Last updated in November 2020
Is bUnited legit or scam? Imagine you could make money just from referring your friends to sign-up to a website for FREE. Most of us would immediately discard this as a scam. After all, the world is not such a nice place and money does not fall from the sky.
However, by labelling everything that seems too good to be true as a scam, we are limiting our own earning potential and possibilities. A year ago, I would have thought matched betting was a scam but now I am consistently making £100+ a month from it. Therefore, I decided to be open-minded and investigate this offer.
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Joining bUnited is free
Table of Contents
Is bUnited legit or scam?
What does bUnited offer?
When I first visited bUnited, it was not immediately apparent what the website offers. Digging deeper, I found that bUnited promises its members three things:
- Generous friend referral bonuses
- Getting companies to produce more sustainably
- Save the rainforest
- Discounts on various things
1. Generous friend referral bonuses
bUnited promises to pay you $10 for each friend you refer. Furthermore, they also promise to pay you for the people your friends refer, up to five levels. This means you will get paid for your friends’ friends’ friends’ friends, for example like this:
In the simplified example above, you are referring ten friends to bUnited. Therefore, you would earn $1,000 (10x$10). Keep in mind that referring a friend takes no longer than two minutes each and you only have to refer two friends in this scenario.
But many of us have more than two friends. Assuming a realistic number of five friends referred who also refer five friends each, you would make a stunning $39,050 (roughly £30,000). So yes, bUnited promises you £30,000 for little effort. And you could make much more if you refer more friends.
The only catch is that you will not get paid immediately. Apparently, the first payments are likely to be made later this year but obtaining the whole sum may take a few years.
The promised bUnited payout for referring a few friends is excellent given the little effort required. This is true even if they only pay out a fraction of the promised amount.
Friend referral bonuses are common
Friend referral schemes are legit and many companies pay you for referring friends. For example, if you sign-up to 20Cogs with my link, you will receive a £5 bonus. In turn, I would receive a fraction of your earnings (without any detriment to you). 20Cogs is legit as evidenced by over 3,000 Trustpilot reviews. Other popular examples of friend referral schemes include Dropbox, Airbnb and even Tesla.
Friend referral bonuses are a highly effective marketing strategy because everyone involved benefits:
- The referrer obtains a bonus
- The company has a new client
- The referee either also gets a bonus or at least has the possibility to refer their own friends
Hence, there is nothing scammy about this concept (although that does not mean such a bonus is always genuine).
2. Getting companies to produce more sustainably
bUnited claim they are committed to make our planet sustainable. They say:
Our goal is to have major corporations immediately fund initiatives to reduce global warming as fast as possible.
To achieve this ambitious goal, they state that they will only work with companies that fulfil two requirements:
- They must immediately fund at least one climate change initiative; saving the rain forests or planting trees
- And make their operations more sustainable
Another indicator that bUnited is indeed legit and not a scam is that they have numerous partnerships to support the planet:
- Rainforest Foundation
- The Nature Conservancy
- The Ocean Cleanup
- Water Project
- Feeding Children Everywhere
Although we have to keep in mind that there is little confirmation of these partnerships on the internet, except for a few articles. However, this does not mean that United is not legit.
3. Save the Rainforest
I am a strong believer that the rainforest needs more protection than it currently gets. Thus, I was happy to see that bUnited is committed to protecting it. Apparently, for each person that joins, 10 m2 are saved.
4. Discounts on various things
Because bUnited will be a large organisation with many members, they can negotiate better deals for their members. According to their experiences, discounts would likely be as follows:
- Mobile Service: 20% to 30% off best price
- Car Insurance: 20% to 25% off best price
- Electricity: 10% to 30% off best price
While this has nothing to do with the question whether bUnited is legit or a scam, I do wonder how companies would be able to offer these huge discounts while also producing more sustainably and donating to bUnited partnerships programs.
Note that members of bUnited do not have to buy anything, not even with these huge discounts. bUnited just assumes many members will buy because of the good prices.
Is Bunited legit or a pyramid scheme?
In the friend referral scheme of bUnited, the top members earn from the members lower down the friend referral chain. This is similar to how pyramid schemes work. In a pyramid scheme, members lower down the chain pay money to those above them who forward a portion of their payment to the members further above. This is a common scam scheme.
As you can see from the image above, the payment structure of bUnited and pyramid schemes differ. Whereas in pyramid schemes, members on the lower levels pay the founding members, with bUnited, the founding members will have to pay all lower levels. We could call it a reverse pyramid.
With bUnited, you never have to pay a penny. The website is purely for earning money. Furthermore, you only earn money for the next five levels below you. Therefore, the top members may earn from having more members but they are not earning money from you directly. Thus, bUnited is legit and not a scam in this aspect at least.
Who is bUnited?
When I researched bUnited, I found it hard to obtain information about the company. There are plenty of reviews but the vast majority just throw their referral link at you. I needed more information so I dove further to find out whether bUnited is legit or scam.
Staff of bUnited
bUnited is surprisingly transparent of who their staff is. As you can see in the picture below, bUnited was founded by Jim Jorgensen, Johannes Pohle, and Ozan Taner. Jim Jorgensen appears to be a really successful guy with over 25 enterprises. Johannes Pohle also officially associates himself with bUnited. I could not confirm Ozan Taner’s involvement but at the very least, he is on LinkedIn.
bUnited Facebook page
bUnited has as an active Facebook page with over a million likes. Here, they appear to make an effort to answer member questions. All their posts are in line with the company’s goal of protecting the environment and do not come across as spammy or outright scam.
Partnerships of bUnited
On their website, bUnited states that they have partnered with Vodafone. However, I found little evidence for this from independent sources.
I researched further and found out that in Germany, bUnited has partnered with Deutsche Telekom, one of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies. And there are actually news articles. Deutsche Telekom has a shop exclusively for bUnited members (though there are no offers currently).
All in all, there is strong evidence that bUnited is a legit organisation and not a scam.
What does bUnited do?
We answered the question whether bUnited is legit with “yes”. But what do they actually do? United offers a video that explains what they are up to:
Essentially bUnited plans to be a consumer group that negotiates better deals for its members. According to their website, members will benefit by saving 20% to 30% on things they are already buying on top of the very generous friend referral bonus. Apparently, this will make companies become more sustainable.
The first part sounds plausible and easy to understand. Get a big group of people and demand cheaper prices. The second part I was not so sure of. Surely by forcing companies to sell at cheaper prices would make them produce less sustainably?
The rationale of bUnited is that customers vote with their money. By choosing to buy only from companies producing sustainably, companies producing unsustainably are forced out of the market. The cheaper prices consumers receive are the result of savings in advertising.
Normally, big companies run advertisements on TV, Facebook, Google, etc. However, once they make a deal with bUnited, bUnited will do all advertising for the company. This would not incur great costs as bUnited only has to contact their member base.
Overall, this concept seems to be plausible. The key concern is that having an actual impact on whether companies produce sustainably and have no need to spend money on advertising would require a huge number of members. Here is how many members bUnited thinks they will need:
Looking at the numbers required (figure above), I can understand why bUnited pays people to invite their friends. Overall, 500 million people are 6.5% of the world’s current population (7,708,829,000 people at the time of writing this article).
Bearing in mind that only 56% of the world’s population has access to internet (4,316,944,240), bUnited aims to reach 12.6% of all internet users. This is a highly ambitious plan and paying people to refer their friends appears to be the easiest (and possibly only) way to achieve this.
What personal data does bUnited collect?
In terms of data, bUnited has access to
- Your first and last name
- Your email address
- Payment details (can use Payal)
You can receive payments via PayPal, PagSeguro, WeChat, Alipay, PayTM, PhonePe, ACH, and SEPA bank transfers. The good point is that you do not need to enter your bank details at all, as you can simply request payments via Paypal.
While your email address and name alone are valuable information for scammers, I think that at this step, bUnited would ask for concrete bank details if they wanted to scam you.
There is little point to set up this whole scheme just to collect an email address and a name. I think the amount of personal data requested is reasonable for what bUnited aims to do.
Is bUnited legit or scam? Signing-up
Method of signing-up
Based on my research, I decided to give bUnited a go and signed up with them. BUnited gives you three options on how to sign up with them. You can use your
- Facebook account
- Email address
Choosing Facebook, bUnited will gain access to your name, profile picture, and email address.
I chose to sign-up with my email address and I recommend you to do the same, just to be safe. You can even use a throwaway email address if you are in doubt. Just make sure you are able to access this email address as you will be asked to confirm it.
To complete the sign-up, you have to input your first and last name. bUnited states that this information is needed to pay you but I guess they also want to prevent people from making multiple accounts to abuse the bonus system.
You then have to agree to bUnited Terms. I know most of us usually ignore the Terms & Conditions and just tick the box (me included). However, in this case, I have actually read through them and did not spot anything suspicious. (I still recommend you have a look for yourself.)
In the next screen, you can input the details of your referer. My member ID is BDRV-9408. If you do decide to sign-up, I would be grateful if you could either use my number or sign-up via my link.
Once signed up, there is actually not much to do. The “Your Account” section is pretty empty. The main feature of this section is your account summary (see image below). In the “Invite Now” section, you can access a few pre-made invite messages as well as your invite link.
As of the time of writing, there is no evidence that of a bUnited payout. I will update this section and let my subscribers know as soon as I am aware of any change to this. However, bUnited has now added a section for payment details, giving hope to receive a bUnited payout soon.
Is bUnited legit or scam? conclusion
I was skeptical whether bUnited is legit as the promise sounded too good to be true. There is also a lack of information on the internet. However, further research revealed that the concept of bUnited appears to be legit, and they appear to be a real organisation as evidenced by their Facebook page and the German online shop.
bUited also does not aggressively try to obtain your bank details. In fact, bUnited requests access to a lot less personal data than they could.
Although I am not convinced at all that bUnited is going to be successful, there appears to be no harm in signing up. Plus, you have the potential to earn extra money. I could not find anyone who has been paid by bUnited so far, but even if they fail to pay, inviting friends is little effort.
Joining bUnited is free
When asked whether bUnited is legit or scam, I have to say that bUnited appears to be a legitimate company and there is no evidence of a scam. It is no secret that I am a bUnited member now and I will also refer my friends to them.
It is always good to be a bit sceptical so if you do not feel comfortable signing-up with bUnited, there are plenty of other ways to make money. Many of these do not require an upfront investment. Examples include Sweatcoin, an app that pays you to walk, and Swagbucks, a reward website.
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