Hey, I just met you, and this is Lazy... get these fast finance fixes and mail me, maybe?

Is Nerium a Scam?

213
Comments
Written by

[Editor's Note: This article is long and I hope you find the information you need to make an informed decision. Towards the end, I have a special gift for you. (If you want to cheat, click here to get it now.)]

Last August I wrote an article on the MLM, Nerium. Quite a bit has happened since that time. Their largest critic has been silenced and they've come out with another product. I found an CBS News local affiliate who covered it in depth. There was even a clinical study published last month (May 2015). It seems in the best interest of consumers to have a revised article that covers some of this in detail.

Please be aware that some of it may have a slighted disjointed timeline since I'm mixing some of the original article with the new information. Let's get started...

People have been asking me about Nerium since November of 2011. Specifically Jeff Flanzer of Ojai, CA wrote me as he became a distributor citing the integrity of Nerium founder Jeff Olson who worked for Pre-Paid Legal, which Mr. Flanzer was a distributor for. He said that Pre-Paid Legal was a "good company" which caught my attention.

In the world of Multi-Level Marketing, people have a very strange opinion of what a "good company" is. Pre-Paid Legal got bought out, but before it did, its history is laughable. Wikipedia cites the following: the Wyoming Attorney General smacking them for distributors using prohibited income representations, the SEC smacking them for counting money they paid to salespeople as assets instead of expenses, and settling 400 lawsuits in just the state of Missouri, which doesn't include one they lost to a customer who cashed in for $9.9 million.

And that was just what happened to Pre-Paid Legal in 2001. Perhaps Jeff Olson came along later in time for the FTC investigation in 2010? I'm not sure, but it doesn't make sense to me that one would willingly join an organization with this history and reputation unless their other offers were absolutely terrible.

Last December I got an email from a reader named Missy which read, "I have childhood friends who are giving up their careers for Nerium AD because of the $$/Lexus they have rec'd. It all seems like Monavie all over again but I can't convince them otherwise because of the 'science' behind it."

The multiple emails and my own experience (see the Success from Home magazine story I detail below) lead me write about Nerium today. (This is an answer to all the Nerium salespeople who think I just "slam companies to make money." I get general inquiries from real people, do the research, and present the results of that research.)

Nerium Products: Nerium AD and Nerium EHT

Much of this article was originally written when Nerium only had it's Nerium AD skin cream available. I've attempted to rework and update the article to include their introduction of the Nerium EHT product. Nerium, the company, and Nerium AD was covered extensively by Bare Face Truth, so I will start there.

Nerium AD gets Bare Faced Truth'd

The website Bare Faced Truth is run by two doctors and had written about Nerium extensively for more than two years. Their articles had hundreds of comments. Unfortunately, the information on Bare Faced Truth has been deleted from their website. This happens quite often in the world of MLM. Usually it is because of one of three things happens:

  1. The lawyers for the MLM threaten to sue the authors for libel if the material is not removed.
  2. The MLM offers a cash settlement to remove the information.
  3. The authors get harassed and bow to the bullying. For example: I've had my life threatened, been blackmailed, and had my website hacked.

I can't say what is happening in this case, but usually when someone puts months of their life into (successfully in my opinion) exposing fraud they don't decide to delete it haphazardly.

I've replaced the links below to ones from Archive.org. I encourage everyone to archive those on their hard drive, because it might soon be gone forever.

The first Nerium article serves as an introduction and points out the oleander kills cells, not just cancer ones, which makes it sound harmful. It also explains that the salespeople know the marketing, but not the science behind the product. It is a huge red flag of a pyramid scheme when salespeople pitch the business opportunity and can't tell consumers how the product works. I also found it interesting that the article mentioned a close friend who was a distributor in Ojai, CA. It couldn't be the same Jeff Flanzer who contacted me, could it?

In their second Nerium artice, Bare Faced Truth, explains that they contacted MD Anderson Cancer Center, which was supposedly a reputable place "looking into Nerium", yet no one they contacted seemed to have heard of it. The specific person looking into it, could not be located. They then went to many independent blog sites and looked at reviews. It seems there were two types of reviews: 1) Horrible ones and 2) Ones from distributors trying to make money. Finally, they expose many of the lies that MLM tells the public in great detail.

Note: Bare Faced Truth found that MD Anderson Cancer Center specifically wrote that they DO NOT ENDORSE Nerium in any way. One or two individuals with an affiliation to an institution may make a claim or have accepted money to do research for a company, but it doesn't mean the institution itself is. If someone in the US Army buys Nerium AD, we don't say that the US Army uses Nerium AD.

In this case, the marketing was so overblown that MD Anderson Cancer Center had to set the record straight. There's a huge problem with MLM... take one inaccuracy and spread it without regard to fact-checking or the truth.

In their third Nerium article, Bare Faced Truth covers the "mania" of its distributors saying that Nerium AD really does work. It touches on a few of the factors that I've covered in-depth at No, Your MLM Health Product Does Not Work.

In their fourth Nerium article, Bare Faced Truth covers a Nerium distributor (called a Brand Partner) who set up a misleading press release lying about how new information on Nerium was going to be released in the wake of the FDA warning L’Oreal's promoting practices. It was simply a marketing ploy. Is it lost on anyone that the irony of misleading and lying to people in a press release to sell Nerium product is worse than what it was condemning L’Oreal for?

In their fifth Nerium article, Bare Faced Truth reveals that Nerium has decided to attack Bare Faced Truth rather than work with them to answer their questions. Bare Faced Truth shows that Nerium admits that they are trying to silence such critics... effectively trying to cease their freedom of speech (or press in this case I suppose). For example I have experienced this myself.

Reputable companies address criticism openly and transparently. If they can defend their actions they do. If they can not, they pledge to make amends and do a better job in the future. However, if a company isn't reputable and can't address criticism openly, defend their actions, admit to mistakes, or pledge to do better in the future, I guess the last option is try to silence the criticism itself.

In their sixth Nerium article, Bare Faced Truth goes into very specific detail to show that Nerium AD causes massive oxidative stress that kills cells.

There is (or was before it was deleted) a lot more on the Bare Faced Truth website and it's really impossible for me to cover it all here. Once again, the unbiased doctors have spoken and given you all the information you need to know about misleading marketing of Nerium.

A Local CBS Affiliate Exposes Nerium

There's a great article and video on Nerium on CBS San Francisco affiliate KPIX 5's website. Here is the article... and here's the video that goes with it:

It is worth reading and watching, but essentially CBS gets unbiased doctors who say that there's no proof Nerium is safe and nothing to indicate it is effective. They even brought up concerns that it could cause an allergic reaction. One doctor went as far to say that it is not real science when asked. The same doctor looked at the before and after pictures and concluded that only an eyebrow lift or Botox could cause the result.

I found this part particularly interesting:

"Olson says the proof the product works is in the sales, over 3 million bottles, and the rave reviews from the women our Los Angeles affiliate station interviewed. But since the product is sold mostly through multi-level marketing, KPIX 5 asked him: 'A lot of your strong supporters, they have a vested interest in this company.” Olson responded: “That is one of the good things about word of mouth business or relationship marketing, people give their own testimonial to the product.'"

It reminds me of 7 years ago when MonaVie sold a billion dollars worth of $40 juice that the inventor admitted was "expensive, flavored water." People were buying product because it was necessary to participate in the "business opportunity" of recruiting others into the "business opportunity" commonly referred to as a pyramid scheme. The sales do not indicate real interest in the product, but interest in financial freedom.

We also saw how the perceived chance at financial freedom caused MonaVie distributors to make unreasonable testimonials about the flavored water. Some even that MonaVie cured cancer.

It is further worth noting that the FTC Endorsement Guidelines require the following:

"If the advertiser doesn’t have proof that the endorser’s experience represents what consumers will achieve by using the product, the ad must clearly and conspicuously disclose the generally expected results in the depicted circumstances;"

As the doctors made clear, the advertiser (Nerium) doesn't have proof about what the endorser's experience will be. These testimonials seem to fall on the wrong side of the law. This is a huge negative that should have been pointed out by the CEO.

The video added more information that the company's salespeople specifically work push down negative reviews in the search engines, so that only their financially biased reviews show up. It's becoming clear to me why Bare Faced Truth's reviews seemed to go away.

What is this, the skin cream mafia?

Nerium AD and Clinical Trials

When I did the research for this article in August 2014, I wrote,

"I noticed that Nerium claims to have done a clinical trial. Best I can tell from the pictures at the bottom of the page, the 'trial' consisted of only 4 people. Actually it could have been more people and those were just the four they wanted to show. Details of the clinical trial are largely ignored without even a link (that I could find) to give more information. Nerium said it "enlisted the services" of a third party. Funding your own studies is always a red flag... even if it a third party service.

The best I could tell, the clinical trial was not published in any peer-reviewed scientific journals. While getting published in a peer-reviewed journal isn't a guarantee of a product working, it is a little bit better than, "We paid a company to study our product, and, surprise! they found it worked phenomenally." As noted in this Reuter's article on beauty products: '... studies had shown industry-funded research is more likely to have positive outcomes, and that people could be influenced by financial interests even if they didn't realize it.'"

As I mentioned at the very beginning of the article, there is a clinical trial published in May 2015. What's interesting is that Nerium has change their page on clinical trials to no longer say that they enlisted the services of a third party, but instead say that they are independent clinical trials. They have taken the opposite stance from a few months ago.

If you look at that clinical trial, one of the authors is Robert A Newman who is listed as being affiliated with MD Anderson Cancer Center (see above mention about that) and Nerium. Since when are independent clinical trials authored by the people clearly affiliated with those who make the product? It also says it was approved for publication by Jeffery Weinberg who happens to work at MD Anderson.

If you dig a little deeper you'll see that Kathleen Benson and Gitte Jensen work for NIS Labs, which is presumably the third-party that Nerium hired. NIS Labs lists on their industry services page: "We are clinical trial and lab test specialists for the natural products industry. We specialize in pre-clinical testing and clinical trials as part of an overall strategic research plan. We encourage sequential publishing of peer-reviewed manuscripts as data is generated from in vitro bioassays and clinical studies, to help build a strong science-based product portfolio."

This doesn't look like an independent clinical trial at all to me. It looks to me like Nerium hired a third party to "help build a strong, science-based, product portfolio" and utilized Newman's connection with MD Anderson to get a colleague to approve it for publishing. And Newman himself seemed to contribute significantly to the cause as he was an author of the paper.

Before you even get into the details of the clinical trial, the conflicts of interest here seem very, very obvious.

"Did You Try It?"

Whenever I write about an MLM health product, I get the a minority of distributors asking a question that seems logical to most people, "Did you try it?" With any health product, certain factors such as placebo effect make one individual's trial useless. The sample size of one person is too small. If it appears to that individual to work, then it could be the placebo effect, essentially an illusion of it working. If it appears to that individual to not work, then it might just not work. The question doesn't lead to any helpful conclusions.

This is why scientists don't test new experimental medicines on one person and then release it to the public. It doesn't matter what one person's view of their results are.

In fact, it often takes testing on many, many people to determine if the product has harmful side effects. These tests are called clinical trials. You want to stick to products that have successfully completed enough of them to get FDA certification for any claims they make.

Wrinkle Creams in General

As Lifehacker points out, "clinically tested" and "dermatologist tested" have almost no meaning when it comes to skin cream.

That article references a tremendous article in The Atlantic on skin cream in general. Here are some highlights (I'm tempted to cut and paste the whole article):

"Now, this machine looked impressive, but despite the good bit of digging I did after the appointment, I could not find an independent analysis of its clinical value.... Reading between the lines (or, actually, simply reading the lines), it seemed the company viewed this machine as a way to move product.

The size and influence of [the beauty] industry creates challenges for anyone seeking to get to the truth about the products it makes and promotes. Many experts I found were not independent scientists, but dermatologists who also had a clinical practice and, as such, benefit (some greatly) from a thriving industry. I am not saying that physicians knowingly twist information about the efficacy of beauty treatments, but there is ample evidence that such conflicts of interest can have an impact on how research is presented and interpreted.

In addition, little literature produced by independent researchers is out there. For many beauty products, there seem to be either no data or only small studies produced by proponents of the product... So there isn’t a lot of good science to draw on.

To make matters worse, the popular press is rarely critical of new beauty products... Rarely did I find any real evidence or expertise beyond personal testimonies (which I don’t need to remind you are not evidence)... The so-called experts who are quoted in these stories are often part of the beauty industry or individuals with no research background.

Publishers don’t generally sell magazines by reminding readers that nothing works. Consequently, getting straight answers about anti-aging and beauty products is nearly impossible. There exists a confluence of fact-twisting forces: lots of money to be made by manufacturers and providers, huge advertising campaigns that deploy vast quantities of pseudoscientific gobbledygook, a lack of independent research and information, and consumers who desperately want the products to do for them what is claimed. The cumulative impact of all these forces results in a massive bias toward representing a product or procedure as effective.

... history tells us that a skeptical position is almost always correct. As with trendy diets, after a bit of time it almost invariably becomes clear that the alleged benefits associated with some new, exciting anti-aging beauty product can’t live up to the hype.

Virtually every magazine with a focus on fashion, celebrities, health, or fitness offers regular advice on skin care and combating aging. Most newspapers have a weekly style or beauty section. At any given moment, probably hundreds of beauty-related recommendations are sitting on the average midsize magazine stand. And all these stories are almost completely devoid of any reference to credible evidence. Beauty advice is a science-free zone. Anything goes."

Hopefully this puts the "Did you Try It?" question in more perspective. A better question would be, "Why would anyone pay money for wrinkle creams without scientifically credible proof?" And by scientifically credible we don't mean all the biased stuff mentioned above.

Nerium EHT

The above was mostly focused on Nerium AD... it's been around a lot longer. Nerium EHT is very, very new, so there isn't as much on it. However, there are a few things that I think are worth looking at.

Nerium EHT and Princeton

In mid-April of 2015, Nerium put out a press release announcing Nerium EHT. The press release read, "The key to Nerium’s groundbreaking anti-aging formula is the exclusive, patented EHT extract, discovered after 20 years of research in Princeton University Labs by Dr. Jeffry B. Stock."

The wording of this press release could certainly lead one to jump to the conclusion that there was a partnership with Princeton, right? It was even questioned in a comment on this website. The best evidence though came from Twitter. Look at how many times Princeton had to set the record straight:

So why did Princeton have to correct all the Nerium distributors. It wasn't just the press release. Coinciding with that press release, Nerium had one of their big gathering of distributors called "Get Real 2015."

Here's a video of CEO Jeff Olson introducing EHT. Take notice into how much focus he puts on Princeton:

Nerium clearly didn't have to mention Princeton at all, especially because Stock's work was for Signum BioSciences as mentioned here.

No wonder Brand Partners were quick to use the Princeton name to market the product instead of the more correct, but much lesser known, Signum BioSciences.

This is one famous way MLMs mislead distributors. They hitch on to credibility of places like Princeton, even when the University has no affiliation with the MLM. Like the telephone game gone bad, distributors incorrectly spread the misleading information that such a partnership exists. It's a numbers game, they only need the most ignorant 5-10% of the population to believe it and jump on board.

Nerium EHT's History and Marketing

I noticed that Nerium's blog calls Nerium EHT "The newest Nerium Breakthrough!"

So you think that Nerium spent a lot of time in a lab working on it? Nope. The product was available via "Mind Enhancement Sports", which you can see via their old website or Signum BioSciences site.

Nerium didn't have a breakthrough other than negotiating the distribution rights to a product that was already available.

Nerium EHT's Effectiveness

I haven't seen anything scientific regarding Nerium EHT being effective. It seems that the marketing point of Nerium EHT is that is slows down the aging process of the brain. It is confusing how they'd be able to scientifically assess that on such a new product. It isn't like you can test "brain age" over a couple of weeks and say that one group's aged less than another groups.

If there was a magic "brain-age slowing-down" product, I think you'd have to test two large groups over 10-20 years and hope you find a difference. This difference would not likely be very large since the brain, like all parts of the body, is going to age. Most people tend to age as a similar rate (it isn't often that someone mistakes a 40 year old for a 20 year old.)

Nerium Product Information available Elsewhere

This section may expand over time. For now, I have one piece of information on the products that are worth sharing.

There's a good article on Nerium AD's toxic ingredients from an licensed esthetician here.

Nerium, Ray Liotta, Before and After Pictures

Nerium distributors like to show a lot of before and after pictures. However, one set has put Nerium in hot water. Ray Liotta is suing Nerium for the before and after pictures it used without his permission. Perhaps most importantly, Liotta claims to have never used Nerium and says he wouldn't even if paid to do so.

If that weren't bad enough for Nerium, the lawsuit claims that Nerium is a "product-based pyramid scheme" on page 5 paragraph 31. If lawyers are calling Nerium a pyramid scheme, I'm certainly not going to argue. I imagine they'd get sued for libel if they were wrong (as "pyramid schemes" are illegal).

The lawsuit cites many claims of Nerium's salespeople using social media to post the fake pictures of Liotta and fake claims that Nerium AD was the cause of the result. The MLM structure makes it easy for distributors to run amok with a lie, like a false rumor running through a high school. MLM proponents say they shouldn't be punished for one bad apple. However, you are always going to have a few bad apples in every barrel and the MLM system maximizes the damage from such bad apples.

While before and after pictures seem impressive, after watching this 37 second Photoshop transformation, it's hard to take them seriously. We know top magazines airbrush attractive movie stars to make them perfect. Why would you trust a skin cream company NOT to do the same? They have millions and millions of dollars on the line.

Nerium's Business

Enough about Nerium's products, let's get down to the business... and Nerium's MLM/pyramid business "opportunity."

Nerium Lies about MLM and Pyramid Schemes?

I found an interesting article on Nerium's website about MLM and pyramid schemes. You may find it here, but I suspect they'll revise it substantially after reading this, so I archived a PDF version here.

The article is fairly unprofessional and full of misleading and just wrong information.

It starts off with a title of "MLM’s Explained." The title itself implies that "explained" is possessed by an "MLM" due to the apostrophe. I'm not immune to typos myself, but I don't make the kind of money to employ an editor and I'm a one-person shop. While I'm being picking of typos there's also a point where they write, "It’s not dependent on any product every being sold." It feels like they rushed this document.

Interestingly in the paragraph of "MLM's Explained", they don't attempt to explain MLMs. Instead they discuss the "direct selling model." This is a common game MLM companies play to confuse people. They refer to the same thing, and "direct selling" was invented because MLMs got a bad reputation. You probably know that Ebay, the most pure example of "direct selling" in the United States, is very, very different than MLM.

The first paragraph mentions that the "... independent contractors [are] able to set their own hours and be their own boss." This is true, but here is what they leave out:

1) independent contractors in MLM usually make about half of minimum wage in revenue.
2) independent contractors in MLM are responsible for their sales supplies, marketing materials. Overall, more 99% of contractors LOSE money when accounting for the costs.
3) independent contractors in MLM earn no benefits such as health insurance or vacation.

Being your own boss and setting your own hours while you lose money is not a good idea.

Nerium continues with the next section of "Direct Selling Advantages." Specifically they write, "direct selling allows people to try out the product or see a demonstration of how it works before deciding whether to buy it." This is only true if an independent contractor pays for product to demonstrate or give away as a sample. The product is already bought and paid for. In contrast, numerous non-direct selling methods exist that give people samples and demonstrations. You can often see both examples at Costco. That's a true example of trying before buying, because it doesn't rely on inflicting more debt on independent contractors who are already losing money.

Nerium's attempt at explaining MLM/Direct Selling continues: "And since there are no stores or corporate overhead costs and the sellers can usually work out of their own homes, direct selling is cheaper for everyone involved."

Actually, Nerium does have corporate overhead. Their CEO doesn't work for free. The product doesn't materialize out of thin air. It is true that they don't have stores, but many products are sold on Amazon, Ebay, or an official website which don't require stores. I've covered dozens of MLMs and the products are very expensive. In this case, we have the scientist from CBS San Francisco who said that there's no science to Nerium AD... and they are selling a business kit full of product for $999.

It may be cheaper for Nerium to pay sales people less than minimum wage and give them no benefits. It is especially true when the sales people spend their earnings on the product. However, when the product is vastly overpriced, it isn't cheaper for the independent contractors.

It continues, "For the independent contractors, it’s the most accessible way to go into business for themselves." Actually blogging is a more accessible way... not that recommend it because blogging is difficult. I'm sure you can buy some "no money down" real estate flipping products to get into business too. The point being, that these are terrible businesses.

Continuing... "90% of the work of starting a business is already done: the product is already invented and tested, the factory is up and running, and the branding is already taken care of. Forget needing millions of dollars for start-up costs; practically anyone can afford to start a direct-selling business."

This is exactly why MLM is a terrible business. Since anyone can do it, there's no barrier to entry. You may have millions of competitors. The independent contractors who lose money often put the products on Ebay to recoup some of their money. You are competing against that. You don't have any input into product direction or pricing. As author MJ DeMarco put it, "As a network marketer, you don’t own a business - you own a job managing and creating a sales organization... MLM distributors are commissioned employees disguised as entrepreneurs..."

To top it off Nerium continues with this, "To reach more customers, direct sellers can recruit and train other individuals to join and become sellers themselves. It’s kind of like outsourcing our marketing and training programs: in addition to making money by selling Nerium products, our Brand Partners can earn commissions for coaching new independent sellers."

That also appears to be the definition of a pyramid scheme, but we'll get that in a bit.

Nerium: "[MLM] simply refers to the fact that new Brand Partners are trained by more experienced Brand Partners, creating different 'levels' the same way that an office organizational chart would usually have multiple different levels."

This is where Nerium is confusing a legal hierarchical organization where payment is not based on recruiting with a pyramid scheme where the structure is defined by recruiting and payment based on the recruiting hierarchy.

It's a good try, but everyone in MLM should be focused on product sales. There's no need for multiple levels when everyone is trying to do the same thing. It's not like Microsoft that might have a head of Microsoft Office, head of Microsoft Windows, and head of human resources overseeing entirely different areas.

Nerium: "Multi-level marketing does have a mixed reputation, because a few bad apples have used it as a cover for running scams. These scams are MLMs in name only, because they’re not really 'marketing' any products; instead, they’re pyramid schemes."

This is not an accurate description of an MLM or a pyramid scheme. The FTC has guidelines on MLMs/pyramid schemes here and there is no mention of "not really 'marketing' any products" or anything of the sort. In fact, the FTC shut down Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing (FHTM) for being a pyramid scheme. It had claimed it was an MLM. As that Wall Street Journal points out, "FHTM sales people sold a whole variety of things, from Dish Network packages to organic shampoos, nutritional supplements, residential gas and electricity contracts and mobile phone plans."

So it is clear, pyramid schemes can be marketing legitimate products. The inclusion of a legitimate product is not an indicator of whether a business is a pyramid scheme.

Nerium: "In a pyramid scheme, people who join pay money to those higher up the pyramid, and hope that they can get other people to join who will pay money up to them. It’s not dependent on any product every being sold."

This does not line up with the FTC has guidelines on MLMs/pyramid schemes at all. While it might be true of a simplistic pyramid scheme, MLMs can run more complicated ones like FHTM that went on for a decade.

Nerium: "However, that’s not at all how Nerium works. Nerium is a true MLM, with a top-quality product to sell. All commissions are based on sales of products to customers. It’s a system that works because the product works, as the results show."

Well, again independent scientists say that the product is not science and is not a top-quality product. And while the commissions are based on sales of products to customers, those customers could be other independent contractors, which do not qualify as customers according to the FTC:

"Not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate. If the money you make is based on your sales to the public, it may be a legitimate multilevel marketing plan. If the money you make is based on the number of people you recruit and your sales to them, it’s not. It’s a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are illegal, and the vast majority of participants lose money."

My simple interpretation of this is that if you can find a Nerium Brand Partner who makes more money from his downline than from the product he is selling to people outside the sales organization, he's running a pyramid scheme... and Nerium is helping him do it. The problem with Nerium's statement about commissions being based on product being sold to customers is that they are also based on product being sold to the sales organization which is not considered a customer.

In my opinion, Nerium would be wise to update their documentation to match the FTC guidelines instead of attempting to create their own definition of what a pyramid scheme is.

If you are still confused about whether Nerium is a pyramid scheme, here's a video that should help you clear it up:

Nerium's Fraudulent Marketing in Success From Home?

A couple of months ago, I got into a discussion with some Herbalife supporters on Seeking Alpha. Their argument was that MLM must be a legitimate business because it was covered by Success Magazine. I pointed out that Success Magazine was owned by VideoPlus (which is now called Success Partners) and that their website openly shows that their advertising partners are exclusively MLM companies... naming dozens of them. They somehow couldn't grasp the bias right in front of them, or didn't want to admit they were wrong.

They suggested that I go to Barnes and Nobles and pick out a Success Magazine and read it. Unfortunately, my Barnes and Nobles was sold out or didn't stock it. However, they did have another magazine from the same publishers called Success from Home.

The Success from Home magazine was clearly an advertisement for Nerium. It was like reading an infomercial, but without any kind of disclosure that Nerium pays Success Partners. There was no attempt to be objective about other types of successful home businesses (blogging anyone? just kidding). There was no attempt to be objective about the thousands of MLM companies available. It was around 120 pages with over 90% of the content based on Nerium. The other 10% was boilerplate good financial or entrepreneurial advice to convey credibility.

To its credit, Success from Home comes clean on its website:

"Each issue is written and designed to inform, motivate and inspire individuals considering the home-based business market and further the success of those who already own their own business.

Every month Success from Home spotlights an individual network marketing or direct selling company, exposing readers to its rich history, exciting future and the people responsible for its success."

There's a word for this: Propaganda

It's one thing when you know to expect the bias and the paid advertisement is disclosed. It's another when Success From Home highlights the few successes ignoring that the financial harm that is inflicted to others in the pyramid, and includes profiles of vacation destinations (that certainly isn't "from home"). One of the big red flags with MLMs being pyramid schemes is the pitch of income expectations, and this would certainly qualify especially in a paid advertisement attempting to hide itself as a business publication.

That's not all, the May 2014 issue was the third time that Nerium was the featured company of Success From Home, even though Nerium has only been around for three years now. Nerium must be paying them a pretty penny to get about 1/12th of the magazine's annual focus. Again, this isn't what you'd expect from a broad magazine about every home business industry. If the magazine changed its name to "MLM Monthly", that would at least be less misleading, but still would draw suspicion for focusing so often on one company.

I don't see how this kind of marketing can be considered anything but fraudulent. Quite frankly I'm shocked that the FTC hasn't acted on this already. This marketing was not committed by a few rogue distributors, but it is deliberately designed by management of Nerium itself. Fraudulent marketing is the kind of thing that's going to get a company written up by personal finance bloggers (or at least this one) as being a scam.

Most people should be able to realize that Success and Success From Home aim to mislead people into thinking they are legitimate business magazines giving legitimate business advice. Maybe that's why the FTC isn't putting resources into shutting it down. A legitimate company would distance themselves from such marketing... it certainly wouldn't embrace it.


My Gift to You

If you've read this far, I appreciate your dedication. Whether you found what you were looking for or not in the article above, I want to help you with your financial situation. It's what I do.

Here are two things you can do to put yourself in a better financial position:

  • Create an Emergency Fund - Digit.co squirrels small amounts of money from your checking checking account to its account. That automatically builds an emergency fund. You don't have to think about it and you'll never notice the small amount of money being moved. In five months, I've squirreled away $500. Digit is entirely free.
  • Track Your Money - Over the years, I've gathered so many financial accounts. Banks, Brokerages, Loans, I got multiple of them all. The best software for tracking them all is Personal Capital. You can't get to your destination if you don't know where you are to start. Personal Capital gives you that... and, like Digit, it is completely free.

For more visit my five minute financial fixes article. If neither of the above is helpful, I'm sorry. I appreciate you for just being here. The person recruiting you has a financial incentive to present only one side of the story. Kudos to you for searching for more information to make an informed decision.

Final Thoughts

This article is now nearly 6000 words long and still Bare Faced Truth has done all the heavy-lifting for me (at least for Nerium AD). Given all this information, I am forced to conclude that Nerium is a scam in my opinion. It doesn't appear to use reputable marketing and the "science" behind its product is doubted by experts... except for what appear to be their own studies. Their salespeople seem to use misleading marketing as well. The company itself seems to mislead people about what MLMs and pyramid schemes are which I find especially egregious. I think most of this information by itself would be enough to conclude that the product and company is a scam.

Combine all the evidence together... and I don't see how you can come to any other conclusion.

Update: Looking for another opinion? Ethan VanderBuilt has written about Nerium as well.

Last updated on October 13, 2015.

This post deals with:

,

... and focuses on:

MLM

Don't forget to these five minute financial fixes to save thousands!

213 Responses to “Is Nerium a Scam?”

  1. Hey there Lazy, I’ve been lurking your blog(s) for quite a long time. You, your blog(s) and BehindMLM.com were a big inspiration to start my own website and fight this awful menace called network marketing aka multi level marketing aka MLM.

    I don’t know if you have seen this Youtube video, in any case you should make a article about it, cause it hits a spot on MLM and Nerium as well

    • Lazy Man says:

      Excellent. I can’t read your blog (I don’t speak whatever language it is), but I appreciate you spreading the truth.

      I did see the video, it is hilarious. I should write an article about it some day.

  2. Blog is written in Serbian language, aiming at people from ex-Yugoslavian states. Most of the articles are tied to Lyoness scam, MLMs in general and my own views on MLM. There are also few about Amway (Scamway), Herbalife and some local MLMs. I can’t say I’m consistent with articles every day (have a family to feed) but I try my best.

  3. Vogel says:

    Cheers for the effort in Serbia!

    I’ve heard of Lyoness. The founder is from Germany or Austria as I recall. It was bubbling around here in the U.S. about 5 years ago but I haven’t heard a word about it since.

  4. Linda says:

    I wonder who pays Lazyman for his diatribes. Sure some if –many of–Nerium’s business practices are questionable and customer service stinks. And I am not sure why knowing the anatomy of epidermis has to do with anything. How many of those women shilling Estee Lauder at Macy’s know the science of skin care? I also know quite a few Anestheticians who sell Nerium on the side because they can SEE the results. As for the accusations of photo shopping? Maybe some of them are. A lot of them are not. I use the product, do not sell it, and my eyes–and my associates’ eyes– are not lying. It really is capably of some pretty amazing results.

    To get an idea of the level of Lazyman’s educated opinions, read some of his other articles. He knows jack about nutrition yet feels free to throw his sarcasm and uninformed ideas around. Please. Talk about cons.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Linda,

      No one pays me to write my consumer advocacy articles. I think I explained in the article why I wrote it and it wasn’t, “Someone paid me some money to write a review.” I actually give up a lot of my time to respond to silly comments like these.

      I’m not sure how you can definitively say that a lot of them are not photoshopped. It seems to be an open question. At the end of the day, I think the expert on CBS News had the credentials and was unbiased. His opinion of Nerium was quite damning.

      Yes, please feel free to read my other articles. I present citations for all my sources, especially in nutrition articles. So if you have a problem with my educated opinions, please feel free to refute the experts I cite as the basis for my opinion. Your blanket claims about my lack of knowledge shines a light on your inability to come up with a single specific instance.

  5. Bonnie says:

    Did you know that Amazon is posting Nerium ads next to this article. You might want to let them know you don’t want to profit from that! Thanks for your long and very informative article here. Your references and videos have been very helpful in my own research. Thanks :)

    • Lazy Man says:

      Bonnie, I didn’t realize that Amazon was doing that, but I presume they just match keywords like a Google search. Search Google for Nerium and you’ll get articles that support it and are against it. Amazon sees an article about Nerium and doesn’t know if it for or against it, but knows that the product is relevant to the article.

  6. RMD says:

    Check out these Nearium results on facebook :) https://www.facebook.com/nearium?fref=ts

  7. Phoenix says:

    Was a test subject for Nerium day and night cream as well as Firm contour cream. I did notice overall improvement in my skin over the 90 day trial. I was paid for my time and received free product.
    I do think the product is a bit expensive. I’m cautious about joining the company. Right now, I am attending the Dallas convention as a guest. I’m slightly impressed, but feel it’s more of a circus.
    Thanks for the article.

  8. Downey says:

    @Phoenix

    Stop drinking the Nerium Koolaid… if you decide to join “this circus”, you’d be a sucker.

  9. BC says:

    Thank you for the excellent article! I came across your site after becoming annoyed by the volume of Nerium marketing posts in my Facebook feed and was just curious about the company to see how legitimate it was. I used to work in sales for a technology consulting firm and am familiar with doing a lot of research and detective work while qualifying clients or preparing for a presentation. What I noticed about Nerium was how difficult it was to find any real information about the company and how little objective information there is available about the company’s president. This is a pretty major red flag for a company that I can’t scroll through my newsfeed without hearing about every 30 seconds! Additionally, I recently watched the HBO Scientology documentary “Going Clear” and Man, if there aren’t some incredibly similar ways that the Nerium brand managers respond to any question or criticism and the methods the former Scientology members describe in the documentary. Finally, for a company that likes to trumpet scientific research they sure seem to have missed the cardinal principal to the scientific method, question everything. I hate to see people scammed out of money and appreciate the work you have done to try to raise awareness.

  10. Teresa says:

    BC, I was involved with Nerium for a few months until I stepped back and really researched and thought about the things I was being asked to do and to believe. I watched “Going Clear” on HBO about Scientology and there were a lot of creepy similarities. It’s a complete cult mentality.

  11. Samantha says:

    Hi Lazy Man,
    I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that yes, there are PLENTY of scheme-y MLM companies out there. I did watch the YouTube video about pyramid schemes that you posted, and I would have to disagree that Nerium falls into the “Pyramid Scheme” aspect of things. Besides my initial start up cost I earned my product for free each month, and already made my initial investment back in two months. Quite contrary to a prior MLM company I left after a month because around each corner was another “required” subscription to progress in their business…over $700 invested and I made $8.00 my first month. That company was most definitely making the MAJORITY of their money from their reps (aka pyramid scheme), but I don’t see that trend reflected strongly with Nerium. There was definitely A LOT of training devoted to product prospecting. I actually had to ASK my sponsor about how to recruit (thanks to my prior MLM experience) and she LAUGHED and said “lets just focus on sampling your product out. Brand Partners usually come on their own. So, I guess I just wanted to throw that bit out there. You make many valid points about the product validity that I will be looking into, but so far, so happy. (as far as the pyramid gig goes)

    • Lazy Man says:

      I didn’t create the video and it isn’t an official definition of a pyramid scheme, but I do think it illustrates a lot of the common things you see in pyramid schemes.

      When you say that you “earned your product for free each month”, it sounds like you recruited others. That to me simply says that you moved up a little higher on the scheme. Also, I’m not sure if banks take Nerium to pay the mortgage, which is to say working for snake oil (to characterize how the doctor on CBS News seemed to call it) doesn’t seem like a good use of time.

      I hope that Nerium paid for the product that you are “focusing on sampling out.”

  12. Jasmine Kendall (Nerium Distributor) says:

    You know, I agree that this company isn’t for everyone but you are mistaken about a few things…my upline team work their butts off to help me and my team reach our goal…they fly from the states to the interior of b.c to help us every month. they are the most supportive people i have the privileged of knowing. I also used to work in a medical spa and have owned my own successful spa for almost 6 years. the results from these products speak for themselves and most of the people i see asked me about it! Also, These results have been published in the scientific journals and signum and princeton are still fully on board as I just talked to them(Maxwell and Jeffery Stock) at our last conference 3 weeks ago. We have broken all records and reached 1 Billion dollars in sales in 4 years because we all work as a team to help everyone in our upline and downline to achieve their goals. We are also partnered with big brothers and sisters and world vision. last conference a couple weeks ago we raised $184,00 for them which is exactly the core value of this company. We do that twice a year:)
    I’m a little slower at the business as I signed up as a brand partner at the end of January…I ranked up by april and received a decent bonus and I should reach director by tomorrow night!! I also have finance experience so will do just fine when I reach my lexus goal by October 31st! Also, I would not fit in a cult…they support personal development and I am all for people making better choices or finding their sense of self and confidence. We have worked on vision boards and self affirmations but we do those
    on our own or as a success planning night with your team and We invite non nerium customers and friends to come as well as these tools change peoples lives. everyone should have access to them. the numbers don’t lie and neither does the science..or me!!! if you would like truthful information feel free to contact me [Editor’s Note: This isn’t the place to promote your Nerium business]

    • Lazy Man says:

      Jasmine,

      I don’t know where to begin. Did you even read the articles about Princeton denouncing any relationship to you? Did you read that the scientific journal is a marketing effort?

      I think MonaVie did a billion in 3 years from 2005-2008… but the scheme collapsed and the entire company was sold for 15 million.

      You would clearly fit into a cult. You are falling into the same trap that people did 7 years ago.

  13. Natasha says:

    I love it when these cult members talk about their “Free Lexus” or whatever car it is. It’s not free honey. The car is in your name. They just give you a bonus to pay for it. As long as you stay at a certain level of course. The minute you fall off…..that payment comes out of your pocket. A friend of mine is now stuck with a car she can’t afford after she dropped off (like everyone does eventually). Ever wonder why they can’t just give you the cash to do whatever you want with? No it has to go towards a car. Why? So you can take a picture with your “free” car and post it to all your friends so they can be suckered in just like you were with the promise of a free car. It’s not free if your name is on the title. Ever hear the term “smoke and mirrors”???

    It really questions my faith in humanity when people can be this gullible!!!

  14. Brad says:

    Natasha,
    Thanks for posting! Lazy Man has an excellent “free car bonus” write up on another MLM scheme here on his site.

    I think the Nerium Lexus Scam is one of the most insidious aspects of the comp program. You are 100% correct in how they leverage this as both a tool to lure the gullible and a means to place golden handcuffs on current directors.

    Once the lease is signed, the proud car owner is then forced to work twice as hard to continue to recruit to keep the car bonus. With annual Nerium Brand Partner attrition rates above 65% it’s like running in quicksand. Of course a cash bonus wouldn’t put the director ins this situation.

    Be smart people, run, run, away as fast as you can!

  15. Maria says:

    I have been involved in many MLM companies . Nerium is worse than most because they don’t have a long term sustainable product to sell.

    Instead , they make money on the the new money coming in from the brand partners.

    They also charge $30 a month for a replicated web page that costs them a penny and should be free because it is promotes the company .

    The main product is basically glycerin that dries on your face and tightens it like any other cold cream does when using the same technique .

    Nerium has all the indicating signs of a classic pyramid / Ponzi scheme .

    The best mlm companies have good products that people can afford long term and don’t rely on the pyramid / Ponzi money and selling webpages that cost as much as a cable bill .

    I have seen a few worse pyramid schemes , but not many . I give them a 3 on a scale of 10 .

  16. RedondoB says:

    We live in Redondo Beach, CA and had noticed a actual mini-Nerium satellite office near a coffee shop. It was basically a fancy one room office where you can see -through -open windows( a desk, comfy chairs, TV for the videos and lots of nerium paraphernalia) It been here for about a year. Just today, I stopped by for a coffee, and has now turned into a mini- Halloween costume store…(make-up, sexy costumes,etc) ?? Yet there is still a Nerium “N” logo on the glass door. Ha! Well, at least they are still in the “facial make-up business” ….until the eve of the 31st.

  17. Sarah s. says:

    I am so glad I came across this article. Not only was I being convinced on how well this product is and the endless business opportunities, I almost forked out 1000.00 I really don’t have to make a 2nd income. Never did I plan on ever quitting my job or being able to with this product but was looking for extra to catch up on debt and start planning for a family.
    Again, I literally have now read this days before I made the jump. Kudos to those who have been successful but I’m not willing to take my chances or put anyone in harm of unproven skin care.

    Again, thank you!

  18. G says:

    Teresa (from June 3, 2015),
    You’re an idiot and, apparently, illiterate. The Nerium website specifically states that, “The minimum purchase requirement to launch your business is $49.95 (USD) for a basic kit,” which contains your minimum required marketing & training tools. So far, NOT hundreds spent. And you automatically get YOUR OWN link to a Nerium webpage (which you DO NOT pay for), when you sign up for the automatic monthly product order (minimum: 1 bottle of whatever you want). And here’s another funny thing you didn’t mention…You can get your product FREE (NOT $95/month) when you get just 3 people to sign up for the monthly auto delivery. Now, here’s where your stupidity really shines! You had the option to try the product out yourself and learn something about it, BEFORE HAVING YOUR PARTY. DUH, GENIUS! That way you could have made a more informed decision about the business, and been able to tell your friends & family about it if you wanted. See how easy that was?!
    As far as making money, you have to put in the time and effort. I’m only a customer, but my brother & sister-in-law have been in the company for 3.5 years. They are able to both be stay at home parents because of it. They’ve earned a Lexus, 2 all expense paid vacations, a $50,000.00 bonus check (yes, that is $50,000.00), double commission bonus month, and they are earning $240.00 free product every month, and the overhead for there business is only about $40.00/month.
    They’ve earned a lot, but they put a lot into it. There is no sitting back and letting others at lower levels do the work. They are constantly holding meetings & training groups. They are great leaders to a lot of people putting their businesses together. They do a lot of work from home, but they do travel occasionally as well. They WORK, and they religiously USE THE PRODUCT. My sister-in-law was even brave enough to post her own before & after photos (no makeup, with major sun damage) on FB. They also have a huge collection of before & after photos from the hundreds of people they have met along the way. They actually know the people that they show photos of.
    They’ve had great success, and I can tell you that my sister-in-law’s parents and her brother & his wife are also driving new Lexus’.

  19. G says:

    Lazy Man,
    You’re a dumbass. The labs that do product testing have to get paid! They’re a business like anything else. I know because I used to work in a lab that did a variety of product & food testing for several high profile companies!

    • Lazy Man says:

      G (on his comment to Teresa),

      You know that 99.5% (often more) fail in MLM, right? The others are typically friends and family and those who bring their pyramid from another scheme. The people spending $49.95 to get their own basic kit are often told that they aren’t “investing in themselves” and that they need to spend more money (i.e. hundreds) to be successful. So the reality is typically that you can throw $50 and fail or you can stay on the treadmill and spend more money and fail. It’s simple math.

      Yes you can get your product for free scamming 3 others to sign-up an pay outrageous prices. It’s pretty hard to do because most people realize the scam and aren’t going to waste their money.

      It sounds like your brother and sister-in-law are at the top of the pyramid. Yes, they might have put a lot of effort into it, but it’s not a matter of effort, failure is a mathematical certainty. I recently talked to the most successful 25 year old in Mary Kay’s history, the earliest to ever get her pink Cadillac. She was in debt because she had to buy the product for her pyramid to remain at her status. She was pressured to not disclose that and stand tall as a picture of success. Even the most successful people were utter failures.

      G (in response to the comment made to me), I know labs that do product testing have to get paid. However, the lab doesn’t pretend to do any kind of independent analysis. It seems like their business model is, “We’ll produce positive results to fit your product so you can market it.” They could have gone to a lab to does independent testing and prides itself in doing that, but they chose a company that has this page about designing the tests for marketing claims.

      What did you think was going to happen? You think Nerium is going to pay NIS a few hundred thousand dollars and NIS is going to comeback and publicize to the world that Nerium products don’t work? If you believe that I humbly suggest that you are the idiot and dumbass.

  20. G says:

    DOESN’T ANYBODY KNOW THE DEFINITION OF A PYRAMID SCHEME???
    A pyramid scheme is an often illegal, unsustainable business model that lures members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying any real investment or sale of products or services to the public.

    There is an obvious sale of products going on here people! 4 different products that people get in exchange for money! There’s even a money back guarantee!

  21. Brad says:

    Ran across this on LinkedIn posted by a well-informed financial advisor

    “Your claim that Nerium is projected to be the “6th company to ever hit $1 billion in sales within our first five years of business” is false on several fronts.  First of all, there are at least twelve companies in 2015 alone that have hit that mark (far beyond and before Nerium’s claims).  Also, Nerium hasn’t filed the necessary forms to support that financial assertion (in fact, they haven’t filed forms with EDGAR since December of 2012 – see here), and Hoovers reports that Nerium only has $32 million in sales.  Furthermore, the claim itself is suspicious because Nerium applied for claim-exempt status in February 2014 (they withdrew their application in May 2014).  That means they attempted to avoid having to disclose their actual numbers.  And, apparently, when it wasn’t granted permission, they just stopped reporting all together.  So, we’re supposed to take Nerium on its word, eh?  (Nerium was founded in Canada).  Or we could compare the company to others that have actually hit the billion-dollar mark.  Uber, Priceline, Amazon, Google and Office Depot all hit $1 billion in sales in the first five years.  Are you honestly claiming that Nerium is on par with those companies?

    Also, when you say “one of the top bio-tech companies in the U.S.,” what’s the scale that you are using?  It’s not in the top 100 (that’s where most lists end), and it’s not on the Global 2000.  So, that claim (much like the financial information) can’t be verified.  And, I personally hate when people make claims that they can’t back up.”

  22. G says:

    Uh Lazyloser,

    I didn’t go to Wikiwhatever, I’ve done Mary Kay, and briefly tried the Juice bit. They’re nothing like Nerium. Mary Kay and the Juice crap were definitely rip offs and you had to keep a stock. And, jackass, don’t even try to assume you know anything about my family, just like the BS you spill about things you’ve never been involved in. Next…

  23. G says:

    “So the reality is typically that you can throw $50 and fail or you can stay on the treadmill and spend more money and fail. It’s simple math.”
    Hey Lazyloser, sounds like college, only cheaper!
    “Yes you can get your product for free scamming 3 others to sign-up an pay outrageous prices. It’s pretty hard to do because most people realize the scam and aren’t going to waste their money.”

    Lazyloser, do you actually know what people are signing up for? An auto-delivery of skincare products (at a reduced price for doing auto-delivery), which they can return for their money back if they don’t like it. If the customer likes the product, and loves their results, they can tell their friends about it, just like they’d tell them about a new restaurant, nail salon, etc. If 3 of their friends do the auto-delivery, and keep using the product because they love the results, the friend that told them about Nerium gets their products for free every month, and that’s as far as it goes if all that person wants is free stuff. They don’t have to do another thing and nobody will bother them. What the hell is your hangup with that? If somebody wants to do more, that’s their prerogative.
    Since you’re so smart, I’m sure you know the cost of said products, and you’ve probably even tried them, I’m sure (since that’s what all BS writers do). Do you even know how many skincare products are in the Nerium line? How about how many ounces in each bottle. Have you ever gone into shops like Sephora or Macy’s and looked at the high end skincare lines that they carry? How about you shop around, and then you can report on what is a rip off.

    • Lazy Man says:

      G,

      If you think I’m a Lazyloser, you can just ignore this thread and move on with your life. No one is forcing you to write here (that I know of) and if you are going to name call, I just might banish you from contributing. This blog is my home and it is very rude for an invited guest to call the host names.

      Returning products in MLMs are not always easy. With clawbacks on commissions people don’t want to let the other salespeople down. That said, as someone recently commented in the Rodan and Fields thread (another skin cream), her experience was that almost everyone returns the product.

      Smart writers don’t try products of pyramid schemes. I’ve showed you what CBS News said and I think that carries more weight than any anonymous person on the internet saying it’s good or bad. If you understood how MLM/pyramid schemes work, you’d know it isn’t about the product at all. It’s irrelevant. However, if you still want to make it about the product, please go read the section “Wrinkle Creams in General” again.

      • G says:

        Really?! You’re calling me rude when YOU insult an entire company and everyone who is a part of it, saying they are ripping people off, and they are frauds, scamming people, etc. You’ve got a lot of nerve throwing all that out there, but you get insulted if anyone says anything against YOU? If you’re going to be saying the things you do on your precious blog, you better grow some thicker skin and put on your big boy panties.
        And how about YOU get a life, rather than just sitting around reporting on other people’s actual work!

        • Lazy Man says:

          I don’t go on Nerium’s website and call the people names. I’m allowed to form my own opinion from the facts that I’ve been able to gather and disclose. I want to help consumers by giving them this information so that they can make their own informed opinion. I did the same thing with Vemma before the FTC halted their business.

          I don’t have a thin skin… you simply embarrassed yourself by running into someone else’s home and insulting them. I wanted to help you understand why it makes you look silly.

  24. G be gone says:

    L Man: ban this punk “G”. You don’t need this noise in your house. Kick them to the curb. No sweat… they sound uneducated and a bore. Besides others support your view.- Thanks for your work.

  25. Michelle says:

    Pyramid/MLM Elements
    Here the main elements of all MLMs, and they match up with the main elements of a pyramid scheme. Credit for this dissection of MLM’s “causal” factors goes to Dr. Jon Taylor. They include:
    1. Pay to play. MLMs are never innocent parlor games. To join, one must pay money, and to remain “qualified” for the promised rewards, one must keep paying (buying “qualifying” amounts of product, paying renewal fees, etc.) Costs can go into the thousands or tens of thousands.
    2. Endless chain/pyramid. All MLMs – and all pyramids – continuously transfer money from later participants to earlier ones. The last to join must find new recruits in ever-larger numbers if they are to gain the promised rewards. The transfer requires a pyramid structure with each new recruit bringing in others, setting up “levels”, each larger than the one before, forming an “endless chain” that is shaped like a pyramid. MLMs organize this process into “ranks” of four or more with complex rules and pay schedule that leverage the ever-extending and ever-expanding pyramid. This structure is designed so that large numbers at the bottom must always lose in order for a few at the top to “win.”
    3. Money goes to the top. Every pyramid scheme – and every MLM – sends the majority of all rewards to the very top on the multi-tiered chain. In MLM this is achieved with a “compensation plan” with complex commission formulas and rigid rules for transferring payments from “quitters” to those higher up. Net effect is 50-80% of all “rewards” go to the top 1%.
    4. Rewards are based on recruiting. In a pyramid scheme, as opposed to a Ponzi, the recruits themselves must find more recruits in order to gain the promised rewards. In a Ponzi, the organizer of the scam, (e.g, Bernie Madoff), does the recruiting. In all MLMs, getting to the top of the chain, where all the money goes, requires recruiting. Recruiting is the only way to get the rewards. We have never found one MLM in which people can make sustainable profits without recruiting. We have not found a single MLM where people make money only from personal “direct selling.” In fact, most of the “customers” in MLMs turn out to be only the “salespeople”.

    http://www.pyramidschemealert.org

  26. JC says:

    Every MLM is the same, 1% make it big (typically the ones who hit the ground floor). The rest will lose money.

    I mean break down the math and it becomes very clear.

    Lets say you work 20-40 hours a week working an MLM. If you expect to make a minimum of $20 an hour, then you should be returning at least $400-$800 a week. That of course is before expenses (monthly autoships-marketing-ect). If you are making say 10% commission on your down line, your entire structure would need to be producing about $4000-8000 dollars a week in revenue. That is 40-80 bottles every single week that need to move (160-320 over the month). You need to have a hell of a downline to be able to produce those kinds of numbers. That is why MLM fail. Unless you already have a crazy strong network of business minded individuals with $, you can’t possibly develop the kind of downline you need JUST to make a living wage (not a never working again kind of wage). I tell people this all the time, if the product and business is already in your location then don’t even bother. If a top executive is looking at your to bring to this a big region, then it is possible that you can greatly benefit from this and become part of that .05-1% that succeed.

    Also with Nerium, your aren’t dealing with a brand new idea. There are thousands of skin related products and companies out there promoting the same kind of benefits. Christ I have heard garbage from Mary K and Arbonne reps just this week. The beauty MLM market is saturated and this company will eventually be in the same category as these.

  27. John L says:

    Lazy man and Michelle,
    I mean no disrespect when I say this to you, but your entire argument on this page is deeply flawed. I cannot speak to the quality of product nor the business practices of Nerium itself, but you appear to be bringing the entire MLM industry under indictment. Many times, you site references, some credible, some not (Wikipedia is your reference for Pyramid Schemes) stating that all MLMs are pyramids, and that people need to lose money in order for others to succeed. You are operating from a basic misunderstanding, however. That is that people are only paying monthly for the opportunity to earn money. For example, many years ago I was introduced to a company called doterra. In order to support a friend, I bought oil and a toothpaste, and I joined as a distributor for a discount. I love the products. I continue to purchase them. I have never earned any money. By your reasoning, I would be one of the people “losing money” because I spent money and never earned anything. Your statistic does not factor in people like myself. And what about those distributors who got “ripped off”? Because you are an observational critic of the industry, not a participant, you lack some basic knowledge. Namely, that EVERY person who joins a company as a distributor is provided with resources such as a website, sales tools, infrastructure, access to things like accounting tools, shipping, customer support, etc. at NO monthly charge. These resources cost the company money, and the agreement is that they are provided in return for product purchase. I’m going to assume that almost no one is foolish enough to distribute a product that they themselves have not tried and enjoyed. They were NEVER ripped off. They were getting a product they like wholesale AND a bunch of resources for business for their money, and they could stop buying whenever they chose to. Every distributor enters into an agreement with the company. This is where personal responsibility comes in. If they were promised something impossible or unethical, that is on individual distributors, but no company remains in business long if they are making these kind of promises at the corporate level. I began a distributorship in an MLM structure in 2005. I provided a service to businesses. I taught others how to market that business, if they were interested. I also received considerable tax breaks because I operated a home based business. I stopped building that business in 2008, yet I still receive a check each month from that company. This is an asset! It is a principle free investment. Why do I get that money each month? Am I ripping people off? No. Because people continue to purchase that service each month. They are not forced to. Therefore, they must find value in it.I suggest you deepen your understanding of the industry if you want to critique it, as it isn’t going anywhere. In fact, $178 billion in products were moved around the world through the MLM channel last year. As all retail transitions to virtual commerce, traditional advertising becomes less effective, and peer to peer marketing grows. It’s a simple fact. I do think you are trying to be helpful here, but you lack a basic understanding of how these businesses work. One last important part: The playing field is level in MLM. You say that the “Ones at the top” make all the money. Well, WELCOME TO ALL BUSINESS! No janitor is going to out earn the CEO of any company. In MLM, however, ANYONE can make it to the top. In my last MLM endeavor, 3 people in my organization grew businesses that out-earned my own, and they came in after me. How did they do it? They worked their butts off and didn’t complain or blame others for the challenges. One was a woman who had been paid nearly 30% less in her corporate job than the men who did the same job as her. Are we cool with that? The people at the top of ANY business earn the most. The door to the “TOP” in a legit MLM is open to anyone. And by the way, a Pyramid Scheme is usually one in which no actual product exists to be moved to customers, regardless of what you may have read on Wikipedia.Once again, I know you are trying to be helpful, but there is a lot that you just don’t understand about this industry. I have earned close to $700,000 in MLM in the last 9 years. I have seen scams and sleazy people, I have gotten my butt kicked, and I have seen some people make great changes in their lives as well. It cannot all be painted in one broad stroke.

    • Lazy Man says:

      John L,

      I don’t mean any disrespect, but your entire comment is deeply flawed.

      I don’t cite Wikipedia’s entry on pyramid schemes, but instead cite the FTC’s. I don’t say that all MLMs are pyramid schemes, but that under the FTCs guidelines they would appear to be. I can point to some people at the top who earn much more from recruiting than by selling to people outside the company. That is, according to the FTC guidelines that I cite, a pyramid scheme. If the top distributors are running pyramid schemes, it’s not much of a leap to say that the MLM itself is.

      I’ve written about DoTERRA. If you signed up as a distributor of DoTERRA products with no intention to distribute, you are misrepreseneting yourself. You should not be doing this and DoTERRA should not continue to allow you to get a discount. That’s a problem with you and them. When you two fix your problem, let me know.

      And yes, you are getting “ripped off” by them because I’ve shown that NOW Foods products are even more highly rated by people (i.e. everyone loves them) at 1/10th the price.

      Just because you want to support a friend’s 93-octane gas and pay $25/gallon, it doesn’t mean it is a “rip off” compare to Shell’s $2.5/gallon 93-octane gas. And yes, you are “losing” over $20/gallon by making that buying decision.

      You may find that unfair, but remember this is a blog about getting value for your money.

      Which basic knowledge do I lack from not being a participant? I’ve never jumped off a bridge, but my knowledge of gravity is good enough to know what is going on. I know that since those in the industry are financial biased to recruit people, they lack the ability to look at it objectively.

      Many companies charge distributors for a sales website, so that’s simply not entirely true. I think ViSalus’ was around $20 a month and Beachbody’s may be $15/mo.

      Ocean Spray has to have a website, sales toos, infrastructure, accounting, shipping, customer support, etc. That’s all part of the cost of doing business. MonaVie juice can’t claim that the cost of their $45 juice was because of overhead like this when Ocean Spray can do it for 1/20th the cost.

      I’ve talked to top people in Mary Kay who were losing money. They were losing money at the top. Yes, they’d say they were ripped off. They may like the products, but clearly they weren’t getting value from the business even when they were the most successful people in there.

      The product that people in MLM get at wholesale is still often overpriced by 7x or 8x what it should be. The wholesale price of DoTERRA’s lavendar oil is one great example. That’s part of the “rip off”, to tell you that you are getting a discount while you overpay for 7x. I’ll ship you a pack of bic pens for $75 and call it the wholesale price from the typical $100. I’ll do this all day long and pocket around $70 myself. You can stop buying the pens whenever you want to. Let’s do this!

      Like Napster, what individual people do are the responsibility of the company as a whole. Vemma found that out when the FTC shut them down last year. Keep in mind that a company can put together a video that ensures people aren’t getting lied to.

      Herbalife has been in business for more than 30 years and there’s extensive evidence by Bill Ackman that the false promises are made at the corporate level. This video evidence is obvious and clear.

      What MLM are you still making money in? Keep in mind that you need to make active sales to match the income to not be running a pyramid scheme according to the FTC guidelines. Most MLMs require a personal volume (pay-to-play) to earn commissions, so I want more information on yours that appears not to (principle-free). Most likely the people are purchasing the service each month because they have to in order to earn their commission. Yes, they are forced to buy the product (in probably all MLMs).

      So let us know which one you are in that is different than the norm, so we can evaluate that.

      Janitors and CEOs do different jobs which is why they are paid differently. When you get involved in a recruiting hierarchy is entirely different. It is possible to out earn someone in a pyramid scheme by recruiting more people. That’s not necessarily work, and as we’ve found people making more convincing, but false promises are more likely to be rewarded.

      If a pyramid scheme involves no product being moved how did the FTC shut down Vemma in Federal Court last year? I think you got false information on pyramid schemes on Wikipedia instead of the FTC.

      Again, you should probably know your own industry better.

  28. Geoff says:

    John,

    Your comment is bizarre, and I would suggest proof reading before you post certain ideas that flow out of your head like a runaway train.

    1. You said, “I cannot speak to the quality of product nor the business practices of Nerium itself, but you appear to be bringing the entire MLM industry under indictment.”

    This post is about Nerium, and if you have nothing to contribute to this, then LM has set up many other threads that may be better suited for your opinions. Please stick to the topics at hand (You started to ramble a lot about DoTERRA and he has a specific thread for that).

    2. You said, “Many times, you site references, some credible, some not (Wikipedia is your reference for Pyramid Schemes) stating that all MLMs are pyramids, and that people need to lose money in order for others to succeed.”

    LM has never cited Wikipedia for the rules of pyramid schemes, and specifically uses the best resource for MLM and their legality which is the FTC. He literally uses the same source in EVERY one of his threads to show his consistency, and what he bases his research and opinions. He never states that all MLM’s are pyramids, and specifically avoids that generalization, however with his research he does try to justify why MLM’s look like pyramids and need better rules implemented by the FTC.

    3. You said, “For example, many years ago I was introduced to a company called doterra. In order to support a friend, I bought oil and a toothpaste, and I joined as a distributor for a discount. I love the products. I continue to purchase them. I have never earned any money. By your reasoning, I would be one of the people “losing money” because I spent money and never earned anything.”

    There is no reason to have to sign up for a distributor fee, monthly standing orders, etc. to get a product with or without a discount. If you really enjoyed the product, then you should be willing to pay retail, and not become a distributor.
    I don’t understand why people keep claiming they are helping friends/family when either purchasing these products from them, or selling to them. This is absolutely ridiculous, and the complete opposite of rational. If you can only sell to your friends and family because the product is terrible/not viable for public markets, then you need to change your business. If you are buying these terrible/not viable products then you are an enabler, and not being a good friend/family member and continuing to let them spiral further out of control. For the record, if you are a distributor, and you are not turning a profit then yes you are losing money. Whether you admit that you are doing it for the discount, or because you suck as a salesman and don’t care much you are still showing negative profits as a member of their workforce.

    4. You said, “Namely, that EVERY person who joins a company as a distributor is provided with resources such as a website, sales tools, infrastructure, access to things like accounting tools, shipping, customer support, etc. at NO monthly charge. These resources cost the company money, and the agreement is that they are provided in return for product purchase.”

    Wow just flat out wrong. They do not provide these tools, they profit off of them. There has never been an MLM in history that does not charge for seminars. This is the exact opposite of every other business, which is legally forced to pay you through training.

    5. You said, “Every distributor enters into an agreement with the company. This is where personal responsibility comes in. If they were promised something impossible or unethical, that is on individual distributors, but no company remains in business long if they are making these kind of promises at the corporate level.”

    Have you ever been to a seminar? They make ridiculous videos and promises of lifestyles that don’t exist. They have people claiming to make millions of dollars even though the Income Disclosures for the companies show they aren’t or that they can’t be making as much as they claim. Finally, Amway has been in business for over 60 years doing this crap, and they are still around.

    6. You said, “In fact, $178 billion in products were moved around the world through the MLM channel last year.

    That’s a pretty dismal number compared to Amazon which brought in $107 billion dollars as seen here http://www.marketwatch.com/investing/stock/amzn/financials, with only 222,000 employees as stated here http://www.geekwire.com/2015/huge-growth-amazon-reaches-222400-employees-hires-39000-in-last-quarter-alone/. DoTERRA alone has over a million distributors as seen here, and only 1300 actual employees (Another scare factor when less than 1% of your companies revenues are generated from recognized employees). https://www.doterra.com/en/ourCompany/aboutUs/factSheet, and made 325 million here. https://www.businessforhome.org/2015/03/doterra-fast-growing-sales-est-325-million/ To claim that the MLM business model is successful, is insane. That on average is $324 per person PER YEAR…vs. amazon averaging $481,115.10 per person PER YEAR. I think Amazon’s productivity per person is…slightly better (This is not meant to be reflective of net profits which are SIGNIFICANTLY lower for both).

    7. You said, “The playing field is level in MLM. You say that the “Ones at the top” make all the money. Well, WELCOME TO ALL BUSINESS! No janitor is going to out earn the CEO of any company. In MLM, however, ANYONE can make it to the top. In my last MLM endeavor, 3 people in my organization grew businesses that out-earned my own, and they came in after me.

    The playing field is LEVEL!??!?! Have you looked at an income disclosure sheet from any of them??? Have you taken basic math, and understood that as long as there are people above you, and crosslined to you, and below you, the playing field gets progressively worse, because every time someone joins that is one less person you can get to join your team. This is just common logic. This line about janitors vs. CEO’s is literally an illogical tangent that gets repeated time and time again. It makes no sense in any form of the question, and is absolutely useless to the point you are trying to make. Again, not everyone can make it to “the top” (slightly suggesting the pyramid structure there buddy), and why should we take your word on whether or not 3 people were more successful than you? For that matter who cares, it again is a tangent that has nothing to do with the subject of failure rates, and dismal margins for percentage gains.

    8. You said, “One was a woman who had been paid nearly 30% less in her corporate job than the men who did the same job as her. Are we cool with that? The people at the top of ANY business earn the most. The door to the “TOP” in a legit MLM is open to anyone. And by the way, a Pyramid Scheme is usually one in which no actual product exists to be moved to customers, regardless of what you may have read on Wikipedia.”

    Thanks for pointing out that we as a society are coming up short for gender equality, however again this has nothing to do with the subject. Yes, the people at the top earn the most because they have the most responsibility to keep their business strong, and usually are the reason for why others have employment. Again the door is not open, because as I discussed previously basic math and logic shows that it isn’t. Vemma got shut down, and they had a product. MonaVie got shut down, and they had a product. Your myth you are trying to spread is flat wrong, and you should remove that from your preparatory speech for when you are recruiting others.

    Sorry for the long post, but it would seem this guy had a lot of points that needed to be addressed.

  29. John L says:

    Lazy Man,
    Okay, I will respond to this point by point.
    John L,
    I don’t mean any disrespect, but your entire comment is deeply flawed.
    I don’t cite Wikipedia’s entry on pyramid schemes, but instead cite the FTC’s.
    THIS IS AN EXACT QUOTE FROM YOUR POST WHEREIN YOU POST A LINK TO WIKIPEDIA DESCRIBING PYRAMID SCHEMES
    “This is where Nerium is confusing a legal hierarchical organization where payment is not based on recruiting with a pyramid scheme where the structure is defined by recruiting and payment based on the recruiting hierarchy.”

    I don’t say that all MLMs are pyramid schemes, but that under the FTCs guidelines they would appear to be.
    HERE ARE THE FTC GUIDELINES FROM YOUR OWN POST, WHICH CLEARLY MAKE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN PYRAMID SCHEMES AND MLM:
    “There are multi-level marketing plans – and then there are pyramid schemes. Before signing on the dotted line, study the company’s track record, ask lots of questions, and seek out independent opinions about the business.”

    I can point to some people at the top who earn much more from recruiting than by selling to people outside the company.
    I CAN POINT TO PEOPLE WHO POST MLM SCAM PAGES IN ORDER TO SELL THEIR OWN TOOLS. DOES THAT MAKE YOU GUILTY? THIS IS WITCH HUNT LOGIC.
    That is, according to the FTC guidelines that I cite, a pyramid scheme. If the top distributors are running pyramid schemes, it’s not much of a leap to say that the MLM itself is.
    I’ve written about DoTERRA. If you signed up as a distributor of DoTERRA products with no intention to distribute, you are misrepreseneting yourself. You should not be doing this and DoTERRA should not continue to allow you to get a discount. That’s a problem with you and them. When you two fix your problem, let me know.
    I ASSUME THIS IS JUST YOUR OPINION AS THERE IS NOTHING IN DOTERRA’S RULES AND POLICIES THAT STATES THIS
    And yes, you are getting “ripped off” by them because I’ve shown that NOW Foods products are even more highly rated by people (i.e. everyone loves them) at 1/10th the price.
    ONCE AGAIN, BAD LOGIC. LIKING IS SOMETHING SUBJECTIVE. YOU CANNOT KNOW I LIKE THE CHEAPER PRODUCT BETTER BASED ON CUSTOMER REVIEWS.
    Just because you want to support a friend’s 93-octane gas and pay $25/gallon, it doesn’t mean it is a “rip off” compare to Shell’s $2.5/gallon 93-octane gas. And yes, you are “losing” over $20/gallon by making that buying decision.
    GO TO SHELL. GO TO AM/PM. ONE’S GAS IS CHEAPER. PEOPLE FREE TO BUY EITHER. NO ONE IS CALLING THIS A SCAM.
    You may find that unfair, but remember this is a blog about getting value for your money.
    Which basic knowledge do I lack from not being a participant? I’ve never jumped off a bridge, but my knowledge of gravity is good enough to know what is going on. I know that since those in the industry are financial biased to recruit people, they lack the ability to look at it objectively.
    YOU LACK ANY BASIC KNOWLEDGE, HONESTLY. JUMPING OFF A BRIDGE ONLY REQUIRES THAT YOU FALL. THIS INDUSTRY HAS NUANCES, SKILLS, EXPERIENCES YOU CANNOT UNDERSTAND IF YOU HAVE NOT DONE IT. YOU CAN WATCH THE SUPER BOWL EVERY YEAR, STUDY IT, YOU MIGHT EVEN PLAY A LITTLE FOOTBALL. BUT IF YOU HAVEN’T PLAYED IN THE SUPER BOWL, YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO PLAY IN THE SUPER BOWL
    Many companies charge distributors for a sales website, so that’s simply not entirely true. I think ViSalus’ was around $20 a month and Beachbody’s may be $15/mo.
    THESE ARE UPGRADED VERSIONS OF A FREE WEBSITE, WHICH THE DISTRIBUTOR MAY PURCHASE BY CHOICE, THEY ARE NOT REQUIRED. MOST COMPANIES PROVIDE A FREE VERSION OF A WEBSITE; A THING YOU WOULD KNOW IF…. (SEE ABOVE). ON A SIDE NOTE, IF YOU THINK $15 – $20 A MONTH FOR A FUNCTIONING WEBSITE WITH ACOUNTING CAPABILITIES IS A RIPOFF, YOU MIGHT WANT TO RECONSIDER STARTING A BUSINESS.
    Ocean Spray has to have a website, sales toos, infrastructure, accounting, shipping, customer support, etc. That’s all part of the cost of doing business. MonaVie juice can’t claim that the cost of their $45 juice was because of overhead like this when Ocean Spray can do it for 1/20th the cost.
    I DON’T KNOW WHAT MONAVIE CALIMS ABOUT THAT SO I HAVE NO COMMENT.
    I’ve talked to top people in Mary Kay who were losing money. They were losing money at the top. Yes, they’d say they were ripped off. They may like the products, but clearly they weren’t getting value from the business even when they were the most successful people in there.
    LAZY MAN, I’M AFRAID YOU’VE BEEN DUPED. I HAVE WORKED CLOSELY WITH TOP EARNERS IN MULTIPLE COMPANIES. I CAN PROMISE YOU THIS: YOU DID NOT FIND THE MOST SUCCESSFUL DISTRIBUTORS TELLING YOU THEY WERE RIPPED OFF. FAR MORE LIKELY YOU FOUND A DISGRUNTLED DISTRIBUTOR WHO LIED ABOUT THEIR SUCCESS THEN TOLD YOU WHAT YOU WANTED TO HEAR, AND YOU LISTENED BECAUSE IT AFFIRMS WHAT YOU WISH TO BE TRUE.
    The product that people in MLM get at wholesale is still often overpriced by 7x or 8x what it should be. The wholesale price of DoTERRA’s lavendar oil is one great example. That’s part of the “rip off”, to tell you that you are getting a discount while you overpay for 7x. I’ll ship you a pack of bic pens for $75 and call it the wholesale price from the typical $100. I’ll do this all day long and pocket around $70 myself. You can stop buying the pens whenever you want to. Let’s do this!
    IF I CHOOSE TO DO IT, IT’S MY RIGHT TO DO SO. SEE THE GAS ANALOGY ABOVE. HOWEVER, THIS IS TRUE SOMETIMES, NOT ALWAYS. UNTIL YOU HAVE LOOKED AT EVERY SITE AND PRODUCT, YOU CAN ONLY GUESS AT THIS. MELALEUCA, QIVANA, NU-SKIN AND MANY MORE HAVE COMPETITIVELY PRICED PRODUCTS. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS LOOK.
    Like Napster, what individual people do are the responsibility of the company as a whole. Vemma found that out when the FTC shut them down last year. Keep in mind that a company can put together a video that ensures people aren’t getting lied to.
    TRUE. AND MANY HAVE. YET VEMMA IS BACK IN BUSINESS. VEMMA WAS SHUT DOWN DUE TO COMPLAINTS OVER SHODDY BUSINESS PRACTICES. WHEN THEY STOPPED, THEY WERE ALLOWED TO GO BACK INTO BUSINESS. HAD THEY BEEN SHUT DOWN FOR BEING A PYRAMID SCHEME AND IT WAS PROVEN THAT THEY WERE, DO YOU THINK THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN UP AND RUNNING AGAIN IN A FEW WEEKS? ONCE AGAIN, THERE IS A BIT OF MISINFORMATION HERE.
    Herbalife has been in business for more than 30 years and there’s extensive evidence by Bill Ackman that the false promises are made at the corporate level. This video evidence is obvious and clear.
    JURY IS STILL OUT ON THAT ONE. BUT I DO AGREE, LOOKS LKE THEY’VE BEEN UP TO SOMETHING SHADY. THE FACT IS, THAT IS MORE SPECIFICALLY CENTERED AROUND THE MASS-SELLING OF SALES TOOLS TO PEOPLE WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION BY THE LEADERS, WHICH IS UNETHICAL
    What MLM are you still making money in? Keep in mind that you need to make active sales to match the income to not be running a pyramid scheme according to the FTC guidelines. Most MLMs require a personal volume (pay-to-play) to earn commissions, so I want more information on yours that appears not to (principle-free).
    ONCE AGAIN, YOU MISUNDERSTAND. I BUY THAT SERVICE OR PRODUCT EVERY MONTH BECAUSE I LIKE USING IT FIRST. ONE OF MY CRITERIA (AND I TEACH THIS) IS THAT I WOULD ONLY PROMOTE A PRODUCT OR SERVICE IF I WOULD PAY THAT PRICE FOR IT EVEN IF I COULD NOT EARN MONEY FROM IT. NOT EVERYONE DOES THIS OF COURSE, BUT MANY DO. YOUR ASSUMPTION THAT VIRTUALLY EVERYONE WHO ORDERS A SERVICE OR PRODUCT FROM AN MLM DOES SO IN ORDER TO MAKE COMMISSIONS IS FAULTY. AND IF YOU AGREE THAT THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE WHO ORDER THESE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES BECAUSE THEY LIKE THEM, THEN YOUR ENTIRE ARGUMENT ABOUT THE INDUSTRY FALLS APART. THERE MAY BE BAD COMPANIES, BUT THE ENTIRE INDUSTRY? SORRY. YOU’RE JUST WRONG ABOUT IT.
    Most likely the people are purchasing the service each month because they have to in order to earn their commission. Yes, they are forced to buy the product (in probably all MLMs).
    THIS IS AN INCORRECT ASSUMPTON ON YOUR PART. EACH COMPANY HAS BOTH CONSUMERS AND DISTRIBUTORS. I HAVE ALWAYS INVESTED TIME IN FINDING PEOPLE WHO JUST USE THE PRODUCTS AS CUSTOMERS. MY COMPANY HAS AN ENTIRE PROGRAM BUILT AROUND PREFERRED CUSTOMERS, WHICH MANY PEOPLE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TELLING THEM TO RECRUIT.YOU FAIL TO UNDERSTAND THIS, BECAUSE YOU HAVE NEVER WORKED WITHIN THE STRUCTURE ITSELF.
    So let us know which one you are in that is different than the norm, so we can evaluate that.
    UMMM…. NO THANKS! I’M NO LONGER WITH THAT COMPANY, AND I WOULD NEVER SUBJECT THEM TO YOUR ARMCHAIR SCRUTINY. SEE, I TRULY THINK WHAT YOU DO IS DANGEROUS. YOU ARE SPENDING A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF TIME DECRYING SOMETHING YOU DON’T TRULY UNDERSTAND IN A PUBLIC FORUM.
    Janitors and CEOs do different jobs which is why they are paid differently. When you get involved in a recruiting hierarchy is entirely different. It is possible to out earn someone in a pyramid scheme by recruiting more people. That’s not necessarily work, and as we’ve found people making more convincing, but false promises are more likely to be rewarded.
    IF YOU THINK RECRUITING PEOPLE (TRAINING THEM , SUPPORTING THEM, HELPING THEM USE TOOLS, ETC.) IS NOT WORK, THEN ONCE AGAIN YOU HAVE DEMONSTRATED JUST HOW LITTLE YOU KNOW OF THE INDUSTRY. IT IS VERY HARD WORK, IN FACT.
    If a pyramid scheme involves no product being moved how did the FTC shut down Vemma in Federal Court last year? I think you got false information on pyramid schemes on Wikipedia instead of the FTC.
    ACTUALLY, I HAVE 2 FRIENDS WHO WORK WITH VEMMA. AS I STATED EARLIER, VEMMA WAS BACK IN BUSINESS WITHIN A FEW WEEKS. THAT WOULD MOT HAVE OCCURRED IF THEY HAD BEEN PROVEN TO BE A PYRAMID SCHEME. I WOULD INVITE YOU TO GO LEARN WHY THEY WERE SHUT DOWN, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY IF YOU WANT YOUR INFORMATION TO BE ACCURATE, HOW THEY WERE ABLE TO CONTINUE OPERATING AGAIN SO QUICKLY WITHOUT CHANGING THEIR FUNDAMENTAL BUSINESS STRUCTURE.
    Again, you should probably know your own industry better.
    THIS SOUNDS LIKE A DIG AT ME, PERHAPS BECAUSE I OFFENDED YOU. NOT SURE WHY YOU CHOSE TO TAKE THAT TONE WITH ME, BUT HERE’S THE BOTTOM LINE; AS I SAID EARLIER, YOU CAN WATCH, RESEARCH, ASK ABOUT AND ANALYZE THE GAME ALL YOU WANT. IF YOU HAVEN’T PLAYED IT, YOU DON’T KNOW IT. I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU HAVE AN OPINION, AND THAT IN YOUR VIEW IT IS AN INFORMED OPINION. I HAVE AN EXPERIENCE. EXPERIENCE TRUMPS OPINION EVERY TIME.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I’m going to address your all caps statements and number the points for you John. Sorry this is getting messy.

      1) I only link to Wikipedia so people can see that a legal hierarchical organization (i.e. “an office organizational chart”) is very different from a recruitment-based pyramid scheme. My reason for pointing to Wikipedia is for people to really see that these are very, very different things with very, very different definitions. MLMers try to confuse by suggesting they are the same because they both have levels.

      If two things are the same in Wikipedia, they are redirected to the same article. For example “scam” and “confidence trick” are redirected to the same article. Samuel Clemens and Mark Twain are the same person, so they have the same entry. Hopefully you can see that the two separate things, a legal hierarchical organization and a recruitment-based pyramid scheme are very different when I show them.

      So, yes, I do use Wikipedia, but only to make it clear to the brainwashed MLMers that they have indeed been brainwashed into thinking two very different things are the same when they are not.

      But of course you knew this, because you’ve been MLM for years and have obviously corrected thousands of people about this disinformation.

      2) Thanks for quoting the FTC guidelines there. If you read the guidelines you’ll find this: “Not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate. If the money you make is based on your sales to the public, it may be a legitimate multilevel marketing plan. If the money you make is based on the number of people you recruit and your sales to them, it’s not. It’s a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are illegal, and the vast majority of participants lose money.”

      Other than Vemma who was sued by the FTC for being a pyramid scheme and forced to change their policy, I don’t know of a single MLM that, based on these guidelines, would be qualified to be legitimate. I’m open to hearing about how one is and happy to have that discussion. I’m pretty sure I could find someone at Nerium who makes a lot more money based on their recruited downline than sales to the general public (non-Nerium-downline people). So when I apply the FTC guidelines, my conclusion is that the FTC leaves it open for there to be a legal MLM in theory, I’m not sure I’ve seen one in practice (again excepting Vemma’s revised plan).

      3) See number 2 above about the FTC guidelines and how that makes it a pyramid scheme and not a legitimate MLM. If you find it “witch hunt” logic, please take it up with the FTC.

      4) Yes, this is my opinion. Yes it is my opinion that you are misrepresenting yourself if you sign up to be a distributor if the intention is to be a customer. Remember that to be a legit MLM, a company has to sell to the general public as opposed to the downline people. If you sign up to be a distributor for the discount, you join a downline and your sales no longer count as sales to the general public. If DoTERRA isn’t discouraging this and people are doing this, it would appear to trigger the FTC guidelines for being a pyramid scheme. So yes, I hold the opinion that the DoTERRA should also protect itself by making sure that only distributors are signing up as distributors so that they can retain a healthy customer pool.

      But of course you knew this because you are informed about your industry, right?

      5) Liking something is subjective and you entitled to like whatever you want. If you want to like a gas station selling $25/gallon of gas you can. Calling something a “rip off” or a “scam” is also subjective. I’m going to state my opinion that you are being ripped off and explain why by showing objective evidence (the reviews) of products 1/10th the price. Keep in mind that excessive prices are a red flag for a pyramid scheme. If you don’t understand why you should read this: The $100 Pen Pyramid Scheme

      6) Shell and AM/PM do not differ by 10x pricing. If memory serves AM/PM doesn’t accept credit cards and their cheaper price is based on them not having to pay the credit card processing fee. I earn cash back rewards for my gas purchases (and you can too!) which makes them effectively the same pricing (give or take a few percentage points, not 1000%)

      7) There might be nuances in selling product or recruiting people the say way there are nuances in playing the Super Bowl. However, the point I am making isn’t about those nuances. What I’m doing is analogous to showing you that football players get CTE. The information about CTE is not predicated to throwing a pass or kicking a field goal in a Super Bowl. I don’t need to have actually played football in a Super Bowl to make this analysis.

      Do you think the FTC hired a bunch of people in MLMs to evaluate whether Vemma was a pyramid scheme? Of course not.

      8) I have started a business and have been running it for ten years now. It is complete lunacy to ask your sales team to pay $15-20 a month for a website to account for their sales. As Harper’s Magazine wrote: “They couldn’t have it all because Mary Kay’s business model (like that of any multilevel-marketing enterprise) is designed primarily to profit from, rather than enrich, its workforce.”

      The $15-20 price for a website is another way that they push the cost to its workforce rather than pay for the infrastructure that you mentioned. It’s the same software that should only need to be written once, much like how Facebook doesn’t need to write new software for each of its users. As such, it doesn’t make sense for pricing to be on a per-user basis.

      9) Okay we’ll move on from MonaVie because you were uninformed and not willing to get informed

      10) Please watch this video which a top Mary Kay seller comes in to tell her story. She just happened to be watching and came in to tell her story. She was getting more and more debt paying for downline to qualify to keep everyone in. Eventually she gave up her pink Cadillac and took a waitressing job, which paid better. I have not been duped, I have met Lauren Greutman and I am convinced she didn’t make up the story which you can also read here.

      If you want to say she’s lying, please present the proof that she wasn’t in Mary Kay or didn’t earn her Pink Cadillac. Heck provide some kind of motive for why she’d create a lie that she says herself was embarrassing to admit.

      11) According to this price list at Melaleuca’s website lavender oil has a market price of $28 for 15ml (half ounce). I can buy FOUR ounces of this awesomely reviewed lavender oil for ~$20 on Amazon (i.e. market price). That’s 8 times more product for less money. I could pay ~$8.50 for an ounce and get twice as much product for less than 1/3rd the cost of Melaleuca’s pricing.

      Sure Melaleuca has competitively priced products. I looked and didn’t see anything close.

      12) Vemma is back in business only because they changed their compensation plan greatly because the FTC showed it was still a pyramid scheme. Vemma is back in business, but they are losing a ton of money. Yes, it didn’t help that they had shoddy business practices, but it seems obvious to me that even when they clear up the business practices it isn’t a viable company without the pyramid scheme. Otherwise they’d still be profitable.

      13) I think Herbalife has stopped the mass-selling of sales tools by people in the organization. Honestly, selling sales tools on the surface seems to be much more ethical than a recruitment scheme.

      14) I don’t assume that everyone orders product to qualify. I say that it is necessary to qualification meaning that they might be ordering to qualify. Again, in the case of MonaVie, it appears that people didn’t want to pay $45 for a bottle of juice. The market simply wasn’t there when it wasn’t a requirement to qualify. Are there some unicorns like yourself who may actually like the product? Sure there might be a few.

      If you put DoTERRA and Melaleuca’s nearly $30 half ounce bottle of essential oil on a store shelf next to Now Foods $8.50 bottle that is twice as big, how do you think their sales are going to be? Why not make them all compete fairly and let the general public choose rather than make them admission purchases for a business opportunity with theatrical check-waving performances?

      15) So then we are left to assume that the MLM has the same purchase qualification that other MLMs do in order to earn downline commissions. Thanks.

      16) Sorry, it is “work” in that it is difficult. It isn’t “work” as in a legitimate occupation. Work has two meanings and I was meaning a different one than what you assumed. Clearly by the fact that 99% of people lose money, it is extremely difficult to recruit people and retain them in that failing environment.

      17) Do you really have no clue about how Vemma’s has drastically changed its compensation structure as a result of the court order? And you are calling me out for not being informed? Here’s the legal analysis from that pro-MLM site, “While the re-opening of its door was no small feat, Vemma faces tough challenges ahead. At the end of the Order, the Judge put forth several restrictions on Vemma, most notably the prohibition on having Affiliates self-qualify for bonuses by purchasing product… this means that Vemma can’t compensate Affiliates unless 50% or more of their sales come from genuine Customers. Because of this, Affiliates will be required to have more than 50% of their personal volume (or ‘PV’) requirement come from Customers outside the organization. Also, the Order prevents Vemma from selling the startup Affiliate packs.”

      18) Nope my external perspective beats your financial bias – MLM Mind Game: Real Life Experience vs. External Perspective

      • John L says:

        LM,
        I tried to respond to your post as I did before, but it told me the post was too long and that it was dropped. I suppose we will agree to disagree.
        Vemma is a great example of a company that proves the great thing about MLM, as is Monavie: If you have a hype based product or approach, you won’t last! My over all point is that, like anything else, the negatives get all the press, and people looking on from the outside jump all over that type of information i.e. your Mary Kay rep. (Perfect example. You called her “one of the most successful people” in Mary Kay, yet she failed to re-qualify for her Pink Cadillac. She was clearly not one of the top people. She hit a rank once or twice. Yet she’s out there promoting herself as a person who was extremely successful, and taken advantage of. It’s just innacurate information.
        Here’s the truth. There are good MLMs. There are also bad ones! There are good MLM products. There also over priced, crappy ones. There are people who tell the truth about MLM; that it is a tough business, that takes years to build. And there are people promising it’s a lottery ticket. As I said before, you are well-intentioned, but you seem to seek out the information that supports your claims as you say I do. (Maybe you’re right!) I stand by my own experience. The business has been great to me and many people I know. I have seen many people fail as well, but rarely because of the company or the business model. People fail in this for the same reason they fail at anything else. They quit when it gets tough. And those people who give up too easy, and were foolish enough to expect something fast and easy are typically the ones screaming loudest on the web that they were robbed.

        • Lazy Man says:

          Whenever I point out that a company is using hype marketing, MLMers say, “that’s why we have ‘marketing’ in the name.” So by your logic, you are condemning all MLMs to not lasting. Even ones that have lasted like Herbalife are under fire.

          So if they use hype marketing, they’ll be gone quickly. If they use hype marketing (Herbalife), they may still stick around. We’ve learned nothing by looking at hype marketing.

          To bring this back to topic, I’ve pointed out in this article how Nerium is using hype marketing (such as the Princeton marketing), so are you predicting their quick demise?

          She was one of the youngest to get her Pink Cadillac and was celebrated as such by Mary Kay. By Mary Kay’s actions, her account, and my own opinion that is a top recruiter. You are the only disagreeing that with, which frankly isn’t convincing. I think she said that she had over 400 people in her downline, which based on your earlier point that recruiting is “difficult”, surely denotes success. Yes, she realized that even at that level she wasn’t making money after her expenses to be in the business, so she exited. It probably helped that she had an actuary for a husband that pointed out that it wasn’t working.

          It’s not like she forgot how to sell products to people once she got her Pink Cadillac. It’s not like she got lucky with a few big customers to qualify for the Pink Cadillac. She saw the deception that was all around her.

          She explained that something like 80% of the people she recruited would be gone by the next year when they didn’t make money. That’s the essence of a pyramid scheme. It wasn’t sustainable and she realized it and got out.

          This isn’t her “failure…” a typical MLM lie. This is mathematically how MLM and pyramid schemes “work”. It’s not just explained there, but also in this great article.

          And once again you know all this because you’ve been in the industry so long and are such an expert. Have you ever read about Cognitive Dissonance?

          Please show me 5 good MLMs if you think they exist. I’ll show you why they aren’t good. There are good MLM products, but a vast majority of them are over-priced, which is why I could quickly scan Melaleuca’s price list and prove you wrong by citing lavender oil.

          • John L says:

            LM,
            I’m trying to get out of this and let you off the hook gently, but you not only won’t let it go, you are downright antagonistic in your tone. That’s really strange, but you are welcome to get angry.
            Here goes:
            Whenever I point out that a company is using hype marketing, MLMers say, “that’s why we have ‘marketing’ in the name.” So by your logic, you are condemning all MLMs to not lasting. Even ones that have lasted like Herbalife are under fire.
            NO. THAT IS YOUR LOGIC, NOT MINE. I DO NOT BELIEVE ALL MLM COMPANIES SELL HYPE. YOU DO, OR CLAIM YOU DO IN ORDER TO FURTHER YOUR STRANGE CAUSE AND SELL YOUR “EASY MONEY TIPS” TO PEOPLE LOOKING FOR A FAST AND EASY WAY, I SUPPOSE.
            So if they use hype marketing, they’ll be gone quickly. If they use hype marketing (Herbalife), they may still stick around. We’ve learned nothing by looking at hype marketing.
            ALL OF THIS ONCE AGAIN IS YOUR LOGIC AND YOUR WORDS. YOU’VE INTELLIGENTLY PROVEN NOTHING.
            To bring this back to topic, I’ve pointed out in this article how Nerium is using hype marketing (such as the Princeton marketing), so are you predicting their quick demise?
            POSSIBLY! I HAD A CHANCE TO JOIN NERIUM WHEN IT WAS NEW, AND DID NOT BECAUSE I DO NOT THINK IT WAS EVER INTENDED TO LAST LONGER THAN A FEW YEARS.
            She was one of the youngest to get her Pink Cadillac and was celebrated as such by Mary Kay. By Mary Kay’s actions, her account, and my own opinion that is a top recruiter. You are the only disagreeing that with, which frankly isn’t convincing.
            YOUR OPINION IS WRONG. THERE ARE MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE RECOGNIZED AS TOP RECRUITERS BY COMPANIES. THIS CAN BE DUE TO ONE GOOD MONTH, AND HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BEING AMONG THE “MOST SUCCESSFUL” IN A COMPANY. PLAINLY PUT, YOU HAVE MISSPOKEN HERE BECAUSE YOU DON’T KNOW THE INDUSTRY. THIS IS ONE OF THE NUANCES I MENTIONED EARLIER THAT YOU WEREN’T INTERESTED IN KNOWING.
            I think she said that she had over 400 people in her downline, which based on your earlier point that recruiting is “difficult”, surely denotes success.
            ONCE AGAIN, THAT IS AN ASSUMPTION YOU ARE MAKING BASED ON A LACK OF KNOWLEDEGE. UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, YOU COULD HAVE 400 PEOPLE IN A DOWNLINE AND EARN NOTHING. THIS IS YOUR LACK OF EXPERIENCE CAUSING YOU TO MAKE IGNORANT ASSUMPTIONS.
            Yes, she realized that even at that level she wasn’t making money after her expenses to be in the business, so she exited. It probably helped that she had an actuary for a husband that pointed out that it wasn’t working.
            It’s not like she forgot how to sell products to people once she got her Pink Cadillac. It’s not like she got lucky with a few big customers to qualify for the Pink Cadillac.
            ACTUALLY, LM, IT IS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE A PERSON COULD QUALIFY FOR A CAR BONUS BY GETTING LUCKY WITH A FEW CUSTOMERS. DO YOU KNOW HOW TO QUALIFY FOR THESE PROGRAMS? OBVIOUSLY NOT. THE MORE YOU ADDRESS THIS THE MORE YOUR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE ON THE SUBJECT BECOMES APPARENT.
            She saw the deception that was all around her.
            She explained that something like 80% of the people she recruited would be gone by the next year when they didn’t make money. That’s the essence of a pyramid scheme. It wasn’t sustainable and she realized it and got out.

            This isn’t her “failure…” a typical MLM lie. This is mathematically how MLM and pyramid schemes “work”. It’s not just explained there, but also in this great article.
            ACTUALLY, IT IS ENTIRELY HER FAILURE. ONCE AGAIN, YOU CITE ARTICLES WRITTEN BY OTHER PEOPLE WHCH APPEAL TO YOUR OPINION, BUT YOU KNOW NOTHING OF HOW TO ACTUALLY BUILD AN MLM BUSINESS….
            And once again you know all this because you’ve been in the industry so long and are such an expert. Have you ever read about Cognitive Dissonance?
            YOU ARE RUDE AND SNIDE HERE WHICH FRANKLY SHOWS ME YOU HAVE A LOW CHARACTER AND ARE NOT CAPABLE OF INTELLIGENT DISCOURSE WITHOUT SUCCUMBING TO NEGATIVE EMOTION WHEN SOMEONE DISAGREES WITH YOU. I FAIL TO SEE WHAT I HAVE WRITTEN OR SAID TO YOU THAT WOULD ELICIT A RUDE RESPONSE. YOU’RE GREAT AT CITING ARTICLES YOU HAVEN’T WRITTEN. HERE’S ONE THAT DESCRIBES YOUR BRAND OF COWARDICE: http://www.deletecyberbullying.org/why-do-people-cyberbully/

            Please show me 5 good MLMs if you think they exist. I’ll show you why they aren’t good.
            I DON’T HAVE TIME TO WASTE ON THAT. YOUR OPINIONS ARE INVALID. I’VE SHOWN IN THIS SIMPLE POST 5 EXAMPLES OF YOU BEING ABSOLUTELY CLUELESS AS TO WHAT YOU ARE DISCUSSING. WHY WOULD I CARE ABOUT OR SEEK YOUR OPINION?
            There are good MLM products, but a vast majority of them are over-priced, which is why I could quickly scan Melaleuca’s price list and prove you wrong by citing lavender oil
            AND YET MELALEUCA DOES $1.2 BILLION PER YEAR AND HAS OVER 1 MILLION MONTHLY CUSTOMERS, WITH AN 95% REORDER RATE. I DOUBT THE FACT THAT YOU CAN GO TO AMAZON AND FIND A WHOLESALE COMPETITOR SELLING A CHEAPER VERSION OF ONE OF THEIR PRODUCTS IS A SIGN OF THEIR DEMISE. YET YOU WILL STATE THAT AS PROOF THAT THEY ARE A FRAUD.
            LOOK, I GET IT, YOU ARE BUILDING A FOLLOWING THAT YOU CAN PEDDLE YOUR “EASY MONEY” TIPS TO, SO PEOPLE WHO COULDN’T CUT IT IN MLM ARE YOUR PRIME AUDIENCE. GO GET ‘EM, TIGER. BUT IN THIS POST ALONE YOU’VE DEMONSTRATED THAT YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND PAY STRUCTURES, BONUSES OR MUCH OF ANYTHING ABOUT THE INDUSTRY OF NETWORKING, BUT WORSE, YOU’VE PROVEN YOURSELF RUDE AND CHILDISH. PLEASE STOP E-MAILING ME and take me off of this thread.

          • Lazy Man says:

            1) What easy money tips are you referring to? The kind of information that I give is pretty standard financial information like save for a retirement in a Roth IRA.

            2) I think it’s fair to use the term “hype marketing” for Herbalife. If you don’t agree then maybe we should define the term and figure out which companies fit in it. It seems like whenever I point a failed one, you say, “They were hype marketers.” It just seems like a convenient way to explain the failures.

            3) “Possibly?” Way to go out on a limb and pick a side.

            4) Again, she did not have one good month… she had 400+ people in her downline. By your own point of it being difficult to recruit means that it was not a good month. And yes when Mary Kay bestows the Pink Cadillac, it is because they are the MOST SUCCESSFUL. The unsuccessful people do not get Pink Cadillacs in Mary Kay. There’s no nuance here that your experience gives. You simply have a different opinion because you have to believe it (i.e. cognitive dissonance).

            5) You are proving my point that even a top person (car bonus) having done a very difficult thing many, many times (400+ downline) and still not make money. Is this explained to every MLM distributor getting in? Nope.

            6) Yes someone might get a car bonus with a few lucky customers, but that wasn’t the case with Lauren Greutman. We aren’t talking about what could happen in theory, but a specific case of what actually happened. You’d know this didn’t happen if you listened to her story.

            7) Again, knowing how to build a MLM business is not a point in evaluting it. You don’t need to have committed fraud to identify it. You keep falling back on the “You just don’t know” argument because you can’t explain the obvious mathematical failure. This is always the losing side of a debate.

            8) I’m not trying to be rude, but time and again, you point out that I don’t know MLM. Time and again, I prove you wrong and explain how you haven’t done your homework. You conveniently didn’t give me credit for being correct about Vemma changing their compensation plan and acknowledging your mistake.

            It’s hard to not be rude when you are guilty of the things you accuse me of. I’m trying to tell you the nicest way possible, but you don’t seem to understand it. Now you are playing the “I’m being Cyberbullied” card to avoid the debate.

            9) Great, so you couldn’t even point out 5 good MLMs. It takes too much time to name 5. You spent how much time here commenting and you can’t type 5 company names. But of course there must be good MLMs around because you say there are.

            10) I think MonaVie was making around a billion with around a million customers at its peak. Vemma probably could say similar things. It’s no surprise that Melaleuca can claim the numbers as well. It certainly has no correlation with them being legal or sustainable. Melaleuca is one of the companies with a pay to play plan as described here. As that Pro-MLM lawyer explains, that’s what has regulators

            11) I’m not peddling any “easy money” tips. I’ve been writing personal finance articles for nearly a decade now. I only write about MLM because I’m interested in how people are being pitched one thing to recruit them and then told something different to keep them in. I know MLMers all say they don’t do that, but if you were straight up with them about 99% of people losing money and that you can spend months recruiting 400 people and still not make money, no one would ever sign up to begin with.

            I do not mail you. If you have signed up to receive email for following this thread, it has very simple unsubscribe instructions at the bottom. Use them if you wish.

  30. Geoff says:

    John,

    I think Lazy did a great job handling the shenanigans in your CAPS LOCK post, but there were a few things I wanted to point out in the next post you made.

    1. You said, “I tried to respond to your post as I did before, but it told me the post was too long and that it was dropped. I suppose we will agree to disagree.”

    Did you ever have the intention of possibly changing your mind? Did you think that you could change LM’s mind after he provided you with research, statistics, well reputed sources and more, and you provided nothing but your own anecdotal nonsense? Was the purpose of your comments to simply see how many words you can type and illicit responses?

    2. You said, “Vemma is a great example of a company that proves the great thing about MLM, as is Monavie

    This alone, proves how insane your theories are. Vemma was shut down, and Monavie is dead. These are the good MLM companies???

    3. You said, “If you have a hype based product or approach, you won’t last! My over all point is that, like anything else, the negatives get all the press, and people looking on from the outside jump all over that type of information i.e. your Mary Kay rep.”

    Again, I ask have you ever been to a seminar??? That is literally all they do. It is full of celebrity endorsements, social proof, comparison, priming, exclusivity, use of name, and repetition. You can view those definitions here. https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/8-hype-marketing-tactics-sure-to-backfire/ The only one they don’t use is scarcity, because there whole point is to flood the market and prove anyone can do it with duplication.

    4. You said, “Here’s the truth. There are good MLMs. There are also bad ones! There are good MLM products. There also over priced, crappy ones. There are people who tell the truth about MLM; that it is a tough business, that takes years to build. And there are people promising it’s a lottery ticket.”

    This is the same old indoctrinated crap every MLMer states. Once again, you have utilized 0 research in your points, and rely solely on your experience to prove your points. This is utter garbage, as the two MLM’s you did point out are awful (1 is out of business and the other is trying to build back up after being shut down). Stop with this general crap about there is good and bad, yin and yang blah blah blah. Let’s see some actual detailed information, and back it up with some legitimate points. If I were to sit here and say some people have good manure facial creams and some have bad ones, but the guys who have the bad ones shouldn’t make the good ones stink…(all pun intended) you would call me full of sh** (more puns intended), until I showed you legitimate documentation via testing, price point, ingredients used etc.

    5. You said, “As I said before, you are well-intentioned, but you seem to seek out the information that supports your claims as you say I do. (Maybe you’re right!) I stand by my own experience.”

    Really, he seeks out only information that supports him? That’s why he asks constantly for people to challenge, find errors, and make him edit his posts? He is clearly only seeking subordinates with that anti-logic right? You have proven your experience is completely worthless based on the crap you are saying, your refusal to acknowledge important points, and going off on bizarre tangents irrelevant to the main point. At least you are willing to take your points to your grave.

    6. You said, “People fail in this for the same reason they fail at anything else. They quit when it gets tough. And those people who give up too easy, and were foolish enough to expect something fast and easy are typically the ones screaming loudest on the web that they were robbed.”

    Just flat out WRONG. People fail in this because it is a mathematical certainty as I pointed out in my previous post. This not a sustainable business model as there are less viable targets with every new person who joins, AND you are increasing your level of competition exponentially as they are now trying to recruit and teach others the EXACT same way you are teaching. The people who “give up” and voice their opinions are the people who are going to help make a difference for people that aren’t brainwashed into ignoring facts and well formulated opinions.

    John, I will finish with this thought. Everyone is ENTITLED to an opinion. The reason for why LM’s opinions hold more weight, is because he has been doing this for 10 years with an abundance of hours dedicating himself to reading and growing his knowledge base to help construct a forum that addresses people’s concerns. If you think that your opinion will outweigh his without attempting to utilize outside resources to support your arguments, then you will not be very successful. The people here are already looking at a 3rd party source away from the upline and crossline RAH RAH’s of the seminars they have gone to, and they are going to listen to the person who supports their case the best. I suggest you take a strong look at the way you conduct your points and work on research tactics.

  31. Jennifer says:

    Nerium is a cytotoxin. The “amazing” results are caused from edema.
    @Nerium “Pushers” Partners
    Have you read and understood the list of ingredients in the product that you’re push’n? Its basically a super expensive aloe based makeup prepping product with the potential to cause major problems for your skin. If you took the time to learn these things yourself you would stop hawk’n your killer product to the unsuspecting people…unless all you care about is MONEY!

    Oleander is poisonous! Licensed professionals (not the ones blinded by dollar signs) take the time to research the ingredients of products they may want to use on their paying clients that they CARE about.
    Uneducated, unlicensed people obviously only care about that Ol’ mighty dollar, more than the people that they’re selling this crap to. If you actually cared about anyone then you would have taken the time to do your research.

    Oleander has poisonous chemicals in it called cytotoxins. Cytotoxins indiscriminately kill cells. Do you understand what that means? This means that Oleanders poisons will kill “bad” and “good” cells.

    Nerium first started out trying to kill cancer. Which in their lab test’s found that these cytotoxins killed the cancer…but they can not test it on humans because not only will it kill the “bad” cancer cells but it will indiscriminately kill the “good” cells leading to DEATH.

    So with all that, what do you think its doing to the cells on your face? I will tell you what its doing to your face. Its causing chronic inflammation. This is something that Nerium states on their own site but they say it like this

    “The absorbed nerium oleandrin regenerates from deep with in and the skin improvements are not based on harming tissue, the effects seen are based on edematous plumping of the skin as new cells form and make collagen.”
    http://www.neriumantiagingskin.com/nerium-poisonous-nerium-toxic/

    Edematous = Edema = Edema is a normal response of the body to inflammation or injury. For example, a twisted ankle, a bee sting, or a skin infection will all result in edema in the involved area.
    http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-failure/edema-overview

    And we all know the problem of chronic inflammation, right? Well if you don’t let me just say “free-radical”. Nerium is not an anti aging product…its an AGING product.

    “Oleander is a poisonous evergreen shrub or small tree identified by its fragrant white, red, pink, or purple flowers and long slender, leathery leaves, which grow in pairs opposite each other or in whorls of 3. It grows in mild climates or as an indoor plant. The active ingredients are extracted from the leaves, but all parts of the plant are poisonous.”
    http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/herbsvitaminsandminerals/oleander-leaf

    “Oleander is a plant. Its use as a poison is well known. In fact, oleander is reportedly a favorite suicide agent in Sri Lanka, where oleander poisonings exceed 150 per 100,000 each year. That’s a high number. Approximately 10% of these ingestions are fatal.”
    http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-789-OLEANDER.aspx?activeIngredientId=789&activeIngredientName=OLEANDER

    “2 Toddlers Died From Oleander Poisoning, Coroner Says”
    http://articles.latimes.com/2000/jul/26/local/me-59440

  32. JOANEE SMITH says:

    Personally, I LOVE NERIUM and the results I am getting from the products. I have been using Nerium products for 1-1/2 yrs. Several of my friends, using Nerium, are experiencing the same fantastic results that I am. We are all very happy customers.

    Everything that the product claims it will do, it has been doing and then some. The motto “give us a year, we’ll give you back ten” I think it has taken 15 years off my face, easily!

    I have tried countless products throughout the years, expensive, very expensive and inexpensive, nothing I have tried comes close to the results I am getting from Nerium. I am completely Sold on the Nerium Products! Finally a product that REALLY WORKS = NERIUM!

    • Lazy Man says:

      Thanks JOANEE SMITH. Unfortunately I don’t feel like I can trust any reviews on Nerium since they may be made by people with financial incentive to support the product. I’d feel more comfortable if you stated that you bought it off of Ebay to show that you aren’t a Nerium distributor.

  33. Anon says:

    Hey! I read through your article (yes, all of it) because someone on my facebook recently got into this Nerium stuff and I was curious haha.

    I just wanted to note that “Dove Medical Press” which published the results of the clinical trial is not exactly the most academic journal… thus the articles it publishes should be taken with a grain of salt.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2013/11/open-access-group-sanctions-three-publishers-after-science-sting

    And yes it’s membership was restored, but not till after the article was published.

  34. Robert says:

    You would trust a review of a person who bought something of off Ebay vs when they purchase it directly from the company?

    How can you trust a product on Ebay? A consumer has no idea how old that cream is, or if the bottle has been tampered with and something else placed inside of it rather then the real product.

    It seems no matter what any one has to say, you have your negative opinion of the product and you will stick to that. I have seen people use it, and have seen what it has done for them, they are not Nerium Reps, just people who buy the product.

    After reading your article, there are a few things missing… you cant call every MLM a pyramid scheme, there are rules in place by FTC that control these things, and if a MLM is generating over 60% of their revenues from new sales people signing up instead of product sales that crosses the legality point.

    From the reading I have done, when one rep signs up another one, the commission is less then making a sale of two night cream bottles, hence supporting the 60% rule.

    There are many Pyramid Schemes out there, but before you make them all the same, understand the difference in each one.

    One example would be YTB, they charged 750 for a website, paid the rep over 150$ when they sold one and then tiny commissions from the travel purchased form the reps website. Violating the 60% rule, hence why many states and then eventually FTC shut them down.

    • Lazy Man says:

      How can you trust a company that seems to try to walk the line of being a pyramid scheme (i.e. run an MLM)? I personally trust Ebay a lot more. Same with Amazon.

      According to this Bloomberg article, the FTC can’t put an end to pyramid schemes. My question to you is, “Who is certifying and approving the financial details of these transactions of where the money is coming from?”

      As I understand it, the repeated point values generated from signing up a person over time could be much more than one-time sales of two night cream bottles.

      I also have never across a 60% rule in my 8 or 9 years of researching MLM. I’ve come across a 70% rule. I’ve also come across a 10-customer rule and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that enforced.

  35. Geoff says:

    Robert said, “How can you trust a product on Ebay? A consumer has no idea how old that cream is, or if the bottle has been tampered with and something else placed inside of it rather then the real product.”

    This is a completely bizarre remark…there are plenty of safety measures put in place to support purchasing on eBay. First of all, eBay has buyer protection policies instated to make sure the buyer does not get ripped off. Second of all, there is feedback…if you are concerned about someone being reputable on eBay check their history. If they have 100% feedback on many sales, I doubt they are going to start ripping you off.

    Robert said, “It seems no matter what any one has to say, you have your negative opinion of the product and you will stick to that. I have seen people use it, and have seen what it has done for them, they are not Nerium Reps, just people who buy the product.”

    It’s pretty tough not to have a negative spin when the facts are the facts, and they aren’t good ones. Also, it is hard to take someone seriously if they can only say…I saw this one person buy the product and it worked for them. I could make some pretty interesting science for my horse manure cream by selling it to someone and then watching as it miraculously helped their rosacea…It clearly worked I saw a guy use it! (Lots of sarcasm implied)

    Robert said, “you cant call every MLM a pyramid scheme, there are rules in place by FTC that control these things, and if a MLM is generating over 60% of their revenues from new sales people signing up instead of product sales that crosses the legality point.”

    Can you point out the 60% rule? I too am not familiar with this one…

    Robert said, “From the reading I have done, when one rep signs up another one, the commission is less then making a sale of two night cream bottles, hence supporting the 60% rule.”

    This statement doesn’t make any sense at all…that doesn’t stop people from generating over 60% revenue from downline…in fact it encourages it. While you may not make as much from a wholesale price as you would from a retail price, you are going to have a more loyal and repetitious customer in your downline than you are at retail. Here is some math for you…if I sell 2 bottles at retail and 30 bottles at wholesale to downline, am I violating the 60% rule even though I make less on each bottle for the 30 sold at wholesale? (Rhetorical question, the answer is obviously yes).

  36. Vogel says:

    Robert said: “How can you trust a product on Ebay? A consumer has no idea how old that cream is, or if the bottle has been tampered with and something else placed inside of it rather then the real product.”

    E-Bay typically offers quick hassle-free money back returns; that in part is why E-Bay’s trustworthiness exceeds Nerium’s a thousand fold. Products bear expiry dates on the bottle; that’s how you know hold old the cream is. The items being sold on E-Bay are excess inventory originally purchased by Nerium distributors to maintain commission/bonus eligibility; they then dump it cheap in an attempt to recoup some of their losses. No one in their right mind is going to make a business out of refilling old Nerium bottles and bootlegging them on E-Bay – that’s an asinine suggestion — but even if they did, I’d rather roll the dice with bootleg mystery cream than Nerium’s garbage. MLMs like Nerium aren’t exactly known for their integrity. Lord knows what kind of crap they squirt into those bottles.

    Robert said: “It seems no matter what any one has to say, you have your negative opinion of the product and you will stick to that.”

    No, it’s just that Nerium reps say so damn many stupid things and you simply mischaracterize the resulting astonished reactions and rebuttals as negativity.

    Robert said: “There are many Pyramid Schemes out there, but before you make them all the same, understand the difference in each one.”

    Really? What nuances set your BS dimwitted pyramid scheme apart from all the others?

  37. Nerium supporter says:

    Interesting how there is a pitch at the end for your products… Tearing someone else’s building down to make yours look taller only works for a short period of time. There is no integrity in what you do to line your pockets and feed your children with money made on lies and misdirection. Nerium has been around almost 5 years now and seems to keep growing a strong customer base which is where a majority of the companies revenue comes from. Like it or not people vote to keep companies in business with their dollars. For some reason Nerium keeps growing meaning more people are loving and buying the product on a monthly basis and voting that it’s a legit product and company.

  38. Geoff says:

    Nerium supporter said, “Nerium has been around almost 5 years now and seems to keep growing a strong customer base which is where a majority of the companies revenue comes from.”

    That is a terrible form of logic as people get duped all the time. Bernie Madoff was around for almost 50 years…that certainly did not make him legitimate and he will be spending the rest of his days in prison.

    Do you have any facts to support that a majority of the Nerium sales are coming from a solid customer base, or is this pure speculation? According to their income disclosure statement as seen here, http://www.neriumsupport.com/downloads/income-declaration-statement.pdf…they suggest that over 70% of their sales come from retail and preferred customers. However, they decide to not mention any numbers reflecting the accuracy of that suggested figure. In fact, the only numbers they get into are the terrible success rates. Out of 24,277 people, 83 are making $100,000 and higher (which equals less than .001%), and their average earnings are $2,804. That would mean the 24,277 people are making appx. 68 million dollars a year. The top 83 earners are making approximately 26% of the entire yearly income reported, and the other 99.99% share the remaining 75% which is already awful, but the number breakdowns get worse from there…The top 4% (people making $10,000 and up) are splitting 46%, and a lot of the people in the top 4% are making poverty level wages leaving the bottom 96% to split the remaining 54%…This continues to get uglier and uglier for the majority, and to use a figure like $2,804 as an average income is embarrassing, but actually makes this look BETTER than it really is…

    Their average of $2,804 as an average income is like 20,000 people entering the lottery, and one person winning 60 million dollars. Then saying their average earnings was $3,000…so you should try it too. I could use a bunch of adjectives to describe this situation, but I’d rather have the numbers do the talking.

  39. Nightowl2548 says:

    There is a guy at work peddling nerium, a pathetic little schlemiel who did 7 years in prison for molesting his little brother when he was 18. It’s obviously a pyramid scheme, who on earth would pay these ridiculous prices for this snake oil. This guy was deluded he’d soon be making $4000 a month a year ago, a year later his older model used car still isn’t paid off and he’s working an exhorbant amount of overtime with that goal in mind. In the mean time some people bought the snake oil off him out of sympathy and they were dismayed at what they thought to be a one time purchase to have the stuff keep coming month after month with their credit cards continually getting charged. NEVER GIVE A PYRAMID PRODUCT YOUR CC# they are on the same level as Nigerian email scammers. DONT BUY OR TRY THIS STUFF OUT OF SYMPATHY you are only enabling the scam. Most of all know there is no such thing as a free lunch, you can’t get rich peddling things to your friends and relatives. That’s just not how the economy works, people get their stuff at Walmart, direct selling is not reality. Lastly, what kind of a reputable business would get a paroled child molester involved in their business? Only one that wanted to sucker the dude out of his money. Someone who is obviously susceptible to the “be your own boss!” recruitment lie of the MLM scammers as he is well aware with a whopper like that in his background he’s darn near unemployable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous: Budget Hack: Shredded Chicken
Next: Make a $1000 a Year with Reward Credit Cards? Yes!
 
Also from Lazy Man and Money
Lazy Man and Health | MLM Myth | Health MLM Scam | MonaVie Scam | Protandim Scams | How To Fix | How To Car | How To Computer