Seacret Direct Review 2.0: Monthly affiliate autoship still a problem
BehindMLM published its first and only review of Seacret Direct back in 2012.
While efforts to drive retail sales were acknowledged, the elephant in the room was the heavy reliance on affiliate autoship.
Rank progression was for the most part rooted in accumulated autoship orders, which was more than likely going to be sourced from affiliates.
That was five years ago and, based on feedback from a reader, things have since changed.
BehindMLM… you need to update this review.
Autoship is no longer required and rank advancement is based on sales volume.
Today we revisit Seacret Direct and evaluate whether the MLM opportunity has actually changed. Read on for an updated review.
Seacret Direct Products
Five years ago Seacret Direct were marketing a range of personal care products enriched with Dead Sea salt.
Today Seacret Direct’s product range has been expanded to include bath & body and nutrition.
The original skincare line has also been broadened over time.
Perhaps the most interesting additions are the nutritional products, which other than salt seasoning, have nothing to do with the Dead Sea lineup.
That’s because Seacret Direct’s nutritional products are lifted from SevenPoint2, as part of an acquisition merger in late 2017.
Not that having different products is a bad thing. It’s just that, at least in my opinion, SevenPoint2’s nutrition shakes and what not don’t really fit Seacret Direct’s original Dead Sea salt product vision.
The Seacret Direct Compensation Plan
Seacret Direct’s compensation plan combines retail and recruitment commissions with weekly binary-based residuals.
A four-generation matching bonus is also on offer, along with various performance based bonuses.
Seacret Direct Affiliate Ranks
There are fourteen affiliate ranks within the Seacret Direct compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria they are as follows:
- Affiliate – signup as a Seacret Direct distributor
- Star – recruit at least two MLM commission qualified affiliates (one on either side of the binary team)
- Superstar – generate at least 300 GV or generate at least four VIP and/or Elite retail customers over a rolling four-week period, and recruit and maintain at least two Superstar affiliates (one on either side of the binary team)
- Executive – maintain at least 1000 GV on both sides of the binary team
- Bronze – maintain at least 2000 GV on both sides of the binary team
- Royale – maintain at least 5000 GV on both sides of the binary team and recruit and maintain at least two Star ranked affiliates (one on either side of the binary team)
- Silver – maintain at least 8000 GV on both sides of the binary team and recruit and maintain at least two Superstar ranked affiliates (one on either side of the binary team)
- Gold – maintain at least 14,000 GV on both sides of the binary team and recruit and maintain at least two Bronze ranked affiliates (one on either side of the binary team)
- Platinum – maintain at least 20,000 GV on both sides of the binary team and maintain at least two personally recruited Bronze ranked affiliates (one on either side of the binary team)
- Ruby – maintain at least 40,000 GV on both sides of the binary team and recruit and maintain at least two Silver ranked affiliates (one on either side of the binary team)
- Diamond – maintain at least 80,000 GV on both sides of the binary team and recruit and maintain at least two Gold ranked affiliates (one on either side of the binary team)
- Blue Diamond – maintain at least 200,000 GV on both sides of the binary team and recruit and maintain at least two Platinum ranked affiliates (one on either side of the binary team)
- Red Diamond – maintain at least 400,000 GV on both sides of the binary team and recruit and maintain at least two Ruby ranked affiliates (one on either side of the binary team)
- Crown – maintain at least 800,000 GV on both sides of the binary team and recruit and maintain at least two Diamond ranked affiliates (one on either side of the binary team)
- Crown Royale – maintain at least =2,000,000 GV on both sides of the binary team and recruit and maintain at least two Blue Diamond ranked affiliates (one on either side of the binary team)
GV stands for “Group Volume and is sales volume generated by an affiliate and their downline (includes downline affiliate purchases).
Seacret Direct affiliates are paid to sell products to retail customers.
Retail commissions paid out are the difference between the wholesale and retail cost of products ordered.
The WOW Bonus is a retail sales incentive.
The WOW Bonus is paid out on VIP and Elite retail customers orders.
- Star through Executive affiliates earn a 20% WOW Bonus
- Bronze and higher ranked affiliates earn a 25% WOW Bonus
- all ranks earn an additional 30% WOW Bonus on “Bonus Buy” purchases made
Note that Seacret Direct affiliates must be MLM commission qualified to receive the WOW Bonus (see below).
Global VIP & Elite Customer Pool
The Global VIP & Elite Customer Pool is a share-based retail sales incentive.
Seacret Direct place 2% of company-wide VIP & Elite customer order volume into the VIP & Elite Customer Pool.
Qualification for the VIP & Elite Customer Pool requires an affiliate to have at least ten active VIP or Elite retail customers.
An active VIP customer is a retail customer who:
- purchased at least $99 worth of product in their first order
- generated 500 Seacret Wallet Credit points over a rolling twelve month period ($1 = 1 point)
- is on autoship
An active Elite customer is a retail customer who generated 2000 Seacret Wallet Credit points over a rolling twelve month period ($1 = 1 point).
Shares in the Global VIP & Elite Customer Pool are allocated based on the total amount of active VIP and/or Elite customers an affiliate has (calculated monthly):
- 10 active VIP and/or Elite customers = 1 share
- 15 active VIP and/or Elite customers = 2 shares
- 20 active VIP and/or Elite customers = 3 shares
- 25 active VIP and/or Elite customers = 4 shares
- 30 active VIP and/or Elite customers = 5 shares
An additional share is allocated for every five active VIP and/or Elite customers over thirty.
MLM Commission Qualification
Seacret Direct affiliates qualify for MLM commissions by satisfying one of the following three qualification criteria:
- purchase 35 PV worth of product every 4 weeks
- generate 200 GV each week or
- generate and maintain at least four VIP or Elite retail customers
PV stands for “Personal Volume” and is sales volume generated by retail orders and an affiliate’s own product purchases.
Seacret affiliates are paid to recruit new affiliates who sign up with a Starter Set.
- recruit a 5-in-5 Starter Set affiliate and earn $20
- recruit a WOW Starter Set affiliate and earn $50
- recruit a Professional Starter Set affiliate and earn $150
For Superstar and higher ranked affiliates the above recruitment commission rates are doubled.
Seacret Direct pay residual commissions 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.
To qualify for binary commissions, a Seacret Direct affiliate must recruit at least two MLM commission qualified affiliates (one on either side of the binary team).
Residual commissions are based on a 1/3 to 2/3 ratio.
That is sales volume generated on one side of the binary team is weighed against the other.
Specifically, the 1/3 to 2/3 ratio requires the weaker binary side to hold at least 33% of generated volume in the stronger side to trigger a residual commission payout.
The minimum amount of GV required is 500 on the weaker side and 1000 GV on the stronger.
Residual commission payouts are made weekly, with specific commission rates determined by rank:
- Star through Executive affiliates earn 10% of weaker binary side volume
- Bronze and higher ranked affiliates earn 15% of weaker binary side volume
Once residual commissions have been paid, matched volume is flushed on both sides of the binary team.
Leftover volume on the stronger binary team side carries over the following week.
Note that all Seacret Direct affiliates are capped at $25,000 a week in residual commissions.
Bronze and higher Seacret Direct affiliates earn a Matching Bonus on residual commissions earned by Bronze and higher ranked downline affiliates.
The Matching Bonus is paid out using generations within a unilevel compensation structure.
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.
Seacret Direct define a generation within a unilevel leg when a Bronze or higher affiliate is found it in.
This affiliate caps off the first generation for that leg, with the second generation beginning immediately after.
If a second Bronze or higher ranked affiliate exists deeper in the leg, the second generations is capped off and the third begins.
If no second Bronze or higher ranked affiliate exists deeper in the leg, the second generations extends down the full depth of the leg.
Note that generations for each unilevel leg are calculated independently of the other legs.
Using this generational model, Seacret pay a percentage Matching Bonus on up to four generations per unilevel team leg as follows:
- Bronze and Royale affiliates earn a 20% match on one generation
- Silver and Gold affiliates earn a 20% match on the first generation and 10% on the second
- Platinum and Ruby affiliates earn a 20% match on the first generation and 10% on the second and third
- Diamond and higher ranked affiliates earn a 20% match on the first generation and 10% on the second to fourth
Rank Achievement Bonus
Seacret Direct reward affiliates for qualifying at the Star Agent and higher ranks as follows:
- Star – $15
- Superstar – $100 ($200 if achieved within five weeks)
- Executive – an “executive watch”
- Bronze – $250 or an iPad
- Royale – $500
- Silver – $1000
- Gold – $1500
- Platinum – $3000
- Ruby – $4000
- Diamond – $7000
- Blue Diamond – $40,000
- Red Diamond – $100,000
- Crown – $250,000
- Crown Royale – $1,000,000
Note that Blue Diamond and higher Rank Achievement Bonuses are paid out in undisclosed weekly instalments.
SuperStar Builder Bonus
Seacret Direct Royale and higher ranked affiliates are paid a $100 commission if a personally recruited affiliate qualifies as a Superstar within 28 days of joining the company.
Drive Your Dream Bonus
The Drive Your Dream Bonus is a recurring four-week bonus paid out to Royale and higher ranked affiliates.
- Royale affiliates receive $500
- Silver affiliates receive $600
- Gold affiliates receive $800
- Platinum affiliates receive $1200
- Ruby affiliates receive $1400
- Diamond affiliates receive $1600
- Blue Diamond affiliates receive $2000
- Red Diamond affiliates receive $3000
- Crown affiliates receive $4000
- Crown Royale affiliates receive $6000
Joining Seacret Direct
Basic Seacret Direct affiliate membership is $49 annually.
The Seacret Direct compensation plan details three optional “Starter Sets”, only one of which appears to be available in the US (5-in-5 Starter Set for $129).
Visitors to the Seacret Direct US website meanwhile are only given one signup option; a “Welcome Kit” for $99.
Not sure what the story is there.
To revisit the reason behind this updated review: Does Seacret Direct still rely on mandatory affiliate autoship?
Probably – but I can’t say for sure.
To qualify for MLM commissions Seacret Direct affiliates are given three options; generate 200 GV a week, generate four VIP and/or Elite customers… or purchase 35 PV worth of product each week.
To satisfy the 35 PV requirement, if chosen, Seacret Direct state:
An easy way to accomplish this is to have a recurring Replenishment Order scheduled every 28 days.
An Agent must have a replenishment scheduled in the 5th week following their previous purchase in order to be active when they enter that week.
“Recurring Replenishment Order” is marketing speak for autoship.
If we consider the path of least resistance, which matters for new Seacret Direct affiliates, they’re more than likely to jump on 35 PV a month or more autoship.
Their business will then be built focusing on recruitment of new affiliates who do the same.
And it’s not like the other options are even relatively feasible.
1000 GV a month for new affiliates is unreasonable. As is expecting them to go out and get four VIP/Elite customers.
This would be acceptable to increase commission percentages later down the track, but for basic MLM commission qualification is ridiculous.
If Seacret Direct got rid of the 35 PV a month autoship alternative, I’m pretty confident the majority of affiliates currently qualifying for residual commissions all of a sudden wouldn’t.
The good news is you can suss this out yourself by asking how your potential upline is qualifying for their monthly residual commissions.
If the answer is autoship and they have a largeish downline – you know they’re not even trying to generate retail sales.
Which is a shame, because Seacret Direct have some of the most robust retail incentives I’ve seen – albeit maybe misguided in some aspects.
In addition to product credit for new customer referrals, Seacret Wallet Credit (loyalty points), free shipping (Elite Customers) and a “birthday gift”, Seacret Direct also allows their retail customers to host product parties.
Hosts are Customers who host WOW Parties for Agents with the incentive of free product credit, with no purchase necessary.
Retail customer hosts are rewarded with product credit, in much the same manner an affiliate would receive commissions based on sales volume generated by orders placed during the party.
This can run into the hundreds of dollars if it’s a particularly successful party.
On the other hand (this is the misguided part), what are the odds a retail customer is going to go to the effort to organise a Seacret Direct product party just for product credit?
Especially when pretty much everything you do is financially benefiting an affiliate, who actually makes commissions on your effort.
Even if you were a diehard Secret Direct product fan, I can’t see retail customers setting up too many parties.
I mean surely if they were able to drive orders for credit, they’d sign up as an affiliate and instead generate commissions of their own efforts?
In that sense while Seacret Direct’s retail customer host parties sound good on paper, it is potentially cannibalising their retail customer market to some degree.
Not withstanding the intense markup Seacret Direct seem to be charging retail customers.
I can’t speak for every product, but here’s an example Seacret Direct provide in their compensation plan material;
A Retail Customer orders a Recover Day Masque at the Retail price of $349.99.
The Agent price for the product is $149.99.
The Agent will earn a Retail Commission of $200.
$349.99 – $149.99 = $200
Surely retail viability takes a hit if $200 of a $349 product is commission markup? That’s over half the price paid going straight to the affiliate (57%).
Obviously a decent incentive to sell products to retail customers, but who’s paying?
In an attempt to find a comparison product, I punched “seacret recover day masque” into Google.
Lo and behold someone is flogging them on Poshmark for $15 each.
The product image for the Recover Day Masque on the Seacret website suggests the $349 price-tag is for eight sachets.
That’s around $43 a sachet. Compared to a five-second Google search $15 a sachet price.
Upon further inspection, Seacret products are being flogged all over the internet at well below the suggested retail price.
I wonder why.
I didn’t spend too much time looking but the same $349 eight-sachet pack is being sold on eBay for $45.99 with free shipping.
That’s a rock-bottom $5.75 a sachet. Again, retail these are supposed to be going for $43 a sachet.
Couldn’t possibly be Seacret Direct affiliates offloading products they don’t need, but bought anyway to qualify for commissions?
Unfortunately if the affiliate autoship culture is still alive and well in Seacret Direct, then any compensation plan changes since our 2012 review are superficial.
Having refreshed myself on Seacret Direct’s MLM opportunity, I didn’t see anything to convince me otherwise.
Update 9th June 2018 – Following publication of this review a BehindMLM reader got in touch and provided me with what appears to be an updated version of the Seacret Direct compensation plan.
Note that as at the time of publication, this is not the version provided on the Seacret Direct website.
The updated compensation plan details a significant improvement to monthly MLM commission qualification – with a catch.
As per the updated compensation plan, Seacret Direct affiliates have to generate 80 PV a week to qualify for MLM commissions (that’s 320 PV a month).
For an affiliate’s first four weeks with the company, this can be self-funded (problematic).
After four weeks, 51% of required weekly PV must be sourced from retail customer orders.
The downside is that minimum monthly PV if qualifying via autoship is now 164 PV, up from the previous 35 PV amount.
That’s an increase of 468%.
While it’s great to see Seacret Direct baking retail volume requirements into commission qualification, those are some pretty steep numbers for the average affiliate.
Not a problem for Seacret Direct affiliates who were focused on and generating significant retail sales, but the question mark regarding retail viability remains.
Seacret Direct has some pretty hefty retail markups, making it likely one the more difficult product ranges to market and sell to non-affiliates.
The updated compensation plan appears tailored toward meeting issues the FTC had with Herbalife and Vemma (a target of 51% company-wide retail).
This has come at the expense of new affiliates, who are unlikely to reach set targets for a few months at least.
A better compromise would be keeping the required minimum retail GV and eliminating the overhead altogether.
That’s peg monthly required PV at 164, all of which would be retail volume.
That way there’s no pressure to sign up for autoship, and no chance of inventory loading.
It might also put a stop to the rampant undercutting of Seacret Direct products all over the place too.