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Thread: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

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    Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    Ignite / Stream is running an MLM that markets electricity and is said to be the best of deregulation. Is it the best deregulation has to offer or a pyramid scheme? I worked with the Texas Attorney General's Office and an Income Disclosure was then published in 2006. Where are the Income Disclosures for the past several years? They are not readily available on the net today!

    Seems the lights are on and nobody is home at Ignite central!



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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    Randy "the Hick" Hedge.....

    Is he a marketer extroardinaire or playing an ignorant hick to scam the good home grown southern folks he speaks to?



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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    Many of these Igniters came straight from Excel. Excel imploded as the pyramid collapsed into bankruptcy:

    From Forbes>
    In a pyramid selling scheme, the mass of salespeople at the bottom line up a handful of customers to buy the product or service. Many of the salespeople will bring in only a small volume of business, but if you have enough of them the business will mushroom. Typical products: cosmetics (Mary Kay), household goods (Amway), vitamins (Shaklee).

    The folks who make money aren't the ones who move the goods. The big money goes to the people who recruit the salespeople and to the people who recruit the people who recruit the salespeople. If you convince a customer to become a sales rep, you get not just a commission on his phone bill but also an override on any customers he recruits, and so on down the pyramid. ;

    At Dallas, Tex.-based Excel, the salesman at the top, former high school football coach Paul Orberson, earns $1 million a month. The company trumpets his success in order to haul in new recruits.

    Representatives are encouraged to sign up their relatives and friends as customers (shades of MCI's Friends & Family plan). That keeps turnover low, at least among the customers. "My mom isn't going to quit Excel for a check from AT&T. She is loyal to me," says Excel representative Clinton O'Rear, a part-time marketing consultant in Dallas. Still, there is plenty of turnover among the sales reps 80% don't even last a year.
    Most recruits pay $195 to join, often mesmerized by visions of emulating Orberson. Excel is the country's fifth-largest long distance company, with 4.1 million customers. But Excel also boasts 1 million sales reps. That means the average Excel rep has only four customers, and one of them is himself. No wonder the turnover is so high.

    The average Excel monthly bill is $28, and the commission at the bottom is 2%. That means the average salesman at the bottom is hauling in all of $20 a year in commissions. The few who climb the pyramid do better, collecting besides commissions bonuses when reps in their pyramid sign up new customers.

    In the manner of a chain-letter scheme, the pyramid relies on a stream of new recruits for its prosperity. The company netted a fat $144 million on revenue of $1.4 billion last year. Minus the $195 recruiting fees, though, Excel would have been in the red.
    Anyone else seeing the red writing on the wall?

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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    With that kind of earning potential they really have to spike that Koolaid as evidenced by this particulalry hilarious rah-rah meeting. This would make anyone with two working brain cells hang on to their wallets and run fast and hard!



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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    Change your life??? After all the bragging you buffoons are in just 2 states -- Texas, where you originated, and Georgia. What happened to that rapid expansion in states across the country? Well, deregulation in Texas accomplished virtually nothing. 28% of the state is municipal power or an area in the panhadle that already enjoys fantastic rates and are not offering choices. With 30 million residents and aroud 10 million residences the exponential growth eats up the state in no time and tens or hundreds of thousands of reps will languish on the bottom of this pyramid making nothing as the Income Disclosures of the past have demonstrated, Where are those honest disclosures now, Ignite??



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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???


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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    Here are documents from the Stream Gas & Electric Public Utility Commission Application. The most contested application in Texas histroy I believe. These documents tell exactly what kind of people are at the helm of this pyramid.

    https://docs.google.com/fileview?id=...ZWE3ZGUz&hl=en

    https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B8G...Y2M1ZDc2&hl=en


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    Last edited by Soapboxmom; 11-05-2010 at 12:25 PM.

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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    Dan Howard, chairman of the marketing department at Southern Methodist University 2006: Quote:
    If each of Stream's 20,000 sales agents signs three agents (the number that triggers bonus payments), and those agents sign three more, within six rounds every resident of Texas would be a sales agent.
    It is a numbers game /math trick and well educated people understand that. You count on the marks to be desperate and clueless. Good thing they can come here for the facts!

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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    • D MAG A Z I N E • MARCH 2006 DMAGAZINE.COM
    POWER PLAY

    Then, in January 2004, a man named Pierre Koshakji approached
    him with an opportunity.Snyder had known Koshakji since the early
    ’90s, when Koshakji was Lamar and Clark Hunt’s startup man.
    Koshakji invited SnyderCapital to invest in an electricity aggregator,
    a company that planned to take advantage of the recently deregulated
    market. The 1999 Texas Electric Choice Act, which went into
    full effect in January 2002, changed the state’s electricity industry.
    Prior to that,customers couldn’t pick their provider.Now they could.
    And many of the new providers offered cheaper rates, because the
    state froze the rates of established providers to foster competition.
    Koshakji’s aggregator would pool business customers and,with their
    higher combined load, negotiate lower rates. Snyder wasn’t wild
    about the idea. But Koshakji’s proposition made him realize how little he knew
    about deregulation. Curious,he sat down one night at about 8o’clock
    at his computer and started reading. He went to the Power To Choose
    web site and plugged in his ZIP Code. “To my shock and horror,”he says,“there were about 15 firms willing to sell me power in 75220. Most of them were about 10 percent cheaper than TXU Energy. It offended my sense of being in the know. I read four friggin’ papers every morning. And I didn’t know about deregulation? My annual electricity bill is probably about $12,000.
    So this is $1,200 to me. And I’m cheap! I’m cheap and I’m well-read.
    And yet I didn’t know about this.”
    How in creation with all the new providers advertising and sending out mail did this clown not know about deregulation happening in Texas? It was extensively covered in the Dallas Morning News.

    Snyder wasn’t alone in his ignorance. Residential customers have
    been slow to switch providers. At the time, in areas the state had
    opened to competition, only 14 percent of customers had switched
    providers. Even today, only 26 percent of the residential customers in
    TXU’s service area have switched to a new provider.
    Thinking there had to be a catch, Snyder stayed at his computer
    late into the night, reading everything he could find about deregulation.
    At about 4 in the morning, he had another revelation.“I’d seen
    those Reliant Energy ads with the funny guy running around the
    state,” Snyder says.“But he never asked for the order. That was obviously
    not driving droves of people to Reliant. The only way to do that
    was a person-to-person environment. It has to be a five-minute pitch on how deregulation works. I thought,‘My God. This is a networkmarketing
    deal. Why has no one ever network-marketed this?’” In essence,why had no one ever treated energy like Mary Kay does makeup?
    More lies. ACN Energy was already selling electricity in Texas MLM style.

    Douglas Witt's old bio before the reference to Option Energy was removed follows:
    Director of Field Development, Ignite

    ...Beginning in late 2001, Mr. Witt applied his entrepreneurial skills in the deregulated Texas Energy market as a marketing director for Option Energy. He quickly distinguished himself through his abilities as a trainer and sales leader, and he was selected Option Energy’s first Corporate Trainer by the company’s president.

    Prior to Option Energy, Mr. Witt was an independent marketing director with Excel Telecommunications for nearly a decade. Due to his prowess as a sales organization leader in Excel, Mr. Witt consistently ranked in the top ten percent of the company’s money earners and was appointed by the company’s founder to develop and lead Excel’s national field leadership team. In this role, Mr. Witt conceptualized and wrote field training manuals and videos, planned and coordinated quarterly training/team-building conferences with corporate staff, and trained in excess of 10,000 field representatives at corporate events, leadership conferences and weekly training meetings nationwide...
    http://www.streamenergy.net/about_stream_management.asp
    Option Energy was the MLM marketing arm for electricity of the now infamous Enron. So I can see why that reference to Option Energy and Enron was removed.


    Once I called him out in front of tens of thousands of readers on Scamdotcom then Snyder has had to back track. Now, all of a sudden he remembers his guy Witt was already in a deal that was network marketing this and it had been done before. Another shining example of the industry being filled with liars and cons. He happily proclaims that network marketing didn't cause Enron's collapse. What a putz.

    http://www.streamenergy.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Energy_Today_Summer_2010.pdf

    http://www.streamenergy.net/wp/about-stream/stream-management/doug-witt/
    doug witt

    Managing Director – Marketing

    Since joining Stream Energy during August 2004 as its first full-time employee, Doug Witt has risen to head its Ignite marketing organization and is responsible for the oversight of all Ignite marketing, operational and field activities (including recruiting, training and events, field leadership and the development and implementation of corporate presentations, marketing materials and management tools).
    Soapboxmom



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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    http://www.pulp.tc/html/texas_electr...m_bets_on.html

    Texas Electricity Firm Bets on Multi-level Marketing: Stream Energy's Agents Earn Money on Power Sales - and Recruiting

    Dec 18 2006- Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News - Elizabeth Souder, The Dallas Morning News The Dallas Morning News
    Borrowing a page from Mary Kay Inc. and Amway Corp., a Dallas company is selling electricity through a corps of volunteers eager to earn commissions.

    Stream Energy is bringing multi-level marketing -- in which sales agents make more money by enlisting other agents -- to Texas' deregulated electricity market.

    To sales agents, it's a way to start a home business and make extra money. To some business experts, it's a scheme doomed to collapse once growth stops. To state regulators, privately held Stream is a product of deregulation -- and something to keep an eye on.

    Chris Domhoff, a company founder, said the business plan is viable as long as Stream grows.

    "Yes, there will be a saturation point over a two-year period," he said. "By that point, we hope to launch in other states."
    Trouble is right around the corner then as March 2007 is the 2 year anniversary of Ignite's sales team peddling electricity.
    Saturation has long since been a painful reality. Ask the thousands on the bottom --- the 97% + that are losing money and watching in horror as it trickles up to the top of the pyramid while they struggle to get the 2.75 customers that an average rep enrolls. No way folks on the bottom with less than 3 customers can make any money.

    Mr. Domhoff and other executives with Stream's marketing arm, Ignite, previously worked for Excel Telecom, the multi-level marketing company that sold telecom services, merged with VarTec and went bankrupt last year.

    Stream operates like any other licensed electricity provider in Texas. Its 91 employees answer customer calls, buy power and keep the office running. What's different is that customers can sign up only through salespeople, called independent associates, who pay $329 each to enter the organization.

    The agents earn commissions and monthly income for finding new customers and -- especially -- new associates. Agents also receive monthly checks, called residual income, for each customer signed within the agent's sales team.
    Forbes magazine says of Excel:
    ...the salesman at the top, former high school football coach Paul Orberson, earns $1 million a month....Excel is the country's fifth-largest long distance company, with 4.1 million customers. But Excel also boasts 1 million sales reps. That means the average Excel rep has only four customers, and one of them is himself. No wonder the turnover is so high....That means the average salesman at the bottom is hauling in all of $20 a year in commissions...Minus the $195 recruiting fees, though, Excel would have been in the red.
    History repeating itself! And, legal challenges that should expose this scheme for exactly what it is. A little elementary school math anyone???

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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    Here is a little math for those math challenged MLMers:

    20,000 x3
    60,000
    180,000
    540,000
    1,620,000
    4,860,000
    14,580,000
    43,740,000

    The population in Texas for 2009 was just under 25,000,000. Oops! How quickly Iggy will run out of fresh marks. We can explore a lot more entertaining calculations as I am a degreed and enthusiastic educator!

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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    09-13-2006, 11:03 PM
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    Re: Ignite/Stream Energy
    That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. When Stream goes in to NY and IL and NJ etc. do you want to have a thousand people in your downline making contact or do you want to be starting from scratch? I wonder if any of those that have already been paid part of tens of millions of commissions would agree?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    More than 4 years later the scammers aren't in any of those states. They are in Texas, Georgia (gas only, I believe) and Pennsylvania (as of October 2010). Not at all the incredible expansion promised. Of course, harping on expansion is a blatant admission that the only way to make money is to recruit and new markets are the only way to keep the recruiting going. Sadly for 97% + the recruiting winds down and all the warm marks at the bottom of the towering pyramid end up in that majority of reps that lose big.

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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    N. Media Interactions
    All TV, radio and print media relations efforts are to be handled solely by Stream Energy’s Public Relations department. Ignite Independent Associates are prohibited from initiating contact, issuing statements, making appearances or conducting interviews with the media in which Ignite or its parent company, Stream Energy, are discussed.
    There is an interesting section from the 2006 Policies and Procedures that is worth revisiting. I can tell everyone for dang straight that no one but a judge with good cause and a court order tells me who I can talk to and what I can discuss. Who in the hell would sign an agreement like this?

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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    There were many very informative posts by me and others on
    scam.com that not so mysteriously disappeared.

    Sojustask said:
    many more were accidentally deleted and couldn't be retrieved.
    That is just another one of her many fabrications. As a moderator I could see several hundred posts, mostly those of an Ignite rep, were deliberately soft deleted by her personally. Mods and admins could read them, but not the members who had put in so many hours making those posts.

    All those who want a real discussion about this opportunity should speak up here. It is time to get some responses from the Ignite reps and of course the heavy hitters named in the federal lawsuit. Perhaps, Rappidone will come over here and make some more charming lawsuit threats and use those few Latin words he mastered while in law school. I am sure Ignited is quite bored in the ol' headquarters and will want to take me on again as well with things so quiet over yonder as the Chrissy and Heiney show continues unabated.

    Let's spar!!!

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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    Our good friend, wserra, found this very informative article. I think the days for ventures like Ignite, where the vast majority of warm marks recruited lose $$$, are numbered. I am really looking forward to seeing this Texas lawsuit play out. Kudos to Scott Clearman for taking these serial MLM phonies on!

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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    Tracy Coenen has a wonderful blog post up about Fortune High Tech Marketing that also applies to and mentions these clowns at Ignite / Stream Energy. Ignite has dropped from the gargantuan number of 2.75 customers per rep that I calculated to a whopping 2. With a very contentious court case going on there should be much more interesting information coming out soon! Their chickens sure ain't laying enough eggs! How are "The Coach" and "The Cowboy" going to spin this???

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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    What happened to scam.com? You cant post anything about ignite or other several other scams...the names of the companies are starredout

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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    Quote Originally Posted by FraudEducation View Post
    What happened to scam.com? You cant post anything about ignite or other several other scams...the names of the companies are starredout
    If the porn spammer owner George Dranichak / Zachary / Jerky Le Beourf / nnheadlines and more gets a threatening letter (a fake lawyers letter will suffice) or the proper incentive he will make threads and the names of scammers disappear *****. George is in it to make cash. He was never the least bit interested in stopping scammers in their tracks. He deleted threads of mine even after he was told the scammers had been denied any injunction and the threads should not be removed. Another judge stated flat out I didn't have to remove anything, yet when the scammers contacted George everything was hard deleted and gone forever. George deliberately destroyed vital evidence in the cases. He is as sleazy and dishonest as they come.

    Savvy posters won't post there as it is quite likely there threads will vanish into thin air and the scammers will get the added bonus of having their named **** out so nothing will Google up. That place is now a complete joke as the scammers are running the show.

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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    Do you know where I can get a copy of the agreement a representative would sign to join Ignite? I am interested in reviewing it.

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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    Quote Originally Posted by FraudEducation View Post
    Do you know where I can get a copy of the agreement a representative would sign to join Ignite? I am interested in reviewing it.
    I had copies posted on Scam, but since that thread disappeared and the lawsuits were filed I am having a hard time finding one. The original ones were an abomination. I recall that Iggy could can a rep for any reason at any time. I did find this scathing article:
    Selling energy -- and prosperity? *| ajc.com
    Selling energy -- and prosperity?

    AJC Investigation: Stream Energy's marketing





    By M.B. Pell and Margaret Newkirk


    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Rebecca Bigbie asked a crowd in a hotel conference room in Peachtree City recently to imagine making $4,000 a month whether or not they did anything to earn it.
    Enlarge photo

    .Bita Honarvar bhonarvar@ajc.com Ignite executive director Tony Perry explains the pay structure during a recruiting and training meeting at the Atlanta offices of Stream Energy and Ignite, Stream’s marketing arm.

    Enlarge photo

    Bita Honarvar bhonarvar@ajc.com The audience listens to speakers at a November recruiting and training meeting at the Atlanta offices of Stream Energy and Ignite, Stream’s marketing arm.

    She asked them to imagine taking their families on a cruise. She said they could make $2 million in a year selling natural gas for Stream Energy.
    “Can you fail your way to $22,000 a month?” asked Bigbie, an executive director with Ignite, Stream Energy’s marketing arm. “That’s what I did.”
    Bigbie confided to the audience: When an Ignite representative initially approached her, she did not have the $325 joining fee. But “I said, what’s another $325?” and added the fee to her credit card debt.
    Nods rippled across the audience.
    It’s a scene that has played out in Georgia hundreds of times since 2007.
    But if the offer sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is, two consumer advocates say. Most who sign up as sales directors will lose money, they say.
    A Texas lawsuit claims it’s more than just a bad deal, it’s illegal. The suit alleges that Stream sells energy as cover for a sophisticated pyramid scheme designed to take money from the vast majority of sales recruits and funnel it to the top.
    The Texas case is in early stages and Stream is vigorously defending itself. A similar lawsuit filed in Georgia by the same attorney was dismissed this year on procedural grounds. However, a Texas appellate court recently declined to dismiss the Texas case on the same issue.
    Paul Thies, senior director of communications for Stream, adamantly denied the company is a pyramid scheme. He said Stream uses a legitimate multilevel marketing strategy, like Avon, paying its sales force on their own sales as well as those of the salespeople they recruit.
    Scott Clearman, the lawyer suing Stream, says the state’s weak consumer-protection laws have left Georgians vulnerable.
    The agency responsible for certifying Stream to sell natural gas, the Georgia Public Service Commission, said it is charged with protecting natural gas customers, not salespeople, and Stream’s rates and services have been similar or better than other gas companies. Regulating Stream’s agreements with sales directors is the job of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection, said Mike Nantz, director of PSC’s consumer affairs division.
    The governor’s consumer office said it looked at Stream at the request of the PSC. “For all we could tell, Stream complied and was within the law,” said spokesman Bill Cloud.
    Some consumer experts say regulatory agencies often struggle to distinguish between multilevel marketing and pyramid schemes.
    Since the company’s founding in Texas in 2005, Stream says, more than 172,000 people signed up as Ignite directors — independent contractors who sell gas to customers and recruit more directors. These directors collectively paid at least $51 million to join. The company says it has more than 400,000 energy customers. That includes at least 20,000 gas customers in Georgia, according to the PSC.
    Stream would not say how many Ignite directors live in Georgia.
    It’s possible to be both a Stream customer and sales director, but it’s not clear how many customers are sales directors too.
    Robert FitzPatrick, who runs a watchdog group called Pyramid Scheme Alert, examined the most recent income disclosure from Stream’s website for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Fitzpatrick has served as an expert witness in pyramid cases.
    Fitzpatrick said his calculations show 90 percent of Stream’s sales force lost nearly all their investments; 8.5 percent made no profit; only 1 percent made what he said amounts to minimum wage-level income and fewer than 0.1 percent earned substantial income.
    “It’s like a chain letter,” he said.
    Asked about Fitzpatrick’s analysis, Thies said the company makes clear to prospective associates that success depends on their efforts.
    “It is true that a large number of people may or may not make their money back,” Thies said. “The business model itself does not dictate your level of success.”
    Perry Betts, of Ringgold, a plaintiff in the Georgia suit, saw a good opportunity when he was introduced to the company by a woman from his church. His “eyes are a little more open now,” he said, and he realizes he cost the one man he recruited into sales hundreds of dollars and could have “victimized” friends and family, all because he thought selling gas had to be well regulated.
    “It seemed to me if they were approved by the state as a provider, they had a stamp of approval from the regulators,” Betts said. “I don’t know any other way to look at it. They weren’t selling cookies.”
    Selling like Mary Kay
    Multilevel marketing strategies are increasingly common nationally and include household names like Mary Kay. They are legal under federal and state law.
    However, Federal Trade Commission officials generally distinguish multilevel marketing from illegal pyramid schemes by explaining that pyramid schemes promise consumers or investors large profits based primarily on recruiting others to join their program, not based on profits from sales of goods to the public.
    Stream says its focus has always been selling a real product — energy.
    The company was licensed by Georgia to sell gas in 2008. But even before it was approved to market gas, Ignite directors began recruiting in the state, PSC records show. Ignite sales pitches swept through neighborhoods, churches and companies.
    “They were holding ‘revival’ meetings all over Georgia, promising to make millionaires out of anyone willing to take a few ‘simple’ steps to gain financial freedom,” said Cynthia Cornelius, then head of PSC consumer affairs, in an e-mail to the AJC.
    That’s how Stream came to Peachtree City, with its concentration of Delta employees.
    In web presentations and lavish rallies, including one with a performance by Cirque du Soleil, Ignite offers tips like how to focus on FRANK — friends, relatives, associates, neighbors, and kids — and how to avoid the “Valley of Death.” That’s when a director scares off a prospective recruit by saying too much too soon.
    There was a covert element in the early days, as seen in complaints to the PSC. One forwarded an e-mail advertising an Ignite “webinar,” but warned the company was in its “quiet period” and did not have permission to market gas.
    “Please do not randomly forward this email,” it said. “Send the link only to personal contacts and make sure no one contacts the PSC.” Stream blamed rogue directors, who were disciplined.
    Ignite’s high-ranking directors sell the company as God’s work, according to training material; in an online audio clip, one executive director likened marketing Stream energy to Harriet Tubman’s work freeing slaves. To appeal to the more materialistic, the training material advertises unlimited bonuses with the potential for “geometric growth to infinity.”
    Some participants say Stream serves them well.
    Mike Hubbard, a Peachtree City resident, said he likes the “recession proof” income he gets on gas sold to his customers and to those of directors he signed up — between 50 cents and $3 a month per customer.
    Hubbard paid the standard $300 to join plus $25 a month for an Ignite website.
    The pilot who recruited Hubbard, meanwhile, got a bonus of $100 to $325, once Hubbard signed the required number of customers, according to the range of bonuses in Stream’s promotional material. Bigbie, at an even higher level, received a bonus of $75 to $225.
    And so the bonuses flow.
    Regulatory dispute
    The PSC referred inquiries about Stream’s marketing strategy to the governor’s consumer office in 2008, said Cornelius, who headed the PSC consumer division. She said her staff “tried to engage” that office, “just couldn’t get [them] to bite.”
    But the governor’s consumer office did investigate, Cloud said, and found that Ignite implied it had permission to market gas before it did; did not explicitly describe the duties of directors, and omitted a required opt-out provision in contracts.
    Stream and Ignite signed a letter of understanding, admitting no wrongdoing and promising to follow the law.
    The company also agreed to a year of monitoring. During that time, Cloud said, the office received no complaints “of consequence” and Stream seemed to follow the agreement.
    The consumer protection agreement didn’t address whether Ignite emphasizes recruiting more than sales.
    Cloud said his office will investigate the matter again, due to issues raised by the AJC.
    Customers make it legal
    Ignite directors are not shy about discussing the importance of recruiting.
    Presley Swagerty, a top-ranking director known as “The Coach,” said he made $117,000 in one month, and $10 of it came from energy customers, according to a website run by several Ignite directors.
    In Peachtree City last month, Bigbie said that, even though leadership says it’s about the residual income from energy customers, “60 to 80 percent of your check is bonus money” from recruiting new directors.
    Still, “customers make this legal,” she said.
    Stream’s Thies disputed Bigbie’s and Swagerty’s claims. He said 68 percent of 2010’s payout to the sales force was for commissions on energy customers. The remaining 32 percent, he said, was bonuses paid for recruiting directors who obtained a set number of customers. It’s four or less, according to company literature.
    “No Ignite associate has ever been paid simply for the act of associate recruitment,” he said.
    Yet, FitzPatrick, the pyramid expert, said that misses the point.
    “Would it be worth your time to sell just the gas?” FitzPatrick asks. “Most people would say ‘no,’ that’s not how you make money. Then what are you selling if you recruit someone into the same business you’re not making money from? You’re selling a seat on a chain.”
    Still, some participants say the model works for them. Among them: Randy Hedge, a top-ranking Ignite director known as “The Cowboy.”
    “I don’t care if they call it an octagon, a parellellogram, a rectangle,” Hedge told an audience in 2006. “They’re sending me a check.”
    Marketing in tiers
    Here’s what the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection says about multilevel marketing and pyramids:
    “Multilevel or “network” marketing plans are ways to sell goods or services through distributors. Typically, these plans promise that if you sign up as a distributor, you’ll get commissions not only from the sales you make, but also from the sales of the people you recruit to become distributors.”
    Not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate. Some are pyramid schemes. It’s best not to get involved in plans where the money you make is based primarily on the number of distributors you recruit and your sales to them, rather than on your sales to people outside the plan who intend to use the products.
    Joining a pyramid is risky because the vast majority of participants lose money to pay for the rewards of a few people at the top.
    Pyramid schemes are sometimes confused with Ponzi schemes, such at the one that got Bernie Madoff sent to prison. The Securities and Exchange Commission describes a Ponzi scheme: “A Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors.”
    The price of gas
    Once licensed in 2008 to sell gas in Georgia, Stream Energy set a price that was among the lowest in the state.
    Its rates have since drifted toward the middle, compared with the other nine marketers in Georgia, but have generally remained below most providers’.
    Stream has posted natural gas prices with the state Public Service Commission for 32 months.
    Here’s a summary of their pricing in that time:
    Cheapest
    May and September 2008, January and February 2009
    Highest-priced
    March 2010
    The value of experience
    This is not the first venture into multilevel marketing by Stream executives. Chris Domhoff, a founder of Ignite, and other executives helped run Excel Communications, according to a lawsuit filed in Texas against Stream.
    Excel was founded in 1988 to market long-distance phone service in the newly deregulated telecommunications industry and became one of the largest resellers of communications services in the country. The company was purchased in 2002 by VarTec, which filed for bankruptcy in 2004.
    Along with the executives, some top sales associates at Excel also now work for Ignite. High-level director Presley Swagerty — the Coach — used the same back story for both companies, telling recruits for Excel and Stream that he was a high school basketball coach with bills piling up before each company changed his life.
    Meet our reporters
    Margaret Newkirk has covered Georgia’s utility and energy industry since 2002. Her coverage includes award-winning stories on problems at a Cobb County electric cooperative and in the state gas market. She came to the AJC from the Akron Beacon Journal in Ohio, where she was lead investigative reporter.
    M.B. Pell, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s consumer watchdog reporter, joined the AJC in October. Pell moved to Atlanta with his wife and son from the Washington, D.C, area where he worked for the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, investigative news organization.
    Ouch!!!

  21. #21
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
    Soapboxmom is offline Administrator
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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    The Income Disclosure is still an abomination as well. Please remember it only includes folks that got paid something. How many more signed up and never saw a dime???

    Disclosure_Page.pdf

  22. #22
    littleroundman is offline Administrator
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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing

  23. #23
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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    Ignite has a slew of lawsuits listed in Dallas County:

    DC-09-06104 IGNITE HOLDINGS LTD, et al vs. DAVID TRUJILLO 05/14/2009
    101st District Court
    OTHER (CIVIL)
    CLOSED
    DC-10-06197 MARCO GOMEZ, et al vs. STREAM GAS & ELECTRIC LTD, et al 05/21/2010
    68th District Court
    OTHER (CIVIL)
    CLOSED
    DC-12-06289 IGNITE HOLDINGS LTD, et al vs. ERNEST FRANKLIN, et al 06/07/2012
    14th District Court
    OTHER (CIVIL)
    OPEN

    DC-12-06049 IGNITE HOLDINGS LTD, et al vs. CARLOS RAMIREZ, et al 06/01/2012
    14th District Court
    OTHER (CIVIL)
    OPEN

  24. #24
    Soapboxmom's Avatar
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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???

    Ignite vs. Reps:

    Lots of lovely issues come up:

    1. The contract
    2. Cross recruiting
    3. Attrition
    4. Very few reps making money

    These folks being sued are likely everyday people just struggling to take care of their families. They have been promised the chance to make really good money and have time freedom and on and on. Now, that they are likely losing money and on to another MLM or business, big bad Ignite wants to punish them for leaving and make a public example out of them. Wouldn't want them taking their downline with them or God forbid start talking about how crummy their earnings have been, now would we.

    Ignite vs. Reps1.pdf

    Ignite vs. Reps2.pdf

    Ignite vs. Reps3.pdf

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    FraudEducation is offline Junior Member
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    Re: Ignite / Stream Energy -- The Lights Are On, But is Anybody Home???


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