Vicesus confirm MLM penny auction niche is dead
Vicesus was announced in the months following the Zeek Rewards Ponzi collapse and sought to capitalize on the momentum behind the MLM penny auction niche at the time.
I first reviewed Vicesus back in January of 2013 and identified a core issue of the company’s revenue sharing model. Despite having a retail bid offering, the affiliate-funded Ponzi points component of the Vicesus compensation plan was clearly aimed at targeting ex- Zeek Rewards affiliates looking for a “reload”.
Despite the compensation plan being released in January, turns out that Vicesus was nowhere near ready to launch. Infact it wasn’t until the end of August, seven months later, that Vicesus officially opened its doors.
And now, not even two months later, they’ve gone and closed them again.
In an email sent out to affiliates on October 13th, Vicesus wrote
We are sorry to announce that the Grand Opening will be postponing.
The Main reason is the low activity. We have now tried to do it with affiliates as the main driving force to get custumers (sic) to the auction, this hasn’t worked so we now have to build bidwith.me with our own custumers (sic).
Unfortunately we are not ready with our own custumer (sic) campaign so we can’t drive customers to the auction.
Our focus will now be on getting this done so we can launch bidwith.me
We are really sorry about this, but this is the only right thing to do.
We will stop all expiration dates so the affiliates that are active will still be active when the action starts.
We will, as always accommodate the affiliates who have been there all along.
Next week we will give you the exact launching date for www.bidwith.me this date will be durable as we now will focus on building www.bidwith.me with our own customers.
In a nutshell, Vicesus’ plans to run an affiliate-funded compensation fell through – so now they’re going to focus on actual customers. And while they do that, everyone’s points (subject to expiry dates) are frozen.
The plan I guess is that the points will remain frozen until Vicesus believe they’re generating enough revenue through BidWithMe to offer affiliates a >100% ROI on the money spent generating the points. This of course has to be generated within a 90 day timeframe, otherwise the points expire.
The take away?
Vicesus should have been focusing on customers all along. Since Zeek was shutdown the MLM industry has seen a barrage of launched and collapsed penny auctions, all trying to capitalize on affiliate-funded ROI pools.
I think with pretty much every major Ponzi points or derivative MLM penny auction launched having either collapsed or stagnated over the past 14 months since the Zeek shutdown, it’s pretty conclusive that the MLM penny auction niche is certifiably not sustainable.
The only remnants of the niche that have had any “success” are those that straight up cloned Zeek’s Ponzi points model.
Currently the most prominent of these would be the offshore based Better Living Global Marketing. However even BLGM are now starting to experience the side-effects of bid inflation that the affiliate-funded Ponzi points model brings with it.
As Zeek Rewards catapulted itself towards the red revenue wise (paying out more than it took in from affiliates), bid inflation underwrote the alleged legitimacy of the scheme – completely exposing the lack of retail viability the model inhibits.
Meanwhile what happens if Vicesus themselves can’t generate retail customers to fund their affiliate 90 day ROIs is unclear. The company hasn’t specified how they plan on generating retail activity, which should be concerning for participating affiliates given every MLM penny auction company has failed to generate significant retail revenue before it.
Oh and there’s also the awkward question that Vicesus’ announcement raises, that being why they need affiliates at all if they cannot generate any retail activity for them. What’s the point of having affiliates if you as a company are going to generate your own customers? Isn’t affiliates generating retail activity via customer acquisition y’know, the whole point of MLM in the first place?
You and I know it’s because affiliates have big fat wallets but it’s not like Vicesus can admit that publicly now can they.
Going off how long it took Vicesus to officially launch, I suppose we’ll find out one way or another probably around mid next year. Till then Vicesus affiliates who have pumped money into the company are frozen in limbo.
At the time of publication there are neither any “upcoming” or “live” auctions listed at Vicesus’ BidWithMe penny auction website.