Digital Altitude Shut Down by FTC

Digital Altitude All Gone?

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digital altitude ftc shutdownA while back, I wrote a review of a product called Digital Altitude.  Later, I ended up writing several different reviews of Digital Altitude.  I didn’t set out to do that, but it turns out that there are a few products out there, such as this one, and this one, that present themselves as something unique, but a bit of digging shows that they were really just fronts for Digital Altitude.

All of those products are likely out of business now, as this week, the Federal Trade Commission asked a U.S. Federal court to “temporarily” shut down Digital Altitude and the various companies associated with it.  It seems that the course, which promised people that they could earn six figures in income in only 90 days, was not entirely honest about that.

Read on to learn more about the shutdown of Digital Altitude.

Digital Altitude Wasn’t All it Claimed to Be

Digital Altitude said it was a training program, and that they’d have “experts” show you how to make money.  The course was quite expensive, starting with a small monthly $39 membership.  After that, there were a half a dozen additional levels, that cost anywhere from a few hundred to more than $10,000 to join.  In order to upgrade to any level, you had to first purchase the one below it.

To reach the top of the Digital Altitude empire, you’d have to pay something like $40,000.  On the other hand, once you reached that level, you’d be eligible for sales commissions of up to $12,000.

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The problem with that is that those sales commissions were not from selling products, but resulted largely from recruiting new members to join Digital Altitude.  In fact, at the end of the day, recruiting new members was all that Digital Altitude was about.

Yes, the company promised training, but the training, according to an article about Digital Altitude on the FTC site, consisted of little more than a few PDF files and a series of training videos.

The Digital Altitude training was likely just the same sort of training you can find on this site, or at any one of a number of other sites, for a fraction of the cost or even free.

digital altitude scamWhile the shutdown of Digital Altitude is said to be “temporary,” temporary can become permanent if the company doesn’t correct the problems with the “product.”  To date, the company has been accused of defrauding people of more than $14 million, largely by promising earnings that were nearly impossible to achieve while charging people thousands of dollars for the right to become eligible to earn that money in the first place.

Among the complaints that the FTC presented to the court about Digital Altitude:

  • Outrageous claims — “You are about to receive a very special guide that reveals how you can make six figures online in the next ninety days or less”
  • Deceptive testimonials — Videos of members scuba diving, hiking, and lounging by a pool as money poured in on autopilot
  • High-pressure upselling — “You are leaving $60,000 on the table” by not moving up to the next membership tier
  • Free trial periods that aren’t as they seem — Ads promising 14-day “test drives,” but fine print giving people just 72 hours to cancel

The fact that Digital Altitude had a multi-level membership program isn’t in and of itself illegal.  It’s perfectly OK to do that.  Where they ran into problems is that they weren’t really offering a product for they money they were asking, nor were they giving anyone a product to sell.  Instead, they were basically forming a “make money” club, charging admission, and then telling the people who joined that they could make money by charging other people admission to the same club.

digital altitude michael forceDigital Altitude is effectively a pyramid scheme, as the only way anyone can make money is by encouraging more people to join.   Eventually, you run out of people to join, because everyone is already a member.  With organizations such as this, the people who join early, such as the founders of Digital Altitude, are the only ones who make any money from it.

In fact, very few people were making money from it, as the FTC noted in court.

According to the FTC, “the defendants induced consumers to pay for a series of tiered memberships with increasing fees, falsely claiming that consumers would learn how to make substantial income with an online business. They promised consumers they would receive individualized coaching from successful marketers that would provide what they needed to build a successful business, but, in reality, these were merely salespeople selling higher membership levels in the defendants’ program.

The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The case will be decided by the court.”

I need to be clear about this – I’m not accusing Digital Altitude of breaking the law, though the U.S. government is doing so.  That matter will be decided by a judge and a jury.  On the other hand, Digital Altitude did strike me as being a bit shady on its face, especially since all of the upper levels of the program, which cost anywhere from $3000-$12000 to join, included travel to exotic locations to meet the so-called “experts” in the marketing field.

It looked to me like all you were buying was a mini-vacation, rather than a business that would show you how to earn money.

Digital Altitude is far from the only company that uses this sort of business model; there are others, such as MOBE, that do very similar things.  The big difference is that many of these other companies are not located in the United States, and the U.S. has fairly strict rules about defrauding the public.

Digital Altitude Conclusion

I suspect that what will happen is this – Digital Altitude will have their day in court, and they will lose.  They’ll be required to give people their money back.  They likely won’t be able to do that, because they’ve probably already spent it, so they’ll file for bankruptcy instead.

The people behind it will likely appear another day on another site with a “new” moneymaking product.

The bottom line?  Products that offer earnings potential that seems too good to be true deserve some scrutiny.

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