I first heard about Assurance Plus last December while looking for opportunities to work from home. My military family had recently moved across the country and I was having difficulty finding a new job. I found Assurance Plus through a web search of work-at-home and home business opportunities. After researching the company on the BBB website, I found that they had been listed with the BBB for 5 years and had no complaints so I decided to call them.
Assurance Plus offered to design affiliate websites for me that would be affiliate gateways to three companies: amazon.com, ebay.com and windowscasino.com. The price of the site was $100 each, for a total of $300. They said that they would host the sites for $19.00 a month for 6 months and if I signed up then,after the 6 months my hosting would be free because of a special they were running. I happily signed on for all three websites. Assurance Plus said that my advertising coach would be in touch very soon.
A few days later I received a binder in the mail which included my "Certificate of Ownership" of the three websites: youronestopstore.com/11022; premiershoppingsite.com/11022; and mycasinosonline.com/11022,
along with my invoice and information about how to advertise these sites. Upon visiting my sites, it was evident to me that the websites 'designed' for me were simply the same site that they use over and over again for everyone unfortunate enough to get involved with them. Their adverstising information was of little help. It gave a few addresses of free online classified ad sites where I posted several advertisements about my sites to no avail.
My coach, Max Cowie, called a few days before my package arrived. He asked how I planned on advertising my sites. I said I was new to internet advertising but that I was thinking about using pay-per-click. He told me the reasons why I should not use pay-per-click and then we talked about the goals of advertising. He said that Diverse Marketing Concepts had a system that provided targeted traffic on the internet to my site, that the company places an ad where people are already doing business similar to what my sites provide. He then introduced the Diverse Marketing Concepts advertising tiers:
1.) The VIP tier guaranteed 5,000 minimum targeted visitors per year (415/month). The regular price of this package was $3495 but he'd give it to me for $2695.
2.) The GOLD tier guaranteed 10,000 minimum targeted visitors per year (830/month). The regular price was $6990, but again he offered a discounted $3495.
3.) The PLATINUM tier guaranteed 15,000 minimum targeted visitors per year (1250/month). The regular price was $8995, and he offered it for $3995.
He also talked about the payout structure of each affiliate, focusing on the casino payout.My amazon affiliate was supposed to pay up to 11% of sales generated, the ebay account would pay $12-20 for registrations and 40-70% of profits, and the casino would pay $20-40/ registration and up to 45% of registered gamers' losses. Based on this, he said with the Platinum package even if I fell short and only got 1000 visitors a month at $20 per registration I could reasonably expect $20,000 that month (estimating conservatively).
Mr. Cowie said that if I purchased one of the advertising packages and my sites fell 1 visitor short or didn't recoup 100% of the cost then the company would rerun the campaign for one year free. He pointed out that this sum would more than cover my advertising costs and assured me that the company doesn't make money unless their clients make money. All of these things sounded reasonable to me, so I chose the Platinum advertising package.
After purchasing my advertising package, I never heard from my advertising coach, Max Cowie, again. When I tried to call the company to speak with a coach I was told that he would call back. I was also told to give my site more time to generate income. In April I called the company yet again and told the person I talked with that I was anxious to see some results and that almost 4 months into this 'opportunity' I had had less 10 impressions on my casino site and none on my ebay or amazon affiliate sites. None of my impressions had been paying customers and this was a far cry from the guaranteed 15,000 visitors per year.
Since that time I have not been able to reach the company through email (all are returned as if the address doesn't exist) or by phone (none of my calls are returned). I filed a BBB complaint last month. The company did respond to that. Here is their response in full:
Dear Ms. **********,
Ms. _________ did sign and agree to all the charges with our company. Including, agreeing to not being able to receive a refund on the advertising campaign.
Our Associate Buying Agreement/Terms of Agreement clearly states what our cancellation policy is. In the Terms of Agreement it states, (Assurance Plus offers a 6 month risk free guarantee. If you have not made 100% of your set-up fees for the websites, we will cut you a check for the difference. You MUST notify Assurance Plus within 30 days of the end of your 6th month. Assurance Plus reserves the right to request proof of advertising before any refund is issued. Assurance Plus does not refund any advertising. Non payment of monthly hosting will void all guarantees.)
Ms. ________ has never called our company for a refund on the original $300 purchase of the websites. We do not, and can not, guarantee that her advertising will make her money. If she does not make enough money to cover the cost of the advertising, we will send her an additional 15,000 hits at no additional cost to her for one additional year. Again, we do have all of these documents on file at our office if you would like a copy.
Thank you for your time.
In their response they say that do not, and can not guarantee that my sites will make money. They do, however, guarantee the number of unique visitors. To date, now 8 months in, the affiliate ebay account that Assurance Plus set up on Commission Junction has gone inactive. I can't even access it anymore. I can only assume it is because the site has had no hits. My amazon affiliate has had 1 unique visitor and my casino affiliate has had 41 clickthroughs, 11 software downloaders, 1 player and $0.00 in comissions. So, I've had 42 visitors to my sites that should have had well over 9,000 by this point.
I've tried to be as fair as possible, but the only thing I can conclude is that I got ripped off. Since I began with this company I've rechecked their BBB complaints. They went from 0 to more than 27. I never expected to get rich with this company. I only wanted a little extra income and to be able to stay home with my children. Now I find myself scrambling to find work. I still haven't been able to find a full-time position in this small town. To make ends meet stringing together 2 part-time positions that do not guarantee hours and I'm looking for a third part-time job just so I can pay the credit card debt I've acquired through my association with Assurance Plus. I'm terrified that this experience is going to ruin my previously excellent credit and I get even LESS time to spend with my children: the exact opposite of what I had originally tried to accomplish. Assurance Plus has not only robbed me of $4295, but they have effectively robbed my children of time with their mother and money that would have been far better spent in a college savings account.
Yes, I'm disappointed in myself for believing their pitch; but I'm furious with Assurance Plus for preying on this hardworking military family looking for a way to better our financial position. An to add insult to injury, Assurance Plus still has the audacity to continue charging the monthly hosting fee of $19 despite their 'special' offered at the beginning of only 6 months of hosting fees and then free hosting for a lfetime thereafter. As noted above inf Shane Goddard's BBB rebuttal, if I stop payment of that hosting fee then my warranty will be void. Talk about a thinly veiled threat!
I sincerely hope that EVERYONE considering signing on with this company turn tail and RUN! Assurance Plus and Diverse Marketing Concepts are a huge waste of money.