“But why aren’t you balanced? What about all the positive stories about incredibly rich (insert name here) MLMers?” In this post, we explain why ‘balance’ is bullshit when it comes to network marketing, and so is attempting to be unbiased.

We get it regularly.

However I do worry that it (Timeless Vie) doesn’t provide a balanced view; there are no positive stories.

comment

On the face of it, that seems a completely reasonable point.

That’s what proper journalists would do, right?

They’d have the sad story and then the happy story so you, the reader, got both sides of the issue.   And what would you think? You’d probably think there’s a 50% chance you could be wealthy in an MLM, and a 50% chance you’d fail.   Fair.  Balanced.

Except….acccording to this study, approximately 99% of people lose money.

If most people lose money, is it really fair and balanced to have 1 story for and 1 against?  Wouldn’t a really balanced piece of writing about MLMs have 99 stories of failure vs 1 story of success?  Wouldn’t that be more accurate?  And wouldn’t a really balanced piece point out that the 1 person who succeeded did so because of all the people that failed?

The idea of ‘false balance’ in journalism has been around for a while, but none of us connected the issue to the debate over MLM until one of us talked to a journalist in New Zealand.  He was interested in what we were doing, and the feminist stance we were taking, and he pointed out that ‘false balance’ could be a problem when it came to issues like MLM.   Read this, about the climate change science and false balance.

And this.

The idea is this: that by presenting both sides of a story and giving each equal weight, journalists inadvertently give people the impression that both sides are equally valid.   They aren’t.

On one side, we have an industry that is making lots and lots of money by selling women false hope, that allows reps to make false health claims, that says one thing in public and another in private (we have so much evidence of this at this point it’s not funny), that in some cases refuses to divulge how much money women will really make, and is largely ignored by government.     For ‘positive’ stories you only have to go to the websites of the Direct Sales Association, Arbonne, Younique etc.

On the other side, there’s us.  We are making exactly zero money from doing this.  We have jobs, families, we do this in what spare time we have.    We’ve researched.  We’ve talked to victims.  We really care about them.  We’ve tried to get answers from the DSA, MLM companies and government, and have discovered that there’s a huge information gap about what effects MLMs really have.

If we were to do positive stories, we’d be giving our readers the impression we think MLM is a valid business model, when all evidence we’ve found so far indicates it’s not.  Would that really be the right thing to do?

This is why we don’t do “balanced” stories about MLM.

Because what matters is the truth.

Save

Save

Advertisements

EXCLUSIVE: Read the messages Candice, an ex-bot with Forever Living, received after the Daily Mail article.

Read the original article in the Daily Mail here.

We were aware some weeks before the DM article came out that Candice was going public with her story and we’ve been keeping tabs on her ever since – mainly because we weren’t sure what kind of reaction she was going to get, and we wanted her to know we supported her 100%.

We didn’t need to worry – the reaction has mostly been very positive for Candice and negative towards Forever Living and MLMs in general, YAY!!!

Now, we bring you some of the messages Candice has received since she opened up about her experience in Forever Living.  We think they are very enlightening and a powerful testament to how many people are silently suffering in MLMs and are looking for a way out.

 

13225212_10156858127100456_916355935_o13275402_10156858127375456_333651647_o13282400_10156858127245456_1590293505_o

 

13282556_10156858127180456_1651966080_o

13282567_10156858126820456_1788903770_o13282777_10156858126715456_1589101596_o13282840_10156858126005456_1953384209_o

 

“I was going to ask who your upline was and whether we have the same one”

 

 

And inevitably, there was hate mail from a couple of furious Bots who saw their possible downlines tricking away…….

First off, Passive-Aggressive Denial Bot:

13324080_10156858123635456_85816392_orename13288357_10156858124855456_1907296101_o13288481_10156858125010456_1747232198_o

 

And finally, Super Classy Rage Bot – cos nothing says ‘good PR for your MLM’ like calling someone a cunt.

 

13313551_10156858063105456_324205312_o

 

“shot with bags of your own shit”.   We’re not going forget that line for a while.

Finally, a word to anyone stuck in an MLM, in debt, afraid, and possibly isolated from friends and family: we are here for you and so are our supporters.  Please don’t feel you are trapped.  Even if you’ve lost a lot of money, better to quit now, get out of the toxic MLM of lies than continue on.  We are thinking of you.  We are here for you.

Bravo again to Candice.  You are a LEGEND.

An Open Letter to Netmums about all the MLM recruiting on their site

 

Dear Netmums,

Thank you for providing a space for mums and especially new mums to share and support each other.   We think what you are doing is great.

There’s just one thing we need to talk to you about, and we believe it’s very important.

MLMs.

Right now, your site is like a mahoosive hunting ground for MLMs.  It’s like the ideal MLM targets are just sitting there, caught up in a net, a net of mums.

 

netmumsforums

 

Some people we know contacted you and asked you why you allowed so much open MLM recruiting.    Thank you for replying,  we were glad to get an insight into your stance.

 

netmumslegal

 

Netmumsresponse

 

We understand MLMs are, ostensibly, legal (though some have been found to be illegal after investigation).

However, we have a point that we’d like to bring up:

It’s really hard to identify a pyramid scheme pretending it’s a multi-level marketer.

Even the US FTC (Federal Trade Commission) says so.

 

“Identifying a pyramid scheme masquerading as an multi-level marketer requires a fact-intensive inquiry,” the FTC said in one report. It “entails a complex economic analysis including an in-depth examination of the compensation structure and the actual manner in which compensation flows within an organization.”

 

Spotting a pyramid is hard

Also read below:

US government can’t put an end to pyramid schemes

and this:

What’s wrong with MLM companies (everything, we say)

and this PDF we nabbed from the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) site:

 

Of the 350 MLMs I have analyzed for which a complete compensation plan was available, 100% of them are recruitmentdriven and top-weighted. In other words, the vast majority of commissions paid by MLM companies go to a tiny percentage of TOPPs (top-of-the-pyramid promoters) at the expense of a revolving door of recruits, 99% of whom lose money. This is after subtracting purchases they must make to qualify for commissions and advancement in the scheme, to say nothing of minimal operating expenses for conducting an aggressive recruitment campaign – which (based on the compensation plans) is essential to get into the profit column.

 

00004-57285(1)

Original link here.

The upshot is this: MLMs were invented in the USA but even the US government can’t keep control over them.  Why? As per the articles above, there are just too  many, and investigations take too long and are too expensive.

Because of this, we would argue that you can’t afford to wait for the law to catch up to the exploitation that’s going on.   Because of this, Netmums, we’re asking you to do the ethical thing: ban MLM recruiting from your site.    We’ve noticed (and have much evidence of) the way MLMs deliberately target women at transitional periods in their lives: new motherhood, losing a job, etc etc and many of these women came to your site looking for support and companionship.   Yes, we know some of these women claim to have made incomes through MLMs,  but again, there is much evidence that shows most people lose money in an MLM.   Our whole blog is dedicated to penetrating the lies told by MLMs to keep the scams going.

Please, please, reconsider your stance about MLMs on your site.

 

 

 

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.

“Like Ladders”, Facebook swaps and other ways Bots try to appear more successful than they actually are

 

 

Rule number ONE in MLM is what, huns?

 Fake it til you make it.

There’s a problem with this though – after all,  how do you fake new recruits to your team? fake sales? hundreds of new likes? new followers on Twitter?   Those things are quite a lot harder to “fake”, right?  That’s certainly the way it appears on the outside and why so many MLMs are successful in recruiting more and more victims.

BUT.

We have received tips to the contrary from our supporters,  and these tips along with our own sleuthing have led us to what we believe are the answers.  We know how Bots, ‘successful’ or not,  fake FB “likes”, sales, etc and we’re going to tell you as well so when you see it happen, you understand how it’s just another game being played and you can warn your friends.

 

  1.  LIKE LADDER.  LIKE MY PAGE AND I’LL LIKE YOURS.  ONLY WE’LL DO IT IN A SECRETISH GROUP SO NO ONE KNOWS.

 

likeladderlies

 

likeladderlie2

likeladderlie3

 

2. JUST BUY SOME LIKES.  SERIOUSLY.

One example of a business that sells fake Facebook likes

We contacted a social media manager we know and asked for her input on this issue.  Here’s her response (she asked to remain anonymous):

 

socialmediaexpert

 

Then she showed us a graph, from Facebook,  of an MLM bot she knows and who has had a recent increase in likes.  See the obvious spike (468.9% increase in a WEEK)?  That indicates the Bot bought them.

 

13115746_10153502969120373_1345881078_n

 

As she put it:

socialmediaexpert2

That is a huge red flag for likes-buying.

*full disclosure: we have bought advertising on FB for Timeless Vie – mainly to boost our posts (the ones FB accepts, that is, ar ar) and once to boost our page.   We have never ever bought likes and we never will.

 

3.  HEY FELLOW MLM-BOT, HEEELP ME.  JOIN MY TEAM. BUY MY STUFF OR MY UPLINE WILL GO CRAY.   I WILL SEND YOU STUFF IN RETURN. LET’S PLAY SWAPSIES.

 

1desp_jedi

 

 

 

1jewelscentjoin

2JEWELSCENT

 

^^ there was another screenshot of the Jewelscents bot above begging more people to join her team and literally posting every. single. day. but it was just too depressing to post.   Blah.

 

Screenshot_20160507-140504

 

 

ROCKING.png

 

Screenshot_20160507-141002

 

 

4.  SELL OFF YOUR STUFF  ON FACEBOOK GROUPS COS MLMS ARE CRACKING DOWN ON EBAY, THE BASTIDS (AND BECAUSE NOBODY ACTUALLY WANTS TO BUY IT)

 

We removed the name of the group below deliberately.  Why? Because we feel for these women who need to make back their money.   We’re on their side.   From what we saw on Facebook, many of these women are selling their DS stock at a loss to themselves.

 

1compliancepolice

 

I swear we are not picking on Younique deliberately, but there was just SO MUCH STUFF people were trying to move: (below is just one of the many, many, many posts we screenshot).

 

eyepigments

 

Or people were just trying to swap their stock for other stock:

 

MLMSWAP

 

Screenshot_20160507-140401

 

So, there you have it.  Behind the scenes of many a Bot is a desperate merry-go-round of likes-laddering, likes-buying, selling stock at a loss while avoiding MLM compliance twats, and swapping stock with other Bots in the same boat.  Oh and recruiting each other to their teams.   All seems totally legit, right?  Exactly like a successful real business works.

 

 UPDATE: a supporter sent us this screenshot – showing a jump in “likes” for a particular MLM bot who sells herself as a successful business coach.   Hmmm…a 235.6% increase in a week?  Seems suspicious.  Also, note the low engagement rate for her page.    She has over 10,000 likes, but ony 286 people are actually talking with her page, which seems extremely low compared to the number of likes.  This may indicate a large number of her likes come from buying and “like ladders” with other bots.  It may also mean many of the likes are from fake FB profiles.

 

likes

 

 

For comparison, here are the stats from our Timeless Vie facebook page.   We have nearly the same number of people talking about our page as the Bot above,   yet our number of likes is much lower.  This shows genuine engagement by the people who like our page.   Also, note that our increase in likes is only 2.8% from last week.  There are no big jumps.

 

 

likestimelessvie

It’s Not About You.

A guest post from a supporter:

 

It’s not about you.

 

This is a reply to all the bots out there who complain, ‘you are picking on me, it’s bullying, you are jealous haters’ etc, from Timeless Vie to Botwatch to Ethan Vanderbuilt to every other anti-MLM campaign out there.

It’s not about you.

Let us be crystal clear.

It’s not about you, though  its easy to see why you might think our campaign is about you. The MLM, your upline, your trainers, they all gave you the same message, ‘its about you, if you fail it’s because of something you didn’t do.’

This is not true.

However we understand it might be an easy mistake to make.

We know that your training encourages you to put yourself out there, we see your Facebook where you have reinvented yourself as a public figure, we see your carefully curated image with absolutely no negativity, making it look as if you were fabulously successful.

We see you putting your kids out there too, as part of your brand, seriously compromising you and your family’s privacy! Because hey, the business is the most important thing isn’t it? We see you with your carefully crafted prose and artful photography, to make it look as if you have a lifestyle that isn’t really yours.

We see that sometimes you write things creatively, (we would say deceptively), in order that your potential downline would assume that something was true, when it wasn’t, that the car in the car dealership was yours, that the trappings of wealth that you told them they could have if only they joined you wasn’t really leased or rented. We know how rife this is, we get messages every week, ‘my friend is renting a house but her downline thinks its hers.’ ‘This isn’t her car.’ ‘Her husband pays for everything.’ ‘They were already wealthy.’ ‘She bought her promotion.’ ‘I am so angry, that’s not her kitchen, but she acts as if it is, check out this YT video’

But hey, it’s okay if my downline thinks I own this house and car, you say to yourself. You didn’t lie, did you? You never ACTUALLY said that. If they assume, then the fault is on them, right?

Back to the subject. It’s not about you, it isn’t and it never was.

We’re not interested in attacking you, we would embrace you with open arms and comfort and support you too, should you come to your senses, just like your downline who left.

We know you have been coached to think your downline were bitter and lazy and had failed. Even so,  we would support you. After all we have seen you in your training videos, looking more exhausted and stressed as the months passed. We saw you desperately put a positive spin on your downline leaving. We heard you mumble through a training at 3am. We feel for you too. So should this shitshow that you are in crumble to dust and you can bo longer do it, we will be there for you.

We never ‘attacked your business’. Because we don’t even think MLM is a business, it’s a game, a slight of hand trick, a scheme, a racket, where recruits are drawn in with illusions and deception.

But this still isn’t about you, it’s about the actions of victims who are caught up in MLM schemes. The actions of the owners of these schemes. The actions of the trainers. We raise the awareness of these actions that are used to deceive people and draw them in and take their money. We share your trainers’ scripts, we use parody and satire, because we want to educate without resorting to personal attacks. If your actions are raised and criticised then this is not a personal attack on you, it is a criticism of your actions, which you used to deceive people into signing up.

We are only interested in truth.

Not spin, not illusion, only truth. And because MLM does not share the truth, then we will do it.  Does the truth hurt you?  Stay with that feeling, and if you can, think about why that might be.

It’s not about you.  But if you come to us for help, we promise to support you.

It ain’t no party for Ann Summers’ recruits

#VIEStars we have a new informer, this time from Ann Summers.   For those who don’t know, Ann Summers sells sex toys and cute lingerie via parties.  Think Tupperware for dildos.

 

It was promoted as being suitable to do around family life, you did as many parties as you wanted/were able to do, no pressure, etc.

 

annsummer1

 

 

yummymummy
Ann Summers facebook party ad

 

 

We had to sell old kit off to use money to buy new kit.  But some old kit didn’t sell.  And then we had to use our own money to buy new kit.  Pressure mounted and mounted.

 

 

annsummer2

 

Thanks for sharing your story and stepping forward, Ann Summers recruit.  We’re really glad you are out now and didn’t lose too much money.   Your story  is yet another example of how insidious MLMs are.

 

If you want to share your own story about an MLM, please do contact us.  Maybe you were caught up in an MLM or perhaps you saw a good friend or family member get taken in.   Email us timelessvie@gmail.com, or contact us on Facebook or Twitter.  We are also now on Instagram

 

Luv ya huns xo xo xo