Recently, I’ve picked up a whole legion of new fans of my blog.
Now, I know that neither my writing nor my life has got any more interesting, so I was puzzled over how I’d suddenly doubled my audience. Call me cynical, but my first thought was SPAM or scam.
So I had a little peek at my new followers’ profiles. And I found that they all had something in common. Not only were they now part of my flock, but they were also followers of A.W.O.L.
AWOL stands for Another Way of Life. It is part of the Empower Network, which claims to give people the tools and insider knowledge to be able to make money from blogging.
According to the blog of one of my new follower, Anna Linnehan’s, under the heading:
How To Create An Income Online ANYWHERE!
Most people don’t realize it. But there are an abundance of opportunities to create an income online ANYWHERE. An income that can completely pay for whatever lifestyle you choose, …
That all sounds very lovely. And very “empowering”. But c’mon people. Let’s get something straight here.
Online income vs an online business
Anyone (in theory) can create an online income. Whack up a basic website, scrape some generic, attention-grabbing, utter dross content (Lose 5lb of belly fat in 5 minutes with Amazing New Hollywood Diet), stick on some affiliate marketing buttons and a load of Google AdSense adverts…
And hey presto. Watch those pennies roll in. Very slowly. If you’re lucky, you might make a few quid a month. That’s an online income. Not sure what lifestyle it is that you’ll be choosing off the back of this income, but I guess your buddies at AWOL will help you figure it out.
An online business, however, requires a bit more than that. Trust me. I’m on it like a car bonnet, but it’s a tough one to crack.
So what’s the deal?
I did a quick Google search under “Empower Network Scam” (lucky guess) and learned that it’s run by a couple of Dave’s, who, allegedly, have taken their own advice and gone totally AWOL – living in the kind of jurisdiction that Edward Snowdon’s looking for.
Ancient Egypt has nothing on these guys. For anyone who hasn’t sussed it yet. This is a Ponzi. With a capital Ponz.
It’s actually pretty clever. You see, what they claim to be selling is access to a blogging platform and combined internet marketing clout. Higher rankings in search engines. Increased traffic to your blog. Easy ways to monetize. Em-Po-Wer.
money for nothing…
What they are actually selling is nothing. Well, nearly nothing. For upwards of $25/month ($100/month for the “Inner Circle”), you get your very own EN affiliated blog, hosted on their platform. It’s called empower-network-something-or-other. The significance of this will become clearer.
What’s less clear is why anyone would pay $25/month for a blog when the rest of the world is blogging for free on WordPress or Tumblr or the like. But each to their own.
Now here’s the clever bit. Pay attention. When you join Empower Network, you are let into the secret that the way to make money from the internet is by…wait for it…promoting and reselling Empower Network. Hold the fanfare.
If you look at the content of member blogs, you’ll notice a couple of things. Firstly, there’s very little in the way of content. A few pages. All with titles like “Make Money Online!”, “Flog Your Blog!” and “Just Give Me Some Money!”.
Secondly, all of the content is about A.W.O.L. and Empower Network. All links are effectively affiliate buttons. They take you to the EN sign-up page. And if you, too, become Empowered, the owner of the blog that referred you gets paid a commission.
So, as a newly Empowered blogger, if you want to make money, you need to sign up as many wannabe empowerees as you can. And the way to do that? By visiting as many blogs as you can, “following” and “liking” and spreading the EN gospel. So it’s an endless viral blogging go-round. Work, work, work. Sell, sell, sell. Because, remember, you’re paying a minimum of $25/month for this, so you’d better be recruiting new followers to cover your subs.
This is also the “secret” behind the claims that EN can get your blog higher up the search engine rankings. Not quite true. What happens is that all this recycled content, the constant pingbacks to A.W.O.L. or EN, confuse the searchbots. It means that Empower Network, the brand, ranks top in Google. If you’re searching for “Empower Network”, that is.
But since EN is all you have to sell, ain’t it grand that it ranks so highly on Google?
There is something quite beautiful about its simplicity. You buy into a scheme to make money online. Turns out that the product you need to sell to make that money is the scheme itself. You’re paying money to a company to promote their brand, which makes them a lot of money. If you do enough promotion and make enough sales, you might make a little bit of money. Maybe I’ve missed something, but it looks awfully to me like the only ones making real money from this are sitting high and dry atop their pyramid.
The best bit about it? By writing about EN, I’ve probably pushed them even higher up the search rankings and helped them peddle their snake oil to some poor schmuck.
Do me a favour will you? Don’t Google them, don’t click on any comments, follows or likes that they send you, and definitely do not fall for their scamming ways.
Just like naughty children or dogs, the best thing we can all do is just ignore them till they go away.
20 thoughts on “Dear Empower Network – Blog Off!”
Bravo my fellow blogger. At least someone else gets it. I have been getting heavy traffic flow to that ONE post on my site so I’m positive this one will be no less bombarded. I will reblog if you don’t mind as to ad support to my post which presents the theory with the same premise. I just recently received a comment by the “founder” today.
More so than anything, what unnerves me is the fact that each time one of these aliens proposes a retort to my post or a relevant comment, they have NEVER offered an explanation which included tangible evidence to support the alternative of a scam or a REAL Business plan. They instead come to gloat about how wrong I am and how happy and Burden free the life of an AWOL associate can be. I guess they will never learn.
Good Work 🙂
Hey Jen – thanks for your comment and feel free to reblog. I guess it’s just the modern snake oil fix-all cure. Interestingly, my new fans seem to have tailed off. I kinda miss them… Good luck with your blog. C x
That’s funny I so wish they would burn off my page. But trust me, with the write tags, expect many visits to this posts as people just keep getting more and the world keeps getting better because the SCAMMERS are being exposed! 🙂
Reblogged this on Inside Jen's Head and commented:
Seems I’m not the only Blogger who cares NOT to dream…I mean SCHEME 🙂
It’s always funny to read posts like this =)
I have been in Empower Network for a couple of months and bought all the training inside. The reason I bought it was not to re-sell it as most people do but to grow my my business outside of Empower. That worked great! The training IS excelent! The funny part is that without even trying to promote Empower’s products I just automatically started to earn money when people joined, bought the blogging and then the training.
I’m earning money by sharing my content and helping other people making money. Not too bad to me 😉
I won’t even post my affiliate link because I don’t even care about working with people who can’t think outside the hamster wheel, calling everything a Ponzi scheme
Hey Caroline, stumbled upon your post as I was googling some techie stuff for our blog (yeah, my husband writes most of it, I don’t agree with all of it, but everyone has the same right for freedom of speach, correct?).
Sure, there is a lot of EN affiliates who just have no clue. How apply what they learn from EN products. Yes, there are actually products, info products, with hours of videos with great info on what marketing methods and strategies work in today’s market place. They are regularly updated, too. Yes, prices range and yes, one gets 100% commission on each info product they sell. Let’s say a person does not mind to have Alexa ranking of 33 million and they are using a free blog to just express themselves. In that case, they for sure do not need a hosted blog on any platform (not free, and it actually comes out to about the same price tag as annual subscription fee of $25 monthly that EN offers). Except hosted blogs still don’t offer SEO tool built into the blogging system, as EN does. You have mentioned $100 product – a library of inspirational audios, which is updated regularly too. Many of us (public at large) definitely need our brains washed, otherwise we keep sabotaging ourselves by pouring negative junk into our brains – hence ‘garbage in, garbage out’. The next product (yes, price goes up – don’t they ask at McDonalds “do you want to surpesize that?” – why upselling should come as a surprise to anyone then?) is teaching the clueless how any internet based busienss should be structured. Those who actually do have a clue, get clear on the subject matter and vision. Then comes next info product – a library of videos with nuts and bolts on methods – about 35 of them. Yes, this one is being updated regularly as well, to provide only info that works now. Not 2 years ago. And there is Masters course to top off info products. About 6 months ago EN own video hosting service has been added to the menu of products as well. So, it is up to each individual how they want to make their $10K monthly – either 450 basic $25 blogging packages a month (comes with 8 training videos and SEO tool), or 150 $100 audio library subscriptions (yes, you read it correctly – sell one time and collect monthly resuduals on both $25 and $100 sales), or 25 of $500 products, or 15 of $1000 products, or 4 of $3,500 products (sorry, no monthly subscription on this one) – or any combination of thereof. The choice is up to an affiliate. As far as turning your sidebar into a flee marktet – one can certainly do that, but it looks really ugly and as you rightly mentioned, completely pales in comparison with 100% commissions on all the info products I mentioned, well except for the highest item – only $3K is paid out to the seller on that one. I hope this is comprehensive enough, if not – hey, I am just an e-mail away. Find me on Facebook too.
Appreciate you taking the time to find my blog post and post such a comprehensive comment. I guess 2 things concern me: (1) just how many EN affiliates have googled and felt the need to reply to what is just one person’s opinion, with a litany of reasons why EN is, in fact, a great product; and (2) the reference to “teaching the clueless” in your comment.
Still, I wish you the best of luck in your endeavours.
Caroline, majority of EN people are simply busy marketing any way they know how. Many come to this company without a clue what an autoresponder is. Not only that, even seasoned marketers have used autoresponders for years (AWeber, for instance) without knowing how many options for content repurposing it offers. So, they definitely have a pretty steep learning curve (like I did 2 years ago), and because they clearly see the opportunity and are very enthusiastic, they run around internet doing whatever they think will bring traffic and potential customers and team members, while being completely oblivious to internet etiquette. Sigh. Not only that, they are arrogant and mock those who have found their niche and are pretty happy with what they do for living. Your opinion (sorry, I have to tell you, based on very limited information) is valued, because you are a person. There is just one of you, you are unique and valuable. So I choose to give you first hand info. I know both Daves personally, both of them went through struggles in their lives, both of them are brilliant. They love people and want to empower them. Period. They could have kept the idea for themselves, but having been in a plethora of traditional MLM companies where no one in their down line could do what they did to be earning $30K a month, (for variety of reasons, mainly compensation plan – it is hard to earn a fortune when a product is $9.80 monthly and you get wooping 30% on that – SendOutCards in my example, I am a distributor and was very tired of lots of work for ridiculous compensation by April 2013, when I joined EN), they wanted everybody on their team to earn money, that is have the tools and the knowledge what exactly to do to earn money. So they created EN to empower people, if that is what people want. Some people are just waiting for handouts, one can’t make anyone do anything. That is a personal choice to be a productive member of the society. Now one more tid bit on how it works in EN – an affiliate can make comissions only on sales of products that they have purchased themselves. Given that the products are educational videos, makes sense to have them and learn effective internet marketing. Now, you are not the only one with a negative review, of course. I took the time to post for a number of reasons: I have first hand knowledge on the subject matter and while explaining anything to someone the explaining party gets much clearer on the subject. Also, you have a following, and I need exposure (don’t we all? 😉 ) Thank you again for your kindness, I will also write a blog post – my content, right? – so I can spin it. 😉 All the best to you, my friend. Larissa Nichols.
I get lots of AWOL peeps following my blog. The content on their blogs is clearly manufactured; it’s dry and boring.
All above is so true, I was a member once and found out quickly that this system in basic doesn’t work. Just for putting a blog out there doesn’t mean that it automatically generate money. You really have to do something, it’s a mind set, IT’S YOUR BUSINESS so you have to invest money and valuable time to make it work.
True,..you can start making some money as soon as you buy from EN the whole program, that will cost you roughly $ 7-8000. common seriously? I am running a business that teaches my team members how they can use social media to explode their businesses, what ever business they have for a fraction of the total EN products and marketing costs. I hope they will stay away from my blog, I deal only with those who are taking their business 100% serious. Peace out!
Thanks Jacobus. Must confess I’m struggling to see how your offering differs, but I’m sure that you’ll be able to explain the all-important nuances… Still not for me, I’m afraid.
Thanks for your comment Caroline, I do apologize, it was a bit hard, but that was my experience with EN blog. It is just not that simple to create a blog and make money from it. You have to use the proper tools to market your blog to sign up new members. It is your choice how to do it, PPC, PPV, Social Media, or what ever. Just for putting out a blog on the internet doesn’t mean that you automatically create a money machine. Just as any business you are running you have to invest in time, money and to obtain knowledge.
What I was trying to say about “I hope they will stay away from my blog, I deal only with those who are taking their business 100% serious”, was, at the moment they are using the most obvious way’s to promote, blog’s and groups. Remember that the whole internet marketing community is on their as well, so who are you targeting? Be original and start marketing your product the proper way, try to laser target those who are interested in a blog, yep and that take some market research and knowledge.
It was not my intentions to insult you.
I personally have nothing against Empower Network ,but I feel there is too much hype put into buying the products and people saying they are making x amount of money each month when in fact there are only a small minority who have made any real money at all, and that is probably because they came into the company early and already had a large E-mail list following.. So you get started and buy the basic package PLUS the affiliate package that comes to $45 per month. This is what my friend and did, He actually made a small profit after just a few months, but he tells me that he has lost a few of his customers and no longer in profit. I have dome more than 200 blogs in the last few months and made NOTHING. So let us assume Joe blogs buys into all the Empower products, goes through all the training and everything else then finds after some months he has made little if not anything. And that’s what will happen to the vast majority of people. they will simply make little or no profit regardless of buying all in or not. That is the reality of Internet marketing. I am quite happy to be making smaller amounts of money selling advertising products that are not like some debt burden around my neck
It actually saddens me to say that I was in EN for 11 months.I would like to know what prodcuts have been updated like Larrisa had said. I know that was something that David Wood mentioned would happen, but in the 11 months I was in the training products are still the same with outdated info.
I was excited about the launch of the blog beast, with all the hype around it I thought it was going to make a difference for those of us that went “All-In”. David Wood said EN spent 3 million dollars to roll out thos mobile viral blogging platform, that was going to be the “game changer”
I went to DC for one of the events, because at that time there where so many gliches with the blog, I wanted to find out what I was doing wrong…talked to Jerry the COO who told me, with a disgusted look and vocal tone, “EN should have waited to launch the product, it wasn’t ready and they should have waited another 6 months before launching it”. I asked him what I could do in order to use it, he told me to wait til the 3.0 version came out!!??
After the launch both the Dave’s have been pretty quite. David Wood is off having a wonderful time with his mistress (someone who he got pregnat while still married to his wife Ashley) Whom he adored, loved and cherished…or at least until his girlfriend got pregnant…If he can lie about that to someone he gave his word to before God…who else do you think he can lie to??
My husband and I decided to count our financial oss and have left, it took us 2 days to remove all of our blogging content…that’s another thing that’s not clearly mentioned, your content (if you are blogging with good, valuable content) does not belong to you. You leave, you leave your stuff behind..EN goes down, you lose all of your content. For those who are reading this and sitting on the fence…make sure you are getting all of the information before signing up.
There are other REAL very well known and respected people in the online industry that do offer REAL training to learn the skills needed to market and sell honestly and ethically. Don’t give up on your dreams to be a successful online marketer, you just need to find the right mentor and communty.
I’m sure you’ve found out by now that even writing a NEGATIVE post about Empower Network will earn you some followers! Thanks for writing, and for the comments you generated, some of them were very informative.
Great post. I am facing a few of these issues
I sympathise! Try writing your own version of my post – it seems to have done the trick of getting rid of my “fans”!!
I couldn’t agree more with this article. Like flies, they get into your business. I was signed up to them, and now I see them following my blog, etc. I’ve had a mentor, i blocked on facebook, and everywhere, cause after i commented on something like this… i was stalked….
Sorry , but this is a pyramid sheme type business..good for them..i’m not interested in taking peoples money that way.
Could be here for the long run , i don’t care. I don’t care if they make more than me..i really don’t give a damn,. I just want to make a steady income online, and with me choosing those products to sell. Cause when i sell something I believe in..then i basically am a winner. I can’t have someone telling me, i don’t know “s@#$” or he knows better, cause he went ALL IN…i don’t want to watch positive mindset videos, so they can brainwash me etc..i’m better off controlling my own brainwashing, and i’ve been doing a good job with this…myself..with my books, and my ways. I’ve seen results, don’t need to pay for theirs. I thought i was going to be cool with 25 dollars month, and like many have said, i had no idea about the rest!
its funny when you talk to a lot of those people, they say, HEY DID YOU GET ALL IN? …like its a damn…i dont’ know what.. Reminds me of those folks at world-venture pyramid scheme company, with the “you should be here” etc type campagns. Been to one of these seminars, just like awols..and seriously, they all like fake happy fellas…i don’t get it. Who could be so that happy?? i mean ,…over the top happy, about everything…its a little too much for me, had to step back from that too.
Anywways, said a lot. I think they do a good job teaching…but they do a lousy job selling it to smart folks. IT sure does work for them,and for people that go all in…but no thanks..Too costy.. Too much money when you can get that info somewhere else, for cheaper.