Friday, September 30, 2016

"The Truth" About Amway?

One of the silly things many Amway IBOs are taught is to avoid negative. I believe this is taught today by uplines and it was certainly a point of emphasis even in my days as an IBO. The upline diamond would say that the world of full of negatives and that we as people take in too much of these negatives. Therefore, the IBOs were told to avoid television, newspapers and other forms of communication with the outside world. The group was also told to avoid people who speak negatively about Amway. For this reason, many people have considered Amway groups such as WWDB or N21 as cultish or cult-like. (information deprevation or information control). It's ridiculous to be apathetic about current events and important local news because you deem it as "negative". If you live in the Midwest, you certainly need to know if a tornado is heading your way. Or if you live in Hawaii like me, you need to know if a hurricane is heading your way. To avoid news because you see it as "negative" is stupid and ignorant.

I can agree that you surely don't want to only take in negatives as it can wear you down, but not seeing the news or reading about current events in the paper simply makes you apathetic and uninformed. For example, wouldn't you want and need to know if there was an escaped criminal roaming your neighborhood? Avoiding news could be very detrimental to your family and home. Do you avoid the doctor because his assessment of your health might not be "positive"? For these reasons, I believe that many Amwayers walk around wearing a mask with a false smile, trying to overly positive. But this behavior is detrimental to IBOs, not helpful.

Another important thing that many IBOs cannot distinguish is the difference between negative and the truth. If your wife asks you if her new dress makes her look fat, the truth might be that the new dress indeed makes her appear fat. That answer may be uncomfortable for you to deliver, but the truth is the truth. The truth at times can be positive or negative but it is still the truth. IBOs seem to be unable to make this distinction.

Most IBOs earn less than $100 a month. That is the truth. Most IBOs lose money if they participate in functions and standing orders and such. That is the truth. Most IBOs will never even sponsor a downline. That is the truth. Most IBOs, filled with motivation and dreams, will never see those dreams fulfilled. That is the truth. Many upline diamonds, who advise IBOs to purchase tools and attend functions, and fill the IBO's heads full of dreams, make significant incomes from the sale of tools and functions. That is also the truth. In a 1 year timespan, approximately 50% of all IBOs will quit. That is the truth. You can't build a business with residual income where 50% of people constantly quit. That is also the truth.

Is it negative to tell the truth? Or can IBOs not handle the truth?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Amway IBOs Make More Excuses Than Money?

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 do things differently" . Yet I see testimonies and statements that indicate to me that things have not changed, things are not different, 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 high prices 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. Amway sales saw significant decreases in the last couple of years. Amway at its peak did 11.8 billion in sales and last year, they were at about 9.5 billion. That's a serious drop off.

Amway also fairly recently 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. 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, that about 1 in 100 might make some money, although it's still questionable when factoring in the business expenses. 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?

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Amway Works If You Work It?

The business works if you work it! That's what many Amway enthusiats will claim. I do not believe that is true and I will further explain in this post. Many IBOs who claim that the business works are usually new and are unable to show any evidence that the business actually works, except perhaps to show a photocopied check from an upline diamond or the like. Some IBOs are taught to fake success and are outright lying.

Let me make a disclaimer that some people do make significant money from Amway, but most of those folks are tenured diamonds who are almost in an exclusive club. There is only a short list of new diamonds that I know of in the US, and I have heard that even these new diamonds may have had legs in other countries. It would seem that Amway is not growing by leaps and bounds in the US. Also of note, Amway did not release figures that are seperate between Amway North America and the rest of their overseas operations. Amway recently reported sales of 11.3 billion worldwide, and claims they had growth in all of their territories, including the US. While 400 million is a lot of money, that doesn't add up to exceptional growth in all of their markets.

Ok, so Amway enthusiasts claim that the business works if you work it. Business in its simplest form is selling a product or service for a profit. Yet many many IBOs spend so much of their time doing other things, as advised by their upline "mentors" who sell them training materials that take up much of their valuable time. Listening to tapes/cds, attending functions, reading books, and other training activities not only costs the IBO money, but takes up valuable time in non -income producing activities. Nobody makes sales reading books or attending seminars. Furthermore, these books and seminars do not necessarily result in IBOs being able to move more product as a result.
Inviting people to see "the plan" may be a way to help generate volume but with Amway's reputation, even this is a hit and (mostly) miss activity.

Yet IBOs spend almost all of their time doing these activities (the work) when they could be better off not getting the training and focusing on selling the Amway products and services. Even that comes with a handicap as Amway products as a whole, costs a lot more than purchasing similar or the same products at a big retailer such as Costco or WalMart. It is why most IBOs eventually get discouraged and quit far before the promoted 2-5 year plan.

Few people will even bother to see the plan once you mention "Amway" and for those who are open minded and motivated to register end up having to deal with a hard to sell opportunity along with high priced common commodities such as soap, vitamins and energy drinks. It's pretty easy to see that the business does not work, even for most of those who actually work it. There are simply too many issues with the business that hanidcaps those brave enough to try. It seems even the fiercest defenders of Amway are unable to provide a shred of evidence that they have actually made a profit from this opportunity. I believe Amway doesn't work even if you work it.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Amway IBO's Lie?

Just abut everyone has heard some Amway horror stories. Stories about being tricked into a meeting or being deceived. The Amway name omitted when presented with the opportunity. Outright lies at times. Usually these things happen when IBOs are on the rerruiting trail. They are so desperate to find downline that they will do anything to get a prospect, not thinking that deception will almost ensure that nobody wants to do business with you. Even the diamond who parade around the stage showing off picture of wealth and lifestyle might be hard pressed to prove that they live that lifestyle and possess the things they show off.

But why do they do it? I beieve because uplines still teach it, They teach fake it till you make it. Claims of untold wealth, residual income, easy life. Think of this. Has a single diamond ever disclosed their actual income so people can see if their claims suppport the lifestyles they portray? From the past, some diamonds due to court proceedings, had to disclose their earnings. While nice incomes, it was nowhere near enough to support the "cash" diamond lifestyle that the big pins show off. Even someone who might earn $500K annually will not have enough to buy mansions in cash and jet set around the world all the time.

Many use $100 or $200K as the pinnacle of success, but many do not realize that after taxes and expenses, that doesn't leave enough for more than a middle class lifestyle. I suspect many diamonds are in debt trying to show off a lifestyle to recruit hopeful downlines, I certainly don't believe that diamonds pay cash for everything as many of them claim. And this has already been debunked as several diamonds had their homes foreclosed (Shores/Duncan).

So why do Amway IBOs lie? I believe it's because they have to. The truth would not be enough to attract recruits into Amway. The average IBO makes pennies and those on the tool system lose money. The products are not competitively priced and so even the products must be boosted up at times with false claims (i.e. perfect water). I beieve IBO's lie about Amway - because they have to. The Amway business simply cannot stand on its own merits. The numbers bear it out.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Amway Is An Upline Fundraiser?

A recent comment left on my blog inspired this article. The comment was that basically, IBO's are "donating" to their upline on a monthly basis. You start by donating upline in the form of monthly purchases. Your 100 PV is roughly equal to $300 and most of the bonus generated by that volume goes somewhere upline. This will go on forever until you either quit and stop buying, or unless you somehow manage to sponsor enough downline who will then "donate" to you.

If you attend those open meetings, you are again donating to the upline's coffers. As an IBO, I was strongly encouraged to attend these meetings even if I had no new prospects to bring. And of course, there was an entrance fee at the door. I don't think this was a major profit center but still, a room with perhaps 1000 attendees = $6000 collected and a room with chairs and a speaker doesn't cost that much for an evening.

If you purchase standing orders, you are not donating to your upline on a weekly basis. If the upline can reproduce cds for 50 cents a piece, this is a very healthy profit center. Also, most upline recommend that you listen to a cd each day, thus you need to purchase some additional cds in addition to the standing orders.

Voicemail and book of the month are also monthly donations. Who in the world needs voicemail these days? But uplines still recommend it as they make some serious coin from it. The book of the month might have some value but the uplines are still making profits from these. Think about it, these diamonds claim they want your success but they make you pay for just about any help you receive, regardless of whether that help is beneficial to your business or not.

The regional and major functions are like the monthly fund raisers for the diamonds. Major functions can have thousand or tens of thousands of people in attendance. If they pay $100 (or more) each, it is a serious money maker for upline. A convention center or arena has costs in running events but those costs (while they vary) might be $10 to $25 per person. The rest is pure profit for the diamonds.

All in all, the profit margin is much higher for these tools and functions than from Amway products. Thus it's perfectly reasonable to think that the diamonds can make much more money from selling tools than from Amway itself. For groups where current qualifications are not required for a cut of the tools, these diamonds might make nearly all of their money from tools and functions. It's more like a diamond fundraiser than a function to help IBO's. Afterall, who gets the biggest financial benefit from the tools and functions? The diamonds or the IBO's?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Living On Amway Island?

Imagine an island with 100 adult residents. One guy gets sponsored into Amway from a cousin in another area off the island. Well, the island residents are a pretty tight knit group so the one IBO immediately sponsors his six best friends and eventually, all 100 island residents. They are all dead serious about the Amway business so they all work hard, but because everyone is an IBO, they can only self consume 100 PV each. Thus the 100 IBOs move 10,000 PV each month. The group as a whole generates about 30,000 BV and the group receives $7500 in bonus money from Amway. Of course, the first IBO sponsored is now a platinum receiving most of that money with the rest of the group receiving smaller bonuses.

Being serious IBOs, they all get standing order, books of the month, and travel by air to functions. They pay on average about $250 a month for their Amway training/tools. Thus the group pays about $25,000 a month for the training that will one day allow them to retire and quit their jobs. The island community is losing a net of $17,500 from their local economy each month. However, there is one resident IBO who is making a nice income urging everyone on. Let's evaluate the group.

The platinum IBO is making a nice income and will receive a $20,000 bonus at the end of the year. His 6 downline friends make just about enough to break even (approximately 1000 PV) or lose a little. The rest of the residents have lost over $200,000 ($17,500 a month). The guy who owned the local grocery store went out of business and all the entertainment related business went down because the residents had no disposable income to spend money on anything except for Amway related activities. Eventually they all quit, including the platinum because once his group quit, he too, began to lose money.

Now Amway defenders will cry that this could never happen, but it shows that even if you could get everyone in the US to join, this scenario is what would happen. I believe the Amway name and reputation is for the most part, saturated in the US. Nearly everyone will have heard the Amway name and/or will know someone who had a brush with Amway. Because of the tool peddlers such as WWDB, BWW, or Network 21, there are likely millions of people in the US who ended up with a bad experience, perhaps tricked into attending a meeting, or lied to about something related to Amway.

While this story is fictional, it is what would happen if there was a city where everyone joined the business. It is what happens today. Few people benefit at the expense of their downline. And as usual, it is the tools that drive people to lose money - on Amway island, or anywhere else.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Amway Residual Income?

One of the things that many IBOs mistakenly believe is that they will build their Amway business and then they will have the ability to "walk away" from the business while the income continues to flow in. I believe if there was such an incredible benefit such as lifelong residual income that could be achieved from Amway, I'm fairly certain that Amway would advertise this as a benefit of being an IBO. But Amway does not. It is very likely that your LOS such as WWDB or one of the others will promote this benefit while telling you that your bext chance to achieve it is by subscribing to their "system".

One thing that goes unnnoticed all too often is that there seems to be nobody who is actually retired and living off the efforts of having built a big Amway business once upon a time. Seems that even the crown ambassadors still have busy lifestyles running from function to function and participating in other business related activities. While many of these leaders may claim they love their downlines or some other bunk, it is my belief that these leaders keep working their Amway businesses for one reason only. That is they need to keep working in order to keep the income flowing in.

The diamond lifestyle that is often portrayed may seem like a great goal or dream to achieve, but the fact of the matter is that a "diamond lifestyle" cannot be sustained on diamond income. The average diamond, according to Amway, earns about $150,000 a year. While that may seem like a great amount of income, it's not nearly enough to sustain the kind of lifestyle portrayed by diamonds. Even if that income is supplemented by income from the sale of tools, you can't fly your family around the country first class to do all kinds of functions and still end up with much leftover to own fancy homes and cars.

If I deposited $1000 in the bank and never touch the money, the bank would pay me a certain amount of interest each year, guaranteed. That is residual income. In Amway, you can basically earn income in two ways. You can sell products for a profit, but there are problems with this. First off, Amway products in general are more expensive than local retailers. It is why you hear so many justifications about quality and concentration, because you are hard pressed to argue cost. Secondly, you are severely restricted from advertising, thus selling can be difficult. The other way to generate more income is to build a downline in hopes that the downline will help you to leverage your volume. But then your downline will have the same problem that you had in moving products. That being said, even if you achieve some level such as emerald or diamond, your business will immediately begin to fall apart once you stop working because attrition will take its toll. It is why there are hoards of "former" platinums. If platinums are not sustainable, then neither is any other level.

There are many many instances of diamonds quitting, resigning, or falling out of qualification. People come and go in this business every day. Do you really think you can bank on retirement and residual income under these circumstances? If you believe that, I have some swamp land in Florida to sell you.

Friday, September 16, 2016

What Fruit Is On Your Upline's Tree?

I had a good chuckle recently when some Amway apologists spoke about looking at the "fruit on the tree". One commentator said his parents were broke and he looked to his diamond since the diamond apparently had fruit on the tree. I thought about this concept and I agree, that perhaps we should look at fruit on the tree.

IBOs and Amway prospects, please ask your upline platinum or diamond to show you the fruit on their tree. Ask them to see their (business) financial statements. Or ask to see their schedule C or 1099 form from Amway to verify their Amway earnings. This is not a personal question, but a standard business question. This is actually a common practice in real business. When a friend of mine sold his business a few years back, he made three year's worth of income tax returns to show prospective buyers. He showed his personal and business taxes. It paints a real picture of your financials.

As far as I know, not one single bigger pin has ever shown their business financials voluntarily. In fact, if it made certain bigger pins look good, why wouldn't they want to "show their fruit". They certainly don't mind showing off diamond rings, fancy clothes, sports cars and the like. What many IBOs don't understand is that fancy cars and other toys is no evidence of fruit on the tree. Some diamonds were forced to show their financials due to financial problems. A triple diamond went bankrupt (chapter 7) and his finances were revealed. He made half a million dollars in a year from Amway. A great income but let's face it. You're not buying mansions and jets in cash with that kind of income. And his financial acumen is in question if he had to file chapter 7. (Never mind the lack of integrity in filing chapter 7)

It has been discussed that some diamonds may rent cars or fancy homes and try to imply that they own these items. Some diamonds, possibly many diamonds in the past have lied or embellished the truth about paying for everything in cash, including their homes and cars. They also at times, have given the audience the impression that these luxuries are all purchased with Amway income, and we know that many diamonds have probably had supplemental income from the systems, or other business ventures outside of Amway. The most common venture is getting paid for selling cds, books, voicemail, and seminar tickets. It's a lucrative business to sell people training, regardless of whether the training helps or not.

We also know that some diamonds are in debt, but simply try to portray an excessive lifestyle. (See Ruth Carter's Book: Amway Motivational Organizations, Behind the Smoke and Mirrors). Some diamonds may have a substantial income, but it doesn't mean they are financially free and able to live a jetset lifestyle that many portray. It is an illusion, possibly to be able to attract new prospects into the business.

So yes, let us actually see the fruit on the tree. What fruit? Bankruptcies and home foreclosures are not the kinds of fruit I want to consume.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Amway Leader's Accountability?

Part of what Joecool perceives as the problem with the Amway opportunity is the utter lack of accountability of some upline leaders. They may tell you to trust them, to submit to them and simply copy or duplicate what they have done, and they imply that you will get the same results. Possibly millions of downlines over the years have put in blood sweat and tears into the business only to suffer massive losses following the system. Upline will take credit for meager success, but place the blame on the downline when success is not there. Upline will claim that they either did not try hard enough, were not teachable enough, or they didn't put in enough time and effort. Despite a shockingly low success rate of system IBOs, nobody seems to fault the system as being flawed. And nobody seems to question whether upline is at fault. I believe it's obvious that the system and the upline advice is severely flawed.

In my observations, I would say that many financial systems are similar. Whether it be BWW, N21, WWDB, real estate gurus or other systems, the success rate is extremely low. Many systems that advertise on television will have a disclaimer that a success testimony is a rare or unique experience. I believe it is similar to the systems in Amway. Dedication or continued spending on the system is not the problem. The problem is often the system itself. It can work for some exceptional people. These people were likely to succeed in other venues anyway. The problem is that is does not work for the majority of people. People who succeed in Amway likely succeed in spite of the system and not because of it.

The bigger problem, is that for many many years, some uplines have lived high on the hog off of the dedicated tool purchases of their downline. All the while, quesitonable or bad advice was given to the faithful downline. Advice such as quitting a job to attend a function, skipping financial obligations such as the rent or electric bills to buy more tools. One upline even said your family can skip a meal because the standing order may contain the one thing you needed to hear to make your business grow. I have personally seen couples lose their homes and go bankrupt because they followed upline advice. Upline to "has their best interest at heart". Granted, the couple has some culpability in these decisions, but uplines who give this advice seem to get a pass.

Where is the accountability? Some of these uplines who give and gave bad advice, are still active today, and some are still giving bad advice to their downlines. Advice that profits upline and drains downline. Even with valid complaints, it appears that many uplines avoid any accountability. For some, perhaps there is poetic justice, such as diamonds having their homes foreclosed. But as many uplines have nobody to hold them accountable, do you really want to do business with these folks? Would you invest your retirement money with a broker who could not be held accountable? Would you have your car repaired by a shop whose mechanics could not be held accountable? I believe the answer is not to these questions, yet many people are asked to trust and follow the advice of an upline who is not held accountable for their advice.

The system is credited for the few successes that are visible, but the individual is held accountable for any shortcomings or failures. IBOs, I encourage you to hold your upline leaders accountable for the advice they give you. If they won't answer tough questions or take responsibility, then one should wonder why the upline should be given your trust.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Amway IBOs Lie?

Just abut everyone has heard some Amway horror stories. Stories about being tricked into a meeting or being deceived. The Amway name omitted when presented with the opportunity. Outright lies at times. Usually these things happen when IBOs are on the rerruiting trail. They are so desperate to find downline that they will do anything to get a prospect, not thinking that deception will almost ensure that nobody wants to do business with you. There are countless stories of someone being tricked into an Amway meeting. My first brush with Amway was just that. I was invited to a "beer bust" in college, only to find out that I was at an Amway meeting.

But why do they do it? I beieve because uplines still teach it, They teach fake it till you make it. Claims of untold wealth, residual income, easy life. Think of this. Has a single diamond ever disclosed their actual income so people can see if their claims support the lifestyles they portray? In the past, some diamonds due to court proceedings, had to disclose their earnings. While nice incomes, it was nowhere near enough to support the "cash" diamond lifestyle that the big pins show off. The cash lifestyle that the diamonds often brag about is a myth. If you do the math, you can easily discern this.

Many use $100 or $200K as the pinnacle of success, but many do not realize that after taxes and business expenses, that doesn't leave enough for more than a middle class lifestyle. I suspect many diamonds are in debt trying to show off a lifestyle to recruit hopeful downlines, I certainly don't believe that diamonds pay cash for everything as many of them claim. I also believe that many diamonds actually live in debt trying to portray a lifestyle that they can't afford. Many in the US live in debt. Why would diamonds be the exception?

So why to IBOs llie? I believe it's because they have to. The truth would not be enough to attract recruits into Amway. The average IBO makes pennies and those on the tool system lose money. The products are not competitively priced and so even the products must be boosted up at times with false claims (i.e. perfect water). I beieve IBO's lie about Amway - because they have to.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Amway and WWDB Years Later?

When I was a young IBO, I saw the 6-4-2 plan and thought it was realistic to go direct and to find six (6) downlines who could do the same thing. I didn't know the realistic chances of doing this, but the presentation made sense so I went with it. I basically built my group on excitement and it seemed like the system could work. Sadly, as I climbed the ranks, my bottom line did not change. I did not "net" $200 at the 1000 PV level, and I did not "net" $1000 a month at 4000 PV as my upline taught. I had the parameters they taught, but the reality was my leaders taught everyone to pump what little profits we earned into buying more tools.

My leaders also taught people to get out of debt, which was good advice on the surface, but at the same time, any disposable income left over was to be channeled into tools, and for those who did not escape debt, they were told it was okay to go deeper in debt, but only if it was to "invest" in their businesses by purchasing more tools. Thus it certainly appears that upline's advice was purely self serving and had nothing to do with an IBO's individual success.

I was in WWDB and they (upline) said that WWDB was breaking the most new diamonds and that WWDB diamonds were the most profitable (although the claims were never proven). So here it is many years later, where are all these new diamonds? Aside from from foreign diamonds, there are (I believe) less than a handful of new diamonds from WWDB in the US from the time I left the business. Now I may be wrong, but even if it was a few more than a handful of new diamonds, that is a miserable success rate given the tens or hundreds of thousands of IBOs churning thru the system and the of amount of cash spent by downline on tools and the claims made my upline about the tools.

We have also seen some WWDB diamonds end up in home foreclosures. Where is the integrity and financial acumen these leaders boasted about? Where is the success and long term financial security available to everyone that was touted? I believe more diamonds and emeralds fell out of qualification than new pins emerged. The business was promoted as one that would stand the test of time. Sadly, I believe WWDB and the Amway opportunity as promoted by WWDB has been a miserable failure. There is little success to speak of, just he same old tired diamonds showing off a lifestyle that some of them apparently can no longer afford. Where is the success?

It is many years later and we are still waiting.......

Monday, September 12, 2016

Amway Versus Minimum Wage

Some big companies and some private entrepreneurs have been accused of being "sweat shop owners". This is when they exploit their workers, often in foreign countries by having them work for a very small wage. For example, a foreign operation may have a warehouse full of women and children working all day under poor conditions for a few bucks a day. The owners of these operations can rake in the dough as they save a ton of money in labor costs. There are some big American corporations that have been accused of this.

Some uplines operate just like sweat shop owners, but in many cases, they are worse then sweat shop owners because even exploited workers earn something. At the end of the month, they have a net gain, even if it might be small. In the case of many Amway IBOs, they spend money on Amway products, and uplines take the lion's share of the rebate/bonus that is generated by those sales, and then in turn, these same uplines try to get many of their downline to also become customers of their system of cds, books, voicemail and seminars or functions. In many, probably most cases, uplines will make just as much if not more income from the system, than from Amway. Most downline IBOs would be far more profitable if they simply worked a part time minimum wage job instead of building an Amway Empire.

These same upline will also teach fierce loyalty to the system. Never miss a function. Make sacrifices to buy more books or cds, and make sure you are always looking for people to sponsor to add to the system. Joining the system almost guarantees that you will suffer a net loss in the Amway business. It is why I continue to write about what IBOs and prospects should look for when they are being recruited or indoctrinated into these systems. It is why there are so many defenders of Amway, most of whom are losing money, but think they are still successful because it is what upline teaches. If only the IBOs and prospects could just step back and look at things objectively instead of blindly believing what their upline teaches them.

I know most IBOs won't believe this, but I will say it anyway. IBOs on the system are probably worse off than sweat shop employees because they are paying their upline to do their work. At least sweat shop employees get a smalll salary. Upline will teach you that it is an honor to drive them around, or to do tasks for them. I saw this firsthand and have no doubt that some or all of it exists today. Many platinums works are free doormen and ushers at meetings and functions. Upline benefits by maximizing profits from functions. It is pure downline exploitation and I hope eventually that more and more IBOs will recognize this. It is clear for those who are willing to look at it objectively.

For nearly all, a part time minimum wage job is a better proposition than Amway.

Friday, September 9, 2016

You Didn't Try Hard Enough?

One of the things that many Amway defenders will cite is that the people who don't succeed didn't work or try hard enough or didn't put in enough effort. While I agree that one must work hard to succeed in many endeavors, I will also state in my informed opinion that working hard and success in Amway may not be related. I say this because I have seen so many testimonies of people who worked the Amway business hard and achieved little or no results. Even those who took the time to learn everything upline taught and put in the hours did not succeed in Amway. My former sponsor was all out hard core. He started Amway in 1993 and is still in Amway, plugging away with little success.

Part of the problem is that many uplines emphasize recruiting as their focus, even though there is no direct compensation for doing so. In fact, recruiting downline often comes with much expenses such as gas, babysitters, and the false belief that an IBO needs standing orders and seminars to learn this. Also, Amway has a spotty reputation in the US, thus making recruiting potential downline a very diffcult task. Even IBOs who sponsor people will find out that many recruits will quit or do little to nothing. And en emphasis on recruiting is a red flag as identified by the FTC. (Reading the recent Herbalife and FTC findings will shed light on this issue)

An important part of any business is to find customers to buy your goods. Because IBOs already spend much of their time recruiting and not selling, they are already at a disadvantage over many other businesses. Add in the seemingly uncompetetive prices of Amway and Amway partner store products and you give IBOs yet another disadvantage over most other businesses. If there were better value in these goods and services, then IBOs who sell instead of recruit would be much more common. Also, the Amway compensation plan often rewards uplines rather than the IBOs who actually do the work of moving the volume. And take a moment to think about this. What business can survive by recruiting other business owners instead of selling products to customers?

I also believe that the Amway business is so outdated and inefficient. While you may have a website to sell your goods, you have restrictions that severely limit the ability of an IBO to drive traffic to their website. The person to person touch may sound nice and flowery, but it is the most inefficient way to make sales. It is why people pay millions to advertise during the Superbowl, because you may have a hundred million people watching the adervtisement and can drive up your name recognition and sales.

While working hard is definitely important to succeeding in any venture, I don't believe there is any bonafide correlation that working hard equates success in the Amway business for the reasons I have outlined in this post.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Who's The Real Loser?

One of the things I recall as an IBO was thinking how sorry I felt for people who were not IBOs because we were all going to be rich and everyone else was destined to be a loser. Our upline used to tell us that we were winners - and if you weren't a winner, then obviously, you are a loser. Many times, the term "broke" was attached to the term loser. That was my mindset back then, but having been out of the system for many years, I can look back and laugh, realizing that the losers were the ones buying stuff they don't need, stalking people at malls and bookstores, and wasting their time and money on tapes (cds), books and functions and perhaps voicemail. (Who needs voicemail these days?)

What goes unnoticed in many cases, is how much time, effort and money really goes down the drain for IBOs who work the system. Your life revolves around the business if you are dedicated and hard core. You are always looking for prospects and people to show the plan to, and you have to rearrange your schedules, or outright skip social or family gatherings because of the neverending number of meetings and functions, many of which teach you nothing about running a profitable business. When I first left the Amway business, I was sort of angry at the time and effort that was wasted, along with the cash I threw down the crapper. But what was really harmful, was time lost that could have been spent with family and friends. You can always make more money but time is a commodity you can't recover.

But after I did finally cut ties with the Amway and WWDB business and the people associated with it, I got back into a routine of sorts. I focused on my job and after some years of gaining experience and working my way up the corporate ladder, I received some promotions and I am scheduled to be retired at the age of 55 with a decent retirement income and will likely have my home paid off by then (I also have a rental unit). So while I did have to work a dreaded job to be able to retire, pretty much all IBOs are also working a job or business PLUS having to expend their time and money to run their Amway business which has little to no chance of providing a long term stable and significant income. And if I may add, it is the systems such as WWDB or N21 that usually end up costing the IBOs the most money because of things like the functions.

So I will ask the question. Who's the real loser? The person diligently working and saving for their future or the person chasing a dream that is unlikely to materialize? Factoring in the expenditure of time also makes the systems even more costly than it appears on the surface.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

You Can Be Legal But Still Be A Crappy Business?

Amway is a legal company. They were investigated by the FTC back in 1979 and the FTC ruled that Amway was not an illegal pyramid because they did not pay for recruiting (headhunting fees) and they required product purchases. Also, there is no required purchases and Amway has a fairly generous refund policy. So yes, Amway is a perfectly legal MLM company. What is not true is that the better business bureau (BBB) endorses Amway and the FTC did not "praise" Amway after the 1979 ruling.

However, that being said, doesn't mean that IBOs and IBO leaders can't run their independent businesses in an illegal and unethical manner. For example, if your upline tells you not to sell anything and to simply buy your volume to qualify for bonuses, that is a very questionable practice. If your upline tells you to deceive people about the Amway opportunity, or teaches "fake it till you make it", that is also a questionable practice.

Amway the company has some standards that they uphold but at times, IBOs or IBO leaders will disregard those standards. New IBOs and prospects at times may not know when their upline or sponsor is leading them astray, which is what prompted me to write this post. If you are taught to "submit to upline", keep in mind that you are an independent business owner and will be responsible for what happens with your business. Too many times I've seen or heard of IBOs failing and accepting the responsibility all the while following the "experienced" advise given by upline. What is troubling is that many serious IBOs will be paying for advise from upline in the form of functions, seminars, cd of the week, open meetings. Yet when followed advise fails, upline will tell the IBO they are responsible for their own failure. WTF??

Some IBOs I've known stayed in Amway for many years, spent tens of thousands of dollars or more and have not made a cent in net profit. They have been programmed to think that they will succeed if they never quit or that success is right around the corner and they can't quit because they don't want to quit just before the business pays off. In the end, a business is a business and IBOs need to look at their bottom line. If you aren't making a net profit after following the plan and advice mapped out by upline, there comes a point where tough business decisions must be made. Maybe Amway is not the way. Maybe it's time to do something else? Nobody can make that decision except the business owner.

So to summarize, the Amway corporation is perfectly legal but your sponsor or your upline can be running things illegally without Amway's knowledge, which can cause you financial damages. New IBOs and people who are looking into the business need to be aware of these facts. I hope this post helps someone.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Amway's Broken Dreams?

One of the things Amway promoters use to entice prospects into joining is to get them to think about financial dreams and goals that they would like to accomplish. After all, who wouldn't want to be retired at age 35 and walking on the exotic beaches of the world? Or who wouldn't want to live a life of leisure and excitement with unlimited barrels of cash rolling in to finance all of the fun and frivolity? Of course most people get excited by this.

Sadly, the things that people get excited by, or the things that people join for, often become less accessible because of people's involvement in Amway. Not due to Amway itself, but because of the leach organizations that attach themselves to the Amway business. These organization will promote their materials as the key to success in Amway, but in reality, these organizations reap handsome profits while basically bankrupting the downline IBOs. What is also sad is that the system does not deliver the success that is promoted. Less than one half of one percent even reach the platinum level, which is allegedly the level where you break even or make a small profit.
That's nothing to brag about is it?

During my tenure in the business, uplines taught us to buy all the materials. Books, standing order tapes/cds, functions, and other materials. In fact, in addition to standing order, upline wanted IBOs to purchase an additional 5-7 tapes or cds each week. Afterall, you should be listening to new material daily right? In fact, upline wanted people to "invest" or spend all of their income on these materials. In an open meeting setting, a diamond said that your family could skip a meal to get another tape/cd because the information was so valuable that you might hear the one thing that propels you to diamond. Almost as if buying a tape/cd was like some lottery ticket.

And sadly, some IBOs did go "all in". They bought tools like there was no tomorrow. In my crossline, there was a couple who went bankrupt and a couple whose home was foreclosed. Now was this financial difficulty all due to their involvement in Amway? I don't know, but certainly, buying hundreds of dollars of materials on a monthly basis cas certainly contribute to someone's financial problems. And these IBOs did this on upline's advice. Thus upline advised this even when they likely knew that these IBOs were in financial difficulty. If they would tell you to starve your kids, then surely they will not be concerned about your other issues. I also sat in a function where a diamond taught about how long you can put off paying a mortgage before foreclosure would occur. Probably so people could go in hock to attend a major function.

It is a sad thing indeed when uplines will try to sell you dreams. What's worse is when they are actually selling you broken dreams.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Just The Facts Please?

If anyone's been involved with the great Amway debate, you'll notice that the "pro Amway" aruments are full of anecdotal stories and best case scenario situations, or showing off a guy who allegedly made millions. After all, even an MLM scam must have some success stories, or you couldn't recruit enough people to sustain the scheme. But in the end, even the most staunch critics of Amway don't claim there is no success in Amway. They mainly claim that the success of the few, comes at the expense of the masses. What the pro Amway arguments never contain are logical and reasonable explanations, math included, on how more than a tiny percentage of people can reasonable be expected to succeed.

Recruits are shown copies of large checks, or pictures os mansions or the latest sports cars. They are alleged examples of what you can attain with a part time effort. The success is allegedly attainable to all. Anyone can join, work hard and follow your upline advice and you simply can't miss. If you fail, it's because you didn't work hard enough, or didn't do things "just right". But at the same time, the business is promoted as "simple" or "duplicatable" (just copy) and that "anyone" can do it. "Anyone" can do it, just as "anyone" can win the lottery. What they never mention is that "everyone" can do it. In a job, you may not make a lot of money, but everyone who does some work will receive a paycheck and have a net gain.

In Amway, the masses (including those who work hard) make nothing or lose money. It's a product of the MLM system. In Amway's common 6-4-2 plan, it shows 79 IBOs. One IBO is a platinum and the rest are not. The plan also assumes that ALL IBOs did enough to earn a bonus. In reality, a platinum would likely have much more than 100 downline. Some do little or nothing and some work hard. The result is a few winners and a mass of those who make nothing or suffer losses.

But to this date, not a single Amway defender has delivered a reasonable explanation of how someone can work the business and actually make money. They may say to gather 20 customers who buy $25 of stuff a month, but in all my years, not a single IBO has demonstrated that they have that kind of customer base. And Amway products are so overpriced that a lot of customers seems implausible to begin with. Most purchases come from sympathetic friends and family, at least that's my take (and experience) on the matter.

So while the debate goes on, the critis support their claimes with math. Such as the average income of all Amway distributors is about $100 a month and if you disregard "inactive" distributors, then it's about $200 a month. But think about this, how do you build a residual income empire with a downline where about half of the IBOs are "inactive" and the "average" income of the "active" IBOs is about $200 a month. And that $200 average includes diamonds and crown ambassadors. Food for thought. The diamonds skew the averages because they have higher earnings. Most IBOs who earn a bonus move 100 PV, which qualifies them for about a $10 bonus. That's the likely scenario for most IBOs who give the business an earnest try. What is not told is earning $10 a month while spending hundreds on cd, functions and books is not a winning proposition.

Even at my 4000 PV level, I was only at break even when factoring in the average cost of the Amway tools. So what is the inevitabke result for the rest who never reach 4000 PV? The answer is business losses. I still haven't heard a logocal response explaining how I am wrong.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Joecool's Blog On

Joecool's blog made a mention on Blogger Peter Reilly has written several articles about Amway IBOs who got hosed in tax court. Basically, IBO's often lack a business plan and in the eyes of the IRS, lack a true profit motive. Thus if an IBO is attending functions and meetings as a social function and not a legitimate business meeting, the deductions can be disallowed.

Take a look at the article. It's a great read!


I was surprised to see that I haven’t written about an Amway case in over two years. Well, a new one came out this week and James E. Hess, like pretty much every taxpayer who has ever disputed disallowance of Amway losses in Tax Court, lost. Amway cases are a subset of Section 183 (commonly known as hobby loss) cases.

The rule is that in order to post losses to your tax return, the underlying activity has to be one in which you were trying to make money. I have written about quite a variety of activities where the taxpayer has contested an IRS hobby loss determination- musicians, artists, drag racers, players of slot machines, even blogging to name a few. The most common though are horses and Amway. The horse people frequently win, but the Amway people pretty much always lose.

Tax Court Seems To Align With The Critics

What I found most intriguing about this decision, is that way that it mirrors critiques of the Amway experience, which seem to have their own section of the blogosphere. For example Joecool of Amway – The Dream Or The Scheme? recently wrote in a post called Amway Success?

Submission to upline was one of the things we were told. Our group was told that upline would never purposely lead us astray so we should trust them and never try anything without checking upline.

Our group was taught to reduce debt, but ironically, upline said it was okay to go deeper in debt if it was to attend a function or to buy more cds.

Anytime we asked about how much income uplines may have been earning, we were either told it’s none of our business or shown a photocopy of a 10 year old bonus check that someone upline may have received. Our proof that the business worked was upline showing off pictures of sports cars and mansions.

Losing money is success. Many times, our group was told that losing money was a sign of success. It was success because we were investing in our futures. That the business really is not about money but about friendships. I suppose upline taught this because everyone was losing money so it was nice to hear that success was around the corner, and that we were all nicer people and on our way to success if we just attended more functions and bought more standing orders.

Opposing Views On Amway?

One of the things I find curious and humorous at the same time is how people who defend Amway often will not allow opposing viewpoints on their Amway propaganda blogs and forums. They will post an article and allow no comments or will not allow comments unless they are positive and paint a rosy picture about Amway. Amway's biggest defender IBOFightback, banned me from his truth about amway blog for no reason. In fact I posted only a handful of comments there in years and the comments were truthful and not attacks, yet he felt my presence needed to be excluded from his blog perhaps because the truth itself is negative about Amway. I suppose though, that David Steadson's (IBOFB) lack of credibility makes the banning a minor issue. His website is filled with pro Amway folks who back up Amway, even bad practices at times. I guess when you see the world through rose colored glasses. you don't see the reality.

I also had an exchange not too long ago with an IBO via email. He also runs a pro Amway blog but hasn't been active recently. He doesn't allow comments on his blog. I just don't understand why the need to put spin on the truth. It is a fact that the average Amway IBO earns very little and that most IBOs make little or nothing. Many who participate in the training sessions end up losing money. Those are tidbits that match up with my experience. It is usually former IBOs who can verify this claim. Seems that current IBOs do not admit they are losing money. As an IBO, I was taught "fake it till you make it". That suggests that you appear successful until you actually go diamond or whatever. In the end, a pig with lipstick on it is still a pig.

Joecool allows opposing views on this blog. Even some comments that are critical of me are allowed. I even had some (I presume) IBOs who left threats on this blog. I suspect that one or some of them also sent me threats via email. Still, I allow most comments on here. I do not allow racist or extremely hateful comments, or comments with spam. I have nothing to hide when it comes to my views on Amway. So what do Amway apologists and IBOs have to hide? Would it be damaging to have the truth on your blog or forum? Is the internet already inundated with negative Amway information and comments?

I believe Amway is partly to blame. The AMO's (Amway Motivational Organiztions) such as Network 21, WWDB or BWW are the ones who say and do unethical things. Amway is the only entity who can take action against these groups but it appears that substantial action is lacking and therefore, these groups continue to teach bad business practices which filter down to many IBOs and contributes to Amway having a bad reputation. I guess Amway is sleeping in the bed they made. Until some bad practices are stopped or corrected, there will continue to be people who had a bad experience in Amway. It is what it is. Amway started an accreditation program to curb abuse but that practice appears of the surface to be a paper tiger (no teeth).

Thursday, September 1, 2016

How Money Is Made In Amway?

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.

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!

If you buy a major function ticket for $100, the cost of that function might be in the neighborhood of $25 to $30 per attendee, so the system may generate $70 profit on a $100 sale. I believe the smaller functions such as open meetings, books and voicemail have smaller profit margins, but still overall, it's easy to conclue that the profit from the system is greater than profits generated by moving Amway products.

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.

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. 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.