The SFI Marketing group is not a straight forward system. It incorporates all the classic signs of an MLM (Multi Level Marketing or Pyramid scheme) and yet tries to mask it.
A Little Background
There is some history to SFI, one that I can only piece bits of and use conjecture to fill in the rest. You see, their website is sfimg.com and according to their site, it stands for Strong Future Internal Marketing Group. However SFI started off at least as Six Figure Income and the sixfigureincome.com site still redirects there.
I can’t find out much about that product but the name itself doesn’t make it sound like it was anything but a “get rich quick scheme”
It appears then that this business has changed tactic.
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SFI Marketing Group also gets an A+ on the BBB website, but honestly, don’t put much trust in that, for $800 anyone can get an A+ rating…
Joining is free, unlike most MLM’s so it is easy to be taken off guard by it. What quickly gives the site away is the SFI Basics:
1. Become an Executive Affiliate (EA) and remain an EA every month.
2. Recruit five affiliates using the methods listed HERE.
3. Teach your five affiliates to do these same three steps.
Any system that strongly suggests from the outset to recruit people under you and get them to recruit people is without a doubt an MLM system.
What complicates the initial view is that SFI uses a sister company and affiliate marketing as well, an effective way for the owners to make more money.
Making Money with SFI
How does this particular system encourage you to make money? There are four ways.
1. Start earning money by accumulating VersaPoints
VersaPoints are SFI’s internal points system. In order to stand a chance of getting a cut of a pot of money each month you need to earn 1500 points as a minimum. No where on the site does it tell you how much the pot of money is currently nor what your slice would be for 1500 points though. It is always worrying when a company isn’t transparent in these things.
The only information available is this:
A huge 40% of the Commission Volume (CV) on EVERY sale at TripleClicks.com goes into the TripleClicks Executive Pool. Share in this big, company wide pool with a minimum of just 1500 VP a month!
Where does this 40% come from? It isn’t clear, from the sales of products it seems, but who foots the bill? I can’t see it being the sellers, they are already losing a lot by selling there.
Not only that but from looking at the ways you can make VersaPoints it looks like your first month will be easy due to large value but simple objectives for example liking SFI on Facebook. After the first month, it looks like it will be much harder to obtain.
In fact one area to be cautious over is that there is some advices from other members to buy Tripleclicks (see below) gift cards, in order to gain 1200 points each month. That’s around $60 a month. Not cheap especially if you cannot make up the extra 300 points and even then there is no guarantee you will get your cash back.
You do get points as well for promoting products on Tripleclicks (per sale).
2. Increase your earnings by generating sales at TripleClicks.com
To obtain some cash you can promote products from Tripleclicks, which is a self proclaimed Ecommerce site. However to me it looks like a poor man’s Ebay. The products are a mixed bag, the sellers even more so, with many of them being from abroad and with poor English skills.
One seller states:
“Find it Here is a online store that sells different stuffs that you need and stuffs that hard to find”
Marketing some of these products will be interesting to say the least, so making money from them may not be that lucrative, however there is of course the possibility.
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One thing that upsets me is the Beginner Methods of gaining sales:
- Tell your friends and family
- Buy gift cards and give them to friends and family
- Buy promotional cards and distribute them – “Whenever you take a taxi or ride public transportation, “forget” this TC X-Card on the seat before you exit.”
- Post flyers
- Etc. etc.
There are some reasonable methods listed as well, including social network sharing, but the fact that a lot of the beginner ones involves harassing friends or family or purchasing products to promote them is not good.
Tripleclicks earns the owners of SFI “a nominal fee” (genuine quote!) of 15% of all sales, so they have a vested interest in getting you to push these products any way you can.
Now add on to that the fact that you as an affiliate can earn 45% of the sales price. That’s 60%. Very few businesses can afford to provide quality service and products with a 60% loss on the product sale price, especially physical goods.
However, earning that amount is unlikely, as for a start your are automatically given a “sponsor” who will earn a percentage of your commission. On top of that, each item has a different commission rate, some with as high as 65% some low 5%.
3. Maximize your income with sponsoring and duplication
Here is the MLM creeping in again, with members recruited below you having a portion of their earnings sent upline towards you. This matrix, as it is called, is 12 levels deep which is very large. MLM systems are not self supporting, and the FTC is in the firm belief that overall the only people who make money from MLM are the ones at the top, and that is always the business owner and not you.
4. Add supplemental income streams (optional)
This is side work, mainly referring sellers to Tripleclicks and allowing adverts on your site.
Training and Support
Most of the training on site is minimal and revolves around selling Tripleclick products or earning more VersaPoints. There is no real meat to any of the training and nothing that can benefit you in the long run.
The Bottom Line
Is SFI a scam? No. While I have reservations about recommending it, it isn’t as simple as they will take your money and run.
I am not a big fan of MLMs, I don’t believe there is any money to be made in them by a regular joe. From what can be gathered of SFI, it is an MLM crossed with affiliate marketing, and as such thought there is a potential to make money here, though I would strongly caution you from spending money in order to do so, as there are lots of areas in SFI where it is easy to start spending cash to make up your VersaPoints or market SFI.
The quality of the products and sellers is also something that concerns me, how can you sell something at such a low mark-up? I highly doubt many, if any, of these sellers have the weight business wise to get mass purchase deals.
I am also quite concerned they put a lot more focus on getting you to promote SFI to your friends and family than actually teaching you anything on marketing in general.