I was watching Tech Now this week and the technology show mentioned a scam that's getting the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) attention. I never really cared too much about these scams, because I assumed, like Nigerian princes, people were smart enough to avoid them. However, after realizing that a lot of people are getting scammed by MonaVie, I figured I should write about some other scams when I come across them. It might save some reader a little money someday - and that makes it worthwhile for me. Today's scam in question... iJango.
What is iJango
iJango bills itself as a "Membership Rewards Community." What does that mean? It means that you sign up to earn rewards and recruit other members. I love earning rewards. I even like recruiting other members for things I believe in. However, there's a problem with iJango... if you want to earn rewards for recruiting other members it costs $150, PLUS $20 a month. Tech Now showed this information on their broadcast, but I can't seem to find it on the iJango website. Several links appear to be broken on iJango's website, so maybe they are having some difficulty on their site today. In fact, the Vicky Nguyen of Tech TV says that iJango admits to often having a broken site as they are constantly upgrading.
What Tech Now and the BBB say about iJango
After fielding 3400 inquiries after their August launch, the BBB gave iJango an F rating. While iJango claims to be a Multi-Level Marketing website, the Erin McCool of the Silicon Valley BBB says "they have extreme suspicions about what they are doing."
According to McCool, "People have trouble canceling the service" due to the website's bugs. It's always a bad sign when you get stuck with a $20/mo. bill that you can't get out of.
McCool also said, "We can't shut them down and it's a pain staking policy for the government agencies as well." This is something that has come up in MonaVie discussions a lot. The logic of some distributors is that if they haven't been shut down, it must be legal. Because of the painstaking process, this is simply not true.
What Founder Steve Smith says about iJango being a pyramid scheme
Tech Now caught up with founder Steve Smith and asked him if iJango is a pyramid scheme. His answer was so hiliarious, I've transcribed it below:
SS: It's a little... it's a little... it's a little, different concept because we are bringing customer on who produce revenue for us.
TechNow: How do they produce revenue? So you have partners with companies that pay you?
SS: Yeah for what they do on... on... shopping... and... online
TechNow: Who are those companies? Netflix? I saw you said Netflix... Pricegrabber... are those all companies you have a relationship with?
SS: Those are all companies that we have a relationship with. It's probably not even a direct relationship. This development team that we brought on brings us a lot of relationships. So for us it would be a third-party relationship that brings the relationships with these people that help monetize the customers that we bring to the site.
TechNow: How is this NOT a pyramid scam? Make that easy for me.
SS: Because we produce revenue from our customers. We get revenue, our customers use their tools and utilities, and we are paid part of that revenue share.
The BBB goes on to say that the relationships with Google, Pricegrabber, and Rhapsody don't exist. Here you could take argument with what the BBB is saying. I'm sure iJango has a relationship with these companies through affiliate programs like FlexOffers and Commission Junction. Founder Steve Smith is misrepresenting the relationship when he flashes a Netflix logo during a presentation as if to say, "These big companies are partnering with us, so you have to believe we are the real deal" instead of "No one at Netflix has ever heard of us."
What iJango Users have to say
When asked about how iJango is paying, Paul Bass, iJango user, said:
They haven't started paying out yet because of the problems with the servers. Even if I was dupped and even if they got my $149... [laughs]... that's not a lot of downside risk... and the upside potential...
That's exactly the kind of attitude that pyramid scams want to hear. A lot of $149 and $20 a month bills add up quickly for companies... especially when they don't really provide a product.
Another user Michelle was interviewed:
TechNow: Can you give me an idea, Michelle of how much money you've made with iJango?
Michelle: Absolutely not, that's a private matter.
I suppose it is a private matter, but if it was signfiicant mone, wouldn't she be shouting it from the rooftops?
Why iJango is a scam
By becoming an iJango Community Director, you are basically becoming a salesman for them and their company. You are out there recruiting other people and earning commission on everything that they buy (if they buy anything). You wouldn't pay your own employer to work for them, so why would you pay iJango?
Update: I wasn't aware of iJango's founders' histories. Looks like they've bilked people out of millions before. Check out this iJango Pyramid Scheme story.
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