Multi Level Marketing. (Give me your money)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chris Tsutsui, Jun 6, 2002.

  1. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    Well, one of my best friends growing up is a high roller with a new MLM scheme.
    I can't believe he doesn't realize how many people lose money from the scam. I've had friends lose thousands of dollars from such scams and then there are a few making money.
    One of the newer scams I was introduced to is **Internet Scam** which is closely related to **advertising scam**. Those educated in economics should know how a multi level marketing scam works (Pyramid scheme) so please tell your children or those naive about such programs. Some ppl may get a few bucks but it doesn't compare to the # of ppl that experience losses.
    This also reminds me of **Cutlery Scam** which uses the same multilevel rep selling tactics. At colleges and schools there are numerous amounts of advertisements for such scams. A lot of them include vague information and a phone number. After calling them on the phone they attempt to get you to go to a meeting where they do everything they can to get you to give them money. A common attention grabber involves "Make $___ an hour" or "get paid _____"
    This may seem like an obvious scam the way I said it, but the scam is designed to hide what you actually are doing (which is giving somebody else your money). Many ppl become blinded by their hopes and dreams and give in. Some people think with their minds set to the future, and not in the present regarding their current actions.
    A very moral issue came to mind and I ended up refusing to join my friend. Do I regret that he's making money? Not really, but there's that greed inside me that wants me to join him and find reps. (I'm sure we were all tempted at one point)
    I was tempted for 0.68 seconds which for me... was a lifetime. [​IMG]
    I just think that parents should teach their children about the world of scam marketing because I was told nothing of this growing up. My dad worked for **scam** for 2 months and didn't tell me anything at all when I went to one of their meetings. I suppose he wanted to see if I could figure things out on my own. Something that costed him and his family about 3 grand and all they got was some **merchandise**.
    I just have been seeing a lot of my buddies losing money from scams. I probably would see none of this if those buddies were educated in what they participated in. I'm just posting this to see if I can make a difference in a few ppl out there.
    (You can do your part by trashing the next scam advertisement you see hanging on a campus.)
    If you agree with the way multi level marketing works and are for it, then I accept that. I decided not to name any of the scams because I think you probably know which ones I'm talking about. I wouldn't want to advertise for any of them either... All I'll add is that there are thousands of them out there.
    I have never joined one and have never told anyone my opinion about MLM schemes until this post today. Please post if you have ever come across one or participated in something similar. Then maybe post if you've actually told anyone (like a friend or offspring) about them.
    Just had to get this off my chest...
     
  2. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    a friend of mine joined up with one of the MLM companies, and tried to recruit me; to humour my friend, I attended one of their recruitment seminars/talks, where more experienced MLM'ers would explain how it works and how much money people could potentially make. as it turned out, the fellow two levels above him was also an acquaintance of ours from college. this fellow told me he'd been at it for about six months, and was making serious money already (in excess of S$10,000 a month -- about US$5,500)
    whilst the numbers they bandied about were very impressive, after some hard questions and probing, it was pretty obvious after a while that the only way to make real money is to recruit, and not to sell products at all -- the classic hallmarks of a pyramid scheme. so I thanked them for their time and declined.
    if you seriously go into this, you MIGHT make serious money, but you have to ask yourself whether it's worthwhile to be chasing all your friends, acquaintances and relatives into joining up, and possibly bugging the hell out of them while you're hard-selling them into joining. to be fair to my friend, since I declined he's never mentioned it again, and he's been helping me in selecting my new HT gear.
    anyway, for more info, check out this
    site
     
  3. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    A little more to add:
    So, say you become successful with MLM. You have lots of money and then live a life and then die. A life like that just doesn't inspire me. I would much rather live a life that makes a difference and one that is truly extraordinary. What did those ppl accomplish in their lives and are they truly happy? Ask somebody rich if wealth has created happiness in their life.
    Life is empty and meaningless, it is the mind that gives it meaning so learn how to use it and experience transformation, enrollment, and possibility. err, I might as well give u a link to what I'm ranting about. Landmark Education. It transformed my life forever so I think their website deserves at least a peek. (For those wondering -they offer an education service for a tuition fee)
     
  4. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Very good point ! When I was growing up, it was easy to understand the concepts of "No such thing as Money for Nothing" and "No Free Ride". In today's marketing-bonanza-society, all these kids are constantly bombarded with advertising blitzes on how to become a rich super-model/rock star with little or no effort. (lose weight while sitting on the couch - make millions off real estate with no money down)

    I forget where I read this, but the average daily exposure to advertisements was some insanely high number (in the thousands). While I support a company's right to advertise their products, parents have a larger responsibility to educate their kids that most ads are simply methods for separating people from their money in exchange for products of dubious value. (Bose anyone ?)

    Educating kids to realize scam-artists is a tough job. Teaching them the basics of economics and to be a "well educated consumer" seems to be a start. I have an 8 yr old and I never thought it would be this tough....
     
  5. SteveA

    SteveA Supporting Actor

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  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Gentlemen:

    I used to be a writer in the marketing department of the third-largest "multi-level marketing" company of them all. I was an employee. Think "herbs" and think "life" and think, "Lose weight now/Ask me how."

    Yep, that one.

    I wrote the catalogs and brochures and ads and television spots designed to sucker you out of your hard-earned money and waste it on a bottomless well of inventory and motivational tapes.

    I can tell you horror stories, all from the inside of a very cynical company, about the way these schemes are cooked up.

    There is no difference between the a so-called "direct-marketing" or "multi-level marketing" company and an outright pyramid scheme.

    And there is no end to the deviousness at the top of this company--and at another for which I also wrote promotional literature (think about "riding" the "sun"--same sort of outfit, only a third as large).

    I could tell you stories that would drop your jaws. Seriously. It's worthy of an FTC investigation. Well, the FTC has investigated this cult of personality, this cult of "lose weight now, ask me how."

    If anybody ever approaches you while wearing one of those "Lose Weight Now" or "Work From Home" buttons, be rude to him or her and then walk away. Be real rude.
     
  7. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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    Just after I graduated high school I was introduced to a company that sold water filters. I had never heard of multi-level marketing or pyramid schemes before this. I went to two of their recruiting sessions because I really didn't get how it worked and I had a ton of questions. Things seemed really suspicious to me from the very beginning and I couldn't really put my finger on what it was. Finally after I asked all my questions and got down to the truth of these scams I bowed out...quickly.
    Then when I started college I went to a meeting of a company advertising "ground level opportunities." It ended up being the exact same company but in a different state. I told the guy that brought me that I've already investigated this company and I'm not interested.
    Then a few years later a good friend wanted to introduce me and my wife to his "work from home" business. He never did tell us what it was and only after 1 hour of talking with his rep and watching some stupid video we found out it was selling cleaning products (I think everyone knows which one this is). We dropped him quickly, but he left behind another video tape for us to review (which we "conveniently" lost [​IMG] ).
    Now my wife is currently selling Mary Kay products. She wanted a business she could do from home in her spare time. We also wanted to completely avoid pyramid schemes. Mary Kay has a structure that can work similar to MLM, but it doesn't go as deep and still relies on actual sales and not new recruits. She's been doing fairly well and hasn't made a single recruit.
     
  8. Chris Lock

    Chris Lock Second Unit

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    > There is no difference between the a so-called "direct-marketing" or "multi-level marketing" company and an outright pyramid scheme.

    Yeah, there is. A lot of MLMs are as described in this thread, but there are some legit ones. A good way to tell the difference is this: are there real products/services for sale at reasonable prices, or is all the emphasis on signing up new members, who'll be pressured to sign up more members, etc? Another question is what percent of the sales are to end customers, rather than other dealers in the plan?

    BTW, I'm not involved with any of them.
     
  9. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i actually went to one of the mlm seminars with a friend of mine. the main guy was there hoopin' it up and just saying how great it is.

    he was an excellent showman.

    you should have seen the look in my friend's eyes - i think he found religion.

    needless to say, he signed up and (afaik) didn't make a single dime. but he sure had a lot of generic products in his house.

    after a while he told me the only benefit he got out of it was buying stuff for his own family.

    needless to say i skipped the whole thing.

    but, i do believe there are some people out there who are making bank because of these things. i don't begrudge them...they did what they had to do.

    ------------------

    this brings up another point i like to think about when discussing scams, etc.

    usually, i can't decide whether to fault the scammer or the scameee.

    i can't believe some of the stories i hear about how someone got scammed. some guy on the news recently sent a check to some guy he met on the internet to buy some car he hadn't even seen in person. needless to say he's out of 30k or so. who, in their right mind, would send a 30k check to someone without seeing the merchandise first...hell...being there on the spot!!!

    to me, i feel bad for the guy for losing 30k, but at the same time i say "you dumbass"...you deserve that for being so stupid.

    okay, i'm off my box now...
     
  10. Howard Williams

    Howard Williams Supporting Actor

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    Well, I too learned my lesson the hard way about MLM. Anyone ever heard of "World Class Travel"? I got sucked into it by a good friend that I really trusted. To this day I still don't believe he honestly got me involved knowing the company would be FTC'd into the dust. It seemed then and now that he truly believed, so I truly believed.

    In the end, if I had done my homework, I would have seen the flaws in the plan. I actually did recruit a few people. A few even seemed to becoming overall successful. In the end I felt absolutely horrible about the others. My guilt was only tempered by the fact that I too was a loser/victim. Luckily our losses didn't really hurt us and I confirmed one thing about myself that I had always suspected. I'm no salesman. Live & learn.
     
  11. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  12. Ashley Seymour

    Ashley Seymour Supporting Actor

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    Comparing MLM to pyramid schemes is almost as bad as bad as the tactics employed by the MLM eters to to hawk their product. Mostly for the reason that the critique is too simplistic.

    I signed up with two because my friends/clients asked me to and it didnt cost too much in relationship to the amount of business I was doing.

    The Internet scam was pretty obvious from the beginning. I had a friend who reached one of the regional, executive, VP, blah, blah in a short time. He was a great salesman and did a great job signing up people. He is also quite naive about some things and when he gave me the first rally "tape" of the founders and their top reps, I knew that the money that was taken in would never be used to get the internet site. It was not a true MLM, it was a scam from the beginning.

    I also did the soap thing. At least you didn't make your money signing up people, but each MLM has it's own gimmick that the unwashed are not make aware of initially.

    Skip retail sales, sign up more distributors and use the product yourself. No matter how you cut it, MLM is a sales business. If you are not a salesperson you will not succeed. If you can't go out and develop business from a hundred of your neighbors, then your chances to succeed in signing up distributors is slim.

    How is the money made by the upper level distributors? I found a lot comes from telling the new guy who the big guys made them self a success. You go to a seminar and along with 200-400-600 people pay $6 to hear the distributor. Not a bad nights work. Then you get to buy the tapes at $6-12 per week of the new successful distributors. I dont know how large the organization is, but think about 1,000 in a network paying $6 and it gives you an idea. And the 1,000 is probably quite low.

    I don't begrudge a distributor that goes out, hustles, sells his product at retail and is an effective trainer and motivator for the people in his "leg." The reality is most people will buy less than a $100 of product a month and would be better served investing their time in a field in which they are more competent.
     
  13. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    LoL this thread reminds me of the movie "go" when they're in the cops house for xmas dinner LOL
     
  14. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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    My friend got suckered into Primerica.
    He invited me and i saw right through it, did some research and presented it to him.

    Of course he thought i just wanted him to fail. Hes no longer involved.
     
  15. Rob Speicher

    Rob Speicher Supporting Actor

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    Got burned, did ya?

     
  16. Gregg Shiu

    Gregg Shiu Second Unit

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    [sarcasm]
    Hey, guys, you totally need to let the FTC know about WorldCom, cuz they're an MLM, and they've been around for quite sometime, somebody should do something to stop em!
    [/sarcasm] [​IMG]
     
  17. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    I can't believe this thread was resurrected..
    Anyways, I have suspicion that Worldcom was the scam my friend was trying to use.
    What's sad is our friendship was hurt because he got all angry when I didn't sign up. He posted verbatim exactly what I expected and that was: "If you're not with me, you're against me." I replied, "Well then I guess I'm against you", and then he hung up on me. [​IMG]
    I did talk with him recently we're still friends. I think it was because I was open and honest with him.
    Rob, Landmark Education has "campuses" or centers around the globe in many nations. My dad is a seminar leader and I have had fun being an assistant working there. I know for a fact they're not out to make a profit because if they did, their staff would be making more money than what they get. [​IMG]
    Top100expo.com ranks The Landmark Forum second only to space travel on its Top100 Adventures list, calling it an extraordinary and unprecedented adventure.
    Gosh, I sound like I'm selling something, sorry...
    Anyways you can check out my website as I did some cool bass tests in my room and made some acoustic panels. Link. I assure you my site is 100% landmark free and purely dedicated to the Home theater community. [​IMG]
     
  18. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    WC Fields - You can't cheat an honest man

    Riddle - what do you get when you cross Amway with Mary Kay?

    Didn't pyramid schmes originate in Egypt?

    Food for thought anyway.
     
  19. David Lawson

    David Lawson Screenwriter

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    Chris, my guess would be Excel, not WorldCom. [​IMG]
     
  20. NickSo

    NickSo Producer

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