There’s a lot of controversy online about the Empower Network. In this review, I’ll take a close look at the company, products, and blog, and give my overall thoughts and impressions about them. I’ll reveal the motives of the Empower Network scam reviews that are all over the Internet. I’ll be using EN sometimes as an abbreviation in this article.
Full Disclosure: I do not work for EN, have never been a part of the company, and don’t promote it. I will not try to recruit you into any other program at the end of this article.
Empower Network Review: Is Empower Network a Scam?
Why is there so much controversy about this company? As with any business opportunity, searching for unbiased information is nearly impossible. As I mentioned in my MTTB and MOBE review, there are only two types of Empower Network reviews: the glowing reviews written by those who are in the company and want you to join, and the scathing reviews by people who want to recruit you into another business.
The History of the Company and How it Started: The Tale of Two Davids
The company was launched on October 31st, 2011, by two men who share the first name David. David Wood and David Sharpe, co-founded the company.
David Wood comes from Fairbanks, Alaska. His first job was selling Rainbow Vacuum cleaners in homes at the age of 18. He was a missionary at age 19, and at 21 he got home and took on several sales jobs. From the age of 21 to 24 he had 25 different jobs. He worked for USAA and sold insurance.
While he was good at sales, he was sick of chasing people around and attending sales meetings all the time. He learned about Internet marketing and found a way to have people chase him to sign up online. I’ve heard from an SEO expert, that David Wood is an SEO whiz, and that’s how he got his start online.
Prior to EN, David Sharpe lived in a 400 square foot shanty, worked at construction jobs, and was trapped in a drug addiction. He was broke and homeless until he found success with EN.
Regardless of how you feel about David and David’s backgrounds, their stories are a great example and inspiration of two men who were truly down and out and picked themselves up by the bootstraps to build a successful company.
The photo of the left is from the Empower Network blog.
The best estimates I could find on the company is that there are over 300,000 affiliates, with total sales for 2014 projected to be close to $150 million.
What is Empower Network? Is it an MLM?
Empower Network is an affiliate marketing company that pays commissions on multiple levels. That’s the best way I can describe it. Income is generated by selling their info products and events. The products that are sold range from the $25 a month Viral Blogging System, which allows new marketers to quickly and easily setup a blog, to the $3,500 Masters Course. The Masters Course is high level video training designed to take a person’s business to the next level.
Empower Network Products
The table below shows the products and costs:
|Fast Start Viral Blogging||$25 per month|
|Inner Circle Mastermind Membership||$100 per month|
|Costa Rica Mastermind Intensive||$500 one time payment|
|15K Formula||$1,000 one time payment|
|Master's Course||$3,500 one time payment|
Empower Network Compensation Plan
I don’t pretend to understand the Empower Network compensation plan. When I see diagrams like the one below, my eyes glaze over and I immediately feel confused. Below is my limited understanding of how it works.
As an affiliate, you earn commissions most of the time when someone signs up under you and for the products they buy. Every 1st, 3rd, and 5th sale is “passed up” to the person who sponsored you into the business. The company says that EN pays out 100% commissions, but I’ve also read in one of the company documents that the payout is 70% on products sold by affiliates.
I know you can only earn at the level you’re positioned at, meaning you must own the product to get paid for sales of that product. I do know that you can earn income for sales a few levels deep. I listened to David Wood’s video explanation on it and I still don’t get it.
What does the average EN affiliate earn? According the company’s published income report, from the period of January 1, 2013, through September 30, 2014, 5% of affiliates earned an average annualized income of more than $42,912, and 60% earned less than $395. The top <1% earned an average annualized income of $693,384.
So how do we interpret these numbers? It’s hard to say. The majority in the company, 60%, are making less than $395 a year. Does this mean the system doesn’t work, or does it mean those people didn’t work the system? I think that in any online business opportunity that requires people to make a real and consistent effort to earn income, the income distribution will be similar.
You can watch David Wood explain the compensation plan below:
Is Empower Network a Scam?
Unless the leaders and members are committing fraud and outright lying about the products and company, you can’t classify it as a scam. With so many detractors and people who dislike the company, if they were doing anything fraudulent, surely they would have been brought down by now.
Why do people seem to have such disdain for the company? I know some people disagree with the tactics of calling people a “wussy” if they don’t upgrade to the higher-priced products. I’ve read about people who were ignored by their upline and have a bitter taste in their mouths due to this experience.
I know people who’ve gone “all-in” and spent thousands of dollars and have yet to recoup their investment. Some say that they’ve been told they don’t love their family if they don’t go all-in.
But none of these things can be classified as a scam. I’d laugh off being called a wussy, and maybe I’d get tired of hearing it, but it’s not dishonest, just disrespectful. Most people don’t make any money in online business opportunities, that’s just the way it is.
If you’re the type of person who can be shamed and manipulated into buying expensive products, you may need to learn to think for yourself and ignore the goading.
Being ignored by your sponsor is unfortunate, but it’s not up to your sponsor to make you successful. It’s up to you to do that. Going all-in is no guarantee you’re going to make the big income just because you’ve positioned yourself at a higher level.
What Kind of Training Do You Get?
There are eight core commitments, and number two is “Blog Daily” on your Empower Network blog. What I’ve seen is that many affiliates of EN blog about current events, family outings, road trips, and things that seem better suited for a Facebook post. I can’t see how this will result in getting their blogs to rank in the search engines and help them build their businesses.
The other core commitments are to “coach new members,” “read daily,” “attend the Empower Hour,” “listen to the audio,” and “attend events.” These are all good opportunities to indoctrinate new members, but I can’t imagine doing this for more than a few months. Maybe I’m just a wussy.
I think most of the training you get with EN is supposed to come from your sponsor or upline. There is a ton of online content on EN, so I’m sure a person could educate themselves that way too.
I read that EN was going to go back to using WordPress as it’s blogging platform again, and I think this is a smart move. Many of those EN blogs looked very similar and it was hard for a person to stand out. I also heard from friends that ENV2 that was rolled out in Sept., 2013, was a failure in terms of being a good blogging platform. Writing relevant posts to an Empower Network blog can be an effective strategy, as long as the articles are tailored to make money online readers.
Is it too Late to Join and is it Saturated?
This is a tough one to answer. If the number I heard of 300,000 current affiliates is true, then that’s certainly a big number. But does it mean it’s too saturated and new people coming in now won’t be able to make money? I’d have to say no, it’s still possible for someone to come in today and make money, because it’s always possible with the right mindset.
But I think the real question is this: will it be harder compared to other business opportunities? I think the answer is yes, due to the fact that so many people in the online marketing community have already heard of EN, and many have a negative impression.
The online marketing community is a small world, highly interconnected, and word travels like lightning. If I approached any of my marketer friends to try to recruit them into EN, I’m sure they’d look at me like I’d lost my mind.
Affiliates can’t advertise EN on Facebook, Google, Bing, and are banned by other traffic sources as well. This kind of black list or ban happens with many business opportunity companies, because FB, Google, and Bing hate companies that promote work from home or make money online opportunities. So these problems are not unique to EN, but may be more severe due to the large number of affiliates.
I had a new marketer ask me a month ago if he should join EN. I told him no, there are better ways to learn to market and get the training he needs. I didn’t say it to recruit him into MOBE, as I know he doesn’t have the money and I don’t think that’s the right business for him either. I just gave him my honest opinion based on what I know.
In my opinion, EN is not a scam, and there are people making money, going to events, and living the EN dream. I take my hat off to them for doing what it takes to succeed in a very competitive business. David Wood and David Sharpe built an amazing company with a system that was embraced by the marketer community and went viral. Good for them for pulling themselves off the park bench and out of the van and hitting the big time in Internet marketing.
I hope you found this Empower Network review useful. I won’t be joining EN personally, but I don’t put anyone down who’s building their EN business. If you’re in EN, go for it and make your online dreams come true.