Vertical Legacy Review: WMI launch blog network?
Vertical Legacy operate in the blog network MLM niche and for all intents and purposes, appear to be an offshoot of Wealth Masters International.
Vertical Legacy is a natural extension of the vision that first began, when in 2005 Kip (Herriage) and partner Karl Bessey founded industry leader Wealth Masters International.
Taken from the Vertical Legacy’s “company” page,
Vertical Legacy is a company built on the strongest of foundations and by combining your aspirations coupled with this talented team’s strengths, the sky’s the limit for you and for those you care for the most. And as we move forward, please never forget…
Vertical Legacy… Where Building Your Legacy… Is Our Legacy.
The page then goes on to list eight “leadership team” members, each of which is in some way associated with Wealth Masters:
- Kip Herriage – co-founder and CEO of Wealth Masters International
- Karl Bessey – co-founder and President of Wealth Masters International
- John Jackson – Senior Vice-President of Leadership Development
- Per Gunnar Hoem – top Norwegian Wealth Masters affiliate prior to WMI getting banned in Norway for being a pyramid scheme
- Cathy Werking – Wealth Masters affiliate
- Ryan Nelson – Wealth Masters affiliate
- Wayne Allyn Root – speaker at Wealth Masters events
- Peter Bileagus – speaker at Wealth Master events
Wealth Masters International launched in the MLM personal development boom of the mid to late 2000s. Trouble first began in 2010 when WMI ran into regulatory issues in Norway. Later that year the Norwegian Gaming Board declared Wealth Masters to be an illegal pyramid scheme, and things have been in a downward spiral ever since.
In 2011 WMI announced it was planning an Initial Public Offering (IPO), which never eventuated.
After lengthy delays, WMI launched the subsidiary “Pure” in 2012. The Pure website is still online today (“purenow.com”), however the company failed to go anywhere after launch. For all intents and purposes it appears to be an abandoned project today.
Wealth Masters was the subject of two major investigations in 2011, one from the SEC (possible securities violations) and the other from the New Zealand Commerce Commission (pyramid scheme suspicions).
By 2013 Wealth Masters appeared to be all but dead in the water, with the company even referring to itself as “gutted” in a lawsuit filed against previous consultants and ex-affiliates.
Two of the ex-affiliates Wealth Masters sued, Aaron and Sophia Rashkin, filed a countersuit against WMI, alleging it to be a pyramid scheme.
WMI’s business model is complex on paper yet simple to articulate: Pay up to $20,000 for token products and services in exchange for the right to earn commissions from recruited participants that do the same.
Less than one-half of 1% of WMI’s gross revenue can be attributed to legitimate retail sales; thus, proving the point that the products have no legitimate without the recruitment mechanism.
Those outcome of both lawsuits is still pending, but in the meantime Vertical Leverage would appear to be WMI’s latest attempt as re-inventing itself.
Other than it being referred to as an “extension”, there’s currently no explanation as to how Vertical Legacy will fit into the existing Wealth Masters business opportunity, or whether it’s intended to replace the Wealth Masters brand entirely.
At the time of publication the Wealth Masters International website (“wmitoday.com”) is fully operational.
Read on for a full review of the Vertical Legacy MLM business opportunity.
The Vertical Legacy Product Line
The Vertical Legacy Product Line is a combination of monthly subscriptions and annual events, to which tickets are purchasable.
Vertical Press Blogging Alliance ($25 a month)
Priced at $25 a month, Vertical Legacy provide access to what they refer to as ‘the single most complete blogging, SEO and branding platform available anywhere on the planet‘.
Vertical Legacy do not disclose whether the platform is their own or whether it belongs to a third-party.
Vertical Business ($100 a month)
Our second, equally revolutionary product is “Vertical Business” which unlocks our entire library of Internet marketing, featuring unlimited training and support from the top Internet marketing gurus on the planet today.
Vertical Wealth ($150 a month)
Our third and final monthly continuity program is Vertical Wealth, which puts you in control of your financial future by utilizing the exact wealth building keys of the elite 1%.
Vertical Wealth builds on Vertical Business, including the “Wealth Accelerator” software (previously offered through Wealth Masters International).
Vertical Wealth consists of our exclusive and game changing Wealth Accelerator, which has proven over the last decade to eliminate your mortgage, credit cards, student loans, medical bills… any and all debts, in as little as 8-12 years… putting you on the path to complete financial freedom.
By simply making the same monthly payments you are currently making, the Wealth Accelerator will show you how much money you will be saving… money that would normally have gone to the banks, and how many years sooner you will become 100% debt free forever.
Vertical Life ($1000)
A “video module series” by Peter Bielagus that focuses on personal finance. Includes ‘over 40 video modules and lessons‘.
Vertical Legacy 360 ($3000)
The Vertical Legacy 360 conference completes the circle of true abundance in life. The Vertical Legacy product line will now be taken to a whole new level with life enhancing speakers and trainers.
You’ll receive live, hands-on training on Branding and marketing… plus communication skills for building your business… all provided to you by the elite of their respective fields.
You will be in the presence of the VL team that gave birth to this digital online business renaissance.
The Vertical Legacy Compensation Plan
The Vertical Legacy compensation plan functions as a two level unilevel plan. Affiliates are paid on their direct sales (level 1), and are able to earn a residual commission on level 2 sales made by their personally recruited downline.
Vertical Legacy affiliates can qualify for commissions at each product or subscription level by either purchasing the product or subscription themselves, or selling the product or subscription five times.
Vertical Press Blogging Alliance
The Vertical Press Blogging Alliance ($25 a month) pays out a $20 commission to the affiliate who makes the sale and $5 to their immediate upline (the affiliate who recruited them).
Vertical Business ($100 a month) pays out $80 to the affiliate who makes the sale and $20 to their immediate upline.
Vertical Wealth $150 a month) pays out $105 to the affiliate who makes the sale and $30 to their immediate upline.
Vertical Life ($1000) pays out $700 to the affiliate who makes the sale and $200 to their immediate upline.
Vertical Legacy 360
Vertical Legacy 360 ($3000) pays out $2100 to the affiliate who makes the sale and $600 to their immediate upline.
Global Bonus Pool
As described in the Vertical Legacy compensation plan, the Global Bonus Pool consists of 1% of Vertical Legacy’s global sales.
No information is currently provided on how the Global Bonus Pool is paid out to the company’s affiliates.
Joining Vertical Legacy
Affiliate membership to Vertical Legacy is $19.95 a month.
Putting aside all the Wealth Masters International baggage for the moment, it’s hard to look at Vertical Legacy and not draw comparisons to Empower Network.
Looking at the price points of the various subscription levels Vertical Legacy offer, along with the one time fee products, it’s clear that the company has drawn much inspiration from Empower Network’s business model.
That said the compensation plan is different mechanically (it’s not a pass-up system if an affiliate self-qualifies), however the primary problem with EN’s business model still exists.
That being the issue of affiliates paying affiliates.
Breaking down Vertical Legacy’s products, if one was to purchase everything in a single month a whopping $3860 out of $4275 (90.2%) would be shuffled along to upline affiliates.
In addition to raising concerns about cash gifting (affiliates are paying affiliates and not Vertical Legacy for a product), there’s also an issue of product value at play here.
In the first two subscription tiers 100% of the money paid by an affiliate or retail customer is transferred over to the affiliate who makes the sale and/or recruits. With Vertical Legacy not getting paid, it’s disingenuous to claim that a product or service has been sold.
What has happened is new money has been shuffled around to an affiliate who’s already bought their way in.
Yeah they might have qualified by selling five subscriptions/products first, but let’s be realistic – the vast majority of commission qualification is going to be via self-purchase (good luck marketing something to others you yourself don’t use).
With the third subscription and two products Vertical Legacy do take in 10%, but is that anywhere near enough to demonstrate inherent value in what’s being sold?
The amount actually being paid for Vertical Wealth drops to $15 a month, Vertical Life to $100 and Vertical Legacy to $300. The 90% markup is solely to pay commissions with and a hard case to argue in favour of product/service value.
Why is this important?
Try convincing someone who isn’t interested in the income opportunity (retail) to pay a 90% mark-up just so you can earn a commission.
Unless you’re pitching to someone clueless and/or not disclosing your cut of what they’re supposedly paying for the product/service, it’s just not happening.
With that in mind retail doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in Vertical Legacy. And this wouldn’t be the first time a regulator took issue with the perceived value of Wealth Masters’ products either.
Back in December 2010, Norway’s Gaming Board noted
Lotteritilsynet does not decide the real value of the products, but consider it to be obvious that the products relatively have a lot lower value compared to the price, and that product sale basically is there to generate a cash flow upwards in the system.
It is in theory possible to sell the products without buying it. This is done by paying the annual fee of $99 to be consultant, as well as the monthly fee for back office.
Lotteritilsynet consider it to be unrealistic to sell a product without any chance to know what it contains before it is bought. In reality it is recommended that the participant will buy M1, but minimum MPower, before starting selling the products.
Further, the possibility of commission and bonuses increase if the participant also buys M2 and M3.
Our opinion is backed up by the claims from the meeting December 10th that the consultant had to know the product before they were able to sell it, in addition to the fact that 3 sales are needed to receive full commission payout if the product is not bought by the consultant.
Lotteritilsynet has already concluded that the products are overpriced, and in this way a payment for membership exists. In reality it is hard to sell the products and then achieve an income without buying the products.
If one were to replace WMI’s MPower, M2 and M3 products with Vertical Legacy’s, pretty much the same applies. You’ve got products and services with huge 90% markups just so that people can be paid commissions.
With affiliate’s likely to self-purchase to qualify for commissions, that means that mechanically Vertical Legacy is going to function as a cash gifting pyramid scheme hybrid.
Still not convinced?
I’ll leave you with one last issue then, that being income projections. In his Vertical Legacy corporate bio video, Ryan Nelson states the following:
[3:43] I promise you this, there’s not a person walking the Earth right now today who does not have the capability.
If you can read, you can talk and you can listen, you should be easily able to make ten grand a month.
If you can “walk the earth”, bam – Vertical Legacy are claiming you’ll make $10,000 a month. I don’t think I need to further explain the problem with Nelson’s income projection.
Cathy Werking makes a few dubious sounding income projections in the Vertical Legacy compensation plan too.
All in all it’s still early days to gauge with any degree of certainty whether or not Vertical Legacy will ultimately fail to generate any significant retail activity. Between the 90% markups and chance of a non-affiliate paying those markups though, things don’t look good.
As a prospective Vertical Leverage affiliate I’d be straight up asking my prospective upline how much retail activity they generate each month. Anything less than 50% and I’d be inclined to just walk away.
Knowing whether or not they bought into the scheme or actually sold five products/services at each level wouldn’t hurt either.