I researched Rollover Business Startups in news articles this morning, looking for something other than marketing pieces by the big name promoters. One link pointed to a Huffington Post article. I thought to myself, “This could be an actual news item!” Well written as a news blog, that post includes a short paragraph purporting to quote an outside source. I clicked on that link, which took me to the website of a company (FSB) that states it investigates issues related to small businesses so you, the small business owner, don’t have to. One of the two founders of that company is the same person who writes the blog on the Post website.
The linked article on the FSB website includes a link to speak directly to someone about a ROBS setup. That link takes you directly to Guidant Financial Services (GFS), Bellevue WA. FSB claims that GFS is the best ROBS promoter they know. I believe GFS is a good company. I do believe GFS is the best at something, but it is not setting up a ROBS plan. What rocketed GFS to the top of the ROBS setup pyramid is that, among ROBS promters, they are the best at internet marketing. In fact, GFS pays FSB to say they are the best. FSB admits this in their disclaimers. Is this objective news? I do not think so.
One of the two GFS founders also started a company called NuWire Investor (NWI). NWI is now owned by a former GFS employee. NWI creates articles to look like news items and place them strategically around the internet. NWI now does that for other companies as well. The Huffington Post, formerly a trusted news source, allows bloggers to pay for space on their website, giving links the impression that a link is leading to a news item. People search the web looking for objective articles, end up in only one location, trust that location more than if they had clicked on an internet ad because they believe they started with an objective article, and purchase the service offered. The truth is that they have been led along a path cleverly designed by a company that wants you to trust this method of learning about their services so you will choose them above their competitors.
This is the new world of news, not limited to ROBS promoters. Politicians, real estate agents, attorneys, anyone can play this game if they pay enough. We instinctively know this, even if we cannot connect all of the dots. There are more dots to connect in the GFS-FSB world, but the point is made. I am not surprised by a study earlier this year which shows that 6% of Americans trust the media.
When it comes to a ROBS setup, how do I decide who is the best? You may have guessed, my top choice is not based on how much money a company spends on manipulating internet marketing. My top priority is the experience clients receive with their plan record-keeper. You do not have an ongoing relationship with your promoter. Your third-party administrator (TPA), on the other hand, can be your best friend or a thorn in your side. Based on stories shared by my clients over my 12 years helping people with ROBS legal issues, I would say that GFS is not the best record-keeper. While it is possible to use GFS, or any of their competitors, for a ROBS setup without also using their built-in TPA solution for plan administration, the promoters do not offer alternatives to their solutions. Finding an independent TPA is not easy as they tend to not play in the internet marketing arena.
The first rule of blogging is to spot an issue, and then solve it by directing people to one’s own service. I am not a TPA and I am not going to point you to one. Yes, I am going to leave this issue unsolved in this post. I direct clients to a solution, but that is another story. This post is simply to point out how internet marketing created the biggest player in the ROBS field. That is what they are the best at among their peers.