MyNet Universe Inc.
12140 Woodcrest Executive Drive Suite 300
Extract from sales copy
Extract from sales copy:
enables the average person to take advantage of major trends in our economy. The first is the fact that
saving money has become very hip. Some people are even saying that saving money is the new green.
is right at the center of this because when you use the Genie, you can save money on the things you need.
How does this work? Whenever you look to buy something online using any major search engine like Google
or Yahoo, the Genie appears; and just like magic, it cuts through the clutter to find you the best deals
on virtually anything you're looking for.
Why is the Genie so important? The Internet has
the appearance of offering unlimited choices, but nothing is further from the truth. The major search
engines charge online retailers' or sellers' fees to appear near the top of their search results. This
means that much of what you see when searching for something you need is not necessarily the best deal
for you but, rather, what benefits the major search engine. The Genie is different because it puts you,
the customer, first by enabling you to better manage your search results so that you can find a better
Secondly, you can also make money online with MyShoppingGenie because when someone
uses the free Genie that you gave them and buys something from one of the hundreds of top online retailers,
these companies then share their Affiliate commissions with you; and you make money.
Universe is making MyShoppingGenie available to give the consumer unlimited choices in the marketplace.
The Genie breaks the limitations of shopping at one store or the confines of an online buying club. The
Genie breaks the limitations created by the major search engines controlling what we see in our search
results, thus giving us more choices. Finally, the Genie can be your online business that can create the
wealth you need for the life you want so that you can change the world in any way you choose.
My Net Universe, run by David Freed, Bruce Bise, John
Van Deurzen, Andy Cauthen, offers free price comparison software called My Shopping Genie which you download
to your computer. Like the company's website, My Shopping Genie has a rather clunky look, but it works
through whatever search engine you wish to use (such as Google, Bing, Yahoo or AOL). You simply enter
whatever item you want to buy and My Shopping Genie searches the Internet to find the best price.
to feedback from users, the My Shopping Genie price comparison software works well.
If you just
want to use My Shopping Genie to find the lowest prices, then it's free. However, My Shopping Genie also
offers a multi-level marketing business opportunity. It costs $199 (£130) to join, for which you
receive a licence to distribute the price comparison software, and thereafter there is a monthly fee of
My Shopping Genie presents a dizzying picture of making money, by the following
- When you give away the free software to friends, customers, prospects etc you can earn
commissions from Pay Per Click "PPC" (along with Pay Per Sale and Pay Per Offer) when people
using the My Shopping Genie software click on offers.
According to My Shopping Genie, people
joining My Shopping Genie can earn an average of $3 (approx £2) for each piece of the My Shopping
Genie software they give away.
It appears that there is no method of directly attributing to
each distributor the PPC income generated by their downline. Instead, all this income is collected by
a partner company of MyNet Universe Inc, and 50% of this income is then distributed to My Shopping Genie
distributors, presumably on the basis of how many pieces of the software they have given away.
- When people to whom you've given away the free My Shopping Genie software make an actual purchase
from Amazon or Clickbank, you receive 100% of the PPC income directly.
- Once you have
recruited two other people into My Shopping Genie, you receive a bonus of an extra 20% on the PPC commission
which is earned by people you've recruited into the business.
- You receive a payment
of $100 every time you recruit two people into the My Shopping Genie business.
- As soon
as you have recruited two other people, you can enter the My Shopping Genie Dual Team Pay structure and
earn commission on the $199 fees (i.e. the licence fee of $199 which people have to pay to enter the My
Shopping Genie mlm scheme) paid by people who are recruited by the people you recruited. People who pay
the $199 fee to enter the My Shopping Genie scheme are placed underneath you in a two-legged (or "binary")
- If you have personally recruited at least four active distributors
into My Shopping Genie, and you have a downline of 12 active distributors, then you become a Power Distributor,
which means that you can earn up to $3,000 per week on recruitment fees in your downline.
levels in the My Shopping Genie hierarchy - Power Distributor Builder, Gold Power Distributor, Global
Power Distributor etc - receive higher commissions.
Unfortunately, My Shopping Genie is illegal
in the UK because it doesn't comply with the UK's Trading Scheme Regulations.
were introduced because some consumers were getting carried away with dreams of how much money they could
earn if they joined a scheme and they later regretted the money they had spent on joining it. So the regulations
impose the requirement for the scheme to carry the following statutory warning:
is illegal for a promoter or participant in a trading scheme to persuade anyone to make a payment by promising
benefits from getting other people to join a trading scheme. Do not be misled by claims that high earnings
can be easily achieved."
My Shopping Genie does not carry this statutory warning,
and also it does not comply with other consumer protection requirements of the Trading Scheme Regulations,
such as a 14-day cooling off period and a 90-day right to a refund.
Probably the most serious illegal
characteristic of My Shopping Genie, however, is the fact that the scheme does clearly promise benefits
from getting other people to join, since a major component of the money which people in the scheme earn
is the $100 they receive for each two people they recruit.
It's a criminal offence in the UK to
promote a scheme which does not comply with the Trading Schemes Regulations.
To my surprise, according
to Alexa, My Shopping Genie's top country traffic rank is the UK. Its ranking in the UK is 1,094 compared
to its USA ranking of 6,376. Sadly, therefore, it seems that many people in the UK have joined this illegal
Putting aside the fact that My Shopping Genie is illegal in the UK, let's look now at whether
it has a reliable business model, whether it's likely to last long enough to make it worthwhile putting
your money, effort and reputation into it, and let's also look at the track records of the founders ...
don't think that My Shopping Genie is designed to last, because it's own income and that of its distributors
is largely dependent on the one-off initial recruitment fees. So the only way forward is to unceasingly
recruit. Because most of the money (66% according to My Shopping Genie) comes from recruitment fees, when
the supply of recruits starts to dry up the company will fail. People in My Shopping Genie will find that
their income drops considerably and so they will start to look elsewhere.
This position is worsened
because there isn't any direct way that you can increase your PPC income by encouraging your team to click
more, because all the PPC income goes into a general pool which is shared out between all distributors.
the PPC income is tiny compared to the income from recruitment fees.
In September 2010, according
to a programme about My Shopping Genie on Irish television (see below), the company said that they had
recruited 40,000 distributors and had given away around 1.6 million pieces of My Shopping Genie software.
So, on average, each distributor has given away 40 pieces of free software. Each distributor in My Shopping
Genie receives around $3 (£2) PPC income a month. So, if you have to give away 40 pieces of software
to earn £2 a month, then to receive a monthly income of £400 you - and all of the other distributors,
because of the pooling arrangements for the PPC income - would each have to give away 8,000 pieces of
software to achieve this from PPC income. That appears impossible.
Contrast the My Shopping Genie
model with the standard, legal model of network marketing companies in the UK, where the company does
not give its distributors any of the start-up fees of new distributors they recruit, but only gives them
commission on the sales of these distributors. That's a durable model because it's based on ongoing sales,
instead of one-off initial recruitment fees.
Normally, companies which are in it for the long haul
will take out a trademark on their brand and a patent on their software. My Shopping Genie has done neither.
turn now to the people running My Shopping Genie.
John Van Deurzen
John Van Deurzen,
who has been on a road tour around the UK promoting My Shopping Genie in Birmingham, Manchester and Scotland,
is one of the founders of My Shopping Genie. John Van Deurzen was previously the top Canadian money earner
with SkyBiz, reputedly earning over $1,000,000 a year.
Over ten years ago, in the October 1999 issue
of The BOARD magazine, the hard copy predecessor of the Business Opportunity Watch website, I described
SkyBiz as dubious and predicted that "this ship won't reach port".
people $125 to buy a website and enter their mlm scheme. The company's marketing material concentrated
on the huge sums of money that could be paid by recruiting other people into the scheme, and urged participants
to buy more than one website to maximise their earnings potential.
The Federal Trade Commission
in the US filed a suit in the US District Court in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where SkyBiz was based, charging that
the company and its principals were promoting a pyramid scheme with claims of quick riches The case was
due to go to trial on 6th January 6 2003, but at the eleventh hour an agreement was reached to end the
litigation. The settlement involved the company paying £20 million for consumer redress and barring
all the defendants from participating in pyramid schemes or misrepresenting the amount of sales, income,
profits or rewards of any future business venture. The Federal Trade Commission said that evidence showed
that over 96% of SkyBiz recruits lost money.
John Van Deurzen left SkyBiz in July 2000 to join another
mlm company called Evision Link, run by a company called New Vision International, apparently because
a lot of the people in his SkyBiz team were leaving to join Evision Link because it offered higher earnings.
Like SkyBiz, Evision sold websites on which it offered commission through a multi-level marketing structure.
Sadly, Evision Link closed its doors in May 2002, stating that they would not be accepting any new sign-ups
or paying any more commission, but undertaking to continue to host the existing websites through to their
After that, John Van Deurzen moved on to a new mlm company called 1cellnet. 1cellnet
charged people $199 to join their MLM scheme, selling services which promised to reduce the cost of international
calls by 70%. Unfortunately, this company did not fare very well either, with proceedings initiated against
it by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in August 2004 for alleged breaches of the pyramid
selling scheme provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974. On 17 November 2005 the Federal Court in Perth
declared that the company operated a pyramid selling scheme in contravention of the Trade Practices act,
having earlier issued the company with injunctions to stop participating in the scheme.
Bruce Bise, who holds the position of Master Distributor with My Shopping Genie, has a
chequered history, since he was jailed for 7 years in Arizona for felony forgery and fraudulent schemes
Bruce Bise then became involved in a string of multi level marketing schemes, including:
- Celebrity Galleries International Inc, which sold reproductions of celebrity photographs printed with
an ink-jet or giclee system. This company was set up in May 2005 and disappeared at the end of 2007.
- Get Moving Today, where Bruce Bise was president and CEO. Get Moving Today, which sold web
portals, auto responders, pain pills and the "fridge diet", was set up in 2002 and filed for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2003, leaving its distributors high and dry. Bruce Bise
said that bad checks and auto-drafts caused the crunch.
CEO of My Shopping Genie was also National Marketing Director for Get Moving Today.
Cauthen, president of My Net Universe Inc which owns My Shopping Genie, was previously involved with a
US mlm business called YTB Your Travel Business International.
In August 2008 a civil action was
filed by the Attorney General of California in the Superior Court of California against YTB Your Travel
Business and certain of its officers and founders, including Andrew Cauthen, stating that:
While Defendants purport to be in the business of selling travel, their real business is the operation
of a pyramid scheme that relies on the sale of essentially worthless websites they refer to as "online
travel agencies". For the opportunity to own and operate an online travel agency, consumers pay Defendants
over $1,000 per year. To entice consumers to participate in their scheme, Defendants make untrue or misleading
claims that consumer can become millionaires and receive special travel discounts offered only to professional
travel agents. However, in 2007, consumers paid over $103 million to Defendants for websites, but made
only $13 million in travel commissions in a business Defendants advertised as the "easiest way to
make money" and earn "serious income" without any selling.
14 2009 the Attorney General of California issued a Press Release stating that the defendants had agreed
to a "Stipulation For Entry of Final Judgment and Permanent Injunction" in the Superior
Court of California. This agreement prohibited YTB Your Travel Business, Andy Cauthen and the other defendants
from false and misleading marketing and they had to give consumers information about how difficult it
was to make money through YTB Your Travel Business, and the company was prohibited from charging consumers
money in order to recruit others. YTB Your Travel Business was also ordered to pay $1 million in penalties,
costs and restitution to California victims who filed complaints against YTB.
Moving back to My Shopping Genie and recent times, the company
has been causing controversy in the Republic of Ireland, where
it launched with presentations at various hotels in August 2010.
Rory Egan, a journalist with the Sunday Independent newspaper,
attended a presentation, had his doubts and joined My Shopping
Genie to find out more about how it worked. He subsequently
appeared in an exposure of My Shopping Genie on RTE television's
Prime Time programme in Ireland and published his findings in
the Sunday edition of the Irish Independent newspaper on 26th
Here's the link to the Sunday Independent article about My
law on multi-level marketing schemes in Ireland differs from the law in the UK, since Irish law prohibits
an emphasis on recruiting. It appears that Ireland's consumer protection agency the National Consumer
Agency is looking at whether My Shopping Genie conforms with this law.
Overall, and putting to one
side the fact that My Shopping Genie is illegal in the UK, would you be likely to make money with it if
The answer is that you probably wouldn't, because My Shopping Genie has already sparked
controversy in Ireland, and history shows that once officialdom starts showing an interest in a controversial
scheme then its days are usually numbered. Whether officialdom takes any action or not, people become
unsure about joining the scheme - and that is the death blow to a scheme like My Shopping Genie whose
existence depends on unceasing recruitment. Schemes like My Shopping Genie are inherently unstable - which
is why they were made illegal in the first place.
If My Shopping Genie were to collapse, then most
people in it would lose money, because by definition the lowest levels of the structure - where people
have not been in long enough to recoup their investment - always have a lot more people in them than the
narrow top levels. On my calculations, on the assumption that each person in My Shopping Genie recruits
two other people, that means that 6/7 or 85% of the people in the scheme would lose out.
I rate My Shopping Genie at zero out of ten.
I sent a copy of this review to My Shopping Genie,
inviting their comments, but had no reply.
Notice: A critical review which raises hard-hitting questions means that in our opinion the business
model or the investment model has flaws and/or we have found inadequate evidence to back up claims about
earnings, sales, profits etc. It doesn't mean this evidence does not exist and it doesn't mean that the
promoters are unprofessional or dishonest. Questions arising are normally contained within the body of
the review, and readers who are interested should contact the company with these questions and/or questions
of their own.
Have you tried this
If you would like to comment on it please send
us an email. Your feedback will then be posted here anonymously unless you tell us that you want
your contact details included.
Feedback on My Shopping Genie from Heather 29th November
I joined My Shopping Genie in June.
some errors in your review:
1) You have said that MSG pays to recruit distributors. MSG does
not pay anyone to recruit distributors. There is a commission paid for every licence sale that is made;
the licence being the product which allows distributors to freely distribute unlimited copies of their
own brandable "Genie"
2) You say there is no patent on the Genie software. My understanding
is that there have been six patents applied for and, as the genie software has evolved so rapidly, the
patent applications have become redundant in their current format and an "upgrade" has been
allowed by the patents office.
3) The Irish situation has been subject to legal action
BOW reply to Heather:
Thanks for your
What you say are errors in my review of My Shopping Genie are not in fact errors.
answer your three points:
- My Shopping Genie does pay its distributors for recruiting new distributors.
The fact that this payment is structured as the fee for a licence to distribute free copies of the software
does not alter this fact. Obviously, if it were this easy to get around the law then everyone would be
doing it. So the law is widely drawn to catch any arrangements which have the effect of rewarding participants
in the scheme simply for the act of recruiting other people.
- My statement that there
is no patent on the My Shopping Genie software is correct.
Of course, to obtain a patent, the
invention must be new and non-obvious i.e it must "show an inventive step which could not be deduced
by a person with average knowledge of the technical field", according to WIPO, the World Intellectual
From what you say, it would seem that a number of the developments that
My Shopping Genie has made so far to its software have each involved such "inventive steps",
and you imply that this is why they have had to abandon the patent applications they have previously made.
Whllst possible, this would be an unusual scenario. Normally, a company would launch a patent
application for the original invention and follow this through, adding subsequent, separate applications
for developments to the software if these fulfilled the criteria of being themselves innovative and non-obvious.
Otherwise, a company could clearly end up with a series of "patent pending" applications
and no patent, which appears to be the position in which My Shopping Genie currently finds itself.
- Whatever legal action you say has been taken by My Shopping Genie in Ireland would seem
to have failed, at least so far, since the Prime Time emission is still online, as is the Sunday Independent
article. Normally, if a complainant in a defamation suit has a good case, then the first thing that happens
is that the offending material is removed from publication - either voluntarily or, sometimes, in response
to an injunction.
As you are a member of My Shopping Genie, I expect that my review and this
email are very disappointing for you. Nevertheless, I hope you find the information helpful.
Feedback on My Shopping Genie from Diligent 23 May 2011:
Anders Berglund legal opinion of My Shopping Genie
your concise review of My Shopping Genie I have asked a distributor to respond and they have sent me the
attached. You may have already seen this as your original report was posted last year.
to confirm, I am not a distributor, lawyer nor am I connected in any way with MSG although I am currently
doing some due diligence on this and TFT which are being pushed by some very credible people.
you can let me know your response via this email I would be grateful.
reply to Diligent:
Obviously, as stated in my review, the question of the legality of My Shopping
Genie in the UK is only one of the concerns I had about it.
I am perplexed at the opinion you sent
to me, written by Anders Berglund, who is a lawyer. He is also the Treasurer of the European
Selling Association (which has recently changed its name to SELDIA with a website at www.fedsa.be ) and
Vice Chairman of the
Swedish national trade association of direct selling companies Direkthandelns
Forening, with a website at
According to the document you sent
to me (available on the internet at
Anders Berglund was hired by My Shopping Genie in 2010 to give his legal opinion and recommendations.
I've now contacted Anders Berglund to tell him that it seems to me that his opinion is incorrect
I sent him the following letter:
Dear Mr. Berglund,
publish an online magazine at www.businessopportunitywatch.com which researches and reviews all kinds
of home business opportunities, franchises, gambling, financial trading and other earnings and investment
I have published a critical review of My Shopping Genie at:
recently received an enquiry from someone thinking of joining My Shopping Genie. He had read my review,
and when he asked his distributor to respond, the distributor sent him your legal opinion, which you were
apparently hired to give by My Shopping Genie in 2010.
Your legal opinion is shown on various places
on the Internet, such as at this link:
am totally perplexed at this opinion, which I believe is incorrect and misleading.
You say that
your "opinion is based on existing EU regulations (unfair Commercial Practices Directive)"
and some "paragraphs of the European Codes of Conduct" which you quote and you conclude
that "the Universal Compensation Plan [of My Shopping Genie] adheres to all requirements of these
paragraphs and is thus lawful and ethical and is suitable for application on the European Market".
surely, so far as the law is concerned, there is no such thing as the European Market? Instead, each European
country has its own national laws, and those which are in the European Union implement European Directives.
Sometimes, European Directives will involve the repeal of existing national legislation. Quite often,
however, European Directives simply result in a new tier of law and the existing national legislation
remains in place.
I don't see how you can possibly say simply on the basis of compliance with the
Unfair Commercial Practices Directive that My Shopping Genie is lawful on a Europe-wide basis. Instead,
you would need to look at the law in force in each European country (i.e. their national laws together
with the way that the country had implemented European Directives) in order to determine whether My Shopping
Genie was legal in any particular country.
Some countries such as the UK, Spain and Ireland, have
specific laws dealing with multi-level marketing companies. These laws have not been repealed following
implementation of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, and therefore you would need to look at these
laws in order to determine whether My Shopping Genie was lawful in these countries.
Genie is illegal in the UK, for the reasons stated in my review.
Other European countries have general
domestic laws (e.g. covering trade practices, competition, marketing practices) which would likewise need
to be examined to determine whether My Shopping Genie was legal.
In addition, of course, there
is the fact that some European countries are not in the European Union, such as Norway, Iceland and Switzerland.
So it also seems to me that your opinion is misleading in impliedly saying that My Shopping Genie is legal
in these countries because of compliance with the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive.
as I can make out, My Shopping Genie operates from its headquarters in Missouri, USA, and recruits people
all over the world, leaving its recruits to deal with any legal compliance problems in their own countries.
Is this right? If so, do you think it is far?
In my view, to treat its overseas distributors fairly,
My Shopping Genie should consult with local specialist lawyers in each country where it wants to recruit
distributors to ensure that My Shopping Genie complies with the country's legislation. Only then should
My Shopping Genie accept recruits from that country.
What do you think?
On a related point,
your opinion that the My Shopping Genie Universal Compensation Plan is "lawful and ethical"
is also based on its compliance with "the European Codes of Conduct".
your opinion does not state where these Codes of Conduct come from. However, after researching this, it
seems that these are the Codes of Conduct of the European Direct Selling Association, which is a trade
body for direct selling companies. Its members comprise the direct selling trade associations of 27 member
countries, and 13 direct selling companies.
Oddly, My Shopping Genie is not a member of the European
Direct Selling Association. It does not even appear to be a member of the Direct Selling Association of
its home country, the USA.
In giving this opinion, is it correct that you are acting in a personal
capacity and not as a representative of either the European Direct Selling Association (now called SELDIA),
where I understand you hold the office of Treasurer, nor the Swedish Direct Selling Association Direkthandelns
Forening, where I understand that you are Vice Chairman?
Of course, it may be the case that My Shopping
Genie has published your opinion out of context, due to some mistake, and that is why it is so misleading.
you will appreciate, I am concerned to clarify this matter, because it seems to me that there is a risk
that people thinking of joining My Shopping Genie will mistakenly take your opinion as a legal green light
that My Shopping Genie is legal in all European countries.
I would therefore be very grateful if
you would respond to my enquiries.
If you have any questions in the meantime, please dont
hesitate to contact me.
Editor of Business Opportunity Watch
far we have not received any reply from Anders Berglund. However, if and when Anders Berglund does reply,
his reply will be posted here.
Feedback on MyShopping Genie from Luke 10th July 2011:
i was very interested in your review of my shopping genie and i have signed up as a distributor.
have to say i have not been able to make a single penny from this so called good business opportunity
and have found the payment structure almost impossible to understand with various levels and legs etc.
I have had 57 members in what is called a left leg with one member under me and even with
all these people i have still no earnings.
I have asked them to explain why i am not earning
commisions but they have not been able to explain it just saying i need to promote it more and get more
people in my team. However i have been promoting it in lots of ways for example my own blog twitter and
facebook accounts with no success
After reading your review i am now extremely concerned
and have stopped my monthly payment as it seems i have been scammed by it and although i have been promoting
it hard it seems most other people are sensible in avoiding it and i feel really stupid.
you for alerting me even though at this moment in time i have lost hundreds of pounds in monthly subscriptions
and a large membership fee
i will wast no more time and money on it and lastly i was wondering
if you think as it is probably not ethical or legal in the uk would i have grounds to claim all of my
money back and how is best to go about this i am thinking a small claims court. Or maybe put it down to
experience and move on. I am angry.
Thanks for your help with this scam
reply to Luke:
Regarding the chance of getting your money back, you would need to ask a lawyer
about this. However, since My Shopping Genie does not have an office in the UK, and probably has no assets
in the UK, then my opinion (as a non-lawyer) is that even if you won a small claims court case, you could
find it difficult to enforce it to get your money back.