Staged Review: Content hijacking platform?
There is no information on the Staged website indicating who owns or runs the business.
The Staged website domain (“staged.com”) was registered on the 6th of March 2000 and lists “Staged Media INC” as the owner. An address in British Columbia, Canada is also provided.
Further research revealed “Haydn Stevenson” identifying himself as the CEO and co-owner of Staged on Twitter.
Why this information is not openly provided on the Staged website is a mystery.
On the MLM history side of things, Stevenson appears to have been involved in the MLM industry for some time – both on the corporate and affiliate end.
A September 2012 marketing pitch from “Suzanna” provides some insight into Stevenson’s MLM activity prior to Staged:
I have been looking something for members to replace Zeek that is legal but still captures the excitement of penny auctions.
Zeek was a pioneer in this field, and as happens to many pioneers, they made some serious mistakes which I won’t enumerate here.
Bidify tried to improve on the Zeek model and did well.
But, they still had a system that ‘smelled’ like an investment especially to a zealous regulator. So, Bidify changed its way of doing business. It was an after thought and we hope they do well with the new changes.
Well, I think I have found something that has a lot of potential and may fill the void for people wanting to continue to profit from the Penny Auction world.
This is the brain child of Kevin deBellefeuille, Haydn Stevenson, and Scott Walker all of whom have extensive experience in the world of internet marketing.
Haydn has been on my list for about 10 years and lives in Japan too. He is in Lyoness with me and we talk regularly. Today, I got a long chat with him on how this new company is expected to roll out.
They have a knack for creating systems that make money and that persist over the long haul. And they are not inclined to launch anything unless it has a high prospect for success in the marketplace and extensive research of the Penny Auction RETAIL market was done before launching this.
The company referred to above is Funky Shark.
Funky Shark went into prelaunch in September 2012 and operated as a pyramid scheme. Founders were charged $1000 and paid $500 per founder they in turn recruited.
Despite Suzanna’s claims above, a month later in October Funky Shark was voluntarily shut down and refunds were issued to all Founder investors.
At the time, Funky Shark claimed they’d ‘recently discovered that the way we executed our Founder program may violate certain securities laws in the United States.‘
Two months later in December it was revealed that Funky Shark had been fined $40,000 by the Securities Commissioner of Montana for “illegally selling investment opportunities.”
The other company mentioned in Suzanna’s pitch is Lyoness.
Under their accounting unit scheme, Lyoness solicit investments from affiliates on the promise of fixed advertised ROIs. ROIs are paid out once enough new investments have been made at the particular accounting unit level invested at.
Whether or not Haydn Stevenson is still involved in Lyoness is not clear. Also not clear is whether or not Kevin deBellefeuille and Scott Walker are the other co-owners of Staged.
Read on for a full review of the Staged MLM business opportunity.
The Staged Product Line
Staged has no retailable products or services.
The flagship service Staged offers is described in a product video as “Youtube-jacking”. In the same video Staged refer to what they offer as a “content hijacking platform” (actual video screenshot below):
In a nutshell, the premise is described is the embedding of Youtube videos on a Staged-hosted webpage, which is then plastered with banner and popup ads.
Here’s an example:
Once the page is set up, Staged then spams out the link to the member’s social network contacts.
The Staged platform is given away freely, with paid affiliate options permitting an affiliate place their own banner ads on the “hijacked” pages and participate in the business opportunity.
Staged also offer an automation service called “StageBot”. StageBot
scours the web for the hottest, most talked about videos and automatically creates and posts Custom-made Stages to your Social Media networks.
Staged do not disclose the cost of StageBot to the general public.
The Staged Compensation Plan
The Staged compensation plan revolves around recruiting paid affiliates and getting them to do the same.
Staged’s paid affiliate costs are $24.95 or $99.95 a month, with how much an affiliate chooses to pay directly effecting their income potential.
- Basic Affiliate membership ($24.95 a month) – $10 per recruited Basic Affiliate and $20 per recruited Premium Affiliate
- Premium Affiliate membership ($99.95 a month) – $10 per recruited Basic Affiliate and $50 per recruited Premium Affiliate
Staged use a 2-up compensation plan, which sees them “pass-up” commissions earnt to the affiliate who recruited them. In turn, affiliates they recruit must also pass-up commissions.
As an affiliate recruits to build their downline, they must pass up commissions generated on their 3rd and 5th recruit. They keep all other recruited affiliate commissions.
In turn, every affiliate they recruit passes up their 3rd and 5th recruited affiliate to them.
The one exception being Premium Affiliates who recruit Basic Affiliates. Premium Affiliates do not have to pass up recruited Basic Affiliates, they keep all of commissions generated.
Commissions passed up are the same as those quoted above, with Basic Affiliates and Premium Affiliate numbers counted separately.
Or in other words, for the purpose of calculating pass-ups, how many Basic Affiliates are recruited has no bearing on how many Premium Affiliates are recruited and vice-versa.
All commissions continued to be paid monthly as long as affiliate fees are paid.
A 20% Matching Bonus is available to Premium Affiliates.
This Matching Bonus pays out 20% of income generated by personally recruited affiliates (including those passed up).
Leadership Roll-Up Bonus
The Leadership Roll-Up Bonus accounts for the difference between $20 and $50 paid out on the recruitment of a Premium Affiliate.
If a Basic Affiliate recruits a Premium Affiliate, they receive $20 with the $30 paid to their upline if they are a Premium Affiliate. If the immediate upline isn’t a Premium Affiliate, then the system searches higher until one is found.
This Bonus is paid monthly as long as affiliate fees continue to be paid.
Although prices for StageBot are not provided, Staged do provide monthly commission amounts for StageBot Subscriptions purchased by personally recruited affiliates:
- StageBot 100 – $10
- StageBot 300 – $20
- StageBot 1000 – $40
Note that these commissions are only available to Premium Affiliates.
There are two affiliate membership options in Staged:
- Basic Affiliate membership is $24.95 a month
- Premium Affiliate membership is $99.95 a month
The main difference between the two memberships is income earning potential through the Staged compensation plan.
Embedding YouTube videos on a page saturated with trashy ads?
Like anyone, if someone in my social circles started spamming me silly video pages plastered with ads they’d soon find themselves blocked.
The platform itself is rather worthless, which is why Staged give it away for free. The ability to “monetize” the ads displayed on the page might be worth a little, but only if the people you’re spamming your video page links to are complete morons.
The real money in Staged is earnt via the recruitment of paid affiliates and their recruitment of paid affiliates and so on and so on.
All commissions via Staged’s 2-up compensation plan are paid out of affiliate membership fees, which rely on recruitment. As such, Staged the MLM business opportunity operates as a recruitment-driven pyramid scheme.
Affiliates sign up for either $29.95 or $99.95 a month and then get paid when they recruit others who do the same. The more an affiliate pays each month the higher their earning income potential, which adds an additional “pay to play” element to the scheme.
Quite obviously the objective is to have you sign up as a Premium Affiliate for $99.95 a month and recruit others at the same level. This is evidenced by the higher payouts and additional bonuses offered to Premium Affiliates, for doing nothing more than opting to paying $99.95 a month instead of $29.95 a month.
As with all pyramid schemes, once recruitment slows down and those at the bottom of the compensation plan are unable to find anyone to recruit, they stop paying their monthly fees.
When this happens, those above them stop earning their commissions and in turn stop paying their monthly fees too. This effect slowly trickles up the entire company until an irreversible collapse occurs.
One would have thought Haydn Stevenson might have learnt something from his experience trying to launch Funky Shark but evidently not. Different company and compensation plan, same recruitment-driven core.