View Full Version : Calling long distance! Who remembers "Excel"?

07-10-2010, 05:01 PM
In another age (near the end of the 20th Century), before cell phones became the norm, there was Excel Long Distance. What made Excel so "special"? Why, MLM of course! In fact, if memory serves, Excel was the first 'MLM company' to make some slick talker a million bucks. Or at least that's the story they loved to tell back in the day.:Fiddler:

Anyone else been around the block long enough to remember this lovely jewel of glass?


07-10-2010, 07:35 PM
I do, Ido!!!! And, many of their big hitters have gone on to many other scum bum deals!

From Forbes>

In a pyramid selling scheme, the mass of salespeople at the bottom line up a handful of customers to buy the product or service. Many of the salespeople will bring in only a small volume of business, but if you have enough of them the business will mushroom. Typical products: cosmetics (Mary Kay), household goods (Amway), vitamins (Shaklee).

The folks who make money aren't the ones who move the goods. The big money goes to the people who recruit the salespeople and to the people who recruit the people who recruit the salespeople. If you convince a customer to become a sales rep, you get not just a commission on his phone bill but also an override on any customers he recruits, and so on down the pyramid.

At Dallas, Tex.-based Excel, the salesman at the top, former high school football coach Paul Orberson, earns $1 million a month. The company trumpets his success in order to haul in new recruits.

Representatives are encouraged to sign up their relatives and friends as customers (shades of MCI's Friends & Family plan). That keeps turnover low, at least among the customers. "My mom isn't going to quit Excel for a check from AT&T. She is loyal to me," says Excel representative Clinton O'Rear, a part-time marketing consultant in Dallas. Still, there is plenty of turnover among the sales reps 80% don't even last a year.

Most recruits pay $195 to join, often mesmerized by visions of emulating Orberson. Excel is the country's fifth-largest long distance company, with 4.1 million customers. But Excel also boasts 1 million sales reps. That means the average Excel rep has only four customers, and one of them is himself. No wonder the turnover is so high.

The average Excel monthly bill is $28, and the commission at the bottom is 2%. That means the average salesman at the bottom is hauling in all of $20 a year in commissions. The few who climb the pyramid do better, collecting besides commissions bonuses when reps in their pyramid sign up new customers.

In the manner of a chain-letter scheme, the pyramid relies on a stream of new recruits for its prosperity. The company netted a fat $144 million on revenue of $1.4 billion last year. Minus the $195 recruiting fees, though, Excel would have been in the red.



Jack Bastide
01-13-2011, 04:58 PM
I know several people that made a ton of
money with Excel back in the day


01-13-2011, 05:20 PM
That is true. A small handful made out like bandits while hundreds of thousands of little guys with only 3 customers each average floundered at the bottom of the pyramid while all the money trickled upstream. Many of those same folks are at the top of the heap in Ignite / Stream Energy and those at the bottom that can't enroll anyone else and have few cutomers are losing their shirts again.

After all the bragging, Ignite is only entering its third state now 6 years later. Not at all what was promised. The Texas market was long ago saturated. Tens of thousands have signed up as reps and dropped out having lost money.

The sad reality of MLM!