Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Empower Network Refund

I've provided the answer to two questions today. 'Does EN have a refund policy?' and 'How to cancel your EN account'. Please also read Why I Quit Empower Network, my original post.

Empower Network has an ironclad no refund policy period. If you've spent your money it's gone.

How to Cancel Empower Network

If you are frustrated with Empower Network and want to cancel but can't seem to find out how to do it, this is what I did.

I quit EN back in 2012 so their documentation may have changed. It's always good to thoroughly check documentation to see if it provides cancel instructions.

Otherwise if you can't find any instructions you must submit a ticket. I suggest you label it urgent.  If you want everything closed you have to ask for it. If you say cancel my blog that's all they will do. You must ask to cancel blog, e-wallet, and EN account.

For those you have provided personal details in their e-wallet like credit cards or banking information I suggest you be smart and delete this information yourself before you ask for a cancel of your service. This is the one thing I had control over when I was a member. This hopefully ensures they don't have any of your personal details. This is simple best practice for anyone providing their financial info online. Delete it if you can, then ask for a cancel of all specific services.

It took me about 10 days to get everything resolved, so I don't know if their customer support has changed, but you might be waiting. Best of luck to you.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Why I Quit Empower Network

I recently quit Empower Network for several reasons which I'd like to share with others looking into this MLM network. I should be clear that this blog post is me sharing my own candid thoughts and experience, and hasn't been posted to persuade anyone from joining or leaving the Empower Network, nor to gain anyone's nod of approval or disapproval. I'm a professional writer/researcher, Internet marketer and also work managing web development projects for international clients. Consider my Empower Network Review however, do your research and make up your own mind.

I've noticed that the term "Empower Network Scam" has been sucked out of the cyber-sphere by ENers peddling their asses off, to market EN to anyone interested in asking legitimate questions about Empower Network - the results of the HYPE that David Wood and David Sharpe are constantly churning into their eager minds. They aren't offering anything new in terms of Internet Marketing or any type of Network Marketing for that matter, they just happen to be the latest flavor of the week, and they live in alluring Costa Rica.

This is what the Empower Network system is in a 5 step nutshell:
  1. You pay someone you signed up under, $25 a month to join the Network. This could be anyone who is part of the Network who joined under someone else. This gives you a Wordpress.com blog and freedom to listen to their "audio training" which consists of webinars they do. I'd prefer to call this programming or conditioning, but consider that we are exposed to conditioning every time we turn on a TV. We are use to being passively programmed and many people prefer conditioning to thinking. You can't add SEO plugins or other plugins to your $25-a-month blog, so you will do better with this really, really basic blog if you understand keyword ranking and placement and the basics of on-page search engine optimization. But this is never mentioned. Instead your $25 dollar entry level Training Manual largely only describes how to set up your merchant account if you want to join their Affiliate program, and then urges you to commit to 100 days of blogging every day, but provides no training in marketing at all. You can bump up to the $100 a month recurring membership level - one step closer to the "Inner Circle" (hook-you-in terminology they use regularly) - that provides some basic marketing training apparently. They seem to be appealing to newbies that haven't got a clue. Anyone can learn about the standard internet marketing strategies they promulgate from their Inner Circle, by simply reading a book or consulting reputable online resources. THERE ARE NO SECRETS FOLKS. The Empower Network founders rely on the power and psychology of "membership" alone to make money and they do everything to increase that membership. They tell users to use "blog tags" to help search engines understand their articles and that tags are covered in greater depth in the "$15,000 formula", one of their other Training packages. They mention nothing about important tags used for SEO like header tags, meta tags or alt tags, that actually speak to search engines. I guess that's one of the INSIDER SECRETS of the INNER CIRCLE. Clearly the content comprehension level is very, very, very low. I was snoozing out quickly.
  2. Your new membership of $25 a month DOES NOT GIVE YOU 100% COMMISSIONS. To join their Affiliate Program that offers 100% commissions is another $20 a month, something you learn once you sign-up and they have your first recurring $25 membership fee, that is secured under an ironclad no refund policy. So that's a total of $45 a month going out in exchange for promises of great things if you make the crucial commitment to blog every single day. If you know something about advertising and online & offline marketing you'll likely recover the $45 fairly easily.
  3. They encourage you to spend at least one hour a day on marketing and encourage you to invest at least 20% of your EN profits back into the Network in some way, be it for advertising or buying their business training packages. But they tell you nothing about marketing online or offline for $25 a month.  Business Training is what they sell, thus the use of INNER CIRCLE psychology to get you to buy the training. Like Facebook they wouldn't exist without people signing up for $25 to join the network. There is a reason Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in the US and it's not because he created a cool social network, it's because of the marketing leverage created by over 500,000 million Facebook users. The business training "Inner Circle" packages are accessed by paying one time fees ranging from around $500 to in excess of $1000. per package. As an Affiliate you can sell these packages for 100% commissions. This is their top selling point - 100% commissions, and brings in the herds for that one point alone. But I'd have to stress they aren't selling anything new. If you feel good about buying and selling internet marketing information packaged as INNER CIRCLE training, well this is the place for you. Spend some time at the library and you'll probably learn more about marketing online and offline. In fact everything they sell can be learned online for free, but they seem to be appealing to the unmotivated thinker who wants lots of money, while understanding as little as is required about actual marketing. You can't blame people for not having a knack for or interest in the nuts and bolts of internet marketing, while simultaneously wanting to get rich. But you can herd them!
  4. They also tell you to commit to read everyday, and strongly urge you to attend all in-person out-of-pocket events and listen to their audio (hype) training. These audio sessions I found particularly dreary and include tear-jerker testimonials, personal stories and a lot of motivational speaking to keep you hyped up like they are. In fact David & David remind me of preachers. This is heaven for the follower, those that like the latest frenzied marketing craze and those with no experience. 
  5. They host live events around the US mostly. This includes months of hype leading up to the event, hype that's emailed to you constantly, while they tell you not to be a "Wussy" by not attending the next $1000 a seat event (you also pay to get there and for your own accomodation) but hey, some people seem to like that type of thing. These guys could have been evangelists.
It's clear to me at least that David & David are counting on a few thing to succeed. So far these things seem to be working for them. Assumed "constants" or "predictors" for this Network to succeed include:
  • Relying on using existing business and marketing ideas, psychology, strategies and hype that others have used to create wealth (nothing new here)
  • Tapping into our existing collectivist mindset, conditioned by modern day media and social media. Just join and then get others to join. Join us and then join us some more, and we'll all be one big nauseating Inner Circle family
  • That there are plenty of newbie, or wannabee internet fortune seekers
  • That newbies don't have a clue about marketing and are thus easily persuaded by cool looking dudes that have a lot of money. It's an easy sell nowadays
  • The unemployment rate is staggeringly high in the US and in Europe and many people are looking for a way to make money online as a result
  • That the art of persuasion works 
  • That people are stupid. This is immediately evident in the EN literature that expects an extremely low comprehension level
  • That people are accustomed to following others and not thinking for themselves
  • That we can assume people don't understand search engine marketing and don't have the brains to learn it on their own 
  • That any type of marketing is just too difficult or complex to understand by the ordinary person, so we need special Inner Circle training, that makes us feel special, to lay it out for us in layman's terms
  • That the art of psychological marketing works on seeking minds, using old tried and true terms like "Inner Circle" or "Secret"
  • That personal testimonies, and tear-jerker stories are good selling tools. Tapping into people's emotions makes money. It's been used on TV for decades to sell, so we're familiar with this type of psychological manipulation
  • Promoting an elitest mindset of we're IN and your obviously OUT, is only a marketing strategy to grow the Network, nothing new. It's strange that we still so easily buy into this mentality however. Everyone still wants to be "IN". This could be likened to cult mentality - don't think about anything, just give us your money, blog every day, do what we tell you to do and we'll do the rest. Listen to us, listen to us every single day. A somewhat fascist approach me thinks? But hey, that approach seems to be becoming more popular these days, especially with governments. Yes I'm being facetious, no pun intended.
  • That people are lazy and don't have the drive to learn about online marketing. Just buy their system and they're in control, while they stress that you just have to blog every day and eventually you'll get rich like them 
  • That in unstable economic times people are in a place of grasping for a money stream
  • Preaching to people to break free from the "Evil System" or fight the "Evil System" and be financially independent. That's a pretty easy sell now-a-days, but it's a very scammy marketing language position to take, in appealing to the masses to join them against EVIL. The monetary system we live in, as it is, is somewhat evil and people know it. Corruption is everywhere and millions are without work around the world. So they appeal to people's frustration to fight the system and join them. Start a revolution. Fight back. It seems to be working for them. You know what they say about opportunity
  • Sadly David Wood also mentions brainwashing and hypnotism as valid marketing ideologies 
  • Badgering or berating those that don't join and follow along, or can't afford to attend events, which they gladly do on a regular basis, is no different from school yard bully's who rule the playground through intimidation
  • They can still sell the dying American Dream to many still willing to do anything to achieve it. The image of the perfect life, like the one they have in Costa Rica. That great exogenic journey to spiritual emptiness, that really took off in the 80's. IMAGE is powerful, but not necessarily terribly satisfying.
Some points on my experience in Empower Network:
  • I unfortunately was stuck between a sponsor and then the next person in the network who both just wanted to sell me their stuff or partner with me to sell their stuff. I've been marketing online for about 5 years and know how to say "I'm not interested". I'd email them and they'd email back saying - "call me". One guy got really irritated with me because I hadn't responded to his constant alerts to join him on a videochat platform. Boy, did I have a good chuckle over that. He called me and managed to reach me at work and vented his frustration with me. I guess he imagined I was just sitting around doing nothing better. What a lark! There wasn't much useful, open or honest communication with the people around me, something the Empower Network seems to lack. Networking is not the same as open communication, but openness isn't something the Empower Network has said that it's peddling.
  • The customer service wasn't good. It took 4 days to get a response to a ticket I submitted labelled "urgent" never mind how long the issue took to resolve. Yet at the same time I continued to get daily warning messages about the issue I was trying to resolve, which seemed like the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing.
  • User control over your personal information is limited to non-existent. You can't close your e-Wallet. The e-Wallet contains your credit card or banking information if you choose to provide it, your address, phone number and email. You can delete and add credit cards and banking information however. You can't cancel your Affiliate membership, which only allows credit card signup. So once you've signed up you have no control over the credit card information you provided to signup and you can't cancel the subscription. You can't delete your blog. You can't cancel your $25 membership unless you use Paypal or another payment platform which provides control over your own payment agreements. 
  • I resorted to submitting a ticket labelled "urgent" to cancel my $25 membership, but that didn't mean the rest was cancelled. I had to submit a separate ticket to cancel the Affiliate membership and told them to close everything including the e-Wallet, the blog and the sign-in dashboard which contains personal information. All this took over 10 days to resolve. There is NO DOCUMENTATION on the support documentation page about  how to cancel anything. 
  • After the last ticket I submitted asking them to close and cancel everything, they didn't confirm that everything was cancelled they just cancelled everything without emailing to let me know that the request was complete. Not good customer service, but like I said they aren't peddling openness nor setting themselves up as leaders and examples of good communication. They'll lead all right, but only in so far as it benefits the network in making more money. It's a ride and they're taking it as far as it will go
People make money with Empower Network. Is it MLM or a Pyramid Scheme? - yes it is 100%, safely based in Costa Rica (MLM is banned in some countries). If you're a joiner and like to feel like you're huddling with what appear to be industry insiders, well I guess at the moment the Empower Network can accommodate your needs. If you're free thinking, understand you're way around in the online marketing world, you can still work this system to make money, if you can tolerate the copious amount of verbal diarrhea both Dave & Dave seem to possess in spades. My bullshit meter for the Founders and the people you encounter in this Network, couldn't take it anymore, given what I know about online marketing.

Thanks for reading my Empower Network Review. So, can you call me a revealer of the Empower Network Scam? You decide. Please share your experience here as well. Thanks for your comments.