Voltage Partners Review: Crowdsourced app ideas?
Voltage Partners operate in the mobile app MLM niche and list a Washington PO Box as a corporate address on their website.
Heading up Voltage Partners is CEO Gordon Comfort.
As per Comfort’s LinkedIn profile;
I am a motivated, highly educated, solutions-driven CEO with extensive experience over a broad spectrum of crossover industries.
I am an experienced presenter of concepts and ideas with the ability to break down complex topics into more manageable business terms. My education includes a Ph.D. in Business and Technology, an M.Ed., and from the beginning a B.A. in English.
Comfort doesn’t appear to have any MLM experience, with Voltage Partners appearing to be his first venture as an MLM corporate executive.
Prior to his position as an Assistant Principal, Comfort was appointed Principal in the Richland School District of Washington in 2007.
In 2011 Comfort resigned and was appointed CEO of Goodwill Industries of the Columbia.
According to their website, Goodwill Industries of the Columbia is an organization that provides
education, training, and employment services, all geared to help individuals overcome disabilities and other social disadvantages and to obtain independence and self-sufficiency through the power of work.
In mid 2015 Comfort ran a successful campaign for a position on the Richland School Board. His four-year term expires in 2019.
In December, 2015 Comfort resigned from Goodwill Industries of the Columbia. He assumed the role of CEO at Voltage Partners in January, 2016.
Read on for a full review of the Voltage Partners MLM opportunity.
The Voltage Partners Product Line
The concept behind Voltage Partners is that affiliates submit “high value” app ideas.
Voltage Partners review the idea and research it to determine if it’s market ready.
If they deem the app market ready, it enters a development process and is eventually released for sale.
One of the sale avenues is Voltage Partners’ “App Library”, which generates commissions for affiliates each time an app is sold to through it.
The Voltage Partners Compensation Plan
The Voltage Partners compensation plan pays affiliates to sell Voltage Partners apps, with residual commissions paid out via a binary structure.
If a Voltage Partners affiliate submits an app idea that is developed and then sold to the public, they earn a commission as the app generates revenue.
The specifics of how an affiliate earns commissions based on app revenue are yet to be disclosed.
Residual commissions in Voltage Partners are paid out 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):
Each level of the binary houses double the positions of the previous level, with positions filled via the recruitment of new Voltage Partners affiliates.
As new Voltage Partner affiliates are recruited, Group Volume (GV) is generated on both sides of the binary.
Each time 200 GV is matched on both sides of the binary, a $30 “cycle” commission is paid out.
Matched points are flushed with each cycle, with unused points on the stronger binary side carried over.
Each Voltage Partners affiliate is able to earn up to $25,000 a week in binary commissions.
Two qualify for binary commissions, a Voltage Partners affiliate must recruit and maintain at least two active affiliates. An active affiliate is one who is up to date with their affiliate fee payments.
A matching bonus is paid out on binary earnings by recruited affiliates, paid out down five levels of recruitment (unilevel):
- level 1 (personally recruited affiliates) – 20%
- levels 2 and 3 – 10%
- levels 4 and 5 – 5%
Pre-sell App Revenue
If Voltage Partners decides not to develop an app, the affiliate who submitted the idea is able to “pre-sell” the idea.
This involves raising funds, which Voltage Partners marketing material suggests will be sourced via an in-house crowdsourcing platform.
Global Development Pool
The Global Development Pool is a pool of revenue generated by Voltage Partners’ app library. This includes sales and in-app purchases.
The pool is shared out monthly among Voltage Partners affiliates who have paid their monthly affiliate fee.
Each month a Voltage Partner affiliate pays their monthly fee, they receive a point.
One point is equal to one share in the Global Development Pool, with points accumulated month to month.
Joining Voltage Partners
Affiliate membership with Voltage Partners have yet to be disclosed.
The company is currently in prelaunch, with affiliates urged to sign up for free. Voltage Partners marketing material however suggests affiliates will be required to pay a monthly fee.
An app development company without any app ideas?
That’s essentially what Voltage Partners is, with the company relying on affiliates to generate profitable app concepts.
The benefit of not having to pay to have an app developed is countered by sharing profits on successfully launched apps. That however is entirely dependent on the viability of affiliate submitted ideas.
The Voltage Partners compensation plan appears to have been designed with this in mind, as there’s an evident disconnect between the app side of the business and affiliate recruitment.
Unless I’m missing something, residual commissions in Voltage Partners are paid out on recruitment. I saw some fluff about “conducting interviews”, however that appears to be different wording for “recruiting affiliates”.
You interview a potential affiliate and so long as they have an app idea (or not, it doesn’t really matter), you recruit them and get paid.
With binary volume tied to affiliate recruitment, this creates chain-recruitment. To earn residual commissions in Voltage Partners, all you need to do is sign up, pay your affiliate fee and then focus on recruiting others who do the same.
Nothing is marketed to or sold to retail customers, creating a closed-loop of affiliate fees used to fund the MLM component of Voltage Partners’ compensation plan.
There are also potential securities offering issues with other components of the compensation plan.
The “Pre-sell App Revenue” component sees affiliates turn to other affiliates to generate revenue to develop an app. These are apps that Voltage Partners have turned down.
From a securities standpoint, you’ve got affiliates investing funds in the development of someone else’s idea, for the sole purpose of receiving passive income later down the track.
The Global Development Pool passively rewards Voltage Partners affiliates for doing nothing more than paying a monthly fee.
Each month an affiliate pays a fee, they earn a point, with points allocated a passive monthly value. The longer an affiliate continues to pay their monthly fee, the more points they accumulate which in turn corresponds to a larger share of passive monthly income.
Both examples above see Voltage Partners affiliates deposit funds on the expectation of receiving a share of future profits, generated passively by the work of others. Otherwise known as a “security”.
This is the sort of stuff you need to be registered with the SEC to offer, yet I found no information on the Voltage Partners website indicating the company was registered to offer securities in the US.
What’s worse is Voltage Partners appear to be aware of potential securities issues within their compensation plan.
In an official corporate Voltage Partners webinar uploaded to YouTube on April 12th, here’s how the Global Development Pool was described:
[48:52] I’ll be careful with the words I’m about to use… conceptually it would be like a dividend.
We don’t want to call it a dividend because it’s not an investment… but conceptually it’s certainly similar.
This is a clear example of pseudo-compliance.
You have an MLM company doing something they shouldn’t be, and rather than address the issue they instead decide to call it something else and hope for the best.
Historically the use of pseudo-compliance has not bode well for MLM companies that engage in the practice (Zeek Rewards and their “this is not an investment” daily ROI comes to mind).
Another potential hurdle Voltage Partners will have to overcome is the possibility that only affiliates will purchase their apps.
Rippln tried the whole app development thing and it didn’t end well. Granted Voltage Partners are crowdsourcing their app ideas, but ultimately it’s still the company deciding what apps get greenlit for development.
Time will tell whether Voltage Partners either redesign their compensation plan or register with the SEC to legitimize their securities offerings.
In the meantime, prospective affiliates need to weigh up how much Voltage Partners costs to get into and the risk of a regulatory shutdown.
Only problem though is the company hasn’t disclosed what it will cost each month to participate. In a rather slimy marketing move again reminiscent of Rippln, Voltage Partners are currently luring people to sign up with free prelaunch membership.
The official Voltage Partners launch has been announced for early May, pending compliance issues or anything else that might come up.
Should Voltage Partners update their compensation plan I’ll be sure to revisit this review. Until then, approach with caution.