I was listening to sports radio on the short trip home from daycare earlier last week and the hosts were talking about something that caught my attention. It seems that Seth Davis, a Sports Illustrated writer and CBS college basketball analyst, has been tweeting out his mother’s website.
There’s nothing wrong or unusual with that… unless your mom is suggesting you buy her snake oil products because she beat cancer. And that’s what Elaine Gibson (Seth Davis’ mother) is doing on her Renewed Living, Inc website.
I have seen hundreds of similar websites since I started following MLM companies. I’ve seen them for Youngevity and MonaVie doesn’t cure cancer. Also the inventor said in court that such claims are “… unsubstantiated and, quite frankly, bogus.”
For some reason that is unknown to me, these types of website fly under the radar of the media. I can only guess they assume that no one falls for the snake oil and people like Elaine Gibson are dismissed as the nuts they are.
However, if someone famous gives the snake oil website a platform, it can get media attention. This is exactly what has happened with Seth Davis promoting his mother’s website. In February, DeadSpin wrote,
Seth Davis Promotes His Mom’s Hoax Cancer Cures. It is a tremendous read.
You should read it. Like now. Don’t worry, I’ll still be here.
Done. Good. Now we can continue.
(Side note: It was great to see a bigger media story take on Joseph Mercola and his quackery, which the FDA has repeated warned him about. Yet people still seem to think he’s reputable for some silly reason.)
The DeadSpin article reveals Seth Davis Tweeting that his mother had chemotherapy, which is something that seems to be missing from Elaine Gibson’s website. Perhaps selling alternative cancer therapy cures doesn’t work well when you are taking traditional cancer medicine?
The DeadSpin article missed on one VERY big and critical detail.
I could sense the multi-level marketing (MLM) from the first page. I directly went to the products to see what she’s selling. She was selling showerheads, a “no suds” laundry system, clean drinking water, clean air, and infrared sauna, and clean energy.
I love cleanliness. I’m not against any of that stuff (though I don’t know enough about infrared saunas).
I haven’t figured out the mystery behind the showerheads (who makes them), but many of the products are all from Vollara an MLM company:
- “No Suds” Laundry System – This is Vollara’s LaundryPure system.
- Clean Drinking Water – This is Vollara’s LivingWater system.
- Clean Air – This is Vollara’s FreshAir line of products.
- InfraRed Spa – This isn’t come from Vollara, but comes from a company called Clearlight, which according to a Ripoff Report article appears to be a scam on its own.
- Clean Energy – This is Vollara’s SteadyPower product.
The SteadyPower is the most interesting to me. It clearly has nothing to do with beating cancer. You can’t even reasonably stretch that to be true. The sales pitch for it Elaine Gibson’s site makes no sense either. The device is supposed to reduce electrical line noise that causes “snow” on televisions. The snow on televisions came from antenna reception and digital signals eliminated that years ago. It has nothing to do with electric line noise. Also the hum from fluorescent lights do not come from line noise as her site claims.
Other benefits on the SteadyPower is that it “Installs* easily with immediate benefits” and is “maintenance free”. The “*” there means that “SteadyPower must be installed by a licensed qualified electrical contractor only.” As my wife said, “Our solar panels install easily as I eat this sandwich.” Things are easy when you pay someone else to do the hard work.
It also protects against surges and spikes, which is great, but I didn’t need to spend $600 for my surge protectors (which are also “maintenance free”). And most of my products don’t need them. The pitch is that your electronics will live longer. My mother has VCRs from the early 1990s that are still fine. I have radios from the 1970s that work fine today. My mother still has a television in her bedroom that I remember buying with my father in 1984.
The life of any electrical product I have ever owned was never shortened by electrical noise. There was a mechanical failure with a dryer. Or a computer became obsolete (or had some other physical failure such as a drop). SteadyPower’s marketing itself is an interesting scam aside from Elaine Gibson’s beating cancer story.
The obvious question here is: Isn’t it an amazing coincidence that Vollara’s very different products somehow hold the key to beating cancer? There’s some anti-cancer magic in the logo that no one else’s products have? Is that really something that a sane person believes?
Or maybe there’s something more obvious going on. Perhaps it was indicated by Elaine Gibson’s Facebook post/share here:
“We are excited about our Vollara regional meeting here in the Washington, DC / Virginia area June 25 & 26. Come and learn how to share the technology & grow your business. Want to put $$$$ in the bank? Great fellowship and JOE URSO will be jopining us on Saturday. Let’s rock together!!!!”
The Vollara products are insanely expensive. Elaine Gibson wants to sell you LivingWater purifier at $2200. This is how they promise people “$$$$.”
Elaine Gibson isn’t just a salesperson for Vollara. She’s also created some questionable nutrition guides that she sells. For example, she sells a “SuperFoods” guide that says, “In this kitchen-ready guide, you’ll learn what Superfoods are, why you need them how to add Superfoods to your diet, plus, how not to be fooled by imitation Superfoods.”
However, “superfood has no definition by nutritionists, dieticians, and scientists”. So there’s no such thing as an imitation superfood, when the term has no real definition to start with.
Finally, she’s offering a Detox for up to $497. Of course scientists also say that detoxes are bogus.
So is Vollara a scam? I haven’t spend a ton of time researching the company itself, but at a minimum they can get themselves in a bunch of legal hot water by letting Elaine Gibson sell the products with her obvious sales pitch of having beat cancer. As a story getting some national attention, they should have stopped her last month. Often companies claim that they can’t police their salesforce. That’s bull poop. They don’t want to because doing so reduces their sales and makes their salesforce think, “that could happen to me too.”
Also, their marketing of SteadyPower looks like a clear scam.
Finally, as I wrote a week or two ago, a legitimate company with legitimate products wouldn’t use MLM/pyramid schemes to sell their products. It makes no sense to take the business risk that your entire company could be shut down by the FTC for being a pyramid scheme at any moment. From another view, the FDA could come after Vollara for its part in Gibson’s cancer hoax (Deadspin’s words). A legitimate company and product doesn’t need to involve itself in that kind of quackery.
However, if you are a scam, you might as well go all in and grab any money you can while you can. If it means running a pyramid scheme, go for it. If it means letting quacks sell your products as a cancer cure, stuff that money in your pocket.
In my opinion it is clear to me that Vollara is a scam, even aside from Elaine Gibson. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
Judy Morgan says
I found Vollara online a couple of days ago and have read everything about it. Today I found your article and am very disappointed. I was hoping I’d found something I could use to help me retire from my full-time job. I’m 66. All I’m asking is, “Are there really any legitimate work at home jobs out there?”.
Lazy Man says
Here’s a list of 276 (or more) of them: https://wallethacks.com/i-need-money-websites-to-earn-extra-money/
Its incredible that you will always have negative information who will always try to discredit a product or business. If NASA is endorsing Air and Surface Pro’s and Vollara has been given a NASA HALL of Fame Reward, one of only 75 ever given, wouldn’t you say they are reputable. Secondlay Dr. Deborah Birx has also endorsed this product and she sat under 4 presidents on the health board. Worked with the HIV etc for years. She is all SCIENCE. So, I have seen the FACT SHEETS, PROOF, and if a 3rd party is doing the testings and they come out 99.96 effective against the virus that causes Covid. I am sold on the product!
Lazy Man says
Well, I wrote this article about 7 years ago and the company has done almost nothing as far as I can tell. We’re talking about pre-iPhone 6 era when I wrote about it. What revolutionary products are on Amazon or WalMart or Best Buy, etc. I can’t think of any.
I did a search for “NASA Hall of Fame Reward” and came up with nothing about Vollara. On a hunch that you might mean “award” instead of “reward”, I searched for that and Google came up empty again.
Dr. Birx disgraced herself when she didn’t stop Trump when he suggested that maybe people could inject bleach to kill COVID.
If you are talking about an air purifier, please see The NY Times Wirecutter’s Trusted Reviews.
Lyman Reich says
This article truly just shows how ignorant you are about this company Vollara and your opinions are based on this ignorance because the evidence of your article shows you did very little research. Since you did not do your research you must resort to name calling and negativity. You are entitled to your opinion but that is all this is, opinion without solid facts to support it.
Lazy Man says
I don’t think there was ignorance here and I stand by the amount of research I’ve done to be sufficient and not “little.”
I think it’s worth noting that you didn’t provide anything that was substantially amiss, which must mean that you feel my article is correct. Otherwise you’d show me that Deadspin retracted their story (for example) if that happened.
This comment is about the product Vollara sells, no the company itself. I LOVE the laundry pure, it is NOT a scam and it DOES work. This item is not exclusive to vollara and laundry ozonators have been around for a while now. When I first got mine, I remember all of the scuz that was floating on the water in the tub of my empty machine (you are supposed to clean your machine first empty) I thought my machine was clean… I only get the scuz now if I wash guests’ laundry as it is coming off their clothes!!!! I do NOT agree with the marketing of the product, that you don’t need detergent. I use detergent in every load because it loosens and rinses stains/soil, smells good and I just like it. I love the ozonator and would absolutely replace it if it broke. Laundry is softer, cleaner, brighter, less lint, faster drying, and sanitized. All that using cold water and less than 1T of persil. Guests absolutely notice the difference in their own clothes.
I also have the Steady Power. If for no other reason, it is a whole home surge protector. It works, I live in florida. My electric bill went down $30-40 a month and has stayed that way for over 7 years now, going on 8. My home was “energy star” rated by the power company, all appliances are ES, bulbs are all led…… I still saved this much once it was installed in my newer energy efficient home. Next door neighbor lost several tvs due to lightning. Gets expensive if you lose 3 tvs and have to replace all of them at once. This item is not a scam either.
Clean air, clean water…. why wouldn’t you want either of those??? I do have hepa air purifiers in my home by other companies, not vollara. What can I say? I hate to dust!!
Clean water??? I have a softener, a RO system for drinking and a whole house filter. Why??? Look at a shower head in your home (assuming you do not have a water softener.) The thing that your “clean” water comes out of.. It’s black, pink and dripping because the holes are clogged with calcium, the manganese is sticking to the calcium and there may be a tinge of pink there too. The pink is from bacteria feeding on the iron in your water… You are supposed to come out of a shower cleaner than when you went in
Lazy Man says
I have no opinion about laundry detergent effectiveness. My cheap and highly rated Country Save is great. I’d like to see more independent research on the Steady Power product. If it instantly cuts $30-40 off an electric bill every month, it would be a household name – I think. I don’t think your claim translates well to other people.
Nothing wrong with clean air and water, but you can get it without pyramid selling – so that’s always a better option.
$624 for a Vollara surge protector!!! Typical scandalously overpriced MLM BS.
This is nothing more than bait for a pyramid scheme targeting desperadoes and morons.
Marty Schoonover says
I have sold Vollara and other brands for 20 years now on a part time basis. My proof that the air purifiers work was from my twin brother who work in a secured experimental lab. He had all the equipment to test and prove it works. And boy does it. I have sold to bars, farmers, day cares, restaurants, over 100 homes, including friends & relatives who can be the hardest sell. In my own home I wouldn’t do without the air purifier or the filtered shower. My Michigan basement doesn’t smell musty and after having water damage…no mold! I have also remolded, drywalled and painted in my home without drywall dust ending up EVERYWHERE. Say what you will, but I know it works and wouldn’t do without.
Lazy Man says
Where did your brother publish the results of the lab testing? What journal was it, because I’d like to read it. I’d also like to see what other HEPA filters he compared against and read all the methodology.
You can go to almost any big box store and buy a HEPA filter for relatively cheap money. They’ve been shown to clean air too. So the question isn’t about whether air filters work, I don’t think anyone debates that. It’s finding the best value for your money. Also, it’s more convenient to get an air filter from Amazon, WalMart, Home Depot etc. I could buy it one in 3 minutes at Amazon and have it on my door. I could get WalMart’s and Home Depot’s bought and installed in less than 2 hours. It went to Vollara’s website and didn’t see a price to order their filters. I guess that maybe I have to go find a salesperson, which would probably take a day or two. Coordinating a purchase and delivery is probably another few days.
It’s strange to me that you’d come here years after the article was published and focus on the air purifiers, which I barely even mentioned and don’t think I commented on.
Paul Jones says
Thank you for taking the time to investigate the company, MLM methods are enough to raise red flags. There is a lot of hype and enthusiasm from the people selling the air purifiers which are quite exspensive and small…if you are not moving a lot of air you cannot purify an 1800 square ft home….seems to me people believe what they want to believe. I realize that you were not specifically appraising the Air Purifiers but my 91 year old father has been taken in by Vollara and $1000 dollar air purifier bullsh**. It pisses me off.
So sorry to hear your that these predators got to you dad.
What’s 10 levels beyond a red flag? A flaming visage of Lucifer? That’s where we’re at with MLM. Every last one, without exception, is a con game.
Bill Jackson says
Vollara Personal Fresh Air rechargeable purifier. Can someone help me to understand how it works/the technology behind it? How can it work with the wind blowing outside or a significant draft in room? I hate that my wife was literally suckered into purchasing this gadget. I have no doubt about some benefits but it appears that the air being inhaled must be somehow “touched” or go through this machine. Does it work like the CO2 hang around your neck pouch that comes out of KOREA? That pouch goes for 20.00 and can be last up to 45 days. It is not work the money. PERIOD!! What people do for money.
P. M. Svec says
Okay, you lost the smarter audience, (the ones that do not just ask the pharma trained MDs with white coats, but actually read, study and learn on their own, then visit the supposed quacks that actually have cured them, (not treated –to keep them coming!).. when you said Dr Birx should have scolded President Trump when he said to take or inject bleach. He never said take or inject it. And obviously, President Trump knew about a product (which is not bleach at all, IF you do understand science) but has a scientific name that “sounds” like bleach) that actually CURES people of many things.. cheap and easy to make and do. But no! Of course not! You are one of THEM.. so keep getting your science from only WEBMD, CNN, and other mainstreams.. and you will have a following of much the same, but NEVER have a cure or understand an alternative product. BY the way, so what if a company decides to charge X over manufacturing prices? Free enterprise is what is was called. You probably prefer socialism too I am sure.. to what our great country was founded on. No one HAS to buy a product they do not like or cannot afford, they will find an alternative. That is capitalism. You want another political model–there are plenty of places– most of the rest of our planet. Most true Americans, who actually understand this, would never want to go down that road here. Just ask the people fleeing their countries into ours!
Lazy Man says
We could debate what you mean by the “smarter audience”, but the educated audience are the ones who have MD education and went to school (even at the undergraduate level) with those who have. Everyone typically correlates education with being smarter.
It’s true that Trump didn’t say bleach specifically… he suggested injecting disinfectant. Here’s the Snopes fact check: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-disinfectants-covid-19/. Of course, journalists have simplified it as “bleach” for audiences – https://www.politico.com/news/2021/04/23/trump-bleach-one-year-484399.
And Birx did say that the event “was a tragedy on many levels” – https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/apr/25/trump-covid-disinfectant-deborah-birx-book. Of course it came way too late, which was my point.
Trump did not know of a product that sounds like bleach or CURES people of anything. It’s reported right here (https://www.newsweek.com/deborah-birx-donald-trump-coronavirus-bleach-disinfectant-covid-new-book-1724572) that he was applying a study about playgrounds for children to be able to go and play (hence the sunlight part of his comment). There was never an alternative product cure, but we have some great proven defenses nowadays that can eliminate deaths from COVID for almost everyone.
Every major developed country including America has consumer protection to prevent people from getting scammed by disinformation. This is a VERY GOOD THING, BECAUSE WE ARE ALL CONSUMERS. I’ve written about quite a few MLMs and the FTC has subsequently shut many of them down. (They don’t have the funding to challenge each one in court, so it’s a game of whack-a-mole.) Yes, people still have the choice to buy or not buy. Caveat emptor – buyer beware.
When an MLM company charges FAR too much, the distributors often realize that they can ONLY sell the product through misinformation or disinformation. Of course that’s not legal capitalism. I have no problem if a company puts the product on the shelf at WalMart and avoids any and all illegal advertising/marketing. You want to sell a screwdriver for $200 next to one that costs $3? Have at it! Good luck!
P. M. Svec said: “Okay, you lost the smarter audience, (the ones that do not just ask the pharma trained MDs with white coats, but actually read, study and learn on their own…[BLAH BLAH BLAH]…”
Nope. For example, I’m still here. Seriously though, speak for yourself; you are an audience of one (and giving off a decidedly low-end-of-the-Dunning-Kruger-scale vibe).
P. M. Svec said: “Dr Birx…”
OMG! This is where Dr. Scarf ended up after her profile-in-cowardice COVID performances and subsequent career slide into the shitter. How embarrassing! That aside, it’s mundane that she got paid a bunch to say nice things about Vollara.
It’s another logical fallacy – the argument from authority. Shiny parlor tricks to fool the rubes.
P. M. Svec said: “President Trump…”
Nothing to do with Vollara’s BS pyramid scheme. Pick your battles.
P. M. Svec said: “BY the way, so what if a company decides to charge X over manufacturing prices? Free enterprise is what is was called. You probably prefer socialism too I am sure.. to what our great country was founded on.”
Depends on how much X is right? Martin Shkreli got nailed for pharmaceutical price gouging and became one of the most universally reviled people in America in the process.
A company adding markup to the manufacturing cost of a product is fully expected and nobody takes issue with that per se. Where the concern arises with MLMs is that they ALWAYS overcharge excessively for their products because it’s necessitated by the payouts to the pyramid participants and, especially, the kingpins/founders. It’s not an accident; it’s poor value by design.
MLMs like Vollara are the antithesis of free market capitalism. They are closed loop markets (with much of the sales coming from within the distributor network), cordoned off from the “real” competitive world of the retail market, where MLM products, with their stupidly high prices, sketchy details, and consistently poor value, would be laughed off the proverbial store shelves. MLMs are also often fraudulent/criminal enterprises. I’m not sure what “great country” you’re from but that’s definitely not what we’re founded on here in the U.S.
P. M. Svec said: “No one HAS to buy a product they do not like or cannot afford, they will find an alternative. That is capitalism. You want another political model–there are plenty of places– most of the rest of our planet. Most true Americans, who actually understand this, would never want to go down that road here. Just ask the people fleeing their countries into ours!”
I can’t decipher what that twaddle was supposed to mean. Nothing to do with Vollara though. Couldn’t help but laugh at the unintentional humor of invoking the No True Scotsman fallacy.
BTW, if the best you can say about your product is “no one is holding a gun to your head and making you buy it”, then you’re clearly losing.