Asea Review: $33 a liter salt water?
After a few years of developing its product line, Asea launched in 2009.
The company is based out of the US state of Utah, and is headed up by co-founders Verdis Norton, Tyler Norton (son) and James Pack.
So the story goes,
After three decades with Kraft Foods, Verdis Norton retired as the Vice President of Strategy and later was asked to run a biotech company. Some time after that, a particular technology caught Verdis’ interest, and when the technology came up for sale, Verdis mentioned it to his Park City, Utah friend and neighbor, James Pack.
James had moved to Park City years prior after building a highly successful telecommunications consulting company. So successful, in fact, that James retired at an age when most businessmen are just beginning to earn real income.
When James heard about the opportunity to join Verdis in business and acquire this intriguing technology, he pulled out a check, wrote in a large figure, and said, “There’s more where this came from. Let’s do this.”
And that’s how ASEA was born.
Following further research and development into their product line, Tyler Norton was then brought on at a later date. Asea marked the first involvement in the MLM industry for all three co-founders.
Heading up Asea as CEO today is Charles F. Funke (also known as Chuck Funke, right).
In his Asea corporate bio, Funke is credited with an extensive background in the financial sector. Like Asea’s co-founders though, his appointment as CEO appears to mark his first involvement as an executive within the MLM industry.
On the regulatory front, earlier this year Asea was accused of selling their products ‘through mechanisms that actually had the sole aim of recruiting other sellers (affiliates)‘.
Italy’s Anti-trust Authority claimed that upon signing up, these new recruits were then asked to make ‘an initial contribution (affiliate signup fee) or subscribe to a program of personal purchases (autoship).’
It was also noted that Asea ‘attributed healing abilities to their products that are not adequately demonstrated and certified‘.
The Italian regulator fined Asea €150,000 EUR in October.
Read on for a full review of the Asea MLM business opportunity.
The Asea Product Line
More than 16 years ago, a group of medical professionals, engineers, and researchers discovered a proprietary method for creating Redox Signaling molecules native to the human body.
This work led to the creation of the foundational technology behind ASEA, providing a way to deliver to the body these stabilized Redox Signaling molecules necessary for optimal cellular health.
Building on this foundational technology, ASEA scientists and researchers improved and expanded the proprietary process, further stabilizing these Redox Signaling molecules and making them commercially available to consumers.
There’s a lot of talk about “bottling” Asea for consumption in their marketing material, yet the only product actually listed on the Asea website is “Renu 28”, a topical gel.
RENU 28 encourages the strength and efficiency of your skin cell reproduction in partnership with your body’s natural efforts to keep your skin healthy.
The powerful science behind RENU 28 delivers gentle, effective treatment to repair and comfort aging and damaged skin.
Through Redox Signaling technology, this unique gel provides essential support to the cellular mechanisms that are the foundation of your skin’s structure.
No retail pricing for Renu 28 is provided on the Asea website. The Asea compensation plan though does mention the sale of “a case” for $150.
Offsite research reveals that this refers to a case of four 32oz bottles of Asea water.
Two tubes of Renu 28 cost $80.
On the critical side of things, there’s an interesting article published over at ScienceBasedMedicine that’s worth a read:
ASEA is salt water. You can make your own salt water at home for much less than a dollar an ounce. The only value of the product is the entertainment value that can be derived from reading the imaginative pseudoscientific explanations they have dreamed up to sell it.
I myself was not at all familiar with the term “Redox Signaling”. Heading over to Wikipedia to first educate myself on what Redox Signaling actually was, I was surprised to learn that there wasn’t a single mention of Asea in their Redox Signaling entry.
Surely the breakthrough of stabilization of Redox Signaling molecules outside of the body would warrant some wider recognition?
Turns out the absence of Asea from the page wasn’t for lack of trying. In the “talk” section of Wikipedia’s Redox Signaling entry, one admin writes
A company (Asea) uses the quite respectible (sic) scientific term “Redox Signaling” as a marketing tool to promote a multilevel marketing program, with all that implies.
This has nothing to do with the scientific term. Whenever references to it show up here, they immediately get deleted. So please keep any references to it off this page. And yes, we are all sorry you feel you got ripped off.
Some clarification: Despite what ASEA says, “redox signaling molecules” are pretty much limited to oxides of nitrogen and reactive oxygen species, plus arguably carbon monoxide, and hydrogen sulfide. Plus their immediate reaction products.
That is, rather small, very-reactive chemical species, none of which, with the partial exception of hydrogen peroxide, is stable for more than milliseconds.
A reasonable rule of thumb is that anybody who tries to extend this list without reference to a specific scientific publication or tells you that they have bottled such things either has no aquaintance (sic) with the field or is trying to mislead you.
Make of that what you will.
The Asea Compensation Plan
The Asea compensation plan heavily focuses on the recruitment of new affiliates and their signing up for a monthly autoship order.
Retail commissions are offered but are largely secondary to building a downline.
In order to qualify for commissions, all Asea affiliates must generate a minimum monthly 100 Product Volume points (PV) in orders.
These orders can be an affiliate’s own purchases or sales to retail customers (includes preferred customer orders).
Asea Affiliate Ranks
There are eleven affiliate ranks within the Asea compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Associate – sign up as an affiliate and remain commission qualified (100 PV a month)
- Director – remain commission qualified and recruit 2 affiliates who also maintain commission qualified status
- Director 300 – remain commission qualified and generate at least 300 GV in weekly sales volume in your weaker binary side
- Director 700 – remain commission qualified and generate at least 700 GV in weekly sales volume in your weaker binary side
- Bronze Executive – generate at least 200 PV a month, have two unilevel legs with a Director 300 ranked affiliate in each and generate at least 2000 GV in weekly sales volume on your weaker binary side
- Silver Executive – generate at least 200 PV a month, have three unilevel legs with a Director 300 ranked affiliate in each and generate at least 3000 GV in weekly sales volume on your weaker binary side
- Gold Executive – generate at least 200 PV a month, have four unilevel legs with a Director 300 ranked affiliate in each and generate at least 5000 GV in weekly sales volume on your weaker binary side
- Platinum Executive – generate at least 200 PV a month, have five unilevel legs with a Director 300 ranked affiliate in each, generate at least 10,000 GV in weekly sales volume on your weaker binary side and generate 10,000 GV in total weekly unilevel team volume
- Diamond – generate at least 200 PV a month, have six unilevel legs with a Director 300 ranked affiliate in each, generate at least 15,000 GV in weekly sales volume on your weaker binary side and generate 15,000 GV in total weekly unilevel team volume
- Double Diamond – generate at least 200 PV a month, have seven unilevel legs with a Director 300 ranked affiliate in each, generate at least 20,000 GV in weekly sales volume on your weaker binary side and generate 20,000 GV in total weekly unilevel team volume
- Triple Diamond – generate at least 200 PV a month, have eight unilevel legs with a Director 300 ranked affiliate in each, generate at least 25,000 GV in weekly sales volume on your weaker binary side and generate 25,000 GV in total weekly unilevel team volume
Note that GV stands for “Group Volume” and is sales volume generated by an affiliate’s downline.
Also note that for the purpose of qualification, up to 50% of any required unilevel sales volume can come from any one unilevel leg.
Finally, Platinum Executive and Diamond rank qualification criteria must be maintained for two weeks prior to actual rank qualification. Double and Triple Diamond rank criteria must be maintained for three weeks.
Asea pay a retail commission of $30 on the sale of a $150 “case” of their product.
Preferred customer orders similarly pay out a $25 commission per “case” of product ordered.
Which product they are specifically referring to is not clarified in the Asea compensation plan.
When an Asea affiliate recruits a new affiliate who purchases a “product pack” when they sign up, the following commissions are paid out:
- 1 case pack – $20 to the recruiting affiliate, $10 to the affiliate who recruited them and $5 to the affiliate who recruited them
- 2 case pack – $40 to the recruiting affiliate, $20 to the affiliate who recruited them and $10 to the affiliate who recruited them
- 4 case pack – $80 to the recruiting affiliate, $40 to the affiliate who recruited them and $20 to the affiliate who recruited them
- 8 case pack – $160 to the recruiting affiliate, $80 to the affiliate who recruited them and $40 to the affiliate who recruited them
The product referenced in the above examples are “Asea bottles”. No pricing are provided.
The AAA Bonus (affiliate autoship commissions)
The Asea Autoship Advantage Bonus pays affiliates to recruit new affiliates and get them to sign up for a monthly autoship order.
The AAA Bonus appears to follow a unilevel compensation structure, with personally recruited affiliates placed directly under the affiliate who recruited them.
Personally recruited affiliates make up level 1 of the unilevel, with their recruits making up level 2 and so on and so forth.
To qualify for level 1 commissions via the AAA Bonus ($100), an Asea affiliate must themselves be on autoship and recruit four affiliates also on autoship. An additional 200 PV in autoship is also required, sourced from anywhere within an affiliate’s downline.
This additional volume can be affiliate or preferred customer autoship orders.
Level 2 commissions in the bonus are unlocked when two of an affiliate’s level 1 affiliates themselves qualify for Level 1 commissions (as above).
The Level 2 commission of the AAA Bonus is $250.
A Level 3 commission of $400 is paid out when four level 2 affiliates qualify for Level 2 commissions.
The AAA Bonus is paid out monthly, with full qualification between levels 1 to 3 resulting in a monthly $750 commission.
Note that AAA Bonus qualifications are ongoing and must be maintained from month to month.
Residual commissions in Asea are paid out via a binary compensation structure.
A binary compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of two binary teams, with two positions directly under them:
These two positions form the start of the two teams, left and right.
Sales volume between the two teams is tallied up weekly, with an affiliate paid 10% of the volume generated by the weaker side.
Binary commissions are capped according to an affiliate’s rank as follows:
- Associate and Director – no binary commissions
- Director 300 – $500
- Director 700 – $750
- Bronze Executive – $1000
- Silver Executive – $1500
- Gold Executive – $2000
- Platinum Executive – $4000
- Diamond – $6000
- Double Diamond – $8000
- Triple Diamond – $10,000
Leftover volume on the stronger side is carried over from week to week, provided an affiliate remains commission qualified. Note that an affiliates own purchases beyond an initial 200 PV are added to the weaker side.
Check Match Bonus
Note that in order to qualify for the Check Match Bonus, an Asea affiliate must be generating at least 200 PV a month in sales volume.
This can be an affiliate’s own product purchases or that of their retail/preferred customers.
The Check Match Bonus pays out a percentage of commissions earnt by an affiliate’s unilevel team.
The Check Match Bonus does this using a unilevel compensation structure (see AAA Bonus above), payable down a maximum seven of seven affiliate generations.
A generation in Asea is defined as the finding of a Bronze Executive or higher ranked affiliate in any given individual unilevel leg.
Eg. All affiliates who fall between the affiliate at the top of the unilevel and the first found Bronze Executive or higher in any given leg form the first generation.
Once another Bronze Executive or higher is found further down the leg, the second generation is then capped. If no Bronze Executive or higher affiliate is found, the second generation extends down to the end of the unilevel leg.
The process of finding a Bronze Executive or higher ranked affiliate repeats itself to define additional generations, up to a maximum of seven in any one given unilevel leg.
The following rank qualification requirements must be met for an affiliate to qualify to be paid a match on all seven generations:
- Bronze Executive – 1 generation
- Silver Executive – 2 generations
- Gold Executive – 3 generations
- Platinum Executive – 4 generations
- Diamond – 5 generations
- Double Diamond – 6 generations
- Triple Diamond – 7 generations
Note that a new unilevel leg is created each time an affiliate recruits a new affiliate, with there being no restrictions on the total number of individual legs an affiliate can have.
Also note that generations within an individual unilevel leg have no bearing on generations in any of an affiliate’s other legs within their unilevel team.
As for how much is actually paid out via the matching bonus, Asea state
ASEA will calculate the CM as a floating percentage of company-wide commissionable volume, and will guarantee a payout of up to 50% of commissionable volume every commission period.
So basically up to 50% of what affiliates in a unilevel team earn, subject to generated commissionable volume company-wide during that bonus period.
Affiliates who generate over 10,000 Group Volume (GV) within their entire unilevel team also have the percentage paid out pet leg reduced via a sliding scale (up to 50% of the bonus otherwise payable).
There is no information about the affiliate joining costs on the Asea website.
Further research however reveals that it costs $40 to sign up as a basic Asea affiliate.
Ten “enrollment packs” are also available for new affiliates to sign up with:
- 1 case of Asea water bottles – $120
- 2 cases of Asea water bottles – $240
- 4 cases of Asea water bottles – $370
- 8 cases of Asea water bottles – $770
- 1 case of Asea water pouches – $130
- 1 case of Asea water bottles and 1 case of Asea water pouches – $250
- 4 tubes of Renu 28 – $130
- 8 tubes of Renu 28 – $260
- 16 tubes of Renu 28 – $455
- 32 tubes of Renu 28 – $880
- 4 cases of Asea water bottles and 16 tubes of Renu 28 – $825
For a five year old company, the incomplete information about Asea’s product range and no information whatsoever about how affiliate membership costs is simply unacceptable.
In researching Asea’s product line (I knew nothing about the company when I started), I watched their videos and read their material.
After I was done I was ready to see the water as a product and… well, it’s just not there. With a visit to the Asea website, you’d be forgiven for thinking Renu 28 is the only product the company sells.
Seriously, there’s no information page for their flagship water product anywhere on the site.
There is however copious amounts of marketing material designed to convince you of the science behind the water and gel product. This I got the feeling was a reflection of marketing issues related to Asea’s product line.
At its most basic, you’re essentially marketing $33 a liter salt water. Yes it has magic molecules in it but it’s still just salt and water.
And the science on whether ingesting or rubbing these molecules on your skin has the same effect as the molecules generated on demand by your body? I can’t say I saw anything that convinced me on the Asea site itself.
And with everything being proprietary and all, don’t expect to read about Asea’s claims on third-party websites either. Every study provided on the Asea website was conducted inhouse (or at the behest of the company) and has not been peer-reviewed.
Moving onto the compensation plan, the introduction for the AAA Bonus in Asea’s official compensation plan material says it all:
The AAA Bonus is by far the most powerful and immediately lucrative residual portion of the ASEA Compensation Plan.
As you begin to build your team of Associates the AAA (ASEA Autoship Advantage) Bonus Program will help to return your initial investment in your ASEA business.
You can also qualify to make up to $750 a month by creating and maintaining your AAA Bonus Structure with as little as 28 Associates on Autoship.
Putting aside that the company sees signing up as an affiliate as an investment, Asea have no qualms about declaring a recruitment/autoship commission as “the most powerful” component of their compensation.
With a lead in like that, does the rest of the plan even matter?
The AAA Bonus sees affiliates rewarded for recruiting affiliates and getting them to sign up to autoship.
The 100 PV requirement for commission eligibility out of the gate pretty much guarantees that an affiliate themselves will be on autoship, and if not – given the AAA Bonus requirements, it probably won’t be long before their upline starts pressuring them to sign up anyway so they can inch closer to their own AAA Bonus qualification requirements.
This is setting up the chain recruitment with autoship model from the get go and with official company endorsement, is likely to the be core focus of pretty much every Asea affiliate out there.
This I’m guessing was at the heart of Asea’s regulatory smackdown in Italy. And if it’s happening there… yeah, it’s probably going on in every other country Asea are operating in.
Retail? What retail.
Prospective affiliates can easily evaluate what they might be getting into by checking as to how much actual retail volume their potential upline is generating, compared to volume generated by autoship affiliate’s they’ve signed up.
When comparing, make sure you get actual retail volume figures and none of this “but I bought products to resell later” garbage. An affiliate’s own purchases of Asea products are not retail sales.
Anything less than a 50% or close to split and you’re probably looking at signing up with an autoship order and then setting about recruiting others who do the same.
A $33 a liter salt water product, affiliate costs seen as an investment and a compensation plan heavily tilted towards affiliate recruitment and autoship?
Other than the warm story Asea use to introduce visitors to their website to the business (the “genesis” video), sadly there’s not much else that’s all that attractive here.