KulaBrands is a crowdfunding promotion platform and associated affiliate earnings program that works to first generate support for crowdfunded products and services and then markets them aggressively through affiliate marketing schemes. KulaBrands does this by partnering with third-party companies and charging them royalty fees for marketing and promoting their crowdfunded projects, distributing these royalties through stakeholders in the KulaBrands ecosystem.
What Is KulaBrands?
According to the KulaBrands website, company board member Jeff Hoffman is the “official spokesperson” for the company. Hoffman, a serial entrepreneur, co-founded Priceline.com, has appeared as a guest “Shark” on Shark Tank in 2016, is the CEO of film development company Black Sky Entertainment, and has appeared on network television as a financial expert.
Meanwhile, though he is not listed on the KulaBrands website, the company CEO is listed on LinkedIn as Peter Ganter, an MLM and affiliate marketer that has represented other companies in the past such as direct sales company Kannaway. Prior to this, Ganter was involved in weight-loss product MLM Visalus and affiliate cashback rewards program Lyoness.
KulaBrands doesn’t create products of its own to market; instead, it partners with individuals or companies looking to create crowdfunding campaigns on platforms such as Kickstarter.
KulaBrands members vote on proposals, choosing to pledge support to a product or service before it goes live on a crowdfunding platform. Once the crowdfunding campaign goes live, these members then provide financial support by backing the campaign officially, thus providing an initial boost to campaigns and generating momentum and buzz on a project.
If the product or service’s crowdfunding attempt is successful, KulaBrands then creates a replicated storefront that members can then use to market and sell these developed products for a profit.
Membership in KulaBrands costs a one-time payment of $199. This is independent of any financial support pledged to specific crowdfunding projects.
There are a couple of different ways to earn with KulaBrands. The first is to pledge to support a specific crowdfunding campaign, which then provides investors with a pre-determined amount of “points,” which then qualifies affiliates to receive a share of the royalty fees KulaBrands charges third-party manufacturers to promote their crowdfunded products.
Additional points can be earned by branding and marketing efforts undergone by affiliates. KulaBrands keeps track of marketing efforts in house; examples of marketing that earn affiliates points seem to revolve around unsolicited social media posting and promotion.
In the event a crowdfunded project is successful, affiliates can also earn points from marketing the product through the replicated storefront created by KulaBrands.
Meanwhile, affiliates can earn “partial points” for the activity of their recruited affiliates. Downline affiliates that either pledge support, use social media marketing, or make sales through the replicated storefront contribute these partial points in a unilevel compensation scheme.
As KulaBrands claims to negotiate every royalty agreement separately – and each crowdfunding campaign generates different amounts of revenue – point values can and do fluctuate from one product to another.
The way KulaBrands operates leaves a little bit of a bad taste in our mouths. This is because it relies on generating high levels of buzz for crowdfunded products in order to generate profits, and the possibility of artificial crowdfunding manipulation seems a bit too high for our tastes.
Crowdfunded projects should represent products and services that rise and fall on their own merits – bad products don’t get funded, while good products do. However, with a cadre of KulaBrands affiliates investing in any crowdfunding project that comes along in order to turn a profit and not because they believe in a product means that campaigns that shouldn’t have ever succeeded may do so.
This kind of turns us off. You’re welcome to try it, but we’ve got ethical concerns.