Offering a social network as a money making opportunity has been tried many times in the business opportunity world. Two recent examples of this are iQLife and Tsū. Few have been successful in generating significant income for their members. One of the red flags to watch out for is when a social network wants to charge you a monthly fee to increase your potential to make money. Here is what I have found.
Unbelievable Claims by empowr
The world’s first democratic social platform, where the profits and control of the company belong to you.
Our mission: To empower people by enabling opportunity, hope and influence.
Say something. Every time someone reads it, you earn!
Post a photo. Each time it’s viewed, you earn!
Share a YouTube video. When it’s watched, you earn!
empowr is working to achieve its long-term goal for 97% of receipts that come into the empowr economy, from any source, to go out to its citizens. The other 3% will be utilized towards the costs of running the company. To be clear, this is a long-term goal that the empowr community has not yet achieved. Everyone is working diligently to grow the empowr economy in order to accomplish it.
The Truth About empowr
empowr is the creation of a company called FanBox. FanBox was previously know as SMS.ac. Michael Pousti is chairman and chief executive officer of this company. The empowr social network opened to the general public in 2015.
There have been many scam claims made about empowr, FanBox and SMS.ac. Here are just a few of them:
Many people i know (including myself… yeah, u could write “TIT” across my forehead) have fallen prey to this piece of trash “free” sms site.
sms.ac is a scam!!!!!!
They basically offer you 5 free sms’s a day to any service provider on the globe… this is their excuse for calling it a “free” service, when infact, apon signing up, you get sms’d from other members (some of which i think are bogus) via the site, wanting to befriend you. These are INCOMING messages to your phone that you have no control over.
Turns out you get charged for each of these… and this works out quite costly… imagine if i hadn’t signed into vodacom4me to check my statement?
I’ve only been a member of the site for 3 days, and already have been charged a healthy sum.
Upon suspicion of the web code behavior too (contstantly being logged out every 2 seconds, being blocked from deleting users from “friends”, inability to update account details, etc.) I turned to google.com for answers…
Instead I found a healthy hate community scattered across the web toward sms.ac due to the huge, and unexpected phones bills, and sms.ac getting into email address books of members and spamming all in it.
Oh by the way… various people have various types of difficulties in trying to delete an account, such as webcode resetting, “delete account” page link not visible to some, etc.
I had to get a direct address link from someone who was lucky enough to see the link (when her page actually loaded that is) and then deleted my account… Scary part is the site said that it would take 24 hrs to be effective… *dreads amount of sms’s that can be received in 24 hrs* – Source mybroadband.co.za
I have been receiving emails from FanBox stating I earned so much money, (now $2776.37 and growing). I thought maybe this FanBox thing would be a legitimate site, where I could earn money while blogging and posting pictures. Then they required me to register thru PayPal in order to obtain my earnings, (which was never obtained) – I felt like they were asking me to register my credit card because soon after they charged my credit card $226.24 When I saw the unauthorized withdraw, I tried to contact FanBox through their phone number and email … with no luck. The money they took left my account in a negative status. Also, I did NOT post anything ever on FanBox, I believe they took my posts from Facebook, without permission.
– Source BBB
I received numerous mails from Fanbox about huge earnings and I need to complete process of securing it by validating my account. I completed the process and had been diligently following all that my Success coach guided me with. Instead of being able to take my earnings I was told earnings will take 90 days to mature and then there was this unsolicited IPL amount of $ 1000’s credited to my account which was being used to generate supposed Ad earnings. And there was an interest I needed to pay every month.The 90 days maturity never came after a year of doing everything they said.After paying the fee for months togather I have still not been able to take out any money.The icing on the cake is that I deleted my account with clear message that I dont want to pay any fee anymore as i realise this is a scam of huge proportions. They have NOT stopped charging my card which shows they are thriving on gullible people and they will not stop at anything to bill you continously until you change the credit/debit card with your bank.I would like to take every action possible to get back every dollar I have spent in this fraud called Fanbox and simultaniously spread the word for all inncent people to stay farr far away from this scam.
– Source BBB
In the past month I began receiving emails from Fanbox, like this one “Dear FanBox User, I am not sure if you got the earlier email, but just in case: the FanBox experiment is officially ending. That means that no new users will be allowed in and only previously validated accounts will be allowed to retain their earnings. To keep the earnings ($1346.85) you achieved over your account’s 3-year lifespan, you must validate your account immediately. Validate your account now or forever hold your peace.” So I clicked the link to Validate my account and was prompted to create a user name and password, and a third step asking for my Credit Card or PayPal, with the assurance they would only charge $0.01 in order to confirm my identity. I did not complete step 3 so the emails continued, almost daily. Finally I input a credit card number and saw the $0.01. Luckily I had only $2 credit available! Then I checked my email and saw 17 emails from them stating that the monthly IPL charge ( whatever that is) could not be billed and warning me I risked a $25 late fee for each month. So they used deceptive practices to obtain my credit card number. This is totally a scam. If you say you owe me $1300+ but that I owe you $300+ in fees, just deduct them from my supposed account. I am reporting this scam to the CA Attorney General’s office.
– Source BBB
I too received an email a couple years ago that said protect your earnings now when I had not even heard of their website. I checked out the website and it looked legit. Mostly I wanted to make sure that someone else hadn’t created an account using my email address. So to get into the account that was fabricated for me I selected the forgot my password option and seized control of the account. Now I wish I never did! I thought it was an interesting concept to make money for sharing what you would post. Then I started getting hit with the IPL Fees and thought it looked like I was making (for letting them run my account and me do nothing) about as much as the IPL Fees were. Somewhere around April 2015 The IPL Fees went away and I just kept letting FanBox (Empowr) do its thing by adding more utilized funds to this weird ad money making thing. Now I am getting back billed from April 2015 – Today (August 2016) at $200+ dollars for each month I was not billed!!! Currently they have back billed me from April 2015 to July 2015 and the amount is above $900!!! If I wait til they back bill me for all the months it will be over $3500. Previously the IPL fees were about $30. What the flip happened between March of 2015 to April 2015 that it would be 200+ dollars? My “Balance” is about $9,000 with the utilized IPL of about $8,000. So by my calculations it earned me $1,000. I will not pay $3,500+ to secure an earnings of $1,000. On top of that I have already paid in $403.45 in IPL Fees from March 2014 – May of 2015. I have stopped the ****** Payment Plan so I do not get hit with the $3,500 that will soon be charged to my account and will not pay into this scam any more. They can keep the $1,000 that was made off of their IPL loan but I want my $403.45 back!!!! I have never been able to cash out any earnings and have sent a ****** money request to [email protected] for the $403.45. Stop Scamming People!!!
– Source BBB
Fanbox was described as the following:
FanBox enables people to buy, sell, and promote their digital content through web & mobile technologies. We’ve created the tools that allow our community of over 50 million users to make money doing what they love. Enabled by global billing solutions, FanBox connects musicians, filmmakers, application developers and other content providers to millions of billable consumers worldwide.
Unlike other companies that publish members’ music and video without paying the creators of user-generated content, FanBox’s unique community-driven economy ensures that there’s an upside for everyone.
At FanBox, everybody gets paid. Content providers, as well as any community members that help promote a song or video, accrue actual revenue from content sales. At any time FanBox members can choose to receive a payout for their earnings or apply funds towards additional content purchases and marketing packages.
The FanBox experiment has concluded
About 7 years ago, FanBox was started as a laboratory “sandbox”. It has served as a place where interested parties could comfortably experiment, try and even fail as many times as needed, to eventually successfully democratize social media.
The objective of the experiment was to invent all the technological elements needed to empower billions of people to lift themselves out of poverty.
Did you know? Half the world’s population lives on $2 or less per day. Empowering these people to rapidly become productive in a thriving economy, right from where they are, was precisely the goal.
We took all our learnings, inventions and tools and incorporated them into a new platform called empowr.
empowr’s mission: To empower people, by enabling opportunity, hope and influence.
empowr’s goal: To help half the world’s population (4 billion people) earn an average of $25/day by the year 2025.
In my opinion, empowr is a reboot of the FanBox scam.
It seems clear to me from the complaints that I have read that empowr uses credits and fees that people do not understand to get them to pay empowr money when these people think they are actually going to be making money. I was unable to find any clear detailed explanation of the costs you are expected to pay and how much you make from the posting that you do. When I watched someone signup for empowr they where given the impression they made over $40 by just liking a few posts.
empowr claims in their terms of service the following about your earnings:
Empowr may award you virtual currency in the form of earnings (“Earnings”) in connection with your use of the Services. Your investment of content, earnings, time, payments, including the purchase of Advertisements on the Empowr Network and relationships, may never materialize or result in any direct or implied benefit or asset for you. Any Earnings, payments, or in-kind benefits will be made solely in the discretion of Empowr, and you waive any rights to receive revenues, profits, Earnings, and any value of any kind other than any of the foregoing actually paid you by Empowr.
Additionally, Empowr may provide you with free or promotional Earnings. Such Earnings are subject to expiration, return to the Active Blogger Pool or forfeiture at any time, with or without notice to you.
– Source Empowr.com
In my opinion, your “Earnings” don’t mean much with empowr. It seems they can pay you whatever they want to pay you.
Here is how Victor Wilson from Quora explained your chances of making money with empowr:
When you join you are extended $1000 in ad credits that you utilize to “promote” your profile page. But, the catch is the more you use empowr the more “ad credits” are extended to you, and these are credits you HAVE to pay back BEFORE you can cash out any earnings. Empowr paints a pretty picture saying that if you pay your monthly ad platform fee of approximately 2.9% on time you’ll get back 50% of the money that you paid in form of early cash out and in the end you’ll end up paying only 1.45%!
Sounds good right? Wrong! The problem is each month your ad platform fee will be higher than the previous month and there will come a time you won’t be able to pay your fee because it’s too high. You’ll continue to be issued more ad credits, which you have to pay back but you won’t be given any evidence of how those credits were spent; you’ll just have to go on blind faith that they’re telling you the truth. You’ll soon realize that empowr is a BS social site that is legally scamming innocent people out of their money while claiming they want to help the world.
– Source Quora
empowr generates revenue from transactions fees on products and services sales, advertising and subscription revenue from power user revenue. The earnings you make are from the payments you and other users of empowr make. It would seem profit is a zero sum game for empowr users.
Here is an example of the income claims that are made to get people into this money making opportunity:
“As May said, earning on empowr is as easy as 1, 2, 3 – when you put your mind to it, any one of you could be our next millionaire!”
– Source blog.empowr.com
empowr offers no income disclosure that shows what the average person makes with this money making opportunity.
It is free to join. To increase your earnings they want you to pay a monthly fee. This fee can range from $6 per month to $60,000 per month.
They offer a social network that you can participate in. They claim to be democratizing the core elements of social media: user interface, advertising,and the marketplace, as well as the company’s governance, leadership and profits.
In my opinion, there is no clear explanation of how much profit you can actually make with this company. They talk about earnings, but there are expenses that go along with these earnings. There is no clear explanation of how much your expenses will be.
Here is their explanation from their FAQ on how you earn with them:
Users (called citizens on empowr) can earn via a multitude of knowledge-based roles, including from the views of their photos, videos, status updates and blogs.
Citizens can also sell virtually any product or service; or assist in a variety of roles with the promotion, distribution, reselling, education or dispute management relating to the sale of most products and services available in the the empowr marketplace.
In addition, they can earn by assisting in the growth of the empowr economy, by working as teachers or success coaches to other members of the community.
– Source empowr FAQ
In my opinion, I would never participate in a money-making opportunity that is not black and white about how much your expenses are.
Your investment of content, earnings, time, payments, including the purchase of Advertisements on the Empowr Network and relationships, may never materialize or result in any direct or implied benefit or asset for you. Any Earnings, payments, or in-kind benefits will be made solely in the discretion of Empowr, and you waive any rights to receive revenues, profits, Earnings, and any value of any kind other than any of the foregoing actually paid you by Empowr.
– Source Empowr.com
All fees and charges are nonrefundable and there are no refunds or credits for partially-used periods. – Source Empowr.com
empowr Review Conclusion
In my opinion, empowr is legally scamming people. They give you the impression that you will be making money. When I watched someone signup for empowr they where given the impression they made over $40 by just liking a few posts. “Earnings” don’t mean the same thing in empowr as what the average person would think they are. It seems they can pay you whatever they want to pay you. You earn now, but pay for advertising later from your profits only when you’re ready to cash out. There have been many complaints made about the business practices of empowr, FanBox, and SMS.ac. Nearly identical complaints have been made about the FanBox website and the empowr website. I was unable to find any clear detailed explanation of the actual costs you are expected to pay and how much you make from the posting that you do. I would avoid the empowr money making opportunity.
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