Two Companies Making It Easier To Sell Out Your Neighbors!
I found this pretty interesting, though I think the editors priorities are a little off to say the least. He focuses more on the business aspects of the situation but I think we can all see how this sort of situation could be, and probably is currently being, used in an awful way.
(MSNBC) Can you make money just by writing down the license plate numbers of cars in your neighborhood? It might sound like a game your older brother made up to keep you busy — but two aggressive start-up firms are telling consumers to do just that, and both are spreading the word quickly online. But how does it work?
One of the two, Dallas-based Narc Technologies Inc., offers a simple explanation. They want you to rat on your neighbors. The firm’s Web site, NarcThatCar.com, is designed to collect license plate numbers and locations so lenders can more easily repossess cars when the owners default.
In other words, the firm wants consumers to become the repo man’s informant.
Its chief competitor, Data Network Affiliates, says it has no intention of getting into the business of repossession. It says it plans to use its database of license plate numbers to help find missing children through Amber Alerts. It also hopes to sell the data to other information-hungry marketing firms, and to turn its user base into a kind of buyer’s club.
In each case, members only earn a couple of dollars each month from basic license plate collection. But they stand to profit significantly if they convince friends and family to join — a classic multi-level marketing ploy. And in each case, there are volumes of complaints about the companies online.
Before we get into the specifics, let’s review a few basics.
1) Anyone who says you can make a lot of money by staying at home and doing very little work is almost certainly misleading you.
2) Multi-level marketing (MLM) is legal. Pyramid schemes are illegal.
3) What’s the difference? Sale of a real product. Firms cannot design companies where the chief source of income is skimming a cut off of others who are talked into joining — that’s a pyramid scheme. But if company associates sell a real product, and merely enhance their income via “down line” percentages of sales from other hires they have sponsored, that’s legitimate MLM.
MLM-like schemes, along with work-at-home scams, are a dime a dozen online, but they have really ramped up during the recession. Jobless workers with plenty of time on their hands sometimes try dozens of work-at-home ideas, trying to hit on something that will earn them a little cash.
The attraction of Data Network Associates is simple: Unlike most work-at-home jobs, there’s nothing to sell, said marketing director Warren Anthony. Members simply write down 20 plates per month for their $2.
“It’s so easy, this is something my 80-year-old dad can do. A college kid can do it,” he said. He said they encouraged affiliates to gather plate numbers in parking lots at churches or malls in order to avoid spooking neighbors.
He said the firm has so far signed up 92,000 affiliates in only about three months. Together they have entered 1.3 million plate numbers into their database. Already, the firm’s Web site ranks in the top 8,000 on the entire Internet, he said.