It’s good to be a Rotten Apple

I tried out ecademy a few years ago and quickly tired of the networking tool. I guess I’m not their target market and I’ve never paid for one of their upgraded membership levels 🙂

Every so often I get a contact message, out of courtesy I take a look but they are rarely interesting. Well I’ve started getting messages from S?ren Gorm Rasmussen flogging the ACN pyramid (or not) scheme which has hit New Zealand.

Søren Gorm Rasmussen

Judging from an article in the Sunday Star Times I’m not the only one being targetted by those already in the ACN web: ‘Red apples’ at core of scheme’s success

There’s alot of competition in the world of telecoms in NZ and I certainly didn’t want to have endless conversations with family and friends (let alone clients) about how they structure their telecom accounts, who they do the tolls with etc. I have so many better things to do with my time, thank you.

But if you are tempted here’s the article.

TONY WALL attends a seminar run by ACN, the controversial US company that’s trying to sell cheap phone deals to Kiwis.

WITH HIS deep tan, bright white teeth, lush hair and spectacular job title -senior vice-president – Brian Sax could not be more American.

He also has an impressive resume – Princeton graduate, former US Olympic track team “hopeful”, and member of his company’s “Circle of Champions”.

Tonight, Sax has a crowd of about 300 at Auckland’s North Shore Events Centre in the palm of his hand. He is here to present the imminent launch of ACN (American Communications Network) in New Zealand, and to explain to those present how they can make oodles of money.

“Who’s a bit excited in here?” Sax asks, shooting his hand in the air. Dozens of hands do the same.

“Who wouldn’t mind getting paid a percentage on all the telecom accounts in the country? Imagine, as you sit here, 20,000 people are making calls, and you’re making money off every one.”

More hands shoot up.

Sax explains that ACN spends nothing on advertising, instead relying on word of mouth to draw in customers and team members, or “independent representatives”.

Reps make money by being paid a percentage on their customers’ monthly phone bills. He gives an example from a flow chart of how one rep with 40 customers paying $50 a month in phone bills, can make $100 a month in “residual income”.

The fine-print states that 40 is the minimum number of customers required, and that commission is paid only when that number is achieved within the first 30 days.

But Sax is not interested in the specifics tonight – he says those in the room could, one day, become a RVP (regional vice-president) and make up to $25,000 a month.

He asks people to action ACN’s “24-hour plan” – to have at least three close friends or family members signed up within 24 hours of leaving the meeting.

Sax explains that potential recruits will fall into three categories. There are “red apples” – people who sign up straight away without asking any questions. Sax’s grandmother was one of those. Green apples ask questions, and are sceptical, but could go either way.

Don’t even bother with the rotten apples, he says. They are the “negative people who, when they walk into a room, the lights dim”.

As the crowd files out afterwards, an ACN member approaches a middle-aged couple, and asks: “So, are you category one, two or three?”

The couple laugh nervously.

“Category one,” they say. You don’t want to be a rotten apple in this crowd.


Recent Comments



  1. August 18, 2006

    I just had my first personal experience with an ACN representative – Elaine. It didn’t go well.

    First off, as with all pyramid schemes she went to efforts to avoid naming the company and elaborating on the services. What happened to branding?

    When I mentioned that I had heard of them and it wasn’t good she claimed to have never researched the company online. Really? In this day and age?

    The crux of her deal seemed to be that you got free calls to Australia if your the person you were calling is also on ACN. So, how do they make their money? I asked. Well, in other countries they have different deals – which I took to mean that they were loss-leading the NZ introduction.

    Then Elaine tried to tell me that she wasn’t selling me anything, just introducing me to the service. After all I’m making calls anyway, what’s there to sell? Yeah, right. I gave the analogy of competing supermarkets, and how I may shop at one but the others still try to sell how they good they are in the hope of making me switch. I think she understood because she then decided she was through talking to me and refused to answer any more questions.

  2. anon
    October 19, 2006

    sounds like the exact same pitch he used back in 2002-2003 in west texas and dallas fort worth. you can make a lot of money but it’s a lot of work and you have to cut so much out of your life to be that successful. I’ve seen people go from living on inflatable matresses traveling the USA to buying a porsche or escalade cash living in 6 or 7 bedroom houses within months. I’ve also seen marriages and family’s fail for the extremely successful. you can have anything if you’re willing to give everything.

  3. Lia
    November 28, 2006

    Its funny how people can be so quick to judge something they themselves no little about. I was as you both are now very sceptical about the whole idea of selling (and it is selling) a service that people knew nothing about. But why? I asked myself this question again and again, then I actually got off my butt, rather than just talking all the time, and researched the company, its founders, the rates etc etc, and for ALL your information could not find a flaw. YES it is marketing/selling a service, but when was the last time Telecom threw you $50 for using their services, and maybe another $100 for telling all your friends to sign on for $10 texting? Its so easy to judge without having to have sat in the seat yourself. So what point am I trying to make? None, I’m just here as you both are stating an opinion, which I think is fair and honest. Also for the record I have been in ACN for just under a month, and have gained $350 payment for getting my family signed up as customers, and showing them how to make money that they wouldn’t have otherwise. So to all those looking at this business, the reason why people are putting it down is because they don’t know all the facts, no-one said it would be easy, of course you have to put effort into it, but for one thing its brought my family closer and I think thats enough reason for us to join this business. No one will tell me any different.
    ACN is REAL!!!!! – Thats cos I’m IN IT, not watching from the sideline 🙂

  4. November 28, 2006

    Lia, I’d love you to come back in 6 months and give us an update on how you’re going. I’m glad you are finding success with it and that you’re honest enough to say that you’re selling.

  5. March 17, 2007

    I agree with Sarah! Glad to hear that you doing well for yourself. Keep up the good work!

  6. John
    September 17, 2007

    Where is the update????????? Either Lia is too successful and no time to convince us it works, or she has fallen short of glorious ACN so called work hard and you’ll get to the top. So was it the red apples or the “rotten apples”?

  7. Daniel
    May 5, 2008

    ACN has been in NZ for just over 2 years now and has created a significant ammount of TC’s (Team coordinators) and RVP’s (Regional Vice presidents).
    If your in these positions it means you are earning well over $5000 a month. This is proof that the system works. It’s just people that fail.
    If you haven’t researched the company properly then your in no position to have a valid opinion.
    People’s main opinion is that this is a pyramid scheme, what a laugh, they obviously have little of no knowledge of the legal definition of a pyramid scheme, yet they lay claim to ACN being one.
    ACN could be described as a pyramid structure, just like most business structures (2 directors, 4 managers, 16 workers), and just like the your family tree. The ancient Egyptians built pyramids because they were and still are the most stable structure known to man.
    Just consider this
    Your a batsman for the black caps and you have a bad game. You arrive home to find your neighbour poking his head over the fence. He is giving you technical advice on what you should have done. this is advice from your neighbour who works at the ZOO advising you on how you could improve your bating technique. So would you take his advise? No, and if you said yes, you shouldn’t. You should take advice from people who are more successful or better than you at what you do. The same goes in ACN. If you have come here to research the company, then you have done the right thing. But please, listen to people who are successful in ACN who want to help, not people who want to bring you down.
    Over and out

  8. TC
    July 14, 2008

    ACN is a pyramid scheme not because it has a pyramid or heirarchical structure like most any organization, but because its profits are largely based on _endless recruitment_ of sales reps rather than customer sales.

    A pyramid scheme is based on limitless expansion by which a small percentage of the participants reap rewards from the losses of an overwhelming
    majority. There is no regard for the forces of supply and demand. A pyramid scheme just keeps expanding until the market is oversaturated to
    the point that the people at the bottom levels of the pyramid (who were sold the exact same opportunity as the upper levels) run out of recruits, and are left holding the bag as the recruitment money dries up.

    An ACN rep will make very little on commissions from personal sales versus their effort. The real money is in the recruiting.

    ACN’s telecom business is ultimately just a diversion or loss leader for their true business of selling the dream of financial freedom. They don’t advertise their products because it’s not customers they’re truly after, but recruits. The customer is really just the bait, which legitimizes the business and distracts from the pyramid scheme.

    ACN wouldn’t be able to compete so effectively under a conventional business model because the telecom industry is too commoditised to make money through resold services while paying commissions to several levels of sales reps (middle men) who are not even directly involved in the delivery of those services. That’s why reps aren’t allowed to reach out to large populations with cost-effective advertising, under the guise of passing on the savings to the customer. Fortunately for ACN, they can capitalize on the evolving VoIP market with their video phone to really boost their recruitment efforts.

    ACN’s products and services may well be good and help customers save money, but the customers just fuel ACN’s core business of making money off
    recruits who were misled about the extremely low odds of financial success as defined by the inherent unsustainability of a pyramid scheme.

    A rep can make good money from ACN, but at the cost of other reps’ failures. I couldn’t support such an unethical business model that has such a high failure rate built into its operation by design, and that exploits personal relationships to achieve sales.

    I’m not saying that all MLM companies are pyramid schemes, but I don’t care for the network marketing industry as a whole. ACN emphasizes and incentivizes recruitment over residual income from commissions, so that’s what makes it a pyramid scheme in my view.

  9. Bill
    July 17, 2008

    I am just about to go to one of ACN’s secondary meetings, where i will gain “enlightenment” or so they want you to think…… Is there anyone out there who is in “The Club” and is doing well??

  10. Aamir Shah
    September 9, 2008

    hey this for all you loosers out there who have achived nothing out of life and will never achieve anything all you guys are good at just complaining about things,the real fact is that you have enough time to talk about things rather than taking some action and make your life better.Most of you who have been putting all the negative comments get a life and do something with you useless boring life.More importantly people who do acn or any other type pf network marketing business need to put some effort in order to see results.Sitting on your bum and doing nothing obviously u will nothing better to say because you are loosers.I am proud and being a part of ACN and i have achieved tremendous amount of success within just few months you know why because i dont listen to people rather i beleive in myself and work towards whatever my goals all you negative,useless,hopeless people just wake up and do something with your lives before that negativity destroys your brains completely and you end up like any other looser on the street nagging about everything oohhh god life sucks …heheheh i feel like laughing at you guys …

  11. September 9, 2008

    Aamir – I’m glad it’s working for you. I’d be interested in knowing how long you’ve been with them, how reliable they are with their payouts etc. Have you been supplementing your income, or have you made it your main source of income? What is your success rate? How many calls do you make for every signup?

    I love a success story and would love you to share yours here.

  12. Aamir Shah
    September 10, 2008

    Sarah …I have been with the company for just 2 and a half months and i am being honest i have made acn my full time carrier and i have been paid out quite well better than my 50k job..i cant be more thankful to acn and its system.i dont make million calls a day all i do is present to people and they sign up themselves just by seeing how powerful telecommunications is.Most network marketing companies are not easy the reason being that they sell products and here we dealing with a service which everyone uses on a daily basis.Acn is a proven system and it pays out exactly how much put into it.Most people think just by doing nothing they should get paid but it is not a free ride how can you expect to make heaps of money without putting any effort if that was the case life wouldnt have been so hard.people spend millions of dollars on traditional businesses and the results are not that great even with hard work,but acn with such a small investment you can make potentially 10s and thousands of dollars every month.Now every person is different and it all comes to one thing just be posistive in life and it will pay back in a positive and healthy way.So what i suggest is dont be a part of a problem always try to be a solution and if you cant think of anything better then at least dont blame others and system blame yourself becasue it is always you who can break or make things.Life aint easy but we can make it easy just the way we take it …praise god…ameen

  13. September 10, 2008

    Aamir, it certainly sounds like it’s working well for you. My opinion was based on the media back in 2006 and my conversation with Elaine (comment #1). I’d be very interested to hear back from you in 6 months about how it’s all going.

  14. David
    November 29, 2008

    So where is Lia?

  15. John
    December 31, 2008

    This “Aamir Shah” is obviously an ACN bot – ACN most likely surfs the web and tries debunk the claims against them, don’t believe me? Most of the “ACN Scam” blogs that existed before are now gone, why do you think that is? Quite obviously ACN is behind the closing on free speech against them. My point is: Don’t believe the people who barely started in ACN, they haven’t seen the full effect of the scam they are being involved in.

    Anyone who has a brain should know that ACN is nothing but a pyramid scheme. There is no REAL money in it, not even enough to pay the bills. Sure there is money, but like I said..very LITTLE. You might as well open up your own real business than take chances with scams like ACN. Their so called videophone, which is basically a web cam with a nasty bulky design to it, is nothing revolutionary and if it was, people would have gone nuts about it already, which still hasn’t…besides ACN aren’t the first one’s with a videophone, there are tons with it…and they expect to dominate the top telecommunication companies? They can’t, they are unheard of because they don’t want to be known. The less you know the better it is for them to sucker you into their scheme. ACN has been seen as an illegal pyramid scheme in Canada, Australia and have already been closed down in Finland. I think that tells you something about the company, regardless of laws – if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is. There’s no such thing as “easy money”; unless you win the lotto or inherit from a rich relative…you can’t make easy money like ACN claims you can…they are a bogus pyramid that will soon collapse. The $500 that new reps give them is the key to their success, rarely is their services…

    They were recently investigated by FOX 11 News, although they didn’t flat out call them a pyramid – the tone of the video sure seemed that way:

  16. Richard
    January 8, 2009

    I never ceased to be amazed by people who are contstantly looking for the ‘pyramid scheme” in a networking company. I am not involved with A.C.N as a rep, but they do provide me and my family with an excellent service.
    They are a legitimate company with products and services that most people use every day, and I will continue to support them as they bring out new products and services.
    The accusation that they area pyramid scheme is totally inaccurate and they will be around long after their accusers have passed away.

  17. Lee
    February 26, 2009

    I too have always been skeptical of network marketing, and was quite convinced by all the negative ‘pyramid scheme’ hype. Until it was pointed out to me that our everyday jobs are the worst pyramids of them all. We sacrifice our time working hard for a company, and who gets most of the money?? the Board Directors, CEOs, Managers…eventually it trickles down into the bottom level employees. Is that not a pyramid?? Yet people continue going to work day after day, week after week…getting maybe an extra couple of thousand per annum. An extra $30/40 after tax!! Why cant we try other ways to make money?? As I said before, Im a skeptical person but ACN has actually caught my interest. I work for a large well known highly disliked telecommunications company in NZ, and there is A LOT of money going around this industry. Theres definitely potential here. Anyway like Sarah I love a success story and am very interested to see or hear from people that are doing well in ACN. Im researching it before I decide to have a go, which is how I came across this website. I agree with Richard, ACN is going to be around for a very long time.

  18. Georgie
    March 16, 2009

    A family member is/was involved with ACN and all I see is a man who is trying to make money off family and friends. I find this distasteful and insulting and am embarrassed whenever I hear of him trying to lure people into his schemes.

    He has tried it all – Amway, Herbalife (I think that was it), some lame US insurance scam and more – each of them was supposedly going to make us all rich. Sadly he believes it whenever someone recruits him into a new “business opportunity”.

    Not one of them has worked and I suspect he has given up on ACN as well.

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