Rent A Cert, a good or bad idea for Cisco partners and cert holders?

Rent A Cert - a website newly created on Friday, September 21st, seeks to line the pockets of Cisco certification holders with extra cash. While simultaneously preying on the desperation of those in the Cisco channel who wish to improve their company partnership levels on the cheap, to either Cisco Silver or Cisco Gold status (and the coveted partner discounts that go along with each status). The San Francisco CraigsList is running the below Rent A Cert advertisement:

People w/ Cisco Certs Needed (financial district) Our clients are companies that want to achieve higher Cisco partner status and need Cisco certified people on their staff to do it. If you have: - CCNA - CCNP - CCDP/VP/SP - CCIE ...my clients will pay you up to $1,200/month just to associate your certification with their company. Visit: http://www.rentacert.com ...for details. No games/signup fees/anything like that.

Rent A Cert
Here is the Rent A Cert business proposition: Being a certified partner can save your company unlimited amounts of money. For example, if a Cisco retailer resells $1M of Cisco merchandise annually and then as a result of being a "gold partner" can buy products at 50% off retail instead of the previous 40%, the reseller will make an additional $100,000 on the direct discount alone (not to mention the additional marketing power the reseller will have with their new status!). Unfortunately, hiring 4 CCIEs full-time might run your company half a million dollars. Fortunately, you can arrange for a "support agreement" with certified individuals through Rent A Cert for a fraction of a fraction of the cost. Monthly - Income - Payment - Profit:
Certification Monthly Income to Cert Holder Monthly Payment from Cisco Partner Monthly Profit to Rent A Cert
CCNA $100 $139 $39
CCNP $250 $299 $49
CCDP $250 $299 $49
CCVP $250 $299 $49
CCSP $250 $299 $49
CCIE $1,000 $1,149 $149

Rent A Cert caveats worth mentioning: Disclaimer Should your use of the Site violate any agreement, you agree that you shall be solely responsible for the consequences that result, including but not limited to termination of partner status and/or certification status. You further agree, on behalf of yourself personally and your company, if registering as a company, to indemnify and hold harmless Rent A Cert and Twelve Inches Around Corp. from any damages that may occur from your use of this site and/or from your violation of any certification or partnership agreements. Billing & Agreement Duration Companies that have requested individuals with certifications associate with their company must pay all amounts due "upon receipt" and for the duration of the agreement (generally, 1 year). All participating certified individuals must give 30 days notice if they would no longer like to participate. While the duration of company - certified individual is limited by time and other factors as described on the Site, this agreement shall not terminate simply because certified individual and company are no longer matched with each other.


Official Cisco response to the Rent A Cert idea:

Lang Tibbils
Lang Tibbils - PR Manager Corporate Communications for Cisco, provided the following response from Cisco: The main objective of the Rent-a-Cert idea is to help companies (our channel partners) obtain a higher level of certification. Overview of the Cisco Channel Partner Program

Given the rules and regulations that govern our Channel Partner Program, we see a couple of issues with the Rent-a-Cert idea.

1. If a channel partner hires a CCIE away from another Cisco Certified or Specialized Partner, Cisco will not count this individual toward the certification or specialization for the hiring channel partner for 12-months from the date of hire. This would make it tough for a CCIE to rent themselves to more than one partner over the course of a 12-month period. We can enforce this policy, because CCIEs are identified by an individual # and we have a complete employment history in our database, including moves and changes among companies.
2. To obtain a Gold Certification the channel partner must employ 4 CCIEs and to earn Silver the requirement is 2 CCIEs. According to our Channel Partner Program requirements, partners can employ full-time contractor employees, but that number cannot exceed 50% of the required number of CCIEs, meaning for Gold partners you cannot have more than two contracted CCIEs. As part of our annual partner audit we validate the employment contracts for the required CCIEs. Near as we can tell, the Rent-a-Cert idea is based on the concept that a CCIE could simply loan his/her certification number to a channel partner, but given that Cisco has a complete employment history of all CCIEs we would discover during the audit process that a CCIE was a registered employee for two companies thus making it impossible for them to qualify as a full-time contractor or employee.
3. Channel partners have 30-days to notify Cisco if they lose a CCIE and no longer employ the required number of CCIEs for their certification. Upon receipt of this notice the partner may qualify for a six month extension to replace the CCIE before losing their certification, meaning if they are Gold Certified they would move to Silver Certified and Silver to Premier. This requirement to remain compliant between annual audits makes Rent-a-Cert a short-term fix or expensive long-term proposition.

What I personally think about the Rent A Cert idea:

1. Cisco Cert holders have the right to market themselves and create job opportunities in pretty much whatever manner they wish. However, the Rent A Cert idea is penny wise and dollar foolish for the cert holder, although it may appear at first to be a great way to earn extra monthly cash from your cert. Why? Because it will drive down the salaries of all Cisco cert holders once Cisco partners get into the habit of "cheaply renting" Cisco certs.
2. Initially the Rent A Cert idea will appear advantageous for Cisco partners renting CCIEs on the "cheap". But where is that partner's value proposition? Rent A Cert touts on its home page:
Put your idle certification to use! Earn money -- up to $1,200/month! Almost no work required!
Securing larger discounts without the "value" full-time CCIEs bring to customer accounts, will rapidly lead to a competitive commodity pricing situation where Cisco partner margins erode, resulting in less profitability for all Cisco partners.

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What are your thoughts? Is Rent A Cert a good or bad idea for Cisco partners and cert holders?

Contact Brad Reese
http://www.BradReese.Com

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