Digital Altitude FTC Investigation – Is Digital Altitude Aspire Shutdown?
Digital Altitude aka “Aspire” or “DA” was one of the most popular online business education academies, also well known for their top tier affiliate program.
Digital Altitude started as a company some time in late 2015, and began gaining popularity very quickly by the spring of 2016. The company based their business education in the form of a suite of digital based products, which included a “free personal coach”. This was a unique opportunity for those who desired to start a business to learn how to do it effectively.
There were many pros to this company (which is not important to discuss at this point), but the main con that most people experienced was the cost of the products. And there were many affiliates as well as Digital Altitude’s coaches that promoted the company and pushed customers to buy the high end cost products with the incentive they would make money after purchasing. And after many complaints from customers, the FTC decided to investigate Digital Altitude. You can find full details and where exactly the case currently stands with the Digital Altitude FTC Investigation at the following link: http://digitalaltitudereceiver.com.
As a past affiliate of Digital Altitude, I once thought they were a great company. I believed in Michael Force’s vision that the company would grow and be around for a long time. But I have experienced some major problems being a Digital Altitude affiliate, well before this FTC investigation took place.
I won’t get into all the issues I had, but one of the main problems I began experiencing were “some coaches” (not all coaches) were misleading my customers by selling them useless affiliate stuff. Like traffic sources that didn’t work, marketing funnels etc. But particularly there was a popular traffic source that many of the coaches were promoting to Aspire members. I’m not going to mention the traffic source, but the traffic simply did not work for anybody. And I personally believe the traffic source may have been fraudulent. But because this traffic source had an affiliate program and paid a 50% commission to anyone who got someone to purchase, many of the coaches were promoting this traffic source just to make extra money, regardless if they felt it worked or not.
In a nutshell, I got many complaints from my customers that their coach was aggressive in forcing them to upgrade to higher product packages within Digital Altitude. And if they didn’t have the money to upgrade, or if their loan for the upgrade wasn’t approved, most of the coaches just completely disappeared and stopped responding to the customer. How ethical is that?
I felt if the company and the coaches are about helping people, why are you neglecting so many customers just because they aren’t financially capable of spending $60,000 for all the products? This was the big red flag in my eyes. Although I believed in the products and believed it could help my members, but never would I push someone to upgrade that’s not financially able to. And definitely not ignore them going forth because they couldn’t. Even though I felt Digital Altitude’s products were great, I clearly told my customers that no income is ever guaranteed. Because income earned will always depend on one’s own efforts. And Digital Altitude’s products (as well as me) can only show you what’s allowed me and others to create success, not a guarantee everyone will get the same results.
I have had many arguments with some of the Digital Altitude coaches, to stop telling my customers they are going to get rich by making a huge investment into these products. It takes hard work to succeed. As many people heard, but most don’t like to believe the proverb that “The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary”. And this is true for everything, no matter what product or training course one buys, it will ALWAYS take work.
And on top of that, the other major issue I had was there were very long delays in getting paid by the company. I could never understand how does a company that sells “digital products” and earns tens of thousands of dollars profit, can’t pay their affiliates? What really upset me is when I found out that coaches were still getting paid on time, and also a few top affiliates as well. But everyone else (including myself) have experienced delays in pay up to over 60 days…. while Michael Force and the company continues to talk about the vision and how successful the company is. I know there were merchant issues, but that wasn’t the entire problem.
Because one thing I noticed at the last Digital Altitude event I attended, which was back in October of 2017, they had guest speaker Anik Singal show up at the event to speak. From what I hear, Michael Force paid him 6 figures to come to the event and speak. All while many affiliates who are the ones running the company are owed a lot of money. This is really when I began to lose faith in the company. Even when inquiring to Digital Altitude’s support about commissions, they often ignored you or often said they are “catching up on sending commissions”. I felt that was nonsense to brush you off. And whenever someone would publicly ask about commissions (such as in the Digital Altitude leadership Skype group) Michael Force would say to stop asking about commissions in the chat, without giving an update. I felt our concerns about getting paid wasn’t being taken seriously by the company.
So even though the FTC is now in control of Digital Altitude, the company was already falling apart well before then. Either all their merchant accounts will have been shut down by now, or there would be many other lawsuits to shut down the company. I moved on from the company before the FTC stepped in, but because I still had customers and members who were still actively working with the company and needed my help, I kept my accounts active. And to this day, they owe me almost $40,000 in commissions. They issued me a 1099 tax form in February for the tax year 2017, which included income they never even paid me. And now that they are technically shut down and investigated by the FTC, they won’t be able to pay out what they owe to anyone, nor refund customers who paid for products and didn’t get access to them.
But aside from the many customers who lost money, and the many affiliates who are owed money, I feel the FTC shutting down Digital Altitude was just. The company wasn’t growing and was only causing many people to go further in debt.