GBG Review: “Copyrighted” phantom matrix positions?
GBG seems to have origins dating back to 1996, with its latest incarnation launching around 2007 and seeing the company market dietary supplements.
The Founder of GBG is Stuart Finger. For reasons unknown however Finger doesn’t run GBG, but instead is listed on the company website as a master distributor.
Heading up GBG as CEO is Michael Kahn. Not that I have anything against Kahn, but I did think it somewhat odd to have the founder of an MLM company only on board as a Master Distributor.
Research indicates that at one time Finger (right) was serving as GBG CEO, but I wasn’t able to find any information revealing why he stepped down.
I also couldn’t help but notice the other two Master Distributors listed had the same “Finger” surname – indicating that some of Stuart Finger’s family are on board as affiliates only (again slightly odd).
Nowhere is this better highlighted than in the GBG marketing video used to introduce the company, which features Stuart Finger talking about launching GBG. He repeatedly refers to it as “his” company, yet he’s not running it.
In the marketing video, titled “Stu’s message”, Finger claims to have started GBG after being successful in other MLM opportunities but having a downline that failed to duplicate his success. He states he created the GBG compensation plan to specifically address this issue.
As per Finger’s “Master Distributor” GBG corporate bio,
Stuart has been a successful network marketer for more than 20 years but was frustrated with other network marketing companies’ degree of difficulty. He could never help enough other people achieve the level of success he enjoyed.
Finally, in 1996, he started his own network marketing company designed for everyone to experience true financial independence.
Under Stuart’s watch, the original GBG grew from a small telecommunications business to a thriving network marketing company that has benefited tens of thousands of independent, successful GBG representatives across the United States.
Prior to GBG, the company was called International Teamworks Inc (ITI) and from what I’ve been able to gather, resold telecommunications services provided by “TTI National”.
This account dated August 1999 (in protest of ITI affiliate marketing tactics) clarifies the origins of Finger’s company:
“Phenomenal Growth” and “Superior Compensation;” that’s the ITI “story,” but it’s time to get the TRUTH out to the public.
ITI is a small marketing company out of Vacaville, California. It was founded by Steve & Stuart Finger, former Excel Reps.
ITI has no products or services of their own. They often claim that they market services for MCI WorldCom. The TRUTH of the matter is that they market LD services for a small reseller called TTI National.
The company Excel mentioned above refers to Excel Communications, another player in the MLM telecommunication niche at the time. I’m guessing that’s the company Finger refers to in GBG marketing videos that his downline was unable to earn in.
Today the GBG website domain is registered to “Globus Holdings, LLC”, this would appear to be a parent company of GBG itself (registered in Nevada). But how it’s been around for I can’t say.
As for Michael Kahn, he would appear to be an “in-house” success story:
Michael joined GBG in 1998, having never done network marketing before. GBG is his one and only networking “home.” As one of GBG’s most successful Team Leaders, Michael has experienced tremendous success and has also helped thousands of others to do the same.
Over the years GBG has awarded him “MVP”, “Top Gun”, “National Corporate Trainer”, “#1 Income Earner”, “#1 Team Recruiter”, “#1 Personal Recruiter”, and many more awards.
Kudos to GBG for training and promoting one of their own. That’s something we should be seeing more of in the industry at large.
Oh and finally, if you’re curious – GBG stands for “Guided By God”.
There’s no mention of this anywhere on the GBG website, which is thankfully doesn’t rely on this religious connection to market the company. But the name does result in affiliate marketing spiels like this:
Christian Business Opportunity
GBG – GUIDED BY GOD!
Yes! GBG is a Christian Business Opportunity and the GBG Family Team is a team of people dedicated to your success in this business.
As a Christian, I was delighted to find out that the Founder and CEO of GBG, Stuart Finger was a Christian and that GBG stood for GUIDED BY GOD.
Some people upon finding this out, ask, “what God?” Stuart Finger, a believer in Jesus Christ as his Saviour, called the company Guided By God because as he says, “GBG is not ‘Guided By Stu Finger’, it’s ‘Guided By God!’”
I’ve personally don’t have anything against religion, but I do think it’s inappropriate to market business opportunities on the premise of legitimacy by religious association (be it Christianity or another faith).
That said, religious marketing doesn’t seem to be a core focal point of the company itself. At least not publicly, as evidenced by the GBG website.
Read on for a full review of the GBG MLM business opportunity.
The GBG Product Line
Two products are listed on the GBG website, a “10-in-one-chewable” and “MA+ IGP”.
The 10-in-one-chewable (actual name of the product), is a marketed as a “10-in-ONE Super Formula”.
The ten formulas that make up the product include:
- multi-vitamin & mineral
- immune enhancer
- memory and mood enhancing
- digestive aid
- bone & joint and
- vision support
The second product, “MA+ IGP” (again, actual name), ‘stimulates your body’s own natural antioxidant system!‘
No prices are provided on the GBG website, with the company only stating that ‘pricing and packaging may also be different in certain countries.‘
An “Order Now” link features on the site, however if one clicks on it a visitor is blocked with the following message:
You must find a distributor to enroll under.
The reason behind this appears to be a lack of a retail offering, with the GBG compensation plan stating that
By buying any one product, you become a Gold Member.
“Gold member” is how GBG refer to their affiliates.
The only place I found mention of GBG’s product prices was in their compensation plan, where it is revealed a bottle of the 10-in-one formula is $39.97. The price of MA+ IGP is not disclosed.
The GBG Compensation Plan
GBG claim their compensation plan uses a “Copyrighted Regenerating Matrix”.
GBG Master Distributor, Stuart Finger, spent years researching hundreds of pay plans and attempting to find one that would benefit the average person while still offering unlimited income to the leaders.
He finally invented one himself that “fixes” the standard forced matrix so that it not only works for the average networker but now, for the first time ever, it can create more wealth for the “hitters” than ever before.
GBG had it copyrighted so no other company can ever duplicate it.
The more people you enroll, the bigger your Continuing Enroller Bonus will become.
With every purchase of GBG product qualifying a customer as a “Gold member” affiliate, defacto recruitment commissions are paid out when a new affiliate is recruited.
For Gold members, $10 is paid out whenever a GBG customer places their first order (and becomes an affiliate). Subsequent orders by recruited affiliates generate an additional $5 commission.
For Platinum members, $20 is paid out on the recruitment of a new affiliate (a product order is placed). $10 is paid out on every subsequent order made.
Note that these commission amounts appear to be fixed, regardless of the size of the order placed.
Residual Matrix Commissions
GBG offer affiliates residual monthly commissions by way of a 2×30 matrix.
A 2×30 matrix places an affiliate at the top of two matrix positions (level 1). In turn, these two positions branch out into another two positions each (level 2) and so on and so forth down a theoretical infinite number of levels.
Filled position in the matrix represents a recruited affiliate, with commissions paid out when affiliates order GBG product.
Typically all filled positions in an MLM matrix represent a recruited affiliate, however in GBG additional phantom positions are created with the recruitment of each new affiliate.
Every time you enroll a new person into GBG (after your first two) you not only get paid a Fast Start Enroller Bonus, you also receive a new position in your matrix right above the new person that you just enrolled.
These phantom positions effectively permit a GBG affiliate to double up on commissions received from the same sales volume, with the more affiliates personally recruited resulting in more phantom matrix positions.
Matrix commissions are paid on sales volume of GBG product orders made by recruited affiliates, with how much being paid out determined by what level of the matrix an affiliate falls on.
- recruit 2 affiliates as a Gold affiliate (but a product)- 25 cents on levels 1 to 5, 50 cents on levels 6 to 9 and $2.50 on level 10.
- recruit 2 affiliates as a Platinum affiliate (buy a Platinum pack) – 50 cents on levels 1 to 5, $1 on levels 6 to 9 and $5 on level 10
- Managing Platinum (recruit 1 Platinum affiliate) – 50 cents on levels 1 to 5, $1 on levels 6 to 9, $5 on level 10 and $1 on levels 11 and 12
- Executive Platinum (recruit 2 Platinum affiliates) – 50 cents on levels 1 to 5, $1 on levels 6 to 9, $5 on level 10, $1 on levels 11 and 12 and 50 cents on levels 13 to 15
- Presidential Platinum and above (recruit 3 Platinum affiliates) – 50 cents on levels 1 to 5, $1 on levels 6 to 9, $5 on level 10, $1 on levels 11 to 15 and 25 cents on levels 16 to 30
Platinum Promotion Bonus
Higher Bonuses can be earned by Presidential Platinums who continue to Personally Enroll More Platinums!
When a GBG affiliate’s personally recruited affiliate’s recruit two Platinum affiliates of their own, a Platinum Promotion Bonus is triggered for the affiliate who recruited them.
Eg. I recruit A, A recruits two new Platinum affiliates, I get paid.
How much is paid out depends on what level of the 2×30 matrix the affiliate who recruited the two new Platinum affiliates is placed:
- Gold affiliates – $2.50 on levels 1 to 10
- Platinum affiliates – $5 on levels 1 to 5, $15 on levels 6 to 8, $25 on level 9 and $30 on level 10
- Managing Platinum – $5 on levels 1 to 5, $15 on levels 6 to 8, $25 on level 9, $30 on level 10 and $2.50 on levels 11 and 12
- Executive Platinum – $5 on levels 1 to 5, $15 on levels 6 to 8, $25 on level 9, $30 on level 10 and $2.50 on levels 11 to 15
- Presidential Platinum – $5 on levels 1 to 5, $15 on levels 6 to 8, $25 on level 9, $30 on level 10 and $2.50 on levels 11 to 30
- Presidential Executive Platinum – $5 on levels 1 to 5, $15 on levels 6 to 8, $25 on level 9, $30 on level 10 and $5 on levels 11 to 30
The cost of GBG affiliate membership is at a minimum $39.97 a month.
Platinum affiliate membership is $399.97.
The main difference between Platinum and regular Gold affiliate membership is the doubling of matrix commissions.
There are several glaring issues with GBG’s compensation plan and business model.
For starters, retail doesn’t technically exist, with “Gold membership” being offered to anyone who purchases a product. Gold members have access to the compensation plan and can earn commissions, and are therefore participants in the business opportunity (affiliates).
Thus it is impossible to retail GBG’s products.
One might argue that choosing not to recruit any new affiliates differentiates affiliates from retail customers, however this is not the case. An affiliate who chooses not to recruit and earn commissions is still an affiliate.
Most revealing is the absence of product costs and even that of the Platinum pack on the GBG website. This information is simply not provided to the public, with GBG instead providing basic product information and flogging the merits of their “copyrighted” compensation plan.
Not good enough.
Through independent research I was able to ascertain the Platinum packages offered (there’s more than one), cost $399.97. I’ve read this was once an annual fee (circa 2010), however I’m not sure if that’s still the case.
In any event the Platinum package in and of itself isn’t problematic, it’s how it’s integrated into the GBG compensation plan that’s the issue.
By paying $399.97, a GBG affiliate effectively doubles their commissions on the recruitment side of things as well as in the matrix.
This introduces a strong pay-to-play component into the GBG business model, which is nowhere better illustrated than in the GBG compensation plan summary:
Recruitment is also an issue, with affiliates indirectly compensated through the matrix based on how many Premium affiliates they recruit. Infact the Platinum Promotion Bonus solely pays an affiliate for doing nothing more than encouraging their personal recruits to recruit $399.97 fee-paying affiliates of their own.
They do the same, their recruits do the same, yadayadayada nobody is selling anything to retail customers.
The phantom matrix positions offered (referred to as “pay points”) are also another form of recruitment incentives, with a new one appearing each time a new affiliate is recruited.
Pay Points are like income earning “clones” of your original position.
And if somebody wants to inform me of where you go to “copyright” MLM compensation plans, I’m all ears.
In a nutshell, the core thrust of the GBG business opportunity is to pay your $399.97 entrance fee and start recruiting other affiliates who do the same.
When you place your first order, you will have the OPTION to upgrade to a Platinum Membership with a Platinum Package, which is the fastest way to access the more lucrative Platinum Pay Plan. “
Then as long as everyone then keeps spending $39.97 a month, everyone gets paid.
Finally, as if the motivation behind GBG product questions wasn’t already questionable enough, the company also forces affiliates to purchase at least $39.97 worth of product each month to qualify for commissions:
GBGallows everyone in any position or rank to earn the full amount available to them by just purchasing any one product per month for as low as $39.97.
Sign up with your $399.97 fee and pay your monthly $39.97 fee to qualify to earn commissions of others you recruit who do the same.
As with all recruitment-driven schemes, once those at the bottom of GBG pay plan struggle to recruit new affiliates, they’ll likely stop paying their monthly commission qualification fee.
Once that happens, those above them will find their matrix income shrink, or dry up altogether if enough people stop paying.
Once the point of no return is tipped (the effect has trickled far up enough along the company-wide matrix), kaboom.
Sitting at the top of a 2×30 matrix (2-3 billion position capacity) with god knows how many phantom matrix positions he’s double-dipping from, that’s one healthy money spinner for founder Stuart Finger and his co-Master Distributor family members.
For everyone else… yeah. Good luck with that.
This guy and his cronies (family member distributors that never worked for their cushy positions at the top of the matrix pyramid) are thieves and cheats!
Nepotism is very strong with this company. Only family members and/or friends of the family ever make it to the top of the pay plan.
At a live event a couple of years ago, Stuart Finger reminded me of Napoleon; a sneaky, little, overweight guy with a huge ego and a penchant for exotic luxury cars! (Guess I know where those “missing” commissions due went after all!)
If you start making too much money with their pay plan, you’ll all of a sudden find their family members positions placed somewhere above or beneath you in the matrix. Speak out about these discrepancies and you’ll find yourself “terminated” for some B.S. reason!
And let me not start with the fact that the pay plan changes often, or how ingredients of the 10-in-1 would change (by reducing ingredients) without the company informing the distributors, etc.!
Time and karma will catch up to these guys, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars in back commissions that they screwed over their distributors for!
There’s a very thin line between mlm companies invoking religion as an implication of the integrity of the principals, and merely invoking it as a tactic to attract folks who feel an mlm company guided by religious principles offers better advantages.
This “phantom position” is bull****.
Adding another position that does NOT actually contribute sales volume may look cool to the affiliate, but in the long term makes the whole thing unsustainable because not enough money is getting INTO the system vs. getting taken OUT of the system.
Money doesn’t grow on trees. By increasing the commission payout WITHOUT the sales volume that normally drive such commissions, this means either the margin on the products are larger than normal, or the markup is ridiculously high, or there are even more fineprint that we don’t know about that actually limits the payout in other means.
The extra positions don’t really mean anything without seeing the income disclosure charts.
This is basically “built-in stacking”. The “more legitimate” MLMs don’t stack because it smells like a pyramid scheme, and stacking means buying multiple positions. This one, the extra positions gets automatically created for you… For FREE.
You are correct. Years ago I was one of the biggest earners in ITI. Same comp but different products. It was LD service.
The big recruiters like myself would suck the money away from the masses as all those additional FREE pay points took positions and no volume generated.
Looked good on paper but the math never added up.
I joined Quanta in the pre-enrollment phase. The Founders Jim Britt and Jim Lutts had industry experts hold almost nightly conference calls telling everyone how Quanta is the best thing in MLM and how the founders walked on water. Quanta will change the world.
I had 2 sponsors from the Corporate Level. You would think that I would have a great shot at succeeding right. I reached out to them (calling and leaving my number 7 times) and received no call back.
They broke 3 training appoints set up by email and never sent an email before said appointments. This after the Founders hammered home the point that if you want to succeed in the business you have to treat your recruits as people and not a number.
How did that work out for me…lol. Like GBG, Quanta stressed to the max: Recruit, recruit, recruit. If you didn’t pay the administration fee (24.95) and the product (25.00) you couldn’t earn Commissions.
There second product was 100.00 per month. If you wanted to get paid for all the products it cost 150.00 per month. NOWHERE in their Conference calls or meetings did they stress selling the product. No marketing brochures, DVD’s etc.
I had 403 pre-enrollees and when I needed guidance (never did MLM) my sponsors were no where to be found. FRAUDULANT COMPANY!
What about the illegal stock offering where Finger sold stock to distributors and never made a legal SEC disclosure and everyone lost all their money!
What about never paying distributors and acrewing good distributors out of our commissions?
What about the millions of dollars Stu Finger and Michael Khan owe to people who probably don’t know how they were scammed and screwed?
What about the scam cheap crap products they sell and the cure claims?
There top guys are All In on thie scam and took in hundreds of thousands of dollars knowing FINGER was broke and was robbing the money!
When the authorities move in they need to after all these crooks!
You know I find it funny how you guys seems to make things out of a mystery of deception even if its a good opportunity.
Out of all this information Nobody Truly Knows the Whole Story just a IDEA or things you read online.
I actually know quite a few people in this company that’s well off and they didn’t start at the top and they aren’t family members of Stuart Finger. Put’s a perspective on things MLM but the products are the standing point in this deal.
If the products wasn’t worth anything this Company would have been dead a long time ago. You guys always come off very skeptical as if there is secret to everything.
Are you asserting there’s more to the GBG compensation plan than is available to public? If so, then there’s a serious problem here.
So they can recruit. What’s that have to do with the price of a Rolex in North Korea?
Then why can’t they be bought or sold retail? Fail.
Unless people like to recruit new affiliates and get paid for it.
How would you know it’s a “good opportunity” if it is “mystery of deception”?
How do you even know if anything you saw that caused you to conclude “good opportunity” is real?
How do you even know you’re working on complete information instead of partial information designed to force you toward the wrong conclusion?
Do not join GBG. I was a distributor here in the midwest and I quit after none of us were paid for months.
Stuart Finger and Michael Kahn both belong in jail in my opinion. There are several top leaders; Brad A., Steve S., and Michael S. who are “all in” on this scam. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid commissions.
Whoever “Robert” is who posted about distributors making career incomes! Reallly?
Who besides Finger, Kahn, and the 3 amigos I mentioned above! The California Attorney General and the FTC and the SEC need to investigate these scammers.
Oz, I can talk to you privately if you want more details and actual names. Just email me or post here.
Sounds good to me as is. I don’t think there are any “unknowns” in the review that need solving.
Thanks for your input.
A few points….
Platinum fee is a one time fee not an annual fee.
Everyone who comes into this is just a customer. They are not part of the pay plan until they have recruited two others. You fail to mention this.
So in other words, they are buying a product without any compensation until they decide to take this action.
Thanks for clarifying this. It was not written anywhere on the GBG website when I wrote the review.
Retail customers cannot recruit affiliates, only affiliates can.
Therefore everyone who joins is an affiliate, and as per your explanation does not qualify for commissions until they recruit (because recruitment is tied to keeping the matrices rolling over).
Commissions dependent on recruitment = pyramid scheme.
Let’s look at Melaleuca. (Ozedit: Let’s not. Affiliates != retail customers. Offtopic derail attempts removed.)
you ran out of justification for your scam pretty fast to be dropping the ole reliables already. lmao
Customers don’t become “members” in normal business when they purchase a product.
Retail sale is about the sale of retailable products or services, without anything unrelated (non products or non services) attached to it.
A matrix position is clearly unrelated to a nutrition supplement (or whatever the products are). A membership is unrelated.
Reminder: Offtopic comments about other MLM companies will be marked as spam.
You’re not the first one who have posted comments about Social Security, FED, etc., topics that don’t have anything to do with the company reviewed or with MLM in general.
If you mix in topics like that, other topics that may have some relevance will also be seen as attempts to derail the thread.
I’m not familiar with Melaleuca. I simply don’t have time to look at or analyse each and every company. So I can’t add anything meaningful to that topic. I know it is an MLM company, but that’s all.
OK, that said….I’ve never posted here before so I don’t know what has been before me…. so I will not mix in anything…. I don’t wish to confuse anyone! Now what?
You can either address the fact that there is no retail activity within GBG or leave it at that.
Affiliates are not retail customers, period.
Yes and No…. The case in almost all MLM companies is that they are attracted to the opportunity side …. First!
In almost all companies they must agree to buy a required amount of products.
In most cases they wind up doing little or nothing with the biz but often like some of the products and they stick …. thus becoming just “Customers”
This is especially true with companies selling products like Mela and Shaklee.
One example of this is Melaleuca’s policy of sending a newbie their business magazine Leadership In Action.
If after a few months this person fails to enroll anyone the company regards them as just a customer and stops sending the business magazine. So now the status of affiliate is changed to pure customer.
Irrelevant. There’s no retail in GBG.
Irrelevant. There’s no retail in GBG.
Irrelevant. There’s no retail in GBG.
What the company regards them is irrelevant. They are affiliates.
Affiliates are not retail customers. Period.
I agree, there is no Retail in GBG. (Ozedit: Well I’m glad you agree on that point. Moving on…)
Do your homework please…. I’m sure you won’t print this either but you see affiliate refers to someone who does what? Affiliate Marketing, not Network Marketing. Get your wording straight.
Also please don’t call them “Distributors” since that refers to someone who of course “distributes products as in Herballife” In GBG they are referred to as Customer/Members but I guess we will just have to put up with whatever this person wishes to call them.
Actually that’s a mistake, you can enroll in GBG as just a customer.
You have that choice.
And we’ve officially reached the level of dogshit for brains.
There’s no affiliates in MLM. Right. Bloody hell, get a clue son.
What GBG calls their affiliates in the name of pseudo-compliance is irrelevant.
If you proceed to sign up as a preferred customer, eventually you are presented with a screen that asks you supply “Website and Back Office Information”.
Preferred customers have no need for a back office or website. This sounds like GBG referring to affiliates who haven’t yet recruited as retail customers – which is what you were talking about in comment #13.
Affiliates != retail customers.
And in any event, let’s not pretend any significant retail activity would be taking place anyway. The whole GBG compensation plan is geared around a recruitment-driven matrix. What affiliates are therefore focusing on (affiliate recruitment) should be more than obvious.
Of course it is…!!! And that’s the Network Marketing business model isn’t it?
If i was doing GBG and had a choice between someone who is just a customer and someone who will get 100 people what would I do… Take a guess.
You seem to hate the industry that you pretend to help people make money at. I just don’t get you….
There are very few product type companies that require the gathering of pure customers. I’ve seen it only in Telecome and Utilities type deals.
No. This particular model is GBG’s, let’s not mince things.
And therein lies the problem. It’s why pseudo-compliance doesn’t work.
Most people who have no problems with recruitment-driven pyramid schemes don’t. The concept of not earning money by ripping people off is alien to them.
We don’t pretend to help people making money?
Most other MLM sites do that, pretend to help people make money. Here you must specifically ask for it if you want anyone to pretend anything. 🙂
“recruitment-driven pyramid schemes” What Dribble.
Don’t make accusations that you can’t prove, so far your argument is weak….
“No. This particular model is GBG’s, let’s not mince things.” Wrong!
You obviously don’t know what your talking about do you? But I do….
“Here you must specifically ask for it if you want anyone to pretend anything. :)” Where is “here” and what are you talking about?
There are no accusations or arguments to be made. That GBG is a recruitment-driven pyramid scheme is right there in the compensation plan.
The plan focuses on matrix positions, which are purchased by affiliates.
Right, because every MLM company has the exact same compensation plan.
If you can’t tell drivel from dribble, you’re just writing opinionated crap, i.e. venting spleen, which is making your side look stupid.
So… thanks for the help!
“Here” will normally be “in this thread”, “in this blog” and similar expressions.
The post itself was a joke about your use of the word “pretend”, “… that you pretend to help people make money at”.
That behavior is rather commonly used on the internet among recruiters. They don’t recruit people into pyramid schemes or scams, they usually “help people making money”.
Actually, teaching them to hang up the moment anyone shows a little bit of discernment is not much of a threat nor insult to us. In fact, it means we “uneducated people” hear less “dribble”.
You tell your people to do that so they can spend more time seeking someone who simply does not know better.
Trying to evade the main points being made, attempted wit with words and personal attacks are the cheap tricks of a third rate sales hack.
As someone who has done quite well in legitimate sales by being honest and earning people’s trust, I have seen your type come and go over the years.
Oh, before I forget.
Being uneducated, I thought it was ciao. “Chow” is usually means food, or to eat (“Chow Down”). “Ciao” is Italian and is used for hello or goodbye.
Mark (or moderator): How can we exchange emails? I am very interested in the additional information you have on ITI /GBG and its leaders. (I am considering a lawsuit).
How can I get your details? I’m interested in pursuing this.
Stuart Finger is now CEO of MYCTFO mlm now. Stupid.