The Company: Smashfund
Current CEO: Rob Towles
Startup Cost: $149 per month
The website's domain was officially registered in August of 2014 by an anonymous registrant but the company founder and CEO is Rob Towles as pictured below.
Further research reveals that Towles was the CEO for an energy drink mlm company known as eFusjon which launched in 2008 and later collapsed in 2010.
It appears as though there was a class action lawsuit taken against eFusjon shortly prior to it's falling apart. According to a Scam.com thread the company officially stated the reason they failed was:
Distributor performance, however, has been steadily declining for over a year now, and as a result, so has the Company’s revenues. The Company can no longer maintain a marketing model that is not generating the funds needed to grow a viable business."
Whatever the reason for the companies demise, blaming the distributors shows extremely poor leadership and is definitely not something I respect personally. Anyone who understands what it means to be successful knows that you must accept 100% responsibility for where you are and the choices you have made. Plain and simple.
According to several reviews and the CorporationWiki.com website, it appears eFusjon was re-launched as 'LabActive Inc' in 2013. This company also seems to have flopped and is nowhere to be seen. Whatever, I'm not here to try and bring anyone down. Failure is just apart of achieving success anyway, my biggest issue is in blaming distributors and it does make me wonder if he has since changed his attitude in this respect. Hopefully!
The CrowdFunding Platform
According to the company website this is an invite only platform allowing members to connect and get funding for whatever it is they are passionate about.
The crowdfunding platform allows members to post 'anything' they need cash for and people inside the platform throw some money your way if they feel the urge. They don't charge any fees on the contributions a member receives through crowdsourcing, however, since they are using a third party payment processor known as 'Stripe' there's a 2.9% fee on all withdrawals along with a $0.30 transaction fee.
The question is, are regular members going to pay $149 each month for a crowdfunding platform? Quite possibly.
Just to give you a reference point, GoFundMe.com is one of the largest and most well know platforms of it's kind and they charge members 8% of all contributions they receive for a given project. If you had an average campaign running for 60 days with GFM and raised $1800 it'd cost you $144, but on SmashFund it'd cost you $350.50 including your transaction fees.
I guess it really depends on the project but for everyday crowdfunding projects it seems Smash Fund is more expensive and has a lot less people to fund your projects.
The Compensation Plan Explained
The official comp plan details have not yet been released and when it becomes available I will update this section if necessary. They appear to be using a near identical compensation plan to the one used in LabActive which was pretty much a modified forced matrix style system they dubbed the "Social Matrix".
A typical matrix system places an affiliate at the top of an organisation and X number of referrals on each level below them as illustrated in the picture below.
It seems Towles has opted for a 3x3 forced matrix system with a twist. Effectively, 2 out of the 3 referrals in your first level are 'shared' by those next to you in an otherwise separate organisation. I have personally never seen this model before after reviewing a fair few multi level marketing companies, so it's definitely unique.
The following screenshot illustrates this:
Theoretically, you could build an entire organisation with 1000's of referrals just by sponsoring one person. That said, the chances of this happening are incredibly slim. The green dot directly under 'you' in the picture above was actually John's direct referral and the purple dots were directly referred by 'you'.
The people you refer directly will pay out $50 per month and the ones placed into your network by your downline and those to the left and right of your organisation pay you $4 per month. These are known as 'viral connections' or indirect referrals. There is a cap of 16,000 people you can have in your network but once that limit is reached you can just open a new profile and start over.
Cost To Become a Member
To use the crowdfunding platform costs $149 per month and according to the terms and conditions:
You do not have to be a Member in order to register for an Invite Code! There is a link at the bottom of the SmashFund website that says "Promotion Program," if you register to be a Promotion Partner of SmashFund and provide us with the basic information requested to join the Promotion Program (visit link for full program details), you are also entitled to participate in the SmashFund Network Promotion."
In other words, you can join without paying this fee and get your invite code which means you're eligible to earn referral commissions. I was unable to locate the "promotion program" tab the terms page was referring to or any other details however I was able to find this in the preliminary comp plan:
"User's subscription must be current to receive contributions from backers and revenue share for viral Network connections."
What this means is that you MUST be a paying member to receive the $4 commissions I mentioned earlier. If you don't make money on the efforts of your team then what's the point of an mlm? Not much.
How Much Money Can You Make?
On one hand it's cool that you can sign up as a free affiliate and make $50 recurring commissions on each sale. On the other hand, for this to be worthwhile there needs to be genuine value in the core product itself and it must be something you could successfully market on it's own within the online space.
I haven't purchased a membership and I'm not an expert on crowdfunding so I can't say for sure how well it would sell on it's own. One thing I can say for sure is that very few (if any) top affiliates are going to be going out advertising the core product on it's own as oppose to the recruiting system because it's not why the system was built. The real emphasis is almost always placed on recruiting with these kinds of systems. This is just how these things are and it's what makes them profitable for members.
If the core product is average and most people are only joining to take part in the recruitment side of things... it's probably not something you really want to be getting into. Why? You can definitely make money with chain recruiting but most people don't and they simply don't stand the test of time. I'm not saying this is a recruiting scheme, not at all. I am simply saying it pays to be careful and do your homework.
What I Liked
- Interesting take on the matrix comp plan
- You can promote this for free in a limited manner
What I Didn't Like
- Rob Towles' last 2 mlm's flopped and he blamed his affiliates for the first one
- Telling people they can become financially free by simply 'getting a few who get a few' is hype
While it is possible to make a solid income with a system like this I can assure you it won't happen by getting a few people and letting the system go to work. That sounds great in theory but this is not how things really work. Like any business, this takes real work and effort to see results.
Also, focussing on signing up customers will not build your team because a large number of them will drop out after a very short period of time. Why? Crowdfunding projects normally only last for between 30-60 days on average so for customers to stick around after their project is finished there's going to need to be some incentive. The only incentive this platform provides is recruiting commissions.
Most customers aren't going to be interested in recruiting for obvious reasons, so you'll need to place exactly 38 'viral connections' (indirects paying out $4 a pop) under them just to cover their membership fees. That would be the only way they'd want to stay on since they have something to gain without putting any effort in. This is clearly not a sustainable way to build your team when you start thinking of putting this many people under that many customers. You might make lots of one off $50 commissions which is cool and all, but that's not why people join a system like this. It's also not the smart way to build your Smash Fund business in my opinion.
Anyway, if you love the product and you are keen to build a team of folks interested in both the product and the opportunity, then there's no doubt you could make some decent money and even a full-time income. Should you join? That's a decision I think only you can make. Not some guru or an affiliate pressuring you into joining, not even me! Whatever you decide, hopefully this has given you some worthwhile insights to help you make a more informed decision.