BA111OD delivers Christmas gift with double tourbillon release usa.watchpro.com‘s headline proclaims. Two extremely handsome titanium-cased skeletonized tourbillon watches for $10k? Hopping over to ba111od.com, I discovered you can only buy from the website or an “Afluendor.” No, it’s not the Spanish nickname for a flying dinosaur. It’s multi-level marketing (MLM) jargon. Like this . . .
My first thought: shouldn’t it be Affluender? Next: uh-oh, here we go: the world’s first watch-based multi-level marketing scheme. In case you’re not familiar with the joys of MLM (for the parent company and early participants), wikipedia.org defines the basic structure thus:
BA111OD’s “Community page” lays out the deets. Well, not really. To get the full 411, you have to download their “Community App.” For you dear reader, anything!
Needless to say, there are some insidious terms and conditions. “When you buy a watch, you get the right to sell a certain number of products. For example, buying a Chapter 1 watch gives you the right to sell 4 products.”
So the more you spend, the more theoretical “inventory” you have in your store. If you sell those four products, you have to buy another watch to get more “inventory.”
The general MLM template: participants get a percentage of their sales in cash and perks, then a percentage of sales revenue from those they recruit. Very quickly, participants run out of people “downline.” The pyramid collapses, often spectacularly, leaving financial devastation in its wake.
In BA111OD’s case, there’s no “upline” compensation (from people “members” recruit) or cash payout. Just “tokens.” Their website declines to identify the “value” of these token. “You will find the list of rewards in the Community App, in the ‘My activity’ tab. There, you will be able to see the token equivalent of the rewards you can win.”
You have to join BA111OD’s “community” to find out – which automatically generates your “personal boutique” on the Popsell platform (of which the Better Business Bureau has numerous complaints). Both the brand and Popsell capture members’ personal data and the data of anyone they contact – unless you ask them to limit data collection.
BA111OD awards “community members” tokens for purchases, sales and marketing “challenges.” Tokens are good for watches, straps and a watch winder and . . . that’s it.
In token terms, a Chapter 1.1 Silver or Chapter 1.2 Blue watch (above) is the least “expensive” watch reward. They “cost” a “community member” 1200 tokens.
The number of tokens awarded for completing a sale or “challenges” varies. For example, you can earn enough tokens for the Chapter 1.1 Silver or Chapter 1.2 Blue by selling three Chapter 5.1 Chronos (500 tokens each).
In Yankee dollars, a Chapter 5.1 Chrono Magma cost your “friends or family” $1,194.64 plus 7.7% Swiss VAT ($91.99) for a total of $1,286.63. So you need to sell $3,859.89 worth of Chrono 5.1 Chronos to get a “free” $387.48 Chapter 1.2 Blue watch.
That certainly works in BA111OD’s favor. They’re paying a 10% commission to their “community member” for the sale of three watches. That’s at least 30% less than what they’d have to hive-off for a bricks and mortar retailer. Actually, less; the Chapter 1.2 Blue watch retails for $387.48 and there are tax advantages to paying “members” in watches rather than cash.
Remember: “community members” have to buy something to get the “right” to sell the Chapter 5.1 Chronos (above). Which is better than having to purchase a sh*t ton of physical inventory to start selling and earning rewards (the usual MLM scam). But it’s still win/lose if the “member” doesn’t sell lots of watches. BA111OD loves that!
I mean, really loves that!
MLM companies have a long ignoble history of stomping on any “member” who dares criticize the mothership. BA111OD and Popsell reserve the right delete any negative comments in their chat room. Never expect honesty within an MLM fraternity.
I started this post intending on praising the Chapter 4.1 Veblen Dilemma Tourbillon and Chapter 4.2 Lily Tourbillon (the Xmas pairing). BA111OD’s marketing killed that desire. The Swiss watchmaker’s deeply cynical marketing strategy will leave plenty of bitter “members.” Avoid their watches like the plague.