One of the popular defenses that Amwayers seem to use when defending the business is to claim that the military, the church, or your job is a pyramid. Even though Amway was found not to be illegal in 1979, that ruling, as far as I know, was based on the idea that IBOs sold goods and products to non IBO customers. I wonder what a review of some AMO's current teachings would turn up? I believe the buy from yourself model is an illegal product based pyramid, but that's another debate. As for the military, the church or my job, there's a difference between an organizational hierarchy and a pyramid.
In the Amway business, it's possible (but apparently very rare) to make money my primarily selling products. However, to achieve various levels, especially the coveted levels such as emerald or diamond, you have to sposnor downline. Thus you will need hoards of downline moving volume for you in order to attain and maintain these higher levels. A typical diamond-ship is likely to have a minimum of about 600 IBOs and more likely a thousand or more downline IBOs. While many IBOs may have a casual approach to the business and not move much volume, a higher pin would need a core group of committed and dedicated IBOs who "do the work" and move the volume.
Unfortunately, it is ususally the hardest working and dedicated IBOs that suffer the most losses because they are generally the ones who get caught up in the system, consisting of standing orders, voicemail, books and functions. Hard work doesn't necessarily result in results in this business. And because people often quit the business, you are constantly having to work to replace them in order to keep the volume moving. Sadly, what many do not see is that there will always need to be about a thousand or so IBOs to support a diamond. Add in attrition and it would take thousands of downline over a number of years to support a diamond.
In order for someone to achieve diamond, they would need to build a group that stays ahead of attrition to keep growing. Unfortunately, after a number of years, there would have to be thousands of IBOs making nothing or suffering losses to support a diamond. I have never heard of a win-win situation where the diamond made money along with all of the downline. This is why Amway has drawm comparisons to a pyramid. There are some guys making money, but usually at the expense of their downline in the form of volume and tool sales. This is how it is and this is how the compensation plan works. You cannot "choose" to succeed as meny believe because you need the infrastructure of downline to support you. In the end, and the bottom line is that most business building IBOs suffer losses, even when working hard and doing what upline advises. There are more stories of this on the internet than I can count. Even the fiercest of Amway defenders have no bonafide proof that they have accomplished anything signifcant in Amway.
When you are building a pyramid, you will always need thousands of blocks to make your lower levels, but in the end, only one block can be the very top of the pyramid. What makes you think you will be that top block?