The hottest thing in town right now is elemant, a “big data” multi-level recruiting scheme that has taken many Zimbabweans in the capital by storm. But what exactly is elemant and how does it work? Let me walk you through it in as few words as I can.
On its website myelemant.com it says it’s a world-wide membership benefits club and consumer insights company which deals in the Big Data business, focusing on consumer purchase patterns. It says its business is to collect point of sale data from consumers which it then uses to generate revenues by offering targeted marketing campaigns for merchants and marketing partners.
It was reportedly launched on November 8th, 2017 in the city state of Singapore in East Asia.
In case you were also wondering as to the meaning of the term Elamant itself, the organization says that it’s “a portmanteau combining the words element and elephant.” Symbolising finding one’s element as well as the strength of an elephant, which is an “unstoppable force.”
Its flagship scheme, which is uses to recruit members, is the Data rewards program. Recruits submit their shopping receipts and reportedly receive up to 20% cash back on each receipt redemption. So essentially you are paid for your receipts. Members are said to earn up to $200/month in uploading their purchase receipts to its database.
To join the platform, one pays $99 to start. Or simply brings 3 recruits and gains free automatic admission. It says the data from members’ purchase patterns is then used in “targeted advertising campaigns for merchants and marketing partners as well as Big Data companies.”
Qualifying members become consultants to help support, train and educate new recruits.
The shadowy organization says it also has what it terms the “Elemant travel, an exclusive membership travel portal.” Where members pay wholesale prices for flights, hotels, cruises, car rentals and the entity then pays 110% of the difference.
Elemant says a member can earn from $100 to $38000/week as a consultant.
Right now I know you are of the same mind as me, that if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. One wonders why one would have to pay a company for one to be employed. The whole purpose of seeking employment of any form is to earn a salary.
Why then ask a potential worker to pay you for them to then earn for joining? Why not deduct that joining fee from the monthly payments/earnings? The exemption of free entry is on condition of having recruited three members. Which then seems to give away the game as the target seems to be more of people joining and paying the joining fee of $99 and not necessarily receipts.
Why would a company want consumer data from individuals when it can just liaise directly with retail outlets on consumer purchasing patterns? Why take the long and cumbersome way round when it could go straight to source?
These are some of the few questions that prospective members need to interrogate before parting with their hard earned money to join.
And as is always the case with Ponzi and pyramid schemes, the people behind them use flowery language laced with the promise of a luxurious life after a very short while. This is typically meant to waylay unsuspecting members of the public, most of who are easily swayed by the prospects of easily attained luxuries, into joining these flyby night schemes.
The schemes also always have “senior members” who would have been early adopters and made “lots of money” and climbed through the “ranks to managerial positions”, and then spend much of their time recruiting new members by telling them just how well they are living.
But usually a quick look into the recruiters’ lives reveals a reality far removed from the professed good life.
One is never quite lucky enough to meet a member who can actually show the money earned, they are as rare as rocking horse droppings, as scarce as hen’s teeth.
The general target of these pyramid schemes is always the economically disadvantaged members of society, who out of desperation in the face of debilitating economic crises are quick to latch onto anything that promises a quick jump into a more comfortable economic lifestyle.
It seems people never learn from the losses incurred by others at the collapse of other pyramid schemes.
Other defunct ponzi schemes that had their 15 minutes of fame in Zimbabwe include MMM, Four corners and “Ecocash investments” among others. We will be exploring these defunct schemes in future articles.
By definition, “a Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation where the operator, an individual or organization, pays returns to its investors from new capital paid to the operators by new investors, rather than from profit earned through legitimate sources. Operators of Ponzi schemes usually entice new investors by offering higher returns than other investments, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent.”
“A pyramid scheme is an illegal investment scam based on a hierarchical setup. New recruits make up the base of the pyramid and provide the funding, or so-called returns, which the earlier investors/recruits above them receive. A pyramid scheme does not involve the selling of products. Rather, it relies on the constant inflow of money from additional investors that works its way to the top of the pyramid.”
The cardinal rule of investment is, never invest in a business that you do not understand and know the entire process of how it makes money.
But we live in a society where hardwork and patience are now very scarce commodities. People in today’s society now want riches without having invested the requisite time and sweat equity as well as discipline, financial literacy and education.
Riches come from work, long hard work and sweat.