This next interview is an exciting one for me on multiple levels. I happen to come across this company when I was searching for “Cash Back Shopping” on Google and then I happened to realize these guys were based out of Jacksonville, FL – my old stomping grounds. The more I looked into it – the more it became evident that this was not your typical “Get Cash Back” type of site, they actually have some patent pending technology in place that totally blew my mind.
I therefore decided to reach out to them and the founder, Bill Levine was nice enough to get back to me in a very responsive manner.
Bill grew up in Uniontown, Pennsylvania and after graduating in 1970 from Alderson-Broaddus College, with a major in Political Science and minors in Psychology, Sociology, Economics, and Philosophy, Bill married his college sweetheart, Stephany (Stevie).
In 1972, Bill joined his first direct to consumer marketing company. He was trained by the leaders and founders of the direct to consumer industry in the US. This experience lead to the founding of Network Planning, Inc. where he developed productivity management and training programs which he sold to Fortune 500 companies such as McDonalds, as well as to leading direct to consumer companies in America like Excel Communications, Amway and U.S. Sprint.
In 1990, while the telecommunications industry was waging a small price war, Bill formed Distributech Communications Int’l Inc, and quickly gained industry recognition for his ”zero out your phone bill” concept, marketing his long distance products through independent contractors, in a traditional business model.
In December of 1995, Pinnacle Communications Int’l Inc. was formed, initially to sell long distance phone service, through direct to consumer marketing. With the advent of the Internet, Bill saw an opportunity to take the zero out concept into a much larger arena, thus Shop4Zero was born. Shop4Zero was re-branded to GreenBackStreet in January of 2008 by a leading advertiser firm in Minnesota.
Married for 41 years, Bill has two beautiful children, Aaron and Samantha, who along with Stevie work with him in making Pinnacle Communications, and GreenBackStreet.com the best loyalty and customer acquisition program on the Internet. Here is the rest of his story.
Q: Bill, thank you so much. Let’s get right into the questions shall we. Could you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself and Green Back Street?
Greenbackstreet.com is one of the three world-class shopping platforms developed by Pinnacle Communications Intl, Inc. The GreenBackStreet platform provides a social shopping approach to cash back purchasing and referrals, games, and a one-of-a-kind local program. Many people feel that GreenBackStreet.com is the best way to shop, earn, raise funds for non-profits and build a business for the 21st century on the internet. Just think about it for a moment. Isn’t is incredible to get cash back from what you are already doing and then get excited and tell others, and then you get cash back on their purchases too?
Q: What made you decide to pursue a career in the “new” media and internet marketing?
With the advent of the internet, it’s an incredible way to reach millions of people instantly with a message of value and purpose. When so many people experience what you do, the cream truly rises to the top because of the value given from what you are providing. The “Best way to shop and refer” on the internet.
Q. What are some of your recognizable achievements?
The most important achievements are helping others to achieve what they want and need. In our troubled economy when so many folks are out of work and desperately need a little more, how much better can it get to get cash back from what they already need and do and then by sharing it with others earn money that is desperately needed?
Q: How does your previous experience growing up influence the way you do business today?
I was very fortunate to have been brought up in a family with strong ethics, morals, principals, and a sense of giving. My family would always help others without expectations of getting anything in return and it really exemplified the experience of “what you truly give out; comes back ten fold”.
Q: Your parent company Pinnacle Communications Intl Inc., can you tell me about it, how it came to be?
Yes, Pinnacle, as the parent company, owns the technology for shopping, referring (which we have an intellectual patent pending) and the revolutionary local program. As the parent company, it also owns two marketing subsidiary’s; GateNet Marketing, which markets traditional business and KlikFire, which markets direct to consumer. Pinnacle focuses on the distribution, reporting and support of its technologies through its marketing divisions to reach the maximum number of individuals possible.
Q: What’s the advantage of your service(s) versus some other cash back shopping sites?
We are the only cash back platform that has an intellectual patent pending for the shopping mechanism. Almost all shopping portals are linear, whereby when you shop, you get cash back. There are very few that provide a referral mechanism, so when you are excited about what you are getting and then refer others, can get a small portion of the cash they get back. What separates us from the rest of the world is that when you shop, you get up to 30% back. When your referral shops, you get 10% of the cash back amount that they get back. Now the patent pending model comes into play. When your referral refers someone, they get up to 30%, the person that referred them gets 10% of the cash back amount they get back, but you earn nothing unless you license a portal. Companies, non-profits and individuals can license a portal and now earn shopping income through infinity. It’s the infinite depth in shopping without being a network marketing company is the essence of our zero out program.
Q: What’s been your biggest challenge in running this company?
Being able to support and supply the incredible amount of demand for what we do. It’s kind of amazing that in our deteriorating economy, we can have more new business than we can handle. That has been our biggest challenge.
Q: Talk to me about a couple of trends you see happening in this industry and how we as shoppers can position ourselves to take advantage of it.
As the economy continues to deteriorate and with stores going our of business daily, I believe there will be a tremendous shift in consumers going to stores wanting to see and touch products but not leaving with them. Instead more and more fulfillment and shopping will come from the internet. We as consumers can take advantage of this new shopping world by carefully comparing offers on the internet and then shopping where we not only can get the product program and service, but cash back from the shopping and sharing our gratification and experiences with others.
Q: Now that we’ve got the tough questions out of the way, here are a few personal questions. What was your first, and what was your worst job?
My first job was mowing lawns. My worst job was as guide in Laurel Caverns. When you spend enough time taking people for tours underground it almost if you start to mildew…
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do outside of Pinnacle?
Spending time with family and friends! Could there be anything better?
Q: And our final question: If you could offer one piece of advice to our readers as it comes to understanding and partaking in building a viable business, what would it be?
Find a need and fill it and ask instead of tell. By finding a need and asking very carefully what people want and need becomes the foundation of a long term flourishing business.
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