The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Dandelions and Palm trees

Bunny and I headed up to Indiantown (and while a small town, it was large enough to attract about a dozen Tea Party protestors) to visit her mom, attend a local barbeque and to catch the Indiantown fireworks show.

And for such a small town, it was quite the fireworks show.

[Palm Tree][Dandelion][Dandelion II][Palm Tree II][Daisy][Dandelion III][Dandelion IV][Daisy and Dandelion[Palm Tree III][Palm Tree IV][Dandelion V][BOOM!]

I also heard that the local group of citizens of Indiantown actually collect money and pay for the show, not the general tax payers. How about that?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What do you get when you cross Amway with Amazon? Get rich while feeding Africa, or a Ponzi scheme?

Update at 9:30pm, July 16th, 2009

Well, the TamPogo Compensation Plan has changed since I quoted it yesterday which makes some of my points here moot. I'm doing some extensive editing of this entry to reflect not only the changes TamPogo has made, but also because of some very strong feedback a couple of people have made on these entries.

I'm still skeptical of the company (especially since I still can't find any substantial information about them)---that hasn't changed. What has though, is some of the information the company is providing. But by all means, do your own research


Normally, I would have ignored the email as spam, but since it came from someone I've known for a long time, I decided to take a look at the TamPogo site and see for myself just what the excitement was all about.

What if I told you that the brains behind MySpace.com has developed a network marketing concept that is free to join, does not charge more for products than you would find in the general market, and has a comp plan that can be done on the back of a business card-no kidding-8 level simple uni-level pay plan with really low requirements and no break-away.

No meetings, no inventory, a laptop is all you need.

From an email I received

It sounds like a standard MLM scheme—you recuit some people, and they recruit people, and so on, and you market products to the people you recruit. If any of your recruits buy products from the TamPogo site (and they claim to have thousands of different items for sale, everything from clothing to toys, but they have yet to list anything on their site). The compensation mentioned in their introductory video makes it sound like you get a $1.20 commission per item [I really don't like the way they describe the compensation in their video, overhyping (in my opinion) the multi-level marketing aspect of it and glossing over the details in their own compensation plan. Buy hey—it sure sounds exciting! —Sean] [Editorializing a bit much, are we? —Editor] [Yes, but it's my blog, darn it! —Sean], but when you really start digging you find how their compensation actually works:

iReps

Direct Customers

Retail Customers

Non-Profit Organizations

TamPogo Compensation Plan

[If you aren't reading this on July 16th, 2009, be aware that the TamPogo Compensation Plan may have changed yet again. Your best bet is to check the source directly. —Editor]

The video concentrates so much on how much you could make that they tend to gloss over the little details shown above. You only get commission on sales to your “network partners” and “direct customers” (who have signed up under you). Make a sale to anyone not signed up—no commission. And the commission doesn't appear to be exactly “flat” either.

That kind of takes the excitement out of the video.

[The following paragraph is struck because of extreme bias against multi-level marketing. —Editor]

So it seems that the people at TamPogo found a way to “cushion” the Ponziesque feel of your typical MLM plans, as well as one of the major problems I see with companies like Amway (the ever filling garage). Plus, given the free signup and ongoing requirement to buy at least one “fast track product” per month (and TamPogo indicates which products are “fast track”—which means “a product priced between $20–30”) it will at least limp along without getting too imbalanced.

Anyway, the real problem I have with the company is that I can't find any reliable information about the company. Those “brains behind MySpace.com”? The “brains” behind MySpace are Brad Greenspan, Chris DeWolfe, Josh Berman and Tom Anderson (according to Wikipedia) and as much as I tried, I couldn't find any associations between them and TamPogo.

I did eventually get a name: Chuck Stebbins. And it came with the following information about him:

  1. Mr. Stebbins is one of the most profound internet marketers who has ever lived, having sold over $1½ billion in products over the internet.
  2. In the 90's Mr. Stebbins launched his own e-commerce company called Intermix.
  3. In 14 short months, he grew Intermix to a staggering 34 million people, and then sold it to MySpace for a whopping $250 million dollars.

Now, I've never heard of the guy, but then again, there are any number of Internet marketing gurus I've never heard of. But you would think his name would at least show up on the Wikipedia page of Intermix. But no, it does not.

It is especially odd that Intermix was supposedly sold to MySpace, given that Intermix developed MySpace; someone is confused about who bought whom.

Also strange is that Intermix was an Internet Marketing company; the notion that they had 34 million people is curious. And, according to BusinessWeek, MySpace only had 22 million users when it was sold in 2005 (for $580 million, but I digress).

And nowhere on the site do you find any information about the company itself, who owns it, who runs it, nothing.

And I have to ask myself, why?

Update on July 15th, 2009

The store opens! Or maybe not.

Update on July 16th, 2009

The store has actually opened!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

“Let's Go Shopping!”

Yesterday I mentioned my skepticism of TamPogo because of two reasons:

  1. I can't locate any reliable information about the company;
  2. I can't even browse their store since it wasn't open yet.

The store's “Grand Opening” is supposed to be July 15th. According to the calendar, today is July 15th. And by 4:30pm I would have expected the store to be open.

Ooh look! “Coming Soon. Grand Opening July 15.”

Or is it the case that I have to sign up to shop?

Update on July 16th, 2009

The store has actually opened!

Update at 9:30pm on July 16th, 2009

I've received some strong feedback on this entry for basically making snarkish remarks on a site that hasn't even opened yet. And yes, I admit, this was a cheap shot, given that the Computer Industry has an extensive history of late products.

Why, hello, Mr. Kettle. Nice to meet you. That's some mighty fine crow you have there.

Tasty crow aside, I've also had to make major editing changes to yesterday's entry due to some changes TamPogo has made over the past 24 hours.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

“Let's really go shopping!”

Ah, it seems that TamPogo was finally able to get their store up and running.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

Update later this evening

I was out of line in yesterday's entry (mmmm boy … crow), and I did some major editing on the entry that started this all


Unicorns and Rainbows

It seems that the past few entries (which you should check out, because of extensive editing I've done since they were posted) have generated a response I haven't seen since 1988, when I wrote an extremely unflattering humor column about my high school English teachers (which got back to them—ulp) for a university newspaper. Ugly then, and ugly now.

I didn't intend to sabotage anyone, but to warn. The deeper I tried to research TamPogo, the more questions kept coming up, and precious few, if any, answers, and what answers I did get didn't fit together .

Obligatory Picture

[Don't hate me for my sock monkey headphones.]

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site: http://boston.conman.org/, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

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