Empower Network to release own blogging platform
With Empower Network’s Denver affiliate conference coming up the company has begun to spam press release websites with an announcement about their new blogging platform.
Dubbed “Empower Network 2.0”, the company writes
Software and web marketing company Empower Network will (host) its quarterly affiliate conference at the Bellco Theater at 700 14th St. on July 19-21.
During the conference, Empower Network will unveil Empower Network 2.0 (EN2), its new blogging platform.
Interesting that Empower Network now refer to themselves as a “software company”.
Whilst it’s great to see that Empower Network are finally acknowledging that “selling” someone elses free software makes no sense, the problem has always lied within Empower Network’s compensation plan.
Despite touting WordPress as their “product”, no Empower Network affiliates actually pay for it. Affiliates (and non-affiliates) pay affiliates directly, with payment of monthly subscription fee qualifying an affiliate to participate in what is essentially a monthly gifting scheme.
Affiliates can avoid paying into the scheme directly by recruiting another affiliate or customer to do so, but the bottom line is someone has to put in $25 a month for you if you want to qualify to receive gifts from participants below you.
Will a self-branded blogging network change that?
Nope, because unless the compensation plan changes, whatever blogging platform they use the fundamental problem remains: nobody is paying Empower Network for a product or service, they’re all just directly paying other participants.
Meanwhile it appears Empower Network 2.0 has been built from the ground up, with Empower Network claiming it has
invested more than $3.2 million on Empower Network 2.0 (EN2) (and) that it predicts (it) will rival WordPress, TypePad and Tumblr, among other popular blogging systems.
Seriously, rival WordPress? WordPress is used on 14.7% of the top one million websites in the world (Alexa) and reported to power 22% of all new websites as of August 2011 (who knows what it is now).
WordPress’ blogging platform is so widely deployed because they are at the forefront of blogging platform innovation. Empower Network have likely just copy and pasted (not the literal code) WordPress’ functionality and assume it will take off.
Trouble is even if Empower Network do change their compensation plan and actually start charging subscribers for Empower Network 2.0, they’re always going to be competing with WordPress – which is free.
“Oh but didn’t you hear? We’re a software company now!”
Worthless pseudo-compliance at its best.
Something similar happened when YouTube started banning Empower Network affiliate’s accounts for spam, the company came up with a YouTube clone that nobody (except a few affiliates) uses.
Yeah, Empower Network’s video platform was also supposed to rival the likes of YouTube too.
But in any case, even if Empower Network 2.0 is a clone-copy of WordPress (which it will be, as anything less will be a step back for affiliates), the fact remains, nobody is paying for it.
Call yourself a “software company” and now claim to have an actual product to sell, but if you’re not actually selling it to people, well then it doesn’t really count does it.
Meanwhile, still no response on Empower Network’s failure to disclose retail source ratios between affiliates and retail customers.
I know that if I was an Empower Network affiliate I couldn’t care less about the blogging platform. WordPress isn’t broke so don’t fix it. I’d be far more concerned about the company clarifying one way or another whether it is just a big affiliate-funded gifting scheme.
Empower network repeatedly claim a commitment to transparency, yet continue fail to publish the absolute of absolutes in crucially important information. That being how much of their revenue is coming in from affiliates and how much from retail customers.
I don’t see anything that says thar they wrote the entire software themselves.
When they say they want to rival wordpress etc., they could be referring to the wordpress website, rather than the wordpress software.
My guess is they maybe wrote some wordpress plug ins or something.
Interesting take and one that I hadn’t considered, although $3.2M in WordPress plugins seems a bit extravagant.
Given the masses of WordPress plugins (both paid and free) already widely available and covering pretty much everything as required by bloggers using WordPress, I’m not seeing what EN would bring to the table.
In any case, it’s a bit hard to rival WordPress when it’s free and your bundling it with a $25 a month gifting scheme. Unless of course you’re marketing the gifting scheme in which case you’re not really competing with WordPress now are you.
Also $3.2 m doesn’t necessarily refer to software development costs. It isn’t phrased that way. It refers to the entire investment in the platform, and there is no break down.
It could, for example, include software development, buying existing software, networks and hosting, documentation, staff training, graphic design, creating marketing materials, and all sorts of other things.
True, although given the way they’ve been hyping themselves up over the past few weeks, if it is just a few plugins with the bulk of the money being spent elsewhere that’s going to be a pretty underwhelming reveal.
Guess we’ll have to see what they showoff this weekend.
Hell, they could have spent $3.19 m on a big party in costa rica, where they talk about en 2.0, filming it (so they can sell the videos), and that would be consistent with the wording.
It may or may not be that they spent all or most of the money on developing software. Or it may be that they simply want people to assume they spent all the money on developing software, but empower never says that they did.
Oz, you might be disappointed by such a reveal, but I doubt their affiliates would.
Imho. If the affiliates were truly wanting blogging software they wouldn’t have joined empower in the first place. They’re in it because they think they smell money.
“Disappointed” is the wrong word. Whether or not they have in actuality coded their own blogging software is neither here nor there for me – I have no vested interest in EN at all.
As far as analysis goes though, if they have spent the money on some flimsy plugins or marketing and are still using WordPress – the effort they’ve gone to hype the announcement only serves to further highlight the absurdity of having your affiliates pay eachother each month whilst claiming as a company to sell a third-party blogging platform that is available free of charge.
There’s a logic hole being dug here by Empower Network that’s sooner or later going to catch up with them when the dollar signs in participant’s eyes crash into reality.
It’s probably more like they paid $5000 to some programmers in India with the instructions “clone WordPress, but make it look completely different and slick”. 😀
More smoke screens, mirrors and BS fromDave and dave
EN affiliates only paid each other until March of 2012. Since then all product orders are passed through EN’s account and commissions are paid by EN.
Also, I watched the live video stream that was available during their Denver event, and viewed the presentation describing their new blogging platform. It’s nothing like WordPress. It’s designed specifically for blogging and appears to be substantially more user friendly. It contains some pretty cool custom features.
In fact, had I not already developed my own blogging platform, I’d be tempted to pay $25 a month just for theirs (with no interest in their income opportunity).
I’m not saying I still don’t have a number of concerns about EN, but the value of their $25 monthly blogging platform is no longer one of them.
What are you talking about Len? EN affiliates still pay eachother, regardless of where the money travels through to get there.
If I join today and pay my $25, it goes straight to my upline (or their upline if it’s a passup).
ORLY? I know I use WordPress for all sorts of non-blogging activities. Last night I used it to cook dinner. Today I’m going to use it to wash my scooter. Thank god EN are coming out with a blogging platform that is designed specifically for blogging!
I’ll reserve final judgement until I see it. Until then, I’m having a hard time believing a pass-up income opportunity is going to be able to compete with a free blogging platform that is used by 18.9% of the top 10 million websites in the world (August 2013).
Especially when the only reason they came up with said platform was to address concerns that for the past year and a half they’ve been effectively running a great big cash gifting scheme.
100% of the $25 payment does get paid to the selling affiliate (or passed up), but it’s no longer a direct transfer of funds from buyer to seller. The buyer pays Empower Network, EN supplies the products, and then EN pays the commission from the sale to the appropriate affiliate – just like any other MLM company.
The direct payments between the two parties (with no EN in the middle), which did kind of resemble a gifting scheme, was dropped after about five months when EN realized it was unfeasible to have every affiliate acquire their own merchant services account to accept credit cards.
Right, so EN keep no money, nothing is bought or sold and affiliates just pay eachother each month.
Attempt to justify it however you want, that’s mechanically what happens.
Follow the money Len, leave the psuedo-compliance bullshit explanations for the EN conferences.
You clearly stated “they’re all just directly paying other participants” and “If I join today and pay my $25, it goes straight to my upline”. This is simply not true, nor has it been for 18 months,
The ramifications of this change as far as how EN tracks sales, pays refunds, compiles commission data (per their Income Disclosure page), produces 1099s, and yes, withhold funds where applicable (e.g. credit card fees, pay off of negative commission balances due to a previous refund, withholding the $500 portion of the “Masters Course”, etc.) are significant and substantial.
Basically, previous to this change EN could not do ANY of those things. Now they can.
Oz, it’s okay if you get something wrong every now and then. It’s no big deal. We are both still in agreement that the $25 is paid entirely to the upline affiliate. I wasn’t rebutting that point. It’s just not going “straight to” them anymore, and this change does materially effect how EN does business.
Follow the money Len. An affiliate pays $25, where does 100% of that money wind up? With the affiliate who recruited them, or the affiliate who recruited them if it’s a passup etc.
Now read this again:
And then read what you later posted in the same comment:
There is nothing untrue about it.
All of which are completely irrelevant to the fundamental core problem of affiliates gifting 100% of their payment each month to other affiliates, with nothing being bought or sold (free != sale).
Psuedo-compliance. This is about as “clever” as claiming your not running an affiliate-funded Ponzi scheme because your company handles the money before it is paid out to earlier investors.
You know how this is going to play out in court Len. I don’t care how much koolaid Empower Network handed out at their last conference, respectfully engage your brain please.
You made a point regarding how a 100% commission on a $25 payment is indicative of a gifting scheme. Within that point you stated these payments are still being passed directly between payer and recipient. I then responded to that SEPARATE point that the direct payment system is no longer in place, and funds are now passed through EN. That’s all.
You are now repeatedly trying to force the issue back to your original point, asking me to “following the money”, etc., even though I’ve clearly explained that we are in agreement on that point. I suspect you’re doing this because your ego will not allow you to concede that you got one relatively minor point wrong. You can’t defend that point so you have no choice but to try and revise the point being debated.
Again, yes, the $25 still ends up out of the same person’s pocket and into the same recipients. We completely agree. That’s NOT the point I’m contesting. This transfer of funds is NOT directly between affiliates any more, as it once was. You’re simply wrong, Oz.
And we can argue the value of each EN product, and to varying degrees we’d likely agree all but the new $25 blogging platform are overpriced. But how does an overpriced product now become a non-existant one? Where do you get the idea that, even under the old platform, you get nothing more that access to WordPress for $25?
There was a lot more that was received besides that (already made themes, a back office to track leads and traffic, training, etc.). Again, the OLD $25 product may certainly have been overpriced, perhaps even grossly so, but how does that make all the other components of the product completely disappear?
And finally, when ever someone pushes back here, even a little, why must you so often resort to personal attacks (even when they’re allies who are on the same side)?
Wait until you read my 45 page review of EN (coming next week) and then tell me if I’ve been “drinking the cool aid”. But you will find that, above all else, my review will be FAIR, and FACT based. That even applies to all the minor points that (usually) aren’t worth arguing about.
We’re starting to go in circles now, which is where online debates usually get frustrating for both sides and break down. So the last word is yours.
Whether the funds are passed through EN or not is irrelevant. 100% of the money an affiliate pays is still paid out directly to their upline.
As far as cash gifting goes:
-Participant joins EN and then gifts 100% of their monthly contribution to the affiliate that recruited them (or their upline)
-Participant joins EN (blahblahblah money passes through EN blahblahblah) and then gifts 100% of their monthly contribution to the affiliate that recruited them (or their upline)
is the same.
How and what channels the gift passes through is entirely irrelevant. In all honesty it sounds like something Gerry Nehra would come up with to justify the scheme.
You pay $25, that money winds up with the affiliate who recruited you or their upline. The transfer of funds is between affiliates.
Next you’ll be telling me it’s not gifting because banks are involved, or because affiliates use the internet to transfer money… good grief.
Great so let’s leave it at that then hey. In Empower Network, affiliates gift affiliates by directly paying eachother.
Until it’s released, it’s not an argument worth having.
As for re-packaging WordPress and pretending it’s your product:
WordPress themes are a dime-a-dozen, with thousands on offer for free (yes, even lead capture themes). There is nothing special or unique there as far as EN is concerned.
And please, please don’t crap on to me about how “effective” the theme is. EN’s search traffic has consistently hovered around 5% for about a year now (from memory). The bulk of the traffic to the domain is on the marketing of the opportunity (and affiliates visiting the domain itself).
EN get’s far more visitors to the domain via the flashing those oversized checks around then they do from WordPress themes or blogging in general.
And the theme itself is what? One big giant banner at the top that goes on about “the owner making bajillions” and another video banner on the sidebar demanding an email address to watch “the founder” crap on about his riches. Yeah, groundbreaking and on the cutting-edge of WordPress themery.
Christ, it’s so revolutionary and never been done before that I’m wholly surprised WordPress hasn’t bought out Empower Network yet just for their theme.
As for backoffice, that’s provided with the $19.95 a month affiliate fee, it has nothing to do with the $25 a month gift fee.
Other than that, you’re still just bundling a free third-party product… wait you’re not even doing that. You’re bundling access to a free third-party product, as a front for what is clearly a $25 a month gifting scheme.
Whether it’s from “allies” or people “on the same side”, I don’t have time for psuedo-compliance BS. Telling me affiliates aren’t paying affiliates directly because the money passes through EN is just that.
“Oh we’re not a Ponzi scheme, our affiliates pay us the company first and we then pay out existing investors!”
Like I said, read and re-read what you’ve written and then please engage your brain.
Yes because until Len Clements writes about it it’s not possible for a fair and fact based review analysis to exist.
What do you need 45 pages for anyway? Here:
Affiliates join EN, gift eachother each month with the requirement they or someone they recruit buy into the scheme at the particular level they wish to participate in.
With all due respect, EN might be new to you but we’ve been tracking and following it here for some time. That said I will naturally read your review but I don’t plan on it revealing anything I (or anyone else who reads BehindMLM) don’t/doesn’t know.
Geez, it’s like the industry had a lobotomy and decided the 2-up gifting plan and variations of it were groundbreakingly new or something. The industry has been down this road before with the regulators. It doesn’t end well.
You got (and will still get in the new platform) a back office for $25 to track your sales and lead funnel for what ever you’re blogging to sell. It’s completely separate from the $19.95 affiliate back office. You’re wrong again.
And continuing to ignore (as you conveniently just did again) the training that comes with the $25 monthly fee really isn’t going to make it go away, Oz. It’s value, and fairness of price is an entirely different point. It exists. So your claim that you get nothing more than a “free” blogging platform is simply wrong.
I’m really going to try my best to give you the last word this time. But if you keep teeing these up like this, no promises.
What, you mean track who clicks what and whether they follow through when they visit your subdomain hosted blog? WordPress plugins chief, a dime a dozen – and certainly not $25 a month. That’s not a “backoffice” as we typically define it in the MLM industry.
Len, how long have you been covering the MLM industry?
At what point have you conveniently forgotten the masses of “training” + pass-up compensation plans that were all the rage? I’d give you a specific date range but these things are cyclic in nature.
Over time, they have been as prolific as the current advertising credit + revenue sharing model recently is (although that thankfully appears to be coming to an end, for now).
Whatever they bundle with the $25 gifting scheme is irrelevant, as nothing is being bought or sold. Affiliates directly gift the affiliates who recruited them or their uplines, with the affiliate or someone they recruit having to buy them into the scheme – and at the end of the day that’s all that will matter.
I do believe Mr. Clements is not a fan of the Aussie 2-up… Is that still on your website somewhere, Len? Or did that die with Marketwave.com?
Unfortunately for Mr Clements, his self appointed role as staunch defender of everything “MLM” leaves him vulnerable to contracting a severe case of foot-in-mouth-itis whenever shady operators decide to attach an “it’s MLM” label to their latest “opportunity”
After his Zeek debacle, one could reasonably have assumed the old adage of “once bitten, twice shy” might have become Mr Clements’ new mantra.
It appears not to be the case, however.
K. Chang… It’s still on the new site. And I am not a fan of the EN “five-up” plan either.
No, I don’t think Mr. Clements is “defending” Empowered Network per se… As I personally have a little problem with attaching the term “cash gifting” to Empowered Network.
I’ll just call the “x-up” plans “deceptively phrased”.
Frankly, with X-up plans, a BIG chunk of money ends up at the top of the pyramid (or root of the tree, if you prefer going the other way). Yet it’s often billed as “100% commission”.
I think I had discussed this with Mr. Clements about creating some sort of visualization of all the different comp plans over sales and recruitment phases (commission at 1, 5, 10, 25, 100, 500 downlines, for example) and see how it REALLY works. But that was over a year ago. Not sure where that went.
As for Empowered… Other than the “badass” attitude (which they are trying to clean-up) and some VERY expensive marketing lessons (potentially thousands of dollars), everything else is pretty much worthless or can be found cheaper / more reliable elsewhere, and is pretty much a bait / foot-in-door to upsell you on the expensive stuff.
I don’t see the EN $25 a month thing as competitive at all. Squarespace has the business unlimited plan: unlimited bandwidth, storage, ecommerce catalog items, contributors… everything is unlimited… 24 a month.
They’ll give you the mobile site and mobile store too. AND you can find discount codes that’ll knock 10% off that easily. AND they have uptime guarantees. If you just blog, no ecommerce, than it’s $8 a month.
Frankly, if I want marketing lessons I’ll just go to a coach and pay the guy. I don’t want to be upsold **** with promises of internet riches and “badass” attitudes. That’s just the bad side of MLM: cultish brainwashing techniques.
But then, we’re talking legality here.
Is Empowered Network potentially unethical? Yes, I do think they are treading on thin ice.
Is Empowered Network potentially fraudulent? Questionable, depends on what was disclosed and what was not. At this point, I think the two Daves have mastered “marketing speak” so they can say enough to have it declared not fraudulent, yet still sound good.
It’s not illegal to market up **** and sell them for way more than their cost. Name brand items do that all the time. However, misrepresenting an item’s value to get people to buy it is fraudulent.
I do see SOME misrepresentation of EN stuff. The question: is there enough to get EN in trouble, I’ll have to agree with Mr. Clements here and say: not right now.
How come nobody is writing about David Woods affair, getting someone pregnant that is not his wife and now divorcing his wife?
Is this OK in today’s society?
Personally I haven’t written anything about Wood cheating on his wife, pursuing his now pregnant mistress and checking himself into rehab as I fail to see what it has to do with Empower Network as a business.
Yeah his life is a mess and that’s probably reflective on him as a person, but until that has a direct effect on the business I don’t see any reason to drag it out.
Of far greater inerest is the recent hiring of the Axia PR firm by Empower Netowrk. Seems to have happened a few months ago with Axia PR signing all of Empower Network’s spammy press-release uploads.
I believe this is also around the time they redesigned the website and dropped all the “badass” text from the Empower Network website.
They’re also probably behind Wood’s “I cheated on my wife but you still love me, right guys?” blog and Facebook post, along with his removal from the public eye with the rehab story.
First link on the Axia PR website? “Crisis PR”.
First story in the Crisis PR category? “In a Crisis? Your Organization’s Actions Truly Impact Public Perception”.
Yo DJ, spin that wheeeeel!
I wonder what else Axia PR will have to smooth over for EN over the coming months…
It’s probably more like Empowered considering itself as Herbalife junior. Everything Herbalife does, EN will do, albeit on a smaller scale.
Herbalife just hired its THIRD PR/lobbying firm this year: Podesta Group, I think it was. Before that, Herbalife kicked out some “abusive” affiliates, and EN did the same.
So EN’s BlogBeast launched today… love to get Oz’s take on that! I haven’t bothered to watch any of their pre-launch videos but curious to see if this will make them a little more compliant.
I’ll have to wait for some marketing videos to pop-up and revisit some Empower Network blogs to see if it’s still hosted on WordPress.
From what I gather it’s some mobile plugin that publishes to the net. My Nokia N95 phone circa 7 years ago or so running the outdated Symbian OS had that functionality. Not to mention the plethora of mobile blogging software available for less than $25 a month.
There is some voice-to-text system but unless you have a robotic male north american accent that’s going to be pretty useless.
I don’t typically review MLM products standalone, but with the major issue of Empower Network being the running of a cash gifting scheme for 2 years without their own product, an exploration of the mobile platform might warrant a revisit of the business model (if it’s not just a WordPress plugin).
Ok so I just went and had a look at the Empower Network corporate blog (empowernetwork.com/blog)… and while it doesn’t appear to be running WordPress anymore, design wise it looks like an outdated poor man’s WordPress.
Design wise you can literally see the step backwards they’ve taken in launching their own platform. Unless ENV2.1 is just around corner, now more than ever it’s going to be evident that nobody but affiliates are shelling out $25 a month.
This is what they’re claiming is going to replace WordPress in the blogging world? Oh dear.
If the non-affiliate blogging world goes over the platform, I think EN might find they’ve just pulled a Rippln…
Something interesting to consider is ghost.org — they have a new sexy blogging platform and it’s completely free to use the software. You just have to pay for hosting, which you can do independently or through their company directly.
I pulled this from one of the css files on the backend:
Taken from the Digital Brand Group website:
Digital Brand Group would appear to be the app developer behind ENV2. They have US office with programming (“delivery center”) based out of India.
Interesting! So Oz, what does your last post mean- the css files and DBG-in terms of making Empower Network a legitimate program? I doubt it adds any legitimacy!
Well if they’ve ditched WordPress altogether, which it appears like they have – Empower Network, for the first time since launch, can now claim to actually be selling a product.
The problem with this claim is still who is paying EN for the product? Affiliates still gift eachother by virtue of the compensation plan. I join and my fees are funnelled to existing affiliates each month. How they get there is irrelevant, the end-result is all my fees are paid out in commissions to the person who recruited me (and the person who recruited them etc.).
The only legitimacy lies in the attraction of retail customers, which has failed abysmally over the past two years because nobody is paying $25 a month for WordPress.
Looking at the face of ENV2 and how it looks on the front-end, coupled with the lack of flexibility WordPress gives you (for free) I don’t see how it’s any more attractive to the retail user without the attached income opportunity (which was the whole reason they came up with ENV2 in the first place).
Certainly not for $25 a month when you can mobile blog for free off any phone that has a browser. As for speech 2 text, I cannot think of anything more laborious than talking out my blog posts and then having to go back and edit the multitude of errors.
There’s a reason nobody uses speech to text except the disabled… they have no choice.
David Wood just posted this 21 minutes ago on Facebook:
So $25 monthly + domain for a blog? In 2013?
There’s no value outside of the income opportunity.
Why wouldn’t you want your own domain name if you are building a brand? That’s the main power in blogging in the first place.
With their new platform, people can use the $25 service to host an unlimited number of blogs from the same account. You simply purchase whatever domains you want and map them. If you factor in the cost of the hosting, which is included in the price, it’s a better deal than it used to be.
First impressions of Empower Network’s “WordPress replacement”?
The reason for private domains is to get around Facebook’s global ban of all things Empower Network.
As someone who runs their own blog, I can tell you I see no value whatsoever in hosting my content on someone else’s private server (which I have no control over) for $25 a month.
Typically I avoid going into detail on MLM company products as I don’t see myself educated enough to do so. There’s just too many products out there for me to know enough about them to comment beyond the information a company itself provides. When it comes to blogging platforms however, this is something I’m intimate with.
Nobody is paying $25 a month + domain for this retail, at least not in any significant number to counter the wave of affiliates using it to advertise the opportunity.
And even if you’re technologically incompetent, what hosting company doesn’t offer 1-click WordPress setup these days?
I’ve been following The Traffic Strategist on FB. He announced today that he has been hired by EN.
Seems quite a few people that also follow him are already in EN, but there are those who are trying to figure out what this new Blog Beast has that is useful but isn’t already available or question the pay plan.
Pay particular attention to whether or not people are marketing the pay plan or the blog platform itself.
ENV1 marketing on the merit of the blog pretty much died with the consistent ~5% domain search traffic empowernetwork.com was getting. Even Wood himself recently began to distance himself from the “get your content ranked” marketing strategy (see Len Clements essay).
All your left with is everyone going on about how blogging = infinity money, so long as you blog about making infinity money (encouraging others to sign up).
This is reflected in the search traffic (what little there is) keywords used to reach EN, which are 99.9% variations of “empower network” itself (the income opportunity or affiliates being lazy and typing the name of the company into Google to access their backoffice).
I’ve always suspected that if EN moved their backoffice (and blog backend with it) off the Empower Network domain, the blog domain itself would collapse into oblivion and reveal the true “value” behind the blog platform at retail.
Kind of like the whole Zeek Rewards / Zeekler farce, with the Zeek Rewards domain trumping the “retail” Zeekler side of the business traffic-wise.
More affiliate first impressions (note the complete lack of affect this launch has had no retail customers, where are they?):
The ENV2 software is free? Orly?
So if I self-host… what exactly am I paying for other than qualification to receive gift payments from a downline?
To be fair there’s a mountain of positive comments too. Plenty of affiliates are posting detailed positive feedback such as “awesome”, “fantastic”, “badass”, “magnificent” and a myriad of other buzzwords, all of which truly encapsulate the depths of the blogging platform and extol the usefulness and functionality of the platform.
Then there’s the “mark of the beast” conspiracy theory nutters…
As a non affiliate I have to wonder, what happens to your blog and all the content if EN suddenly went under? Do you lose it all?
If that was the case, it could be compared to building a beautiful home on the beach in a known high risk hurricane zone no?.
Also, does admin charge a fee on top of the monthly cost?
So now they are selling a blog that you attach to your own domain name (that you pay additional for)- but for what purpose? What benefit is there paying $25 for the blog beast that does really nothing more than one you can get for free?
Blogging through mobile is nothing new – plenty of sites already have that capability. Multiple-blogs through a mobile app? Already exists.
As far as I can tell the voice transcription and maybe video capability through mobile (I’m not a blogger so am not sure about that one) are the only things that may be different. And, as Oz says, voice recognition can be more of a headache than an asset.
So we are back to selling EN membership as there is no true value in the product as it is already available for free elsewhere (and you don’t have to pay for a domain).
You don’t HAVE to pay for a domain with the new EN platform. If you want to, however, you can. Personally, I would much prefer having a blog on my own domain than on empowernetwork.com.
Anyone who is a serious business owner (building something other than EN) would certainly prefer to have their blog on their own domain. But hey…that’s just me!
The new platform also has some socially integrated features. There is actually a feed (similar to facebook or twitter) where you can see people’s blogs who are connected to you. They have a “badass” button (similar to the like button) where you can mark posts as “badass.” They also have a “re-blog” feature, where you can “re-blog” other people’s content.
All in all, some of the ideas are pretty interesting. However, I believe they should make their platform a freemium style platform and perhaps sell additional features beyond that.
For example, with ghost.org they offer their platform for free and only charge if you decide to use THEIR hosting. With EN, you are forced to use their hosting.
As far as EN ranking on the search engines…in all fairness….I cannot even count the number of times I have been searching for something in google and seen an EN blog show up on the first page.
Regarding voice transcription: are you sure it’s transcription? I was thinking it was simply the ability to record and upload an audio.
One other thing…..if you want to use EN’s video hosting, it’s another $25 per month. It’s a non-commissionable product. This means if you want to be able to shoot a video from your phone and upload it direct to your EN blog, you are paying $50/month…$25 going to your sponsor and $25 going to EN.
So-shal you say… in a blog!? Oh my… where do I hand over my money?
1. Download WordPress plugin for free.
2. spend 30 seconds setting it up to show “connected” blogs
Facebook “like” ripoff? Pass. The “badass” button never took off and will never take off because nobody sees the badass recommendations except EN affiliates.
But all copy/pasted from somewhere else, available for free and certainly are not worth $25 a month.
If it’s not worth $25 a month it’s certainly not worth $50 a month… and who is paying for video hosting when YouTube will let you upload virtually anything except EN income opportunity spam?
Oh, right. Empower Network affiliates who want to upload EN income opportunity spam…
I remember seeing a marketing video talking about speech to text. Can’t remember if it was affiliate or corporate but if it’s just uploading audio files… that’s podcast territory on a regular schedule and basic functionality within WordPress. Again, nothing new.
Baseless anecdotal evidence aside, statistics do not lie.
~5% of the entire Empower Network domain traffic is from search engines and has been for about a year. Of that 5% the vast majority are searches for the keywords “empower network” and its derivatives, which is a combination of income opportunity marketing and lazy affiliates accessing their backoffice.
If they really want this platform to be successful long term, they should offer the main platform for free. Then they could offer the media hosting as part of an overall hosting package which people pay for. This would prevent people from paying $50 per month and bring in an infinite larger number of users.
They would get a lot more people using the technology…and people would upgrade to the paid hosting naturally as they grew their blog.
The social features are basically worthless right now because your feed only shows blog posts from you and your sponsor. This means members are not able to take advantage of the large user base, see each other’s blog posts, and comment, badass, and reblog them.
If they allowed empower users access to all public blog posts across empower network plus incorporated my ideas above, it could make for some interesting ideas. However, I don’t see how it offers much additional value the way it is set up now aside from the usability being easier and more simple.
Doesn’t that make WAY more sense?
If you look at sett.com, for example, they offer their users a much more attractive way to get regular viewers to your blog….even though they don’t have the mobile stuff nailed like blog beast.
They do. 100% of the money charged by customers is paid to affiliates. EN don’t sell their blogging platform so much as give it away to affiliates in exchange for buying into a gifting scheme (what else are you going to call affiliates paying affiliates?).
Retail customers don’t get gifts, but their money is still paid 100% to affiliates to as a company, EN don’t really sell anything at the $25 level. This is why David Wood and Sharpe have a position at the top of the comp plan though, to collect all those 5th passed up payments.
I thought this particular thread was specific to the new platform.
New platform/old platform, the comp plan hasn’t changed.
The problem with the old platform is it was WordPress’, hence EN looked even more like a gifting scheme with affiliates all paying themselves $25 a month.
Now they’ve developed their own platform… but the problem remains nobody is paying the company for it. Everyone in EN is still just paying eachother. With a $19.95 additional fee tacked on if you wish to receive gifts from others.
The company receives passus from the comp plan.
I will say one thing, however. I find it unethical for the Daves not to include their own names on the affiliate leaderboard for EN.
So that would put “the company” at the top of a gifting scheme and confirm that they aren’t actually selling anything at the $25 level.
If you were to follow the money, “the company” (David Wood and David Sharpe) takes money from affiliates they haven’t sold anything to via 100% passups (every 5th means if you sit at the top of the plan payments can come from anywhere perpetually, as long as everyone pays their $25 a month).
I’m not sure whether Wood and Sharpe pay out corporate from their personal account or whether the company takes a cut of the $19.95 participation fee or if additional corporate positions exist under/above Wood and Sharpe’s position. I don’t think this has been publicly answered anywhere (sheeple don’t care as long they continue to receive $25 from those below them).
Meanwhile what revenue flows from the actual sale of products? If EN were audited by a regulator, could they show on paper these customers have paid us for x copies of a blog platform and we made $xx on each sale?
If I join EN today, 100% of what I pay goes to the person who recruited me (or the person who recruited them if it’s a 5th and so on). EN themselves didn’t generate any recordable sales revenue…
Therein the problem. On a revenue and compensation plan level, try to distinguish EN from your run of the mill cash gifting scheme…
The product itself has no recurring production cost. If the company wants to pay out in a 5 up plan they should be allowed to if they have the margins to support the growth.
If I am someone who becomes a new customer of EN, I pay money and receive the blog which I would not have access to if I did not pay the $25.
To me, a gifting scheme would be where I give someone money without receiving anything in return.
Dave and Dave have an affiliate position below the company and passup sales to the company. They have said it before more than once.
This means some of the customers who buy the blog are passing sales to the company directly.
“The company” doesn’t pay out. Affiliates pay out affiliates. EN keeps no money out of each gift to pay out, the money comes in from affiliates and is paid out to affiliates.
If you got rid of the merchant system, you could run EN on a $2 script. Money goes in, money is paid to recruiter with pass-up rules.
Attach any product to said script as you see fit.
That’s pre-internet gifting. For the last decade or so it’s been all about trying to pass off an attached product as legitimacy. “Buy into our gifting scheme and we’ll throw in xxx!”
It’s the same argument pyramid/Ponzi schemes use too. These days they always have an attached product… otherwise it’s just too obvious.
If you follow the money though, it’s clear nobody is paying the company itself for the product. In EN it’s gifting as 100% of the money is paid to the recruiter (or their recruiter etc.). $19.95 to participate.
Don’t pay this fee and you still passively participating in the gifting scheme. How much does EN make off each retail customer monthly $25 payment? Nothing, it flows 100% into the gifting scheme.
Compensation wise all a retail customer is in EN is someone who didn’t pay $19.95 to qualify to receive gifts from other affiliates / customers.
Product based Ponzis and pyramids are slightly different, as they sell positions in the comp plan. The argument is always the same though “but but but we have a product, how can we be (insert scheme here)?!”
Having a product isn’t the issue, it’s the selling of it that’s the problem, specifically that on paper the product isn’t being sold by the company. EN affiliates don’t own BlogBeast or WordPress, so how can they sell it (receive 100% of the money supposedly paid for it)?
They can’t. Hence it’s merely attached to participation in the scheme (regardless of whether a participant qualifies to receive gifts (affiliate) or not (retail customer).
They’re not passing up sales. They’re passing up gifts. The money is paid to D&D and then passed up (whether this is automated or not is irrelevant).
What I will agree with is the only actual retail sales taking place in EN would be $25 payments to that apex EN corporate account (not Wood and Sharpe’s position) at the top of the scheme, made only by non-affiliates (retail customers).
Care to take a punt at how much of a fraction of a percentage those payments would be of the entire sum of $25 payments being shuffled around between participants each month?
I think that would come out to about 4% of those payments would pass to the company.
4% of the payments company-wide?
Given that the corporate position does no marketing of its own, you’re kidding right? Does anybody even know the name of the corporate affiliate account?
6 months or so ago I think retail was put out at 33%. This was then ditched for the claim that 37% of sales were retail, which was a much broader figure given it had no bearing of company revenue ratios (the blog is the cheapest of the product offering, with it being an open secret that no retail customer is paying thousands of dollars for the rest).
The problem in both instances is the company counted affiliates who hadn’t recruited and/or stopped paying $19.95 as retail – muddying up the figures.
To the best of my knowledge, the specific ratio company wide of pure retail revenue has never been made public. This is revenue pumped into the system by strictly non-affiliates who have never had access to the compensation plan.
I say “put into the system” because these people don’t pay EN for anything, thus nothing is sold to them by the company. They pay a third-party (affiliate) and that triggers an exchange for access to a multi-user install of what was WordPress, but now is EN’s own platform. The point is they can’t claim to be selling it if they aren’t taking in money for it.
The only people they do take money in from it would be those non-affiliates who sign up directly to the corporate account.
And you’re pegging that percentage at 4% of the total revenue the company makes? Come on now.
I can’t help but wonder if anyone except Sharpe and Wood have an account directly tied to the apex corporate account.
Please clarify the question then.
No it was my mistake, I misread what you posted. Answered in kind.
I used to know the name…have since forgot.
I arrived at 4% by taking 20% of 20%. If the Dave’s get roughly 20% of their downline’s production, the company wod get 20% of that.
This would apply to all products sold within the compensation plan. However, it does not take into account any of Dave and Dave’s personal sales which would be a 20% straight up for the company plus 50% when those sales are going through their 2nd, 4th, and 6th sales..
I also did not add in the revenue from video hosting or event ticket sales which do not pay out I the compensation plan.
What does the Dave’s position have to do with retail customers directly signed up under the corporate account?
What the Dave’s pass up is no different to other affiliates shuffling money around. It’s not money paid for a product (can’t be, they don’t own it to sell it!), it’s just gifting – all the way up from an affiliate who joins today right up to the company’s founders and then every 5th to the company itself.
The corporate account receiving gift payments for doing nothing != product sale.
Take a punt at the percentage of company-wide revenue generated by retail customer accounts directly under the corporate affiliate account. That’s the figure I was asking for.
If Wood and Sharpe are participating as affiliates, any retail sales credit to that account is part of the gifting scheme (100% of the revenue is shuffled off to another position or is kept by the position).
The only true retail would be retail customers directly under the corporate apex position, actually paying the company for a service (access to the blog platform).
Anything outside of the compensation plan has nothing to do with the MLM side of the business.
Well if you phrase it that way then the only payments received directly to the company would be from Dave wood and Dave sharpes’ EN products.
And they’re not retail customers.
$0 retail revenue.
See the gifting scheme yet?
The pass-up plan is nothing new and was universally condemned outside of scam circles till EN resurrected it. Dunno what’s going on the industry but as ZR reintroduced Ponzi investment to the MLM community at large, so too are EN doing the same for pass-up plans.
I think everybody just decides to forget about regulatory history and toss common-sense out the window after a few years have passed.
“Yes we hate those pass-up plans those gifting scheme use… but this time it’s combined with a blogging platform! OMG NEVER BEEN SEEN BEFORE PAY PLAN!”
At the end of the day regulators are going to want to see on paper retail sales and accompanying revenue made by EN as a company.
Due to the gifting nature of the pass-up compensation plan model, there is none (could be though if retail customers were signed up directly under the corporate apex account).
Affiliates shuffling money around (even from non-participants) is ultimately just going to get tossed into the “cash gifting component of the scheme” basket.
By the way if any of this isn’t crystal clear, feel free to seek more clarification. We’re getting into the real meta theory behind the pass-up business model and comp plan here.
In EN it’s buried under a mountain of “hypnotic” marketing spiel and sales tacticts, but it’s still the same old pass up payments rubbish that was big 4-5 years ago when all those personal devlopment seminar MLM companies were the rage.
A lot of the big players from those personal dev companies are now top earners at EN. Cute, isn’t it? 🙂
Oz, thanks for all the excellent info! It’s been rather interesting to observe many people I know get into EN and react the same way as the Zeeklers did- defensively -when they see any information that doesn’t align with the hype they’ve been fed!
And definitely see that, too, Bjorn- a lot of heavy hitters from the big ticket PD companies are in Empower Network in top leadership ranks.
I have been eagerly waiting for you to post a review of Empower Network’s new 2.0 platform. Seeing that you haven’t done so only indicates that they indeed came out with a beast! Please note, I am not an active affiliate of them so there is no need to go there.
I highly respect your opinion and knew you would tell the truth. I’m happy they finally got a solid product to promote to hush up all the bad publicity surrounding their once WordPress platform. Now all they have to do is clean up the “gifting scheme” allegations. Hats off to Empower for a job well done. #BEASTMODE
that I haven’t “posted a review” about it. Nothing more nothing less.
I generally don’t review MLM products outside of the context of the business opportunity at large. Here the compensation plan has remained the same.
Having your product platform is better than trying to pass off WordPress’ product as your own, but does nothing to ‘clean up the “gifting scheme” allegations’ as you point out.
Affiliates are still just paying affiliates each month by and large, with nobody still actually paying for EN’s new platform (with the exception of any positions directly tiered to the company’s apex position in the compensation plan).
Oz stumbled across this site. Thought it was interesting there have been no more updates for almost a month. I think its important for someone to speak on the quality of the new product.
Over the past month since launch they have worked out almost all the bugs and I think its almost impossible for anyone familiar with blogging on word press or other platforms to say there isn’t real value here.
You can justify the 25 bucks a month in time savings alone if your a real blogger. They have taken all the clumsy and slow processes on word press and stream lined them yet at the same time have not take away the end products quality.
Put simply you can create a quality blog post with pictures, videos, links, etc… in less than half the time and end up with a blog that looks as good or better than word press. You can also do your on page seo features very fast as well.
I can not speak to how many “retail” customers they have but I guarantee that number will now increases because of the new system. I am an EN affiliate but not much of a drink the cool aide guy but I must admit seeing them pull of this product is a bigger deal than it seems and shows someone up there has some major sense.
It is far from an empty word press rippoff. It is a superior product in almost every way. After blogging word press for a couple of hours you feel like you have been hit by a truck. Blogging on this system after a couple hours you feel like you were on your iphone or tablet for a couple of hours.
Hope this helps anyone looking at using the system to blog. Thanks
One metric I’ve been keeping tabs on is the search engine traffic to the Empower Network domain (on which the blogs are hosted off). Back in September (when all the marketing hype was being thrown around) search traffic sat at about 7%, with only EN business opportunity related keywords showing up in any significant numbers.
Post launch the search engine visibility has been in decline, and is about to hit 4%, a threshold the domain hasn’t dipped below since early August.
Given WordPress’ ease of use, I’m not sure what the claims about being able to do what WordPress does “in less than half the time”.
And undermining that, this is still key:
Let’s face it, it’s always going to be little more than a WordPress clone, created only because there was a giant loophole in the marketing claims that EN was a blogging network (you can’t sell what you don’t own).
I’m pretty confident the millions of people using WordPress for free aren’t going to migrate to a $25 a month clone anytime soon. That’s the key market EN have to attract if they want to show they’re not just an “affiliates paying eachother $25 a month” opportunity.
At 4% search traffic to the domain, good luck convincing non-affiliates of the “value” behind the network. WordPress is bombastically easy to use, and its widespread deployment across the internet is testament to that.
The only people running around trying to profess otherwise are those trying to get you to pay $25 a month for their own version of it.
There’s a reason David Wood and Sharpe update their Facebook pages at an almost daily rate, meanwhile the EN official blog (running on the new platform) has seen only five updates over the past 2 months.
Oh and for some reason if you click the navigation buttons at the bottom of the blog (“empowernetwork.com/blog”), click page 2 and then click on page 1 again… the blog shows you posts from June (???)… basic functionality fail.
Now that http://www.ghost.org has come out with their free blog platform it’s clear the EN blog is overpriced. Ghost is free…..unless you want them to host it for you. If the latter is true you can buy hosting from them starting at only $5/month.
Ghost already has a marketplace with developers coming out with 3rd party themes — both paid and free.
Considering ghost is set up as not for profit…..how could you even BEGIN to justify $25/month at empower network?
You pay your $25, tell people you want to recruit that you’re using the incredibly
overpricedeffective “viral blogging solution” and then collect $25 from them each month.
Tell them to do the same and start collecting $25 payments from their downlines too… Yeah you’re paying for it to keep the facade going, but nobody said you actually had to use EN’s blog platform.