There’s been a frenzy lately about monetizing from a company that uses social, eCommerce and referral marketing – all in one platform. If you’ve seen the logo above, you are likely wondering – is Oru marketplace a scam? To answer that question, we need to first find out the background of Oru and understand what attracts people to join in the first place.
ORU At a Glance
ORU, which stands for “One Race United” is a membership site that provides social, financial and marketing tools for people to make more business online. It has a networking feature for members to interact, sell products and make money through a referral program.
The founder of the company is a man by the name of Nick VandenBrekel who has earned many accolades throughout his career as a serial entrepreneur and military veteran. Created sometime in 2011, the platform costs $5.95 per month, but for first-timers, you will need to pay an additional one-time activation fee of $28.39.
There’s no membership contract so you can basically cancel anytime without questions asked. The Oru Marketplace website is the entry point for joining the platform where you would sign up with a username, password, email address and also a cellular contact number (if you are comfortable sharing that).
I read somewhere there’s a free plan available, but couldn’t find any option like that or a free trial while navigating through the site. The marketplace is free to browse through, but when you want to buy something, you need to be a paid member in order to do so.
What Attracts People To Use The Platform?
Whether it is discounts or savings, membership sites tend to offer certain financial privileges for the users. Such a feature attracts new members as well as keeping existing customers happy with their services.
In the case of Oru, the highlight of becoming a Premium member is the convenience of getting an Oru Visa Debit Card automatically without the need for a credit check. The card serves similar functions like any other debit card would, with an added advantage for using the marketplace.
For example, when you buy something with the card through their proprietary software called OruTravel and OruHealth, you can earn savings up to 75% on the purchases. It kind of resembles the concept of the Diner’s Club that focuses on luxury travel and restaurants.
When engaging with other members through the OruSocial and OruChat, buying and selling cryptocurrency through the OruQuantum and listing your products, services or store on the Oru Marketplace, you will accumulate points that can later be converted into cash. Since the transaction fee does not apply, it also makes sense to use the card for payments when buying or selling anything through the marketplace.
Perhaps, one of the most popular reasons that attract people to join the platform is the referral program where you introduce new users to the benefits of the card. It is structured like a uni-level compensation plan that goes 10 levels deep, allowing for monthly recurring commissions from active members.
Here is how it works. First level referral (people whom you personally sign up for the first month) will make you $10. Second level referral (people whom your referrals recruit) will earn you $1 and so forth. For every subsequent subscription between Level 1 to Level 10, you’ll make 25 cents per month.
I know you are likely thinking “That looks like a scam” after seeing the diagram above, but let’s not jump into any conclusion yet. Surely there’s something good to credit the company for all the work Nick has invested in, so let’s start with the advantages first, shall we?
The Pros of Using Oru
1 – If you are an online marketer, sales representative or small business owner looking for more business opportunities, the platform might be able to bring in some extra traffic. It is like running a low budget online advertisement, promoting your products and services on a more global scale.
The marketplace accommodates various category listings such as electronics, health and fitness, jewelry and even vehicles. When someone clicks on a business listing, they get to see the product details, the price as well as a link to a business website, blog or eCommerce store that promotes the item.
Since most people don’t usually buy at first glance, providing a website link allows potential customers to get to know your business beforehand. It’s a great way to build trust and creates transparency so if you haven’t got one, here’s a great tool for creating a business website within minutes.
2 – The other advantage of using Oru is obviously the additional income you can generate as a member. I personally don’t fancy it, but there are still people who enjoy earning points or small cash value from micro-tasking. If that’s you, that’s great.
However, if you prefer earning bigger chunks of money, the referral program may be a better bet. Despite the controversy, I think it is more worthy of your time to make $10 per new referral than to earn from cashpoints.
3 – There has been news about PayPal shutting down accounts due to the violation of the terms and conditions. This has left many people stranded with no funds and if you happened to be one of them, the Visa card is an alternative to receive payments from customers or affiliate commissions.
The Cons of Using Oru
Now, for some good reality checks and things that you may not know about promoting in online marketplaces, using debit cards and earning from the MLM-like referral program.
1 – When I browse through the marketplace, I couldn’t help feeling like I am inside Craigslist or eBay. There is a ton of listings and they are arranged according to dates, with the most current one on the top. With that kind of presentation format, your business listing will get pushed down with every newcomer.
If you are in a competitive category like health and fitness, your business will have a very short life-span on the first page. As far as I can see, there is no way you can boost listings either so it begs the question, is the membership worth it in the first place?
2 – As an avid traveler, I like it whenever there’s a good offer so I was quite curious about the OruTravel benefits. They say it is proprietary software that can help save on travel deals, but at close inspection, it’s basically just a webpage that directs you to 3 major companies – Booking, Rental Cars, and Last Minute Travel – all of whom the company is affiliated with.
That means, whenever you do any transaction on these sites, Oru will earn sales commissions from that. It seems like a very ‘convenient arrangement’ to cash in from the members, uh? I bet the huge savings are actually coming from the booking companies and not due to membership privileges. What a sneaky way to link it to the Visa card, though.
3 – Speaking of the debit card, you should be aware of the fees difference between merchants. What the local banks offer may not necessarily apply to the Oru Visa Card. Just to give you an idea, here’s how you could end up paying for more stuff than expected.
- Card Replacement Fee = $3.50
- Monthly Service Fee (for accounts inactive greater than 120 days) = $5.00
- Monthly Service Fee for Active Accounts = $0.50
- ATM Cash Withdrawal Fee (within USA) = $1.95
- ATM Cash Withdrawal Fee (outside USA) = $2.50 + 3% of Transaction Amount
- Bank Teller Cash Withdrawal Fee = $1.95
- Account Closure and/or Balance Refund Fee = $15.00
- Foreign Transaction Fee (%) = 3% of Transaction Amount
So yeah, it’s easy to qualify for the card, but it’s not without succumbing to all these charges, just so you know.
4 – Last but not least, the referral program/compensation plan. This is the part that resembles an MLM and also a Ponzi scheme. Users pay for a membership service and the accumulated fees are then distributed according to different levels, with the highest level usually earning more than the lower ones.
Since you can make money from the platform like collecting points and marketing your own business, recommending the program isn’t mandatory, but like all things online, it’s certainly tempting. And if you go all the way out doing so, savvy consumers will start questioning your motives.
MLM is a poor income model in modern marketing because it’s sketchy and oftentimes, unsustainable. If the company fail to produce or maintain the quality of their products, members will eventually diminish as there are no values to hold them together and no profits to be made.
So, Is Oru Marketplace a Scam?
This is what I think about Oru. It tries to combine social networking, business opportunities, and payment system all in one platform. It’s an interesting concept but lacks a strong core system to drive things forward. Using a controversial compensation plan to expand the membership doesn’t help either as it makes the entire company look like a scam.
Honestly, the crowded marketplace doesn’t feel like it has enough traction to promote an online business effectively. In terms of social, there are way more engaging and value-creative platforms out there.
As for the debit card, I think the offers from our local banks are more relevant and if you are talking about earning from recurring commissions, there are better membership sites out there that offer more transparency for their products and services.
Fortunately, the membership fee isn’t too big of a price tag and I don’t see any harm in trying out for a month or two. However, I wouldn’t depend on it as the main monetizing tool due to the setbacks mentioned earlier.
Meanwhile, if you are interested in getting more leads for your business or making long term income online, I highly recommend to check out this awesome community of entrepreneurs. It has got all the network, tips and training to achieve your financial goals.
Got some questions or comments about the Oru Marketplace or similar programs? Let us know in the comment space down below.