UPDATE: Data Network Affiliates Gets More Bizarre By The Day; MLM Firm Now Says It Was Snookered In $10 ‘Unlimited’ Cell-Phone Deal
The PP Blog attempts to write serious stories about serious subjects. In recent weeks, we have reported very little on events at Data Network Affiliates (DNA). Perhaps the biggest reason we have published fewer updates on events at DNA was because things had gotten so strange that sharing news with readers almost seemed like a disservice.
In our view, nothing that DNA says should be taken seriously. The company plays into every negative stereotype about multilevel marketing (MLM), seems neither to notice nor to care, and has reinvented itself more times than Elizabeth Taylor has been married — and this in a compressed time frame of only weeks.
DNA, which started its MLM journey earlier this year by telling members it was the business of paying them to record the license-plate numbers of cars for entry in a database because 100 million plate numbers could equate to $1 billion in revenue, sold itself as a sort of “free” Narc That Car.
DNA, though, oversold the “free” part. It then tried to inspire members to buy a $127 upgrade by telling them its free module to enter plate data was a clunker. Its affiliates have done other strange things, such as attempting to persuade prospects that Oprah Winfrey and Donald Trump endorsed the company.
DNA has a history of making bizarre announcements.
Narc That Car (referenced above) is another MLM company that collects plate data. Like Narc That Car, DNA said it saw itself as an excellent tool for law enforcement and the AMBER Alert program for missing children. At first, DNA suggested AMBER Alert, which is administered by the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, was doing a poor job.
DNA then backed away from that claim, went through a phase it which it positioned itself as an anti-Narc That Car, and finally got around to saying that its database would have limited utility when it came either to helping law enforcement or abducted children and their families.
All of this was done in the name of MLM profits. It also went through a phase in which it threatened reporters with lawsuits. After Dean Blechman, its original CEO, resigned and later said the company was sending out “bizarre” communications authored by a “back door guy,” DNA sought to regroup. Before long, it announced it was in the cell-phone business.
All of this came on the heels of claims by the company that church parking lots and the parking lots of doctors’ offices were wonderful places to record license-plate numbers if for some reason you couldn’t get to Walmart to get your supply. Coupled with the cheerleading on conference calls, it was enough to make a person wonder whether MLM had reached a new low.
DNA Cell-Phone Plan Now DOA
DNA now says it was snookered into believing it could offer an unlimited cell-phone talk and text plan for $10 a month and, for $19.95 a month, could offer unlimited talk, unlimited text and 20 MB of data.
Yes, unlimited for $10 a month.
By comparison, Walmart offers an unlimited talk and text program with unlimited mobile web access called Straight Talk for $45 a month. Straight Talk is part of the Tracfone Wireless Inc. companies. The system runs on the Verizon network, and the pricing has electrified U.S. customers accustomed to paying much higher rates. Walmart has reported that more than 1 million people have joined the Straight Talk program.
If you are a DNA member, did you really believe that DNA, which changes its message like children consume jellybeans at Easter, was going to sell an unlimited plan for $35 a month less than Walmart does through its Straight Talk affiliation and Tracfone’s buying clout with Verizon? Tracfone itself does not undercut the pricing. It has Walmart’s huge economies of scale, its own Straight Talk marketing arm and ample access to the Verizon network behind it now. The program, which started regionally, now has gone national.
An email sent by DNA today — weeks after members were lured by all the talk about cell-phone plans priced four and a half times under Straight Talk and other low-price leaders — confirms that the DNA pricing is impossible. DNA blamed an exuberant reseller for making it believe the pricing was possible.
The pricing was obviously impossible — weeks ago. We try not to be rude on this Blog, but there is just no way to be gentle with this one: If you believed DNA, you are a fool. The crap it sends to your inbox is exactly that: crap. DNA’s crap from the very beginning has been uniquely ripe.
The DNA email was a thing of wretched beauty. The company furiously tried to spin its announcement as good news, but the announcement was just another in a long line of strikingly pungent missives from the firm.
Oh, by the way, the company also announced that Phil Piccolo was involved in DNA.Â The note announcing both the death of the cell-phone plan and the presence of Piccolo was signed by DNA’s CEO George Madiou. DNA said it was happy to have Piccolo on board.
Here are some highlights (italics added):
We had a call came in from one of our PRO Leaders and asked if we would consider the cellular industry for one of our divisions. She had information that a BIG “MVNO” VENDOR (a reseller of cell service) was not happy where he was and that he not only could bring in the best and lowest prices but that he could bring in thousands of affiliates into our program. We agreed to meet with him.
After meeting [the reseller,] everything seemed to be too good to be true. The names he was tossing around and the prices he said he could deliver were just unbelievable. Let’s face it a $10 a month unlimited talk and text plan, a $19.95 a month unlimited talk & text with 20 MB of DATA plan, were two unbelievable products that got us very excited, and we knew it would get our affiliates thrilled also. The excitement was contagious and we immediately put our full I.T. Division along with our entire Web team on the DNA Cellular Project.
Well the dream turned into a nightmare. After selling hundreds, or should we say thousands of cellular agreements, [the reseller] said he could not deliver either product. He stated that Sprint had terminated his reseller agreement. In fact further investigation on our part, of [the reseller] and his so called $10 and $19.95 monthly service agreements, we found that there are no such service plans to be found by any carrier, anywhere on the planet, by any company in the industry. He also said his good friend of 20 years [name deleted] of Sprint found out that “DNA Affiliates” were raiding the Liberty International, WOW Mobile downline groups. He also stated that [name deleted] found out that “Phil Piccolo” is the lead consultant to the corporate team.
[The reseller] even provided what seemed to be personal e-mails directly from [name deleted], [title deleted] of Sprint to DNA. D.N.A. even received an e-mail supposedly from [name deleted] of Sprint. This entire series of correspondence immediately seemed fraudulent. We plan on contacting [name deleted] because we at D.N.A. feel that there may be foul play with all of these so called [name deleted] communications that are going around.
How would the D.N.A. management be fooled like this? When you believe you are talking to the [title deleted] of Sprint, when you believe you are receiving legitimate email communication with the [rank deleted] of Sprint, it’s easy to be fooled at first. Thankfully there was enough red flags that this foolishness was quickly exposed for what it was.
Addressing the allegation of D.N.A. Affiliates raiding the Liberty International WOW downline, this is another untrue comment. It would be impossible to have 120,000 Affiliates (from D.N.A.) who would not know any WOW Affiliates, so there was a lot of discussion in the field from both companies. There is a very open relationship and mutual respect for Randy Jeffers the owner of WOW Mobile and myself.
In regard to Phil Piccolo, it is no secret that Phil Piccolo is a lead consultant to the D.N.A. corporate team and we are happy to have him on our team. As far as my D.N.A. Corporate team is concern, we do not judge people by what others say about a person, especially on the wild wild west of the Internet, but by the content of their character and their accomplishments. We hired Mr. Piccolo for his genius ability to develop the best compensation plan for our affiliates and his incredible leadership and customer relationship ability. I have also known Mr. Piccolo personally for years and know him as a man of integrity and have watched him help 3 different companies reach the billion dollar level. He is an industry expert that goes back 34 years and we are proud to have him on our team to spear head us to a million affiliates by years end.
We were blinded by excitement and did not believe the rumors that flooded into D.N.A. about [the reseller]. Not only from hundreds of affiliates but from other owners of companies. We thought at first they were just jealous of our newest, greatest and latest deal with [the reseller]. However now with personal experience along with written, documented facts backed up with recorded conference calls, e-mail and voice mail messages. We can truly say that [the reseller] is a fraud and we have cut all ties with him. We are also looking at all legal options to protect D.N.A. from this man including to see if there are any criminal and civil charges that can be explored.
We plan to turn over all of our evidence to the proper authorities. Our intent is to make sure all of our D.N.A. affiliates are fully protected from unethical characters like this man.
We also apologize for [the resellers'] crude language on our conference calls. You have our word that this will never happen again. That anyone we expose to our D.N.A. Family will be 100% checked out and vetted by a very high standard.
Again, we are very excited about being in the cellular industry and we are pleased with the development of D.N.A. Cellular becoming itâ€™s own MVNO in full control of our wireless future! Stay tune for some more great news in the days to come.