Last week Jeff Babener, like Kevin Thompson before him, wrote a great analysis on the Burn Lounge decision handed out by the 9th Circuit. I believe there is much to be learned fro this decision no matter how one views network marketing if they are willing to study the courts decision.
BurnLounge Appeal Decision:
Guidance on Pyramid v. Legitimate MLM and the Role of Personal Use in Pyramid Analysis
Not since Zeek Rewards, have I received so many emails, private messages and phone calls about what is being hailed as “The Greatest Shift In Network Marketing History!” Well… I am not sure about all that, but I do know a little about the “secret” behind RippLn and betting involved in the Ripple. I have reached out to Brian Underwood the creative mind and CEO behind RippLn. As you can guess launching a company is a huge task, and we were not able to connect this week. So when he gets time we will do the interview and cover some of the questions I can’t answer at this time. I will also include to opposing reviews on RippLn at the bottom of this Prospective to give those who are Getting To RippLn, and starting their Ripple a balanced review of the pros and cons from experts on the outside of things.
Editors 04/24/2013 Update: Another Well Respected Tech Critic, Chris Voss has concerned about RippLn.
RECOGNIZED SOCIAL MEDIA LEADER BY FORBES, CNN, HUFFINGTON POST, ALLTOP AND OTHERS, CHRIS VOSS IS CEO OF STRATEGIX ONE CONSULTING. HE SHARES OVER 20 PLUS YEARS OF EXPERIENCE AS A SERIAL ENTREPRENEUR OF SUCCESSFUL COMPANIES IN VARIOUS FIELDS OF BUSINESS AND MARKETING.
So, what is the basis of RippLn? Basically it covers three major trends… Gamification, Social Networking and Mobile Connections. Most folks fully understand social networking and mobile connections, but Gamification is not something most folks have heard of or fully understand.
I receive solicitations for various joint ventures, affiliate partnerships and network marketing opportunities on a weekly basis. I was recently approached by several people who wanted to share the “next big thing” with me.
This time, with all the hype that could be mustered, I was introduced to Rippln, a new mobile app that promises to change the app world forever.
If you haven’t heard about Rippln yet, I assure you that you soon will.
I’ve had an opportunity to evaluate the opportunity and I want to share my initial reaction with you.
There’s no doubt that mobile is the future. With hundreds of millions of smartphones on the market, we have all become accustomed to checking email, surfing the web, texting, video-chatting, playing games and buying all variety of applications for our mobile devices.
It was just a matter of time before someone would devise a plan to infiltrate the app marketing by providing an incentive for people to download and use an application. The incentive? Money, of course.
The premise is that when we find an app we like, we share it with friends and family members without any compensation. Rippln believes we should be compensated for our referrals. (Read the full article by clicking here…)
Now let’s take a look at what one critical expert has to say about the RippLn Mobile Income Opportunity
I’ve seen Rippln being marketed as a mobile app social network, which I’m assuming is based on Rippln affiliates being able to communicate with eachother via the app.
Social networks and MLM are nothing new and as usual Rippln marketing material focuses heavily on Facebook, Twitter, Angry Birds and other succesful internet properties, asking the question “why aren’t users paid to promote them?”
The key ingredient with each internet property mentioned however is the idea behind it. A key ingredient Rippln is missing.
Facebook, Twitter et al. were all heavily promoted and shared by users because of the idea and service they provided. Rippln ditch the ideas that made all of those companies succesful and simply seek to pay people to promote Rippln itself.
Let’s face it, in the year 2013 a social app that displays advertising and affiliate deals is hardly something to write home about.
Without an idea or service however, all that’s left is affiliates promoting the opportunity itself. And naturally, the Rippln compensation plan leads into that.
Recruit free affiliates and earn commissions and become a “Player”. Then, somehow become either a Global or Domestic affiliate.
Recruit enough free affiliates who then also opt to upgrade or qualify as Global or Domestic affiliates and this “core strategy”, Rippln tell you in their marketing videos, is all that’s required to be a succesful with the company.
The key piece of information left out of the puzzle is exactly what it costs or what is required to become a Domestic or Global affiliate.
Looking at the $80 and $240 commissions paid out, along with matching bonuses I’m going to guess there’s a monthly or one-time fee involved.
The fact that Rippln do not disclose this key information is a serious red flag that should not be ignored.
Most likely the reason this key information isn’t disclosed is that Rippln are attempting to run a “stealth” viral campaign to attract as many people to the opportunity as possible. They’ve apparently even gone so far as to have everyone in the Rippln “inner-circle” sign an NDA.
At the time of publication of this review, Rippln has threatened to terminate any affiliate caught discussing or promoting Rippln using the information from their inner-circle (specifics about the compensation plan, including Domestic and Global affiliate qualification), until CEO Brian Underwood gives the go-ahead.
One can only assume given the lengths Rippln have gone to keep this information under wraps, that it isn’t going to be all that attractive to the end-user.
Best case scenario I imagine that if affiliates have to buy Domestic or Global affiliate status you’d be looking at something just over $80 for Domestic and around $250 for Global (I can’t see it being much higher than that).
If it’s a qualification process then expect to have to recruit a boat load of Player affiliates (free affiliates who have recruited at least 5 new free affiliates).
That $240 and $80 Coaching Bonus has to come from somewhere and it’s not via use of the Rippln app.
Naturally requiring affiliates to buy into the compensation plan would be a red flag as Rippln’s app could simply be ignored, leaving affiliates generating commissions solely on the recruitment of new affiliates.
That said, even if they didn’t have to pay a fee of some sort, with the app being given away for free and Rippln themselves seeming to offer nothing at a retail level (giving something away is not retail), there’s still a question mark over the legitimacy of the program, at least from an MLM business opportunity standpoint.
CEO Brian Underwood’s involvement in various MLM schemes of dubious reputation and legal status certainly don’t inspire any confidence on the subject. Nor do Rippln themselves when they constantly refer to their MLM opportunity as a “game” which affiliates “play” in their official marketing material.
At the end of the day this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a social concept paired with MLM and to date every single one of them has failed to gain any traction. The last social network MLM that went high-profile (and also pulled a silly viral pre-launch campaign) wasWazzub.