Product Name: Stream Energy
Product Owner: Mark Schiro
Advertised Price: $329 plus $29 monthly
What Is It?
Stream Energy is an American energy provider to commercial and residential customers in six states as well as the District of Columbia. It is one of a few retail energy startups that was created out of the deregulation of the Texas energy market. With headquarters in Dallas, Texas, Stream Energy was founded in 2005 with the simple business model of selling energy via word of mouth: this means using direct sales techniques as part of its multi-level marketing (MLM) plan.
Before giving up their current gigs, aspiring Stream Energy sales associates should know that watch dog agencies like Pyramid Scheme Alert reported less than one percent of Stream sales associates made enough money to live on with the program. About one percent made minimum wage. And less than nine percent of associates broke even on their investments. Nearly 90 percent of associates lost all of the money that they invested with Stream Energy.
And in case this sounds familiar to you, it might be because they're not the only one doing this. Ambit Energy is very similar.
Understanding that it originally sold energy products in limited markets, Stream Energy diversified its product portfolio with goods and services that extend beyond the standard electricity and natural gas offered by its competitors.
Retail Electricity and Natural Gas
Stream Energy purchases electricity and natural gas at wholesale prices, resells it and delivers the energy products to its customers using the traditional provider's existing infrastructure. Energy users in the seven Stream operating areas are encouraged to switch energy providers to save money on their energy bills through the company's competitive rates.
Further savings can be realized through bundled service options for households and businesses that use both gas and electric. The company offers a fixed rate plan for customers who sign a year long contract, and they also have a month to month option that is offered at a higher rate.
Most customer service complaints relate to unexplained rate changes from the fixed rate to the higher month to month version as well as no questions asked disconnection of services.
Alternative Energy Products
Stream Energy recognized a way to purchase wholesale energy that is harvested freely from wind and solar energy collection systems. It provides Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) to certify that the energy purchased is from an entirely clean source. These RECs are beneficial to Stream Energy's commercial clients who may gain tax advantages by using clean energy.
Home Life Services
Stream Energy founders envisioned a company that would simplify their customers' lives, and their Home Life Services that include credit monitoring, identity theft protection as well as computer and network technical support fit into that strategic vision.
The three services are provided via multiple plans.
Customers can get the entire bundle of services for $29.95 per month. Or they can choose two of the three services for $24.95 per month. Alternatively, all three services can be purchased individually for $14.95 per month.
Stream Energy plans to offer mobile services for its customers starting in early 2015. They have aligned with two reputable telecommunications networks to deliver reliable mobile service to customers nationwide. The proposed service requires no contracts and offers flexible data and phone plans.
Stream Energy offers income generating opportunities for its customers as well as its sales associates. Sales associates usually start as customers before pursuing Stream's business opportunity.
Like any other MLM, Stream Energy seems to be pretty stingy with its compensation info. MLMs in general are difficult to figure out because the payment is structured by your downline and percentages vary depending on the “depth”. However, I was able to find this on their website.
So, how does one actually get paid? Your guess is as good as mine. Here's some other information I found after a little digging.
Besides the expected lower energy bills, Stream Energy customers have the opportunity to earn free electricity and natural gas. According to the company's website, customers who refer 15 people earn free energy from Stream as part of their loyalty reward program.
Stream Energy's sales associates are responsible for recruiting new customers and encouraging them to also become part of the sales team. The initial entrance fee for associates is $329 and there is a $29 monthly fee for maintenance of the sales website, which is included in the start up kit.
There are five levels for the independent associate and three leadership levels that determine compensation types and amounts. Stream Energy boasts many ways to make money with this opportunity that include monthly energy income, quick start bonuses, leadership income and residual income.
For example, associates earn quick start bonuses of $100 for getting four energy customer points within 30 days of signing up for the opportunity. Other potential rewards include free energy, paid trips and cars.
MLM vs Affiliate Marketing
Multi-level marketing is expensive and difficult to get started in as a beginner. The majority of aspiring MLMers before ever gaining their first customer. To succeed in any MLM you would need an extensive knowledge of the product (in this case energy) and a large network of friends, family and associates who also have knowledge in the industry/product.
Affiliate marketing requires far less risk, financially and with your friends and family.
As an affiliate you sell only products you choose to sell, not the ones you’re told to sell like in an MLM. Potential customers find you via search engines, social media and other internet platforms. There’s never any hard-selling and you get to work exclusively online.
I started my affiliate marketing business for less than fifty bucks. And the best part is, I didn't have to annoy anyone to make sales. Here's how I did it.