WSI - ExFranchisees

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Before Signing on the dotted line

Before you sign on the dotted line, there are important things you should know about how franchises are regulated. Taking the time now to figure it out could save you time and money later.

Do I need a lawyer?

As a prospective franchisee, what kind of legal documentation am I entitled to?

Will the FTC review the disclosure document to make sure I'm protected?

What in particular should I look for in the disclosure document or UFOC?

Are disclosure documents available for review by the public?

Why doesn't the FTC just adopt the UFOC?

Is there a central law that governs the relationship between franchisers and franchisees?

How do I find out what my state's rules are?

How do I find out whether a particular franchiser has a complaint against it?

I think I'm being treated unfairly by my franchiser. What should I do?

What should I do if I've reached an impasse?


Where do I find a lawyer who specializes in franchise law?

source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/0,4621,315252,00.html

Franchisee Legal Help

Rory A. Valas Esquire
Valas and Associates, P.C.
250 Summer Street
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 399-2200
(617) 399-2202 (fax)
email: rav@franchiseelaw.com
website: http://www.franchiseelaw.com


Mr. Valas and his law firm represent and assist franchisees, dealers and distributors throughout the United States and abroad. If you are buying a franchise or you are engaged in a dispute with your franchisor, Mr. Valas and his firm can help. They provide sound advice and skilled negotiation and trail work at a reasonable cost. Franchisees and/or Associations represented have included: Dunkin' Donuts; Baskin Robbins; Togo's; Subway; Quizno's; Kabloom; Tower Cleaning; Coverall; ServiceMaster; Chem-Dry; Jani-King; Super Coups; Val-Pak Direct; Mail Boxes, Etc.; White Hen Pantry; Meineke Discount; Pizzeria Uno; Water Doctors; Ladies Workout Express; Curves International; Contours Express; Sign-A-Rama; Minuteman Press; AlphaGraphics; Fantastic Sam's; SISNA; WSI Internet; Gymboree; Club Z; Goddard Schools; Kinderdance; Budget Blinds; 7-Eleven, Inc. Southland; Budget Rental; Avis; Gloria Jeans; Panera Bread; Cartex; Fabrion; Dealer Specialties; Century 21; Coldwell Banker; McDonald's; Burger King; Carvel; Beverly Hills Weight Loss; MRI Management Recruiters; GNC General Nutrition Centers; and many others.

Franchisee Contract Excerpts

More info by ExWorldSites

In the contract which I and many Worldsites franchisees signed, it clearly stated
13. . (Point 5) '…the franchisor shall:' (Point 5a.) 'develop the first twenty (20) "Internet Solutions" projects for the Franchisee for which the Franchisee will pay the Management Services Fee equal to ten percent (10%) of the Gross Revenues in respect of the Products or services sold. In the event that the Franchisor develops the "Internet Solutions" project for the Franchisee's business, then the Franchisee shall pay a total Management Services Fee equal to the greater of: thirty percent (30%) of Gross Revenues of the "Internet Solutions" projects, or, such minimum Management Services Fee as specified by the franchisor from time-to-time'.

14. Now, the above is a mouthful and makes little sense but Worldsites franchisees took this to mean that their first 20 sites would be developed for 20%+ the 10% Management Services Fee. This was never mentioned again and we were soon fronted with various fixed costs from suppliers with no warning or indication that the rules had changed.

15. (Point 10.1) States that a Co-Operative Advertising Fund 'CAF' would be carried out to the Franchisor's discretion. Carried out at their discretion they did! This was meant to be paid into as a flat rate per website sold. As you'd expect of a professional organisation, one would think that a report of this CAF would be made on an annual basis (at the least). I do not know of a single franchisee who knew of any details of this CAF whatsoever outside of being asked to pay for it when they sold a website. How much money had been put into this fund - where did it go? Who knows? I'm led to think that little money was attributed to this so called fund due to very few website sales. This is obviously not a good motivator for already dejected franchisees and would be proof of what everybody was thinking anyway.
16. (Point 6.2.2) The contract also stated that franchisees will pay a minimum Management Services Fee. Why should I have to pay a minimum fee at all???




source: www.exfranchisee.com

================

1. Does this mean the franchisee pays for the software, then also pays a 10% management services fee?

2. Does the second part mean you will still pay 30% of your revenue to WSI, even if you decide to go to someone from the outside of WSI for development?

True Franchisee?

ExWorldsites of www.exfranchisee.com has a good point:

8. Why aren’t the franchisees even allowed to use the company name? Why did our agreement prohibit the use of the name Worldsites or Worldsites Network.

source: www.exfranchisee.com

===============

If you buy a McDonalds, wouldn't you want to use the name McDonalds? Why would you need to use some derivitive of the original name? www.greatmcdonaldsfrys.com? Eh?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Franchisee Testimonials

"I have been with WSI for about 4 years. I see it as a great opportunity. I haven't seen any other Internet business out there that can compete with what's going on with WSI. Great systems and Training. It's not a brick and mortar type of business, so it's something that's relatively inexpensive to get into. You don't even need to have an office. That's one of the great things about the Internet and the WSI franchise, the 'virtual-ness' of it. It's something I'm glad I got involved in. It's a great business." N.B., Australia

Could "N.B., Australia" stand for Nigel Brunel of www.australianwebproductions.com? AWP for short, is one of the primary "Production Centers" for WSI.

Source: http://www.franchiseopportunities.com/Zor_214501/_WSI_Internet.htm

Fees to Franchisee - 50-100% markup?

SIS (scalable internet solutions) is a product offered by WSI Production Centers. What you don't know until you buy your franchise is.... WSI does not directly develop the sites for you. They provide you with "Production Centers" that do the work. Their Primary Production center is AWP (AustralianWebProductions.com - Mr Nigel Brunel).

Back to the software.. WSI’s SIS software has an absolutely amazing resemblance to GIA or “General Internet Solution” offered by a third party developer www.b3.com.au. Is B3’s GIA the same as WSI’s SIS?

Compare both systems... Do you think they look similar??




GIA (General Internet Solution) by www.b3.com.au


Also known as B3's Site Builder - Formerly known as the GIA II




SIS (Scalable Internet Solution) by www.wsicorporate.com (aka wwww.worldsites.com)





Text from the Worldsites Website:

We looked at what comprises a modern site today and three products stand out. These products are databases with content editor, text editor and Targeted Marketing. Virtually every site can use these product functions to display hundreds of products, change information and keep in touch with customers, patients, staff, suppliers, or a distribution network. All these products are interactive in nature and therefore raise the functionality of a web site. Taking into account all these requirements we created various packages that we offer at very competitive prices. Below is a sample of these packages. Contact us for demonstration and more packages.


General GIA (General Internet Application)
*Dynamic website designed in ASP

*Dynamic Navigation Bar

*Content management system for every page (change the text as often as you want and when you want)

*Several databases

*FAQ section

*ATMT (Advanced Targeted Marketing Technology)

*Password-protected Client Access (Intranet) with the ability to upload documents for specific clients or groups





Compare Worldsites logo vs WSI logo on this image above.


You can find tons of live GIA/SIS systems that WSI's "Production Centers" have sold, by using the following search string on google: "index.asp?pgid=3 wsi". The bottom of the page should say: "Created and Maintained by WSI"

Are WSI's Franchisees paying WSI's Production centers more than what the software costs retail? According to the price lists, B3’s cost to clients is cheaper than WSI’s production center cost to Franchisees. AustralianWebProductions.com is WSI's primary production/development center. What's the relationship of AWP and WSI? I wonder?

WSI’s Production centers costs to the Franchisee vs. B3’s price sheet, clearly shows it’s an edited version of b3’s original price list (b3 has a download link for their prices to be used as a template), but instead of packaged deals like b3 offers, WSI’s production center breaks up the packaged product and charges for add-on modules that are offered as free add-ons from the original developer.

Examples:

Photo Gallery Add-On:
B3 Cost: $200
AWP Cost:$250

News Add-On:
B3 Cost: Free
AWP Cost: $100

Members/Business Directory Add-On:
B3 Cost: $200
AWP Cost: $400

Forms Builder/Autoresponder Add-On:
B3 Cost: FREE
AWP Cost: $80


www.australianwebproductions.com is WSI’s Nigel Brunel

WSI breaks up the packaged product and charges separately for each option. It ends up costing you (the franchisee) more than if you bought from b3 directly as a package deal.

If you ask me….Why not cut out the middle man?

========================================
Q. Are they the same product? You be the judge…

The SIS system has the following files in their SIS system:
Gia_Admin_****.asp

Here’s some comments from the inner workings of the system:

GIACodeVersion="4.0.0"
GIACodeVersionReleaseDate="13/08/2003"

'output all sessions set to site.
'Coder = <#name removed for privacy#>, b3.com.au'B3 productions

' ### B3-SH 10/9/02 Fixed bug
' ### B3-SH 02/08/02

The SIS Solution even has a database file called "GIA*****.mdb". Hmmm.....I wonder why it's called GIA? Is this the same GIA as B3's "General Internet Application?"

Check out the software offered by http://www.b3.com.au You won't see the actual software unless you are a registered user. Request to be a reseller/partner. This will get you a userid and password too see the demos and samples of their product.

Review the 2 products yourself and you make the call! You’d be amazed at the similarities

Price sheet To Franchisee's

WSI’s SIS software has an absolutely amazing resemblance to GIA or “General Internet Solution” offered by a third party developer www.b3.com.au. Is B3’s GIA the same as WSI’s SIS?



WSI provides you with a list of "Production Centers", which are centers authorized to do WSI work. AustralianWebProductions.com (AWP) is just one. WSI lists several Production Centers, but you are told that one specific center is the most productive and has the best turnaround time. You're basically talked into using these guys. The "reliable" Production Center, just so happens to be AWP. Concidence?

This is australianwebproductions.com's price sheet:

WSI - AWP Production Center Price Sheet
Author: Nigel Brunel

This is the original developers price sheet:

B3 - www.b3.com.au Price Sheet
Check the properties of the file:
Author John Kempen

If you compare these file closely, you'll see where AWP marks up the cost 25% - 100% more than the original developers. As the Franchisee, to make money you need to then take a product that is already marked up by 25-100% and mark it up much more just to be profitable. Where does it end? How much profit are you REALLY making?

Price Comparison:
============================================
B3.COM.AU - Banner Advertising $150, Manage Banner Ads on your site.
AWP - Banner Ad System $300.00, Manage Banner Ads on your site.

This is a 100% markup from the original cost from WWW.B3.COM.AU
============================================

Think about this..... if you still have to pay marked up fees....then all you've paid for is $40k worth of marketing materials, not a brick and mortar business! As for your 1 week training at home office... You're $40k just paid for that training and then some.

Thanks to clipper for providing hosting for this file.

Independent Review? Not!!!

I Found one of their press releases which appears to be coming from a franchisee publication, but if you read their fine print...they do not endorse WSI.

Source: http://www.franchiseopportunities.com/advertorial.asp?prid=141

The disclaimer goes on to say:

The franchises, businesses and business brokers seen on this web site submit their own individual content.


Please Note: *WSI Internet, and other franchise opportunities, business opportunities, businesses and franchises for sale on this web site are not to be considered as an "offering," suggestion or approval by Franchiseopportunities.com. The franchises, businesses and business brokers seen on this web site submit their own individual content. We depend entirely on the truthfulness of the information they provide. As always, Franchiseopportunities.com recommends seeking the advice of a lawyer, financial consultant or accountant before purchasing a franchise or business opportunity. By submitting this form and requesting more information, you have agreed to all terms and policies of Franchiseopportunities.com and the business and franchise offerings listed here. Please review our full Disclaimer for further information.

Unfriendly To Search Engines - Franchisee Sites



Remember WSI claims to be the internet experts. Surely the expert knows a trick or two about web sites and generating web traffic. .....<--This red text "read on" is hidden from search engines, like "WSI" on their Franchisee Sites. Highlight "Read On...." with your mouse and you'll see the difference between an image and actual text

- started doing some research on existing franchisee's, but like many people, soon found that all searches point back to the company and their own press releases. they all come back to "press releases" and no independent reviews.

anyway...knowing how search engines work, I wondered why searches only brought you back to corporate or their press releases. search engines should pick up on all text, which in turn 'should' call up and sites with wsi text on them. this seemed weird. Then browsed a WSI Franchisee's site. I started highlighting the site (just use your mouse and drag from the corner), you'll see text highlight, character by character as you highlight. If what you highlight is an image, it'll highlight the whole image as a 'chunk'. The search engine will never pick wsi in the site, because it does not see text. it only sees an image.

this is why you'll rarely find a wsi franchisee site using google. you'll only find corporate. This way you’ll never be able to contact a franchisee to find out how succesful they really are. If unsuccessful franchisee's cannot find each other, then you cannot find out how others are doing.

See “non_search-friendly.jpg” above for illustration. In addition, “m e t a” tags are used for search engines to catalog websites based on their content. This is web-101 if you want traffic from search engines. Here’s what they put in the franchisee’s “m e t a” tags (BLANK!!!):



Why would corporate purposely create the franchisee site un-friendly to search engines?

Don't hate the Franchisees!

Franchisee's : These guys invested $40,000 or so trying to get their businesses up and running, with hopes that WSI had the answer. They are no to blame. Give these guys a break.

Read the Rip Off Reports

http://www.badbusinessbureau.com/reports/ripoff103528.htm

They conduct numerous interviews to make you think that you are being qualified
to run a high tech, high demand product that will sell itself. They claim that
there is little competetion for thier services, and they throw numbers of
success at you that they don't dare publish anywhere. Once you are suckered and
pay up, things change dramatically!! They have been advertising that they have
700 franchisee's in 87 countries for 2 yeats now!!! When I went to training,
there were at least 50 new franchisees in my class, and they do this twice a
month!!! That to me is 1200 new franchisees a year!!! Thier production costs are
not competitive, yet they claim that you can mark up the client 5-10 times. This
means that they expect you to sell a basic website that they charge $800 to
develop to your client for 4k -8k!!! People look at me like i'm nuts!!!


The WSI network provides no value post sale and will ruin your professional reputation by a total lack of ability to deliver in any capacity. A couple of things you should know about WSI:1. They are in the business of growing the # of franchise owners2. They make money from royalties from both franchisors, production centers and suppliers (i.e. SEO/SEM "Experts")3. They and all suppliers are technically unsound. Antiquated coding languages, unsafe security practices are common place.4. The supppliers must offer such a low price there is no practicle way for them to provide any level of service.5. There are no Service Level Agreements in any relationship - you are on your own. No supplier will agree to provide any Service level agreement. You are responsible for every aspect of a project and any issues that arise. 6. The average time for a project takes approximately 4-6 Months and much longer for any customized solutions. This is based on over 25 Months experience and 12 projects.7. WSI Corporate has amongst the worst customer service (franchise facing) I have seen in 17 years of technology expereince. Not once has a problem been solved within 48 business hours...this includes issues as easy as password resets.8. Customer service gets worse with the production centers. They have no accountability to the franchise owners and you must escalate every issue. 9. No information concerning peer franchises are ever shared in the network. There is no visibility to what is successful and what is not. Absoloutely never are any revenue numbers shared. This can only lead to the assumption (and extensive chat room noise) that there are none in the black other than those making monay assisting WSI sell more franichises (What say ye Mr. Aldeman?). 10. Out of 30 people in my training, 2 are still acutally attempting to work in the network.Positives:1. You will learn a lot about internet technology, SEO, SEM etc. Unfortunately, it will cost you your reputation and as much money as you have to burn. 2. You will be wiser and will regonize WSI type ripsoffs like this. 3. If you do purchase - you will get an opportunity to write letters such as these. 4. If you are not totally disgusted, you will know how to run a real internet business, one that actually values clients and has integrity (not part of the WSI model). The WSI network provides no value post sale and will ruin your professional reputation by a total lack of ability to deliver in any capacity. Good luckJudy - Washington D.C, District of ColumbiaU.S.A.

Company Subsidiaries and Employees

Company Names/Variations:

WSI
WORLDSITES NETWORK
WWW.WSICORPORATE.COM
http://www.worldsites.net

Company Directory/Staff

Troy Ireland = Internet Consultant
Rene Garcia = Internet Consultant
Ron McArthur is the President & Chief Operating Officer of WSI
Robert Masson is the Controller of the WSI group of companies
Marcia Scott is the VP
Lou Zalany is the WSI’s Chief Executive Officer
Tore Steen is the Vice-Chairman
Mr. Nigel Mayne
Dan Monahan

What WSI Franchisees are saying

Source: http://klausdahl.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=6040

I worked with WSI for a while and made nothing frm it. All the things I was promised by Robert Masson were lies. They figures a good wany to make money. They are scammers selling air. They are a sham and do not come thorough on wha t is promosed, like training, supplier, business assistance, anything. They take your money and run. Its sad these people are not in jail, where they belong. I wish I did not ever invest here, because now I am broke and lost. I had to sell my home and pay back the loans. I have had nothing but problems with WSI. Thanks for nothing! You stole my $50,000+. Liars and cheats. Here is the company directory for you. Troy Ireland = Internet Consultant Rene Garcia = Internet Consultant Ron McArthur is the President & Chief Operating Officer of WSI, Robert Masson is the Controller of the WSI group of companies Marcia Scott is the VP Lou Zalany is the WSI’s Chief Executive Officer Tore Steen is the Vice-Chairman

http://www.exfranchisee.com/


29 points to consider before buying a Worldsites franchise

I am an Australian Worldsites franchisee who lost a lot of money after 'investing' in one of their Internet franchises. I'd like to share my story, my experiences, my beliefs and remaining questions about this operation.

http://www.business-opportunities.biz/mt/mt-tb.cgi/1746

www.business-opportunities.biz/archives/2004/04/30/5395.php+wsi+internet+franchise+nigel&hl=en
===========================
I looked into WSI and actually talked with a VP of marketing. They claim that 700 franchisees around the world back in 2001 and they still quote that same number! Actually, 700 is a tiny number. There are many companies that create websites, and WSI doesn't even tell you if there's a francisee near you. Also, there were other negative postings in this thread and somehow they got deleted, hmmm...
==============
This is a scam - they are posting ads on other franchise sites they own to provide a point of reference. If you research you will find that WSI has over 55,000 inbound links to their site...that's a lot of advertising.
With "700 franchises 87 countries", you would think they'd have more than 10 or so demo sites to show.
Any legitimate franchise....especially one specializing in Web technology services, would have links on their site to current business owners/sites/customers. WSI does not. Don't you find this odd?


I purchased a franchise in 2003 and now realize it was the biggest mistake of my life. The support is horrible, there is no accountability and the training was a joke. I would not recommend this nightmare to anyone.

Anonymous said on 8 Sep 04:
If you need legal help with WSI go to.......www.dadygarner.com

Anonymous said on 8 Sep 04:
If you need legal help with WSI go to.......www.dadygarner.com

Press Release vs Self Promotion

Doing some quick searches on the web, you'll find tons of marketing info about WSI, Worldsites, Worldsites Network or whatever they are called these days. As you read through the countless articles about how succesful they are, you need to take a careful look and realize that most, if not all information about their success is self promoted.

Anyone can self promote themselves however they like, but only an independent third party can give you a real picture what's being sold.

Here, I will add to the list of countless press release or self promotions as i call them.

www.idealspain.com/wsi
www.buysellwebsite.com/wsi
www.franchisehandbook.com/comp/wsi2.asp
www.smallbusinessopportunity.com/ business_203732/1wsiinternet.asp
www.franchiseopportunities.com/advertorial.asp?prid=141
www.wsicorporate.com/news.asp
www.franchise-international.net
www.arab.de/arab/Government_ Politics/Politics/more5.html
www.franchise-chat.com/news_archive/ new_zealand_franchise_news_5.htm
www.banbury-cross.co.uk/breakfastclub/members.htm

More to come - whew, there's so many self promotions

WSI Franchisee Site Listing

Listing of WSI (aka WorldSites, Toronto Home Office) found through Google Search:

At last count, we had over 80 wsi franchisee's listed. At $40,000 each WSI has made well over $3,200,000.00! Yes, that's 3.2 Million Dollars!

Not on the list? Feel free to add your franchisee site.

www.vancouverwebconsulting.com
www.wsi-betterwebsites.co.uk
www.wsi-internet4business.com
www.wsi-ebiz-experts.co.uk
www.wsi-ebusinesssolutions.com
www.wsi-internetadvisors.com
www.wsi-econnections.com
www.wsi-internetadvisors.com
www.wsi-internetadvisors.com
www.wsi-originalwebsites.com
www.wsi-soundwebsolutions.com
www.wsi-wiserwebsolutions.com
www.wsiworldclassweb.com
www.wsiadvancedwebsolutions.com
www.wsi-internet-results.com
www.wsi-roiesolutions.com
www.wsipremieresolutions.com
www.wsi-internet4business.com
www.wsi-internet-results.com
www.wsi-bnet.com
www.wsi-econnections.com
www.wsi-smart-internet-works.com
www.wsi-premiumesolutions.com
www.wsi-intertech.com
www.wsi-websource.com
www.wsi-prowebstudio.com
www.wsi-jumpstart.com
www.wsi-hamptonroads.com
www.wsi-pbbs.co.uk
www.wsi-first-websultations.com
www.wsi-wiserwebsolutions.com
www.wsi-ebizsolutions.biz
www.wsi-internetadvisors.com
www.wsiawesomewebhits.com
www.wsigetwebresults.com
www.wsi-internetservices.nl
www.wsi-internet4business.com
www.wsi-webstar.com
www.wsitopwebanalyst.com
www.wsie-businessroi.com
www.wsipronet.ro
www.wsiwebdimensions.com
www.wsi-netcozumler.com
www.wsiglobalreach.com
www.websolutionsinteractive.com
www.wsiwebwisesolutions.com
www.cincinnatiwebconsultants.com
www.iemsupplier.com
www.internetconsultants-usa.com
www.siriusbusiness.com
www.westcoastweb4you.com
www.westcoastweb4you.com
www.wisltd.co.uk
www.wisltd.co.uk
www.worldsites.net
www.worldsites.net
www.wsiadvancedwebservices.co.uk
www.wsiadvancedwebservices.co.uk
www.wsiaic.com
www.wsiaic.com
www.wsi-bnet.com
www.wsi-bnet.com
www.wsibusinesssolutions.com
www.wsibusinesssolutions.com
www.wsichangingebusiness.com
www.wsichangingebusiness.com
www.wsicollaborativesolutions.com
www.wsicollaborativesolutions.com
www.wsi-e-complete.se
www.wsi-e-complete.se
www.wsielitewebpro.com
www.wsielitewebpro.com
www.wsielitewebsolutions.net
www.wsielitewebsolutions.net
www.wsigotwebsolutions.com
www.wsigotwebsolutions.com
www.wsiinteractivewebdesigns.com
www.wsiinteractivewebdesigns.com
www.wsiinteractivewebdesigns.com
www.wsipremierinternetsolutions.com
www.wsipremierinternetsolutions.com
www.wsiprowebdesign.com
www.wsiprowebdesign.com
www.wsiqualityinternet.com
www.wsiqualityinternet.com
www.wsismartonlinesolutions.com
www.wsismartonlinesolutions.com
www.wsismartweb.com
www.wsismartweb.com
www.wsisolidwebsolutions.com
www.wsisolidwebsolutions.com
www.wsistrategicinternetsolutions.com
www.wsistrategicinternetsolutions.com
www.wsiStrategicNetSolutions.com
www.wsiStrategicNetSolutions.com
www.wsistrategicwebsites.com
www.wsistrategicwebsites.com
www.wsisuperiorbusinesssolutions.com
www.wsisuperiorbusinesssolutions.com
www.wsitopwebtech.com
www.wsitopwebtech.com
www.wsitotalwebdesign.co.uk
www.wsitotalwebdesign.co.uk
www.wsiuniquewebdesign.co.za
www.wsiuniquewebdesign.co.za
www.wsiwebcentricadvantage.com
www.wsiwebcentricadvantage.com
www.WSIwebdimensions.com
www.WSIwebdimensions.com
www.WSIwebenabled.com
www.WSIwebenabled.com
www.wsi-websource.com
www.wsi-websource.com
www.wsiwebworks.com
www.wsiwebworks.com
www.wsiwebfusion.com
www.wsielitewebservices.com
www.wsiqualityinternet.com
wsitotalinternetdesign.com
www.wsisuperiorbusinesssolutions.com
www.vie-web.com
www.wsi-ebizsolutions.biz
www.wsistl.com
www.wsismartwebdesign.com
www.ip97.com
www.wsitotalwebsites.com
www.internetnews.com/ec-news/article.php/3484096