Multi Level Marketing and Network Marketing explained - vital information for the potential new MLM recruit.
A Digest of Reader's Comments (See also FAQ's)
"You made me remember how impossible it is to make money..."
Great Site. I actually visited your site when a friend of mine had a great biz opp I had to take a look at. It is being started with Joyner and Chen. It's supposed to be some slick MLM where your upline can move your downline to make sure that it stays strong. I almost bit the hook. You see, I not only tried Amway, but I tried FreeLife, Excel, and lord knows what other schemes. The way I see it, being a "real" business owner, is that you are not an entrepreneur when you join these deals. You are essentially an unpaid sales rep with big expenses. I only wish that more people would wake up and realize this.
The reason for the email, is the sales pitch almost got me to consider doing this deal. THANK GOD for your website. I owe you big time. You made me remember how impossible it is for someone to make money. Please keep up the great work. It is appreciated very, very much.
My Kindest Regards, Corey
PAB: The pleasure is all mine Corey. Your understanding is right on the button. Thank you.
About The MLM File - Nice Stuff
About MLM - An issue of morality...
"This is an issue of MORALITY...."
Hello -- great site, and alas all too accurate as to the experiences of myself and many thousands of others.
A point which you might want to add to your answer on your FAQ page re. all the MLM'ers who say that traditional businesses fail often too AND who tend to compare MLM's to franchises, but claim MLM's are better because they're so much cheaper to start, so what's the difference?
Here's the difference: IF franchises had the failure rate of MLM's, we'd see thousands upon thousands of boarded-up McDonald's and KFC's by the roadside everywhere we went AND see (as you so properly note re. geometric growth/ competition within the same company), two or three or more of them on the same intersection competing against each other -- not just to sell burgers, but to sell Brand X Burgers which are, of course "better" than anyone else's. We don't (see it).
We don't because those companies provide territorial protection. We don't because they provide training based on actual dollars-and-cents success at retailing with NO recruiting of other "distributors/franchisees" (I don't remember ever going into a Burger King or Pizza Hut and ordering and being told by the pimply kid at the counter, "Great, we'll have your lunch for you in a minute, but meanwhile -- have you ever considered owning your own stand? Its only $1.2 million and you're BOUND to succeed!")
AND of course, the BANKS and other institutions that loan the larger capital required for a REAL business are more careful than somebody who's just been hyped up at an "opportunity meeting" too.
IN other words, the system of checks and balances that traditional small business has developed over the years is totally, or nearly totally, absent in MLM ...and with those gone, its the ultimate crap shoot with loaded dice. Thanks for letting me contribute, though I'd prefer to keep myself anonymous to the world.
Congrats on the site and thanks for spreading the word AND for having the courage, in this secular and amoral age, to say as I myself do, that this is an issue of MORALITY and anyone who's been conned into repeating the lies of MLM to others has a moral obligation to spread the truth. Thanks again. - "Dan" - California, USA
PAB: Thanks for your very accurate and obviously heart-felt input Dan.
About MLM - Greed on sale...
Thank you so much for your site. It put everything in perspective for me.
I'm a distributor with Braingarden. Like you I've had great success with the products and have found it easy to sell to people. They have a foodfirst program that you receive $US50 for getting people to try. I've put about 35 people through the program so far quite easily and thought I would take the next step and get serious about the business.
I was sent to the Randy Gage website for inspiration but I have to say it did not inspire me so much as it disturbed me. Greed was what was on sale and I was horrified. "Do you want to drive around in a sports car? It's a spiritual experience." Spiritual experience??????? Get a life! Prosperity is Randy Gage's religion and the sad thing is he not only admits it, he's proud of it. I couldn't make it through the free presentation, so I surfed the net and came upon your site.
The part that hit home strongest to me was in "The 10 Big Lies of Network Marketing". Especially the comment: "MLM's over-reaching appeal to wealth and luxury conflicts with most people's true desire for meaningful and fulfilling work in something in which they have special talent or interest. In short, the culture of this business side tracks many people from their personal values and desires to express their unique talents and aspirations." This is exactly how I feel.
I'm studying medicine and also want to write novels, poetry and screenplays. After the Randy Gage presentation I was beginning to feel like a loser for not having more wealth generating dreams. These are the things I want to do and in the end they may or may not bring me untold wealth but I know I'll be fulfilled. I will stay with the Braingarden because I've managed to make over $US1500 without having to recruit a single person and I do love the food.
Will I actively recruit? No. A missed opportunity? Perhaps. A chance to pursue my real dreams? Definitely. So thank you for reminding me what is really important to me. Regards, S.S.
PAB: I'm with you 100%. It is just so sad that "appeal to greed" works so well for MLM. What makes it very much worse though, is that the appeal to greed is no more than just a very clever con.
Peter, I have found your site to be very helpful and honest. I have been a part of an mlm company for the past 9 months. Here is the story of how I got involved. I am an elementary teacher who enjoys helping students but who wanted to start something I could do from home as I am going to be starting a family soon. I began reading many financial books on creating multiple streams of income and real estate. I then chose to get involved with a "reputable" company.
I had heard negative things about mlm companies before but that had been many years ago--and my "heavy hitter" sponsor assured me that I could build this business using the internet. After talking with him I felt he was honest and would be there to guide me in developing this business.
He never called again (except to tell me I needed to purchase some more product to qualify).
Being the determined person I am -- I continued to search for help from other members on the team, flew out to Salt Lake City twice for conventions, and spent bundles buying fruitless internet leads. I kept purchasing leads and sales tools and "cold calling" prospects (following all systems of my upline) and attending all training calls. I have spent approximately 7,500 U.S. dollars on this venture.
While I too feel the products are great and the founder is upstanding -- the methods of my personal upline team were less than honest. For one thing, I began thinking about the process that I went through to join. I read a book that advertised for this particular company, then I filled out a form on the internet. Then my "sponsor" began sending me a series of email (over a 6 week period). I later filled out another form and he called me. We talked for about 40 minutes and I signed up. I was not called by numerous other networkers or other mlm companies so I know the lead was not shared with other companies. So I assumed that this is how I would also build my business (as this is what he implied).
However, after buying hundreds of online leads I found that when I talked to people they had already been called by 3 and 4 other networkers. I finally got fed up with this and called him directly. He was so rude and short with me and when I mentioned that I didn't have 4 or 5 people calling me when I joined he said he didn't use those leads anymore. I find that to be very interesting because all the team members I met at convention (the previous month) had been brought on the same way I was. I can only assume that these exclusive more "qualified" leads are only given to the "heavy hitters". It is also true that when you question the system the other members of upline just stop talking to you.
I went into this with an optimistic view and I followed everything my training said to do. I am now $7,500 in debt and feel like I've been duped. I know this is lengthy but it feels good to have gotten it off my chest and to have read your information that lets me know I am not alone.
Thank you for your website and to the person who said that you had caused 40 members leave his/her downline -- I would have to say they probably left for the same reason I am -- they were working hard and still not making money! If you use this on your site please omit my email info. from viewing.
Who would have thought that the internet could produce leads that had already been approached? Qualified leads mean qualified people. There are not that many people who want to do MLM - only a few who simply haven't heard of it or who haven't got sufficient reason to mistrust it - YET! - PAB
About MLM - The Conundrum in Action
About MLM - It's really not so bad.....
I've read your article and even though I agree with you that amway, life force, herbalife etc... are bad mlm businesses. Please don't put all the thousands of mlm business opportunities in the same basket. There are thousands of mlm's out there and some are very easy to succeed in. The MLM business model is a VERY powerful business model when it's done right.
Amway, Herbalife etc... are not good because of COMPLEXITY. They are way too complicated to sell for the average person without sales experience. Heck with Herbalife you almost have to become a doctor in order to be able to present all the benefits of each products, that's HARD to sell. So members spend money, "genuinely" try and work hard... but they lack the skills required to make it work so they quit feeling burned.
Find a mlm that's really simple to sell and you will see that making good money with MLM's is not that hard. I have found some VERY GOOD ONES and I'm quite happy with my current situation. I'm sorry to know that you could not make it in this industry, it's really rewarding. I hope everything is going well for you now.
(Name & Email Address supplied)
Thank you for your well-intentioned comments Danny. Unfortunately, the reasons you give for being involved in MLM center on the fact that IT'S NOT SO HARD TO MAKE MONEY. I too, could make money in MLM, but only if I were to ignore the fact that the money I make is unfairly gained. Unless you look for the problems inherent in MLM, they will remain submerged in your sub-conscious and be auto-rationalised to appear as quite acceptable to you. The arguments are second nature to any MLM success. Truth is, money in your pocket is more important than how it is gained. Ask any thief if the money they gained was spent in bad conscience. Without exception, you will be assured that HAVING the money is far better than not having it - no matter how it is gained. Though MLM money is not stolen, it is amassed because of the ignorance of new people of the short-comings of the MLM concept. Had you read more than the first page or two of this website, you could hardly have thought that I gave away MLM because I couldn't make it work. I gave it away because the concept is inherently corrupt.
Pro MLM - Leave the poor fools be.....
There will always be optimists in this world. Let them be. If they want to to be part of the 95% who end up broke after slaving for someone else all their working life let them be. But here's the thing - when you think small you end up poor. When you think negatively its of your own choosing. You will never change. Not everbody is suited to MLM admittingly, but its when you waffle, and have to justify why you are not joining and make all these rubbish accusations, its you that is the loser, and that is of your own doing. You choose to be where you are - at the bottom.
(Email address supplied)
Here's the thing - When you think big in the MLM situation, you should really do so by imagining yourself to be at the top of a discarded heap of broke pessimists and a few who remain as optimists. You will recall though, when you get there, that these pessimistic people were once hopeful optimists like you, believers like you, and believers IN you. YOU were the reason that caused them to jump on the gravy train. YOU were the reason they spent their money to get on board. And YOU were the reason why 99.95% of them are now pessimists and maybe lining up for the dole. If you want to be an optimist in business, do not choose a business that guarantees failure for 99.95% of the people who follow you. You will not remain as their favourite person, nor will you remain as an honest optimist.
About MLM - Impact on Relationships
"...if people aren't OF use to you, then they are NO use to you..."
Thank you for the time you have put into your site. I have found it of comfort while I mourn a lost friendship.
I am 29 and have been approached by 5 people in my lifetime for Amway. Each time they had that desperation quality about them that frightened me. The last one to do it was my best friend who knew everything about me. He asked to come over socially and when he arrived he was in his business clothes and said he was here to 'talk business' with us. I told him straight 'this better not be Amway' but he avoided the question. When we said no, he denigrated our jobs, lifestyle and then our personalities.
I can forgive him for that, but the point is that I can't trust him now. I told him straight that I won't be a pawn for him to approach people through me and since then he brushes us off, but it is with uncomfortable, sickening, insincere platitudes.
I hate what Amway is doing to relationships like the one I had with my friend. The green eyed monster may be the real culprit for the damage, but Amway is the one that teaches people to be con artists and use people, that wealth (real or imagined) is more important than friends or family.
(What they really teach is) that if people aren't OF use to you, then they are NO use to you.
Jane - Brisbane, Australia
PAB: Your last sentence encapsulates perfectly what MLM is truly all about. Thank you Jane.
"...too pre-occupied with "success"..."
I am currently feeling the effects of (losing) my long-term girlfriend who has become involved with an MLM company in Singapore. I currently live in England and I am so very frustrated that our relationship has 'crumbled' away without (me) being able to do anything (about it).
Apparently MLM is only fairly new in Singapore - a few years or so, so I guess that she is not aware of the bad (MLM) 'press' coverage that we in England particularly are aware of. According to her, the Prime Minister (of Singapore) 'invited' this particular MLM to do business in Singapore.
This MLM has exploited her 'Christian' beliefs by setting up 'charities' and 'funds' to help with poverty, etc. Naturally, she would want to become involved with something where she can make money and also 'help' others! Our relationship is now over and (it's all) very sad, (although not for her I'd imagine, as she seems too preoccupied with 'success' and not FAILING).
I was wondering whether you are aware of this type of thing happening before - relationships breaking down, and friendships being totally compromised in the belief that someone can make money? And whether you think that her 'appalling' behaviour and lack of any sensitivity is because of this MLM? For me anyway, things went downhill as soon as she became involved, so I think I may already know this answer.
My research informs me that 50-90% of MLMers 'drop-out' after 1 year - are you aware of this? This (past) 2 months has been a nightmare for me and she has accused me of holding her back. She only socialises with fellow distributors and sees the 'blue-diamonds' as her mentors. Have you ever heard of MLM seminars or presentations using subliminal messaging in the videos? I only ask this because i noticed that everything mentioning BLUE DIAMONDS (in this particular MLM) is in 'bold, BLUE' lettering - almost as if it is a 'trigger' mechanism that reminds distributors of the 'dream'.
I hope you can spare a few moments of your time to respond to this email and that you may be able to offer any advice as to whether my girlfriend will ever 'snap' out of this robotic behaviour that has taken over her and whether the 99.6% failure rate (or there abouts) is true for all MLM companies Thank you - Dan, England
PAB: As you now know Dan, you are but one of many, many thousands. Broken relationships (and marriages), and many other nasties described here on my website and elsewhere on the internet, are the basis for the stuff that paves much of the MLM superhighway. My commiserations.
About The MLM File - Nasty Stuff
"I have lost over 40 people...."
Do you really understand what you are doing? I have lost over 40 people because of your website. You have no thought at all to the people who are trying to run their business properly. If you are so worried about people, what about ME? I have struggled to get going and spent 4 years solid working to get my business up. Yes, some of what you say is true for some people but not all. What about ME and others like me who do the right thing? You need a bullet. (Anon).
PAB You have my sympathies, sir/madam, but not for the reasons you would like.
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About The MLM File
This display of Reader's Comments contains a just a selection of emails.
Each contains a different viewpoint. Reader's Comments can no longer be accepted.