Data Network Affiliates’ Upsell Includes ‘PRO’ Module To Enter License-Plate Numbers; Company Describes Its ‘FREE’ Module As A Clunker
You might find yourself a rank amateur in the new business of writing down the license-plate numbers of your neighbors for entry in a database if you don’t pay Data Network Affiliates (DNA) a one-time fee of $97 and a monthly fee of $29.95 for the right to use what the firm describes as a “PRO” data-entry module.
News about the “PRO” module began to spread yesterday, only days after DNA told members who listened to an “Oscar” night conference call that the company’s “free” affiliates would “receive the same kind of commitment and respect from our DNA management team” as paid members received.
Whether the company’s current membership roster of 69,000 — all members of which were targeted in ads and presentations to join DNA for free — will consider the appeal for them to reach into their pocketbooks for $126.95 an example of commitment and respect to free members is unclear.
The “PRO” module is part of what the company is dubbing the “Business Benefit Package” (BBP), which DNA described as an “awesome” value.
“Upon close inspection of the B.B.P. you will find a minimum of 10 times the cost of such package to the end user in value savings and benefits,” DNA said in an email to members. “The two that stand out the most is (sic) the FREE 1000 REWARD DOLLARS with FREE REFILLS and the $402 Travel Agent Value Package for only $49.”
Indeed, DNA is cross-pollinating the data-entry portion of its business with other opportunities, according to the email.
The “PRO” module is included in the BBP upgrade package “at no additional charge . . . to make DATA ENTRY simpler, easier, faster and less time consuming,” DNA said.
DNA’s “free” members may remain as such or get started with the BBP package for an initial outlay of $126.95, including the one-time fee of $97 and the monthly fee of $29.95.
DNA described the free data-entry module as a clunker, compared to the “PRO” module, which the firm asserts has bells and whistles and crunches information faster.
Here is how DNA described the benefits of the upgrade package (italics added):
With PRO Upgrade Software an entry takes up to 1 minute. Without takes up to 3 to 5 minutes.
With PRO Upgrade Software you may repeat address for entry with a click of a button. Without you need to re-enter all address data manually.
With PRO Upgrade Software many fields will be already filled in. Without you need to re-enter all address data manually.
With PRO Upgrade Software you may enter as many entries as you wish at one time. Without you are limited to 5 entries per day.
With PRO Upgrade Software you may enter data for others who also have PRO Upgraded Software. Without you can only enter for yourself and not receive any entries from anyone else who may wish to help.
DNA’s email yesterday also implied that it might not be able to trust some of its own members who entered license-plate data. The company, a multilevel-marketing firm that does not have a contact form on its website and uses an address from Google’s free gmail service as its support address, urged its data-collectors in the field to be honest.
“WARNING,” the company blared in yesterday’s email. “Anyone caught entering bogus tag data information will be automatically suspended from D.N.A. pending a 30/60 day review. We are not talking about a possible error or a potential mistake. We are talking about outright fraudulent entries. You may say who would do such a thing. We say hopefully no one.”
The company did not explain why members caught entering “outright fraudulent” data or “bogus tag data” would merely be suspended pending a review that could take up to two months, rather than banned immediately for life and reported to the police for a criminal attempt to defraud the company.
DNA pitchmen have described the parking lots of major retail stores, churches and doctors’ offices as excellent places to record license-plate numbers. Implicit in the pitches is the suggestion that license-plate data is public information available for the taking from virtually any venue by any DNA member.
Some DNA promoters have suggested that the company’s plate-recorders should behave “inconspicuously” when writing down numbers with a pen and pad or taking pictures of them with cell phones and video cameras for later entry in the database.
The claims have sparked privacy concerns that the data could be used to create profiles on the movement of people. If the data is sold to a company in the business of repossessing automobiles, for instance, the repo man might be able to determine where a car owner shops, receives medical treatment, picks up prescriptions for medicine, receives psychological or spiritual counseling and visits for any purpose under the sun.