a container load) shipping by sea. For my personal experience, shipping 1 cubic meter with LCL, costs around 1000 euro with all various fees.

A cubic meter of PLA weighs 1250 kg, so you have to consider that you’re paying 80 cents for each kg, for shipping.

The “chinese” PLA, is industrially made and it’s absolutely identical to “european” PLA, costs basically the same! They use european PLA, because it’s cheaper and more accessible!

Plastic is cheap, and shipping it between continents is very expensive.

How the filament is made

Moreover, it depends how the filament is made

Which one is better, a  “Made in Italy” filament, made by an amateur in his garage, pulled with a $300 Filastruder, or a “Made in China” filament, pulled in an expensive high-tech factory?

They seem to imply that “made in Europe” equals to say that “it’s premium”, but it doesn’t mean anything.

Personally, I trust more a Chinese factory that has a daily production of thousands of rolls, and so has optimized the process, than a roll “made in Italy” by an unknown entity, without knowing how they make it…

FEClix does not pay

Well, I waited too much time, I officially say that FEClix does NOT pay. I waited 220 days from the withdrawal, while their TOS states “within 20 working days” or something like that. Tickets are being ignored, the forum does not work (at least for me? I’m banned?).

They owe me $10

LOL, this ends my adventure in the “beer money” websites.

I knew from the beginning that they wouldn’t pay, because of this hints:

  1. all the rented referrals they do exactly the same number of actions every day. I mean, exactly. How you can take 100 people at random, and have ALL of them do the exact number of actions, an average of 1.608 daily??? This proves that they are not human, but simulated.
  2. 90% of the actions were just self-promotion, like “vote us on this top 10”, or “visit our forum” – who pays for this? Nobody! Fake money
  3. the admin doesn’t visit the site AT ALL, he still runs automated campaigns like “if you deposit money before the deadline of [6 months ago], we will credit you with extra bonus. At least have the decency to update the deadline. Questions from potential money-making customers like “can I deposit money for ad campaigns” are also ignored.

Frozen account on Poloniex

Yesterday I logged in on Poloniex to see what’s going on my few crypto coins. (Very few ethereum, some euro in Pascal and 400 DOGE).

I am told I have to give name, surname, address, phone number, scans of my id card + a selfie.

I am pissed! I have to give an incredibly large amount of personal data just to withdraw some pennies!!!

Eventually, I comply, and I give them all my data. Today, the suprise: my money is frozen unless I send a selfie with “Poloniex” handwritten on a piece of paper!

WTF??? Does this smell like a scam? Unless I send this questionable selfie, I can’t withdraw anything…

Thinking to the import

Searching ways to become a millionaire (I’m very far to the goal) I found an item that is usually sold in stores for 10 euro tax included.

In Italy you can get this item from wholesalers for about 2.50 euro + tax

But what’s the price in China?

If you search it on Aliexpress you can find it for 2 dollars, free shipping. The shipping is very slow, it takes up to 2 months, if the post office doesn’t lose it.

If you search on Alibaba (that’s a “Wholesale Aliexpress”) you can find it for $0.90 + shipping, with a minimum order of 500 pieces. Shipping is a big fee, because a 500 pcs box weights 20 kg and sending it with a fast delivery like the FedEx costs at least 1000 yuan.

If you search on Taobao (that’s a “Chinese eBay”) you can find them for 4 yuan each, no minumum. If you ask for a quantity discount, you can get them for 3.5 yuan.

So, the prices, converted in chinese yuan are:

  • MSRP in Italy: 60 yuan
  • Wholesale in Italy: 18 yuan
  • Aliexpress slow shipping, 1 piece: 13 yuan
  • An agent sources them for you in China: 5.80 yuan. With 1000 yuan for shipping, its 7.80 yuan each.
  • If you can source them by yourself (you need to speak Chinese): 3.50 yuan; shipped is 5.50 yuan each.

It’s interesting seeing how a product price rises, at each middleman: once the final customer gets in their hand, the price increased ten times!

Of course there’s the problem about how you can sell them in stores: it’s almost impossible to sell 500 pieces at 10 euro each if you are not a big chain, like Target.