Rutherford: Rippln dead in the water
We initially raised our suspicions in December after observing weeks of abnormal silence from the company. Abnormal because, up until that point, it was all anyone could do to escape the roar of the Rippln hype-machine.
Never mind the fact that there was never any real clear business model, commissions were in the pennies and most of the world were unable to participate in what little Rippln were offering.
In response to the question “has Rippln does a runner?“, CEO Brian Underwood spoke to Troy Dooly (MLM Helpdesk) and issued the following comments:
[2:38] I said Brian you’ve been silent, what’s happening?
He said “what are you talking about, it’s Thanksgiving. Some of us left down and went to Thanksgiving prior, some afterwards
We’re still conducting business. Matter of fact we do two calls a week, that isn’t being silent.
Now we haven’t done blog posts and stuff. I can’t win for losing, with you or these other critics.
If I make too much noise, you guys tell me I’m hyping this stuff. If I don’t make any noise cuz we’re working, then we’re “running” or we’re having a eulogy or some crap like that.
Here’s the video that was published at the time, it’s eleven minutes long but worth watching before we get into what was really going on:
Believed to have been published sometime over the last twenty-four hours comes an email from Rippln Master Distributor Michael Rutherford. Initially appearing to be sent to his “team”, it wasn’t long before Rippln affiliates began to circulate it on the company’s Facebook page:
Rutherford begins by acknowledging “it’s been a while” and patting everyone on the back for doing
an absolutely phenomenal job building Rippln coming out of the gates.
You guys and gals broke every record that existed in this industry, and we caused a genuine viral storm unlike anything that had ever been seen before.
And then we get into what Brian Underwood should have told Rippln affiliates months ago:
This is what happened with Rippln.
Even though we did a lot of things right coming out of the gate, there were still a lot of challenges happening behind the scenes that were very difficult to solve with the team & operating budget we had.
In hindsight, which is always 20/20, Rippln truly needed a $3-5million venture capital budget from the start, along with a lot of other resources we didn’t have to really have it’s best chance at succeeding.
We came incredibly far with our technology, working with what we had, but as is often the case in technology start ups, success is more about “iteration” then it is picking a product off a shelf & selling that for years to come.
We found many flaws with the model, & it required constant change & development to continue to iterate the model to perfection.
Unfortunately, Rippln lost it’s financing capability to keep going in the Fall of last year, and without proper financing there was no way to continue to build out the technology to get it to a mainstream worthy product.
Fall puts us squarely in November, which is around the time we noticed things had gone quiet. Why Underwood used the cover of Thanksgiving to hide behind and was not upfront about the reality Rippln faced, I cannot say.
No doubt Rippln getting slammed with a trademark infringement lawsuit in late December didn’t help either.
If I may, I maintain that all of this is still just the result of initially wanting to launch with what was very obviously a recruitment-driven pyramid scheme model, being told by lawyers that it wasn’t a good idea and then running on nothing but hype fumes for almost a year and then inevitably losing your financing.
It’s no secret that from the initial compensation plan Rippln put out, the bulk of revenue was clearly going to be generated inhouse via affiliate fees. After that was exposed for what it is, why they decided to keep on going is anyone’s guess.
Perhaps it was the ‘over $2,000,000 of their own money‘ Rutherford claims the owners and investors of Rippln put into the company.
Talk of blue-ocean, “never been done before” and all the other nonsense… anyone would think mobile apps were something groundbreakingly new. At the end of the day Rippln wanted to charge participants hundreds of dollars to participate, and reward them for encouraging others to pay hundreds of dollars.
When that fell through, it turned into creating the mirage that this was all part of the plan and that they were somehow navigating unknown territory.
Looking forward, one would assume it’d be time for Rippln to admit what they initially wanted to do was likely illegal, close up shop and move on.
Rutherford explains that, if Rippln are able to secure more money, something called “Rippln 2.0” will launch and attempt to ‘be the CLOSEST model to what excited everyone from the beginning‘.
That model of course being the aforementioned recruitment scheme.
I will update you as soon as I know more, but for now, I thought it was important that you knew what was going on so you could make plans for your own lives & businesses accordingly.
Rutherford himself seems to have moved on, making some subtle changes to his own Facebook profile.
Here’s what it looked like in December 2013:
And here’s how it looks today:
In closing his team email, Rutherford writes:
The best part of Rippln for me was getting to know all of you in a deeper way, & the relationships that were forged.
I consider that an HONOR, and I’m very thankful for it, & for your courage to step into the unknown & dare greatly.
I would do it all over again in a heartbeat if it was the difference between never going for your dreams because of the risk it may not work.
There are no guarantees in life. Cowards sit on the sidelines. And no one can say that about all of us.
Hopefully this update brings a little understanding, and I’ll follow up again as soon as I know more.
If “cowards sit on the sidelines”, I wonder what Rutherford has to say about people who sell thousands of affiliates on a business model they failed to check the legality of beforehand, launch anyway on hype fumes (charging everyone $30 a month or whatever along the way), and then wonder why it all eventually comes crashing down?
Maybe Troy Dooly can call him up and find out.
To date I haven’t seen any official announcement from Rippln acknowledging their financial status, nor anything addressing the recent trademark lawsuit bearing down on them.
Somehow I doubt people who didn’t sign up to Rippln are feeling like cowards now.
If I may, I’d like to finish up with some Troy Dooly words of wisdom:
[00:58] I know this is just what you guys want to hear, right? I actually like Brian Underwood, we’ve become friends.
[01:18] I believe in building the relationship with people. Can that bite you in the butt? Well heck, I learnt that with Zeek Rewards, didn’t I?
But there’s a time when you take the risk and build relationships, and that’s what I’ve done here.
You guys know I work for some of the investors in Rippln and I’ve had a phenomenal time getting to know them. And getting to know the people like Jonathan Budd, like Russel Brunson, like Michael Rutherford and Brian Underwood – people like that.
[1:56] I’ve gotten to know them very well and learn who they were as people.
Do I always agree with them, do they always agree with me? No. But we’ve built a relationship.
When I call and ask questions I get straight up answers… now I wish more critics would do that.
I have to say that whilst I completely respect Dooly’s approach to MLM news reporting – I think I’ll continue to stick to observing what these “people” do, as opposed to what they say they’re doing.
Whether or not Underwood disclosed to Dooly their financial problems back in December I don’t know, but either Dooly wasn’t given “straight answers” as he claims or he was and for whatever reason (the interests of Rippln’s investors, who he “works for”?), Dooly chose not to share this information with those who read his blog (which includes Rippln affiliates who were paying the company $30 a month).
Personally if I walk outside and see that the sky is blue, that’s what I’m going to publish. The hell do I need to call up Brian Underwood and have him tell me the sky is green for? And worse still, publish what he says when I can easily observe that the opposite is infact true with my own eyes.
We obviously didn’t know Rippln had lost its financing but it was loud and clear in November that something was up.
Chalking it up to Thanksgiving holidays? What a farce.
Update 19th January 2014 – Information from BehindMLM reader Glimdropper suggests that the email might have been first sent out by Rippln co-founder Jonathan Budd:
That was written by Jonathan Budd, the sick self serving prose is a dead giveaway. It was originally send only to j Budd’s personal downline but got reposted elsewhere.
After it had gotten out Rutherford stripped part of the greeting and the signature from it and has made no effort to dissuade people from thinking he wrote it.
Still no official word from Rippln corporate.