DAYTON, OHIO, September 9, 2009 - Your Better Business Bureau warns a new money making opportunity claiming to "Multi-level market the Internet" could be a pyramid scheme. A BBB investigation shows iJango – a new self-described multi-level marketing company – is aggressively seeking representatives for a product with no track record. People are paying hundreds of dollars in upfront fees based on claims 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 agents and receive cuts of their product sales. Pyramid schemes, which are illegal, promise participants can make money primarily by recruiting people who then pay for opportunities 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 John North, BBB president and CEO. "iJango is making big promises about its money making potential, but based on our investigation, your BBB believes the potential to generate revenue may primarily depend on participants’ abilities to recruit additional representatives."
More than 3,400 people nationwide have contacted your 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 its representatives can make money by inviting "friends, family and associates to use iJango...for FREE!" The business claims this portal tracks individuals’ Web traffic and e-commerce, thereby generating commissions payable to iJango based on Web page views and user purchases.
iJango says participants can pay upfront fees 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 program participants will earn income in two ways:
Your BBB has recently received complaints concerning the iJango portal’s ease of use, delayed availability of materials and alleged difficulty in canceling membership. The company has responded to some people by stating they’ve issued or will issue refunds. iJango has earned a BBB rating of F and its full BBB Reliability Report™ is available online at www.bbb.org.
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.
Your BBB recommends you exercise extreme caution when evaluating business opportunities and consider the following advice to make an informed decision:
Contact your BBB for more information on pyramid schemes and to check the reliability of any business. Visit www.bbb.org or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.
About Your BBB Serving Dayton and the Miami Valley
Your BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses earning BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. Your 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, your 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, 126 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring nearly 4 million local and national businesses and charities. Your BBB serving Dayton and the Miami Valley serves Montgomery, Greene, Clark, Darke, Miami, Preble, Shelby and northern Warren counties. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about your BBB.