Many outsiders see Amway members as being cult like in nature. I also believe that many Amway groups are like cults. The only major difference I can see is that Amway members are free to quit. But there are many similarities to a cult following which I will outline.
Groups are often told not to associate with non members. If your friends and family do not like Amway or are not positive about Amway, they are to be shunned. Members are told not to put anything but positive into their minds, thus IBOs are told not to watch television or read newspapers. thus depriving an IBO of basic information about their communities or their cities. It makes them apathetic.
IBOs are often advised or told to submit to their upline leaders. Just follow the trail already blazed by upline. Don't reinvent the wheel. Just copy or duplicate your upline. IBOs tend to dress alike, act alike and say the same things, but they are discouraged from speaking to crossline IBOs, which I find ridiculous for business associates.
Downlines are trained to edify the diamonds. Standing ovations, adoration and complete submission to these "great" leaders. IBOs are often told to "counsel" with these great leaders. A 50 year old successful married businessman would have to "submit" and listen to the single and 30 year old diamond, because the diamond has accomplished what everyone wants - to be a diamond. (Doesn't this sound like the funny farm?)
Downlines are also constantly on the hunt for new cult members (recruiting). They go through all kinds of trials and tribulations to do so, even attending out of town seminars to learn this skill. The IBOs also channel significant amounts of money to upline leaders in the form of tools purchases, or in some cases, special functions run exclusively by their upline.
So are Amway groups such as BWW, N21, LTD or WWDB cults? I don't know, but I can say pretty confidently that they certainly exhibit traits that can be compared to a cult. What do you think?