More on Why ShopToEarn Sucks (And So Do MyPowerMall and TeamNational)

Online shopping multi-level marketing companies (MLMs) aren’t new. My Power Mall (MPM) has been around for a while, Team National has been in the mix too, and now Shop to Earn has popped up and is being aggressively marketed by its members.

My bottom line on all of these companies: Don’t waste your time or money. You can find better deals on your purchases outside their systems. And the systems are really nothing more than typical MLM recruiting schemes. Shopping is not the objective, recruiting is. Let me explain these programs to you…

The guy who started the ShopToEarn, Patrick Welsh, supposedly spent 10 years planning it. Any business professional worth their salt knows there’s something desperately wrong with spending ten years setting up a company, but who are we to judge? Here’s what the site says:

Pat has spent the last 10 years creating and developing this ShopToEarn platform that couples networking and e-commerce. By forming partnerships with the biggest names in retail while seeking out positive partnerships with the finest green companies, our mission of helping people become healthier and wealthier is being realized by many.

The concept of this program seems simple enough: Get money back on items you’re already going to shop for. Except there are already programs out there that offer this, and there’s no fee to sign up. For example, a site called Jellyfish rebates part of every purchase you make through the site. No fees. No catches. No recruiting.

What does it cost you to become a part of ShopToEarn? To become a “website owner” it’s $349, or to become just a “business builder” it’s $99. To become a “broker” which is a website owner and business builder, it’s $448. There is also an annual renewal fee that is charged, which is $69 for a website owner or business builder, or $119 for a broker.

How does ShopToEarn work? Basically the site is a huge collection of affiliate links owned by Shop to Earn. When you want to buy something, you click on an icon, which takes you to the particular retailer’s site. Shop to Earn is paid a commission each time you shop using those links to the retailers, and you are given part of that money.

You can see that all the icons are affiliate links just by holding your mouse over them and looking at the URL you’re going to be clicking on:

  • click.linksynergy.com.*****
  • www.jdoqocy.com/********
  • tkqlhce.com/******

Most of these affiliate links offer payments in the range of 1% to 10% of purchases, with the most typical payments being 2% to 4%. The company says you can make up to 30% back, but those payouts don’t occur often. Sometimes bonuses or volume incentives are offered by the retailers.

But under the best case scenario, the “owner” of a ShoptoEarn store could get a little more than half of that affiliate money. And that’s only if you max out every possible commission and bonus, and meet the rules of the complicated commission pay plan. I bet your actual payout will be much less if you’re like about 90% of the people involved.

Who will make money from ShopToEarn? How many people do you suppose will even make their initial investment back from shopping? Even if you were to make 5% back on your purchases, you’d have to purchase $9,000 of merchandise to even earn back your initial investment of $450. And I’m not even convinced that most people are even making an average of 5%.

Those figures demonstrate that without recruiting new people into the company, the average consumer is probably unlikely to make their initial investment back.

 

Could you do this without Shop To Earn? Absolutely. You could earn affiliate money with almost all of the retailers featured on their site, and you would keep all the money. You could do this on your own, and for only the cost of web hosting.

These affiliate links aren’t hard to get. All you need is a website. You sign up with LinkShare or CommissionJunction or Performics (now ConnectCommerce via Google), and voila… you have access to the exact same retailers. I have accounts with all these companies, and therefore have access to the exact same retailers that ShoptoEarn does. Except I get to keep all the money. (Hmmmmm… wanna sign up with me? I’ll only charge you $350… Just kidding!)

Is it about shopping or recruiting? The truth with this company, like all other MLMs out there, is that the purpose is not really to get you to shop online. It’s not about the product or service they pretend to sell.

The purpose (in my opinion) is to continuously recruit new marks into the scheme. They’re each paying about $450 to sign up for the opportunity to receive money back when they shop online. And you’re going to get a piece of that when you sponsor people into the scheme.

The actual money to be made from shopping is very little. The affiliate payments aren’t huge, so it only stands to reason that the portion of the affiliate money paid to members is even smaller. Unless you recruit a bunch of people in, you will probably never make much.

The die hard MLM fans will say, “Of course you have to work hard and recruit. It’s a business. Go out there and sell it!”

Except who wants to sell a recruiting scheme, disguised as an online shopping mall? Do you want to lie to your potential recruits each time you tell them it’s all about shopping from their own store? It’s not about shopping, in my opinion. It’s about recruiting. Every MLM is not about the product or service. It’s really about recruiting new marks to the scheme.

Is it a pyramid scheme? People pay a fee to become a member of the scheme, hoping that they can recoup their money by recruiting more members who also pay fees to join the scheme. When you recruit a downline, the structure sure looks like a pyramid to me.

This recruiting goes on continuously, and the bottom of the pyramid is ever-expanding. The people at the bottom can only hope that they can find enough new marks to recoup their original investment. Check out this graphic from the company itself, and see if you think it looks like a pyramid or not.

Now the company and its representatives will tell you that they’re not a pyramid scheme, and that pyramid schemes are illegal. Pyramid schemes are illegal. And MLM companies like Shop to Earn use the guise of a product or service to make it appear that they’re legitimate. After all, a pure pyramid scheme just exchanges money. If an MLM injects a product or service into the mix (no matter how undesirable or worthless that product), they have just legitimized their operation.

Is this a new idea? The idea of buying items “from yourself” and getting a piece of the action is not new. This has been one of the main principles in Amway (Quixtar) forever. Go to any indoctrinated Amway person’s house, and you’ll see all of their products being used in the kitchen and basement and bathrooms.

And they’ll tell you, “I’m going to use cleaning products anyway, so I might as well buy them from myself and make some money along the way.” Why add to the profits of Wal-Mart, when you can profit for yourself?

Except it’s really no bargain to shop from yourself if you don’t have a chance to find the absolute best price on the internet. If you’re limited to a finite number of retailers, you’re probably paying more for your items than you really need to. So where’s the profit if you’re overpaying or not getting the specific brands or items you’d prefer?

Isn’t this an inexpensive way to be able to start my own business? Ummmm, no. You don’t really own a business when you sign up with ShoptoEarn. Heck, you don’t own anything with them, other than your login and password. You can build a downline, but you don’t own them either. The company really owns them, and you operate as long as they allow you to. When the company goes away, so does your “business.”

Don’t I earn commissions from purchases by my downline? Yes, you can get commissions and bonuses, but as with any MLM, there are lots of catches and confusing details to the pay plan. As with all MLMs, you must “qualify” to get commissions. You don’t just get them automatically when someone you recruited buys something. You initially need 3 recruits to purchase the website owner option and generate $100 of “monthly volume” to even qualify to get a commission.

Then there are the complicated bonuses that you could get depending on your number of recruits and and their purchases. Check out these two illustrations of the commission structure here and here.

But I know someone who made $10,000 last month with STE!!! Yes, claims of huge earnings with MLM companies are normal. That’s how they entice you into the scheme. Sometimes these earnings are real. But the people getting the big checks are far less than 1% of all the people involved in the scheme, and that check has been generated based upon massive recruiting of new marks.

Your chances of making that much money are slim to none. And the claims that all you have to do is work hard and you’ll make that much money too? Hogwash.

There are millions of Americans who have invested significant time and money into MLM ventures and have lost money because of them. Your odds of success in an MLM are extremely low, and unlike real businesses, your hard work isn’t a good predictor of how much money you’ll make.

MLM recruiters tell you those people failed because they were lazy, didn’t want to work hard, didn’t really want to make any money, or just wanted a get-rich-quick scheme. Those are nice phrases to explain away the high failure rates in multi-level marketing schemes, but they’re just not true. The truth is that the structure of MLMs ensures that the vast majority of people will fail to turn a profit.

What other problems are inherent with ShopToEarn? The prices of the products through these online shopping malls are said to be higher than with other retailers. I don’t know how true this is, but I do know that you’re limited in what retailers you can buy from. It’s not like ShoptoEarn is a free-for-all and you get money no matter where you shop.

There are only certain stores (a lot of them, yes) but not every major store. And remember that the retailers themselves have to make money and might be pricing items a bit higher to cover this affiliate commission that they pay.

Another problem I see is that membership in a program might encourage people to buy things they otherwise wouldn’t. Oh, I know it’s all about self-control and stuff. I’m just saying that you might be tempted to spend more than you otherwise would because it seems like a good deal.

And as always, shipping charges can be a problem when shopping online. It’s important to factor that into the purchase. There are plenty of times when the shipping charges more than cancel out your commission on the purchase, so it’s not worth it.

What about the other companies that offer these shopping programs? MyPowerMall initially looks like a better option than ShoptoEarn because there is no sign-up fee. However, there is a catch, of course. You must buy at least one thing a month to keep your store with MyPowerMall.They cleverly call this program “One Thing.” If you don’t make a purchase during a month, you lose your store. (Well, the owner of the company gets your store and anyone who thought they were shopping with you is now shopping with her!)

Team National uses a similar concept as Shop To Earn and My Power Mall, but it is much more expensive to sign up. Depending on who you believe, the TN membership costs between $795 and $2,195. They call what you’re “buying” a “benefits package.” Apparently jewelry and insurance are some of the more prominent offerings of TeamNational, but there are other things available as well.

It’s going to take a lot of recruiting and buying to earn your money back with Team National. And as with the other shopping sites, consumers often find that they can get better deals elsewhere on their purchases, so they’d actually be losing money if they bought via TeamNational.

What’s the bottom line? In my opinion, ShopToEarn, MyPowerMall, and TeamNational are a waste of time and money. You’re not really building a business with them, you’re just participating in a grand scheme to recruit as many new victims as possible. The amount of money you’ll save by shopping through these sites is questionable at best, and in many cases, I think you’ll actually lose money. Avoid these companies like the plague.

Note to promoters of these schemes: You will not be allowed to offer your services here. Don’t link to your site or ask for people to contact you. If you do, your comment will be deleted. This site is not a place for you to advertise your scam.

Similar Posts:

120 Comments

  • Tsu Dho Nimh says:
    12 July 2008

    Who will make money from ShopToEarn? Well DUH!!!! They guy who founded it will. And that’s all that counts!

    It’s easier to scam ten thousand people out of $100 each than to scam on person out of a million. And the jail time is a lot less.

  • shop to earn member says:
    14 July 2008

    It’s always funny to find a person who is not involved with shop to earn but will waste hours of his time typing this nonsense up. Just because my time is WAY more valuable than his i will just point out a few things… You shop through your website with retailers on shop to earn. You go to the actual website of the retailer and buy just like everyone else on the internet(SAME PRICES. SAME SALES, ETC). They are NOT charging you more to make up for the X% that you are getting back at the end of the month. If the retailer has free shipping, which alot of them do, it’s FREE SHIPPING. And if you’re concerned when an online retailer charges you $5.00 for shipping, jump in your car and go to the store and unless you’re driving a scooter, you’ll spend that much in gas backing out of your driveway.
    PLEASE don’t compare this company to MLM companies where you have to buy their products and then try to sell them to someone else. THIS IS NOT THE CASE with shop to earn. Quite honestly, i always shopped on line, so I was immediately drawn to the concept of getting money back on all of my purchases. The opportunity to invest only $448 and have my own business and website complete with a free back office and NO OVERHEAD just made TOO much sense not to do it. And YES, getting other people to join and get their own websites is also part of the business model. But guess what, 90 percent of the people that joined under me have been calling me to thank me for introducing this to them.

  • a new mark says:
    17 July 2008

    Interesting. A good friend just called me, totally hyped on STE. Naturally before he could even bring me info to dial into a conference call I’d googled the company and read about 7 different blogs about STE, their litigious lawyers in need of spelling & grammar lessons, and reviews of the overall plan.

    I have never been a fan of pyramid schemes, and never been fond of “selling” to my friends and family. Networking, yup, that I can do. Pitch & push a questionable product or scheme as an investment? nope, not me. most of my friends are in the same boat as me . . .watching $ go out much faster than it comes in.

    Thanks Tracy to you & all other bloggers who’ve take time to look into this organization & give a critical review.

  • shop to earn member says:
    17 July 2008

    hey America, guess what? gas prices are rising faster than my blood pressure after reading blogs from negative people who just dont get it. EVERYONE that I know who has signed up to get their own website has told me that before they run over to the mall , they will now go to their STE website and buy there. They save time and gas and receive cash back from their purchases. If people out there don’t know any people who would shop on their own websites or who care about the environment then don’t get involved. Move on and revisit this company in three years. After you stop kicking yourself in the butt, you’re going to be the one saying, “imagine if we had gotten involved in STE in 2008? “.

  • STE Broker says:
    17 July 2008

    I just thought I would add my two cents. It’s interesting how all the people afraid of shop to earn are people who never take time to see how it really works in the first place. (obvious from there absurd assessments). Its really amusing seeing the reasons for there fears and how they put themselves on a soap box to preach. I especially found it funny when one person said….
    “Check out this graphic from the company itself, and see if you think it looks like a pyramid or not.”
    Need I remind all thous inclined to see what they want to see, that all organizations and companies are built much in the same pyramid design. Ceo(at the top) and going down line all the way to the little guys trudging it out in the cubicles? The government and even our churches have a similar “shape” …that is if we are going to get that basic. Just because a structure appears a pyramid does not indicate it operates as one!
    The premise of this site far exceeds the mere convenience of shopping online. It’s a marketing advertising firm geared towards driving traffic to these sites. Any business person can tell you that nothing is more powerful then word of mouth. So instead of destroying more trees on flayers and adds that are more then likely ending up in our land fills, I would rather get paid as a business owner to help advertise these sites and there convenience ( Its about time someone tapped into the power of the masses and gave us a cut of the deal!). I wonder if you knew that these retail stores are thrilled to have more people shop on line rather then go to the stores, since they make more profit per item sold direct from warehouse. I also wonder why not to many people are aware of those other online sites that also offer similar savings…um…..oh ..I know …because no one is advertising them!!! The bottom line is that most of you need to keep an open mind and except that you don’t no everything. It’s ok to check things out but a negative frame of mind will seek things out to confirm its fears. As fortunately will those who are open minded understand that blanket statements and judgments are for the ill prepared.
    As a member of shop to earn i am privy to all the inner workings of the company and its TRUE structure. Nothing that any of you said against the company is a realistic assessment. Its just unfounded speculation that is easily laughed off by thous who KNOW better. I hope anyone reading will take these fears in stride and seek knowledge from a more documented source.
    If i had time I would take you through the process and destroy all the doubt.

    Good luck to all the shop to earn business owners… and may god shed light (or knowledge) on those in dark corners preaching.

  • joe o says:
    18 July 2008

    Someone is giving some amazing informative views on one of greatest new opportunities out there and YOU point out a typo?????
    NEED I SAY MORE?
    Get a life.

  • Joe O says:
    18 July 2008

    Here’s some quick facts:
    I live in Northern NJ, I signed on 6 weeks ago and I have made more than $20,000. I already have over 200 people in my down-line. In my full-time business, most of my clients are attorneys. So naturally I showed my ‘network’ of lawyers this opportunity. Today my immediate downline has over a dozen lawyers – most that make a very good living. I know there are a lot of silly lawyer jokes etc., but even if you don’t have a high regard for that profession, be sure to know that almost all of them are pretty sharp and always very careful to protect their own rights and reputations. They all over-scrutinized the Shop-to-Earn concept, the company, the owners etc. and then jumped in.

    This MLM is perfect for intelligent, already successful entrepreneurs that see a great busienss model when its presented.
    This is a concept who’s time has come. I feel like I’m in on Microsoft 1986.
    I think the negative print is comical. It’s like the 15th century and we are telling people the world is round and they are laughing at us!
    Joe O.

  • ray maroldi says:
    18 July 2008

    My sister is trying to get me to invest in STE.. I have not completely check it out yet, but the way she puts it it sounds to good to pass up. So right away what comes to mind is, ” if something that is to good to be true” is 99.9% never is true. I spoke to my wife about it. She buys items online through Upromise for my daughters collage fund. She came up the following questions: 1. why when you go to someones website at STE you can see how much that person has made, their last commission check,how many people they recruited,and their full names,and private info about that person? 2. Why when you read the privacy policy on STE it states it will not sell,or give out your personal info. without your permission, which when some company states that they normally do, how would you know? Upromise states it will not for any reason give out your personal info.. 3. This is the biggest question my wife had. What would stop this company, or the people they share your info. with from using your banking inf., or your credit card info.? They state that your info. is securly stored,and encrypted on THEIR COMPUTERS that they share. That is just a few questions she had. After those three I beleaved her. This is a SCAM!!!! The people who are members of STE that gave their comments on this site are either brain washed suckers,plain stupid, or dummies that are seeking more dummies to buy in to this SCAM. Also unless you live in the middle of no where, how in the hell do you spend more then $448.00+ per year on gas to go the store? Even with the gas prices so high (for which they are going down, its below $130.00 per barrel as of today). You know with the cost to join STE ,($448.00, plus your annual fees) unless you know alot of suckers or your at the top of this thing you are wasting your time, and money. You would make more if you got a job at Burger King !!!!!!!!! Don’t Be STUPID !!!!!!!!!!!

  • shop to earn member says:
    18 July 2008

    Ok, let’s stop this already. I’m hysterical over here. The bottom line is that STE is legit. The people in this country who shop on line and actually care about the environment will understand how great this is and join in. Others, like yourself, can stay away and that’s fine. Do you actually think that stores like Macys and Sears would be involved with this if it wasn’t for real?
    BTW, in 6 weeks i have 220 people under me and have made almost 10K. My wife has her own site and Joe’s wife has her own site and they’ve made another 10K combined.
    As this grows, I can’t wait to see how long it takes to get 2000 people under me. How much will I be making then? You claim to be an educated woman. Do the math.
    There’s over 11k people in STE. check back next week to see how many more people are laughing at your negative nonsense and are joining up.
    xoxoxox

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    18 July 2008

    Macy’s and Sears don’t vet the users of their affiliate links to determine if they’re offering a legitimate business or not. If you can be proud of promoting a pyramid scheme that relies on the continuous recruitment of new members, and you can feel good that the vast majority of people involved with this scheme will never earn their money back, so be it. That just means that you’re immoral. You don’t care as long as you make money from it, right?

  • shop to earn member says:
    18 July 2008

    My friends and family who have joined have been thanking me for introducing STE to them. That’s what makes me happy. They will all make a fortune.
    Dont forget to check back next week to see how many more people are NOT paying attention to your silliness.

  • STE Broker says:
    18 July 2008

    Tracy,
    Resorting to slander is all you and your people can due. Go make dinner for your husband and let the real world deal with this.

  • Tsu Dho Nimh says:
    18 July 2008

    Shop to Earn Member: wrote: “Do you actually think that stores like Macys and Sears would be involved with this if it wasn’t for real?

    Sears and Macy’s don’t investigate who signs up for their affiliate link programs any more than they investigate who subscribes to a paper they are advertising in. They want to put their ads in front of as many people as possible as cheaply as possible.

    As for the 14 lawyers, well, lawyers are neither mathemeticians nor economists. It may be legal … barely … but it is neither mathematically sustainable nor economically sound.

    MLMs are “doomed by design” to recruit too many salespeople, who in turn will then attempt to recruit even more salespeople, ad infinitum. And the lower levels will always pay more to get in than they can recover.

    ***********
    Joe, Bart, and Frank …you are what MLMer’s call Heavy Hitters. A “Heavy-Hitter” is one who bounces on the scene and seems very rich, and then acts as a “closer” of new recruits.

  • STE Broker says:
    18 July 2008

    Dear readers I would like to clear up one misunderstanding. This message is not for Tracy and other ignorant people who resent logic. A classical pyramid does not provide a service or product. You just put money in it and hope to get back more without doing anything. STE provides a service by driving traffic to all these retailers and it gets a commission for that. Part of that money goes to its members as bonuses for their work. Another thing in STE, people on lower levels can make more than people up the line if they put more effort in it, something impossible in a pyramid scheme. These are logical arguments that should clear up some of the confusion if willing to see facts. I have made $5000 in 4 weeks and people I know personally made anywhere between 10 and 60k in 4 months. I also know people above me that did not make money because they did not do their part.
    Most people I know in STE are already successful in their field, some owning corporations worth millions and found the potential in STE. As one of these friends of mine put it: I do not need the extra income, but I would have to be stupid not to make money this easy. He made about 35k so far with this.
    As for you Tracy it seems to me that you are a very frustrated person and since misery loves company you are trying to make other people miserable so you do not feel alone.
    I wish you all good luck!

  • frankm says:
    18 July 2008

    Tsu,
    FYI, i have 220 people under me and i only know about 25 of them. New recruits? if you understood the whole concept, maybe it would make more sense to you.

  • STE Supporter says:
    18 July 2008

    I have been approached with several MLMs in my life, and I, too, was hesitant and suspected a scheme of some kind. But as a rational person, I listened, I considered, and I came to my own conclusions. In the past, I have politely rejected all MLMs for various reasons. However, I have come to understand that, like any store, product, or advertising campaign, not all MLMs are the same. With ShoptoEarn, I have changed course.

    It is certainly true that some MLMs are thinly-veiled pyramid schemes, selling products that make them technically legal but truthfully have little or no value. (In fact, one MLM I came across sold videos on how to recruit other members… disgusting). Other MLMs sell very legitimate products and are widely accepted and sought out by everyday consumers. Probably the best example of this is Avon. Avon is and always has been sold by word-of-mouth. Additionally, sellers of Avon products make commissions on their sales, recruit other Avon salespersons, & make further money based on the sales of any downliine salesperson. Avon has been doing this very successfully since 1886, and it is a respected business. So why is Avon accepted while other MLMs are not? There are probably many reasons, but ranking high among them is certainly the quality of the product itself. Without that, the business would have died off long ago.

    ShopToEarn’s products are virtually limitless, and you can therefore choose and find your own degree of quality. Instead of selling their own products, STE is selling the same brand-name online products millions of Americans want, need, consume, and re-purchase on a daily basis, and they give you some cash back for doing it. Period. That’s the product.

    Still, STE’s product may not appeal to you. If you do not shop online, have no intention of shopping online, or don’t know anybody else who shops online, I highly doubt STE would do you any good.

    I have done my share of online shopping in the past and, yes, I have fallen for paying way too much for shipping or otherwise wasted my money. On the other hand, I have also paid that extra money just for the mere convenience of doing so online. Overall, I have learned what to look out for and have become a more intelligent online shopper. This is the same process every consumer goes through in all other purchasing experiences. STE links to over 500 online stores which you may or may not already use, and more are slated to be added at the end of the summer and again in the first quarter of 2009. If you don’t like those stores, don’t join STE.

    But I don’t always shop online. Sometimes, I want to see the product in my hands. Sometimes I don’t have time to wait for it to be shipped. Sometimes I can’t find an online deal that is any better than what I’d find on my way home from work. Still, I seem to be doing more and more online shopping every year, and there is a reason for this. “STE Broker” already explained why: Retail stores don’t want the massive funding required to support brick-and-mortar stores. They make a much higher profit by selling directly from their warehouses, and every month that goes by they are finding more and more ways to make it logical for their consumers to buy online. The internet opened the world to communication and you really would have to be living under a rock to not see the handwriting on the wall: the internet is here to stay and it will only grow in its uses. To paraphrase a news article I recently read… “In 2007, online shopping in America alone reached approximately $175 billion. That number is estimated to double by 2010.”

    Tracy, you said that STE members are immoral because we are only happy if we make our money back. With all due respect, that statement is extremely ignorant. But perhaps that isn’t your fault. Perhaps you have been too influenced by too many truly immoral MLMs. On the other hand, perhaps you are truly ignorant.. ShopToEarn is not a scheme, it is a sound product which has chosen to use word-of-mouth advertising instead of television commercials and the like. Perhaps they saw the success that both eBay and WalMart had when they used MLMs in their infancies. When I recruit a friend or family member to STE, it is the same thing as telling them I found a sale at a local store or a gas station with lower prices. My friends and family certainly seem very happy when I share such deals with them, and they don’t call me immoral for wanting to save them or myself a few bucks.

    I have been involved with STE for just under a month. I have “recruited” 5 people, shopped through STE three times because the numbers made sense, and made a little over $1,200. Am I happy? Sure. You bet. Not only have I basically tripled my investment, my 5 friends are on course to do the same. It makes me happy that they haven’t wasted their money. It makes me happy that I’m not wasting mine. It makes me happy that they might be able to quit their second jobs, go on that vacation they’ve been putting off for years, or buy their children the Christmas present that was once a little too expensive.

    I may recruit a few other people, I may not. Either way, I’m already ahead of the game, and the future looks bright. I do not feel in the least bit immoral for helping my friends and family to save their hard-earned money.

    To all of you out there who are considering joining STE or any other MLM, please do your own research and learn to make your own decisions. To those of you who have decided against STE, that’s fine. To those of you who still think STE is a scheme and are running for the hills, that’s fine too. What is not fine is when people ignorantly bash a concept they have not done the full research on and lump it along with others that are similar but not identical. Doing such a thing is called sterotyping and is quite immoral indeed.

  • ray maroldi says:
    18 July 2008

    I see all these comments that came in on 7/18/08. Mostly people degrading other people,and going back and forth. What I don’t see is answers to my wife’s questions. So here is another one she asked me. She asks, what if she would go on an STE members sight and wants to buy a tv from Best-Buys?
    She buy a 50″ plasma tv, it cost say $1800.00. The question is how much does the member make? Because it says 1-3%. Does the member make 1%, 2%,or 3%, and who determines what amount the member should get??? the reason she ask, like I state in my last comment, she shops online through Upromise. When we go say out to eat, and we pick a place that is on Upromise list, we know we are getting say 8% because that is what is stated on the Upromise list. Not 4-8%, and it cost us nothing more to eat there, and we get 8% back. Could someone maybe please answer this question………..

  • Jorge says:
    19 July 2008

    Go on to any of the STE member websites and u can see under “My Shopping” how this is calculated… Dont complicate yourself, this is an exponentially growing revolution, your either in while its in front of you smacking you in the face or you are out on the sidelines watching a couple of years from now thinking wow if i would have only invested 450 and spread the word, how many times have i spent 450 on stupid things and i just couldnt bring myself to spend it on an investment that would have returned thousands of dollars in my pocket. I had the luxury of being introdueced this week, i know all of my friends and i am seeing their checks (and bank accounts) growing at an incredible pace. If you are in the Miami area and would like to see living proof, i would be more than happy to introduce you to my friends who are members, this is no joke. This is real money, real people, and a real opportunity. Sorry if that sounded corny, but its just the truth. It is what it is.

  • Pedro Menard says:
    19 July 2008

    To the “STE Broker” who wrote this:

    “A classical pyramid does not provide a service or product. You just put money in it and hope to get back more without doing anything. STE provides a service by driving traffic to all these retailers and it gets a commission for that. Part of that money goes to its members as bonuses for their work. Another thing in STE, people on lower levels can make more than people up the line if they put more effort in it, something impossible in a pyramid scheme.”

    Right after having written this:

    “This message is not for Tracy and other ignorant people who resent logic”

    ————

    You see, nobody here is stating taht STE is a CLASSIC, no-product-or-service Pyramid scheme. I do hope you are not suggesting that STE is not a Pyramid BECAUSE it offers a service (check FTC’s site; keyword: “BurnLounge”; thanks).

    Second, please re-think your LOGIC about being impossible to make more money than “people up the line” in a Pyramid scheme (with or without products/services). It just takes a fully qualified blood-hound-recruiter, who adds 10 new suckers a month to the network, to earn more moeny than any “up the line” guy who only adds 1 ou 2… need a paper and a pencil?

    Best Regards.

  • STE Supporter says:
    19 July 2008

    Ray, aside from the hypocrisy of your own statements (9:28 am: “Don’t be STUPID!!!!!!!!” …10:23 pm: “I see all these comments that came in on 7/18/08. Mostly people degrading other people”) I will attempt to answer your actual questions.

    Your questions regarding security are an important issue. The information available to the general public on an STE member’s site is no more private than what is shared on a business card: person’s name & contact info. As far as the list of references and the virtual check, they are used as proof of disclosure for those who want to see how many people they’ve referred, and how much money they’ve made… things that interested parties are naturally curious about. When the fear of STE using your private info. arises, let me ask you this: What is preventing any retailer or even your employer from doing the same? Since ShopToEarn states that they will not disclose your information and retailers and your employer state the same thing, it appears your fear is biased.

    Regarding your question about some of STE’s retailers who offer a percentage range rather than a fixed percentage, every retailer partnered with ShopToEarn has its’ own program for partnership. With this being said, usually you’ll see a link on the retailer’s website labeled ‘Affiliate Program’. When you click on this link on their website, you’ll find the parameters that govern their payout percentages. Additionally, it appears that although Upromise has fixed percentages (ie: Walmart= 1%, 1-800-Flowers.com= 10%), when ShopToEarn offers a range (ie: Walmart= 1-4%, 1-800-Flowers.com= 10-12%) you clearly have the potential to earn more on ShopToEarn.

    It appears to me that people who have a problem with MLMs generally feel there is an immorality in referring other people. If you really feel this way, then don’t join an MLM. Whether you like it or not, referrals are a part of life. As I stated in my earlier post, telling a friend about ShopToEarn is the same thing as telling them about a great deal I came across elsewhere. My sister owns her own business, and although she spends some money on formal advertising, she continues to get most of her clients through referrals. Additionally, she provides a percentage off of a future service to her current clients who refer new clients. Does that make her an MLM? Does that make her immoral? The typical “Who referred you?” question is universal among many businesses. Welcome to the real world. If you don’t like it, go find a cave and live alone in true “morality”.

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    19 July 2008

    The fact that you seem to think MLM and referrals are the same thing shows how clueless you are. MLM is not about “referring” people. I can refer you to a plumber and that costs neither of us any money. MLM is about sucking you in and sucking your wallet dry. So no, STE is not about advertising or word-of-mouth or referrals. It’s about collecting your fee and the soon-to-be-implemented $100 minimum monthly purchase.

  • ray maroldi says:
    20 July 2008

    Dear STE Supporter,
    Thank you for trying to answer my questions. What I am trying to do is find out if STE is legit or not, or just a scam.
    First I would like to start with your security answers. When I gave a person my business card it has my name,the company I work for, their address,phone #, my title, and maybe a company logo. Thats it. It doesn’t have my sales leads, or a list of my clients. Second, I worked for a major furn. mfg., in upper management. If I would have posted my monthly salary, or how much I was making, I would be fired, period. The only reason I could think of is why a company policy would be to make this information available to the public would be to LORE them in. Third, retailers have used my info. without permission, and I don’t like it. If you get a traffic ticket, and want to fight it in court, before you go to court you will receive about 50 letters from lawyers wanting to represent you. Where did they get your info from? The court clerk, who most likely got a kick-back. If they could get away with it, why not STE? Forth, If you ever filled a employment app., it states that it is confidential. It is against the Law to disclose any info on it,unless it is court ordered. Where does it say that in STE policies? Any good company would not risk a law suit, and are very strick about their policies. So where is it the same thing?
    About persentages. I want to thank you, because I now learned I can do the exact same thing as STE. I can start my own business, get my own clients, and make my own money with out making it all public.
    I never ever said anyone was immoral. I said people are brain washed to think that they are going to get rich quick( be careful!! By giving people the impression that they are going to making a certin amount of money, you better make sure that you put away alot of that money you are making now for law suits you are going to have later). But like all pyramid or MLM scams, the first maybe 500-1000 people will make money, the rest will keep being brain washed to think they will, while the first people make money.
    As for me finding a cave, or living in the real world, I retired Nov. 1999, on my 44th birthday a very,very wealthy man from working hard, and making solid investments. I have lived in the real world all my life, and have found that nothing comes quick, or easy, you have to earn it. I don’t even know you, or know how much you make, but I can tell you for a fact that I make more per month from my investments, (plus travel,have fun, with no worries at all) then you will in the next six months combined working for ,or with STE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Everyday Finance says:
    20 July 2008

    All I have to say is, if STE is so great, why did their legal counsel threaten me with cease and desist notice emails and demand that I “take down my entire site” (rather than just the 2 posts related to STE out of hundreds) when I posted what I believed to be a mathematical concern related to the 1/3 balance issue and what its implications might be for members joining this late. What is STE trying to hide from prospective members?

    When I asked “Gerry” what specific lines or statements he found to be malicious or inaccurate, he didn’t cite anything specifically; just said to take down the site.

    I also find it amusing that so many existing members are trolling the boards looking for anything negative about the company. If it’s so great, why isn’t it selling itself? Run out of people to sign up?

    Tracy,
    Keep up the great work.

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    20 July 2008

    I invited my buddy Gerry to point out any factual inaccuracies in what I’ve posted too, and he’s been conspicuously silent.

    :)

  • Matt Jaworski says:
    21 July 2008

    My bottom line on all of these companies: Don’t waste your time or money. You can find better deals on your purchases outside their systems. And the systems are really nothing more than typical MLM recruiting schemes. Shopping is not the objective, recruiting is.

  • Concerned Observer says:
    21 July 2008

    I am not a member of ShopToEarn, but my friend is. I found this site while doing research and I must say I am very concerned.

    Everyday Finance,
    STE is selling itself. They’ve more than doubled in the last month. And as far as ‘trolling the boards’ I see the pot calling the kettle black.

    Tracy,
    Maybe Gerry is ‘conspicuously silent’ because you are intentionally and selectively blocking the most unfavorable posts. Additionally, you have made this a personal vendetta. A true professional writer would never stoop to slander as an argument. It’s obvious that you are never going to see this in any light but your own. Meanwhile perhaps I’ll “waste my time” like you. I’ll not read your book, Tracy. I’ll only read the less than favorable reviews (“This book was boring”… “I found this book to be dry and shallow”) and jump on the band wagon ranting that no one should waste their money on your book (freedom of speech, right?) Then when you get angry at my ignorance in not having read the book and just tagged along with opinions that suit me, I’ll rant and rave “How dare you attack my right to express my opinion!?” Never mind that you are losing perspective clients due to these low tactics. Then I’ll get rightious (like you) and start to bash you and your books just to prove the point that I can. Then maybe I’ll gather others with opinions on your book based on this personal vendetta and we’ll try to ravage your whole career since we feel it our duty to save the public from boredom and throwing their money away, We will blissfully continue our campaign never realizing that if perhaps we took the time to actually read your book, that our assessment made through the opinion of others was not accurate. But once you’ve gone that far your pride won’t let you do the right thing, will it?

    Based on the factual research that I’ve done and the intelligent design of the business, I have decided to become a member by the end of the day… despite, or perhaps because of the petty nature of those against it.

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    21 July 2008

    I really love comments like the one from “Concerned Observer” because they show how foolish the supporters of MLMs are.

    First, there is no blocking of “the most unfavorable posts.” I’m not letting STE supporters be abusive or promote their sites and scams, but that’s got nothing to do with this discussion.

    Nehra has been conspicuously quiet because he has nothing to say. He knows he’s done a bad thing. His plan to wrongly abuse and intimidate bloggers has not worked. It’s backfired on him. Attorneys shouldn’t try to wrongly threaten bloggers who are just writing about their opinions.

    You also fail to recognize that I’ve thoroughly investigated the Shop To Earn “opportunity” before making any judgments or writing about my opinions. I’m not criticizing the program “because I can.” I’m criticizing it because it’s bad for consumers. Thousands of consumers are likely to lose millions in sign-up fees for this scheme that I think is nothing more than a pyramid scheme.

    I’ve done hundreds of hours of research on MLMS and pyramid schemes, and I’ve spent hours looking into STE. That’s what we call an informed opinion, and part of what I do as a fraud investigator and blogger is tell the public about my findings. Without sites like this, the only information potential recruits to MLMs would find are the propaganda pieces put out by the companies themselves and their recruiters. That’s not exactly unbiased information.

    You also forget that I have nothing to gain by giving a negative opinion of STE or any other MLM. No one pays me for my opinions. And you might suggest that I’m criticizing STE in an effort to sell books. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The target market for my book is not interested in MLMs in the least. So no, my negative opinions of MLMs like Shop to Earn are not tied in any way to my book.

    As for reviewing my book…. well see, you’d be lying if you posted those things. You haven’t read the book so you can’t provide a credible review of it. And even if you did provide a review, who would listen to you? What you also fail to realize is that some of the “negative” comments on my book are actually welcomed by me. Why? Because they help potential readers decide if the book is right for them or not, before they buy it.

    The book is very basic on purpose, and I don’t want fraud experts buying the book because they will be disappointed in it. So really, I’m not interested in squashing legitimate reviews of my book, and I certainly wouldn’t be threatening legal action (unless, of course, someone saw fit to print blatant lies about me personally).

    And finally…

    The fact that you’ve found a site that dissects the Shop To Earn program and details why it’s bad for consumers… and that you will sign up in spite of that … says far more about you than it ever could about me. You’re going to “show me” by signing up even in light of credible evidence that you will lose money. Wow. That’s really an accomplishment.

  • Concerned Observer says:
    21 July 2008

    Tracy,
    You are a blatant liar. You ARE blocking posts. I know this because my friend who is a member is “STE Broker” and she has tried repeatedly to post new replies but you have blocked her. Perhaps you thought her post was “abusive” and this is why you feel justified in blocking her, and yet you allow every abusive comment by STE critics. You are more hypocritical with every blog you write. Speculation and conjecture is all you have. Hang on to it tightly. It is your form of propoganda. I’m happy to say I won’t waste my time with your blogs anymore.

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    21 July 2008

    Dear Concerned Observer,

    Did you read my latest comment to you? It said: “First, there is no blocking of “the most unfavorable posts.” I’m not letting STE supporters be abusive or promote their sites and scams, but that’s got nothing to do with this discussion.”

    STE Broker has been trying to promote her business, and has also been trying to post under multiple screen names, probably in an effort to make it look like there is more support for STE than there really is. Yes, these types of posts are being blocked as I said in my original comment.

    Yes, I do control posts here, and this site will not become a tool for STE people to advertise their scheme. And I don’t care if that pleases you or not, it’s just the way it is. I’ve let reasonable discussions occur, but have no obligation to allow anyone to post anything that I feel is out of line or scam-promotional.

  • Pedro Menard says:
    21 July 2008

    To “Concerned Observer”;

    “I have decided to become a member by the end of the day… despite, or perhaps because of the petty nature of those against it.

    How can someone be that stupid?

    “I’m happy to say I won’t waste my time with your blogs anymore.”

    Good. When all your arguments run into a solid, concrete wall, you should really stop talking, to your own personal benefit.

    Best Regards,

    Pedro

  • Tsu Dho Nimh says:
    21 July 2008

    Someone said: “telling a friend about ShopToEarn is the same thing as telling them about a great deal I came across elsewhere”

    No, it’s not. If I tell a friend -one who I know has children – that there’s a great sale on kid’s clothing at Bobba-Loo-Loo Baby, I get nothing from it except thanks. You have a chance to make a profit from your friend if they follow your recommendations.

    That is what MLMs do best: persuade people to exploit their social networks for their own financial benefit … regardless of what is best for the social network or their friends and family.

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    21 July 2008

    Oops. It seems as though “Concerned Observer” had more than one identity on this thread as well. Are STE distributors that desperate to make their programs seem legitimate and approved by many?

  • Sum Wat En Lite End says:
    21 July 2008

    Wow. So much passion from all participants. Here I am, just a person googling a website sent to me by a client. I’m not new to MLM’s or all of the JPG quotes in the overview, but MLMs still make sense to me, based on effort, timing and costs. After reading all of this I am still not certain of the direction I will take…more thought and research, even if it is only $450 or so. I’m just saddened to see such animosity and personal attacks from the majority involved thus far. Come on people…I do believe that each participant is truly trying to help another less enlightened individual. As a parent, I am saddened that this how people relate to one another. Time to forget all of this and just go and enjoy my family.

  • Potential Mark says:
    22 July 2008

    Has anyone done the analysis to determine if the “mathematical concern related to the 1/3 balance issue and what its implications might be for members joining this late” is valid?

    Also, once the requirement of buying $100 worth of product comes into play, don’t you think that the pyramid will collapse? I buy a few things on line and will be hard pressed to spend $100 every month…. I have a feeling i will need to store-up a lot of pet meds or something.

    Also, in order to get commission each month will you need to sign up 3 new brokers AND ensure that your legs are balanced?

    A Potential New Mark

  • Michael says:
    23 July 2008

    Setting aside all of the vitriol, insults and misstatements coming from many of the bloggers, I would like to address a simple issue. For those who maintain that this pyramid structure is immoral because it necessarily will somehow “exploit” those “below”, I ask you to consider something. Every business and every market has a theoretical limit (or “bottom” in this case). As I see it, there are approximately 303 million people in this country. This business launched a few months ago and has grown exponentially to nearly 13,000 to date. Where is the “bottom” for this business? Who will be “exploited”? For those willing to get in earlier, they will be potentially rewarded exponentially more than those who join later. However, this pyramid structure (not scheme) may grow over the next several years or decades to include millions of brokers. I guess the 303rd millionth person to join really is a sucker. That is of course, unless this baby goes international. I got into this business just over 3 weeks ago and have earned $5,000 so far. I wouldn’t feel good about this were it not for the fact that everyone in my business is on my team and the money to be made from continued referrals/shopping from either myself or from them mutually benefits all of us, as well as the referrals/shopping of the exponentially joining new brokers.

  • Gmoney says:
    23 July 2008

    Let me explain this to you all. The business is a pyramid in structure and yes you can make money with this business model. The problem is saturation. Once this wave of excitement settles, it will become more and more difficult to recruit people.

    This program works for now because it’s relatively new. The more peolple you bring in, the more money you will make as with any pyramid. Trust me, I know.

    As far as the shopping is concerned, the blogger has it correct. It’s not really about the shopping in the early stages. The percentages are so low that it really doesn’t matter right now. It will however matter to the early adopters who take advantage of building a down line while this thing is new. If you get in early and work the model, you WILL make some money down the line when the tens of thousands of marks have joined and begin using the shopping portals. This is when those low percentage returns start to make more sense.

    As far as all of the gas price comments, don’t you understand that airplanes and delivery trucks all use gas to operate. This in turn drives an increase in shipping costs and deliveries. The same thing is occurring around the country with the price of grocery store items. With that said, please STOP saying that it’s soooo much cheaper than going to the store.

    Bottom line is that the business model sucks and the founders with make the bulk of the monies ($448 Start-up, $119 annual fee, $100 spend with Shop to Earth coming soon $100-$200 siminars, etc…), but if you can get in early enough prior to SATURATION you can make some good money with any MLM. And yes they are schemes…..

  • YallAreKillingMe says:
    23 July 2008

    Well, well, well…I can’t help but want to post a comment after reading all the different views. Let me just tell you what I think (since we all seem to have an opinion on this topic), STE sounds like a GREAT opportunity to sign up, shop, RECRUIT, and make money. I have two people that have approached me over the last week about it and when I first heard the “infamous” conference call, I thought, “WOW, this sounds awesome and could get me out of debt quick”. Well, the more I thought about it and the more my best friend (thanks, RV), made me come back down to reality, I could not bring myself to doing it. Yeah, it is new and of course those that sign up now are going to make something even if it’s just to break even. However, it is just like every other Multilevel Marketing scheme out there. IT IS GOING TO END! And who’s gonna walk away with the big bucks: THE CREATOR and those just under him! Even the ones that join right this second could get rich quick but I think there is one thing they are all forgetting. IT IS A QUICK FIX! If you blow money all the time and you don’t know how to live on a budget, YOU WILL STILL BE IN DEBT even AFTER YOU MAKE THOSE “BIG BUCKS”. All STE is going to do is give you more money to throw up a wild hogs behind! TRUST ME! I am one of the worlds worst when it comes to money. I have borrowed from all kind of people to try and get my self out of debt but guess what, IT DIDNT WORK! It was just more “borrowed” money to spend. You can’t get rich overnight by convincing a few thousand simple minded people to “Pay $449 and own your own business”. Do you really think that the top retailers are depending on STE to make their money? Come on! I am in that business and getting a customer INSIDE our store is very, very, very important. How can you “upsell” online, “impulse buy” online. Ever wonder why Grocery retailers build those displays on the end of every aisle. Or have all those “cool” things built throughout the perimeter of the store. Think about it! When you shop, even in a hurry, you most likely walk the perimeter of the store looking for the aisle you need. HELLO! They aren’t there for decoration! AND, guess what guys! IT WORKS. Retailers spend MANY hours researching and analyzing the shopping patterns of customers and have got it figured out. Please tell me how you are going to get that kind of return online? YOU AREN’T! Most people that shop online know exactly what they are looking for, go to the website, enter the item, and checkout! Pretty simple! The people that may be looking for a deal and comparing websites, aren’t gonna find them on places like STE. You talk about the price of gas and how much it cost for shipping and blah blah blah. BUT, you know what the next problem in line behind gas prices is? AMERICANS

  • hhhmmmm says:
    23 July 2008

    ok,

    I’ve been approached by STE recruiters (which are good friends), I’ve seen the videos, talked with people and now I’m reading blogs…..hhhhmmm what’s someone to think about all this. I think If your Honest with your Potential new Brokers, ( marks you wanna call them) who’s getting hurt?
    This is still new and you WILL make money and at the very least I can’t see why ANYONE wouldnt make back the initial investment and then some. As for the $100 Green money, atleast your getting a Product ; )
    If i decide to join, I’m hoping I’m not the last person in the united states to join. lololololol ( which we know in reality the End wont be for many years). I’ll post again when I collect my $4100. If I don’t earn it or i find it’s impossible to recruit, I’ll be honest and give my experience of One month with STE.

    * Just to add, I was involved with malaleuca years ago and made Good money, even with those stupid Products lolool

  • paul says:
    30 July 2008

    all i know as a simple man trying to get ahead this is as easy as it gets talked to people show them the tour some join some dont those that do are happy and make money and see an upside for many many years to come those that dont need not worry about us well be just fine happy and laughing at all of you who think or should i say have a pre concieved notion that this is not real or a prrrrrrrammmmmmid or a scam if all of the nay sayers did thier homework you would be pro ste thank you ste for my future

  • Craig says:
    31 July 2008

    “if all of the nay sayers did thier homework you would be pro ste thank you ste for my future”

    Paul, I have some pretty damning evidence that you have *never* done homework.

  • Rick says:
    2 August 2008

    Ouch. I just joined today. It’s a bit depressing to see all of the negative comments.
    I did my online research, but didn’t see this site until this evening. Regardless, I will be a guinea pig for you guys.
    Hopefully, I’ll have a good report in a few weeks.
    By the way, the $100 has to be spent on the “green” side of the company “Shop to Earth”. For me, this is the biggest down-side. Although there are dozens of companies to shop from, they all sell their brand of the same things…. lotions, teas, protein bars, etc.
    How in the world am I going to spend $100/mth on those limited items without it being a complete waste of money?
    If any of you supporters have advice on that one, I’d appreciate it.

  • Mack says:
    3 August 2008

    I made a hasty decision to get in on this thing. Got 4 friends/family to join. Wish I had not. Company owners brag about the fact that the company has been in-the-making for 10 years. 10 YEARS ??? And that business model and website is the best they could come up with? Looks more to me like something someone threw online after 2 weeks. It stinks. Looks so juvenile and unprofessional. Home Page looks okay, but that’s it. Everything else needs work. I’m too embarrassed to push it any more. I’m beginning to think it’s a scam in the sense that they know it ain’t gonna work for long (and they never intended it to). The goal is to get as many people to pay that sign-up money as possible and then one day, splitsville. They could care less if anyone shops at those stores – except for the overpriced “green” products where we have to spend $100 per month. Sounds like some people might be stocking products in the garage. We’re one of them. $100 is too high of a minimum. Gonna turn a lot of prospects away.

    Sad to see that ALL they have to show the public is that awful website, and they don’t care to make it top notch. Businesses that solely have an online presence have to step up and make their site shine. They have a totally unimpressive training and info area for representatives that I must say is lacking of any real training. They think training means listening in on a rapid, trumped up conference call showing super high outdated $$$$ figures from the same 3 reps. The conference call leader keeps saying they’re gonna switch them out and show different people. C’mon – do what you say. They need to show income examples across the board. Higher, medium, and lower.

    One friend that I signed up did happen upon My Power Mall. He had me look at it. The CEO claims she worked on it for 5 years. The shoptoearn folks should take a look at what she’s done. The my power mall back office and the training is incredible. Though we did not like the business model, everything about the site is top notch. No crackerjack high school webmasters working there. Shoptoearn probably trying to get by on the cheap on the tech side. And boy does it show. The techs have done the bare bones minimum and no more. They seem understaffed too. Don’t dare to write to support unless you want to be ignored or get shot down for asking a question that “might” be covered in the inadequate online training area.

    Even given all this, I haven’t mentioned the worse part about shoptoearn. For some odd reason, they find it necessary to SHARE WITH ALL THE WORLD what purchases people have made. Once anyone knows your personal web address (which we give to everybody), anyone can go to the person’s site and see what they have bought, when they bought it and how much they paid. There is no shopping privacy. I am losing my brother and his wife for that very reason. They don’t want EVERYONE knowing where they are shopping, and what they are spending. What made it worse is my sister-in-law discovered this from a prospect who was scrutinizing the site before joining. I never realized anyone could see it and it isn’t covered in their poor training. Someone clue me in if possible. Why isn’t this information solely within shoptoearn’s back office – accessible only via password? Or at least available only to me and my upline? This information should not be available to the universe.

    They also feel a need to share with the world how much income everyone has made. Never seen a company do this. It’s probably cutting off their own nose because seeing incomes on both the very high and low end can turn off some prospects. I really believe the information is there only because the company techs can’t figure out how NOT to show it to everybody. Obviously not a lot of ex-Google people at shoptoearn.

    Their binary balancing plan stinks too. In order to get paid for what I have done, I have to worry about what people are doing both above and below me and on both sides ??? And forget about it if a large group or company gets involved that does a lot of shopping/recruiting.

    To shoptoearn’s defense, someone above commented about the company using affiliate links. Of course, it’s all affiliate links. But they deserve to get paid a piece of the affiliate commission for doing the work and giving me ONE portal to go to. I’m certainly not going to set up 700 affiliate programs so I can make purchases. It’s the same concept as me paying Costco a fee to shop there and get lower prices for a ton of stuff.

    It’s foolish to think though that as a shoptoearn customer, I could enter a retail site showing higher prices – totally set up for shoptoearn customers. Someone said this above. That logic doesn’t hold water. How easy would it be for me to log on to the site normally and check the prices?

    If I didn’t make my point, yes, I believe shoptoearn is probably a pyramid recruiting scam disguised as a shopping portal. The big money that has been made so far comes from sign up fees, not purchasing. But my beef is not so much that it “might” be a scam, but that the company didn’t do a better job over that LONG 10 YEAR PERIOD making it look, feel and smell less like a scam – by putting together a world class program and site. When I open the front door to shoptoearn, it looks okay, but once I get inside, it’s clear the building needs an extreme makeover.

    My bad. I took the initial bait. But I’m done fishing. Money is never enough to make me con my friends and family. I may be wrong about the business but having that funny feeling is enough for me right now. Gotta go with the gut.

    MACK

  • Michael says:
    4 August 2008

    Rick,

    My understanding is that you don’t need to spend $100 per month on the green side unless you want to be eligible to receive that month’s commission payment. In other words, if you are succeeding in this business then you will be outlaying $100 monthly (really $80 because of the 20% cash back for green) as a cost of doing business. Plus you get product. If you are not making any money at all in this business, then don’t spend anything unless it is for product you want. By the way, the requirement to spend $100 per month on the green side doesn’t start until you have been active for 60 days. That being the case, you will see whether you are generating income before being put in the position to have to buy anything.

    Good luck.
    Good luck.

  • Beth says:
    6 August 2008

    You have to spend $100 a month at Shop to Earth starting in September or you lose all your points that you have accumulated up to that point. So basically they are “changing the rules” after they get 10,000 people to join and expect people to spend $100 a month on their limited, overpriced products on Shop to Earth. If you don’t, you lose all your points, which mean you lose any opportunity of making the kind of money people have been making up til now because the points were not “flushed”. You could accumulate them and then spend $100 on Earth products and get a lot of money in return. As it’s changing now, ,it’s a whole different ballgame. I’m wondering if legal action can be taken against them for false advertising of the program to get people excited about it. It’s really ridiculous.

  • Stuffed Soccer Ball says:
    15 August 2008

    Just the fact that there are this many naysayers raises a big red flag for me. If it’s unclear enough that this many people engage in debating it’s legitimacy, that’s enough to keep me away.

  • Padrino says:
    15 August 2008

    Thanks Gmoney, Rick and Mack. Also Beth. You guys pointed out the truth and saved me time and money. Plus, I wouldn’t have felt right selling this crap to my family and friends.

  • Padrino says:
    15 August 2008

    Oh, and thanks Tracy C. for the warning (almost forgot).

  • Jason says:
    19 August 2008

    Tracy,

    Thanks for the heads up, I will not be joining ste.

    Jason

  • JP says:
    20 August 2008

    Tracy,
    I’m looking for a little insight, and I believe that even though you are clearly against this, you will still give me a fair, balanced and truthful answer. I was approached by someone a week agao and I did some research, (apparently not enough) and I ended up joining a day ago. I realized this was an MLM and I understand that it will eventually end, but I did believe I’d be able to make some money. My concerns are quite different from everyone else however. You see, as much as money is important to all of us, I really will not be upset if I lose my initial investment of $448. I am not a gambler but the two times that I’ve ever been to a casino, I lost more than that and in the scheme of things, $448 isn’t going to make or break me. In any event I have 2 questions for you,

    1. Is it possible that a business like this could be set up as an MLM but really have the purpose of gathering peoples personal information for the purpose of identity theft or some form of fraud? I ask because I feel like this Shop to Earn could be accomplished without needing someones bank account number, credit card numbers and social security numbers.

    2. Second, is it the risk of losing the small amount money that primarily concerns you, or the underlying moral issue of knowing it will eventually end?

    3. Do you think it is morally wrong to sign people up if you have not used the sales ideas they have given you but simply explain to “marks” that the people who get in early make money and the people at the end will probably not? Also, I know you said this is legal because of the shopping, but do you think it’s possible there could be legal ramifications for people who have signed up and signed up others?

    4. Lastly, if I decide to quit which I may, do you think it will be difficult to get out?

  • Beth says:
    21 August 2008

    JP. They have a 14 day out..

  • jp says:
    22 August 2008

    14 days and you can get out and get your money back? If that’s the case, after the last few days I’ve spent researching, I think it’s time to get out. Thanks Beth.

  • Scheme Hater says:
    22 August 2008

    Hey all,

    I have been solicited about 9 schemes just like this. I have a BBA and am working on my MBA and PhD in Business and Commerce and let me tell you, this is NOT good for economics.

    Commerce/Trade lesson 101:

    Lets all say that we all lived on a dessert island. I am a fisherman, and you are a carpenter. I need you for survival, you need me for survival. We trade. I supply your food, as long as you can supply and maintain my home. This is called trade. Throughout the evolution of time, we traded Chickens for Wheat, Horses for property, etc. Then when the coin came along, we used that to replace the barter system.

    We dont go to best buy and say, “HEY, Ill trade you my bed, and my two dogs for that plasma TV”…We have notes (money) that replace the ‘thing’ we were to trade, for the item we want’s equal value. So in other words, we give 899.99, and best buy gives us the TV- thats called trade.

    These MLM’s are bad for business because there’s no “tangible item” being sold for the money you give, or for the money you get. It is in comissions for recruiting. I truly feel, after careful analysis that this is a way of stealing from people, buy selling them, not an item – but a dream. You sell them hopes that they will be able to get rich, and that all of their current financial issues will go away. If money were the answer to everything, why do so many lottery winners commit suicide? Hmm….

    Anyways, There is no trade in MLM, just recruitment, and psychological pressure. I went to one a few months ago called “ONE VISION” that does similar to what this MLM does. It is based in London, and i pushes hard here in the US. Now lets think of this for a sec.

    Lets make two ficticious countries ok? MLM-Land, and Victim-land.

    In true commerce, mlmland would send products to victimland and they would trade. So what ever the output of one country is, is the same for the other country. Now, assume mlmland asks for victimlands’ money, without giving them a tangible product or service in return for the same amount given…victimland would eventually be depleted of its funds, and mlmland’s money would eventually be worth MORE than victimland’s, given that there is only an X amount of notes circulating one country.

    I think this is bad for the economy, commerce, trade, and business all together. I DO think that you can make a lot of money, no doubt about that, but in order to be sucessful in this, you need to have a line of victims who hope to reach where you are.

    Just to ley you all know, I am reporting this to the SEC, and I invite all of you to do the same. If they can get SEC’s approval, I will at least have respect for these “companies” who are alleging legit business.

    http://www.sec.gov/answers/pyramid.htm
    http://www.sec.gov/

  • EJ says:
    24 August 2008

    It Took patrick 10 years because when he had the idea, software and technology wasnt advanced enough to do it. Now technology and software has caught up to his idea “Shoptoearn” and “Shoptoearth.”

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    24 August 2008

    No, EJ, the software and hardware capabilities have been available for several years now. I personally think they say 10 years because they thought that would sound impressive. (I think it sounds just the opposite.)

  • Well hhhmmmm says:
    24 August 2008

    Just waiting to hear from “hhhmmmm” because he/she said they would report back in a month. Let’s see if we hear back????????

  • Observer says:
    26 August 2008

    I came to this site wondering what an acquaintance had gotten himself into by joining that shopping company – what was it called – ah, after a bit of Google search, I recognized it – Shop to Earn (though the first Shop to Earn I found was a Turkish MLM or pyramid scheme – not sure which). My acquaintance said this was what he had come to America for – make lots of money, no need to spend years earning a college degree.

    Thank you all for a most informative discussion!

  • Alan Milner says:
    28 August 2008

    I have two comments about this ongoing Sho-To-Earn discussion, and one complaint.

    First of all, there are no exclusive portal shopping arrangements with big box retailers or online sellers. For the past decade, anyone who has a web site has the ability to negotiate (quite easily) with these companies, who will gladly pay you a per click fee (sometimes as a precentage of the sale price) for the customers referred to them through your web site. It takes time, effort, and skill to set up a web site to perform these functions, and more time, effort and skill to market that web site to the public, so it’s not something that anyone can do.

    The key, however, is the ability to drive business to your web site. Unless your web site has some unique attraction that brings viewers to the site, you are in competition with all the other, essentially identical web sites for that traffic.

    Everyone who has engaged in this conversation has focused on the recruitment aspect of the business, without realizing that what Shop-to-Earn is really selling is a cookie-cutter web site that is supposedly designed to draw business from the internet to your portal and from your portal to the participating retailers. Without this element, the promotors of this site would be in violation of the statutes against pyramid trusts. (This doesn’t mean that the federal government isn’t above running its own Ponzi schemes; it’s running the largest one ever conceived: Social Security. But them’s that prints the money gets to calls the tunes, as it were.)

    My second point is more arcane: shills can’t cash chips. If you want to know if a given individual is shilling for a disreputable firm, it requires serious investigative skills to determine if real dollars are really changing hands.

    Whenver someone wants to wave a large check in front of me as proof of earnings, I want the following items presented as well: a certified deposit slip (with the bank’s franking indica) showing that the check was deposited. I also want to see both sides of the cancelled check to verify that tt has been transacted, the monthly statement showing the amount of the check credited to the account, and two following statements to verify that the deposit hasn’t been reversed by the bank, or withdrawn in its entirety by the account owner. Even with all this documentation, it can still be a scam. All of these materials can be, and often are, forged. Today, with Photoshop, it is possible to create an absolutely perfect forgery of any conceivable document. It happens every day in the real estate business.

    As a matter of fact, the documents can be absolutely legitimate, but still be fraudulent. Here’s how it works: It is a common practice among con men to move real money between several different accounts….all belong to them or to a confederate….to create the appearance of earnings. A check is cut from a legitimate business account, which they own, to their personal account , deposited in their personal account, allowed to rest there for two or three months, and then returned to the business account by return check.

    Done this way, the con man has tranferred money from his right pocket to his left, created the impression of earnings being made, without the money ever really changing hands. When done with a third party, a shill hired to impress the marks with the legitimacy of the business, the shill cannot draw the funds (without being killed, which happens) but has to return the funds to the head of the scam.

    I am not saying that no one is making big dollars doing this. I am quite suire that several hundred people will make serious money on Shop-to-Earn, but these people were probably already pre-selected by the head of the company and are, for the most part, people who have participated in previous scams of a similar nature.

    What I am saying is that everybody lies, and that there’s really no way to verify the earnings that these people claim to be making, even with all the documentation in front of you, so when someone is anxious to show you their dividend checks, you can be sure of one thing: there’s something fishy going on. Since anyone with any sense KNOWS that these documents are worthless, the mere act of showing them to the potential customer is indicative of a nefarious purpose.

    Beyond this, as Tracy well knows, the velocity and trajectories of these MLM projects are so fast and so widespread that, by the time you hear about them, it’s too late to get in on the ground floor. The law of exponential growth requires that, with a two to one dispersion factor, using a standard square roots exponential factor, starting with 1 person at the top, you will have 714,029 people in the system by the end of the fifth week, and 509 BILLION the following week. I know that sounds absolutely insane, but it is a simple arithmetic fact. In the second week, each of the two recruits recruits two, which means that you have five recruits. In the following week, each of the five recruits goes out and recruits FOUR (no one stops at two) you end up with 20 recurits plus the original three…and so on and so forth. The reason that no MLM scheme every fully populates its matrix is because of the huge amount of fall-off, people who enroll but never enroll others behind them. We can extrapolate from the success figures issued by the company, based on these projections, that less than one percent of the enrollees are making this business work for them.

    Forget the higher math and use a simple straight line arithmetic progression and you find that, starting with one person at the top and doubling each week, you will need more than eight BILLION people to fully populate the enrollment matrix by the 34th week. You would also exceed the population of the United States by the 29th week.

    I know from past experience that you can’t save fools from themselves, but I applaud Tracy for making the effort.

    I can’t resist one final comment: I am greatly amused by those people who have taken Tracy to task for wasting so much time debunking this company, especially since they are wasting even more time confronting, contradicting and rebuking her. Whenever I see that kind of behavior, I wonder, who gains from it, and what are they gaining.

    (What I get out of it is a connection with Tracy that might matriculate into cross-references between web sites. Everyone has motive.)

    Alan

  • Jane says:
    31 August 2008

    I joined today before actually looking at products available. Has anyone heard of a recind policy where I can get out soon? please let me know asap as I am a single mom with two small children, and $440 is a lot of money to us. I thought I could get anything online and receive a percent back. Please let me know.
    jecooney@bellsouth.net.

  • Mack says:
    31 August 2008

    Received another notification today that people in shoptoearn caannot use the shoptoearn, shop to earn, or STE logo. Even online. The powers-that-be are not thinking. At least if we as participants could use the web to promote shoptoearn. Without that ability, the only info that will be found online is all the negative stuff about shoptoearn from those who do not work with it.. Since 85% of people will investigate online before buying, this change will cost us business.

  • J says:
    2 September 2008

    RAY MAROLDI you are a moron men.

  • Wake Up, especially hhhmmmm says:
    3 September 2008

    STILL waiting to hear from “hhhmmmm” because he/she said they would report back in a month. Let’s see if we hear back????????
    STILL WAITING!!!!!
    STILL WAITING!!!!!
    Maybe he/she is waiting for 60 days since he/she didn’t make their recruits in the first 30 days.

  • Potential Recruit says:
    8 September 2008

    Has anyone received a check yet? Seriously, deposited into their account or by a check which was successfully cashed. I don’t want to hear that you are on track to earn X amount or that your check online says X amount. Also, why is there no address or company phone number listed? There is only an email address and when you send an email it is rerouted back to you with your same inquiry? The concept sounds like a great opportunity, but what keeps the owners from picking up and running with the millions they have earned from all the milliions of members doing all the work?

  • another potential recruit says:
    8 September 2008

    Okay, so i actually do know someone who ligitamentally received $5500.00 within 3 weeks. This company lets face it, is a pyramid. People have made money off of them weather it’s morally wrong or not. This is a fairley new “pyramid” considering it has doubled since July, from 15,000 to over 30,000, which is what I last heard. Lets say for the sake of argument that, I am someone who would be interested knowing all the bad things about it ie; pyramid scheme, start up cost etc. What’s the deal here. Is it to refer OR recruit OR both and when can I sit back and enjoy the profits without any more work? I am thinking that getting into a pyramid scheme early is the best time? I am interested to know that if I do my part, it it conceivable that I will get a payout? AND how much do I have to do? If I get my two recruits and have a couple of people use my website as referrals, is that enough? With the assumption that they get their two recruits and the mathmatical logic behind all of that. I would appreciate logical thoughts on this. I get everyone’s opinion about it, but I just want to play devils advocate here for a minute if we could. Thanks in advance.

  • Loozegear says:
    9 September 2008

    Have friends going on about STE and how it is making them buckets of money,in fact I have been invited to a meeting on how to get set up and started.Apparently there is going to an address by a guest speaker who has made $100,000 in 4 months and is going to pass his knowledge on to us.

    That is what is good about informed choices had I not Googled STE and happened upon this site I would have only the positives from this so called fantastic business opportunity.
    If decide to attend the meeting I will now know the upside and the downside,If anyone is thinking of investing in a business they should know all the facts before they proceed & STE should be no different if it has nothing to hide.Knowledge is king!
    Thank you for enlightening me .

  • Voice of reason says:
    9 September 2008

    “another potential recruit” you ask about getting into a pyramid “weather[sic] it’s morally wrong or not”.

    My advice to you that if you get into a pyramid, there is a big risk that you will lose money.

    On the other hand, if you get into the business of distributing either pornography or narcotics, there’s a huge profit potential available to you for a small investment.

    Who cares if it’s morally wrong or not? Clearly that doesn’t concern you, so forget the penny ante MLM stuff and go for the real money!

  • Wake Up, Loozegear says:
    9 September 2008

    Why don’t you pull up a list of questions that people have posed as far as negatives and bring them to the meeting. Be careful because it’s like a cult and for every ALLEGED $100,000 gainer, there are 90 losers. They’re salesman and sales women and their job is to sell you. Their not going to bring up the negatives. If you truly do ask these questions you will be considered negative.
    Ask them about websites that do the same thing as far as paying back refunds on purchases for FREE (FatWallet, UPROMISE, Live Search Cash Back). The money you make from friend’s purchases will be very MINISCULE. That’s not where you make big bucks on this deal. It’s on recruiting.
    Ask them, “If a recruit (broker) I sign up buys something for $15.00 on an 8% cash back site what would my commission be? How about if that recruit gets a broker who buys something, with the same scenario, how much would I get back? If it’s truly about shopping. I hope your not that naive that you believe you’ll be getting anything but PENNIES back on those recruits purchases.
    Ask them about the $100 minimum monthly purchases from Shop to Earth. How long are you obligated to that minimum? How soon does your minimum monthly requirement begin? What happens if you don’t make that minimum monthly payment?
    Ask them for a DETAILED copy of the payouts that you should earn
    Ask them for a number to a corporate office and why none of that is on the website
    Ask them why you can’t use the web to promote STE. I mean it is YOUR BUSINESS
    Ask them what the percentages of people that don’t regain their money back as compared to making money and what type of timeframe. If they tell you that more make money than lose, they’re ABSOLUTELY LYING.
    Good luck and please let me know how it goes. You do seem very logical at this point and are going in open minded. Be careful, it’s not just $450. It’s $100 minimum monthly also.

  • another potential recruit says:
    9 September 2008

    To “voice of reason” Okay then theoretically, every corporation in the United States are no better than a drug dealer?? It’s funny you say that, because JUST this morning I said to myself, well it’s not like I’m selling drugs or anything, so whats the harm? I guess it goes back to everyone matter of opinion, which is NOT what I’m looking for. I’m looking for information. If you don’t have it, keep your hostilities to yourself. It just takes up space. Good luck in your future endeavors.

  • Wake Up, another potential recruit says:
    9 September 2008

    There’s no way somebody received a $5,500 refund in less than three weeks. If they showed you an online check, I would love to see them bring the computer and cash that one. There’s no way anybody can be that gullible, can they? Before you sign up ask the questions that were posted for Loozegear. Unfortunately, I bet you’ll be considered negative too. If it’s about shopping then why not join plenty of the FREE websites that I’ve referred to on this blog several times.

    Loozegear,
    Also, ask them what the refund policy is, how do you get a refund if you don’t think this is for you, and how long do you have before your no longer elligible for a refund.
    Again, please keep updated on your experience

  • another potential recruit says:
    9 September 2008

    Also, “voice of reason” Technically, I did NOT ask if it was morally wrong or not. I am well aware that you can lose money being involved in these sorts of companies. Which is why my question was (and still is) what is the best way to approach this mlm company? Is the timing right? It’s not a matter of IF I would do it but a matter of SHOULD I, based on timing and what’s needed to be successful. SOOO I welcome INFORMATION on this if possible. Thank you.

  • Wake Up, another potential recruit says:
    9 September 2008

    If you’re well aware that this company is a pyramid, which you already stated. You know that more people will lose money than make money, because that’s what happens in pyramids. You’re not asking whether it’s moral or not, so we can guess that your aware that it’s immoral.
    Your asking whether you SHOULD do this based on timing. You’re perfect for this pyramid! What a joke!!!!!!!!! You’re typical of pyramid clientel. The only thing that would make you even a better mark is: Bad financial background looking to get out of it the easy way.
    Why not just take $450, go to a casino put it on red or black and hope you win. Heck, you can double your money in about three minutes, better timing than STE and you’ll actually get your money back. Or you lose, just like what will happen to 90% who join this pyramid. If you don’t get in and don’t RECRUIT friends and family you will still have those friends and family.
    WOW!!!!!!!!!! I think MOST will agree that you’re an unusual person and I’m not just talking about your responses. I’m sure your personality is consistent with your postings.

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    9 September 2008

    “another potential recruit” – Apparently you’ve bought into the lie that every company is a pyramid? Well that’s simply not true. At a corporate job, you don’t PAY TO BE ABLE TO WORK, no matter what your level. You are offered a job with guaranteed compensation, and you choose to take the job or not.

    In a pyramid scheme or MLM, you must PAY TO BECOME A PART OF IT. After you pay, there is a slim chance (usually much less than 10% chance) that you will make more money than you spend on it.

    Sadly well over 90% (usually around 99%) of people who get involved in MLMs or pyramid schemes lose money. That’s a whole lot different than corporate America, where every employee makes money… called a paycheck.

  • Everydayfinance says:
    9 September 2008

    Ah, this is great. This debate will never end. Well, my buddy who signed up and almost got me into it (yes, my post on why I opted not to join at EverydayFinance kicked off this melee), has made the majority of his money from signups. Not much from residual. He’s been in for months now and he “got in early”. So, good luck signing up more suckers, guys!

  • ShoptoEarn a Scam!! says:
    9 September 2008

    you are a low life, you only print what adds to your silliness

    ***admin note***

    The above was posted by Joe Occhiogrosso, President of All Pro Title in Morristown, NJ. Isn’t that who YOU want to do business with? A title company whose owner has nothing better to do than try to sell Shop To Earn as the answer to your problems, and harass blog owners like me? But what do I know. I’m a lowlife. Joe Occhiogrosso says so!

  • Wake Up, Joe O. says:
    10 September 2008

    Joe,
    WWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
    I bet you are the type of boy that takes your ball and leaves the park in the middle of a game, just because your losing. It’s because of out of control members like you, and the wonderful attorney for STE, that causes a lot of damage to this scam. A lot of the negative publicity was started by the attorney attempting to threaten a blogger for posting his opinion.
    Please enlighten us Joe of how much money you have made from SHOPPING ONLY. Then let us know how much you’ve made from RECRUITING?????

  • Wake Up, Joe O. says:
    10 September 2008

    Joe O.,
    I mean with proof. Not some fake check that you would have to bring your computer to the bank to get paid for. That must get expensive turning in every computer so that you can get your checks cashed. LOL!

  • The Loser says:
    18 September 2008

    I don’t think there’s any way to get out of shoptoearn. Or at least none i could find. I have searched the web and so far nothing came out. It’s really hard to come in contact with the people. If someone could help I’d honestly, greatly appreciate it.

  • The Loser says:
    18 September 2008

    Note: Didn’t read all…

  • Nina says:
    19 September 2008

    A successful Entrepeneur/Investor takes the time to analyze a concept and continue to modify it until it becomes a busines that will deliver results. The fact that reputable names such as TARGET, DELL and HOMEDEPOT would affiliate themselves with a company like SHOP TO EARN means they have also done their share of analyzing and strategizing. People spend countless hours cutting coupons, and what happens if you are in the mall with friends and find a dollar on the floor? I am sure all of you would pounce on it! Everyone wants a sale, a savings or a bargain. And you get that with SHOP TO EARN. But many fail to see the big picture. While yes you get a kickback from your purchases, I am sure that is NOT why you buy into this business. If you were to buy a restaurant today, are you going to be the only one consuming from it? You will never get the business grwoth you are looking for! This business is a consume and refer business. Have you friends and family buy from you rather than the retailers. But where you make $ is in educating others to consume from their own businesses. This concept and business does work! Have an open mind and really do your homework before publicly slamming a comany that someone like Patrick Welsh has been working on for 10 years to make sure that it not only works for him but delivers the same results to all independent business owners that buy into shop to earn. ….Good Luck to those who change their outlook on going into business for themselves!!!!!!!!1

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    19 September 2008

    Nina said: “The fact that reputable names such as TARGET, DELL and HOMEDEPOT would affiliate themselves with a company like SHOP TO EARN means they have also done their share of analyzing and strategizing.”

    You apparently haven’t read the rest of the comments here about this topic. The affiliates like Target and Home Depot DO NOT endorse or investigate the people/companies they have promoting their links. All you need is a website and you sign up and you’re approved to be an affiliate. Unless your site has objectionable content, you can carry on being an affiliate no matter who you are. So the participation of these companies DOES NOT give STE any credibility.

  • Wake up, Nina says:
    19 September 2008

    I wanted to see how much “commission” a friend of mine would get from a $20 purchase from one of their “affiliates” (HAHAHA). After weeks of waiting to see if the commission showed, it didn’t. It seems that you will only, that’s if you get it ever, receive the commission once you sign up two people. If you don’t have two recruits the commissions won’t post. At least that’s what they’re telling him. What a joke!!!!!!!
    NINA, THERE ARE FREE WEBSITES THAT DO THE SAME THING AS ste, (Live Search Cashback, Fatwallet, Upromise). WITHOUT RECRUITING LET’S SEE HOW LONG IT TAKES ANYONE TO MAKE UP THE $450 ALONE. NOT COUNTING THE $100 MINIMUM PURCHASE PER MONTH ON ITEMS YOU CAN GET MUCH CHEAPER ANYWHERE.

  • Concerned says:
    20 September 2008

    I have heard about this twice now. Two friends of mine have signed up so far and I recognized it almost immediately though of course I did my research first.

    It’s sad, they both think its the opportunity they always hoped for. I don’t want to crush their hopes, but I feel like I need to tell them just what they will be doing in the long run both to their friends and thousands of unknown people. Whether or not their conscience is as strong as mine I do not know. They do stand to make some money I am sure if they push the product (I use the word “product” very loosely), but they don’t know the cost at which they are attaining this money. Shit like this is a large percentage of what is wrong with the country, and it is only making the countless problems we have here that much worse.

    Its a shame that corporations such as these have not been made illegal yet.

    I realize they are all entirely within their legal rights to create companies such as this though I feel if people knew the full business model, not only would they opt out in terms of conscience but they would also
    What can I as the average person do to help expose mlm’s such as this?
    Not just shoptoearn but the countless others out there.

  • Jerry C says:
    22 September 2008

    I signed on as a broker for Shop to Earn. Then I realized the only way I could have made money was to recruit 2 or more brokers underneath me Then there was the $100.00 a month Green Products purchase. That just didn’t sit right with me. I was able to opt out by mailing a letter to Shop to Earn, 3441 South Eastern Ave, Las Vegas NV 89109. I sent it certified mail; I didn’t receive a response right away until I email the company through their support email and an email to their lawyer. As soon as the lawyer, Gerry Nehra, received my email his office forwarded it to Mr. Walsh and then my funds were refunded back to my Credit Card. You have to make sure you are within the 14 day opt out period. Yes the address is hard, but it’s there.

    I did like the idea about shopping and getting a % back. But I know I would never have been able to shop that much to cover the $100.00 a month Green purchases. So I created a website for myself that has the same companies as Shop to Earn. So far I have a large collection of Merchants, and all I did was go to the affiliate websites to get approval to use their links. http://www.allthebestshopping.com and it only cost me $10.00 to register. Anyone can do it.

  • it's just me says:
    22 September 2008

    first, an MLM is considered an illegal pyramid scheme when they have less then 50% pure customers who aren’t benefiting or earning from the program. With STE, all the ‘brokers’ purchase through their own sites to get cash back, which means, they aren’t actual customers (this is because being your own customer is a conflict of interest).

    You can be sure STE will end up facing legal trouble over it and will be shut down like thousands of other crap schemes of it’s kind have, it’s just a matter of time until they get to STE.

    second, they dont even have legit contact information. what mron signs up for something, hands voer bank account info and money, with no contact information to the company itself? jsut a little too trusting there aint ya? doesn’t the fact that there is little or no contact info make something click in your head?

    All you’re doing with STE is pestering people you know to join up and buy in, so the company makes money from you and them. Who’s going to go to your site to shop at all the stores they provide? people will go to each of those stores websites themsvels and make purchases, without you knowing where they shop and how much they spend.

    If these schemes were so good, everyone would be doing it and we’d have no poor people in this country, which is not the case. You’ll make some money at first if you get more morons to sign up, then it stops because you run out of morons, and they run out of morons, pretty soon, there’s no morons left, and no more income, then what your paying in yearly and needing to spend each month so you dont get kicked out of the program is way more than you get back…

    Do you really think spending two grand to get back $100 is a good deal? I get a higher percentage back from 2 of my credit cards I use all the time, and I don’t have to buy into anything to get it back either.

    It’s morons like the people who fall for these schemes that got Bush elected twice and screwed this country royaly. I call them Jerry Springer rejects.

  • prosperouslife says:
    23 September 2008

    It doesn’t shock me that me that there are so many uninformned, uneducated individuals on this site and many others like it! We are a nation of extremely naive people that live in debt (credit card, mortgage debt, student loan debt)that they can’t afford to pay off… yet most American still continue to spend money!!

    It is unfortunate that someone would invest their time in miseducating people about a program that they could not possibly have any knowledge of unless they were involved in it or knows of people that were involved. It sounds to me that you have done a poor job of using the many available resources on the internet or simply going to a presentation, or calling one of the business owners, to do any kind of legitimate research, and you have just made assumptions based on you limited experience with other mlm programs.

    I was introduced to this program by 2 seperate individuals and I see it for exactly what it is…network marketing..no more, no less! If you have ever had any experience with any network marketing opportunity, you know that you make the most money based on the amount of people you recruit, and their recruits, and so on and so forth…and with this particualar opportunity you also happen to make money from shopping online from retailers you likely shop at anyway..so my question is what’s wrong with that?? Just curious?

    So, you recruit people…so what?? What’s the crime in that? It’s not a secret that recruiting people is a requirement..so what? If you make money and they make money and everyone you recruit makes money…who cares what anyone has to say? We continue to get paid, while others continue to discount the opportunity..but, the thing is it’s your lost because we continue to get checks every month while your wasting your time blogging about an opportunity that we “know” firsthand that we get money from. My friend just joined less than a month ago and has already made $6,000. I just joined last week and already have made my initial investment back!!

    Is is a pyramid business model?? Sure, what business structure is not?? just curious?? All corporations are! Difference is at the end of the day…I make money at home, in my sleep, while on vacation, etc…not in an office…surrounded by dull grey cubicle walls, staring at a computer, and being micromanaged by someone idiot!

    This is no different than a franchise. Many people establish their own businesses and all expenses are tax deductible so my mortgage, travel, food, entertainment, and most of my expenses are deductible.

    So with all that said…there is nothing wrong with an opportunity!! if you have ever studied business in any way you will see that there are many ways to business ownership, and network or multi level marketing is just one of many!

    I plan to capitalize on this opportunity because I know that it can be done. If there are any questions about the legitimacy…you can always check to see if there are any pending claims, research Better Business Bureau, etc. What’s the big deal??

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    23 September 2008

    prosperouslife – Tell me what facts I have wrong, and provide proof in support of your claims. Please send me proof of the earnings claims you made. I want to see the checks. It’s easy for shills to SAY they made money. Much harder to actually provide proof.

  • it's just me says:
    23 September 2008

    Prosperouslife, seriously, your a moron.
    Pyramid schemes are illegal. ShopToEarn does not have over a 50% pure customer rate as the customers are people signed up getting money back from the program. That makes it an illegal pyramid scheme, not an MLM program.. go find a good reputible lawyer and ask about that yourself.

    second, the products in all the shops are way above what you would pay at the actual store.. even after the ‘cash back’. Then there are shipping fee’s added on to that or you don’t get your merchandise. t’s not saving anyone anything. You also have to spend $100.00 per month in their earth shops in order to get your commisions.

    third, your lying to friends and family, and others, to get them to sign up for this scam. deny it if you wish, but you know how you sell the program, you leave out information that may turn the person off, alter info to make the sale, hopeing they wont investigate and get the real information from the companies own website, or find reports on them. You target people with money troubles, who may not have alot of knowledge with this sort of scheme, and you take advantage of them. That’s rather scummy.

    finally, alot of people have been approached by people selling this scam, and did their homework. One of my clients (i’m a web designer) which is a non-profit, was approached, i was at the presentation about it, and did my research which is how I found this blog. The person tried to sell it to a non-profit as a ‘fund-raiser’, and specifically said no one makes a profit from it except the non-profit itself’.. which was a full out lie. needless to say after showing the information directly from ShopToSave.net’s own website, the non-profit’s legal council agree’d it’s illegal and should not be a part of the non-profit as a fund-raiser or anything else.

    you’re comments about the BB among other crap that came from your figners, means nothing, it shows how uneducated you are.

    First, you should have a red-flag up at the factthat you cannot contact this company at all.. the phone numbers are not their’s, and the mailbox/po box addresses (and there are several) go nowhere. you’re giving money, credit card, and bank information to total strangers with no way to contact them.

    Second, shold their ‘free template’ they use for their site and the pages they create for ‘brokers’ give you a clue that a company, suppsoedly that took 10 years to create, is using a free, anyone can download from any web template website, for their site, isn’t much of a company?

    Third, if you pull whois records on ShopToEarn.net and their old domain ShopToEarn.org, there’s alot of discreppancies there.They move their company to a new name, address, etc jsut short of getting caught by the FTC. This is typical of illegal schemes., and is why they dont have valid contact information, they don’t want to be contacted, they just want your money.

    so before you try and put other straight, do your own homework.

    p.s. this is to ShopToEarn’s lawyer who loves to send letters to anyone who talks negatively about the scam.. BRING IT! You may have scared a couple of bloggers into taking their blogs down, you don’t scare everyone, you don’t scare me, I wont need a lawyer to appear in court to defend my first ammendment right as I stated facts directly from your own site, without copying content directly from the site. It’s 100% legal, I am within my rights, so i’m begging you, BRING IT! the sooner you do, the sooner more of your scam gets exposed and the quicker it gets shut down.

  • Wake Up, prosperouslife says:
    23 September 2008

    You’re funny prosperouslife. STE is just so much smarter than everyone else. This is the first time this idea has ever been thought of. GIVE ME A BREAK.
    This piece of crap company uses the cheapest design for a website, that most high school students could put together. It’s been 10 years in the making and that’s what they use. Maybe they should’ve thought about putting legitimate corporate information on the site, including: legitimate phone number, address, etc.
    I do feel for the people that get conned into this crap. The same thing they offer you for $450 is FREE ON OTHER WEBSITES!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wake Up!!!!!!!!

  • ALAN SHALIMAR says:
    24 September 2008

    IF I HAD A DOLLAR FOR EVERY PERSON WHO ASK ME TO SIGN UP ,I WOULD HAVE MY $448.00,IF YOU LIKE MIXING BUISNESS WITH PLEASURE GO FOR IT,NOT MY STYLE AND MY PERSONAL TIME IS WAY MORE VALUABLE THEN TRYING TO PUSH MLMS,JUST TAKE YOUR $448 AND BUY GOLD IN THE LONG RUN I WOULD BET ON THE GOLD AND NOT A DREAM THAT YOU HAVE TO BABYSIT TO KEEP THE BALANCE OF 2 COLUMNS THAT YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OF.

  • Joe O. says:
    24 September 2008

    Is Shop to Earn a Scam?

    Some people bash Network Marketing also known as Multi-level Marketing (MLM) and say they are scams etc. Mainly because of ignorance and jealousy and also because of the recruiting aspect. I’d like to ask “What’s wrong with recruiting to grow your business?”

    Don’t “normal” companies recruit and try to find the best talent? Good sales people that work on 100% commission with no promises but unlimited upside are always being courted to join a new company. Usually by promising them larger commisions.
    Most big corporations actually reward employees for recruiting too! I have worked at a few large companies that would pay me a week’s salary as a bonus if I recruited someone and they stayed more than 3 months. This happens all the time. This is a free country and people decide for themselves if they want to get involved or not no?

    BTW, I don’t just sign anyone up for STE, I only want the talented people. If I just wanted the lousy $100 referral fee I can sign up friends and contacts all day long. BUT I only want people that I think will be happy and want to succeed at STE. My initial of group of 22 sign ups is filled with presitgious attorneys, CPAs, succesful entrepreneurs and doctors. This is not for people who can’t make a decent living, this is for the best and brightest that “see” the opportunity of the 24/7 internet. These 22 people in 3 months have snowballed into more than 700 people in my group. I know less than 5% of these people. Are all these strangers just plain stupid? Have they all been conned?

    When I graduated college in May of 1987 (5 months prior to the stock market crash), I was very highly recruited. I had about a dozen lucrative offers from all the best Wall St. firms at the time (Goldman Sachs, Salomon Brothers, JP Morgan, Shearson Lehman etc.) When I said “no thanks” to a few, they called back and offered me more money and asked me to re-consider. They promised me quick raises and promotions and the “fast-track” to the top. Hmmmm. During these go-go 1980’s they couldn’t hire top-of-the-class college kids fast enough. Then the Stock Market crashed in October of 1987 and they had massive layoffs. And of course all the recent hires were the first to go. Did anyone yell scam!! Were people calling the FTC and claiming that they were conned into an opportunity that didnt work out?
    C’mon, we are all adults here. There are no guarantees in life. And trust me, $448 sign up fee is nothing compared to being out of work for weeks or months.

    Some of these blogs are comical really. They don’t even believe that you will ever receive your money. Trust me, my $40,000 so far has been very real. And I have met and become friendly with some of those six-figure-a-month people. They are very real indeed. Some people just don’t get it. They won’t even buy on the internet for fear of identity theft, they keep all their money in CD’s because the stock market is too risky. Whatever floats your boat. I don’t waste my time on people that are negative or close-minded – I just move on!

    SCAM?
    Did you know that back in the 1940’s and 1950’s that the “Franchise Industry” was also considered a major scam?

    Think about it. Many experts and most of the general public were bashing the franchise concept. If you wanted to open up a hamburger restaurant or donut shop why in the world would you ever “Buy a Franchise?”

    You would actually have to give the Franchise company a lump sum up-front and then agree to pay them royalties forever before you even got started! And then contractually agree to use all their products and follow all their rules and regulations. You must post their signs and charge what they say – no more and no less. You can’t even run a special promotion or buy your own products from a local guy. You had to go to seminars and get ‘brain-washed’ into believing and trusting their supposedly “proven” system. If you failed and went broke in 3 months too bad, no refund. This was considered a huge scam! And very un-American too – sounded like a communistic dictatorship. Where’s the creativity?

    Too bad they didn’t have blogs back then, can you even imagine what people would be saying???? They would so funny to read today! “You can get the very same napkins cheaper down the block !!” “their stuff is way over priced, chopmeat is on sale at the A&P for less this week!!” Its a business people, and you take the good with the bad sometimes.

    Well of course we now know that Franchises have become a HUGE success. “An idea who’s time has come” hmmmm….sound familiar?

    It wasn’t until the early 1960’s, that people finally understood the concept and power behind this great idea. And what happened to McDonald’s owners? how about the stock? Today its EASIER to get a business loan for a franchise than any other business loan.

    Anyone that opened up a few McDonald’s franchises back then is very, very wealthy. Too bad my parents weren’t “recruited and brain-washed” and bought into this “scam” and followed their training program – I would be set right now. Scam huh? Sound familiar? Who’s laughing now?

    The STE “scam” has grown from 4,000 to 40,000 in the last 3 months. It will be over 100,000 by year’s end. By 2010 it will be over 1 million. And it will never get closed down becuase they are very diligent and make sure they abide by all the rules, but mainly because there are way too many happy people. The success stories far outweigh the losers. BTW, the real residual money comes from the shopping – if you join and take a closer look, that’s the real money, but that takes months to start since the Fortune 500 retailers can take up to 90 days to give the cash back (which generate the points)

    This opportunity is a major Home Run, if you can’t get past this that’s ok. I wish you well in whatever you choose to do with your time. Personally, I like helping and inspiring people to reach their goals. Its fun!

  • Wake Up, Joe "0" (zero) says:
    24 September 2008

    Joe “0”,
    Tracy has challenged many to prove their claims but nobody, not one, has stepped up to disprove, us “negative” people. Of course you know the people who made so much money. It’s obvious you’ve drank the juice. Maybe you’ll step up and disprove this blog. Show your proof. Tell us your percentage made from shopping and the percentage made from SCAMMING, I mean recruiting. Your seminars are the most ridiculous things EVER. Borderline, if not, cult-like and it’s only $129 to go to.
    Let’s see:
    1. You MUST pay to join.
    2. You MUST pay an annual fee.
    3. You MUST pay to attend training seminars if you choose to become more educated in “your business”.
    4. To get paid, you MUST pay monthly fees ($100 minimum) for products that are overpriced, double (If you’re involved with a company, aren’t you usually provided a discount????).
    5. To make real money you MUST recruit. Every members names that I’ve looked at has made MINIMAL from shopping purchases.
    6. To reach certain goals you MUST do this within the first 30 days to “score”.
    7. If you sign-up and decide STE isn’t for you, you MUST wait about 2 months to get your money back. That’s if you consistently harass them in order to get YOUR money.
    If I went for a job somewhere and they told me these requirements I would run for the hills. These are wonderful perks to a company!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

  • ShopToEarn EasyMoney says:
    24 September 2008

    First off Wake Up, Joe “0”,

    You MUST not do anything. You don’t hand STE your credit card and they just do as they please with it. You choose what you pay for and you choose how much you pay and you choose when to stop payment. What you said is probably the dumbest thing i have ever heard someone say. That is like saying when you go to BestBuy you MUST pay for a TV or they won’t give it to you. Obviously, just the fact that you worded everything in such a ridiculous way just shows that you actually have NO idea what you are talking about. Like with any investment, you pay money in hope to get a return on investment. I’m guessing you are the kind of person who has all your money stocked away in a savings account at your local bank earning 1.5-2% annual interest? i mean power to you when you finally save up enough money to be able to retire at the age of 80. No company forces you to do anything. Once you sign up, you aren’t locked into anything. Like with everything, there is a fee. To go to the movies you pay money, to go to college you pay money, to go out to eat you pay money. So for you to sit there and act like paying for something that has to do with STE is a big deal, then you are just a moron and should look around you and take in that everything in our world has a price. You don’t HAVE to spend $100 a month. If your check is for $6,000 then obviously you are going to spend $100. If your check is for $50 then obviously you wouldn’t spend $100. Before you attempt to put in your 2 cents about a company, you should actually go to the company’s site and go through the overview and powerpoints pertaining the business structure of the company. There is NO timelimit on when you have to do anything by. The 30 day period is a bonus period where IF you get a certain amount of people in the 30 day period you make bonuses of up to $4,100. Products sold through STE cannot be overpriced by STE being that when you click on the store you want to go to, it brings you to that store’s official website (KOHLS.com, CircuitCity.com, Target.com). Basically everything you said, doesn’t make sense at all, and all it did was make you look like a fool. So continue to earn your 2% interest in your savings account, and next time you feel the need to talk about something, research it so you don’t sound so foolish.

  • ShopToEarn EasyMoney says:
    24 September 2008

    Wake Up, Joe “0”,

    One last thing. I just think that investing isn’t for you, and you should just keep your 11-6 job at McDonalds making sandwiches. So before you waste anymore of your precious time telling us how we have wasted our time/money, just go apply for more hours at work and continue to rack in the $7.50/hr wage you get. So far for the few hours of my life ive invested into this company each week over the past 2 months, Ive made over $15,000 which is a 3333% return on my investment. so laugh all you want with your 2% interest and all the benefits of working in the fast-food industry (free food YAYYYY), and i’ll enjoy the finer things in life, like financial freedom and being able to spend time with family and friends.

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    25 September 2008

    Be careful easy money. I promise you that STE executives are screaming “your fee isn’t an investment!!!” Because if that fee is an “investment” then they’ve got a whole lot of other troubles with the laws.

    And just remember, everything in this world does NOT require a fee to participate. You go to your regular job and THEY PAY YOU, not the other way around.

  • Wake Up says:
    25 September 2008

    Joe “0”,
    Actually do you know how stupid you sound? Please tell me what percentage you’ve made from recruiting? Please tell me how much you made from shopping? Of the seven (7) items I listed, please tell me which are incorrect statements? I sound silly? You’re exactly proving OUR point when you make IDIOTIC comments about YOUR INVESTMENT. How stupid are you? Take your foot out of your mouth. I’m sure that’s not the first time your arrogant, pompous ass was told that.
    You’re probably involved in this because the “title” company is taking a dump and YOU didn’t invest your money, PROPERLY, when the market was good. DUH!! If you’re so successful then why scam people into a pyramid? So you can make quick money?
    Why don’t you checkout what happened to BurnLounge? I’m sure you won’t answer any of the questions or requests honestly, if at all, because it will only make “your business” look bad. If you have a good product then what’s to defend. I think STE’s attorney learned this by bringing negative light by threatening a blogger.
    I’m sorry I have to go. The burgers need to be flipped. Wake Up! Although you’re pretty comical!!!!!!

  • it's just me says:
    26 September 2008

    I’m guessing Joe ‘0’ doesn’t pay taes on anything he gets from ScamToEarn either. If people are dumb enough to fall for these scams, their dumb enough not to pay taxes as well.
    He Probably calls himself a ‘webmaster’ too because ScamToEArn made him a cheap page on their site and called it his.

  • Joe O. says:
    26 September 2008

    GEEZ, such hostility. Not sure why. And Mr.”Wake up” please read the authors of the blogs carefully, you are attacking me, Joe O. for calling you silly etc., meanwhile it was someone else that responded to you.

    Regarding the “investment” terminology, when you open any business it takes some kind of initial investment. I think the word investment here is OK, since its not in the context of an SEC type of investment, but more of an investment to buy the tools and back office to get your business up and running. Similar to buying a bunch of workstations and copier machines to open up a business office.

    I still don’t see how recruiting is such a crime ONLY when it comes to MLM’s? Example: All the stock brokerage houses have recruited like crazy over the last 5 decades. They get nice people to quit their jobs with promises of becoming a millionaire stock broker. People leave steady jobs and try a new career as a “Financial Advisor” they spend money and time passing tests and getting licensed for their 100% commission job (no salary, just get paid if you produce) and then are trained to GET THE ASSETS OF ALL THEIR FRIENDS AND FAMILIES INTO THE BROKERAGE HOUSE. Statistically about 85% of these people fail/quit after 2 years BUT the brokerage house gets to keep more than 60% of the assets because people just are too lazy to switch their accounts yet again. Brokerage house only have one thing in mind – to get assets, and they’ve always used recruitment to do it. When the new rookie stockbroker quits, the veteran brokers call them up ASAP and ask them to stay. These are the facts.
    Can this be viewed as a scam? absolutely, almost anything can be viewed as a scam if you want to see it that way.

    Hey negative bloggers, here’s something else to think about . . . if people are happy with STE and are making money and having fun, why does that upset you? Is it because you feel the need to save innocent people from spending and losing their $448? Do you have a ‘save the world’ complex? Or maybe you just get upset at people making money at something you could never see yourself being good at? If your next door neighbor built a technology company and sold it for millions would you be happy for him? sounds like you would be very jealous.
    Speaking of arrogance, I find this aggressiveness and passion pretty arrogant of YOU, you seem to think that there are lots of stupid people out there that are so easily conned, that can’t think for themselves and its YOUR job to protect them. wtf?

    This is not for everyone, but 40,000 people already jumped in. Of course you are going to have 5% of the people unhappy – and right now that’s 2,000 people – but 38,000 are happy they found STE. And there will surely be 100’s of thousands of “victims” soon and all your negativity is being wasted.

    Lastly, I know you don’t want to hear this, but the real residual income IS ALL ABOUT THE SHOPPING – NOT THE RECRUITING.

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    26 September 2008

    Joe – You personally told me that the company is about the recruiting and not the shopping when you said that they’re giving to associates all the shopping income in order to get as many people signed up as possible. They’re going for lots of recruiting, and hopefully sales on the Shop to Earth side (which they will get as a result of the required $100/mo purchase by recruits or their friends).

    MLM experts all see through this and realize it’s not about the shopping. If it was really about that, why charge recruits $448 to sign up? I’ll tell you why. Because it’s very lucrative for the owners of the company. There is not a lot of cost involved in setting up and running a company like this, so don’t tell me they’re trying to recover costs. But if they were really concerned about the shopping and not the recruiting, they’d stop charging fees to sign up in order to get more SHOPPERS and they’d instead make their money off shopping fees.

    Keep calling the fee to join STE an investment and Gerry Nehra will be calling you soon. This company has a vested interest in that fee not being an “investment.

    And I’m not concerned about all those who “made their money back.” I’m worried about the tens of thousands of people who will lose their money in these types of schemes that are doomed by design.

  • Wake Up, ShopToEarn EasyMoney says:
    26 September 2008

    Joe O.,
    I totally stand corrected and I do apologize for calling you out for something said by someone else. Please let us know how much of your income has come from RECRUITING? How much from Shopping? I don’t think anybody wants to answer that question. I wonder why? How about the taxes on the income, when does that get deducted? Also, nobody wants to show their proof of income. HHHHMMMMM!!!!! I would definitely stay away from advising it’s an investment.
    ShopToEarn EasyMoney, (because you’re a scammer!!!)
    My guess really is that you’re somehow affiliated with Joe O., but anyway, I challenge you to answer the questions, I rudely posted in error to Joe “0” when I should’ve posted them to you on September 25th at 9:30AM. As I said before you won’t. Oh shoot, I gotta go flip the burgers again. WAKE UP!!!!
    To the true Joe O. I do apologize for ripping into you about that.

  • Joe O. says:
    26 September 2008

    Tracy:
    I never said the company is about recruiting, its all about selling product. The website is the IS THE PRODUCT. And Shop to Earth, which is their on-line Health Food Store is the benefactor.

    People say that “50% of the sales MUST come from customers not in the program!!! ” I’m trying to explain to you that ALL of the sales are coming from people not in the program!!!

    Example:
    I assume you are not a Shop to Earn website owner, you are currently NOT in the program. So if I sell you your own website/domain name/shopping portal/software/shopping tracking program. I JUST SOLD A PRODUCT TO A PERSON WHO IS NOT IN THE PROGRAM. I make a commission for the sale, I get $100 bux and get points. AND JUST LIKE ANY LEGIT MLM, I CAN ALSO GET POINTS/OVERRIDES ON OTHERS SELLING THIS PRODUCT TO OTHERS NOT IN THE PROGRAM. These guys have it all figured out. This is a HOME RUN! This adds value and will continue to grow like wildfire. Get on board. This will be the largest web-shopping portal on the planet within a few years. Sorry, but its inevitable. Have you ever seen anything that has grown this fast . . . ever? 40,000 people in 6 months, and now its exponential. It will be well over 100,000 by christmas. Soon there will be very positive press and articles coming out. Sorry, but people hated Amway/quickstar or whatever they call it, and its a billion dollar monster. With the internet and the economy and the environmental movement – this is a HUGE perfect storm.

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    26 September 2008

    Joe – You clearly don’t understand MLM. You’re looking at the 50% issue all wrong. If you recruit someone, they’re in the program. Anything they buy is not a sale to someone outside of the program.

    This is a common standard used to evaluate MLM, and the concept is fairly straightforward. Are there retail sales (in this case shopping activity) to people who are not distributors (in this case website owners or brokers)??? What you see in the sketchy companies is that there is far more made from recruiting and minimum purchases made by those who have signed up.

    I’m not going to quote your email to me because you asked me not to, but go back and read what you wrote about the goals for recruits who spend $100 a month each. That is the focus, you say. That means the recruiting is the real focus. And when recruiting is more important than actual retailing, you’ve got a problem.

  • Wake Up, Joe says:
    26 September 2008

    That’s probably the most ridiculous explanation I’ve ever heard. Positive press coverage! You will NOT see any POSITIVE press charges, that’s a guarantee. NOT IN THE PROGRAM MEANS if somebody smart, who didn’t get scammed into this, but decided to buy from a friend (who got scammed in) then that would be an outside sale. WAKE UP!!!!!!
    “Spread like wildfire” Last I heard nobody cares for wildfires, unless of course your an arsonist????????
    Answer the questions Joe, if it’s such a great company.
    How much of your income has come from RECRUITING?
    How much from Shopping?
    BurnLounge grew this fast and was a “HOMERUN”. Go to youtube and check out videos of BurnLounge and check out their cult-like meetings and seminars. It’s identical!
    People raving about how great it is. It’s going to revolutionize!!!!!! Guess what the FTC did with them. You guessed it, SHUTDOWN. Wake up!

  • Joe O. says:
    27 September 2008

    Maybe you’re right, maybe I should just return my $42,000 and forget about all this STE non-sense? Maybe then you guys will sleep better?
    But the real question is, what do I do with next month’s direct deposit and then November’s direct deposit? what about those juicy amounts that will hit my account in the first quarter of 2009 after all the Holiday shopping rings up like a cash register for me? HELP!
    How do I get in touch with the 700+ people in my downline? How do I stop the 15-20 new people each day from joining my group? How do I prevent my downline from growing to 5,000 people by next year?
    Can I have them call you Mr. Wake up? It seems like it would take someone like you with your passion to help bring the bad news to all these crazy people.

    Instead of wasting your time trying to HELP the STE people you don’t even know from spending $448 that they obviously can afford and willingly spend, maybe you should spend your time and passion helping the homeless? or working at a local soup kitchen? Leave these stupid arrogant $448 spending people alone and let them learn their lessons. Get up from your PC and stop inflating your ego with negativity and really help society. Go help someone who really needs help. Go donate some blood!

  • Wake Up, Joe says:
    27 September 2008

    Joe “0”,
    Your answer is a true sign of deflexion. You didn’t answer the real questions because your ability to tell the truth is BS. Therefore, your course of attention or concern goes on to another term referred to as avoidance.
    STE will end up like BurnLounge guaranteed. I’m sure you’ll be on these websites & talking to the friends that did get scammed and apologize. Most likely not, “because I made my money”. What about the thousands of people that will lose? You’re so passionate (cult-like) about this company, not because it’s a great concept. Your writings TRULY show the greed that comes from MOTIVATED people (money hungry scammers). Probably because the real estate and title company took a dump. I’m sure you were real responsible with the huge money made during the real estate boom?
    To the people considering this pyramid, please try to read the posts and find out what the authors motivations are. Some of us have absolutely no vested interest as others (Joe “0”) have greed and motivation for that next $100 commission that will help his INVESTMENT!!!!! Wake Up Joe “0” and answer the questions, truthfully.

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    27 September 2008

    Here’s a sad truth about MLMs – Many of the people who sign up really can’t afford the $448 but the find a way to get it (late on rent, fewer groceries, miss a car payment, etc.) because they buy into this dream. They *think* this will be the answer for a better life for them.

    I’m not disputing that some people in MLM make money. The people who get in early or are very, very, very lucky after getting in late, can make gobs of money. There are about 20 or 30 people in Mary Kay who make $500k or more per year. There are another 300 who make $200k to $499 a year, and another 140 to 150 who make $100k to $199k a year.

    That sounds fantastic, doesn’t it?? YOU COULD BE ONE OF THOSE 500!!!

    The problem is that there are about 700,000 consultants just in the United States. And another 400,000 a year who come and go, just in the United States.

    What you have is a situation in which something like 99% lose money in the venture. I’ve talked to enough women who were in MK to know that it’s not because they were lazy. It’s because the MLM system has a fatal flaw which guarantees the failure (losing money) of almost all participants. This is a good piece on that:

    http://www.falseprofits.com/files/e21bdbcc219481de8840ee3a857c6a9e-3.html

    So while you may make tens of thousands of dollars, it’s not because you’ve created any value or helped a bunch of people. It’s essentially because people in your downline have been conned out $448 each with tales of becoming rich, when almost none of them will ever be able to reach that.

  • Joe O. says:
    27 September 2008

    Tracy:

    Sorry for the sarcasm.
    Your story about Mary Kay sounds similar to my story about the brokerage houses for the last 50 years. Everyone thinks that all Stock Brokers are rich, or at least do very, very well. People leave their jobs and give it a shot, they get all their friends and families to transfer assets and also cold call others to buy stock and bonds and get rich, but most brokers fail and quit in a year or so, the brokerage house keeps most of these assets and gives these accounts to the “people on the top” , did these top earners get in early or are they just good at what they do? Maybe a combination of both. This has been going on for decades and no one cries foul. Anyway, I guess we just need to see how this plays out. Good luck to everyone in whatever you choose to do! I’m going to take a break for a while.

    This is like Obama vrs McCain – 90% of the people have their favorite and are set in their ways and nothing you can say or type will change their minds.

  • Lee D says:
    27 September 2008

    Joe, people cry foul about the stock market game all the time. I recommend Gary Weiss’ book Wall Street versus America if you want an entertaining in depth look at it.

    For that matter, people cry foul over the insurance industry, or any misstep that big companies make, like labour and environmental practices. So putting MLM up on a cross and crying about how unfairly it’s being tarred is a non-sequitor at best, or at least a pretty weak argument.

    Regardless, it’s always possible to make money by taking it from other people and giving them little for it in return. It’s equally possible to make money by doing things or creating things. Those of us who actually own a business, earn revenue and pay taxes understand which one of those choices has more upside.

  • Wake Up, Joe says:
    27 September 2008

    For all the STE people considering joining, please notice that the question still remained unanswered by Joe. That should be a BIG RED FLAG!!! Please do homework on this before losing $448.

  • a joeo fan says:
    27 September 2008

    This is directed ONLY to “Wake up, Joe”. I joined STE in June and after finding 12 people who shop on line and care about getting healthier to also join, I now have 375 people in my group. Yes, I have been fortunate to have some real motivated people working under me and I’ve made very nice money because of their efforts combined with my own.
    I personally shop on line at the major reatailers and I do get cash back every month. FYI….people in this blog who constantly say that the prices are “marked up” just don’t have a clue. For the last time, you are shopping ON DRUGSTORE.COM’S WEBSITE WITH ALL THE SAME DEALS AND SHIPPING OPTIONS…. THEN you get 10% back based on your purchases.
    So, here’s what I am seeing. Since it can take up to 90 days to see the cash back and points from shopping on the shoptoearn side(that’s just the retailers making sure items aren’t returned after they give cash back)I am starting to see considerable points building up from people in my downlines shopping on their own sites. I am relatively balanced and this month I have made close to $3000 with $400 just from the shopping. AND don’t forget most people who joined under me aren’t even in 90 days yet so their shopping points haven’t kicked in yet.This number will obviously increase substantially as time goes by and more people join and shop.
    Now, Mr.”Wake up Joe”, these are the facts. A year from now there will be so many people under me shopping that I will have a residual income forever. I will continue to shop on my site and save money forever. I will continue to tell people what I am doing forever because I feel it’s a great company to be involved with.
    If you want proof of what people are making money from in STE, I wouldn’t count on ANYONE printing out their personal back office info with peoples names and points earned from shopping and sign ups for you or anyone else in this blog to analyze. If thats a RED FLAG to you, I can’t help you any further. If ANYONE has a problem with that, then why don’t you post your W2 on this blog? See how ridiculous that sounds?
    One final comment…..If you’re not involved in this company and feel that it’s not for you, don’t worry, it’s fine. MLM’s aren’t for everyone. It takes a certain personality and confidence level. You don’t have to try to convince yourself that staying away from this is the right thing to do. JUST STAY AWAY!!!! We dont want you anyway.

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    27 September 2008

    Sorry Joe, but your comparison to stockbrokers fails. MLM supporters often use the example of insurance agents or stockbrokers to legitimize their “opportunities.” But there are two distinct differences that make the comparison invalid.

    1. Stockbrokers and insurance agents do not have anywhere near the 99% failure rate that MLMs do. I mean, isn’t that 99% figure a little staggering? Actually, not a little staggering. Very staggering. Participants in MLMs are almost guaranteed to lose money. No industry has a failure rate near that high.

    2. Stockbrokers and insurance agents are brought on to sell a bona fide product or service. The focus is selling, not recruiting. Could you imagine what a circus both of those professions would be if every agent was told to go try to recruit anyone with a pulse? But they don’t. Their purpose is to sell their product.

    On the other hand, the purpose of the MLM is to recruit. Everyone is encouraged to find any breathing being to sign up. The product (in Mary Kay’s case the makeup, and in STE’s case the online shopping) is incidental to the whole thing. The product is necessary to not be deemed a pure pyramid scheme, and essentially get around any laws that the FTC might be thinking of enforcing. (MLM companies know the FTC is lax and almost never takes any action against any of them.) The purpose in an MLM is not to sell. The term “direct selling” is a term used to make it seem like selling is the focus. Anyone involved in these companies knows differently. The goal is to recruit and get people to make the minimum required purchases to be commission qualified. So the goal of an MLM is to recruit new marks, while the goal of a stockbroker or insurance agent is to actually sell something. The two professions can’t be properly compared.

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    27 September 2008

    JoeO Fan proves my point that the company is about recruiting and not shopping. He says he’s made $3,000, with only $400 of that from shopping. That means over 86% of his income was from recruiting. Thanks for the proof.

  • a joeo fan says:
    27 September 2008

    Tracy,
    You completely missed the point. It takes up to 90 days for the shopping points to kick in. Most of my downline aren’t in 90 days, which means that there will be lots more shopping points to come from the purchases that haven’t hit up yet. When I shopped and saved money, I went out and told people about it. I enjoyed saving money and I knew lots of people who shared my passion for getting cash back on their internet purchases. Those are the people who joined directly under me.
    I just did the same thing that I’ve been doing for years, but now I get cash back for doing it and I couldn’t be happier.

  • Joe O. says:
    27 September 2008

    The question I am supposedly avoiding, I think was, “How much am I making from recruiting” I answered this like 3 different times. I am making ZERO from “recruiting”. I have made money selling a product, i.e. customized web-portals, a virtual mall that offers cash back, to a mere 22 people that like to shop on line and get money back – above and beyond any discounts they could get otherwise. These 22 people have grown into 700+ people, most of which, about 95%, I have never met.
    I am also starting to see some good money on the shopping residuals. As I mentioned, it can take 2-3 months for this to really kick in since many of the big stores have 90 days to send the cash back. Some give the cash back in a few days, some take their sweet time, but 90 days is the most they can wait.
    I joined less than 4 months ago so the shopping residuals are just getting started. I’m telling it like it is and trying to be as honest as possible. I wouldn’t be involved if I felt there were any victims here. If adults sign up and don’t shop and get their $448 back, if they don’t like the service and don’t refer others, then sorry, I can’t be worried about them all.

    Ultimately I can see that the shopping will result in some nice residual money. Since people do need to shop and the people who bought this product tend to shop on line a lot and liked the idea of saving time, money, gas and getting cash back too. They also tend to be Green people and use the Earth products as well. Atkins, Zoned, Avalon Organics, Cliff Bars, Joe Weider etc.

    Small business owners like me spend more than $5,000 a month at stores like Staples and Office Max for reems of paper, folders, fax machine, ink cartridges, PC’s . My company is obviosuly already a registerd super preferred customer getting the lowest prices available at these very stores – but now I also get an additional 5% back in cash. That’s $3,000 a year for stuff my staff needs to buy anyway. The cash back on shopping is obviously TAX-FREE – not bad for the $448 purchase price no? I know lots of people like me. Any office such as Law firms and CPA firms will have big bills like this and can take advantage of this service.

    There are also lots of home improvement guys and small builders that spend a lot at Home Depot, now they order on line at night through their customized Shop to Earn web-portal, get 4-5% back, and go pick it up in the morning at Will Call. No need to walk up and down the aisles and wait in line at the cash register. Time is money.
    These people can spend 100’s of thousands a year at Home Depot. (if they are smart they can use “cash back” Visa or Mastercards too and really do well ) Where’s the harm in all of this? These web-sites can pay for themselves many times over.
    If STE website owners (again they are web-site OWNERS, because they purchased their web-site) mention their web-portal and cash back savings to 4 or 5 friends, and they choose to buy a web portal too, then they get a $100 commission for each web-portal they buy. And then their website is paid for in full. BTW, no need to spend $100 at Shop to Earth EVER to get this $500 in referral fees. That’s only if you start “scoring” on the points system. That’s only if you become a business builder distributor. When my shopping residuals start rolling in, and I’m making $10,000- 20,000 a month, I will galdly buy some healthy stuff on their Earth store regardless of the price and regardless of the shipping costs.

    There are also lots of middle-class families here in New Jersey that spend over $50,000 a year on line just for clothes, jewelry, diapers, kids sports equipment, endless gifts for birthday parties and weddings, graduations etc. You can even get discounted gift cards! Why not get 5%,10% or even 15% back from The Gap, Brookstone, Land’s End, Macy’s etc?

    ALSO, Many people are donating Shop to Earn web-sites to their local charities, YMCAs, churches, town football teams etc and asking that the supporters shop on the charity web-site to help raise money for the cause.

    Lastly, there is a major “save the planet’ theme with all of this. And every day I find myself recycling more than ever, taking my canvas bags to the supermarket to save paperbags. And I am buying more eco-friendly products from Shop to Earth every day. Why? because I log on like twice a day and this green movement is rubbing off on me. So I guess that’s a good thing too. The Shop to Earth on-line store will be a huge succes in a year or so when there are 1 million web-portal owners logging on and seeing that “Shop To Earth” logo staring them in the face. Talk about an ingenious way to drive traffic to your on-line Health Food store that carries name brand products (no proprietary products to convince people to use).

    I know that there must be some people that maybe can’t afford the $448 and get involved only because they want to get rich quick. I can’t be responsible for these types. I haven’t come across any myself. They probably have spent that amount for one drunken night on the town every so often anyway. At least with Shop to Earn they do actually have a chance to earn some cash back and if they sell a few web-portals they can get their money back and break even. This ain’t so bad people. It really isn’t. Sorry to disappoint the naysayers who think we are evil.

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    27 September 2008

    Joe – You have serious issues. You’re not selling a website to anyone. You’re recruiting for an MLM. And the people who sign up aren’t “website owners” because they don’t own anything. They’re paying a fee to be part of the MLM.

    Your “cash back from shopping” is absolutely NOT tax free because of what you’re involved in. Please understand your own program before spreading this misinformation. You should also know that you could get cash back from shopping online without being part of a MLM.

    You can say whatever you want about how fabulous STE is. The fact remains that like other MLMs, 99% will likely lose their money. OF COURSE you’re going to promote the idea that the shopping is the real deal, but that’s not true. If it was, you’d simply be trying to find people to shop at your site. Instead, you’re busy trying to recruit people to sign up and pay to play. No amount of blathering by you about shopping will change this fact.

  • it's just me says:
    27 September 2008

    Joe..

    Do you really think your investing to open your own business? do you have a federal tax ID? do you pay quarterly taxes? do you have a business permit or required certificates to be a business? do you keep comeplete records of all transactions, income, and spending? do you have the required business insurance?

    ScamToEarn doesn’t give you a website either, it’s their site, they jsut open a new sub-folder with a page that is named what you want.. it’s their’s not yours, they own it, they run it, it’s their affiliate program with all the ‘stores’ you can shop at, which anyone can sign up for, it costs nothing, and you control the pricing of the products over the base price, and keep the markup you place.
    ScamToEarn marks everything up considerably to coevr the upline, even with the cashback, you’re paying more for everything that if you just went directly to the store.

    It’s amazing how many clueless idiots there are who fall for these scams and enver really investigate what they are getting into. Good job Joe, you probably think PRes’ Bush did a good job for 8 years as well.

  • Wake Up says:
    27 September 2008

    WOW!!!!!!!!!! Joe “0” No wonder you fell for this hook, line, and sinker. You really have no clue about this scam. JOE, YOU RECRUIT PEOPLE AND THAT’S HOW YOU MAKE MOST OF THE MONEY!!!!!!!
    Some people are definitely a sandwich short of a picnic. That goes for you too joe “0” fan.
    You too proved our point. If 86% of your income is from recruiting and only 14% is from shopping (I’m sure it’s less than that) then it’s an illegal pyramid scheme.
    The way I understand it, is that you need to spend at least a $100 a month in STearth? I don’t believe drugstore.com is part of STearth but part of STE? The prices in STearth are the prices that are overinflated and I’d be more than happy to pull some comparisons. I’m not afraid to provide proof like most of the believers.
    WAKE UP!!!!!!!!

  • Joe O. says:
    27 September 2008

    Tracy:
    You say I have ‘serious issues’ . . . now that’s not very nice! epecially when you are absolutely wrong and incorrect in the very same blog????

    Tracy wrote:
    Your “cash back from shopping” is absolutely NOT tax free because of what you’re involved in. Please understand your own program before spreading this misinformation.

    Cash back from my shopping actually is 100% tax free, it’s not income, its money that I already paid taxes on. This I am sure of. This is common knowledge. Just like you don’t pay taxes on your $50 Verizon cell phone rebate when it comes in the mail, or your Ford or GM rebate, or your Credit Card cash back. C’mon now, you know better than that!

    I’ve done nothing but tell the truth and report the facts as I have experienced them to date. You’re allowed your version from outside looking in, but I am involved, I own a web-site, I am making money, I have people thanking me for showing them this model, and therefore only people like me really know how this works. If you joined 4 months ago, then you could become a better source of info. As of today, it all sounds like sour grapes.

    The beauty and attraction of an on-line MLM is that you do NOT need all the overhead. It is indeed a new progressive, busines model for easy entry. I have started and sold a few businesses in my time. I created a business in 1997 that had over $500 millionin sales, I sold it to a VC group in 2003 (and yes I did pay some serious taxes that year).
    I have spent millions on insurance, payroll, rent and other overhead over the years. The last thing I want to do is open and run yet another convetional business. This is truly a breath of fresh air.

    Maybe STE is only for people that shop more than $10,000 a year on line, so at 4-5% they get their $448 back? If they spend $50,000 a year they make out very well. Then the next year they can re-new for much less and actually even more money.

    Personally, I have never “recruitted” (your words not mine) anyone that couldn’t easily afford the $448. I have probably told as many people NOT to do this as I have showed it to. I have many contacts that want in on the next big thing I get in on, but if they don’t shop on line or don’t ever follow through, I tell them not to do it. I sleep like a baby at night . . . Or should I say, like an MLM millionaire on a Monday morning?

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    27 September 2008

    Joe originally said : “The cash back on shopping is obviously TAX-FREE – not bad for the $448 purchase price no?”

    Now Joe says: “Cash back from my shopping actually is 100% tax free, it’s not income, its money that I already paid taxes on.”

    You did not specify that the cash back on YOUR OWN shopping was tax free. See… It’s little “oopsies” like this that are used to mislead potential recruits. I’m not sure how STE tracks if the shopping on your site is done by you or someone else, but yes, it would be tax free personally.

    Unless, of course, the business purchased the items and deducted the cost of the items on its tax return. Then the “cash back” actually belongs to the business and SHOULD be reported on the tax return. You can’t have the business pay for the items but then personally keep the cash back and have it be tax free.

  • Wake Up, Joe says:
    27 September 2008

    $10,000 a year to get their $448 back but how about the $100 a month fee and the annual $119 fee. Don’t for get the processing fees for the direct deposit.
    If you’re going to spend that type of money online and you’re not worried about the RECRUITING, WHY NOT USE WEBSITES THAT OFFER THE SAME THING FOR FREE???????? There are FREE websites that do the same thing Joe “0”. FREE! FREE! FREE! There are plenty of them out there.
    I know, it’s not about the recruiting “0”. LOL!!!!

  • Wake Up, Joe says:
    27 September 2008

    Tracy,
    You can do that, with the taxes, if you’re STE!!! Just ask Joe. If STE says it’s ok then by golly it’s gospel. : )
    That’s really sad, that people believe in this crap.

  • Tracy Coenen says:
    28 September 2008

    There really is nothing further to debate about this issue, so comments on this thread are closed.

Comments are closed.