New campaign & hashtag – #myMLMdream

#myMLMdream

We’re asking people who have left or are in the process of leaving their MLM to send us pics of their unsold product.  Maybe it’s still in boxes.  Maybe it’s hidden in your garage, your spare bathroom, under your bed, in a cupboard.  Wherever it is, it can help others now and we want to see it.

We’ll share your photos across our social media either anonymously or not, whatever you prefer.   We’d love a quote from you as to how this photo makes you feel.

Here’s our first photo, uploaded yesterday:

 

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DO THEY KNOW? Do you think the top MLM reps know what they’re doing when they suck others into their team?

It’s the question we often ask ourselves at TVHQ and it’s been the source of some heated debates. 

Do the uplines, the top bots, the high-flyers in MLM, know what they’re doing when they pull people into their downline?  Do they know that most will fail?   Or are they brainwashed?  Trapped? Or sociopaths?

 

For those who are knew to MLM/this blog, some explanation.  MLM = multi-level marketing, like Younique, Forever Living, etc.

Upline = persons higher up in the pyramid, who generally appear to have lots of money, large teams, etc

Downline = the people below the upline.

 

As we’ve seen here, some MLM success-stories do work it out fairly quickly and leave because they can’t bear to see people they care about getting hurt.  Their moral compass, their emotional intelligence forces them to go before too much damage is done.  They realise that for most people MLM is a losing proposition.

And the others?  WATCH THIS:

 

Having watched the vido, do you think Emma, the top bot living in a castle, is lying?

Or is she convinced that she’s doing the right thing, using ‘attraction marketing’ to draw others into her MLM?  That she can help others get this dreamlife too?

And her brother – is he lying too, or does he truly believe that MLM is just another way of doing business?  To me, he looks sincere.

The question of Emma’s guilt or innocence, awareness or lack of, has been discussed  by those of us behind TV, along with other top bots.   Some of us believe she knows what she’s doing and is deliberately manipulating people.  Others think she is completely brainwashed and a victim.

The thing is, if Emma is doing everything she’s supposed to do: listening to ‘mindset’tapes all the time, constantly training and reaching out to others to bring them in, while balancing her family,  it’s possible that she DOES believe that what she is doing is right.  MLMs ban what they call ‘negative’ thinking.  Read this. And this.

This kind of thought-stopping tactic is also found in certain religions like Scientology.  An excellent blog to read about Scientology  is this one

Botwatch also wrote a well-researched post about MLM thinking here

Due to the high-turnover of recruits, all uplines have to spend a lot of time focussed on recruiting, which doesn’t give them a lot of time to reflect on what they are doing.   It’s an eternal sad hamster wheel of victims in, victims out.   As we discussed here, it can be very difficult to leave an MLM once a certain amount of time and money is invested.  That’s why we’ve always tried to reach out to the successes as well as those who have been used – in some cases, we think they are victims too.

Some, but not all.

There are also those who we have strong reason to believe know what they are doing and don’t care.  We will have more to come on this story, but for now, here’s an excellent blog about how to tell when people are lying.

How do you know whether you are good at spotting liars? Test yourself  here at the University of Berkeley’s EQ test website.  This test will tell you how clever you are at reading other people’s emotions, which is part of lie detection.

Many MLM uplines post videos on Facebook etc to persuade people to join, to mentor their ‘teams’, etc etc blah blah.  Next time you watch one, take note of whether their facial expressions match what they are saying, whether their smiles are truly sincere, and whether they show true emotional concern for their ‘teams’.   I’m not just talking words here – they should be showing genuine emotion/concern on their faces if they truly care.

People who lack emotion can sometimes appear very charming, smiling a lot, presenting a beautiful appearance, but will also show inappropriate facial expressions at times.   Take note of this.   It’s a red flag about how that person is truly feeling.

And finally, if you are high up in an MLM but want to get out, we ARE here for you.  No matter what you’ve done in MLM, you can make a difference right now, today, by leaving & helping others see through the deception.

“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.

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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.

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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.

 

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“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:

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

 

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“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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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As she put it:

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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.

 

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^^ 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.

 

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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.

 

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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).

 

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

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

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Body Shop at Home…”well known brand, what could go wrong”…an ex-Bot speaks.

Our latest informer has come forward to tell us a depressing, and familiar, story of poor treatment and loss of money in an MLM.   This time, it’s Body Shop at Home.

 

In January I was approached to be a manager to do this I needed 5 recruits…

 

Remember the “power of 5”?  We learned about it in this video about Younique (from 0.21 on).

 

 

1story

 

My father got ill and was diagnosed with terminal cancer…I was late with my figures and I was left an awful message from the area manager…

 

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There were conferences to attend I chose not to go as couldn’t afford the £35 a ticket and the hotel.

 

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Once I had finished body shop I can honestly say I was around £500 out of pocket

 

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We’re glad she had the bravery to say no and leave “Body Shop at Home”.  We’re sad about what this company has become.