Bigger Pockets is an online networking platform and resource guide for people looking to build income through real estate investing. It claims to connect both experienced and new investors and to provide opportunity. The pitch and branding concentrates on building expectations and making oblique claims about real estate investment as an alternative to employment, a common move in financial grafts of all kinds.
How Does It Work?
As a media platform, Bigger Pockets provides general advice and tactical resources for investors through its blog and articles, as well as a place for engagement and discussion in its forums, like many other sites. Unfortunately, many of the resource articles make counter-intuitive recommendations without explaining their utility and risks, which may lead inexperienced investors to trust financing methods that are costly, ineffective, or outright dishonest.
Its social media platform is designed to create a feedback loop of advice that builds on and from the Bigger Pockets articles and podcasts, and in practice it serves to feed users reinforcing opinions that are also based on the same basic information resources. This, combined with the nature of the recommendations offered, leads to some real concerns for new members.
Like most professional social networks, there are both free and paid plans. The free option provides basic site utility, but with enough restriction to make a paid membership necessary for most people looking to build realistic contacts on the site. Paid memberships are either $90 or $290 per year, with the more expensive package including push notifications exclusive to it.
Bigger Pockets does not issue refunds for partial use of the service or advance cancellation, and they also engage in automatic membership renewal unless the member specifically opts out. Individuals who choose to invest resources and energy into the site will find themselves fully committed regardless of their experience or the company’s ability to follow through with the claims made about their service.
Customer Service Contact Info
The company does not list a contact phone number in an easily accessible place, but their Contact Us page includes an embedded email form, and a prominent customer service pitch-prompt button hovers in the lower right-hand corner of every screen.
While the podcast has a large following, the reputation of the social media platform and its related information articles is almost wholly negative. As a company, Bigger Pockets tends to lash out against criticism, badmouths other brands, and creates an in-group atmosphere that is reminiscent of Ponzi schemes and other cult-like quasi-business organizations. Their primary product seems to be the expectation of soon to be realized wealth, and advice is seldom couched in cautionary language, even when it involves taking major risks.
Online reviewers and former site members have been quick to point this out, and there is very little to mistake about the approach or language used in the presentation materials. The organization’s business model does not require them to meet their own claims, either.
- Usabilty and site function
- Restrictions available only to paid users
- Podcast and blog bubble create false expectations
- Forum doubles as a platform for badmouthing competition in order to push sales
Financial speculators have long made money by inflating the expectations of smaller investors in order to persuade them to purchase investment properties without due diligence. Often, these operations are paired with financing that further exposes the small investor, too. The Bigger Pockets scam is a prime example of these tactics one that has shown little hesitation to lash out at its critics instead of fixing its own problems.
Final Verdict: Scam. Never trust a company that openly badmouths the competition to push their own sales.