Moneylife Digital Team
Speak Asia Online, which claims to be based in Singapore, is spreading its multi-level marketing (MLM) wings in India under the pretext of online surveys. As is usual in any MLM scheme, this company also makes big claims about earnings, but fails to provide any documentary evidence for the same.
The company asks new customers or subscribers to pay $120 (standard) or $220 (premium) for becoming a panellist for one year. However, it says the fee is for its e-bulletin for one year. It clearly says: “You can remain a panellist and earn from Speak Asia only as long as your subscription to E-Bulletin is in force.” This means, before earning a single penny, you need to pay the company upfront. After the one-year period, one needs to renew the subscription. There is no mention of renewal fees.
Speak Asia Online sends its surveys mostly on Wednesday to all subscribers. Each survey takes around 40 minutes to complete. It says: “The first eight weeks are treated as a training period and the company provides you feedback on incorrectly filled surveys.” After that period, any incomplete or incorrect surveys are rejected and the company does not pay for it.
The company assures that it will make the payment in local currency through direct bank transfers. The catch here is that one has to pay bank transfer charges of 3% or minimum $7.5 per payment. In case you have earned $10 for the month, you would get payment of $2.5 only, as $7.5 from the total payment would get deducted as bank transfer charges.
Speak Asia Online says it provides income in reward points (one reward point is $1). It awards up to seven reward points per week for a standard panellist and 20 reward points to a premium panellist. It offers survey income as well as passive income that one earns by adding more people into a down-line. However, for the next day’s incentive calculations, it does not consider the weaker line. It says: “Weaker leg is flushed out whereas the stronger leg is always carried forward for next day’s incentive calculation.”
Although the company offers to pay for filling out surveys online, it fails to mention that for doing this job one requires minimum knowledge of English and the Internet.
Speakasiaonline.com is hosted in the US on the GoDaddy.com server and the hosting services will expire on 21 January 2011. Besides that, there is no information available on the domain, its owners, their addresses and contact details.
The company website does provide links for all countries and major cities but directs all queries to its Singapore address only, which neither has a telephone number nor any email ID. Except India, the so called ‘good income business opportunity’ does not exist for other countries.
According to a complaint posted on India-complaints.com, this company has changed its name three times over the past five years and is blacklisted for non-compliance in Singapore.
Its website, speakasiaonline.com does have a link for legal documents but provides the legal documents not of the company but generic documents from the Customs Department, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and so on.
Speak Asia Online shows no evidence about the legality of its business or any registration certificate issued by government authorities. All the company can show as evidence is a registration certificate issued by the Singapore government. The issuing authority of this certificate, Registrar of Companies and Businesses, however, has clearly stated that the certificate of good standing or any of its contents shall not be reproduced, republished, uploaded, posted, transmitted or otherwise distributed in any way without prior permission of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA), Singapore.
In addition, there is no mention of its promoter or top management on the site. In fact, there are no names on the website. All one can see is just names of its ‘dealers’ and their bank account numbers.