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ViSalus Scam Exposed!

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[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.)]

A few years ago my wife was approached by someone to buy $45 bottles of juice called MonaVie. As a personal finance writer, I felt I had to research how this company could stay in business pricing the product at 10x more than competition with no proven benefits. Turns out the answer was that MonaVie is really selling people on a business recruiting others and requiring them to buy the juice as an ongoing expense to continue with the business opportunity. In the process, so much was about MonaVie was uncovered that I had to create MonaVie Scam. The website has provided tons of irrefutable evidence supported by reputable third parties that MonaVie is a grossly overpriced product, with little nutritional value, wrapped in a poor business opportunity that the FTC guidelines say is an illegal pyramid scheme, which is itself wrapped in illegal medical claims, supported by nonsensical "scientific" studies, and tied to a fraudulent charity. Fortunately there is now a class-action lawsuit against MonaVie as others have seen the evidence.

In that MonaVie discussion, another MLM distributor introduced me to LifeVantage Protandim. It turns out that is just as bad as MonaVie. You should simply read the article to learn more.

Lastly, a couple of distributors mentioned One24 - a company that bills itself as a way to retire in 24 months - as long as you recruit enough people. It's a classic pyramid scheme according to the FTC guidelines. So I wrote an article warning people that One24 is a scam.

On that One24 article a distributor brought up the name of ViSalus and the performance of their distributors. The name was familiar to me, so I searched through my email. I had one back from June from an Aretus Smith who asked me if it was legit or not. I get a couple of these requests a month for various companies and I don't have the time to research them, so my answer wasn't very good. Then six weeks ago Troy Brian sent an spam email to about 250 people "involved" in MonaVie (somehow the person selling this list has added my name and bunch of others illegally) telling them about a ViSalus challenge. So when Todd Hirsch brought up ViSalus on the One24 thread, I decided to spend a few minutes looking into it.

It didn't take me long to find a lot of deceptive marketing designed to take advantage of consumers.

The first place on ViSalus' website that got my attention was the section of white papers. The section above says, "Our white papers are designed to share the science behind our breakthrough products, methods, and sales innovations in order to help you become a more informed consumer." I looked through the white papers and all but were by one guy: Michael Seidman. This fits the MonaVie mold of using Alexander Schauss and LifeVantage using Joe McCord to create research to market their products.

This is probably the time to point out that Michael Seidman has a past history of selling the public on products that aren't shown to work. Here's a quote from ScienceBlogs.com about a foot detox system, Aqua-Chi:

"When you ask me, 'Does it sound crazy?' My answer is 'Yes,' " says Seidman. "But my response is also that it doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong just because we don't understand it."

I did a little more digging and found the rest of his quote here:

"Seidman adds that there could be a psychosomatic element, that 'if you believe that you’re going to feel better and reduce your stress, then you probably will.'"

In other words, "if I lie to you and tell you this is going to help it probably will due to placebo effect." This is the same thing we've seen MonaVie and Protandim and here's another "doctor" with a checkered past essentially spilling the beans about scams like these.

I looked at a random white paper sample: "Age-related Hearing Loss and its Association with Reactive Oxygen Species and Mitochondrial DNA damage*" and I couldn't find anything in it where a ViSalus product was tested in any way. As best I can tell there's no product between this white paper and any ViSalus product. I clicked on a couple more and glanced through them and didn't see any connection either. If there are any white papers on the list that are related to any ViSalus products, I hope someone will use the comments to point out the connection to me. More importantly, I hope someone writes ViSalus and tells them to clearly explain the significance of these papers to the products.

Update: CBC News in Canada has looked into ViSalus' deceptive marketing claims and Canada regulatory boards are looking into it.

The Value of ViSalus Vi-Shake

I also looked into the value of the ViSalus Vi-Shake product. ViSalus gives a comparison chart here. It looks pretty convincing, doesn't it. ViSalus makes it look even more convincing with a chart comparing a ViSalus Shake to nutrients found in everyday foods. Not surprising, it would cost nearly $103 in various foods to match the $1.85 cost of Vi-Shape and milk. The point is emphasized with this video:

This reminds of those Total commercials where you have eat 20 bowls of another cereal to match the nutrition in one bowl of Total. This YouTube video explains with a spreadsheet the deceptive marketing in detail.

However, much like those Total commercials when you dig a little deeper into Vi-Shape isn't all that impressive. In fact, it looks like a poor purchasing decision. Take a look at the ingredients. It's essentially a blend of protein (including soy, more on that later), the "fake" fiber that MonaVie adds, and a pretty good multi-vitamin.

As a personal finance writer, I want to get the most value for my dollar. So I was wondering if I could create something pretty close to the same for a cheaper cost. The price per serving of the ViSalus Vi-Shape mix is $1.50. Let's look at what we can do for each of the main three areas (protein, fiber, and multi-vitamin):

  • Protein - I was at Costco the other day and found this 6lb Bag of Muscle Milk for $37. It is 78 servings of 27g of protein. That's a total of 2106 grams of protein in the bag. Vi-Shape has 12g of protein so this bag would provide you a little more than 175 servings of protein. If you have a Costco member, this amounts to $0.21 for the protein portion of the ViSalus. If you don't have a Costco membership, the Amazon price is less than 28.5 cents for the same amount of protein in the Vi-Shape shake.
  • Fiber - Doing a little more shopping on Amazon, I found Metamucil Clear and Natural Powder, which is a product that I have and use. It's tasteless and can be added to just about anything. This 11.7 ounce bottle has 57 servings of 5 grams of fiber - the same amount in a ViSalus shake. The $11.84 price on Amazon boils down to 21 cents a serving - the same amount as the protein from Costco.
  • Multivitamin - You can find multivitamins anywhere and they differ greatly in what they offer. You'll almost never two that are exactly alike, so it is impossible to compare in the same way we compare 5 grams of fiber or 12 grams of protein. However, the body can only process so much of a vitamin at any given time and the rest goes out through the urine. I found a Centrum Multivitamin on Amazon for 7 cents a pill that has 30 vitamins and minerals compared to the 23 in a ViSalus shake mix. It's worth noting what Consumer Reports says about vitamins: "But many people taking the pills don't need to. Despite their popularity there's virtually no evidence that they improve the average person's health."For all practical purposes, we'll have to consider this equal, especially since they may be completely unnecessary to begin with. The same Consumer Reports article mentions that Kirkland (Costco's brand) can bring the price down to under a nickel.

It's very easy to mix the protein and fiber to make a shake mix. Get a gallon bag, pour the Metamucil Clear into it... then put 25 scoops of the Muscle Milk into it. You now have 57 servings of 12g protein and 5g fiber. Take a multivitamin with the shake... done. I answer to the name Lazy Man and not even I am that lazy. If you are a member of Costco, the homemade version will cost you $0.47 a serving ($0.21 + $0.21 + 0.05). If you are not a member of Costco and just want to buy off of Amazon it will cost you $0.57 ($0.29 + $0.21 + $0.07).

I'd rather pay about 50 cents a serving than $1.50 wouldn't you? It may only seem like a dollar a day, but it adds up to $365 a year. That's very little work for a large payoff.

The Value of ViSalus Vi-Crunch Cereal

In the comments below, Vogel did some good analysis on Vi-Crunch, the ViSalus cereal. In particular there was a comparison with Kashi GoLean cereal one that I brought on as I consider it to be a relatively healthy cereal with 9 gram of protein and 8 grams of fiber. Vi-Crunch has more protein (12g) and less fiber (5g), so I consider essentially a wash nutritionally. I will admit that Vi-Crunch has lower sugar and salt, so it probably takes like dirt... we'll get back to this in a bit. For now, let's leave it as a minor difference that at one serving per day isn't going to make or break your diet. A serving of Vi-Crunch is 3/4 cup vs. a serving of Kashi that is 1 cup... so this is going to make Kashi seem like a lower calorie option, but it is simply less food.

Now let's get a little "mathy." Vogel breaks down the total weight of Vi-Crunch cereal noting that it is $50 (minus a penny) for 630g of cereal. A 23.1 ounce box of Kashi GOLEAN Crunch! Cereal is 604g and that's going for $5.69 per box on Amazon (Vogel does similar math for Wal-Mart if that's your store of choice). Doing the math it turns out that ViCrunch is 8.42 times more expensive than Kashi GoLean. Choosing Vi-Crunch is like going to the grocery store, seeing two similar products with similar nutrition, and grabbing the $25 one vs. the $3 one right next to it.

But it gets worse. Remember the part about Vi-Crunch having lower sugar and salt and probably not tasting as well. Well ViSalus solves that by creating ViCrunch Fusions, a topping that you can add to make it taste better. They are $11 for 7 servings... or $1.57 per serving, and that's extra.

To do a little more math, let's say that you eat 50g of cereal per serving (a number between ViCrunch's and Kashi GoLean's serving size). Standardizing on a serving size allows us to compare apples to apples. A 50g serving of ViCrunch is going to cost you $3.97 while a 50g serving of GoLean is going to cost you $0.47. If you add the ViCrunch Fusion topping, you'll get a little more food, but it pushes your cost up to $5.54, which is well over ten times the cost of GoLean now.

Eat that bowl of ViCrunch everyday for a year and you'll spend $2,022. Eat a bowl of GoLean Crunch and you'll spend $171.55. If you were thinking about buying ViCrunch, reading this article just saved you $1850 this year alone. If you are a family of four, it saved you $7,401. For most people, if their boss gave them a $10,000 raise today, they'd take somewhere around that $7,401 after taxes. Do you want to blow $10,000 of your salary this year on cereal?

Oh one more thing. Amazon will give you free shipping if you spend $25. ViSalus can't match that... shipping is extra.

Visalus Distributor: "But Our Product is Higher Quality"

This is what every MLM distributor says to justify the artificially high price of the product (see the aforementioned $45 bottle of MonaVie juice). It's one thing to claim a product is high quality, but it is another thing to prove it. The blog Living la Vida Low Carb takes an in-depth look - it is well worth reading before you try the product. ViSalus contains soy, which is a controversial ingredient, especially for men. The blog asks the doctor who literally wrote the book on soy and she says that ViSalus' response to why it uses soy is completely wrong. Furthermore, ViSalus uses the artificial sweetener sucralose and the company's response on the blog is ridiculously convoluted.

In addition to the point about soy, it is an even cheaper ingredient that the whey protein. So if you are a female and determine that soy is a better option for you, substitute that in the above shake and you'll save even more money.

The blog Young and Raw examines the ingredients of ViSalus and comes to the conclusion that "this product is total crap."

ViSalus' Illegal Health Claims

As I've found with the other health-based MLMs that I've followed, it's quite common for the company and/or distributors to illegal push their food/supplement as medicine, by saying that it helps with some health condition. This illegal and misleading marketing isn't the kind of thing that you see from companies selling products in your grocery store or supplement companies selling at GNC.

I had thought that ViSalus was fairly safe from these things. After all, the products are mostly for weight loss. So any kind of health claim could be easily traced to a person losing weight, which, as a reminder, can happen with any number of products (ViSalus brings nothing special or unique to the table). However, in watching this YouTube video about ViSalus allegedly clearing up a person's kidney problems in days, it is quite clear that ViSalus is marketing their product illegally. The video is an episode of The Pyramid Thing, which is a series of videos following ViSalus distributors including their co-founder Nick Sarnicola. (Keep reading and you'll find that the video is accurately named as Sarnicola is running an illegal pyramid scheme according to the FTC's guidelines.)

Lest you be tempted to try the product for any health condition, I caution you against it. After all MLM health products don't work and if you think that's just my opinion, a non-profit consortium of doctors asked me if they could republish my article on their site: You can read it here.

The ViSalus BMW Scam

Whenever you hear about the business of ViSalus, you'll like come across three letters: BMW. Prospective distributors are getting pitches of "free BMWs." However, that could be further from the truth. The BMWs are not free. If you were to qualify for a BMW from ViSalus, you'd be wise to refuse it. Why? I'll get to that in a second. First, let me cover...

The ViSalus BMW Pitch

This is the pitch straight from the compensation plan:

"Since ViSalus™ knows our distributors are people who align themselves with only the BEST, and aspire to live the ‘Vi–Life’, it is only fitting that our producers be recognized in a way that echoes their commitment to excellence: The ViSalus Bimmer Club!

By reaching the level of Regional Director or higher, ViSalus Distributors qualify to join the prestigious Bimmer Club and become eligible for a monthly BMW Bonus that goes toward a ViSalus–branded black BMW."

Take a minute and notice the language here: "the BEST", the "aspire to live the 'Vi-Life'", "the prestigious Bimmer Club." How could you not want to be a part of that, right?

So why should you refuse the BMW? The fine print shows that they'll give you the $600/mo. only if you maintain the level of sales in your downline. If you understand the churn rate in MLM, you know that somewhere between 60% and 90% of your downline will drop out each year. Thus maintaining the level for the BMW is difficult. That itself wouldn't be a problem, except for one little thing, The BMW is in your name.

If sales drop, you need to come up with the payments on the car. This can be especially difficult because, well, your sales have dropped so you are earning less. Distributors are finding that their credit gets ruined because the BMW got them saddled with an expense that they couldn't afford. The alternative to the BMW is to take a $300/mo. bonus in cash. It isn't the flashy BMW, but you avoid the strings attached.

It reminds me of the mortgage lenders in 2004 and 2005 offering people adjustable rate loans to give them low initial payments. Many people found that this allowed them to afford their dream house (i.e. "the BEST", the "prestigious house"), but when the rates re-adjusted they had big financial problems. The people who were smart didn't get seduced by the dream and made the wise financial decision with minimal risk.

If ViSalus was a reputable company looking to do the right thing for its distributors, they'd offer them the option to assume the lease if their sales don't qualify. They don't do that. Instead the plan seems to saddle distributors with an expensive BMW so that they have extra motivation to make sure that their sales don't drop. Finally, you don't have to drive around in a big advertisement.

The ViSalus Challenge

A lot of commenters have suggested that ViSalus creates a community with a common goal and that buddy helps people lose weight. They specifically point to the ViSalus 90-Day challenge. I don't argue that point at all... but I have a better way.

There's a free website called SparkPeople that is health community and it has challenges as well. Additionally you could also use another site StickK.com (my article on it: StickK to Your Goals) to keep you motivated.

There's no need to overpay for product or be an accomplice in a pyramid scheme to reach your health goals.

Is ViSalus a Pyramid Scheme?

The answer, in my opinion, is yes! I realize this is a serious accusation, but follow me on this. First watch this video about the "ViSalus Refer 3, Get Next Month Free!" program:

Before I get to the pyramid scheme part let's get to the false claim made in the first 20 seconds, "It allows everybody... do it at absolutely no cost." It is mathematically impossible for everybody to do it at no cost. For every single person doing it at no cost, there must be at least 3 times the product paid for from others. There is no situation where everyone gets the product for free. Of course, it would put the company out business, so that's not to be expected, but this false marketing shouldn't be allowed.

If you understand how it works, you end up referring other people to buy product. In the video, the spokesman makes a special point of saying that you are referring "customers, not distributors" to buy kits. However, those "customers" are in fact distributors as they can do the same. At the 3:30 mark it is confirmed by the spokesperson saying (paraphrasing) "if one of your customers refers three customers and get their kit for free, you still get yours." In other words, ViSalus has just confused the traditional definition of an MLM distributor with a customer in this video. It still hits what the FBI says about pyramid schemes:

"At the heart of each pyramid scheme is typically a representation that new participants can recoup their original investments by inducing two or more prospects to make the same investment."

There's also this from the FTC:

"Not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate. Some are pyramid schemes. It’s best not to get involved in plans where the money you make is based primarily on the number of distributors you recruit and your sales to them, rather than on your sales to people outside the plan who intend to use the products."

In referring people you have not made a sale to someone outside of ViSalus, but recruited what amounts to a distributor who can refer others as well. This person is now considered "within ViSalus" rather than outside ViSalus. It is a very, very tricky thing for most people to understand without having experience in looking into these schemes.

The FTC has put out a lot of documentation on this. I've compiled it into a guide at MLMs Vs. Pyramid Schemes. The thing that dooms this ViSalus program to being a pyramid scheme is that sales aren't to end customers, but to people who are essentially distributors since they too can refer others.

Update 1: From ViSalus' IPO filing, CNBC found this beauty: "we do not believe that we are subject to laws regulating pyramid schemes... there is a risk that a governmental agency or court could disagree with our assessment..."

If there wasn't a very real risk of ViSalus being a pyramid scheme, there would be no need to warn about it. Do you think IBM or McDonalds has such disclosures in their SEC filings? Hint: They don't.

Update 2: On January 28, 2013, the FTC Halted the Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing Scam Halted as a Pyramid Scheme. In doing so the FTC and three states listed a number of reasons why they went to a federal court to shut Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing (FHTM) down. Big thanks goes to Jeff who outlined a few the similarities using the documentation from the FTC (PDF) and what is publicly known about ViSalus (citations valid at time of publishing, ViSalus may move and/or change their marketing):

  • FTC on FHTM: "Defendants target consumers with an entrepreneurial spirit, emphasizing that FHTM provides an opportunity to build a business which can rapidly provide financial independence"
    ViSalus's Rewards page (first video): "To be able to become financially free from just partying with our friends, there’s nothing like it."
  • FTC: "FHTM routinely touts six and seven-figure incomes to new recruits, assuring them that they will be able to achieve these results as long as they are willing to work hard."
    ViSalus's Rewards page (first video): "Challenge promoters can earn anywhere from a few hundred of dollars per month to hundreds of thousands of dollars per month... There’s opportunity here that you can make a lot of money and you can change your lifestyle in a big, big way... If it’s just to cut down at work or if it’s to leave your job altogether like I did, this business will allow you to do that."

    As we'll cover below, the average ViSalus distributor barely makes $250 a month and those are best case scenarios. Given the skewed money at the top, the people at the bottom lose money.

  • FTC: “As with any pyramid scheme, FHTM’s defining characteristic is a compensation plan that is skewed heavily in favor of recruitment over sales.”
    Visalus has 8 ways to earn money in the compensation plan. 7 of those ways require that you recruit people. Visalus’ "Getting Started Training" doesn’t focus on selling product, it focuses on becoming a "Director in 7 Days" which means you have to recruit 3 people.
  • FTC: “Plaintiffs have submitted overwhelming evidence demonstrating both FHTM’s deceptive earnings claims and its operation of a pyramid scheme—either of which alone is sufficient grounds... FHTM dangles the promise of riches in order to lure consumers into joining its scheme. FHTM makes these promises in a variety of ways—though in person presentations, pre-recorded presentations, webcasts, and live and pre-recorded conference calls—but no matter what the medium, the company’s rags to riches tales are patently false for nearly everyone who joins... At FHTM’s most recent national convention, FHTM paraded its top thirty earners on stage with mock-up of a $64 million check.”
    Visalus does the big-check at their national convention and Nick and Ashley Sarnicola holding up a $1,000,000 big check here.

One more thing that FHTM marketing and ViSalus have in common... they both emphasized a free BMW as a promoter reward.

Update 3

Recently ViSalus put out an interesting press release. It starts off with, "ViSalus... has added 10 new top industry professionals to the roster of Vi Promoters. Veteran heavy hitters Patrick Ashby, C. Anthony Harris, Ron & Tony Jarrah, Chris & James Levins, Tina Lewis, Steve & Yvette Mitchell, and Charles Monk all paved the way to success with ViSalus in 2014."

It proceeds to list them and give a little profile. Here's part of one example, "C. Anthony Harris attributes his success and attaining the rank of 2-Star Ambassador in just 45 days* to teamwork and his commitment to continuously challenging others."

The "*" is an important disclaimer. In the press release it means, "* Results not typical. Achievement in rank and income depends upon many factors such as hard work, determination, financial resources and social contacts."

Personally, I find the "hard work" and "determination" characteristics utter bullshit, when a person reaches one of the top levels in just 45 days. The fact is C. Anthony Harris was already a "Double Platinum Senior Vice President" in 5LINX. So it was the contact list that made him a 2-Star Ambassador at ViSalus.

Now do you think C. Anthony Harris' money is based on him selling a ton of product to people outside of ViSalus? Keep in mind that's a lot of product to sell in 45 days. I hope he's got a really popular booth at a very popular sporting event, because he's going to need it to make all those sales.

The bringing on "veteran heavy hitters" who quickly achieve the ranks that few long-time ViSalus distributors ever receive is yet another giant red flag that ViSalus is a pyramid scheme.

The Business of ViSalus

"The women I interviewed for “The Pink Pyramid Scheme” told me stories about struggling to patch together daycare or to survive high-risk pregnancies while working long hours scouting prospects and hosting parties without any guarantee of a sale. Debts mounted, marriages failed. 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."

That's from a Harper's Magazine report on Mary Kay, one of the most "respected" MLMs. I highlighted the key point as this article is about ViSalus and not Mary Kay.

A Former Distributor Busts Some ViSalus Myths

We had the fortune of a "successful" former distributor, Joy, has given us some insight.

Money Back Guarantee is Bogus - According to her, "the 'money back guarantee' that means nothing and here is the reason why. If you lose 1 pound you can not get your money back. So if you are a little bloated the first day you weigh in or maybe constipated then you weigh in at losing 1LB you in fact have not lost anything but yet you are out of you money."

An Imploding Business - "I was 'smart' enough and 'worked hard enough' to get to RD and continued to 'follow the system,' 'force my calender' and be at challenge parties almost every night. I had over 900 active customers in the beginning of June (2012), by September I had less then 40!! So how was that my fault, when I followed the system to a T? I use to (unknowingly) tell people the same lie you are currently telling others."

Getting Product for Free - "I should also mention that out of 900 customers I only had about 10 getting theirs free." - January 30, 2013 at 8:08 am

ViSalus' Imploding Business

The commenter's story above about ViSalus' imploding business is backed up by their own press releases.

May 8, 2013 Press Release:

"At the end of the first quarter, qualified independent North American Promoters totaled more than 70,000 versus more than 92,000 Promoters at the end of the prior year's first quarter."

August 2, 2013 Press Release:

"ViSalus had over 57,000 qualified independent promoters in North America at the end of the second quarter compared to over 70,000 promoters at the end of the first quarter. The Company also has nearly 4,000 qualified promoters internationally. Prior year second quarter ending promoter count was over 114,000."

For those following, that's exactly a drop in half in one year (>114K to >57K).

March 14, 2013 Press Release:

"At the end of the fourth quarter, qualified independent North American promoters totaled approximately 35,000 versus 76,000 promoters at the end of the prior year's fourth quarter."

For those still following, that's ANOTHER more than half drop in one year (>76K to >35K).

ViSalus and their representatives make it sound like it easy to build your own pyramid scheme recruit a team, but with many more people leaving than joining, clearly getting people to join is a very difficult task. If everyone in was able to recruit only one person, distributors would double, but instead it is going in half. They can't even keep the people they have, much less grow. What are the odds that you are going to be able to recruit 3 who will also recruit 3 who recruit 3, etc.? Remember that their "plan" illustrates you building a pyramid team of HUNDREDS to earn a full-time income and most ViSalus people can't even maintain their pyramid team.

Vi-Net Pro and Vi-Net Swipe

When you become a ViSalus distributor you are automatically enrolled in Vi-Net Pro subscription for $29 a month... unless you choose to upgrade that to Vi-Net Swipe for $39 a month.

Lets look into Vi-Net Pro's value. Vi-Net Pro consists of a website and a magazine. The website is a place where you can send prospective ViSalus buyers to. ViSalus maintains it and updates it with videos, a way to capture contact information, and a few other features. I won't say that this has zero value because it clearly is useful, but ViSalus shouldn't be charging distributors for it. Remember that MLM distributors are commissioned employees. This is like your company charging you to use their corporate email system to work for them. Websites are incredibly cheap to produce (get a free Tumblr or WordPress blog for instance), and the development of the tools they are providing appears to be minimal. WordPress blogs can do all this for free with little or no programming.

With the Vi-Net Pro comes a magazine called Success. Like ViSalus' business opportunity it is a sheep in wolves clothing. Success pitches MLM in the most positive light and never mentions the negatives. The reason for that? Success Magazine is owned by VideoPlus. The title of the VideoPlus website is "VideoPlus was founded as a media and marketing communications company offering innovative, turnkey solutions for the direct selling industry." (Note: Direct Selling is falsely used as a replacement for "MLM" by MLM distributors because "MLM" has a bad connotation: MLM vs. Network Marketing vs. Direct Selling.) A large percentage of VideoPlus' clients are indeed MLM companies (some examples: Usana, HerbaLife, Noni, Shaklee, Nu Skin, Ambit Energy, Monavie, Amway, Vemma, and yes, ViSalus).

In short the Vi-Net Pro subscription for nearly $350 a year gives ViSalus distributors a website that should be free and monthly propaganda paid for by ViSalus. Remember that Harper's quote above about MLMs being designed primarily to profit from, rather than enrich, its workforce. If you do an Internet search, you can learn how to cancel Vi-Net Pro and go to Vi-Net Lite.

A distributor in the comments raved about Vi-Net Pro Swipe saying that the ability to take credit cards right from a smart phone was worth $39 a month. If you watch this ViSalus promotional video you'd think they'd have been working on this technology for some time and that it is true innovation. However, like every MLM "innovation" I've come across (see MonaVie Perks), it's a white label solution - a product that ViSalus didn't develop. ViSalus Swiper is simply a branded solution from Roam Data, where they " outfit everything from the app, to the swipe, to the collateral for you."

The $10 a month extra that ViSalus charges is actually a fair price. That's what this this merchant charges (see monthly plan fee). You could get your own Swiper without ViSalus. The value in Vi-Net Swipe for ViSalus is two-fold. First, they deceive distributors into thinking they are doing all this work. Second, in order to get the $10 Swiper technology, a distributor has to pay for the $29 Vi-Net Pro, that ViSalus should give distributors for free.

If ViSalus was looking to increase it's sales of product and help distributors, they would give you all the website tools for free, switch the propaganda magazine to a nationally recognized brand like Entrepreneur, and offer Swiper at a maximum of $10/mo. Ideally, they would completely cover, or at least split that cost with distributors and make up the difference increased sales.

How Much Money Does the Average ViSalus Distributor Make?

Thanks to some great sleuthing by commenter Brandon, we can crunch some numbers and find out how much the average ViSalus distributor makes. According to ViSalus' May 4th, 2012 press release, ViSalus brought in $136.7 million with "over 92,000 distributors" in the most recent quarter. That's $1485.87 per distributor. Since a quarter is three months, it comes out to about $495 a month per distributor. That's Visalus sales.

The commissions paid out to distributors has to be a fraction of that since ViSalus needs money to produce the product and pay corporate. If we were to be extremely generous and presume that ViSalus pays out half of the $495 number to distributors, each distributor would average around $250 in revenue a month... not profit. The distributors themselves have to buy $125 worth of the product per month unless they sell $200 worth of product per month (cue the unnecessarily complex compensation plan intended to confuse the average distributor) or else they sacrifice their commission. Because selling $200 a month is hardly guaranteed, most buy the $125 a month and use it themselves.

The $250/mo. revenue is $3000 a year. However, they give up $125/mo. The actual profit is much lower after spending $125 for the product, the Vi-Net Pro subscription, tools such as brochures, and travel costs for conferences like the recent one in Miami.

It's worth noting that if those 92,000 are all on the default Vi-Net Pro (I expect a small amount will be on Swipe and Lite, balancing them out a bit), ViSalus is booking some $32 million ($348 * 92,000) of it's $136 million in sales of websites and Success magazine just to its distributor base.

Finally, there's this bombshell... the founder of ViSalus "generates" more than 50% of the sales and make money than all other distributors:

ViSalus on CNBC

ViSalus on CNBC - Founder makes more than 50% of commissions


ViSalus supporters claim that Nick Sarnicola (the founder in question) resigned from the company to be a distributor and show that anyone can be successful in ViSalus. Unfortunately, ViSalus just poached other MLM company downlines getting many high ranking distributors to each bring over thousands of distributors under Sarnicola. How did Sarnicola recruit all these people? MLMs often offer private signing bonuses to those who have created a substantial pyramid. Nick Sarnicola admitted to putting together some "investors" to lure Robert Dean to Visalus. Of course he only admitted this behind the scenes deal because Robert Dean took the money and then left ViSalus. It's speculation on my part, but the most logical explanation for how these people got recruited to ViSalus was a signing bonus as well.

So sure you could have the same success as Sarnicola in ViSalus, but only if you are given both the means and the connections to poach top people from numerous MLM downlines. Don't think that you can recruit all these people one-by-one from talking to your friends, family, or even your social groups. Also, according to the FTC guidelines on MLMs and pyramid schemes Sarnicola would have to be selling quite a lot of product to people not involved in ViSalus or else his "business" is running a pyramid scheme:

"Avoid any plan where the reward for recruiting new distributors is more than it is for selling products to the public. That’s a time tested tip-off to a pyramid scheme."

When you read that ViSalus is paying out a majority of commissions, keep in mind that it's keeping a good portion of the money itself and of the portion that it actually pays out, a good chunk goes to Nick Sarnicola, who still owns millions of dollars worth of ViSalus shares when it goes public at a $175 million value. Update: ViSalus canceled their IPO citing market conditions... which seems disingenuous because the Dow Jones was at a 4-year at the time and ViSalus was claiming great growth. I'm not sure they could ask for better market conditions.

ViSalus IPO Filing

Though I mentioned it above in the pyramid scheme section, this article from CNBC warning Beware the Get Rich Quick IPO has a lot of great information about ViSalus. In addition to the pyramid scheme stuff ViSalus says its "marketing system depends upon the successful recruitment, retention and motivation of a large number of individual promoters to offset frequent turnover." In other words, due to the high churn rate in MLM, they have to resort to motivation techniques like the crazy cult seminars in Miami.

ViSalus' Project 10 Kids

I received a comment about Project 10 Kids. The idea behind this program is to give overweight or obese children 30 ViSalus meals when a ViSalus distributor or customer loses 10 pounds or gains 10 pounds of muscle.

This is a very classic MLM charity scam. It's designed to make people feel good through self-licensing, so that they continue to stay in the scam, paying month after month. The commenter made the point that the kids are getting kid-sized shakes that are half the already diminutive shakes mentioned above... 45 calories. Using the above numbers of it costing a consumer about 50 cents per Vi-Shake serving, the kids shake, at half size, would be 25 cents. That amounts to the donation being $7.50 of consumer cost and probably close to $3.75 for the cost to ViSalus.

So if you lose 10 pounds on ViSalus products, ViSalus will kick back around $4 to help an obese child. I'm all for helping obese children. When you read this article and realize that you can save $2000 a year by substituting Vi-Shakes and Vi-Cereal for essentially equivalent options, won't you please donate $50 to help the fight against child obesity? You'll still be saving over $1950 a year, you'll be putting between 5 and 10 times more money to work, and most importantly, you can rest easy knowing that the organization will teach the kids nutrition from real food (not a shake), all while avoiding what appears to be a pyramid scheme. That's what I call a win-win-win-win.

ViSalus Bottom Line

The title of this article made the point that ViSalus was a scam. ViSalus distributors and supporters take exception of the use of the word scam with ViSalus. Wikipedia defines scam as a confidence trick. At a minimum, the marketing around ViSalus Vi-Shape Shake is clearly designed to deceive... to a level that the Canadian regulator boards are looking into it.

Beyond the deceptive marketing (which should be enough) there's:

  • ViSalus Vi-Shakes have some very questionable ingredients from soy protein to artificial sweeteners.
  • ViSalus' "Free BMW" program (which isn't free) uses tactics similar to the mortgage lenders that got people locked into payments they couldn't afford. The ViSalus IPO filing of noting the "frequent turnover" makes it especially dangerous as the bonus relies on a consistent downline of people.

And let's not forget:

A "business opportunity" that appears to be a pyramid scheme. Not only that, but it also charges ~$30 a month for a cookie-cutter website that should be free along with a propaganda-based magazine disguised as a legitimate business publication. The business opportunity on average grosses people very little money and likely puts people at a loss when accounting for buying product, website costs, and other marketing materials. The ViSalus IPO filing cites the marketing system is dependent on recruitment (yet another sign of a pyramid scheme according to the FTC)


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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.

ViSalus Additional Viewing and Reading

Here's a great, humorous video, explaining many of the issues with ViSalus:

In addition to that, this investigative report from SIRF Online about ViSalus is not to be missed. Outstanding investigative work!

I also liked this article: Pill Power - ViSalus has taken root in Silicon Valley. Is it a brave new world of health and success, or just a pyramid scheme?

Last updated on August 28, 2015.

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1,523 Responses to “ViSalus Scam Exposed!”

  1. Rob says:

    Kim…as lazyman always says…point out the errors in his information…he doesn’t just make shit up…that’s called defamation/and or slander which you can get imprisoned for…stop letting yourself get brainwashed by your upline distributors and think for yourself for once…you people have such a hard time doing that though…

  2. Roshonn says:

    Rob, I think you would be interested in reading the comments starting May 18, 2015 at 2:57 pm thru May 21, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Overall from what is written Lazy man would accept the product as long as it was on the shelf at a GNC and would except the company if it did not pay past the first level (ie a franchise)

    The discussion talks about the simulates between an MLM which is without exception viewed by lazy man as pyramid scam and other types of business that hold the same structure but are not considered pyramid scams by lazyman. it also discuss failure rates in direct sales business where people are considered employees instead of promoters as well as the cost of starting a MLM business vs the cost of starting a location stable business and the potential for investment loss

    There are some MLM’s that have researched and have found to be terrible companies (piratically those who do not sale a physical product and/or those pay higher commissions on recruitment then product sales) but i have also researched location stable companies that are just as terrible.

    All in all, i personally feel that most people are not truly ready to work for them selves. They have the mindset of an employee that will work 60 years only to retire broke. Those people normally do not invest 200K+ in starting a brink and mortar business knowing that it will not turn a profit for 5 years and knowing for that period they will be essentially working more hours for less money then they were making at their JOB. On the other side, people spend $500 everyday on silly stuff like the latest iPhone or a PS4. they get excited at an opportunity, face a speed bump and quit all with in the first month because its only $500 and not $200,000+. with $250 in product their loss is $250

    Lazyman – correct me if I misstated any of the things you wrote in our conversation

  3. […] Pyramid Thing. It was little surprise that just a little investigative work on my part showed that Visalus was an illegal pyramid scheme by the FTC's […]

  4. john says:

    i’m not part of visalus and i agree with most of what the writer puts out there. But the part about visalus assuming the lease payments for those who fall out of qualification is a dumb comment. So if I qualify one month and do nothing the next month Visalus should pick up the tab for me sitting on my ass? Network Marketing is if you perform, you get paid. If you do not perform you should not get paid.

    • Lazy Man says:

      MLM/pyramid schemes are well known for a “pop and drop”, which means that a lot of people will qualify, get the car, and then find their lower people leave as they don’t have interested people left to recruit.

      Creators of MLM/pyramid schemes must be smart enough to know this and realize that they are sticking people with car payments when the drop comes.

      Why not just give everyone an equivalent cash bonus, without attaching the strings? The simple answer, they want people to have the threat of bankruptcy to get them pressured to recruit. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way, no one left to recruit means, no one left to recruit.

      This is why I was able to so easily predict ViSalus’ collapse.

      • Roshonn says:

        Humm… Looking at this, the choice is $300 monthly cash bonus or $600 monthly BMW bonus

        Looking around at other sales industries, items like car incentives based on monthly performance are not rare and when production stops so does the companies willingness to pay for them

        So Did ViSalus collapse?

        • Lazy Man says:

          Yes, why would the company want to give up $600 when they give up $300? That’s unusual.

          In other industries, you get the use of a company car, you don’t get saddled with your name on a $600-ish monthly lease. It is very different.

          Yes, ViSalus collapsed. For more information see this article: http://archive.freep.com/article/20140406/BUSINESS06/108010001/

          • Roshonn says:

            Most likely because the BMW is indeed a marketing tool to attract people to the product and to promoting. I do not think they have traditional advertising like other large MLM’s (Amway has a stadium, Advocare has multiple sports teams) and if they are not spending that money to in traditional advertising then the “extra” $300 monthly for 1000 people is not bad for a national marketing campaign

            as it is a rank incentive offer a lesser cash alternative to those not wanting a BMW seems logical. I’m surprised you did not know this as I found this information in overview and the comp plan

            In depending on the industry and the size of the company, companies use either company owned leases or incentive payments so the person can chose their own home or car. for example, many oil and gas companies centered in Texas provide monthly stiffens for trucks instead of providing their own. this is a growing norm is much cheaper for the company as they provide money but no other liability and the employee get to own if desired. Of course, with corporate positions the rank is more stable but in the same way as sales, if the person was to lose the rank or the job in general the payment would also be lost

            I read the article in the link from aug 2014 speaking about numbers from 4qtr 2013. I also read some other articles noting that in 2010 the sales were a mere 34 million. a sudden rise to 623.5 million and fall to $351 million over a short period of time is indicative to a hot market… much like the sales in real-estate in Arizona at the same time. It seems like they now are regaining growth as they are appear to be above their 2013 numbers. This was undoubted a fall after a fast rise but I’m not sure if you can consider the company collapsed due to a negative year. if so is best buy also a collapsed company?

          • Lazy Man says:

            I think you are missing the point that the BMW used a marketing tool is a NEGATIVE to be avoided. At a minimum, they can keep a fleet in the company name and not saddle distributors with liabilities that they can’t afford.

            I think every other MLM that I’ve looked at has a car program. They all differ, but it isn’t like ViSalus is unique with it as you imply.

            ViSalus produced a “reality” series called ThatPyramidThing, which was certainly an advertising expense.

            I had pointed out the lesser cash alternative to the BMW in the article and/or subsequent comments. I’m surprised you lacked the reading comprehension to figure this out and assumed it was a detail that I didn’t know. My point is that people are naturally going to gravitate towards the perceived “full benefit” that saddles them with the liability.

            It’s fine if the payment is lost in other industries. The company car is also lost, which means that the liability isn’t there. It’s not like a gas company is going to put you on the hook on a luxury car and then fire you leaving you to figure out how to make the payments with no income. It simply doesn’t happen. They’ll just take the car back and give it to the next person. It also isn’t typically a luxury car in the first place.

            The thing with pyramid schemes is that they have a well-known “pop and drop” pattern. As I showed in the article the “pop” was simply due to recruiting other MLM company’s downlines, not from people getting introduced to ViSalus and building up the business.

            I received an email recently that gave me a lot of information. In particular it said, “Blyth reports its 10% stake on its balance sheet at cost, and tests for impairment annually. In 2014, their investment was WRITTEN DOWN to $6,850,000. This is based on an independent appraisal of Vi, which means that Vi is only worth about $68.5mil. But Tricky Nick has promoters believing it’s a $2B business that will exceed $5B by 2020.”

            I leave the analysis and verificiation as an exercise to the reader, but it sounds logical to me. If the company is worth about $68.5M it makes sense as that is on par with publicly traded LifeVantage (ticker: LFVN). That would be 1/10th of the 623 million, which would be a tremendous “drop” after the “pop.”

            Best Buy is not based on recruiting, so it does not “collapse” like pyramid schemes. If you look at revenue, Best Buy, has grown each of the last 4 years. Where would the collapse be? There’s no rocket up 20x in 18-24 months and drop back to 1/10th in the next 12-18 months like you see in pyramid schemes.

          • Roshonn says:

            Settle down… you appear to be a little heated. we are not arguing and this can remain civil conversation

            Lets first start off with MLM and car programs… Avon, Amway, Herbalife, Advocare have a traditional marketing system and are highly invested high visibly and expensive advertisement… None of these MLM’s have car programs.

            Yes, i read more then a few ofearlier post where you mention Vi producing a “reality” series called ThatPyramidThing. I found it to be a YouTube “show” that started 4 years ago. From they way you made it out to be it was a big production but it still has under 150 videos at less then 10 minutes each. I think you are vastly over stating this as advertising expense. But none the less I said they did not have a traditional marketing which is why they leverage the additional $300 over giving the promoter $600 outright.

            Looking into the BMW bonus, I see that ViSalus does have a BMW agent assigned to the company to find its promoters BMW’s but it appears that ViSalus does not produce financing for its promoters. I can see why you would say that it should be avoid if you can not afford the car with out ViSalus… And your right, if the car is outside of you financial stability you should not get the car. I have a BMW… BMWs are not civic cheap but they are also not that expensive, my friends Mega cab truck was way more expensive then my BMW

            It would be illogical for any company (MLM or not) to keep a fleet of cars for the normal use of a non local employees. overlooking of the obvious and enormous cost of car delivery and regular maintenance, it is not a benefit for the company take on the other liabilities (mileage, normal ware, cleaning, monthly payment) to do this over simple stipend.

            So I have question… If a person currently has a $300 car payment and then obtains a job that provides him a $600 car stipend under the requirement it is presentable to bearing its logo. He goes and gets a new truck which has a $575 monthly payment. 5 months later he losses his job for not producing…. Do you blame the person who buying a new truck because they believed they were going to have stipend or the company for providing the stipend?

            As for BestBuy… my points exactly… The stock is up 130% since it CEO changed in 2012 and up even more then that since 2010 when it planed to close 40+ % of its stores. BestBuy sold off both its European and Chinese businesses is still routinely closing its stores and laying off employees to keep a positive margin. The grow of bestbuy at this point is due to a positive US economy and the recent releases of new tech such as the iPhone. in 2010 Best buy went though something very similar to ViSalus in 2013. If one is not a collapse then why is the other?

          • Lazy Man says:

            I think it appears to be heated, because you seem to be defending the car program. I wanted to make it clear that there’s no defense for it. In my opinion it is very irresponsible. Other commenters have backed it up.

            I didn’t mean to imply that the ThatPyramidThing was a blockbuster movie, but that they did indeed have marketing costs. This is educated speculation on my part based on what I’ve seen, but typically recruiting the big heavyweights with big downlines requires special contracts and bonuses. Typically these are under NDA and only come out in a lawsuit.

            The other thing is that ViSalus was one of the first MLMs I’ve seen go after the young crowd… people just out of college… maybe even in college. So it’s worth noting that typically these aren’t the people known for making sound financial decisions of what luxury car they can afford.

            If ViSalus can manage a $600 car stipend as a bonus, they can easily manage a fleet of cars. If they can’t work out the logistics to get it done, then scrap the bonus. It’s better than saddling tons of people with a liability.

            I don’t have the time or energy to go look at BestBuy’s financials from 2010 or before. I spent a little time seeing if it was easily available, but I’m not going to start scouring the SEC filings to prove a point. You do understand how pyramid schemes collapse right? You do understand that Best Buy exists by selling product and not recruiting people to open up Best Buy stores, right? You can’t seriously be comparing the two collapses as if they are the same.

            Besides all that, you should read the problem of supply and demand in MLM here. MLMs have no problem creating millions of suppliers even if there is no demand for product. If you read the compensation plans, they don’t pretend to try to balance supply and demand. They focus on recruiting of more suppliers. They also reward the people who create more suppliers rather than those who actually sell the product themselves. It is hard to imagine anything else more fundamentally flawed.

  5. Steve B says:

    MY wife and I were visalus reps for about 6months We both did ok, here more than me, but we could not keep with adding more customers and replacing those that dropped out. We lost more money than we made, and spent way too much time with the company. If you are looking at a good weight loss shake, invest in a nutribullet. They are awesome and you can throw in some protein. I get my protein from Sams clubs and it is a heck of lot cheaper than Visalus.I even mix in the “superfood” powder that comes with then nutribullet for additional nutrients.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Thanks Steve B. I saw the Nutribullet “superfood” powder and felt it was very expensive. It’s not as bad as ViSalus, but still expensive. I’m hesitant when I see the word “superfood” as it has no scientific definition… it is just a marketing term. It could mean a hundred different things to a hundred different people.

  6. Jeff says:

    On the AGE RELATED HEARING LOSS- Portion of your article. If you one had done real research you would find that the Author of the Paper – Is Dr Michael Siedman – The creator of many of the Visalus Products – THAT is the connection to your white papers you referenced.

  7. Dwayne Williams says:

    It is not a fraud or pyramid scheme. If they had no product at all to sell and only made money off current members or recruiting more members than it would be a pyramid scheme. The reason they have a disclaimer and McDonald’s doesn’t is because the nature of its industry. That is like asking why McDonald’s has a disclaimer on its coffee but home Depot doesn’t. Now I am not saying it works or you can become rich. But it’s not a pyramid scheme

    • Lazy Man says:

      You need to educate yourself on what a pyramid scheme is. It can indeed have products. The FTC shut down Vemma for being a pyramid scheme a few weeks ago. They had claimed to be an MLM for years.

      Yes, the nature of the industry is running pyramid schemes.

      Home Depot’s coffee near me does have a disclaimer like McDonalds. Notice that neither McDonalds or Home Depot has a disclaimer about being a pyramid scheme.

  8. Michael says:

    When will the Vi Life craziness end? My wife got us involved and drove our family into financial ruin. Her partying with other Vi Lifers almost ruined our family. And, now it is coming to Kansas City. It is a scam. Everybody seems to know it except those who are most desperate for money and fame. I’ve read everywhere that the FTC is on to Visalus and it is crumbling yet it will be in our backyard later this month. How many more lives will this and other Direct selling scams gave to ruin before people wise up? What a sad shame!

    • Lazy Man says:

      Well the FTC recently shut down Vemma who had stolen borrowed ViSalus’ idea of marketing their products to young adults… some still in college. I would not be surprised if the FTC moved to ViSalus next.

  9. Mark says:

    Michael,
    I’ve lived the Visalus nightmare. My soon to be ex wife (if that tells you anything) got wrapped up in this circus close to three years ago. She did it in hopes of “building a business for herself”. She was lured by a younger group of suave men living a seemingly rich lifestyle driving BMWs and living the high life. They told story after story about how they are all making 6 figures a year with lots of time off to come and go as they please. The disclaimer they use if a “downline member” failed was “they are not willing to dedicate the time and energy to be successful”…..regardless of how hard that person tried.
    To date she has close to $30,000 racked up in credit card expenses with roughly $20,000 in income. It is one thing after another with this group and unfortunately it seems that they are preying on a demographic that is either young and desperate for quick money, an uneducated group with few to no skills for real employment, or the 40 something housewife desperate to be financially independent.
    I have listened to story after story about trying to keep people “in the downline” that want to get out. The most disturbing was a young girl in college that wanted to focus on school and grades once she realized this was a dead end street. 2 people went to her dorm at 9pm on a Sunday night to talk her into staying.
    I saw dozens of young individuals and couples throw in more money to this than they ever could afford in hopes of making a long term business out of it. After a few months they dropped out for greener pastures…..hopefully learning a valuable lesson.
    I strongly recommend asking to see their 1099 from the previous year when these clowns start spouting off about how much money they have made. I have personally done it and the conversation changes very quickly. I have yet for any of the upper pyramid people to be willing to back up their monetary claims with a 1099 or any other tax information.
    At the end of the day it is sad to watch people give their hard earned money to an organization like this…especially when they can’t afford it.

  10. Mark says:

    Michael,
    I’ve lived the Visalus nightmare. My soon to be ex wife (if that tells you anything) got wrapped up in this circus close to three years ago. She did it in hopes of “building a business for herself”. She was lured by a younger group of suave men living a seemingly rich lifestyle driving BMWs and living the high life. They told story after story about how they are all making 6 figures a year with lots of time off to come and go as they please. The disclaimer they use if a “downline member” failed was “they are not willing to dedicate the time and energy to be successful”…..regardless of how hard that person tried.
    After dropping out for roughly a year she is trying to build her down line …..again. To date she has close to $30,000 racked up in credit card expenses with roughly $20,000 in income. The most she ever made was $1000 in a month. That was her best month of her doing it full time.
    It is one thing after another with this group and unfortunately it seems that they are preying on a demographic that is either young and desperate for quick money, an uneducated group with few to no skills for real employment, or the 40 something housewife desperate to be financially independent.
    I have listened to story after story about trying to keep people “in the downline” that want to get out. The most disturbing was a young girl in college that wanted to focus on school and grades once she realized this was a dead end street. 2 people went to her dorm at 9pm on a Sunday night to talk her into staying.
    I saw dozens of young individuals and couples throw in more money to this than they ever could afford in hopes of making a long term business out of it. After a few months they dropped out for greener pastures…..hopefully learning a valuable lesson.
    I strongly recommend asking to see their 1099 from the previous year when these clowns start spouting off about how much money they have made. I have personally done it and the conversation changes very quickly. I have yet for any of the upper pyramid people to be willing to back up their monetary claims with a 1099 or any other tax information.
    At the end of the day it is sad to watch people give their hard earned money to an organization like this…especially when they can’t afford it.

    As far as the product itself goes…..Its total BS. As a former trainer and national level competitive bodybuilder, I will tell you that ViSalus is not the way to go if you want to loose weight and get in shape. They are marketing a fun, quick, easy way to loose weight and get in shape…..THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FUN, QUICK, EASY WAY TO DO THAT. It takes dietary discipline and exercise. There is nothing fun, quick, or easy about being successful in that area.

  11. Michael says:

    Mark – Thank You. I could’ t agree more. My wife was moving from one MLM and “friend” to another until I put my foot down. She jumped at the BMW and the bragging rights that came with it but we lost that in 6 months. She had a little business that she let go in hopes of getting rich as an MLM Entrepreneur and we list tge little house we had. I felt bad that we were conning our friends but she didn’t seem to. Maybe because we both felt the products worked even if there wasn’t much income.

  12. Val says:

    I just recently ended my promoter-ship with ViSalus. Holy heck, once you drink the cool-aid it really is down hill from there. I joined in March 2015. I was so excited to hit the ground running, my upline was so “motivated” to get me to Rising Star (I didn’t know then, but I certainly know now that whatever I brought in sales-wise monetarily benefitted her). According to her, and I never saw any proof, she qualified for her BMW in her first two weeks. Um, ok? By the end of my first month I received a $503 check. I was so excited, wahoo, I’m on my way to six-figures in no time. Right…until my customers lost interest, didn’t see results, had questions both myself and my upline could not answer, it was embarrassing. My upline kept saying “we’re going to get you to National Director this weekend” SWEET- how? I’ve hit up everyone I know, I created online advertisements, had Vista Print business cards made, attended trade-shows, you name it, I did it. Afterall, ViSalus preaches hard work and dedication, I was all of that and more.

    I also had no idea that once you hit the next level of the company you have to “re-qualify” each month. When I made National Director and “qualified” for my *FREE* BMW I opted out, I’m not an idiot, I’m not going to buy / lease a vehicle for a $600 vehicle stipend I may or may not get each month. My “team” ostracized me for choosing the $300 over the $600 BMW allowance. Furthermore, I was never able to re-qualify for my National Director level of the company (BMW level) ever again, thank goodness I opted out of the BMW.

    In total, I made $2,241.63 from March 2015-October 2015. Thank God I have a $70k a year job or I would’ve been screwed. It still baffles me how some folks seem to be able to scam others into joining their downline. I felt horrible about myself, “you need this product, you can lose weight without even working out!” I was a scam artist, and I am so glad that part of my life is over.

  13. ExposedasLiars says:

    Tara quit on Sunday. Yesterday she posted about her experience, and that her income has gone down with Vi for 3 years straight, and that she was never home in 2014 to spend time with family. In the comments she admits to not liking the lies. Then there are 100 sycophants telling her they appreciate her honesty. She can’t admit that she has been lied to for three years, and accept no responsibility for the lies she helped perpetrate.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Can you send a link to the post. I’d like to read it. I’ll probably email her in a week when things slow down a bit. I don’t tolerate too many MLM people, but she’s one that we’ve had good personal finance conversations about. I don’t know how much she listened to me, but I tried to talk her into moving her pyramid scheme money into more stable investments.

      When I do email her, I’ll resist the urge to not use the subject, “I Told You So!”

  14. I left Vi says:

    Tara Wilson

    10 hrs · Edited ·

    “Attention MLM friends.

    Everyone must choose their own path. Create your own story. What worked for some isn’t always necessarily what is the best for you…

    Let me tell MY STORY in MLM

    8.5 years ago I joined my first company ever. The company hit momentum and….Within 15 months, I got up to $35,000 a month!! SO AWESOME!
    1 year later, the company declined….my income went down to $3,000 a month. I panicked. I was new in the industry. Everyone in the company told me to stay. “To ride the low. That the grass wasn’t greener.” Our products are amazing”. And they were. But I couldn’t pay my bills, so I started in another company.

    PS. My first company is now out of business.

    I got into a “ground floor” company that had great “possibility” (rookie!). After 18 months, I got to $100,000 a year. But nobody else was making money and the company wasn’t growing. I had no faith in that company. So I looked around. I found company #3.

    PS. My second company is also out of business.

    Then in my third company, I made $2.5 million. Amazing. Only it’s gone down every month for 3 years straight. I heard “work harder. “. I went back to work 11 days after my MOTHER DIED. My family would tell you that I’ve rarely been home. Just on Delta Airlines in 2014 I flew 87 flights just for business. I have a report.

    I have no idea where that company will be, but there’s a point where you get discouraged by thousands of hard working people, who are doing the work, sharing the products, following the system and not having results, or worse, having results and then losing all their volume/teams. I thought I was going to be with this company forever. Unfortunately after losing over 2,200 BMW qualifiers and over 100 6 figure earners, you have to stop and think: Maybe it’s not just ME. I hope the company continue to thrive. They have changed my life and many others. What a blessing.

    So here I am now, still on the mission of life, health and prosperity. Still helping people get healthy through products and education. Still creating Entrepreneurs. We found an incredible home that I truly think will be a great place to call home. A place that has unparalleled retention, patented, innovative products back by 40 years of science, over a dozen peer reviewed clinical studies, and stability. Products that are PROVEN.

    Everyone has to choose their own path. So yes, this is my 4th company. 2 out of business, one declining for 3 years. Will it be my last? Hopefully. I just really want people to WIN.”

    Here you go!

  15. Michael says:

    As I have said before, my wife got us involved in this “awesome business opportunity” before & drove us close to financial ruin when we lost our small house. We could’t say a word to her when she was driving theBMW which we couldn’t afford & lost in 6 months. She let her little business go to live the ViLife, too. What a bunch of crap. We are slowly recovering now but she still has her Vi friends which is a concern. Oh well, maybe Tara’s words and actions will sink in.

  16. I left Vi says:

    It’s in her public profile.

    https://www.facebook.com/TaraWilson912?fref=ts

    I also found out that a bunch of the high-up-the-chain folks that recently left Vi are now at LifeVantage. Nick Sarnicola has publicly scorned them.

  17. I left Vi says:

    It was on his public FaceBook page: https://www.facebook.com/NickSarnicola?fref=ts

    read the comments under the Meme: “if you think the grass is greener on the other side, it’s because it’s fertilized with bullshit” it gets pretty good, unless he deleted them. He also held a webinar that I was able to listen in to talking about his anger towards “cowards” and “quitters” and the usual MLM banter that “you didn’t work hard enough, blah blah blah”. Folks that were receiving $40k monthly checks were now racking in $9k checks because of the churn rate.

    Royal Ambassador Rachel Jackson and about 4-5 other high-tiered individuals have left Vi, I mean, resigned, and are now with LifeVantage. I had an old upline badger me the other day about joining them, no thanks, I am all done with pyramid…::uh hem:: MLM. I also happen to know that two few six-figure folks are juggle Vi AND LifeVantage which is also very clearly stated as a no-no:

    http://visalus.com/docs/corporate/D1000US_PromoterApp.pdf

    (please read point #23 and #24 at the bottom of the page).

  18. Rob says:

    lifevantage is probably paying her…and she probably will automatically receive a high rank like pro 7 or pro 8…and all the sheep that are involved in lifevantage at the bottom of the pyramid will “ooo and aah” and think she was able to obtain those ranks from scratch in a matter of months or even weeks…now these people moving over from visalus taking their downlines with them will just give lifevantage a boost in distributor numbers when i was thoroughly enjoying watching those numbers deteriorate each quarter…and she must not be to bright if she thinks lifevantage is “A place that has unparalleled retention, patented, innovative products back by 40 years of science, over a dozen peer reviewed clinical studies, and stability. Products that are PROVEN.” as we ALL already know this has been proven to not be the case…im wondering if she will be placed directly under one of the pro 10s making a new leg or if she and her downline will be a separate and completely new line starting with her…

  19. Michael says:

    With all of the high level defections, why do the low level people stay? Does anyone know whether next week shindig in Kansas City is still on? Why would anyone believe the sales pitch when the big rats are jumping ship?

  20. I left Vi says:

    That’s exactly what they do- and have done when I was part of that scam. They sell the “dream” that if you “work hard enough” you will have those top slots, you already know this, you’ve mentioned it before. I have to admit, when I was so into this crap I believed it and I am NOT an easily swayed person. Nick Sarnicola is a scam-artist. He posts “millionaire dollar car ride” videos talking about how these folks went from rags to riches, get the fck out of here. There was a girl on my “team” that spent her LAST $400 on the executive promotion kit ($400 was NOT enough) so her upline ‘loaned’ her the rest of the money (about $150) and she would ‘pay’ her back. YAH, she DID, she was forced to transfer some of her customers to her to make up the difference because she never made that money.

    Now that the “big-wigs” are out, the folks on the lower level have this big dream that Nick has sold to them when in reality they’re never going to ever make more than MAYBE $100 commission check.

  21. ExposedasLiars says:

    Tara does not deserve a free pass. If she lied about her income, or the value of equity, then she is a very bad person. She boasts of those she has helped, but takes no responsibility for those financially hurt.

    Her words above sound like she wants to be applauded for having the foresight to jump to a different company, before it went out of business. Like that was a smart move on her part. Went out of business? No kidding? At her level, hiding behind, “I was lied to, too.” no longer holds any weight for me. She knows what MLM is about, and to jump into yet another one proves in my book that she is not as altruistic as she would like her followers to believe.

    • Lazy Man says:

      ExposedAsLiars,

      Tara has a psychology degree from Berkeley, one of the best universities in the nation. I think she knows exactly what MLM is and what she’s doing.

  22. Ness says:

    So basically if you don’t know how to make money and are a lazy man or women don’t do it..

  23. Ness says:

    I make weekly money off over 10 customers not promoters.. I’m trying to figure out why you have such of a grudge.? You are like a nerd who became cop, and now a track the jocks… You Hate on something you not or wasn’t good at

    • Lazy Man says:

      Well anyone can run it how they want. If you want to be legitimate and sell to customers, that’s fine, but the compensation plan seems to reserve the higher rewards for recruiting in what appears to a pyramid scheme. I’m not a fan of pyramid schemes taking people’s hard earned money. If you don’t hate on that, then what are you going to hate on?

      If you had read the article, you’d know that I wasn’t in ViSalus.

  24. Rob says:

    Uggghhh.. is this company still around? It’s pure junk and is lead by an inspirational liar. My brother was the first Visalus camp and later developed cancer. As he was laying on his deathbed, Nick and his buddies came to visit him to put a Visalus blazer on him and give him an oversized check. The following week, I saw a video of Nick in San Diego telling his followers the story of my brother. It was heart warming… up until the part when he told them that my brother was relieved be receiving a 6-figure monthly income to provide for his family as he was dying. It wasn’t true at all. Shame on Nick, his company of lies, and his willingness to take advantage of so many people.

  25. VisalusBust says:

    This does not surprise me that it is happening!

    I remember when it was blowing up in canada, i noticed that all the people were PROMOTING the challenge! they had ZERO customers and very few of those promoters were even using the challenge!! It basically blew up and everyone recruited their friends and friends friends to sell. It is funny when scam artists like O’Toole and Britt have already failed at so many businesses before, but yet they were professing how great of promoters they are! they got very lucky. It seems as though Visalus ruined Britt and Mia St Aubin as they are no longer engaged and she has a blog about how they were blowing all the money they spent during the challenge. Typical people who do not understand that the money train eventually dries out and they were trying to ‘keep up’ to the Sarnicolas and others in the company. One big thing i notice about MLM is that it i ALL about showing off how well you are doing in life and your fancy house, car and vacations.

    Anyways, i noticed that the HUGE stadium they had at 2012 Vitality in Miami suddenly shrunk to the half a stadium in St Louis and then a small room in LA… i bet next weekend it will be even smaller!

    I have no problem with Visalus but i can tell you they really screwed up with the products! They introduced $50 cereal and $50 ViBites.. i mean, you can go to whole foods or even safeway and get better products at a FRACTION of the price!!!! What makes those ViBites so special? They should have branched into a face/skin line and gotten more ‘health’ products like skin/nail/hair (women are totally suckers for those products!) or get more of those ‘skinny pills’ that women actually believe in!! (I am a girl FYI but i find it funny how my friends really do buy those products)

    I remember shortly after LA Tar’Lese Rideaux (now Trainer) was one of the FIRST ambassadors to leave and everyone started giving her hate ect. i think she left bc she was dating Sharif at the time who went to Vemma and i think now he’s with 310 Shake? Anyways, she got so much hate mail from everyone at Visalus about quitting blah blah blahhhh.. it really is a cult! apparently they all deleted her from FB and then they started seeing what was happening and started leaving too and now apparently they all want to be friends with her.

    (Side Note: Please expose the scam on her and Matt Trainer. While i think she is a nice girl, they don’t really seem to work and all they talk about is WUKAR while showing off their 500k lambos that got wrecked in the San Diego drought and their rented condo on the beach in OB (which is not as much as if it were in LA area.. i just want to know how they actually make money. by selling MLM training packages?)

    Anyways, i could see that the company was going to fail but i remember tricky nick giving everyone EVERY reason in the book that this is ‘normal’ and they will ‘bounce back’ bc even avon and amway had drops in sales…. I have noticed all the Ambassadors I know don’t seem to be posting anything Visalus related anymore.. so either they are just living off whatever people under them are still buying the packages, or they actually resigned its just really a matter of time. Visalus tanked SO BAD and won’t be able to recover any of the top promoters they did have. IMO its really a matter of time before they resolve. These people are all master manipulators that teach people to live beyond their means.. they are all terrible with money buying all these huge houses and cars bc they are too delusion to realize that it is going to crash!

    Oh, Lazyman.. another thing i noticed was that RJ aka Rachel Jackson had moved overseas after the launch was announced, but I find it funny that they said they wanted to live somewhere new blah blah blahhh and they were going to stay there for a year.. well, they barely lasted 3 months from the look of FB (but of course, no mention they were back or whatever) i assume they went out there and couldn’t recruit anyone and then realized that their team in the US was crumbling and of course, the Euro is strong and they couldn’t live up to their lifestyle out there. aka fancy condos and the expensive furniture they would need to survive amongst their friends. It was obvious to see this coming bc all is quiet on the Visalus and ViLife front.. you don’t see them hanging out together and taking their recruiting trips all over the world. Their numbers will again stagger in a year and i see more of my FB friends going to Isagenix and ItWorks. I don’t think much good comes out of MLM bc you end up spending all the money you make while in it between buying into the ‘culture and lifestyle’ attending events and keeping up to your friends then all those trips… blah i think very few ppl in MLM are smart enough (and have small enough egos) to realize the money will run out and they should INVEST while they are ahead!

  26. VisalusBust says:

    OMG Robb your bro was James Cordova? consoleless.. did they REALLY not help your family out after as they said they would? yes, they put that ALL over the convention and i remember everyone was in tears! They seemed like they were going to continue to help your family out. That is awful. Sorry to hear. I remember his family was so beautiful, I hope they are well.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Rob, I was skimming comments quickly yesterday and I missed the part about your brother being sick in the hospital. There was certainly some talk of that stunt here at the time.

      My condolences as well.

    • rob says:

      Yeah, James is my brother. He passed away several years ago and I miss him dearly. His widow invited my other brother to attend the following visalus circus show and told him the expenses would be paid by Nick… but then found out he wouldn’t even cover that. Nick is a liar and a horrible person for using my brother’s death for his own publicity and gain.

  27. I left Vi says:

    So I have found out through personal conversations that RJ and the other higher-ups are now involved in a MLM called “Team Heart”. It’s another vitality remedy to combat stress, make you pretty, help you lose weight…the whole shebang.

    I happen to also know that some of the folks on this new venture are also doing Vi as well as this new company. It states in the Vi acceptable use policy / agreement clause (which I never signed, I’ve actually never seen it, but it’s available if you Google it) that you cannot participate in any other company especially if it ‘competes’ with ViSalus. I wonder what Nick would do if he found out that some of his “stellar” achievers are dabbling in both? Check out Rachel Jackson’s FaceBook profile, it’s public.

  28. VisalusBust says:

    yeah, it was discussed that RJ, Tara et al left to go with LifeVantage.. i am not really surprised ppl r dabbling in with both as their isn’t really much going on with Visalus right now… with the rate they are dropping it seems like its only a matter of time… one scam after another!!!

    My friend keeps hitting me up about R+F.. Her friends friend (who works for R+F) makes 6 figures!! WOW! its always the same story, different company haha no thanks!!! i think I’m just gonna flat out say ‘Im not interested in any pyramid scam, i have a great 70k+ job thank anywayss!”

  29. I left Vi says:

    That is hilarious, my ‘friend’ is also pushing R&F on me too- not interested. Although I have to admit, if I were to join another MLM (not in this lifetime) I would join them for the simple fact that R&F products can be bought online, mall vending machines, etc. Unlike ViSalus, you are able to purchase on your own without having to go through a “promoter”. Regardless, ViSalus is ridiculous. I watch my FaceBook feed on “Power couple Ashley and Nick Sarnicola meet for another Vitality conference” get real! All they’re doing is trying to motivate you more so their pockets stay full. “This is a billion dollar company, let’s make YOU a millionaire” for real? That’s what you’re spreading, Nick? Get out of here.

  30. Michael says:

    Can’t wait until these bozo’s leave town so the kids can have there Mama home with them. I thought the high level people leaving would put an end to Vi but I guess not.

  31. Michael says:

    The only thing more pathetic than these so called entrepreneurs running up debt on their charge cards are the “volunteers” that work the Vi Life events. At least the consultants make a couple grand before their friends and family stop taking their calls. These poor volunteers work hard for a few days for peanuts. So very sad!

  32. BC says:

    Ugh, Lazy Man you called it with Rachel “earning” an elite rank at Lifevantage in just a matter of weeks (AKA pulling over all her cult-like minions from Visalus). Literally 20 people have posted on her Facebook page about how amazing this accomplishment is and congratulating her on being such a “servant leader”. I don’t understand who she is “serving”. She is just stealing all of the downline distributors’ money again, just with a different company. Here’s an example:

    Incredible news today. I just love you guys, your friendship, your leadership, and are so proud of you, and watching what God is doing in your life. This could not have happened to better, more deserving people. Less then 3 weeks in the business and BOOM, 6 figure income at the Elite 7th level. We are grateful for all you do, your hard work, and your love, and so excited to continue our friendship for another decade and beyoooonnnndddd!!!

    So it seems like Visalus is all but hung out to dry now, but one thing missing from your article is about the ingredients in their new “healthiest energy drink on the planet” Neon. One 8 oz can has 25 grams of sugar and the second ingredient in Neon is crystalline fructose which is actually considered worse than high fructose corn syrup because it’s almost 100% fructose. Nick and co are taking advantage of the fact that crystalline fructose hasn’t received all of the bad press that HFCS has yet. There’s a ton or research online, but this is just one example:
    http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/01/02/highfructose-corn-syrup-alters-human-metabolism.aspx

  33. Rob says:

    i just looked at this Rachel character’s fb page and just sick…talks about how she had health problems and couldnt sleep and always in pain etc…but i thought you were in Visalus and Visalus’ products were another one of those products that was a cure all…guess not right…then she goes on to say that she couldnt even lift weights and exercise even though she has multiple photos over the last year of her in the gym working out and other photos of her hiking…but i thought you were in so much pain??..kinda hard to workout and go on hikes if you are a sick as you claim to be…then she says fast forward(when she is now with LifeVantage)…and by some form of pyramid scheme – downline transferring magic…POOF!..She is cured!!..Protandim is so amazing she no longer is sick…no more pain…and can workout again…oh and even sleeping better(this one makes me wanna toss feces) even though she was working out and exercising just fine when she was with visalus…and isnt what she doing against company policy…i mean from the terms and conditions of mlm companies how can they be able to do this…just another scam artist at its best…and im pretty sure lifevantage gave her a free rank and a “signing bonus”…and all the shills at the bottom of the pyramid will think that she just got to that level from nothing because she “did a lot of work”…rachel you are not fooling anyone but yourself and hurting others in the process…

  34. VisalusBust says:

    @ROB I SAW THAT LAST WEEK AND DIED!!! I mean, she is seriously pulling the “i was sick and couldn’t do anything and now i am saved’ bullshit!!! This is so BAD and such a scam!!! Sad thing is, people are actually falling for it. I mean, its am embarrassment to people that are actually sick out there.
    1-we all know rachel didn’t use the Vi products and doubtful she is using LV products
    2-she has been working out like an ANOREXIC freak for the past year and eating next to nothing!!!!

    such a scam artist. i can’t believe no one has called out her BS! and i like her disclaimed at the end *if you are currently with another product, aka my former company don’t contact me. She is just doing that to look good.. of course, she is trying to steal as many people as she can!

    hope she ends up in the hospital from lack of nutrition and then let her claim these products brought her back to life.. i just get this anorexia/bullimia vibe by looking at her:/

  35. I left Vi says:

    Back on the “RJ” aka Rachel Jackson topic, it is ridiculous how everyone has been writing on her FB wall glorifying her achievements of reaching such an elite status in LifeVantage. Yah, of course she did, so many folks followed her from ViSalus to LifeVantage and most importantly “Team Heart”. Please explain to me how she went from “so sick” to “full of pep” after taking this product? I assume it’s a pill? Serum? Powder? Who knows. I counted, she had at LEAST 25 people write (what appeared to be) pre-fabricated comments, go to her FaceBook page, it’s public.

    I also have the link to her “why I left Vi” YouTube video that she sent to myself and a few others with the message “do not show anyone”, if you’re interested, I’ll post the link here.

    Cheers!

  36. Warren Gray says:

    I would be most interested to view the RJ youtube video entitled “Why I left Vi”
    Thank You.

  37. Rob says:

    @ I left VI…yes its a pill…and they also have an “energy” beverage…and skin cream…imagine that!..talk about originality huh…lol…i was a distributor for lifevantage years ago…i actually did pretty well…but when i stopped my financial bias from getting in the way of logic and reasoning i quit…that company is so full of sh!t its not even funny…

  38. I left Vi says:

    Ok- you guys asked for the YouTube link so here it is: “Rachel Jackson’s Why I left Vi”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bt7pzqRuBHQ&feature=youtu.be

    She sent this link to a ton of folks with the message “DO NOT SHARE!” Welp, here you go!

  39. ExposedasLiars says:

    In my opinion, joining an MLM doesn’t make you an entrepreneur. I liken Network Marketing to being tricked into a hole. The only way out of the hole is to ask your family and friends to jump in and push you out. If tricking people into the hole is your thing, then MLM might be right for you. Some people are very good at it. That doesn’t make them savvy business people or role models or “servant leaders”. It just means they are good at tricking people into the hole, which is a quality/skill that most of the world finds deplorable.

  40. VisalusBustt says:

    NOOOO! the video says private!!!! some someone tell me how i can view the RJ video? or at least give the juicy details of what it was all about??

  41. steve says:

    Why is bottle of muscle milk $4+ in the grocery store

  42. ExposedAsLiars says:

    Equity: It doesn’t appear there will be any details given this year on 1.) how much is a share worth? 2.) what is the average distribution of shares per rep? 3.) will there be a 3% distribution and payout this year….Or, is it: just keep paying into the program, and Maybe there will be a payout in two years, after 24 more months of collecting rep’s money?

  43. Michael says:

    CNN published a list of TOP 38 diet regimens and Visalus was not listed. Maybe the scammers will stop saying they are #1 and conning friends and relatives pit of their money. I’m still not sure whether these entreprenuers really know the truth and con & scam because they are desperate for the money or whether they actually believe their own bs spiel. I guess they are hesitant to face reality and admit tgeir mistakes and they are not headed for wealth and a life of leisure. I wonder how many friendships are lost over these MLM scams.

  44. Randy says:

    It is amazing the psychology behind MLM’s, or more accurately, group psychology. (look it up) Everyone in this discussion who is PRO visalus is stating nothing more substantive than the company hype. “the obese epedemic”, “money making opportunity”, “work from home”, “drive a BMW for free” ( I love that one), “change the world 10 pounds at a time”. If MLM’s were truly substainable, we would all be carrying around Amway shopping bags. A true business requires capital, period. Visalus reps are selling not product, but the “american dream”. Oh, it claims it is the healthy products, but in the end it is the dream. I mean if all you are selling is protein powder or cereal, get in line. That doesn’t sell. Let’s add the obese epidemic, a BMW, and income from people you don’t even know, and WALA. That sells. At least to some folks. Pills, Lotions, and Magic Potions. Praying on the financially unsophisticated. Visalus doesn’t offer anything that the american consumer cannot do themselves by eating healthy, exercise, and saving your money rather than giving it to your “upline”. Visalus didn’t give you back your waistline, starving your body did. Of course, there always has to be success stories of unimaginable “riches”. Going to a big house in a nice neighborhood and seeing all the glory of BMW’s parked outside. That is what is being sold here, the dream. Packaged in processed “healthy lifestyle” products that are no different, other than pure price, from retail offerings. How much is this product really cost to produce when endless numbers of reps get paid on each bag? We know what the long term effects of eating correctly and exercising are. There isn’t a healthy food shortage. You do have a choice in what you put into your body. Starving your body to get off medications and lose weight, then publishing your before and after photo is not sustainable. Concerned about your “clients”? Take an afternoon and go shopping with them and teach them how to shop healthy without your product. That is sustainable. How much would you charge for that? Oh my, I wish high schools and colleges would require a course in critical reasoning. Thus, the endless chain of recruitment continues. If the product is actually being sold to the end user, why in the world would you want to recruit endless numbers of sales reps? The educated prospect researches the footnotes of the financials (BLYTH) , which up into last year, one could easily deduct the sharp declines. Walking into a shake party with the actual results of this company would make a skeptic out of anyone. Since the buyback, all this information is no longer public. Kind of makes you wonder. If everyone became a distributor, who would you finally sell to? If you have a successful store with real demand, the last thing you want is someone to open up an identical store next door. Soon you have a neighborhood of duplicate stores all selling the same product. To whom?? Alas, you have to open another store to generate revenue upstream. Where will the remaining demand come from? That is why it is artificial. It has to be created, continuously! First the United States, then abroad. In the end it is never about the product, it is about the dream. The modern MLM is no more than a PONZI scheme with a product wrapped into it. The Titanic sold alot of tickets.

  45. Corinne gonz says:

    my “Dr” at the VA recommended I try this but he was not selling it. I was surprised he would recommend something that is a scam. Now I am not sure I would try any of his suggestions for vitamins or anything.

  46. Matthew says:

    Ex distributor here….. I watched this opportunity tear apart friends and family. Visalus sucks…. So do its “high ranking” promoters. You should of heard the stories they told us.. What a joke this was! This article was a great read. Thanks for posting it.

  47. […] the case of MonaVie, Youngevity, ViSalus or many other MLM companies, I try to be that mechanic to inspect the company, since it is fairly […]

  48. Max western says:

    rashon go F yourself you brainwashed sheep. Visalis is the darkest BS I’ve seen in my life. Get rich schemes will never work. It sounds so promising at first but the only people getting rich are at the top of the pyramid. Distributors are such sheep it’s almost funny. Following punks that are completely brainwashed. Fucking robots. They’re not even human. They’re sheep robots. All of them. Rachael Jackson is an effin joke. Visalis hired a PI to spy and hack into their competitions computers and was indicted for Corporate Espionage along with 4 other visalis big wigs. It’s a false Fasad. The whole thing. The yelling and being excited and the group phone calls. What a F joke!

  49. Michael says:

    NST in Florida was very small compared to prior annual NST events. The main events were no bigger than the small sidebars from previous events. Seems like Visalus days in USA are numbered. No sweat, the big teams just move to another MLM. It’s the little guys who always get crushed. Lifevantage got one of the Vi Life’s bigger teams several months ago. Not much news where teams have been going lately.

  50. Dom says:

    So as a small business owner I can see a bunch of whiny brats on this forum so I wanted to throw my two cents in for anyone who wants to start in ViSalus. There are clear MLM and Network Marketing Companies that you can call a scam. In fact if you have joined a company which is purely about getting other people under you than it is clearly a scam. Back a few months ago I met a man who agreed to teach me how to have a career in real estate. He looked like a plain man but I had learned most millionaires looked and dressed like him from a few of the books I had been reading so I decided to give listen to him. He took me to a few of the properties he owned and told me he had 5 rental properties, commercial building and a 7 acre park in the area in which he gave me the addresses to and of course I checked the city assessors office to check the latest purchaser and the tax payments. Sure enough everything checked out, I had also checked the GRM (Gross Rent Multiplier) of the area vs the value of the property vs how much he bought it for. He bought them for significant discounts which is a clear indication to me that he has access to some prime properties. When he first told me about being a Promoter in ViSalus I didn’t pay it any attention because I was so focused on real estate. He called me one day to sell me his duplex which had an amazing return on the investment, it was somewhere like 13.5% if you bought it out right and 130% if you put a 10% down payment with a mortgage and that is with taxes included in the monthly cost of operation. I asked him why was he selling and of course I was interested and he told me he reached the point where ViSalus equaled the amount he was bringing in from his rental houses. The before mentioned ViSalus made me more curious now, so I asked him about it and he whipped out a video. He also talked to me about becoming a promoter and saying that my return on investment could be faster than real estate could be. So I told him to give me a month or so before I joined because my tax business was in the peak of the business. It costed me 500 to join which wasn’t bad seeing as the other few businesses I have started in the past have costed me so much in the past and within a week I received almost all of my money back by selling the product to my old clientele who mentioned losing weight to me while I did business with them before in the past. I have been with ViSalus now and I also have 2 other businesses operating simultaneously with another one being seasonal. ViSalus (or any other good network marketing company) is truly one of the only ways to see residual income without having to out thousands or millions into it. The rewards you get out of it is what you put into it. With any business, you must dedicate hours of time an effort into your business then years down the line you have to dedicate more time to put it on autopilot. With ViSalus, you don’t need to put years into the equation of you work hard enough in the beginning. You can literally get top earners to call these people who you are bringing in and they will train them, they will close sales and they will help you get started and literally nurture you. I have direct contact to 5 of the top 8 earners in this company. This company is different from anything I have had the pleasure of being with. I will continue to run all of my businesses until they fail but with ViSalus there is so much more potential than with my other businesses. If you cannot see the the potential of a network marketing business go get a job and be miserable with yourself as an employee making someone’s i8 payments and helping them afford their luxury car payments (not that I don’t appreciate a good employee). Everything is not a scam, and start seeing things as an opportunity. If you don’t take opportunities then do not complain about your job and work hard for guys like us and leave your dreams to the side.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I’m not sure why you’d say that “everything is not a scam.” This article isn’t about about everything. There’s not wrong with opportunities, but you always want to avoid participating in an opportunity that appears to be a pyramid scheme. You certainly don’t want to be recruiting others into such schemes.

      It looks to me that people have moved on from considering ViSalus an opportunity:

  51. Vogel says:

    Dom said: “So as a small business owner I can see a bunch of whiny brats on this forum so I wanted to throw my two cents in for anyone who wants to start in ViSalus.”

    So, you thought that the best way to preface your recruitment pitch for Vislaus was to call your prospects “whiny brats”? You have much to learn about PR.

    Dom said: “There are clear MLM and Network Marketing Companies that you can call a scam.”

    Yes, and Visalus is most certainly one of them. Care to name some others?

    Dom said: “The before mentioned ViSalus made me more curious now, so I asked him about it and he whipped out a video. He also talked to me about becoming a promoter and saying that my return on investment could be faster than real estate could be.”

    In 99.9% of cases, Visalus cannot generate ROI faster than real estate. In the vast majority of cases, Visalus distributors won’t even earn minimum wage. The only way to be a top earner in the company is to be one of the founders or get plugged in directly through a sweetheart deal – neither of these avenues are open to the average rube who signs up to be a Vislaus distributor. Those who hold these top level positions are essentially determined from the get-go, and you won’t be one of them.

    Dom said: “It costed (sic) me 500 to join which wasn’t bad…within a week I received almost all of my money back by selling the product”

    Making “almost” $500 in a week translates to annual earnings of less than $26 K (close to the poverty line) before expenses, and you’re comparing that to the ROI on real estate? That is clearly delusional.

    Dom said: “ViSalus (or any other good network marketing company) is truly one of the only ways to see residual income without having to out thousands or millions into it. The rewards you get out of it is what you put into it. With any business, you must dedicate hours of time an effort into your business then years down the line you have to dedicate more time to put it on autopilot.”

    Pushing the old “residual income” canard eh? There is no such thing as residual income in MLM. The attrition rate is so enormously high in MLM that a distributor will lose somewhere between half and all of their new customers within a year. The challenge of replenishing lost customers is never ending and is akin to trying to collect sand with a sieve. If you were to go on “autopilot” as you put it, you would be earning nothing within a year. You are selling a myth.

    Dom said: “If you cannot see the potential of a network marketing business go get a job and be miserable with yourself as an employee making someone’s i8 payments and helping them afford their luxury car payments (not that I don’t appreciate a good employee).”

    You think that misery is the only alternative to becoming a Visalus distributor? Again, clearly delusional. Every “employee” in the U.S., even those making minimum age, significantly out earns the average Visalus distributor.

    Dom said: “Everything is not a scam…”

    No, but Visalus clearly is.

    Dom said: “If you don’t take opportunities then do not complain about your job…”

    Do you hear anyone on this board complaining about their job? No. They are simply saying that the “job” you are offering is worthless. You are operating under the delusion that extorting money from people to join this idiotic pyramid scheme will enable you to kick back and go on “autopilot”. Instead of being a duplicitous MLM leech, why not dedicate yourself to something constructive?

    BTW, you might come across as slightly less of a rambling idiot if you can learn to break your comments up into paragraphs.

  52. Dom says:

    Vogel you are hilarious so I’ll be brief.

    Dom said: “So as a small business owner I can see a bunch of whiny brats on this forum so I wanted to throw my two cents in for anyone who wants to start in ViSalus.”

    So, you thought that the best way to preface your recruitment pitch for Vislaus was to call your prospects “whiny brats”? You have much to learn about PR.

    If you think successful people got anywhere by beating around the bush you have another thing coming.

    Dom said: “There are clear MLM and Network Marketing Companies that you can call a scam.”

    Yes, and Visalus is most certainly one of them. Care to name some others?

    When you get something tangible it is not a scam at that point. If McDonalds paid 500 for a bunch of product the first thing they will do is sell it or take it as a business loss. Every opportunity is what you make of it.

    Dom said: “The before mentioned ViSalus made me more curious now, so I asked him about it and he whipped out a video. He also talked to me about becoming a promoter and saying that my return on investment could be faster than real estate could be.”

    In 99.9% of cases, Visalus cannot generate ROI faster than real estate. In the vast majority of cases, Visalus distributors won’t even earn minimum wage. The only way to be a top earner in the company is to be one of the founders or get plugged in directly through a sweetheart deal – neither of these avenues are open to the average rube who signs up to be a Vislaus distributor. Those who hold these top level positions are essentially determined from the get-go, and you won’t be one of them.

    This is not true at all unless you already have thousands plus to burn. Real estate will either cost you in this age or it will break even unless you found a deal that this man presented to me.

    Dom said: “It costed (sic) me 500 to join which wasn’t bad…within a week I received almost all of my money back by selling the product”

    Making “almost” $500 in a week translates to annual earnings of less than $26 K (close to the poverty line) before expenses, and you’re comparing that to the ROI on real estate? That is clearly delusional.

    500 was my investment to start my business and I seen a return in a week. With my Duplex I purchased from him it took a month to see my money back. The point is, I put minimal work into ViSalus, I make a few phone calls and invite a few people from my network and I make money and change lives. With real estate it’s either going to cost me a lot or it’s going to take me a long time to fix what needs to be fixed.

    Dom said: “ViSalus (or any other good network marketing company) is truly one of the only ways to see residual income without having to out thousands or millions into it. The rewards you get out of it is what you put into it. With any business, you must dedicate hours of time an effort into your business then years down the line you have to dedicate more time to put it on autopilot.”

    Pushing the old “residual income” canard eh? There is no such thing as residual income in MLM. The attrition rate is so enormously high in MLM that a distributor will lose somewhere between half and all of their new customers within a year. The challenge of replenishing lost customers is never ending and is akin to trying to collect sand with a sieve. If you were to go on “autopilot” as you put it, you would be earning nothing within a year. You are selling a myth.

    I can almost sympathize with you there, you will most likely lose customers and you will lose money due to that fact. On the other hand over 70% of the country is obese and if you cannot reach out to that many people then you would be best staying at your current job.

    Dom said: “If you cannot see the potential of a network marketing business go get a job and be miserable with yourself as an employee making someone’s i8 payments and helping them afford their luxury car payments (not that I don’t appreciate a good employee).”

    You think that misery is the only alternative to becoming a Visalus distributor? Again, clearly delusional. Every “employee” in the U.S., even those making minimum age, significantly out earns the average Visalus distributor.

    I agree with you again, misery is not the only alternative but it is a decent one. Not everyone has access to millions of dollars and cannot afford real estate or starting up a traditional business, but most Americans are miserable with their current job and from the calls I jump on, most of the people in this company seem satisfied with ViSalus. Some people aren’t meant to be business owners but if you don’t have the courage to step out of the traditional path and try something new then you lose the right to become miserable with your job.

    Dom said: “Everything is not a scam…”

    No, but Visalus clearly is

    Not really, ViSalus would be a scam if people didn’t get results from the product and it didn’t change people’s lives. When I seen my beautiful sister (whom suffers from depression and being overweight) lose 40 pounds in 1 and a half months from being in ViSalus it changed her life and made me a true believer. Her confidence is through the roof again, she is getting free product because people approach her about how to lose weight and now she is becoming a promoter soon. If this company was like WorldVentures which you get nothing from and have to spend thousands of dollars putting up an illusion and have to put in 4 years of work or travel to see anything from it then it is a scam. ViSalus is similar to any other direct sales company or store. You get product, you sell it you get your money back or you sample it, show people results and they change their lives.

    Dom said: “If you don’t take opportunities then do not complain about your job…”

    Do you hear anyone on this board complaining about their job? No. They are simply saying that the “job” you are offering is worthless. You are operating under the delusion that extorting money from people to join this idiotic pyramid scheme will enable you to kick back and go on “autopilot”. Instead of being a duplicitous MLM leech, why not dedicate yourself to something constructive?

    I agree there isn’t anyone complaining about their job on this board, but you are complaining about one of my businesses. Which throws people off from making their own decision, if I would have listened to people like you or the author of this I would have never made the decision to do something with my life which took me from being an employee to owing a business and becoming an employer. They should see the good and bad of every company and I believe this one is a good company.

    BTW, you might come across as slightly less of a rambling idiot if you can learn to break your comments up into paragraphs.

    Sorry about my paragraphs, I’m not an English major, nor a grammar nazi.

  53. Vogel says:

    Dom said: “Vogel you are hilarious so I’ll be brief.”

    Nothing I said was even remotely humorous, unless you have a very warped sense of humor; you were far from brief; and you did not address any of the key points I raised.

    Dom said: “On the other hand over 70% of the country is obese and if you cannot reach out to that many people then you would be best staying at your current job.”

    The fact that obesity exists does not make a case for becoming a Visalus salesperson. Selling people low-grade stupidly expensive pyramid-scheme shakes is not a viable strategy for combatting obesity, nor is your laughably shitty product capable of competing in a marketplace that is already overcrowded with products aimed at dieters.

    The MLM approach is to highlight a common problem (people are often obese, people often die of cancer, etc.) and then offer up a useless overpriced product (one that provides no real benefits) as the solution. It’s like saying “everyone has to eat; we sell food; ergo buy our food at 10 times the price of comparable food and you can become rich”. MLMs don’t care if their products can compete in the open marketplace; they only care about crafting a story convincing enough to entice simpletons to pay for the opportunity to become sellers.

    Dom said: “500 was my investment to start my business and I seen a return in a week.”

    First, you did not “start a business”; you merely became a poorly compensated salesperson for a pyramid scheme. Second, by your own admission, you did not “see a return” in your first week since you did not fully recoup your initial investment of $500. Remember that you said “within a week I received ALMOST all of my money back”? No need to guild the lily. I’ll reiterate what I said before, your income at the current rate will barely put you at the poverty line.

    Dom said: “With my Duplex I purchased from him it took a month to see my money back…With real estate it’s either going to cost me a lot or it’s going to take me a long time to fix what needs to be fixed…Not everyone has access to millions of dollars and cannot afford real estate or starting up a traditional business, but most Americans are miserable with their current job and from the calls I jump on, most of the people in this company seem satisfied with ViSalus.”

    It’s a mystery as to why you continue to erroneously compare real estate investing with being an underpaid sales drone for Vislaus. It’s like complaining that cars are expensive so you went and bought roller-skates instead; or that it’s expensive to start a space program so you went out and built a model rocket in your backyard.

    Yes, some potentially lucrative investment opportunities like real estate or starting a REAL business have relatively high cost barriers to entry, but that does not make being a poorly paid sales lackey for a pyramid scheme a better alternative. The best advice would be to not waste time and money on such a scam but rather to continue to save and invest wisely so as to accumulate sufficient funds to enable future investments in real estate (or the stock market, where returns are high and barriers to entry are low).

    Adding insult to injury, Visalus has been imploding and is facing a potentially devastating lawsuit. Even as far as MLMs go, this one is worse than average.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ViSalus

    Dom said: “Some people aren’t meant to be business owners but if you don’t have the courage to step out of the traditional path and try something new then you lose the right to become miserable with your job.”

    Again, a Visalus salesperson is not a business owner, a fact which anyone even remotely connected with the business should already be well aware of. It doesn’t take courage to leave a wage paying job to become a Vislaus distributor; it takes bad judgment and desperation. Once again, you try to make it seem that everyone who has a job is miserable, when in fact that’s not the case. Many people find satisfaction in their job (and are grateful to have one), but even if they did not, what could inspire more misery than being a poorly compensated salesperson for a tarnished POS MLM company like Visalus? What you (and Visalus) are trying to do is profit by exploiting miserable and unfortunate people. You are not offering them a solution; you are merely compounding their misery for your own gain.

    Having an unsatisfying job is an argument for finding a better job or acquiring additional skills, not for becoming fodder for a pyramid scheme.

  54. Adam says:

    Oh! I thought people were all done “living the Vi-life!” I hadn’t heard anything more since this in January;

    http://behindmlm.com/companies/visalus/mass-layoffs-at-visalus-is-the-business-in-trouble/

    I wonder how that lawsuit alleging that they are na product based pyramid scheme is going?

    And please do tell about these books that explain how millionaires dress. I am bursting with curiosity, here. Are any of them by Robert “rich dad is as real as Harry Potter” Kiyosaki?

    Your last post was, in fact, far easier to read, but that has nothing to do with grammar, it has to do with formatting. No one has said anything about your grammar. Just fyi.

    In any case, nice to hear that the corpse of Visalus is still twitching. You might want to pick a different mlm from Lazy Man’s list, there. They are all pretty much the same. I wouldn’t recommend Vemma, and Mona Vie seems dead in the water, but there are so many….

  55. Michael says:

    Dom – pushing the ViLife does not Mean you own a business. Period. At a Mother’sDay brunch yesterday, I asked about a family member who had been involved with Vi Stuff and was told “she quit Visalus because she got very sick from it”. That makes 2 people in our extended family who supposedly got very sick from the high soy and sucralose contents. Are you trained in nutrition. I would guess not. I would recommend you get out quick and stick with your other “businesses” and your “seasonal” business which is probably landscaping or selling Christmas trees. Good luck to you and run like heck.

  56. MG says:

    Thankful for this article LazyMan. I tried ViSalus and took the challenge, but was curious as to WHY I had to be on auto-order every month when I didn’t use that much of the product. I took myself off the auto order and never ordered again. I am surprised at the people who encouraged me to get in, I thought they were “smart” business people, but now I see it was all for the BMW which they still don’t have today. Anyone can see that ViSalus is MLM (I knew it instantaneously), but bought it to participate (with much skepticism). Thank you for the 2 gifts!!!

  57. Michael says:

    I spoke to Jessica – one of the Vi event workers and asked her about Vi. Her answer was surprising. She said crap was a total scam and got her sick but the money was good. I guess some people will do anything for a buck.

  58. […] collapse in about 5-8 years… or even faster. Over the years you've probably seen MonaVie, ViSalus, and Vemma. There's a bunch of smaller ones that you were most likely fortunate enough to ever […]

  59. I Left Vi says:

    Just posted on Rachel Jacksons Facebook page:

    ATTENTION NWM’ers…. IMPORTANT LESSON: How NOT to Make Friends in The Industry!!

    1. Book a time slot on my schedule expressing interest in my business/coaching and then bamboozle me on speakerphone with your “upline” in your new “industry revolutionizing” start-up.

    2. Belittle my intelligence telling me “I dont understand” and if I did understand “I would be more open to hearing more.”

    3. Call me the week after they I speak in front of 7000 in my company (that’s plastered all over Facebook). #Predator

    4. Forget all protocol of building rapport, getting to know someone, connecting, and creating a relationship before jumping down my throat.

    5. Diminish my business decisions by asking “Well RJ, why do you have FOUR businesses if it’s going SO WELL for you in NWM?”

    Um….Excuse me? Diversification. Money making money. Leverage.

    Show me your stack and I’ll show you mine.

    SMH —-WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED!—-

    #WithLove
    #FiredUp
    #DontBeanAmateur
    #TheClassyNetworker

    ? RJ

    **she is so full of shit!

  60. Rob says:

    she is with lifevantage now…she was placed strategically in their pyramid to become that “ordinary person” that shot straight up to pro7 “all by herself”…its just laughable…also right when she joined lifevantage she was talking so much sh!t about how sick she was and how she couldnt walk or couldnt move until she “found” protandim…but yet there were pictures dated before lifevantage of her at the gym working out and her outdoors hiking and sh!t…i mean all you can do is just laugh at the ridiculousness…

  61. ExposedAsLiars says:

    1. Vi appears to have lost a large chuck of Canadian distribs recently.
    2. They are having a sale on their ViCrunch cereal for a limited time. It is only $30 for a 25 oz. bag. Compare that with Grape nuts 20.5 oz. bag for $3.50. And this is a sale? Visalus reps normally pay more than that for their cereal? They deserve to lose their money. And don’t tell me you can get it for free. To do so, you have to trick two or more friends into purchasing $30 bags of cereal. What kind of friend are you?
    3. Rachel is a scammer. I’m not convinced they live the lifestyle they want you to believe they have.

  62. ExposedAsLiars says:

    Is the Mojo Oasis gone? Was that another “fake it until you make it”? I don’t think Nic is going to crash as hard as some of these others, but man it is interesting to watch the downfall of reps like Jeremy, Tara, and Rachel.

  63. Vogel says:

    Jeremy? Is that the jerk from that abomination that Visalus produced called “The Pyramid Thing”. I still haven’t forgiven them for that crime against humanity.
    http://thepyramidthing.com/

  64. ExposedAsLiars says:

    I understand Tara went to another scheme, but it is my opinion that she jumped only after the windfall dissipated. Watching Jeremy, the Mojos, et. al, act like the money flow would never end has been absolutely fascinating. Each has handled the downward spiral a different way. Tara and Rachel both quit, with Rachel implying that she was living a lie. Jeremy just sort of slinked away. I remember a disgusting video of him leaning out an apartment window with one of those big checks, screaming at passers by . And now the Mojos have posted videos saying they have sold their possessions, so they can travel the country being “servant leaders”. They were also featured in the Pyramid Scheme videos.

  65. Dudeman says:

    Lazy Man….any thoughts about “Nextgen”? It’s the “charity” Started up by Nick Sarnicola. I don’t buy it. Something has got to be fishy. Maybe a front in order to stockpile money for the class action lawsuit vi is facing.

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