Empower Network UniLine Compensation Review
Last week I started to notice chatter about a new Empower Network compensation plan, scheduled to go live on November 1st.
Details have slowly been trickling in, with there now being enough information out there to put together a review of Empower’s “UniLine” plan.
Does it encourage retail? Is the pass-up plan really gone? Will your kung fu skills improve if you sign up???
Read on for a full review of Empower Network’s new UniLine compensation plan.
The Empower Network Product Line
Empower Network’s current product line-up is pretty much WordPress with additional internet marketing training products.
- Kalatu Blogging System (a WordPress install on Empower Network’s server) – $30 a month
- Kalatu Premium (same as Kalatu regular but with additional WordPress plugins, themes and blog “hacks”) – $72 a month
- Unstoppable Dream (“branding yourself, building your audience, and driving traffic”) – $197
- Inner Circle (audio marketing training) – $100 a month
- Top Producer Formula (13 module marketing training) – $500
- Team Building Formula (recruitment training) – $700 (was $1000)
- Mass Influence Formula (“shows you how to win the respect of others, and influence them to do what you want”) – $2450 (was $3500)
- Elite Club Package Upgrade (???)
- 6-Figure Builders Club (???)
- 7-Figure Builders Club (???)
The Elite Club Package, 6-Figure and 7-Figure Builders Club are mentioned in UniLine compensation documentation, but no specifics are provided.
Note that I’ve omitted Empower Network’s hosting and mobile app product, as they are non-commissionable.
The Empower Network UniLine Compensation Plan
The Empower Network UniLine compensation plan offers affiliates basic single-level commissions, with MLM compensation kicking in at the Gold affiliate rank.
Empower Network Affiliate Ranks
There are seven ranks in the Empower Network UniLine compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Boss – sell any five Empower Network products to either retail customers or recruited affiliates
- BossMaker – recruit and maintain one affiliate who achieves Boss rank
- Bronze – earn $2000 in commissions in any given month
- Silver – earn $5000 in commissions in any given month
- Gold – earn $10,000 in commissions in any given month
- Platinum – earn $20,000 in commissions in any given month
- Diamond – earn $30,000 in commissions in any given month
Each of Empower Network’s products requires qualification before commissions are paid out on the sale of them.
This qualification requires an Empower Network affiliate to purchase the product themselves or make one sale (of each product) to either a recruited affiliate or retail customer.
Direct Sales Bonus
The Direct Sales Bonus is a one-time commission on both Empower Network’s subscription and one-time fee products.
- a 70% commission is paid out on the first month fees paid for subscription services and
- a 30% commission is paid out on one-time fee products
The Producer Bonus pays an additional percentage bonus on top of the Direct Sales Bonus.
How much of a bonus percentage is paid out is determined by an Empower Network affiliate’s rank:
- Boss affiliates = +5% on subscription products and +10% on one-time fee products
- BossMaker affiliates earn +10% on subscription products and +10% on one-time fee products
- Bronze affiliates earn +10% on subscription products and +5% on one-time fee products
- Silver affiliates earn +10% on subscription products and +5% on one-time fee products
Note that these are accumulated bonus percentages.
The Leadership Bonus continues to build on direct percentages offered through the Direct Sales and Producer Bonuses, except these commissions are paid out over two levels of recruitment.
- Gold affiliates earn +5% on level 1 and level 2 subscription products (no one-time fee product bonus)
- Platinum affiliates earn +5% on level 1 and 2 subscription products (no one-time fee product bonus)
- Diamond affiliates earn +7.5% on level 1 and 2 subscription products and +5% on level 1 and 2 one-time fee products
Joining Empower Network
Affiliate membership with Empower Network is still $19.95 a month.
The problem with Empower Network’s previous pass-up compensation plan was that it heavily relied on recruitment.
You basically had affiliate buy in for thousands of dollars (referred to as “going all-in”), which was passed up to earlier affiliates, with Founder David Wood sitting at the top of the pass-up pile.
Recruitment has slowed down in Empower Network over the past 18 months or so, which is evident in the Empower Network Alexa traffic statistics:
With pass-up payments in free-fall, it was either continue down the road of collapse or come up with something new.
And so we have this “UniLine” compensation plan, which is essentially a reboot.
A reboot means new marketing hype, new compensation positions and hopefully, new growth.
The problem is, will that be affiliate or retail customer growth?
In theory the two-level comp plan could work with retail, but given the specifics of Empower Network’s business model have largely remained the same – retail is pretty unlikely.
I’ve maintained ever since Empower Network were spamming the purported SEO benefits of a replicated blog site (remember that god-awful shirtless David Wood avatar?), that retail value in the Empower Network services is non-existent.
They tried to come up with something of their own with “Blog Beast”, but that failed pretty hard. So back to selling WordPress it was.
Trouble is WordPress is free, so now we have Empower Network WordPress plugins and themes as the “flagship” sell.
Worth $72 a month without the attached affiliate opportunity?
Considering there are thousands of WordPress plugins available for free, and premium plugins to fit any conceivable requirement for far less than $72 a month, probably not.
And this goes back to the core problem of Empower Network’s offering since 2011.
Let’s play devil’s advocate for a second. I’m a retail customer who doesn’t know anything about WordPress and getting overcharged to the tune of $30 or $72 a month sounds swell.
I sign up for Kalatu and I now have a replicated WordPress account on Empower Network’s multi-user install.
I’m a retail customer so I’m not interested in internet marketing training. That means the most Empower Network are going to see out of me is $30 or $72 a month.
The sum total of Empower Network’s offered products however is $130 a month and $3650 one-time ($3780 upfront and $130 a month thereafter).
Considering affiliates are the only ones who will likely fork out thousands of dollars (because they think doing so will teach them to earn them lots of money recruiting others who do the same), this equates to the bulk of revenue Empower Network generates being affiliate-sourced.
And this leads to product-based pyramid concerns.
Moreso considering there are still no retail volume incentives or requirements. An Empower Network affiliate signs up, self-qualifies themselves for all commissions by going “all in” and then recruits other affiliates who do the same.
Changing the compensation plant to fend off a recruitment drought collapse is all very well (the UniLine plan is barely MLM), but if retail value is still non-existent, what’s the point?
Retail customers couldn’t give a crap about a new compensation plan. If they weren’t interested in paying $30 or $72 a month for WordPress before the UniLine plan was introduced, why would they be now?
Compliance issues aside, I suspect after the initial hype going on in Portugal right now dies down, Empower Network is going to retain the same issues going forward.
That being affiliate retention at the bottom of the company-wide unilevel. Those who buy in for $30, $72 or $130 a month will pay it as long as they believe they’re going to be able to recruit others to recoup their loss.
Those who invest thousands will probably pay monthly for a bit longer – as they’ve got much more to lose by walking away.
Meanwhile Empower Network will continue with its rahrah “best event ever” conferences, which serve only to convince people they’ve had some sort of breakthrough and keep paying fees.
The marketing tactic used to hype the UniLine reboot appears to be the same as ever: That bajillions of people are going to suddenly realize they want to pay $30 or $72 a month for WordPress and sign up. Better get in now otherwise you’ll miss your chance!
I think the easiest way to debunk that (not that it needs debunking after five years), is to ask yourself whether you’d pay $130 or $172 a month plus thousands for additional marketing training – without the attached Empower Network MLM business opportunity.
And if that’s not enough, ask your potential upline what their sales volume is in dollars to retail customers. Note that it’s commission volume you want an answer on, not raw customer/affiliate numbers, as these can be misleading.
Also ask if the affiliate qualified themselves for commissions via their own purchase of a product (or recruited an affiliate who did), or if they qualified via a retail sale.
If the answer you get is heavily tilted towards affiliate revenue commissions (commissions paid out on recruited downline payments), then that’s a good indication of what you yourself will need to do as an Empower Network affiliate.
That being, ignore retail and just focus on recruiting new Empower Network affiliates.
Too funny. I guess they think by putting on a different shade of lipstick and a new dress, but it’s still the same ole pig.
But at least they got to play dress-up for Halloween.
It’s still cash gifting, no matter what they do.
Gifting requires a 100% or near enough payment exchange between members.
This is more of a traditional single-level comp plan, with MLM kicking in through affiliate rank progression.
The issue of a lack of retail sales volume persists but the new comp plan doesn’t fit the definition of cash gifting (unlike the “100% commissions” passups).
Still a pyramid scheme and I’m very surprised the govt has not shut them down. They must own some politicians or something.
Believe it or not, in the grand scheme of things, it’s a relatively small scam / scheme and probably not big enough or have lasted long enough to attract regulatory attention.
I am NOT an empower network affiliate, but I hear the argument of wordpress being free all the time. But here’s what people are missing.
Two of the biggest wordpress blog networks charge for the “free” wordpress. One of them is WordPress themselves, the other is Edu blogs.
I’ve been a programmer and a wordpress developer. YES wordpress is in fact free AND is open source. (Open source doesn’t always mean free to use, it just means the source code is available to see and be modified)
But what isn’t is hosting and premium plugins.
So let’s put this into perspective…
Let’s say I had a membership at WPMU Dev for their plugins and I only want one plugin, but want support for that plugin for the entire year. That’s $49 for the first month then $99/mo thereafter.
Then let’s say I have one or two more premium plugins I want, most sell at $97/yr. I buy two of those.
At the lost cost of hosting I’m paying an average of $10/mo. But if I want premium hosting for wordpress where it’s actually geared for wordpress and renders pages faster through caching then I’m paying about $30/mo (and upwards depending on how much traffic I get – WP Engine).
So let’s add this up…
* WPMU DEV membership and support for only the 1 plugin I’d use, I’d be paying $1,138/yr
* Two other premium plugins I’d be paying $194/yr
* Hosting on the low end $120/yr on the wordpress optimized range $360+.
Take those totals spread across 12 months and here’s what you get…
Total on the low end: $121/mo
Total on the high end: $141/mo
Now that doesn’t account for the SEO juice from a blog network, nor does it account for any marketing training.
Puts things a bit more into perspective here. Now when you look at Empower Network’s blog and it being around $30 a month that’s not too bad.
It’s all in what you want out of your wordpress blog. And having a site that inter links within each other does boost your SEO rankings.
The alexia ranking are a bit deceiving because before all of their blogs were on the single EmpowerNetwork.com domain.
Once they switched off of that domain to where people could host their own domains that took away the thousands of pages interlinking to each other to the Empower Network domain. So yeah that’s going to take a hit.
No doubt they have had a slow down in their business, they are at the 3 or 4 year mark which is the point which most MLM companies reinvent themselves and mature into what they should become. Almost every company hits that friction point unless they have tremendous leadership at the helm and are well funded.
Regarding their affiliate to customer ratio. It’s actually rather higher than average because there were people who actually went to the company’s site and bought who were not affiliates.
Amongst affiliates that might be a different story when you see the actually affiliate’s activity. But as the company goes when looking at revenue and total customer to affiliate ratio it was pretty decent.
Retention rate… not so high. But then again most MLM companies are pretty dismal (see the FTC document on the abysmal retention rates of MLM).
Again, I’m not an affiliate and I don’t work for the company. OZ if you ever want to connect with me then cool. Let’s chat. You have my email. Cheers!
I have no problems with WordPress selling WordPress (and anyway, their free offering is far more popular).
EduBlogs is also free.
And please don’t compare devkits to EN. All EN offer is a multi-user account on their hosted domain. They got some programmer to write some plugins, when there are thousands of free alternatives that already exist.
EN was justified when they released their own blog platform, but that flopped so they went crawling back to WordPress. Same deal with the plugins.
Which is all that’s relevant here. EN’s “me too” plugins and what not are not worth the monthly fee.
A comparison will show they are grossly overpriced (WordPress Premium is $99 a year).
Why? Business opportunity – which is really what’s being sold.
EN have never disclosed their actual retail customer ratio. They’ve only provided a twisted number which included affiliates who stopped paying fees and/or hadn’t recruited anyone.
And that was a few years ago now…
Furthermore, they have certainly never revealed their revenue ratio, which is pretty much guaranteed to be mostly from affiliates (no retail customers are buying the $1000+ high-end stuff).
Which explains the decline in traffic, not the fiction about offsite blogs and other excuses you came up with. You only need to look at the decline in affiliate conference numbers to confirm this.