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WorldVentures and MLM Lawsuits

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Earlier this week I was alerted by my friend Amthrax about MLM company, WorldVentures, threatening a blogger.

The target of the threat was Stephanie Yoder who writes a travel blog called Twenty-Something Travel. She was approached by an independent distributor for WorldVentures and wrote an article giving her opinion of it: WorldVentures: This is NOT the Way to Travel the World. It's a great article (she can write for Lazy Man and Money any day) and gives her opinion based on disclosed facts, which in my non-professional, non-expert research, is protected free speech.

In fact, if she makes an error in the article, it is in FAVOR of WorldVentures, writing, "[WorldVentures] is NOT a pyramid scheme because the company sells actual products (vacations), which is enough to keep them on the correct side of the law." It's a common misconception, but pyramid schemes can and do involve products. As the WSJ covered, Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing got shut down by the FTC after allegedly defrauding people out of hundreds of millions of dollars over 10 years, and it sold real products and billed itself as an MLM. I'm not saying that WorldVentures is a pyramid scheme, but one can't say that it is NOT one based on selling products. I'd have to look into more, but on first glance, it appears to be a pyramid scheme to me.

In fairness, Ms. Yoder disclosed that she didn't even realize such companies still existed, so I can forgive that minor point especially because she nailed so many more including going through the income disclosure to find that the average person makes $325 before expenses and only 0.1% of people earn above the poverty line. She captures all the other ridiculous costs of doing business ($30 a month for a mailing system, monthly training at $99-$500) citing many sources.

My favorite part of the article is this line: "You are not going to get rich off of WorldVentures, but if you sign up WorldVentures is going to continue to get quite rich off of you." It reminds me of this line from Harper's Magazine about Mary Kay: "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."

She even captures the brainwashed distributors for the company parroting the company's message.

Popehat covers the threat in very good detail. It's a great read to understand exactly how WorldVenture's lawyers are attempting to bully rather than rectify a legitimate complaint. However, when I read the threat (PDF), I found something I didn't see them mention. The threat goes on at length about how she has to preserve everything (emails, etc.) for an upcoming lawsuit and then instructs her to remove all postings regarding WorldVentures. The contradiction makes it impossible for her to comply even if she wanted to. (And she shouldn't because it is complete bovine excrement.)

I've received these threats multiple times before. The current list is: MonaVie 1, MonaVie 2, One24, LifeVantage.

In my experience what makes you a target for these lawsuits is simply writing a good article that is deemed valuable by Google. Several of the threats specifically mentioned my ranking in Google. It's their form of reputation management. Rather than listen to critics and adjust their business accordingly to gain trust of the community, they instead try to whitewash any view that they don't like. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if WorldVentures sends their lawyers my way after I write this. Imagine a world where you get sued for leaving a well-justifed bad review on Amazon. Imagine every movie critic getting sued for giving and honest bad review. That's the world of critics live in when it comes to MLMs.

Someday, I like to think we'll have a system in place that properly punishes such intimidation tactics. I view it as white-collar bullying, plain and simple. There's some protection via anti-SLAPP laws, but it doesn't go far enough. It seems to me that the punishment should be proportional to the company's resources (their financial situation). This may make them think twice about sending out the lawyers to intimidate people with frivolous legal threats.

Last updated on October 13, 2015.

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15 Responses to “WorldVentures and MLM Lawsuits”

  1. […] July 18, 2014: LazyMan has a similar post about MLM lawsuits on his website that is worth […]

  2. Joe shmoe says:

    As a world ventures “sales rep” I have to say that they are a complete scam. And further more it’s absolutely disgusting how certain high ranking individuals within the company … Use things like religion to get people to sign up. Saying things like ” I’m not God .. But if I was I would be upset if I put a blessing like WV in front of y child and they didn’t take advantage of it.” When I was being recruited and after I signed up there was nothing but dishonesty from my ” mentor” I only tried to recruit 2 people and both times .. Before I got on the phone my “mentor” would tell me to say things like ” tell them that your sitting here with one of the most successful people you’ve ever met, being me, and I’ll take it from there” which was a absolute lie because my mentor was not anywhere near the most successful person I’ve ever met…. He drove a 1999 corvette with a broken windshield and rust all over it. World ventures is just a bunch of brain washed people and it’s an absolute sham.

  3. Tina says:

    Joe that has nothing to do with WV. That has to do with the person you chose to mentor with. So you can not blame WV for the people you chose to work with. I am sorry you got with someone who gives himself and others a bad name. A mentor should not teach you how to lie to your people only tell them the truth. I am so happy our mentor teaches us how to be positive and treat others with respect.So the advice I have for you is to chose a better mentor, because the one you chose would have hurt you in any business you would have chosen. I hope the best for you in the future.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Tina, it is WV’s fault to put someone in a position to get a bad mentor who lies.

      MLM does not certify the people training people are training them the right techniques, which is one of the many reasons why it is a failure as a business model. WV has a responsibility to police and eliminate bad mentors from running a WV business.

      The fact that every MLM fits the FTC’s guidelines as a pyramid is another.)

  4. Tina says:

    Its also his job to let WV know about what he is doing so they can do something about it. If one says nothing then nothing gets done. Just like at a regular job you can have a bad boss but he may look great on paper but if the people don’t open there mouth he will keep his position and the problem will not get fixed. And before picking a mentor make sure you look up his back ground just as well. Before we picked ours we researched him too. Just because they say they know what they are doing may not be the truth. One has to watch who they follow no matter what company they join.But then it comes down to if any one has told WV on what he is doing if not it is not WV fault. But I do agree he should not be doing what he is teaching, because it makes the company look bad. There is to many people in the company to watch everyone and see what they are doing kinda like Wal Mart or any big company so if they are not told they don’t know. And they would like people to let them know so they can fix it.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Don’t blame the new guy for the company’s lack of a structured, certified training program of it’s management. That doesn’t make sense at all. Instead of this proven method of management, MLMs lets the blind lead the blind. Bad mentors go unchecked and spread more bad mentors. New people are told to take their problems to their mentors. They are told to trust in the (broken) system.

      People don’t typically “pick” their mentors in MLM. They hear about the scheme, which I’ve never seen presented with the FTC’s information on pyramid schemes, and coerced with any words necessary to join.

      Let’s not forget the main point is that WV is trying to sue this blogger who only pointed out why the business is a scam. When someone leaves a well-justified bad review, they shouldn’t get sued.

      WV is wrong and acting inappropriately here on many, many levels.

  5. Sandy says:

    The leaders of WorldVentures have no shame. Here’s an example of how they train you….

  6. mark says:

    WorldVentures is 100% a scam. Any “job” that requires you to pay money before you can start working there is a scam.

  7. BM says:

    Tina is right. And thank you Tina for speaking up.

    Anyone can join WV, thats the beauty of it. And it can be its downfall because not everyone goes to training to learn how to properly become a rep, speak on the product, conduct themselves as a business, and become a mentor.

    Its up to the individual to decide to go to training and become better.

    Someone can sign up bc they want to travel and then go start talking about WV all willy nilly, and making promises out of their butt. That is NOT WorldVentures fault.

    WV is an investment within yourself. If you think you are going to sign up for “free” and become a “millionaire” tomorrow, you are in the wrong business.

    Ive been in WV for 8-months and I love it! The people, the DREAMTRIPS!!, the training. All amazing!!

    If you have NOT been on a DreamTrip then you CAN NOT speak on World Ventures.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Sounds like a very flawed program to let anyone become a representative without proper training.

      It seems to validate what Harper’s said about MLM programs: “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.”

      As educated readers know, MLM is a terrible business and not an investment in yourself.

      BM said, “If you have NOT been on a DreamTrip then you CAN NOT speak on World Ventures.”

      Hmmm, sounds like someone could say, “If you haven’t jumped off a bridge you CAN NOT speak about jumping bridges.” Obviously one can. In fact, External perspective can be more valuable than real life experience, especially in the world of MLM where their financial bias from the person pitching you.

    • BM says:

      Its designed so that anyone from any background can make something of themselves. WITH TRAINING. Why is that so hard for you to understand.

      And to compare jumping off a bridge to a consumable product is ridiculous.

      And also means, you have never been on a DreamTrip/Used the product — so why are you so mad about something you know nothing about?

    • Lazy Man says:

      I’ve studied dozens of MLMs now. Each one of them is designed to string on distributors for as long as possible with a “business opportunity” where 99% of people lose money. It is straight-up fraud.

      When I read the review from the blogger about WorldVentures, it matched the template from the dozens I’ve studied. The actions by WorldVentures to attempt to sue the reviewer only reflected poorly on it.

      Why would you protect a fraudulent industry that you know nothing about and ignore the topic of why they attempt to silence valid criticism with high-powered lawyers instead of fixing their business?

  8. Axel says:

    I went on Dreamtrips, I didn’t enjoy them fully.
    Every dreamtrip was work because we were tasked to take pictures, videos, do video editing to show people on Facebook that we were having a lot of fun. It was very fake.

    Some friends left me alone during my worldventures time. Looking back, I can understand why. I would do the same too.

    Travelling without Worldventures is a lot more relaxed and fun. I don’t like Dreamtrips at all because it is like having a gourmet meal with feces at the side. The feces is the part where you convert your trip into a sales pitch on facebook and instagram.

    It didn’t help that my overall team leader in Singapore cross-sponsored many people within her team and stole overseas leads from our team members. She didn’t become rich from worldventures anyway – she downgraded from a mercedes to a cheap modified car, walks around with many strands of visible long white hairs because she doesn’t even have money to colour her hair anymore.

  9. Al Banks says:

    Family member is involved with WV. We said we weren’t interested and the family member no longer has contact with us. Family member offered to loan daughter money to join since she didn’t have the money. We asked her not to do that, and she now only has contact with daughter still trying to get her to join (lots of college contacts available through daughter). Sad as family member loves the ego boosting she receives from the WV training and friends, telling her how great she is, that she drops anyone who doesn’t want what she is selling.

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