Thursday, October 13, 2016

MLM and Echolalia (Parroting)

Today's post isn't actually representative of MLMers, because this condition is related to people with degenerative brain conditions. While some people may jokingly argue that MLMers brains do degenerate while they are involved, this is more of a fun post while introducing a new term. MLMers are known for being repetitious, programmed, and in some cases nonsensical, and that is the thought process behind this particular post. Once again, I am not stating that MLMers have echolalia, but rather they have behaviors that reflect this condition.

Echolalia: Meaningless repetition of another person’s vocalizations. Typically occurs in patients with autism, schizophrenia, Tourette syndrome, and other disorders. (

I first was researching this condition because I have a family member suffering from Alzheimer's, and was wondering what the official terminology would be. I very quickly made a connection to my experience with MLM and refuting the redundant points MLMers make when they are defending their companies. In fact, the MLMers retorts are so consistently similar it has become very tiresome and repetitive to continue to reply. I have the utmost respect for my fellow bloggers that continue to repeat themselves as the MLMers continue to respond and deny the issues of their companies with the same canned nonsense. There are very few people that can continuously explain the same problems over and over again with little to no tension. 

I am going to go through a couple of the most famous nonsensical responses, and hopefully people can refer to this page for clarification if they are approached by an MLMer. If you hear something from an MLMer that I did not put on the list, or need further explanation, then I will update as the post gets more hits.

1. MLMs can't be pyramids because they have a product or service.
Not true, never has been true, never will be true, and is completely incorrect by virtue of the definition given by the FTC as stated here, 

"Not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate. If the money you make is based on your sales to the public, it may be a legitimate multilevel marketing plan. If the money you make is based on the number of people you recruit and your sales to them, it’s probably not. It could be a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are illegal, and the vast majority of participants lose money." (

As you can clearly see from the second sentence, MLMs legality has not been and continues to not be based on the myth of having a product or service.

2. If MLMs are pyramids, then so are corporations (such as home depot) because they are also shaped like pyramids and they should be illegal.
There are a lot of different errors with this logic.

A. MLMs are you have already ruined your wonderful logic.
B. Whoppers (the chocolate candy) can come in a milk carton and milk comes in a milk carton, does that make them both the same? Rhetorical question, obviously not. Therefore the logic that corporations having the same shape as MLM makes them the same should also not apply.
C. Home Depot pays everyone a wage dependent on the position they are hired within the company. MLM pays MLMers money based on dollars spent within the company from the MLMers and their downline. If the only revenue they are paying back is less than the dollars spent by their "distributors", then that isn't a real business and certainly isn't anything like Home Depot.

3. My MLM has been around for a long time, therefore it can't be a scam or it would've been shut down.
Bernie Madoff operated a multi-billion dollar ponzi scheme for decades before getting shut down, therefore longevity does not equate to legitimacy.

4. You clearly failed or haven't tried my MLM and therefore you can't make an opinion about it. Let's break this one down into two parts.

a. "You haven't tried or have failed in my MLM." First of all, you have no idea what people have tried or haven't tried, and second of all that is irrelevant...I haven't jumped off a bridge, but I can tell you it is a bad idea if you want to have good health.

b. "You can't make an opinion about it." People have the ability to do research and investigate before getting involved with businesses. Mark Cuban (Billionaire Shark Tank celebrity) makes opinion about business opportunities for a don't see people discrediting him. For the record, Mark Cuban hates MLMs and thinks they are a scam, and I consider him to be a knowledgeable businessman. (

5. MLM isn't for everyone.

No kidding...look at any of the income disclosure pages online for these MLMs and you will see it isn't good for about 99% of the people involved (including the person defending the MLM).

6. Some MLMers are bad, but my team is good and we "care" about everyone involved.

I'm still anxiously waiting to meet someone that comes out and admits they are the "bad" MLMer. It would seem everyone knows they exist, but they can't identify who it is and why they continue to make their MLM look bad. It is also hard to say you "care" when you have a financial bias toward the person joining your "team". Finally, why hasn't MLM figured out a way to do something about the "bad" MLMers...some of these companies have been around for 60+ years!

If you have a story involving abuses from your upline and would like me to share it on this blog as a guest post, then please e-mail me and I will be more than happy to post it! Your stories are not as unique as you may think, and your stories are some of the most impactful resources we have to fight MLMs. I will keep your anonymity upon request.


  1. LOL, good post. We called it "tapespeak" in the past when debating the common lines dropped by IBOs.

    1. Joe, I don't know how you have done it for so long, but you have my undying admiration. I've been at this for about a year, and decided it was time to write this post in an effort to not write thirty extended versions of common misconceptions and fallacies involving MLM. Hopefully this post will eliminate some of the future redundancy I intend to encounter.

    2. When I first started blogging, Amway in the US was called "Quixtar" and then they eventually changed back to Away Global and now, Amway.

      Quixtar was touted as an "ecommerce" opportunity so the IBOs would flood forums and myspace accounts with talk about "private franchising" and "ecommerce". It was the popular teaching at the time.

      The Amway skeptics would call them tape speaking robots because they all sounded and answered the same.

      There was a popular forum called "Quixtar Blog" which no longer exists, that I participated in back in 2002 or so and which eventually inspired me to start blogging.

      I had a very popular blog that I started in 2006 which was hacked and sabotaged back in 2009 and then shortly after, I started the blog that you currently see.

    3. Joe,

      It sounds like you are talking about the world's weirdest chameleon when you said, "When I first started blogging, Amway in the US was called "Quixtar" and then they eventually changed back to Away Global and now, Amway." because it doesn't matter how much you try and change your outer appearance the inside is all that matters. Amway has done a great job of continuously camouflaging itself as a new wonderful idea, yet it continues to be the same tired and awful rip off for decades.

      I'm sorry to hear about the original blog. I do try to think everything happens for a reason (usually a good one), and hopefully it showed that your work was worth pursuing if someone was willing to go so far to damage it. I'm glad you've been able to continue to blog and keep this up for so long! You are an asset to the community and one of the reasons I am here today!

  2. What you are describing here is common to any ideological or doctrinal organization. Communist or Fascist ideology was always parroted in the same repetitive vocabulary, and members of certain churches give "catechism answers" when arguing with outsiders about their faith.

    This happens because the ordinary person frequently can't think (or articulate properly) by himself. So he simply quotes the standard answers he has picked up from his associates. It also happens with young children, who will endlessly repeat something that they have heard or been told.

    Defenders of MLMs have a powerful emotional commitment to their organization, and their attachment to it is more psychological than intellectual. So no matter what you say to attack or criticize it, they will just repeat the same "catechism answers," like a mantra.

    This is why is makes no sense to argue rationally with a devoted MLM defender. You won't crack his shell with logic. The only thing to do is to ridicule him and berate him for his stupidity, and to do it in the fiercest language that you can muster. This hits him at the emotional and psychological level, and is much more effective in undermining his blind faith.

  3. Anonymous,

    You said, "Defenders of MLMs have a powerful emotional commitment to their organization, and their attachment to it is more psychological than intellectual. So no matter what you say to attack or criticize it, they will just repeat the same "catechism answers," like a mantra."

    This is beautifully put, and I often run into this when talking about other controversial topics. In fact, I had to stop talking about important topics with friends, because the purpose of the discussion always got lost underneath a pile of emotions and psychobabble. It always came down to being "right" rather than listening.

    Naturally with MLM it is much the same. I like to call a certain moment when discussing this with people the "point of no return", because there will be a moment where they will be confounded with the facts and then make a decision to stay on course with their point or pause and take a moment to reflect. I have found that nearly all of the time people choose to stay on course and turn to emotions rather than deal with the facts, but it is incredibly rewarding when you reach someone, or even are reached yourself when faced with a tough reality. I had a discussion with a YouTube guy named Tyson Zahner (also goes by Network Marketing Success), and we went back and forth about his travel MLM for a long time. The conversation started off very intellectual until it boiled down to the basic issue that he was getting his trips for free based on the people below him having to pay. That was the "point of no return", when he went off to attack a different form of business and mention other irrelevant things which ended the discussion. To this day, he never finished addressing my points, and as far as I know, continues to make YouTube videos and lead generators for his "teaching courses".

    1. Yes, this is quite true. In the not too distant past, it was a general rule of etiquette that one did not publicly discuss politics or religion. The reason? Simply this: politics and religion were rooted in emotional and psychological attachments rather than in rational discourse, and any public discussion of them (at a dinner, a soiree, a cocktail party, a reception) might lead to unpleasant debates. So well-bred persons were expected to avoid those two topics.

      But today something radical has occurred: EVERYTHING is now tinged with the intense emotional flavor of politics or religion You can't discuss anything (art, literature, music, history, education, psychology, business, the economy, entertainment, celebrities, family life, or even general gossip) without provoking some sort of intense disagreement and dispute. The entire range of human experience has become politicized and doctrinalized -- that is, there is no position on any subject at all that is free from somebody's psychologically intense fanaticism. What you call "the point of no return" now happens all the time, and quickly.

      In Amway and the MLMs, all of this happens at a rather crude and primitive level, in keeping with the fairly low educational level of those who become trapped in the scheme. You're not going to get any sort of rational, disinterested argument from an Amway freak -- he'll jump immediately to "the point of no return."

  4. Anonymous,

    I believe it is important to understand and embrace your limitations, and I believe that many people understood the emotional charge surrounding those two subjects. I agree that we should find a way to go back to these sorts of rudimentary boundaries, because I have also found it difficult to converse with people about any particular subject where I have a differing opinion. In fact, I have pretty much shut my mouth altogether at social gatherings, because it takes at least two people to form an educated conversation, but it only takes one to ruin it. I cannot tell you how many times I have a good discussion going and then had someone come into the conversation late just to not understand, be emotionally charged, or do something else to quickly ruin it. This is a certain level of narcissism that I can't stand, and it seems to be stronger than ever.

    I am a millennial, and I can say having dialogues with people of my generation is nearly impossible. I remember attending social functions and dinners with my parents and they would adjourn after dinner to their respective groups. They would have group discussions on very controversial topics and nobody ever raised their voices because that would be a sign of weakness. They would know the perfect time to stop the conversation when both points had been addressed and there was nothing left to discuss on the topic. These people knew civility was the utmost important part of a healthy dialogue, and there were better ways to convey your passion for a subject than with the inflection of your voice or reverting to ad hominem attacks.

    I personally blame the media and television coverage. They have taught us to lead with our emotions first and throw our rational thoughts to the trash. People are more concerned with "winning" a discussion rather than illuminating a point with a different position.