Corrections or additions?
This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the October 18, 2000
of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Amway for the Internet?
Combine hotmail.com and an Internet Service Provider
with an Amway-style sales organization — and what you get is
SkyBiz.com. Add in ways to fund raise for nonprofits, and you have an
but potentially profitable multilevel marketing firm.
At least that’s what Thomas E. Burke claims. Burke, a former
Princeton resident who now lives in Palm Beach, speaks at a free
on Tuesday, October 24, at 7 p.m. at the Holiday Inn on Route 1 South
at Ridge Road. Also on the program is Monza Cornell, an
and SkyBiz participant. Pre-register by E-mail with name, address,
E-mail, and phone to claimyourshare@Skybiz.com or fax 908-359-4749.
For information go to www.skyboom.com/claimyourshare or call Donna
M. Thiel at 908-359-3349.
Burke says that SkyBiz wants to make sure that everyone on the planet
has a website. In this respect, SkyBiz is in the same frame of mind
as the Sarnoff Corporation, which has put forth a proposal to the
regulators to allot domain names (Web addresses) to individuals
whereas Sarnoff would set itself up only to assign the names, letting
other companies provide dial-up and website services, SkyBiz is
SkyBiz customers — organizations or individuals — pay a $25
one-time fee and $100 per year. For this, each gets a dial-up Internet
access, a website to use for any purpose, business or personal, plus
unlimited online education including computer and Internet
and Windows courses — 3.1, 95, or 98. The website can hold up
to 35 megs (equivalent to seven Bibles, says Burke). If clients choose
to participate in marketing the program, they get a second website
Burke says that SkyBiz is the second largest website provider in the
world and aims to become the largest by January. Founded just two
years ago in Carson City, Nevada, this network marketing firm claims
to be adding 5,000 to 6,000 websites per day. SkyBiz now has more
than 1,340,000 websites in 206 countries and 22 different languages,
and has more phone lines than AOL.
"The reason you haven’t heard of it is that only this year the
company started marketing in the United States," says Burke.
marketing was in Asia and South America. "We did very well there
because all business is contracted out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and
are paid in U.S. dollars, a badly wanted currency. This is why it
has really spread."
"We are not a household word yet, but we are totally debt
says Burke. Commissions start at $70 for the sale of nine websites
in one week, which may seem paltry to an American, but to get that
overseas, and paid in U.S. dollars, could be very desirable.
we have grown by word of mouth, advertising and presentations, and
sharing of opportunity," says Burke.
Burke went to the University of Washington at Seattle. He has had
a commercial mortgage firm, a real estate acquisition and development
company, an international trading company, and a passenger cruise
line. His resume shows that he is on the board of six charities and
is involved in 22 others (E-mail: Thomasburke@skybiz.com or
SkyBiz has paid more than $68 million in commissions, says Burke.
Seventy percent of the money, he says, goes back out to the marketing
group, and the rest is used to operate the company. A 13-year-old
firm, World Services Corp., based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, provides most
of the back office operations and customer service capabilities for
Like Amway, Burke says, SkyBiz offers both immediate and ongoing
income. Churches and other religious organizations qualify to get
a free website, but nonprofits buy the websites at the usual price.
Commissions for any websites bought through the church or nonprofit
will accrue to those organizations. In other words, if your group
would say yes to selling Amway, then it might want to consider selling
The commission scale is extremely complicated, but those who sell
nine websites in one week would apparently get a check of $70. Higher
commissions are supposedly accumulated from the ever-expanding pool
of pass-through affiliations.
Donna M. Thiel, one of the sponsors for this seminar, says her
income has been minimal so far, partly because it takes more time
to get an organization to sign up than it does for an individual.
An active member of the Father’s House Christian Fellowship in High
Bridge, she is concentrating on nonprofits and is introducing SkyBiz
to various churches and ministries. She works for an electronic
company and is also participating in another networking marketing
company, a health and nutrition line called Tahitian Noni Juice.
is innovative for nonprofits," she says, "and it is more fun
than selling health products."
It’s OK to E-mail your friends, neighbors, parishioners, and
about the opportunity, but don’t send gang E-mails. "Skybiz does
not tolerate spamming," says Burke.
The inevitable question: Is this a pyramid scheme? Burke denies that.
"We are providing a product and service, websites and education,
not a pyramid scheme," says Burke. Skybiz’s website —
questions about pyramid schemes — notes that "pyramid"
refers to network marketing companies that are illegal because they
pay compensation primarily for the recruitment of people instead of
for sales of products. "SkyBiz 2000 only pays compensation on
sales of products."
Burke also notes that the product is "under priced, not over
as is the case with many network marketing companies." He cites
the fact that most ISPs charge $240 per year for dial-up access alone,
whereas the SkyBiz website and dial-up costs $100 per year. Also,
Burke says, "most laws and regulations covering the network
industry are designed to protect people from losing money on schemes
that require some payment. SkyBiz 2000 does not require any such
so there is no investment to lose."
Except for the $125 you pay for one year’s website, the time you spend
building it, and the time you take to convince your friends that they
want one, too.
— Barbara Fox
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