Saturday, February 19, 2011

Where am I going wrong? What are your thoughts?

A man I respect who is doing a lot of good work for international missions--especially work among the unreached peoples--has urged me to check out a new company that intends to begin offering "daily deals" like Groupon. (If you've not seen Groupon, it offers [usually local] deals like, "Get $20 worth of ____ for $10." --One of our recent Denver deals was "$29 for Standard Bicycle Tune-Up at The Bike Depot ($60 Value)." Another was "$89 for a Four-Room Carpet Cleaning from Ace Chem-Dry (Up to $208 Value)")

Hey. I signed up for Groupon. I guess I've been a member for about six months.

Sarita and I are not major consumers. Maybe that's our "problem." I think I've bought one thing through Groupon in six months. I think it was tickets to a children's play.


My friend has urged me to promote this new company for the sake of supporting mission efforts. If mission-minded people can sign up early, then . . .

Well, here's the way the new company, MooLaLa, "works"--or is supposed to work, once they start featuring coupons.

Unlike their competitors, they intend to offer incentives of two percent (2%) of all sales to people who promote their offers through social networks. And not just 2% of all purchases made by the first generation of those who sign up as a result of their efforts, but 2% of of the purchases of the second, third, fourth and fifth generations of those who sign up--a real, honest-to-goodness, multi-level marketing scheme.

And that's where, and how, and, for some reason, why, this just doesn't feel right to me.

I have drafted a reply to my friend. And I intend to send it the moment I post this here. But I thought I'd get you-all's perspective on what I'm thinking.

Where am I going wrong? Or . . .

Auggggggh! Why does this bug me?


Whew, boy!

I'm torn.

On the one hand, I see how this could really make someone a lot of money. Indeed, a few--especially the early-adopters--probably will make a load of money. But/and then . . . like all Ponzi schemes, it will quickly run out of gas: "Oh! I'm so sorry! I've already signed up!"

. . . So, for example, I just signed up under you but then realized ________________ had sent their request an hour and a half before you sent yours. But, in fact, I had heard about it first from you and I knew that they had heard about it from you and . . . Oh, well.

So. Okay. Whoever I sign up will benefit you. And that's fine. And whoever I sign up will benefit Sarita and me--and through us, whoever we support. . . .

But. . . .

But what?
  • Participants get 2% of the value of vouchers purchased.

    That can add up. A voucher may be for, say, $20 worth of food at Chipotle for $10. So it’s a $10 voucher and you get 2%--$0.20. Multiply that out and we could be looking at a few hundred dollars. Especially if you get a nice three- or four-level deep Paymatrix going and there are enough $10 vouchers that lots of people buy in a month.
  • I've been a Groupon member for about six months, so far. I've bought one deal, as I recall. No one is going to get rich off of me. Though they might if they had a million me’s. ($0.20 x 1,000,000 = $200,000. In six months. That would be very nice money, indeed!) BUT . . .
  • There are only about 200 million adults in the United States. And only the top few people in the MooLaLa Paymatrix will be able to get a million “down-market” Paymatrix members. You may be one of them. Maybe a few dozen more could do it as well. After that, the numbers will dilute very rapidly because “everyone else” will already be “taken.”
  • But I'm pessimistic for another reason. And maybe I shouldn't be. I wonder how many businesses will sign up to offer the kinds of 50% Off deals that Groupon offers when, obviously, part of the “deal” they have to agree to involves paying MooLaLa affiliates alone (not to mention MooLaLa itself!) at least 10% of whatever money MooLaLa collects. . . .

    I don't know. Maybe I'm not a very good businessman. Or maybe I'm just not in the kind of market that lends itself to MooLaLa/Groupon kinds of deals!
FWIW. My dismal thoughts at the moment.

Maybe there is one last (emotional) part that bugs me about this:
  • Some people we know are really into multi-level marketing schemes. And they are always trying to get us to buy whatever deal they have most recently adopted as great for getting rich if-you-just-tell-enough-friends-and-sign-them-up. Somehow this feels the same. And that doesn't feel good to me.

    I know they really believe in what they’re talking about, and they really believe that they can get rich, too. But . . . But I'm not sure what. Something. Something doesn't feel good about it to me.

    But maybe I shouldn't think of it in those terms.
Maybe I'm "just" really trying to over-think the situation?

Maybe we should all jump on the bandwagon . . . but/and be generous with whatever "extra" income this latest scheme may bring in?

To be honest, this post is partially an experiment to find out the reality of how "people"--you--will respond to this kind of thing . . . verbally in a comment/response, but also (and perhaps more importantly) in terms of action. Will you sign up (as I did--partially so I could see what my friend was talking about) even if you question the whole thing? I mean, what can it hurt, right? You're under no obligation!

Or are you? (Or am I?)

What's going on here?

My friend asked me for feedback, and this is about the best I've been able to come up with: "I expect it will make a few people very wealthy. Ultimately, however, I have a feeling it won't be a very big thing to more than a very few. It doesn't feel great, but that's probably just me. So . . . just do it. Promote it. See what happens."

Your thoughts?
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