Over my Amway and blogging experience, I have come to a conclusion which I will stand by. And this, in my informed opinion, is a signficant problem with the Amway opportunity. The Amway owner, Rich Devos acknowledged this issue back in 1983 in his "directly speaking" tape and unfortunately, nothing apparently substantial was ever done and therefore, the problem exists today.
The Amway opportunity is one part of the issue, with the tools systems being the other prong. Over the years, the Amway opportunity and the tools systems have formed a symbiotic relationship. It is as if Amway needs the system and the system needs Amway. What I mean is that Amway provides the opportunity, and then the system uses the opportunity to sell the system. In the meantime, the system leaders teach 100 PV, product loyalty, and do most if not all of the new IBO recruiting. Amway benefits as the system teaches movement of PV whether by sales or self consumption, and new IBO recruitment, and the system leaders benefit by having a captive audience to sell their cds, books, seminars, voicemail, and website fees.
The conflict of interest occurs when uplines tell their new IBOs that they "need" to attend a certain function, or that they "need" standing order to succeed. The upline is smart enough not to say the system is "required", but certainly, they will put a defacto requirement by sayimg things such as nobody has ever succeeded without the system, but you can try to be the first, or they may say the system is optional, but so is success. Of someone may say so and so diamond (insert) name is a multi millionaire and he advocates the system, but you can go against his advice if you think you know better.
The bigger problem is that these upline leaders will tell you that you basically cannot succeed without these tools, but at the same time, the more tools you buy, the more profit these uplines make. Some Amway apologists will justify this by saying a college professor may sell his own books to his students. But this is not the same thing. A college professor may spend years researching to write that one book. He will be teaching his expertise that is written in the book. When you attend seminars or listen to cds, you do not have one expert guiding you with clear documentation on how they succeeded. You have very general generic experiences coming from various speakers who may or may not have any common background with IBOs. Thus these upline leaders will profit from their downline IBO volume and also from tools that they advise downline to purchasem regardless of downline success or progress in the business.
As evidence of these bad practices by upline, consider this. If upline truly has "valuable" information that would help you succeed, they would get that information to you in whatever means they could. Either by voicemail, MP3, Youtube or whatever. Why would they withhold trade secrets if they really wanted your success? Has it ever occured to IBOs that maybe uplines doesn't want your success? Maybe it is why you must pay for any piece of advice or support you receive. Maybe upline is perfectly happy with people coming and going as long as there are tool purchases because then there are no new IBOs (platinums and up) to share the tool profits with.
There is a definite conflict of interest with profiting uplines advising you to buy tools. The question if whether you see it or not?