As for the asinine comment on Dr. Laggos… Yes he is a paid consultant. However, with a little due diligence, it is easy to see his reputation as an expert in his field is second to none.
Keith Laggos credits himself as a ‘marketing and management consultant‘ and claims to have worked with ‘dozens of direct sales companies as well as to other sales and distribution companies outside of the (MLM) industry‘.
Laggos joined Zeek Rewards as a paid consultant around June 2011 and shortly after the company switched from guaranteeing a 125% ROI on every bid purchased, to paying out a variable ROI over 90 days.
Laggos largely credits himself for instigating such changes, claiming on a recent promotional call for MLM company Lyoness that he’s ‘been able to help them (Zeek Rewards) change the comp plan to keep within the pyramid scheme and Ponzi scheme laws‘.
With Zeek Rewards still refusing to divulge whether or not the daily ROI they pay out to affiliates contains mostly affiliate money (this is “proprietary information”), Laggos’ claims of being within pyramid scheme and Ponzi laws are naturally still questionable.
That said, Laggos appears to believe that as far as being a Ponzi or Pyramid scheme, that Zeek Rewards are in the clear and has since shifted his focus to the penny auction side of the business.
This shift in focus ultimately resulted in the abrupt and completely unexpected parting of ways between Laggos and Zeek Rewards last week.
So just what happened between Keith Laggos and Zeek?
It would appear the fallout between Laggos (photo right) and Zeek Rewards might have something to do with a recent call Laggos took last week, promoting the MLM company Lyoness.
Lyoness allow members to make investments with the company, and after a specific number of investments have been made by people in your downline, the company pays you out a ROI to the tune of 730-1164%, depending on how much you invest.
Laggos claims that his Lyoness ‘group is the fastest growing group in the history of the company‘ [21:50], and when comparing investments in either Zeek Rewards or Lyoness that
You put ten thousand dollars in Zeekler, if nothing happens over the next year, you’ll probably make twenty or forty thousand if that’s all you do without building the front end.
If you put the same amount of money in Lyoness and don’t do anything else, without a single sponsored person you could probably make a quarter of a million dollars. [21:16]
Not “building the front end” of course refers to the passive investment nature of Zeek Rewards, in that members can simply “put ten thousand dollars in” Zeek Rewards, purchase alleged retail customers (who are nothing more than email addresses) or create fake customer accounts themselves, automate the publishing of a daily ad and receive, according to Laggos, a return of around forty thousand dollars in 12 months.
Opening the Lyoness promotion call by acknowledging listeners on the call ‘were all in Zeekler’ [13:04] before strongly advising them to join Lyoness and make it their ‘Plan B’, one possible reason for Laggos leaving Zeek Rewards might be the blatant cross-recruiting that occurs during the call.
This is not tolerated by Zeek Rewards, who state in their affiliate policies and procedures that
REX Representatives shall not sell or represent non-REX products or represent marketing opportunities from other companies to other REX Representatives.
Zeek Reward warns that failing to adhere to their policies and procedures ‘may be terminated for violating the terms of his or her agreement‘.
Whilst Zeek Rewards and Laggos himself have confirmed he is no longer a paid consultant with Zeek Rewards, Troy Dools today claimed that Laggos ‘is still an affiliate’ [10:47].
Laggos mentioned on the call that he has a Zeek Rewards downline of ‘about 4,500 people‘ and that his ‘total income with Zeekler is only about $40,000 a month‘, before rhetorically asking ‘you think I wanna lose $45,000 a month?‘ [45:13].
Infact, by all accounts it appears as if Laggos was taken completely by surprise and might not have left voluntarily (I won’t go so far as to say he was terminated, as the nature of his consultant agreement and what exactly transpired between him and Zeek Rewards following the call is unknown).
On the call, recorded last Tuesday just one day before Zeek Rewards’ latest ‘Red Carpet Wednesday’ affiliate event, Laggos stated
I told him (Burks) about ‘Plan A / Plan B’ and we’ve had a conversation.
He laughed and said “I believe in ‘Plan A / Plan B’. I said “as you know for most people that got involved Zeekler, Zeekler was their plan B” and he laughed.
He said “yeah, the majority of the big hitters were all ‘plan B’ for all of them – I don’t have a problem when it comes to ‘Plan A and Plan B’” [39:23].
I’m going to be at the red carpet service on Wednesday [24:48].
Zeek Rewards’ CEO Paul Burks didn’t seem to have a problem with Laggos promoting Lyoness (his ‘plan B’), but sometime over the next 24 hours Keith Laggos ceased being a consultant for Zeek Rewards. Nor was he present at the Red Carpet event.
Troy Dooly tried to get an answer from Zeek Rewards and was told by recently appointed Chief Operating Officer, Greg Caldwell that
[2:26] Keith Laggos and Rex Venture Group have agreed to part company effective immediately. We wish him the best and we wish him luck in his future endeavours.
Troy, don’t ask me about this ever again.
Unless something else happened within 24 hours of the Lyoness call going live, the only other reason I can think of was Laggos spilling the beans on alleged FTC going after Zeekler (and penny auctions in general), and his appraisal of Zeek Rewards and its future.
Citing contacts in the processing and banking sectors informing him of the FTC’s actions, Laggos claims
[14:06] The FTC has been taking action against all 32 penny auction sites. They put out letters to the top big four banks asking them not to, to encourage them not to open up accounts for penny auctions.
They call them illegal gambling. Their idea is that you buy bids, you place bets with those bids and only the winner gets the pot or the prize, and the rest of the people lose their chips or bids.
So they (the FTC) consider it to be illegal gambling online and they’re trying to stop it.
They (the FTC) sent notices to all the major (payment) processors in the US (telling them) that they do not want them to process a penny auction site as of July 5th. And most of them quit processing, if not all of them, on July 5th for penny auctions. Won’t do them, closed the doors – the rest of them will go offshore.
[14:55] I already had, as you probably know, moved Zeek processing to Hong Kong and other places outside of the US so it looked like it didn’t affect them.
The reason it took them so long to get the processors in the first place, is because they (the FTC) were actively trying to shut ‘em, block ‘em (in the US) so we had to go offshore.
Zeek Rewards stopped issuing checks to affiliates back in late May 2012, claiming their bank accounts had been closed because the company was “too big”. Since then, affiliates have experienced credit card charges originating from Panama, South Korea and Hong Kong (China), with many of these charges being initially blocked in the US for suspected fraud.
Additionally the company currently only pays out affiliates via third-party offshore payment processors. Then COO Dawn Wright-Olivares even went so far as to tell affiliates that unless they deposited new money into Zeek Rewards e-wallet accounts, they wouldn’t be able to withdraw commissions from them.
The company does claim to currently have US-based bank accounts but to date refuses to divulge to their affiliates or anyone else who these bank accounts are with.
Despite Laggos’ best efforts to help Zeek Rewards circumvent US laws and regulations, his predictions on the future of Zeekler remain grim:
[15:20] Unfortunately I don’t think the FTC is going to be satisfied with them (Zeek Rewards) going offshore.
When they did the same exact action against online gambling with poker and they went offshore, shortly (after) they (the FTC) prepared regulations, calling it ‘illegal gambling’, and made sure that no poker sites could have paid gambling online in the US.
Troy Dooly meanwhile claims that no such regulations exist, stating that ‘the FTC has never regulated online gambling at all’ [4:13].
Laggos seems confident they do though, and continues his frank assessment of the future of Zeekler and Zeek Rewards:
[15:52] Online gambling in the future is going to be highly regulated and they’re going to apply that same law I’m afraid to penny auctions. I don’t know if it’s going to be one month, or three months or six months.
[16:30] That is what I’m afraid the situation is. I’ve got an idea to help Zeekler continue if they lose the penny auctions, with other ideas that would be equally good but no doubt what there’s going to be a bump in the road followed by some loss in momentum. [17:08] I believe they’re (Zeek Rewards) are going to lose their momentum shortly.
[35:50] The FTC caused problems for Zeekler by making sure they couldn’t get their credit cards open for a long time, their merchant accounts, by causing them discomfort using the bank accounts – they couldn’t process orders, couldn’t pay their commissions and that caused hundreds if not thousands of complaints (from affiliates) to state attorneys and the FTC.
[23:50] I don’t think it’s (Zeek Rewards) going to last. I think the FTC will take action within 6 months, maybe 3 or less. I don’t think they’ll go a year before they take action.
[24:52] I can’t stop the FTC but I can have plan B for Zeekler in place when the FTC does take action.
I don’t want to be alarmist but I know what’s happening, I know what’s coming down the pipeline, we’re taking action to defend ourselves, to protect ourselves and our families.
I’ve been teaching this for over forty years…and if you’ve been in the industry for long you know what I’m talking about and won’t fault me for saying that, ’cause you know I’m right.
Whatever Laggos’ contingency plan for Zeek Rewards was, by severing him as a consultant it appears they weren’t interested.
I do however note the apparent similarities in Lyoness’ ‘retail cashback’ frontend and Zeek Rewards’ much hyped to-be-released Zeebates shopping portal. Whether or not Laggos is behind Zeebates however is unclear.
Although not confirmed, it appears as if Zeek Rewards members are going to have to find customers for the shopping portal to qualify for their daily ROI through Zeek Rewards, something many affiliates are not happy about.
Laggos goes on to finish up by accusing the FTC of being willing participants in extortion (a federal crime in the US):
[43:18] Even if they don’t win in court, they (the FTC) know they can extort money from them (Zeek Rewards), legally extort money from them.
Zeek Rewards has never made public mention of the FTC or any possible future action against Zeekler or penny auctions in general. If Laggos’ comments are accurate, in that he claims he’s been ‘reporting to Zeekler for months that the FTC has been becoming more active on penny auctions’ [2:42], this is something they’re well aware of and have known for a while.
In the meantime, while all this has been going on, the internet has been flooded with Zeek Rewards marketing from affiliates, making no mention of the difficulties the FTC have allegedly imposed upon Zeek Rewards and other penny auctions.
Instead, the company has been busy running around ensuring its members don’t use investment terminology to describe the business. Yet when push comes to shove, here we’ve got Keith Laggos himself publicly defining participation in Zeek Rewards by affiliates as simply “putting money in”.
In his defense, Laggos told Dooly that he ‘did not know they were recording (the call) or how many Zeekler people would be on it‘.
Although I can’t say I’m surprised, I find the notion of simultaneously being a paid consultant and enrolled affiliate ethically abhorrent. How on Earth are you expected to consult impartially when you’ve got such a big potential financial conflict of interest always looming over your head?
Then again, when it comes to Zeek Rewards one of the most worrying points of contention has always been that executive management in the company also have enrolled affiliate positions.
With insider knowledge of pending FTC action and contact with regulators, Zeek Rewards financials and the company backend, when you consider it takes 90 days to fully withdraw earnings on VIP points, quite clearly Zeek Rewards executive management affiliates are wholly at an unfair competitive advantage when compared to your average non-executive Zeek Rewards affiliate.
Zeek Rewards management and Keith Laggos know what’s coming, do you?
Update 2nd August, 2012 – On a video blurb published on Better Networker by Troy Dooly, he confirms that Keith Laggos was indeed terminated by Zeek Rewards:
After a prosecting call for Lioness went public where Dr. Keith Laggos questions the longevity of Zeek Rewards and other unique bid auctions, while seemily promoting Lioness, Zeek terminates his consulting contract.
Footnote: Troy Dooly broke this story a few hours ago and to his credit published the full Lyoness marketing call referenced in this article – my thanks to him for that as it’s likely this important information would have been buried had he not gone public.
All timestamp references contained in this article are in relation to Dooly’s video that accompanies his article, ‘Breaking MLM News: Zeek Rewards Officially Parts Ways With Dr Keith Laggos After Recorded Call Goes Public‘.