It’s something I’ve never really publicly talked about, but privately, it is one of those things that instantly get me into a bit of a hot rage, which I can rant on about for hours – Multi-Level Marketing companies. Some of the ones I know about include:
Stella and Dot
There are plenty of others – ‘skinny’ or ‘detox’ coffees and teas seem to be the newest ones going around. They all follow a very similar ‘business’ model. People involved in it get compensated for the sales of the product they personally generate and the sales of anyone they have recruited. If the people they have recruited then go on to recruit more people, they get a cut of that as well, thus creating a pyramid. Pyramid selling is illegal in the UK, but MLM’s get around this by having a product, but the business model is pretty much the same.
So why do I hate MLM’s so much?
People rarely make money from an MLM – they usually lose it
According to some independent consumer watchdog agencies, between 990 and 999 out of every 1000 participants in an MLM lose money – more than 99%. That’s both incredible and ridiculous at the same time. How on earth are ‘businesses’ like this allowed to operate?
You’re (as far as I’m aware – I’ve stayed as far away as possible from any ‘opportunities’) encouraged or told to buy starter packs or kits, to begin with, and then to keep buying every so often. I know some MLM’s have a rule that if you don’t sell anything or buy anything for more than a few weeks, you become inactive and have to start all over again. If someone hasn’t made any sales that week/month/period, they then tend to end up buying it out of their own pocket. The products aren’t cheap – a quick look on one website shows me that a bottle of honey is more than £15. Interestingly, the price is not displayed straight away, you have to click through to the buying page to see how much it is. I guess they want you to buy from a distributor who will try to convince you to join the company as well.
They make dangerous and untrue claims
No pill sold by an MLM distributor can make you lose weight. No pill sold by an MLM can cure you of diabetes, cancer, depression, fibro or any other illness. They are pills containing a few vitamins, nothing you wouldn’t get by eating the recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetables. You can lose weight whilst using some of the MLM products – in the same way you would lose weight by following any meal replacement plan. As soon as you start eating normal food again, that weight is going back on. It’s the same with the detox coffee and tea – believe me, if coffee made you lose weight I’d have wasted away by now. If there were pills that could cure diabetes and cancer, I’m pretty sure the NHS would have made full use of them many years ago.
They prey on vulnerable people
This is the thing that gets me most angry. Day in, day out I see posts asking for mums to get in touch: stay at home mums who might need a few extra quid, working mums who desperately want to work from home to be around their kids. They’re teased with promises of quick cash, quick weight loss, holidays, new cars and bonuses, all whilst being at home with their kids.
They target people who want to lose weight for the summer or a wedding, new mums who are trying to lose the baby weight. I’ve even seen screenshots where an MLM recruiter sent a private message to someone, congratulating them on a newborn and offering them the perfect solution to their ‘yucky mum-tum’. What the actual fuck?
They ruin friendships
I’ve had friends join MLM schemes (thankfully, all have come out the other side, relatively unscathed!) and within a couple of weeks, I’ve had to hide their posts from my Facebook timeline because it became just one big sale or recruitment platform for them. I’ve been added to god knows how many groups which I’ve swiftly left. I met up with one friend for a drink at the pub, and the whole time she was trying to sell me products and recruit me. There was no general chit chat – she had literally just invited me along to sign me up, and when she realised I was not interested, she never spoke to me again. Another friend who joined one confided that she lost almost 50% of her Facebook friends and had stopped being invited out on nights out with her friends. It turned out they were all sick of being used as potential customers. I really will support any of my friends who start up a legitimate business but I can never ever support an MLM ‘business’.
This only just touches the surface of why I won’t promote or endorse an MLM, whether in ‘real life’ or on my blog. Don’t get me started on the Range Rovers with bows attached to them, the huge bonuses and holidays, the emoticons (ALL the emoticons!), the cheesy motivational memes and pictures, or mascara that makes you look like you have spider legs for eyelashes.
What are your thoughts on an MLM?