I got an email recently suggesting that I expose a dark underbelly of the dark underbelly known as MLM. When it comes to MLM, it's probably more appropriate to call it an onion of evil. You pull off one layer and there's another one underneath. I've written before about The Business of MLM (or What Gives Freddy Krueger Nightmares). What I forgot to mention in that article is the MLM tool scams... which is like inviting Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers to the party.
[Side Note: I've borrowed the "ScamWorld" in the title from this excellent, but very long, article on get rich quick Internet schemes from The Verge.
Back in the 1980s and 90s when Amway was a popular MLM, there was a side-business that many at the top say was bigger than the Amway itself. It was the selling of motivational tools, brochures and tapes to distributors. Essentially these distributors, desperate for an opportunity to get rich, were a captive audience, to sell this stuff to. Anyone could make a good for buying it: You are investing in yourself, investing in your education. The margins on tapes, brochures, and books were incredible. Someone high in Amway could give a talk, drop a few buzzwords, and sell it for $10 or so to thousands,maybe even tens of thousands of MLM distributors. Companies like TEAM who were lead by Orrin Woodward jumped in and built multi-million dollar businesses just selling hope to those in pyramid schemes as this Forbes article points out. (Side Note: Great article from my friend Amthrax on how the FTC shut down a company for multiple accounts of fraud that awarded Orrin a "leadership" award.)
Back to the email I received. The person mentioned an old "friend", Chris Blair. Mr. Blair introduced me to LifeVantage Protandim, just weeks after spamming me to join his coin MLM. (I didn't realize until recently that he was in MonaVie, which is another company I covered also.) The person mentioned that Mr. Blair is on a full-fledged MLM marketing mission leaving no stone unturned. He's now putting videos up about the Empower Network, Neucopia, and Network Marketing VT... three MLMs whose "product" are "tools" that are used by other MLMers.
Let's take a look at the last one, Network Marketing VT, as pitched by Chris Blair. It offers a few conference calls and training webinars, a "huge" library on business building and lead generation, "enormous" product suite of software, etc., but most importantly it includes a pyramid scheme where if you recruit 200 people to buy the same course you can make nearly $20,000 a month. And of course Chris Blair calls it "the greatest thing I have ever seen", but if you read the other two, he says similar things about them as well.
Exposing the Neucopia Scam
Let's expose the Neucopia scam becuase it is fun. Also, since I'm Lazy, I love things that are easier than shooting fish in a barrel. And exposing Neucopia is a whole lot easier than that.
Here's Chris Blair's video showing the basic level products that are in Neucopia:
Two of the first tools are Internet Marketing Articles and Copywriting Automater. Internet Marketing Articles is a way to clog the Internet with a bunch of what Google calls "thin-content" or essentially spam webpages designed to fool search engines into thinking you are popular. The Copywriting Automater creates these articles quickly. Who cares if they read like they've been translated from Russian to English back and forth a few times? It's not for humans to read anyway. You'll so others like payment button creator, iframe generator, and audio player generator. Paypal has very simple and free tools to generate a payment integrated in their site. Enter iframes in your favorite search engine and the first result is going to show you the one line of code to generate an iframe. I used a YouTube's embed feature to generate a video player, so I've already one-upped the audio player generator.
Of course many of the tools have pictures of fake software boxes beside them, so you may be confused into thinking that people actually pay for this stuff. Access to these basic level tools is going to cost you $50 a month with Neucopia.
Also with the basic level of Neucopia membership, you'll learn Real Estate Training (cue Tom Vu), Stock Market and Forex Trading (because there's no quicker way to lose money than trading stocks and currency from the advice of non-financial company), debt consolidation (where they'll likely spin you to company to turn your unsecured debt to secured debt where you could potentially lose your home), and tax avoidance tips (because its always wise to mess with the IRS).
However if you want to plunk down $270 to start and $170 a month ($2000+ a year) you'll get access to the premier level of Neucopia. What does that give you? The key thing they pitch is "top level guru" videos. The first thing I notice is that they didn't give you one for the month of November or December, so that was 100% waste of your Neucopia premium dollar.
In October they had Mia Davies. According to the Neucopia:
"Mia is absolutely DOMINATING right now on the internet with video and social media marketing! As a result she has been featured in Forbes, USA Today, Yahoo News.....just to name a few....AND shared the stage with T Harv Eker!"
Interestingly, I've never heard of Mia. So I decided to search Forbes site for Mia Davies and USA Today's site for Mia Davies and came up with no results. It was time to dig deeper and Mia Davies' own website gives us the proof. There we see a number of screenshots. If you look carefully at each of these, they are syndicated press releases from PR Web. Essentially Mia Davies put out this press release about herself.
Getting "featured" in those websites is not a result of "DOMINATING", but paying PRWeb $369. So woe be the person who spent money on Neucopia to get access to Mia's ability to fabricate misleading credentials. Then again, what would expect from MLM when it is largely a game of "find a few bigger fool than yourself."
At least you get someone who shared a stage with "T Harv Eker" whoever that is.
Final Thought: Do these tools really help people make money?
I've shown that well over 99% of people lose money in MonaVie and the the stats are similar for just about every MLM that makes the data available. As one reader, Jim, pointed out, in MLM It’s Not a Matter of Effort, Failure is a Mathematical Certainty. Like a game of poker, if you play long enough, there's going to be one winner and the rest losers. It doesn't matter how good the poker players are since they are all in competition with each other. In MLM, it is the same way, since they are all trying to recruit people, and there's a limited set of people who would fall for the scams.
In some ways, I almost buy the sales pitch that MLMers need these tools. The success rate in MLM is very close to zero because the competition is literally millions of people looking to recruit the few people left who are susceptible to the scams. One could say that an MLMer needs every advantage they can get, but paying thousands of dollars a year pushed the success rate that much further out of reach. It's a game where they realize they've got a distributor brainwashed, so might as well soak them out of as much money as possible.
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