they really had me fooled though! I mean look at their site and their general aesthetic: link. I was like damn are they gonna approve me? Should I shell out for this? I got an exclusive invite! Am I going to use these benefits? In fact I emailed some guy soon after saying,
"It seemed like something interesting and exclusive before I got an invite but I'm looking at the preview and it's basically a collection of discounts etc"
And he replied saying,
"i dont do that kind of stuff. i got mine free. if you want to use it you can :)"
And now an year later they're still emailing me
I might join eventually but I'm just amused regardless cause once you take away the veneer of social exclusivity this thing is just a regular discount program that (I guess) they need to feed with more members all the time
Miko, my parents made a hobby out of that for a brief stretch in the late 70s or early 80s. I remember once they only did it on the condition that I (the youngest kid, and probably the only one they could persuade into this excursion) could tag along... specifically so that at quiet moments, they could discreetly show me what a hustle it was, point out key wiggle-room phrases in the spiel, and otherwise instruct me in consumer skepticism.
They quit doing it after a while, probably unable to contain their ire anymore. But they proudly used the COMPLETELY FREE! NO PURCHASE NECESSARY! WILDLY INFERIOR! rewards --- mostly slapped-together electronics that must have been manufactured exactly for these events, since no reasonable person would buy them.
I don't know if they never got offered a vacation package, or if they refused them, either because they would have to arrange babysitting or because they were afraid the vacations would be equally FREE! and INFERIOR! But they did score a mini-tv that my mom used in the kitchen or on the deck for two decades.
Ardiril, in what way? There's no extra selling onto others involved, you just pay FC a particular amount each year and you get a bunch of discounts on things. If you stay at hotels then 15% off on a few stays can make up for the $400/yr membership payment easily. Add in things like UPS, Airlines, Car Rentals, Fashion etc and those a big ticket savings for those who use these services
I just don't have that lifestyle currently (i.e. I don't pay for these things regardless of how much they cost) so no point in applying yet
Well, the member-recruits-member is a classic element of an MLM. The Wikipedia is a hack job promoting the company, but they emphasize this: To become a member, one must receive an invitation from an existing member and submit an application for membership.
But more than an MLM, it looks like a circle jerk. You drop your 500 bucks, and you get discounts on various things, provided by companies that want access to entrepreneurs, and according to the Fast Company piece, a lot of them are companies that either (a) already offer those same discounts to members of professional associations or (b) are from companies owned by other members. This is a great way for the owner to make money - he gets it from new member recruitments, and in advertising and kickbacks from his "partners." Gotta hand it to him.
But membership looks so far like a vanity thing to me, and I doubt it's really a top-tier exclusive thing. I mean, a networking cocktail party is one thing, but the best parties aren't the ones you get into by buying a discount card.
I just read several discussion threads on it. A few members say they have gotten an AT&T phone bill discount which they couldn't find any other way, and which, for some people, pays for the card (10% off per month). So nothing lost there. But apparently a lot of the discounts are for really high-end services for the wealthy. Not all startup entrepreneurs are living like that - and if they were, would they change their plans to take advatage of a 10% discount?
Well I'm sure hotels and airlines offer the same discounts to other groups as well.. like mastercard might have discounts or other associations might have them. I'm just saying's it's not an MLM scheme at all. Invitations and referrals are a core component of many businesses and associations, what makes something a pyramid scheme is that the rewards accrue as you add more people to the pyramid who have to continue adding value for you to skim off them and someone to skim off of you etc
what makes something a pyramid scheme is that the rewards accrue as you add more people to the pyramid who have to continue adding value for you to skim off them and someone to skim off of you etc
Right, and the way this guy gets new members is having them referred by other members. Usually there are incentives for referring someone, which is how you climb the pyramid.
If this is a program where you don't get any incentives for referring someone - money, points, more benefits, something - then really, you're really just kind of serving as a tool to get this guy more money, as he leverages you to bring on more "partners," while you get jack all that you couldn't get yourself.
I guess what I'd say is that if you're dead certain you'll make your membership fee back in a year because you can identify a specific expense or two it will reduce for you by more than the fee, go ahead and join, but this really isn't AmEx Black or anything like it. It's a marketing scheme making its Founder pretty rich and throwing cocktail parties. IF you can get something out of it, Mazel Tov.