WorldVentures Review 2.0: Same old customers/affiliates issue
WorldVentures was one of the first companies we reviewed here at BehindMLM.
Our original WorldVentures review was published in March 2011 and, as far as I can tell, for the most part still holds up.
After eight years though and the recent introduction of DreamTrips Titanium membership, a reader requested we revisit the company.
Read on for an updated review of WorldVentures’ MLM opportunity.
WorldVentures continues to operate in the MLM travel niche. The company is based out of Texas in the US.
Back in 2011 WorldVentures’ formation was credited to Wayne Nugent and Mike Azcue.
Today WorldVentures’ website solely credits Wayne Nugent as founder of the company.
According to a February 2016 post on WorldVentures’ official Facebook page, Azcue was “forced out” following a managerial dispute.
I tried to locate a copy of the referenced email in that discussion thread that Azcue allegedly sent out, but came up blank.
Nugent is joined by Dan Stamen, who is credited as a WorldVentures’ co-owner and Chief of Business Development.
Josh Paine serves as WorldVentures’ CEO.
Since our initial review, WorldVentures has run into a number of regulatory issues.
In 2014 WorldVentures was declared a pyramid scheme in Norway, this regulatory finding survived multiple appeals over four years.
In 2015 Malaysia declared WorldVentures an “illegal business”.
In 2018 Rwandan authorities issued a WorldVentures pyramid scheme warning.
In June 2019 Taiwanese authorities filed pyramid scheme charges against WorldVentures and two executives.
There were also a number of additional investigations that either went nowhere or concluded behind closed doors.
Unpaid commissions was also a recurring theme for WorldVentures throughout 2018, however things seemed to have since quietened down.
WorldVentures’ markets DreamTrips memberships.
DreamTrips memberships provide travel and travel services discounts, primarily through Rovia Travel.
Rovia Travel is owned by WorldVentures’ parent company, WorldVentures Holdings.
WorldVentures’ splits their DreamTrips memberships into three tiers.
DreamTrips Gold membership costs $143 and then $56.99 a month.
DreamTrips Gold provides basic access to WorldVentures’ travel booking engine.
DreamTrips Platinum membership costs $200 and then $99.99 a month.
DreamTrips Platinum adds access to “elevated extras”, price protection, advanced booking, additional discounts, a concierge service, travel advisers, and a telemedicine service.
DreamTrips Titanium membership costs $850 and then $149.99 a month.
DreamTrips Titanium adds access to a “dedicated concierge”, curated experiences, $2000 in charter jet credit, $1000 in charter yacht credit, a global visa service, “priority access” to “exclusive events”, room upgrades, golf course access, daily breakfast, early/late check in/out, preferred airport lounge pricing and Hertz Presidents Circle.
WorldVentures’ Compensation Plan
WorldVentures’ compensation plan revolves around selling DreamTrips memberships to retail customers and recruited affiliates.
WorldVentures Affiliate Ranks
There are eleven ranks within WorldVentures’ compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Active Representative – sign up as a WorldVentures affiliate and continue to pay affiliate fees (does not qualify for MLM commissions)
- Qualified Representative – sell at least four DreamTrips memberships to retail customers and/or recruited affiliates
- 1 Star Representative – sell at least six DreamTrips memberships to retail customers and/or recruited affiliates (placed three on both sides of the binary team)
- 2 Star Representative – sell at least twelve DreamTrips memberships to retail customers and/or recruited affiliates (placed six on both sides of the binary team)
- 3 Star Representative – sell at least twenty-four DreamTrips memberships to retail customers and/or recruited affiliates (placed twelve on both sides of the binary team)
- Senior Representative – sell at least sixty DreamTrips memberships to retail customers and/or recruited affiliates (placed thirty on both sides of the binary team)
- Director – sell at least one hundred and eighty DreamTrips memberships to retail customers and/or recruited affiliates (placed ninety on both sides of the binary team), and have 140 retail customers and/or recruited affiliates in your unilevel team
- Marketing Director – have at least four hundred retail customers and/or affiliates in your unilevel team (no more than two hundred counted from any one leg), and have earned at least $6750 over the past three calendar months
- Regional Marketing Director – have at least nine hundred retail customers and/or affiliates in your unilevel team (no more than three hundred counted from any one leg), and have earned at least $15,750 over the past three calendar months
- National Marketing Director – have at least one thousand eight hundred retail customers and/or affiliates in your unilevel team (no more than six hundred counted from any one leg), and have earned at least $31,500 over the past three calendar months
- International Marketing Director – have at least three thousand eight hundred retail customers and/or affiliates in your unilevel team (no more than one thousand counted from any one leg), and continue to earn at least $31,500 over the past three calendar months
Note that DreamTrip memberships must be maintained in order for retail customers and/or recruited affiliates to count towards qualification.
A unilevel team is a compensation structure that places an affiliate at the top of the structure.
Every personally recruited affiliate placed directly under them (level 1):
If any level 1 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 2 of the original affiliate’s unilevel team.
If any level 2 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 3 and so on and so forth down a theoretical infinite number of levels.
This unilevel team structure is used for qualification criteria for Marketing Director and higher.
Weekly Team Bonuses
WorldVentures affiliates Qualified Representative and higher ranks to Regional Marketing Director qualify for Weekly Team Bonuses.
Weekly Team Bonuses are paid out via a binary compensation structure.
A binary compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of a binary team, split into two sides (left and right):
The first level of the binary team houses two positions. The second level of the binary team is generated by splitting these first two positions into another two positions each (4 positions).
Subsequent levels of the binary team are generated as required, with each new level housing twice as many positions as the previous level.
Positions in the binary team are filled via direct and indirect recruitment of affiliates. Note there is no limit to how deep a binary team can grow.
The Weekly Team Bonus is calculated based on sales credits, which are generated when retail customers and recruited affiliates initially sign up for DreamTrips memberships.
Note that WorldVentures do not provide sales credit values in their compensation plan material.
For every 1.5 sales credits matched on both sides of the binary team, an “up to $50” Weekly Team Bonus is paid out.
Retail customer credits can also be “balanced” across both sides of the binary team, in order to maximize bonus payouts for the week.
Note that in lieu of an “up to $50” bonus, every sixth bonus is paid out as 50 TravelDollars (travel services credit).
One “up to $50” Weekly Team Bonus is referred to as a cycle.
If a WorldVentures affiliate qualifies for three or more cycles in a week, those first three cycles are doubled.
Note that this triple bonus cuts out at the National Marketing Director rank.
How much a WorldVentures affiliate can earn in Weekly Team Bonuses is capped based on rank:
- Qualified Representative to Director – $2000 a week
- Marketing Director – $5000 a week
- Regional Marketing Director – $10,000 a week
- National Marketing Director – $20,000 a week
- International Marketing Director – $25,000 a week
WorldVentures pays residual commissions on monthly DreamTrips membership fee payments.
Residual commissions are paid out using the same binary team and sales credit model as Weekly Team Bonuses above.
Residual commissions are paid on generated sales credits tied to monthly DreamTrips membership fee payment.
Again, WorldVentures do not provide sales credit values in their compensation plan material.
Whereas Weekly Team Bonuses are paid out based on a 1.5 credit match cycle, residual commissions are generated for every 3 credits match on both binary team sides.
For each 1.5 credit match generated each month, affiliates receive “up to $15”.
How much a WorldVentures affiliate can earn in residual commissions each month is determined by rank:
- 3 Star Representatives earn $8 per 1.5 credit match cycle, capped at $150 a month
- Senior Representatives earn $10 per 1.5 credit match cycle, capped at $500 a month
- Directors earn $15 per 1.5 credit match cycle, capped at $2000 a month
- Marketing Directors earn $15 per 1.5 credit match cycle, capped at $5000 a month
- Regional Marketing Directors earn $15 per 1.5 credit match cycle, capped at $10,000 a month
- National Marketing Directors earn $15 per 1.5 credit match cycle, capped at $20,000 a month
- International Marketing Directors earn $15 per 1.5 credit match cycle, capped at $50,000 a month
As with the Weekly Team Bonus, retail customer membership sales credits are used to “balance” sales credits across both binary teams if available.
Bonus Binary Team Positions
WorldVentures affiliates qualify for an additional binary position if they earn $25,000 a month from their existing position.
Binary team positions are used to calculate the Weekly Team Bonus and residual commissions.
Wings and Wheels Lifestyle Bonus
The Wings and Wheels Lifestyle Bonus is a three-tier bonus, through which WorldVentures affiliates can receive up to $1000 a month.
- Tier 1 ($200 a month) – sell and maintain four DreamTrips membership to retail customers or recruited affiliates and generate 1600 GV a month
- Tier 2 ($500 a month) – sell and maintain five DreamTrips membership to retail customers or recruited affiliates and generate 4000 GV a month
- Tier 3 ($1000 a month) – sell and maintain six DreamTrips membership to retail customers or recruited affiliates and generate 10,000 GV a month
Note that the Wings and Wheels Lifestyle Bonus stops at the Regional Marketing Director rank.
Regional Marketing Director and higher ranked WorldVentures affiliates qualify for the DreamCar Bonus.
The DreamCar Bonus is paid out monthly according to rank:
- Regional Marketing Directors receive $1000
- National Marketing Directors and International Marketing Directors receive $1500
International Marketing Director ranked WorldVentures affiliates qualify for a $3000 a month DreamHome Bonus.
The DreamHome Bonus must be put towards a supplied finance agreement.
WorldVentures affiliate membership costs are not disclosed on their website.
My independent research suggests WorldVentures affiliate membership costs $99.95 and then $10.99 a month.
The single biggest regulatory problem WorldVentures has had over the past eight and a half years has been more affiliates purchasing DreamTrips than retail customers.
WorldVentures themselves don’t publish official figures. The Norwegian Gaming Board investigation however revealed that 95% of DreamTrips membership holders in Norway were also affiliates.
Given WorldVentures’ compensation plan hasn’t changed all that much over the years and that there wasn’t anything particular unique about Norway, it’s highly likely that figure is still fairly accurate company-wide today.
And this is a problem, because an MLM company that primarily generates revenue from affiliates operates as a pyramid scheme.
Central to WorldVentures’ regulatory compliance issues is their stated “difference between representatives (affiliates) and customers”:
To understand the WorldVentures Compensation Plan, it is important to understand the distinction between Representatives and Customers.
Representatives sell WorldVentures products to Customers.
A Customer is an end consumer of our DreamTrips family of membership products.
That actually sounds like WorldVentures doesn’t count affiliate DreamTrips’ purchases as “customers”.
Scroll to the end of the documentation though and there’s this customer definition:
Customer – A person who purchases WorldVentures membership products for personal use.
A Customer may also be a WorldVentures Representative who purchases WorldVentures membership products for personal use.
So much for “the difference” between Representatives and Customers.
If WorldVentures were serious about compliance, they’d actually
- differentiate retail customers from affiliates; and
- require affiliates to enroll and maintain four retail DreamTrips members, as opposed to *winkwinknudgenudge* customers.
Given affiliate revenue is probably in excess of 90% of company-wide revenue though, why they don’t implement the above should be obvious.
Will an $850/$149.99 a month Titanium membership bring up retail customer numbers?
If WorldVentures’ original DreamTrips memberships were retail viable, the affiliate ratio in Norway shouldn’t have been anywhere near 95%.
If anything, based on adoption, DreamTrips Titanium might skew company-wide revenue towards affiliates even further.
Dollar for dollar, DreamTrips Titanium is worth over four Platinum and just under six Gold memberships.
The good news is that confirmation of how WorldVentures is being run on a micro level is straight forward.
All you need to find out is how many active retail DreamTrips memberships your potential upline has, versus recruited affiliates with memberships.
Be wary of attempts to pass off inactive affiliates as retail customers. They’re not.
I’d like to have been able to say WorldVentures has changed since our 2011 review – but that’s not the case.
They’ve buried the core business model but it’s still sign up as an affiliate, take out a DreamTrips membership and recruit others who do the same.
That’s wasn’t sustainable in 2011. Isn’t sustainable now and won’t be any time in the future.
With the US making up 35% of traffic to WorldVentures’ website (Alexa), I’d even go so far as to say an FTC investigation is long overdue.
Update 23rd December 2020 – WorldVentures filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on December 22nd, 2020.
I think you missed this newsitem, Oz.
(Taiwan) Prosecutors charge US holiday firm (WorldVentures) owners (June 20, 2019)
Ah indeed. Seems Taiwan one slipped through the cracks. Thanks!
In Feb 2020 they launched a USD 25 Silver subscription connecting customers to wholesale pricing to several travel items such as hotels, resorts, cruises, cars, flights, vacation rentals, activities and more.
I’m positive they are accruing more and more customers.
But still, how can a Company go to 20MM users without affiliates? It’s natural to have them and it doesn’t mean necessarily it’s a shady scheme because of that.
Worldventures’ revenues relies on membership subscriptions. If no one joins and no one leaves it. Next year company will accrue same revenue.
Check the Direct Selling News Top 100 Rank.
To put it bluntly, who the fuck is travelling when most of the global population is in varying degrees of lockdown?
Honestly, what bubble world are you living in?
WorldVentures started off as a simple recruitment pyramid scheme. They’ve tried to expand that but at it’s core it is what it is.
If the majority of company-wide revenue is sourced from affiliates (as has been proven in the Norway investigation), WorldVentures is a pyramid scheme.
Why? It’s meaningless.
Why did the CEO Josh Paine leave WV all of a sudden?
Speaking of the DSN list, WV revenue was down markedly in 2019 despite all the news of expanding in New markets around the world down to $337m a far cry from the $965m reported a few yrs ago.
Perhaps ppl have woken up and surely this lockdown will hopefully be the deathknell.