Speakasia Online: Fraud or Genuine
Speakasia online is making news these days. Lots of advertisements, hoardings, and many members are talking about it. Inspite of all this government and media is calling it as fraud while its promoters are saying they have everything in place and company is not fraud. Many people joined it too including some of my friends.
Many of my friends asked me should they join it? I replied them personally, but when number of such friends increased, I tweeted / posted status messages warning about speakasia. Some of my friends who are involved with speakasia felt offended by it. I thought let me share my views why I was warning and on what basis, so that you can further decide you should invest in it or not. I am not declaring here that speakasia is fraud or genuine. I am not writing this to defame or promote speakasia. I am just mentioning few facts, through which I came across.
First time I came to know about this company through one of my friend Ritesh Sharma in Jaipur. He got an interview call from this company. Being a marketing manager, I am somewhere connected to research activities. So, Ritesh asked me check the company website and suggest him what it is all about and on what points he should prepare.
When I visited the website of speakasia, I found only basic information. There was nothing much about the company. When we check a company website, we usually search about company promoters, financial performance of the company, vision mission, business model, its clients and contact details.
Unfortunately nothing was available on the website and whatever was available was not enough to make a decision. Ritesh told me that ICICI & Max Life are their clients, but it was nowhere mentioned in the website, infact not a single clients name was mentioned.
I searched for promoters; no update about promoters was given. In contact form address of Singapore was mentioned. One phone number of India is given but mentioned that this number is strictly for survey filling support.
When I checked financial results, it said they have strategic presence in Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and India and they are eyeing 115 million USD out of 750 million USD market in 2010-11. But it didn’t mentioned what is the financial strength of company, turnover, past year’s performance or anything like that.
It seemed that some intern of website designing course has made the website and the business plan / content of website is given by a student who just passed 12th in commerce stream.
I called Ritesh and told him about all these things and asked him not to go for it. Another major concern which I was having was on the success of online marketing surveys. In India still internet penetration is very less. A common man uses internet to check emails or to surf some news/topic. They avoid filling forms and participating in surveys. Online survey is future of research in India but not at this moment.
I asked Ritesh what was the job profile they are offering? Only good thing I can see is you will meet marketing managers of big organization to make them client and will generate good contacts. Ritesh said, no, the job is not to sell the concept to companies. I have to sell it to people and then motivate them to get more people to join. This was another shocking thing. Without having a customer base who gives you job to conduct surveys, how will you run the business. I clearly said Ritesh, not to join.
Few days later, I read a tweet from an economic newspaper’s editor about speakasia. She said that there is some documentation problem with speakasia in Singapore. When I searched on google, suggested topic was speakasia fraud. When I told Ritesh not to join the company, it was on the basis of information available on the speakasia website and my understanding about research. Now I started going through the details and started following news on TV and internet about the company. I came to know that there is compliance issue of company with Singapore government. ICICI bank and Max which they were claiming as client (verbally, not in written) denied that they have asked speakasia to conduct any survey for them. Singapore government said you can invest in the company at your own risk, they don’t suggest.
Today’s development is that Singapore government sealed the bank accounts of speakasia, also the agents account in India are sealed by banks till further probe.
I am getting money from speakasia, then how it is fraud?
May be the company is fine and doing business genuinely but there are so many things which are going against it, there are many lies from the company and the company don’t have satisfactory answer.
– Issue of compliance with Singapore government.
– Star news team visited their office in Singapore. It’s a small office of 300 sq. ft. Surprising that company with such big operations has such a small headquarter.
– No information about promoters. You don’t know whom to catch.
– No office in India. Working through agents. If agent is not there then you have no clue whom to contact.
– Few days back some person named as Gautam organized a press conference in Goa about the speakasia launch. He was introduced as CEO of Indian operations. Person sitting at Singapore office said, there is no such person in the system.
– False information about client like ICICI.
– No working on getting clients to give them research work. If there are no clients then for whom they will conduct surveys and give you money.
– Not even in share market you get 5 times return in a year.
Ok, you invested in it and you are getting returns too. Have you heard about that Baba ji, who converts steel plate into silver plate or double your gold ornaments by magic? One person get it doubled, rest were cheated. You may be the early bird, who is getting money so that others can join too.
If you are getting money from them, please get all your returns but don’t involve your friends till the time confusion is over. At the moment nothing is in favour of speakasia, if it is real fraud then all your friends and relatives will curse you whom you sold this.
If it is a genuine company with clear intentions, then they must produce all the required documents to government. They must give all the required information. This controversy is going from long time but company didn’t act to clear up things. Till the time they produce all this, I suggest you to wait. Speakasia seems to be a big multi level marketing fraud.
Money never comes so easily. One has to work hard for it. Even in the case of MLM.