Most of you have heard of Amway and other network marketing/MLM companies. Chances are, some of you might be a part of it or faced pressure to join it. These “Business Opportunities” are projected as wealth creation tools or vehicles to achieve financial freedom. But the truth often is otherwise. Those who join these kind of business almost always suffer a loss- financial or otherwise. It may be difficult to blindly agree that these NM/MLM companies do more harm than good and you HAVE to read, Merchants of Deception, to know how exactly these companies fool people with an illusion of financial freedom.
The ebook is 232 pages long and is free for download in pdf format from author’s website (2.91MB), MerchantsofDeception.com
The book is written in first person, in a sequential order, starting from Eric’s life before joining Amway, his initial days as Amway distributor, how he trusted the company, developed loyalty to his up liners and slogged hard to promote the business and eventually climbed up the ladder to different levels in the chain. Then he gradually discovered that he is not making the amount of money he is supposed to me making at his level (Emerald) and slowly comes out of his pre programmed mind set and starts exploring things. The truths he uncovered and the trouble he faced from his up liners because of that make this book a must read for anyone who believe network marketing can make them rich.
As some of you may not find enough time to read all 232 pages of the book, I am listing below some key extracts from the book, with permission from Author, the facts you might have never known and are guaranteed to find it difficult to digest.
An open request to all Amway IBOs and members of other similar business who are reading this- I am aware that your current mindset doesn’t allow you to accept and digest the facts given below. Your upliners are guaranteed to brand these facts as rubbish and baseless allegations and distractions which will deviate you from your goal. MY sincere request to you- don’t trust me or your up lines- Think independently and make an attempt to verify the facts on your own.
1 Amway top leaders make fortune, NOT from Amway distributorship but by selling training material (Seminars, video, audio and books etc)
While few top Amway IBOs (At Diamond level and above) appear to be super rich, everyone thinks they made money because of core Amway activities (buying and using products), but Eric has discovered that their IT returns prove that wrong. Just 5% of their income came from Amway and over 95% came from “tools business”, a collective name for motivational stuff they sell to down liners (Conducting seminars and charging people for it, selling audio and video contents with motivational stuff that will guide down liners towards success, books etc) Low level IBOs who buy these stuff think that the diamonds are sharing their success as to how to become millionaire line them, while diamonds pocket millions because of simple reason that others are buying their motivational stuffs. Hardly 1-2% of members in total network reach Diamond and above levels and mint money this way and rest of the distributors (IBOs) will never be able to achieve that (because they can’t create and sell such motivational stuff)
If you doubt the above, ask for income tax returns of these millionaires.
2 There’s no way to track your earning
Amway IBOs don’t have an option to track their earning on Amway website. If they get a check for an amount which is far below what they were supposed to get, there’s no way they can trace down the cause. At Emerald level, Eric was supposed to be making $ 100000 an year, but he was making little less than $30000, one of his down liner, a Ruby Direct was supposed to be earning $ 50000 but had made only around $ 4000. An IBO is not supposed to discuss is woes with his down liners or cross lines and up liners won’t give any explanation why there is a huge difference between what he is supposed to get and what he actually got. Not earning enough is attributed to “not working hard enough” or “lack of commitment to the business” or “a personal failure” and an IBO will be assured that all his woes will vanish once he reaches next level for which he needs to work harder. Everyone will be under an illusion that everyone else is making lots of money and only he is not making enough and try to hide this fact by attempting to show off wealth and saying they’re making huge money (if they say they are not earning enough their down liners will get discouraged and de-motivated, new prospects hesitate to join and business falls further, so faking success is the only way for everyone in this business)
3 Away founders were very much aware of all wrong things in the organization (Cultism, Tools Business, Distributors being under paid etc, fact that near 100% people lose money)
Eric shows with evidence that the fraud he detected were not isolated incidents but is spread across the organization. More importantly he proves that Amway founders were aware of this from the very early stages and nothing was done to protect innocent distributors who lost tens of thousands of dollars or punish kingpin distributors who were making fortune by exploiting the unsuspecting down liners. Book also details several unethical things done by Amway management to silence things they didn’t want outer world to know.
4 Few cardinal principles of Amway (and such companies)
Amway distributors were brainwashed systematically about 4 cardinal rules, that they should never ever violate. They will have 100% success rate as long as they blindly adhere to the system following instructions of their seniors and outside the system there is 0% success rate
5 Nearly 100% people fail
This can sound unrealistic…With so many millionaires as live example how can anyone say the system is not good? After recruiting over 2000 people under him, Eric realized that he could identify only 10 people made who a net earnings of $ 1 or above over an year (after deducting the expenses they incurred in promoting the business). The system is such that it ensures its members keep pumping money into the system, by buying overpriced products, attending seminars, buying motivational materials etc. The earning they make usually will be far lesser than expense incurred for all these. People are kept going till they break, under a nonexistent hope of financial freedom which would come as soon as they reach “next level”. Failure, when finally happens, is attributed to individual than the system, so others continue in a belief that “That can’t happen to me”.
6 Dream building is a key technique employed
A prospect is made to build a huge dream (mansions, private jets etc) and is made to believe that their current job can never take them there but business like Amway has the potential to take them there within years. Greed is quite common weakness in humans and MLM companies very effectively target that and most people don’t find any fault as such in the system and silently fall pray. The brain washing that happens gradually after they join will keep them loyal to the system and if anyone tries to save them from the impending disaster they are heading to, such people are treated almost like enemies who are snatching their dreams away.
The book explains all these in detail. Also reveals the cultism, the emotional and financial trauma he and his family faced, the tactics adopted by his up liners to keep him silent, how he was blackmailed and threatened and more. His struggle to recover to normalcy is remarkable. He could have walked away with huge amount of money, had he chosen to remain silent. But he chose to spread awareness and has actively helped law enforcement agencies across the globe to investigate scams of this nature. He has received over 3000 testimonials so far from MLM victims across the globe and his website is full of supporting documents, proof, latest news etc related to the business.
I didn’t have much of disregard towards Amway so far and was thinking this is yet another network marketing company and probably slightly better than the rest due to wide product range, long existence etc. After I heard speeches of Amway leaders (A Diamond and an Emerald) in India and read above book, I can now see the other side of the coin. This book is a strong recommendation from me to anyone who is into this kind of business or considering it. If your family members/friends/relative members are into it, please read this book to understand their state of mind and where they are headed.
There appears to be no printed version of this book. This kind of stuff is better circulated free-no publisher might have come forward to publish it for the fear of cash rich Amway and if published book can't be circulated for free. Since author is single handedly fighting against a multi billion dollar company I am sure he couldn't have done this without the support of credible documents.
In one line- I know and you know that suicide bombing is a bad idea… But making a jihadi understand that is a near impossible task.
Disclaimer: This author is not a member of Amway or any other network marketing/MLM company. The facts given here are sourced from the book stated above and from independent observations. While Eric has quoted enough evidence/proof/reasoning to defend is statements, this writer hasn't verified most of those proofs. Anyone having any concerns about authenticity of the contents in the book are welcome to inform this writer and if found appropriate such concerns will be discussed in this blog. This writer has nothing to gain/loss from people joining/not joining any network marketing companies and this post is written purely in public interest. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion in using the information given here.
Note: Cross posted on Desicritics, Mouthshut and Literaryforums
Also read: General Observations on Network Marketing /MLM Companies * 12 reasons why MLM companies face trouble
GoldQuest/Quest Net is another similar 'business' which is spreading like virus, particularly among IT employees...
Other Book reviews: The 3 Mistakes of my life-Chetan Bhagat* Book Review-it happened in India by Kishore Biyani