Owner: Unknown/ "Brian Woosley"
This company claims to offer their 'citizens' a genuine opportunity to make money online by completing simple tasks on their social platform. Certainly a nice ideal, but after doing some digging I'm not convinced we are getting the full story and the underlying costs are insane.
I first learned about this site through one of my readers who was promoting it a while back. Today however, I woke up to an email saying I had just earned $20 and all I needed to was receive it...
Imagine earning $20 for doing absolutely nothing! Sounds pretty exciting and arouses a fair amount of curiosity to click through. Here's the thing, I wasn't born yesterday and I know full well no one is giving me $20 without strings attached.
I also know they did NOT receive my email address by consent. They either scraped it or some sneaky marketer (who's email list I'm on) sold it to them. Not cool! This is also not how legitimate companies operate, no matter how good and genuine they claim to be, this is completely unacceptable.
Anyway, I was curious enough so I clicked through and landed on a page that looked like Facebook mixed with eBay. What the?
I then started doing some research to see what other folks were saying about this. Unfortunately, it didn't look very good. It seems you've got a small portion of people saying it's legit but the overwhelming majority are calling this a scam and some have video proof to back this up.
Despite seeing all of these negative reviews, I was still keen to do some digging myself. Who knows, maybe they really are legit right? Let's take a look!
What Is Empowr?
This is a social media platform/ auction style marketplace that pays it's members in various ways which I will explain shortly. According to the welcome video, they have been around for more than 25 years creating 100's of technologies to help you improve your life. The domain for this site was registered in 2003 so if they've been around for this long, there must be more to the story.
It Was Once Called FanBox
Turns out they were once called Fanbox which now re-directs people straight to the Empowr platform. Much like Empowr, there are mixed reviews, but mostly negative. I managed to find their page on the BBB website which shows you what members have been saying. The company also published a full statement on how they operate which may be worth reading since it's pretty much the same company.
How You Make Money
According to 'President Brian', his citizens earn with Empowr in a simple 3 step process. All you need to do is optimise your account, maximise you circle of trust and monetise your circle of trust. Cool, whatever the heck that means!
I'll do my best to explain what each of these mean and how they relate to you earning money below.
#1 Optimising Your Account
You are given absolutely no description about what this actually does. The well spoken girl in the video simply tells us that you should "click the optimise button" under the 'circle of trust' menu and "the system will go to work to make sure you make the most money". Hmmmm...
What's the point of clicking a button in the first place then? Why would it need to be an option if that's the best way to make money, what happens if we don't push this mysterious button? Turns out that was pretty useless anyway since there was NO option anywhere for me to even click on this so called optimise button.
#2 Maximising Your Circle Of Trust
This step is where you will go through liking random posts and performing other simple tasks in an effort to 'close the loop'. Once you like 2 posts you will close the loop and when that person next logs into the platform, they will be prompted to like your posts. In other words, you like to get likes.
#3 Monetising Your Circle Of Trust
Apparently, you will earn when people view your posts and the more people that view your posts, the more money you make as a result. So your goal in maximising your earnings is to get the most people possible closing your loop.
I have to admit, I've always wanted to spend my time closing other people's loops. Sounds like fun!
Seriously though, the more loops that get closed between you and other members, the more trust gets built within your circle of trust and the more revenue you can generate within the platform.
I literally spent 30 seconds doing this and made $20. Sounds exciting and super easy, but there's no way everyone who joins is earning that kind of money for 30 seconds worth of work. There obviously must be a catch, plain and simple. I also find it hard to believe that I can post cat videos and random status updates and earn when people view them.
Let me see if I have this right... I earn by posting random crap and those who view my ramblings will get paid as well. Is anyone else starting to wonder where the money is coming from to pay everyone?? I sure as hell am.
Cashing Out Your Earnings
The company claims they are striving to give 97% of all the revenue that comes into the platform back to members. Whatever the case may be, withdrawing your earnings is not quite so simple. Just figuring out what you actually have owed to you is a challenge.
The Matruring Process
Every $1 you earn must go through a 90 day maturation process after the month in which you earned before being released for withdrawal. For example, if you earned in February, you could withdraw on May 31st. Apparently, this is to allow you time to spend these funds within the platform so that the platform can remain profitable.
Cashing Out Early
Members receive 'alerts' from time to time that inform them when the company is 'making too much money'. The idea is to quickly log in and withdraw whatever the amount is at the time while it's being offered.
In order to cash this out you must have 'early cash out' activated which requires the following 3 things:
- Validated account- give them your cell phone number and download the app
- Optimise account- no idea what this means
- Purchase the highest power level- $90 per month minimum
You'd want to be getting a fair few alerts to make it worth your while. I'm not sure giving them your cell phone number is the best idea and given their track record with spamming people either.
Figuring Out Your Actual Account Balance Is No Simple Task
It is actually easier to earn than it is to figure out what on earth you are actually owed and what amount you can physically withdraw. I mean, way easier.
For example, I got $20 when I signed up and another $20 for liking a few posts as I mentioned earlier. Cool. I also placed a bid on a random item in the marketplace for $2.97 to see what all the fuss was about and figure how the system worked.
When I went back to check my income they said I had $40 at the very top:
Then I scrolled down and was informed I had spent $31.66 on 'something' and that there was only $4.17 in my maturing balance.
First of all, those numbers don't even add up! Secondly, I did NOT spent that amount of money within the platform. I only placed a bid for $2.97 like I said earlier. If this is the kind of crap going on to members who've worked hard to grow their balance then it's no wonder so many are calling this a scam. Unless I am missing something, these numbers make no sense.
The Ad Credit System
It is important to understand that you do NOT keep all of the money you thought you had earned. When you signed up you were automatically given 'ad credits' which can be used in various ways and which are payable before you can cash out your earnings. They gave me $1000 to start with as shown below:
It seems that when I spend this ad credit amount I will need to pay them 2.9% and the money they gave me. So it's basically an advertising loan. If I pay the loan back on time, they'll credit 50% of the total fee back to my account. Sounds pretty reasonable.
These ad credits are used for most things you do to earn within the platform so you'll be paying these fees with real money to access your earnings. Of course, you can pay 100% of this fee out of your Empowr balance IF you upgrade your power level. Which brings me to the next topic.
Powering Up To Increase Earnings
There are 6 different 'power levels' to choose from and each offer more earnings potential and the ability to pay your fees with more of your Empowr balance.
Orange Level: Costs $6 - $100 per month
Green Level: Costs $250 - $1000 per month
Blue Level: Costs $1,500 - $4,000 per month
Red Level: Costs $5,000 - $12,000 per month
Purple Level: Costs $15,000 - $25,000 per month
Teal Level: Costs $30,000 - $60,000 per month
According to the video tutorials, achieving Teal is everyones ultimate goal. This means your ultimate goal is to pay these guys $60k per month. Hold on, I thought this was all about helping the little guy? This is an insane amount of money to increase your earnings. What do you even get for this kind of money?
There are 5 main advantages according to the company:
- Increase the number of views on your posts
- Build trust faster from sharing, liking, bidding etc
- Receive larger early cash out alerts
- Pay a higher share of your ad credit fees with you Empowr balance instead of your credit card
- Get free fans of people within the higher power levels (greater reach when you posts are shared)
Rather than build an audience through publishing useful content and building relationships, this works a little differently. This system is about buying your way into more 'privileged' networks so you can show more ads to everyday members. Plain and simple.
Earning With Ads
One of the main ways to earn revenue within the platform is by placing ads for your own products and promoting other members ads for their products.
Your Ads: The biggest question that comes to my mind with this option is HOW people are paying you. If I sold an iPhone for example, it looks as if I would be getting paid in Empowr money which would take 90 days to cash out. Based on what I have seen, there are all kinds of addittional charges taken out of it as well. I'd personally rather just sell my products on any number of platforms freely available online.
Promote Other People's Stuff: Just like affiliate marketing, you can buy ads and show them to other members within the platform. If they click and buy the product, you'll get a cut of the revenue.
Co-Op Ads: You can set up ad campaigns in a way that partners with another member who may not have enough e-revenue themselves. Just like the last option, when someone clicks the ad and buys you'll make a commission. Only this time, you share your commission with both the product seller and the other member. I guess you could say this is just making ad campaigns cheaper and at the same time, less profitable.
Managed Ad Campaigns: If you couldn't be stuffed creating and running ads, the company will do this for you automatically.
This is where you can buy and sell items in an auction based manner. The unique thing about this you can 'sponsor' listings which means you can bid on them and if you win, the system will automatically re-list the item so you can make a profit. So it's a shortcut version of buying and selling products online. It seems when you sell an item, the company takes a 10% cut of the sale price.
What I Liked
I think that IF this really was legit then there are some cool aspects about this. The idea of getting paid for simple tasks and the company being all about the people is nice. Who doesn't want to make quick and easy money for free right?
I also like the idea of being able to automatically buy and then re-sell products in a simple way and being able to grow your network so easily. That said, I'm personally not convinced this is the real deal and there are some things I'm really not keen on.
What I Didn't Like
- The whole system is very elaborate and somewhat confusing for people
- The charges coming out of my test account made absolutely no sense
- Many people claim to be getting unexplained charges and not able to withdraw well after maturation
- Company has changed names from FanBox after getting loads of complaints
- The companies primary goal is getting you to 'power up' which carries an insane cost
- I'd rather build my network organically and offer people useful content as oppose to buying artififcial likes, shares and views etc. It's easy, but I don't think it's the best way
- Sending me (and many others) unsolicited SPAM emails is lame
- Giving these people your personal information and contact details is somewhat concerning
I can't say for sure this is a scam and I'm not quick to label something a scam unless I am 100% certain of it. It's probably best for you to decide this for yourself. Who know's, maybe they really are trying to help people. I will say that I am personally not so convinced of this.
Putting aside the mountain of confusion regarding how much you get paid for what and what fees are really being charged and so on, let's take a look at the facts. In order for anyone to be paid any amount of real money, there MUST be real money coming into the platform. This is plain old logic. The question is, where is this money coming from?
How The Company Actually Makes Their Money
- They get a 10% cut of your revenue from selling products in the marketplace
- They make 2.9% of fees on all spending of your ad credits they give you
- You must also pay back the advertising they give you automatically in full
- They make a killing when you power up through the levels
By far the highest paying revenue source is through members purchasing power ups and I'm willing to bet this is where the vast majority of revenue is coming from overall. Everyone who joins this is being nudged in the direction of upgrading their account to make more money within the platform itself, not selling products in their auction marketplace.
When members see the so called 'alerts' coming through which offer easy money there will likely be many who are going to be so excited they'll want to upgrade to get this. There's nothing wrong with upgrading IF you are actually going to be making real money as a result and if you are buying something worthwhile. Based on what I have seen though, I'm not convinced.
I also think it's a bit of stretch for them to say that this is "all about the people" when their primary purpose is getting people to spend a shit ton of money on increasing their earning capacity and making it easier to pay back the fees they impose! It just doesn't add up. It would be nice to think this is legit but I really don't think it is. I am not not trying to run this company down, I think it would be awesome if they were for for real. Unfortunately, it really doesn't look that way after digging into the facts and I personally won't be putting my money into this as a result.
Whatever you decide, I hope this has given you some addittional insight and helps you make a more informed decision! That's it from me, I'm keen to hear your thoughts on this! Have you joined and been ripped off, or have you had a really good experience?