Is Your Business Opportunity Program Legal?

Introduction To Business Opportunity Programs

Business Opportunity Programs have always been very popular with many people. They offer the ordinary person the chance to make money from home without the usual costs of setting up in business

There is usually very little if any stock to buy, no overheads much to speak of, no investment in publicity materials etc – all these services are provided free by the program owners. Typically an online opportunity program will provide participants with banners, text ads, email ads, ezine ads etc – even a full website, all completely free

The only cost involved is a small monthly membership fee – although even this can be avoided until you get used to the program, as many programs will allow you to join for free

Do These Programs Really Work?

The honest answer in brief is – some do: many don’t!!

The first question to consider is whether the program is in fact legal

Many people down through the years, that business opportunity programs have been around, have lost money – sometimes all their life savings. For this reason most governments in western countries have passed laws to outlaw most of the worst kind of these schemes, often referred to as “Ponzi” schemes

However the law is often openly ignored by many of the people running these business opportunity programs. Perhaps they did not take appropriate legal advise before starting the program, perhaps they were unaware that what they were doing was illegal – or maybe they just didn’t care. For some people as long as they are making money, they don’t care that other people are losing money!!

However the critical point to grasp is that “ignorance of the law is not an excuse”, and any one that promotes a trading scheme, as an affiliate, is just as guilty as the people that run the scheme. In general you should always do your homework on the business in question as most of these type of businesses will not survive very long

A Pyramid Matrix

A pyramid matrix simply means an arrangement where the number of people in each level of the pyramid gets bigger the further you go down. Generally the number of members will increase by a set multiplier e.g. you start with 5 people, each of these people refers 5 people, so on the second level or tier there are 25 people, being 5 X 5. As you go down each level of the matrix you multiply the members by 5 each time. So the next level will be 25 X 5 members which is 125

The problem with this arrangement – and the typical one with business opportunities – is that this rate of growth is unsustainable. You would very quickly need one million people and more to sustain this matrix. In fact by the time you got down to the 9th level of this matrix you would need nearly two million people in the scheme – and each of these two million people would each have to find 5 members, which would then push the membership to 10 million!!

The General Legal Rule

For these reasons laws have been introduced to protect the public from such un-viable schemes

The general rule is that it is illegal to encourage someone to pay money in joining or participating in a trading scheme, if the only or main purpose of the scheme is to encourage other people to pay money by way of joining or participating in a trading scheme e.g. you join a scheme and pay a membership fee of $9.99 – you earn this money back when you find 5 other people to pay their membership fee of $9.99

Anything that breaks this rule is almost certainly illegal – you would be well advised – however enticing the scheme sounds – to stay well clear of such arrangements

Many business opportunity programs break this rule because people join as free members and then must “upgrade” their membership in order to participate in the compensation plan. However they receive nothing of substantial or equivalent value to the membership fee being paid. In other words if you pay $9.99 per month and receive free “training”, a “free” website, free “support” via a forum etc – none of these things can be regarded as being of “substantial or equivalent” value

The law regards these schemes as an illegal unregistered lottery, and anyone who promotes such schemes is engaged in an illegal activity – certainly not a legitimate business!

Product Based Opportunities That Have A Network Aspect

The way to make such money type schemes legal, is to always ensure that people are receiving something of value for their membership fee e.g. some real product or service which could be bought by the general public

Product based opportunities are fully legal because people join for free as “distributors” and can sell a range of products and earn a commission, based on the sales they generate. There may be an additional “add-on” network aspect, which may require the payment of a monthly fee. This payment is fine, so long as there is something of value provided for the payment, and so long as making the payment is not compulsory

Because product based opportunities are nearly always legal – providing there is a “join for free” option, then you can always have confidence that such businesses, based on selling a product or range of products, is a viable opportunity and will almost certainly last into the future

What Qualifies As A Product?

You need to be clear what is meant by a product

In general we are talking about a real physical product such as slimming pills, ski jacket, health drink, bedside clock, perfume etc. If the main purpose of the business is to sell the product – even if there is some additional network aspect, then you are generally on firm ground

The Network

We have mentioned the phrase “the network aspect” we need to be clear what is meant by this. We do not mean a standard pyramid matrix. The idea of network marketing is to allow for a system of network distribution – so that each member in the organization sells a small amount of product per month, but altogether this amounts to a much larger total value. However there is no requirement for people to participate in building a network if they do not wish to – they can just sell the products for their standard commission. Such a system will produce far greater group sales than the same number of people just paying a monthly membership fee.

Imagine if I have 100 people in my network all selling just $50 of product a month. That amounts to total sales for the group of $5,000 per month. But if those 100 people just paid a membership fee of $9.99 per month, the total revenue would be only $999. In addition, as each of those 100 people would be receiving a commission cheque for their $50 worth of sales, they would be much more likely to continue with the business, as compared to simply “losing” a membership fee of $9.99 with no commissions for their trouble

Conclusion

Be very careful about business opportunity programs. Product based opportunities work very well via a system of network distribution. However if there is no product of any significance, and you only make money by getting other people to pay a membership fee, then this scheme is very unlikely to pay you any money ever. With a product based opportunity you can sell real products and collect a trade commission even as a free member. As a result the business is viable and a network can be built up into a significant monthly income

Five Things Women Are Doing With a Fake One Million Dollar Bill – It’s Not What You Think

Everyone dreams of having a million dollars and now they can — even if it is fake.

There are several businesses today that print fake money and sell them as novelty items — and you don’t have to don’t worry about whether they’re legal or not.

The Federal Reserve has officially declared that fake million dollar bills are legal to print, legal to sell and legal to own. They have also declared that the bills are not counterfeit because the US government never printed one.

The novelty bills being produced today look very much like real money. If anyone made a $20 bill or a $100 bill that looked that real, they would be in real trouble.

The real news is that women are making the most use of these fake bills and leaving men in the dust.

Five things women are doing with a million dollar bill to enrich their lives and increase their income

  • Attract the opposite sex: Women write their phone number on one and know it won’t be lost. Also, they’ve found that it’s a great way to start a conversation.
  • Trade show give-aways: Women hand them out and really draw a crowd to their booths. One women opened a briefcase full of the fake bills and the crowd at her booth blocked the aisle.
  • eBay: Many women include one with ever eBay shipment. Women say it’s easy to make customers happy when you include a little something extra with each eBay shipment.
  • Women in sales use use them to get past the gate-keeper: Women open a briefcase full of the fake bills and they get in to see the person in charge in a heartbeat. When the gate-keeper tells the boss that some woman with a briefcase full of money wants to see him, even corporate CEOs come out of hiding.
  • To say “Thanks a Million”: Women are mailing or handing their customers one of the bills and saying, “Thanks a million” and they’re doing this in all kinds of situations.

Bottom line: You can’t own a real million dollar bill, but you can use novelty fake ones to get you closer to making a million dollars and you can greatly enrich your life in the process. I don’t know why, but men are not taking advantage of this opportunity the way women are.

Pre-Paid Legal and the Blastoff Network, the Viral Marketing Connection?

The New Strategic Alliance?

The value in giving Pre-Paid Legal’s 400 thousand independent reps a 4-week jumpstart on the launch of the new Blastoff Network should be obvious to all. The bigger question is will Pre-Paid benefit in any significant way from their new partnership with Blastoff?

Let’s Start With A Brief Review Of Prepaid Legal Services, Inc.

Prepaid Legal Services, Inc is the brainchild of Harland Stonecipher who founded the company back in 1972 after a devastating automobile accident that occurred in 1969 left him with huge legal fees when the person responsible for the accident had the audacity to sue him!

Having medical and automobile insurance cushioned the impact of those expenses however the ensuing legal litigation in which Stonecipher prevailed, still left him near penniless and looking for some way to mitigate any possibility of future legal expenses for himself and others.

The pre-eminent provider of legal expense plans in the country with upwards of 1.5 million members, Prepaid Legal is a New York Stock Exchange listed company and boasts a sales force of more than 400,000 independent representatives who market its various legal expense plans and identity theft program through a multi-level marketing program.

What is it that attracted a solid and stalwart legal services company like PrePaid Legal to want to join forces with the equivalent to a home shopping network on the internet?

Let’s Look At The Blastoff Network

Blastoff comes to us from William Rodgers and his two partners Scott Berman & Adam Smith. It is the intention of the Blastoff Network to merge online shopping with such big brand names as iTunes, The Gap, WalMart, Target and as many as 400 more online retailers with a cashback or rebate online shopping experience. Consumers are encouraged to sign up with Blastoff for free and invite others to do the same. This network will then pay members overrides on other’s purchases.

Harland Stonecipher of Prepaid Legal is paraphrased here as stating that he sees the integration of a rewards-based program with the viral marketing potential of Blastoff combined with the 400,000 independent sales reps of Prepaid Legal makes for a combination offering significant opportunity for all concerned.

Pre-Paid Legal will be the only Network Marketing/MLM Company to be part of the Blastoff network and Pre-Paid and its legal services membership plan will be prominently featured with a link on the Blastoff home page.

How Much Does Prepaid Legal Stand To Gain?

It makes sense that both companies have the potential for significant market exposure as a result of the others marketing strategies. Combining direct sales with a viral marketing strategy could be all it takes to push Prepaid’s membership totals beyond the 2 million member mark! Only time will tell though!

But will that exposure be enough to energize the 400,000 member sales force of Pre-Paid Legal to further push sales of the legal membership beyond the 1.5 million member mark? We’ll see! After all, it is all about exposure! Whoever can deliver their product to greatest number of consumers at the least cost wins! And Pre-Paid just might be a big winner in this game but only if its sales force is motivated enough to push existing sales way beyond where they are now, namely the 1.5 million member mark! Time will tell!

A Financial Windfall For Prepaid Legal Reps?

I guess what all the associates with PrePaid need to be asking is whether or not they will be able to create an income stream from Blastoff without any significant effort or involvement on their part?

The real money will be made by savvy Prepaid Legal representatives who take advantage of the Blastoff website to drive traffic to it with the idea of exposing someone new to the PPL membership link and then following up with them to get them signed up as a new member. As always, the fortune is still in the followup!

Ahhhh, The Effects Of Viral Marketing…My Favorite Subject!

Since Network Marketing is already a form of viral marketing, will the addition of Social Media sites and hyped-up headlines likely increase the effects of viral marketing? Suggesting that Blastoff will be the biggest thing to ever hit the internet is not likely to accomplish that goal. What it is likely to do is to create skepticism in folks like you and me!