Is SFI scam or legitimate? / A Personal Experience Review
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PRODUCT_NAME: SFI Internet Income
Price: Free to join
Owners: SFI Marketing Group (Carson Services, Inc.)
Overall Ranking: 60 out of 100
I have been an SFI affiliate since October 20th, 2012 working hard at it each day except for the past few months. This personal experience review is to let you those who are looking to make money online know if the SFI opportunity is for you or not.
So I will go into a little more detail. And hopefully by the end of the review you would have found answers to questions such as “Is SFI legit or scam?” “Is it for beginners or experienced marketers?” “Can I make money as an SFI affiliate?” “How much can I earn?” “In what time period?” etc.
What is SFI?
SFI stands for Strong Future International, the new name for the old one of Six Figure Income. Gery Carson, president and founder, launched SFI in 1998, so it has been around for a little while.
Gery is well known around the globe as a successful business person. His achievements as an entrepreneur have been documented in Money Maker’s Monthly, Upline, Opportunity World Magazine, and in several books and videos. He was also named 1992’s Outstanding Young Men of America and 1997’s Who’s Who in the Media and Communications.
SFI Marketing Group also gets an A+ on the BBB website. But that BBB rating shouldn’t be your deciding factor in joining any business since almost anyone can get this rating for $800.
The first thing you notice when you sign in to the SFI homepage is apparently how hugely popular it is worldwide as it attracts a lot of people from around the globe. It is not uncommon to read something like “Yesterday, 4,474 people from 152 different countries became SFI affiliates. That’s one enrolment every 19 seconds. And that’s just from ONE day!”
SFI now has over one million affiliates and is presently one of the fastest growing and most popular internet marketing businesses in the world. They pay out a whopping 60% of their revenue.
Signing up for your free SFI account is fairly easy and takes only a few steps.
After joining, you are offered these basics steps:
1. Become an Executive Affiliate (EA) and remain an EA every month.
2. Recruit five affiliates using the methods listed on the site.
3. Teach your five affiliates to do these same three steps.
I will let you see what these steps mean to you and whether or not they can actually make you create a business online and above all make money. So …
How Does The SFI Affiliate Program Work?
There are four steps to making money in SFI. Let’s look at them:
Step 1: Through accumulating VersaPoints
After you join in SFI, you are directed to launchpad for your first tasks. You would find the green launchpad button on the right hand side of the SFI home page, just down of your profile picture.
Launchpad is a series of 30 lessons and training to make you understand the SFI system. Reading and answering each lesson correctly gives you 15 Versa points (VP). These versa points determine how much money you make as commission.
There are two types of VP: Sales VPs and Action VP.
You obtain Sales VP when you purchase items at or make sales at TripleClicks. And completing tasks will get you Action VP. You also get Action VP by the training lessons you complete, by reviewing certain pages at SFI, and by completing certain tasks.
How much VP you get every month also determines your rank or level at SFI.
The six available levels are:
1. 0 to 1499 VP: Affiliate
2. 1500 VP: Executive Affiliate
3. 1500 Sales VP + 1000 Action VP: Bronze Team Leader
4. 1500 Sales VP + 2000 Action VP: Silver Team Leader
5. 1500 Sales VP + 2500 Action VP: Gold Team Leader
6. 1500 Sales VP + 3000 Action VP: Platinum Team Leader
You have to retain your level each month by earning the same amount of Versa Points needed for that level. This is not easy since earning the Action VP is very difficult to do without dipping into your pockets.
Let’s say you got to the Executive Affiliate status on your second month, which is my case. Then you are put into a pool where you can earn money (mine was $1.25, I think). On the next month the VP you earned will go back to ZERO and you will have to earn all those points again to get your Executicve Affiliate rank back.
And that is not easy. You can get your 1500 VP from doing a “standing order” at TripleClicks, but that will cost you about $30-$40.
A standing order is an order that you automatically make every month for that item you set it up with.
To earn commissions you need to become EA by earning 1500 VP minimum each month. For the first month you just may be able to get the 1500 VPs by completing the tasks listed in their To-Do list section. Doing the tasks daily can earn you 11 VP and weekly 38 VP. To do the daily tasks, you go to the SFI home page where you will see the to-do list tabs, tips, stream, tripleclicks, scoreboard, A2A, movers etc. Down each page is a blue button to be clicked for the VP.
From the 2nd month the daily and weekly tasks will get you only about 400 VP. But since you need 1500 VP to remain EA, your option is to buy products from TripleClicks to get at least 1100 VP. Each product you buy from Tripleclicks carries VP.
That is how I became EA from my second month with SFI and remained so for several months using a standing order of some digital products. Since cancelling my standing order months ago I have slipped back to Affiliate status and lost 135 of my 139 affiliates.
Now, if your downlines/referrals also duplicate you then you earn commissions from their efforts up to 12 generations deep. I never earned a penny from any of my affiliates since none of them did any tasks at all. I guess they signed up thinking SFI was a get-rich-quick scheme where you cross your arms and earn. But I suspect strongly they were addresses sold to list sellers because not a single one ever answered the mail I repeatedly sent them. That is a downside of the SFI S-Builder Co-Op programme for getting affiliates.
In SFI’s Direct Commission program once you sign up a member or affiliate, they become your customer for life. SFI takes care of all order processing, product shipments, and customer service at no cost to you, and pays you a Direct Commission for every order placed by your members and affiliates for life.
Step 2: By buying or Selling at TripleClicks.com
When you become an SFI affiliate, you are also automatically signed up as affiliate to their sister site Tripleclicks which you can access with your SFI username and password. Tripleclicks is totally linked with SFI. That’s why some reviews claim that SFI is just a setup for TripleClicks as Tripleclicks’ products are sold through SFI marketing strategy.
Basically Tripleclicks is the main SFI income stream. It is a large market place launched on January 5th, 2009 with just a few apparently discounted products. TripleClicks now features over 116,000 products ranging from web hosting to other monthly subscription type products and over 1.7 million members.
You earn 45% of the CV (commission value) when you refer people to Tripleclicks and they buy something.
You can also recruit someone to become an E-Commerce Associate (ECA), that is, people or companies that sell products on Tripleclicks.
You can quickly start making money by becoming an E-Commerce Associate yourself through the E-Commerce Associate Program, leveraging their traffic and the marketing power of over 1 million affiliates. You can sell anything from e-books to physical products or both.
So your next task, and the way to earn fast in SFI, is to sell at TripleClicks through the ECA network of products. To do so, you advertise your Tripleclicks link and earn commission if someone buys some products through your link.
You can also become an ECA and sell your own brand new products on TripleClicks or even the second hand items you no longer need.
SFI goes further on Tripleclicks with the TripleClicks Auction where you can sometimes win a several hundred or thousand dollar product with just USD 1-2.
TCredits allow you to take FULL advantage of your TripleClicks membership benefits and can also be used in many ways to build your SFI business. A single TCredit sells for $1.99, but you can receive, as part of your compensation as an SFI affiliate, up to 20 TCredits FREE every month! To learn about all the things you can do with TCredits, click HERE.
• Receive 10 TCredits if you’re an EA2
• Receive 12 TCredits if you’re a Bronze Team Leader
• Receive 14 TCredits if you’re a Silver Team Leader
• Receive 16 TCredits if you’re a Gold Team Leader
• Receive 20 TCredits if you’re a Platinum Team Leader
You need TCredits to participate in the auction. 125 TCredits will cost you USD 29. Anytime you buy TCredits your upline will get commission the same way you will get commission if your downline/referrals also did the same. So if you know where to advertise to sell the auction related products then you can earn big commissions from it. You need only one time bid to bid for auction.
You can win all kinds of stuff like electronics, gold coins, 1 oz silver bars, all for a fraction of the retail price. There are also Television sets, Chrome Books, and Digital Cameras which sell from $2.75 to $25.00. So if you are seriously considering joining SFI, I would recommend that you focus on promoting Tripleclicks instead of the SFI Affiliate Program which, despite my investing hundreds of dollars, only brought me $15.
For purchases by personally referred TC members, you’ll also earn all the VP on the order. This can also earn you additional shares of the TripleClicks Executive Pool.
All SFI affiliates can tap into SFI’s TripleClicks Executive Pool income stream every month. TripleClicks put 40% of the CV of EVERY purchase into the TripleClicks Executive Pool for the affiliates to share in.
How can you share in the pool?
For each VP you accumulate during the month, you will receive one share of the month’s pool. Score more VP and you get more from the TripleClicks Executive Pool.
Do you want to earn even more shares? Then become a Team Leader:
A. As a Bronze Team Leader (BTL), you’ll receive matching VP on all EA2s in your downline within 6 levels (including your CSAs).
B. As a Silver Team Leader (STL), you’ll receive matching VP on all EA2s in your downline within 8 levels (including your CSAs).
C. As a Gold Team Leader (GTL), you’ll receive matching VP on all EA2s in your downline within 10 levels (including your CSAs).
D. As a Platinum Team Leader (PTL), you’ll receive matching VP on all EA2s in your downline within 12 levels (including your CSAs).
Matching VP Example: You are an STL. The EA2s in your first 8 levels account for a total of 57,500 VP this month, so YOU earn a matching 57,500 shares of the TripleClicks Executive Pool.
Each time an SFI affiliate that you are the co-sponsor of places an order at TripleClicks.com, you earn 15% of the CV.
Note: If you’re a Team Leader, you can also earn Matching VP on all your CSAs.
Here’s how to acquire CSAs (Co-Sponsored Affiliates):
A. A minimum of TWO (2) CSAs are allotted to you each month you attain the rank of EA (minimum 1500 VP)—available on or about the 12th of each month.
1. You can win CSAs in the Daily Grand contest.
2. You can win CSAs in the Pricebenders Auctions.
3. you can win CSAs each day in the Entrepreneur365 Finalist drawing.
4. Thousands of Co-Sponsored Affiliates are forfeited every month. These must be apportioned to new co-sponsors. And they go to members who become a Team Leader.
• You get 1 share as a Bronze Team Leader
• You get 2 shares as a Silver Team Leader
• You get 3 shares as a Gold Team Leader
• You get 4 shares as a Platinum Team Leader
Step 3: By recruiting affiliates to build your downline
This is called duplication within the SFI program. You invite people to join and teach them to do the exact same thing that you are doing. So they also refer people below them and give them the same strategies.
Step 4: By getting additional income
Sign people up as referrals to the TripleClicks E-Commerce Associate (ECA) Gateway and you earn VP and life-long lucrative royalties.
For each person that becomes an approved ECA, you’ll earn 10% of the CV on all of their sales at TripleClicks.com. Plus, you’ll earn an immediate 100 VP when your ECA generates their first $10 or more in sales.
Here are two tips for you:
Tip #1: To get “rebates” on your purchases, buy from your own referred ECAs.
Tip #2: Refer customers to TConnect Websites, your ECA’s “store within a store” and the combination of Direct Commissions and ECA Royalties will make you earn a handsome 55% of the CV on any sales generated.
SFI Pay-Per-Action (SFIPPA) is an optional, supplemental income program available to all SFI affiliates. This allows you to act as an advertiser for SFI and earn supplemental income by getting others to take actions such as filling out forms.
Each time you generate a qualified SFIPPA action, you earn a bounty. The amount of the bounty varies depending on the action. For example, for a qualified SFI affiliate signup, your bounty can be up to $10.
The Good & the Bad of the SFI Program
Although there is something good about the SFI program, unfortunately it has far more cons than pros. Not surprisingly there are so many complaints about this company from people who feel ripped off.
Maybe it is the irony of none of its pros earning a six-figure income which obliged the company to change its name from Six Figure Income to Strong Future International. So most of the cons outlined here will have to do with you not being able to earn money no matter how much you put into it.
The pros of the SFI affiliate program are:
• Free to join
• You can earn money in SFI
• You get training (Launch Pad)
• You get help and support
• Site loads fast, is filled with information and is easy to navigate
• There is an Online Auction at Triple Clicks. If you have a taste for risk, you can make fast money by bidding on the auctions for brand name merchandise and reselling it for a handsome profit on eBay.
• Their compensation plan is 12 levels deep.
• 100% free extensive online and offline marketing tools and personal support and assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
• Provides a free $297 valued internet income course that reveals the secrets of an online millionaire. The courses include pay-per-click marketing, mobile marketing, and free advertising strategies.
• You can also make a decent income by becoming an E-Commerce Associate. Anyone—including non members—can become an E-Commerce Associate and start selling products or services online by offering e-books, arts and crafts, your secret family BBQ sauce, salad dressing, marinara sauce, or cheesecake, drop shipped or wholesale products. This is good for you if you can leverage your skills and talents to start making money online.
• SFI offers six different income streams including direct commissions, co-sponsor commissions, ECA referral program, and SFIPPA where you get paid a one time payment of $15 for each referred SFI Affiliate. They also offer you to tap into their executive pool, Bronze Bonus, Tcredit bonus, and Second Home CSA’s all which can be earned by achieving Executive Affiliate and Bronze Team Leader status.
• Once you refer a Personally Sponsored Affiliate or a Personally Referred Member, they are yours for as long as you remain an active SFI affiliate. Your main goal is to duplicate yourself by teaching your affiliates how to become successful so you can make money off their efforts.
• All of their business building tools including Tcredits, gift cards, S-Builder Co-Op,and affiliates for your downline can be won for pennies on a dollar through their popular penny auctions.
• You can get paid via PayPal, direct deposit, a mailed check, or through their Payoneer debit card which can be had for a $25 fee. They always pay on time.
• Your can will your business and income to a family member.
• SFI are constantly adding new ways in an effort to better their program. Recently they have added their Time Machine game where if you predict the correct answer, you’ll win a share of about 120 Tcredits which can be used to bid on auctions and buy from TripleClicks. They’re also now awarding 1 VersaPoint for each product you upload online that you want to sell. Selling your products online is an easy way to make money selling collectibles, antiques, and products you no longer need. You also get 1 VersaPoint for each music download, Time Machine game entry and auction bid. Up to 100 VersaPoints are awarded for being a Top Author for answering a question from SFI affiliates.
• If you manage to make 3,000 points a month, SFI will reward you with a share of affiliates added to your team, up to a $106 value.
• I’ve ordered products and have never had SFI or TripleClicks make unauthorized transactions.
• The tools and marketing material they recommend are not mandatory
• There’s a Co-Op programme for you to buy affiliates cheap.
The cons of the SFI affiliate program are:
• The free to join is only initially
• The compensation plan leaves much to be desired as it’s not structured in such a way as to help an average person from 0 to Internet money. Hence, it will take too much time and some difficulties to make money with SFI
• The program is set-up for TripleClicks where you purchase goods from third party companies to make a commission
• You start out at the bottom of the pyramid and move up through recruiting
• You risk paying more for your membership than you actually earn. This is a common complaint. I myself spent hundreds of dollars in buying TCredits from Tripleclicks and in buying affiliates from the Co-Op ads program but earned only $15!
• Too many public complaints about SFI and the SFI Marketing Group online
• You are NOT creating a real business
• TripleClicks is too expensive
• Training is available but it’s too general and not structured enough for the average person to know exactly how to generate an income.
• Too many negative reviews online
• Not enough tools and services
• SFI is certainly not an attractive business opportunity for newbie marketers
• The SFI strategy of teaching its affiliates to get referrals by telling friends, family, co-workers, neighbours and inviting facebook friends doesn’t really work nowadays. They even go further to advise you to buy gift cards and give them to friends and family, Buy promotional cards and distribute them – “Whenever you take a taxi or ride public transportation, “forget” this TC X-Card on the seat before you exit”, Post flyers, Etc. etc. Knowledge of Internet marketing is what people need to succeed in SFI or any online business for that matter.
• Only a handful of people out of their millions of affiliates have earned a six figure income with SFI.
• They say you have the potential to earn $100,000 or more annually if you manage to earn unlimited override commissions on unlimited levels. What they don’t tell you is that this can take years and an endless amount of recruiting.
• Most products at TripleClicks are overpriced and therefore difficult to resell. The price even almost doubles if you purchase with Tcredits or Member Reward Points, (MRP). Some members have complained about how some sellers delivered purchases late to them.
• They used to offer IAHBE (International Association of Home Business Entrepreneurs) magazine. Now that product is gone. They also used to pay affiliates $5 for each referred TripleClicks member, pretty fishy if you ask me.
• Your success rate is slow unless you invest money in your business.
• Supporting your affiliates can be a challenge if you don’t have any previous experience in internet marketing. It can also be heartbreaking as nobody answers your mail.
• Becoming a success can be a challenge as investing for the tools and marketing materials that they recommend can easily add up: PSA’s To Go ($30/month) + hosting for your website ($20/month) + Gift Cards ($30/month) + TCredits ($29/month) + S-Builder Coop ($22/month) = $131 per month!
• If you don’t maintain at least 1,500 VPs at the end of the month, you’ll lose all of your Co-Sponsored Affiliates!
• I read a review where someone complained that they had invested in SFI’s co op and wasted about $66, lost $30 in gift card fees and about $15 in ECA brochures. Which meant that they didn’t get a single penny utilizing SFI’s offline marketing tools!
• Maintaining VPs after the first month is a challenge you can overcome only if you spent some money or are experienced.
• Websites provided within SFI are duplicated sites (not unique). Such sites are extremely hard to get good rankings.
• Complaints from affiliates of inactive members. None of my 139 affiliates brought me a single cent.
• Starting a website can be overwhelming for some. The SFI affiliate program simply doesn’t provide the training and the tools that you need to build a successful online business
• Worthless Co-Op programme which will sell you affiliates who are not only non-performing but who will never answer your mail either through the SFI site or their email. It is not uncommon to find the mail undeliverable, which could mean that some people signed up with non-existent email addresses.
• SFI appears to be just an affiliate centre offering different opportunities to join with lots of links all over the place.
• There is no training on how to drive traffic to your ads.
• SFI asks its affiliates to focus on affiliate marketing and the affiliates under them, while it will be better for them to focus on selling Tripleclicks products and promoting auctions.
• You can’t earn 6 figure income like they claim.
• It is totally pyramid scheme (MLM company) in which you will earn only if some of your downline purchase something.
So Who Is SFI For?
As SFI Marketing is mainly an affiliate shopping centre of products to market, it is not really suited for beginners. It is indicated for experienced marketers who already have a traffic generating website to which they add their SFI links and drive traffic to them to convert into sales.
SFI is also not for the affiliate who is impatient to make money.
The affiliate websites are not unique and this makes it very hard to get ranked in the search engines. While to make money working from home you need a website and traffic to it to get conversions.
SFI is only good for people who can recruit more than five serious people and teach them to follow the same steps and remain EA, to make some profit.
SFI Tools & Training
There is some training but it is geared first towards getting you started with earning VP with LaunchPad and marketing methods or aids mainly towards selling Tripleclick products or earning more VersaPoints.
Another is the PSA/CSA (personally sponsored affiliate/co-sponsored affiliate) mailer. This is for sending emails to your downline, but each email you send will have to be reviewed by SFI staff maybe as cross-solicitation is strictly prohibited.
SFI advises you to contact your sponsor or upline first for support. There is a contact page and you may submit a ticket for additional support. Some affiliates complain it takes weeks, even a month to receive a reply from them. I have never used this support and can’t say much about it.
There is a forum but it takes quite some time to get answers to your issues.
However the fastest way to get help would be to use the “Ask SC” tab. Ask SC (SFI Community) is the best way to get your questions answered because SFI affiliates can get around 50 VP IF their answer is voted in the top 3.
SFI is totally free to join. But since you need to buy products to remain EA each month, it cannot be described as a free programme as such.
The only way to work free in SFI is to get your affiliates to buy things within the SFI store, or try to sell TripleClicks products under your link, or list your own item in Tripleclicks to sell. Then use all commissions to upgrade your account to EA status every month. But the question is: is this feasible?
My Final Opinion of SFI
You would agree with me that SFI is not a scam. However it is an affiliate program mixed with an MLM opportunity.
Pyramid Schemes are to be avoided by people looking to make money online but if you need to purchase things for your daily life in SFI, then it will also enable you to remain EA. However, don’t count on the platform to earn money online.
SFI at a Glance…
Name: SFI Internet Income
Owners: SFI Marketing Group (Carson Services, Inc.)
Price: Free to join
Overall Scam Rank: 60 out of 100
VERDICT: SFI is a borderline case, being neither totally LEGIT (in the sense of enabling you to earn easily) nor outright SCAM.
Do you have experience with the SFI program or feedback and opinions about this review? Why don’t you leave them in the comments box below or contact me on my Wealthy Affiliate Profile? I will be sure to get back to you within 24 hours.
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