Tuesday, September 12, 2017

MLM and 12 Classic Propaganda Techniques Pt. 2

Today's blog post is going to go through more of the propaganda techniques utilized by MLMers to condition their prospects and lower-ranking members. These techniques are not exclusive to MLM and should be treated as potential threats to our critical faculties. Some other common places in which these propaganda techniques can be regularly seen are, the news, advertisements, major sporting events (yesterday had a lot of football games focusing on the 9/11/2001 events), and especially the internet. It is up to each individual to be cognizant of these techniques and understand their effects, otherwise, they will not be able to identify what is fact and what is fiction.

Without further ado, we go back to our list and start with "exaggerating".

5. "Exaggerating:  Stretching the truth to extremes to get credit, eliminate doubt, or coerce someone.
Narcissists have grandiose personas. Exaggerating is second nature to them.
Example:  Reaction from a narcissist when a friend suggests theirs is a one-sided relationship:  'I’m the best and most generous friend you’ve ever had. I’ve done more for you than anybody in history has done for another.'"
Image result for Exaggeration brainy quotes

This propaganda technique can be a bit vague, therefore we need to put this in specific context. This isn't the same as "the big lie", and often "exaggerating" can be a combination of lying, "intentional vagueness", and "glittering generalities". In MLM, "exaggerating" is used at every level, therefore, I would like to focus on what the "exaggerating" will look like at each position. Again, some of this may look like "the big lie", and some of this may look like "glittering generalities", but it is based on an original truth that has been morphed into a lie.
Entry-level MLMers (equivalent to MLMers that have limited or no downline) "exaggerating" example: An entry level MLMer may say, "MLM doesn't require a lot of money to start". First of all, "A lot of money" can be subjective, which goes along the lines of "intentional vagueness", and second of all, some MLMs can cost thousands to start, which goes along the lines of "the big lie". The MLMer may try to combat this by saying, "but 'traditional' businesses cost hundreds of thousands or even millions", which is not necessarily true and is an exaggeration in itself, but that also doesn't mean that MLM is inexpensive. This type of "exaggerating" can be extremely misleading.
Mid-level MLMers (equivalent to members with substantial downlines, but not top ranking members) example: A mid level MLMer may say, "MLM has freed me from my job and I am now working the 'business' full time". Again, this has two exaggerations in this statement. First, it hasn't freed them from anything, but rather replaced one job with another. The idea of them being "freed" is a fallacy. Second, this inherently implies they are making a stable income through MLM, which according to the income disclosure charts, would suggest they are not. Only the top 1%, or less, are making any substantial monies from MLM, therefore, any money the mid level MLMers are making is not going to be adequate as a lone income stream.
Top-level MLMers (equivalent to "Amway" diamonds and crowns) example: A top-level MLMer utilizes exaggerations the most. One of their most frequent examples is the lifestyle videos. They will show videos of mansions, cars, boats, and vacations. These videos resemble the celebrity lifestyle and the idea that their money stream is infinite, but that is not accurate. Many top-level MLMers make a modest living, according to the income disclosures, and almost none make enough to have the lifestyles they portray. Instead, they rent fancy cars, fancy mansions, or even plunge themselves into huge amounts of debt to create the facade. A previous "triple diamond" from "Amway", Greg Duncan, bankrupted himself after claiming he paid for everything in cash. Also, at my first "Amway" meeting, Mike Carroll, an Amway diamond, claimed to pay for everything in cash but brought out an "Amway" credit card at the end of the meeting. These top-level MLMers utilize the "exaggeration" technique extremely effectively.

6. "Minimizing:  The opposite of exaggeration, minimizing denies or downplays anything that doesn’t fit with a propagandist’s goals.
Narcissists are desperately image conscious so they frequently minimize the negative consequences of their actions. They also discount others’ feelings and needs, which narcissists tend to see as nuisances.
Example:  A narcissistic parent’s response to adult child who wants to discuss the parent’s past neglect or abuse:  'What are you talking about, you had a great childhood. Yes I was strict but all parents were in those days. You have nothing to complain about.'" 
Image result for Minimization Propaganda quotes
"Minimizing" is one of the most underappreciated techniques used by a MLMer in my opinion. MLMers have the uncanny ability to completely minimize the nearly 100% failure rate while simultaneously exaggerate their income claims. They also regularly minimize the results of lawsuits and act as though settlements are victories. One of the most notable moments was when "Herbalife's" CEO, Michael Johnson, came out and said the FTC and "Herbalife" had finally reached an "agreement", and it "comes at a time when our business is growing bigger and better than ever before". That was his description of having to pay a $200 million dollar settlement and completely restructure in North America because, as Edith Ramirez stated, "We did not determine 'Herbalife' not to be a pyramid". This brazen disregard for the accuracy of the situation is not unique, and most major MLMs have had to go to court and settle, yet they act as though nothing ever happened or it isn't significant.

One of the other ways MLMers utilize "minimizing" is in the prospecting or recruiting process. They act as though it is an easy "duplication" process, but in actuality, the process is nearly impossible and extremely lengthy. In fact, when I was being propositioned for "Amway", I had to go to three "meetings", read a book, and attend an "FED" before they felt I was ready to join. Not only did that require a lot of my time and effort, but it required an immense amount of theirs as well as money for my tickets. The process in which I was subjected was anything but simple.

Even though these two techniques are technically opposite, their design has the same intention. They want to deceive the person into believing something other than the reality of the situation. They have cleverly designed their words and ideas to disguise their intentions while shutting down any room for rebuttal. They are instrumentally utilizing thought-stopping techniques to better themselves and take consumer's hard earned dollars.
Source: https://blogs.psychcentral.com/narcissism-decoded/2017/09/12-classic-propaganda-techniques-narcissists-use-to-manipulate-you/
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6MwGeOm8iI&t=68s


  1. Fake it till you make it, is one of the things I was taught as a new IBO. The idea was to act successful because if you stayed in Amway, you would eventually "make it", so why not act the part in advance?

    Minimizing problems is another common defense. David Steadson AKA "IBOFightback" was the master of this. His defenses would range from "Amway has few formal complaints". That would be true because many people are sponsored by family and friends, thus there wouldn't be many formal complaints.

    Another is lies or distraction such as partner stores or that Amway is endorsed by the BBB. Partner stores means nothing except that Amway IOs get to shlep products for these partner stores. The BBB doesn't endorse any business. But it sounds impressive to someone who has no idea.

    1. Joe,

      Steadson claiming people don't complain about Amway is ludicrous. Anyone that has heard of Amway, and is currently participating, has some sort of a complaint about Amway and their tactics. I have never met a person, that was not a current member of Amway, say anything nice about the "business". I'm not sure what a "formal complaint" is, but after the landmark case in 1979, it is hard to act as though there aren't major "formal complaints".

      The partner store myth seems to be rampant in current Amway groups. They love to act as though blue chip companies care about Amway, and they have these fantastic relationships. That couldn't be further from the truth, and Amway is using those stores' reputations to sell more products. I'm honestly not sure exactly how IBO's purchase products from "Partner Stores", but I wouldn't be surprised if it was Amway purchasing the products at wholesale and then selling them to IBO's. I also wouldn't be surprised if Amway wasn't certified to legally do this.

  2. Steadson himself was a textbook example of a propagandist. His entire aim was not the truth, but merely damage-control against anybody who dared to publish criticism of Amway.

    He never addressed criticisms honestly or directly. He just sneered at the people who made them, and spouted the canned drivel that Amway provides as "answers" to common objections. The guy was no more objective than Dr. Goebbels, the Nazi minister of Propaganda.

    It's interesting that Steadson was not involved as an IBO in Amway at all. He never personally took part in Amway or any other MLM racket. He was simply a paid-up media whore whose job was to defend the indefensible. He seems to have disappeared from the public scene, but he may be working under a pseudonym elsewhere, helping to defend MLMs against any on-line critiques.

    I notice, however, that he doesn't have the balls to come here.

    1. Anonymous,

      I wish I was around when Steadson was spreading his BS. The amount of craziness he displayed is important when discussing narcissism and propaganda. He would be a great, current, example of how narcissists work and how they are polluting people's minds.

    2. Steadson was a master of obfuscation. He used to run google alerts so anytime an Amway discussion was on the internet, he was there. He wouldn't often stay to argue for long, but he would respond to a comment with "you obviously don't understand how Amway works". And then he'd disappear but that comment would stay there forever.

      At his peak, he was running 23+ blogs and forums about Amway and making literally thousands of comments all over the internet.

      He's still got two forums running, although they are basically dead. Amway talk and "The truth about Amway", which is loaded with untruths.

      One other common tactic is say there's one side of the road and the other side of the road. Truth lies in the middle. He will try to get you to defend your side of the road while ignoring his claim.

      In all the years I battled with him, he could never admit he was wrong, even when caught in a lie. He would say "I misspoke" or claim it was a typo when clearly he was wrong or lied.

      It's too bad Scott Larsens's Amquix Info website is no longer up. He had some goodies about Steadson. Steadson is truly a narcissist.

  3. Steadson might still be active:


    ""Some 200 edits have been done to english article about Amway just during last 20 days – the same amount of edits took over a year to do before the attack. That is the result of ongoing Amway zealots activity on english Wikipedia. It had been all started on March 8 by user with nick „Historik75“, who was soon reinforced by user „Icerat“. Who are these guys and what is their goal?

    User Icerat, well known as ibofightback, is Australian David Steadson currently residing in Sweden. It is well known Amway zealot active over a decade and also active (or used to be active) Amway member with proven result of 3% (what a success!) in his Amway business. He is also IT guy and owner of over 20 websites dedicated to Amway, where he publishes spinned pro-Amway propaganda.""

  4. I wonder why Steadson is living in Sweden. Maybe he had to run away from the law.

  5. Mr. Steadson, the unmasked 'Amway' Lord Hee Haw, now styles himself as "a social entrepreneur" and "a consumer advocate who has been reporting on pyramid schemes for almost 20 years."


    I presume that after Mr. Steadson came up with his new reality-inverting disguise, he sang three choruses of 'Walzing Matilda' and then fell down in a heap.

    Steadson once got very upset when I described his Internet photo as him 'dressed up as Zorro.' He immediately launched into a squawking tirade about his internet persona being the 'Dread Pirate Roberts' from 'The Princess Bride.'


    "...Roberts is not one man, but a series of individuals who pass the name and reputation to a chosen successor once they are wealthy enough to retire."

    In other words, Steadson made the mistake of admitting that his many thousands of hours of Internet propaganda activities have not been the unpaid work of one person, but the work of several people (and who have been well paid).