Video, video, video. Those little square boxes that shout out at you from cyberspace seem to be everywhere. Unless you have spent the last several years in a cave on the far side of Borneo, you know exactly what I am talking about. Youtube, Viddler, Blip.tv, Bofunk, eCorptv, Ivewtube, Kewgo, Megavideo, MySpace videos, and the list goes on and on.
Kind of reminds me of the old joke about cable TV, “100 channels and nothing to watch” which of course is a little tongue in cheek slam on the cable TV industry for hyping that they had hundreds of channels to sell their service only for us to later discover they had filled them with a bunch of junk programming and turned us into mindless channel surfers (pass me the remote will you). Yet, of course, cable TV is still with us and of course, over time, the program content has improved, or maybe we are just too addicted to the tube to notice that the content is the same but our standards have gradually lowered.
So that brings us to the discussion of Video on the internet, specifically Video e-mail and of a new company called Talk Fusion, who is making some waves in the world of MLM. Once again, in case you haven’t noticed, video on the internet is huge. I mean really huge. I guess it was just a natural outgrowth of our fascination with the internet that once static websites lost their novelty we just had to have something new to stimulate us and video was it.
Case in point is the price that Google paid for YouTube, $1.6 Billion dollars. I mean, wow, I get excited just thinking about how much fun I could have just collecting the interest on that payment at a measly 1%. Let’s see, that’s about $16 million a year. I think I would just put it all into one bank account and call it the “Marc Barrett Charitable Vacation Trust” and take a 20 year vacation to explore some of the areas of the world I might have missed. I am getting off track here. Sorry. Big money just excites me.
So if Google paid that much for a Video sharing site, and of course we know that Google is very smart. Then video must really, really, be a big deal and will continue to be into the future. So what about Video e-mail and the companies that market this service? Is it a fair analogy to say they are going to be huge also? Well maybe and maybe not.
Video e-mail has been trying to get off the ground as a product for years. Microsoft even had a free plugin for Outlook as far back as Outlook 2003 that gave you actual embedded video e-mail. So video e-mail has been around for at least 10 years and really hasn’t gotten any traction. However that may be changing. Case in point are companies like Talk Fusion which was founded in 2007 and markets Video e-mail and other online video products through network marketing. Talk Fusion is currently going through some pretty nice growth and they have lots of new distributors chanting the mantra “Video” Video” Video”.
Now my company reviews are a little bit different than what you normally see on the e-zines sites or in the blogs of some or the so called network marketing gurus. I don’t really focus on the superficial such as details on the product line and pricing and lengthy discussions on the comp plan and how rich it is, or is not, going to make you, or on how great, or terrible the founders or master distributors are, that to me is all secondary. When I look at a company I focus primarily on the market niche and product viability. In short is this product going to fly or not. Now in a standard MLM, as opposed to a Top Tier MLM, the longevity of your product is critical. In a standard MLM to make the really big money it takes a team of thousands and it takes time to build a group that size, and you want to make sure the product is good enough to hold the market for longer than 20 min.
Let’s cover the basics first:
The Company: Talk Fusion was founded in 2007 by Bob Reina. You will find people on both sides of the fence about Bob, some hate him and some love him. You have to make your own decision here.
The Products: Talk Fusion Products include Video e-mail, video conferencing, video meeting broadcast, video social networking, and video auto responders. On the product side, the Talk Fusion video clarity is great, the video e-mail delivery is done very well, and there are some nice templates that make it look sexy and professional.
I think the video size Talk Fusion uses on its video e-mail is a little small but that is probably a concession to bandwidth. Now keep in mind here that the Talk Fusion video e-mail is not an embedded video in an e-mail although that is the impression you get. The e-mail actually contains a static picture of the first frame of your video and when your recipient clicks on the play button they are actually redirected seamlessly to a static website that actually plays the video, however they way they pulled it off seems to work.
The Talk Fusion video conferencing product is nice for small groups. There are other services available that offer this same feature but in the Talk Fusion product package it works well. The Talk Fusion video broadcast product (I have not tested it), if it works as advertised, is also a nice bonus and could take the place of a company’s Go to Meeting system. There are some other video bells and whistles such as the Talk Fusion video blog site that comes with your Talk Fusion membership as well as some tools to be able to use your videos with your social networking sites.
The Talk Fusion Compensation plan
This is a basic binary with some nice matching bonuses and a bonus pool, nothing world shattering here. I have worked many different types of compensation plans and let’s face it they all pay big dollars if you can get them off the ground. Talk Fusion pays commissions daily. This is a nice touch, and binary’s who have done this before have done pretty well in the short term. It’s that instant gratification of getting money the next day, even if it’s only $10 that tends to excite people. So that’s the basic, now let’s look at the stuff that really interests me.
Is this baby going to fly longer than a year or so? Let’s talk marketing for a moment. Look no matter how sexy we think a product is, or how great a marketing angle appears to be (wow Bob, everyone is going to want one of those!), sometimes perception is not reality. Sure video e-mail which is Talk Fusion’s flagship product seems on the surface like a killer no miss product. I mean look how big video is on the internet, why wouldn’t every one want to do this? Well let’s take a look at the past.
There have been lots of video e-mail MLM’s that have come before Talk Fusion and none of them ever really made it. Some have been around for almost 10 years but they are stalled out. Why? I think there are 2 very big reasons, “vanity” and the “Technology Trap”. Its seems to me that with the previous companies, they got lots of initial signups but when it came right down to “Bill” or “Mary” actually sitting down to make her first video e-mail they realized how hard it is to make a video come out the way you want it to, and let’s be honest here, with us looking good in it.
Now let’s be truthful here, it’s all about looking good. Most of us are a little vain as evidenced by the fact that we never think the pictures other people take of us really convey us the way we want to look. It’s really the unusual person, the exception to the rule, who is not at all self conscious (or an internet marketer who has done it a lot) who can sit down and knock out a quick video for an e-mail and shoot it off without having to do 10 out takes. So I think a lot of people sign up and then play around with it a little and then decide it’s just too much work and then don’t really use it, and that leads of course to them dropping out. The other reason is really inherent in the whole concept of using technology products in an MLM, is what I call the “Technology Trap”.
Look, all the products that do really well in Network Marketing tend to have a big “Wow Factor”. When your prospects see them they tend to react with a “wow that’s incredible”. However as we all know there is this nasty part of the Network Marking business called attrition, and usually about 50% of the people you bring into your group based on the “Wow” are going to drop out in 30 days to 6 months. Now if they stay on the product and continue using it, your income goes up as long as you keep recruiting and your group is growing. However if the “Wow” wears off quickly, then they drop the product and your income and organization can become a revolving door.
The inherent problem in using Technology products is that we are all in love with technology and it tends to have a big “Wow Factor” but the love affair can be very short. You are in love with the company and product only until a bigger and better version comes out. I mean look at how often you change cell phones or cell phone companies just to get your hands on one of the newer sexier phones. Case closed.
Now to be balanced in my review I should point out that using the past to forecast the future does not always work. The factors are always slightly different. In terms of today’ market we have seen a huge growth in the number of people who are apparently comfortable using video as evidenced by the massive number of totally lame videos pumped into video sharing sites on a daily basis. The only explanation is that either most of those people are missing the vanity gene or “the times are a changing”. There is still the “Wow Factor” problem but if Talk Fusion stays on the innovation curve maybe they can reduce the damage somewhat and come out ahead. So I guess the answer you are looking for is to find out if I would recommend Talk Fusion as a success machine for the future. Humm……
Well, I personally would not sign up as a Talk Fusion distributor, but no one can argue with the video phenomena of today’s internet. Maybe this time a network marketing company with a video e-mail product really can become a major player, and if the management of Talk Fusion is strong enough to say ahead of the innovation curve, then they may have a shot at it. I am fairly confident that Talk Fusion will do well in the short run, and there is probably money to be made there by cashing in on the online video craze, but whether Talk Fusion can make it longer term and become an industry giant is anybody’s guess.
If you do decide to join Talk Fusion, then I highly recommend you adopt a “build fast” internet based marketing strategy and use one of the online marketing systems to develop your leads and then integrate your video e-mails into your auto responder sequence. Talk Fusion does have a video auto responder as one of their products however I would still recommend you use an outside system instead. Company internal auto responder systems like Talk Fusion have developed do not give you the level of control or independence you need to maintain control of your list.
As you learn internet marketing remember that the prospect list you develop as you generate online leads is your most valuable asset. MLM companies may come and go but always maintain direct control of your most valuable business asset, your list.