Empower Network is an online MLM, which is conning people by selling online marketing products by promising high commissions for a monthly fee
Is there another ‘Speak Asia’ in the offing? Empower Network is luring thousands of people across the world under the pretext of selling online blogging platform and ‘the secret formula’ to get rich by doing online marketing work. This is similar to many internet frauds that we have come across, like the Rs2,000 crore Speak Asia online survey fraud, multi level marketing (MLM) schemes, pyramid and Ponzi schemes that lured people under pretext of different products and services.
The portal Empower Network has been launched by D&D - David Wood and David Sharpe. They have also launched personalised blogs in the Indian market to promote their network through Indian bloggers. Many of their blogs mainly concentrate on spreading rumours and convincing people to join the genuine network, which is a lie! They promote Empower Network in their blogs and on Youtube videos and by sending emails. It is an online scheme which offers 100% commissions to members for luring others to join Empower Network, resembling an MLM scheme.
Founders of Empower Network, D&D - David Wood and David Sharpe
Empower Network charges $25 (and $25 every month as well) to create online blogging platform for their members (their flagship product - Viral Blogging System - VBS) which wordpress.org provides for free. After it charges $25 for every month, they also charge for its E-wallet (as deposit vault) as an online payment system which comes at an additional cost of $19.95 per month.
One such Indian blogger, Naveen Ullal who seems to be working for Empower Network, wrote all the basic requirements and services it was offering, how to get started and become rich quickly. He wrote, “One can easily start using Empower Network blogs after paying $25, but with the annoying Reserve Bank of India (RBI) rules, it gets terribly difficult for Empower Network to create a working Paypal account. Empower Network has come up with option ‘E-Wallet which costs additional $19.95 per month’ and enables Empower Network to deposit the money directly into your account.”
Empower Network also lures people with four other products (apart from VBS) and tools namely: Inner Circle Mastermind ($100 a month), Costa Rica Intensive ($500), $15K Formula ($1,000) and Costa Rica Masters ($3,500) to learn how to be a top gun marketer. These products provide stuff like video hosting, training and several coaching packages for start-up, home-based, small and medium businesses. The price ranges from $100 a month to $3500 as one time charges. Empower Network claims: “Approximately thirty thousand individuals avail themselves of Empower Network and its affiliate program, a place where affiliates can earn 100% commissions off the sales of Empower Network products.”
Rafik Khan, a call centre owner lodged a complaint on consumercomplaints.in. He said that Ankur Agrawal from India was his client who gave him database of job seekers from naukri.com. He wanted call center to call and convince them for registration on ‘Empower Network’ and so that he can gets 25$ a candidate from Empower Network. After he knew the truth that Ankur Agarwal is doing fake MLM business and cheating thousand of innocent people, he refused to work with him and told others to beware from master mind fraudster like Ankur Agarwal.
A typical selling point for MLMs is to highlight emotional life changing stories and hard-selling tone of Get-Rich-Quick Schemes. For instance, Empower Network says: “Try it today, 100% satisfaction Guaranteed! Join 1,55,000 people who already made money using this system! Grow Your Business online by using Empower Network, Don’t miss the opportunity!”
Even if someone starts blogging with the hope of earning a good income from blogging or to improve their business online but has failed to do so, then Empower Network will ‘educate’ them to become experts viz other coaching products described earlier.
One such victim user of Empower Network said on scambook.com that he got an email from the founders and believed them. This lured him instead of providing an opportunity to earn. He neither got any help from Empower Network as promised nor did he get the refund of $25 and the bonus he “earned”. Another victim said that Empower Network pulled out money from her account three times in amounts of $100, $20, and $19.95 without her consent and she lost $139.95.
Moneylife contacted Sujit Harichandran, one of the persons associated with Empower Network in India for comments. He denied that Empower Network was a money-circulation scheme and it is about making money by enrolling people. However, on the contrary Empower Network promises 100% commission to people who recruit others in the Network. Empower Network website shows its commission structure as Compensation Plan which exactly works like a Pyramid scheme.
Moneylife has frequently warned that "If it looks too good to be true, it usually is." This is clearly another in the same category.
To know more about online scams read our other articles:
The Enforcement Directorate took action against the borrower company and its two group companies, which owe Rs922 crore to NSEL investors
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached assets worth Rs100 crore of a borrower company and its associates in connection with money laundering probe in the National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL) scam case.
The agency’s latest action, under the Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) laws, had been taken against the borrower company and its two group companies, which owe the investors Rs922 crore, sources said.
The ED had earlier attached Rs75 crore assets belonging to the same companies. The latest attachment of about Rs100 crore includes properties in Delhi and national capital region.
The companies are one of the largest borrowers in the businesses of this exchange.
The ED is probing the case alongside the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police.
The agency had conducted searches on the premises of the company on 31st October and had sealed a number of them in cities like Mumbai, National Capital Region, Lucknow, Punjab and Chandigarh.
The ED had earlier registered a criminal case under PMLA in this case which had rattled the bourse for allegations of large-scale financial misdeeds.
The ED suspects that the company laundered huge amounts of sums generated from the operations at NSEL and its investigations suggest these funds were ploughed into real estate and other avenues.
A flat in Delhi’s Jor Bagh area, a villa in Gurgaon, a farmhouse in Kapashera, a flat in Mumbai and few other locations in the NCR were searched and have been attached under the latest action.
An attachment action under money laundering laws is meant to deprive the accused of the benefits of the ill-gotten property or assets.
The ED, according to its probe till now, found no sugar stocks in the name of the company which were reflected in the original documents.
High dividend, buy-back and shares for employees are some of the bold moves that Coal India could make during Monday’s board meeting
As the world's largest coal producer, Coal India Ltd is now saddled with the task of dealing with a strong workers' union force that plans to go on a strike from 17th December to prevent disinvestment plans of the company. As a first step to dissuade this threatened strike action, the Union Government has decided not to off-load 5% stake in the company!
In fact, at one time, there were plans to disinvest upto 10% of its holdings, out of the total of the total of 90% the government owns, and raise upto Rs20,000 crore. In the present circumstances, this is most unlikely as the government can ill afford to disrupt the entire economy that can be caused by a worker's strike and power generation can be in shambles.
What are the best alternatives that Coal India Board may have up their sleeves, when they meet on Monday, the 16th December?
Just to recapitulate the strong financial standing of CIL, it may be noted that it has free cash reserves of over Rs62,000 crore, as at June 2013. In 2012-13, Coal India paid the highest dividend of 140 (i.e. Rs14 per share with a face value of Rs10), which absorbed Rs8843 crore, out of which as much as Rs7964 crore went to the Union Government as its dividend on its holdings!
Since the government has already withdrawn the idea of 5% disinvestment plan, due to the threatened strike, the Board of Directors have a wonderful opportunity to provide a substantial increase in dividend, which can swell the government kitty. A special dividend of Rs50 or more per share is not out of reach!
The second step that the Board may boldly take is to offer a buy-back programme, by pricing the share at about Rs340-350, as this will enable the government to get rid of more than 5% of its of holdings!
The third step would be even more innovative in offering the shares of the Company to all the employees on the permanent rolls with a provision for non-saleability for a minimum period of five to seven years. This will encourage workers participation in the affairs of the company and benefit them in the long run. Additionally, the Board may also accept the workers proposal as performance-linked pay programme. This will create a sense of belonging for the workers.
Finally, in view of the very large number of collieries involved in the CIL conglomerate a high level independent committee may be established to restructure the entire organization. Many of its mining programmes are bogged down to environmental clearances and some of these have been pending for years. Dedicated railway corridors, availability of rakes, modernization programmes relating to importation of high and sophisticated equipment and technology are other factors that may require a more effective restructuring to enable CIL to carry on its enormous task more successfully. It is time that a bold decision is made to invite successful overseas miners to invest and bring in their knowledge and experience so that CIL can produce more coal and be able to eliminate the importation completely.
CIL has a huge responsibility ahead which they are well qualified to perform.
(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce. He was also associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts; and later to the US.)