Is Evolution Travel a Pyramid Scheme? – Truth Between Generosity and Greed
Imagine yourself enjoying a discounted trip for you and your partner somewhere in Europe. Both of you enjoy glasses of wine while sitting on the balcony of a beautiful old building overlooking a sunset by the sea. This, you say, is one of the “perks” of being a Consultant of Evolution Travel. Nonetheless, does this trip reward all your hard work, time, diligence and effort for the job? Are you really rewarded with the right compensation? Are you really winning in this job? Don’t you deserve more? Are you really on the right legit track? Or Is Evolution Travel a Pyramid Scheme?
- Company: Evolution Travel
- Founder: David McCovy
- Product and Service: Travel Services and CBD Products
- Website: www.evolutiontravel.net
- Cost to Join: $30 One-Time Membership Fee and $69.95 Monthly Administration Fee
Different from the mainstream multi-level marketing (MLM) companies, Evolution Travel is a cloud-based travel agency and tour operator that offers products and services through its travel Consultants since 2000.
The company was founded by David McCovy with a virtual address set in Las Vegas, Nevada. McCovy formerly joined the scandalous 5Linx company which made a noise when its three founders Craig Jerabek, Jeb Tyler, and Jason Guck were indicted on multiple federal fraud charges, including wire fraud and money laundering. Nonetheless, McCovy, despite the chaos at 5Linx, seemed to find his equilibrium after ranking as Senior Vice President circa 2014. He also made a short venture at Paycation before its gradual collapse. After ditching Paycation in 2015, McCovy made a decision to build his own travel empire in the industry: the Travel Evolution. Nonetheless, according to the company’s website, Evolution Travel is an affiliate of Archer Travel Service, Inc which is a third-party company that provides access to discounted flights, hotels, cars, cruises and vacations booking engine. This lets the Evolution Travel book its discounted trips and offers through Archer Travel which was established in 1952.
Evolution Travel became an ideal opportunity for individuals who are looking for an opportunity in the MLM industry as it sets itself apart from other companies that require Consultants inventory and product purchases to run a business. This also attracted travel enthusiasts to acquire an opportunity around their own passion: traveling. These Consultants, according to the company, guide customers in the selection of choices of a specific travel package that includes various products, destinations, and services. With this, the company promises that with its consultants who “create holiday proposals which are ever more tailored to the needs of the customer, never giving up on the quality or reliability of the products offered for the organization of the trip,” you could be assured of a quality experience. These Consultants, as the company says, assist clients in real time in each of their needs and queries about the services and products being offered by Evolution Travel. The company also boasts of “100 hyper-specialized Consultants available for specific products” who “can suggest the best solution for each destination with the best quality/price ratio.”
Evolution Travel manages to provide opportunities to various individuals around the world using the cloud as it describes it as the “fastest” way to do business. That said, the company claims that 80 percent of its trips are sold outside of Europe with about 30,000 people trusting them yearly with their holidays and trips through its Italian and American agencies.
The company has also partnered with other big companies in arranging its proposed trips. Some of them include Disney, Carnival Cruise, Universal Orlando, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Southwest Vacations, and others.
Given all those impressive things, does it spare the possibility of Evolution Travel of being a pyramid scam?
Products and Services
Far from the image of high street travel agencies that demand physical appearance to acquire service, Evolution Travel prides itself by “exploiting the potential of the internet” to hand its service to its customers. According to the company, any customer can reach out a Consultant through phone, Skype, or any social media platforms not just to get the trips booked but so as to get fair opinions about specific deals.
The company describes the team of its Consultants as “a network of professionals, enthusiastic about travelling, competent, well-prepared and specialized in hundreds of destinations and types of product, whom you can rely on to create your holiday exactly as you want it.” With this, the company claims that you can be assured of “accurate information about the destination, its facilities and services” from the “suggestions and useful advice from local experts that will make your holiday something special.”
To assure that its Consultants would be able to “guarantee” the clients the “right service,” Evolution Travel provides unending online training. It includes a “Basic Course” that educates the Consultants in utilizing tools for managing clients and interacting with market operators. According to the company, consultants are proposed an average of two to four online training sessions on different subjects every week or an average of 150 e-learning sessions per year. This consists of training sessions for sales techniques, client management, and web marketing strategies.
Nonetheless, Evolution Travel also offers physical gatherings for its Consultants that it calls as Open Days that serve as extra training to complement the online training being provided by the company. These training sessions are arranged in various Italian cities by its reference people in the network.
In 2016, the company started offering cannabidiol (CBD) products to the market. It offers a wide range of CBD products from oil based CBD products to water-soluble ones. Evolution Travel also assures that the products are following the standards of the US Hemp Authority and brags that it only uses “all natural, full-spectrum, terpene-rich hemp oil extract from industrial hemp.”
Different from the travel services the company offers, Evolution CBDs are available in more than 125 retail stores nationwide and are being offered by more than 500 Distributors.
Compensation: How Do I Earn at Evolution Travel?
The company brags that its team is made of people with passion for travelling. With this, it is no wonder why a lot of travel enthusiasts find Evolution Travel as a great opportunity in the MLM industry.
To join the opportunity, you would be required to pay for a one-time $30 Independent Business Owner (IBO) Package or membership fee that was formerly $299. It includes online training and support, discount directory, access to wholesale resorts and condos, personal booking engine, replicated website, commission tracking center, Evo Rewards, and direct access to all major vendors, suppliers and tour operators.
The company also offers its so-called “EVO MAX” which allows a Consultant to have full access to all sources of income that include travel commissions, residual commission pool, leadership bonuses, direct sales commissions on CBD products, leadership commission overrides, and the customer acquisition pool. To get this, a consultant must have a $69.95 monthly administration fee and one personal CBD E-Ship which is a monthly recurring product at discounted price. Hence, to get the travel commissions you would generate through your bookings, you need to pay for a $69.95 administration fee monthly. That said, here are the compensations being promised by Evolution Travel once a Consultant complies with the said requirements.
- Travel Commissions
According to its compensation plan, 90 percent of the commissions being paid to the Consultants come from Archer Travel. The company confirms it on its compensation plan. According to Evolution Travel, 80 percent of this commission goes to the booking Consultant and 10 percent goes to the sponsor of that particular booking Consultant.
- “Optional” Residual Commission or “Profit Pool”
Since a Consultant just basically earns from the 80 percent booking commission and 10 percent personal sponsorship of a recruit, the Evolution Travel highlights that Consultants have the “option” of maximizing their opportunity through the optional residual commission of the company. To get this, a Consultant must, of course, reach specific ranks. To get to these ranks, you need to produce particular numbers of IBO or membership sales or, to be precise, recruits.
To get this commission, a Consultant must reach the Executive rank (requires three IBO package sales), Bronze rank (requires six IBO package sales), Silver rank (requires nine IBO package sales), Gold rank (requires 15 IBO packages and three Silver Consultants in at least three separate legs of business), or the Platinum rank and above (requires at least 300 active IBO packages and/or CBD Store Owners in his/her organization with no more than one-third coming from any particular lineage).
Upon reaching the said positions, Consultants who would reach the Executive rank would be eligible of 13 percent from the pool, 14 percent for Bronze rank, 20 percent for Silver rank, 12 percent for Gold rank, 30 percent for Platinum and One to Two-Star Platinum, and lastly, 11 percent for Three-Star Platinum and above.
- Leadership Bonuses
This monthly bonus is paid every month and starts at the Gold rank and continues up to the Platinum rank and above. To be eligible for this bonus, a Consultant must maintain the said positions for a month through the 7th of the next month. With that, the Gold rank is eligible for a $750 monthly bonus. On the other hand, the Platinum and the following positions after it need to acquire certain numbers of recruits which starts at 300 IBOs up to 100,000 IBOs. Also, to be qualified, an aspiring Consultant aiming for the said ranks must not produce one-third of the required IBO numbers from any particular lineage. That said, here are the exact IBO numbers that should be produced by a Consultant to reach the Platinum rank up to Eight-Star Platinum rank.
Also, besides this bonus, Consultants that would reach the Three-Star Platinum rank would be given Platinum & Diamond Breitling watches.
- CBD Direct Sales Commissions
To expand the opportunity it offers, the Evolution Travel also offers commission in each CBD sale that would be produced by its Consultants. Here, a Consultant can receive 20 percent sales commission on all personal direct CBD sales. Though this is quite lower than other commissions being offered by other CBD companies, this still serves as an additional way to earn for the Consultants in the company.
- Leadership Commission Override Percentage
This commission can only be earned by a Consultant that has an E-Ship (auto-ship) of CBD products being offered by Evolution Travel. However, do remember that the commission that would be provided by the company would be based on the rank you have when the sale is made. According to Evolution Travel, “You are locked into the commission earned at the time of the sale for the life of that customer. Whether you uprank or downrank, you will be locked at that commission pay.”
With that, the Bronze rank receives six percent commission, four percent commission for Silver rank, three percent commission for Gold rank, two percent commission for One to Three-Star Platinum rank and one percent commission for Four to Eight-Star Platinum.
- CBD Profit Sharing Pool
This pool is funded by the $0.50 per E-Ship item. It is divided into four: the 10-Customer Club (Consultants that have 10-24 personal customers active for the month) which receives 10 percent of pool, the 25-Customer Club (Consultants that have 25-49 personal customers active for the month) which receives 20 percent of the pool, the 50-Customer Club (Consultants that have 50-99 personal customers active for the month) which receives 30 percent of the pool and the 100-Customer Club (Consultants that have (100-199 personal customers active for the month) which receives 40 percent of the pool gets another share when the numbers of the customers reach to 200 and above.
How Much Will I Earn at Evolution Travel?
As you know, the success of a company’s compensation plan and opportunity can only be measured by the honest figures written on income disclosure statements. Unfortunately, Evolution Travel is not producing its own income disclosure statement for the public to scrutinize.
Nonetheless, it offers a great opportunity for its Consultants to earn well at each travel booking that would be made. Thinking about it, the fixed 80 percent commission that would be received by the Consultant from Archer Travel is a good deal. With only 10 percent of the commission going to the direct enroller, that gives the Consultant greater chances of earning from each travel booking. On the other hand, this means that recruiting other consultants could only bring anyone little benefit since each recruit only generates 10 percent commission in each travel booking that would be made.
However, be reminded that all active Consultants who are paying $69.95 monthly administration fee have the “option” to maximize the opportunity being offered by the company through Profit Pool, Leadership Bonuses and others. There is only one way to do this: making sales of IBO or in the simplest term, RECRUITMENT.
Without disclosing the amount of the entire 90 percent commission coming from Archer Travel (perhaps due to the varying amount of travel package chosen by the customers), we have no clue of how much a Consultant would make in each 10 or 80 percent commission. This gives us no clue or even an estimation of a Consultant’s earning.
However, based on the compensation plan of the company, a Consultant needs to at least reach the rank of a Two-Star Platinum Consultant to earn a decent monthly compensation of $5,000 from the Leadership Bonus. Reaching this position, however, could impose a great challenge for any Consultant since it requires at least 1,500 IBO or recruits. Even the 300 IBO required for the Platinum rank just to get the $1,750 Leadership Bonus seems impossible to be achieved in just a month or two. With the given required numbers of IBO, it is obvious that an Evolution Travel Consultant needs more than a couple of months to at least find a decent number of recruits and to earn a decent amount from other “optional” bonuses.
Pointblank: Is Evolution Travel a Pyramid Scheme?
Legally, it is not. Evolution Travel has been running for some years now. Hence, it is complying with the set of standards mandated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)… or is it?
According to the FTC, “the most widely-cited description of an unlawful MLM structure appears in the FTC’s Koscot decision, which observed that such enterprises are ‘characterized by the payment by participants of money to the company in return for which they receive (1) the right to sell a product and (2) the right to receive in return for recruiting other participants into the program rewards which are unrelated to the sale of the product to ultimate users.’ In re Koscot Interplanetary, Inc., 86 F.T.C. 1106, 1181 (1975).”
This is where a lot of MLM companies find loopholes.
Evolution Travel, though accepts individuals as Consultants through a one-time $30 IBO package or membership fee, also requires them of a monthly $69.95 administration fee. According to the company, this monthly fee gives access (right) for a Consultant of “all sources of income.” Though Evolution Travel isn’t directly stating that amount indicated would give you the right to sell its services and products, paying the amount obviously gives you the right to receive the commissions being generated in each sale. Hence, without paying the monthly administration fee, an individual – though accepted as official Consultant – wouldn’t be able receive the commission generated by his or her sales.
Evolution Travel certainly looks generous by providing the entire 90 percent commission to its Consultants. However, thinking about it, this commission actually comes from Archer Travel itself; this apparently only makes Evolution Travel as an intermediary of Consultants to Archer Travel. With this fact, Archer Travel serves as the primary employer of Evolution Travel Consultants. There is no problem about that. However, the fact that Consultants are being charged for a monthly $69.95 administration fee just to be eligible for, as the company says it, “ALL sources of income,” makes everything about this company twisted. Evolution Travel can always claim that the fee is being used to provide endless online training for its Consultants. That is true. The company can also claim that the amount is comparatively minimal as compared to the travel commission a Consultant is receiving from Archer Travel. That is also true. However, it is also a fact that the company is only capable of maintaining its position by sucking the remaining commission of its Consultants that they are receiving from a bigger travel company. Lastly, Evolution Travel, basically and technically, relies on the monthly administration fee they are getting from their OWN CONSULTANTS. Again, the amount seems to be minimal. But think about it: if Evolution Travel has an Eight-Star Platinum that recruited 100,000 active Consultants paying $69.95 each month, that sole individual alone is already bringing in $6,995,000 EVERY MONTH to the company. Just think about more Six-Star or Seven-Star or more Eight-Star Platinum Consultants! That is an overwhelming collection for the company just – JUST – in exchange for letting the Consultants receive commission from Archer Travel (which practically employs Evo’s Consultants) and online training. Wow.
Again, is Evolution Travel a pyramid scam? The law denies it, nonetheless you have the liberty to judge it yourself.
Weighing Things: Pros and Cons
Before diving into this opportunity, let us first see the points that you should consider.
- The company provides 80 percent commission of each travel booking to the booking Consultant. That is quite generous as compared to other MLM companies where you would only receive almost half of your commission sales due to numerous individuals leeching on your earnings.
- It provides multiple online training sessions to its Consultants every week. This is a great help for Consultants to continue motivating them in making sales that would secure the continuous growth of the company.
- Evolution Travel is supported by a large and strong travel company, the Archer Travel, which has been in the business since 1952.
- Besides travel services, it also offers CBD products which widens your opportunity in earning.
- Though it is good that you receive 80 percent of the travel commission and only 10 percent goes to your personal enroller, it also means that you wouldn’t be getting much from the recruitment you would bring in to the company.
- The Consultants’ earnings are coming from another company wherein Evolution Travel only acts as an intermediary.
- To be eligible for commissions coming from another company, you basically need to pay a monthly administration fee. This technically serves as the main source of income of the company itself. The FDA must be quite busy to spot it.
- Though the other parts of the compensation plan is being highlighted by Evolution Travel as something “optional,” the requirement to unlock them focuses on the recruitment of other individuals regardless of how many times the company calls it as “IBO sales.”
- The way the compensation plan is delivered is quite questionable. The company addresses IBO as something of a product to be sold by the Consultants when, practically, it is just a membership. Right, Mr. FDA?
Conclusion: The Verdict
It is true that in order for a company to continuously strive and maintain its position in the industry, it has to make ways to profit. However, it is quite distressing how Evolution Travel does it. Evolution Travel makes a good job of distributing the large percentage of travel commission coming from Archer Travel to its Consultants. However the fact that it feeds on them by charging them $69.95 monthly in exchange for the right to receive the said commission is quite disturbing.
It is true that any individual can generate impressive income by persistently making travel bookings in the company. Nonetheless, beyond those earnings, they also deserve respect.
Perhaps, if Evolution Travel wants to build a more reputable empire, it needs to consider standing on its own instead of relying on the profit of another company and leeching on its own people to keep its stance.
Thank you for reading this article. I hope that besides learning things about Evolution Travel, you also learned a lot about the MLM industry itself. If you are still looking for honest and better ways to earn, we can help you! We have been doing it since 2015 at the comfort of our homes! Click here and discover how!