Digital Altitude – Michael Force – Review
So, to Digital Altitude (DA)…
It’s been on the go since 2015 but it’s founder, Michael Force, has been in MLMs for a lot longer.
That means a bigger internet foot print, and boy, does Force have one! Sasquatch sized.
Don’t cry when you watch this. Be strong.
The biographical blurb for Michael Force likes to play up his service record as a retired US Marine, shoehorning that titbit of info into as much of DA’s promotional literature as possible, not because it’s relevant, but because it’s good marketing.
The US Marines are imbued with a code of honour and loyalty that the casual movie-goer, never mind armed forces veteran or military history buff, will be well aware of. So Michael Force plays on that: he’s a retired Marine, so you can trust him.
Just like Lee Harvey Oswald.
Except Force doesn’t even extend the old notions of fraternity to brother Marines, so he’s not going to be saluting anyone’s flag but his own, I’m afraid.
I say that because a fellow Marine on hard times joined DA, taking Michael Force at his word on the benefits he’d reap for undertaking this investment… and the poor man ended up losing his money, house and marriage.
He contacted Force – who’s grown wealthy off the back of his many MLM exploits – asking for a refund under hardship (a military plea a fellow veteran would recognise) and Force just ignored the man.
He could go swing for all of Michael Force.
No honour and loyalty to be found in that tale, and less in the subsequent comments of that thread from other folks reiterating similar stories of DA and Mr. Force (US Marine ret).
None of that comes as any great surprise when you look further back at Force’s MLM history, and you see he does live up to one renowned aspect of the US Marines: he’s ruthless.
In the battleground for capturing your money, and the fire he’s taken over the years for not yielding once he’s taken it, then if the Congressional Medal of Honour were handed out for dissatisfied customers, Michael Force would be more highly decorated than Audie Murphy.
Wealth Masters International
We’ve got to back up a bit before we get to Digital Altitude, if we really want to get to the man, and the ethos, of DA.
Way back in 2005, there was a rather controversial MLM called Wealth Masters International (WMI). It’s no longer with us, but the tune lingers long after the song has stopped. It finally crashed out in 2012/13, as all these pyramid schemes do once recruitment slows down, and their own rep catches up with them.
To get a feel for that rep then you need look no further than the entries on this Ripoff Report.
Pretty jarring stuff and not exactly the sort of people you’d want to do business with.
Unless you’re Michael Force.
But we’ll get to that.
This examination of WMI’s business practices clearly reveals illegal marketing and misleading statements (outright lies) made on WMI’s official documentation. As per the Ripoff Report referenced (see entry #33), there are similar charges made with regard to claims re state business registration in the US, and additional illegal practices listed. That report also reveals the braggadocio of the CEO in attempting to intimidate any questioning or highlighting of this information, with empty threats of legal recourse.
As a business, as an ‘opportunity,’ WMI stunk.
It was this highly dubious company that Michael Force lashed himself to, with his own highly dubious Carbon Copy Pro.
Carbon Copy Pro
Carbon Copy Pro (CCPro) was the sales funnel for Wealth Master International members.
At additional cost, which you paid CCPro.
Although CCPro and WMI were in bed together, it was not a match made in heaven.
It rarely is when you put two, greedy, ravenous animals together and throw a money flavoured pork chop between them.
WMI could see the money CCPro was making, at what they no doubt considered their expense, and CCPro was eyeing WMI’s MLM business – which it felt it was feeding.
So why not just cut the other guy out and take all the money for yourself? Is what I reckon the thought process was.
Because CCPro decided to market its own product, and WMI disassociated their business from CCPro in response, putting their own sales funnel system in place.
You can read a more detailed version of events here.
The fallout was to members of both systems, but neither Michael Force nor WMI management really gave a stuff about that.
But during that period of a rocky business relationship between the two, a WMI member approached Force with a business idea that would cost $10,000 to be in partnership with him. This person thought they were making an investment, and it was their idea after all.
Michael Force readily took the money and provided nothing in return. The whole sordid tale is related quite calmly in this Ripoff Report.
Force was also prominent in now bankrupt and notorious MLM Empower and even had a hand in MOBE‘s pot. If there’s a buck to be made at someone else’s expense, then that’s the sound of reveille for Force.
And he didn’t disappoint with a change in behaviour while associated with Mobile Money Code, either.
That’s who retired US Marine Michael Force is.
What my thoughts are on MLMs that sell nothing but their own membership, is no secret on this blog.
Given Michael Force’s history then, odds aren’t high he’s going to do anything to sweeten my attitude.
Especially when Digital Altitude is the subject of a copyright infringement lawsuit by MTTB (MOBE).
Basically, as Michael Force was involved in, and had access to, Matt Lloyd’s promotional material for MTTB as some-time marketing director, he just stole it and used it to create Digital Altitude. Without even making an attempt to hide the blatant plagiarism.
This article gives a good summary of the case which I won’t repeat in detail here. It looks pretty open-and-shut to me, but lawyers have a way of stringing things out.
It’s another pretty good example of Michael Force’s character, though: he just doesn’t give a flying fig.
So having ripped off MTTB’s documentation, it’s going to be something of a case of deja vue to look at DA’s structure and payout hierarchies, as you kind of already know what they’re pretty much going to resemble…
I’m not a big fan of repeating verbatim what’s in programs and their payment structure when you can just look at the site’s documentation and get that yourself – that’s not ‘reviewing,’ it’s padding in my opinion – so here’s a link to Digital Altitudes’ blurb: Digital Altitude Overview.
It takes a few seconds to load but gives you all the info you need, if you take the time to read it carefully.
Lack of oxygen to the brain at high altitude may result in purchase
The important points to note are the membership level monthly fees and product prices:
Aspire Walker $37 per month (40% Commission, 1 Tier of Payout).
Aspire Hiker $67 per month (50% Commission, 2 Tiers of Payout).
Aspire Climber $127 per month (60% Commission, 3 Tiers of Payout).
The commission is what you get on recruiting someone else into that membership level, based on the membership level’s recurring monthly fee.
The commission structure, however, is broken down as thus:
Aspire Walker Sale 40% commission on $37 Tier 1.
Aspire Hiker Sale 40% commission on $67 Tier 1, 10% commission on $67 Tier 2.
Aspire Climber Sale 45% commission on $127 Tier 1, 10% commission on $127 Tier 2, 5% commission on $127 Tier 3
You must be a member of each respective membership level to receive the commission or it’s passed up to the member who recruited you. As it’s tiered you don’t automatically receive a commission on every sign-up you’re responsible for, some are passed up. If you upgrade your membership, you won’t upgrade up your commissions for past sign-ups as they will stay locked at the payout level you were at when they they joined.
That already doesn’t sound like such a good deal. In fact, it sounds stacked against me.
You can buy-in to this for a $1 trial period of a fortnight, and thereafter you’re placed on the $37 a month Walker level. As soon as you signup expect your ‘mentor’ to contact you with a high pressure sales pitch to upgrade to the next level. And when you do, you’ll get passed to someone else who’ll then do all they can to try and get you to jump another level up.
But of course that’s not where the big ticket sale is at. Those commissions aren’t going to catapult you into the six figure earnings per month bracket as fast as if you purchase and promote the products. And your mentors at each level will be sure to inform you of that.
How much do these ‘products’ cost?
You can read the marketing BS around these products/training in my link, where they sell it like it’s the equivalent of a Harvard education.
But it’s just fluff to try and meet the minimal criteria for avoiding the pyramid scheme charge.
Make no mistake, that overpriced training has one function, and it is to sell more of the same product (the training) and recruitment of people into Digital Altitude.
I’ve tried to find out if the products allow you to simply upgrade by paying the difference i.e. if you want to go from Base to Rise, having paid initially $597, do you then just pay $1,400 to go to the next level, or do you have to pay the full $1,997? I suspect you have to pay full figure – this is Michael Force after all – so that being the case, that means that to receive commissions on the full product suite, you’ll be spending $57,585!
The DA documentation overview contains tables for expected commissions on tiers and memberships levels (pass ups not shown)… but I gave up on trying to unwind it all, suffice to say it’s rigid and highly structured, and you have to buy-in at every level or you’re getting nothing. This is a DA member’s explanation of its convoluted commission system.
That there is a major red flag in itself, the ease with which the payment structure can be explained.
Michael Force has taken Empower and MTTB and created a Frankenstein’s monster from the worst parts in Digital Altitude.
And since it’s so similar as to incur a copyright lawsuit, I imagine that expected income would be similar to MTTB/MOBE, too. So, let’s take a look at Digital Altitude’s income disclaimer.
In total, 84.8% earn less than a living/part time wage, and 61.4% earn $0 – $100 a month.
Not a very promising return on your ‘investment.’ Not if you’re sinking $28k, the price of a down payment on a house, into their Apex training.
That is just ridiculous. There is no justification for a charge like that on marketing instruction.
Like all MLMs there’s a lot of people getting hurt with this, and very few making money from it.
A Scam By Any Other Name
This isn’t a ‘business’ it’s a scam. Let’s call it what it is.
It appeals to people’s greed, but it’s a sneakier sell than traditonal MLMs like Nu Skin or Avon etc.
Whereas people selling door-to-door know how hard it is to get folks to part with just a few bucks, never mind a few thousand, they’ll be less keen to buy a product package priced at $10,000 because they know just how hard it will be to shift that merchandise, and they’ll be left holding it.
But if you’re reselling it for 50% – %90 commission, you can see that you ‘only’ need to make one or two sales and you’ve got your money back, and then you’re into profit (tiered payment structure aside).
You don’t need to sell a couple of hundred items, you just need to shift two in most cases. So, it’s easier to tell yourself this is an investment, rather than an expense.
In that way, this is how you get people to part with the sort of ridiculous sums programs like Digital Altitude charge. They’re compensation schemes, so the products have to be wildly overpriced in order to offer attractive commissions. The only people who’d buy this junk are people hoping to sell it on for a similar “big ticket” commission pay day themselves.
This isn’t a ‘business.’ This is pass the parcel; you’re selling air. Or overpriced pedestrian training as a front on a pyramid scheme.
It’s like I said in When Is a Scam Not a Scam: when you’re technically getting something in return, then they hope to avoid the ‘scam’ charge.
So you get scammed with just enough to try and avoid the letter of the law as to the legal definition of pyramid scheme.
The following comments are taken from factsaboutinternetmarketing.com:
I can’t vouch that the author is a time served fraud investigator, you can pretend to be anyone you want to be online (look at Michael Force), but the comments ring true to me, and I would agree.
Michael Force, like all these MLM peddlers, is a huckster, plain and simple.
He saw what MTTB and Empower, and before that Wealth Masters International, were raking in and wanted some of that. He didn’t want to promote someone else’s program, younger than him, and get the ‘scraps’ from Matt Lloyd’s commissions, he wanted the whole pie.
So he ripped off MTTB and created his own money printing press.
The claims of fantastic earnings and the results of the top earners has nothing to do with any training the program gives, but their past experience in internet marketing and the big list they’ve got to market to.
Your average member doesn’t have that and is never likely to.
But you know what, no one really cares. Not so long as everyone is concentrating on getting more people through the door, signed up and their bank account details entered in the system.
Like I’ve said in the past about MLMs, I really don’t understand how they’re still suckering so many people, given this model is nothing new and being recycled by so many marketers.
All marketers with a rep for caring more about the buck than the person they’re extracting it from.
When DA goes the way of Empower, Michael Force won’t care, he’ll have made his money and it’ll be ring fenced from a bankrupt company, whatever sob story he gushes come that day.
And then he’ll start up again, pitching the same turd in a different colour of paint.
You can make money from these things if you get in early, and have a big list, or are a marketing prodigy – and are totally unscrupulous – but otherwise you’re just going to lose a lot of money.
Honestly… just don’t get involved, despite what second tier hucksters like Jesse Singh may try to convince you of with their BS. And his is a great blog for the masterful way he answers all questions about DA, but doesn’t actually supply an answer to anything.
UPDATE: On 1st February 2018, Digital Altitude was shutdown by the FTC.
Making money online shouldn’t cost you $$$$$. If you’re not looking for the “big ticket” or a get-rich-quick solution, then take a look at Wealthy Affiliate.
It’s an all under one roof affiliate marketing education that includes all the tools to do the job. There’s no tiers, multiple membership levels or ridiculously priced product items: it’s not a MLM.
There’s no join up fee either, not $1, or anything. No credit card required for “verification purposes” BS. You join and get a week’s worth of full membership, which is more than enough time to check the place out and see if it suits you.
You can read my review here. Maybe it’ll suit you, too. It’ll cost you a lot less money anyway.
Recommended further reading (if you want to be a millionaire and don’t want to buy DA’s Apex to get there):
A classic you should be aware of if you aren’t.
Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime!
by M. J. DeMarco