Hi, and welcome to my Smash Fund review. I heard about this new up and coming website, so I wanted to take a look at it and see whether it was legit or a scam. Why did I think it might be a scam? Because so many people were desperately trying to get other people to sign up to it, even though it hasn’t even launched yet. Getting people to sign up to a product or service before it has launched, that all seems a bit hypey to me.
Product Name: SmashFund
Owner: Rob Towles
Price: Free until July 2016, then $149 per month
My Rating: AWFUL!
So, what is Smash Fund?
Taking a look at the SmashFund website doesn’t give us a whole lot of information. The front page just says it is “the first social crowdfunding network” and then has a big “Join Now”. So, more than anything, they want people to sign up right now.
So I took a look at the “About” page, and that just has a little bit more text which doesn’t really tell us a lot more. There is also this video from the owner:
That video doesn’t really tell us anything much, does it? He’s selling it to us as a social network that can fund our passions. But where does that money come from? I strongly suspect that the money just comes from the people you get to sign up. So it then starts to look like a pyramid scheme.
A look at the “How it Works” page says that SmashFund is invite-only. It talks about you having a profile and it being equipped with crowdfunding features. This seems to be a lie, as you will discover in a minute when I go deeper into this.
But there are some really telling things here:
- They share up to 80% of their revenue with users.
- No goal requirements.
- Change out your passions and projects freely.
- No time limits.
- Funds deposited weekly.
So, what they seem to be saying here, is that they don’t really care about your goals. You don’t need to set any goals, you can change your goals as much as you want because they don’t care. All they want you to do is join and get other people to join. That’s all that matters to them.
A Sneaky Peak Inside SmashFund…
I’m not going to join SmashFund because I am too suspicious of it. Personally, I like to know more about what I’m getting myself into before I sign up to something. Also, now is probably the time to tell you that I have actually already seen inside SmashFund via someone else.
An internet marketing friend of mine, Lynne Huysamen, actually joined SmashFund and made a video about it:
UPDATE July 1st, 2016:
This video has since been removed by Vimeo. Lynne has also been kicked out of SmashFund. To me, this makes SmashFund look really guilty. If their product was genuine, and they really stood behind it, they would have let Lynne remain a member. Then once it launches, Lynne would get to see how good it really is, and she could update her review accordingly. But if it turned out that SmashFund was as bad as Lynne thought, and she was still a member on launch day, she would see that it is in fact the awful scam she predicted it would be, and she could broadcast this to the web via her website and her YouTube channel.
UPDATE July 4th, 2016:
Apparently only residents of the USA will get the full benefits of Smash Fund. There is a new comment from Lynne about this here.
UPDATE August 10th, 2016
Lynne has been contacted by SmashFund’s lawyers, ordering her to remove all mentions of SmashFund from her website and video accounts. This makes them look like they are guilty but trying to suppress those who set out to reveal the truth. Lynne wrote a new blog post on her website, using the initials SF instead of SmashFund.
I wonder if they will come after anyone else. Will they come after me?
So one of the first things that should set your alarm bells ringing there is that when you go to sign up they ask you to enter your credit card details. You can join for free initially, up until July, and then after that, you get charged $149 per month; and for every member that you get to sign up, you get $50 of their $149. Apparently, you can also get second tier income, which means you get a share of the money from the people you invited then invited.
So the way this looks to me, people are joining for free right now, trying desperately to get as many people as they can to sign up under them. Then when the launch date hits and they have to pay up the $149 per month, hopefully, they will have enough $50 commissions from people they referred, that they make a profit. But of course, the people who joined early will get the most money due to all the people who sign up under them, and the people who join later will probably lose out because there won’t be enough people left to recruit.
Sounds exactly like a pyramid scheme to me. Does it to you?
Of course, part of what makes a pyramid scheme so bad is that it has not valuable product or service at the heart of it. So the question is, does SmashFund actually have anything of any worth to it other than earning money by getting people to sign up under you?
(By the way, there’s since been another similar scheme launched called 25 Dollar Legacy)
If you carry on watching Lynne’s video, you will see that there is actually nothing inside the membership area. There is no way of creating a profile. There are no tools. There is really nothing there. Of course, I know from reading Lynne’s review on her website, that she wrote to them to ask them about this. They wrote back and said they will be adding those features once it launches. Well, I’m not falling for that. Surely they could have got all the features in place from the beginning, right?
It makes me think that the owner of this is going to just take the money and run. Especially after I saw what Lynne uncovered about the owner, Rob Towles. It turns out that he had previously been involved in a lawsuit about a previous pyramid scheme he set up several years ago. So yes, he’s already got a reputation for scamming people.
But wait, there’s more…
Notice that Lynne’s video is hosted by Vimeo. Well, the original version of that video was actually hosted by YouTube. However, the owner of SmashFund, Rob Towles, actually made a complaint to YouTube requesting that the video is removed. So here is a guy who has a LOT riding on the success of SmashFund. And he’s obviously been in this situation before. He was ready for this. He was ready for someone like Lynne to tear SmashFund to pieces, and he had a response prepared.
So Lynne had to take down that video, but she uploaded it to Vimeo instead. She then recorded a 2nd video for YouTube:
So there you go. This is what happens when you expose a pyramid scheme for what it is. If this scheme was all totally legit, why would he have anything to hide? Why would he mind if someone showed the inside of it? So, Rob Towles brought all this trouble on himself. He created a product that had no actual worth, asked a bunch of people to get other people to sign up to get other people to sign up to get other people to sign up to get other people to sign up to get other people to sign up, and then complained when this was exposed for being nothing but a pyramid scheme.
Update (June 10th – a few hours after this review was originally published):
Lynne has actually posted a comment below with some more information, which you can jump straight to reading by clicking here. It turns out that they have added a section to add your name and address as well as edit your payment settings. Also, one of the founders has been leaving his phone number on Lynne’s review so that he can give people more information in private. Sounds all a bit too secretive to me.
So, is Smash Fund a scam?
Yes, I think it is. In fact, it seems really obvious to me that is it a scam. Of course, there is a slight possibility that Smash Fund might turn out to be legit. But ask yourself this. Why would a legit product or service do the following:
- Ask people to sign up other people before it has even launched.
- Not have anything of any value to the membership area once you sign up (no profile or tools).
- Not care what people’s goals are, even though they say they are a crowdfunding platform to help people fund their passions.
- Ask someone to take down a video that reveals what is inside the member area once you join.
- Generate money for people by way of a pyramid-style referral commissions structure.
Surely, a legit service would do the following instead:
- Wait until it is fully functional with all features installed before asking people to join.
- Have the ability for members to create profiles.
- Have tools that members can use to help them succeed.
- Care about the goals people want the crowdfunding for.
- Have methods of raising money other than just by referring new members.
- Be okay with someone exposing the inside of the membership area because it’s actually good on the inside.
If it is a pyramid scheme, why is that bad?
Listen, it’s okay to earn money by referring people to something…as long as that thing has some kind of intrinsic value to it. If there is a product or service at the heart of it which people are buying, then that’s okay. Also, as long as there is not a downline system of referrals commissions, that will also set it apart from pyramid schemes.
The reason why a pyramid scheme is bad is because there is usually no actual product or service at the heart of it. Members only earn money by referring other members, and from the members that they in turn refer, and so on down through the pyramid type structure. The problem with a setup like this is that those at the beginning will earn a lot of money whereas those who join later will earn less money or maybe no money at all. Eventually, it will collapse under its own weight.
Here’s something that’s NOT a pyramid scheme…
Some people have accused Wealthy Affiliate of being a pyramid scheme. Those people don’t know what they are talking about. Yes, members of Wealthy Affiliate can earn some good money by referring other members. HOWEVER, there are some key reasons why WA is not a pyramid scheme:
- It has a lot of value to it, in terms of the training, the tools, website hosting, and the community support.
- You can learn how to make money without referring other people to WA. In fact, there are 50 step-by-step lessons showing you how to turn a passion or interest into an online business.
- There is no multi-tier downline structure, so even if you do earn money by referring other members, you don’t earn money from the members your referrals refer. This means it doesn’t have the actual structure of a pyramid, so it avoids the trap of it collapsing under its own weight like a pyramid scheme would.
Another great thing about Wealthy Affiliate is that I won’t get into trouble for giving you a sneak peak inside. So here is a screenshot of what it looks like inside:
But it gets even better than that! You can even try it out for free yourself. This means you can take a look around, do a few lessons, and see if you like it. They are so confident in their own website that they are happy for you to take a look around it for free.
Anyway, I hope you found my Smash Fund review helpful and informative. Hopefully, I have helped you to see that it probably is indeed a scam that you should avoid. However, if you have any comments or questions, please do post them in the comments section below and I will reply as soon as I can.
All the best,
P.S. Have you seen my mini niche site case study yet?