Send Out Cards Review – Is It A Scam?

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?

I don't make money via MLMs, learn how I make money online instead.

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 same cheesy video from a million other MLMs
The same cheesy video from a million other MLMs

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.

The Key To Success! Maybe?
The Key To Success! Maybe?

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?

Want to get started with a real business for free instead?

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.

send-out-cards-review

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.

Leadership Bonuses

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:

send-out-cards-mlm

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

Up to date as of March 2014
Click to enlarge

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.

Prefer to build a real business? See what I do here.

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:

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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.

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15 thoughts on “Send Out Cards Review – Is It A Scam?”

  1. Wow, $395 to send out e-cards? I have a $12 yearly subscription to jacquielawson.com- and I’m not worried about signing up other people to it because I love her e-cards. And really, it’s only $12 for a year of e-cards. Also, there are still many free e-card services out there, so why would people pay $395 to send e-cards? Great review.

    1. hi Halina. The $395 is actually for the “marketing distributor” pack and comes with various marketing materials like websites and 10 free accounts to give to your friends. The account that let’s you send cards to people only costs $31 from what I can tell, so it’s a lot cheaper, although still a bit pricey.

      Incidentally, the $395 is still a ripoff, because the websites you get are not going to rank in search engines, and you’ll need to build your own (which shouldn’t cost $395).

  2. Jeff the business owner

    Author mentions “I would hand write them!!!” You can pay a one time $5.00 fee to upload your handwriting so that it appears to be handwritten. If you own a business with a customer list of any size it makes sense. I have been in business 15 years and never sent out cards of any kind except for the holidays and the reason was the hassled factor. For only $1.42 for a two-panel card with postage, I am on board simply for the convienence.

    1. Thanks Jeff. Sounds like the actual service is a little more practical than I first stated. I still think for the purposes of making money and getting rich by sending smiles SOC isn’t a good business model. However, thanks for pointing out that the product itself has more applications. Maybe the business just got a little bit more feasible. The ability to upload handwriting is pretty cool.

  3. I agree with Jeff. I have a distributor account and very easily earned my investment back in 3 months. I don’t have time to actively work the business but it is the best way to send a card. Just this morning I got a thank you from my friend in Dubai. I stayed with her and send her houseboy a thank you card for feeding me and keeping my room clean. He loved it so much he wants to frame the card. Why? People love receiving real cards!! On this trip I created a campaign with SOC and sent 30 postcards( took me 5 min) with my handwriting to my friends and family with photos of my trip. And guess what I did not have to hunt for stamps or a post box. They love knowing that I think of them and not only post on FB for all to see.
    Social media is for all to see Personalized cards are just that and you cant beat that. And best of all you don’t have to invest more than $9.80 one off to be a retail customer.
    I love your honest review of the business opportunity but do not miss the use of this opportunity to market your own product.
    I suggest you send a few SOC cards and see what a response you get from recipients. BTW you need a login http://www.sendoutcards.com/troost

  4. You know Bryon, it’s very interesting to me that you are doing what I see a LOT of Wealthy Affiliate reps do. You post articles that tear down different opportunities (in the most polite way possible, but still a tear down) then you point your readers to your “real deal”, which is Wealthy Affiliate. I see lots of WA affiliates doing this exact same thing so obviously they teach this technique. Personally, I think this is not the best way to market your WA affiliate program, but so be it.

    1. The thing is Bobby, if you actually take the time to look around my site, you’ll see that reviewing other programs and referring people to WA is barely even 10% of what I do. I generally prefer to offer advice on getting niche websites profitable. When I DO promote Wealthy Affiliate, it’s by sharing my story – something a lot of people have commended me on and been inspired by.

      In the particular case of Send Out Cards, a rep actually joined WA, and was making it his number one task to build a list of WA people, then refer them to SOC. I got annoyed by this, so I checked out the program and blogged what I found.

      As for tearing down a program and pointing people to the real deal. (No need for speech marks Bobby, it really is the real deal). There are generally two types of reviewers in the make money online space. There are the ones who do not give a damn about the real people online, who lie through their teeth and say that every product and scam is the best thing since sliced bread, tell you how you will earn millions, then happily take a profit from you while you throw your money away again.

      Then there are the ones who say “Actually, this is a scam, or it’s at least not an ideal product..here’s something better”. Since most of these people are WAers…I would argue that what they are doing is a hell of a good thing. After all, WA is free to join.

      Now, next time you are about to take a bite of some stale bread, and somebody says to you “Hey..that bread doesn’t really look great, maybe you’ll get sick if you eat it. Would you like this cake instead?” I hope you will just say thank you, as opposed to “Hey now there’s another cake rep just like you who said the same thing!”.

  5. I find it interesting that there is no review section for your page. I am not sure that I have EVER had a worse experience with a company, and hope I never have to again. First off, the website is awful to use, I had to CONSTANTLY delete my cookies in order for the system to not run at a dinosaur pace. Not to mention during the transition, it would kick me back and forth between the new and old site, making each order take 10X longer than it should have. Second, I did not have good reviews on the quality of gifts that were sent, the gifts and the cards look cheesy and cheap. Third, my membership was never set up correctly and that’s why I had to keep adding points for each order. Not to mention, I signed up on March 30th and my handwriting/signature was supposed to be available to use in 1-2 weeks, over 4 weeks later it STILL was not set up. Fourth, every time I contacted customer support it was almost a week later before anybody even responded to me. Lastly, when I finally had enough and contacted support to cancel my membership, I asked for my $400 back since that was to cover the “labor” in creating my signature and handwriting into the system, when in fact it had NEVER been done, and CONVENIENTLY THAT DAY it was being completed and would be available in my account soon. I use a lot of companies, products etc, and I try to always write my good reviews, I have never written a bad review, THAT is how bad this is! Please please please anyone considering this, DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY, IT IS A COMPLETE SCAM!

  6. A couple of points that Bryon came close to saying, but didn’t explicitly state:
    He mentioned the problem being the cards. I thought he was going to mention the designs, which I felt look like generic cards like you’d pick up at Target by the box. He was actually alluding to the “not hand-written” aspect of them. I’ve received a number of computer-signed cards, and it’s hard to distinguish from a real hand-written signature, so that is less of a concern. My actual concern is the generic look of the cards. If I’m going to bother sending a real paper card (which I do think is unusual enough to get the recipient’s attention), I want it to be memorable – fun, touching, something. I’d prefer to send an entertaining card like these “keep in touch” cards: http://www.quotearts.com/keep-in-touch-cards-for-clients.html. Something that might get passed around the office, or displayed on a desk. Not as convenient, but it shows an effort and interest.

  7. I have tried to reach ANYONE by phone for support…I only get recorded messages about the company and then get left on hold with pleasant elevator music forever. No one ever responded to my request for a chat. I am seeing that support is just a joke!

  8. I, too WAS a Distributor….my BIGGEST complaint was that several of my friends that I regularly sent cards to, often told me they received (2) cards in one envelope….the one I was sending to them, and one that someone else was trying to send to their friend (but, by mistake they both got stuffed into the same envelope)…..this did not happen once or twice, but SEVERAL (no lets change that to OFTEN) times!!! It became to frequent that I finally cancelled my account with SendOutCards.

    BEWARE PEOPLE, mistakes occur OFTEN! RUN, RUN, RUN (don’t look back)

  9. As a former employee of the actual brick and mortar business of SendOutCards, I feel qualified to give a little more details on this company.
    Over 7 billion greeting cards were sold in the U.S. in 2018. These sales generated over 8 billion dollars in revenue. I think those numbers make greeting card sales a viable business. But, understanding the market is the difference between success and failure. For instance, 85% of all greeting cards are purchased by women. The majority of those ladies are between the ages of 40 and 65. So, it is no surprise that Bryon didn’t see this as a big enough market.
    First, let me clarify that these are not ecards. They are actual paper cards, printed with your image(s) and text, folded and stuffed in an envelope then mailed directly to your chosen recipient.
    As for the business concept, it is a very good idea just not executed very well. The idea of making personalized greeting cards available to send on a whim or on regular occasions from your electronic devices with a few simple steps… that is a solid idea. Setting it up as a mlm, having a confusing point system and not being competent enough to hire people to make your site functional as well as user friendly, now that’s just pathetic. There are also quality issues that executives play ignorant to and just hope that they’ll resolve themselves. They cannot market as it would compromise their mlm status. The marketing department is tasked with setting up speaking engagements for the CVO and, when time permits, creating cards that are not very well designed.
    I would really like to be more positive, but I can’t. I don’t expect SendOutCards to be around by 2022.

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