Better Business Bureau: Rippln questions can raise app awareness

April 25, 2013 

When Tricia Stoesser, marketing director for the Stage Coach Theatre, sent me a note about a new app called Rippln, hers was the 20th question I'd received.

The network marketing company Lacore Enterprises, in Melissa, Texas, raised questions as it launched under the auspices of changing the way we view social media marketing. While I couldn't track down the founders for an interview, those who have gone gaga over it are sold it's real.

"I was approached by different people I respect in business about this, so I had to seriously check it out," Stoesser says. "I hope this doesn't seem spammy, yet I am excited to share this opportunity."

And share it she did.

Stoesser put it out to her entire LinkedIn group, posted it on her blog site, Facebook and Twitter. She's been in business for 15 years, and the future is in social media, and her gut feeling says there's no risk.

"Rippln is the new social platform that is going to take the world by storm and revolutionize the way we communicate, buy products and play games! You can get paid for your 'social media influence,' " she says.

When you register, you sign a nondisclosure agreement and provide your name and email address. The company asks that you share with your friends and others at a pace of five invites per filing period before the official launch. According to its Facebook page, there are 177,000 people signed up as of Tuesday morning.

On the company's website, officials claim in YouTube videos that traditional social media built its reputation on the backs of the users and took the profits from that network to pay for expansion and growth - one video cites groups like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. On another video, it claims games that extolled by networking reaped the profits.

The promise, made in the videos, is that once established, Rippln will pass along marketing profits to the members.

Officially, you must be invited to participate in the Rippln experience. The website registration does not ask for money, but requires you download their app.

Lacore was founded in 2011 as an advertising agency and is a privately held company. Its attorney did not return calls.

Bottom line:

• Why are some apps free?

• Companies may sell advertising space in the app to other businesses.

• Companies may offer a basic version of the app for free, but require you to pay for the full version.

• Some apps allow users to buy more features within the app. Usually, you are billed for these purchases through the app store account.

• Some free apps are designed to build interest in the company's other products.

• What types of information can apps access? It depends on the app itself - phone and email contacts, call logs and location.

• Why do some apps ask for location? Apps use location data for maps for coupons, specials and business information.

• Could an app infect my phone? While most apps are approved before being added to an app store, hackers have created apps that can infect smartphones and tablets.

Robb Hicken: 947-2115

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