When I got the call last month that executives for a new multi-level marketing internet company were making a stop in Houston, I decided to attend the recruiting event at the Omni Hotel that same night.
There were white collar and blue collar folks, men and women of all races who came out to learn about the new company.
Before I drove over, I did some research online. Most of what was posted was about Cameron Sharpe- the guy who says he came up with the idea for iJango. Sharpe apparently has some skeletons in his closet… part ownership in an old Dallas-based dating service that got less than stellar reviews with the BBB.
When Sharpe filed for bankruptcy in 2005, almost all of his debts were erased. A woman named Susan Baker sued Sharpe, claiming he owed her $150,000 and that the loan shouldn’t be discharged by the court. In this filing, we learn a lot more about Sharpe, including how he did business, how he spent money he didn’t have, and most importantly, the extent of his relationship with iJango Chairman Steve Smith.
On page 17 of the bankruptcy court filing, Sharpe says in court that the only pay he received was in the form of loans from Steve smith, about $20,000 a month. In the documents, Smith is listed as a partner in the dating business with Sharpe that went belly-up. In the end, the court ruled that Sharpe didn’t have to repay Susan Baker the $150,000 she loaned him. That was 2006.Fast forward to 2009. Sharpe says the idea of iJango came to him in the shower. “What if we could multi-level the internet?” he told the crowd in Houston.Sharpe and Smith say they first met working together at Excel Comunications, a huge multi-level marketing long-distance phone company. Smith told the crowd that it was “embarrassing” how much money he made at Excel… but that iJango “is the finest opportunity he’s (I’ve) ever seen in his (my) life.”
The web portal iJango offers is not new. The way iJango purports to make money is not new. But combining the iJango portal with revenue sharing may be unique.
Ed Burbach, iJango’s attorney sent me a list of close to 200 retailers he says iJango has revenue sharing agreements with through a third party company called LinkShare.
Crocs.com is one of the companies I have confirmed is affiliated with iJango. Crocs will give an 8% commission to iJango on all goods purchased by buyers who use the iJango portal to get to Crocs.com. Let’s say the average pair of Crocs is $40. 8% of that is just $3.20. If you’re counting on that commission, you will have to split it with iJango Network and anyone else who “sponsored” you or turned you onto iJango.
Sounds like it would be difficult to get rich that way… but we won’t know until iJango starts sending out the commission checks. iJango customers say they’ve been told they’re coming at the end of September.
By the way… Cameron Sharpe… the brain child behind iJango apparently no longer has any ownership in the company at all. An iJango customer sent me an email he received from iJango Network last week. You can read the part about Sharpe below: iJango’s Cameron Sharpe
“We wish Mr. Sharpe continued success in turning his life around. Nevertheless, his past personal issues have become the major distraction for this company. Therefore, this will confirm that Mr. Sharpe has agreed to not have any ownership interest in the company.”