Sour on Empower Network

solospark.reviewAfter hearing about the Empower Network a few years ago,  curiosity killed this cat.  One cold January day I drank the Empower Network kool-aide, and within 24 hours it left a bitter taste in my mouth. This article is about the reasons why I promptly quit and what I chose to do instead.

What makes this empower network review different from the avalanche of others is that I am NOT an affiliate. You’ll find no promotional langauage nor hype, just a factual review of my direct experiences with that company in early 2013. This article contains the type of information I wish I’d known before ever getting involved, so I share it for those who have interest.

I’d left MLM behind many moons ago with no intention to return.  Network marketing as an industry is certainly not all bad. There are some good companies out there, but it can be a tough business model. For every person who claims success, there are tons of others who never earned a dime even though they may have invested a ton of time and money. Still some companies and people in mlm are legit.

A few friends kept singing praises about the Empower Network, people I know to be quite intelligent.  So I listened for awhile and even began to consider EN as a possible recommendation for those who are brand new to internet marketing.

The experience rattled me.  This was one of those crazy roller coaster rides I regret.   One way to make the best of a bad experience is to simply share it for the benefit of others.

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

What’s Behind the Empower Network Curtain

A Quick Summary

The Good – The ‘viral marketing’ blogging and marketing system is definitely advanced. No surprise that’s a powerful draw to many new to making money online.  Especially those who are technically challenged and looking for an easy way to pop out a website will likely be impressed with this ‘viral blogging platform’.

The Bad – Buying in to this system is said to be only $25 a month, yet the reality per month cost is nearly $150. Then come more big guns – training products with even higher price tags. You will be pressured to ‘get all in’, which basically means to buy their entire store of training products for over $1600. If you do not buy them, you cannot earn commissions.  Even the $25/month essentially gets you no mre than a free blogging system.

The Ugly – The owners (Dave & Dave) do not pride themselves on any level of business professionalism.  Often wearing sloppy clothing and punctuating their talks with profanity, they call those who do not buck up and buy their entire store names like ‘weenie’!

Yep, you’ll hear over and over phrases such as ‘get all in or be a weenie’ and ‘release your inner badass’.  Dave often doesn’t bother to get dressed for the cameras and is shirtless in many online photos, even on the banner header on YOUR own web page! Sure you WANT that? I don’t.

There are many complaints registered against Empower Network with the BBB (Better Business Bureau)   EN is not accredited there, and at last count there were 163 complaints filed against the company.

The Longer Story

Taking Advanatage of a Hungry Market of IM Newbies?

There’s a hungry market of people new to the entire concept of internet marketing who desperately want a piece of that make money online pie. With the economy in the dumps, most of these people have little to invest. I find that companies like the Empower Network take advantage of these people.

Risks of Turnkey  ‘Business in a Box’  Online Opportunities

Those new to making money online are easily lured in by the promise of a ‘done for you’ online business.  Rather than learn the skills, they hope to bypass that learning curve, to just plug in and GO!  But such ‘short cuts’ usually aren’t.   There are ways to bypass much of the struggle, however buying into such systems is risky.

A similar company called Internet Income University preys on newbies in much the same way – in fact they even advertize their gig as ‘free’ when it is not even close.  You join a ready made ‘business in a box’ system and promote whatever products they’ve loaded on the site.  However you can only earn money if you also bought them all.  They can and do change out the products any time they like.

Another very similar ‘business in a box’ type of company is called Plug-in Profit.   You get a ready made cookie cutter type of website with links to several offers aready loaded on it, and guess what ‘offer’ Plug-in Profit recently added to their business in a box?  Empower Network.

How the Power Line Marketing System Works

These three companies (in bold above) are very similar.  All give members a ready made replicated website, a business in a box kind of system..   Products sold on the site are chosen by the owners of the system, not by the website owner.   It’s all connected to a sophisticated power line marketing system, one that’s designed in a way that will make eyes pop for someone new to this – and they know it.

Pretty soon members begin receiving messages about ‘pass up’ sales, meaning you would have earned X commission on this sale if only you had purchased it.  So members feel the pain and scramble to ‘get all in’ and catch the next one by buying ‘all in’ and then trying to sell.   Meanwhile there’s HUGE competition for those sales from slick experienced marketers at the top.  Most will then offer to sell you ‘leads’ to help you get sales.

About Network Marketing and MLM in General

Consider that only about 2% of MLM companies make it long-term. Network marketing is a unique business model, one that’s not all bad but has certainly suffered a bad reputation in terms of hype and empty promises.

MLM is much more difficult than promised, and particularly so for newbies with no marketing experience. There’s a ton of competition to get customers in an over-saturated market. MLM’s poor reputation doesn’t help.

Success rates for companies whose only product is ‘training’ are even lower.  With the Empower Network, no physical product even exists, which borders on even being legal.   In fact, what people are buying is the ‘make money fast’ concept, which is a huge part of what gave MLM a bad reputation in the first place.  Sad.

 Empower Network was Banned from Facebook

You will hear stories about people who jumped out of the gate making BIG money. These are already established marketers with a large following. If you have very little internet marketing experience and no list, the potential for sales is much different. In fact, so many newbies dumped their links all over Facebook that Empower Network was banned from the network.

If the ‘training’ is so powerful, then why spam social media?

Where’s the advanced marketing skills in that?

The fact that Facebook and other HUGE online networks want nothing to do with the Empower Network is crucial when you consider that online is exactly how you are expected to sell it.   Facebook will no longer sell ads for EN and blocks their site from the network.  Some post under a new domain called ‘social media bar’ while others cloak links to try and sneak them in.

Empower network promises 100% commissions.  Not!

Say you make 6 sales from your site. Commissions on 3 of them pass you completely to your upline. Do the math – that’s 50% commissions.  One guy said … ‘this really refers to the fact that the owners retain no overhead expenses and pay out 100% in commissions.’   Hmmm… Who is at the top of the upline?  The owners.  Either way, it’s another empty claim that is obviously false.

 Empower Turns Sour

The only ‘product’ is training, very expensive training with a strict ‘no refund’ policy. In order to make money, you must get others to get ‘all in’ with these training products.  It starts with ‘The Inner Circle’ at $100 per month.

Then you’ll be pressured to buy more ‘advanced training’ – with price tags at $500 and $1000 or more.  This ‘advanced internet marketing training’ is offered by a company who has been banned from facebook?  Think about that.

The first leg of ‘training’ consists of 8 videos called ‘fast start training’ – I watched them all and wondered … where’s the training?  They contain very little actual training, but are heavily loaded with upsell.   Be prepared to hear over and over that you must get ‘all in’ (buy everything they have) or else you are a ‘wussie’.

“Wussie?”  Are you kidding me?  Is this high school? fact, you’ll be advised to refuse to talk to anyone who is not ‘all in’ – meaning someone who joined and paid the basic joining fees but stopped there.  So after all your work to get someone to take the time to look at the opportunity and join the network, then you’re advised to refuse to speak to that person (the ‘wussie’) until they get ‘all in’ and buy the entire store!

I’ve had some experience in network marketing and have heard some crazy stuff, but that one tops all.  Promote a ‘business’ that results in my people being called names unless the buy the entire store? Embarassing!  Never.

 ‘Branding’ is not important?

Dave will tell you that ‘branding’ is not important.  Hmmm…  Why would so many highly successful marketers say just the opposite, that branding is basic and crucial to success?  Could it be because you are branding Dave and the Empower Network rather than yourself?

Actually, everything you do and say online is a reflection of you, and so like it or not – your actions become part of your personal brand.  TRUST is crucial!  We buy from sources we trust and we partner with people we trust.  Promote a trashy product and you lose trust, thereby damaging your personal brand.

About the ‘money investment’

People invest many thousands in college degrees, yet some actually believe the hype that they can become wealthy online without investing a dime.   In order to to build a successful business online, an investment of a grand or two isn’t actually all that bad.   Not that you have to spend that much.  You don’t.   The point is that it’s not necessarily about the money.  Some level of ongoing expenses are also quite reasonable in terms of the actual costs of doing business.

So the questions about the investment one might consider include:

Do you invest a grand or two in a company who claims to have such advanced and powerful ‘training’ and yet a strict ‘no refund’ policy?   One that sells ‘advanced training’ and yet is getting banned from social media sites due to spam?   Will you allign with company owners who will call you and your people names like ‘wussie’?

If the Empower Network disappeared tomorrow, what would you have?   Zilch.

Don't put all of your eggs in one basket, especially when you do not own the basket.The ‘business’ was never yours in the first place. You simply bought into a system, a brand created elsewhere with the promise of ‘easy money’.

These companies thrive on dropping just that bait, to bring in people with lures like ‘it’s easy’ or ‘it’s free’ or ‘only $25/month’ or ‘all ya have to do is…’

Then in order to build a business, what do you need to do?  Go spread around that same brand of hype, and that’s how you make money.

The bottom line is integrity.

Maybe you are ‘on the fence’ in considering this or some other new business startup. Maybe you’re a skeptic and hesitant to buy into the possibilities.  Maybe you’ve been burned before and even said ‘never again’ to any network marketing opportunity. I was.  However there are actually some reputable MLM companies who create some of the finest products available anywhere.  I still use some of the products, but I don’t sell them anymore.

Similar Reviews of the Empower Network from Professional Marketers

The internet has been avalanched with reviews spouting the Empower Network as the best thing since sliced bread. It is unusual to find an unbiased review, published from a source and viewpoint that is not an affiliate. If you have interest in an even more detailed review about the Empower Network from a professional marketer that is similar to this one, check out Ana Hoffman of the Traffic Generation Cafe. Her review “Empower Network Thumbs Down” is extremely detailed and I believe, right on target.

Choose VERY carefully which products or people you endorse, for that endorsement becomes part of you.  Beware of ‘business in a box’ companies who dictate what products you must endorse in order to have a ‘free’ website that is far from free in reality.

What’s YOUR take on the Empower Network? Please comment below.


Carolan Ross

CFO(Chief Fun Officer) at SoloSpark
Freelance writer, creative soul, solopreneur and former teacher who networks with rebels, visionaries, artists and other square pegs in round holes. I support solopreneurs with copywriting and juggling life and business to SHINE ONLINE!


  1. says

    Hi Carolan,

    Interesting and informative post about the Empower Network. I know there has been a lot of hype out there about EN recently and it’s truly nice to find a non promotional article with thoughtful insight. I too have been involved with MLMs and still use products from some of the reputable companies. EN on the other hand seems like one of those giving NM/MLM its less than stellar rep.
    Take care,
    Jim Hickey

  2. says

    Thanks Jim. Yes, while there certainly are people and companies in the industry of network marketing who operate from a place of integrity, in my mind the Empower Network is not one of them.

  3. says

    I also joined after hearing about how great it was. Everything you say is true. I think it was the referring to people as wussies that got me. This is a total scam. Thanks for sharing.

    • says

      Thanks Wendy, I agree that talk of ‘wussies’ turned me off BIG time! Not only that the language itself sounds so adolescent, but that people are called ‘wussies’ for not ‘going all in’ and buying every damn thing they offer. What nonsense!

  4. says

    Hi Carolan,

    Very interesting review. It’s unfortunate that you haven’t achieved success with prior network marketing companies.

    I would like to address a few points to ‘educate’ future readers. The failure rate of network marketing/internet marketing companies appear high, but it’s not the fault of the ‘legal’ companies. Majority of the time they are joined by people working JOBS and , through their growing years experiences have been ‘molded’ to think in a certain way. Majority of the time, it’s NOT to think on their own … we’ve been ‘robotized’! They have NO training on marketing, sales techniques, and most importantly MINDSET. Those who make it and become wealthy have learned to think in other certain ways. Don’t believe me? Grab ahold of “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill; “The Science of Getting Rich” by Wallace Wattles; “Rich Dad – Poor Dad” and “Cashflow Quadrant” by Robert Kiyosaki; and “The Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” by T. Harv Eker. Basically, the wealthy(rich) has their thoughts/ outlook completely different from the poor or majority…THAT’S why the rich get rich and the poor stay poor.

    Empower Network DOES pay 100% commissions on ALL product sales. If you sponsor someone who purchases the basic blog package and the Inner Circle training package, they pay a total of $125 for it, and YOU as their sponsor receive $125. The last time I checked, that’s 100% commissions. As far as the ‘Pass-ups”, that’s a different subject, part of the compensation plan and is part of a process called LEVERAGE. So, let’s look at the situation addressed. You make 6 sales from your site. Commissions on 3 of them pass you completely to your upline. Yes, that’s true. Lets use $125 as an example for demonstration purposes. The 3 sales that are passed up to your sponsor ‘appear’ that you’re ‘losing’ $375 ($125 X 3) while you earn the same amount from the 3 sales that are direct to you. But, what IF those 3 direct to you make 6 sales each? Let’s have a further look. Since you had to pass up (lose) 3 of those sales, the same thing happens to the 3 direct to you….they must pass up 3 sales EACH. What does this mean to YOU? You receive $1125! Think about it….how much effort and time did you have to spend? NONE! Who’s not willing to ‘lose’ $375 to be able to ‘gain’ $1125 by doing NOTHING? And this could be repeated unlimited levels deep without you sponsoring any new people! THIS is the ‘hidden secret’ that most people miss…not being able to separate the forest from the trees. Again, it goes back to how one ‘thinks’ and look at things. Poor people always see obstacles where wealthy see opportunities.

    For the benefit of future readers….I’ve been a member of Chris Farrell Membership since Oct. 2009. Chris has very good training. He does what he does WELL! Very simple and clear video instructions. Very good information for your knowledge experience. However, HE is the ONLY one prospering from ‘leverage’ (remember how it works above)….he receives 50% of ALL commissions from other peoples efforts. And you receive the other 50%. If you want higher amount of commissions, YOU must start promoting for the next sale.

    Best of success,
    Wes Wong

    • says

      Interesting views, Mr. Wong. Yes I agree totally that MINDSET is a crucial variable for success for any enrepreneur. Those book titles you list are all powerful in changing that mindset for the better. I’ve read them all, some several times. And yes, it is also true that many get involved in network marketing with zero experience in sales and marketing. No wonder they fail.

      The ‘training’ new recruits in MLM do receive from within any X company is often steered toward strategies that are destinied for failure in the end. So even those good folks who DO take it seriously and work very hard at it – these same people very often end up with empty pockets and an avalanche of frustration. I’ve seen that happen over and over again.

      Your assumption that I “haven’t achieved success with prior network marketing companies” … The fact is that I had much better than average success over several years and earned about $1K a week residual for time. That’s certainly much better than most mlm-ers (who earn next to nothing at all). The income was good. I simply found that I was not comfortable enough with mlm as a business model to continue promoting it. A few did well and fortunately we were on the same team, so that ‘leverage’ can be powerful, yes. Still I saw too many people get hurt, and did not want to be a part of that scene any longer.

      Your defense of the Empower Network is in terms of compensation. You bypass the many other concerns stated about EN. I do not agree that the ‘pass-ups’ are separate from the promise of 100% commissions, even though I do understand exactly how they work. There’s money-making potential, still there are many ‘hidden secrets’ in EN that go far beyond your effort to ‘educate’. Your focus on $$$ only, regardless of other ‘red flags’ – that is actually my biggest EN concern. For those who are determined to chase the ‘get rich quick’ crowd despite these very real issues, I cannot help them.

      Yes, the Chris Farrell Membership is the real deal. He’s a professional man of integrity and he over-delivers on superior training, business support and significant benefits to members. Rates are out front and there are no ‘hidden secrets’ nor false claims. Refunds are guaranteed. Those who promote his membership do so under a very different business model – affiliate marketing as opposed to network marketing. That’s apples and oranges, not a logical comparison to weigh one against the other as though they were the same type of business model. It’s simply a personal choice.

  5. says

    I, too, had previously looked at Empower Network. But, the very first call I listened in on was filled with constant profanity and negative energy. So, I hung up the phone. But, I saw a link for an online webinar. I’d foolishly hoped that the webinar would be different. It was different, all right.

    A shirtless presenter spouting constant profanity, putting people down, and saying how only EN members would prosper and EVERY other business would fail. I forget the presenters name. But, the webinar was memorable because the presenter actually suggested that EN members ridicule their prospects into compliance OR drop them AFTER getting the most amount of money they could from them.

    He even said that America would be a better country because of EN. If by that he means that EN can serve as a model of what our country should NOT become or follow, then, I agree. America should do everything it can to avoid being anything resembling EN.

    Besides, EN’s founders would probably sue America (assuming they could) for copyright or trademark violations, if America DID resemble EN in any way shape or form. Well, I’ve yet to hear about EN in the news media. I’m just glad that I only wasted time, not money, on the EN nightmare.

    • Carolan Ross says

      Good thing you got out fast, Sean. They suggested that “EN members ridicule their prospects into compliance OR drop them AFTER getting the most amount of money they could from them.” and then that “America would be a better country because of EN”? If I hadn’t seen similar stuff myself, I’d find it hard to believe that they’d have the nerve to say this kind of stuff. SO sad.

      Those who DO still join EN despite this kind of ridiculous talk are obviously motivated by pure greed. And unfortunately there are those obsessed with greed in most every country on the planet. The US suffers from that kind of corruption, yet ‘we the people’ is a very different story.

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