Why Network Marketing is a Bad Thing.

What’s the harm of network marketing/ distance selling/ multilevel marketing? It’s just normal, everyday people making a bit of spare cash from selling things harmlessly to friends and online, right?

MLM creates victims

Victim 1- friends and family of the rep

You should see some of the heartbreaking stories I hear from people about their worries for their loved ones. It has ruined relationships. Not only can it dramatically ruin close family relationships, it can make working relationships and friendships awkward when someone tries to involve you in their scheme.

Here’s a selection of messages from Bot Watch’s Facebook inbox.

 

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Victim 2- customers

The people who buy the products are most likely only buying out of pity for their friend or relative. They might be trying to support their friend but do not actually want the product. Have you seen the inflated prices? They have to be high in order to pay all the people up the pyramid.

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This is water available to purchase from Forever Living. 12 bottles for £14.76.

Here is exactly the same water from the same source, not from Forever Living.

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24 bottles for £12.72.

Forever Living sell at £1.23 a bottle, 53p from another company.

 

Victim 3- legitimate homeworkers/ small businesses

How many real small business people/ home workers and life coaches have been met with scepticism or an eye roll when they reveal what they do? People who have spent time and money and skills building up a real business are not taken seriously because MLM have sullied the reputation of genuine businesses.

Some reps describe themselves as life coaches, which must sting genuine life coaches who have had training and built up a reputation, helping people to make the best of their lives and overcome obstacles they are experiencing. Reps come along and call themselves coaches, with the express aim of recruiting people, coaching them to recruit people to coach them to recruit people to coach them to recruit….You get the idea.

 

Victim 4- The rep’s finances

It has been well established that it is impossible to earn a good wage in MLM, unless you are high up with the right connections. The people that earn money are reliant on having a large team beneath them, most of whom will lose money, before they feel a failure and slink off feeling worthless.

There have been many, many people coming forward with stories about losing money. Have a read of Elle Beau and her story of Younique. People hide their losses to themselves and family. Most do not even realise they are losing money because they do not keep a proper track of their expenses.

Victim 5- Women

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Women are targeted for this industry, often in a patronising way, using their vulnerabilities and patronising them along the way. What is this, the 1950’s? Have a look at Timeless Vie for some of their work on feminism and MLMs. This article is a particular eye opener.

Here is one example from Bot Watch’s inbox of vulnerable women being specifically targeted.

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Victim 6- free thought

It is becoming increasingly evident that MLMs are cults. People are subjected to techniques that condition people into thinking and speaking in a certain way. They are taught to ignore their inner questioning thoughts and to blindly do as they are told. They are conditioned to think all fault lies with them and anything good is down to the MLM. They speak of their team members as family and are encouraged to reject friends and family that raise concerns. This post goes into more detail about it.

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 Victim 7- People with health conditions

For some reason, many MLMs tout products with amazing properties that can cure any illness. People target sufferers with conditions and tell them their products can help. This is not only deceptive and fraudulent, but illegal and dangerous as well.

Truth In Advertising have looked at the bogus health claims made by MLMs and they came up with quite a list.

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DoTERRA got in trouble for saying their oils could cure Ebola and got in trouble with the FDA about it.

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Below is a common type of social media post. What are they trying to do? Tell you that any condition you have can be cured by their oils/ juices/ tablets/ coffee? Yes, that is exactly what they are doing. I hope that they are just deluded and really believe in their products. Because otherwise, they are deliberately getting people to spend over the odds on products that will have no effect on anyone’s health. At least it won’t improve any conditions.

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What to do about it

If you are an organiser of an event please consider banning MLMs from attending. People are becoming wise to them now and are are generally displeased when they see these stalls. People who do not know about them could be vulnerable to being recruited. This is especially bad when the event is a jobs fair, targeting a particular profession or aimed at people with health conditions or new parents. You could be enabling these companies to cause many problems for the people you are trying to serve.

If you see adverts for events that include MLMs please speak up about it. Read this article on what you can do to help.

If you have a friend or relative in an MLM and you want to help them, look here for inspiration.

If you are in an MLM yourself you might want to read ‘How to leave an MLM’ if you are at that point. If you are not sure what to do and are having a bit of a ‘moment’ and tying to work out what is going on, read this article on ‘having doubts‘. It might help clarify a few things.

 

Contents page

I have written a few posts and it is sometimes hard to find the one you want. Here is a list of some of the most popular/ useful ones and a quick summary. I hope you can find what you are looking for.

Follow Bot Watch on Twitter (@MLMBotWatch) or Facebook to keep upto date.

 

Why Network Marketing is a bad thing.  This is an introduction to Multilevel marketing/ network marketing. It explains why it is not the innocent small work from home type opportunity people say it is.

How to leave an MLM This helps people who are in an MLM and want to leave but are worried about how they should go about it. It can be a stressful time. This is also useful if you have already left and are grappling with the emotions that are left.

Network Marketing is a cult. This title is not as mad sounding as you think. It provides an analysis of what a cult is and how MLMs fit the criteria. This is quite a stressful read if you have been involved but things may make a bit more sense to you after reading.

MLM and the Enterprise Allowance This is a continuing investigation which is nearing completion. The article lays out the problem and the beginnings of my sleuthing. More progress has been made and it will be updated when completed. The Enterprise Allowance is a government scheme that funds new businesses.

You are not an independent Business Owner A quick look at what these words mean and how ridiculous they sound when applied to someone involved in MLMs. Quite funny, and a good one to link to in an argument with someone involved in MLM!

Directory of MLM information This one provides general MLM information and then gives an alphabetical list of some of the MLMs we have come across and details on them. I need to update it a bit to reflect some of the companies failing and creating new scandals, but it is a good place to start looking for information.

How to help someone in an MLM. This is a good read if you have a fried or relative involved in an MLM and you are at a loss as to what to do. You may be worried about damaging your relationship with them. This article will help you through the difficulties and offer practical advice.

In need of an alternative/ extra income? This is a resource for people who are in need of earning some money and need an alternative to MLM. This could be useful for someone who has been considering an MLM or people who are leaving and are still left with the problem of wanting to make money at home. I gain nothing from any of the links in this article. No affiliate marketing going on here.

The things MLMs say (or MLM Bingo) People arguing for MLMs will always come up with the same tiring arguments all the time. Here, they are laid out and explanations given as to why they are not true. If you get in an argument with someone in an MLM, refer them to this piece.

MLM Expectation vs Reality This was produced in partnership with someone who was quite high up in Forever Living. She spills the beans on what she was promised and what actually happened once she joined. The themes are relevant to all MLMs. It is quit an eye opener.

Forever Living using sick children, Great Ormond Street Hospital and a charity to make unsubstantiated health claims. This is an investigation that exposed some lies that some people were caught telling. The title tells you all you need to know.

People who care about you are worried A good one to link to if you have a friend or relative who has become embroiled in MLM but you don’t know how to approach them. People have actually sent this to people and had good results. It could also help you get your own thoughts together and working out why you are worried.

Are you or someone you know in an MLM? Having doubts? Aimed at people who have just joined an MLM and are thinking ‘what on earth have I got myself involved in here?’ Maybe it was going well at first but now the doubts are creeping in. Read this to find out what is happening to you.

Making False Health Claims. Part 1 and Making False Health Claims. Part 2 These explain the laws around making heath claims for products in the UK. This covers medicines, herbal remedies and any products that claim to alter the body’s functions. Seen an advert for a product that can cure diabetes or help you lose weight? These articles help you work out if those claims can be made, and if not, what you can do about it.