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My impression of SMC/Emerchant Club. I have placed most of the very interesting information at the bottom of this document in an attempt to encourage the reading of this entire document. Although my intent is to have you read this entirely, you may, at anytime, skip to the bottom (I hope you read the entire document). I realize that what I am writing may be considered "a novel", however, do yourself a big favor and read EVERY WORD.
I have lost over $18,000.00 during my "SMC experience" (In a years time, I have not made one penny on this enterprise, nor have I made one sale). I have
distributed over 10,000 catalogs, sent out over 10,000,000 high quality HTML email ads (Through a profession emailing company), I have promoted my internet site in every possible way that I could think of and I did not receive even one order in a 1 year time period (I have been involved with SMC for 2 years and all of this was PRIOR to the current economic down-turn, now affecting the USA and the World). If you look at this purely from a mathematical perspective, this is utterly IMPOSSIBLE.
SMC (Actually Emerchant Club) provides no method of site tracking. This means that if zero people visit your website in a 6 month time period, you have absolutely no idea. I suppose SMC really does not give you this information to show you just how poorly your website is performing (I was however, told by an Emerchant Club Rep that I could hire an outside company to keep track of these things for me). I look at the positives of this experience. I tend to be a creature of observation. I have attempted to list my observations of the SMC Corporation and Emerchant Club below:
I somehow ended up placing $10,000.00 in an SMC "special account". SMC would not refund this money AND I was told (By several SMC people) that if I did not spend this money by year-end, I would forfeit every penny of it. I knew at the time that this was an incredible lie, however, I was already tired of dealing with them and decided to simply order merchandise to burn- up this money, which I did. Do not pay money to SMC that you do not honestly owe, or it WILL be gone without a trace. SMC Rep's especially like mentally disabled people because they are much easier to "process in the machine". A good question that you may wish to ask SMC (If you can connect to a REAL manager) is "Are the SMC Rep's background checked as well as drug tested"? "If so, is it your company's policy to NOT hire people with a criminal background or drug addiction problems"? It is my opinion that this is very important if a person is going to entrust their business and possibly their future to the SMC Corporation.
I have read hundreds of complaints about SMC. The primary concern expressed is ZERO ORDERS (This is one of my biggest complaints). How can this be possible? I read one complaint that the person's friend registered on his website and it was magically "transferred" to a site owned by someone in Louisiana. This may, in my opinion, explain the "super sellers" that SMC is so proud of and uses in their ridiculous infomercials to draw additional "clients" into their "machine". My opinion is, If someone were to investigate these types of things and prove them, The SMC Corporation AND their
sister company Emerchant Club would not only be guilty of extreme fraud, but criminal actions as well. If this is true, I'm sure that someone will step forward eventually to expose these disgusting business practices.
SMC would most likely explain that I have failed at this because I am a loser. My advice to the person reading this would be, don't add your name to this VERY LONG list of losers. I feel that I have received a PHD in determining a scam when I see one. I strongly believe that Federal Law should REQUIRE a company like SMC Corporation to release actual (And ongoing) results of their member's success (Or lack there of). The SMC "playing field" should be level. I placed a link to the FAQ for the Federal Trade Commission's policies on truth in advertising at the beginning of this document for your review (If necessary, paste in URL window to view website).
SMC will not allow the use of Pay Pal Pro. Pay Pal Pro is for all intents and purposes a gateway (With very reasonable charges). SMC "supplies" their "own" gateway company and of course, receives payment from this company for referrals. Actually, SMC/Emerchant Club charges $395.00 to set up the gateway. You (OR Anyone) may contact any of the gateway companies directly and set up your own gateway absolutely FREE (Just Google - 'Payment Gateway' to find one and then compare prices before choosing one). A typical gateway will cost around $40.00 to $50.00 per month (If you sell absolutely nothing, this is there minimum charge). The price quickly goes up if actual products are sold.
If you decide to sell SMC items at swap meets or flee markets, you will find 3 or 4 (or more) selling the exact same merchandise from SMS (at a greatly reduced price). It will be very difficult (or impossible) to sell SMC merchandise to businesses at wholesale. Think about it, SMC has flooded the market with their products through their ongoing "mass marketing" campaign of infomercials, emails and ads of every form. If a business wishes to sell SMC products to their customers (For some reason), would they not have the ability to go directly to SMC themselves and pay member cost? Everything
associated with SMC is primarily geared to your emotions. If you LOGICALLY analyze the product, the current market, the tremendous upfront cost and the other factors (Found in this document) you would realize that this is no more than a "dream" (albeit, a bad dream). Most, if not all of the SMC products are made in China; I especially love the Harley Davidson coffee mug with "Made in China" stamped on the bottom (that would get you killed at any Harley Davidson Rally!). I honestly believe that all of the "Hugh success stories" that SMC portrays are individuals that are groomed and given unlimited support (SMC has to have marketing hero's to present to the general public to entice new "clients", right?). I would guess that the SMC Corporation/Emerchant Club will divide their "former clients" prospects that were generated from thousands of peoples hard work as they close their internet sites due to the extreme cost and low profit potential of an SMC website.
I would also guess that these former prospects are transferred to the supposed "super sellers" that SMC Corporation is so proud of and uses to attract new "clients". My $7,000.00 website was off the Internet in less than one hour after calling Emerchant Club to cancel. I would not base my experience on your potential experience. SMC Corporation especially Emerchent Club for pointing out their ridiculous/dishonest business practices branded me a trouble maker long ago.
Given the fact that SMC is conducting fraudulent business practices across states lines, I am amazed that the Federal Government has not become involved (Of course, SMC may have written this into there "terms and conditions", you know, it's OK to defraud the public. Time will tell). It would be very interesting to SEE the TRUE figures of people that actually make money versus the people that make absolutely NOTHING. SMC would NEVER divulge the true statistics. A court order would most likely be required to effectively obtain this information (Assuming it exists).
When dealing with SMC personnel, always remain calm (no matter how angry you may become). SMC keeps a log on every "client" and each time you call SMC support (or Emerchant club support), the rep will review "your file" to determine how best to "handle" you. If you are conveying something of importance, ensure that you have a witness listening on another line (Wife, Friend, Mother, etc), and after the initial call, verify the information by a follow-up phone call.
SMC tapes all conversations and you will find that tapes that support their position are found with ease, however, tapes that support your position "do not exist". The SMC Rep will attempt to end your call as quickly as possible (you will normally hang up without resolution of your issue or still be confused about what your issue was exactly...this will always be your fault). Ensure that the battery for your phone is completely charged prior to a call to SMC support. You will find that a 45-minute to a one-hour telephone wait will be common during the Christmas season (This is of course the time that you will require the most support and you will listen to SMC promotions the entire time you
are waiting...NOT music). By the time that a rep finally comes on the line, you will have forgotten why you even called. Always write down the reason(s) for your call PRIOR to making the call.
The shipping costs from SMC are very high (Hugh cut in any potential profit). You will not have a person to complain to at SMC if you have a complaint (about anything). Attempt to find an SMC public phone number. Good luck, there are none. SMC is very secretive, in my opinion; they should change their initials to CIA.
SMS thrives on confusion. By the time you have "figured" everything out, you will be thousands of dollars in debt. The biggest ploy is to sell you a "Gift Card Redemption" website. Then it starts to dawn on you that YOU CANNOT SELL ANYTHING on your website unless the person purchasing the item has one of SMC's gift cards that you have already purchased from SMC (As many as they can convince you to buy).
Wait a minute, SMC to the rescue! They will then explain that "you" were confused, however, they can get you into a state of the art, full blown, wonderful, incredible ecommerce website! And it will only cost you an additional $2000.00 (AND they will throw in thousands of dollars of stuff that are worth absolutely nothing, oh, and you have to do it RIGHT NOW or they cannot guarantee all the neat stuff they're offering...if you hang-up now you lose a chance of a lifetime)! Those people at SMC and Emerchant Club are such wonderful people! Kidding of course. It's a Hugh con game and it WILL cost you a lot of money!
SMC will assign each person a "coach". This person's primary function is to "sell" you as much SMC materials as possible (Catalogs, gift cards, SMC products or the new "flavor of the week". This "coaching" is purely based on the amount of money that you are prepared to part with (In my case over $18,000.00). I was treated like "gold" until I attempted to balk about the incredible expenses involved. It seemed as though "I had become a problem" at that point. If you have decided upon the $29.95 "special" with SMC, also decide that you will receive absolutely no support what so ever (Or anything else for that matter). Oh, and I almost forgot, if you do not return their kit to them within 30 days you will owe them an additional $400.00 and they WILL turn you into a credit collection agency IMMEDIATELY. You have 30 days FROM THE TIME YOU PLACE THE ORDER, NOT WHEN YOU RECEIVE IT (Good luck). Whenever you have been lied to by an SMC Rep, it will always be your fault, because you misunderstood or you mis-communicated the situation. Get use to this or you will lose your mind.
Beware of SMC's "automatic payments" I had the good fortune to discover that in October of 2008, I would be "automatically opted-in" to a $200.00 payment to SMC (Really, Emerchant Club) for a website upgrade. This upgrade consisted of absolutely nothing of value (A few more useless templates and a few functions that I would not use anyway). I called to "opt-out" and of course, this information was not properly entered (Or was not entered at all) and Emerchant Club debited my account for $200.00. I contested this charge with my Bank and it was eventually taken off after approximately
two weeks of my money being placed "on-hold". SMC does not have "opt-in", they only have "opt-out" (if you find out in time). If SMC or Emerchant Club takes money from you for any reason that you do not understand, IMMEDIATELY contact your Bank or Charge Card Provider to contest the charges. Attempting to retrieve your money back by "going through the system" at SMC or Emerchant Club is a total waste of time! Let your Bank handle it and this wills FORCE SMC and Emerchant Club to be more responsible in the future.
I am reporting SMC/Emerchant Club to the FTC, the States Attorney General and the BBB (the BBB is useless if the offending company "pays" their "yearly fee" to be a member of BBB, however, it will still be documented in one additional place). Always remember one thing, if you are talking to someone at SMC or Emerchant Club, chances are very good that you are either being lied to or you are being conned (Or both). If you decide to try SMC as a business, please do yourself and everyone else concerned a favor and report both of these companies to the FTC, States Attorney General and the BBB afterwards. Something may be done about this if enough complaints are registered with these organizations.
The SMC website. First of all, The Emerchant Club website that you will be given by SMC is a replicated site. Search engines despise replicated websites and pay little or no attention to them. The websites are all identical and are set up so that updating my easily be performed by Emerchant Club (This places you at a Hugh disadvantage from the start) To determine if your website is replicated, look for a '?' in you URL's, this will tell you that the site is in fact a replicated site. You will find that all of the 'packages' that SMC/Emerchant club offer as incentives may be acquired by you personally with little or no cost (e.g. Search Engine optimization, obtaining a Gateway, etc.). You will have to play by SMC Corporation and Emerchat Club rules once you become 'a member'. This will lead to extreme expense for items that are either unnecessary or that add absolutely nothing to your potential to generate income (This will, however, generate an incredible amount of income for SMC/Emerchant Club).
You MUST be VERY proficient with computer hardware and software as well as the Internet in order to succeed at the "internet marketing" portion. You must be familiar with HTML ad generation, mass-marketing via email (plan on spending thousands of dollars for just this portion of internet marketing). I had 20 years of computer experience from IBM when I added an ecommerce site. I had no problem performing the required tasks, however, I often wondered how others with much less experience could possibly manage "just this part" of the Internet marketing. There are so many software's that were required to accomplish the internet marketing portion that I will not list all of them here (A few, autoreponders, graphics programs, email list management software, inventory program, etc).
You will also have to pay for an SMTP provider to send your email advertising out through, or hire an email distribution company to send them out for you. Can you create your own HTML ad or will you have to hire someone to do it? Plan on spending around $400.00 for design of an ad and sending out around 5,000,000 email ads (Once). This charge will be recurring. SMC/Emerchant Club will not allow members to use their SMTP severs to send out advertising (interesting). SMC's portrayal of "it's so simple" is of course a total lie (Extreme fraud). SMC should be honest and tell the general public that YOU MAY make SOME money at hosting house parties or selling to friends (Until your friendships end). The high tech approach is out of the question unless you wish to hire professional companies to perform work for every aspect of your "At Home" business. This would end up costing in the ten's of thousands of dollars range.
You will recognize an SMC website when you see it. They have postage stamp size images (that may be made larger by clicking on them if the customer is computer literate). There are a limited number of templates that may be used for your site and all of these templates are very plain in my opinion (Looks like they are from the early 1990's). The Site Manager (The utility that you will modify your website with) is a text-based interface that is Reminiscent of the late 1980's.
The software works, some of the time and the support that you will receive from an Emerchant Club Rep is lack luster at best (they will also treat you as though you are stupid the entire time in an attempt to get you off the line as soon as possible). I found the information was incorrect the only time that I used the online "Emerchant Manual" (The online manual provided by Emerchant Club for the Website Manager). I found it interesting that in the past, I have designed and built entire networks to support 300 million dollar installations that ran 24/7, however, I had a very difficult time with this Site Manager, when it worked (Interesting).
You can find websites that offer an entire ecommerce site (with all required functions, e.g. shopping cart, database and other support functions for a fully functional ecommerce site) and these sites cost absolutely NOTHING! You have to build the site yourself, however, you will have TOTAL control of the site (With SMC, you have very little control of your site).
These sites also have 4 to 5 times more high quality templates to choose from than that of SMC. The big positive here is, if you build the website yourself, the search engines will find it much more readily. You may also add a lot of interesting content that will draw the search engines to your website like a magnet. On the other hand, you will pay thousands of dollars for an SMC website (plus ongoing monthly and yearly charges) and in my opinion, you will be throwing this money down the drain.
SMC/Emerchant Club has (at last check) a little over 341,000 websites under their control (If you would like to see for yourself, do a "WHOIS" on your website and it will show you the current number for the domain, this information will be listed under - Name Server: DNS.GIFTWORLDNET.COM (has 28,389 domains), this is assuming that you have an SMC/Emerchant Club website). It's interesting to note that the number of domains (websites) has dropped to 28,389 since my last check (I just did another check). This is down from more than 41,000 stated earlier in this paragraph from my last check.
That would say that SMC/Emerchant Club has roughly 13,000 less websites now than when I checked 6 to 8 months ago. This may also be the reason that the SMC Infomercials have suddenly reappeared (Interesting). This will also give you an idea of the tremendous ATTRITION RATE for SMC/Emerchant Club websites. Logic would say that a company as small as SMC and its sister company, Emerchant Club, would be incapable of adequately managing this enormous amount of websites. The obvious answer is, they don't. SMC/Emerchant Club simply spends all of their time "putting out fires".
Plan on the SMC/Emerchant Club 'process' to get your website up and running to require 3 to 6 months. Mistake after mistake will occur during this process. You will have to keep track of 'who' you should call, e.g. SMC? Emerchant Club?, The Gateway company?, etc. to resolve issues (And there will be many of them) that arise while attempting to get your website online and functioning CORRECTLY. You will also find that with SMC/Emerchant Club, there is never an 'emergency', you will wait 3 to 5 business days for even the most simple requests.
You will also notice that you will violate your terms and conditions with SMC if you associate your business with SMC (interesting). The terms also state that you may not sue SMC. You must enter into arbitration in Los Angeles California (at your own expense) if you have a "disagreement" with SMC. If you decide to pursue an SMC business, read THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS CAREFULLY from the bottom to the top of the document (they place the important things at the bottom assuming that you will have burned out by then).
In conclusion, I have written this document to give the general public my personal insights and opinions about my experience with the SMC Corporation/Emerchant Club. Each individual must decide for himself or herself if this would be the right decision for them. In my opinion, this is not a get rich quick scheme...it's more like a get poor quick scheme.
I had the money to chase this ghost. If you have a family to consider, I would strongly discourage this endeavor. Remember what the infamous P.T. Barnum stated..."There's a sucker born every minute", don't be one of those "suckers". Please research all available information concerning the SMC Corporation prior to making a decision and DO NOT make a snap decision based on information that you may obtain from SMC. SMC actually ended up on it's own fraud alert list (They took themselves off immediately after an SMC employee discovered this)! God bless you and may you live a long and happy life.
Cary, North Carolina
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Specialty Merchandise Corp. SMC