Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Protect Yourself from Scams!

Times are hard all over the world. People are looking for hope. MLMs and networking marketing offers hope. However, will the particular MLM help or hurt your hope?

Whenever someone is about to enter a business or purchase a product, they SHOULD research it first. Caveat emptor is Latin for the saying, "Let the buyer beware." The doctrine of caveat emptor has been woven into American law by expecting that parties would perform due diligence, meaning reasonable research, as to whether a business is feasibly profitable. You are attempting to conduct research. That's why you've visited this blog. Make no mistake, there are plenty of scams out there. I don’t want you to be another victim.

All animals, including humans, make calculations as to whether a particular action will bring them pleasure or cause them pain. MLM Due Diligence examines various network marketing and work at home programs. The purpose of this blog is to make recommendations so that you can make an informed decision with your eyes wide open.

Some MLM programs aren't scams. They meet all the legal requirements set forth by federal and state agencies. Still, being legal doesn't negate the fact that 97% of the people in MLMs fail. You need to be aware of the pros and cons of the particular MLM so you can make the best decision that fits your circumstances.

Thank you for reading this blog. Feel free to add your comments. I'm sure my recommendations will make some MLMers upset. I am open to their presentation of evidence that would prove me wrong. Think of this blog as the "prosecution" starting with the premise that 97% of people in all MLMs fail. The MLM is the defendant that must prove why their program is different. You are the judge and jury. What's your verdict?

Is Acme People Search Engine a Scam?

Is Acme People Search Engine a Scam?

If there's a 12 Step Program for social networkers, I'd have to admit that I am a Twitter addict.

I kept getting repeated tweets from other network marketers that claimed I could earn $125 within 24 hours by joining a free program. I ignored these tweets for the first week or so. Finally, I decided to investigate. I clicked onto a tweet from a guy in the Philippines. Was this a gifting program? How could they legitimately give me $125 so quickly?

I clicked the link and listened patiently as a man named
Tissa Godavitarne started to explain how he used affiliate programs to solve his unemployment problem. Being in Michigan, a state that is plagued with the highest unemployment rate in America, I was interested.

Tissa might start off making you wish you could afford a million-dollar mansion like his. He might start off showing an IRS Form 1099 to prove his income. But he then gets into the nuts and bolts of his niche search engine. He offered that if I let him build me one for free, he'd advertise it until I earned $125. I thought, "Why not?"

I followed the 3 step process. I admit, I was skeptical. I kept waiting for my scam radar to start blaring an alarm. Sure, in order to complete one step, I had to sign up for a 7-day free trial of GDI. I thought, "Well, why not? If Tissa's $125 doesn't come through, I'll just cancel."

GDI had a flashy sales presentation. It was nicely done. Attention deficit adults like me could be captivated long enough to sign up for the trial.
I already have several websites, most of which end in dotcom, so I wasn't too thrilled about another website except I was curious to see if Tissa would follow through. I created yet one more website, www.myfinderskeepers.ws, as an experiment. After completing the three steps, I waited while Tissa marketed the website through his Adwords campaign. Sure enough, he emailed me back, perhaps it took 24 hours, or maybe longer. And sure enough, there was $125 credited to me. I was shocked. I wondered, "How did he do that?" Then I began to feel like a missionary! I have to spread the Acme Gospel!

In all fairness, a person must earn $75 from the person's own efforts in order to receive a total of $200. This means the person is taught how to earn the $75 so he or she could get the money within the next two weeks. Tissa also has a "Super Sponsor" program that reimburses the person for any out-of-pocket costs. Consequently, the net cost for participating in his program is $0. Still a good deal.

As many of you know, Michigan is the automotive capital of the world, but two of the Big Three have gone into bankruptcy. The auto companies might have emerged from bankruptcy reorganized, but the laid off auto workers and the other businesses that depended on the auto companies are still hurting. Unemployment, pay cuts, lost benefits, and other economic turmoil is rampant. The secret that no one really wants to get out is that Michigan is in a depression.
For some people, $125 ain't much money, but for a family receiving unemployment, $125 can buy school clothes for their children. It can buy some groceries. It can put gas in the car So how many people could benefit from an extra $125? And what if they could earn more than $125 by sharing this "secret" with others? If you're a person needing to benefit from Tissa's "economic stimulus program", then click here.

From a more objective standpoint, getting the extra $75 in order to receive the $125 and $75 in a $200 initial minimum payout is VERY TOUGH to do in a short period of time unless you use PPC (pay per click) marketing. Otherwise, using free marketing tools, it may take you two months to raise $200 total. Most people won't stay focused for so little money for such a long period of time. They'll give up. Objectively, this may be how Tissa makes money and why some people claim he is scamming them.

On the other hand, if you can combine Kevin Lee's book "The Truth About Pay-Per-Click Search Advertising" with a $200 coupon for advertising on MSN/Bing and $5 of you own cash, then you can begin a PPC campaign. It takes money to make money. The book that contains the $200 coupon costs approximately $13 on Amazon. Get it here!

You can also take advantage of coupons to start PPC campaigns on Google and Yahoo, but these will cost you more of an upfront investment.

Bottom line, you can learn how to do PPC advertising, run your campaign on MSN/Bing and earn $200! Do this within a month, and you'll spend approximately $30. Not a bad return on investment. So is Tissa Godivitarne scamming people? No! At the same time, will you get rich quick or get something for nothing? No!

Sorry to disappoint you. Like everything else in life, you'll reap monetary rewards if you put in time, effort, and a little know-how. This is a legitimate vehicle. Take the drive! http://myfinderskeepers.ws/tissa.htm

AmeriPlan: Is it a scam?

At a time when health care is the rage in the news, the premise of AmeriPlan couldn't be more sound or relevant: Provide health care discounts for those who are uninsured or under-insured.

AmeriPlan is not insurance, so for those who have insurance with little or no deductible, then there is no discount that can compete with free. However, AmeriPlan membership can provide a discount for those services not always covered by traditional insurance. AmeriPlan delivers on the promise of providing a discount for dental, vision, massage, chiropractic, prescription, elective/cosmetic surgery, and numerous other programs. I was attracted to AmeriPlan because, as a self-employed individual, I had no health insurance. AmeriPlan was great from a member standpoint, and an economical value. It is not a scam. I saved money on prescriptions, contact lenses, etc. So while Congress debates over having America join the 21st century along with the other industrialized nations that have national health care insurance, AmeriPlan serves as a viable alternative for the millions of Americans with existing preconditions and the need to see a doctor.

However, I thought I'd add AmeriPlan to my business portfolio and sell it as a distributor. AmeriPlan is marketed using network marketing. Because it's a health care discount program rather than insurance, a distributor didn't need a license to sell the product. I, too, was seduced by the stories of people earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year selling the product. My distant upline happened to be a married couple of high rollers. They were real people and not actors. I actually shook their hands and touched their Bentley.

My experience in AmeriPlan allowed me to touch real real people making real money in their network marketing business. Yet the same experience made me realize that there must be something that they're doing, some closely guarded secret that they're not sharing, that gives them their competitive advantage. They told me, and the rest of their downline, to make a list of friends and family, harass everyone who comes within 3 feet, purchase leads, cold call them, etc. They told us to purchase DVDs and literature and leave flyers in laundromats, grocery stores, car washes, etc. Prospects promised to come to opportunity meetings but stood me up. Some stood me up even when I went to pick them up. My upline told me to attend national conventions for inspiration and education. The company definitely made more money from me than I did from them. My upline told all of us in the downline that AmeriPlan differed from other network marketing plans in that distributors carried no inventory and because we were paid daily. However, after investing hundreds of dollars into my AmeriPlan business and realizing little to no profit, I became one more statistic, one more of the 97% who failed, quit, and almost declared bankruptcy.

My advice to a new AmeriPlan distributor is to concentrate on retail sales rather than sponsoring a downline. If you have professional sales and marketing experience, then the niche to concentrate on in retail sales is group sales. But the average person marketing AmeriPlan with the intention of developing a downline of 1000 people is a mistake. Health care isn't sexy. Like insurance, it's a topic most people prefer to procrastinate and not to think of until they need it. Sales to groups requires special AmeriPlan training. Indeed, the bigger the group, the less likely an average person without connections can bypass the gatekeeping secretaries to speak to an actual decision-maker. In fact, the bigger the group, the less likely AmeriPlan's headquarters may want an average person to make a presentation to, say, General Motors. Group sales under such a contract would require high-level negotiations in a realm that the average person usually isn't privy to. Moreover, a great deal of professionalism is involved in large group sales because over-zealous misrepresentations could expose AmeriPlan to lawsuits. However, there's plenty of smaller groups for beginning distributors to address. As far as individual sales are concerned, these are challenging, but not as challenging as recruiting downline distributors one individual at a time.

I'm sure this post will get nasty comments from AmeriPlan bigwigs tell you that AmeriPlan is far from saturated, that a new distributor can rise through the pyramid and become as big as his dreams, and yada yada yada. True, with 40% of Americans having no health insurance, then it is possible that the market has not been saturated. However, AmeriPlan has been in business for more than 15 years. It is possible that the company has achieved its maximum market share and critical mass. At some point, a prospective network marketer should look at a business from an investor perspective and decide if selling AmeriPlan is the best use of his/her investment. I recommend the product from a retail customer perspective, but recommend that potential network marketers look elsewhere to invest their money and effort as distributors.

What are the closely guarded secrets that give the top network marketing earners their competitive edge? Find out more at www.thebestYOUbrand.com.