Friday, October 31, 2014

Amway?

Over the years I have been debating with Amway supporters, I cannot see what is so great about the Amway opportunity. Are some of these Amway defenders that stupid or dense that they truly believe that a business where one out of a few hundred people might make a profit and most of the remaining IBOs will lose money is a good opportunity? I'm not talking about people who sign up and "do nothing". Many IBOs sign up and put in a great deal of time, effort and money, only to find out that the system simply does not work (especially in the US) and they make a business decision to quit and/or to do something else.

Of course there are some people who make money in Amway. If nobody made money, then the opportunity would cease to exist. But it is basically exploitation of the downline that accounts for upline success. Amway's admission that sales to non IBOs are low, confirms this. Thus certain upline make their income from their downline's PV volume, and on tool purchases. I mean even a lottery has winners. Even ponzi schemes and other questionable opportunties have some winners. This is not to suggest that Amway in not legal. Amway is perfectly legal, but the way the opportunity is set up, those who profit, primarily do so at the expense of their trusted downline.

There are no groups that I know of where all the IBOs can win and earn a profit. I would guess that there might be a few rogue groups who only focus on retail sales, and while these groups can be profitable as a group, they are few and far between. This is because most IBOs fall under an LOS such as WWDB, BWW, LTD or N21, and these groups all seemingly focus on recruiting of new IBOs. Yes, they may sprinkle in some suggeestions about selling goods, but generally speaking, their "training" materials consist of motivation speeches, feel good stories (whether true or not), and the theme of never quitting while continuing to purchase more tools.

Some upline have the nerve to start teaching downline that their Amway business is not about making money, but to save your marriage, make you a nicer person, or some other diversion to make you forget that you are losing money month after month after month. Some groups even mix in religion and politics into their functions and meetings. As far as I can see, the typical business buildiing IBO signs up, gets some of the tools and attends a few functions, and finds that the products are hard to sell because they are not priced competetively with other retailers, and that a damaged reputation is nearly impossible to overcome. These IBOs realize they are not going anywhere, and they walk away, chalking up the losses as a life lesson. But apparently, many uplines who lied and deceived in the past are continuing to do so today, often just revising history for their benefit (i.e. lying about making any profit on tools).

Many IBOs, prospects, information seekers and critics read this blog. My question is very simple. What is so great about the Amway opportunity? For most, it is just a bad use of time and money. While some may exist, I don't know of a single person who "did the work once" and sat back collecting barrels of Amway money while sipping Mai Tais on the beaches of Jamaica. I see crown ambassadors working as hard today as they did many years ago. Diamonds losing homes to forclosures, a prominent diamond in bankruptcy proceedings, and a hoard of WWDB diamonds apparently selling off mansions that they allegedly paid for in cash. (It os quite possible that their lifestyles are simply not sustainable).

Where is the benefit in the business for the typical IBO? Just as there are some diamonds, there are lottery winners. Displaying a lottery winner doesn't make it prudent to spend your money on lottery tickets. Displaying a diamond's lifestyle doesn't make Amway a good opportunity. While Amway is a business and not a game of chance, the results of either, sadly are eerily similar - that is a few winners and millions of non winners.

What is so great about the Amway opportunity? I don't see it.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

What Is The Likelihood Of Amway Success?

Many people consider the platinum level in Amway as a significant achievement in Amway. While it may be nice to achieve that level and gain recognition from the Amway corporation, I will point out that there was a study done in Wisconsin where the attorney general analyzed and found that the top 1% (platinums) of IBOs on average, lost money. The study is somewhat dated, but I will also point out that today, there are MORE expenses associated with running an Amway business than before. (Voicemail, books, functions, standing orders, shipping). I would guess that it's very possible that platinums lose more today than when the Wisconsin study was done. Why would it be different when there are more expenses today than when the Wisconsin study was done.

A typical platinum group often has 100 or more downline IBOs. Not all 100 are active. Some do little, some are highly dedicated and some may be off and on, depending on whether they feel inspired at the moment. I should also mention that people routinely quit and drop out and therefore, new recruits must be brought in all the time. Thus a logical conclusion is that less than 1% of IBOs can reach that level. It is also, apparently rare to maintain that level. Factoring in people who quit, one can conclude that only a fraction of 1% ever reach platinum. My former upline diamond had 7 frontline platinums in his heyday. Actually, 6 of them were ruby level. None of them hold the platinum level today. So you have a less than 1% chance of reaching platinum and then you are unlikely to be able to maintain that level even if you manage to reach it.

What serious prospective business owner would even consider opening a business where you have such a small likelihood of success? Even those who achieve platinum are likely to lose that level. If platinums cannot maintain their level, then it's easy to see why there are former diamonds as well. It seems that people are willing to take a chance on an Amway business because the start up cost is low. But what is the point of doing all of that when the chance of making money is negligible? I know the Amway supporters like to show what is possible, which is fine, but a real business owner will also want to know what is likely and what they can expect given certain levels of effort.

To compound the problem, many IBOs spend a lot of time and money building an Amway business that is unlikely to give them any return on their investment. I'd guess that the average serious IBO would spend $250 a month or more on tools. That money invested over a number of years in mutual funds would give you a much better chance of achieving some dreams. Even putting the money in the bank would make you better off than the vast majority of IBOs. A serious business owner would want to know their realistic chance of making money. For some strange reason, prospects and IBOs seem to ignore this reality. They dream of only the best case scenario or what is possible. They seem to ignore what is likely. They are sold on hopes and dreams. Hopes and dreams are nice but people also need to know what the reality is.

The reason why so any people fail is because uplines are in the business of selling tools and distributorships. They are not truly interested in your long term sustainable success. If you don't believe me, try to stop purchasing standing orders and function tickets and see how much longer you are edified and given help from upline. Seriously, would a real business owner be interested in a less than 1% chance of success? While you seem interested in attending functions and buying tools, you'll be patted on the back and encouraged but the moment you stop, you'll become a quitter or broke loser.

try it and see for yourself.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Real Amway Business?

I have been reading some ongoing debates about whether the system income for higher pins is more than their Amway bonuses. I believe the systems such as BWW, WWDB, N21 or LTD, does generate more profit for upline than the sale of Amway products. How the system income is divided though, is still a mystery as it doesn't appear that there are bonafide written contracts explaining how tools income is split up among the higher pins. There is also the debate of whether diamonds themselves or their "corporations" receive the profit, which is laughable as a defense.

But it's very easy to determine that more income is made from the system than from Amway. If you move $100 worth of Amway products, Amway will pay about $33 back in the form of bonuses. These bonuses will be split among the Amway IBOs (middlemen), depending on your level. On the other hand, if your group bought say 20 cds at $5.00each, the system will profit about $90 as cds cost about 50 cents each to produce in bulk. Some Amway apologists will cite the fact that some groups sell cds for $2.50 or $3.00. While this is true, there is a "member's fee" which must be paid. And when you add in the member's fee, the profit for the system is the same or possibly higher! Even when you factor in the system employees, you can easily see the math and determine where the real money is made.

If you buy a major function ticket for $125, the cost of that function might be in the neighborhood of $25 to $30 per attendee, so the system may generate $100 profit on a $125 sale. I believe the smaller functions such as open meetings, books and voicemail have smaller profit margins, but still overall, it's easy to conclude that the profit from the system is greater than profits generated by moving Amway products. I might add that the sales on these functions are often made in cash, thus who knows if the diamonds are even paying the IRS taxes on these sales.

The only question is how much each individual earns. I have "heard" that platinums get a discount on the sale of standing orders and cds, but I have never heard of a platinum sharing any profit for functions, voicemail, or any of the other materials. This is puzzling to me as I believe the platinums do the most work in the system, helping downlines.

So for the lower level IBOs, if you move $300 in Amway sales (Approximately 100 PV), you will receive about $10 or 3% while upline enjoys the rest of the $90+ in bonuses from Amway. And then when you purchase and move tools volume, you receive nothing and some of your uplines enjoy all of the profit. While I don't see any problem in upline making a profit for selling training materials, I see a problem in the fact that the tools don't work. So few IBOs progress to levels where an actual profit is earned that the use of tools cannot be justified. Amway supporters will point out the new platinums emerging each year, but do not mention the platinums who do not re-qualify.

Based on my observations, I can only conclude (quite easily) that there is substantially more profit from the sale of support materials for upline to enjoy, and I can also conclude that the support materials are ineffective in training downline IBOs so they can progress to higher levels of the business. But as PT Barnum once said, a sucker is born every minute.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Amway And The Tool Scam?

There's been much debate recently on the James Randi Educational Forum (JREF). Most call Amway a scam and one prolific defender cites the point that IBOs are not Amway. And Amway doesn't sell training materials. While that is legally true, the owner of Amway, back in 1983 acknowledged that the sale of tools was, basically unethical and possibly illegal. However, inaction by the Amway corporation led to the heyday of the tool scam and financial abuse of downline. There's the loophole that covers Amway. IBOs are independent.

However, these same IBO leaders could not run free scamming downline if Amway were to intervene. I believe Amway doesn't take any apparent significant action for fear that these leaders would move their groups to another MLM. The result over the years is a lousy reputation in the US where the name Amway is associated with pyramid, scam and other undesirables. I suppose Amway has survived though, because of a saying by PT Barnum. There's a sucker born every minute. I suppose there are enough pockets of young or unsuspecting people who can still be convinced to join, so it's business as usual.

Which brings to to the next point. Unfortunately, new IBOs are basically suckers. They pay a fee to Amway, in order to become an unpaid Amway salesperson. You absorb your own time and expenses in order to move Amway products, and if you move enough of them, you can get a minimal bonus. You also at your own time and expense, recruit other unpaid salespeople for Amway. Your reward for this is you get credited for a portion of their sales, provided they use or actually sell anything. Most IBOs do little or nothing so your efforts are usually in vain.

But the real trick is to have IBO leaders convince downline that voicemail and cds and live meetings (seminars) can actually help you succeed. There is zero unbiased evidence to suggest that this training or tools do anything but make handsome profits for the people who sell them. Even if many IBOs sign up and do nothing, there are enough serious ones to support the pharoah diamond leaders. And food for thought, do IBOs really need voicemail in an age of email, twitter, facebook and other more efficient means of commincation?

So yes, Amway IBOs are not Amway. Amway diamond leaders are not Amway.

But if Amway cannot or will not stop those who taint their name, then they simply must live with the reputation of being a scam or a pyramid. They can be legal to the letter of the law, but most people see it for what it is. Being legal doesn't necessarily mean ethical or moral. It is my opinion that when you sign up for Amway, you are nearly assured of losing money. It's not your fault though, it is the result of a bad system. I encourage everyone to do their due diligence before joining any business, Amway notwithstanding.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Facade Of Amway Leaders?

One of the things that Diamonds and some other leaders do to attract new IBOs is to put on a dog and pony show. They want prospects to think that you can consume Amway products and get others to follow your lead and in a few years, you will be set for life financially, speaking on stages and securing the future for generations to come. They might use props such as pictures of mansions, slideshows of sports cars, jets, and yachts. It looks impressive but based on what I know now, who knows whether the diamonds actually own this stuff or if they are simply showing you a slideshow of "lifestyles of the rich and famous". The reality is very likely that many diamonds are actually living in debt or bonus check to bonus check. It is a fact that more than half of NBA basketball pros end up broke within 5 years of retirement, and they earn mucc much more than diamonds. Why would a diamond be different than the average Joe, especially when they appear to live beyond their means?

In the few cases where diamond income was exposed, we can see that they were not making the kind of money they would have you believe. Triple diamond Greg Duncan was making about half a million a year from Amway. A nice income for sure, but not what people would think for a triple diamond, and not enough to save Mr. Duncan from filing bankruptcy back in 2009 or so. David Shores lost a home to foreclosure. Another diamond, unnamed but documented in the book "Amway Motivational Organizations, Behind the Smoke and Mirrors", talks about a diamond who had a gross income of over 3 million dollars, and a net of about $320,000. This diamond was in debt, had back taxes owed to the government, and was working hard to portray the diamond lifestyle.

Some of these leaders also use religion or Christianity as a means to justify their involvement in the business. For those who know, the Bible is clear that the love of money can lead to destruction. When you have functions such as Dream Night, what does that say? I would also like to note that in cases where these diamond's financials were exposed, there were no significant contributions to charity. I wonder if these charlatans talk a good game but do not contribute time or money to worthy causes? Where are the ten thousand dollar checks they talk about donating to charity? These leaders often refer to themselves as mentors, but any help they provide to downline results in some kind of compensation for them. This is not a mentor, but more like a paid consultant who is not getting effective results.

Behind the nice suits and the glitz of the functions, I believe that IBOs and prospects would see a world they truly would not want to be a part of. A world where deceit is practically needed to succeed. Where you take advantage of people who trust in you. Where you pretend to be wealthy and free, but in reality a slave to the mighty dollar. Where you traded a 9-5 job for a job that works the graveyard shift. If you look objectively behind the facade, you might see what I see.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Only Amway Folks Are "Winners"?

One of the things that my upline taught, and I believe is still taught today in various groups is that winners join Amway and losers do not. Or that you were a winner because you were doing something to better your financial future and those who didn't were losers. or broke minded. Of course the upline who said this had no knowledge about those who were not in Amway. Some of them may already have been financially sound or may have been doing something to better their financial future. I'm not sure why these uplines, who promote "positive", had to resort to calling people losers simpy because they did not agree that Amway was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

In many games or sporting events, there will be someone or a team that wins the game and someone or a team that loses the game. Losing a game doesn't make you a loser and certainly, a team that wins the game would not say the losing team were losers. Can you imagine a pro football team's coach taking the podium after a game and saying his team won because the other team was a bunch or broke minded gutless losers? That would never happen, yet we see that frequently in the Amway/IBO world. The owner of Amway, Rich DeVos had once said in a recorded message that just because people do not agree with you (paraphrased) about Amway, does not make them losers and that IBOs should not call people losers.

In all of this, people's jobs are also criticized. That a job stand for "just over broke" or "jackass of the boss" and other blurbs. Many IBO's goals and dreams consist of ditching their job so they can sleep all day and live a life of luxury. Ironically, it is most IBO's jobs that continue to produce income so they can pay their bills and feed their family. It is also an IBO's job that funds their Amway and AMO expenses such as product purchases and functions and voicemail, etc. Without having a job, most people could not even join Amway or pay for any tools. Sadly, most IBOs won't make any money in Amway either, and will have to continue to work at their jobs. I do not believe that someone earning an honest living working a job is a loser. Ironically, the folks calling people losers are often not even netting a profit from their Amway business!

Yes, in this business or the sports world, there will be winners and there will be losers. The question is whether you are the one who is allowed to be the judge of who is and who isn't. I would also suggest that IBOs are completely shutting down potential future business by their behavior. What if I went to a store to purchase something but the item was not available on that particular day, so I don't purchase anything and leave. As I leave, the store owner says I am a loser for not buying something there. Will I go back? Very unlikely. If an IBO truly sees themselves as a store owner, all prospects should be seen as potential business, whether future or present. If your upline tells you that people not interested are losers, you should hand him a mirror.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Truth About Amway?

What is the truth about Amway?

One of the things that irks me about some Amway leaders is their blatant revisionist history. They never take responsibility for anything except for the miniscule amounts of success that seeps through their system. Real problems and issues are ignored, or leaders pretend they never happened, or they simply rewrite history to fit their goals and agendas. And to make matters worse, these same leaders teach their downline to accept personal responsibility for their failures, even when downline faithfully purchase and apply teaching from tools such as voicemail, standing orders and functions. The truth is that the Amway leaders are given a pass and are not held accountable to anyone.

One good example from the past was the complete lie that nobody made profits from tools. Then when caught red handed, leaders now admit that they make profits from tools but nobody seems to know exactly how much, or how you actually qualify to receive compensation. And there was no backlash for having told such blatant lies. Today's IBO's were not present when the lies were told and most current IBOs would have no knowledge of it. Nobody was accountable.

Leaders in my former LOS, WWDB used to teach how so few IBO couples ever gets divorced. I heard that Amway couples had a 2% divorce rate as compared to the rest of the world where over 50% of couples get divorced. Yet, WWDB uses their own revisionst history. One good example is Howie Danzik, who WWDB says built his business as a single and later married Theresa Tsuruda. I guess I must have imagined the emerald function I attended where Howie and his wife at the time, Susan, said they built the business together. There are other examples of this, but what amazes me is how the downlines seem to ignore these facts.

Another fairly recent example was how an IBO insisted that a prominent triple diamond in WWBD did not have homes foreclosed or was not involved in bankruptcy proceedings, even when there are numerous public documents providing ample evidence that it was true. It's mind boggling. If Tiger Woods were a diamond and denied that he had any affairs, I bet his downline would believe him as well. Scary.

I just have to wonder when IBOs, who dedicate themselves to various systems, will ever hold these leaders accountable for their actions. If you buy a television and it didn't work, you would ask for a refund. Well, if those standing orders and functions contain vital information and you apply them and they don't work, you should ask for a refund as well. People should also ask upline the tough questions. If someone gives you bad advice, they should be held accountable. If someone tells you buying a home with a mortgage is stupid because of the interest you will pay, then you find out they have "interest only loans", that makes them a hypocrite and their advice should be questioned.

Don't allow these well compensated leaders to simply rewrite history to ignore their mistakes and trangressions. This blog contains many "truths" about Amway and it may not be pretty and won' be what your upline says. Ask questions and be discerning. Good luck!