How to be a Bot Watcher

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Fed up of the scamming MLM companies you come across?

Is it time you took a stand and took your interest further than just observing from a horrified distance?

If you would like to join the fight, here are some things you can do.

Twitter

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Join Twitter if you haven’t already and follow the people/ sites that are likely to offer upto date information on MLM developments. If you are new to Twitter, have a look at this Wikihow article on how to get started.

I have compiled a list of people/organisations to get you started. If you subscribe to the list, you will see all the valuable tweets they make. Add in some companies or people that you have an interest in as well. Make sure you also follow other non-MLM people/ pages of interest, otherwise you will be inundated with depressing tweets. Follow your favourite companies, actors, musicians to balance out the dark stuff. ‘Faces In Things’ is quite funny if you need a distraction.

Take a stand and comment on MLM tweets, showing up their lies. Tell people in MLMs that are making health claims that they are wrong. Follow the MLM companies’ official accounts so you can see what they are up to.

Retweet tweets that need to be spread so that awareness can be spread to your followers.

Using Twitter as a Bot Watcher can be a passive or active activity. You can join in the arguments, retweet stuff, or just watch and gain information to stay up to date.

Don’t forget to follow Bot Watch. Click on the twitter symbol at the top of tis page to join us.

Facebook

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We are on Facebook so you can watch us there for some updates or join in the discussions there. Sometimes MLM supporters turn up, trying to defend their companies. Feel free to join in the arguments, whichever side you are on. We will not block you just because you support MLM, but we will if you try to recruit or we think you are using us to gain traffic to your ‘business’.

To follow us on Facebook, click on the link at the very top of this page.

Here are some other Facebook pages you can follow-

Juice Plus/MLM Lies Exposed  People post things they have seen and heard about MLMs, and there is often quite an enthusiastic discussion on the posts. It reveals the deceptive practices and obvious lies that people tell to try and recruit or sell their products.

Elle Beau The Antiblogger.  Elle was a presenter with Younique until she saw through the lies. Now she tries to spread awareness to protect others from making the same mistakes she did.

Timeless Vie Their original page was taken down due to people reporting them for using that well known hate/ racist word ‘Hun’. This page is a back up one. They offer support and information to victims of MLMs, as well as being a spoof MLM.

Sounds like MLM but OK This group has over 22,000 members so there is a wealth of information posted. Lots of discussions about the items posted. You’ll see a lot here.

 

Internet discussions

You could join in or observe discussions about MLMs, asking questions or sharing knowledge you have. You are sure to learn a lot here.

Mumsnet  This link will take you to the ‘money matters’ page. From here, look for the thread that contains the words ‘MLM botwatch’. The people here are very knowledgeable and you are welcome to join in and ask questions/ make contributions. I hang out there under the name TooBusyToWee.

Reddit have a subreddit where MLM subjects are discussed.

Report

If you see an illegal health claim or dodgy advert for an MLM product you know is banned, report them. The Advertising Standards Authority in the UK are the people to report advertising infringements to. They have advice on their website about what you can complain about.

If you see an MLM is due to appear at an event, try complaining to the organisers, warning them of the MLM’s intention. If they are sponsoring an event, complain. Let people know about the event and complain, and others can also let their feelings be known. If you want to remain anonymous, pass on the information to us here and we can complain about it. Make a noise. Tell people on Twitter, write letters, email, mention it on forums. If you want to explain to organisers why MLMs are a BAD THING, you can copy and paste from this piece or give them the link.

If you see someone in an MLM making claims or doing something dodgy, confront them or report them to their own MLM. MLMs have compliance departments that investigate dodgy behaviour. They are very quick to sanction people. So much for them being ‘independent business’ people! I try not to go down this route because people are often the unwitting victims and do not know what they are involved in. Sometimes, however, it is justified. Use your judgement.

If you see a scheme that is behaving like an illegal pyramid scheme you can report them to the police at Action Fraud via the phone or online. If a business is operating without having customers or breaks any of the pyramid scheme laws, they can be reported for investigation.

 

Share your experience

Tell your story and help spread the truth. Make sure there’s lots of evidence out there for people researching joining one of these schemes. Make sure that the truth outweighs the propaganda. You can do this in a number of ways-

  1. If you are a talented writer, consider writing a blog. Either write a post for someone else’s blog or start your own. If you want your story telling but don’t want to write it yourself, consider speaking to Bot Watch, Timeless Vie or Elle Beau to see if they could use your story.
  2. Give a brief rundown of what happened or what information you have so you can go on Bot Watch’s database. You might be needed when a reporter contacts us, looking for people to interview. This happens quite regularly. Unfortunately we are often not able to find people who are willing to help. This means the story doesn’t get written. It would be really useful to have you on our list, along with details of whether you need to anonymous or not. Drop us an email at botwatchmail@googlemail.com and tell us how you can help.
  3. Add your voice to the twitter discussions or website forums and make sure people hear what you have to say.
  4. If you have any professional experience and wish to give your take on something, e.g. a dietician who has looked into Juiceplus or a business person who wants to give an analysis, please let us know. You might be able to act as an adviser or write your own post.

Recognise an MLM/Pyramid scheme

To be a Bot Watcher, you need to make sure you know what you are looking at. If you see a company and you suspect it may be an MLM, you could look it up on the Directory of MLMs here at Bot Watch. If it isn’t there, it still might be an MLM, but just hasn’t been put on the list yet (there’s so many).

If you Google the name of the company, followed by ‘MLM’, often you will get loads of results if it is one. Look for posts of people trying to recruit into it.

The key things you are looking for are-

1. There is usually a mention of a ‘compensation plan’ instead of a wage or hourly rate.

2. Look for terms like ‘team building’ or ‘recruiting’ or a chance to grow your team.

3. Are there pictures of cruises, holidays, cars, piles of money? Promises of what you can obtain if you join?

4. Search for the company on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. Are the sellers using a lot of emojis and unable to spell correctly? They may be making outrageously incorrect statements or just seem dodgy.

5. Do not rely on websites that claim it is not a scam or pyramid scheme if they then try and get you to join. It is a very common thing to see people put titles on posts such as ‘Is company X a scam?’ or ‘Don’t join company X until you read/watch this’) These are always written by people in the schemes trying to trick people who are suspicious and change their minds to join them. Don’t fall for it.

6. If in doubt, email, FB message or comment on posts here. I’ll get back to you                  pretty quickly with an answer. Then I can add the details of the company onto                  the Directory.

Research

Learn what you can about these schemes. Have a look at some blogs on the subject, read some books, watch some programs or short YouTube clips to learn more. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Websites

Timeless Vie’s blog has some interesting exposes, interviews with victims and articles that look at MLMs from a feminist angle. On their menu, they have a drop down bit where you can look up different MLMs that they have written about.

Elle-Beau’s blog  This is a multi part story on a Younique presenter’s experience from beginning to end. Funny and addictive. You’ll learn about the tactics used.

Ethan Vanderbuilt‘s website has details of many individual MLM scams as well as more general articles and MLM news. He has videos and written articles.

Pyramid Scheme Alert is a consumer organisation that confronts the abuses of MLMs. Full of information.

Truth IN Advertising (TINA) is an American website that fight false and misleading advertising. As such, there are many mentions of MLM scams.

False Profits by Robert Fitzpatrick, an MLM academic and expert witness on the subject.

MLM The American Dream Made Nightmare by David Brear gives detailed analysis on the subject. He’s been researching MLM for over 20 years.

Videos/ programs to watch.

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Betting On Zero is a very informative documentary that looks at Herbalife and the deceptive practices that go on. It also looks at the financial battle going on with the company’s shares. It’s more interesting than I’m describing here! You can buy this film on Netflix or iplayer. Here is a  free trailer for it.

 

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This episode of John Oliver’s ‘Last Week Tonight’ takes a satirical look at Multilevel marketing, focusing on Herbalife but the message applies to all MLMs.

 

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Documentary where an investigative reporter looks into MLMs that prey on people in Uganda, selling them false health products and promises of riches.

 

 

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How to spot a pyramid scheme video. This explains the basics of how pyramid schemes/MLMs work. 6 mins 21 seconds long.

 

 

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This video contains the testimonies of many Herbalife victims. It is really quite sad.

 

 

Reading list

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Complain

If you discover that an MLM are going to be at a jobs fair or will be running a stand at a fete, please let the organisers know what these companies are like. Ask for them to reconsider the inclusion of the company and give them a list of problems associated with MLM. Some templates you can use can be found on this blog here.

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