In last couple of weeks, there have been atleast 7-8 people who have called me and specifically asked – “Hey Arun, are you aware of Speak Asia?” or “Do you have a subscription of Speak Asia?”. To be honest, I just got to know about Speak Asia less than a month back, and did not think much of it, till the time my friends started calling me!
With so many calls coming in – I got curious, as it is rare for any service or product to provoke such large interest in such a short period of time. My first impression of Speak Asia Online was some kind of Ponzi scheme. Prima Facie, it is not, but does it have some shades of Ponzi in it? Lets find out ! If you are not aware what a Ponzi Scheme is, here is the wikipedia meaning for it:
A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to separate investors, not from any actual profit earned by the organization, but from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors. The Ponzi scheme usually entices new investors by offering returns other investments cannot guarantee, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent. [source]
What is Speak Asia Service?
Disclaimer: I have not personally used Speak Asia service, so everything I write here is based on my discussion with friends, what is appearing on their website and my general impressions of this kind of services! I am also not passing any judgement on the service nor is it an effort to malign Speak Asia – This is my attempt at putting the facts in front of readers.
The premise of Speak Asia is really straightforward – It is a survey Form filling company. That means, they have clients who want online surveys to be filled and in turn they provide with people (the people who take Speak Asia Subscription) who will fill these forms. Speak Asia Subscribers earn money when they fill these surveys sent to them.
Looks all well and Good ?
But here is the twist – You need to pay an upfront fee of about Rs. 11,000/- for joining the Speak Asia clan. Once you are a subscriber, you will be sent 8 surveys to be filled in every month, which takes your monthly earnings to 4,000/-. So, just for filling online survey forms you will be paid close to 50,000/- a year. Speak Asia company gives this guarantee.
Additionally, for every member you bring in, you will get Rs. 75 for every form they fill up and unlike other MLM schemes the downlink stops there – You will not get anything for your 2nd downlink.
Speak Asia’s Rise
Speak Asia Online website traffic rise has to be seen to be believed ! It is phenomenal !
Just to give you an idea about it – Here is the Alexa Rank of Speakasiaonline.com website. They have gone on to become the 68th most visited sites in India from nowhere just 6 months back !
This kind of interest is generated only when there is something very un-realistic going on – This is just too good to be true !
If you want to know the figures as to how many visitors speak Asia website have – Here is the Google Ad Planner screenshot for you.
Imagine this – This simple survey form filling company has about 100 million page views monthly and close to 1 million unique visitors !
My Apprehensions about Speak Asia
Although, this is not an MLM scheme – it surely banks uses the same basic principal with an additional incentive of making money filling online forms. Now, here are my questions to Speak Asia subscribers and owners.
- First and foremost – If you are a simple survey form filling company why take such a large upfront fee ?
- Is it possible for any company to pay Rs. 500 for a filling up a single survey form which sometimes takes less than 2 minutes to fill up ? One of my friend who approached me told me that he had filled up a Lokpal Bill survey which took about 5 minutes, and other was some Geyser survey which took 30 seconds. And…. Rs. 500 for that…WoW !
- It is quite clear that Speak Asia is doing the similar things to what happens in MLM – Picking up money from New subscribers and paying the older ones. The question is – What happens when new subscribers stop coming in?
- The early adopters will no doubt make money and infact, they are instrumental in creating this sudden jump. But what about the hundreds & thousands (or even millions) of them joining at later stage. From where will the money come to them ?
Speak Asia Complaints
To my surprise – Speak Asia advertised on TV and that too during IPL matches – It seriously is a mad rush right now for picking Speak Asia subscriptions. But with this sudden rise, there equal number of complaints that have already started showing up on forums and Social Media services.
Just search for “Speak Asia” on consumer complaints website and you will find hundreds of complaints in their name already !
I have my doubts whether this kind of model will sustain for long – What is your opinion ?
So it is clear that this is not going to sustain – It cannot, there is no doubt about that. Infact, many of my friends who have subscribed, agree that it may not be a sustainable model – But, most of them are making money right now – Make hay while the sunshines!
There sure is a question – What will happen to millions of people who will join this service at a later stage ? From where will they get paid, if the new subscribers don’t come in ?
Over to you readers – What do you think ? Speak Asia is a Genuine service, A Ponzi Scheme or Outright Scam ?
Update on May 17th
This report appeared on Star TV regarding Speak Asia!