Friday, July 25, 2014

Retired Amway Diamonds A Myth?

I was watching a show on Discovery channel the other night about Sasquatch. It was followed by a show about evidence of UFOs. It made me start to think about these phenomena. It seems like everyone has heard about or knows something about Sasquatch (Big foot) and/or UFOs. There are many documentaries showing pictures and evidence of both, but to date, there is no bonafide evidence that these things exist. You'd think that a body or bones of a Sasquatch would turn up somewhere, sooner or later, or we would find compelling evidence of a spaceship from another galaxy. I mean a Sasquatch would have a mother and father and sooner or later, some of them would die. Why have no bodies ever turned up? Why have we never found nothing tangible about a UFO?

It sounds just like stories of people who built a diamondship, then "walked away" from their businesses, retired in the lap of luxury and did nothing while the money kept rolling in. I heard numerous scenarios about this happening, but looking back, all the diamonds kept working and since Joecool left the business, the diamond either kept working, or quit or got terminated. But I never heard anyone name some higher up Amway pin who built a business, and then walked away from it to travel the beaches of the world while hundreds of thousands of dollars kept rolling in. Many have heard about it but nobody seems to be able to name any of these folks. I mean after over 50 years in existence, you'd think some of these folks would exist, especially when it seems to be a selling point of the business for many AMOs.

It is my opinion that Sasquatch, UFOs and retired Amways diamonds (with significant Amway income) are non existent. If these folks existed, there should be at least some shred of evidence of it. The lack of evidence indicates to me that it is either non existent or so rare that nobody can display bonafide proof. I mean there aren't any T-Rexs roaming the earth anymore but fossil evidence proves that they existed at one time.

Keeping in mind that the Amway business has a high attrition rate, coupled with low sales to non IBOs and you can easily conclude that residual and significant income is nearly impossible. An Amway business that is left alone will deteriorate like a sandcastle does as the waves wash it away. You (in theory) could possible walk away from an Amway business for a while and collect some income, but you won't be collecting enough income to live the "diamond lifestyle" as portrayed by diamonds in their functions and open meetings. I'm not even sure that active diamonds can comfortably afford that lifestyle even when building their businesses. There is ample evidence to support my claim. Diamonds losing homes to foreclosure, former diamonds revealing secrets about their income. If you really believe you can walk away from your Amway business and collect untold wealth, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Believe In Amway?

Many IBOs cannot be convinced that Amway is not the best opportunity in the world, because they want to believe the lies/deception that is often used when they are recruited. They want to believe that 2-5 years of part time effort will result in lifelong residual income and that they will be traveling to the beaches of the world while cash keeps rolling in. They want to believe that they can ditch their (often) less than adequate jobs. They want to believe that a part time soap business will make all of this possible. The people (upline) who claim to have everyone's best interest at heart will sell them a proven system of success and all they need to do is follow the steps to success.

Many people sign up for Amway and do abosultely nothing. They may not ever order or try products. But these folks do not complain about Amway and the expenses they may incur are minimal. Most do not even bother to seek a refund on their starter kit. It makes me wonder why these folks even bother to sign up. Although, there are stories of people being pestered into registering. Anyway, the part where this business gets dicey is when people register and do put in an earnest effort, only to end up with financial losses. Sometimes the losses are in the tens of thousands of dollars. You get squeezed for a couple of hundreds of dollars a month and after a few years of effort, you can find yourself drowning in debt, even after doing everything your upline advised. The fact that uplines don't disclose their busienss financials speaks volumes. Former uplines who have come forward have shown that most of their income was from hawking standing orders and seminars, and not from Amway sales as they would imply.

I bought into the hype at one time. I believed the lies. I believed my upline that no profit was made from tools. At the time I was an IBO, I too, wanted to believe that I could work part time for 2-5 years and ditch my job. That I would retire at the age of 35 and live in luxury forever. I wanted to believe that. But having reached the 4000 PV level, the precipice of platinum, I also realized that I had no profit. I sat down and did the math and realized that they would be little profit at platinum. I cam to the realization that a second job would have suited me better. I finally quit when I realized this, along with my upline wanting total control of my life. But I hung in as long as I did because I wanted to believe that Amway would be the vehicle that delivered my financial freedom.

Having dropped out of Amway, my life quickly got back to normal. Friends that I had avoided returned to my life. My disposable income increased and my cashflow was positive once again, now that I was no longer obligated to purchase tools. I also noticed years later, that the same old leaders on stage were still working as hard as ever, and none of them had taken the option to retire and walk the beaches of the world. Perhaps these leaders also want to - or have to believe in Amway because they have already invested too much time and effort to call it quits and start something else. I wanted to believe, but the fact is that people were not succeeding. People were not getting free. What I saw was home foreclosures, bankruptcies and financial struggles made worse for people because of Amway and the tool systems. And apparently, these same issues apply to the diamonds. Do your research and you will likely find the same conclusion that I did. That Amway is a nearly impossible dream.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Amway And Integrity?

I used to follow the blog of a WWDB IBO named "Shaun". He ran the blog called "Expeditions Of Truth" http://expeditionoftruths.com/. Shaun recently disappeared. I'm fairly certain his Amway business has now gone dormant or belly up. He was a fired up IBO in 2009 and I'm sure he had dreams of going diamond and retiring early, based on his blog posts. I do wish him well.

Shaun seemed to think that not only is he in business with people full of integrity, he also thought that he was going to retire in November 2011. Is this now July 2014. I'm sure Shaun would have kept his blog running and would have posted any significant success stories. But back to integrity. While I think doing business with people of integrity is a good thing, I also know of many successful people in business who are ruthless. So are Amway and in particular, WWDB people full of integrty or are they just as ruthless as other business people? Does it matter? In my opinion, it doesn't matter except for the fact that WWDB people seem to think that they have integrity filled leaders. What if a guy was some punk and got recruited into Amway and WWDB, does he suddenly have integrity> Think about that one for a while.

Well, lets look at some of these Amway/WWDB leaders. Back in the 1990's, the current batch of WWDB leaders swore that nobody made a profit on tools. Nobody knew the truth at the time. We now know that this was a lie. Is this integrity? We know that Triple Diamond Greg Duncan was in chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings. Not paying for your obligations is integrity? We know that Greg Duncan and David Shores had homes foreclosed (Public information). Is that a move filled with integrity? With the tons of money Duncan and Shores make, couldn't they have made an effort to pay off their debts?

If you look at a blog linked to this one "Rocket's Rants", there's a youtube video of "crown" Brad Duncan telling rank and file IBOs that they can make "hundreds of thousands of dollars" a month. First of all, I wonder if Brad Duncan has achieved this himself, let alone any others? Even if someone had achieved it, it would be illegal or unethical to portray that kind of success as achieveable to a prospect. Is this integrity? To lead someone onto expectations that will not be fulfilled?

Former Amway/WWDB leader Brad Wolgamott used to talk about how WWDB had a low divorce rate. Is it full on integrity for WWDB leaders to seperate or divorce when they talk about integrity and how Amway and WWDB saves marriages? What about Dean Kosage? Another divorcee? Are they full of integrity? What say you Shaun Guthrie of WWDB? What about Howie Danzik whose website doesn't mention that he was once married to Susan? Is it integrity to say you built the business as a single when Howie previously built the business with his former wife? IBOs may counter argue that these leaders are human. And that's true. But leaders who lie are not laden with integrity.

Amway's owner Rich DeVos ackowledged that the "tools" were likely a pyramid scam and Amway did nothing after sales dropped following some attempts to clean it up. Is that an integrity move? I don't know but
it sure seems as if WWDB and Amway have issues where integrity is concerned. One of the things our diamond leaders once said that evil will rule where good men stand and do nothing. Seems that is the case here. While Amway, at least on the surface has made some attempts to clean up some problems, I have yet to see any significant leaders booted out, or stories of discipline exacted. I question this because some of the same issues still pop up on the internet.

So if you hear stories of integrity, stop and think about what it really means.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Typical Amway Excuses?

I've been a blogger now for a number of years. I've debated with Amway apologists and they ultimately resort to excuses and/or personal attacks when they run out of defenses. Food for thought, when you have to make excuses about why your opportunity isn't a scam or a pyramid scheme, that should already make you stop and think for a minute. The easy excuse is to say that "my group isn't like that". Or "We don' do that anymore" Or "Amway is new and different". Yet I see testimonies and statements that indicate to me that things have not changed, even in all the years since I left the Amway business myself.

Even the product's prices need to be justified. That there is concentration or other factors that really make Amway stuff a better value. Strange how that better value doesn't seem to translate further once an IBO realizes that there is no residual income at the end of the rainbow. Many IBOs don't seem to mind paying for Amway stuff when they believe that they will one day walk the beaches of the world while more money than they can count will keep rolling in. When the dream fades, so does the desire to purchase these awesome products. If not, with tens of millions of former IBOs, Amway sales should be through the roof after all these years. But it hasn't. Although Amway recently reported an increase in north american sales, that wasn't the case in the last 10 years. Amway apologists even have excuses about why that is the case.

Amway also reported recently, that they have updated their average IBO income. While it is still miserable, it has gone up, although a clear explanation as to how and why they calculated the "average income" was not apparently given. At a glance, it look like Amway simply declared more IBO's as inactive, thus bringing the average up. So the debate continues. Critics analyzing and predicting how and why, and Amway apologists making excuses and justifying their position. Why not just be transparent and end the debate once and for all? I think most people know the answer. The bottom line for most is whether or not they make a net profit. For the vast majority of IBOs, especially the ones on the system, the answer is a net loss. It is predictable and easy to conclude. The 6-4-2 or any other version of the compensation plan clearly shows that very few people can make any decent money. If a platinum IBO typically has 100 or more IBOs, that is your answer there. It should be noted that a platinum might not even be very profitable if they are sold out on buying system tools.

So IBOs and Amway defenders, are you making money (net profit)? Or are you just making excuses?

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Letter To Amway

This is an open letter basically explaining Joecool's position and why in my opinion, criticism of Amway doesn't stop. (Reprinted from 2011)

Dear Amway,

Why does criticism of Amway continue Ad Nauseum? Because you have not taken any apparent visible action(s) against higher level IBOs who make their living by ripping off unsuspecting prospects and faithful downline by feeding them lines about how easy it is to build an Amway business and how they can ditch their jobs and live on easy street. I saw it and there are countless testimonies and experiences posted on the internet.

When I was an IBO in WWDB, we were fed outright lies by upline. Nobody made any money from tools being the biggest. Downline were taught how long they could string out their mortgages or electric bills so they can attend functions and buy more tools. Yes, IBOs have culpability as well, but the culture of these groups is one of trust and loyalty to the diamonds. Amway's owner, Mr. DeVos acknowledged this in his 1983 speech "directly speaking". But despite the speech, no apparent visible action was taken, thus status quo continued. Even the accreditation system which seemed nice on the surface appears to be a farce. I believe that possibly millions of people over the years have been adversely affected financially because of some of these Amway IBO leaders.

Many of the same leaders who lied to benefit themselves are still at it. A fellow blogger named "Rocket" at one time, reported a possible violation where crown ambassador and IBOAI member, Brad Duncan is caught on tape claiming that IBOs can make "hundreds of thousands of dollars" a month in Amway. Your response was to make non sensical remarks and then eventually no response when pressed for one. I also reported a WWDB IBO who was making disparaging and false statements about some competitor's products while making misleading positive statements about Amway products. Your response was no response and my comment wasn't even published on your "Amway Answers" blog. Ironically, one of the topics on that blog was about how Amway doesn't turn a blind eye to problems. Yeah, you can say it but your actions show something else.

Maybe someone can explain why actions in other countries indicate that the folks who sell Amway tools are scammers. For some reason, the regulatory agencies in the US have not taken notice of the tools business. The Dateline segment in 2004 exposed the tools and systems. It became a big debate on the internet with critics and proponents. While Amway can claim innocence because the unethical actions were taken by IBOs, or "independent" business owners, I still believe that Amway has a responsibility to reign is some of the sales force that represents them.

Food for thought: Joe Paterno was an assistant and head coach, an icon at Penn State University for more than 60 years. He was fired some time ago because he had knowledge of child abuse occuring at the program under his watch. While he was not personally guilty of this, and did many good things for Penn State and the community, still his inactions may have caused harm to befall innocent children. Ultimately, he had the ability and power to stop the wrongdoing but did not. It is a sad ending for a man who many consider a legend. I wish his family well.

Amway can reign in the tool abuse and take control of some of the bad leaders, but apparently has not and will not. The fight goes on.....

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Amway Job

Amway IBOs like to call themselves "Independent Business Owners". But when you sit down and think about this for a minute, I believe that the Amway opportunity is more like a job. As an IBO, you are basically acting as a commissioned salesperson without any benefits coming from the Amway corporation. It's great for Amway as they only pay you for products that are moved. If you work very hard but sell little or nothing, Amway pays you little or nothing. Even if you work hard but move less than 100 PV, Amway pays you nothing.

The Amway corporation can sit back, and simply issue bonuses to downline IBOs. It is the IBOs themselves who recruit others, train others and move the products. Many IBOs are fiercely loyal to Amway products even when they could get the exact same product or a similar product, in many cases, at a fraction of the cost at a big box retailer, or even a local retailer. Take a look at Amway's flagship vitamin (double x). Do you really need to pay $75 or more for a one month supply of multi vitamins? That isn't t say Amway has no products of value, but overall, you can get much more product at less cost by shopping at a retail outlet. Amway must add the cost of IBO bonuses to their prices, therefore their prices are abound to be higher than competing products.

Uplines get you to see the world differently. That you do not equate an hourly wage with your business. But if IBOs did think of their earnings that way, they would easily see that they are working to lose money or to make pennies an hour. For the larger majority of IBOs, working minimum wage would be far more lucrative than spending countless hours and money chasing an Amway dream that is very unlikely to materialize. Uplines also get you to think you are "investing" in your business by purchasing tools, but in reality, you are just a customer of your upline's tool business. Some of you upline might me making most of their income selling cds and function tickets. Tool profits are higher than the profits on Amway so the math is simlpe.

You dedicate yourself to attending meetings, working the phones, meeting with uplines and downlines. You drive a lot of miles. But what many IBOs do not notice is that the priority in building a business should be a focus on getting more customers and expanding sales. But because Amway products can be hard to sell, most IBOs are focused on expanding their business by recruiting others. An endless chain of recruitment, which is why many people think of Amway as a pyramid scheme. Whether it's legal or not as is, is not my call.

But the bottom line in my view, is that Amway is more like a job than an independent business. Call it what you will, but in either case, business or job, it doesn't pay well (or at all) for most.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Amway Will Set You Free?

When I was an IBO, I often saw my upline diamond driving around town dressed in a business suit. I used to wonder why he keeps working if he can "walk away" and collect residual income? My sponsor told me that the diamond only works because he cares about his downline and wants to help them. So there are two possible scenarios, the diamond is working to help his downline out of a genuine concern for them, or possibly he is working because he has to! The only difference now is that the diamond works the nite and/or graveyard shift, because many IBOs are building the business after the complete their day jobs. This is probably why diamonds sleep until the "crack of noon", because they are working all night!

Now Amway has stated that the average diamond earns about $147,000 a year. That is a decent income, but after taxes and paying for basic expenses such as medical and dental insurance, the average diamond probably lives a very middle class lifestyle. Keep in mind that a large portion of a diamond's income comes in the form of an annual bonus, thus a diamond's monthly income may be quite small. Yes, diamonds may have other sources of income such as speaking engagements and income from standing orders and functions. But this income depends on the diamond's continued appearances and efforts.

So is it likely that a diamond is "free"? I would have to conclude that a diamond is not free, and may actually have to spend more time maintaining his group than if the diamond simply had a 9-5 job. For one thing, a diamond needs to maintain a personal group to keep qualifying for bonuses. With a poor retention rate in Amway, I am fairly sure that a diamond spends much time recruiting personally sponsored IBOs to maintain this group. Additionally, a diamond must help his six or more groups of downline platinums to maintain their businesses or face the possibility of falling out of qualification. My former diamond dropped down to the emerald level but has since re-qualified at diamond. A diamond must also dedicate time to reward up and coming movers and shakers, to keep them motivated. I got to spend time with my upline diamond when I was considered a promising up and coming pin.

In order to continue to receive tools income, a diamond must also travel to numerous functions and speaking engagements. Although the tools income allegedly doubles a diamond's income, it also adds a lot of expenses, especially if the diamond and his family travel first class to show off the diamond lifestyle, and stays in 5 star hotels. It is probably why diamonds need free transportation to and from the airport and why they stay with friends when traveling as much as possible.

After breaking down projected income and considering projected expenses, I can only conclude that a diamond probably lives a middle to upper middle class lifestyle, and probably works as much as a man with a 9-5 job, except that a diamond works nites and weekends. A good portrait of this is shown in Ruth Carter's book (Amway Motivational Organizations: Behind The Smoke and Mirrors). In the book, the diamond had a net income of over $300,000, but lived in debt, could barely pay his mortgage, and was always on the run from one function to the next. It is very expensive and time consuming to travel from city to city showing off your freedom and diamond lifestyle.

Is this the freedom you are seeking?