Royaltie Review: Overpriced Bluetooth spam devices?
Royaltie provide no information on their website about who owns or runs the business.
A footer on the Royaltie website identifies its parent company as Hiram Lodge Enterprises Corp.
The Royaltie affiliate agreement suggests Royaltie and Hiram Lodge Enterprises Corp are based out of Ontario, Canada:
This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the Province of Ontario and shall be treated in all respects as an Ontario contract.
Each of the parties irrevocably attorns to the jurisdiction of the courts of the Province of Ontario.
Further research reveals marketing videos on Royaltie’s official YouTube channel identifying Justin Belobaba as founder and CEO of the company.
As per a press-release announcing Royaltie’s initial launch in July 2016, Belobaba is cited as
a serial entrepreneur in health, finance and technology. His past ventures include wireless payment software for North American taxicabs, and a publicly-traded provider of electronic medical record software for physicians.
In 2010, he was named “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” by Profit Magazine.
As far as I can tell, Royaltie is Belobaba’s first MLM venture.
Worth noting is Royaltie first launched with a “mobile app rewards program”.
The Royaltie program, which provides its users 10% rewards on all their health, fitness and beauty purchases, breaks the mold of traditional rewards programs by being the first to offer a customer-centric, rather than a business-centric, approach to earning rewards.
This appears to have been scrapped and replaced with the current “gem” product in early 2017.
Royaltie also has an “exclusive network marketing contract” with Asirvia.
In a marketing video published on the official Asirvia Facebook page on May 25th, Belobaba stated Royaltie ‘couldn’t be more excited about our strategic partnership with Asirvia‘.
Read on for a full review of the Royaltie MLM opportunity.
Royaltie manufacture Bluetooth devices that can be used to broadcast 40-50 character message plus secure URL (HTTPS), to Android devices within a 100 meter omnidirectional range.
Non secure URLs can be linked through landing pages set up on the Royaltie website (which itself is HTTPS secure).
Royaltie call the devices “gems” and provide the following device specifications:
Signal Range: 100m
Communications: Bluetooth Low Energy wireless technology 2.4GHz RF
Sensitivity: Bluetooth: -93dBm
Transmission Power: Bluetooth: -30dBm to 4dBm
Battery Life: Up to 2 years
Main Processor: 32-bit ARM® Cortex™ M0 CPU core
Bluetooth Processor: Nordic nRF51822
Data Rates: 250kBs, 1Mbs and 2Mbs
Royaltie sell gems via monthly subscription:
- $25 a month for one gem
- $49 a month for three gems
- $99 a month for eight gems
Additional gems above eight are available for $10 a month each. All customers must also pay a $30 “activation fee”.
Subscriptions are prepaid two months upfront and then monthly thereafter. Shipping is $25 outside of the US. First orders within the US are free and $25 thereafter.
Stated battery life of Royaltie’s gems is two years and each device also has a malfunction guarantee for the life of the product.
The Royaltie Compensation Plan
Royaltie pay affiliates based on customers purchasing a monthly gem subscription.
Royaltie Affiliate Ranks
There are fourteen affiliate ranks within the Royaltie compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- I3 – $100 monthly downline gem subscription volume
- I2 – $300 monthly downline gem subscription volume
- I1 – $1000 monthly downline gem subscription volume
- SI2 – $2000 monthly downline gem subscription volume
- SI1 – $3000 monthly downline gem subscription volume
- VS2 – $7500 monthly downline gem subscription volume
- VS1 – $15,000 monthly downline gem subscription volume
- VVS2 – $22,500 monthly downline gem subscription volume
- VVS1 – $30,000 monthly downline gem subscription volume
- Flawless 2 – $60,000 monthly downline gem subscription volume
- Flawless 1 – $120,000 monthly downline gem subscription volume
- Eternity -$180,000 monthly downline gem subscription volume
- Centenary – $240,000 monthly downline gem subscription volume
- Hope – $300,000 monthly downline gem subscription volume
Note that Royaltie downline volume only counts first and second level recruited affiliates.
First level downline affiliates are any affiliates you recruit. Second level downline affiliates are any affiliates recruited by your first level downline affiliates.
Customer Acquisition Bonus
$250 bonus per ten customers acquired (irrespective of how many gems purchased by each customer).
Monthly commissions in Royaltie are paid out based on affiliate rank as follows:
- I3 – (up to 3 gem subscriptions waived)
- I2 – $120
- I1 – $360
- SI2 – $720
- SI1 – $1200
- VS2 – $3000
- VS1 – $6000
- VVS2 – $9000
- VVS1 – $11,000
- Flawless 2 – $21,000
- Flawless 1 – $41,666
- Eternity -$60,000
- Centenary – $72,000
- Hope – $85,000
Royaltie affiliate membership is free, however there is a gem purchase section on Royaltie affiliate membership form.
Gems are purchased by affiliates at a cost of three for $29 a month plus a $50 “security deposit” and $25 shipping fee (if outside the US).
You can set the gem order amount to below three, however the “monthly cost” field doesn’t auto-update, suggesting three is the minimum order amount.
I have an Android phone and by default Bluetooth is turned off. Unless I’m streaming audio to a device, I keep Bluetooth turned off to save battery life.
It’s my understanding that most Android devices (phones anyway) have Bluetooth switched off, casting a question mark over the effectiveness of Royaltie’s gem devices.
Not withstanding, even if I had Bluetooth turned on, getting bombarded with unsolicited advertising messages would certainly prompt me to turn it off quick smart.
That said, it’s worth noting that Royaltie’s gem messages appear as notifications and disappears if the receiving device goes out of range of the broadcasting gem.
Depending on how your phone is set up however, Bluetooth notifications could still set your phone off – which is annoying, even if the notification disappears once you go out of range.
With a 100 meter range per device, I’m also not sure why someone (the product seems targeted to business owners) would need more than one device.
Unless the customer had multiple businesses, why would they need to broadcast spam over multiple 100 meter coverage areas?
As to the cost of the gem devices, current pricing on the Royaltie website is three gem devices for $29 a month. Additional gem devices are available for $8 a month each.
As of June 1st, this pricing is being scrapped in favor of pricing quoted in this review. With the cost of three gem devices increasing to $49, that’s a 59% markup.
As far as I can tell, there’s no modification or upgrades to the device being made to Royaltie’s gem devices to justify the price increase. If anything, isn’t the price of existing tech supposed to come down over time?
The only stated reason for Royaltie’s gem price hike I was able to find was a marketing video published on Asirvia’s Facebook page.
In the video, Justin Belobaba explains;
The pricing that Asirvia has gone to market with, my company Royaltie, which is the manufacturer, we will be bringing our prices into line with those in the next few days.
So uh prior to June 1st I can get gems from Royaltie 41% cheaper, but then after June 1st I’m going to pay 59% more… because that’s what Asirvia want to charge?
With Asirvia being an MLM company, I’m assuming the price increase is mostly attributable to funding affiliate commissions.
Paying 60% more for the same product just to fund affiliate commissions is pretty consumer unfriendly.
That and with the same pricing, how are there going to be two MLM companies marketing the same product service?
On paper this equates to Asirvia affiliates competing directly against the gem device manufacturer. Who, as evidenced by Royaltie’s pre-June pricing are able to sell the devices 41% cheaper, but choose not to do so to level the playing field.
I was also initially at a loss as to why the gem products are sold via monthly subscription.
As per the Royaltie website, the gem product
does not require cellular data or a Wifi connection. Just take it out of the box, and you’re up and running!
This raises the question of how messages are updated on the gem devices.
I originally thought you’d just connect to the device via an app or some such, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
In one Royaltie affiliate marketing presentation, it’s stated changing the message can take up to 24 hours to update on the gem device.
Another reveals messages are updated by logging into the Royaltie website, which suggests Royaltie themselves send out the messages as opposed to the gem device.
Without getting too technical, it seems the Bluetooth device simply checks if Bluetooth is enabled on a device. This triggers something through the Android OS and delivers the message over WIFI from Royaltie’s website (live internet connection needed on the receiving Android device).
If the message is contained within the gem device, if a user stops paying the monthly fee they’ll still work. Obviously the message being broadcast can’t be changed though without an active Royaltie subscription.
Out of curiosity I did a search on Alibaba and found awfully similar looking (and sounding) devices for $4 to $6.50 a pop.
Apparently the tech behind such devices is “Eddystone”, an open-source Android protocol for Bluetooth communication. Apple’s equivalent is iBeacon, which requires an app installation to work in the same way (and is not supported by Royaltie’s gem devices).
The specific communication tech behind the devices is Bluetooth Smart (also known as Bluetooth Low Energy).
With a bit more digging around, I found Kontact beacons, who appear to be the actual manufacturer of Royaltie’s product.
Three “double battery” beacons will set you back $60, so in that sense $49 doesn’t sound too bad – however bear in mind $49 a month quickly adds up (bulk orders of Kontakt beacons attract a discount, although how much isn’t disclosed).
Kontakt provide a web interface to manage the beacon, which is presumably what Royaltie have plugged into. Kontakt also offer a free mobile app ‘find, connect to, monitor, manage, and update any Kontakt.io proximity device‘. How that compares to Royaltie’s web-interface with a monthly subscription I can’t say.
Whether the monthly subscription cost is worth it to a customer is subjective, but either way you’re locked into a minimum two month subscription to test it out.
I’d wager the Royaltie/Kontakt back-end interface is much more convenient to use over any Alibaba sourced device.
Moving onto the compensation plan, rather than provide percentages Royaltie provide fixed dollar amounts in their compensation plan.
This works provided the majority of Royaltie subscription holders are retail customers.
With there being no fee attached to Royaltie affiliate membership, it’s possible the income opportunity will wind up being marketed over the gem product (retail).
This will manifest itself by affiliates paying for three gems, recruiting others who do the same till they hit the I3 rank (which eliminates the monthly subscription cost), and continuing to recruit to earn more each month.
If one of our affiliates or customers earns free Gems, you will still be credited for the revenue as if they were still paying their monthly subscription.
The good news is this is easy to evaluate. Just ask your potential upline how many retail (non-affiliate) customers they’ve got paying a monthly subscription and compare that to recruited affiliates.
This will also give you an idea of retail customer retention (whether the gem subscriptions are worth it without the attached income opportunity).
Apart from being massively annoying if abused (a lot of people carrying these devices around and broadcasting whatever in crowded spaces = spam nightmare), the gems do appear to have retail viability for store owners.
A hair salon for example could benefit from broadcasting a special to attract walk-ins, and I’m sure you can come up with a few examples of your own.
The question is whether that’s worth a minimum $25 a month to business owners.
One final thought to consider is this isn’t really a product that’s going to work over the internet. If you intend to pitch to retail customers, you’re going to have to get out there and market the gems to actual people/businesses.
And given subscription volume is only counted down two levels of recruitment, forget about relying on thousands of people under you generating monthly rank volume (unless you manage recruit thousands of affiliates within two levels, which is extremely unlikely).
Passive marketing is possible through the Royaltie gem devices, but then you fall into the trap of the gems being used to pitch Royaltie itself.