Tuesday, December 20, 2016

MLM and Product Value

Today's blog post is going to involve some math as we delve into the list of competitive products MLMs offer. I have previously held discussions on other blogs about MLM products and their inability to be competitive in an open market system, but MLMers are always prepared to make a response. Some of their responses are, the products are better quality, more concentrated, and made from responsible manufacturers or some version of these points. Therefore, today's post will be an honest apples to apples comparison between 3 products from 3 different MLMs vs their competitors.

The first product I am going to do a comparison of is Amway's XS energy drink and Monster energy drink. The reason I chose XS out of the Amway products is, it is one of the most popularly sold items in their inventory and it is one that I have actually tasted. Energy drinks are an extremely popular item these days, and it is important to get the best value, best taste, and best product for your hard earned dollars. Something interesting to note, Amway XS energy drink is now available on Amazon and does not require a membership to Amway, or a membership to an LOS to purchase.

XS Energy is sold in a 12 pack and each can holds 8.4 fluid ounces. The price per case is $39.98 from this listing and it has the most positive feedback. For arguments sake, we will call this product $40.00 with shipping included. 12 x 8.4 = 100.8 fluid ounces per $40.00 spent, or about $0.40 per fluid ounce.

Monster Energy Drink is sold in a 24 pack and each can holds 16 fluid ounces . The price per case is $47.26 from this listing with shipping and has the same amount of stars with almost the same number of reviews. 20 x 16 = 384 fluid ounces per $47.26 spent, or approximately $0.12 per fluid ounce.

XS energy is approximately 3x more expensive than Monster energy, they both have the same amount of positive feedback, and they both are effective at helping with energy. Please make sure if someone debates that XS energy has something special that Monster energy does not that you specifically look at the ingredients. Each of them have plenty of caffeine which is the most important part of an energy drink. A common distraction brought up by XS proponents is the types of vitamins available in the drink versus other energy drinks. By and large, most people do not care about vitamins in their energy drinks, and vitamins are not the important ingredients for helping to keep energy levels up.

The second item from MLM is Youngevity's peppermint oil versus Plant Therapy's peppermint oil. They both come from plants and are both organic. They both are designed for the same needs and both are the same scent. They are both highly rated and seem to be extremely similar in effectiveness and production.

Youngevity's peppermint oil is available in 10 m/l for $24.70.  There is also a shipping and handling fee of $13.00 as well as a $2.28 tax bringing the total to a very convenient $39.98 which we will say is $40.00 a bottle. If you become a distributor you can knock 30% off and get free shipping which brings the bottle back down to $25.00 (they remove the "tax" as well), or you can order at least $50.00 worth of product and get free shipping (how inconvenient as one bottle costs $40.00).

Plant Therapy also offers a 10 m/l version on Amazon for $7.95 with free shipping and no tax. You do not have to buy a minimum amount and you do not have to sign up to be a distributor. You also do not have to sign up for a recurring shipment monthly.

Plant Therapy is between 3-5x cheaper than Youngevity for the same product with the same qualities. They both have high ratings and they both are manufactured well. There does not seem to be any logical advantages to buy the Youngevity version over the Plant Therapy version.

The third MLM product is Shakeology Vanilla from Beachbody versus Labrada Lean Body Vanilla. They both are designed as meal replacement shakes and both contain high quantities of protein mixed with vitamins and minerals. They both have high ratings and they both are made from responsible manufacturers.

Shakeology comes in a 30 pack for $129.95. They also add $2.00 shipping for the cheapest available and $10.56 in tax bringing the total to $142.51 or approximately $4.75 per serving. They also offer 10% off if you become a regular member (sign up for monthly shipments) and 25% off for coaches, but they still charge tax and shipping.

Labrada lean comes in a 16 serving tub for $27.98. In an effort to do a fair comparison we will double that order to 2 tubs for 32 servings. The cost of the two tubs will be $55.96 and then shipping is $8.31 bringing the total cost to $64.27. $64.27 split among 32 servings equals approximately $2.00 per serving.

While I didn't go into specific details about the ingredients, it is important to remember that both of these products serve the same purpose and Labrada lean is half the cost with no sign up or monthly commitments. It is designed to do the same thing as Shakeology and major clinics such as the Mayo clinic continue to post information about shakes and their overall effectiveness which is something to take into consideration before purchasing.

This pattern of overpricing products is not unusual because of the payout structure. The payouts go through many levels as new customers join the business. If an MLMer tries to tell you their product is the best value and the best quality then they are lying. There is no efficacy to prove their products are better because they are in market spaces with little to no regulation or clinical support, and their products are the most expensive when compared with their competitors. These three examples are not unique.


XS Energy: https://www.amazon.com/XS-Energy-Drinks-Variety-Ounce/dp/B002C94E1I

Monster Energy: https://www.amazon.com/Monster-Lo-carb-Energy-16-Ounce-27-5/dp/B001DNBYXK/ref=sr_1_2_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1482270856&sr=8-2&keywords=Monster+Energy+Drink+blue

Youngevity peppermint oil: http://youngofficial.com/product/youngevity-essential-oils-peppermint/

Plant Therapy peppermint oil: https://www.amazon.com/Plant-Therapy-Certified-Peppermint-Therapeutic/dp/B0062C2IKA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1482272840&sr=8-2-spons&keywords=peppermint%2Bessential%2Boil&th=1

Shakeology: http://www.shakeology.com/where-to-buy#vanilla

Labrada: http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/lab/lean-body-mrp.html

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. None of these MLM products are of any special value. They are either sub-par, or merely of generic quality. The only special thing about them is their outrageous price tag.

    One astute commentator on MLMs calls the products being sold nothing but a kind of "wampum," or an essentially worthless exchange medium, designed solely to make it seem that the fake business is actually about something.

    The thing that made me see the truth about Amway many years ago was when my up-line said that the important thing about the business wasn't the products -- it was "The Plan."

    As soon as I heard that, I was out the door.

    1. Anonymous,

      You are absolutely right about the products having no "special" qualities, and they specifically target markets that have little regulation or markets where their dollars can be used to lobby on their behalf. Senators like Orrin Thatch are extremely helpful to MLMs that deal with supplements, because he goes out of his way to try and destroy regulation in these fields.

      Wampum, snake oil, quack meds, and nostrum are all terms that come to mind when people preach in the "holistic" approach that MLM takes. Their use of outrageous health claims has gotten them into trouble repeatedly, and yet the FTC still has not shut them down for this reason alone.

      I'm glad that you were able to wake up when they said it was more about the plan than the products. A lot of people can't recognize this is an extremely bad red flag. That was part of the reason for my rejection of the "business opportunity" along with the outrageous monthly costs. When my sponsor didn't have a handle on how he was going to make money, told me it was not about selling a product, and I would have to purchase a monthly subscription of products, seminars, and tools just to show "The Plan" I knew the jig was up. I couldn't have made a faster bee line for the door.

    2. Thanks Anonymous - I am, in fact, the 'astute commentator' who first began describing 'MLM' products as 'effectively-unsaleable wampum,' more than 15 years back.

      Perhaps you are aware that there is a parallel business in various countries (India, China, etc.) supplying effectively-valueless 'MLM' wampum-products to established, and would-be, 'MLM racketeers.

      Just Google-search 'MLM product suppliers' to find out what this crap can be bought for in bulk from the manufacturers and wholesalers.


      Remember the real function of effectively-unsaleable 'MLM' wampum has always been to launder unlawful payments into closed-market swindles (aka pyramid schemes). Almost anything can be used for this hidden purpose.