Two calls in a week. Two friends of mine called to make me the offer of a life time. “Things like this don’t come around very often”, “this is going be the CENTER OF THE ONLINE UNIVERSE”. “What if you Multi-Level Google?”
Research it, I was told. Go out to the site and take a look. This is going to be huge.
OK, I’m skeptical by nature, no question about it. When it comes to Multi-Level Marketing schemes, I’m especially skeptical. Most of these things are just barley legal pyramid schemes, with the emphasis on recruiting new distributors, new franchisee’s, what ever you want to call them. In order for them NOT to be a pyramid scheme you have to have a product BTW, that’s the litmus test. So, research I did. In about 20 minutes on line I had more red flags going up that I could even keep count off. Enough to start to worry about my friends and their involvement with this thing.
Here’s the deal. For $150.00 buy in and $20.00 a month, you can own your own franchise for this and earn for all the people you’ve signed up, plus who ever they’ve recruited. Your franchise is a web portal. People use your web portal to do their internet activities and you get paid. You also get paid when you sign up more people, and the people they recruit to use the portal, you get a piece of that too. Free money if you will, just for doing what we do every day. They sign in, get a home page and access all their normal internet activities; Facebook, Amazon, Google searchs, email.. everything and every time they do, you get a bit of cash from the deal. You get a cut of all the downstream guys, who sign up other users and best of all, it’s free.
Sincerely, I hope my friends make the money their dreaming off… but lets do a reality check.
FLAG 1- NO Product- What exactly are they selling? In most MLM schemes, and especially the ones that actually are successful have a product. Amway had a pile of cleaning products, Excel Communications (One of the investors of whom is involved in this thing) had long distance service. My point being your people “down line” from you had something that someone wanted. BTW, if you’re not familiar with how MLM works, franchises are sold. People up the line recruit other to sell and everyone up the line gets a piece of the action.
So, the product is access to a new web portal? The revolutionary change offered by the marketers at iJango is you get a customizable, everything in one place. Sounds great. Except, it already exists. igoogle, MyYahoo, MyWay, MyMSN.. there’s a bunch of them and they’re all free with no sign up to anyone. This will not be the center of the universe because, they’re not offering a product anyone does not already have.
FLAG 2- It’s all about recruiting. Youtube is loaded with videos these days from tons of “directors” looking for people to get involved in this. You contact them, pay your $150.00, enter them as your upstream person and they get a cut. And for your payment you get your own number and a new portal to sell to others. I’m not sure when this got started, but now that it’s going they are selling with no product, they need people to sign up and keep selling the directorships. That is the definition of a pyramid scheme. Which.. is illegal.
FLAG 3- Vaporware. Right now, these guys are selling vaporware. They’ve got a distributor network selling franchises for something that, at the moment doesn’t exist. The big flashy launch is August 1st. If you’ve bought in, you have to have your fingers crossed at this point that it launches. To buy into something that doesn’t exist is a leap of faith at best, really bad business decision at worst.
FLAG 4- Sketchy Marketing. The iJango site has no details what so ever about what it is. That’s about as serious an alarm as I can think off. It does have lots of footage of a guy named Cameron Sharpe talking about how great this is going to be and how this is a game changer. The youtube vids are just as sketchy, no details. Lots of people making claims about wealth and pushing for you to sign up, or ways to farm leads.. a successful MLM has to be product based.
FLAG 5- The Naysayers… The iJango consultants will tell you people like me “don’t get it”. We’re skeptics. In other words you have to have faith. Faith is no replacement for a good business strategy that is based on products and solid execution. All over the internet are people pointing out the flaws in this company and that’s before we even talk about product. There’s to many disparaging views to discount them all,. but they try.
FLAG 6- Get Rich Quick- Promises to get rich quick never work out. This is no different. The iJengo portal will be talking advantage of co-op marketing from all the other portals who pay a few mils up to cents for click throughs. To even make back your $150.00 and the $20.00 a month in “office fees” you’re going literally need to get thousands of users on your site. LazyLightening.org, one of the more popular blogs in Minnesota. (I’ve been trying to get their usage stats, but they keep telling me that I have to provide my own media and SQL analyst to get the data, and that it’s only available between 7 and 9 on Mondays.. and that it’s going cost me 2 cases of Hamms’ beer to get what i’m looking for and.. and.. and.. ) Kidding. That’s a wholly owned site, I’d be curious what, if any revenue they make over there. I’m guessing it’s not enough to make that a career.
In the iJengo model, you’re competing literally, with every other person who’s paid in their $150.00. I’m curious to see how users will pick which director to sign up with, and how the competition will shake out when 10 million iJangoites go after the last free internet users.
FLAG 7- Flat Out Lies and Misrepresentation. This is a big one. They claim that Google has signed up with them. Really? A 137Billion dollar company is concerned enough to contract these guys? No. Hasn’t happened. Nor facebook, nor Yahoo, nor anyone. Real company’s have nothing to do with these guys, but they want you to believe otherwise. They claim patents on this technology that’s going to blow our socks off. No, hasn’t happened. That one hasn’t happened because the don’t have anything to patent.
FLAG 8- Character. I’m sorry character matters. The pitchman for this thing,Cameron Sharpe, the one in video’s, is one serious con man with a long and documented string of unethical business practices and internet scams which have been shut down for illegal practices. His dating service, the last one, was alot like this as a matter of fact. Buy franchises for local dating.. yeah. Throw in some indictments and some tax issues and you don’t exactly have a stellar guy at the helm here. His reaction? Bring in Steve Smith from Excel Communications.. another shady company. Take a look online and the internet is full of stories about Excel and their issues. All brought on by naysayers and people with an ax to grind.
Mr Sharpe on the other hand, pure scum. Knowing that he couldn’t hide his past very well, he published a letter/blog where he came clean about his past. Through in some drug use, some bad choices, some things that he’s not proud of, his new low, and how he built himself back up because he wanted to do good and wanted to help people and show that he is someone and he has a dream and he wants to share it with you and make you rich too. Come along with me and ignore everyone else.
If he can get you to send in $150.00 and $20.00 a month he will get wealthy like he craves. The chances that you will join him being wealthy? Nil.
What’s my axe to grind here? Why can’t I just shutup and take the advice of one iJangoist who commented on a note I left on a expose the fraud site. “Just leave us alone, we’ll be successful without you”. I have no axe other than I’m worried about the people who are going to get hurt. By making the entry fees lower the ideas is they’ll fly under the radar. They’re not going to take for thousands for a distributorship like Amway, the cost if entry is low, so who wouldn’t take a risk.. and over time, they’ll milk you dry and you won’t make a nickel. I wonder how easy it will be to opt out of this. That was a big problem in the Excel days.
My hope is, and my prediction; if this keeps going, Attorneys General will take notice of this and the pyramid nature if this scam will be it’s demise. I just hope it’s before too many bad guys get wealthy and too many working stiffs dreaming of a better life get poor.