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Thread: Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

  1. #1
    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

    Would love your thoughts on this.

    Multilevel Marketing (Amway, Network21, Prime America, etc) seems inherently sleazy to me. The only way the "seller" makes money is if I give him money... there's no actual value being created or goods/services changing hands.

    So when somebody tries to sign me up for the latest MLM scheme, what should my internal response be? I've usually gone with a silent "yeah right" but politely refused. More recently I've been approached by a couple that really seemed to be legit job leads, and it wasn't until I did some digging that I realized they were an MLM. I'm tempted to go with a... shall we say... more emphatic rejection.

    So, is there any case where an MLM pitch isn't a scam? Is there any reason not to treat an MLMer like any other scammer?
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    The New Gold Swagger travmil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

    I've tried to find out directly from Amway people before. Anytime you question anything they tell you, they ask you to meet with their "upline". I've done that once, just looking for answers. Basically, they dance around direct questions, and try to make you feel stupid for asking questions about this incredibly "simple" opportunity. I have a rule that says very simply, if a man can't answer your question directly, face to face, he's hiding something. And on the few occasions that I sat down with an Amway rep, I was never once comfortable with what I was hearing.

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    Whale Shepherd cdash's Avatar
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    Default Re: Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

    It's always a scam.

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    Default Re: Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anthem
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    So, is there any case where an MLM pitch isn't a scam? Is there any reason not to treat an MLMer like any other scammer?

    I don't think so. I think they are fundamentally bogus.


    You probably know that Amway is going big in a lot of other countries. Albanians went into it big, and the inevitable collapse of the pyramid harmed the whole economy. China is trying to figure out whether Amway should be allowed there.
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    International Counter bellisimo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

    from what i remember there were 2 ways someone could earn a living in MLM...one would be to downstream or to hire other recruits and receive money from them while the other would be to actually sell the products.

    Unfortunately most of the people are trying to increase their downstream as this is the number that most of the MLM companies are interested in. Hassling others about the next great big thing really placed a damp in the world of MLM.

    If people spent more time actually selling goods/products instead of the idea that you too can sell goods/products, it would have been a lot more successful.

    just my 2 cents.

  7. #6

    Default Re: Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by B-mo
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    If people spent more time actually selling goods/products instead of the idea that you too can sell goods/products, it would have been a lot more successful.

    If selling goods were the priority, the organization would reassess its management structure and decide to clear out much of the unproductive layers. It would cease to be a pyramid and become a more normal retailer.

    But would Amway be successful as a normal retailer? I've never bought the stuff myself and have no idea about the quality and pricing.
    And I won't be here to see the day
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    Default Re: Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

    a balance would have been better...they need the downstream to be MLM correct...so why not say everyone gets 5 other sellers and then starts selling the products?

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    The New Gold Swagger travmil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

    I don't think it qualifies as a pyramid scheme. The thing is, there are actual products changing hand for actual money. So you can't say Amway scammed you when you bought a product for a set price and have possession/use of that product. It's like anything else. If you don't like the price/quality/salesman, you don't buy it. I think the scam/shady part comes in the form of the way they recruit their sales force. Like I said, I've never walked away from a conversation with an Amway rep feeling like everything was on the level.

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    Default Re: Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by travmil View Post
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    I don't think it qualifies as a pyramid scheme. The thing is, there are actual products changing hand for actual money. So you can't say Amway scammed you when you bought a product for a set price and have possession/use of that product. It's like anything else. If you don't like the price/quality/salesman, you don't buy it. I think the scam/shady part comes in the form of the way they recruit their sales force. Like I said, I've never walked away from a conversation with an Amway rep feeling like everything was on the level.
    True enough. The buying customer isn't the one getting cheated, even if the deodorant or toothpaste or furniture polish isn't as miraculous as the salesman claims it is. But could Amway survive as an ordinary retailer?
    And I won't be here to see the day
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    The New Gold Swagger travmil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

    I'm not gonna out him but there's a poster here who I know was involved with Amway some years back. Maybe he'll chime in when he sees this thread.

  12. #11
    Fear my small avatar Gyron's Avatar
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    Default Re: Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

    I know Amway Canada was actually running a prettty successful online business a few years ago. I don't know how its going now, but they were a customer of mine for a while.

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    Default Re: Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by travmil View Post
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    I'm not gonna out him but there's a poster here who I know was involved with Amway some years back. Maybe he'll chime in when he sees this thread.
    Did I give you the sell job in the break room at Columbia House? Man, I had forgotten about that. As for making money at it, the key is to get people to joine and buy product for themselves while while getting them to do the same. Selling is good as well, but the bonus money is better the deeper the layers you build below you. I don't think you can make as much money just selling because you don't get the product as cheap as a person does getting the same thing directly from a manufacturer. That is the non-Amway stuff.

    There are also no territorial boundaries between lines of distributors, unlike some franchises. I think if you want to sign up to make a little extra money it is ok, but you really have to be able to talk to a lot of people to do well.

    I got in by accident. I was living in Joliet and took a wrong call which led to a meeting. I meet a lot of decent pwople, but it wasn't for me. I also spent alot of money on materils such as brochures and tapes to learn how to "grow". some were very funny and educational in ways that had nothing to do with the buisness.

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    The New Gold Swagger travmil's Avatar
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    Default Re: Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

    Haha yes you did. Talk about a blast from the past. That has to be what, 14, maybe even 15 years ago now?

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    Member SycamoreKen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

    14 years ago. Pam and I got married the summer after that and we have been together 13 years. We were back in TH last month and everything seems pretty much the same except ISU. That job was fun, even though we were destined to be canned before we even started.

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    Default Re: Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

    funny...I was just sold on a MLM pitch, even though I had this thread in the back of my mind...this is a new company that is on the verge of expanding very hard. The owners are friends of friends so I had a bit of a chat about them what made them different.

    This MLM is about musicians and promoters. Its an online based system where the promoters are looking to get musicians on the website to sell their music. The promoters are making money from recruiting other promoters, new artists and a percentage from music sales.

    At the moment there are no limits which you need to pass in order to stay as a promoter, so I dont have to worry about buying music and spend money to stay as a member which is good.

    To me this feels like an interesting product which definitely has value to musicians and alike...so I will give this one a try and see how things go.

  17. #16

    Default Re: Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

    Internet marketing/promotional schemes can be much more benign that the more traditional Ponzi scheme like Amway. The question is whether new enrollees have to pay a bunch of money up front or not.

    One of the code words that signals a scam today is "turnkey." The word seems to indicate that everything you need to get started is right here in this package. But what it really means is that you incur all the expense up front, before you really even know if there is a market for the product or if you have the aptitude to succeed at selling it. Scam.

    There are lots of "opportunities" for writers to get their work published on the internet. Those typically are free or very cheap. the people behind the scheme are willing to do it because posting your text on the internet costs next to nothing and because there is a chance that somebody will be the next Chicken Soup for the Soul or other highly salable slop.

    B-mo's musicians' site sounds like that sort of benign program to share the cost of promoting and marketing.
    And I won't be here to see the day
    It all dries up and blows away
    I'd hang around just to see
    But they never had much use for me
    In Levelland. (James McMurtry)

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    International Counter bellisimo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

    there is only a one time account set up fee for promoters and artists - under $200...when you're looking to promote yourself in any means possible to as many potential fans/buyers, that is not a big fee to pay...

    it all depends on whether or not they can get ROI once they sign up as artists...the "brains" behind this operation are looking to make sure that they do by creating various tools for them.

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    Default Re: Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by SycamoreKen View Post
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    14 years ago. Pam and I got married the summer after that and we have been together 13 years. We were back in TH last month and everything seems pretty much the same except ISU.
    Oh come on now, it wasn't as smelly as you remember, was it??
    You know how hippos are made out to be sweet and silly, like big cows, but are actually extremely dangerous and can kill you with stunning brutality? The Pacers are the NBA's hippos....Matt Moore CBS Sports....

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    Default Re: Multilevel Marketing... is it ever NOT a scam?

    Quote Originally Posted by RWB View Post
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    Oh come on now, it wasn't as smelly as you remember, was it??
    Sure was.

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