Monday, April 3, 2017

MLM and Social Media

Today's blog post is about the continued pervasive solicitations for MLM through social media outlets. It comes as no surprise that social media has been a great way to spread the MLM gospel, yet it continues to be a burden on relationships and continues to ensnare good and honest people. I recently had two different people post on my Facebook with MLM, and unfortunately neither were able to understand they were involved in a scheme. I have tried to diligently show people the issues with MLM, without beating them over the head with facts, in an attempt to have them reach a logical conclusion. Needless to say, I failed every time and have finally given up on trying to be rational with friends in an effort to maintain friendships.

The first friend that I removed had recently joined an MLM called Direct Cellars. Direct Cellars is an MLM involving wine and the idea is to buy your monthly wines until you have a certain number of people below you, then your wines are free. Also, if you pay for different levels of distributorship, then you will be paid a portion of other people's initial distributorship. The MLM is a blatant fraud as there is no actual distribution or sales of wines, but rather a monthly mandatory purchase of low quality wines at full retail that are delivered to your house. I went through how he was making money, how he was getting free wine every month, and how this was both a pyramid and a cash gifting scheme wrapped in one. Not only did he not understand this was not a real business, but he even tried to reach out to me again for the business opportunity and feigned interest in the daily events of my life. After I made a post on Facebook saying that I will not tolerate any more friends posting this crap and that they would be immediately removed, he responded 15 minutes later saying MLM is a good business and not a pyramid. I still believe the man is a good person but tremendously misguided, and I hope he snaps out of it soon because he will have a tough time dealing with the people he is damaging.

The second friend I removed posted before and after pictures of herself after using Modere for three weeks, or so she claimed. I gently tried to inform her that she needed to be careful about posting these pictures because they are in violation of the FTC's rules and regulations on how to properly solicit these types of products. She then vehemently defended the post suggesting it was nothing more than a progress update on her journey through weight loss (her before and after pictures didn't actually look like she had lost any weight, but rather pulled her pants up higher). I told her that would be fine if she hadn't put in the final sentence, "Thank you Modere", because that makes people believe they can achieve the same thing by just taking the product. I was again faced with a defense that she hadn't even listed the specific products she used, but above my comment in the thread she admitted that she was a distributor of the products. Therefore, it doesn't matter if specific products were listed or not, because she is marketing all of them.

Unfortunately, it got worse as one of her friends tried to suggest her post was completely appropriate and was not in violation of any FTC rules and regulations. Now I was getting attacked for trying to help an ignorant friend by some random person that had no idea what they were talking about. Instead of reading the particular section I highlighted from the FTC, the person went on a tangent about the FCC, and kept doubling down on her post's legitimacy. He, along with the woman who made the post, were fueling a perpetual cycle of ignorance and fraud, whether it was intentional or not, and they were beyond logic and reason. Again, there was no hope for a rational discourse about the situation and it turned into a hopeless fight that would have resulted in zero change.

Social Media is a wonderful platform that helps me get my daily dose of nostalgia mixed with spying into people's personal lives. It is a real life syndicated tabloid talk show that is endlessly entertaining, but not as terrible as shows such as Maury Povich or Jerry Springer. While it has its flaws, it continues to be a significant part of my life, and hopefully MLM can be made illegal sooner or later so I can continue to enjoy the various platforms without being plagued by business opportunities, before and after photos, and diet and supplement products.
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. Once an MLMer has bitten hook line and sinker, you cannot convince them of anything that goes beyond their MLM beliefs.

    This is because they have bought into a lie that MLM will deliver them into a financial Nirvana of sorts. A carefree life where money rolls in and life is good.

    And to oppose that idea or to try and expose MLM for the scam that it is, would be like telling them they are losers. That's the ferocity that some MLM defenders have when you question their beliefs.

    It hasn't happened recently but I've had people leave me death threats on my blog in the past. There are a couple of articles I wrote because one Amway IBO was cyber stalking me and one IBO from Canada made an actual death threat.

    If you read the book Merchants of Deception, it spoke about Amway IBOs willing to take a bullet for their upline diamond. The psychology of this is fascinating and scary at the same time.

    1. Joe,

      Yes, unfortunately there seems to be a switch that triggers in people's minds where they go from rational to irrational. Unfortunately it appears these people can not be rescued until they find the switch in their brains they accidentally flipped in the first place. Until then, it is like having a discussion with a 5 year old about why they can't have the chocolate in the pantry.

      I'm glad these IBOs have given up on death threats and attacks against you. Not only is that completely fruitless, but it won't end up stopping anything. It is great that these pro-Amway adherents continue to post on your blog because it only further proves the damages you are doing to these "businesses". You had one character recently by the name of "Rick" that was a truly astounding pile of poop. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a codger like him face financial ruin at the hands of good-hearted bloggers.

    2. When I was an IBO, I sponsored some folks and I was "fired up" and excited. Nobody was going to convince me that Amway didn't work. Oddly enough, I was taking losses while I had the belief.

      When I achieved 4000 PV, I thought I was going to start making money. But my upline kept telling me that I should re-invest any profit back into more tools and the money would be waiting for me in the near future.

      My upline telling be to spend all my profit on tools was the moment I began to smell a rat and I snapped out of my Amway trance.

      I started asking questions my upline didn't care for and he ended up telling me I needed to submit to upline and that I should ditch my girlfriend so I can push toward being a platinum.

      I met with my group and told them my suspicions and that I was going to quit for those reasons. With the exception of 1 or 2 IBOs, my entire group walked away and needless to say, my sponsor took a hit that he never recovered from. Sadly, my sponsor is still in Amway. In my opinion, my sponsor wasted his life.

      I'm not sure what the overall impact of my blog is, but even if my shared experience or knowledge of Amway and the systems helps a handful of people avoid the perils of Amway, it will have been worth my while.

    3. Joe - When I first began openly to complain to the authorities, legislators and the media in the UK, about 'Amway,' some very strange things began to happen.

      Impressive-looking, but unsigned, letters were sent by a firm of international attorneys (employed by 'Amway UK Ltd') to numerous people with whom I'd been in contact (including members of Parliament and a government Minister). I also received one of these letters. It attempted to character assassinate me as a childish fantasist engaged in a puerile 'vendetta' with my older brother (a deeply-deluded 'Amway Distributor'). Mentioned in the letter I received, was a copy of a hand-written document signed by brother which apparently stated that he had absolutely no complaint against 'Amway.' I was informed that this second document (which I didn't receive) had also been sent to all the people with whom I'd been in contact, and that they would immediately realise that I was a fantasist. The attorney's letter also warned me that if I persisted in contacting people in the UK making 'unfounded allegations about Amway,' I would be sued.

      In response, I contacted 'Amway's' attorneys by phone and managed to discover that some initials at the head of the letter identified it as having come from the office of a newly-qualified young attorney. I spoke to this sqirming drip for several minutes and got him to confess that he had not written the letter and that he did not know who had actually written it.

      Within weeks of this laughable exchange, the firm of attorneys in question had been absorbed into yet another firm.

      I have subsequently never received any legal threat from any 'MLM' racketeers.

      The more accurate my explanation of the 'MLM' phenomenon has become, the less 'MLM' racketeers have wanted to risk drawing attention to me.

      Joe - You can measure the impact of your Blog by the concerted effort the 'Amway' mob has put into trying to character-assassinate, and destabilise, you.

  2. Joe Cool, you blog is having a major impact. My spy at WWDB tells me that there is weeping and gnashing of teeth there over the posts you put up and the trenchant discussion that follows those posts. Because you pull no punches and tell it like it is, more and more IBOs are just dropping out of Amway's various LOS rackets.

    1. I'm not sure what impact my blog has in the Ama-world, but if it helps prospects and information seekers, then the time spent would have been worthwhile. When I was an Amway prospect myself in 1995-1996, information was not as readily available as it is now.

      Based on my observations, nothing has changed in WWDB over the years except that there are fewer diamonds now than when I was an IBO. They used to crow about the fruit on the tree. I wonder what they say now that the tree is bare?