If you're wondering whether SendOutCards is a legitimate opportunity, a scam, or a pyramid scheme, then you've come to the right place. In this Send Out Cards review I'm going to be offering my honest opinion after reviewing the business opportunity, researching the company, searching for as much information as possible, and my own experience with this kind of business.
I'm not an MLM hater, and I've had over 4 years experience with this kind of business and over 2 years with online business, so the opinion I give at the end of this page is going to be based on experiences not only with the network marketing industry, but also be whether or not Send Out Cards is worth your time compared to various alternatives out there.
My Send Out Cards Review – What Is This Company About?
First off, yep, it's a Network Marketing or MLM (Multi-level marketing) company. Does this make it a scam? No, not at all. Often the scams are the pyramid schemes that try to pretend they are MLMs. In other words, there is a fine line between a real MLM and a scam/pyramid scheme, but you shouldn't write them all off immediately because of that.
A scam is something like Empower Network, where you are encouraged (pretty much bullied) into getting people to sign up under you, and when they sign up, you get a share. They are illegal because you receive income just for recruiting people. There's no product to sell (or the product is just a membership to the company).
MLMs on the other hand, work differently. When you recruit somebody under you either as a customer or distributor, you receive a commission based on their sales and purchases. They make sales (or buy products) and you earn a percentage, they just join up and do nothing, and you don't.
It's a pretty fundamental difference.
Generally speaking, network marketing companies will say they use the power of their distributors to market the products, which saves them advertising funds and frees up profits to give back to the distributors. The company still makes sales, and the distributors get a bigger profit.
Ironically enough, most of the sales come from distributors buying their own stock. The best way to make sales is to keep consuming the product right?
What Does SendOutCards Sell?
So this brings us onto SendOutCards, where the products are ..you guessed it..cards! Greeting cards, Get Well Soon cards, Congratulations cards, you get the picture.
The gift card industry is a pretty big industry, and SendOutCards has made a pretty simple online system where people can mail a gift card of their choice, with the message of choice, to anyone in the country with the click of a button. Your job as an SOC distributor would be to find new customers to sign up for membership, and encourage them to “send, out, cards”.
The product and online system is pretty good I guess, but I'm not sure how much I'd use it.
Basically, when somebody signs up for $9.98 or $31 a month, they then receive a certain number of “points”. They can use these points to send physical cards (not e-cards) to any of their friends. The whole process is simple and reasonably priced. That is, if you are committed to sending 10 or more cards a month.
There's definitely no scam here, because it's a legitimate product.
If you've got a few hundred friends who might send a gift card or two every day, you could earn a decent income.
Or..if you recruit enough people who think they can recruit enough people or find enough customers who want to send enough gift cards for you to get commission on, then that could work too.
The Sales/Recruitment Process
When you first arrive at the SOC homepage, you'll see the usual MLM style “Revolutionizing the world” type of video, with the “Our mission is to give you an opportunity while bringing happiness to people's lives” type of statement. Most companies use this because they work pretty well at luring people in. After all, we all want a good opportunity, and doing it while making people happy sounds pretty cool.
The first video I clicked on could have been a carbon copy of various other MLMs. The motiviational speech with the inspiring images. Now is the time. This is your hour. We are changing the world.
That sort of thing.
In fact, the whole Send Out Cards is basically just a carbon copy of the other big MLMs. Avon, Herbalife, Amway etc. Those companies have survived the test of time and make a lot of money, so why not copy them? Especially if your own product line is somewhat lacking.
Not quite smoke and mirrors, but definitely hype before content.
“What Amazon did for books, Netflix did for movies, iTunes did for music, SendOutCards is doing for gift cards”.
This quote pissed me off.
That's the claim, and it's pretty bold. Books, movies, and music are MASSIVE industries that people will constantly return to to buy things over and over again. No offence, but just because you made something easy to use by having online purchases, doesn't allow you to compare yourself to Amazon (especially as Amazon uses affiliate marketing, not network marketing).
The thing about a lot of this type of business is that their immediate product or opportunity doesn't quite make sense or isn't clear, so they hype up as much as possible and get you warmed up to the idea of having a great chance (but act now!), before they explain their marketing plan to you. That's what I'll go into now.
The SendOutCards Business Opportunity – Let's Explore It More Closely
So far I've mostly covered some general opinions on this type of business, and given a bit of info about SendOutCards, but now I'd like to go over it in a bit more detail.
When you join SendOutCards, you are encouraged to sign up for the full marketing pack for a whopping $395. It's not exactly a cheap way to get started, but it's not bad for having your own business right?
Included in the $395 is an online business office (not sure what this is), some marketing websites (duplicate content, so won't rank) and 100 points to spend on sending cards yourself. Woo.
You are also given 10 “preferred customer” accounts to give away to your friends or to people who want to build the business too. As far as I could tell from the marketing plan video (more of a sales pitch really), a preferred customer is just a customer who wants an account at SendOutCards so that they can use the site to send cards to their Gran or their Niece or something.
So if you “activate” two of these preferred customer accounts within your first 7 days, you get a $50 bonus. That's not bad. You also get commission from any cards that these customers send out for the duration of their times as customers (which is their whole life in theory).
Of course, it gets better. If any of those preferred customers decide that they want to be a world famous card distributor, and they activate 2 of their own preferred customers (stay with me on this) in their first 7 days, which gets them that $50 bonus thing, then you also get a $140 bonus for introducing them.
This is again, pretty cool, but remember what I said before? You're not supposed to get any income for recruiting people, only their sales, otherwise it's a pyramid scheme.
So if you persuade people to sign up for $395 and activate two of their friends, you'll get $140. I doubt it's that likely to happen.
SendOutCards just about avoids being a scheme because you are technically getting bonuses for people becoming customers, but it's a bit cheeky. The whole thing puts heavy emphasis on recruitment.
Here's where the MLM aspect really takes off, the leadership bonuses. As your organization grows (if it grows), you can get promoted to higher levels, meaning you will earn higher commissions from the various levels below you. Here's an example:
What I found the most interesting though, was the whole time SOC was explaining its business plan, talking about the bonuses you get for recruiting, and moving up the levels, and “changing people's lives” and “revolutionizing the industry”, and basically all the other rhetoric MLMs love to go through (seriously, it's the same pitch but with a different label every time), the whole time I was watching this I was thinking:
“Yeah but I mean..this is just sending out cards. Come on. Really?”
Call me skeptical, because I am.
Here's a closer look at the earnings disclosure published on sendoutcards.com
As you can see, the vast majority of people in the company are at the Senior Distributor rank. Their average annual income will be $35. That's 10% of the money spent on the welcome pack. So if you work for 10 years, you'll break even. Assuming there are no other expenses.
Yes, if you can make it all the way down to the Eagle level, you'll be living the good life. Even if you make it to Executive you will be set for life. Let's say you only need $2k a year and can make it to Senior Manager. That's still less than 5% of the people who signed up.
You could argue “Well that's because many people sign up purely to use the products as customers”. But it's not the case. 95% are senior distributors, which means they've made the choice to run the business, and got nowhere with it.
All businesses will have a high failure rate, that's just the way it goes, but the facts are clearly stacked against you here, and it would be better to start out with odds in your favor.
The Fundamental Problem With SendOutCards Is The Cards
I touched upon the fact earlier that SOC has created a pretty cool system. People can log in to their account, choose a card design, create the message they want, and mail it to wherever they want it sent. This is very seamless and only takes 24 hours.
They've made a great system, but I just think there can't be much demand for it.
People use e-mails, e-cards, e-videos, Facebook, ANYTHING before they use physical cards these days.
I will 100% agree with anyone who says that physical cards are more personal and “sending smiles” in the mail is a great thing to do. I'm not questioning that. When I go abroad I still send postcards to people. But do you know what?
I hand-write them.
If I was ever going to send a physical card to somebody, I would hand-write it. That's the whole point. It's more personal. So if you are going to use some awesome-but-still-automated system and claim it is more personal, you're probably going to wonder why you don't get that many repeat customers.
For me, this is the fundamental problem with the business. It's why nobody is making bank. Because nobody is spending.
Summarizing – The Pros And Cons
So basically, here are some pros and cons of the company:
- Recurring commissions from customers.
- Commissions and pretty nice bonuses from downline (your team).
- I *guess* cards are an easy sell.
- Good training and support from the company.
- The system is pretty easy to use.
- It's going to be a lot of time spent and money invested for not a huge payoff, even long-term.
- MLMs just aren't a great business model with so much negativity around them, and so many better methods.
- I couldn't even find a Wikipedia page for this company. Seriously?
- Do people still send cards? I use e-mails, or even e-videos. JibJab is much more fun.
- It's a pretty big upfront investment. The basic $50 starter package has a refund, but the $395 doesn't mention that.
- Most of the sales of the company come from distributors sending cards to “drum up” more business and promote themselves.
- The vast majority of people will never earn their initial investment back.
Conclusion – Don't Bother
Overall, if you are seriously thinking about joining SOC and just want to do a last minute check to find out if it's a scam, I can safely tell you it isn't, but I also don't think it's going to be much use to you unless you are just going to be a customer. The customer system seems pretty good to be honest.
Don't bother trying to get rich by “sending smiles” in the mail though.
Some people (I'd say about 5 or 10) do get rich off this system, but it's not BECAUSE OF the system, it's IN SPITE OF the system. They succeeded against all odds and probably would have succeeded with any business they joined. For most people, this is definitely not for you.
I know this because I've done this style business before, they are real, honest businesses, but succeeding with them is nigh on impossible.
What I did after MLMs got me success in 6 months. You can learn to do the same for free.