AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Thu June 28 2007 18:24:55

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

A new service is getting mixed reviews on several blogs. Exponent Trading Company is started by folks who had worked for Excel Communications (do a search on the name). Here's one Q/A on their FAQ page:

Q: Why become an Exponent Trading Agent when I could start selling straight through eBay?
A: You absolutely could do that… But in order to make a solid income, you would have to spend a lot of time and effort. Don't get us wrong, lots of good people have done just that. The purpose of an Exponent business is to allow you to make a full-time income with a part time selling effort, while building a team of others who do the same simple thing.

So what are people saying about this company? First up, Terry Gibbs on his iwantcollectibles.com site, "Just Say NO To The Exponent Trading Company."

Disagreeing with Terry Gibbs is James Jones on his whatreallysells.com blog, "A person who lives in a forest doesn't need to buy a tree."

What do experience sellers think? Post a comment and tell us what you think!




Comments (23) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Thu Jun 28 18:39:16 2007

Thanks to B. who first told me about Exponent, he sent me an update:

Gary Hendrickson's blog has become the place where we are discussing the Exponent Trading "Opportunity." There are links there to all the different viewpoints.

Check out Gary's blog at:
http://theauctionrebel.com/381

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

by: Chris

Thu Jun 28 19:19:01 2007

Anyone that wants to take money off you to allow you to sell on eBay is a fraudster. Sure if you want some training or specific consultancy or service to enable you to sell better or give you a quick start fine! But pay someone to join a selling plan? You gotta be joking, please don't anyone fall for such garbage :-(

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

by: Randy Smythe

Thu Jun 28 23:26:55 2007

Any company that says "make a full-time income with part-time effort" is selling a fantasy and nothing else. Especially on eBay. It should be "make a part-time income on 2 times the work".

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

by: Terry Gibbs

Fri Jun 29 01:47:12 2007

Hey Ina, I haven't been over to your site in a while. Every time I go to the forums I get a hacker attempt message?

That's OK I should be working anyway. I do miss the ''This week's find'' crowd though. Tell them I said hi.

About this controversy. . .

I've been accused of speaking about things I know nothing about. I'll admit the only thing I know about MLM is the people involved with them are pests.

That's not really a good basis for deciding these things so I asked people who know about network marketing about it.

The first one I called sighed when I asked her if she'd heard about this opportunity. When I explained I didn't want her to join, but rather I wanted help understanding the thing she perked up. Evidently she gets a constant stream of people calling her for advice in the guise of getting her to sign up.

Her explanation wasn't that far off from mine. She knows more about it and can decode the language.

She says the whole deal of telling people to just do $200 a month in sales to meet minimums demonstrates there is no real product. If this was a real eBay deal, you'd want to list everything through the system. The real reason for the management system is to avoid being shut down by the FTC for running a pyramid scam.

For this reason, and others I won't go into here, I stand behind my original comments.

Oddly the promoters are not responding to my comments with rebuttals. Instead they are responding by attacking me for getting the message out and using the message to attract new students into my sphere.

I'm not the one telling people they can start seeing income in 7 to 10 days if they spend $300 for an inferior eBay listing tool, and some training materials that don't exist yet.

I'm the one saying if you want to start selling on eBay gather 15 items from around your house in your laundry basket. Then sit down with your computer and camera and start listing them. Try to list all the items in two hours.

This way you'll convert some unwanted items into cash, find out what questions you should be asking, and identify areas where you need help.

That's the speed listing example explained in my free report Getting Started On eBay.

I have to pack some trains I sold on eBay so I'll leave it at that.

Terry Gibbs
IWantCollectibles

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

by: Dennis

Fri Jun 29 20:38:43 2007

I like the idea. I have been looking for a way to expand my eBay business, and this seems like a good opportunity to do that. I have done consigments, I have helped some people get started on eBay, and I have sold thousands of my own items on eBay. But there is a limit to how much one person can do in a day, so expanding your business involves getting other people involved in one way or another. And also I know from experience that talking with other sellers is a great way to bounce around ideas, and come up with new twists and that sort of thing. I have an old friend who also sells postcards on eBay, and we do that all the time. Seems like exponent  packages all those concepts in a way that will be a great fit for me. I plan to sign up soon.

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

by: B.

Sun Jul 1 09:43:56 2007

High upfront costs ($300 if you become a trainer as recommended by them), and then they take 30% of the first $200 of sales each and EVERY month (that is $60/month in addition to the $20/month service fee, so it is $80/month just to stay a member.  All so you can get a whole 1/4% in commission on others sales.  Think about that and see if you can possibly recoup you $80/month in fees/costs??  Not going to happen.  

I suspect that the high-end promoters that are pushing this will make a lot of money shortly getting people to sign up (Jim Cockrum, Jan Johnson & Skip McGrath), but in a few months things will start to fall apart and people find out that they are paying a lot of money and not getting anything in return.  Want a listing service?  Pay $9.95 for InkFrog, or $0 for Auctivia....

Listen to their phone chats and they talk out of both sides of their mouth.  They talk about consignment sales, then when it is brought up as an issue, they say, "Oh you don't have to do that, we should change that on the website", mention about how much you need to sell, and they say "Oh just sell $200 to get your commissions and don't do anymore".  Say what???

They talked about how special they are, that eBay is letting them into their computer.  Turns out they are just talking about the eBay API which thousands of vendors pay to use..  What is so special about that?
All of the listing services use it.

Be CAREFUL, if something sound too good to be true, ...  Guess what!!!

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

by: Jim Cockrum

Sun Jul 1 18:04:41 2007

Exponent IS NOT all about consignment selling. I wouldn't associate with them if they were.

I've been invited to advise top level management at Exponent Trading and I've got some very specific details in a recent blog post that will interest anyone evaluating Exponent. Click on my name above and check out the blog post dated Sunday July 1st.

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

by: Trevor Ginn

Mon Jul 2 18:08:05 2007

With schemes like this, I usually get bored reading phrases like "income opportunity", "business opportunity" and "residual income".  Whilst I think that giving people training on eBay is fine, I am a bit worried that people are so wet under the nose that they need programs like this to get selling on eBay.  In my experience nothing is every easy, at least not since I did my maths a-level aged 18, and I am suspecious of anything that claims otherwise

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

by: Terry Gibbs

Mon Jul 2 21:24:02 2007

Here's how the training works in this opportunity.


People pay an extra $100 to become Certified Training Instructors.


For that $100, an existing CTI will train them. He gets $50 of the $100.

Then, when new people come in, the new CTI gets to train them for a $50 payout.

Think about the depth of instruction you'll get.

I can tell you exactly when it makes sense to use a 3 or 10 day auction.

I can also tell exactly when it makes sense to use a featured plus auction.

Same for almost any option available on the eBay system.

I can answer these questions not because I read it in a book or because someone told me what to do.

My knowledge is based on experience and the experience of my private inner circle members.

My experience helps me in another more important manner.

It allows me to know what questions the student should be asking.

Do you think someone with a basic amount of training whose whole goal is to do $200 a month in eBay sales in order to meet Personal Trading Volume requirements can teach someone else the best way to sell on eBay?

I don't.

Terry Gibbs
IWantCollectibles.com

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

by: Jim Cockrum

Tue Jul 3 16:41:02 2007

Nope...It's not about newbies teaching newbies. Just because you sign up as a "trainer" doesn't mean you'll be thrown to the wolves training other newbies.

Talk about blind leading blind...that would be nuts. I agree.

Here's the real scoop:

Exponent is building a world class support website (with live phone in reps available as well) where everything from basics to advanced strategies are taught by respected, successful, creative eBay sellers. Many powersellers are already on board contributing to the growth and depth of the site.

Experienced sellers finally have a legitimate incentive to participate in helping new sellers! The $25 offered via the eBay affiliate program just isn't enough incentive to get the attention of most busy eBay sellers.

Exponent fixes that with a nice win/win arrangement.

Back on point:

Newbies don't train - they learn and then train once they are comfortable doing so. Alternately, they can just tell other newbies about the membership site that is "Exponent Trading" and get rewarded for spreading the word (just like any good affiliate program).

Most new eBay sellers will welcome the individual interaction they'll get with Exponent regardless of their intentions to ever recruit anyone into Exponent.

If you don't want that kind of support and training or if you don't want to contribute your assistance to the support and training of new sellers then PLEASE DON'T JOIN! Read a good book about eBay and just use the fantastic resources available from respected experts like Terry Gibbs. You can figure this biz out on your own! I did. Terry did. Hundreds of thousands of others have too.

BUT...

I have a mailing list of around 100,000 people interested in the "how to sell on eBay" niche I can tell you that a significant portion of them are very willing to pay a few hundred dollars for individual attention from someone that knows what they are talking about! I think the concept is sound. That's why I joined up and am happy to help it blast off!

Again, click my name above and read the post on my blog dated July 1st for my entire take on Exponent. I'll promise to post ALL intelligent comments left on my blog no matter if they are for or against Exponent.

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

by: Jim Cockrum

Tue Jul 3 16:44:15 2007

Sorry - the link to my blog isn't there any more...it was yesterday.

Here's a link to my blog:
http://www.jimcockrum.com/blog
Look for the July 1st post.

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

by: anon

Wed Jul 4 13:11:24 2007

I am an eBay multi-platinum seller and consultant with a higher billing rate than most lawyers. I am constantly solicited to join MLM's. My quick take on Exponent without knowing any more details besides what is on their website:

Pros:
Exponent is a well planned MLM with good intentions. Exponent allows people with mediocre interpersonal and sales skills to participate in an MLM. Exponent does not force you to buy or sell their products. Joining Exponent is inexpensive (C'mon it takes money to make money).

Cons:
Exponent appears to have come from a bunch of Excel guys sitting around (with diminishing returns from Excel) asking themselves ''What can I apply MLM to?'' They decided on eBay selling and Exponent was born. There is little or no professionalism or care about actual eBay sales. The attitude is ''Do your $200 and focus on helping others do their $200.'' They might as well say ''Give us $80 a month and earn that back by convincing thousands of downlines to give us $80 as well.'' Joining Exponent is really joining any MLM game. It's a marketing, networking, direct sales deal. It has nothing to do with eBay selling. eBay selling is the mask that it hides behind.

False Facts:
Exponent is not the first MLM to take advantage of the internet and ecommerce as they claim. About 8 years ago, I was solicited by two different ecommerce MLM's that are currently out of business (I still remember their high power presentations with young and hip ''millionaires'' talking about how you can do it too). I was most recently approached about 3 years ago with another ecommerce MLM.

Truth:
Exponent is good for people who do not have the ability, courage, or know-how to start a side business or build income earning assets. They will learn something about business and themselves for very little money up front.

Exponent is not right for intelligent people of ability. It would restrict and stunt the growth of potential business owners and success stories. The only reason folks like Cockrum and McGrath are involved is because their involvement further solidifies their ''authority'' on eBay matters and is another form of marketing for their existing eBay education businesses--which they decided was easier for them to do as opposed to growing their businesses into platinum level or even making the great leap off of eBay and into the real world.

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

by: Jim Cockrum

Wed Jul 4 23:22:57 2007

For someone that's never met or talked to me, you are making a lot of assumptions.

FALSE FACT: Jim Cockrum has never made "the great leap off of eBay into the real world."

TRUTH: If you could use your "real world" name instead of "anon" I could introduce you to one of my "real world" $700/hr clients. Their "real world" business has nothing to do with eBay by the way.

TRUTH: Thousands of members of Exponent will enjoy knowing the name of the person that considers them to be lacking intelligence and ability!

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

by: Frank Ross

Sat Jul 7 15:52:24 2007

In any eBay consignment business (not just Exponent Trading) people need to consider 'time as resource'. You will generally be dealing with people's used goods. There will always be a bit of this and a bit of that and you'll almost never sell the exact same thing twice. What this means is that for every item you acquire through consignment, you must catalog it, photograph it (at least once), write up a title / description, decide on a selling price, and build an eBay listing. One garage full of 'stuff' could easily takes days to go through and complete these processes even with good software tools.  

Not that it can't work, but you need to have a vision and plan for how you will make eBay consignment work within a 16 hour day (assuming you allow 8 hours for sleep).

However, as Jim C. said it's not just about consignment. Since Exponent Trading adds the MLM aspect, it's also about sellers helping sellers and leveraging that as well.

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

by: John

Mon Jul 9 10:53:22 2007

Exponent Trading is not about training people to use eBay and building a community.

It is all about building a downline and making money solely off of that downline.  The only thing it has to do with eBay is that eBay is one of the venues that you can sell YOUR OWN items on.  So not only do you pay the Monthly fees to Exponent, you must pay for the cost of inventory to sell, eBay fees, PayPal fees, etc and kick a percentage of your sales back to Exponent, all the while hoping that you have a sufficient downline that sells what they are supposed to, so that you can cover what you are paying out in fees.

I have seen comments from some "respected" (I use that term loosely) eBay sellers / users that say that the value of Exponent is in the training.  What training?  I have seen the site...a few ebooks on how to sell on eBay?  Maybe some videos?  

Terry Gibbs is right....stay away from Exponent...learn to do it yourself....In the long run you will be better off...

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

by: Vi

Thu Jul 19 15:24:12 2007

Are people really that dumb as to buy this?  This is just your typical Ponzi scheme where the early players make all the money and the losers that buy in later get shafted.  I guess there really are people out there who think this is a good idea, but anyone with any kind of sense will (or should) know better.

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

by: Tom Mcintrye

Thu Jul 26 06:39:32 2007

Morning: I looked at 2 companies formats and chose www.clubbids.net.

The people I work with initially started a concept like Exponent last summer, but the main concern was ebay. ETC's entire program with ebay could be shut down with a blink of an eye if ebay decided so for no valid reason.

This club group decided to start their own Multi-tiered affiliate program with their very own auction and ads web site at Cashbackauctions.com.
It is a lot easier to list and work on than ebay and it solves the biggest problems there are in online auctions namely:
Seller Fraud
Seller Excessive S&H fees
Buyers are more satisfied with less fees
Sellers earn normal profits via selling product and most important earning a piece of the fees just like ebay does.
They give the seller a residual income potential.

I think ETC has a cool idea but worry about ebays power struggles.

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

by: Tom Mcintyre

Thu Jul 26 06:55:27 2007

To VI you use the same lingo that others use to deter people - dumb and scheme. The people at ETC are trying to share in the wealth of the entire company. The worst scheme is a CEO earning 4M a year and the workers making 10 to 12 an hour. The worst scheme is the owners of ebay worth 8 billion dollars but they raise their rates as many times as they can so the ebayers earn less and less. Easily the worst is 1 out of 100. That is the odds of making a living on ebay. That is a ponzi scheme not what ETC is doing or what cashbackauctions.com is doing.

I personally do not work on anything (including ebay) that does not offer me a residual type of payout. Without residual income you can never stop working. In the short terms doing it yourself is more profitable but the long run residuals are king.

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

by: Patty Herrmann

Tue Sep 16 17:04:02 2008

I have been working with the CEO of Exponent, Andy Thornton, for a little over a year.  This experience has been exciting.  Exponent has taught thousands of people how to sell on-line this first year in business, and has given people help in putting that much needed "extra cash" in their pocket.  Some people can read a book or take a class and just go straight home and succeed, but others need a team or mentor to help get the job done.  Andy has set up a program that creates support and encouragement for all new agents, and stands true to his word that we will be there to see them through to success.  The only time someone doesn't succeed is when they quit.  We can't make everyone clock in every day, but for the serious, it has been great.  And MLM is nothing to be ashamed of, because it gives everyone an equal opportunity.  Read up on it and find out that it is a business strategy, that when led by someone who has your best interests at heart, can be your greatest opportunity.  Our teams across the nation have had a great time, and we intend to build this business big.  Thank you Tom for your clarity and business savvy!

Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?   Is Exponent Trading Company an eBay Consignment MLM?

by: ViSalus

Thu Oct 16 09:55:50 2008

Thanks for this excellent compilation of companies operating in this space.

Click to view more comments
1 2  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.