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TheKennedys
Sep 23, 2006

By my hand, I will take you from this godforsaken internet


MLMs are one of those things I've spent a lot of time reading about (because barely-legal scams are fascinating) and like 99% of the time, probably Primerica also, they don't give one single tiny rat's rear end if a single product is ever sold to a customer; most of them don't even track sales, except to consultants, because that's the only money going into their pockets. MLM ladies/dudes (it's usually ladies) gush about how much money the company is making while conveniently omitting that they made $10 this month after business expenses because they alienated everyone they know by posting super-bubbly image macros with eight fonts and stolen stock photos 18 times a day on facebook. The companies are doing great, but literally 99% of the people participating in them lose money.

Since Primerica doesn't have inventory, the classes are their cash cow - lol if you think it's "one class" or they won't pressure you into having to buy training materials and CDs and DVDs and whatever to make up for not having $200 minimum monthly inventory orders. Recruiting is always the key in these though, because new recruits mean new $250 classes/$2500 initial inventory packages/starter kits/whatever. They can fall out after a month and the company loses nothing. Primerica and the other "inventory-less" MLMs are treading a lot closer to the fine line between MLM and pyramid scheme than ones with actual products and I hope they get smashed into the ground.

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BogDew
Jun 14, 2006

E:\FILES>quickfli clown.fli

Here's one we had in Australia. A government education grants scheme got hijacked by scammers who used high pressure sales tactics on low income people to foist overpriced diploma courses onto them.

They made a few tidy millions and vanished back overseas.

http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-14/collapsed-training-college-owners-always-planned-to-cut-and-run/7239372

peanut
Sep 9, 2007




*a joke about humanities degrees in America*

BiggerBoat
Sep 26, 2007

For That you Get the Head...

The Tail...

The Whole Damned Thing

We had an MLM thread here for a while. I have real serious issues with these assholes, even though I personally wasn't really duped. Thing that pisses me off a lot is the people who say "there's people making really good money in Amway. In knew a guy who was making blah, blah blah."

No, they're not and no he wasn't. They'll show you a rebate check or something and leave out the fact that typically they had to spend 10x that amount to earn their points. They basically get a check back (rebate) for buying product for themselves and call it a commission.

Plus the loving brainwashing is frightening. Google "Amway seminar" on youtube.

axolotl farmer
May 17, 2007

Now I'm going to sing the Perry Mason theme


Google something like "[MLM name] scam" and all the top hits are YouTube videos of some poor loser going "Is AmeriHerb a scam? Noo! I'm on my way to being a brazillionaire! Just sign up with me and you will be one too!"

Pilsner
Nov 23, 2002



Just think for two minutes about MLM's selling juice, berries, pills or whatever, and it makes no sense. If a company made a product so great, why would they farm out the distribution, sales and profits to random people, instead of just selling it themselves? That's why the products are always overpriced bullshit.

RenegadeStyle1
Jun 7, 2005

Baby Come Back

Yeah it makes no sense at all. Gatorade doesn't farm their sales out to independent salesmen and the stuff their selling is supposed to be even better?

Thanatosian
Apr 16, 2013

Angrier, Bitterer Man


Grimey Drawer

I have a cousin who is apparently telling everyone on Facebook that she's making tons of money through an MLM (I don't have Facebook, so am hearing about this second-hand through my mother). I am enormously skeptical.

Haifisch
Nov 12, 2010

Objection! I object! That was... objectionable!



Taco Defender

Pilsner posted:

Just think for two minutes about MLM's selling juice, berries, pills or whatever, and it makes no sense. If a company made a product so great, why would they farm out the distribution, sales and profits to random people, instead of just selling it themselves? That's why the products are always overpriced bullshit.
I'm guessing it's like spam emails with terrible spelling & grammar - they want to filter out the people smart enough to realize something fishy's going on before they're in deep enough to become a problem. In MLMs that leads to selling overpriced bullshit instead of something people might actually want.

BiggerBoat
Sep 26, 2007

For That you Get the Head...

The Tail...

The Whole Damned Thing

Thanatosian posted:

I have a cousin who is apparently telling everyone on Facebook that she's making tons of money through an MLM (I don't have Facebook, so am hearing about this second-hand through my mother). I am enormously skeptical.

She's not. I promise. Ask her to show you her tax returns. Like I said, she might show you a CHECK she got and it's probably legit but if it's for, say, 500 bucks the part she's leaving out is the $2000 of overpriced poo poo she bought that she never sold.

Wicked Them Beats
Apr 1, 2007

Moralists don't really *have* beliefs. Sometimes they stumble on one, like on a child's toy left on the carpet. The toy must be put away immediately. And the child reprimanded.



I've known people who make money through this stuff, but it's pretty rare and when you break down how much effort it required, turns out they were making well below minimum wage.

My parents did herbalife when I was a teenager and they definitely sold all their stock, but the amount of time they spent on it was nuts.

Collateral Damage
Jun 13, 2009



And how many friendships did they ruin in the process?

Wicked Them Beats
Apr 1, 2007

Moralists don't really *have* beliefs. Sometimes they stumble on one, like on a child's toy left on the carpet. The toy must be put away immediately. And the child reprimanded.



Collateral Damage posted:

And how many friendships did they ruin in the process?

I believe they stuck to irritating coworkers.

mostlygray
Nov 1, 2012

BURY ME AS I LIVED, A FREE MAN ON THE CLUTCH


Both my wife and I got got hit with the Primerica thing. At least my scammer was honest. He straight up told me it was a scam and you'd hate your life. But if you bust rear end and don't care about others, you can get rich fast and then get out of the game. That was his actual sales pitch.

My wife's experience was creepier. She was approached by a dude at her job at Target who talked her into interviewing with him at a local cafe. He got super creepy about it and, as soon as she heard Primerica, she bailed.

We had a friend that did the Primerica thing. He treated it like a real job as a financial adviser. He never made a penny. Just spent everything on trips and training and classes and nothing.

Another former co-worker of mine burnt his entire life savings on HerbaLife. I don't know if he ever made a legit sale.

Stay away from all MLM. No good can come from it. Even if you're successful, it's at the expense of others.

EKDS5k
Feb 22, 2012

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LET YOUR BEER FREEZE, DAMNIT


TheKennedys posted:

MLMs are one of those things I've spent a lot of time reading about (because barely-legal scams are fascinating) and like 99% of the time, probably Primerica also, they don't give one single tiny rat's rear end if a single product is ever sold to a customer; most of them don't even track sales, except to consultants, because that's the only money going into their pockets. MLM ladies/dudes (it's usually ladies) gush about how much money the company is making while conveniently omitting that they made $10 this month after business expenses because they alienated everyone they know by posting super-bubbly image macros with eight fonts and stolen stock photos 18 times a day on facebook. The companies are doing great, but literally 99% of the people participating in them lose money.

Since Primerica doesn't have inventory, the classes are their cash cow - lol if you think it's "one class" or they won't pressure you into having to buy training materials and CDs and DVDs and whatever to make up for not having $200 minimum monthly inventory orders. Recruiting is always the key in these though, because new recruits mean new $250 classes/$2500 initial inventory packages/starter kits/whatever. They can fall out after a month and the company loses nothing. Primerica and the other "inventory-less" MLMs are treading a lot closer to the fine line between MLM and pyramid scheme than ones with actual products and I hope they get smashed into the ground.

It's this, even with the ones that have actual inventory. Merchants of Deception was written by a guy who bought into Amway for years, and got all the way up to Emerald level (which according to him is like the top 1%), and barely made enough to get by. Near the end he starts to realise that it's literally only the top 0.01% who are making real money, and that money comes primarily from selling tapes of the training seminars, pamphlets, books, etc, to their downlines. I believe you can still find the free, working copy version (with edited names) online, but when he went to actual publication he changed all the names to their real ones.

A few years ago my sister came to visit with a bunch of XS products in her trunk, which I recognised from the previous time someone tried to recruit me, and I asked her what was up. She said she was running a business with her husband, and because I didn't want to alienate her (I see her only a handful of times a year), I didn't outright call it a scam. I did try to convince her that it was a pyramid scheme ("No, pyramid schemes are illegal and Amway has an actual product."), to no avail, and I even sat down with them and tried to have them explain where the money comes from. They were insistent that the money came in from people ordering from themselves, as they earned a portion of what their downlines sold, and completely failed to see that that was unsustainable, and therefore the money actually had to come in from working a real job. Apparently nowadays you don't just get a cut of your downline's sales, you earn certain amounts of points based on who sells what, and they get fed online to convoluted system that sends you non-linear reward checks in what is obviously an attempt to hide that you're just getting a cut of your downline's sales.

Anyway to her credit she didn't try to get me to sign up for it, and I left her to it, as they both had decent jobs that paid alright, and said they had no intention of quitting them. I haven't seen her with an XS (or other knockoff-brand) product for a long time, so I think she may have come to her senses and quietly dropped it.

Relevant: The dude who tried to get me to sign up before (when they were Quixtar briefly) also offered to literally suck my dick with no strings attached, and he was adamant that one had nothing to do with the other.

AlbieQuirky
Oct 9, 2012



Anybody who manages to make even a bit of money in an MLM is likely brilliant at sales, and thus should quit the MLM and find a legit commission sales job and make real money.

MightyJoe36
Dec 29, 2013

:minnie: Cat Army :minnie:


mostlygray posted:

Both my wife and I got got hit with the Primerica thing. At least my scammer was honest. He straight up told me it was a scam and you'd hate your life. But if you bust rear end and don't care about others, you can get rich fast and then get out of the game. That was his actual sales pitch.

My wife's experience was creepier. She was approached by a dude at her job at Target who talked her into interviewing with him at a local cafe. He got super creepy about it and, as soon as she heard Primerica, she bailed.

We had a friend that did the Primerica thing. He treated it like a real job as a financial adviser. He never made a penny. Just spent everything on trips and training and classes and nothing.

Another former co-worker of mine burnt his entire life savings on HerbaLife. I don't know if he ever made a legit sale.

Stay away from all MLM. No good can come from it. Even if you're successful, it's at the expense of others.

I've been hit with the MLM pitch several times over the years. It's basically always the same pitch:

:words: Person: I have my own successful business where I'm my own boss and make tons of extra money. We're looking to bring on some new people and you seem like you would be a good candidate.
:) Me: Is it Amway?
:words: No, no. It's nothing like that.
:): Then what is it?
:words:: Well, if you come to this meeting on Thursday night, you'll find out all about it.
:): Its it Amway?
:words:: No,no. It's not like that.
:): Then what is it?
:words:: Come to the meeting on Thursday night and you'll get all your questions answered.
:): I'm not coming unless you tell me what it is.
:words:: Okay, it's Amway. But, whatever you've heard about Amway is not true. This is really a chance for you to be your own boss and make tons of extra money and eventually quit your job and run your own successful business.
:rolleyes:: Good luck with that (walking away).

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

I also feel like any decent job isn't going to be vague about the job you are applying for or what the job itself entails. When I see openings in my job for other positions there is a bullet point rundown of everything you will be doing, and pretty specific salary numbers.

If there's any good to be had to being sucked into a MLM job application thing, it is that you will learn from experience to ask really specific questions to prospective employers to make sure the job you are applying for isn't a scam.

TheKennedys
Sep 23, 2006

By my hand, I will take you from this godforsaken internet


EKDS5k posted:

It's this, even with the ones that have actual inventory. Merchants of Deception was written by a guy who bought into Amway for years, and got all the way up to Emerald level (which according to him is like the top 1%), and barely made enough to get by. Near the end he starts to realise that it's literally only the top 0.01% who are making real money, and that money comes primarily from selling tapes of the training seminars, pamphlets, books, etc, to their downlines. I believe you can still find the free, working copy version (with edited names) online, but when he went to actual publication he changed all the names to their real ones.


here you go friend :)

sweart gliwere
Jul 5, 2005

better to die an evil wizard,
than to live as a grand one.


Pillbug

MightyJoe36 posted:

I've been hit with the MLM pitch several times over the years. It's basically always the same pitch:

:words: Person: I have my own successful business where I'm my own boss and make tons of extra money. We're looking to bring on some new people and you seem like you would be a good candidate.
:) Me: Is it Amway?
:words: No, no. It's nothing like that.
:): Then what is it?
:words:: Well, if you come to this meeting on Thursday night, you'll find out all about it.
:): Its it Amway?
:words:: No,no. It's not like that.
:): Then what is it?
:words:: Come to the meeting on Thursday night and you'll get all your questions answered.
:): I'm not coming unless you tell me what it is.

This, but for some doofus who had a vague but enticing Vector ad in the local paper when I was a kid. When I called up to see what the "minimum $15 per hour" job was, the person who answered literally wouldn't tell me what the drat job actually entailed. She kept saying to come on by, don't worry about it it's great. Even as a highschool student in need of cash, that turned me off from considering the company.

Maybe she didn't realize how shady that sounds, or that someone willing to show up to a dumb obfuscated mystery job for the money alone could just be a day laborer or an escort?

cakesmith handyman
Jul 22, 2007

Pip-Pip old chap! Last one in is a rotten egg what what.



No they deliberately want people who fail the "obvious scan" warning signals.

RenegadeStyle1
Jun 7, 2005

Baby Come Back

Yeah if your smart enough to know you shouldn't go to a strange interview where they refuse to tell you the job your doing then your probably smart enough to not fall for the pitch.

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

RenegadeStyle1 posted:

Yeah if your smart enough to know you shouldn't go to a strange interview where they refuse to tell you the job your doing then your probably smart enough to not fall for the pitch.

No denying that however desperation can lead people to making questionable choices. When there is a serious shortage of solid full time jobs in an area even practical people can throw critical thinking out the window. Most of the people that got sucked into MLM 's were the most economically vulnerable.

Wicked Them Beats
Apr 1, 2007

Moralists don't really *have* beliefs. Sometimes they stumble on one, like on a child's toy left on the carpet. The toy must be put away immediately. And the child reprimanded.



I showed up to an "interview" once when I was 19 after finding an ad in a newspaper that swore I could make $3-$4 grand a month. My mom told me it was a scam and we had a big fight, so I went to the meeting in a huff just to spite her and it turns out the gig was selling Kirby vacuums door-to-door. I remember sitting in a waiting room filling out paperwork while a bunch of people in a class were cheering and chanting slogans next door. They told me I couldn't get into the class that day but they would contact me next week.

I went home and my mom had dinner waiting and we didn't bring it up again. Lesson learned.

RenegadeStyle1
Jun 7, 2005

Baby Come Back

Panfilo posted:

No denying that however desperation can lead people to making questionable choices. When there is a serious shortage of solid full time jobs in an area even practical people can throw critical thinking out the window. Most of the people that got sucked into MLM 's were the most economically vulnerable.

Absolutely. I agree and also I don't think just because someone was dumb/gullible and fell for it that it makes it right. It should be illegal and I have no idea how it doesn't count as fraud or an issue of workers rights (I know lol america and all that but still).

HerStuddMuffin
Aug 10, 2014

YOSPOS


I got an email from a woman I collaborated with last year, on a project that is long complete. We had not kept in touch. She asked to speak in confidence. I was very puzzled as to what this could be about but I said sure. Next email I get is this story about how shes stuck in a foreign country and forgot her purse in a taxi so she has no phone, cards etc... and is there a western union near me. I smiled, deleted the email and went about my day. Im sure the scammers who hijacked her email account have contacted others, who are much closer to her and were able to warn her about the issue. I hope she gets her account back.

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

RenegadeStyle1 posted:

Absolutely. I agree and also I don't think just because someone was dumb/gullible and fell for it that it makes it right. It should be illegal and I have no idea how it doesn't count as fraud or an issue of workers rights (I know lol america and all that but still).

This also makes me wonder if MLMs are like gold in that they get really popular during times of financial insecurity. I mean if most people were in a position to work a stable full time job with benefits then why would they bother with something like Amway?

RenegadeStyle1
Jun 7, 2005

Baby Come Back

Panfilo posted:

This also makes me wonder if MLMs are like gold in that they get really popular during times of financial insecurity. I mean if most people were in a position to work a stable full time job with benefits then why would they bother with something like Amway?

Maybe some of them, buy get rich quick schemes have been around since currency was first used I'm sure.

BiggerBoat
Sep 26, 2007

For That you Get the Head...

The Tail...

The Whole Damned Thing

Panfilo posted:

No denying that however desperation can lead people to making questionable choices. When there is a serious shortage of solid full time jobs in an area even practical people can throw critical thinking out the window. Most of the people that got sucked into MLM 's were the most economically vulnerable.

There's also the cult like brainwashing factor and exploiting people who are lonely and feel like "losers" being made to feel like a part of something. Like joining a gang almost. I "lost" a good friend to the Amway cult. Dude had lost his parents, was socially awkward and couldn't find a girlfriend. The MLM types pretend they're like family and tell the suckers that all their friends are holding them back and standing in the way of their dreams and success. Motherfucker wouldn't talk about anything else after like 6 months.

He started wearing suits and ties everywhere, constantly talking about Jesus and handing out energy drinks and poo poo; like at beach parties or cookouts. He was an OK dude before and I dug hanging out with him. He was a little hosed up but no more or less than the next guy to my eyes. Then he started acting like a Manson family member (minus the murdering) inside of 6 months and was pitching my wife "the plan" even when I explicitly asked him not to once I'd found out his "new business venture" was loving Quixtar.

They pretend to care about the person and create an entire...well...cult; where they shut out everything but "the business" and straight up brainwash these people. It's loving scary and sickening and financial desperation is only part of what they exploit. The way they isolate their members from the people who used to be their friends and the religios furvor of their rallies are straight up cult 101 tactics.

Props to the dude who linked "Merchants of Deception" btw. It's a great read.

Panfilo posted:

This also makes me wonder if MLMs are like gold in that they get really popular during times of financial insecurity. I mean if most people were in a position to work a stable full time job with benefits then why would they bother with something like Amway?

They do. They're increasingly prevalent in poorer third world countries where people don't know any better.

RenegadeStyle1 posted:

Absolutely. I agree and also I don't think just because someone was dumb/gullible and fell for it that it makes it right. It should be illegal and I have no idea how it doesn't count as fraud or an issue of workers rights (I know lol america and all that but still).

Lobbyists. Google the DeVos family.

Sorry for the long post but MLM's really burn my rear end.

BiggerBoat fucked around with this message at 00:26 on Dec 14, 2017

Proteus Jones
Feb 28, 2013





I hope this isn't a sign of things to come, but I've had two voicemails with no corresponding phone call. The voicemail says it's from "+45 2"

The meat of the message:

"This is an urgent message intended for <<Not My First Name>> <<Real Last Name>>. My name is Stephanie I'm contacting you to discuss the matter than has been forwarded to my office for consideration of the legal action including these pending actions which may be filed a lawsuit and complete with the court to discuss an action to be filed against you. You will need to contact the firm directly handling your file."

There's more bullshit, about how if I don't contact them scary, scary things are going to happen.

My question is, how the gently caress are sending a direct VM on my mobile carrier? Is this a case of T-Mobile blocking the call but letting the VM through? Because if that's the case, I'll turn it off and go back to blocking on the phone since that nukes voicemails as well.

EL BROMANCE
Jun 10, 2006

COWABUNGA DUDES!



Im sure I read the other week that republicans had passed a bill allowing exactly that to happen.

Proteus Jones
Feb 28, 2013





EL BROMANCE posted:

Im sure I read the other week that republicans had passed a bill allowing exactly that to happen.

Ah poo poo, you're right. I think it was supposed to be for political robo-calls, but once you open the door...

Tunicate
May 15, 2012





BiggerBoat posted:


They do. They're increasingly prevalent in poorer third world countries where people don't know any better.


There was a huge emu pyramid scheme in India recently

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

While there are always going to be people to bite on the MLM bait, I can't help but think that recessions are good for them.

I guess the only real way to make money in an MLM is to be the staff that actually do the overpriced seminars or produce the overpriced materials. They have to come from somewhere, right?

iajanus
Aug 17, 2004

#GOAT


When I used to work the late night shift at our local supermarket I would get someone trying to sign me up to MLM sales about once a fortnight. They always had the most hilarious arguments when I asked them to try to explain what they were actually signing me up for.

EKDS5k
Feb 22, 2012

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU LET YOUR BEER FREEZE, DAMNIT



That's the one, thanks!

Panfilo posted:

While there are always going to be people to bite on the MLM bait, I can't help but think that recessions are good for them.

I guess the only real way to make money in an MLM is to be the staff that actually do the overpriced seminars or produce the overpriced materials. They have to come from somewhere, right?

It's the materials. Merchants of Deception goes into quite a bit of detail on the process. Basically, high level members, who are mostly broke and barely getting by, are encouraged to go on stage and talk about how they got as far as they did. Their talks are recorded by the higher ups, and the recordings are sold as part of the monthly training packages.

And then they push hard that you need to be listening to the seminars, reading the books, sharing the pamphlets, etc. It's rammed down members' throats that these things are an investment, and the cost of the training materials will more than pay for itself in time. Not succeeding yet? You need more tapes! More books! The handful of guys at the top make a killing, because the cost of producing them is a fraction of the sale price to members (though when asked they will claim it's a tiny part of their revenue). Nobody gives a poo poo about the actual products being sold, they're just moving enough that they can show the feds they're a real business with an actual product.

Seriously, anyone who's interested in MLM crap should read that book.

therobit
Aug 19, 2008

EVERYTHING I TYPE IS UTTERLY WORTHLESS


Having worked at a bank before, some small percentage of them are making money. Herbalife had people malimg money as well as Mary Kay. I think I actually remember someone who made a living out of Amway once. That was by far an annomaly though. Herbalife though i had multiple people making money from once upon a time. Where I was it seemed like it was big in the Hispanic community. Around 2006-2007.

Panfilo
Aug 27, 2011

EXISTENCE IS PAIN

I could definitely see big markets for Herbalife in Latino and Chinese markets; both cultures are big into herbal remedies, and tend to have close extended family ties which makes it easier to find more suckers contacts to sell pills to.

Proteus Jones
Feb 28, 2013





Herbalife is notorious for preying on the Hispanic community. People have lost their life-savings to them.

John Oliver's episode on MLMs is the one I send people who want to know "what's wrong with MLMs?" This is really worth a watch, and he really, really hates Herbalife.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6MwGeOm8iI

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Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

Your brokebrain sin is absolved...go and shitpost no more!


the one time i got an herbalife pitch was from a latino dude passing out flyers for his "nutrition club" in a heavily latino area of minneapolis :shobon:

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