I read through many of the Rip-Off Reports and I find it perplexing that there are people that can actually endorse a company such as this.
I purchased a membership approx. Feb of 2005 after watching a few of their infomercials. They had an offer where you pay $99/year for 3 years. At the time I was out of work [I know Kerry and the rest of the SMC staff love that!] and figured the $99 was a small price to pay, not.
Their [SMCs] system is setup so that they makes money, not their members. Granted, I am sure there are a few [and only a few] that make any money with SMC. However, if you read their forums you would think otherwise. One way you know that it is impossible to make any money is that SMC has dozens of infomercials a week on several channels.
I noticed that after purchasing my business kit that there would be sometimes 2 infomercials on at the same time, but on different TV channels. They inundate the market with ads which makes their products so well known and easily identifiable. I would not call that Specialty Merchandise. Ask anyone you know if they can pick out an SMC product from a line up.
Kerry once said in the forums that they needed to keep a number of infomercials running in order to keep up their membership. I find that peculiar as well. If they were anything about selling products at wholesale, then they would not need to consider charging $400 for a membership that provides their members little in return. Not only that, SMC sells products that mostly are imported from China! You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that a container of cheap products from China would not result in the HIGH White Price costs that they pass on to their members. Not to mention the inflate shipping costs so that they [SMC] make money all around!
Another thing that SMC spurns is anyone offering anything [i.e. hosting, web site design, turnkey web sites, etc.]. I was a member of the SMC forum and was banned [by Kerry] because I refused to remove a link to my hosting site. Why? Not because I am a host but because I was able to do what they do with their EMC [eMerchant Club - emerchantclub] web site but for Much, Much cheaper. They charge as much as $3000 for a turnkey web site and then $30 a month for hosting. The web site contains links to the SMC member sign up page[s] and gives little control of the layout and function of the site in general. They [SMC & EMC] claim the $30/month is to maintain the site but, as a host and a site designer, I know what is involved in maintaining the database necessary to run ALL the sites that EMC sells. A bone head could do that for less than $30 a month!
SMC claims to have people to help you get your business started. I think they call them coaches. The coach you are assigned is responsible for getting you to buy as much crap as possible. They are mere salespeople and know little about running a business and I am sure have some kind of guide that is used when people call and ask questions. SMC might consider outsourcing that part of the business to India. That way they can still rip people off and MAKE MORE MONEY!
In short, outside of the paper pricelists, there is nothing in the way of a CSV or any Excel file to help you set up a web site. You have to spend hours downloading product images [as they can have 3000+ products] OR you can spend something like $75 for a CD of images.
All I can suggest is that you DO NOT spend money with SMC. It is not worth it and there are opportunities out there that cost much, much less to get into. STAY AWAY FROM SMC. BUYER BEWARE!
Chester, South Carolina