Better Business Bureau Warns about iJango,
Possible Pyramid Scheme
New business alleges you can make money by multi-level marketing the Internet
Central Alabama – September 8, 2009 – A new money making opportunity that claims to “Multi-level market the Internet” could be nothing more than a pyramid scheme warns Better Business Bureau. An investigation by BBB shows that iJango – a new self-described multi-level marketing company – is aggressively seeking representatives for a product that has no track record. Consumers are paying hundreds of dollars in upfront fees based on the claim that they can earn money by recruiting others to do the same – a red flag for pyramid schemes.
Multi-level marketing is one form of compensation often employed by direct selling companies, whereby sales agents recruit other sales agents and receive a cut of their sales for products. Pyramid schemes, which are illegal, promise that participants can make money primarily by recruiting people who then pay for the opportunity to recruit more people. The money is then filtered up through the pyramid.
“Millions of people earn honest money by selling products through multi-level marketing; however, some money making opportunities blur the lines between MLM and pyramid schemes,” said David Smitherman, BBB President & CEO. “iJango is making big promises about its money making potential, but based on our investigation, BBB believes the potential to generate revenue may primarily depend on the ability of participants to recruit additional representatives.”
More than 3,400 people nationwide have contacted BBB to check out Austin, TX-based iJango since August 1, 2009. iJango is being marketed heavily on Web sites, including YouTube and Twitter, through spam e-mail campaigns and at in-person sales presentations across the country. In-person sales presentations have been held in many cities including Phoenix and Plano, Texas, with people having been contacted by e-mail and encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity.
In the company's promotional materials, iJango is described as an interactive Web site "portal" for customers to access social media and interact with online merchants. iJango claims that their representatives can make money by inviting "friends, family and associates to use iJango...for FREE!" The business claims that this portal tracks individuals' Web traffic and e-commerce, thereby generating commissions payable to iJango based on Web page views and purchases made by the user.
iJango says participants can pay an upfront fee of $50 to join the program, but recommends purchasing a package for $149.95 with a monthly maintenance fee of $19.95. The company further claims that consumers participating in the program will earn income in two ways:
BBB has recently received complaints concerning the ease of use of the iJango portal, delayed availability of materials and alleged difficulty in canceling membership. The company has responded to some consumers by stating that they have issued, or will issue a refund. iJango has earned a BBB rating of F – and its full BBB Reliability Report™ is available online.
Cameron Sharpe is one of the co-founders of iJango and has traveled the country presenting the iJango concept. Cameron Sharpe also co-created Ultimate Introductions, a.k.a. Ultimate Singles, a supposedly Christian dating service that generated complaints from customers by charging thousands of dollars and failing to deliver on promises. Ultimate Introductions was sued by another company in 2004 for theft, fraud and unfair competition; as part of the settlement it was required to go out of business. BBB recommends consumers exercise extreme caution when evaluating any business opportunity and consider the following advice in order to make an informed decision: For more information on pyramid schemes and to check the reliability of any business, visit www.bbb.org. About BBB Serving Central Alabama & the Wiregrass:
BBB is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. Incorporated locally in 1955, today your BBB services 41 counties in Central Alabama, supported by over 3,800 Accredited Businesses. BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 125 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring nearly 4 million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about BBB.
BBB recommends consumers exercise extreme caution when evaluating any business opportunity and consider the following advice in order to make an informed decision:
For more information on pyramid schemes and to check the reliability of any business, visit www.bbb.org.
About BBB Serving Central Alabama & the Wiregrass: