Program: Instant Rewards Network
Price: Free, varies based on chosen trial offers
Is IRN all it’s cracked up to be?
Instant Rewards Network is one of many CPA freebie sites floating around the internet. All of these sites work basically the same way – you sign up for free, complete CPA offers (trial offers to major companies) and then you’re provided with a unique referral link and capture page to entice others to sign up. You’ll recieve a commission for everyone who signs up with your link and goes on to complete the trial offers.
But IRN works a tiny bit differently from the others for two reasons. First, you have several different payout levels available for referrals based on which site you complete the offers from – ranging anywhere from $10-$120 per each referral you bring in. Second, they operate like a MLM company because in addition to your referral payouts, you also earn 5% commission 2 levels deep. So for every member your referrals bring in and every member their referrals bring you’ll earn 5% of the earnings.
But all that aside, is Instant Rewards Network a scam, or are they a legit company? While I don’t agree with their marketing tactics and the way you are making money with this program, it’s not really a scam. They actually will pay you for referrals but you really need to go in well informed and understand this isn’t really a great business opportunity.
Let’s take a closer look…
An At A Glance Comparison of IRN vs. the competition…
How does the Instant Rewards Program work?
When signing up for IRN you’ll be asked for some personal information – including your home address (can’t be a P.O. box) and phone number (must be your real number). If you provide them any false information they can suspend your account and you’ll no longer be allowed to participate. Your phone number will be given to your referrer so don’t be surprised if you recieve a follow up phone call (which is totally OK to ignore).
After you create an account, you’ll be able to choose which “level” you want to go for. Everyone is a “starter” by default, which will earn you $2o per referral that’s recieved either in the form of a PayPal deposit or bank check. The higher the “level”, the more money you’ll earn for referrals (up to $120 max) but there’s also a lot more CPA offers required to reach the higher levels.
The CPA offers vary and are constantly changing, but the common ones are for online credit report companies, magazine subcriptions or book clubs. Some of these are “free” trial offers which you can cancel before the trial is up to avoid actual payment but others require an immediate purchase of some sort, ranging anywhere from $1 to $100’s of dollars.
You need to earn 1 credit to be qualified for referral payouts so you’ll need to complete as many offers it takes to add up to a full credit. At the easy/starter level, certain offers are worth a full credit (but will cost money) but others are worth only a fraction such as .2 or .4, so unless you want to pay money you’ll have to complete a least a couple offers to qualify for starter payouts ($20).
Each level has the same types of offers, but the credit level will decrease as your payout bonus increases. For example, a trial offer for FreeScore360 is almost a full credit (.8) at the starter level, but only .15 credits at the 120 threshold.
At the 60, 80 and 120 payout levels you’ll need to complete quite a few of these offers, perhaps 10 – 20 to qualify. You’ll also find less and less free offers as you move up and will be required to put down money up front. Some may just required a $1 up front fee while others will want you to spend a decent chunk of money.
Once you earn a full credit and are approved for payouts you’ll be able to use your referral link and capture page to market the program to others. They provide you very basic training on marketing your link via mediums like Craigslist, Forums, Article Marketing and even PPC. They go on to give you scripts for calling and emailing your leads to follow up. The problem with this is not only are some of the marketing methods being taught outdated (article marketing) or extremely risky for beginners (PPC) but the entire business model is very shallow.
Why Instant Rewards Network is a quick fix and not a sustainable business
This program can work if you’re just looking for an easy way to make a few extra bucks, but it isn’t a viable long term business solution. Why? The entire program is based on recruiting others to complete trial offers so you’ll earn commission from them, and from the referrals those new recruits bring in, and their referrals too. You’re not really offering anyone value and that is what makes all the difference. You’re only tempting people to give out a bunch of personal information to sign up for crap CPA offers that they most likely have no interest in just so you can earn the $20, $40 or $120 for their offer completions.
What does your referral gain? Well, very basic training that encourages them to go on and recruit others into the same scheme.
You’re not recruiting people into a program that offers them anything other than the ability to promote the system to others, and that is a very shady practice. However, because you can start this for completely free or at least with a relatively small investment it is not nearly as harmful as many other MLM type companies. Many companies that focus solely on recruitment make you pay hefty investments (quite commonly several thousand dollars) and because most people fail with MLM opportunities, they end up losing a whole bunch of money.
Since you can enter the Instant Rewards program for basically free, you aren’t risking losing a bunch of money (unless you aren’t careful with your trial offers).
Be very careful when signing up for trial offers!
Pay close attention, read the terms and conditions THOROUGHLY and keep records for each and every one of the offers you complete. This is especially important if you get involved in the higher levels that require many CPA offers to reach the one credit requirement.
Each offer has its own unique set of terms and conditions, so you’ll need to make sure your read all the fine print so you’re aware exactly what you’re getting involed with. You’re giving your credit card information to all of these companies and often times they’ll place a hold amount on the card for the free trial offers. Other times they’ll sign you up for additional services that you may agree to unknowingly if you don’t read the terms of the offer.
Most importantly, you need to make sure you cancel any offers you don’t want to keep. If you sign up for 20 offers, that’s 20 companies who are going to charge you a recurring monthly fee if you don’t pay attention to when you need to cancel. The annoying thing about these offers is you’re required to keep them for a certain amount of time or the credit with IRN will be revoked. They recommend keeping free trials for 75-90% of the offer (because of the popularity of CPA freebie sites they ran into a huge problem with immediate cancelations). So for a 30 day trial you’ll want to cancel within the last week, not a day after you sign up.
For every offer, you’ll need to make note of the date you need to cancel to avoid additional unwanted charges. It’s very easy to let it slip your mind and end up with crazy credit card charges (it’s happened to me more than once). I’d also recommend paying attention to the cancellation process before you sign up and avoid companies which only avenue for cancelling an account is via a customer service number. Many times it can be hard to get ahold of these people to cancel, and even if you do they may give you a hard time about closing down your account. It’s just so much easier to deal with online cancellations, so I’d avoid the phone option if at all possible.
Pros vs Cons
- Can get started for free
- Ability to make money relatively quickly
- Trial offers require your credit card info, so you’ll need to be careful especially when getting involved with the 60, 80 and 120 payout levels as you’ll need to complete 10 – 20 offers for approval
- Most of these CPA offers are things nobody really wants in the first place – book clubs, magazine subscriptions or credit report companies
- Misleading advertising
- MLM bordering pyramid scheme – they offer no product and the only way to make money is by referring others
- Unsustainable business model
- Very hard for newbies to carve out a unique brand and promote IRN as the marketing campaigns provided are generic and the program provides little value to users
The pricing varies significantly depending on the level and offers you complete. For a starter member that earns $20 per referral, you can get away with completing a couple of free trial CPA offers to earn your credit and be eligible to generate referral income for basically free (provided you cancel your free trials at the appropriate time). If you’re on a higher level, you won’t be able to find very many free trials and will required to invest a bit of money into it. It still varies significantly depending on what offers you choose, but you’re most likely looking at a minimum investment of $30 or $40 into trial offers.
Even though Instant Rewards Network isn’t exactly a scam and you could possibly make a few extra bucks, I wouldn’t recommend it. Not only are the provided marketing campaigns generic, the opportunity is empty and unsustainable as the only method for making money is recruiting others.
If you want consistent reliable income for a long time this isn’t the program for you.