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 another MLM. It turns out that one was just as bad as MonaVie
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 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 just about every health MLM you can think of. 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.
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.”
“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).
“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 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)
My Gift to You
If you’ve read this far, I appreciate your dedication. Whether you found what you were looking for or not in the article above, I want to help you with your financial situation. It’s what I do.
Here are two things you can do to put yourself in a better financial position:
- Create an Emergency Fund – Dobot squirrels small amounts of money from your checking account to its FDIC-insured account. It’s 100% free. You simply have to create a goal of having an emergency fund. You don’t have to think about it and you’ll likely never notice the small amount of money being moved. I’ve squirreled away more than $1100. You can read my Dobot review here.
- Track Your Money – Over the years, I’ve gathered so many financial accounts. Banks, Brokerages, Loans, I got multiple of them all. The best software for tracking them all is Personal Capital. You can’t get to your destination if you don’t know where you are to start. Personal Capital gives you that… and, like Dobot, it is completely free.
For more visit my five minute financial fixes article. If neither of the above is helpful, I’m sorry. I appreciate you for just being here. The person recruiting you has a financial incentive to present only one side of the story. Kudos to you for searching for more information to make an informed decision.
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?
Originally published: Published on: Nov 7, 2011
Rob Cordova says
James Cordova is my brother. I watched him work so hard for Visalus and now I miss him everyday. I am an avid reader of this blog to see how the discussion and fate of Visalus plays out.
I appreciate all of the work and research that Lazyman and others have showcased and linked to. May we all make the right decisions to protect our most valuable assets – our relationships, our health, and our precious life — not money.
Beachbody would take a [Editor’s substitution: poop] on this….LMAO…SCAMMMMMMMMM
Larry Krakow says
I am glad to see you Rob Cordova. I am on a mission to take Visalus down for the damage that they do. I have received a lot of contact from ex distributors and will continue to do so. Your brother did not deserve to be fed lies and did what everyone else under his circumstances would have been compelled to do. I have been at it for several months and a few months back felt that I hit a brick wall. Now, it is getting a head of steam and maybe we will be fortunate enough to see their product pulled off the market for good.
@ Rob–I am so, so sorry for your family’s loss. I hope you don’t construe any dislike here for Visalus for dislike of their distributors such as your brother. In my experience MLM people are generally very nice, honest folks who genuinely want to help people. The MLMs exploit this for their own financial gain by lying to them and using their outgoing personalities to perpetuate their lies and misreprentations, and they do so unknowingly.
I hope your family can find some peace in the wake of your brother’s passing.
Rob Cordova says
@ Jeff – thanks for the note. No harm done at all. I understand where different people on here are coming from. Here in Utah MLM’s are huge and I’ve seen a lot of relationships and finances go bad.
I don’t believe in the MLM business model or approach at all.
Iliana Bowyer says
Why do so many people who work for a living feel they have to blow part of all big sums they receive without having to work for it?
Great article I waged a brief online war against this company. They are ripping people off for this stuff.
I was in the financial industry for several years and I left because I could not stand the corruption. In that time it did not find one financial writer that was not on the take from companies that either paid them to write favourable garbage about their company or negative garbage about their competitors. Who is paying to write this trash?
Second, one should always be leery of self appointed watchdogs. Nobody does this for free. What is your driving factor in spending the effort to do your so called research and write this article and do not tell me it is to protect the general public because I will call your bull shite on that. So once again, I ask who is paying you to trash Visalus?
Have you spoken with one person that was involved in Visalus that claims they have been ripped off? I could not find one when I was doing my due diligence on the company. There are a lot of people that the product has not worked for but most of them it’s because they did not follow the program or cheated.
Next, it cost me $499 to join Visalus. I could have done it for $49 but I wanted the extras. My very first pay cheque came after my very first week. It was for $1496. Since you are a financial guru, you should be able to do the math. That is 300% return on investment in 7 days. I would like to see you do that on the stock market. Legally. If you could you certainly would not be writing about it, you would be doing it.
The BMW. I qualified for my Regional Directors Bonus after only 33 days. That is $300 per month bonus that I can use for anything I choose. Now if I own or lease a BMW that bonus is increased to $600 per month. Which is $80 more than the lease on my Beamer. So although Visalus did not give me a BMW, I have never made a payment. So I would say that is free. Would you not? Zero dollar and I have an asset. That’s free in my books.
One last thing. You keep calling Visalus a “pyramid scheme”. I find that difficult to understand since I am making at least twice as much as the person that signed me up and I know for a fact that I am making more money every month than the six people directly above me in my upline. I am not sure about you but that is not my definition of a pyramid. If you would like a example of a pyramid try checking out most of the Fortune 500 companies. There is one guy at the top making way too much money followed by a bunch of Vice Presidents then Sr managers, mid managers, Jr managers and then a whole pile of under paid workers supporting all the trash at the top…. Now that is a pyramid scheme if I have ever seen one. Examples; General Motors, Disney, Chrysler, IBM, Microsoft, Apple… The list is endless…
So I would suggest you get off your high horse and actually do some research before you write something or better yet…. Go out into the real world and make some money.
Lazy Man says
You left the financial industry because of the corruption and went into MLM? I’m the last person to defend the financial industry of corruption, but you chose an industry with more corruption and lies?
In 6+ years I haven’t come across any company that was on the take from a financial company. Maybe you should have exposed the corruption and given the world proof that these companies are on the take. You can understand that we can’t simply take your word for it without proof.
Who pays the investigative reporters who help out consumers getting ripped off on your local news? They aren’t on the take from any companies. You can call bull shite on anything you want, but you’d be wrong. As I said in the article Todd Hirsch (an MLM lead salesman) said that ViSalus was reputable and a shining example of a great MLM company. So I spent some time to prove him wrong. It really didn’t take long.
As for the people who the product hasn’t worked for, the same could be said for the much lower priced Slim Fast, Ensure, Carnation Instant Breakfast or any other replacement shake with similar nutritional value. There’s no secret to ViSalus, the nutritional information of any product will give a very good idea of how it’s going to work in losing weight if used appropriately.
Have you read the comments here by the people who said that they were ripped off. BP used that term just an hour before you. Most people don’t know they were ripped off.
Please break down how you earned $1496 from ViSalus. Did you recruit other people to join? If so, how many? Did each of these people make a 300% return in 7 days? If so, ViSalus is going out of business quite quickly. If not, then why are we bringing up these earnings? They don’t matter.
Did you simply sell the product outside your house like an old fashioned lemonade stand?
While we are at it, since you are endorsing ViSalus (i.e. you are distributor making a positive statement about the company), did you know you can’t legally make claims that you made $1496 in the first week unless that is typical of a ViSalus distributor. Yes, it is part of the FTC Endorsement Guidelines. Even if it is true, you have to clearly state what the average ViSalus distributor does make.
Sure you may qualify for the BMW quickly, but staying qualified is the challenge. Once the people you recruit realize that they can’t recruit others (it becomes mathematically impossible) your group will shrink like others have reported here and you’ll be on the hook to pay for that BMW. Don’t call your lease an asset. It is a liability on a depreciating product. Perhaps you left the financial industry because you didn’t understand the difference between assets and liabilities.
You know that it is possible to make more than the person above you in pyramid schemes right? MLM spreads a lie that it is possible, but as you can see from the FTC’s quote I included, there’s nothing about not making as much money as the person above you. Sorry, but your definition of a pyramid scheme isn’t important in comparison to the FTC’s. You don’t get to make the laws that govern such things.
Corporate America is Not a Pyramid Scheme. It’s called a hierarchical organization and it doesn’t involve endless recruiting.
So why don’t you get off our high horse and research something yourself ;-).
ViSalus Applies for Membership to United States Direct Selling Association
Company to Join Over 240 Direct Selling Firms in Leading Industry Trade Organization
“We are honored to join the DSA and to be a part of an organization that has made so many important contributions to the direct selling industry,” said Ryan Blair, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ViSalus. “We look forward to learning from other member companies’ experiences as well as having the opportunity to share our perspective about our unique, customer-centric selling model,” added Blair.
Lazy Man says
I’m kind of surprised… I had presumed that they’d been the DSA for years now. Most of the big MLMs pay their dues to be included, it’s a wonder why ViSalus hasn’t before now.
Here’s a good comparison about the lies that the DSA tells about pyramid schemes with the truth of what the FTC says about them. Remember that the DSA serves MLMs and the FTC serves consumers, so only the later is unbiased and has your best interests in mind.
Why would you assume your Visalus income was typical? My friend in Visalus has lost thousands of dollars, and yet he stays in because his upline assures him that “quitting is the only way to fail!” He’s followed their “proven system”–attended every event he’s been told is “critical!” To his Visalus business, all out of pocket of course, costing him about $3,000 last year at least.
That combined with his monthly purchase of the transformation kit (he’s skinny so not sure why he picked this one) of $249 or $2,988 that’s $6,000 on his Visalus business last year on just those two expenses. He has 2 customers and 6 distributors below him now (he used to have 8 but 2 quit, then 2 joined, then 2 quit) with a volume around $3,000. He doesn’t make a commission off the first $200 of his first retail customer, and makes 10% off the $49 plus $249 of second customer (on challenge kit) so makes about $30 a month from his customers, and then 5% of his group volume which is $150, for a total Visalus monthly income of $180
Here’s a rough idea of what his Visalus Schedule C looks like for last year:
Net Visalus Income: – $3,840
He qualified quickly for the BMW also, but only had the volume to get the copay for one month, because he signed up a few people and the cost of their enrollment was included in his volume that month, and he made up the shortfall to get to $12,500 out of pocket because he thought getting the BMW would make people think he was successful so more would sign up under him. Luckily with his crap credit he couldn’t get a lease or he’d be stuck with a payment he can’t afford right now.
Even though he’s lost of bunch of money in Visalus, does he think he’s been scammed? Nope. Because Visalus assures him if he just stays in, he’ll eventually make money, he’s just got to believe. Even when he doesn’t make any money and does eventually, quit, he still won’t realize he’s been scammed, because if he thought it was a scam, he wouldn’t have signed up in the first place. Visalus says if you don’t make money, it’s because you didn’t try hard enough, so he’ll blame himself. He doesn’t understand that their unfair compensation plan doomed him from the start, so why would he complain?
”So once again, I ask who is paying you to trash Visalus?”
I’m sure nobody pays Lazyman for that, since there is people outhere willing to help people for free and does not have interest on your money. Lazyman is doing a good job. And like someone say in a previous comment, they always make the next event like ”critical” and I even heard them say, ”make a list of people to call, and if you have to do it DON’T SLEEP, but continue unless you recruits enough people. I like to watch their crap on youtube, the way they try to recruit people… at the same time, it make me sick, so maybe I just stop watching…
And the thing they keep telling this months is ”we gonna open the market in Europe, you don’t know how big the tsunami will be, it’s will be huge” and they always talk about ”helping people”….eurrrrkkk!!! I bet that any of the Visalus member today will have quit in 5 years from now…
Holy s@$t, the FTC actually did something to protect consumers, they shut down Fortune High Tech Marketing today!
Considering their pay plan isn’t much different from Visalus (or Herbalife, or any of the other MLMs)–I hope they shut them all down. I am shocked they actually did something!
Lazy Man says
I’m as amazed as you are Jeff. Looks like it took a lot of work with three states attorneys joining in.
Sadly, the people in Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing will probably just join ViSalus or some other MLM.
What a great review.
My girfriend ( now ex ) came in one nite and pushed Visalus on me. I need to loose weight she said. Yep I said cut your hair and you just lost 5 pounfd. Anyhow, the minute I saw the few documents I told her. Pyramid honey stay away. Then she carried me to the super presentation where she had to pay 10$ to attend. Mine was free as a prospect. ( how much $$ do they make out of the 10$’s )
While the presentation was going on it flashed me when I heard ” If you want to succeed you need this article, this seminar, this etc… When they use the words YOU NEED.. I’m out. which is what I did. My ex is now out, after losing ( she won’t disclose ) The worst is that they say ” we do not encourage laly people, TYou failed cause you did not follow the system, you did not work hard enough, all this BS. One last thing. I love keeping my friends and family members, Losing them in MLM is a big collateral dammage.
Keep up the good work.
FTC and Three State Attorney Generals from Illinois, Kentucky and North Carolina shut down an MLM company called Fortune Hi Tech Marketing.
“This is the beginning of the end for one of the most prolific pyramid schemes operating in North America,” Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway said.“This is a classic pyramid scheme in every sense of the word. The vast majority of people, more than 90 percent, who bought in to FHTM lost their money.”
CNBC said this recent shut down affected publicly traded companies like Herbalife, Visalus, NuSkin.
WOW I find it amazing how many people defend themselves and their company against FACTS with the lies they have been told buy the people that want their money. Try doing some research! come up with the answers on your own. I challenge you to find some NON VISALUS research on their “non GMO” soy. the process they claim to use to remove the isoflavones DOES NOT EXIST!!!!! there is only 2 ways to remove them and it leaves a product that is not for human consumption. It is done with a chemical that is extremely bad for us!! the product that is left is used to make cardboard. look up the side effects of using soy, all that actually does apply to the shake. I was with visalus for over a year, and that is when I started seeing all the side effects. did you know that soy will allow a person to lose weight, but once it has been used to long will actually cause you to gain weight? or the fact that I know men whose testosterone levels DROPPED after using the shakes? why is that? because the isoflavones have not been removed!!!the sides effects are horrible!! people are getting sick!! fact is fact you can defend the facts and truths with your lies, but time will make you look like a fool.
Visalus has been promoting and pushing as you like to say the 3 for free model. They have also added an incentive to help promoters and customers alike get free monthly product kits. I don’t see very many companies MLM or non mlm doing this (all the mlm that are choose to after watching Vi’s success). Nor do i see ANY of the companies you have mention on this long thread offering a 90 $ back results guarantee like Vi does.So as you call it a scam all the time it’s funny to think how paying $6 in shipping to replace 60 meals a month is a rip off lol. If someone does not want to take on the challenge, THEN DON’T. Pretty simple.
As far as the soy goes, Soy is a hot button. Very popular recently so it gets much attention. Some love and some hate. We have removed parts of the soy as listed above. I see people questioning that. However, nobody has mentioned the dairy removed from the whey? Why not? Is is so simple to remove something from whey protein but impossible to do the same with soy somehow?
@ Joy- FYI 1 Vi shake has 1/3 of the soy protein as a 1/2 cup of edamame. I ate for years, am i infected? lol C’mon
Many of the people on here talking about this i’m sure are in tip top shape and healthy.
I did some digging into weight watchers. I wanted to learn why anybody would continue to pay $60-$100 a month AFTER learning about their point system. They do it to attend weekly meetings for a weight in, support, and accountability. Do you consider that a scam?
@Lazy- The FTC goes after the companies that have no products to distribute. Travel mlm’s Airplane scams and such. Herbalife will never be closed down like Fortune was because they move so much product. Visalus Promoter has 3x the industry and herbalifes customer to promoter average fyi.
@ Jeff you continue to bring up your friend. Maybe he’s just a idiot when it comes to business, marketing, relationships, decisions, and/or life. If i was against every profession that has an idiot promoting it i would have to move into the unibombers cabin.
Lazy Man says
I think many MLM companies offer a money back guarantee. If you followed Bill Ackman’s presentation on Herbalife, the guarantee is effectively useless.
I don’t see a 90-day money back guarantee like you suggest, but a 30-day one: http://www.my90dayvi.com/returnpolicy.html. It’s kind of a silly guarantee on a 90-day challenge product.
It’s strange that ViSalus and its distributors are still promoting a 90 calorie serving size as a meal replacement. Outside of ViSalus, I have never seen 90 calories considered a meal. Even if you did consider 90 calories a meal, I’m perplexed to where you get the “paying $6 in shipping to replace 60 meals is a rip off.” ViSalus doesn’t seem to offer any such thing and they would go out of business within days that they did.
Soy deserves the attention it gets for the research out there that’s showing problems with it. Whey is very popular too, but it doesn’t come with the negatives. There’s a lot less love for soy and saying, “some love and some hate” is just an attempt to sweep the negatives under the rug and hope no one notices.
As for your argument with soy, “I ate for years, am I infected?” it’s tempting to use your argument as proof that you are ;-). A lot of mothers smoked during pregnancy before we knew the problems, and a lot of them didn’t have problems.
As for the FTC only going after companies with no products to distribute, Fortune seems to have had all sorts of products to distribute. It wasn’t a travel MLM or an airplane scam. The website is closed down now, but their official YouTube channel has a good list here: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD253D89ADB5BBB1D. I wrote an article about Fortune today and I couldn’t find a place where the FTC said anything like, “The big problem that we found with Fortune was that there was no product.” They cited a bunch of other things like it being a rigged game where over 90% of distributors lost money in the business opportunity.
More importantly for ViSalus, the FTC also cited that most of the money to be made came from recruiting others. As we know from Nick Sarnicola’s business that seems to consist entirely of recruited/poached high-level distributors from other MLMs, this is true with ViSalus as well.
You are very quick to label anyone who isn’t successful in MLM as an idiot in business. You did this with Vera’s friend too. You fail to come up with an answer to the point that if ViSalus distributors consisted only of the world’s top 1000 smartest and most experienced businessmen fewer than 10 would actually make money. The failure rate is not due to the people, it’s the compensation system itself that requires it.
Many companies do offer a $ back guarantee in MLM, I’ve seen not 1 that offers a 90 day results guarantee however(mlm or non-mlm). Please explain why it’s silly to offer that? I think a consumer would love the idea a product and system is stood behind that much by the company. If you go to the homepage, click on what’s new in 2013 all the info is right there.
The “in shipping for 60 meals” comment is referring to the 3 for free program. Our company gives out more in free product each month then the revenue of most mlm companies. So for all the scam and over priced talk 1/4 customers does not apply.
As far as soy we can go back and forth all day. It’s the most complete protein on the market which is why it’s so successful on the other side of the world. Where people are MUCH healthier then in this country. So maybe we should start doing like they do? As far as the process why has nobody addressed my comment? Soy and Whey filtration? Everyone seems to think it’s fine with whey but not soy for some reason?
As for the FTC, sorry guys you’r chasing a mirage. Visalus is totally compliant, most people join for $49 and if they do ANYTHING will make it back. It’s so easy to sit here and go it’s a scam because i didn’t make any money!!! Really, i haveb’t seen 1 person say I was not paid what the compensation said i would be paid? Not 1 person! Here you have zero of an idea as to what said individual did, in terms of contacts, challenge parties, going public w/ their challenge goal. If you do none of that you will make what effort you put in, Nothing. Plain and simple.
The 10 and 1000 comment is throwing numbers into the air. I cannot address that because it just that. I can say however, I have a team a little bigger then you mentioned, def not 1,000 of the BEST business people as you claim and more then 10 do this full time. So I guess that’s incorrect.
I tell everyone the best and worst part of MLM is exactly the same, anyone can do it. It’s a large double edged sword for our industry. If you reread what vera said about her friend and Jeff’s buddy he keeps bringing up, who you ever go into business with them? No. Do we have ANY idea about them amount of effort they put into Vi? No. I can tell you less then 25% of people who join to promote do the first 3-4 steps yet somehow assume they will be rich? I’m sorry that IS their fault, point a finger in the mirror. If they say do a -d to get result e, and you decide to just do it your way then shame on you. I’ve seen minimum wage jobs with many more steps to follow, if people don’t follow the system it’s because they just chose not to, nothing else.
If you can’t afford to join for $499, join for $49. If you can’t afford to go to an event, don’t go. If you don’t wanna pay $1.65 to replace 60 meals/snacks a month then get it for free/don’t join/or quit. But to say it’s a scam because they didn’t follow the system(they know if they did or not but MANY people refuse to take self accountability since it’s much easier to just put blame elsewhere) then how it it Vi’s fault?
You also didn’t address the WW question.
@jeffM say that because you have ate a lot of soy the shake must be safe? well are you getting your testosterone levels checked regularly? how do you know that you have not been affected long term? Also you are a man, (or at least I am assuming based upon your name) soy is FAR more unsafe for women then it is men. Did you know that soy will cause some people to gain weight as it is not for everyone, but on top of that after so long our body stops digesting it the way that it should and ends up storing it as fat? I know that when I see pics of my upline AMBs, the only ones that have not gained a ton of weight are the ones that NEVER had a weight problem before they started. Just saw a pic yesterday of Jonni Robins (5 star) and she looks as tho she has gained 30-40 lbs since I saw her in july. No one thinks the shakes are a rip off as far as price for replacing meals. It is a rip off because the product is garbage, and everyone is sold on an opportunity that has long since passed. The people that are getting rich off BBV signed up 2 years ago, there are not enough people in the world to sustain this company for long. (especially when the other countries will not allow them in because of their false claims about their soy and sucralose content) as for your claim that “if you fail you must be an idiot” clearly you need to do some learning on this subject and not allow yourself to be embarrassed by your lack of knowledge on how this industry works. 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, 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. “a pyramid is a company that offers no product or non consumable product, you start at the bottom work your way up and are paid one time only once you are at the top, then you start back in at the bottom and do it all over again” I was in a pyramid (treasure traders)and thought I knew what they were. guess what, I was wrong and so are you!!! read the FTC guidelines on what it ACTUALLY is. You will be surprised to find out it actually has NOTHING to do with not having a product to sell. It is everything to do with how the money is earned. Vislus signs every customer up directly and then they can go out and get customers and well. guess what that actually makes them? an entry level DISTRIBUTOR. a customer is someone that you buy the product and sell it for a marked up price (such as avon or amway) if you make all of your money off people that are in the business and enrollment bonuses, that equals pyramid.
Now for this “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.
as far as no one else offering 3 for free, have you been hiding under a rock!?!?!? EVERYONE offers it now, ocean avenue, Visi, Monavie just to name a few. Please just do some research before you try to comment on something and defend it with nothing but the lies you have been told! EDUCATE YOURSELF!!
Lazy Man says
I gave a link to the return policy and I didn’t see any 90-day guarantee there. Here it is again: http://www.my90dayvi.com/returnpolicy.html. My point is that if ViSalus is offering such a 90-day guarantee, they’ve failed to appropriately update their website to inform consumers.
A further look shows that there is a 90-day guarantee and this is a new thing starting the first of the year. As no one is eligible to return product for another 60 days, we don’t know how this works in practice.
It is interesting to note that if a “Promoter exercises the guarantee, they will forfeit their Promotership.” This is something that’s done with Herbalife too. It further goes to illustrate the pyramid scheme concept of ViSalus. People are getting into ViSalus for the business opportunity and the company is banking on keeping them snarled in that endeavor past the 90-day guarantee. Also there’s a very narrow 10-day window to cash in on the guarantee. From rebate companies we know that there’s going to be enough breakage with this that it won’t impact the company significantly.
There’s a requirement to fill out a 90-Day Guarantee Verification Card, but no information on where someone gets such a thing. It’s telling that they are quick to give links to the flyer promoting the guarantee, but not a PDF necessary to complete the guarantee. Without being able to see the card, my guess is that it is a physical card that either needs to be shipped to the person… perhaps further closing that 10-day window of opportunity. If it were a form, they’d call it a form and not a card.
Oh and they add the “Qualification criteria are subject to change.” That’s not really a guarantee if they can change on you at any time.
Is every person in ViSalus in the 3 for free program? My research showed it was separate from the business opportunity that can make you money. Is this not true? We certainly can’t assume that because ViSalus offers a refer 3 people and it is free that 1 in 4 ViSalus people get it for free. If I can’t convince 3 people to pay their exorbitant prices I don’t get it for free. If someone as a customer (not a Promoter) recruits 5 people because they really like the product only 1 in 6 customers get it for free right?
Let’s remember that the only way that ViSalus is able to offer any free product is by overcharging others. I could open a dealership and sell Honda Civics for $80,000 and then say, “If you roll these two dice and get a 10, 11, or 12, we’ll rip up the financing and just give you the car for free.” However, that’s a 1-in-4 chance of free product. I wouldn’t call that a consumer-friendly business, by any means. It’s a magicians game to tell you to look at this free thing and forget about the 800 pound gorilla in the room, the over-priced product.
“Where people are MUCH healthier then in this country. So maybe we should start doing like they do?”
I think the United States is near the top in life expectancy. Also, I have read that Beijing has really poor air quality. Maybe we shouldn’t make blanket statements that involve thousands of different factors and attribute them to soy.
“As far as the process why has nobody addressed my comment? Soy and Whey filtration? Everyone seems to think it’s fine with whey but not soy for some reason?”
How many people have responded since you made your comment… 1. How much time has elapsed… only a couple of hours. I didn’t find it worth addressing because I haven’t seen the same concerns about whey as I do soy. It seems like they are starting at two different places.
Joy is saying that the removing only works with the addition of harmful chemicals. I really don’t care to get into whether that is true or not. I also don’t want to get into the removal of the isoflavones making it safe. These are questions that should be answered by independent scientists (no, not ViSalus’ paid doctors) in nutrition itself. It is pointless for all the anonymous people, who aren’t research scientists to speculate here. If you’ve got unbiased research to bring to the discussion then that’s a different story, but no one has offered any.
Logically we say that the only way to avoid the dangers associated with soy is to avoid soy. There’s simply no need to risk it.
“Really, i haveb’t seen 1 person say I was not paid what the compensation said i would be paid?”
Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing could make the same claim. If you read what the FTC said about it being a “a rigged game”, you’d know that the problem was that the compensation plan itself was rigged, not that Fortune reneged on making the promised payments.
You are making up your own rules for legality of pyramid schemes and ignoring the FTC’s.
“Here you have zero of an idea as to what said individual did, in terms of contacts, challenge parties, going public w/ their challenge goal. If you do none of that you will make what effort you put in, Nothing. Plain and simple.”
Actually if you recall what Vera said before we had a great idea of what she did. You continually point to a lack of effort where I’ve showed you that mathematically if everyone worked infinitely hard (don’t know how you do such a thing, but for the sake of argument assume it is possible) well over 90% of people would lose money due to the recruiting nature of the business. Here’s an idea: Show me ViSalus Income Disclosure Statement and show me that more than 5% make money. If you can’t or won’t show me ViSalus’ show me another MLMs of your choosing. I’ve looked at a few dozen and well over 99% of people lose money.
“I have a team a little bigger then you mentioned, def not 1,000 of the BEST business people as you claim and more then 10 do this full time.” Doing something full time doesn’t mean that they net significant money after expenses. Are they making netting (not grossing) at least $30,000 a year? That would be about the minimum I would consider “success” and even then I would say that it wouldn’t be a great full-time job.
“if people don’t follow the system it’s because they just chose not to, nothing else.”
No one would choose not to follow a system if it really worked. I know that if I press the power button on my TV it turns on… 100% of the time as long as my TV works. I don’t choose to try to turn on my television by pressing the mute button. I don’t try to turn on the television by kicking the couch. We don’t stick our car keys into the fuel tank and expect that to work. It’s time that you stopped blaming the people and focused on the failures of system itself. It is mathematically set up to fail. I don’t know how else to stress this enough.
If I put a golf ball on the edge of a cup and asked a professional golfer to get it in on one stroke, they’d be successful about 100% of the time. If I put it 300 yards away and ask them to do the same, they’re success rate would be extremely close to 100% failure. The golfer didn’t change, the circumstances did. This is what you are ignoring with the compensation plan.
I didn’t address the Weight Watchers question for three reasons.
1. It wasn’t addressed to me.
2. This isn’t a post about Weight Watchers.
3. I fail to see how the FTC can categorize WW’s business model as a pyramid scheme, while I would be very happy standing in front of a court demonstrating why Nick Sarnicola’s business is a pyramid scheme. As a reminder, pyramid schemes are illegal.
Lazy Man says
Awesome response Joy.
I should also mention that out of 900 customers I only had about 10 getting theirs free.
that 10 in a 1000 comment was not just throwing numbers in the air actually. fact is that in order for 1 person to SUSTAIN (not make money just sustain) they need to have 21 people below them making themselves active every month. what that means is for every 1 person that is sustaining their business 21 people are losing money. So out of 1000 people 45.46 people are making enough money to keep themselves active every month. roughly 954 people are losing money out of that 1000. Only 5% of all those people are actually profiting so out of 1000 people roughly 2.27 of those people are actually profiting……so actually maybe you were right 10 out of 1000 might have just been pulled out of thin air because he actually gave WAY to much credit.
as for your WW comment I feel I can speak on this because I did WW before switching to BBV. WW is not a scam for MANY reasons, number one reason they teach healthy eating for normal people. Visalus is not doing that. people pay to belong to a support group persay. they know what they are getting when they sign up for that. They are not being promised they are going to make tons of money, and most importantly WW is not encouraging them to use a product that has been proven to be very bad for their health. If someone WANTS to pay to be a part of a support group, and that is what they are told they are getting for their money, there is nothing about it that is a scam. I did not know the truth about the soy when I signed up. Neither did any of my team! I was told that as long as I followed the system I would succeed, well again that was not true. I did GST, then preparty (3 exposures) then CP and yet my business still crumbled. Most importantly when I first signed up everyday the team I was on (team can am) was welcoming new rising stars, RD’s, ND’s and so on. there has not been a new ND on that team since july. Its a sinking ship. when your not breaking new ranks then your business is crumbling. another sign is most of my upline AMB are not even Qualified as AMB anymore…..what does that say? grab a life jacket looks like you are one of the ones that will go down with the sinking ship.
The motions the FTC filed to halt Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing’s (FHTM) MLM operation are very interesting and provide some guidance as to what activities the FTC would consider grounds for shutting a company down. The most in detail document is here:
There are multiple relevant sections that could easily apply to Visalus (and other MLMs also, not just them), I’ve pulled out some interesting ones below and added how they specificly relate to Visalus’ way of doing business. If I were Visalus I would be crapping my pants right about now frankly. Even if the FTC doesn’t move to close them down, this action signals new attention on the MLM industry and new regulations that could destroy their current way of doing business could be forthcoming.
From the above linked FTC complaint:
FTC: “Defendants target consumers with an entrepreneurial spirit, emphasizing that FHTM provides an opportunity to build a business which can rapidly provide financial independence”
–From Visalus’ “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”
–From Visalus “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.”
Visalus does not provide an income disclosure document, they only information about promoter earnings they provide is a disclaimer found at the bottom of their “Getting Started Training” video which says the average promoter in Canada earned $669 in 2011, and you can calculate average revenue based on Visalus sales and the number of promoters, which LazyMan explains in the article above, which is $250 per month gross. Hardly “financial freedom”.
FTC: “As with any pyramid scheme, FHTM’s defining characteristic is a compensation plan that is skewed heavily in favor of recruitment over sales.”
–From the Visalus compensation plan:
Promoters do not earn any commissions on the first $200 of retail sales, but if they sign that person up as a promoter who buys the “executive success system” for $499, which is the package Visalus encourages people to purchase when they join, they make $50 if they are at the lowest promoter level, and $180 if they are at the highest level. Visalus attempts to mask this recruitment reward as commission on sales stating that the money is not for recruitment, but a commission on the sales of goods within the executive success system.
Visalus has 8 ways to earn money in the compensation plan. 7 of those ways require that you recruit people.
Visalus’ “Getting Started Training”, found here:
http://visalus.com/how-to-get-started 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”
So what did FHTM do that the FTC considered “deceptive earnings claims”? They spell it out in detail, in part:
“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” thing at every convention I’ve seen, there’s even a picture of Nick and Ashley Sarnicola holding up a $1,000,000 big check at the bottom of this page:
FTC: “Defendants are violating Section 5(a) of the FTC Act by falsely claiming that consumers who become FHTM representatives will earn substantial income”
It seems Visalus may also be in violation, and it has another thing in common with FHTM,
Guess what FHTM had as one of their “promoter rewards”?
A “free” BMW program. It worked the same way Visalus’ does.
OK I can not find ALL of the articles that I read that show what I am talking about when it comes to the soy, and could not remember the chemicals that are used. I went back to a forum on mens health (i can provide that link if anyone wants it) and the part I find interesting is this
1. ViSalus states: “Our soy has been processed to remove the isoflavones, so this is not an issue.” It’s great that they removed the isoflavones… what might not be so great is the extraction method itself, which introduces aluminum and a host of other problematic issues into the equation. Can you tell me what extraction method do they use to remove the isoflavones?
2.The main ingredient in ViSalus shakes is soy protein isolate. Why would they use an admitted waste product of the soy oil industry in shakes that are supposed to be good for you? The soy industry makes a profit off of selling this waste – AND, according to the FDA, soy protein isolate has not been given GRAS status (generally regarded as safe) and was actually DENIED GRAS status due to the concerns over lysinoalanine. The FDA did approve soy protein isolate for use in the production of cardboard boxes, however. But something tells me that wouldn’t be very comforting for MOST people, if they knew about it. So, I’m curious if the take ViSalus has on this is if it’s safe for cardboard boxes, it’s safe for human consumption?
The reason I ask HOW they are extracting the isoflavones and WHY they are using soy protein isolate is for the following reasons:
In order to remove the isoflavones 99% of the companies use Hexane. Hexane is a known neurotoxic petrochemical solvent used to produce oils, soy protein isolates or texturized soy protein (TVP) from soybeans.
Hexane is a chemical solvent that is purified from crude oil. It has been identified as a toxic air contaminant and a greenhouse gas, and its release is monitored and regulated by the EPA. It is used in a variety of applications including as an ingredient in certain glues and as a specialized industrial cleaning agent. Of the millions of pounds of hexane that are produced annually, however, its major use is by the oilseed industry in its extraction of vegetable oils.
There are two major methods for removing oil from vegetables like soybeans — expeller pressing or solvent extraction with hexane. Of these two methods, hexane extraction is the more complete and therefore more profitable and is preferred by large oilseed processors. Of the estimated 18.8 billion pounds of soybean oil produced in the U.S., well over 90% is extracted with hexane.
In removing the oil from soybeans, the major by-product is defatted soy meal or flakes. This defatted soy can then be further processed to remove the non-protein fractions, yielding soy protein concentrate (70-90% protein) or soy protein isolate (90% or more protein). Given the availability and low cost of the starting materials, the vast majority of soy protein concentrate and isolate are made from hexane-extracted soy meal.
This process is completed using aluminum equipment to produce the products, as well as alkaline soaking solutions or baths. Non hexane-extracted versions of these ingredients are currently available, BUT IN LIMITED QUANTITIES and at a substantially higher price.
So, you see, just saying, “We removed the isoflavones, so there’s no problem there” doesn’t tell the whole truth by a LONG SHOT. Most people are COMPLETELY uninformed. They don’t know the right questions to ask and if you tell them, “Oh we removed the ‘bad stuff’” they happily smile and hand over their money and erroneously believe that they know what they’re talking about… all the while companies smile too – while raking in the profits.
People need to REALLY do their homework.
Lazy Man says
Jeff, that’s some great analysis. I think I need to update the article with this information.
Innocent Bystander says
Kaayla Daniel says the following (opinion):
“But the soy in some of these drinks, especially Visalus, is different, right?! I mean, they go through extra processing (great word PROCESSING) to ensure the soy protein does not contain these anti-nutrients. Why, then, are we hearing so many reports of people experiencing the same health problems from these problems that are associated with other soy products?! Certainly organic soybeans are safer than GMO soybeans, as there are serious dangers to all GMO foods, soy, corn or whatever. GMO soy contains higher and more resistant levels of protease inhibitors, among other toxins. Whole soybeans are also better than soy protein insomuch as this will minimize some harmful processing methods, particularly the use of hexane to split the bean. It is also possible that some of the other processing methods might be gentler. For example, the process might involve alkaline baths with a lower pH than is used by some commercial companies. Gentler processing methods could conceivably result in lower levels of the toxins lysinalanines and nitrosamines.”
“That said, I find it highly unlikely that this product – or the similarly hyped products — have removed the dangerous estrogenic isoflavones. Unless the companies use alcohol extraction, the isoflavones will not be removed. In fact these companies don’t want to remove the isoflavones because they all boast about their ‘health effects’ and claim that their unique product somehow has all the benefits and none of the dangers of isoflavones. Saponins, which can bind with cholesterol and damage cell membranes will also be present in any soybean product that has not been alcohol extracted. Not surprisingly, these are marketed as healthy “all natural” cholesterol lowerers, bile acid reducers and cancer preventers and curers says Daniels”.
funny I literally just finished reading that article.no more then 2 min before seeing this post, lol
Innocent Bystander says
[Editor’s Note: I’m adding a little context to the links that Innocent Bystander has presented.]
Also 2 great links for reading……
ViSalus Shakes: The ‘Science’ Behind The Shake – This article breaks down ViSalus into the main parts: vitamins, protein, and fiber. This is what I attempted to do in the article, but this does a more detailed job.
And this is a great watch!
Marty herr says
I have been involved with ViSalus for a month now. You can call it what you may but I see people changing others life’s with financial freedom no,with hope, encouragement, weight loss, and with health benefits. Obesity is no longer a problem in our great country, it’s an epidemic. You want a scam I ll give you one casinos lottery those are scams. Teaching a child they can play professional sports when they have no chance. I spend only money I had set aside for entertainment and have received so much more. Thank You for your time.
No Marty, what you see is people pretending to change other’s lives with financial freedom. MLM people lie about making money to get others to join, and they often don’t consider it lying because they believe they are going to make money eventually. They won’t.
The people who actually are making money? Ask them how. Do you see them speaking at events? They are paid to do that. Ask them if Visalus has a profit sharing plan for the high level distributors like other MLMs do, and ask how much of the income they are bragging about comes from that and not the way you have to do it–through the compensation plan.
My friend in Visalus, his upline bragged about how awesome Visalus was and how great he was doing in it right up to the week before he quit because he wasn’t making any money, and he was a national director.
Casinos openly disclose their odds, it’s not a secret. Ask yourself, why doesn’t Visalus publish an income disclosure? Because odds are if they did, you would see the odds of making money in Visalus after expenses is worse than gambling in one of those casinos.
Visalus wants people to feel good about the fact they are losing money so you’ll stay in longer, so they wrap their crap business opportunity in the mantra of “fight obesity!” The products do work, at least in the short term. This lends credibility to Visalus so people like you, who just want to help people be healthier, won’t mind so much they are taking your money while you pursue dreams Visalus holds out as possible when their compensation plan makes sure they aren’t.
Please track your expenses closely Marty. Expenses like: the cost to join (if you got the executive success system, that would be $499), your monthly Autoship purchase, Vi-Net Pro if you have it, Magazines, samples, the costs for any challenge parties, travel costs if you go to any Visalus events. After a year, or six months, deduct these expenses from your Visalus income and see where you are.
While you may feel OK just paying for the entertainment Visalus provides so don’t care if you make a net profit, ask yourself if the people you are trying to recruit feel the same way about their money.
I doubt it.
I had a close relative who was a regional director who talked about being super close to buying a private jet to allow his family to fly wherever and whenever they wanted. But behind the curtain, he filed bankruptcy and had both of his cars repossessed.
Ask for the truth from your upline and only speak the truth as it sits today. I really wish that any Visalus distributor who speaks on here would reveal what their Adjusted Gross Income has been from being with Visalus for a year.
These talks of “6-figure incomes” on a monthly basis is just plain silly.
This guy is not correct, I have had these shakes for a while and they help a lot of people with weight and help a little with getting it for free or them paying you. A lot of what this guy is saying is either WRONG or speculation, very little of what he is saying is correct. If his VI-bashing makes you think twice about trying the shakes dont let it! He talks about body by vi like an ex girlfriend!
Lazy Man says
Michael, can you enumerate what you believe to be wrong or speculation in the article?
ViSalus isn’t in business to give out free shakes or paying people money. That is probably most obvious sign of the overpriced product right there.
Visalus instills cult-like mentality, there is no doubt about that. If anybody has encountered the husband and wife team (Regional Directors) operating out of the Toronto Area, you will know what I am talking about.
These people are money hungry. They do not care about your health. Don’t fool yourself.
I have seen them talk – they target single mothers, widows, disabled people. They try and recruit these people because they know they are vulnerable and in desperate need of financial help. So they promise them six figures.
Anybody who is actually interested in joining this fraudulent company – I ask you to please think for yourself and do your own research.
When I told them clearly I was not interested, they made a lot of negative comments about me, my personality, how I am raising my child, etc. I started doing my own research to see why is this company so great and is it really worth throwing away a 20 year friendship?
For them – it was worth it. Either I get on, sign up as a distributor or get lost. My decision not to sign up means that I chose a life of failure. Wrong. I am incredibly fit and have no desire to push products, especially ones that are bad for your health, onto others.
I digress …. I did my own research and found that the same crap that was being said to me about being negative, a loser, not wanting to be successful was actually being said to anybody and everybody who chose a different path outside of Visalus.
They brain wash you …. but then again, you can’t be brainwashed into the dream of big bucks and manipulating vulnerable women unless you are actually greedy.
I would love this company to fall flat on its face, but I really doubt that will happen. We live in a society where people want a quick and easy fix. Visulus results are temporary, but give people that quick fix that they need. People are lazy. They don’t want to exercise.
I have a big problem with promoting “no exercise” and “eat cake in a shake”. WTH? Is that really healthy or remotely good for you?
I’m sorry to hear you were treated that way, but know you aren’t the only person to lose a friendship over MLM brainwashing. MLMs cultivate the idea that anyone who doesn’t sign up, or points out the low likelihood of making money in MLM, is a “negative dream stealing loser” that you should cut out of your life. I had a longtime friendship also end over MLM, it’s crappy for sure. What other business tells you how to act in your personal life? None, that’s what cults do.
As far as Visalus failing, I think that much more likely now that the FTC has taken action against a similar company, Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing, but it won’t happen overnight.
R Gonzalez says
I tried this out for less than a month. I am a person working on my health and fitness, have some pounds to lose, just ran my first half marathon at the beginning of January. I signed up for the shakes and before they even arrived I was being told I had to get three people under me ASAP. I wanted to try the product first before forcing it on others. Then I was told I had to order the bigger package in order to have two shakes a day and see bigger results. Then the woman I signed up under wanted to speak to my friends in order to sell them the opportunity….brother! Needless to say I cancelled my auto ship. The shakes made me break out like crazy (I eat a very specific diet and avoid processed food and drinks, so I am very positive it was the shake mix that caused my skin issues that I normally NEVER have). I am in the gym/running 5+ days a week…I need actual fuel for my body, not starving myself and drinking shakes. I easily could have lost a ton of weight had I gone that route, and where would it have gotten me? I am glad I found this site and I hope people do their research before losing money. They got me for 50 bucks, lesson learned.
Lazy Man says
Getting out for $50 is very close to a best case scenario to these schemes. I’m so glad you didn’t get sucked into the $499 package… and get strung on for months buying product at high prices.
I ran 3 half marathons and many 5k races since I started using the Vi-shake. I am mid 40s and I am in the best shape in my life. You may had an allergy on some of the ingredients. For me, it has served very well. I also think that the people introduced the shake didn’t understand what your intention was. They should listen and honor that you just want to try it first before introducing it to others. But I see that they were trying to help you to get your product free ($99 shape kit – 2 servings a day thing).
Good luck with your journey to a better health and fitness.
Theguy! (ViSalus Distributor) says
1.5 million people do not join a challenge in 2012 that doesn’t work PERIOD
I believe it is well over 15 million pounds lost now from the challenge itself.
there is NO denying that the products WORK and there are simply way too many fitness professionals standing behind this stuff that i’m sure do quite extensive research before they just put anything into there body.
Most people who really don’t like MLM are those who came in, did nothing and because they’re too proud to admit that they FAILED they fall back on it’s a scam.
Amway is a great example, it’s a 6 billion dollar company and FAR from a scam BUT it doesn’t go to say that people don’t come and go quickly because they think that they will recruit 3 people and make millions.
building an MLM business takes WORK, a lot of WORK. it’s SIMPLE but not easy.
I have personally watched people transform on the challenge and on the products. I’ve tried everything under the sun in terms of proteins and anything you will find at your average supplement store…Most of it just gives you really expensive pee.
I started promoting simply because I felt MASSIVE difference in how I was feeling and how many body was functioning on the products, SIMPLE the products worked and I felt it you cannot argue that.
Keep Hating! :)
Lazy Man says
What accounting agency has verified that 1.5 million people have joined a ViSalus challenge?
The nutrition information is the nutrition information. Anything with equivalent nutrition information like the product I mentioned in the article works just as well.
Many fitness professionals are trying to make some extra money, which is why they stand behind this stuff. They know that as a fitness professional, they spend enough time in the gym that even if they ate McDonalds in moderation, they’d be fine. I’m not comparing ViSalus to McDonalds, just recognize that there are dozens, maybe hundreds, of equivalent or even better products to ViSalus, but they don’t represent an opportunity to sell them.
Failure is not a matter of effort, but a mathematical certainty. Do you want to watch the Kentucky Attorney General explain that the amount of effort doesn’t matter because an MLM is a rigged game. Here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBY9UXBbtWc
If Amway is far from a scam, they certainly pay out a lot of legal settlements to people charging it is a pyramid scheme.
There’s no evidence that the products work any better than any non-MLM products. As Dr. Bowden claims, MLM distributors will make up claims to sell product… it happens in all the health MLMs. You can’t argue that testimonies on MLM products are hence rendered worthless.
If the challenge was not helping people BETTER then then the products that are equal or better then the visalus products we wouldn’t have people losing the weight and seeing the results that they are seeing.
You can’t argue the thousands of personal testimonies and the hundreds that I’ve created myself, if there was indeed something that worked better we wouldn’t be producing this amount of stories. Regardless of what anything say’s or thinks, I’ve seen hundreds of people get into health and shape they haven’t been in since their 20’s.
the reality is they are providing people with a solution and a challenge that holds them accountable to their goals and it WORKS because I’ve seen it work over and over again.
Products aside, it’s the challenge that is holding people accountable to goal’s that they’ve had forever but have never been serious about. the results of the people speak for their self, Anything can be “Said” but results are undeniable.
My uncle in his mid 40’s has tried it all to lose weight, “hasn’t lost weight since he was 18”.
He lost 35 pounds in 6 weeks on the challenge, what’s the explanation for that one?
Lazy Man says
You have people saying that they lost weight with Weight Watchers and the Cookie Diet. In the short term people can lose weight with any number of diets. What is your evidence that they are losing weight BETTER with ViSalus. Where are your clinical studies on it comparing it to other weight loss methods?
I most certainly can argue with personal testimonies from people who are financially biased to create them. That’s what Dr. Bowden was writing about in the article I cited previously about all the MonaVie distributors claiming that it cures cancer, when it does no such thing.
The amount of stories are created by the number of people looking to get paid.
I’ve provided people with a solution and a challenge that WORKS in the article above. You can go SparkPeople and see it proven over again and again. SparkPeople is just one the many ways of holding people accountable. As you said, “results are undeniable” and SparkPeople has them.
I’m not saying that people can’t lose weight on ViSalus. I’m saying that there is more than one way to skin a cat. ViSalus’ use of illegal pyramid schemes and outrageously priced products should be reasons enough to go explore any of the other ways.
The hundreds of people I’ve helped are not paid to tell me that their losing weight….If there was a better solution, it would be taking millions of pounds of the earth as Visalus is PERIOD.
There is no scheme about it, at the end of the day some people stand on the sidelines and have an explanation and an argument for everything. unfortunately you’ll spend your entire life thinking and arguing and not enough time just nutting up and doing.
I’ve seen great success with Visalus and in 2 years I have had nothing but awesome success along with the people in my team…customers AND promoters. Yes some people come in with a pipe dream and have false expectation and quit shortly after joining as you stated but that’s because the majority of people quit everything they start, not just network marketing. They join thinking they will make millions in 30 day’s and when it doesn’t happen right away its a “scam”… the comp plan is fair, I know because I’ve worked it and there are 18 year old’s MAINTAINING the BMW bonus and 22 year old’s (Me) doing the same.
All the best to you! If you want to respond for the sake of the thread by all means but I’ll be retiring from useless posting now and get back to achieving.
cute blog btw ;)
Lazy Man says
As I said before, people lose weight with any number of diets. Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig help millions more lose weight than ViSalus. Is it a better solution? Nutritionally, there doesn’t seem to be anything in favor of ViSalus.
There is a scheme to ViSalus. If you read the article, I made it clear as day showing examples from the FTC. This isn’t someone having an argument for everything and I’m certainly not standing on the sidelines. Why don’t you address the specific points that the article makes rather than throwing catch-all phrases that aren’t even applicable to the discussion.
It’s not that the majority of people quit everything they start. That’s some MLM Scammer Tim Sales false logic. It is about the fact that mathematically MLM doesn’t work when it requires recruiting 20+ just break even.
If people join thinking that they will make millions, that’s on ViSalus’ marketing. The official compensation plan explicitly gives an example of people earning $72,324 a month and say, “Fail this example by 95% and still earn $3,616 per month!” Clearly the expectation is that even the people who are bad at MLM would at least earn a salary of $43,000 in ViSalus.
There might be a few people maintaining BMWs, however anecdotal evidence is showing that it isn’t happening. The company hasn’t provided any statistics on this, so we can only say that some are losing and for those people, it’s a financial nightmare because the BMW lease is in their name.
love how this is still going on. Visalus is a scam period. I seen first hand what “trainers” are willing to say. How can you be a personal trainer helping people to lose weight but handing them Visalus “just in case you can’t”. What motivation! They need to come out with concrete proof of anything. No one saying what happens when you stop taking it.
A lot of people have stopped being distributors and come off of it. You just have to Google. One distributor (who also happens to be a fitness instructor) came off of it because of the questionable ingredients used in the shakes. She cared too much about her clients and could not come to terms with what is being used in these products.
If you google, you will find people who got kidney stones from these shakes while another lost her vision after doing Visalus challenges non-stop for 22 months. Her doctor told her to stop doing the shakes and her vision slowly returned. This stuff is poison and toxic for your bodies.
What I love about this thread is how you have made the public aware of the pay scale for distributors and regional directors. It really IS misleading and there are enough gullible fools out there who think their “friends” only have their best interests at heart.
The couple I spoke about earlier are really putting on this facade about how “rich” they are now they are with Visalus (regional director level). It helps that they are genetically lucky and naturally thin. The perfect models to market this product!
I’m really sick of hearing how Visalus is the cure for MS, Cancer, Diabetes, Hemorroids, etc. I’m fed up of seeing celebrities and athletes being used to promote this garbage.
People need to wake up and someone needs to shut this business down ASAP.
oh and this husband and wife team are now targeting people who are on Weight Watchers, encouraging them to join Visalus as they are “wiping out all the competition”.
Lazy Man says
Of course the person in that video Natalie Griffith didn’t leave the pyramid scheme business all together. She just went to a competing scheme Essante Organics that she promotes in other videos.
I watched Essante’s official opportunity video and they played the, “What if you could have gotten in on the ground floor of Google, Facebook, Yahoo, or Amazon” card. Just terrible.
Paul — thanks for the pointer to Xocai, I needed a laugh. Magically healthy chocolate, riding on the coattails of every health study ever done on chocolate and the myth of high orac scores.
You’re not embarrassed to be actively promoting such a load of BS? Seriously. You aren’t ashamed for asking people to throw their money away on something so absurd? Is your love of money so strong, and your disrespect for your fellow humans so weak, that you are going to approach someone and suggest that they spend that much money on chocolate and a money/time sapping business plan? Seriously? Are you going to only target the super rich who have money to burn on doggie tiaras and $165 boxes of chocolate? I hope it’s that and not average folks with money problems.
bob forney says
Question Lazy Man,, if you think Visalus is a scam why do you have an AD for them on your page,,
and Scams,,,,your have a hair growth system on here,,Scalp Med..those are the biggest scams on earth….????????????
Lazy Man says
I don’t control many of the advertisements on my site. They are supplied by Google AdSense. For more on how Google chooses ads see: http://support.google.com/adsense/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=9713.
the ads are based on what you look at online. you are probably a balding man that sells visalus. lazy man has nothing to do with what ads you see
Your scam is obvious. Quite obviously you are not interested in telling the truth because your blog is full of half truths which is not in anybody’s interest. The lazy man is just against MLMs. We are talking about small businesses here. Direct marketing owners are small business owners. Refrigerators, seriously! People need one a few times in a lifetime. Why would that be a fair comparison? Clearly it is not.
I guess you’ll never know if any of these products actually are good quality because you are so closed minded you will never try any them.
If anybody is spreading lies it would be you. To say that a legitimate scientific study published in a medical journal is laughable tells me one thing. You haven’t read it. The ORAC rating is an antioxidant USDA rating that in this case has been independently verified. That is probably a scam too! Think I will skip your analysis of anything because it will just be more stuff from a biased fake expert.
Innocent Bystander says
What gets me is that hate that Visalus people have for anyone who do not agree with the product or MLM. I had a good friend start swearing at me that I did not know what I was talking about when I said the majority of people in MLM do not make any money. He seriously thinks they are going to get rich….and well I hope it comes true I highly doubt it.
Wow where do i start on making you look stupid for how wrong you are? This is fun to make uneducated “know it alls” look as stupid as they are. Please do some actual research next time so I dont have to make you look stupid. Ill be nice ill only point out a few things K? If you want a bigger smack down let me know also i can source all of my facts… Can you?? For one thing you are basing a lot off a distributor not the actual company. Since ViSalus sells the right to sell their product its like a franchise so each franchise owner can typically run their business as they want. If they are lying tell compliance & ViSalus will handle it quite fast. ViSalus does noy stand for lies. Believe me a referanced a B&A photo I thought was ViSalus transformation, it wasnt & i got a very stern compliance email the next day. Alright on to the product, your missing some ingredients. Ill just list all the ones youll have to buy then you can go a head & refigure how much it will cost again. Whey Concentrate, Whey Hydrosolate, Maltodextrin, Aminogen,NonGMO Soy Isolate, & multivitamin & mineral. These components at the cheapest bottom of the barrel products would cost $100+ a month & food. You can not duplicate Vi-Shake sorry its not possible. Im sure since you are very intelligent on this you dont know what the science is on any of this & why the product works so well. Well let me speak to you like you. 5 year old so you think twice about posting what you know nothing about. Vi-protein has scientifically supported evidence to burn fat & build lean muslce at the same time. Their is a scientific white paper done by the Amarican Sports Medicine College that shows combining Whey & Soy keeps your body in an anaboloc state longet then just whey or soy by themselves. Aminogen helps your body absorb more nitrients & protein. Maltodetrin is a simple sugar that helps with the recovery of muscles. I honestly can go on & on abouy the product destroy any arguement you think you have but i think i have done more then enough. I am going to leave you with this… If ViSalus is such a bad company (pyramid scheme) then why do they have a 30 Day Money Back guarantee for promoters… Wait does that mean you get 30days to make you enitial investment back or you can ask for it back? YES! What a horrible company. So does the product work? Well do you know any other company that has a 90 Day Results Money Back Guatantee? No? Well check… Dont worry ill wait… Your an idiot & it was my pleasure to show everyone that.
Lazy Man says
I love when people say that they are going to try to make me look stupid… and they are ignorant of the concept of paragraphs or apostrophes, things that you learn in elementary school. I should pay money for this entertainment.
Yes, I’ve sourced all my facts in the article, already. So please start out by sourcing your facts.
Franchises pay hundreds of thousands and their limited number allow for the parent company to efficient manage compliance. In MLM, there are more distributors than a company can keep in compliance. The CEO of MonaVie specifically mentioned the problem in this Newsweek article. Why do I cite MonaVie, a different MLM company? ViSalus isn’t willing to publicly state the obvious. It’s common sense that a couple dozen people at the parent company can’t police hundreds of thousands. MLM companies have no incentive to police distributors anyway, because any exaggerated claim leads to potentially more sales.
Furthermore, since I’ve proved the co-founder, Nick Sarnicola, is running a pyramid scheme, you can blame ViSalus, the actual company.
Actually, I covered the whey protein in my example of Muscle Milk. If you want different types of whey they are also available equally cheaply. The article addressed maltodextrin with the point about Fibersol-2 (which is maltodextrin). The cheap soy is an area of major concern as several people have pointed out… the product would be better without it.
I also addressed the multivitamin & mineral in the article.
In the end, you didn’t give anything that wasn’t accounted for in the article. The protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals are in there in the same quanities.
No they wouldn’t, I showed you exactly how you can equivalent nutrition at a fraction of the cost. I’m not sure why you are adding food in here. You have to add food in Vi-Shakes as well since they are only 90 calories and not enough to live on.
I duplicated the essential parts. Two people might not do exactly identical jumping jacks, but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t equally effective.
I think I used complete sentences which is something you failed here. I hate to pick on spelling, but how can you spell “American” wrong? You also used the wrong version of “there.”
If you want to include whey and soy protein in what I wrote about in the article the price even gets cheaper since soy is a cheaper ingredient. I chose not to include soy, because much other research has shown it to be harmful in cases. If you believe this white paper, then there is no problem, go get your whey & soy separately and enjoy.
However, Josh, you should cite the specific white paper, just so we can be on the same page and the study actually used “Vi-protein”
How much Aminogen is in ViSalus? Without knowing, it isn’t worth mentioning. If you want Aminogen instead of Muscle Milk, there’s an easy fix… this product is a pretty cheap source. If you are going to dilute quality protein with cheap soy, it’s easy to find Aminogen in your protein.
Perhaps you should go on a little more because so far you haven’t really covered anything special. Well you did demonstrate that you weren’t aware of that I addressed Maltodextrin in the article.
It is practically impossible to make your investment back in 30 days. If you try to get your money back after 30 days when you don’t make your money back, the upline is going to say, “This isn’t a get rich quick scheme… you need to give more time. Do you think Nick Sarnicola made his millions in only 30 days? Only losers quit.” It’s typical in every MLM company. People stay on thinking that it will turn around. By that time the 30-day guarantee has expired. Something to keep in mind, you can find late-night male enhancement pills that also give 30 day money back guarantees. I guess those are legit products too, right?
Hmmm, here are a few with 90-day money back guarantees. http://www.lilash.com/ (scroll down and look in the center). http://www.inmotionhosting.com/30day.html (“If you purchase any 6 month or 12 month Virtual Dedicated (VPS-1000, VPS-2000 or VPS-3000) – you are eligible for our 90 day money back guarantee.”) http://www.kensington.com/kensington/us/us/s/1570/90-day-money-back-guarantee.aspx
That said, ViSalus hasn’t made good on it’s 90-day money back guarantee. It’s been discussed here before and they make it nearly impossible to get it with a very short window (10-days) and a special form that you have obtain (without instructions on how to obtain it). It’s like one of those rebates with 87 hoops to jump through that only 5% will be able to complete exactly as stated.
Telluric Man says
Thank you Jeff for this interesting take on the “Cult” formally known as ViSalus or Body by Vi.
Here are personal stories that will help present and potential Vi-zombies to consider or reconsider.
Lazy Man says
Good story with Renee getting kicked to the curb or wanting to diverse her sales. That’s one of the big problems in MLM. Almost all of them say that you can’t be with another MLM.
I found it comical when one person wrote me saying that Numis (coin collecting) was the best opportunity ever and the next week said that he switched to Protandim (a supplement). Umm, bro, why did you argue with me about Numis for two days and then just leave “the best opportunity ever” for something completely unrelated.
It is ridiculous and if the Direct Selling Association wanted to get any credibility (it doesn’t) they should require its members to remove anti-competitive clauses when the products don’t compete.
Class action lawsuit is coming for this company and the FTC is looking to shut this down.
If they don’t allow people to freely promote other opportunities, then it is illegal no matter how you look at it.
Also, feel bad for few Facebook friends of mine that got stuck with BMW lease payments because they lost their regional director rank or banned from Visalus.
Lazy Man says
There have been companies that have had that anti-compete for years. I think companies may be able to set the terms of distributorship and say, “If you don’t like it, you are free to use the door. No one is forcing you to be a distributor.”
Innocent Bysaynder says
That Josh guy gave me the best laugh I have had in a long time….hope he comes back.
Interesting links Telluric, thanks.
Renee’s video was interesting when she described how being a Visalus Ambassador was a great demand on her time but didn’t always pay what that level should be making, and descriptions of upline demands to defriend people who left Visalus, creepy and cultish.
In the comments of the article link you posted was another blog about leaving Visalus which was also interesting:
She describes the shenanigans going on behind the scenes with distributors gaming the compensation plan. She shows screenshots of Visalus’ back office showing fake people she signed up, and that her upline signed up her dogs LOL.
Lazy, be honest… Were you a little bit intimidated by the threatened “smack down!” Where does Vi find these people?
Telluric Man says
These “Horror Stories” are not hard to find in today’s world and as I said a lot are friends of mine like Renee Chase.
I also have Screen Shots. Screen shots of the shenanigans going on to “Floating Legs.” These Ambassadors high up including Royal Amb’s have signed up Fake accounts and moved giant legs of $60,000+- in volume under the new Fake accounts which have 60 days to float themselves. These Fake legs with the $60k volume is a lure for “Heavy Hitters” to sign up. We called these legs “Doglegs.” Because they were signing up their dogs, cats or horses in some cases. This is Highly illegal. A Federal offence falsifying SSN’s. The P&P that all Vi-moter’s sign states “every promoter must have a valid SSN.” But ViSalus’s Compliance Dept turns a blind-eye on this Federal Offense but hammers anyone who breaks the non-compete clause.
Yes. I have “Screen Shots” of these Fake “Doglegs” as do a lot of my friends. I am afraid if the Feds come to my door I will have to turn over these 100s of pdf files. I would hate to do that. These pdf’s include current Royal Amb’s down to lowly directors.
And by the way. Renee Chase has no Doglegs as neither do I. Renee, I and one other Ambasador were the only ones who Strongly Encouraged all Vi-moters to NOT sign-up Fake Doglegs. All this time we were Trumped by our Up-line. Sad, very sad.
Wow. That is very interesting. I have a question I was wondering if you might have some insight into. How do people get selected to “run to Ambassador”, meaning, how do the higher up people select others they move volume under to promote them? I’ve seen people move into Visalus from other MLMs and make Ambassador very quickly. I assumed they most likely weren’t doing it the way it’s advertised anyone can–straight up honest through sales and recruiting through the compensation plan. Although if they brought a large downline with them from the other MLM, I suppose that’s possible. I wondered how Visalus selected the golden few to rise up. If it was me, I’d make sure to select someone with a good rags to riches story, someone who was thin and attractive (or became so through Visalus–even better), and someone who was a great motivational speaker.
Also, do you know if Visalus has a profit sharing plan for the top people like other MLMs have? In the TEAM MLM for example, a former high level distributor has revealed that you had to be voted in by the other higher ups to get in on the profit sharing plan which shared profits from conference ticket sales and tools sales (like magazines, DVDs, and the like). Other MLMs have these also and I wondered if Visalus did. The TEAM person showed her payment stubs from the profit sharing plan plus the speaking fees she was paid to speak at conferences and they composed the majority of her MLM income, which was advertised to those just joining as money earned just through the compensation plan like they would have to.
That guy says
The funny thing about how much hate is shed on the MLM industry is that no one seems to have a problem with the millions of people across north america getting paid MINIMUM wage while working in most cases twice as hard for twice the hours as any MLMer.
At the end of the day, it always seems to be bloggers and many other people who spend their day’s and make their money writing about shit or talking about shit that have everything bad to say about MLM companies but I hear from NUMEROUS credible sources who have had HUGE success outside of MLM that it’s the business to be in.
I’ve been on the challenge for 2 year’s now and it’s actually saved me money even while I was paying for the products and now even more so that I’m getting it for free(+shipping). I’m not sure how the products can be labelled as expensive… especially compared to everything else on the market.
do you think $0+$17(shipping) is expensive? or even if I was using it for weight loss replacing 2 meals a day $99 for 60 meals expensive?
for as long as network marketing will be around There will always be the “pyramid scheme” people.
Meanwhile it’s perfectly okay that employee’s are paid MINIMUM WAGE(that means if they could pay them less, they would) and that’s perfectly legit.
At the end of the day, the people that take massive action can create huge wealth in this industry and those that join with a pipe-dream FAIL then fall out on the “pyramid scheme” story to save their face because they can’t just admit that they SUCKED.
There is no winning either side of the debate, the only point that brings truth is that there are WAY more CREDIBLE people supporting network marketing and even Visalus then there are against it.
Lazy Man says
There are number of things wrong with that statement “That Guy.”
1. This article is about MLM, not minimum wage. People can have a problem with more than one thing. That discussion should be had elsewhere.
2. MLMers on average make far less than minimum wage. This can be seen with simple analysis of any MLM income disclosure plan. I suggest that you pick up MonaVie’s for example, because ViSalus isn’t reputable enough to put out their own.
3. People making minimum wage actually do work. They produce product and services. MLM is a set of glorified middlemen that don’t need to exist. Amazon can sell products just as effectively.
4. I have yet to find any credible sources outside of MLM say that is the business to be in. People toss around three names quite often: Donald Trump, Robert Kiyosaki, and Warren Buffett. None of these people are MLM distributors. Buffett owns an MLM company because he is smart enough to realize that it allows him to pay people less than minimum wage, plus they will buy the products with what little money they make. I cover Kiyosaki and Trump on those links in detail. In short, Trump leased his brand to an MLM and that relationship is now dissolved. Kiyosaki got his start as an author by making the best seller lists when Amway ordered a ton of books to give to distributors. Kiyosaki is a failed Amway distributor himself, but he realizes that the money isn’t in being in MLM, but selling books to those in MLM.
5. It’s only saved you money, because you’ve been able to push your costs down the line to multiple other people. It like if I were able to rid myself of a cold by giving it to 3 other people. You can sit there and say that you don’t have the cold any more and that would be true. You shouldn’t be happy about it and promote it as a positive thing.
6. Please stop with suggesting that ViSalus is a meal replacement. You aren’t replacing 2 meals a day with a 90 calorie product. If you did, your third meal would be 2 Super Sized fast food meals because you’d be starving. It would be the world’s worst diet, not much different than skipping the meals altogether. Now, you may add calories to the shakes, but that comes at additional cost, so you aren’t replacing 60 meals for $99 anymore.
7. No one is creating wealth in MLM. It just transfers money from the bottom of the pyramid to those up top. I have never been in MLM, I’m just able to see that it is a pyramid scheme because it matches the FTC’s guidelines.
Telluric Man says
2yrs on the “Challenge?”
Wow! Do you have any stomach-lining left? The main reason I left “The Challenge” was multiple health issues I didn’t have before “TC” and left me after “TC.”
Read this BLOG again.
Plus the Canada and the US are in court with the “Vi-Guys” over wrongful deaths & Health issues associated to “Vi-Crap.”
Send me your Obit when it overtakes you. I will send condolences & flowers.
Well on the flip-side you are saving money….
“Slap!” WAKE UP Guy!
That’s why I like the Energy MLM market…Give people a guaranteed discount on something they already own and have to pay for each month….and I make $ on it!!
Lazy Man says
Energy MLMs don’t price at a discount from what I’ve found.
Todor Tabakov says
It looks like the new investment bubles moved from dot.com to real estate and now is in the field diet suppliment, weight loss other products for health.
First the bubles distroied our businesses, then our house market, and the next target is our health – it’s time to grow up !
Just to provide you with a new fresh example watch all updates on Herbal Life.
and register for the sohn webconference presentation.
MLM distribution is a most excellent deal for MLM companies. For distributors, yeah, not so much. – Is 100% true. Only less then 1% of Herbal Life distributors are in their Presidents club and chance are you are not there, since Herbal Life claims to have over 3 million distributors.
You said, “Plus the Canada and the US are in court with the “Vi-Guys” over wrongful deaths & Health issues associated to “Vi-Crap.”” ….
Where are they in Court in Canada? I am interested in following the case. Details would be appreciated.
“I have never been in MLM, I’m just able to see that it is a pyramid scheme because it matches the FTC’s guidelines.”
Was reading this article until I got to this point.
I’m out, anyone else reading on should just disregard anything related to MLM from this guy.
As far as people not making money, the 80 – 20 principal applies to so many things, MLM is no different. Why people get so surprised I don’t know.
I will tell you this, MLM helped my family. After my wife almost died, I had to stay home watch the 3 kids and my wife, if I hadn’t built my MLM business we wouldn’t have survived. Though now that company is gone, I don’t really lose sleep over it that.
We’ve always made money in MLM. Whether it was to cover the monthly living costs mortgage etc pay for family trip or even to help buy our new family van I “always” made money and I never have people feeling that they got scammed.
Sorry buddy but until you’ve experienced it you don’t know anything.
Folks just disregard this guys ranting.
Lazy Man says
I suggest you not be so closed minded and read this: MLM Mind Game: Real Life Experience vs. External Perspective
You are biased because you earn money by recruiting others into MLM. An unbiased opinion like mine is actually of more value to readers.
Remember, you don’t have to experience gang violence or be in a gang to know that it’s bad.
Very well thought out answers to many questions I had. I have several people I know involved in this and wanted to be prepared to discuss why this isn’t a viable long term business. I appreciate the work put in and will make it a point to read more of your work.
By the way, I feel like some of the “intangibles” referenced by Charles in the earliest post may be Visalius’ ability to brainwash and distract from the facts.
Keep up the good work!
My question seems small and unimportant after everything I just read above but here goes….
My husband and I bought the protein and other ingrediants you spoke of above. Mixed them in the gallon size bag but are now trying to figure out how much of that we’re suppose to use. The big scoop from the protein bag? So far I’ve only been using half a scoop but just trying to make sure I thought this out correctly.
Thanks so much for the article. Very insightful.
Lazy Man says
Thanks for the comment Aubrey.
The most important thing to note here is that there’s no a perfect size. Different people, depending on their size, can use different quantities. The whey protein itself is intended to be taken at 25+ grams at a time (double what ViSalus is giving) and this is standard for all whey protein. If you think about it, since Vi-Shakes are only 90 calories of powder, they represent a small portion of your calorie requirements for the day anyway (even on a diet).
You’ll also see protein bars with between 20g and 30g of protein and they represent no problems as meal replacements for those who are dieting.
From a logical perspective, the 6lb bag of Muscle Milk (if that’s what you chose as your protein) far outweighs the fiber you’ve added. You can use the Muscle Milk scoops as an estimate of the big bag you made realizing that you just have to think of it as little less per scoop (because you are getting the fiber in there too). So if a full scoop of whey is 27g of protein, a half scoop would be roughly 13.5 grams, but a little less due to the fiber… The little less would get you to roughly the 12g of protein in ViSalus.
So you really can’t go wrong with either the whole scoop or the half scoop, but the half scoop would be closest to the Vi-Shake. Again, it is important to recognize that any differences here are extremely minor and are going to be outweighed by your other food choices. Don’t over-focus on the 90-120 Vi-Shake replacement and ignore the other 1000-1500+ calories you may be eating a day.
Suspicious man says
Thanks for the article & links on ViSalus. I have a friend involved in it, and am worried about her.
As a small business owner myself, may I suggest you refer to other retailers than WalMart and Amazon? I understand the need for common source of reference, but you might throw in “or your local blah-blah-blah store” once in a while.
To the people who say you can’t get rich with a real job: it entirely depends on your expenses, doesn’t it? What defines “rich”? So many people these days think the Great American Dream is to retire. Bull. For some of us, at least, the Great American Dream is still to work hard, EARN your money, and do good to your family, friends and neighbors. Laying on some beach all day, posting on Facebook? Boring. I’d rather be working. Meanwhile, save your money; stop buying every new made-in-China technogadget; stop trying to impress people with your big TV, car, whatever; you’d be amazed at how happy you can be with the simple things in life.
Lazy Man says
Thanks Suspicious Man,
As you might be able to tell from the 935 comments I have to pretty exact about every word I write when it comes to these MLM posts or the zealots will go crazy and try to use an unrelated point to discredit the whole article. Because of this, and the need for the common source of reference, I need to stick to Wal-Mart and Amazon stuff. I can’t analyze prices at your local blah-blah-blah store.
Lazy Man says
For everyone subscribing to comments, I’ve moved the off-topic general MLM and Xocai discussion to this stub of an article on Xocai. You are of course welcome to subscribe to both articles if you are interested in the discussion there.
I just wanted to better organize the information about ViSalus, the point of this post and make sure it is still helpful for readers interested in that information.
Paul, I appreciate the discussion and I will continue to respond to your comments on that post. Thanks.
I just joined ViSalus literally an hour ago, really wasn’t thinking about it and, i didn’t buy any of the product but, i did pay for the starter promoter kit. ViSalus seemed too good to be true now after doing research like i should have done in the beginning.
I wanted to know what would be the right way to go about quitting?
Hey guys, I`m very new to network marketing. I`m wondering, if you get into the system (network marketing company) at the very beggining (at foundation ), would you have much greater chance to succeed? (I do understand that you still have to work very hard). Reading negative articles sounds very offputting but on other hand, if you do research about any company based on “piramide” structure you come across same kind of negativity… But seing people joining and achieving success and financial stability doing the job correctly, you see that it can`t be all bad after all? Thank you for your time.
Lazy Man says
It’s pretty much impossible to get in at the beginning. Every MLM will say that they are in the beginning, but typically they bring in other distributors from other MLMs with their downlines as we’ve seen ViSalus do. Even if you were in very early all those downlines brought in wouldn’t have helped you, because they would have gone in under Nick Sarnicola (not sure if he has upline or if he’s his own top since he was a co-founder).
There aren’t many people achieving success or financial stability in MLM. Even the top people in MonaVie who were making $200,000 a year had their houses foreclosed and their cars repossessed in a few short years.
MLMs have to pretend that there’s success and financial stability, because their very business model requires it. No one could be recruited if they told the truth, so they fake it and the people who are recruited fund the people above them.
Catherine van Dyke (Vi Distributor) says
Just to straighten out a few error’s written here. Every company is really a pyramid right? Sketch it out. A church, a school, any company pretty much from the top down to the bottom, it is a pyramid. What you speak of Pyramids, involve no product, just money, oh and the 80’s called, they want you to stop using their “pyramid lingo”. LOL! I joined ViSalus mid Jan, the product works to lose weight b/c it tastes so good!! That leads to compliance, and any diet works with compliance. They DO let you lease the Bimmer, my friend has one already. They drive nice! You just have to choose a silver, black, or green one. It is not Vi pimped out at all. Or, you can use the 600 toward any vehicle, or go for the 300 bucks cash. The leadership and training is the best I’ve seen. It is however, a little confusing getting started with all the free-bee things, and they are all good for you and your customers, but once you’ve got it down it’s all good. I get to help people, have fun, and do everything on my own time. I giggle every morning I wake up b/c I don’t have to go to the mundane work place anymore where how hard I work is not appreciated, and this way my salary is uncapped. Boom!!
Lazy Man says
Every company is not a pyramid scheme. You are confusing a hierarchical organization structure, with a pyramid scheme. The later is illegal, while the former (school, church, etc.) is not.
Pyramid schemes can have products and they can be MLMs. Here’s the definition straight from the FTC:
As you can see the FTC doesn’t say, “if it has a product, it’s safe.” Pyramid schemes involving only money are often called Ponzi schemes.
Hope that fixes the errors that in your comment for you.
The BMW that you lease is in your name, and when your miss the levels, you are left to pay for it without the income that you had previously. As for whether BMWs drive nice, sure, that’s an opinion shared by many, but not relevant to ViSalus. It does seem like the car has to be “pimped out” with obnoxious Vi stickers saying, “Told you so” unless they’ve changed that policy recently.
Your salary is limited by the other people already in ViSalus and the limited demand for recruiting others into MLM. That salary is capped quite low.
The people at the top of Visalus are not making money the way someone just joining has to. They got in at the beginning so are at the top of the pay plan so benefit from the churn below. Or they were placed there by someone at the top. Former Visalus ambassadors have shown that top Visalus people will select those they wish to raise up (how they do so is not clear, but odds are they pick people who are good speakers and have a good rags to riches story so they can speak at meetings) and put a bunch of volume that person did not generate to promote them. Or they bring them in from another MLM as LazyMan mentioned and they arrange to pay them a lump sum or some other financial arrangement.
The top level people in Visalus are paid a percentage of the fees people below them must pay for Vi-Net–that’s in the pay plan. It’s also possible they have a profit sharing plan that distributes profit to the top people from the sales of other business tools such as conference ticket sales. All the Google ads I see lately are for Visalus’ next convention, none for their products. The top people are also paid to speak at their meetings, new people dont get that revenue obviously.
Are there people making tons of money in Visalus? Yes there are, very few but they exist. But HOW are they making it? That’s the real question.
Catherine, I can see you’ve gotten the MLM brainwashing treatment. I know that you are so hopeful Visalus can provide the money and lifestyle they promise–but they can’t. I know it’s hard to believe they can misrepresent their opportunity in this way and not get shut down, but they can and do because of the lack of regulation and enforcement on MLMs by the Federal Trade Commission. The government does not have your back here–you have to.
My close friend was the same as you, with the same objection counters taught to him by Visalus (every company is a pyramid, my earnings are unlimited! etc…) He did well at first in Visalus, qualified for the BMW, recruited some folks. After a six months all the people he had recruited quit because they weren’t making money and he couldn’t find anyone else to recruit as he had burned through his warm market (family and friends). He had spent thousands of dollars attending the “must not miss!” Visalus conferences, and his Visalus time resulted in a large net loss after expenses. Recruiting is difficult, but what is more difficult is keeping recruits. Since your income is dependent on other people, and Visalus has a drop out rate calculated at almost 200% per year (complete turnover every six months in distributors), your income is very limited.
I know this won’t convince you, if anything it will just convince you to try harder. Please track your expenses–all of them (Vi-Net, samples, cost for parties, and conferences attended, magazines, the autoship product purchases, the cost to join) and see where you are in six months.
My Visalus buddy lost thousands and has recently left Visalus–for another MLM, his third. He won’t make money in that one either. He can’t. MLM is a rigged game. Please be careful.
Lazy Man says
I’m curious which MLM your ViSalus buddy went to now.
Vemma. Sells mostly energy drinks and supplements. Apparently losing lots of money in the past two MLMs have taught the guy nothing. He just won’t give up the belief that MLM can make him rich, even when the same exact thing happens over and over always resulting in a monetary loss. Honestly, I have no idea who he thinks he’s going sell this round of stuff to, he has no friends left. So depressing.
Lazy Man says
It’s interesting, I should have guessed it. I’ve seen a lot of comments about Vemma recently. I typically receive an email every month from people asking about an opportunity, since they read on my other articles. I’ve gotten a couple of emails in the past couple of days on Vemma, including one this morning. That one came from an 18 year old kid who just wants to pay his college tuition.
Is there any chance that you can hold your buddy accountable, try to get him to document his profits and losses? Maybe hold yourself out there as someone who could be convinced if he shows that he’s making good use of his time (i.e. earnings/hour). Give him his own 90-day challenge (perhaps too late for that), that if he nets $2,000 a month part time you are in on it. Perhaps getting him focused on traditional business aspects such as profits and loss will help?
It is probably useless, but as you’ve probably realized, I really want to help people, even when hope is lost.
Lazy Man, I did not say that churches, schools, and companies, etc., are “pyramid “schemes” I said the organization is “shaped as a pyramid” draw it out. Who’s the pres, the bishop, the principle, then work your way down. The people at the top make the most money off of the people who are working below them. Avon, Mary Kay, Fuller-Brush, Amway, Tupperware, and other network marketing companies are the same way. I can’t say it’s a “scheme” because with Vi I get paid every week and a monthly bonus. I sold Herbalife in the late 80’s, my first check for one month was 10k. I’ve been in a few MLM’s and it’s what you put into to it is what you get out of it. Not away the cause in traditional jobs. I recruit serious promoters only. I sell to serious customers only that want to change their health/life, and there are tons of them out there. I am busy enough the way it is not to have to deal with wishy washy people and thanks to social media I am able to be in contact often to keep them motivated. It’s working. I’m forming a stable solid foundation business. There are obviously other ways to get quality leads even without paying. I do not go to my family and friends, they come to me for it. It tastes good! That is why people stay on it, so it works. It’s not what you take it’s what you absorb. That is not the Cool-Aid speaking. I have been in the nutritional industry for over 20 years, and I have formal college schooling in Advanced Nutrition 1, 2, and 3. Grams of protein are not all created the same. You can take 40 grams at one time, that doesn’t mean you will absorb that much, and if not absorbed can tax the kidneys. The fiber is time released, so you don’t get gas from the 7 grams that are in there and it will keep you not hungry for hours. Do you know how much in legumes or greens you would have to consume to get 7 grams of fiber? I eat those foods too but to get enough for the day it’s almost impossible and expensive. Being in sales for years, it’s true whenever there is a sales conference it gets people fired up, why would you knock that is beyond me. It’s motivating, a chance to share best practice what works and what doesn’t, to giddy up and talk about the product and company, and to recognize the stars who’ve worked hard. I have several awards over the years and it does make you feel good that you made a difference, and the extra cash awards that come with it makes vacations and things like that available. I’ve always used my bonuses for family vacations. Most sales people feel that way when they attend any sales conference. My husband is a sales manager for insurance (Medicare), and he even gets pumped up at their sales conferences. You need positive motivation in sales, you need that carrot constantly, many people who join are getting good quality support from their upline and are making more money than any other job they’ve had traditionally. Oh, the best part is no nasty boss over your shoulder, and that is priceless, I’ve been there!! Of course if you don’t hit your quota your Bimmer money goes away that month or any month! Why wouldn’t it? My sales bonuses always relied on quota’s if you don’t make it, you get no bonus. If people think they get that free forever for not doing the work, they do not belong in network marking or any sales job for that matter. Sharp people need only apply with me! :) PS thanks Jeff ;) and Lazy M, the “I Told You So” on the front of your Bimmer plate is optional, (I want it!)and 2 small Vi decals are included with everyone’s kit who singed up to promoter. I have it on my car now, and oh, the guy across the street drives his pickup totally decked out in his companies name. Why are you such a hater? You could hate a lot more nasty companies than picking on Vi. Do you spend all day doing this? Perhaps you could redirect that negative energy towards doing good things for people. Since you seem to know it all, based on your opinion mostly, your vast knowledge could be shared to how to make a decent living and not be stressed out and do it at your own time, in or out of an office. ViSalus has been doing the weight loss program since 2005. They are ranked the 2nd in the US right behind Weight Watchers and gaining on them. Again, because it works, because of compliance. Not b/c of promises. Hopefully the FTC has better things to do than worry about the fine print of a “Bimmer availability”. There are many supplement companies out there not even meeting ingredient label claims. Now that is one to talk about!
Lazy Man says
Thanks for your comment. I suggest that you look into “paragraphs” in the future. Thanks.
Sure there are many things shaped as pyramids. Ummm, pyramids themselves are shaped as pyramids. My dog has actually taken poops in the shape of pyramids.
The important distinction to make is that “pyramid schemes” are different than “pyramids.” You seem to have grasped that concept with the first line of your comment.
I urge you to go back and educate yourself about the different between a hierarchical organization (like a church or company) and a pyramid scheme that bases compensation on recruiting people. If you need help on that again, please read, Corporate America is Not a Pyramid Scheme.
Drawing something out on a piece of paper is irrelevant, because hierarchical organizations don’t make money by recruiting people. If I’m a software engineer, I make my money by doing my job as a software engineer. I actually do work, and it isn’t about convincing others to be software engineers like myself.
It isn’t about who make the most money, it is about whether recruiting is involved, and compensation is tied to recruiting. If you do that, sorry, you are involved in an illegal pyramid scheme. I realize that is a harsh statement to make, but I’m willing to stand in front of any court and defend that position.
That’s for mentioning Avon (likely scam), Mary Kay (definite scam as verified by this article), and Tupperware who left MLM, because it became about pyramid schemes.
Catherine said, “I sold Herbalife in the late 80’s”
Umm so you’ve gone some 25+ years without learning the difference between a legitimate MLM and a pyramid scheme?
Awesome for you in selling Herbalife. As you might know it has been in the news for billionaire investors putting their money on the line to show it is an illegal pyramid scheme.
MLM is not about what you put into it. See: http://www.juicescam.com/its-not-a-matter-of-effort-its-a-mathematical-certainty/. The FTC warns about recruiting serious promoters as you say, when you put out “I recruit serious promoters only.”
Catherine said, “Grams of protein are not all created the same. You can take 40 grams at one time, that doesn’t mean you will absorb that much, and if not absorbed can tax the kidneys.”
The ViSalus source of protein using soy, has been shown to be a terrible source as many commenters have mentioned. Otherwise, the body absorbs all calories and turns them into energy that they can use (sugar). If you don’t want to take 40 grams of protein at a time, I showed in my article how can take less and duplicate ViSalus very, very easily.
Catherine said, “The fiber is time released, so you don’t get gas from the 7 grams that are in there and it will keep you not hungry for hours. Do you know how much in legumes or greens you would have to consume to get 7 grams of fiber?”
There is no evidence that the fiber is timed release. It is incredibly unlikely considering the liquid nature of the product. Your stomach acids are going to attack it like they would any other fiber.
As for the not getting gas thing, that’s just typical fiber reaction. Slowly get your body adjusted to fiber (any fiber, ViSalus is not special) and you should be in a good situation).
You read the article above about ViSalus Vi-Shakes giving fake fiber, right? I showed how you can get the same fake fiber cheaply. Grams of fiber are not all the same.
Catherine said, “I eat those foods too but to get enough for the day it’s almost impossible and expensive.”
I don’t know which foods you are referring to, but I imagine they are the ones in the video. Vi-shakes are not a substitute for eating a healthy diet. This should be obvious to you. If you have a problem with it please expain with more verbosity.
As an extension of that ViSalus doesn’t save you money on those food. Paying $1.66 or more for 90 calories is not a savings.
Sure sales conferences get people fired up. Jim Jones got people fired up to… it doesn’t mean it is a good thing.
If you’ve received several awards and still don’t know the difference between a pyramid scheme and legitimate hierarchical organization, you’ve really put a spotlight on the problems with MLM.
Please don’t repeat unsubstantiated information like, “[ViSalus is] ranked the 2nd in the US right behind Weight Watchers and gaining on them.” They aren’t close to Jenny Craig and they are shrinking.
His brother set up a spreadsheet to track his Visalus expenses and income (which is why I know what he lost) and it didn’t make any difference. A lot of MLM involvement is about belief, not evidence. I think at this point he is hopeless, you cannot save someone from themselves.
This is however, why I post here, trying to help others who might not be so far gone. That, and I despise scams.
That is a great idea to tell any person getting involved in any MLM. Create a spreadsheet and (#1) track every dollar you spend [Expenses]: marketing kits, product, travel (gas, flights, hotel, meals), “parties” (food, drinks, samples), promotion, BMW lease, etc. (#2) Track every dollar you earn [Income]: paycheck, bonuses, BMW allotment, free product, etc. (#3) Track every hour or half hour you spend on this business (online, hosting or supporting “parties,” travel, meetings, etc.). By the end of 6 months or a year, you will see what your ACTUAL NET INCOME is, and how much you made per hour.
I met a Visalus Ambassador who does Vi full time. She said she’s up until midnight posting online, gone many nights and weekends supporting her downline at “parties,” and traveling to the numerous conferences (including picking up Nick at the airport so he doesn’t have to pay for a cab)(which Vi actually spun as a reward bonus for her). What marketing!
She runs herself ragged and has little time for herself, her husband or her kids. She’s a slave to her downline’s needs and keeping up the momentum. Yes, she got a $25,000 bonus last year, variable monthly paycheck, and her BMW payments. Yes, she made as much as I did. But I only work 40hrs/week, nights off, every weekend off, all holidays off, and 5 weeks paid vacation (from longevity at same company). I also get 401K, medical insurance, dental insurance, and Christmas bonuses. I also have a guaranteed paycheck amount every two weeks, which comes in handy if you ever want to get a loan from a bank to buy a house or such.
These are ALL things one needs to weigh out when committing to giving money and time to an MLM.
Innocent Bystander says
Well with another cult meeting coming up in LA soon, Facebook is lighting up with all the “Visalians”. Gosh I laugh when people call themselves that. The latest claim is “only 1 company in the WORLD has created 600-700 new 6 figure earners in the last 36 months. It wasn’t Google. It wasn’t Apple. It wasn’t Facebook. It was Visalus”
I wonder if Ryan Blair got spanked by Blyth for this……
Lazy Man says
It hasn’t received marketing to this point, but there is a great petition out there to end pyramid schemes. I encourage everyone following this to sign it.
Francis (currently in a challange) says
Thank you Lazyman for the post and a wealth of information on the subject. Information is power.
When I was first approached, i was asked if I wanted to take part in a fitness weight loss challenge at the local gym. It sounded like a great idea. It was then mentioned by my shake pimp (the name that I gave my Visalus rep) that everyone on the team was ordering shakes and that I should as well. Once I saw the pricing I was a bit leery but decided to go ahead.
I thought it was kind of a sleaze way to sell a very expensive shake. The other thing that annoyed me is all of the documentation that they want me to do on my challenge. I am lazy as well, all I want to do is lose weight and be left alone. So I did none of the documentation which lead to me not being eligible for prize money. I didn’t want to win prize money I just wanted to lose weight. If they have all this money to give away and it sooooo awesome how about dropping the price a bit.
The interesting thing is during this challenge my girlfriend also decided to lose weight. However she chose not to join the Visalus challenge. She does not exercise at all, so all of her weight loss is coming from strictly a diet. We both lost a ton of weight since the first of the year, each doing our own thing. But the interesting thing is according to my shake pimp all of my weight loss is because of Visalus. Not that I changed my eating habits, big thanks to my girlfriend, increasing my exercise and counting my calories.
Over the months of the challenge I had a few interesting conversation with my shake pimp.
1. I asked if would be alright to only have one shake a day. He answer was no, I need two shakes a day. I didn’t listen.
2. One day he approached me if I had any family or friends that where interested in the challenge. I have never felt comfortable promoting the “product” to anyone that I know, he got visible angry when I said no. Again all I wanted to do is lose weight, not open a business.
From day one I realized that this is an expensive pyramid. If it is such a great product why give away so much money and free cars. I am happy that I am on my way out of it.
Originally I assumed that it was a 90 day challenge and the product would stop shipping after 90 days. After reading your post I check and I had another 2 bags of shake mixing coming next month. So I was able to stop the auto shipping before I had to deal with the headache of sending it back.
Visalus is not a way of life, only a very expensive tool in a weight loss tool belt. It amazing to see the post by other directors they all sound the same with the same message over and over.
Thanks again Lazy.
Innocent Bystander says
I see Blyth’s 4th q earnings are out…..
The one thing that stands out to me is the drop in promotors of Visalus from the 3rd
110,000 Visalus reps in the 3rd Q
76,000 Visalus reps in the 4th Q
Guess shareholders dont like that so far today the stock is down 10%
Lazy Man says
That’s a great find Innocent Bystander.
Here’s the press release from the third quarter saying that they had 110,000 distributors.
My guess is that they aren’t going to report rep numbers soon.
I couldn’t resist, I had to respond to a few of these comments I’ve seen come across my email. First of all(Lazyman &Jeff) Neither of you have ever been involved in an MLM correct? I know this is where i hear, no i’m to educated for that or some other comment. The reason i ask is because all that i hear both of you do is say “my friend” or something i read but that’s all of your resources. This whole shut MLM thing down is just silly.
Jeff/Gina- You say create a spreadsheet and track expenses/spending. I totally agree!!! I do for my tax write offs and general accounting. I think you say do this for 6 months or so, How many people do you know that start a business and in a few months are profitable? In Visalus or any other MLM if you didn’t make your investment back in 2-3 months, quit. I say this because you either don’t have what it takes(time management, result from product, reputation, or a million other things). Otherwise, to make an investment is pretty easy but it requires WORK. Same as anything else. Do nothing get nothing.
Francis- if you dont want it contact Vi and send it back. They will issue a full refund. Simple.
Innocent bystander- LOL, you act like you made a discovery with your promoter number. That number would be similar to me saying that electronic sales are down Q1 from Q4, you would look at me and say no shit..xmas, black friday. Well i say the same thing, the holidays (Q4) is always the worst part of the year. This is nothing new, product sales are usually ok but new distributor signups always suffer. Lazy, it’s not a GREAT find it’s common sense.
As far as losing money, if you are a promoter. Actually trying to grow your biz through tax savings alone it would be almost impossible to lose money 90 days out or whatever timeframe a few of you keep bringing up.
That 3 for free model some of you hate so much gave out $47 million alone last year.
With the newly added 90 day results money back guarantee as a customer its now impossible to lose money. If you dont like your results and truly tried the program you get a refund. I don’t see anyone else doing that? No shelf product? No mix you make in your kitchen like lazy does either.
Bottom line if you don’t like it, don’t like it. Some of you have a serious issue being so obsessed over something you have nothing to do with. If someone wants to try it who are you to discourage them from trying to achieve a fitness goal? What authority are you?