The Empower Network business model is built on hype, manipulation, and exploitation. Their so-called products appear to be little more than a means of transferring money from the bottom of the organization to the top. So, why join the Empower Network?
Update 6Aug17: Ethan Vanderbilt recently posted on his blog that Empower Network has gone bankrupt. He also posted a video of the co-founder of Empower Network, Dave Wood, in what appears to be drugged crazed rant. The video has since been removed from YouTube.
Empower Network Review
Name: Empower Network
Price: $25 to $3,500
Owners: David Sharpe, Jonathan R. Cronstedt, David Wood
Rating: Not Recommended
Why Join the Empower Network?
It’s easy to see why so many people ask if the Empower Network is a scam, because it does resemble a pyramid scheme. I’ll compare it with the legal definition of a pyramid scheme later in this article, but like a pyramid scheme and its barely legal kissing cousin, MLM, members make money by recruiting people into the program.
Please keep in mind though, even if your MLM opportunity is NOT a pseudo-MLM scam, it is still 99.5% likely (virtually certain) that you will lose money while participating in it. Source: Signs Your MLM is a Scam
What You Need To Know.
The only thing to sell in Empower Network is Empower Network. To succeed, you must recruit others and teach them to do the same thing.
On the surface, Empower Network appears to be a business opportunity designed to help its members succeed online. In reality, Empower Network is a game with a lot of rules that serve only the top and ensure that your money becomes their money.
You don’t get to make the rules. You can only choose to play or not to play.
Take a moment and consider what it costs just to join Empower Network. Then look at what it will cost to stay in and move up the ranks. Keep in mind that these membership levels and other training packages are the only products Empower Network has.
Before you can make money with Empower Network you must first buy that level of membership and own that product. This can quickly get expensive.
Empower Network Products.
There are several membership levels and monthly expenses. Plus there are several one-time costs as well. Here’s what the Empower Network will cost you per month.
Basic Membership $25 per month:
This is the entry level membership and entitles a member to a blog site. At this level, a member has access to business building training, online tools, pre-designed lead capture page systems and the motivating Monday night Empower Hour. A member must buy this level before higher membership levels can be purchased. [Anywhere else on the internet a website or blog costs less than $10 a month.]
Plus $19.95 per month:
You’ll have to pay another $19.95 per month, if you want to sell EN products and earn commissions. Paying this fee simply entitles you to earn commissions on the products you sell.
[This is crazy. Outside of Empower Network, there are literally millions of products online you can sell without having to pay someone for the privilege. Most businesses are grateful you want to sell their products and will reward you accordingly.]
Plus $100 per month:
This is to join and stay a member of the Inner Circle. The Inner Circle is billed as the only way to make big money with Empower Network. A member of the Inner Circle has access to the Empower Network audio library where there is information about Empower Networks founders, team leaders and members. An Inner Circle member has the right to sell this level and earn commissions when someone joins EN under them.
[Again, you’re paying them for the privilege to sell their stuff. That’s crazy.]
Other monthly expenses:
In addition to the above membership fees, there may be additional outside monthly expenses too, like an autoresponder service which typically costs about $20 a month. You may also be encouraged to buy traffic to your site. This may cost hundreds of dollars.
[An auto-responder is probably a good idea, but not in the beginning. The time to add an auto-responder is after the website is established and getting traffic. Buying traffic is an advanced strategy and not to be rushed into. It requires specific training and budgeting.]
Other One-time Costs and Expenses:
On top of the monthly membership fees and outside costs of following the Empower Network method, members are strongly encouraged to purchase the following products if they want to be successful with Empower Network. Each of the following packages is a one-time payment.
The Costa Rica Mastermind Intensive – $500
This is a set of training videos filmed at an Empower Network retreat in Costa Rica. It appears to be outdated now, but includes how to approach leads and advanced marketing strategies.
This is crazy expensive. Why would Empower Network charge for training that teaches you better ways to sell Empower Network stuff? They are the ones who benefit the most when someone buys their products.
The 15K Formula – $995
Technical training for marking online. Includes strategies for attracting leads and how to grow an online business.
Masters Retreat – $3,500
The Masters Retreat is 40 individual training sessions, plus a workbook that supposedly permits a member to earn while they learn.
Insane Rules that Squeeze More Money Out of Members.
The Empower Network opportunity requires a member to first purchase all the Empower Network products or levels that they want to sell. In other words, if you purchase the $25 blogging platform, you can only receive commissions from that. When someone signs up under you and purchases higher levels you will not be paid commissions from those higher levels since you haven’t purchased those levels yourself.
Flashback to 1972.
As I researched Empower Network system and came to understand their organization, I was reminded of a similar organization I met in the early 1970’s. At the time, I was a sixteen-year-old dishwasher at a hotel in downtown Columbia, South Carolina.
Dare to Be Great was having a convention at the hotel. I met the son of one of the leaders in the organization and we became friends.
The boy was about my age and apparently bored with the convention. Our friendship ended when his parents caught him explaining the Dare to Be Great business opportunity to me. In his own words, he said, “We talk people into refinancing their home and giving us the money.”
Here’s a brief description of how Dare to Be Great operated as described in SEC vs. Glenn W. Turner (1973). The case relates to Empower Network because like Empower Network, Dare to be Great was marketed as an income opportunity and used tapes and training as a cover for taking people’s money.
Turner had a program called “Dare to be Great”, where you buy “adventures” (actually sales courses) at $100, $300, $700, $1000, $2000, or $5000. You receive a cassette player and a dozen different cassette tapes that teaches you how to sell…, a workbook and instructions book. You then recruit people to attend “adventure meetings”, where you try to get them to buy the adventures as well. The more and higher level adventures you convince people to buy, the more pay you get. Source: Ponzi Schemes
The Dare to Be Great organization was owned by Koscot Interplanetary which was owned by Glenn W. Turner. Mr. Turner was sued by the Federal Trade Commission and served time in an Arizona Prison. The case is pivotal for the Multi-level Marketing industry and resulted in the “Koscot Test,” the standard by which an organization is determined to be a Ponzi or pyramid scheme or not.
FTC vs. Koscot Interplanetary (1975) and the “Koscot Test”
FTC sued Koscot Interplanetary, which was one of Glenn W. Turner’s companies. Mr. Turner, who calls himself “Mr. Enthusiasm”, started Koscot Interplanetary to sell cosmetics just like Avon. The problem with Koscot is it doesn’t encourage sales of cosmetics, but rather, simply more positions in the company.
Koscot works as follows: To join Koscot, you pay $2000 to become a supervisor (or higher levels), and you buy $5400 worth of cosmetics. And you make money ($700) by encouraging others to buy in (at Supervisor, for $2000) just like they did. Essentially, Ksocot “supervisor” bought two things: 1) “the right to sell a product”, 2) “the right to receive, in return for recruiting other participants into the program, rewards which are unrelated to sale of the product to ultimate users.”
Koscot lost the lawsuit, and the definition FTC created for pyramid scheme became known as the “Koscot Test” (for pyramid schemes). It can be roughly summarized as follows:
- The participant makes a payment of money to the company;
- In exchange, the participant receives the right to sell a product (or service);
- In exchange, the participant receives compensation for recruiting others into the program;
- The compensation is unrelated to the sale of products (or services) to the ultimate user.
A pyramid scheme must have all four elements.
Koscot lost because they paid participants simply for recruiting more participants, thus fitting all four parts of the definition of pyramid scheme. Source: FTC vs. Koscot.
Is Empower Network a Pyramid Scheme?
In comparing the Empower Network system with the Koscot Test, they clearly meet the first two criteria and possibly the third and fourth criteria as well.
Whether or not they meet the last two criteria could be debated and would take a much deeper investigation to determine. My guess is that Empower Network has carefully constructed their organization to be just inside the law.
However…Please keep in mind though, even if your MLM opportunity is NOT a pseudo-MLM scam, it is still 99.5% likely (virtually certain) that you will lose money while participating in it. Signs Your MLM’s a Scam.
Empower Network Complaints.
If you visit the BBB site and read the complaints against the Empower Network program, you’ll see there’s a pattern. Essentially, there is no product. It’s all smoke and mirrors.
I pulled out a few gems from the Better Business Bureau file on Empower Network so you can get an idea of what they’re like. These are unedited as you can see.
ive paid 2,000 dollars to empower network. i would like a refund
ive spent $1,500 on 4/15/2014 to empower network AND $125 with a mastercard every month after that until this date 8/19/2014. this money was to become an affiliate to the program which offers NO products. I made NO money with this company, i beleive it to be a scam for most people. My username for empower is “************” My access ID is “XXXXXX” I would Like to receive a refund for my payments towards this company
I am after a refund within the 14 day policy but am not getting a response. This is a pyramid scheme through and through so should be illegal.
Today is 2 march 2015
I made a payment to the Empower network on the 18 February 2015 for $644.95 USD and also on the 19 February 2015 for $3370.00 USD for a total of $4014.95 USD. Payments were made via my visa Debit card with **** bank New Zealand.
On 1 march 2015, eleven (11) days after payment i requested a refund due to being miss lead by advertising and realizing this is a pyramid scheme and i feel it is dishonest in the way it operates.
I am fully within the 14 day “STRICT” money back policy and there for want every cent i spent back.
I am laying this complaint because they have not replied to either of my requests sent even though they specifically say that they have excellent customer service.
I can not get through to the number provided either as i keep getting informed it has been bared.
my user name is XXXXXXX
I dont agree at all with the bully tactics that they use to manipulate people misguiding them into what for almost EVERYONE WHO JOINS will be an absolute nightmare and huge waste of money.
I dont feel the products provided were anywhere near the value as all the information i found is easily found for free online coming from a more honest source.
Empower Network is a huge scam with fake product , i want a refund !
After failing in different online businesses for 5 years and losing a lot of money ,
i came across Empower Network and it seems at that time so real and legit
And i wanted to join so bad – to get all in because the leader claim to say
that if you don’t get all in you’re not really in the business.
I did everything i could to get the money until finally i got it and got in – ALL IN !
As soon as i got in i saw that all the buzz and noise that was around it ,
it’s a huge SCAM !
Empower network offer products for thousands of dollars that are no more
than webinar recordings that the methods that present there aren’t up to date.
At that time there was no such thing refund so no one accept to give me a refund.
I invested $5,125 in one day into a huge scam , after working months as a waiter to get this money..
I bought the blogging system for $25/mo which i can get for $10/mo , the inner circle $100/mo – $100 for useless audios that leaders talk about things you can find online free
The costa rica intensive for $500 – parts of a seminar ***** **** did long time ago with no info for how to sell the product what so ever , 15k formula for $1,000 – webinar recordings that the methods that present there aren’t up to date and the final one the “masters course” for $3,500 the first event the company did – this is the content not helpful and not giving any value just stories.
It has taken me a lot of time to fully realize what is the complete business structure is and
how making money with them involves misleading people with false promises.
I join EN and i one day i got ALL IN , this is HUGE SCAM and i want a refund.
I want get refund on so much money that i spent on this crappy so called “products” , Empower Network is huge scam and i want to get my money back!
Recruiting Videos on YouTube.
And, if you search YouTube, you’ll find a few Empower Network recruiting videos. They’re all pretty much the same, a lot of emotional hype but no substance.
Nothing specific is discussed in these videos. It’s all happy, happy, pipe dreams. That’s because the speakers are pressing the viewer’s emotional buttons, convincing them they can be rich if they just join Empower Network and “go all in.”
That’s all they can do with the Empower Network marketing system because it has no substance. There’s nothing there!
The movers and shakers in Empower Network will continue to sell the dream and press people’s emotional buttons so members will believe the hype, go all in and keep paying those monthly fees.
On the Empower Network recruiting videos, you’ll hear the leaders say things like: “Prove to me that you’re serious about your business and my time is yours.” I heard the same thing decades ago at MLM conferences from Amway to A.L. Williams.
It’s the same old, retreated hype. The speaker is just trying to get you to “go all in“ even if you have to mortgage your home, empty your savings account, borrow from the in-laws, rob your child’s college fund or load up your credit cards. It makes no difference to them. They just want your money.
On one of the Empower Network recruitment videos, you can see a woman, who could have been a televangelist, say, “Thank God, we put it all into Empower Network. Thank God, we put it all into Empower Network.” This is a blatant attempt to get the listener to “go all in and bet the farm.”
On still another Empower Network recruiting video, the speaker says, “The struggle is in your mind…” In other words, it’s your fault if you can’t succeed with Empower Network.
When an organization focuses on feel-good psycho-babble, they’re avoiding having to actually teach the members anything useful. It’s a dodge, a cop-out and a clear sign they have nothing of value.
What Kind of People Do This?
How can the Empower Network leadership seem so friendly, so upbeat, so normal and charismatic and yet still manipulate and exploit people to the tune of thousands of dollars? I don’t know. Maybe their psychopaths.
A psychopath has a clear advantage in an organization like Empower Network because a psychopath will do whatever it takes to get what they want and never lose sleep over it. Psychopaths thrive when they have people to manipulate. On their own, they are nothing.
A person with an antisocial personality disorder manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse.
Psychopaths tend to lack normal human emotions such as guilt. They are also often highly intelligent and skilled at manipulating others.
Also, psychopaths seem to appear normal. You would probably never guess there was something wrong with them.
Note, not all psychopaths are serial killers. (Source: Urban Dictionary)
Why You’re Not Succeeding.
If you’re in Empower Network and wondering why you’re not succeeding like the big dogs, it might be because you’re a decent human being.
It’s a Trap.
I hope my article about the Empower Network opportunity has saved you or someone you care about from making a costly mistake. The Empower Network program is nothing more than a method of taking people’s money.
They don’t care about you. They only care about your money and once they have it, you’re on your own.
The Empower Network opportunity is not an opportunity. It’s a trap.
Why Join Empower Network?
I have no idea why anyone would join Empower Network. The negatives far outweigh the positives and the positives are nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
A Sound Empower Network Alternative.
There is absolutely no reason to spend a fortune to build an online business. In the real world of sanity and ethics, people succeed online every day without going broke or in debt.
They get the proper training and support, and not just technical support, but the warm cheerleading kind of support that keeps them going when they feel like giving up.
Make no mistake, building an online business takes sustained effort. It also takes ethics and sound business principles. In other words, integrity.
If you’re tired of being ripped off, lied to, betrayed and abused by online marketers who promise you the moon but only take your money, I invite you to enroll in the FREE Online Entrepreneur Certification Course.
In this free training, you’ll learn what it takes to make money online with your own business. You won’t find any hype or guru worship, but you will discover a step by step process for building a profitable internet business on a shoestring.
Please leave your thoughts about Empower Network below.
I’m here for you,