Is Shop To Earn a Scam or Legit Business Opportunity?

by Darwin on April 4, 2009

The intent of this Shop To Earn review is to perform a 2009 update on the ShoptoEarn/ShoptoEarth business model, share my unfavorable experiences and those of friends/visitors to my blogs (favorable or unfavorable experience) and to revisit what’s changed at STE since my last posts in mid-2008.  I was initially approached about joining Shop to Earn/Shop to Earth in 2008 and underwent some soul-searching and quickly decided it wasn’t for me.   Loyal readers jumped all over me as well for even considering it. While I had a blog with a fair amount of traffic and an extensive social network which would have facilitated quick signups, I just didn’t feel like it was the right way for me to earn money and I passed. I actually lost sleep over the implications of signing people up for something that I didn’t believe in, and I also felt kind of skeevy trying to hype this thing to friends and family and just determined that it wasn’t for me.  Some people can do it, I couldn’t.  So, I passed.

Subsequently, I started thinking more about the business model and inherent flaws.  My initial thought was, “Is Shop To Earn a Scam?” and while I wouldn’t classify ShopToEarn a Scam, several factors left a bad taste in my mouth. I did a post on Shop to Earn shortly following my decision and in it, I highlighted several red flags and concerns I had with the model, the way the program was being administered, the lack of transparency and legitimacy in the program, as well as findings from my contacts that were current members and my experience in calling in to teleconference/webex-type meetings. I was especially concerned over the mathematical quirk that I felt would lead to unbalanced legs and difficulties in achieving actual payments due to the way the pyramid was structured to favor more and more new members on the outer leg (of which you’re on the guy’s above you and above him, etc.).  At the time, there was nothing in the way of an FAQ or actual examples as to what happens under different scenarios like a completely unbalanced left-right leg situation.  Evidently, they’ve been explaining things in more detail since it seems like some of the commentors have more answers and actually agree on the mechanism of payment, etc.

Anyway, I posted my concerns, along with my thoughts on the junk that was being peddled through the Shop to Earth part, of which you had to spend $100 a month for things with little to no value to me personally.  Therefore, breakeven was over $1000 a year, most of which coming from signing up new suckers.  I quickly started receiving threatening cease and desist emails from the general counsel of Shop To Earn.  While I had replied with multiple inquiries into what in my posts were actually deemed inaccurate or defamatory, rather than render a useful response or help set the record straight (as I always offer to immediately correct any errors or omissions), he just upped the ante with more aggressive legal threats.  This is great…He actually demanded that I take down my entire website due to one article out of hundreds that discussed the STE business model.  Talk about bullying tactics?  I had a site with hundreds of posts and at the time, 1 dedicated to Shop to Earn – and he demanded that I relinquish the entire site – because he said so.  I did get some legal advice which basically indicated that they had no case and no reasonable court would look favorably upon their tactics, but as I wasn’t really interested in a cyber-pissing match and covering multi-level marketing schemes isn’t a core theme for me, I ended up removing the majority of my analysis since it wasn’t worth the aggravation, but there’s no liability in me relaying historical fact here, as well as other independent data which can’t be misconstrued as “disparaging and libelous references to ShopToEarn”.  (original cease and desist post)

2009 Update on ShopToEarn

As I had anticipated, there are evidently a few unhappy members who were unable to resolve their complaints with Shop To Earn and as such, the Better Business Bureau currently lists ShopToEarn as a big fat F.  Now, granted, in reading the report, the number of complaints actually seems to be rather low and it isn’t clear what other criteria earned the F, but I’ve investigated multiple outfits before for various reasons and they’re usually either unrated or a C or better.  This is the first time I’ve come across an F in something I was considering.

UPDATE 6/3/09 – A Reader pointed out that they are now rated a B-.  At the time of initial publication, STE was an F.

Interest in STE Dwindling?

As I had also predicted, it appears as though interest in the Shop To Earn business model is dwindling.  The way MLMs usually start up is a bunch of hype and cheerleading from initial members where they brag about making $10,000 a month, all the members in their downline, etc.  The high member signup fees entice newly registered members to draw even more new members to the party and so on.  What ultimately ends up happening is when the music stops, someone’s left standing.  I don’t know when that is any more than the next guy, but for an independent analysis of keyword search trending for interest in ShopToEarn, I like to use this method via Google Trends to both guage consumer interest in a good or service and sometimes correlate that with stock market investments as outlined here.

Google Trends shows a pretty significant decline in the search for keywords related to ShoptoEarn.

Going Down?

Going Down?

As you can see, following the launch in mid-2008, the trend reached a peak of about 12.5 by fall and has since continued a downward trend, now less than 5.

Do you want to be on the downward slope of an MLM?

Comments are welcome.  As I had done at EverydayFinance, I accept rational, objective and reasonable comments from both members and critics of Shop To Earn/Shop To Earth.  I delete cheerleading and grandiose claims.  There are plenty of outlets from members on that stuff; this is meant to be a legitimate dialogue on the business model to assist prospective members in determining whether this is an appropriate venture for them.

Bullying Tactics from Anonymous Shop To Earn Members

Based on the comment stream below, you’ll see several posts from members that are obviously being fed complete nonsense in some sort of forum or other higher-ups that are tracking any dissenting opinions on the internet.  The claims are actually quite laughable.  For your viewing pleasure, here are some of the claims and a factual rebuttal.  I can’t fault an overly enthusiastic newbie who just drank the Kool-Aid for coming here and trying to defend the mother ship too much.  I do question the motives and tactics of people who claim to be “website owners” in this wonderful new technology platform that can’t even articulate how Google Adsense ads are served up – they’re either ignorant or they’re lying – both of which are unfortunate.

This comment Thread – Comment #24 takes on some of the outrageous assertions out there about my blog, my motives and who knows what else.  Topics span the notion of my trying to “bait and switch” people into some other MLM with ads elsewhere on the page (it’s called Google’s contextual ad placement of which I have no control – the ads only pop up because this is an MLM article – offended by the company you keep?) to… get this – an allegation (I don’t know if this is true or not, but it was posted here by an anti-Darwin commenter) that the Federal Authorities have been contacted in the context of banking licenses in an attempt to retaliate against me personally – will these people stop at nothing to quell dissent?  Talk about desperation?  And stupidity.  Because some mortgage company bought some ad space on my blog, one of these baffoons thinks I need to have some sort of banking license?  Try checking out “the internets” dude.  Ads are everywhere.  Do I need to own a car dealership to put a Honda ad on my site?  My god, what is so damaging about my opinion that would force such retaliatory behavior?

Update 4/11/09

To address doubts in the comment section from STE advocates over the validity of the data presented on the entry page Google Trends chart, I downloaded the raw data in both the Relative Scaling (top chart) and Fixed Scaling (bottom chart) and unless I’m missing something, I interpret this as a DECLINE in both relative and fixed search traffic for the term “shop to earn” through Google over the past several months.  This to me, puts to rest any doubt over whether the search volume for “shop to earn” is accelerating or decelerating.


Now, the question is, “Does search traffic = Interest/Signups”? It is my opinion that there’s no reason aggregate human behavior changed over a few months from a) researching an MLM outfit on the internet before forking over hundreds of dollars up front plus the ongoing fees and commitments to b) deciding not to check it out on the internet and sign up with no further internet research.  By the way, again last month, Google’s share of the U.S. search market increased as its growth outpaced that of the market overall, according to new statistics from Nielsen Online putting to rest any doubt over Google’s relevance.

If Online Shopping’s Your Thing…

Regardless of whether STE is right for you or not, you’re obviously doing a lot of spending with your credit card. If you’re not getting cash back for your purchases, you’re leaving money on the table. I rely on cash-back credit cards for as many expenses as I can and NEVER carry a balance (that’s the catch!).   But, by doing so, we get back hundreds of dollars per year in tax-free income for doing nothing but carrying less cash around and exercising discipline. The Discover More Card is actually the 2008 Consumer Reports top cash back card and is worth checking out.

Additional Reading, if for nothing other than the shear entertainment value, and of course, points raised that I didn’t rehash here:

Fraud Files: How Not to Handle Criticism, STE Broker Earnings Watch, Threats Against Bloggers

You All Disgust Me: Litigious Bastards

Tech Dirt: just-because-you-don’t-like-it,-doesn’t-mean-it’s-illegal dept

White Collar Fraud: STE Bullies Bloggers

Great Legal Marketing: Handling Criticism

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1 Juggy April 4, 2009 at 4:06 pm

The problem with your review is that it takes on a biased approach from the start. What you consider important is really quite detailed, and then what others might consider important is really quite vague.. Example..

You harp on how important google search hits are and corelate this to the popularity of the business, without actually doing REAL research. I guess doing actual work to back up your claims is asking a lot, afterall this is just an informal opinion blog, however, had you done real actual legwork you would know that STE now has over 105k members, it had aprox 70k in Dec08 which means its pace is going along just fine. You include nice graphs and ratings data on a google search engine as if this is proof of a decline. Really? I remember seeing a google search meter on Megan Fox, and then next month she was no where on the charts.. Did her stock decline,fall off, and die too? Dear god I hope not, or I must be the only one in love with her 😉 Sadly, google search results are a poor way of proving your point that STE is in decline when actual hard figures on numbers would dictate otherwise. This is why people need to take what they read on the internet as opinion and not fact, because facts require real research and not fluff.

Then there is the important BBB F rating update.. Incredibly, you mention virtually nothing about this.. You state, “Now, granted, in reading the report, the number of complaints actually seems to be rather low”.. Really?? You put up search charts and ratings numbers for a meaningless way to measure the growth of STE, yet failed to mention the total number of complaints against STE were actually just THREE, out of over 100k members?? AND out of the three, one was address and the BBB was not able to confirm if the other two were addressed. Isn’t that being very phony to leave out such important details? You also failed to mention a reason listed by the BBB for the F rating is that the company is very new. Now, you could have posted the BBB rating details, but you chose not to because your intention was not to be fair. This is a disservice to your readers and anyone looking for real information.

You see, I wouldn’t mind if your review gave tit for tat points.. I’ll give you an example.. While there ARE plenty of free affiliate programs out there that offer you cash back options (your point), it can be noted that STE does offer the added benefit of an MLM system on the back of an affiliate program so that large networks of affiliates can benefit each other (STE’s point). Wouldn’t that be more of an unbiased opinion and review? That’s why I, and so many STE members, find your review harmful. You tell half truths, leave out major details as inconsequential, and greatly emphasize meaningless facts (search engine popularity? Come on now..). All we ask is you be more fair handed in your reviews and detail the Pros along with the Cons and dispense with the biased nature of your reviews. This business isn’t life or death to us, but you need to make a greater attempt at being unbiased if your review is to be taken seriously.


2 Darwin April 4, 2009 at 7:39 pm

Well, as always, I accept dissent, criticism and additional details in comments on my posts. As long as you keep it clean and it’s not spammy, I’ll approve. That alone shows I don’t have an agenda.

I rightly pointed out that the number of complaints with BBB was “rather low”. I also relied on another independent source, Google, for trending data. There is a strong correlation between new recruits and search traffic for the term, right? Logic would dictate that each time a guy at the water cooler says, “I have this GREAT business opportunity for you, want to learn more?”, the first thing they do is go back to their desk and google it. By the looks of the data, you can’t draw that correlation from the launch and subsequent promotion of the business? There’s initially no traffic in early 2008, then a big spike. To me, the data looks pretty reasonable. While you cite the current number at 105K, do you dispute that the rate of growth has actually slowed (we’re talking 2nd derivative here)? Based on my assessment of Google Search traffic, typical patterns of MLMs and logical deduction, it is my opinion that the rate of growth is slowing from the 2008 timeframe.

If you disagree with the way the BBB or Google (both pretty large, legitimate, unbiased and oft-cited references) collate and report their data, I suggest you take it up with them. I’m just reporting the facts.

Now, you question why I didn’t do a more detailed review. Well, I did. In 2008. And I was subsequently bombarded with legal threats in ridiculous fashion. If you think the “vague” review above is somehow harmful to your interests, consider how readers would feel if they were privy to the inner workings of the system – the actual number of people that canceled their membership immediately upon signing up (even the ones that joined within the first couple thousand – sweetspot, right?), the reasons for cancellation, the “balance” theory wrt left/right legs, etc. I saw the cancellation data myself during an initial telecon where they gave access to one of the early member accounts and had people navigate through their website (I doubt they do this anymore?). Why would so many people cancel when they joined so early in such a “winning” proposition? Anyway, that’s old news and I don’t need the distraction of additional letters from my legal buddy, so I’m sticking to facts provided by third parties; but rest assured…you don’t want my full review if you’re looking to advance the STE agenda.

3 Juggy April 5, 2009 at 12:23 am

I’m not looking to advance the STE agenda, I’m just looking to correct biased reporting, and it is biased, not because it goes against STE but because it reflects the negative in a purely hyped up way while reflecting nothing positive. Truth be told I would prefer a review of pluses or minuses or a review from both an STE detractor and an STE advocate. At least this would be fair, rather than your current review. By the way, I did read your full review several months ago, and I was detracted by it. It was so loaded with half truths and inuendos that I steered clear of STE. My friend sat down with me, he asked me to read into it because he knew I was thorough and I did it because of my close freindship with him, and that’s where I learned a great many things in the review were not accurate and some were just flat out wrong. That’s the problem with the internet, people take what is in print as fact because if someone is writing it, it must be true.

Example… From the time STE began to Dec 2008, STE had 70k people. From Jan 2009 to Mar 2009 STE has 105k+ people. Does this seem like a slowing trend? Keeping the current pace, in 2009 the membership should make it to roughly 200k or so, and mathematically that would indicate an increase in membership. I am not faulting google for their charts, it is what it is.. What it is not is an indicator of whether something is dying off (see my example of Megan Fox 😉 ). When a Financial Analyst researches a company, we research many factors to determine the true value of a company. I understand you’re just a blogger looking to garner readers, but you do a disservice to your readers without proper proof of the comments you make. Google is one of many engines (I personally don’t use em) and although we are computer savy, the vast majority of people are not. All 22 people in my business have never done a search on google for a review of STE, that would be 100% of my team. How do you quantify how important “google search hits” as a statistic is? Wouldn’t it be wiser to do the actual research and find the truth behind your comments before spewing that it was dying off? But you didn’t.. And you made a bold statement which is actually the opposite of what was truthful. See what I mean? Reviews are fine, give pluses and minuses, seek true figures and fully reveal all sources of information and let the reader make their own determination.

But you didn’t do that.. You used nice charts and ratings to emphasis your point that STE was dying, even though actual data concludes it is growing, and you were extremely vague on your explaination of the F rating. Also, “complaints filed against STE were rather low” is purposefully vague and meant to gloss over the facts. You know the facts, you chose to be VERY elaborate with charts and ratings on how STE was surely dying off, and extremely vague on the F rating. You knew there were only 3 complaints out of 105k+ members filed, and 1 was addressed by the company and the other 2 were not confirmed if they were addressed. You chose not to mention that because it doesn’t fit the trend of your review which was that STE was bad bad bad.

You can not sit there and guess why people cancel and claim it as fact. Truth is you don’t know, and neither do I, but I do know this.. Some people WILL join STE because they really like what they hear and agree the business model is something they would be interested in, but they never actually think about what is required of them. Most of us have never been in a position where we had to sell an idea to someone, and it is a pretty cold hard reality that most of us do NOT possess the skills or knowledge of how to present the idea of this business to people. I’ve seen people try to send emails out asking for people to join, not get a response, and give up.. Another cancelled member to the list. That is why I advocate you UNDERSTAND FULLY what you are joining and what is expected of you. You can’t sit there, cite cancelled members, and dictate the obvious reason they left was because the business model doesn’t work. Speculation declared as fact is another disservice to your readers.

Do I read reviews? Of course I do.. That is how I found yours, that lady selling her “MLM are the devil” book, and others.. I just wish you would all do real investigative reporting before you released your reviews, as the ones I have read thus far are biased and filled with half truths.. Another example of half truths? The commission rules are so complex, left leg/right leg, it’s just too confusing! I remember reading that.. Really? It’s confusing? at least 1/3 points come from one side, 2/3 from the other. This is confusing? I remember reading a full paragraph on the complexities of the commission system in a review.. When I did my own research I laughed out loud.

My advice to all those looking for info on STE.. Do your own research using actual data and facts YOU yourself dig up, and don’t dig that info up on comments you find on the internet, because chances are they will be written by someone with an agenda. Don’t take my word, his word, or the word of a renowned specialist in the MLM field, because everyone has their own agenda. STE has pros and cons, like any business.. You should weigh them and see if the cons outweigh the pros for YOU.

4 Amazed April 5, 2009 at 1:58 am

Well Juggy, I am still waiting. Provide me one group in Shop to Earn that is profitable.

5 joeo April 5, 2009 at 8:31 am

Thks for taking the time to write all this. I have been involved with STE since June 2008. Those who know my story, know that I was NOT interested at all. I have been approached many times with MLM opportunities, but I couldn’t get excited about selling Super Juice or wrinkle cream to people. However this made perfect sense to me. I think everyone will soon have their own personal virtual mall. Why click on Google and Yahoo and have them get paid, when I can go to my virtual mall / cash-back web portal and pay myself? This has been attempted before, but that was back in the dial-up days . . . Now is the time for this because almost EVERYONE now has fast and efficient internet service at home, the economy is weak and people are looking to save money/make extra money. When you throw in the Go-Green movement (which at first I thought was just hype, but they are VERY serious about it) this is a home run. I have helped literally 100’s of people in NJ/NY area make a few extra thousand dollars a month. Whether its a car payment, tuition or a mortgage payment it all helps.

I find the commission schedule generous and easy once you “see” it. This isn’t rocket science, but you do need to spend some time getting trained ( about 3-4 hours ).

In the end, what I like most about STE is the fact that its is almost impossible not to make your money back. There is no buyer’s remorse. No closet full of some proprietary product that no one wants any more. The only people that cancel are people that read negative stuff on the web and panic ( which mostly comes from other MLM’s freaking out as their people flock to STE – STE is so much easier). These people would probably never been any good anyway. Even if you refer no one, never recieve the $100 referral fees and never score $550. It’s only $448 with a $119 renewal fee. Any decent on-line shopper should be able to make $567 in cash back in 2 years.

In fact I know many stories of people who didn’t shop on line much at all, and STE got them more into on-line shopping – this opened a whole new world for these people and they claim they saved $100’s by just getting better deals not offered at the brick and mortar stores. There are also so many “personal growth” stories about people coming out of their shell and speaking in front of a group or making money for themselves etc.

It’s a shame that these blogs can prevent these nice developments. MLMis not for everyone, I was so convinced it wasn’t for me . . . but with the web and the “virtual mall” product, this is a breeze AND FUN!


Joe O.

6 Juggy April 5, 2009 at 9:56 am

Excuse me? When have I ever stated that I would provide proof of “groups” that were profitable? What does that even mean? What groups? I can provide proof that my business is profitable after just one month, but I have never claimed to give proof of anything other than my own example. Like every business out there, restaurant, clothing store, or McDonalds, this business requires effort to make it successful. Some people just are not ready to make that level of commitment and fizzle out. I have seen them in my own personal recruits, people that say they sent out an email to all their friends and they got no reply so they are giving up. What can you say to that? You try to guide them, I’ve offered to help speak on their behalf to help explain what it is we do, but in the end you are not going to be handed a diamond. You get out of it what you put into it and if an email is the best you can muster, then perhaps this is not the business for you.

I have personally referred five people, I do not need to refer more than two but I wanted to jumpstart my business. After one month I am profitable. Everything after today is additional income to me. Is this so bad? If it’s $25, $50, or $1000.. I have put my initial effort in and now I hope my business will pay dividends. What is so wrong with this model? Does it enrich the original creators? I believe it does.. Go start a McDonalds and pay $50k (or whatever it is) just for the name. Is this fair? Of course it is, McDonalds created a business model and I must pay a fee to be a part of it. This is business 101 people.. I just bought a duplex, I had to plop down $39k to buy it.. I expect it will give me aprox $400 a month profit. I made $1250 since I started with STE and didn’t have to plop down $40k.. Is this not a viable little side business? In my eyes it is, and I would be happy to answer any questions people have about the BUSINESS MODEL, and I will answer them honestly because STE is not perfect and there are things I like and do not like about it, but to me, the pros far out weigh the cons. Do they out weigh them for you? That is for you to decide..


7 Darwin April 5, 2009 at 8:30 pm

As I had stated previously, this isn’t an outlet for wowing the audience with how many tens of thousands of dollars you make per month and how rich this MLM has made you, so I am editing/deleting comments with cheerleading statistics that represent an unrealistic portrayal of what your typical new recruit is ever going to earn. Call it what you will, I’ll allow debate, corrections and a healthy dialogue on the topic, but it’s evident that there are plenty of other forums out there for selling the virtues of STE and this will not serve as an outlet for cheerleading.

Previous comments:
“When a Financial Analyst researches a company, we research many factors to determine the true value of a company. I understand you’re just a blogger looking to garner readers, but you do a disservice to your readers without proper proof of the comments you make.” – Does STE publish the number of members that cancel their membership each month and allow prospective members to review this data? No. Do they publish how many members are making money at a faster rate than their initial signup+monthly expenses to maintain membership? I’d love to see it. As a Financial Analyst, if that’s what you are, I’m sure you’re familiar with Sarbox, 10-Ks and all those nice “publicly disclosed documents”. To act like STE shares such data that you claim I should have assessed is the joke. During the telecon I had called into, some typical aggressive hypester ran through the whole presentation, got everyone worked up over how much money they were going to make, NEVER ASKED IF ANYONE HAD A QUESTION, and promptly ended the telecon. This is fact. This sounds a bit different to me than a quarterly report, Analyst meetings and public disclosure that goes with publicly traded companies and I’m sure you can tell the difference.

“You can not sit there and guess why people cancel and claim it as fact. Truth is you don’t know, and neither do I, but I do know this” – I never purported to know specifically why people canceled. What I do know is that I was disturbed by the number of cancellations I saw in the top of the pyramid of members I was looking at when I had access to one of the early members’ accounts. It really begged the question as to what they knew that I hadn’t yet figured out; heck these guys had signed up MONTHS before me and were way up in the food chain and they were dropping out? That caused me to investigate some more. Regarding transparency, even the guy who signed me up couldn’t answer my questions. He had to go back up the chain multiple levels to ask a guy who was pretty close to the top to ask them and then get back to me. None of these common questions were written in an FAQ, evident in the presentation, etc. Perhaps things have improved now, but my initial review was in the early stages and I am of the opinion that at that time, the amount of information available to prospective members was inadequate.

“All 22 people in my business have never done a search on google for a review of STE, that would be 100% of my team.” – How do you know? Are these 22 lemmings under you ready to run, run into the sea after you? The fact that you yourself came across my initial review in the early stages; were you not performing research on the internet on STE? So, you researched it on the internet, but none of your 22 did? So, you asked 22 people, “Did you even Google STE?”. If so, you’re socially awkward. If so, and they answered yes, they would be implying that they didn’t trust you, so they would then feel compelled to say, “No”. Trust me, 1 out of 22 people who sign up do research online or you’re working with extremely gullible people.

“Another example of half truths? The commission rules are so complex, left leg/right leg, it’s just too confusing! I remember reading that.. Really? It’s confusing? at least 1/3 points come from one side, 2/3 from the other. This is confusing? I remember reading a full paragraph on the complexities of the commission system in a review.. When I did my own research I laughed out loud.” – The commission scheme was deceptive in my opinion at that time. So much so, that it took much back and forth to even have my questions answered by existing members. It’s not as simple as 1/3 and 2/3. There was no information on how members are placed beneath you, how you place new members, what happens if your one leg gets so heavy that you can’t make the 1/3 necessary on the other leg – what happens then? It wasn’t clear. No demonstration, etc. – I thought it took some guy 10 years to build this website; they couldn’t come up with a decent video on how it works? It was some powerpoint presentation that had mistakes in it, which they eventually updated.

I’ll step out of the comment section here for a while, going to focus on some other topics. Obviously, there are passionate proponents and critics of STE out there and it is working out well for some and not so great for others. Interested in hearing from some other folks on this.

8 joeo April 6, 2009 at 9:48 am

I understand you editted my earnings so far . . . they are little outrageous.

Regarding the commission schedule – it is indeed difficult to get a grasp on it the first time you see it. I really didn’t understand it for the first week or so. I had no clue about how it all worked. But so what? It didn’t deter me from getting involved. I was confident that I would be able to figure it out. Now I’m an expert (big deal . . its not that difficult). I tell people they will NOT be able to fully understand the points and the left leg and right leg with one look . . . but that’s ok. For a confident, succesful entrepreneur with some good contacts this makes great sense for a mere $448.00.

With my core business, I have a staff of 10 people right now and I’m renting 3,500 sq feet of office space – between rent, insurance, copiers, faxes, reems of paper and ink jets, it costs me $12,000 a month just to open the doors (not including payroll, obviously) When I show this business to people, some get it and some don’t . . . that’s fine. The overly analytical people that need to do all kinds of research and want to see financials and track records etc just don’t get it . . . this is $448.00 No one is asking for $200,000 to go partners in a restaurant – this is $448 . . . the cost of a Callaway Driver or a dinner for 4 at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.

I also tell them that if you ‘google’ shop to earn you will see some negative stuff, but if you trust ME, I am here to tell you that most of it is from either the lazy mis-informed, mlm competitors, or self-promoting fraud book authors. Hi Tracy C. !!!

Here’s what I tell people
All you need is a rolodex and half a brain and you can make this work.
I don’t want just anyone in my business . . . I want the 10% of the people that “see” this amazing e-commerce business and can’t sleep that night as they write down all the names of like-minded, succesful biz owners and professionals that are tired of trading hours for dollars. People like me who would never even consider an MLM business in the past. Its a part-time effort, and with a little luck (people you don’t even know enter your biz and grow it) it can be life-changing.

STE in a nutshell . .
Low down side, huge upside . . . helping others, saving money, earning money, going green . . . should I go on?

Joe "0" Reply:

Hey Mr. Zero,
How’s the shop to earn still working out for you. I heard you moved on to other scams. What is it energy something or other?????? What’s next????

9 Juggy April 6, 2009 at 8:04 pm

STE does allow members access to how many people have joined the STE team.. You could have done 2 minutes of research to see the business was growing just fine before you posted that STE was dying, but you didn’t. Don’t complain that this info isn’t readily available for your perusal, this is not something McDonalds does either. This is an unrealistic request of a business, and it is the reason franchises do not disclose this info.

Also, you are obviously not in the business world because 10Ks and Sarbanes Oxley (Not Sarbox, as you call it) are for publicly held companies on the stock market, of which STE is not. Clicking on some early members and deducing that the business is a failure because THOSE PEOPLE did not succeed is a really poor way to judge a business model. I could have bought Yahoo at $30, and I would have had I known it could lead to $300 a share. Does that mean that Yahoo or Google was a poor stock or was it that I just made a poor decision? Again.. Flawed logic.

As for your comments on the 22 people researching on google.. I will ignore your insult that I am socially awkward, because when you have to resort to name calling then you are losing the arguement, and yes, you are losing this arguement. But.. For your information.. I sent an email to my team members if they were having trouble recruiting people because of any bad reviews on the web and they all responded that they didn’t even know that there was a bad review. I asked this because I wanted to address any concerns anyone had in case they ran into one of these reviews that may have had misleading or half truth facts. This is not socially awkward, this is being proactive and taking care of my business.

I am sorry that you had someone that did not take their business seriously and took the time to learn their business enough to be able to respond to your questions, but you can not blame STE for that. You need to educate yourself before you can educate others and your recruiter failed to do this. The questions you asked were very easy to answer and it was unfortunate that your recruiter was unable to answer them.

Again, if anyone has real questions about the business model, I would be happy to help answer any questions that I can… Honestly, and with real facts and not assumptions or half truths.


10 Darwin April 6, 2009 at 8:25 pm

Well, if you’re going to resort to insults…Sarbox is a common abbreviation for Sarbanes Oxley. It’s used in virtually every business forum, news outlet (ever catch CNBC or Bloomberg?) – From the first sentence of the wikipedia description: “The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (Pub.L. 107-204, 116 Stat. 745, enacted July 30, 2002), also known as the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002 and commonly called Sarbanes-Oxley, Sarbox or SOX” You work in Finance? I seriously doubt any existing Financial Analyst has never heard of Sarbox from a colleague, their management or by tuning into virtually any English language business outlet; is this really your profession? Not that it matters, but it’s odd that you would pick that out as something to criticize me for by saying that I clearly don’t work in business. I’m plenty secure with my degrees and financial acumen, so no need to delve into that here. It’s like me saying, “you seriously don’t know anything about the internet because you call it a ‘blog’, but it’s really a ‘weblog’ – I mean come on. And you drew the parallel between Financial Analysis of publicly held companies, not me (comment 3) – “When a Financial Analyst researches a company, we research many factors to determine the true value of a company.”

Anyway, petty and off topic. Best to leave the analogies out and stick to the facts then.

To be clear, I didn’t state that STE was “dying”. What I did was take a look at a meaningful trend (in my opinion) and deduced that the RATE OF GROWTH appeared to be slowing based on that input. This is a big distinction, one that your company’s notorious lawyer would potentially seek to exploit. So, for the record, I’m referring to the RATE of growth; I make no claims that the site does not continue to grow. My point was how FAST or SLOW it grows moving forward. The reason this is important is that as there are fewer new signees per existing member and as you exhaust your potential base of new recruits in the US since the adult cohort is roughly steady, it becomes more and more difficult (vs. early entrants comparatively speaking) to recruit new members later in the game. I assume as a Financial Analyst, you had to take a few semesters of college level calculus, so this is a second derivative context, not first derivative as I had stated earlier.

11 No One April 7, 2009 at 9:47 am

Has anyone EVER heard of Bernie Madoff? Seriously with this guy going to jail for life how can anyone join these MLM’s without realizing they are just “stealing” from the members below them which in most cases are people/friends they know?

Why do I need a “web portal” to go to or Why not just go RIGHT to the webpage? Oh wait if you use the portal then I get a “cut” of my friends sign up fees.

Seriously if people can’t look at his and realize that you’re only hurting the people you sign up ….

12 joeo April 7, 2009 at 10:56 am

OMG . . . No One is really clueless. Stealing from members? This is the problem with blogs…people have NO idea what they are talking about. The web-portal gets you cash back from and The money comes from the store. I think EVERYONE knows that . . . .

13 Juggy April 7, 2009 at 6:19 pm

Darwin, your assumption that the business was in a downward trend using only the results of a search engine are the reason your report is biased towards the negative when actual facts show exactly the opposite. If you cared to do a fair review you would have made an effort for real hard figures instead of a meaningless google chart. You didn’t give one single positive aspect of the business, overly hyped up the negative aspect with a meaningless search engine chart, and by-passed real data on the rating of the business by the BBB. This reflects a clear bias to the negative of the business. Anyway, it is my opinion that your article is biased and if you don’t want to admit it that is fine but I have stated my case and we can go back and forth over it and we would get no where. If anyone has real questions, I would be happy to answer them. Btw, nobody uses Sarbox, maybe you got it from some cutesy author writing on the web; everyone uses Sox..

“No one”, please get a clue before you speak.. The person hitting your link does not sign up to anything and they do not get billed extra, the commission is paid directly from the company. You couldn’t be a better example of exactly what I was referring to when I said these reviews were filled with half truths and false facts and inuendos..

I have lots of friends, and they would be perfectly happy to click my portal before they get to the final destination, at no cost to them. Again, if anyone has any REAL questions on the business, I would be happy to answer them.


14 Darwin April 8, 2009 at 12:03 am

Apparently, reading comprehension is not your forte either. I never claimed this was a favorable, or even an in-depth pros/cons review of STE. Since you’ve been trolling both Everyday Finance and this blog for the articles and comments, it should be evident by now that when I did present a full review in 2008 (which you must admit, did include both positive and negative aspects since you had read it), then, I was threatened with by various means and I eventually removed the whole review. The point of this post was simply to do an update on what’s changed in 2009 and to move the conversation from EverydayFinance which is my legacy blog, over to this one. That’s it. Perhaps if your legal counsel had acted in a more professional and reasonable manner, I would be more inclined to include whatever favorable aspects of the program you claim prospective members can realize at this point. However, given the ludicrous treatment I endured and the subsequent firestorm he ignited on the internet by his actions from free speech advocates to other legal experts, while I’m not looking to invite another round of legal threats, I’m also not doing STE any favors. So yes, I do admit it – it’s evident in every post and comment and readers following the thread should reasonably be able to discern the difference.

Regarding Sarbox/SOX, the fact that you’d never heard of Sarbox while claiming to be a Financial Analyst is much more shocking than what you describe as perhaps an antiquated or out of use abbreviation (for such a recent development). All I can say is I work with Financial Analysts and our Tax Counsel on a pretty routine basis and they use the term “Sarbox”. My MBA professors used the term “Sarbox”. News/Financial outlets routinely use “Sarbox”. Here’s Forbes using “Sarbox”, NOT “Sox” just last week – are they clueless too? Along with Investor’s Business Daily? Wikipedia lists “Sarbox” as a common abbreviation (note: ahead of “SOX”). So I think your point is…well, pointless.

15 Juggy April 8, 2009 at 5:39 pm

Again, your desperation to resort to insults relfects your desire to move away from the obvious, which is that your review’s only intention was to harm STE’s reputation by putting up a review with barely any research.. I did read your full review and although it had about ONE pro listed (maybe one?), they were immediately dimissed and the cons that you listed were mostly half truths and flat out lies, which I assume was the reason you were threatened with legal action in which you complied. I remember a friend cutting and pasting your review in an email and I had to dispell each falsehood with real facts. I remember it vividly because your review was the reason I steered clear of STE, until I did my friend a favor and actually did my own research, only to discover all the half truths..

It doesn’t surprise me that your articles are written in this manner.. Most internet authors or bloggers are skillful in the art of PARSING. Like a politician, you parse the words that benfit your cause, and leave out the whole picture so a fair view is not possible. The reader gets half the picture, but only the half you want them to see. Example?

On your legacy blog.. Everyday Finance.. I wrote: “Skip all the manual work, the forms, the website creation, the accounting AND utilize an MLM affiliate program where not only do I take advantage of my friends and family, but I take advantage of my ENTIRE TEAM’s friends and family network at absolutely no harm to them? This is a hard decision to make? I’m sorry.. I don’t see it.”

And your reply? Parsed.. You wrote, quoting me.. ” “Skip all the manual work, the forms, the website creation, the accounting AND utilize an MLM affiliate program where not only do I take advantage of my friends and family” Well, at least you admit to taking advantage of your friends and family…

And then you locked the thread so I couldn’t point out your parsing of my own words and so that everyone could read your parsed half truth as the final word..

Notice the parsing? That’s some desperation.. I’m done with you as your parsing and resorting to insults is obvious.. You want to play the shell game and hide the truth, but I am still here to help answer questions if people have them.. There are pros and cons to this business, if anyone has questions, I’ll help answer them as honestly as I can without parsing or providing half truths.


16 Ben21 April 9, 2009 at 2:26 am

I am thinking about becoming a member of STE but I am not sure. There is so much stuff on here that is confusing to me but I got the invitation from a friend. He just actually started about 2 months ago. He told me all he has made so far is his investment. I do not want a get rich scam but I do not want some thing that is foing to take me 2 months to make 448$. I have a 4 year old daughter and another daughter due in less then a month. I can not afford the start up fee for a scam if that is what it is. I watched the video on the page he sent me to explaining the business in which I really like alot. It is just confusing with the keeping the legs even. To me that is hard to understand. It has to be 1/3 in one leg and 2/3 in another. Is that it (2 legs) or is there a part were you can branch out to more. If this is something I get started with I am going to get as many people as possible signed up. I worked for a door to door place and I was the number 1 representative atleast 5 times in the 10 months that I worked for the company. So if I do this I will go door to door and tell everyone about it. I need atleast 1,000$ a week in what ever business I get started in. I do not need one of those sites that say make 10,000 or more a month. There is 52 weeks in a year and I would be happy with 50,000 a year if I do not have to work 80 hours a week to get. I could make that at a carreer but that is not what I want. I am getting a associates degree in technology. I want a stay at home business that I can make enough money to stay home and be with my kids. I will have time for seminars and learning but do not want to work 80 hours a week. If for the first year I had to put 40 hours a week into this business to make 50,000 that year I would do so. Atleast I would be doing over 20 hours a week of that home which is what I want. Is this possible to only work 20 hours a week away from my family including seminars and going out to meet new people for the business? I can sign up for the business really easy but do not know if I want to spend the money. I am also confused about the 100 a month minimum. I read some were that I do not have to spend 100 a month as long as people go though my shopping portal and there is 100 a month spent all together. Is that how that works or do I have to spend the 100 a month myself? I do not have the money to spend 100 a month on green stuff even no it is better. The green stuff is twice as much as regular stuff. Just like healthy food costs more then fat foods. (Mcdonalds doubles cheese 99 cents and ceaser salad over 2$) Crazy but it is part of life. THat is why the US is overly obese compared to other countrys. Anyways I no all of this does not refer to STE but in a way I compared them. I am just saying why would I spend 100$ a month on some thing that I could buy for 50 a month even though it isnt green. Almost the same products for half the price, right? What advice does any one ouut there have for me. I will do my research to back it up just like the one guy said do not take our word for it. I will double check atleast see what else I can find out, so do not give me no false information or half the truth. I understand were the one guy is coming from on the half truths. It is really vague and unpurpose to say a few out of 105,000 members. To me a few out of 100,000 would be like 5,000 not 3. If I read just that I would not sign up but I am glade I kept reading. I also would like more information on the F rating from the BBB. Some 1 said it was because of being such a new company. That to me is still wierd when you said there is no other companys you have came across with a rating of a F. Could you please explain this in more details of why it is rated a F? and you might as well include why the other ones are rated a C or better. You should have explained why STE is rated a F and also put 3 complaints out of 105,000 members. You put it in vague writing so people like myself that do not know much about the company would not want to sign up (in my opinion). Being it seems like you do not like STE, then what is it that you are part of that makes money that other people can join? I personally like the plan of MLM companys so I am I am interested in what you have? I just found out about this company and I am doing research and this blog is so far the first thing I have found. Please help me with my future. No negative or postive hype, Just facts please.

I also was a member of My World Plus. Is that any better? I no it is cheaper to sign up but the monthly charge is more. You said STE is like 120 a year or some thing like that while MWP is 240 a year. Do you have to pay that 120 on top of the 448 the first year or just if you want to continue being a member? The thing I did not like about MWP was the fact that you had to plan out what you were doing. I had to print off coupons before I went some place. I am not very good at planing things. When I first signed up I was informed that it was a discount card that could be used at all these different places. I thought you could get the card which is like a credit card. I thought you could just swipe it like a CC were every you go and you would get the discount. Some taco bells would have one special while another one in the town would be a different special and you have to print off a coupon before you go. How many of us leave our house and say were going to Taco Bell. Not very many of us. It wasnt for me for that reason. I normally do not know what I am doing in a hour and definetly not a week or 2 ahead of time. I didnt save money on that, like the guy said I would. I do not want to spend the money to get nothing. I loved there pay scale in that company. It was part of the BBB, even no I did not check its rating but it does say BBB at the bottom of the page. I no STE pays alot more money if it works but I already lost a hundred on 2 months with the MWP and didnt make a penny or save a penny. I spent hours on end trying to get others to sing up and no one was interested. I am willing to put time into a business that I believe in and makes sense. I just need some more information on STE before I make the leap of faith with 448$. Let me no the facts so I can make a educated decision.

Thank you everyone


17 Juggy April 9, 2009 at 8:20 pm

I will address a few of your questions..

– The yearly renewal fee is due at the end of the year, you do not have to pay it up front so if you do not want to continue your business you do not need to pay. I do not know anything about MWP..

– You do not need to shop at the shop to earth website until you have two full months in the business. Example: You start on Feb 10th.. You will need to shop on the shop to earn website for $100 by the end of May or your points earned will wipe. This is also true of the referals, you need to have referred your qualifying number of people by the end of may to keep your points (although there is a new rule in place to extend this if you merely shop on the shop to earth website for your normal $100, it will preserve your points). Please note this example is *ONLY* for when you first join. After that, each month afterwards you will need to spend $100 at the shop to earn website to keep your points. As long as someone buys $100 worth at your STE website, you will not have to spend the money there. But I will be honest with you, I don’t know many people that would be willing to for the point you mentioned, health and green usually tend to be more expensive. Since you get a 15% discount, this will help offset the normal markup on green for you, but they won’t see that 15% discount. Especially important here is that if you do NOT make much money that month, you are not obligated to buy anything at all at the shop to earth website.. You would just lose the points you have accumulated. You still get to keep the cash back you’ve made from shopping at your website though, it is only your points that you have earned within that month that would flush.

– The 1/3 points on one leg and 2/3 points on the other leg is fairly simple.. You want to try and stay balanced, but it is not necessary to make money. However, the better balanced your business is, the more money you are likely to make. If one side had 100,000 points, and the other side had 3000 points, you could only use 9000 points.. This is because 3000 points + 6000 points (thus the 1/3 from one side, and 2/3 from the other). You see you were only able to pull 6000 points from the 100,000 side? A simple rule is take all the points from your weaker side and multiply it by 3.. That is the max amount of points you can cash in at that particular moment, if you have more than that, you will only be able to use that amount at that moment.

– As for your final question on how much you can make. I do not believe if you just started that you would be making $1000 a week. I’m sorry but it takes a few months to build up your business to start and unless you are VERY good at signing people, I can’t see this happening. Perhaps you can guage how successful you can be from my example.. I signed 5 people within 30 days and made $1,250 in roughly 2 months. If you can sign people much faster, than you will do better than me.. This business is an MLM, and so it takes time to ramp up into something big. It is not a get rich quick scheme and requires effort.

A final word of advice. If you like the business model but are unsure if you could get people interested in it, why not talk to them before you join, let them know you are interested in it and wanted them to get in with you and ask their opinion. There is nothing that says you need to join first before you sign up, that’s what I did.. I had my 5 people ready right away and I got my bonus money. I do NOT see this as something you can go door to door and ask random strangers to invest $450 in this. I think of this as presenting to friends and family so you are all on a team striving for a similar goal.

I hope I have answered your questions fairly and honestly..

18 Juggy April 9, 2009 at 8:24 pm

Sorry, slight typo..

“There is nothing that says you need to join first before you talk to others about signing up, that’s what I did.. I had my 5 people ready right away and I got my bonus money. “

19 Dareski3D April 9, 2009 at 10:31 pm

You obviously have little or no understanding of “Geo-Analytics” as this science relates to the varying relative time frames of Keyword Trend-Tracking. This group started in Florida — then held fast as a basic cornerstone to their overall growth strategy (note that the top five rankings for relevant queries were within the state of Florida).

As for the BBB (as part of what I do, I am a “BBB Relations Consultant” — yes, we do exist). Their rating system is commonly known, all too often — to be arbitrary, inconsistent, and inequitable.

On the upside, and in most respects, I honestly harbor a deep affinity and respect for the BBB. However — most people don’t realize that on a national level, their business model operates much like a network of independent franchises.

On the downside, their infrustructure — to say the least — is extremely disorganized. They steadfastly maintain a “Dinosaur Mindset” toward their entire operation as if most of them live in a time warp.

Not until this changes will “Accuracy” be their order of the day.

One final word: Every single American Company (MLM or otherwise) in existence has issues of this frequency and magnitude. It just depends on what one CHOOSES TO LOOK AT.

It’s also uniquely American to spin, as well as to post-justify — in order to fit one’s own comfort zone, be it to the yea or the nay.


20 Darwin April 12, 2009 at 12:22 am

To address the last comment on relevance of Google search traffic, I updated the post to include both the relative scaling and fixed scaling data from a .csv file into graphs. The way you explained it doesn’t reconcile the drop in aggregate search volume globally for the key word “shop to earn”. Perhaps if you explained it differently, there’s an explanation that wasn’t clear on the Trends FAQ, but it seems pretty straightforward that as the slope is positive, search traffic is accelerating and as the slope goes negative, search traffic is decelerating. I’m not sure what relevance Florida plays here. I realize much of the initial search traffic came from Florida due to launch there. But the visual trend should be independent of Florida as these are global search trends in aggregate, no?

21 joeo April 12, 2009 at 1:37 pm

You spent a lot of time explaining some STE stuff… thanks for the effort . . I used to do that too on the self-serving Tracy Coenen site. I went on and on explaining in plain english from July to November 2008 on how STE works. How simple it is when you understand it. She kept saying there was a high faliure rate with all MLMs and they are all the same yada yada Then I gave great examples of programs like Weight Watchers – where 95% of the people fail and either do not lose weight or gain back more. So is the idea of cutting calories and exercising more really a scam? Should everyone just quit trying?? Is it all just a scam to get people to buy frozen weight watcher brand dinners and pay dues for meetings? Guess what? some people do actually lose weight and change their life . . . but it takes dedication. . . . just like anything worthwhile doing does.
She took ALL my comments down . . . what a joke ! I guess I made way too much sense and her book sales were dipping.

By the way Juggy, you actually had a mistake in your 1/3 2/3 explanation. The prgram is even easier than you showed . . . its based on 4,800 points . . . so if someone has 100,000 points on one side EVERY TIME THEY GET 1,600 POINTS ON THE OTHER SIDE ( which is 1/3 of 4,800 ) THEY WILL SCORE AND MAKE $550-$600! They will deduct the 1,600 and also deduct 3,200 from the 100,000.
So they will never even get to 3,000 . . . it will get them paid before that even happens!

Lastly, someone sent me this . . . I think its pretty interesting . .
The History and Truth of Network Marketing – by Greg Stewart

Enlightenment vs. En-dark-enment

The most fundamental fact of life in our world today is change. As a rule, people are reluctant to change. We resist it, we like to stay within our comfort zone of what is known and accepted by most. THIS IS HUMAN NATURE.

But it’s true that what you resist will persist, especially when you resist a better method whose time has come. In almost every field of endeavour, the arts, sciences, medicine, and business, most new ideas have always met with resistance and rejection at first. The more unique and revolutionary the idea, the louder and stronger the opposition to it.

People have always been afraid and even ignorant about ideas and methods that may result in change. Fear of change caused ridicule of Christopher Columbus, Louis Pasteur, Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein. There are other examples of how fear of change had effects on progress.

In the 1800’s, people bought what they needed at small, family owned shops. Then a man named W.T. Grant had an idea that created change. What if we combined all these separate, little shops by making them individual departments under one roof, in one large store? A new and better way of doing things. Customers loved it.

The individual merchants who owned the old-fashioned retail stores saw their businesses decline. The shopkeepers fought back politically. There were thousands of them with thousands of votes, and they lobbied for their right to do things the same old way.

They finally got the local and state governments to outlaw Grant’s department stores. Eventually, Grant’s department store won out. If there is a better way it will persist.

In the early 1960’s franchising was a revolutionary new technology in business, and it was also met with resistance. Newspapers and magazines wrote what a scam and rip-off franchising was. Stories of people who lost their life savings to some franchise were everywhere. There was a strong move to make franchising illegal. In fact, franchising actually came within 11 votes of being outlawed by Congress.

Today this so-called scam is responsible for over 34 percent of all retail sales in North America. Franchises sell nearly 800 billion dollars worth of goods and services today. Every industry goes through an evolution similar to this. Chiropractors were considered quacks in the 1970’s, the stock market was considered shady and a form of gambling, and the first newspaper in British North America, The Public Occurrence (1690), was suppressed by the governor of Massachusetts. Now, we almost can’t do without these industries.

The Pioneers

Like all-powerful concepts, Network Marketing has also met resistance due to a lack of understanding. There is no mystery to Network Marketing. It’s just another form of sales and distribution. Network Marketing is 50 years young. In the early 1940’s a company by the name of California Vitamins recognized that all their new sales representatives coming aboard were friends and family of their existing sales force, primarily because they wanted the product at wholesale cost. They also discovered that it was easier to create a sales force of a lot of people who each sold a small amount of product than it was to find a few superstars who could sell a lot of products.

So they combined those two ideas and designed a sales compensation structure that encouraged their salespeople to invite new representatives from satisfied customers, most of whom were family and friends, who each had the same right to offer the product and representative status to others, which allowed the sales force to grow exponentially. The company rewarded them for the sales produced by their entire group or network of sales representatives. Network Marketing was born! A few years later, the company changed its name to NutraLite Food Supplement Corporations.

In 1956, NutraLite was joined in Network Marketing by Dr. Forrest Shaklee to gain a broader distribution of the food supplements he had developed.

Not long after, in 1959, former NutraLite distributors Rich DeVoss and Jay Van Andel started the Amway company as the American Way of marketing products. Like many truly innovative breakthroughs, the development of true network marketing was an accident.

Abuses of exponential growth haunted network marketing for years and it is still misunderstood today. One of the first abuses of the concept of exponential growth to generate income may have been the chain letter craze that swept the U.S. after World War I. The letters promised great profit if you would send a dime or a dollar to the person at the bottom.

The chain letters spread as far as Europe, and by the 1930’s the U.S. post office estimated that 10 million letters were being mailed each day. Postal Authorities and law enforcement agencies battled the fraudulent schemes and the chain letter phenomenon began to subside in the early 1940s. Unfortunately, this scam spawned schemes which came to be known as pyramids, where money was given for the right to involve others, as no valid product which was being purchased from the company.

In 1974, Senator Walter Mondale declared such companies to be the nation’s number one consumer fraud.

Law enforcement agencies moved quickly to clean up the abuses. In the mid 1970’s, with no clear understanding of what constituted a legitimate use of network marketing, the Federal Trade Commission and state agencies across the nation turned their eyes to almost all network marketing companies. In 1975, the FTC filed suit against Amway, alleging that the company was an illegal pyramid and that its refusal to sell its products in retail stores constituted a restraint of trade.

Amway spent four years and millions of dollars in legal fees to clear its name. In 1979 the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) ruled that Amway was not a pyramid, that its revenue was generated from the sale of its products, and the FTC acknowledged network marketing as a legal and efficient distribution system. Network Marketing exploded in the next decade.

Who’s Involved in Network Marketing?

Today there are thousands of Network Marketing companies operating throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Japan and the Pacific Basin. Little Malaysia alone has more than 800 active Network Marketing companies. Network Marketing is reported to be a $100 billion dollar industry, internationally, made up of FORTUNE 500 and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) companies.

In 1993, Amway was the fastest growing foreign company in Japan with sales over $1 billion. Discovery Toys markets their products solely by Network Marketing, with sales figures in excess of $100 million. Sprint, MCI and AT&T make their long distance phone service available through Network Marketing companies. The A.L. Williams Company utilized Network Marketing and astounded the insurance industry by outselling Prudential, a giant in the industry, in four short years.

Traditional sales method companies such as Colgate-Palmolive and the Gillette Company have Network Marketing subsidiaries. Rexall Drug is now utilizing the Network Marketing method of distribution with its subsidiary, Rexall Showcase. Network Marketing companies such as Melaleuca outperformed Liz Claiborne, The Limited and John Paul Mitchell while Nu Skin bested the likes of Maybelline, Dow Chemical and Matrix. Mary Kay is bigger than Johnson & Johnson, Amway is bigger than Revlon, and Avon is bigger than Estee Lauder. Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart is quoted as saying, “I’d rather run a profitable business in an unconventional industry than an unprofitable business in a conventional industry.”

Network Marketing has evolved in other ways, as well. Companies that began as direct selling companies are now utilizing networking marketing compensation plans. Some examples include Avon, the $3 billion cosmetic giant, Watkins Products, which had been direct selling for nearly 100 years before it converted to network marketing, and Encyclopedia Britannica.

One reason for the decline of direct selling is that beginning in the 1970’s, distributors making calls on people found that no one was home. Women, long standing as the customer backbone of direct sales, had entered the work force, leaving few at home during the day. Companies watching these societal trends moved quickly to revise their marketing plans to network marketing, which allows for more informal methods of sales and greater compensation.

Network Marketing Companies have actually pioneered entire industries: natural vitamin supplements, nutrition and diet drinks, concentrated and environmentally friendly household cleaners. One network marketing company almost single-handedly created the billion dollar home water filtration business.

22 Juggy April 16, 2009 at 8:11 pm

Yes, well I was using 3000 as a random example, not that someone would be able to trade in exactly 9000 points at once, since, as you mentioned, you score and get $600 each time you hit 4800 pts and then the 4800 pts are used and wiped away. But yes, you are correct.


23 Uncle Fester April 21, 2009 at 2:17 am

I was up late working on overseas business and I stumbled on this site from someone who recruitted me for Shop to Earn.
If this was a legitimate, informative, site for bloggers, I feel that it would not be hosting links to sites in the upper right hand margin at the beginning of the site with claims of making $25,000 per month.
As for Ben, if you can not afford to lose $448, then you should never, ever, start a business as this is what STE seems to be.
This site seems to feed off of people looking for information on STE with the hope of baiting them with information so Darwin can “switch” them to the $25,000 site. I think this is more repulsive than the Madoff scheme.
This will probably never get posted Darwin, but at least you can rest assured that you are not fooling anyone with the layout and hype of your site.
By the way, the person who recruited me for STE told me to check out your site and look for the bait and switch claims for other MLM’s. Apparently, the federal authorities have been alerted and you and your site are being investigated to see if you have the proper banking licenses to offer refinancing deals on your site.
You also have an “alternative investment” link. I wonder if you have a Securities License.
So, you seem more like a business that I would find on a computer at the Addams Family on TVLAND…….Remember that those who live in glass houses should never throw stones…..

24 Darwin April 21, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Of course I’ll publish the comment; this one’s a keeper!

This is a classic example in what happens to people that join MLMs. Perhaps you were once normal, but this rambling nonsensical gibberish does not portray you, or STE-with these alleged bullying tactics, in a favorable light.

You’re obviously misinformed on internet advertising basics, blogs, federal regulation of the internet. Since each assertion you make above is priceless in its own right, I’ve addressed each below.

1. ” I feel that it would not be hosting links to sites in the upper right hand margin at the beginning of the site with claims of making $25,000 per month.”

OK, so there’s this company called “Google”. Maybe you’ve heard of them. They’re a rather prominent company that deals with internet advertising. Basically, they serve ads up in the sections that are clearly market “Ads by Google”, such as the one you’re referring to in the upper right. The way they serve their ads is through contextual based advertising. Simply put, they look at the content or an article, the links in/out and other factors for “context”, and then they serve up ads by advertisers looking to attract a similar demographic. Therefore, the ad that you find to be so outrageous is viewed by Google as being in the same genre as an article about STE; wow, who would have thought? So, I have no input whatsoever on what ads appear in that box. It’s all Google and therefore your claim is completely baseless.

Ironically, many of your members make similarly outrageous claims of tens of thousands per month on the internet. Wow, you’re calling out your peers from your wonderful organization as well then, right? Are you reporting them to the “federal authorities” (more on that later). I’d love to hear your perspective on how you differentiate between the two.

2. ” This site seems to feed off of people looking for information on STE with the hope of baiting them with information so Darwin can “switch” them to the $25,000 site.”

See reply to #1. You clearly have no idea what you’re talking about.

3. ” This will probably never get posted Darwin, but at least you can rest assured that you are not fooling anyone with the layout and hype of your site.”

Well, I did publish your comment. I always publish comments as long as they are not spam or of a completely ridiculous and offensive nature. Since you’ve only violated the ridiculous clause, it was published. I do welcome dissent and differing opinions here as you can see in various threads. In fact, I can’t even think of a case where I didn’t publish a comment that wasn’t spam-ridden with links to ridiculous sites. This brings credibility to the site, something you are clearly lacking. If you’d like to provide say, a recommended correction to an actual error in an article or provide your point of view, that’s always welcomed.

4. ” I think this is more repulsive than the Madoff scheme.”

Hmmm. I don’t see your point. This was simply an article updating on my thoughts on STE in 2009 and shifting the conversation from an older blog to my new one since it’s easier to manage a single comment thread than 4 at the last site. That’s all, really. Not sure what a pyramid scheme has to do with my article. Well, wait a minute, are you mixing up the types of organizations you join and what you’re alleging here?

5. ” By the way, the person who recruited me for STE told me to check out your site and look for the bait and switch claims for other MLM’s.”

If what you’re alleging here is true, this is a) ludicrous, and b) a false and malicious unsubstantiated rumor. IS THIS WHAT THEY RESORT TO NOW? Any site that is critical of the organization must be running some sort of illegal scheme, right? This is preposterous and I hope you just made this up because I don’t think educated people even within STE could be this inept, nor would I expect that the average new/prospective member would fall for this nonsense. See #1 again on “Internet 101”

6. “Apparently, the federal authorities have been alerted and you and your site are being investigated to see if you have the proper banking licenses to offer refinancing deals on your site.”

If what you’re alleging is true, then this again clearly highlights the punitive and retaliatory tactics that no ethical, rational organization would follow. IS THIS THE TYPE OF ORGANIZATION YOU WANT TO BE PART OF? I would be embarrassed to be associated with anything like that, but evidently, you have no shame. What do a couple articles I wrote about mortgage rates dropping and how to get the best deal by using a net present value comparison have to do with STE? There are literally hundreds of personal finance blogs out there with articles on refinancing and whether now’s a good time to buy a home. Let’s see, since you can’t come up with a logical argument against my opinions stated on the STE experience, you resort to attacking some unrelated topic on the blog and seek to “punish” a dissenting view with federal investigations on mortgage articles? This is total nonsense and shameful and I think you’ve totally fabricated this. What “federal authority” has been contacted by the way? Based on my prior experience in dealing with the STE legal counsel, and the subsequent firestorm that erupted throughout the internet from free speech advocates, legal groups and tech blogs, due to the conduct last year I don’t think they would pursue such actions and I believe this to be a fabrication. The renewed avalanche of bad press that would follow from an attempt such as this would be a disservice to STE and I think they’re really have to question the prudence and competence of whoever embarked on a new witch hunt. If this is a fact, then you just ruined a strategy that I probably shouldn’t have heard about (way to go!) and I can now target my legal remedies accordingly should I actually be contacted by any such agency.

Regarding the offering of refinance deals, what are you talking about? I make no claims to represent a financial firm, mortgage outfit or otherwise. I clearly provided a link to my own articles I wrote about rates, net present value and related topics at the bottom of the post. Elsewhere, these are contextual Google-served ads which are very clearly marked. Again, See #1. If you’re referring to the banner ad linked to a mortgage firm, that’s simply a paid third party ad. This is very common on blogs, take a look! This further demonstrates that either you, or whoever you’re getting this information from, have absolutely no idea about the internet, blogs or federal regulations.

7. ” You also have an “alternative investment” link. I wonder if you have a Securities License.”

Again, what are you smoking? Why would anyone need a Securities License to write articles about a new ETF or high yield notes that investors should be wary of (oh yeah, why don’t you contact those companies and see if they want to investigate me as well)? This is simply a “category” link where I sort articles by category. Again, you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about.

8. ” So, you seem more like a business that I would find on a computer at the Addams Family on TVLAND”

I don’t know how to respond to this. I think you need to get some sleep.

I have to hand it to you, of all the nonsensical, kool-aid drinking comments I’ve fielded on my sites, this one takes the cake. You’re the winner!

25 Uncle Fester April 21, 2009 at 8:21 pm

Whoaaa Nellie,

I must have hit a chord here.

1.) First, I did not get involved with STE as I have too much stuff on my plate. I just was making some observations about your site. The more I read, the more it looked like someone has way too much time on their hands.

2.) What I was talking about is the link on your site on the upper right:

Forget MLM…
I Quit MLM. Now I Make $25k a Month Free Report Shows How…

This is what I thought was really awful in that if some poor soul was looking to make money in STE and that person got baited and switched to your $25k Free Report with delusions of granduer they could be deprived of the chance to make a little extra money on STE. Everyone knows that you are not going to make $25K a month with a FREE REPORT unless you are watching Gilligans Island on TV land with Thurston Howell III.

3.) Ridiculous Clause?? I was only making observations. Thank God I did not join STE! Then I would have to address more info.

4.) My point was that if you are condemming MLM’s like STE, then why would you promote a $25k a month business with a free report. Remember that if it sounds too good to be true???? Nothing in life is free unless you can breath air.

5.) The person who recruited me only wanted me to be aware of what I may find if I did due diligence on this business opportunity that was shown to me. And by the way, if I had the time, I would definitely take a stab at it. I did buy $25 resturant dot com coupons for Bookbinders in Phila for $2. I ate a $25 meal for $10 + a $7 tip (20% of the $35 bill). I will continue to shop on their site.

6.) There is a fine line between making a claim and inferring a claim. There are a couple of blogs about your site on the internet.

7.) Maybe you should take a securities course. And for me, I am a non-smoker. Never have, never will.

8.) As for making false claims, threatening you, etc, my only purpose for this post was to alert you to what your site looks like to someone checking it out.

26 Darwin April 21, 2009 at 11:14 pm


I appreciate the civil, constructive tone on the reply and I owe you the same. Positive energy feels much better than negative energy and I’ve been off for a few days, so yes, I had more time on my hands than normal. I actually didn’t intend on spending much energy on STE when I put it up here. As long as I don’t hear back from the lawyers again or federal probes, etc., I actually don’t intend on posting any more on it. As you’ve probably noticed, the site’s focus isn’t MLM at all, but rather investing and personal finance, so that’s where I prefer to spend the time.

I’m not sure what’s out there about my site on other blogs, this is the first I’ve heard of it. It’s also surprising that I’ve already reached “celebrity status” out there since this blog’s only a few months old and I did a single post on it. But like I said, I’ve moved on, so I’m not going to worry about what’s out there on me at this point. It sounds as though there’s some misinformation out there on this bait and switch thing and coming from other bloggers, that’s pretty strange, since they should know about how ads are served by Google. Like, that article touting the 25K or whatever, I’ve never heard of that outfit; there are literally thousands of different combinations of ads that show up on any given page here; it’s pretty much whatever Google feels is a match that day. For instance, right now, that ad’s not up on the page, it’s “Make $250/hr” claim, which also sounds ridiculous, but I have no control over what Google puts there.

Anyway, back to work on the other stuff.

Oh, and I wanted to say, I don’t condemn STE as a money-losing proposition or a bad deal for everyone. I had a buddy who joined last year who seems content. He’s not making thousands per month on it, but I think he at least made his money back. At the time I considered it, I didn’t feel the introductory/presentation materials were very transparent and there were some additional negative aspects/experiences that weren’t portrayed that I thought would be important for prospective members to consider when weighing the pros/cons. That’s it.

27 C Hoffman April 25, 2009 at 10:24 am

How does the newest part of Shoptoearn… fit in?

28 Juggy April 29, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Never heard of, so I do not believe this is part of STE.. Obviously I am not someone claiming thousands can be made in days, but I have been tracking the people in my team just 1-2 people above me in my team and the 2nd person above me is already at $5k with 100 people in a couple of months, so she is doing pretty well. I am hoping to progress in her footsteps.

I have highs and lows but I think so far my experience has been overall positive.

29 joeo May 1, 2009 at 12:10 pm

How does STE compare to other programs?
STE pays 70%
Do some research and find that most others companies only pay 30-38%

What I love about STE is that it doesn’t have 1 proprietary product or line of products. The STE product is a “cash-back web portal”. Over 100,000 sold in the last year or so. Every website owner/broker get cash back for EVERY purchase they make on their web-site . . . always and forever.

In addition, since the Eco-friendly/Health Food “Earth” side of the business includes famous name brand products from established companies. STE does not have any manufacturing costs, research and development costs or FDA approval issues. They simply seek out the very best, proven products that are good for you and good for the environment. They buy them wholesale and sell them retail just like Whole Foods, Tader Joe’s and other green-thinking companies. However, STE pays us 15% cash back and has a generous point system.

While other network marketing companies spend time and money on their “wonder products” that soon run their course, STE offers millions of products with significantly less overhead. Most other business models pay only 30-38% to their members – and higher levels to people that sell more. STE pays 70% to everyone – beginners and grisly old veterans with 6-9 months experience! Unprecedented in this industry (thanks to efficiencies of e-commerce).

Best of all, this is still just getting started – we will have millions of people in a few years. People will someday say, “You got involved with STE way back in 2011? Wow how lucky! “ Love this business.

30 Carrie May 2, 2009 at 12:37 am

All I can Say is that i have been successful with ShopToEarn since i started a few months ago.

I feel confident in what I am doing. & I feel Great to be a part of ShopToEarn.

The charts you show, as a decline.
it is also true for every business across America.
as peoples Profit & Loss/ Budget to Actual has declined due to the economy across the board. How many thousands of people do you know that have been laid off due to economic crisis etc. Microsoft , IBM, ETc. thousands throughout the schoold boards etc.

So as the economy starts to pick up again so will so many businesses including ShopToEarn (STE).

This is a legitimate company. Not a pyramid – because in a pyramid only the one on top makes money. with this binary business everyone makes money.
Even people under you or me can make more than those above if they run their business correctly.

Listen at the end of the day everyone has their own opinion.
but through my experience of being part of ShopToEarn, I have had nothing but success and good feelings. & most importantly I get paid the following month for everything i have earned during the previous month. It is that simple.
it depends on how much, how hard i want to work my business, but you can make it if you want to. It has endless potential. It is an incredible business opportunity with a very little amount to invest $448.

how much do you think it would cost to open any business?

how much do you think it would cost to open a shopping mall with over 800 stores?

so Please do your homework and research before bashing such a great company.
because for a small investment of $448. (which by the way i made back the first month). I have an unlimited and incredible opporuntiy to make a great living.

And I am a website owner/broker and I am living proof that this works.

Now i will say that if you don’t like to shop online, don’t know anyone who likes to shop online, or don’t like to talk to people, then NO this is not for you.

But as I stated I shop on line and have made cash back on every purchase i have done through my site and couldn’t be happier.

good luck to all of you. I love what i do and love to be part of ShopToEarn. This is truly great.

31 Juggy May 22, 2009 at 9:01 pm

Hey JoeO, can you drop me an email at [email protected]? I need to ask you a question..

32 Roberta G June 3, 2009 at 5:52 pm

I have just read what you said about Shop to Earn. I have been asked to join and I have been doing a lot of reading to make sure it is something I want to do. But you need to make sure what you write here is the truth. You say that BBB says the Shop to Earn is rated at an F, where you are wrong it is at a B- and the reasons for this is shown on the BBB site. So before you write negative stuff you should make sure that what you write is truthful.

33 Darwin June 3, 2009 at 6:41 pm

“So before you write negative stuff you should make sure that what you write is truthful.”
At the time of publication, they were an F, hence the screen shot, which I did not doctor, but came from BBB, so…it was truthful. Apparently, their rating has improved recently, so I have included an update in the post to reflect the current rating.
Thanks for pointing this out.

34 joeo June 4, 2009 at 9:48 am

OMG . . . shop to earn is simply exploding thes last few weeks and months…the Northeast and specifically the tri-state area of NY/NJ & CT which have historically been the most skeptical. These people ( attorneys, hedge-fund managers, biz owners etc ) are “seeing” what this really is . . . a chance for regular people without any real hi-tech experience to cash in on the internet. The retail stores WANT people to shop on line so they can make more money ( and survive ) and STE is there to assist.

Who doesn’t have high speed internet acces at home (and even on their phone) ?
Who isn’t looking to save some money? Who isn’t looking to make some extra money? Who isn’t trying to “Go – Green” at least at some level? Who isn’t trying to help others make some extra money?

What I LOVE about STE is that there is NO buyer’s remorse ( of course every group will have their 10% of complainers and whiners). But its only $448 to join and $119 to renew … that’s $567 over 2 years. It is downright impossible to not make your money back by just buying some basic stuff over 2 years. Why pay Google and Yahoo when you can get paid yourself? when you consider that you can actually make REAL, life -changing money too . . . it a no-brainer.
Joe O.

35 Really?...Really? June 16, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Yeap Joe e O….it’s exploding alright. Just went to a meeting myself yesterday in the NE area and wow to hear the pitch I did, “BIG MEETING” wednesday (etc., etc., a bit absurd for me but whatever it takes to work/sell folks)…

Darwin, you are “at least” correct in my eyes, folks need to research/google whatever it takes, to do due diligence. I’m sure the graphs may rise again (I know you don’t want to focus any more time on this) as it probably slowed down in FL (saturated the market there) and now heading here and working it’s way like a swarm of bees….gheez and monavie & tru choclat (or something like that) just finished sweeping through (what timing)!

The independent broker that pitched the session did the same thing that you or someone else mentioned here on this site, had a certain allocated time of “fast” speaking, going through the powerpoint slides quickly b/c he couldn’t get it to work well, asked if there were any questions to play devil’s advocate and then abruptly stopped b/c he was out of time, have a big meeting tonight and another one wednesday, got to go….too weird. The repetitive mention of just how much money you’d make was the enticing tool to get you to drop your credit card down right there? I guess their trained to do this? He also had his cronies come in late to the meeting, sit in the back and chime in here and there to say how great this was…it looked so staged. He almost walked right by me at the end, when passing out business cards (for any questions we may have afterwards) and then said “oh yeah your a new person” there were ONLY 2 (me being one of them!!!!)….really? really? He must have just seen the skepticism in my face. It’s behavior like this, that makes it so hard to join in…or trust for that matter. This is the same person that said before the meeting started (b/c I mentioned I hope this isn’t like it) ~ he should have jumped into monavie 3 years ago, now it’s too late….”too late” for what? I was just saying I didn’t believe in the product, therefore can’t sell something I don’t believe in….trustworthy, I think not. I think it’s sad that in this day and age, after EVERYTHING that has happened, losing jobs, losing homes, losing savings, that these MLM’s come to play in order to take advantage of vulnerable folks and have them selling to family & friends (that’s the kicker)…. this is JUST my opinion, as I came across this blog while I was actually trying to “research” it; which I think most folks (hopefully) would initially do before jumping into anything. Being that this is a private company it’s kind of hard to get the “actuals” … I’ve already made up my mind anyway!

36 Capt Steve June 22, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Wow… this blog has been around for awhile. One of the things I find interesting about all blogs is that people who go to them will usually read the first several posts and then cut out. Some will stay, but most will leave. Then, as new information comes up, the original posts with the old information are not deleted, corrections are just posted later, not to be seen by a majority of the new readers, thus, incorrect information is retained by that reader. Deleting the original posts, or modifying them (the crossouts don’t quite do it) by deleting the changed information would be more fair to the readers.

I think I could take this post and place it in all the other blogs that discuss businesses that involved home based or independent business owners. Google “???? scam” and you get just about every business out there. Many blogs ,and this one I beleive is not one, exist to create a soapbox for the blogger hoping to become the new Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh. It is their opportunity to become an online talk show host or columist who can’t get a job. One Blogger out there had 20 posts with no responses. Finally, he found one that people reacted to and you could tell he was in his glory. Just as bad are the people that jump on a blog and write comments without really knowing what they are talking about and only working from assumptions. There are several of those in this blog that really should be deleted because they are so wrong.

STE is a business. The model is simple. It takes the affiliate program, which 90% of the population does not know about anyway, and merges it into a network marketing model. What is wrong with that? As any company does, MLM or not, when you apply for a Sales position or a Distributership or Franchise, you are shown charts and graphs of what your potential income will be if certain criterion are met. The biggest problem with many that get into network marketing is that they expect to make it rich without doing anything. Network marketing requires networking. Commission sales management requires finding Commission Sales people. If you do not find them, work with them, support them, you will not succeed.
What you make, or don’t make, is up to you, as in any business. Just because people realize that the business is not for them and they get out is not a declaration that the business is no good. If that were true then every business that brings in a commission sales person, such as Real Estate, Automobile, Manufacturing would be businesses that should be shut down because ‘they’ did not make any money.
Three things I saw with the STE business model are 1) People at the top can, and many do, make less then the people downline from them. I make more then the most of my upline. I don’t make a lot, but I am happy with what I make. 2) Even if the building comes to a screeching halt, I’ll still be making money from my shopping via the affiliate program and from the points generated by the shopping of those below me. 3) I don’t have a closet full of product that I don’t like and neither does anyone in my downline.
I believe that like all businesses, including the business that is my full time job, there is a decline from July of 2008 to now.
Comments earlier from No One should be deleted as they are factually wrong and attacking.
Points are simple. There is no such thing as having to be “Balanced” . If you have 100,000 on one side, consider that a savings account. Everytime you get 1600 on the other side, you use part of your bank account and you Score! ($550) and you get paid in steps so you don’t have to wait for that 1600 before you make some money. You get 200 you get $50, you get 400 you get $100, you get 800 you get $100 you get 1600 you get $300. That isn’t to promote, it is to show how it works because many people reading can get confused.
The presentation shows potential, that is their job but I know of no one that tells people that they “Will” make a certain amount without accomplishing certain milestones. If they are, and STE finds out about it, their site is shut down. They have Zero tolerance for misinformation and misleading people or advertising misleading information, and many a person has been shut down because of that.
Will it be around for many years? I believe so. The success of every company is its ability to improve what they do. They are in a constant motion of improvement. Perfect? No… but who is. Working on it? Yes they are. Doing things to become more sustainable? Very much so. A company that does not change as they grow, I would consider a company that won’t be around for long.
Do people lose money? The most you can lose is $448 if you do absolutely nothing. Unlike many where you have an inventory you buy every month and stick in a closet thus you could lose money. This is a Shopping Portal. Even if you just buy the stuff you use everyday, you’ll not lose a penny. If you refer 3 people, you’ll earn your money back but if you don’t, you will still get it by shopping for things that you are going to buy anyway. The retailers pay that. After that, it is all profit, whatever that amount is. If you build your business and help those build their business, you’ll make more money. That is the business model. It is simple, it is easy.

37 Jonthan Hand June 24, 2009 at 12:47 am

Companies like STE and Team National are pure garbage. How you really make money has nothing to do with the shopping. The whole things I was going to buy anyway is complete nonsense. You end up paying more money for stuff you were going to buy anyway. The idea is to alienate your friends and family but not leaving them alone with you presenting them with crap like this. If it was really about the shopping you could just create your own site which is very easy and inexpensive these days. Get yourself some affiliate links to some popular retailers and instead of trying to put your hands in the pockets of people closest to you. Just advertise your site to them so they go through your page to make purchases. On top of that you will get the full commissons instead of just a tiny piece of any purchases made after using one of your portals.

38 Capt Steve June 24, 2009 at 8:06 am

You see, that is the problem with people that post that do it without information and talk like they know what they are talking about.
How can you pay more when you go directly to the retailers site? If you have knowledge of affiliates then you know that is true.
With STE, you get the total affiliate amount, not a portion.
When you create your own site, you have to advertise it in which you will pay clicks or block space. That can cost you $25 per day minimum. You also have to have a reason for people to come there so you have to maintain some sort of information system, which takes your time if you have the knowledge to do it. You also have to have your URL, Web Hosting and unless you are a geek, you need to have it created. Web designers do not do that for free. A small portion of the public is Knowledgeable enough to do that.
Now you add the fact that you only get affiliate money from that one shopper, if you can find them, then your limited to what you can make, rather then from everyone elses site.
Funny, I, nor anyone I know, has alienated our friends or relatives, they all take part.
If you have over 15yr IT experience as that person does, then setting up your own affiliate site is easy and has the knowledge of pushing it through, and he’ll probably set it up for you too…. for a price.

39 Bob Crane June 24, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Oh please with this nonsense. My brother with zero web knowledge just created a website by himself using On top of that he rather easily was able to add some affiliate links. He also quite easily learned the absolutely “free” techniques to move his site up in the Google search rankings. You don’t need these people and you don’t need to be a computer geek. Anyone with a head on their shoulders who can read can do it these days.

40 Capt Steve June 24, 2009 at 8:26 pm

Ok…I’m willing to learn. What’s his site?

41 ecommerce brokers June 25, 2009 at 6:27 am

If your blog was sincere you would not be promoting “google ads” in the upper right margin of your blog promising people they can make a lot of money every day online.

I think that you are just another MLM business trying to entice people attempting to research an opportunity to join another business opportunity by scaring them away from the opportunity that they are performing due dilligence upon.

What you are doing is clever, but I think it is borderline unethical because you are trying to come off as an unbiased authority of business opportunities. If this was the case, you would never be “hawking” get rich schemes on the upper right hand margins or lower margins of your blog. If I was checking out the opportunity you have been writing about, I would think you would be much more credible if you were not promoting “get rich schemes in your blog’s margins.

By the way, you never addressed that a possible reason for the slowdown of the MLM you evaluated was that the economy tanked in the fall of 2008 and that the high jobless rates have also took a bite out of consumer spending. Factor in the credit card debacle and it is a credit to that company that the MLM is actually stable and not failing.

As for the Better Business Bureau, the ratings really do not mean much as they charge businesses to be members.

42 Darwin June 25, 2009 at 8:19 am

To the last commenter,
You obviously didn’t read the rather lengthy explanation on Google Adsense code above, but rather, you relied on the kool-aid drinking STE board from which you just came and think you’re doing STE a favor by spouting out the same propaganda they have on their board. The people you’re following are both misinformed, disingenuous and retaliatory. They will resort to anything to quell dissent, including lying themselves about ads appearing on my site. Review comments dated April 21.

Again, virtually every blog you’ll come across uses google code. The website owner has no power to influence the content in the ads. Since the ads are contextually based and this article is on a pyramid scheme MLM, obviously the ads will be contextually similar.

I do not recieve money if you sign up for one of those other schemes. I have no association with them. Google just pays a few cents a click for any ad anywhere on the site and there’s no “payback” if somone actually clicks all the way through and signs up for a service.

If you’re complaining about the types of ads you see here, well, now you know what kind of company you’re joining. These advertisers base their placements on keywords like “MLM”, of which your corny company is one of them.

Have you realized yet what your friends and family think of you trying to enthusiastically push this junk?

You’re “one of those people”. Good luck with your relationships moving forward.

I recommend you do some more research before blindly following the boneheads on your board there and posting misinformation all over the internet.

43 Capt Steve June 25, 2009 at 8:38 am

I don’t agree with all the comments from Ecommerce Brokers concerning the Google Ads… I’ve read through a couple of them and they are all selling software, books, etc that promote the Affiliate programs.. which is where some of the commenters here should be attacking because they truely offer something that very very few will accomplish, if any. But at the same time, every site, mine included, has the choice to have google ads, or any other ad systems on their site. Choosing to have them is normal business practice as it brings in revenue but if those popups are against the fiber of the site, then one has to question whether to run them. So, there is a choice there and the ability to control it.

44 Pestacho June 26, 2009 at 4:39 pm

After reading thru the Blog Darwin’s mediocre and desperate retorts to the very eloquent and articulate Juggy’s depositions, I think it can be now officially announced…… Darwin, “You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting.”

Let this serve as a wakeup call for those seeking the truth; that the truth you seek can only come from within. If after doing your own research you believe this opportunity is a scam, then you are right, and if after doing your own research you believe, as i do; that this opportunity truly is a God Send, which can be a powerful vehicle to financial independence, then you are also right! You get to choose! But be at peace with your choice and move on, leaving those of us who do believe in the opportunity free of your uncalled righteousness. Because you see, the fact of the matter is; most negative comments out there about this opportunity come from people who have not even tried to make it work and never even got passed their very first challenge. So if you choose to get involved, then get involved, get trained and give it your best shoot. If you do this there is no way you wont have success. It is as simple as that.

Shop to Earn Broker

45 Mike Probst June 26, 2009 at 5:10 pm

When will you brainwashed people realize that MLM has nothing to do with the product? It’s based on the idea of getting people to fork over money to be under you and then they go on to do the same. The better your down line and the more money you make. Unfortunately, most people end up making nothing when their down line collapses or they realize it’s impossible to keep both legs balanced. Stop thinking you found something new. These systems have been around forever and it’s always about the latest and greatest product, service, or membership which in the end all suck anyway.

46 Pestacho June 27, 2009 at 3:11 am

If your brain wan’t dirty it would not need to be washed.

47 Capt Steve June 27, 2009 at 3:57 pm

I believe that what Mike says is true in Most cases because he has grouped all MLM or Network marketing together. What he hasn’t done is looked at each one individually. Although many will argue that STE falls into that category it really does not. There is no one product that gets stuck in a closet. There is no one product that you are forced to buy every month and figure out what you are going to do with it. You do have 800 retail stores that you can buy from each with it’s own online deals and over 10,000 Earth Friendly products to choose from. If you are using these products anyway, then where is the problem? Sure you can start your own affiliate site and you can take advantage of those who find it… you make the money, they get nothing. You can show the business to others that shop online and if they like it, they can earn their affiliate amounts back and get the benefit of those who they refer rather then like referring people to Costco, Sams, any club, doctor or even finding someone a job and receiving no referral back. There is no Balancing of legs.. you can have 150 on one side and 20 or 10 on one side and 2 on the other and make money.. not a fortune that many seem to think that you Have to make if you are in an MLM but enough to make more then if you had to take a part time or second full time time to exist. The money I have made in the past 2 months has been 90% just from my and others shopping. Name me a business, any business, that if you start, buy or join and don’t work it, you will make money? The people that I see that have not made any money for some reason expect that money will just flow in. If someone puts in the initial amount and does nothing to work their business, then that is the amount that they may lose, no more. So, although I can understand some of the harse comments made by some of those above, i feel that they really are looking at the industry as a whole.

48 Mike Probst June 27, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Capt Steve makes a fair point. Shop to Earn for lets say $450 is a heck of alot better than the ridiculous Team National which asks folks to fork over $2200. I have never seen something as ridiculous as that.

49 Jack July 7, 2009 at 7:48 pm

I’ve looked at over 100 network marketing business opportunities in the last eight years or so, and the only one I’ve EVER considered joining was ShopToEarn. Here’s why:

– The very realistic chance of making your initial investment back in the first 30 days.
– A compensation plan which far surpasses that of just amout any other network marketing model I’ve seen. I think someone pointed out earlier that calling ShopToEarn ‘network marketing’ isn’t entirely accurate. I would agree with that. It’s more of a hybrid. In a nutshell, though, the STE compensation plan goes deep, instead of wide. This allows you to make a LOT more money a LOT faster. No guarantees… and you still have to work… but I think your chances are much better with this company than others.
– No branded product/inventory
– No home parties/workshops
– The sheer volume of what you can sell through STE allows you to approach several niche markets

There are several other reasons, but those are the biggest.

It seems a lot of people on this site are against MLM as a whole. I really don’t understand that, as MLM, as a whole, has proven to be very successful for a great many people.

Do people fail? Of course they fail. All the time. But if you were to sit down with most of those people and really look at the effort they put into their business, you’ll probably find it wasn’t the business model’s fault. It was their own. Most people like the idea of running a successful business on paper. In practice, though, they just don’t like all the work that’s involved.

This can be said of most business types. Not just MLM.

I think if some of these people would have put half the effort into their ventures as they do into complaining, they probably would have been more successful.

50 Anika July 9, 2009 at 10:34 pm

I have been a broker for STE since March of 2009. I personally made my investment back within 4 or 5 days by way of referring the opportunity to my friends and family who not only love me but trust me based on personal and professional decisions that I have made throughout my 38 years on this earth. Now in retrospect I would not recommend this approach. Here is my story. I signed up as a broker at the same time I transitioned from one new home builder of seven years to another new home builder. That was probably not the best decision in terms of focus and balance considering I was also going through massive changes to include a seperation and have 3 boys who have a hosts of activities and responsibilities that I am in charge of navigating. However, I saw “it” right away and because I am comfortable with commission only positions I was not concerned about making back my initial investment. I could not see how i could’t and if I didn’t I have thrown away $500 on crazier things.

Prior to proceeding I feel compelled to address the idea of purchasing a credit card that gives you cash back in lieu of STE. Several people have referred to credit cards that will give you cash back. Wouldn’t you agree that enouraging people to tarnish their credit score to apply for a numerous amount of credit cards is not the wisest advise? Do we know their spending habits, are they disciplined, would they even qualify? The truth of the matter is we do not know. If they already have those cards, and are disciplined the fabulous news is that they can still be used to get cash back from the credit card company, on top of that they can use coupon codes, in addition they could possibly get free shipping or shipping discounts, as well as no tax (many non brick and mortar stores like don’t charge taxes), and on top of getting a product that you were intending on using your gas to drive to(not the best for the environment and costs) battle traffic is some cases (which interferes with your peace of mind), wait in line (there is a value associated with ones time) and only receive savings on some of what you purchased when you could have received cash back simply from going through your own portal to give you credit and then you go to the same stores exact website anyway. Am I missing something, how do others not get it? I also want to address the idea of creating your own affiliate website and I think if you know how you should so that you can get savings and have your friends shop on it as well so you can get their cash back. However, that seems a bit self centered when they would have the option of experiencing the savings themselves or they still may say “its not for me” and support you on your site since they in many cases could be paying less or atleast the same while helping out a friend. They deserve the right to choose and with that being said they do not deserve to be stalked! Respect their decision but do give them a choice to make a change in their lives too.

I will tell you for me that Shop to Earn/ Shop to Earth has changed my life and it is not the money that gives me sleepless nights now that I am a more experienced broker, it is the opportunity to make a difference and by doing so I am in a position to teach my team (who are people who I love and care about and who believed in me) to be successful in their spending habits as well as in their business if they choose that option by training them, supporting them, and teaching them about marketing and the power of duplication. People so often feel the need to explain everything and reinvent the wheel, that is what is great about STE, presentations, weekly meetings, toting product, delivering product is not necessary. I was considering joining Fortune which is another MLM and was really close to doing so before I was approached by a previous sales manager of mine and a team mate of mine. I crossed my arms and even went so far as to tell them that I will listen because I respect them but dont be angry when I say “no”. I had essentially already made up my mind. I knew I did not have time for a traditional part time job because I worked late evenings when I wrote purchase agreements and I worked weekends but I wanted some incremental cash to help with all of my adjustments. You see because I chose to switch from one builder where I already had a pipeline and a back log meant that I would be starting over with the new builder just until I had time to do some cultivating. Once again I made a change for the company culture not the money.

I am a true believer that when you do things for the right reasons money will absolutely follow. You have to be upfront, honest, credible, and most of all willing to commit to the business for a year and teach your teammates to do the same. I compare it to Dunns River Falls in Jamaica for those of you who are familiar. I am a huge team player! When you are climbing the fall the person in front of you is extending their hand back to you and in turn you are extending back to the person behind you and so on and so on about 100 people deep (not wide or we would trample over each other) The beauty of this is that we reach the top together as a team. I am from the approach that we win as a team or we loose as a team. I know I wont be able to save everyone from quiting but my success will be measured by retention rate. My goal is to ensure that everyone who invests 448 to be a broker or 349 as a website owner at a very very minimum make back their investment and learn to make smarter decisions my just chaning how they currently do things and in the process learn about making this world a better place. Everyone does not run their business in this manner and I dont expect them to but for those of you who are considering this as an opportunity please make sure your sponsor is aware of what motivates you ( money, flexibility so you have more time with family, being earth conscience and making a difference, becoming a Millionaire) so that they can create a road map for you based on their experiences and others that were on your path that will help you reach your goal. This could make or break you in terms of success. In the same token if you are a loaner and dont care for the team approach you have to express that in order not to feel suffocated.If you are going to join you will have to have a plan and execute it. You dont have to recruit a bunch of people but you do need to be willing to share with those who you do how to be successful.

This venture has changed my life because I am looking at the big picture and how I can retire in 3 years and you may think that I am looking to make 10k or more a month. Well I am not, I have made six figures over the last 6 years but my priorities have changed and my circumstances have changed. Success no longer is solely measured by what I make, it is measured by what I give back, how much time I get to spend with my aging parents, and my growing children. I thirst for more time with them and flexibility to run my business fairly but as creative as I like while making about 4k a month in residual income. That would be my definition of success and such a blessing. I then want to help others to realize their dream! This business venture can be a much as you want it to be or as little, you decide.

However, this has taught me to be more proactive in planning so that I can save more money, this has showed me that though I am reducing expenses like everyone else I do not have to sacrifice quality, I just have to learn to think different. STE offers webinars giving you tips on the best ways to maximize your savings. It is so much more than I ever initially thought. As a result of being more settled in my full time job I started paying attention to this gold mine, I started a business plan, I kept my mouth shut to new prospects until I had an implementation process ready to go. I went back to my 5 brokers who trusted me but had brought on zero brokers and made a personal committment to them that we are going to succeed and I am not going to sign up another broker until they have their 2 minimum website owners, or brokers to qualify. This commitment was made around mid June and by the first week of July 3 of the 5 have 2 or more brokers 1 of them has some great frundraising opportunities in the works that I assisted him in presenting, and I have 1 more who knows I am coming for her this month and was excited and told me that my enthusiasm was contagious! Finally, I am doing something that I believe in, that helps me leave this world in much better shape than I inherited it in, I can help causes and churches with the fundraising aspect, I can show my children how to be more environmentally conscience, train, teach, motivate……and make money too? This is crazy amazing to me.

I will probably be condemned by all of the brokers(sorry) but I would personally recommend highly being a website owner prior to being a broker. I wish I knew what I had in March but until I started doing the webinars, training, and actually shopping on my site, there is no way I could have known. If you decide this is right for you please use your site for the things that you already purchase chances are that you will save money and get cash back and just imagine once you see for your self and you become your own proof source/testiomny how empowered you are going to feel? I believe if more people started as website owners they would be better prepared, better trained, and better equipped to answer questions without having to go up the chain to someone who is seasoned enough to answer it and loosing credibility or giving mis-information in the process. I believe that some people drop out because their sponsor was not trained on how to train their people and as a result they felt frustrated and isolated and gave up thinking that this would sell itself. They may not have had appropriate training or expectations or perhaps a little of both. I am still new and may not have all the answers but I am happy to answer what I can. Good luck to you in your decision making process! The risk at STE is essentially “no risk” for the possibility of being your own boss!

51 Capt Steve July 9, 2009 at 11:36 pm

Anika, Mike and Jack..
Thanks for your insight. There are people that need to read what you have said. I get tired of the bloggers that spit out obsenities with no logical or factual backing, on both sides of the fence. Reading posts from those that can state facts, again, on both sides of the fence, help others to make good decisions. That sad part about your posts is that they are not at the top, or right under Darwins good posts. Between those and you, there is a lot of garbage, and that really is too bad.
For me, Darwins comments, when not fighting with others, have been insightful, I hope that your viewpoints are seen as just as insightful… thanks!

52 Mike Probst July 25, 2009 at 11:20 am

The one mistake people keep making is when they involve themselves with these companies they think it’s their own business. If Shop to Earn goes away so does your so called “own business”. Regardless of what you think you’re working for somebody else under their rules.

53 Steve Russell July 25, 2009 at 11:24 pm

If you own Your own business, like a car dealer, and the manufacturer goes out of business, you’ve lost your business (all the dealers that lost their dealerships last month), if you own a franchise, it is your business and if they go under you are out. If you have a independent grocery store and your supplier goes out of business (IGA) your out of business. happens every year. I’m not seeing the difference.

54 Steve Russell July 25, 2009 at 11:29 pm

If you own Your own business, like a car dealer, and the manufacturer goes out of business, you’ve lost your business (all the dealers that lost their dealerships last month), if you own a franchise, it is your business and if they go under you are out. If you are a jobber or distributer for Food, Cigarettes, Soda or auto parts, and that company shuts down, you are closed until you find another company to Rep. If you have a independent grocery store and your supplier goes out of business (IGA) your out of business. happens every year. I’m not seeing the difference.

55 Anonymous August 13, 2009 at 5:13 pm

I have spent over 35 years of my professional career dealing with insolvent banks, troubled real estate developers, bankrupt companies, and the many issues of fraud which surround these matters. Over this period, I have been directed over 750 legal matters, hired hundreds of lawyers nationwide, and provided over 3,000 hours of expert testimony on scams, bankruptcies, foreclosures, fraudulent conveyances and defaulted loans (both big and small). To say the least, I am cynical about products, people, ventures, and financial proposals until I personally conduct due diligence and meet the people.
I very much appreciate that many people around the country rely on “Google” and internet services as a source of would-be reliable information. Noting STE negative reports back in 2008 as posted on “Google”, please recognize that you can “Google” virtually any subject (foster children, Bank of America, Chrysler, California government, Monavie, Citibank, etc., etc., etc) and read negative postings, instances of litigation, and “sour grapes” from someone who has allegedly been wronged. In the case of STE, please know that I conducted my own due diligence; STE is not a pyramid scheme. In the pure sense, a pyramid scheme is an organization where the last person cannot earn more money than the person/s above him. I understand this concept as I was once the President of a financial institution, and NO ONE made more money than me. In the case of STE, those that work the hardest, make the most money. Those that cannot handle rejection, are unmotivated, and are un trainable are likely to fall by the wayside…..they will move on to another endeavor, likely fail at that endevour, and then have something else to complain about (probably on Google).
Please know that one other money-making-technique that is sweeping the nation is internet extortion; that being, posting negative material on the internet, then demanding money in exchange for removing the posting. It’s kind of like kidnapping and asking for ransom. STE has been an unfortunate victim of internet extortion. I have always felt that if people were honest and hard-working, there would be a lot less lying, cheating, complaining, and extortion in this world. We also wouldn’t need funny money stimulus packages, bailouts, or “Clunker” programs.
As a baseline, I will earn about a 700% return on my STE investment this year, strictly from sales tax savings, cash back, and internet coupons. I note that Citibank is offering a 2.2% rate on its one-year CD, a terrible investment alternative. The 700% return is without regard to any money earned from the Business Builder side. For those that want to build a STE business, it will take hard work and a commitment of time; there is NO free-lunch……….at least I haven’t found one during my35 year career.

56 Darwin August 14, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Prior commentor #55,
You make some good and interesting points. I’d like to address a few of your assertions though.

“Please know that one other money-making-technique that is sweeping the nation is internet extortion; that being, posting negative material on the internet, then demanding money in exchange for removing the posting.”

Well, if you click on the “criticism” category, I actually critique all kinds of business from poor investments to Haverhill home staging upsetting a lot of their “students” to how I think the UFirst Financial Money Merge Account is a waste of money. I’ve had no “extortionist” email exchanges (or any contact whatsoever) with any of those companies. These aren’t money making scheme posts and really only potentially invite the ire of corporate attorneys. I’m not sure where you’re getting this information about companies “paying off” bloggers that write negative articles – do you have a few prominent examples you could share? I’d actually do a post a post about it, it seems interesting that this is “sweeping the nation” if anything else. I’ve never heard of a company paying off an extortionist in the manner you cited.
What you’ll find STE members saying about my blog and others though, which is so juvenile and an obvious lie, is that there’s some sort of “bait and switch” scheme we’re running or something. Total nonsense that’s addressed in previous comments.

On your prior experience, running financial firms or whatever you did previously, I’m going to venture to guess after 35 years and retiring (I presume?) from an executive position that you’d be quite well off. Isn’t it a bit embarrassing for a person of your stature to be peddling an MLM to friends and family? Couldn’t you be out consulting or doing interviews on CNBC or writing a book or something? This just doesn’t seem like the type of thing I’d want to be doing in that position when I’m 60 and transitioning from an esteemed career. I mean a 700% return on 400 bucks, so you’ve made a couple grand? Isn’t that like a week’s income from your pension/investments? I’m sorry, it just doesn’t add up for me. You’re not going to make an executive income of say $500K per year doing this unless you’re one of the insiders that started this thing – in my estimation…so, why are you wasting your time with this?

57 Steve Russell August 14, 2009 at 10:57 pm

One point that I have to agree with Darwin on is that this blog has definitely not been an ‘extortion blog’ and I’m not sure that is what the writter said it is. But, there are many out there that are. Just post something that has ‘Scam’ in it and it pops up on Google. Disney Scam is a good example. My problem with the blogs, not necessarily this one, is that when facts are presented, and many times agreed to by the blogger, they don’t delete the previous comments. Most readers of these type of blogs read the first 5 or maybe 10 entries and then bail. Most cases, the opposing point of view hasn’t even seen it yet by them to offer that point of view so fair would be to delete entries that have been proven wrong.
I one thing I don’t get in these is the comments about wasting ones time in STE. The writer commented that they had a 700% return on their investment…. but that return was based on sales tax savings and cash back from shopping online. The cost of the initial investment becomes mute when you have made your money back and the rest is just pure profit and you have done nothing but shop on line. I can see really going after MonaVie, Efusjon and others that have one and only one product in their mix. I don’t get that one at all and never have. But when you can just shop online at just about every store you can imagine and also from some 13,000 earth friendly products, what’s the beef? That part I just don’t get. Ok, make $5,000 a week consulting. Order your airline tickets, hotel, car rental on line via expedia, travelocity, priceline etc and get cash back and make a few extra bucks…or just say, ‘hey, i make enough money, why save and make a little more?’ So what is soooo wrong with that, that one has to question the guy for doing it? Also, using the comment made that only the people that started at the top are making money, they why are people that started long after them now in the top 100 and moving up? That argument doesn’t hold up here for those that are working on the business.

58 Wake Up, Joe "0" August 15, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Joe zero is a troll that hits all the websites trying to sell his Kool Aid. He was called out for posting under several names and then comes up with a BS excuse of how it may have happened. Some of us in the circle know the truth about your posts and numbers Mr. Zero.
If STE’s so great, stop ignoring the question that I’ve asked you several times…. How did Bart do with his STE experience?

59 Steve Russell August 15, 2009 at 10:46 pm

I’m not sure but are you saying that I’m Joe O?

60 joeo August 25, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Hi! Its me! Joe ZERO!

In response to ” Wake up Joe O” and his obsession with Bart Oates, Esq . . . 3 time Super Bowl Champion . . . Bart had his monthly house party last week and he boasted over 3,000 STE brokers in his business. He also has done a formal testimonial for STE, just like recently retired MLB All-Star MVP Jeff Conine.
There are 1,000’s of attorneys and other professionals that are interested in STE helping them save money, make money and make a real difference in other people’s lives and the planet.

Those that know me know that I have NEVER considered any MLM or network marketing biz before. I was way too cool, educated and successful to lower myself. But this made way too much sense for me. I joined in the summer of 2008 and today my STE biz has made well over $330,000 since last summer…. month in and month out since 2009 began, I have been averaging between $30-$50k a month. This will double over the next 4 months as Holiday Shopping season kicks in.
Residual income from people shopping on line. Truly brilliant!

20 years ago people laughed at Costco . . . $100 annual dues to join, they only take cash or checks, you need to buy 5 gallons of mayo and 2 dozen cans of tuna and carry them out in a 3-sided used cardboard box!!! some people joined and lots did not renew BUT they kept getting better and now they are a household name and a HUGE success.

Joe O.

61 Wake up Joe "0" August 25, 2009 at 7:31 pm

Funny how NOW his website won’t share any information. I wonder why his website as of August 15, 2009, when I posted on this website, STILL showed “0” referrals, “0” shopping, and “0” how many. Now that you have finally answered, I mean I’ve only asked you three times on several websites, his website states “This person has decided not to share this information with others.” Why would he want to hide such extraordinary numbers?????
You’re absolutely pathetic. Go away! Everyone knows your full of **it, you (.)!!!

62 Capt Steve August 25, 2009 at 8:49 pm

Hey, Wake up Joe “o”….
You know, you are soooo worthless. So big behind that keyboard. So low you can’t even identify yourself. obviously obsessive. If the blog master even cared about what is on the blog, you’d be long gone and all the crap you write.
I’ve looked back… can’t find a thing that tells me you know anything about anything. The fingers move and the type says crap. Let’s see… you communicate with ** and #$ and other symbols… oh, good stuff. All attacks, no facts and blowing smoke. you proved it again. Who has anything to prove to your sorry ass.. You haven’t given any reason to fill you in. Facts make no difference to you, you just figure that they are made up, like the stuff you print. Who is Everybody???? You and what other person?? You are sooo absolutely pathetic. Go Away. Because We know your full of yourself because you mean nothing to anyone else. So, unless you can come up with something that is even slightly thought provoking, crawl back in your closet and close the door.

63 Juggy August 25, 2009 at 9:56 pm

So.. Now that Shop to Earn has decided to force all of its members to spend $100 on their shop to earth website or lose ALL the points they have been accumulating since the start of their business, I think I am going to have to pass on this business. Sorry, I did not agree with Darwin’s initial review as it was biased, but the STE business has decided to change its model, and keep changing its model until what you signed up for at the start is no longer the business model. I’m not sure if that is even legal but I guess they have consulted many lawyers or they wouldn’t have done it. I guess I will keep my membership open in case they ever decide to change back to the original model and reimburse everyone the points they intend to clear out (yea, right..)


64 Capt Steve August 25, 2009 at 10:14 pm

See, there is an example of people posting before actually checking out the facts and it will be there forever. Understandable because that is what most people do, just a little research would have shown that the original business model did, indeed, require the $100 per month or points would flush. You would have had to have read the Broker Agreement in the download section and the Commission Rules to know that. An understanding of the industry would show that a company has about 2 years to follow this model or be considered illegal. You can’t have people earning money without doing something, and, rightfully, they shouldn’t. They have always stated that it was a grace period that ran for the past year. Also, the requirement is to generate $100 from your Earth side per month. For example, I have my family and friends and of course myself, buy stuff off my site. If you are serious about it, you can go to seminars… counts toward the amount. Now with over 10,000 products on the earth side, it is not hard.
My point is, you act like this is the only company with the requirement when in reality, every company requires it. It is just what you get when you generate that amount that matters. I’d keep that position open and work it like a business, not a hand out.

65 Darwin August 25, 2009 at 11:03 pm

For the record…since I deleted my initial “record” due to STE’s legal bullying tactics demanding that I take down an entire website over 2 articles…STE had some sort of vague guidance at the outset that you’d have to buy $100 in stuff from the “Earth” side in order to qualify for your benefits – but they hadn’t put in writing just when that was. So, not only did you have to shell out a few hundred bucks to get started, but then you have to come up with $1200 per year in what at the time, in my opinion, was useless to me. I was told they’d be signing on more partners, but at the time, the only thing I even had a passing interest in was Cliffs Bars. I think I had stated something like “I hope you REALLY like Cliffs Bars” in my initial critique at Everyday Finance. So, yes, STE did highlight the $100/month early on, but at the time I was evaluating it, they didn’t actually have a date when that would take effect. It was “sometime during the next few months”. This lack of transparency and direction contributed to the concerns I had over the program…not to mention the ever changing presentation, slick sales practice, and of course, the “balance” issue.

I know, people try and convince themselves “I shop on line all the time, I can easily spend $100 a month on line”. Well, I’d say just take a look at what you have to buy through the Earth side. Is this something you actually need and would be buying anyway? Can you comparison shop on Amazon or other sites? Are the prices the same or cheaper (including shipping)? At the time I checked it out, it was goofy filters and homeopathic stuff that I wasn’t even sure would work or provide me any tangible benefit. If you don’t need this stuff, but you’re forced to buy it, are you really going to make well over $1200 per year from your downline to compensate you for your time and efforts so you’re at least working for minimum wage on this? I haven’t researched this much further and don’t talk to my friend about it anymore, so I implore you to do your own research and make an informed decision.

66 Capt Steve August 25, 2009 at 11:47 pm

The review is fair in many ways. A couple of things blurred but understandable as you are much more involved in other areas rather then being involved with this business. The need to spend the $100 was dependent on whether you wanted to collect commissions. Back then, If you were not making money, you didn’t need to spend the $100. They gave months of notice that the rules were going to start to be inforced and even then extended it to make sure everyone understood it was going to happen. As you know from studying Network Marketing, the expenditure, or generation, is required, not requested. They always had a grace period that was better then most. In the beginning we all wondered what we would do with all that toilet paper. As all new companies (Amazon, included that you mentioned offered no comparision shopping in the beginning, only books) started out in basic mode and morphed into bigger businesses. Businesses change as they grow. In all the years I was in sales in a major US corporation, the sales comp plan changed with regularity. That is just business. Companies change insurance plans, comp plans, any plans, all the time. STE has been doing that along the way. I think the transparency has been good. I’ve been critical since starting with them, reading everything and analyzing it. Rather then being on the ‘company’ side, they have always been on the ‘distributer’ side. Never have they said they would be the cheapest on the Earth side but when I compare to Whole Foods and others that carry those products, it is the same or below and new shipping has made it very fair. I will say, shopping on the Earth side with over 10,000 products has gotten much easier. People have the option of showing what they have earned. People are never required to expose what they earn, it is their right to privacy. If they are saying they earn more then they do, they shouldn’t and can be kicked out because of it. At the same time, in what industry do employees or business people say how much they make? When they do it is usually higher then it really is. How many people are working part time jobs making a little for a little time. How you decide to make some extra money is up to you.. at home depot, Burger King or at home. Like any business, what you put in is what you get out. Some are good at it and some are not.
I agree with you 100%. I implore people to research this, and every other option out there to earn extra money. Don’t listen to people that just talk to be heard and say things that they haven’t researched and are just assuming. Take a look at any business or job closely and make an informed decision. Do that and you won’t be sorry.

67 joeo August 26, 2009 at 9:40 am

Hey Mr “Wake up Joe O”
maybe if you knew the actual website and not his son’s you would be more informed. BTW, its actually more than 4,000 brokers in his biz.
He’s a bit of a celebrity so his #s are private, but they are revealed for the next 24 hours. checkout /oates

68 Wake up Joe "0" August 26, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Take it easy Mr. Russell!!! I certainly don’t need to hide behind a keyboard. I notice that you don’t identify yourself and are hiding behind anonymity. Stop recruiting your family because that’s where you make all your money, not shopping. I’m definitely not worried about someone like you.
joe, so I take it you recruited his son??? How’d he do with it? Maybe Bart Sr. should take some of the money he earned and pay off that lawsuit. You know the one he didn’t show up to court for.
You all do realize that there are several websites that do this same thing but don’t charge you to join, require you to recruit to make any money off your friends, or make minimum monthly payments. Try cashbaq(dot)com, bing(dot)com which was formerly live(dot)com, upromise(d0t)com
These are just a few that offer FREE cash back for purchasing on line. The majority of money you make from scam to earn is from RECRUITING.

69 Capt Steve August 26, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Great name there “Wake up Joe O” The only place you hide is behind your keyboard. You epitomize the lowness of a blog, or anything for that matter. My name is real, whether it is my nick name that most know me by or my real name where as you have none.. no identity at all, which is extremely easy to hide what you really do as most internet predators do. Your statements lack sense… You all do realize that those websites you name only pay a portion of the cash back.. maybe 50%. and, you only get back what you spend. Not much of a business there for anyone except the portal that is taking the majority of the money.. but then you don’t understand business so you naturally would look at it the way that you do. You will be getting your welfare check tomorrow, I’m sure. Really not worth our time, Joe O or mine, as you have to work hard to create a question in order to create attention to yourself.

70 Wake Up, Mr. Russell August 27, 2009 at 7:06 am

As I’ve learned along time ago that people who need to brag about how much they have, how much they do, etc. usually are either A: Don’t have it, B: Have to lie about it as they have an inferiority complex.
I can certainly go by personal experience and tell you of the 12 (twelve) friends that have been involved only 2 (two) have made any money. Guess where they made their money? (Oops that was a question, darn it, I’ll work on it Capt.) They made their money from Recruiting.
Good luck on trying to SHOP ONLY and make any money.
Take your entry amount and don’t recruit, let’s see how far you get or how much you make. I don’t agree with you and tell you my name, so therefore I’m a pedophile. Great logic!!!! Just like a little child.
The friends I did try to steer away thought this was the greatest thing. Guess what, there in a worse position now, it’s certainly not for a lack of trying. The $480 start up and go ahead and try to make money in your business without recruiting.
The only people who make Good Money (which is shady) are hardcore recruiters. You should know Mr. Russell, you made your initial 30 day bonuses and haven’t shot up nearly as much as you had. Unless you do like most scam to earners do and open another account so that you can continue to hit your scores. By the way, the two that have made the money have multiple accounts so they can score. NICE!!!!!!!!!!! Good luck with more and more recruits from here in S. Florida as it’s been extremely saturated by this crap. Not many more suckers left Capt. Good Luck and Riddance to you ‘mate!!!!!!!!

71 Capt Steve August 27, 2009 at 7:51 am

There you go again… you blast others for not saying who they are or using different names and yet you continue. You can’t read.. i said predator not pedifile and you fill that predator model perfectly. You just have no credibility. i’ve only recruited, as you say, 10 people and none this year because that is all that i wanted yet i’ve made much more than i ever invested so I guess that recruiting thing doesn’t work. Anything over my initial investment is fine with me. i’ve scored just on shopping, so that gets shot down. If those you tried to steer away lost more than $448. because they did nothing then they would have lost at anything they have done, which would fit your profile. You can talk but you can’t justify. If those who have multiple sites, which means multiple SS#’s, and they score, who is that affecting? Not me and any other individual. So who might they be scamming? S. Florida saturated? look again because there are people joining all the time from S. Florida.
So again, you type and nothing is said. no credibility.

72 Wake Up, Steve August 27, 2009 at 8:29 am

How much have you scored after you recruited all 10 people? You’re only showing approximately $7,000 earned. I’m sure you hit all your 30 day blah blah blahs, correct?
You’ve spent a lot of money on STE products ($1,400) with $170 back. You’ve also spent a lot on regular online shopping (almost $1,900) with $80 back. Keeping in mind, if you hit your scores.
The reason others open different accounts is so that they can hit their scores again within the first thirty days. They realize that’s where the REAL quick money is. The same reason that people recruit there wives/husbands. Would Debbie be your wife? The reason I ask is because one of your recruits show as Debbie & Steve Russell. Did you recruit your wife and yourself?

73 Capt Steve August 27, 2009 at 10:42 am

Again, you are given transparency yet you hide.
First, What do you mean… “if you hit your scores?” Cash back has nothing to do with Scores. You receive that money regardless of the number of people you have, if any, or the number of points that you have collected, again, a lack of credibility.
Yup, about $7,000 earned, hit first 30 days bonus. You say spent a lot on STE products like there is a problem with that? Over 10,000 products out there that I use anyway, that I bought from other places. Not a hard decision. I’ve changed my everyday shopping to more online and enjoy it and take advantage of it. You make extra money from those shopping below you and those points flowing up… No money out of their pockets into yours, only from the company. I’ve made about $7,000 and it is exactly what I would expect. $448 investment, $7,000 return. A large portion after that first month just from points from others shopping. Sorry, your self judgements and misquotes just continue to add to your lack of credibility.

74 Wake Up, Steve August 27, 2009 at 12:24 pm

How about answering the questions I posed to you?
How much have you scored after you recruited all 10 people? (You’re right I meant to say how much have you made, not scored).
Would Debbie be your wife?
Did you recruit your wife and yourself?

75 Capt Steve August 27, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Naw, I’m done. I really see no reason to answer questions to someone that is hiding and has no credibility. You have the site. you see how much I have made, how many i referred, how many people I have and how much I have spent. It’s all transparent and it is all facts. BTW: How do I recruit myself?? Another blarring example.

76 Wake Up, Steve August 27, 2009 at 3:32 pm

Well it’s pretty strange that you don’t recruit yourself but your wife and you are listed as one of YOUR referrals. So there’s a blatant lie. Talk about no credibility!!!!!!!
BTW, it’s blaring not blarring. Sorry, I’m still waiting for my welfare check and I have plenty of time to read over these literature books.
If you’d like to put down your real numbers and not come up with $7,000 off of $448………. PLEASE!!!!!
Why don’t we do this for everyone? Let’s start from here today and let’s see how much you make month to month. Then we’ll compare it to what you’ve had to payout, month to month of course.
Heck, we won’t even count the Debbie and Steve Russell account. Since it’s not your wife (wink wink). I mean how do you recruit yourself??

77 joeo August 27, 2009 at 3:34 pm

All this silliness . . . STE has been around and in the news since March 2006. Thats 3.5 years now. If it was all about recruiting it would have been shut down immediately. Do you think the FTC doesn’t know about STE? Do you think that it would have grown from 400 stores last summer to over 1,200 if it wasn’t a briliant business model? Do you think that so many lawyers, prosecutors, CPA’s and celebrities would be active if it was a scam? c’mon now. Let’s use some common sense.

STE and it’s brokers are in the business of selling cash-back web portals. Or virtual Malls. Why pay Google and Yahoo when you can pay yourself? It’s a product that works very well and many people are happy with it. Whether its 1-2% cash back or 25% cash back . . . it works every time. Of course there are other cash back programs from search companies and banks and these products may or may not be cheaper but thats always the case. Some people ride their bike to the train station, some drive a Hyundai and some drive a Benz . . . they all get you there.
However, I don’t believe I would have made well over $300,000 since last summer with any other program. Nor would I have helped thousands of others save money and make extra money either.

If you show your cash-back portal to a friend and they buy one, you get $100. You NEVER are required to shop the $100 on the Earth side to get your cash back when you shop . . . not even to get your $100 referral fee either. It’s $448 to become a broker and $119 to renew. That’s $686 over a 3 year period – you would have to live in a cave to not get $700 in cash back shopping over 36 months. That’s a mere $19/month in cash back. Heck I saved over $1,000 in cash back my first 6 months buying stuff I would normally buy AND saving time and money too.

What I like most about STE is that there are no victims. People watch the program, decide if they want to start a business . . . and if they fail ( and just like any other business 80% will fail ) at least they get their money back by just shopping. If you take a lien against your house and open up a Subway or McDonald’s franchise and you fail . . . you have NO chance of getting your money back.

So say what you want . . . about recruiting family etc. It’s rather silly really.
Joe O.

78 Capt Steve August 27, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Still hiding I see.
Yawn… you are so far out there, search, scratching, sniffing but can’t figure it out. Theres nothing there to find.
Good to see you there Joe!

79 Wake up Joe "0" August 27, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Still don’t want to answer the question of why you recruited your wife Debra and YOURSELF?? No wonder you and Joe zero are friends.
If STE is such a great opportunity then take on the challenge that I posed to you, xxxxxxxxxxx. I’ll even keep track of it for all to see; as long as you don’t shut everything down to private. As of today your earnings show $7,351., which is not even close to all profit, but even still let’s see where your at on a weekly basis.
Come on, a confident xxxxxxxxxxx man like you should be able to take on a simple challenge like this. Especially a challenge coming from a welfare guy like me.

80 Juggy August 27, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Capt Steve, you say I did not do my research but you are wrong.. I did a lot of research but the problem was I didn’t look EVERYWHERE. I looked at the business model, I looked at the FAQ, I looked at the slides and 24 hour video.. They all said the same thing.. You would only lose your points for THAT month if you didn’t shop the $100 a month.

Now, where I failed was that in the contract there is something that says the original plan was a mandatory $100 a month shopping or all points would flush and the business model could go back to that at any time should they feel the need to do so. It was my own fault for not reading everything.. I just think something this big should have been mentioned just about everywhere they mention the $100 shopping rule. It IS that big of a rule/game/model changer..

Anyway, I know the deal.. Do your research and read every slip of paper you sign and you won’t be caught with your pants down in a business that may not fit what you’re interested in getting involved in. I liked the business model that I signed up under, I do not like the current model. I’ll go idle until they change it again. Hell, it’s been changed 4x since I signed up a few months ago.. Maybe management will see the light again.


81 Darwin August 28, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Alright everybody – deep breath.
Web 2.0 is great in that we can have a healthy debate in real time and nobody’s kickin anyone else’s butt. It’s come to my attention that some personal information was posted in some of the previous comments and I’ve had to go back and delete/alter some stuff. I don’t want to be part of people asking me for IP addresses, altering comments that reveal personal information of people in a debate, etc.
So, let’s chill out for a bit, keep the debate on point and leave the personal insults out – whether I agree with your or not, I’m trying to do right by everybody here and make sure this doesn’t boil into a dangerous personal situation for anyone.

82 joeo August 28, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Just a quick comment on the $100 /month ‘mandatory’ Earth shopping requirement. As a business owner this “requirement” is a joke compared to actual real brick and mortar entities. Heck my business insurance just went up $210/month. I shopped the insurance a little and it doesnt pay to switch. So now I pay an extra $210 a month into the abyss to stay in business and I see NOTHING in return.
I also spend another $1,000-1,500 in pens and pads and lunches to try and stay in business.
With STE I spend $100, get 15% cash back and points and I ACTUALLY GET PRODUCTS THAT I CAN USE and EAT!
Are you kidding me? Every household spends at least $300-$400 a month on shampoos, cleansers, paper products, snacks, food etc. And all they ask is to make some healthy/eco-friendly choices for a mere $100???
These are NAME brand products…the same stuff you find at Whole Foods.

OMG . . . people please get real!

83 Juggy August 28, 2009 at 8:34 pm

Joe, the problem is the products on the earth website are marked up 25-30% so the 15% you make back on cashback still puts you in the hole because of the marked up prices.. I’ve tried to shop there, the prices are just too jacked up.. I just can’t justify shopping there if the prices are marked up.

Examples of items I am interested in..

Nitro tech protein powder.. 2 lb container 47.24

Same product at another online website, $28:

Same thing with the 4 lb container and all the protein bars from Muscle Tech.

Examples of Twinlabs Products..
2lb twin lab protein.. $36

Other websites.. $19..

And the list goes on and on.. My point is if STE is going to mark up every product and put the money in their own pocket, where do I save while shopping on the shop to earth website? I mean some stuff is close to 40% marked up. So whenever I find something I might be interested in, I search other websites for comparable prices and it never pays to buy through the earth website. I *WANT* to shop there, even if the 15% cash back breaks me even or a little bit less.. But I can’t justify losing 25-40% off every item I want to buy. Even with cash back and points, it doesn’t even out.. See my dilema?

84 Wake up August 29, 2009 at 11:23 am

My apologies to all. I simply wanted to show how ridiculously easy it is to pull up personal information in this day and age. It is to easy to find pretty much anything about anyone hence the reason that I wish to remain anonymous.
To Capt. Steve,
A personal apology if you feel I brought up to much. There certainly is no intent of trying to make you feel at unease. If that is the case, I’m sorry.

85 Juggy August 30, 2009 at 8:57 pm

Darwin, where did my post go where I linked some examples of the earth page pricing vs other websites? I posted it a couple of days ago but it has never been approved.

86 Darwin August 30, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Anything that comes in w links gets flagged as spam immediately. I’ll check it out when I clean out the folder next. Occasionally legit comments end up in there.

87 joeo August 31, 2009 at 8:27 am

The Earth pricing is just OK right now. Some things are market priced and some are below and surely some are over-priced. Every shopper knows that you can ALWAYS find a better deal somewhere regardless of what you are looking for. You can find the same Hanes underwear cheaper at Walmart than at Macys and Nordstorm. Doesn’t mean there isn’t room for all to survive and thrive. All 3 have loyal and dedicated customers

Keep in mind that Shop to Earth has just over 100,000 shoppers . . . it’s just a baby. It hasn’t even started yet. It’s still in pre-launch. Once it grows to over 500,000 and then over 1 million in the next few years everything will get even better. The website, search engine and pricing too.

Remember Costco/Price Club 15-20 years ago?
You had to pay $100 to “join” the club. Lots of people thought it would NEVER make it ! They had 1/3 of the products they have today. You had to pay with cash or check only ( no Credit Cards). Then eventually they took Amex CHARGE card only. You had to buy in bulk . . . 24 cans of tuna and a 5 gallon jug of mayo. You still have to put your stuff in a 3-sided used card board box with no help and when you walk out they check your receipt like you are a shoplifter. So what happened? Today Costco is a HUGE success . . . a Wall Street darling for the last 10 years. It didn’t happen in its first 2 years.
Lots of people joined and then MANY did not renew . . . but as Costco upped their game and added more products word got out and it spread. They added quality meat and fish, garden products, even clothing. “Where did you get that pie?” . . . ” I got it at Costco!” . . . so people started coming back in droves.
As on-line shopping becomes mainstream and as SHOP TO EARTH KEEPS IMPROVING LIKE THEY DO EVERY MONTH (last summer they had 400 stores today they have over 1,200)
Experts are predicting the same growth fro STE. The business model just makes too much sense.

The only way STE stops growing if it on-line shopping and the “go-green” movement reverses itself . . . very unlikely.


88 Juggy August 31, 2009 at 6:17 pm

Joe, I understand it is in its infancy but it just so happens that the items I am interested in buying are on a 25-40% mark up when compared to just about any store I can find. When the prices come down, I’ll be glad to shop there but if the business model makes the shopping mandatory, this will only be fine for those people who are much more developed in their business and are willing to take a loss by shopping there. Newer people will be very turned off to being forced to spend $1200 a year buying items that are marked up in price. My team has 23 people, not a single one has spent the $100 mandatory and all of them have decided to forego their points and pretty much move on. How does that help those of us that are less established? I mean if I had a team of 100 shoppers, then I can see the justification in MY taking a loss on the marked up items, but the less established people will not be willing to commit more money on marked up items. It seems like the strategy is geared toward memebers at the top, because beginners won’t bite. Which really comes down to flushing all the points of people that are not advanced in their business.

Honestly, the decision to bring back the old rule does not make business sense. It forces newer people out unless they are not smart enough to comparison shop. So one should question what is the business motivation to force a flush on all the less established people? Anyway, I know the answer to this question, but I’ll keep it to myself.. I am *Positive* we will see another rule change back to the old rules in a few months, I think I have a good idea of what’s going on..

I guess I will have to make my decision by tnite to see if this is financially sound, but that’s only because I am very close to 4800 pts.. Otherwise it would be a no brainer “no” answer.

89 joeo August 31, 2009 at 7:52 pm

Shop on Earth . . . before its too late! LOl

Truthfully, Juggy, I do see your point. But I must respectfully disagree with your comment :
” It seems like the strategy is geared toward members at the top, because beginners won’t bite.” There’s no “strategy” to help the members at the top . . . just the opposite . . . without growth no business survives. But the success of Earth is crucial.
The “strategy” all along is for Shop to Earth to become the largest shopping portal on the planet and for it to be “the Source” for the country’s eco-friendly/organic products. To force people to make healthy decisions for themselves and the planet. Guess what . . . it worked on me! I am now all organic. I recycle everything and only will use eco-friendly cleansers. If you would have told me this a year ago I would have said you’re NUTS!

The STE founders could have borrowed $200 million from investors and blasted the airwaves with advertising to try to drive traffic to their online “eco-friendly” store. This is very risky and may or may not have worked … instead they chose to use a network marketing model, give away all the affiliate cash-back from the 1,200 mainstream stores and share 70% of the revenue from web-portal sales and Earth profits with its representatives.

The points flushing and $100 Earth shopping etc . . . I don’t think it has to do with how long you have been in, but more of your mindset as to what you actually want from STE. If you only showed this business model to successful entrepreneurs that are business oriented people, real entrepreneurs that are comfortable investing in his/her future with no promises of any real return (except the promise and belief in themselves) then STE compares most favorably to any other venture.

I know dozens of people that signed up and immediately spent well over a few $100 on the Earth side . . . the very next day, even though they weren’t required yet. Why? Simple . . . they wanted to try out some new products and touch and feel their new company! Some people just “get it and go for it” based on experience.

I know of so many real bargains on the Earth side BUT if you say some things are 25% -40% more
(then with 15% cash back plus points) I won’t disagree. Of the 15,000 items I’m sure we can find hundreds of items that are currently overpriced. BUT still, when you compare this to any other business – this is a no-brainer.

Let’s just say, for argument sake, of the 15,000 items, that you could only find stuff that was 30% overpriced. So that means you will spend $100 for $70 worth of brand name products (with 15% cash back + 15 points) that equals a real cost of $85 for $70 worth of goods. (Keep in mind that this is a required business expense and most CPA’s let you write off the $100, so your real net-net cost is $70 anyway – but that’s a personal tax decision)

So let’s say you now spent an extra $15 dollars on your business. I spend that on 2 martinis for a client that may or may not send me any business. That’s desert and an espresso for a client that I don’t like.
Heck, if you start a small business you will spend $1,200 in your first month on letterhead, reams of paper and a cheap desktop copier.

My point is this . . . if you are in this for the long haul and you see how amazing this business model is (compared spending $250k on a Dunkin Donuts franchise etc) You do NOT worry about the $100/month Earth petty requirements.

So Juggy, yes you have a BUSINESS decision to make tonight. Do you spend $100 on some natural organic stuff for you and your planet or do you let your points flush. You need to decide what this will cost you today ( $15?) versus next year’s revenue. Maybe the people in your business just weren’t educated on what they have? Maybe that’s your fault or maybe they just don’t have what it takes to see the big picture.
I think I do a great job of showing people what this is really all about . . . some see this and don’t sleep for 3 days and some just don’t get it. That’s ok.
Deep down you KNOW that you are only a few entrepreneurs away from making some real nice residual income and creating health and wealth for many.

Best of luck whatever you choose!

Joe O.

90 Juggy August 31, 2009 at 8:31 pm

Honestly I can’t even get in to shop.. The earth website must be getting hammered with traffic, I’ve been trying to find some competitive pricing over the past two hours but all clicks are timing out. I think i found something that is comparable yesterday, but I wasn’t prepared for today’s traffic! I am willing to stick it out until I score next month and see how things progress on my shopping experience. I think I need to search more for items that are comparable and give it some real effort before I throw in the towel.

91 joeo August 31, 2009 at 8:40 pm

I hear ya . . . that’s why I shop on the first of the month!!!

Joe O.

92 Juggy August 31, 2009 at 10:05 pm

So what happens if the website stays down the whole night? Does everyone lose their points if the website is not responding? After the 3rd hour, I got an item in my cart, signed in, and it disappeared..

93 davis11 August 31, 2009 at 10:08 pm

i think this is so funny. i signed up the end of june. i’ve reading this article that evidently started early 2008. The biggest mindset you have to have is that starting off, unless you can do this full time, your not going to make a whole lot of money. my wife and i both have full time jobs that range from 50 to 70 hrs per week, but needless to say we still try to do our best as “we” know at the moment this is extra money not to really count on. , but on the other hand, with using coupons and shoptoearn for our kids schools supplies, we purchased 2 pairs of shoes, first pair was $54.99 2 pair with coupon, 7% back , plus even a bogo 1/2 price on the items (sketchers) we only paid $3.43 for the second pair. with Christmas coming, we are sure to save $$$$, plus our gas, mileage, and our time.
Maybe one day we will be “rolling” in the dough, but for just starting i am completely satisified!!

Joe O, thanks for the tip, i’ve been trying all night,lol guess i’ll be back on tomorrow too!! lol

94 Jack August 31, 2009 at 10:11 pm

I tried for the last three hours. I ended up submitting a Support Ticket. That way, it has a time stamp and I have proof of my attempts.

95 joeo September 1, 2009 at 7:41 am

Well the obvious answer is . . . NEXT TIME DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST DAY!
I’m gonna go out on a limb based on my 13+ months experience with STE and guess that NO one will lose any points if they wanted to shop last night. Although that doesn’t seem fair to the serious people.
Again, I have no offical info, but STE has alway been generous with their deadlines especially if it was an issue on their end.
Today is September 1st, and my wife and kids gave me a long list of Earth products they need refilled. Snack bars for school, eye wash, natural makeup for my teenage girl, and other toiletries and cleansers etc. I will spend well over $250 right now.

I doubt even Target has 10’s of thousands of people trying to buy things all on the very same night. But don’t worry. The intent for STE is to be very strict with their commission rules . . . but the truth is they have always been wimpy and try to help us out.

96 joeo September 2, 2009 at 9:58 am

Hi Davis11:
It’s good to hear from someone that understands fully what STE is all about. I have been approached many times over the years but I never got excited about any super brazilian fruit juice, or other wonder foods and creams – even if they were amazing . . . just not for me. To make any money or to at least BREAK EVEN, you had to push at least some of the product to pay for your own monthly usage. With STE you can break even on your own. Brilliant and non-offensive.
The STE cash back works everytime AND you do happen to own a potentially lucrative business. A Business that appeals to almost anyone under the sun that has a PC and needs to buy “stuff” to wear and eat anyway.

Davis11, no doubt that if you worked STE full-time you would make some very good money . . . but you’re busy with your regular jobs and that’s fine. However YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT PATH! All you need to do is become a satisfied customer and keep creating savings and success stories (AS YOU ALREADY SHARED) , then simply share the story/concept with friends and colleagues at your leisure. Just like you would about a great sale at Macys or a great restaurant.

As you know . . . if you happen to stumble upon a few go-getters looking for a biz opp, you can find lightning in a bottle and perhaps make a few extra thousand a month and so on. If you found a few people like me . . . you can retire. So that’s kind fo neat in and of itself.


Joe O.

97 eCommerce September 2, 2009 at 1:42 pm

I was reading your website and you questioned, “Do I need a dealership to put a Honda on the internet?” The answer is no, as long as you have owned the car for over 6 month’s and have titled it in your name.

If you bought the Honda within 6 months and you are a car dealer in the State of Pa, you need a dealer’s license to sell the car online. And if you are a dealer and you list the car on ebay motors, some attorneys contend that we will need an auctioneers license.

In the state of Pa, anyone buying a vehicle and selling it within that 6 month period is considered a dealer as long as there is a profit made on the car. People used to be able to sell 5 cars in PA without getting a dealer’s license.

If you search the internet there thousands of “car hustlers” laundering money and selling cars that have anything from undisclosed salvage history problems to mileage rollback issues as well as undisclosed mechanical problems ranging from defective transmissions to engines loaded with honey to mask blown engine issues.

So, to those buying cars on the internet from someone without a dealer’s license be prepared for the joyride of your life into car hustler heaven and remember that if the deal seems too good to be true….guess what, dude, it’s not true…

98 Darwin September 2, 2009 at 2:21 pm

On the Honda thing, I think you must have misunderstood an analogy regarding Google Adsense and Affiliate ads. Please revisit for context. The site has nothing to do with car sales.

On this end of month site crash thing, isn’t this the site that took like “10 years to develop”? I’m just continuously surprised by the “minor league” approach STE takes to their online portal given that it’s purportedly an Internet web business enabler.

99 Juggy September 3, 2009 at 9:34 pm

I don’t doubt the “affiliate referral” portion of the business.. I think they need a great deal more items on the earth store before you force a $100 monthly required policy. 10k items on the earth site is a good start.. They need to increase that to 50k and work on their shipping issues.. $11 for ground shipping needs to be improved.. They are on the right track though..

100 joeo September 4, 2009 at 8:21 am

It’s actually 10,000 new products added July 1st . . . so now its over 15,000. It can always be bigger and better . . . and they are working 24/7 to make it a super user-frienldy Earth site with bargains you can’t get anywhere else. They will get there. As a regular shopper, this is all good quality stuff that people should be using . . . But again, as a BUSINESS, this is not even worth mentioning. I am looking for ways to spend money on this STE biz, but I can’t really find any. I am so used to spending money to make money . . . because that’s what it takes for most businesses. Heck, even the smallest business that you start will need office space, letterhead, fax machines, copiers, networking cables, phone system and some marketing materials.

The only money I can try to spend on STE is wine and cheese for a get- together or gas to drive and see someone. The $100/month plus I spend on Earth products ( I actually spend much more since my house has completely gone green and organic) does not feel like an expenditure because a few days later GREAT PRODUCTS SHOW UP AT MY DOORSTEP!

Love this business!

Joe O.

101 Brad September 4, 2009 at 7:36 pm

wow. my head hurts after spending about 3 hours reading all the comments, the STE tour and other info from my recruiter.

Like many on here, and even some who founded and are part of the leadership of STE, i was part of an “environmental” company in the 90’s, the eventually got shut down. I, with several members of my family invested well over 10k in that company. So excuse me for being a bit snakebitten and shy about getting started in another MLM. I swore I never would again.

But there is something about this business model that does attract me. As far as the required $100/mo from the green store, since the nearest natural store to me is about a 30 mile drive, I would save about 2 gallons of gas (@30pg) and about 1.5 hours of time. So even if I pay an extra 10-20% for a product, I am saving in gas + time + my carbon footprint, which is why I was drawn to this company in the first place. This does not even include any cash back I may get. Not a bad deal really. As others pointed out, many of us belong to Sams, Costco or other stores that charge membership fees to shop there. And unless you buy in bulk frequently, you may never realize your savings over your initial investment. Scam? nope, just a way for some to utilize a different way of shopping that may meet their needs.

I do have some questions and am not fully confident yet about joining. Again, many of my loved ones and friends remember clearly what happened with the last ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ that we were involved in. While I do not regret that experience and learned alot about business, the environment, people and motivation, it was a business where the time and money invested were much greater then the return, at least in tangible amounts.

I’ll bookmark this page and if/when I join, I will keep you up to date with as unbiased of a posting as I can 🙂

Best of luck to those in STE and for those opposed, relax….MLM’s aren’t for everyone, just as sales isn’t, being a lawyer isn’t, being a financial advisor isn’t, etc. We all have are own calling and gifts. But remember this, if your chosen field was for everyone, then everyone would be doing it and what fun would that be!

102 Wake Up, Capt Steve September 13, 2009 at 9:03 am

I believe I posted on 08/25/2009 and your previous earnings showed $7,351, which we know is very inflated and doesn’t show TRUE earnings. Now at the date of 09/13/2009 your total earnings are $7,376 and you have’nt made your monthly $100 purchase from ST Earth. A total of $25 in about 19 days? Again, you haven’t met your monthly requirements.

103 joeo September 14, 2009 at 8:55 am

Hey Mr. “Wake up” you really have no life at all. You have nothing better to do but to track a stranger’s part-time business? Maybe Capt. Steve was sailing all month and didn’t feel like working on STE? That’s the beauty of STE . . . no one is asking anyone to quit their day job. Its there for you whenever you feel like shopping or referring. Why don’t you track my site: /nygiants ?
I am FULL-TIME with STE . . . which by the way . . . working STE full time takes about 6-8 hours a week! Love this business.

104 Wake Up, Joe "0" September 14, 2009 at 9:25 am

Is this the only STE web portal you’ve ever had? For every person that makes money from this there are 8-9 that make nothing at all. That’s a fact! You had 27 referrals on this portal alone. Yeah, it’s not about recruiting??? HA!!!!
Now, why would someone open multiple web portals joe? Why would someone post on a website multiple time under multiple names how great this company is. Remember getting called out for that joe?

105 joeo September 14, 2009 at 9:54 am

Mr. Wake up:
What is your point exactly? You do not make any decent points at all.
My wife has a website yes, and my partner’s wife has a website too. So? But they are not as succesful . . yet . . . they are doing “just ok” . . . those sites are only making a mere $4k – $5k a month in residual income. That ONLY pays the mortgage or a college bill. They are not retiring next year…It will take and extra year or two for them. Check them if you like (I know you will ) /ecombrokers and /susanmarone Track them!
If YOU were making this kind of money . . . don’t you think you would have lots of referrals too? Am I NOT supposed to try and help my friends pay down their mortgage? save some money on shopping etc?
My original 27 referrals (mostly from last summer) have grown to over 6,850 people. It grows by 20-30 every day. I don’t know these people . . . these are just sharp people who don’t put any value in these silly blogs, and see that there is absolutely no downside at all to getting a cash-back web portal for $448.00 It grows like wildfire . . . are they all just stupid?

And yes 8 or 9 out of 10 will not make any serious money. BUT they all have an opportunity to at least break even. I can’t change the world Mr. Wake Up. Guess what, there are millions of people with their real estate licenses . . . recruited by the local agency . . . some make millions of dollars a year, some make a living, but 80-90% never make anything at all. They spend $1,000 to go to school and get a license and get biz cards and fail. They were sold a “dream” 6% commission for selling a house! . . . is that scam?
Same for people with their Series 7 Stock broker’s licensing, also recruited so that they can bring in their families retirement money,
80-90% of people fail at business too.
I refuse to be one of the failures and I serve to inspire anyone else that refuses to fail. It’s called leadership.
I have been blessed because I tend to succeed at whatever I put my mind to . . . Let me tell you, over the last 22 years, more than once I went into debt to start a business, then I had NO CHOICE but to work 85 hours a week to make it work or go broke. That’s what a typical biz takes.
But STE . . . OMG . . . I have NEVER seen a business model like this. I get to use the web to generate business 24/7 AND I can teach almost anyone to do it in a few hours. Brilliant.
Joe O.

106 Wake Up, Joe "0" September 14, 2009 at 10:17 am

Mr. Zero,
Fact – You have MULTIPLE websites/portals. Why? I’ll answer honestly. You make your money recruiting people. It’s not about shopping mr. zero. I know people who’ve hit their one month recruiting bonuses and then open portals under the names of their JUVENILE child just to make more money from recruiting. If it’s about shopping zero then why are people doing this?

How much money have you made from shopping? ANSWER THIS QUESTION.
How much money have you made from recruiting? ANSWER THIS QUESTION.
That is exactly why Capt. Steve isn’t making a significant amount of money anymore. He reached his peak of recruits. Once he opens another site and recruits more, then he’ll make more money.

107 joeo September 14, 2009 at 11:10 am

hey wake up:
You really are clueless about this biz. You obviously have never seen the 25 minute overview on h0w this all works and if you did, it must have went right over your head. And YET you keep pontificating and you really know nothing. If I am a ZERO . . . what are you? I am making serious money here in my sweat pants, driving my kids to school, going for a jog, having fun with my STE biz . . . you are wasting time on the web talking about a biz you’re not even involved with. Do you even know how the point system works? clearly not.

Here’s one last attempt to explain how wrong and mis-informed you are.

You said ” sign up your juvenile child just to make more money from recruiting ” Who would buy a site for their kid for $448 just to make the $100 training bonus? that makes no sense at all. Do you realize that when you sell the STE product, which means someone you know decides to buy their own “cash-back web portal”, you only get $100 ! Some people buy their kids a web portal just to have for future use. Kind of like buying a mutual fund and having it grow. In 5 or 1o years there could be 100’s of thousands on one leg and all the kid has to do is grow the other. I wish my parents got me involved in AMWAY in the 1970’s. I’d be a multi-millionaire today.

To answer your questions directly.
You obviously can see my site has made over $190,000 since last summer and you can also plainly see that I referred 27 people. So with the $100 referral fee, out of the $190,000 I made a mere $2,700 in showing this business to others and them deciding to buY their own web portal. This is so clear to see. So how much of my income did I make from selling people their own cash-back web portals? ( you call it recruiting . . . whatever). LESS THAN 1.5% of my $190,000

Shopping? more simple math . . again, if you knew how this works… You can plainly see that on my site /nygiants . . . all transparent info, that I personally saved over $960 in the first 8 months of 2009 just buying things from my favorite stores. So that’s over $120 a month in pure savings for a $448 investment I made last year (btw it’s only $119 to renew ) That $960 does not include all the money I saved in 2008.
But for 2009, this $960 in real cash back also generated some 960 points too!! It’s the shopping points that make this work so well.

So, for my biz . . . .with 6,850 people in my business all shopping and conservatively saving, let’s say just a mere $25 a month . . . on their own portals (not $120/month like me ), let’s stick with just $25/month average. And let’s assume, like you suggest, that 80-90% of the people aren’t business minded and don’t refer hardly anyone if at all, that’s ok. HOWEVER there’s no denying that if you did buy yourself a cash-back web portal for $448 you will surely be hell bent on getting your money back no? . . so everyone is shopping at Staples, Home Depot, Nordstroms, Macys etc and getting their cash back – this is what is happening every day. So lets say these people only save $25/month which is only $300 a year and actually fall short and don’t make their $448 back. Again, I am trying to be realistic here.

So that’s 25 points a month x 6,850 brokers = 171,250 points a month . . . generated just from shopping. – not recruiting. Divide that number by 4,800 points that it takes to score the $550. That equals 35 scores a month! so again, simple transparent math will tell you that 35 x $550 = $19,250 a month IN RESIDUAL INCOME JUST IN SHOPPING ALONE . . . and my site /nygiants has been doing exactly that.

I answered your questions with clear and transparent math that is reflected on my own site. Please have an intelligent response or no response at all.

Joe O.

108 Wake Up, Joe "0" September 14, 2009 at 11:23 am

Hey brainiac,
It’s not signing up the juvenile for a $100 bonus. It’s called reaching the 10 person in 30 days on one account and starting up another to reach that 10 person bonus.
You should know about this since you have multiple portals and I do mean MULTIPLE. Why zero?
I’m sure at some point you were a car salesman. I certainly give you credit for trying to put a spin on every number out there.

109 joeo September 14, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Hey Wake up:
go back to bed . . .

You just can’t admit that this is a wonderful program that helps people save money and make money. YOU ARE HOPELESS.

110 Wake Up, Joe "0" September 14, 2009 at 7:11 pm

You’re way off. I admit that if you recruit the heck out of people and open multiple accounts, AS YOU HAVE, you can make money.
You can’t admit that you have other accounts you’re not mentioning. Shame, Shame, Shame!!!!!!
Any of the money you’re saving can be done on similar websites that do the same thing for FREE. As the author put in the article you spend a lot of money and unfortunately a lot of people that got involved can’t afford it. They listen and in hopes of quick money, get buried worse than they were before joining. I’m not denying that you’re making money. You’ve recruited an unusual amount on all your accounts. You’re DEFINITELY in the minority. The number that shows how much you’ve earned is not exact either but I’m sure you’ve done well. AGAIN, YOU’RE IN THE MINORITY.
Why would you get so upset, zero, when all I simply did was point out how much an STE member has made in a nearly three week period?

111 joeo September 15, 2009 at 7:22 am

Wake up:
You still have no idea how this works. And you are calling me a liar by saying that my numbers are inflated. They are not. My wife has an account and my biz partner’s wife has an account too. BUT those profits are not included in my $192,000 (which btw grew about by almost $2,000 last night).

You say there are people that get involved that can’t afford this? None of my people are that way. Maybe in your lower socio-economic neighborhood, but not mine. My issue is having people ONLY spend $448 and then do not take it seriously. If they spent $448,000 on a SUBWAY franchise, they would actually get more involved.

There are literally millions of Americans people spending well more than $448 a week on just cigarettes and beer . . . they can’t afford that either AND they are costing all of society big money as we provide healthcare and unemployment coverage. I can’t change the world…but I have already helped scores of people make an extra $3k or $7k a month to help with their bills during these tough times.
This is a business opportunity, and I along with thousands of others, have proven that it works. YOU are nothing but a whacko with no life picking on a random guy that turned $448 into $7,000 and saying he’s been fooled.

You are a very sad person looking to crush the hopes and dreams of others.

112 Wake Up, Capt Steve September 15, 2009 at 10:38 am

These are your hopes and dreams? What a life!!!!!! Don’t forget about your other account that wasn’t in your wife, aunt, uncle, (whoever you want to claim it to). I know about your multiple accounts. It’s not to hard to figure out.
Here’s an example of your car salesman tactics and fudging the numbers……. This one guy didn’t turn $448 into $7,000. Don’t forget the annual fee, don’t forget those hidden charges for deliveries (it doesn’t show that on the accounts pages), how about those other hidden costs $5 to have your money sent to you????? He’s spent nearly $1,300 on STE products alone; doesn’t that come off the profit? How about paying your taxes on this income at the end of the year?
Also, it’s been three weeks and he’s still at only $25 for the month. YAHOO!!!!!!!!
I live a very comfortable life and am fortunate enough not to live in a “lower socio-economic neighborhood”. It sounds like your appauled by the unfortunate people that do. There’s a shocker!!!!
Millions of Americans that spend more than $448 a week on beer and cigarettes doesn’t make it right. There are also those that spend that amount on crack, heroin, oxy, etc. Your comparing that to your dream. You sir are a classless person who only cares about your upper economic self.
When this thing finally gets shut down, it may take a while because unfortunately that’s the government, I will send you a personal email and tell you I told you so.

113 joeo September 15, 2009 at 11:11 am

Dear Wake Up:
I am an expert at determining what makes people tick . . . you leave lots of clues about yourself through your ignorance. For you to actually mention ” $5 a month to receive your money . . . what about the taxes? . . . and shipping costs!!! . . . ” simply proves to me and whoever may actually read this, that you are a small-time, small-thinking simpleton living check to check. Angry at the world and trying to make others miserable too.

On another note… I dont think there are more than 3 or 4 people actually reading this stuff anyway!!! LOL

keithw Reply:

@joeo, I read it and am quite amused….I think someone just tried to scam me with a money laundering scheme so I did my best to report them to yahoo and [email protected] I still believe in the age old addage, that anything that sounds too good to be true probably is and I have never seen otherwise in my 44 years on this planet. I bust my a55 for every dollar that I earn and then get laid off. Then after attempting to get a job by using careebuilder someone in where “Finland’ attempts to get me to launder their money…….Good luck to both of you in your debate KW looking for honest work in Tulsa

114 Wake Up, Capt Steve September 15, 2009 at 11:59 am

It’s actually your inability to conceptualize that it’s not one small thing it’s the totalitly of all things. But, I’m ignorant? Those dollars add up, PERIOD. $5 here, shipping there, taxes at the end of the year. It adds up, that’s my point. Just like when you open numerous portals. You hit your 30 days a lot quicker. I already know of two other portals that you have/had that you haven’t spoke about. In addition to the others you’ve pointed out. I wonder why you have so many different accounts? I hope you keep up on your taxes!!!!!!!! Your funny Joe. See I did call you Joe and not that other “0” name. LOL!
Hey, we do agree on something. I don’t think many people are reading this either despite the fact that the moderator did a great job on the original article.

115 joeo September 16, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Dear Wake up:

You know . . . maybe you’re right . . paying taxes on a six figure residual income AND getting whacked for $5 a month is surely adding up fast. Thanks for pointing that out. Maybe I should contact Shop to Earn and kindly ask them to please stop sending me this money every month?

Dear STE:

On behalf of my myself, my wife and my business partner, please immediately CEASE AND DESIST from funding our Citibank VISA debit cards with the approximate $30k per month that you have been doing since the beginning of 2009. This total in excess of $360,000 since last summer has been a true burden. The month of March 2008 was particularly aggregious as it suprassed $50,000. I am also simply tired of having to buy $100 worth of healthy products like granola bars, coffee, shampoo, steak, shrimp as well as the many eco-friendly cleaning products my wife now loves to use around the house. I am also worried that I will not be able to write all of this off and may have to pay taxes at the end of the year . . . and that $5 monthly accounting fee should be cut in half!!! how dare you!

If you disregard this letter and proceed to send the $32,500 this September 21st as planned, I will have no choice than to have you speak to my hired blogger attorney “Mr. Wake Up” he knows everything about everything and you will NEVER win this arguement.

Mr. Joe ZERO

116 Wake Up, Joe "0" September 16, 2009 at 12:42 pm

You spend A LOT more than $100 a month dork. You have NUMEROUS accounts and you spend more than $100 a month on them. Your “alleged” money that you make is an exception to the thousands of people in this crap. I’m not saying your not making money. You’ve worked the system to it’s full potential. Open numerous accounts, scam (I mean recruit) people, etc.
Zero, you can look at some of your recruits and see that most (NOT ALL) haven’t made jack crap, unless they’ve recruited others. That’s the point!!!!!!! If it’s about shopping then why can’t you make your money back? THAT’S BECAUSE IT’S ABOUT RECRUITING. As you’ve put up these great numbers I know plenty of friends who’ve wasted a lot of time (probably near 20 hours a week) trying to recruit, attend meetings, paid for seminars, etc. and didn’t make a dime. All the time I tried to tell them it’s ridiculous. They now tell me, “You were right.” “You don’t know unless you try.” “Oh, I don’t want to talk about it.”
Zero, why don’t you post the portals your personally involved with and then I’ll add the ones that you’ve been so sneeky (I mean forgetful) to post?

117 joeo September 16, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Wake up:
You make no sense…I told you I have 1 portal with my biz partner /nygiants and my wife has one and his wife has one. We all help each other with training our teams and introductions etc. Yes all 3 made the 10 fast start $4,100 bonuses but that was the summer of 2008! you can only do it once per site. If you sign up 27 people, it doesn’t help for another $4,100 after the initial 10 . You only get a mere $100 per referral after that. You can’t hit the $4,100 again. Sorry to inform you of this.
Were you thinking that I kept making $4,100 for every 10 people? WRONG!

The total of $350k++ we amassed as a team of 3 is after that initial $4,100 x 3 sites = $12,300. The rest of the $340k has all been on others being succesful.

btw . . . I havent “recruited” anyone in a year! I also made made over $960 in cash back JUST FROM SHOPPING! Sorry, but the #s are plain to see.

OMG . . . you really have no reading comprehension and LOVE to see failure.

Are you happy that your friends failed? Is that what makes you tick? maybe if you were a little supportive of your “friends” they could have made it a success? Did you secretly wish inside that they failed. What if you knew me personally and I made it work . . .would you not sleep at night. WTF is your problem? were you beaten as a child?
Let me ask you this . . . If one of your “friends” decides to get their real estate license will you start telling them that its ridiculous? because they will spend money and time on seminars . . . and 90% of them probably will fail.

I’m done with you. Too negative!

118 joeo September 16, 2009 at 4:10 pm






119 Wake Up, Captain Steve October 4, 2009 at 12:19 am

Well it’s been about 40 days and when we started monitoring it was at $7,351. It’s now up a whopping $52.00 IN 40 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!
LET’S MAKE SURE WE ADD IN THE $149 ON A PURCHASE AT SHOP TO EARN. $52 in 40 days minus the $149 you’ve spent makes it MINUS $97 over the last 40 days. HHHHMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!

120 moneybags October 8, 2009 at 5:42 pm

I have two questions about the program:
Somebody stated that for every new shoppper there is a $100 commission paid to the person who recruited them. Is this only paid when the person signs up for their own portal, or is it paid when anyone uses their portal to shop? (I am assuming it is only paid when they set up their own portal and not merely shop–but I thought I would ask.)
Other question, how do you know what percent of the total you will ever get, i.e. if say Home Depot gives 5% then how many people get their cut before I get my money? Thanks for helping me to understand it!

121 joeo October 9, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Money bags..
You can call me anytime /nygiants

122 jerry October 19, 2009 at 2:49 pm

you all realize JoeO is paid by STE to go on all the blogs trying to defend the program. If he was actually making as much as he claims all over the internet with it, he wouldn’t care who posts what about it, he’s got his money. in short, Joe’s just a phoney, it’s simple as that.

as for STE itself, i’ver yet to see any product from any of it’s affiliates that I haven’t been able to et cheaper directly from the affiliate itself. two of my credit cards also give me more ‘cash back’ than STE gives peoiple on purchase4s, and unlike ste’s ‘cash back’, I don’t have to pay income tax on the credit card’s cash back because it’s legit cash back, not an affiliate payment.

STE, and Joe (obviously), think no one has any clue how the internet and affiliate programs work. They thrive on the fact that people ahve no knowledge of this.. when in fact, more and more people are learning every day as computers and online shopping is more and more mainstream each day.

The fact of the matter is, if Joe was for real, and STE was anything it says it is, they wouldn’t care if people queestions it, post blogs about it being a scam, etc.. You don’t see major corperations going crazy when someone says they are crap. Their making their money and don’t give a damn what anyone says about them. The fact that STE needs to threaten people, and send minions such as Joe around to start arguements over it jsut proves it’s a crap company, taking peoples money, and scamming everyone. They’re affraid people might research the actual facts and not be interested in signing up (where all the money in these schemes is made).

123 joeo October 20, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Hi Jerry:
You are great !! I love it !!! not sure where to start though . . . here’s some bullet points as I need to go pick up my son from school in a few mins . . .
I don’t ever check these blogs except when I get an email that there’s a new update.
– my ste biz has made over $380,000 since last summer . . . sorry but its a fact and even though no one really reads these blogs much anymore, the few that are in ste that do check in once in a while, who know the TRUTH . . . know its true.
– I don’t work for STE, I work for myself. Fact is when you are a “full-time” STE broker there’s not much to do! I just had $35,000+ hit my account TODAY and I don’t really know what to do with my spare time.
– you have a cash back credit card? GREAT . . . so do I and I use it when I buy things from my STE mall and get even more cash back . . . duh! and there’s no taxes on any cash rebates
– I love your comment “taking people’s money etc etc ” guess what . . . if you bought your own virtual cash-back web portal mall it would work as well as mine. I ALWAYS get cash back for every single purchase I make forever. However, with your small-minded cynical thinking you would never make a dime with STE as a business. OR perhpas you are another one of those people from a different MLM that is losing their entire downline to STE because it makes so much more sense?

Anyway, thanks for the laughs!
Joe O.
Morristown, NJ

124 Wake Up, STE November 6, 2009 at 9:50 am

Two and a half months ago a challenge was given to an STE supporter to show us how much is really to be made after making the initial REFERRAL fees. I started monitoring their earnings which started at $7,351. It’s now up a whopping $75.00 IN APPROXIMATELY 70 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!
My math definitely shows no money being made. If you’re taking in less than you make it sounds like a losing effort. As I’ve said before the real money to be made is by continually recruiting. If you don’t and you keep buying overpriced products then only one business is truly making money and that’s the one selling EXTREMELY OVERPRICED PRODUCTS.

125 joeo November 6, 2009 at 11:33 am

Hey Mr. Wake Up;
There’s an ancient Buddhist philosphy that says (paraphrasing) “if no one accepts your challenge or insults . . . then to who do they belong?”
You offer a challenge to some stranger as if he cares and as if anyone is watching. You’re nuts.

I know you’re probably also monitoring my website too /nygiants and see that its making $500-$2,000 a day, every day…but we won’t go there. What you don’t understand is that STE works. Its not on trial. People do with it what they please. It’s a simply a cash-back shopping mall that can be a side business. You will also see on my site that I received $1,200 in cash back in 2009 from simply shopping and buying the stuff my family needs.

STE does not encourage people to quit their jobs and try STE full-time like so many supposedly “legit” non-pyramid companies do every day! The well-respected financial planning and insurance firms like Merril Lynch, Paine Webber, Northwest Mutual etc recruit 24/7, trying to get people to leave their full-time jobs, get licensed and then open up accounts and sell insurance to all their family and friends . . . 1-2 years later, 90% realize that they can’t make a living at it and they need to start over with something else. Meanwhile, the company used and abused that person. They made big commissions and opened up a bunch of accounts. Many of the family and friends keep their money at the firm because they can’t be bothered switching again AND THE PEOPLE AT THE TOP GET TO GRAB ALL THOSE ACCOUNTS ! By anyone’s defintion, is not this a scam? Why is this so acceptable? Doesn’t that set these poor gullible people back years with their family income and future?
Yet network marketing . . a part-time venture, gets bashed by some old school closed minded idiots.

But truth is…the tide is turning fast . . . network marketing is becoming mainstream ….why? because its a great business model where everyone wins and you get exactly what you put in. Love it.

Of all the MLM’s out there, I can NOT find a better biz model than STE.
Joe O.

126 Casey (Cashbaq team) November 19, 2009 at 1:32 pm

It’s a shame that there are other companies out there that give our industry a bad name. Somebody mentioned our site, Cashbaq, so I wanted to clear the air. Cashbaq is NOT a scam. I should know… I’m taking a quick break from writing letters to send out with this month’s Cashbaq checks. We pay our members when they shop through Cashbaq at 3,000 online stores and services. We start you with a $5 sign up bonus and pay you by check or Paypal whenever your balance hits $10. It generally takes about 90 day for us to get final confirmation from the stores. we’re trying to speed that up.

If you ever have an issue, just contact us. Our customer service team will be happy to help. I hope I get to mail you a check and letter soon.

Casey (Cashbaq Team)

127 Wake Up Joe "0" December 2, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Hello Casey,
I for one am a HUGE fan of Cashbaq and have mentioned it on many other STE blogs about. People that join this STE crap don’t understand that they could get easy money back through sites such as your by simply logging on and clicking the links. I just did the other day for the Entertainment book and will receive $6 (plus my other purchases) cashback in around 90 days. Another great part is that if you don’t get the amount necessary for payback in 30 days, it doesn’t get wiped off your account like STE.
When I first signed up I also referred two friends and received those sign up bonuses. The best part is it’s FREE, no catches!!!!!!!! I’m glad I didn’t have to spend $400+++ for a “BS business” that is free through your employers website. To you, I say Thank you!

128 joeo December 3, 2009 at 8:31 am


When I first got involved with STE last year, I was told many times that if I
“simply worked STE part-time for a few years . . . that I could earn enough money in residual income to cover my monthly mortgage payment.” WELL THIS CERTAINLY DID NOT GO AS I PLANNED!

I should have known! What new business, company orientation or job interview, would EVER make such a ridiculous claim? Imagine sitting for an interview tomorrow morning (if you could even find a place hiring today) and you are told, with a straight face, that if you…

“put forth consistent effort for a few years part-time, and simply follow the training program and our system, you can create a residual income/annuity/pension that will pay you up to $5,000 a month forever”

This is what was “insinuated” at my first Shortcut to Success I attended in Florida. Well it’s been exactly 18 months now and if you do the math, THEY WERE DEAD WRONG!
My business’s monthly income has averaged $24,000 a month (not $5,000). In 2009 alone, it has averaged over $32,000/month.

So what else did STE fail to mention?
– They didn’t tell me that I would meet 100’s of great people and make so many new friends;
– they didn’t tell me that my title insurance business would be saved, that I wouldn’t have to lay off half of my staff like most title agencies did. The new contacts that STE has generated has literally saved my title business;
– they didn’t tell me that I would be thanked profusely by dozens of people that utilized STE to save their house and/or their marriage during the toughest economic period of our generation;
– they didn’t tell me that most people don’t follow through and do what they say;
– they didn’t tell me that a lot of people would get involved as Brokers, get all excited about the opportunity, and do nothing and never show up again;
– they didn’t tell me that I would grow personally, that I’d become a better person, a better father, a better husband, a better leader, a more environmentally aware consumer, and an innovator;
– they didn’t tell me that the business and the website would keep getting better and better, and as the Company continues to evolve, the business would become easier and easier;
– they didn’t tell me that I would be lying in bed on a Sunday morning (like today) and be inspired to start typing out emails to try and help people – even though I know with certainty, that most refuse to be helped.


Did you know there are less than 10,000 people in the entire Northeast involved in STE?

Did you know that there will be people that won’t even hear about STE until 2011, 2012 & 2013 and some of THEM will retire as STE millionaires?


Warm regards,
Joe Zero
shoptoearn .net /nygiants

129 Wake up, Joe "0" December 4, 2009 at 3:59 pm

It’s awful funny that I know about 20 people that have tried STE and not one of them are millionaires. As a matter of fact none have become “rich” doing it either. I think we showed a typical person on STE in the numbers that have been updated on a member that was posting on here previously (Capt.). If you continue to open multiple accounts, recruit and recruit, then yeah you’ll make money. Your website you put up is hilarious too. I can’t believe people fall for that crap. HAHA!!!!
Wow, Bing . com is offering 20% cashback on Walmart purchases how about STE
Bing is offering 15% through ebay how about STE
Bing was offering 20% at Dell for three days last week, how about STE

130 Rich December 8, 2009 at 11:57 am

Keep going Wake Up I love it. My friend’s wife joined STE and tried recruiting me. I tried to tell them it was a scam and they would not make any money. Bottom line is an idiot is an idiot, they can’t be helped.

Joe O from Morristown prove how much you make via your tax return.

131 joeo December 10, 2009 at 7:29 pm

So you actually think your friend’s wife is an idot??? That’s nice.
Does your “friend” know what a crappy friend you are?
Joe O.

132 Wake Up, Joe "0" December 10, 2009 at 8:52 pm

Only one idiot out there…. It’s the one who doesn’t know how to spell idiot!

133 joeo December 11, 2009 at 7:20 am

So boring when you have nothing left but to criticize a typo.

I guess the case is closed. Shop to Earn works for people who are coachable and determined . . . just like anything else in life.
I have helped save dozens of marriages/homes by showing people how to make a few extra thousand a month during the worst economic crisis of our generation. In addition, thousands are now using more eco-friendly products helping save the planet and themselves. What have you done for the world lately except spread negativity and crush some hopes dreams of people seeking a better life?

Anyway . . . hope you all have a great Holiday Season!

/ nygiants
/ ecombrokers

134 eCommerce December 12, 2009 at 1:41 pm


For Richie…

In the above comment we had a typo…or two..

“cookingt” should have been spelled, “cooking”

“Hand” should have been spelled, “had”

“as in, can only be had in the land of milk and honey…..”

Have a great day Richie Babie…or Richie Baby…..

135 Wake Up Joe "0" December 14, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Hey zero,
I just received $45 cashback notice through bing for a $200 Macy’s order. How much would I get through STE!!!! LOL!

136 joeo December 14, 2009 at 4:23 pm

That’s great Wake up!!
Now ask if BING will pay you another $438,000 so you can catch up to me and my STE biz.
You do not have an entrepreneurial bone in your body.
Joe Zero

137 Riberto Leyva December 14, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Hey Wake up:

The cash back you get through Bing is only on selected promotional items that you probably will get anyway by going either directly to or going through our STE site (and 4% cashback on top of that.) So, only through those “selected items” are you able to get cash back (which is probably items that no one wants and the stores are trying to get rid of.) What that compells people to do is buy a whole bunch of stuff that they don’t need, only because it’s on sale. Through STE, you can buy everything you NEED on a monthly basis and receive cash back. Not to mention how valuable the weekly webinars that are held by STE to educate people on how much they can save with coupon codes, etc. Also, there is NOT ONE rewards program out there that has been able to partner up with all the environmentally friendly companies that STE has partnered with. NAME ME ONE OTHER COMPANY THAT DOES IF YOU DO HAVE IT “WAKE UP.”

As far as the $448, it would cost a lot more to construct a website that will have attactive designs and have all the tracking that our STE website has (i.e. the cash back, the points, the members, the comp plan, the overview page, etc., etc., etc.) And on top of that, be able to start a business for $448. If people would just do all the shopping they normal do on a monthly basis through their website, without refering a soul (by the way, you are not required to buy $100 through the green side if you are not making money), they will surpass the $448 in cash back two-fold. So where is the scam?…

By the way, I joined in June 2008, have made just over $87,000 (my user ID is “leyva”) and helped many others earn $1,000’s, I’ve only opened that ONE account, i.e. no other accounts and I was foolish to stop working the business months ago. Out of my organization of over 3,000 people, there hasn’t been anyone joining my business for months, but yet I’m earning a residual income purely based on everyone’s shopping.

Now, “Wake up”, you say that we buy over $100 / month of products we don’t need. Dig this….Before I joined, I was already buying brand name green products in Whole Foods (which was always over $100 / month.) Now I’m buying those same, EXACT, products, same brand names, through my website, from my computer in the comfort of my own home, Saving time, money and travel, and have conviniently delivered to my door step. “Wake up”, I know you don’t care about the environment, that’s why you see the products as useless, but others do care. All you care about is bashing others’ hopes and dreams for what I see.

So “Wake up”, you keep mentioning that you know of Joe’s multiple accounts? Why don’t you just post them here on the blog? That goes to show that you are just LYING and putting out false information, possibly to try and recruit others to your business model.

Anyway, like Joe said, not everyone is successful at anything, i.e. not all doctors are successful in medicine, not all lawyers are successful, not all Real estate agents are successful, not all business people are successful. It all depends on how much drive a person has towards whatever they do that will determine success or failure.

Anyway, enough for now.

P.S. See how respectful and honest this post has been. Now watch me get insulted and bashed by all the grumpy anti-MLMers.

138 Wake Up, Joe "0" December 14, 2009 at 7:43 pm

Joe didn’t you have additional websites (portals) as well as the two you just listed?
I made that money through Bing via Macy’s without spending a dime to join. No $500 fee to join, imagine that!
Entrepreneurial, bet you had to spell check that one.

139 joeo December 14, 2009 at 8:47 pm

Hey Wake up . . . Yes.. As I always mention, my biz partner and I have 3 sites in total. We share a site and our wives each have a site. Which you just don’t understand is that it is MORE DIFFICULT to make money with multiple sites. We didn’t really know how to best do this when we first started. We made our ‘fast start’ $4,100 on each site, which made us over $12,300 the first month or so . . . but then it becomes harder to manage going forward. Yet we are still wildly successful just “showing” people how simple this really is.

So keep your $500 STE broker fee ( actually its only $448 ) and your $45 from Bing (a multi billion dollar conglomerate that couldnt care less about you or me or the environment) and remain a frugal, miser and ‘ small time’ loser.

Really . . . how do you compare $500 to what people are doing with STE? Again . . . its not just the six-figures plus I have made, nor the $1,000+ a day I make every day whether I like it or not, its the fun! I find this to be lots of fun . . . helping others pay for their mortgage or college.

I really dont see why you even would respond. Go away.
Joe Zero

140 Wake Up, Joe "0" December 14, 2009 at 10:40 pm

How about the thousands who’ve made “ZERO”?
Mr. Zero there’s a lot more people losing money than actually making money. That’s why YOU have to keep recruiting, IDIOT. Anyone desperate enough to recruit a youth league should be ashamed. I’m sure they’re making thousands of dollars too.

141 joeo December 14, 2009 at 11:52 pm

Wakeup: I havent signed anyone up in months! That’s the beauty of network marketing. Work hard in the short term and the kick back forever.
With regards to a Youth league . . . again you are clueless. I donated the $448 website myself, 100’s of moms and dads are shopping on the league’s site and the league makes $$$ doing next to nothing.
You see if YOU were also successful you can start giving back and donating $$$ to great causes . . . but you’re not about positive energy. You like to stay mis-informed and try deflate people.
You only live once on this planet . . . why be so negative?

Joe Zero

142 Wake Up, Joe "0" December 15, 2009 at 12:23 am

Here is once again another BS response: “100’s of moms and dads are shopping on the league’s site and the league makes $$$ doing next to nothing.” REALLY???? I certainly don’t see hundreds of moms and dads ordering through the website. A fact would be, THAT ONLY A TOTAL of ELEVEN (11) PURCHASES HAVE BEEN MADE THRU THE WEBSITE SINCE OCTOBER 2008.
Since you’re showing as the contact person for that website, why don’t you go ahead and open up the blocked “My earnings” page for the little league website. Let’s see how much money you’ve poured into this fortunate organization.
So go ahead and prove me wrong on it zero. Unblock that earnings page and let’s see how much you’ve assisted the little league.

143 Wake Up, Joe "0" December 15, 2009 at 12:25 am

I’m going to predict some “Major League” deflection folks. That’ll be from Mr. zero who has went on other websites slamming STE posting under numerous names.

144 joeo December 15, 2009 at 8:22 am

Hey Wake Up:
You really have no clue what you are talking about. STE grows every day, thousands of people are saving money as I type this blog . . . and you are getting nothing done. People like me DONATE cash-back web portals to non-profit organizations to help raise money and you think even that is BS???
All of my responses are truthful and informative. Yours are juvenile.
I need a break from your non-sense.
Joe O.

145 Wake Up, Joe "0" December 15, 2009 at 1:05 pm

Show the proof that “100’s of moms and dads are shopping on the league’s site and the league makes $$$ doing next to nothing.”
YOU SAID IT and it shows on the website that 11 purchases in over a year have been made. I’m not a mathematician but 11 is certainly far from hundreds isn’t it?
As I stated, we would see serious deflection and it’s exactly what we got from it. You won’t answer because you know I’m right. I’m sorry you think I’m juvenile but at least I’m not BSing about numbers and facts.
If you knew me you would definitely not believe I’m a negative person. I just hated seeing friends by into this crap. Most have lost money and a couple who recruited the heck out of people made money and it certainly wasn’t from shopping.

146 Deborah January 7, 2010 at 12:29 am

Wow, reading this blog was really interesting, my brother signed up for “Shop to Earn” through a good friend. He wanted me to take a look at the marketing plan. It’s very well done, but not for me. I agree if you are doing a lot of spending with your credit card and not getting cash back for your purchases, you are leaving money on the table. We use the Discover Card for as many expenses as possible and pay off the full balance “every” month. We get back hundreds of dollars per year for carrying less cash around and exercising discipline. To compound our dollars, we also shop through a Rewards Mall, (it has over 1000 on line stores) that’s free, there are not set up fees etc. You have to take your hat off to the group that dreamed up Shop to Earn ~ they have a very good marketing model. We have all heard the saying; “the buyer beware” or with any contract, you need to read the fine print. The Devil is in the Details.

147 joe zero January 9, 2010 at 10:33 am

Hi Deborah:
Not sure about the “devil’ comment. I know all the details of the ste contract…especially the commission schedule portion. I know everyone gets paid on time and accurately each month.
STE is a business for me. Typically with any business venture there is risk involved. Buying a franchise, signing a lease and personally guranteeing the lease, hiring employees and hoping that they don’t sue YOU if a co-worker looks at the them the wrong way. This is a huge undertaking. And we all know that most will fail and the person ends up in debt. When you compare $448 to buying even a small sandwich shop or starting a hair salon etc, this is a no brainer.

How many ” old fashioned” businesses can turn a profit in their first 3 months?how about the first year? STE can return your money back in hours. If you fail at the business end…well then just shop and get your cash back…no victims here.

There are lots of rewards malls all over the internet. They make their money by skimming some of the cash back (STE pays it all to us) and by the credit card usage fees they broker too. That’s ok. But its NOT a business. Realistically, probably less than 2% of American even know about cash back portals and even less use them effectively. Part of my business is getting paid to spread the word and sell cash-back ste webportals. The more that are sold the more money me and my team makes. We sell a “Mercedes quality” cash-back web portal for $349 . . . not everyone appreciates a fine machine…some want a hyundai….that’s ok…both will get you to the game on time. Both have a place in the market.

STE accepts Discover, so lots of people double dip. STE even gives cash back on gift cards so some people buy them, get 5% cash back, then use them on the website and get another 5% cash back. Most stores allow this and dont mind this double-dip . . . why? because on-line shopping is 50-70% more profitable for the retailer than brick and mortar.
Anyway… I will keep running my business . . . each month I do less and less and make more and more. Its been almost 20 months now.

When some skeptics ask me ” hey Joe, how’s that pyramid thing you got involved in last year? ” I respond, ” You mean Shop to Earn? yeah . . . I am almost done with that thing.” They get all smug and say, “hmm didnt work out huh?”. I say, “No, actually it worked out just as I planned … focus for 2-3 years and walk away with $150k a month forever and ever”
How much cash in a CD do you need to earn that every month?

livin’ the dream!
Have a great 2010!
Joe O.

148 Wake Up, Joe "0" January 9, 2010 at 3:00 pm

You had to go away because you were caught in another lie. Now you wanna come back and address Deborah who really sees the BS for what it’s worth? Your such a funny person. Once again, here’s the point I posted for you before, “I need a break from your non-sense.”
“100’s of moms and dads are shopping on the league’s site and the league makes $$$ doing next to nothing.” REALLY???? I certainly don’t see hundreds of moms and dads ordering through the website. A fact would be, THAT ONLY A TOTAL of ELEVEN (11) PURCHASES HAVE BEEN MADE THRU THE WEBSITE SINCE OCTOBER 2008.
Since you’re showing as the contact person for that website, why don’t you go ahead and open up the blocked “My earnings” page for the little league website. Let’s see how much money you’ve poured into this fortunate organization.
So go ahead and prove me wrong on it zero. Unblock that earnings page and let’s see how much you’ve assisted the little league.

It’s been nearly a month since I posted that and still no purchases from their portal. They must be so thankful to have you Mr. “0”. You’ve saved the league from going under and save HUNDREDS of moms and dads money for shopping there??????? If their shopping through it then STE is a bigger scam than ever believed. I mean the website isn’t getting credit for ALL those purchases. LOL LOL LOL!!!!!!!!!!!

149 Anon April 23, 2018 at 1:38 pm

The owner now opened a new company after his old one failed and basically just changed the name. There are very similar things about it and there were lies told to founding members.

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