MLM IS A FEMINIST ISSUE

 

Have a look around you, on your Facebook walls, on other social networking sites, and have a think about all the bots you have ever come across.

How many of them are men?

I will bet that most of your bots are women – accurate statistics are hard to find in the shady dodgy secretive world of MLM, but our research conservatively estimates that somewhere between 75 and 85% of bots are women.

And that isn’t surprising. As we previously covered in this post the easiest targets for bots when they are looking to recruit, are women who are stay at home mums wanting to make some extra cash, or women who have recently had a child and would like to replace her paid employment with another source of income.

Bots are instructed to prey on these women in particular, pressing emotional buttons to make them feel bad about going back to work.   Read thisthis,

and this.

They use false statistics, such as 80, or sometimes 90% (depending on the “inspirational” meme du jour) of women earning 6 figures are doing so via network marketing. Hmm. We can take that one with a giant pinch of salt, and despite querying it again and again no-one has ever been able to back this up for us, other than by referring to a book in which it was written. (Because we should always believe everything written in books, right?)

They are telling women that they can easily make extra money (they start by saying a couple of hundred a month but soon ramp up the sales pitch) for just a few hours of work and spend the rest of that time with their precious children. And we know that is a lie.  Read this.

WIMMEN! KNOW YOUR PLACE!

You shouldn’t be aspiring to full time or part time hours with a set salary, workplace benefits, a pension, a promotion ladder that actually doesn’t involve desperately spamming your friends and family.

You should become a #bossbabe, selling overpriced junk to other women and honing in on insecure women to recruit to your cause, with none of the advantages of being employed (guaranteed income, a certain amount of security, workers’ right etc) and all of the disadvantages – limited freedom, stress being piled on you by your boss, sorry, upline, and a good dose of bullying.

^^You get we are joking right?

We believe pyramid schemes, because we all know this is, in essence, what these organisations are designed to keep an awful lot of people right at the very bottom.

Watch this:

 

 

 

Or this:

 

 

 

The top feeds from the levels below, every level feeds from the levels below. And who is at the bottom of these schemes?

Predominantly women.

And who is at the top?

We haven’t been able to check every single MLM (seriously, have you seen how many of them there are now?) but other than Stella & Dot and Rodan & Fields we’re having trouble finding women at the top.

YES, some women have been successful in these schemes, and are held up as examples of successful women, women to aspire to.

But you have more chance of making similar money if you get qualified, get a job, get promoted or even draw up a business plan and start your own business. You can do all that. There is nothing wrong with being in paid employment. Nothing wrong with having a career and a family.

And ask yourself this: would anyone expect a man to pin his hopes on a multi-level marketing scheme?

The answer is no.

The MLM industry targets and exploits women. Almost every email we have received since we started Timeless Vie have been from women desperate to share their story with us. Very similar stories of having been sold a lie about a life of wealth and abundance, having been bullied, having lost friends and family, having gone into debt in certain cases, being encouraged to spend time AWAY from their children (they don’t tell you that when they recruit you). MLMs keep the vast majority of the women in their schemes unsuccessful, and actually limit their choices.

This is why MLM is a feminist issue.

 

 

PART 3: An Arbonne seller asks our informer to use her NHS position to convince women to join. She also offers to pay for it. Read on…

 

A few weeks ago I got to see from the other side an example of how some of these MLM people tick.

I work part time in the NHS and two days of my week are spent working in private practice.

I was approached by an Arbonne seller.

She would be classed as a success in Arbonne terms as she has the White Mercedes (no doubt paid for on a month by month basis until the day she misses her targets).  She is a friend of a friend, she know what I do but doesn’t know my opinions on what she does, in fact as far as she’s concerned I don’t know anything about her.

 

Her proposal was that if I could make them see the light through psychological means (I think she had the idea that I practise some sort of mind control) then we could split the difference on what we charged them for me seeing them.  She proposed we charged them £80 for the hour, I keep £60 and she have £20.

 

She came to me with a proposal saying that she had a training company that teaches women (ah, that demographic again) to have the confidence to take up opportunities (clearly not quite true).  She was finding that some of them ‘really need a confidence boost’ and how would I feel about her referring some of them to me?

Her proposal was that if I could make them see the light through psychological means (I think she had the idea that I practise some sort of mind control) then we could split the difference on what we charged them for me seeing them.  She proposed we charged them £80 for the hour, I keep £60 and she have £20.

This could be sold as therapy ‘because you really need to sort yourself out’ (but would be carefully modelled coercion).  ‘I can pass lots of work your way’ she told me.

 

She said that the emphasis was to help them to sell this opportunity on to other people as an exercise in ’empowerment’.

 

I asked her what she expected me to do exactly and what exactly was the goal?  Basically, she wanted me to manage away any rational questioning about joining Arbonne and to use an aggressive and didactic argument to get them to sign on the dotted line.

She wanted to give me a tight script full of persuasion and counter argument to any doubts.  She wanted me to use my position as a psychotherapist (and she was keen to flag my NHS status too) to basically bully people to join Arbonne by using her crib sheet of false promises and keep them in the system under pressure by using a particular form of victim blaming, ‘tell me, what is your particular negative self talk that means you could walk away from this really amazing chance?’.

She said that the emphasis was to help them to sell this opportunity on to other people as an exercise in ’empowerment’.  I asked her what would happen if it was clear to me that someone was not in a position to take part because they were emotionally vulnerable.

She felt that this was an ideal exploitable area in that we could demonstrate the great positive hope they would gain by joining up and any depression or anxiety could be used to our advantage.  The more vulnerable the better.

 

This was totally unethical, outside the ethics of the professional body the governs my work and something I would never ever entertain.  I have yet to respond to her but I will and I doubt she’ll be happy to hear my thoughts.  What it did do is confirm all of my beliefs about the real danger these schemes pose to many people but particularly women.  This isn’t empowerment, it’s deceitful fraud and whatever these schemes say about the ethical standards they insist upon, it’s very clear they encourage something something very different at ground level.

The End.

This is why we need real data about the effect multi-level marketing, network-marketing, social selling, whatever the fuck-schemes have on communities. This is why. 

Studies by Direct Sales Associations will claim these schemes create money for communities, but is that really true?  What is the true impact? No one knows.  Maybe it’s time we found out.

 

 

“She no longer leaves the house unless with her mother and her mother has to take the children to school.” another story from our NHS insider about the negative impact of network marketing schemes on women, PART TWO

*names and locations have been changed to preserve privacy

 

This could be done from home, only required social media skills, a relatively small outlay and the profits were good; the woman at the nursery had made £800 the month before and was offering to train her.

 

Kelly* was a stay at home mother with two under fives.  I first spoke to her during a telephone assessment soon after she was referred.  During the conversation she said that she’d always struggled with lack of confidence and in recent years had struggled to leave the house.

Taking her oldest child to nursery had been a big struggle every day.  However she confessed that she was not sure she needed our help now as things had got a lot better and she felt a bit of a fraud taking up my time.

I asked her what had changed.

She told me that she had been approached two weeks previously by a really friendly mother at the nursery who had invited her to a gathering where make up was being sold.  It was more expensive than she could afford to buy but there wasn’t much stopping her selling it.  This could be done from home, only required social media skills, a relatively small outlay and the profits were good; the woman at the nursery had made £800 the month before and was offering to train her.

My job isn’t to tell people what to do or not do, I’m not a debt advisor so I all I could say to her was that she should do her research, look on the Internet at alternative opinions, adopt a cynical head.   She said that she would do her research but everyone was saying what a good idea it was.  She asked to be discharged.

 

Six months down the line and she’s now back in the system

 

Six months down the line and she’s now back in the system.  She’s had another telephone assessment with someone else and been assigned to me.  She no longer leaves the house unless with her mother and her mother has to take the children to school.  She says she needs to sort out her anxiety as she needs to get a job.  She had her own business but unfortunately it went wrong leaving her with some debt and difficulties with former business partners…

 

 I’ve had a number of clients tentatively try to recruit me

 

These are just two examples of interactions I’ve had with clients involved with MLMs.

I’ve become increasingly angry about the culture they’ve created that means people act in increasingly desperate ways to recruit and to sell.  I’ve had a number of clients tentatively try to recruit me and I’ve heard some desperately inaccurate and downright dangerous health claims.

I don’t blame these people, I blame the dishonest and unethical MLMs who target and draw in vulnerable groups and it’s a scandal that these companies’ tentacles reach into the NHS, whether it be setting up stands in hospital foyers, donating ‘wellness’ snacks to blood donation services or misappropriating research in order to promote their baseless products.

To be Continued.

 

“She had considered suicide…” an NHS therapist speaks about the impact of social selling schemes on women, PART ONE

*names and locations have been changed to preserve privacy

 

What I have seen during my time in mental health services has led me to really loathe theese organisations for their secrecy

 

Two or three years ago if you’d asked me what I thought of multi level marketing I wouldnt have had an opinion and being naturally cynical I probably would have dismissed it as ‘too good to be true’ and not given it too much more thought.  But that was before I started work as a High Intensity Therapist within the NHS in the North of England.

What I have seen during my time in mental health services  has led me to really loathe these organisations for their secrecy and lies at the recruitment stage and their culture of shifting the blame to the individual when their unworkable scheme is unsuccessful.

Since MLMs have come to my attention I’ve started to look more closely at their practices and the behaviour they encourage in their ’employees’.

 

My client group is 70% female and of that percentage most are women with new babies or young families….looking back over the last few years I realise how often my clients have been targets for MLMs.

 

I work with people experiencing depression (such as post natal depression) and anxiety disorders (OCD, GAD, social anxiety, health anxiety, PTSD).  My client group is 70% female and of that percentage most are woman with new babies or young families.

I see a high number of clients and looking back over the last few years I realise how often my clients have been targets for MLMs.  Names kept popping up, paricularly Juice plus, Forever Living and Younique.

The people I see are no fools but they tend to be from low income families and often without a background that will equip them to ask the right sort of questions when a big shiny pushy MLM comes along and makes them promises about the level of income they’ll earn for a few flexible hours.

Some of my clients have already been struggling with their mental health when they have been targeted but some have ended up being referred to my service by their GP as a direct result of falling foul of these organisations.

 

One client had been recruited by Forever Living through a baby group

 

One client had been recruited by Forever Living through a baby group formed through the hospital where she had given birth.  Her experience of birth had been traumatic and she was struggling, feeling guilty and depressed that she wasn’t ‘a good enough mother’ and wondering if she’d ever get back to normality.  FL had quite a presence in the group and as it wasn’t feasible to return to her job in retail when her partner was away a lot with work, she decided to give it a go.

 

She said she hadn’t understood recruitment was key..

 

When I saw the client she was a year down the road, quite seriously depressed and now socially isolated, having suffered severe bullying by her up line and then social media exclusion when she couldn’t or wouldn’t push hard to recruit.

She said it was like a feeding frenzy; everybody panicking, trying to recruit everyone in their circle.

She said she hadn’t understood that recruitment was key.

She had quite considerable money worries and the few hundred pounds a month she said she’d earned initially trickled away in expenses.  Her partner was angry with her for making their precarious financial position even more so and she felt that there was no hope for her as she was ‘useless’ and ‘everyone hated her’.

 

She had considered suicide during the worst of the bullying

 

She had considered suicide during the worst of the bullying but her daughter was a protective factor and she’d stopped just short of following through with a specific plan.

She’d tried to seek some support from within FL but had been offered further costly training and told that ‘you’ve been given a great opportunity don’t waste it’.  She felt that she had all the responsibility to make it work but in the end no authority and when it was clear it wasn’t working everyone held her at arms length.

She was told quite categorically not to discuss problems with anyone and found this very isolating.

It took quite a few sessions to reframe her experience and for her to see that she was not 100% responsible for the lack of success and that she needed to reconnect with her family and friends so that the people bullying her from FL had less power.

To be Continued.

 

3 spectacular updates on some of our fave social ”selling” companies: Younique, Forever Living, & Maelle

We’re folowing so many social selling companies at this point that we’ve decided to combine all the updates into one spectacular post.

 

1. Younique’s new charity – look! look over there! we help people

new charity

Their new charity is called “Defend Innocence”, and it’s ostensibly to help stop the sexual abuse of children.   Sigh.  Obviously anyone with a heart would be in support of that.

However, we have this question for Younique: if you want to do right by women and children, why don’t you provide those women (who often join to support their kids) the truth about a Younique presenter’s typical earnings?  So they don’t waste money they can’t afford and end up #lossbabes?

 

noparticipantplan

 

In the meantime, here’s a slideshow of some of the women trying to swap, sell, or get rid of their Younique stock.  #lossbabe

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

2.  Forever Living targets NCT groups

For non-UK readers, NCT is the National Childbirth Trust linky here.  It’s an organisation set up to help parents and new babies.

One of our supporters sent us this email from NCT – there’s a big-ass ad by a Forever Living bot in it.  Not that you can tell.  Strangely lacking in bottles of aloe, no?

AA-NCT

 

The ad is deceptive as it’s not until you click on it that you realise that it’s advertising for a multi-level marketing company.

Holy crap NCT.  DOn’t you have any ethical standards for who can advertise?   As we’ve blogged previously, new mums are particular targets of MLMs and are vulnerable.  Start here.

 

3. Maelle mentors are excited about being at the top of the triangle, and hoping it’ll be better than Younique i.e. they’ll actually make money this time.

Life is gooooood in the triangularity.

(‘cept hmmmm.  They don’t even have any products yet. )

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And on that note, I’m off to play with some lipstick and cheer myself up.

 

Is the ‘All Things Gorgeous’ Facebook page, set up for Maelle to find recruits, against Facebook rules? Let’s check it out…

Read our previous posts about Maelle here

And here.

Recap: We learned in our previous posts that Maelle had hired some social media companies to help it find 1,000 MLM bots before launch in October.   Their big plan was to start a Facebook “passion” page about makeup etc. to attract women.  They posted about cult makeup brands like Kylie Cosmetics, MAC, NYX etc, and in the “About” page, they said ” All Thing Gorgeous is here to inspire you to look good, feel good, and do good!” .

There are now over 120,000 makeup fans, who have liked this page……

and there is no mention ANYWHERE of the page being for Maelle.

Gross.

Here’s the real story  of All Things Gorgeous from the social media co.  Brand Excelerator:

brandexcel1

brandexcel2

And here’s some of the Facebook Page rules we think this page might break:

Collection of Data

“All Things Gorgeous” is being used to look for leads for MLM Bots for Maelle.

 

Screenshot_20160809-175421

 

No deceptive claims or content

Fans who like the page have no idea it’s actually so Maelle can recruit more bots.

 

IMG_20160809_205752

 

You decide.

UPDATE: These words have now been added to the All Things Gorgeous page:”All things Gorgeous is a passio page sponsored by Maelle – a beauty company like no other etc”.  Still no mention it’s an MLM.  Still no mention they are using the page to recruit.

 

Aboutupdate

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Read this: Victory Day over MLM Scams from the Lazy Man and Money Blog (oh please yes. yes)

“I just realized something, something that really never occurred to me before. We’re gonna win.” – Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Chosen)

Written by

We Win Cheers

Today’s article would have been published earlier, but there was a bit of an unexpected delay. Today isknown as Victory or VJ Day in Rhode Island. Rhode Island seems to be the only place that has it as a holiday, which left me a little surprised that there was no day care for my youngest son this morning. VJ Day commemorates the Allies’ victory over Japan during World War II. It’s hard to celebrate it considering the tremendous loss of life, but it’s undeniably an important place in American history.

I’ve been writing about MLM Scams for 8 or 9 years now. I’ve had thousands of conversations in the comments of the articles I’ve written.

Read more

 

READ THIS: Most Direct Sellers are women. We have the proof.

 

Assuming we can rely on Direct Sales’ Associations own data, that is.

 

united kingdom

 

We couldn’t find any stats on the UK DSA webpage but happily the EU DSA has them.

linky here

77% are women

UK

 

USA

 

USA DSA stats

US DSA

77.4% are women

USA

 

Australia

 

Australia DSA

 

75% are women

Australia

 

Canada

 

Canada DSA

 

91% are women

Canada

 

New Zealand

 

New Zealand DSA

 

69% are women

NewZealand

 

Still believe this isn’t a feminist issue?

Note: our campaign is against MLMs, NOT single-level direct sales companies.  However, most DSAs are made up of MLMs, hence our focus on their statistics.

We need a real, unbiased study that asks the tough questions: how much money do these female sellers, on average (don’t even start, top of the pyramid Shill Bots, we know you make money off your downlines)…. actually make in MLM, after expenses, success day tickets, etc?  No one really knows.  This is a huge number of women being potentially exploited.

 

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We share a report from the Dark Ages of Direct Selling, 2004, before online shopping really took off. So why is this report still featured on DSA websites? And why were so few women surveyed? And just generally why?

 

Read this: International 2004 study on “direct sales”

link on NZ DSA

 

Nothing makes your industry look more legit than having academics study it.  It’s easy enough to do if your industry is willing to support them.

 

Academics

 

A couple of things.

The sample is very small, and doesn’t have enough women in it

 

 

Study:

Researchmethodology

You might be thinking: so what?  So what if there’s nearly the same number of men as women?   Well, we think it matters because most “direct sellers” are women and arguably so are most buyers.

Interestingly, the World DSA does not do a gender breakdown of sellers.  However, NZ, Australia, UK, and USA show similar breakdowns of women vs men – women are the majority of “direct sellers’, which means they are the majority in MLMs.  Feminist issue, y’all.

link to EU DSA info here

 

The internet has changed everything.

 

 

Take a look at the link and the screenshot below.  It’s from a report from the Direct Sales Association of NZ.

Code reports

2015complaintsdetail

We think the 2 complaints are very interesting and telling.   Telling, because they show how the internet has completely changed the game where MLM is concerned.   Read about Bots fighting over territory,  then click this, scroll down, and read about women trying to flog their unsold MLM shite online

We are not convinced there is an actual market for MLM products.  Don’t get us wrong, it’s pretty clear that MLMs rely less on actual sales to real customers than they do to forcing their recruits to buy to stay “active”…etc…but the ‘net makes it even harder for the odd ethical Bot to make a sale.   Why?  Other bots offloading stock at discount prices, and the sheer amount of competition from companies selling online.  Why buy an overpriced MLM lippy when you can buy it cheap on Amazon Prime?  And it’ll be delivered tomorrow?

Whatever sales model the MLM industry had, our guess is the internet has fucked it up big time.

The flipside of that is – the internet makes it really easy to reach potential victims and sell them on the dream of owning their own ‘business’ and ‘working around the kids’ and ‘yeah woman power etc’.   Ironic, no?  Which is why we keep demanding that government require MLM companies to tell the truth about how much $$ women can earn.

 

Where is the real data about MLMs?

 

 

We need real data about MLMs.  Not industry-sponsored, biased studies.  Where is it?

 

 

 

A note on the definition of “direct sales”.  Technically, direct sales includes door-to-door selling, Multi-level marketing schemes, and “party plans”.  In most cases in 2016, MLM companies make up the vast majority of ‘direct sales’ companies.  Maybe they should call it ‘direct recruiting’ instead?

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5 Short Facts about Maelle

1. Maelle was set up in Utah, USA just 5 months ago.   For more info on MLMs and Utah, read this and this.

 

 

2. One of the founders used to work for Younique

vpyounique

 

3.  New “Mentors” (the name for the Maelle Bots) are being charged $10 EACH to meet the owners and see the products at a club in Salt Lake City, Utah.  So high-classy, no?

networkevent

 

 

4.  It costs £59 or $89 USD to become a Maelle Bot. Bot Starter Kit #lossbabe.  They claim the usual things -it’s worth hundreds of pounds more!  The training is OMGface! etc etc.

 

5. It’s an MLM, just like all the rest.  We believe 90% of new Maelle Bots will be #lossbabes😦