* base href=http://www.geocities.com/WallStreet/5395/bigbook.html>
4/9/1998: In a press release, GTE announced that it has purchased the BigBook domain name and trademark. There was no indication of any change in the operation of BigBook Direct, although the BigBook Direct ads are no longer on the BigBook web site.BigBook Direct is the direct sales division of BigBook, which claims to be the leading online yellow pages provider in the U.S. Judging by its press coverage, it would appear that BigBook has made its mark on the web.
BigBook is now offering a multi-level business opportunity allowing independent consultants to earn commissions for selling local businesses services offered by BigBook Direct, such as web sites. Persons desiring to become BigBook representatives can start with a minimum $50 cost as an independent representative, or can start with the Managing Consultant Training Kit for $349.
But this is just a case of imprecise terminology on BigBook's part, because in the same web page, BigBook uses the term "independent consultant" to mean different things:
If you make a minimum qualifying sale yourself, your earn just $20 plus $4 per month. This could end after just one month, so you might earn as little as $24 from such a sale.
But if you recruit someone as a Managing Consultant and then give that sale to them ("assist" them with the sale, as described by BigBook), you earn $100 immediately.
In this case, you are paid more for recruiting someone who makes a sale than you would be paid for making that sale yourself, which is tantamount to being paid for recruiting.
And how will you explain to a prospective recruit (whom you would like to recruit as a managing consultant) that you didn't personally need the training the training kit, but your prospective recruit does?
And if you end up recruiting only independent consultants (i.e. not managing consultants) who themselves are likely to never recruit any managing consultants, you can never move beyond the level of Qualified Consultant.
Participants can get around this prohibition too easily,
by offering to pay for the web sites of friends and family.
It isn't necessary for quotas to create this problem in
an MLM -- it all depends on how the quota is structured.
BigBook's chairman, Kris Hagerman, claims that the people brought in with previous experience at AdverWorld were hired because of their experience at selling web sites... yet a cursory examination of web sites hosted on AdverWorld would have shown that credible web sites were few and far between on AdverWorld. If the ability of these people to sell web sites was the basis for hiring them, then it would seem that nobody at BigBook bothered to look at the web sites they had sold.
But BigBook should be looking to make money for itself and for participants in its business opportunity from income generated through bona fide retail sales, not by inducing participants to sell other participants an expensive training kit. If BigBook Direct really believes in the value of their retail offering, they would have no need to do this.
The potential for individuals to make money hawking BigBook Direct web sites exists, but for the moment, the Cagey Consumer urges people to avoid this opportunity just as it would urge people to avoid any opportunity that is based in significant part on income made from sales to participants.
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