article

SECRET AGENT MEN

Posted: 12/2003

SECRET AGENT MEN


By Khali Henderson

Fionda LLC could possibly be the largest
master
agency you never heard of. After six years and becoming MCIs largest agent,
the firm is stepping out from behind the shadows of its marquee downline
Herbalife, PETA and other huge MLM and affinity groups.

In mid-October, the company announced it had landed on Inc.
Magazines
Inc. 500 list of Americas fastest growing privately held
companies. Santa Barbarabased Fionda ranks 220 on the list with a five-year
sales growth of 777 percent. To be eligible for this years Inc. 500, companies had to be
independent and privately held through their fiscal year 2002, have had at least
$200,000 in sales in the base year of 1998, and their 2002 sales had to exceed
those of 2001. Inc. verifies all information by reviewing tax forms and
financial statements from certified public accountants and by conducting
interviews with company officials.

The entrepreneurs youll find on the Inc. 500 have the
type of attitude we need to get this economy moving again, said Inc. editor-in-chief
John Koten. For them, a tough market is not an excuse for poor
performance, but an opportunity to innovate and rise above the competition.

Founded in 1996, Fionda executives report the agency has
enrolled at least 600,000 telecom customers through its direct sales and
affinity partners. The company primarily targets residential users with its
portfolio of long-distance, Internet, wireless, satellite TV, personal Web pages
and unified messaging. Fiondas flagship product is MCIs The Neighborhood
all-distance calling plan.

Rick Stambaugh, president of Fionda, says the company has
created a turnkey solution that makes offering these products and services
simple and easy for both end users and its dealers. The companys subagents
include large MLMs like Herbalife and affinity groups like AAA.

This marketing muscle, says Fionda Managing Director Ken
Rotman is behind MCIs assumption of the agencys contract this summer. In
its granted motion, MCI described Fionda as, one of the Debtors [MCIs]
largest and most specialized sales representatives … Fiondas clients
include some of the largest entities in the affinity, membership, retail, and
direct sales industries. Fiondas experience and ability to reach the large
customer base provides a significant benefit … and will allow for substantial expansion of sales of The
Neighborhoods combined local and long-distance products.

Rotman attributes the companys success to its initial focus
on network marketing companies, for which Fionda has created a service delivery
platform. At its heart is an automated electronic data management application.
The latest version, Fionda 10.2 was unveiled in late October and enables clients
and their representatives can track critical information. Fionda 10.2 allows
clients and representatives to track real-time data down to the customer/member
level, including advanced search and reporting capabilities. In addition,
dynamically-generated signup pages can be edited on-the-fly.

A unique part of the dealer platform is the compensation
methodology. Fionda uses paycards, which are ATM/debit cards that can be
issued by clients to their representatives in order to credit commissions on
payday. Each pay period, clients finance executives calculate associates
earnings and transmit an electronic file to the card issuer, and commissions are
distributed immediately to each reps card. The cards may be used worldwide
for purchases at any location and/or cash withdrawals at more than 450,000 ATMs.

Links
Fionda LLC www.fionda.com
MCI www.mci.com


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