iBuumerang Review: Holton Buggs ditches coffee for travel
iBuumerang prelaunched as Countdown4Freedom last month.
In our prelaunch review, we ascertained Countdown4Freedom operates in the MLM travel niche. The company was headed up by Holton Buggs (marketing) and David Manning (travel).
Nothing in this regard has changed with iBuumerang’s official launch.
Holton Buggs (right) is cited as iBuumerang’s Chairman and CEO. David Manning is cited as CEO and President of Xstream Travel, iBuumerang’s travel services provider.
Holton Buggs is best known across the MLM industry as Organo Gold’s Chief Visionary Officer.
Sometime over the past month Organo Gold has scrubbed Buggs from their corporate leadership page.
As far as I’m aware, neither Organo Gold or Buggs has issued a public statement regarding his apparent departure.
Late last year it emerged that Buggs was promoting the IQ Chain Ponzi scheme.
Officially Buggs was credited as a “strategic advisor”, but it was pretty clear he’d taken over all marketing for the company (specifics were never publicly disclosed).
In December IQ Chain collapsed and was rebranded as IQ Legacy.
Alexa ranking for the IQ Legacy website show a complete collapse from late January.
Buggs seems to have taken whatever he was paid and quietly left the company. Again, the specifics of Buggs’ relationship with IQ Chain and IQ Legacy were never publicly disclosed.
Read on for a full review of the iBuumerang MLM opportunity.
iBuumerang provides access to a travel discount engine they’re calling “iGo”.
iGo is powered by David Manning’s XStream Travel company.
iGo is marketed as a “travel booking platform with up to 70% off of retail prices”. It is also backed by a 110% “refund of the difference” price guarantee on hotels, cars and weekly stays.
iGo isn’t available without iBuumerang membership, although examples of “pricing of actual searches on the booking platform” are provided.
iBuumerang affiliates provide retail customers with “boomerangs” to access iGo.
A boomerang is basically a login for the iGo booking engine. Any commissions generated through a given out boomerang are tied to the referring affiliate.
Boomerangs provided to iBuumerang affiliates are based on how much money they spent when they signed up:
- Standby affiliates ($49.95 a month) receive five boomerangs to give out
- Coach Class affiliates ($250 + $49.95 a month) receive ten boomerangs to give out
- Business Class affiliates ($500 + $99 a month) receive twenty-five boomerangs to give out
- First Class affiliates ($1000 + $99 a month) receive fifty boomerangs to give out
If an affiliate runs out of boomerangs, they have to purchase more.
The cost of boomerangs is not disclosed on iBuumerang’s website.
The iBuumerang Compensation Plan
Despite being well out of prelaunch, iBuumerang only present a “prelaunch fast start compensation plan” on their website.
Even when iBuumerang was in prelaunch as Countdown4Freedom the complete compensation plan was provided, so I’m not sure why it isn’t available.
Nonetheless I’ve reproduced our Countdown4Freedom compensation break down below.
I did search for a possibly updated iBuumerang compensation plan but came up blank.
iBuumerang’s compensation plan combines commissions on travel services booked by retail customers, with binary and unilevel residual commissions.
A generational bonus, leadership bonus and lifestyle bonus are also available.
iBuumerang Affiliate Ranks
There are fourteen affiliate ranks within iBuumerang’s compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- TSA – sign up as an iBuumerang affiliate and continue to pay fees
- Director – generate 2500 PV and/or GV a month in sales volume and generate and maintain at least five boomerang customers
- Executive – generate 5000 PV and/or GV a month in sales volume and maintain at least five boomerang customers
- Senior Executive – generate 10,000 PV and/or GV a month in sales volume and maintain at least five boomerang customers
- Sapphire – generate 15,000 GV a month in sales volume or have a downline of at least 100 TSAs, and generate and maintain at least ten boomerang customers
- Ruby – generate 40,000 GV a month in sales volume or have a downline of at least 200 TSAs, and maintain at least ten boomerang customers
- Emerald – generate 80,000 GV a month in sales volume or have a downline of at least 400 TSAs, and maintain at least ten boomerang customers
- Diamond – generate 200,000 GV a month in sales volume or have a downline of at least 1000 TSAs, and maintain at least twenty boomerang customers
- Blue Diamond – generate 500,000 GV a month in sales volume or have a downline of at least 2500 TSAs, and maintain at least twenty boomerang customers
- Black Diamond – generate 1,000,000 GV a month in sales volume or generate and maintain a downline of at least 5000 TSAs, and maintain at least twenty boomerang customers
- Presidential Diamond – generate 2,000,000 GV a month in sales volume or generate and maintain a downline of at least 10,000 TSAs, and maintain at least twenty boomerang customers
- Crown Diamond – generate 5,000,000 GV a month in sales volume or generate and maintain a downline of at least 25,000 TSAs, and maintain at least twenty boomerang customers
- Double Crown Diamond – generate 7,000,000 GV a month in sales volume or generate and maintain a downline of at least 35,000 TSAs, and maintain at least twenty boomerang customers
- Triple Crown Diamond – generate 10,000,000 GV a month in sales volume or generate and maintain a downline of at least 50,000 TSAs, and maintain at least twenty boomerang customers
PV stands for “Personal Volume” and is travel related sales volume generated by an affiliate.
GV stands for “Group Volume” and sales volume generated via travel bookings and affiliate membership fee payments.
In order for a boomerang customer to count towards qualification, they must have booked travel or a service within that month.
For the Director to Senior Executive ranks, no more than 50% of required GV or downline TSAs can be sourced from any one recruitment leg.
For the Sapphire to Diamond ranks, no more than 40% of required GV or downline TSAs can be sourced from any one unilevel leg.
For the Blue Diamond to Presidential Diamond ranks, no more than 30% of required GV or downline TSAs can be sourced from any one unilevel leg.
For the Crown Diamond to Triple Crown Diamond ranks, no more than 20% of required GV or downline TSAs can be sourced from any one unilevel leg.
iBuumerang only provides retail customers a 50% discount.
The remaining 50% is paid by the retail customer and used to fund travel commissions.
E.g. Trip A costs $300 but is offered through iGo at $200.
iBuumerang let’s affiliates book Trip A for $200 but charges retail customers $250 (50% discount).
The $50 extra paid by the retail customer is used to fund travel commissions.
The iBuumerang affiliate who referred the retail customer receives up to 50% of the 50% kept by the company.
- Standby and Coach Class affiliates receive 12.5% of the 50% of the 50%
- Business and First Class affiliates receive 100% of the 50% of the 50%
In the Trip A example above, Business Class and First Class affiliates receive 100% of 50% of the $50 kept by iBuumerang.
So the travel commission paid to the referring affiliate on Trip A is $25 (50% of $50).
Standby and Coach Class affiliates would only receive $6.25.
iBuumerang keeps 15% and puts the rest into their compensation plan.
iBuumerang affiliates are paid a recruitment commission when they recruit Coach Class or higher affiliates.
- recruit a Coach Class affiliate and get paid $20
- recruit a Business Class affiliate and get paid $40
- recruit a First Class affiliate and get paid $80
Residual Commissions (binary)
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.
Binary residual commission volume is made up of booked travel and affiliate fees (both initial and monthly).
At the end of each week iBuumerang tallies up new volume on both sides of the binary team.
A residual commission is then paid on volume generated on the weaker side.
How much a iBuumerang affiliate can earn each week in residual commissions is capped based on rank:
- TSAs can earn up to $1000 a week (10% residual commission rate)
- Directors can earn up to $1500 a week (12% residual commission rate)
- Executives can earn up to $2000 a week (12% residual commission rate)
- Senior Executives can earn up to $2500 a week (12% residual commission rate)
- Sapphires can earn up to $3000 a week (15% residual commission rate)
- Rubies can earn up to $5000 a week (16% residual commission rate)
- Emeralds can earn up to $10,000 a week (17% residual commission rate)
- Diamonds can earn up to $20,000 a week (18% residual commission rate)
- Blue Diamonds can earn up to $30,000 a week (19% residual commission rate)
- Black Diamonds can earn up to $50,000 a week (20% residual commission rate)
- Presidential Diamonds can earn up to $100,000 a week (20% residual commission rate)
- Crown Diamonds can earn up to $150,000 a week (20% residual commission rate)
- Double Crown Diamonds can earn up to $200,000 a week (20% residual commission rate)
- Triple Crown Diamonds can earn up to $250,000 a week (20% residual commission rate)
Note that residual commission rates are also defined based on iBuumerang affiliate membership:
I’m unclear on whether these are obtainable caps (i.e. only First Class affiliates can earn up to 20% based on rank), or whether these are bought residual commission rates (irrespective of rank).
Residual Commissions (unilevel)
A unilevel compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of a unilevel team, with 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.
Unilevel residual commission volume is made up of booked travel and affiliate fees (both initial and monthly).
How many levels of residual unilevel commissions a iBuumerang affiliate earns is determined by rank:
- TSA – 10% on level 1 (personally recruited affiliates)
- Director and Senior Director – 10% on levels 1 and 2
- Executive – 10% on levels 1 to 3
- Sapphire – 10% on levels 1 to 3 and 8% on level 4
- Ruby – 10% on levels 1 to 3, 8% on level 4 and 7% on level 5
- Emerald – 10% on levels 1 to 3, 8% on level 4, 7% on level 5 and 6% on level 6
- Diamond and higher – 10% on levels 1 to 3, 8% on level 4, 7% on level 5, 6% on level 6 and 5% on level 7
Leadership Development Bonus
The Leadership Development Bonus is a generation bonus, paid on up to four generations of residual volume per unilevel team leg.
iBuumerang define a generation in a unilevel team leg when a Sapphire or higher ranked affiliate is found in the leg.
This first Sapphire starts the first generation for that leg.
If a second Sapphire exists deeper in the leg, they cap off the first generation and a second begins under them.
If no second Sapphire exists in the leg, the first generation runs the entire length of the leg.
Using this generational structure, iBuumerang pays the Leadership Development Bonus on up to four generations per unilevel team leg.
- Sapphires earn 2% on up to one generation per leg
- Rubies earn 3% on up to two generations per leg
- Emeralds earn 4% on up to three generations per leg
- Diamonds and higher earn 5% on up to four generations per leg
Lifestyle Bonus Pool
iBuumerang’s compensation plan refers to a Lifestyle Bonus Pool but fails to provide any details on it.
iBuumerang affiliate costs are not provided on the company’s website.
Unless I hear otherwise, I’m assuming affiliate membership costs remain unchanged since the Countdown4Freedom prelaunch.
Basic iBuumerang affiliate membership is $49.95 a month.
There are also more expensive Global Packages available:
- Coach Class – $250 + $49.95 a month
- Business Class – $500 + $99 a month
- First Class – $1000 + $99 a month
The more an affiliate spends the higher their commission rates in iBuumerang’s compensation plan.
As I stated in our Countdown4Freedom conclusion, iBuumerang’s business model hinges on retail customer ignorance.
As a retail customer, I have no problem with a percentage of what I pay being used to pay a commission (MLM or non-MLM).
In iBuumerang however, retail customers are slugged with what is essentially a commission fee.
To recap, iBuumerang is able to sell Trip A for $100, down from $200. And that’s what they charge their affiliates.
A retail customer is slugged with a $50 additional fee, just to pay commissions with.
This looks like a wholesale/retail pricing model but actually isn’t.
The retail/wholesale pricing of Trip A is between iBuumerang and Xstream Travel.
iBuumerang then provide Trip A to their affiliates at retail, and charge retail customers an additional fee.
Holton Buggs claims because iBuumerang customers are still getting a good deal despite the fee, they won’t care.
I put forth that if you asked any customer of anything whether they’d prefer to pay less, you’re more than likely to receive an affirmative response.
The crux is whether iBuumerang’s commission fee still makes them competitive.
Obviously Buggs and David Manning will have done their homework on this, but proof is in the pie so to speak.
If iGo goes head to head with a competing travel engine at a similar price-point, it’s going to lose out because of that fee.
Again, what it comes down to is retail customer ignorance. Which, to be fair, is certainly not limited to iBuumerang or the MLM travel niche.
If you plan to book enough travel to cover the initial cost, one could just as easily sign up for iBuumerang for $49.95 and not have to pay the commission fee.
Regarding the iBuumerang’s “boomerang” business model, my thoughts remain unchanged from Countdown4Freedom;
The boomerang shtick … creates the impression iBuumerang affiliates are doing retail customers favors.
On some level I suppose they are, given affiliates pay for boomerangs both initially and again when they run out.
With boomerangs only providing access to the iGo engine though, it does beg the question what they’re actually worth.
Why go through iBuumerang’s convoluted boomerang system when I can just book the same travel through one of Xstream Travel’s other clients?
The pay to play and recruitment red flags present in Countdown4Freedom don’t appear to have been addressed.
It is inexcusable that travel commission rates are determined by affiliate fee payments. Residual binary commission rates also appear to be determined on some level by fee payments.
Also the more I pay as an affiliate means the more discount categories I can offer my retail customers? What is up with that???
Pay to play is a regulatory compliance red flag, as it typically exists in MLM companies where recruitment is prioritized over retail sales.
There are already retail customer qualifiers in iBuumerang’s ranks, so why not just tie commission rate increases to rank?
Oh right, then there’d be no justification for charging more for Business and First Class – other than boomerangs.
For now though, iBuumerang seems to be on top of its retail customer count.
Earlier this month Ted Nuyten over at BusinessForHome published a 24,000 iBuumerang customer count, weighed against “just shy of 20,000” affiliates.
Sounds good but what’s missing is revenue generation.
With iBuumerang affiliates handing out boomerangs to retail customers, I assume those customers are counted regardless of whether travel is booked.
iBuumerang can appear to be retail customer heavy, but if travel is primarily booked by affiliates then there’s still a problem.
The good news it that the boomerangs made it easy for you to evaluate the travel side of iBuumerang with no obligation (other perhaps than some persistent phone calls/emails from the source affiliate).
Get a boomerang, check out iGo and make an honest evaluation of whether the travel side of iBuumerang is retail viable (for this you need to completely disregard the attached MLM opportunity and think like a retail customer).
If you can see yourself booking travel through iBuumerang as a retail customer (better yet, actually book travel and do a proper test of the system), go for it.
Just remember handing out boomerangs as an iBuumerang affiliate is all very well, but those you hand them out to need to actually book travel.
Oh and seeing as boomerangs are limited and an ongoing affiliate cost, be sure to ask how much you’ll be paying for them once your initial bundle runs out.