Sharper Minds Plus Review: NuChoice tries brain food
Sharper Minds Plus launched earlier this month and identify John and Catherine Edwards as the company’s co-founders and CEO and Vice-President respectively.
The Edwards (right) have been in the MLM industry since 1982. They sold their first MLM company in 1992, joined another MLM opportunity and went on to launch NuChoice International in 2002.
In 2011 NuChoice attempted to enter the antivirus software market with Emmutec. Unfortunately that doesn’t appear to have gone anywhere. Traffic analysis of NuChoice reveals that things at the company appear to have slowed down of late too.
NuChoice’s latest attempt to reinvigorate the brand sees it launching Sharper Minds Plus.
Read on for a full review of the Sharper Minds Plus MLM business opportunity.
The Sharper Minds Plus Product Line
Sharper Minds Plus is named after the company’s flagship product, Sharper Minds Plus. Sold in capsule form, Sharper Minds Plus claim their product ‘provide(s) the targeted nourishment and protection your mind and body needs‘.
Active ingredients listed on the Sharper Minds Plus website include:
- Acetyl-L-Carnitine – “may provide a general boost in physical and mental energy”
- Green Tea Extract – “the polyphenols in green tea – specifically EGCG – may exhibit a powerful ability to protect brain cells from free radical activity and increase energy levels”
- Rhodiola rosea – “acts in non-specific ways to increase resistance to stress”
- SerinAid PhosphatidylSerine – “benefits may include: name and face recognition, recalling locations of misplaced objects, concentration, and focus”
- DMAE – a “key chemical messenger for enhancing communication between brain cells”
- Resveratrol – “may reduce oxidative stress and helps to neutralize harmful free radicals and, it helps support your body’s natural defense system”
- AlphaSize Alpha-Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline – “provides an immediate supply of choline to the bloodstream”
- Bacopa monnieri – “cognitive-enhancing effects – specifically memory, learning, and concentration”
- Huperzine-A – “supports learning and memory by protecting acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that acts as a messenger molecule in the brain”
- Vitamin B12 – “may improve your mental capacity and help you to stay stable emotionally”
Sharper Minds Plus retails at $79 for a bottle of 100 capsules. The company recommends customers “take” Sharper Minds Plus “every day”.
The Sharper Minds Plus Compensation Plan
The Sharper Minds Plus compensation plan offers affiliates retail commissions on preferred customer orders. The rest of the plan focuses on the recruitment of affiliates with standing autoship orders.
In order to qualify for commissions, all Sharper Minds Plus affiliates must have a standing monthly autoship order of at least one bottle of Sharper Minds plus ($59).
In order to qualify for a 20% or 25% binary matching bonus, two bottles of Sharper Minds Plus must be ordered ($118).
Retail commissions appear to only be available off of preferred customer orders.
A preferred customer is a retail customer who opts for a recurring monthly order in exchange for wholesale pricing.
The wholesale price of Sharper Minds Plus is $59, with affiliates earning a $15 commission per bottle purchased.
Sharper Minds Plus pay out a $15 commission ‘for every person you personally enroll‘ as an affiliate.
Residual recruitment commissions are also paid on the recruitment efforts of an affiliate’s third recruit and beyond.
- when an affiliate recruits their third and fourth affiliates, they are paid $5 when those affiliates recruit their first two affiliates and $5 when they recruit their first two affiliates etc.
- when an affiliate recruits their fifth and sixth affiliates, they are paid $10 when those affiliates recruit their first two affiliates and $5 when they recruit their first two affiliates etc.
- on an affiliate’s seventh recruit and beyond, they are paid $15 when those affiliates recruit their first affiliates and $5 when they recruit their first two affiliates etc.
Residual commissions in Sharper Minds Plus are paid out using a binary compensation structure.
A binary compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of two binary teams, left and right:
Sales volume is tracked between these two teams, with an affiliate paid $15 for every $59 affiliate order matched on either side of the binary.
Unmatched volume remains unflushed as long as an affiliate maintains a monthly $59 autoship order.
Note that weekly binary earnings are capped according the following affiliate recruitment criteria:
- recruit 2 affiliates = $1,000
- recruit 4 affiliates = $3,000
- recruit 6 affiliates = $5,000
- recruit 8 affiliates = $10,000
- recruit 10 affiliates = $25,000
- recruit 12 affiliates = $50,000
Sharper Minds Plus pay out a Matching Bonus on the binary commissions paid out to personally recruited affiliates.
How much of a percentage is paid out as a Matching Bonus depends on how many affiliate’s they’ve recruited:
- recruit 6 commission qualified affiliates = 10% matching bonus
- recruit 8 commission qualified affiliates = 15% matching bonus
- recruit 10 commission qualified affiliates and have an autoship order for 2 bottles of Sharper Minds Plus = 20% matching bonus
- recruit 12 commission qualified affiliates and have an autoship order for 2 bottles of Sharper Minds Plus = 25% matching bonus
Joining Sharper Minds Plus
Affiliate membership with Sharper Minds Plus is $79. This includes one bottle of Sharper Minds Plus.
I’m not entirely sure what the situation is over at NuChoice, but things must be pretty dire for the company to launch such a recruitment-orientated offshoot.
As with Emmutec, I have no idea why Sharper Minds Plus wasn’t launched under the NuChoice brand. It didn’t make any sense back in 2011 and it still doesn’t.
That said, for whatever reason NuChoice have launched Sharper Minds Plus as a standalone opportunity so we’ll analyze it as such.
The product is obviously retailable although I’m not sure why only autoship orders are payable. I was able to indicate I wanted to make a purchase as a retail customer on the Sharper Minds Plus website, but the compensation plan makes no mention of whether commissions are paid on online retail sales.
Beyond that, things start to fall apart.
Our first red-flag is the recruitment commissions. Chain recruitment starts at $15 a pop and then continues into a perpetual 2-up model.
You recruit X and they earn a cut of the proceeds generated by their recruiting efforts. It’s not a 100% pass-up as is usually used, but a percentage pass-up is still a pass-up.
Autoship commission qualification is also a big no-no, as you’re essentially forcing product purchases onto your affiliates in order to qualify for commissions.
When this occurs, it’s impossible to make the argument that an affiliate is purchasing product each month out of a genuine desire to consume the product.
The motive behind the purchase gets muddied.
Binary commissions are paid out entirely on recruitment, ditto income potential via weekly caps – again subject to recruitment efforts.
And the matching bonus only reiterates the focus on affiliate recruitment, throwing in the requirement an affiliate double their autoship order if they want to qualify at the top two ranks.
Put all of this together and its highly unlikely that anyone is going to focus on retail sales of Sharper Minds Plus. The focus here is clearly going to be on the recruitment of affiliates with autoship orders.
Affiliates on autoship in and of itself that’s not a problem, but at the expense of retail you’re just asking for trouble.
With a purported thirty-four years experience in the MLM industry, I’m not really sure what the Edwards were thinking when they came up with Sharper Minds Plus’ compensation plan.
Given their time in the industry there’s really no excuse for this, they should absolutely know better.