I’m glad you stopped by to read my Empowr review. Let me start out by saying that I started checking out Empowr on May 25th, 2016. I was intrigued by the platform and the training videos presented there. I think the referral came from another independent business owner I met on IBO Toolbox (a site I do still use and promote, btw). After 90 days of participating with empowr, I’m ready to give my review of this online opportunity with my documented observations and my personal opinion.

Company Name (s): Empowr, Fanbox, and SMS.ac
Physical Address: 501 West Broadway, Suite A182, San Diego, CA 92101
Contact Information: support@empowr.com
Better Business Bureau Rating: A+ 

Empowr Review: First Impressions

My initial impressions with Empowr were that is was a new platform and still growing. That not everything was in place yet and that there were certainly going to be bugs and glitches along the way, but that is was ok, because the overall goal of the platform was certainly honorable and these people sounded really honest and sincere. There were no upfront fees nor monthly fees that I could see or understand at the time, so I said why not and went for it.

Initially, it’s a lot like Facebook, but geared toward growing your social media audience on the platform (called your Circle of Trust or COT for short). There’s a newsfeed (see the above featured image), and each member, or citizen as they are called, get’s their own page as well. You can post the normal stuff, and of course the stuff you would normally think is banned, is banned (like illegal activities, nudity, violence, etc.). There’s also a marketplace, fueling the economy, somewhat akin to a mix between eBay and Amazon. There’s a Terms of Service document as well as a Privacy Policy you are supposed to read when you sign up. Of course, they are in tiny print, and who reads these darn things anyway, right?

Earning Money!

Looking up videos online as well as reviews, its was a mixed bag (as usual) but quite a few were positive and even some videos showed the history of the company. Seemed like a great place for the workers to work, and a great project / opportunity to work with. I was impressed. It was these things that won me over, despite some concerns from the very beginning. Within a few weeks, I was earning revenue every day and my account balance was growing. I just couldn’t wait to get to the 90 days and cash out some of this money I was making! This Empowr review is off to a rousing start, wouldn’t you agree?

Empowr Review: earning revenue

Empowr Review: Red Flags

Empowr Review: Red FlagsHonestly, the first red flag in my Empowr review should have been trying to find contact information for these folks. When their address appears to be at the UPS store (see Google Maps link above) and any support emails are extremely hard to find on their website, that is a big red flag. There were others along the way, though. People expressing disbelief in the huge monthly fees they were being asked to pay, as well as people saying refunds were not being processed nor were they getting their matured cash outs as promised. A little detective work went a long way into understanding some of these, but others were not cleared up at all.

The Email Problem

For example, one of my personal main issues was the email promotion. I decided early on to bring a few of my internet marketing friends into the program to see what they thought. So, I used the “Give $20 / Get $20” referral program to send invites to 4 or 5 folks. In most programs, that’s it, right? No big deal. However, what I didn’t realize was that three months later they would begin spamming EVERYONE in my contacts list. Yes, you read that right. EVERY. ONE. How could this possibly happen? Well, part of it was my fault. I failed to read the Privacy Policy completely. Here’s Section 2, paragraph A. See what you think:

Empowr Review Privacy Policy 2A

Whoa, there! Did you catch that? That’s pretty darn sneaky, wouldn’t you say? Who, in their right mind, expects an invite tool to harvest all of YOUR contacts for promotional use later? While it’s my fault for not reading the Privacy Policy, there are many ethical questions raised by what would normally be called a referral tool. After doing more research, I discovered that each and every incarnation of this company has had it’s “trick” to build a huge base of members. In the SMS.ac days, it consisted of harvesting user’s email and password info in order to set up an account. Yes, you read that right. Check out the news article about this from the Chicago Tribune. Sound familiar?

Am I Really Making Money?

There were others, though, too. As I progressed, I learned about the Ad Platform Fees. You see, Empowr “loans” every new citizen $1,000 in ad credits that can be used to place advertising on the empowr system. Now these ads can be done manually, but by default the system will do them for you. Depending on your power level, you could use $100 a day in ad credits, and generate a small profit of $5-$10 from those ads. Ads are also done for marketplace products, which consist of products, services, or premium blog posts (at least for now). Once your initial $1,000 ad credit runs out, you are generally given another $1,000 ad credit.

The problem is that at the end of the month, they want a payment on your credit line. Depending on your ad platform options you’ve selected, it could be up to 2.9% of your outstanding ad credits utilized. So, let’s say you used $1,500 in a month for ad spending. Your payment to Empowr would be $43.50.

Empowr Review: Ad Platform Fees

Fast forward three months. You’ve spent a grand total of $14,919 (my actual figure after three months, not joking!!!), so now my monthly ad fees due are $754.86 (accrued from the three months – I’ve made zero payments thus far to bring down this balance). Of course, I had opted for the “pay later, stay optimized” plan a month earlier (now called the Gold member plan), which is only $19.99 / month. At some point, however, to cash out it’s not just the payment, but ALL of the ad credits utilized must be paid out to get a major cash out. So, if I want my big cashout, I need to PAY over $14,000 to get the matured balance (which is zero right now, and the next section we’ll look at why).

Power User Platform Fees – Are You Kidding Me Right Now???

Empowr Review: First Degree Blue Costs

Each citizen can become a power user, which then gives them more power on the platform (as the name implies). Your posts will gain a greater audience, which means your potential for earning will be greater. Your ad spend will be greater too, but that’s never mentioned. So, what’s the big deal, right? The big deal is the HUGE cost for these power user levels (see above – I’m currently at First Degree Blue – costing $2,000 / month!) . They start out fairly small, but progress quickly. They can (and are) deducted from your current balance, if available, each month. Of course, they come out of the matured earnings, not the un-matured. That’s the primary reason my matured balance is zero, despite having over 90 days on the platform. All matured profits have been automatically spent moving up the power user levels.

The BBB Conundrum

So why is the Better Business Bureau giving these guys an A+ rating? It’s simple, really, Because when people complain, they respond and “close” the issue. They aren’t a member of the BBB, so they aren’t scrutinized as much. The volume of complaints alone should speak loudly for anyone who’s looking into this company.

Empowr Review: BBB Complaints

Other Reviews

Just take a look at some of the reviews given by actual users at other sites, like the BBB an Facebook. These aren’t there by accident. It’s not a recent trend. This list goes on and on and on. Where there is smoke, there is usually a fire.

Empowr Review: BBB Reviews

Empowr Review: Facebook Reviews

Empower Review: My Verdict

Empowr Review: Scam AlertThis Empowr review was not taken lightly. Some times I get inside of a program and can quickly evaluate what’s going on, while other times I have to stay in and get a good feel for how it works to really evaluate it. Then again, there are some programs you take a look at an you really like the concept, you really like the atmosphere of the participants inside, and you’re really, truly hoping that it is legit. This was Empowr for me. I really, honestly, wanted it to work like it was supposed to. No, I wasn’t looking to get rich quick. I know better than that. But I was hoping to earn a few hundred dollars before the end of a year for a nice Christmas for the family. While that still might happen, I’m sure it won’t be with Empowr. I cannot, in good conscience, recommend Empowr to anyone.

I look forward to your questions and comments below. If you’ve had experience with Empowr, review it in the comments! I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

(Disclaimer: It should be noted that this Empowr review and any conclusions drawn from the analysis, facts, documentation, or other sources found here are completely my opinion and not the opinion of any third party.)

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