Anti-MLM Mondays: Free in Name Only

Photo by Mike B on Pexels.com
NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

Happy Monday. This is another anti-MLM post, so if you’re looking for previous posts pertaining to the aspects of the Multi Level Marketing business model, I have an entire category dedicated to my main passion for this blog.

This week I’m looking forward to writing about it because this one, I believe, is one of the main components of the so-called MLM lifestyle aesthetic, and that is the free stuff they always promote to get people to join their companies. They always talk about having time freedom and financial freedom and the freedom to work from anywhere, but in this post, we’re gonna explore those free trips and free cars that were always promoted as perks on joining an MLM

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Getting free trips and free company cars from your job sounds amazing on paper. You work hard enough to plan your vacations accordingly and if you have a company car, they either reimburse or pay entirely for gas and other maintenance. At least, that’s how MLM companies promote it. The truth is, though, there are a lot of catches. I wish I was exaggerating. We’ll be diving into the free car programs that some MLM companies promote as well as the free trips, and both come with some pricey catches

Free Cars

I want to start with the free cars because it’s basically a more tangible component of the so-called MLM lifestyle that is portrayed on social media. I want to give three examples of these “free car” offers that are anything but. First, though, I found an article from Talented Ladies Club that did an article on those free cars and used Arbonne and FM World as case studies, if you will. Travelling Jezebel also went through the Arbonne Mercedes-Benz program and also went into Monat’s Cadillac program. Time Magazine even did one on Mary Kay’s Pink Cadillac program.

The general consensus on these free cars is that some of them require their cars to be of certain luxury quality, meaning they rather take Mercedes-Benz or Cadillac. Arbonne (white), Monat (also white), and Mary Kay (bluish-pink) require their cars to be a certain color and the decals to be in certain places (Arbonne requires their decals to be on the driver and passenger sides as well as the back). Monat requires their new Cadillacs to be less than 5 years of age at the time of signing.

All of them require that after you hit a certain rank (ex. Regional and National Vice President ranks in Arbonne, Market Mentor rank in Monat) you lease the car in your name and you must maintain the sales that got you there each month if you want to keep getting the bonuses. If you fail to make those ranks, they will usually rescind the rest of the bonuses which puts you on the hook for the whole payment, although Monat may give you two grace months. Even then, you shouldn’t count on them. The sales quotas are usually in the 10,000s mark for group volume, which is impossible to maintain monthly in these companies

MLM companies never put the bonuses on the entire monthly payments and it was done on purpose. It’s to keep you in and pressure you to make those sales so you can receive those bonuses. For example, Monat gives their Market Mentors a $500 bonus towards their Cadillacs, which usually covers half to a third of the monthly payment.

Besides Arbonne, Monat, and Mary Kay, other companies that have some sort of a free car program include Thrive/Le-Vel, FM World, Pruvit, and Nerium

A Reddit post from November 26, 2019, titled “What is the true cost of the “free” MLM car? Genuinely asking, as I suspect there is more to it than what these ladies lead others to believe on social media.” This hun claims that the car she had “earned” wasn’t the ultimate goal, but upon reading the lines, I feel like getting the car was her goal. She’s just hiding it behind her team
A Reddit post from January 24, 2021, titled “So it’s not a free car after all”. This is a huge yikes, because while she admits that Monat covers her car payment, it’s still not enough for the whole thing, but she claims that is a good thing. Poor thing has to know that she has to maintain her sales in order for Monat to keep sending her a bonus
A Reddit post from September 30, 2019, titled “It’s not a free car when you have to maintain 12k in volume every month.” This could also be a r/thathappened post, but this Mary Kay hun thinks her free pink Cadillac is a flex on a Chick-Fil-A worker. Even if this story was true, I would bet the Chick-Fil-A doesn’t have a car that is tied to some company ‘bonus’ and it’s probably not a luxury brand like Cadillac
A Reddit post from March 30, 2022, titled “Arbonne’s little army of “entrepreneurs” and their “free” white Benz”. This is another part of the free car perk, the car celebration days where a hun or a group of huns pose with their free cars after hitting certain ranks. Some will hold a celebration before they reach the rank without a guarantee of whether or not they even reach the rank. This is a way to promote as part of the lifestyle but also a way to keep you in and make the necessary sales
A Reddit post from November 22, 2021, titled “Ketones hun Tiktoks about not getting her luxury vehicle.” This is a 7-picture gallery that you will have to click on since it wouldn’t show up here, but I can give you a preview. It’s about a Pruvit hun who thought she was leasing her free car but couldn’t get it because her bank turned her down… for any luxury car, she claims. She claims she doesn’t really need it as her family couldn’t get a house either. The last three pictures are people leaving comments that I don’t think she would like, but they contain some truth

Free Trips

Free trips work the same way as free cars. Although there are a lot of catches to it, the way it works is like those school fundraisers where students have to give away cookies in order to possibly win some prizes. In MLMs, huns usually have to sell a certain amount of products in hope of earning these trips that are supposedly paid for by the companies.

Just like the free cars, though, the huns are on the short end of the stick on these trips. Though I wasn’t able to find an article on MLM trips, these next few Reddit posts will paint a picture of what they actually are

A Reddit post from June 21, 2021, titled “So what’s the catch with the free trips”. This post was asking for the catches (aka hotel and airfare) that come with the free trips. That is a legit question and I think it’ll be answered in the next few examples
A Reddit post from December 30, 2021, titled “How do “free trips” paid for by MLMs work? I don’t understand how it’s financially viable for the company so what am I missing?”. The perfect answer that came out of it was the first comment I saw while scrolling through. It said in part, “The Mary Kay hun I know recently bragged incessantly about her “free” trip to Cabo or Cancun or something at some generic hotel, but later it came out that she had to pay international airfare, pay for her (inland) hotel where she shared a room with 5 other women (two of them shared a sleeper sofa), paid for all her food and drinks, paid for new clothes for the trip, was required to make a certain number of a certain type of posts to social media each day, spent all day in workshops and meetings getting more brainwashed and purchasing more product, and had to pay taxes on the trip, on a price that MK claimed it cost (which I’m sure was inflated). The part that was free? Admission to the workshop/convention itself. Everything else, she paid.”
A Reddit post from June 5, 2021, titled “Cousin keeps posting about these “free” trips”. The OP posted a screenshot of her cousin’s FB post in which she bragged about her company Thrive paying for everything
A Reddit post from September 19, 2022, titled “MLM “Free Trip” Cancelled Because of Hurricane – Huns Are More “Woe Is Me” Than Anything Else”. This is another part of the free trips MLM love to promote. Sure, they will promote the most luxurious locations, but they also specifically plan these trips at the possible worst time. This post in question is about Arbonne’s September trip to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, in the middle of hurricane season. Hurricane Fiona severely damaged the country and Puerto Rico and Arbonne didn’t cancel the trip until their huns got to the airport.
A Reddit post from September 13, 2022, titled “You didn’t earn it otherwise you’d go. Who’d miss out on a “free” trip?” I think this highlights the downside of these free trips. This Melaleuca hun missed out on a trip that she had qualified for because she couldn’t afford the extra costs (read: airfare, itinerary, hotel, etc). However, she sees it as no big deal

In all, the cars and the trips are not free. Their MLM companies might chip in, but they will not give the entire bonus by design. The free stuff all comes with too many rules and none of them are in favor of the huns. However, they don’t see it, which is great for MLM companies. As long as more reps join in without heeding warnings, the free cars and the free trips would continue as long as the MLM companies are active

Advertisement

Anti-MLM Mondays: The Elomir Project

Taken from Elomir’s Facebook Page
NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

Happy Monday, everyone. This week’s anti-MLM post is about a company that went into pre-launch a couple months ago and has since opened up to actual customers after spending nearly 6 weeks signing up distributors. The company is called Elomir and as of right now, the fanfare has subsided. I remember watching a lot of Elomir content from anti-MLM YouTubers and unless I’m living under the rock, it was the first time we saw a new multi-level marketing company operate first as a Ponzi scheme and then as a full-blown MLM company with a product. In this week’s edition of Anti-MLM Mondays, we’re dissecting the company and where it went wrong

As always, if you want to read more anti-MLM content on this blog, you can check it out here

Brief history

Back in July, the first news of Elomir emerged in the MLM world and under the anti-MLM radar. It was a company that was claimed to be founded in 2021 by Toan and Van Nguyen, but it was actually founded by Terry LaCore. His company, LaCore Enterprises, is also the parent company of other MLMs such as Pruvit and Perfectly Posh. Elomir and LaCore Enterprises are based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but the Nguyens are in California

Back to the Nguyens, I found an article from the website Behind MLM which did a deep dive on Elomir and the husband and wife team behind it. They are listed as co-founders and Van is listed as the CEO. The article stated that Toan Nguyen is a crypto bro who had been involved in another Ponzi Scheme called DeFinity Fi Academy, which has since been locked behind some sort of a crypto paywall. The couple has also been in several more companies like that for over a decade. For those who have read my crypto bro post, you know that I am not a fan of cryptocurrency, bitcoin, NFTs, and other decentralized blockchain stuff. Already, this was a red flag. And although Toan stays shilling for crypto behind the scenes, his wife Van has been front and center in terms of promoting Elomir and their signature product Axis Klarity. She has also gone live to explain the reason, or lack thereof, why the product hasn’t been keeping up with the supposed demand from distributors and even the customers… if they had any.

Axis Klarity

Let’s turn the focus to Elomir’s signature product Axis Klarity. It’s billed as a “yellow strip” that is supposed to calm you as soon as you put it on your tongue to dissolve. It’s also supposed to “bypass the digestive tract”, but there’s one problem with that statement… saliva is part of the digestive tract.

From Elomir’s website

Going to the Elomir website and clicking on shop, Axis Klarity (as of this writing) is still the only product listed on the site and it costs US$89 for 3 packs. Back when it first came out, it was available as a 3-pack product with 30 strips each. Production delays meant that everyone who signed up only got 1 out of the 3 packs, with the other 2 to come at a later date. I’m not sure if Elomir held up to that promise, but considering it’s an MLM, I will take it with a grain of salt.

According to the site, each strip contains 3 simple and effective ingredients that blend and are made by Diffusive Technology, which is exclusive to Elomir. Scrolling a little further and there it is, the three ingredients in each strip. They are:

  • Curcumin: a substance of Tumeric
  • NAC: Usually found in onions. This ingredient became a focus of the product
  • Thiamine: usually found in meats, whole grains, and fish. It’s B1 Vitamin

NAC stands for N-acetyl-cysteine, and it became a focus because the FDA said that dietary supplements can’t contain NAC unless it’s prescribed. It is also the least known ingredient out of the three. As it is technically a drug, huns that have taken the strips on Facebook Live have, and this is with my own eyes, hallucinated. That’s pretty much it. It calms you down, but you also do a million other things, somehow. Some commentators have said it’s akin to taking acid.

#changetheconversation and #hitthestrip

Like many MLM companies, Elomir would have stayed under wraps if it wasn’t for the two hashtags on Instagram… Change the Conversation and Hit the Strip. As of this writing, there are not as many posts as they were at the height of it all. This past summer, especially around the 4th of July and beyond, pictures upon pictures were uploaded by the day of huns taking these yellow strips and placing them on their tongues. That’s not all, though. Since some huns didn’t get their products when Elomir started their pre-launch phase on July 5, they would turn to other items that fit the “yellow strip” bill, like a piece of Kraft’s Cheese, Listerine strips, Fruit Rollup, Post-It Notes (yes, they did that) and so on. And in true MLM fashion, it also includes health claims. I’ll leave you with links to the Elomir flair of the antiMLM subreddit and the Elomir Exposed subreddit that showcased this “phenomenon” and an Instagram post highlighting these claims

Elomir Zoom Calls

If you’ve been consuming anti-MLM content, you would know every MLM company has done at least 1000 Zoom calls over the course of their lifetime and Elomir is no exception. Going back to Behind MLM, the blogger followed up with a post reacting to a Zoom call from Van Nguyen where she tried to address regulatory concerns surrounding the production of Axis Klarity. Instead, she danced around it, put blame on production breakdown, defended her husband’s crypto investments, and even attacked critics and the anti-MLM movement for exposing the company.

Browsing the Website

Going back to the website, I clicked on Compensation Plan on the bottom of the page and I was taken to a PDF file. MLM companies publicize their compensation plans on their websites and they would have a least 4 different ways to earn (Elomir had 5) and usually, 1 or 2 are by sales only. That was the case with Elomir in which the first one was through retail. The other 4 are from sign-up bonuses, team bonuses, rank bonuses, and 3x bonuses… in other words, you have to have a team to earn more money.

The rank names are just lazy, to be honest… Icon, then Icons 1-12, and finally, Legend. You can earn a 15% commission on retail sales, but you can also earn a 5% commission off of your downline on multiple levels, earn a monthly team bonus, and get a rank bonus starting at Icon3 (you have to maintain it for at least 2 months), and they can triple your bonuses if you reach Icons 3-5 from the day you join until the end of that month.

Yeah, so very sketchy in my opinion. Also, it’s on par with other MLM compensation plans. I will post about it in the coming weeks.

The signup cost is US$49, but it can be waived if you sign up with a US$250 Enrollment Pak, which contains 3 boxes of Axis Klarity. At the beginning, it was the only way to enroll in Elomir.

Conclusion

Between the social media posts, crypto, the ties to LaCore, their product containing NAC, and the multiple zooms explaining the production problems away, Elomir had the hallmarks of an MLM/pyramid scheme. Imagine creating a company, promising to have the products ready at launch time, and when things go wrong, blame everything but from within. Several critics have pointed out that it was poorly planned. I believe that, and I also believe that the Nguyens created this company to mask Toan’s crypto scam. That part is just speculation, but it is something to think about.

Anti-MLM Mondays: The War on 9-5’s

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

It’s time for another anti-MLM Monday post. You can read my previous anti-MLM posts here

I want to ask this: how many of you have a timed job (aka 9-5, 10-6, or the like)? How many of you have jobs that are not 9-5? Does your job come with benefits, like health, time off, and tuition reimbursement? If so, I’m here to tell you this… your average MLM hun hates you.

MLM huns like to claim themselves as small business owners just for the sake of it and also to put themselves on a pedestal over those who work in “corporate America”. They see themselves as better than the people who they claim are “working for the man” and “contributing to the salary of the CEOs”. Now, corporate America has its own issues (read: billionaires who think they’re hot shit), but the main difference between corporate America and multi-level marketing companies is that the former actually pays their employees while the latter doesn’t. Corporate America is also a pyramid, but they have limited spaces. They don’t try to recruit people to work for them. Meanwhile, in multi-level marketing, they will take in anyone with a pulse.

For this week’s anti-MLM post, we will look into the MLM’s war on 9-5’s

A Reddit post from February 21, 2022, titled “I’m confused by MLM posts that knock working a 9-5”

MLM huns love to say 9-5’s are a pyramid scheme designed to make their bosses richer. They have made claim after claim that those who work 9-5 or other shifts are tied down without any dreams or goals and are there to line the pockets of their company’s CEOs. This Reddit post above explained that the OP was able to pay off and own her own car due to having a 9-5 job while the hun she was talking to only had her Mercedes due to reaching a quota in her company. In the later weeks, I will discuss the “free stuff” that gets thrown around in MLM companies

This is a YouTube video by anti-MLM advocate Monica Hayworth, published on January 20, 2020. I will be referencing this video through the post

I found an anti-MLM YouTube video from two years ago that explains the whole argument about 9-5’s that MLM reps keep spewing without context, even when they have been debunked.

Around the 2:10 mark, the “small business owner” tag gets debunked quickly. One of the reasons people join MLMs is the promise of being their own boss. The supposed benefits of time and financial freedom are enticing to people who needed a change and MLM companies prey on that. Another aspect of the “being your own boss” mantra is the tools they would receive upon joining these companies. I might dive into this another time, but the gist of it is that what they actually do is less than 1% of what real business owners do. It’s almost like the business was built for them and all they have to do is promote it.

At the 2:56 mark, the graph was shown of two triangles, one labeled “job” and the other “MLM”. Yes, both structures are in the shape of a triangle, but the difference is that in a 9-5 job (or any shift), everyone gets paid. The C-Level folks get paid, the managers and directors also get paid, and the rest of the company gets paid too. The money flows downward, with the C-Level holders getting the most (sometimes a lot more, but that’s an argument for another time) followed by managers and directors, supervisors, and finally the employees. In an MLM, the money flows upward. Huns holding higher ranks get a bigger cut of the sales their downlines made based on how big it is and how far up they go. They also stack. For example, a hun will make a 25% cut from her direct downline, a 15% cut from her second-level downline, a 10% cut from her third-level downline, and so on. Every MLM that has released an income disclosure statement has at least 60% of its workforce within the bottom 3 levels of the pyramid.

5 minutes in and there is a discussion on sales in corporate America vs MLM. Monica explains that in a regular sales job, losing a client will have implications for the whole company. In an MLM, however, it’s a revolving door. Those at the bottom keep coming and leaving because the hard work they keep putting in is not giving them the return they deserve, despite what the uplines tell them.

At the 6:45 mark, the stability is much different in a 9-5 than in an MLM. In a timed shift job, like 9-5, 10-6, 8-4, or whatever shift there is out there, you have a set of hours that you work, and you get your pay. The pay is stable because you know how much you get paid for your work hours. In an MLM, the pay fluctuates. MLM huns get drawn on the so-called “uncapped potential” to earn as much money as they want, but they could also earn nothing. In fact, in most months they lose money. Think of it like you’re sending a check to your job rather than the company paying you for your time.

At the 8-minute mark, the discussion goes into the base salary. Again, in a 9-5, you have a guaranteed salary. In an MLM, it fluctuates even day by day. In both instances, the amount is measured before taxes. That means in a 9-5, you will still have money left over, but in an MLM you’ll be running in the red

At the 9-minute mark, we’re now diving into the “free” stuff. MLM companies love to promote the “free” incentives to their reps, who in turn love to promote the same “free” incentives to their potential recruits and on their public social media posts. They also turn around and say that their 9-5 jobs don’t have them and have used this “lack of free incentives” as the reason to join the MLM.

Earlier this month, Monat held their annual Monations convention in St. Louis, Missouri. You would think that Monat paid for the airfare, lodging, and other expenses for their 25,000 reps… but it’s not the case. If they had a 9-5 and they had to go to a work conference, their company would have paid for all the expenses. But since they’re in an MLM, they had to pay for almost everything… the mandatory ticket (yeah, it was mandatory. These are the prices for the 2023 convention), the airfare, the lodging, etc. Here is the full Monations FAQ for reference, which includes a question about expenses and bringing babies onboard

Staying with the “free” incentives, MLM reps love to talk about getting their free company car from their businesses as opposed to an actual company. The problem with that, like that of the free trips, is that the rep is on the hook for at least half the car payment when they hit a certain rank, and they have to rerank to that level or higher every month or they’ll be on the hook for the entire car payment. The cars chosen by the reps are of a luxurious vibe, so the monthly payments are a lot higher than for most cars. In a 9-5, you don’t have to worry about any of that, and if you have a company car, the company is paying for all of it

The benefits are drastically different in a 9-5 versus in an MLM. In a 9-5 job, you get benefits like health, vision, dental, paid time off, maternity and paternity leave, sick leaves, etc. Sure, they could be better. They can be better, but that’s a conversation for another time. In an MLM, however, unless you’re in the top 0.0000001% of the company, you really don’t have benefits. MLM reps are 1099 independent contractors (in other words, NOT business owners), and therefore don’t have benefits. They also don’t have withholding, so they end up filing more tax returns (quarterly) than those in a 9-5

Speaking of paid time off, vacations are also different. In a 9-5, you get to plan your own vacation. You get to put in your requests and you can go wherever you want and not have to work. In an MLM, however, the way vacations work is that the reps usually beg people on social media to help them reach their goals so that they qualify for those trips. But what happens when they get there… they still had to work. Yes, they will post from their “vacation spots”, where “taking your job anywhere” is considered a flex.

The final characteristic is market saturation. Corporate jobs don’t have more people than they need. They have limited spaces and filling the spots is competitive. In an MLM, they will take in anyone over 18 with a pulse and $99 to spare. Because of how they recruit people, it’s not uncommon to see an entire neighborhood full of Mary Kay reps for example. They will deny it outright, but it’s not a secret.

In conclusion, the money flows downward in corporate America and upward in an MLM. The lowest level employees get guaranteed pay in a 9-5, although minimum wage has stalled for over a decade. The top reps make their money off the backs of their downlines, so it’s no wonder there’s a 99% fail rate. So keep that in mind if you’re approached with an opportunity to join an MLM.

Anti-MLM Mondays: MLMs and Marriage

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
NEW: You can listen to this blog post here

We know that MLM companies love to target all kinds of women — mothers, students, military, etc. But what if they also target their spouses? What if an upline not only want her potential recruits to join but also her husband? In this week’s anti-MLM Monday series, we will talk about how MLM companies and their huns use marriage to deceive their spouses

Most of the embeds will be from Reddit

Hiding purchases behind “gifts”

First, I want to start off with a meme I found on Reddit

This is a Reddit post from March 10, 2021, titled “Stop hiding your MLM from your partner”.

Yes, the meme is hilarious, but there have been stories about MLM reps who hide the purchases they made from their spouses from them. Some of the companies would ask if they want to mark their purchases as ‘gifts’ if they share bank accounts with their spouses.

Another Reddit post that shows a Lularoe hun plotting to hide her purchase from her husband. This post was made on March 23, 2020. It’s titled “Reposted to show MLM reply — Haha, hiding purchases from your S.O. is so funny, hun”

In a relationship, one of the reasons why couples file for divorce is finances. Couples who have joint accounts will need to set boundaries on how the money is spent, how they are earned, and how they are saving their money for other things. This just tells me that the hun’s spending habits go far beyond this tactic. It tells me that she is bad at managing money. If you want to know about Lularoe’s gift/purchase tactic, I found a blog post that explains why this is bad

Retiring their spouses

One big reason why women join MLMs is to “retire” their spouses. To them, it means they earn so much money from their MLM side gigs that their husbands will no longer go to their 9-5 jobs or a first responder job that pays well and be stay-at-home dads in some cases. In reality, they want their husbands to quit their high-paying jobs so that they can join their wives’ downlines in hopes of hitting big.

A Reddit post from May 26, 2021, titled “Yeah, you’re not retiring your husband, sis”. An It Works hun had her husband become a Diamond with the company, which nets her an extra $2,000 a month with eligibility for a $10,000 bonus. Attached is 2019 It Works disclosure statement.

My problem with this is that the huns think they are absolutely sure that they will make enough money to pull their husbands out of the working world regardless of whether or not they actually love their jobs. This tactic is part of the financial freedom and time freedom categories because it involves a potential to make six- and seven-figures and therefore they pull out after working the 30 minutes a day that was promised. Most will not make enough to “retire” their spouses long term

Amway is supreme in recruiting couples

The company that is notorious for recruiting couples is Amway. Founded in 1959 by Richard DeVos and Jay Van Andel, their companies include Nutrilite and Artistry Skin Care and also run other sub-companies like World Wide Dream Builders and World Financial Group.

Being an MLM, they do have products, but you wouldn’t hear about them often. Amway is supreme when it comes to recruiting couples. The typical first interaction consists of an Amway rep at a store walking up to a couple to ask them about their financial situation. From there, they can give them a book from a fellow network marketer, and/or get their phone number to send them a Zoom link.

Amway reps might succeed in either recruiting both parties or only one of them, but even then, they will leverage the other party’s objections against their spouse and may tell them to dump them for being negative

A Reddit post from August 9, 2019, titled “A couple tried to recruit me to Amway while I was on the clock at the job I got to escape from Smart Circle”. A young guy started a new job and was approached by a young couple asking for his personal information followed by a pitch to join Amway

These are the general ways MLMs ruin marriages, but I want to add one more section on this. I probably won’t dive into it further, but if you remember what happened to Shanann Watts, there’s an MLM tie to this true crime case. More on Shannan Watts here

The Recovering Hunbot did multiple videos about the tragic death of Shanann Watts, but here’s her video about what we didn’t know about Shanann’s involvement with her company Thrive

In conclusion, addiction to working in multi-level marketing companies can break a relationship. This was all about marriage, but the same can be applied to any relationship

For more on how else they ruin marriages, check out this video from Erin on the Side of Caution

Anti-MLM Mondays: Manipulation Tactics

NEW: You can listen to the blog post here

Happy Monday, everyone. It’s time for another anti-MLM post. Read up my first three posts here, here, and here

Photo by Alice Milewski on Pexels.com

I have mentioned that upon watching anti-MLM content for almost 3 years that hunbots, hunbros, and other MLM reps love to use manipulation tactics to get people to join their teams. They know they can’t sell the products by themselves and some know they joined the company by their uplines using the same tactics, but they do it anyway.

For this week’s anti-MLM post, I will tell you the manipulation tactics I have seen after watching years of anti-MLM content

Love Bombing

A Facebook post from October 21, 2020 explaining that love bombing is one of the first steps used by MLM reps to welcome new recruits to their team

When you join an MLM, the other reps under the same upline will shower you with lots of love. Sometimes too much love. That is called love bombing. They do this to make you feel welcomed and appreciated. They make you feel like you have a sisterhood. They make you feel like you’re part of a team. They even shout women empowerment at the top of their lungs. But that love doesn’t last. The love bombing and toxic positivity go out the window when you’re falling behind in making money for them

Deception

MLM reps play a long game of deception. They will post their so-called “free” cars or pictures from their “free” trips. They would also post about buying a house with their “money” or telling their followers that they were able to pay for expensive items and medical surgeries with their MLM money that they somehow couldn’t get with a regular job. Money isn’t the only motivator, as they could also claim that they feel lighter, more focused, and have more energy with their products. I will make a post about the “free” stuff they get in a later post (SPOILERS: They’re not free). The Huffington Post talks more about the art of deception from a former Mary Kay hun

Financial Manipulation

People don’t have extra money lying around to buy starter packs to run a “small business” with an MLM company for a good reason. For those that are already in, they usually don’t make enough money to buy into the products monthly to keep their accounts active or to hit the next rank for the month. Their uplines, however, feed off of their downlines, so if they don’t see enough money coming in, they would yell at their downlines essentially to make them more money. An example of that is a video from Julie Jo and it’s about a top Monat rep yelling at her downline because they are not bringing her the money (warning: bullying, essentially)

Guilting

The video example above could also be an example of general guilting. Again, MLM reps with a team will use every tactic in the book to keep their downlines in line, similar to a cult. Two weeks ago, I told you about how they would use fear, shame, guilting, and bullying to get other reps to do their bidding. Basically, whatever arsenal they have on hand as far as emotional manipulation goes, they will use it, and it makes their downlines cast blame on themselves because they did not make enough money for their uplines

Mom shaming

MLM companies love to target moms. It didn’t matter what type of mom they targeted… soon-to-be mothers, first-time mothers, pregnant mothers, single mothers, stay-at-home mothers, military mothers, moms with empty nests, etc. They usually attract them because they are either pregnant with a child or have young children and need some income while staying home. They will advertise their scam as a way for a mom to be present for their kids or as a way to keep up with their kids’ schedules. You’re probably wondering “where does the mom shaming come in”? It comes in when moms put them in daycare. Daycare is seen as an antithesis of being a “present” mom. They see it as someone raising someone else’s kid, but in reality, it’s like any other school. Speaking of, some don’t like public schools either for the same reason and will homeschool them for the sake of being a “present” mom to their kids. However, the mom shaming go beyond just present for the kids.

Body shaming

Whether they’re a mom or not, body shaming is another manipulation tactic especially deployed by wellness MLM reps to bully their downline. They will use fatphobic terms like fat and ugly to reem them for not making enough money or losing weight to their liking. If they couldn’t do it to the faces, they would also do it online, especially when they lose a downline member. Another form of body shaming is when they appropriate those before and after pictures and say something like “getting rid of curves” or “getting rid of cellulite”, two things that are being accepted in today’s body positivity culture.

Fear of missing out (FOMO)

Looking for a certain number of people. Holding conventions. Building curiosity. Spamming the timelines of their followers with materialistic things. All of that creates FOMO, the fear of missing out. They’re always looking for 3 more people to join their downlines (and may have a discount on their starter packs if necessary). They will hold in-person, packed conventions where the top leaders and those who hit certain top ranks get to walk the stage as if they had graduated from college and give unnecessary motivational speeches that would last hours. They also love to build curiosity by pretending to ask people if they are looking to change their lives and spamming their unfortunate followers by posting the glamorous “lifestyle” they spew all the time. During COVID, MLM companies insisted on holding in-person conventions without precautions after the vaccines have rolled out, and it sometimes leads to deadly consequences. (Paparazzi Convention 2021 reaction. SPOILERS: COVID deaths, the lack of mask and vaccine measures in place, and it gets worse)

Claiming to be anti-MLM

I won’t dive too much into it but just know this… just like people who love to say “I used to be a Democrat until they started being mean” or those who say “I’m not racist, but…”, “I’m not homophobic, but”, “I’m not sexist, but”, there are MLM reps that say that they used to be anti-MLM until they saw some vision from their upline or something. To me, they weren’t anti-MLM. If they were, they would find the problem with the overall structure of the business model and never join. It’s not limited to one company. Keep that in mind when you watch an MLM video.

Gaslighting

The last tactic is gaslighting. Making their downlines feel like shit. Blaming them for “not working hard enough”. Replacing the actual reality with an alternative reality. Sowing doubt by telling them their eyes deceived them. Top MLM reps especially use this tactic to keep their downlines in check if even one of them starts to question them.

Those are some of the tactics they use to manipulate their teams into doing their bidding. What do you think? Do you know of any other tactics they might have used? Let me know in the comments

%d bloggers like this: