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.

 

 

 

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“I”m £400 down and can’t see how on earth to make it back..”- An Ex-Bot from Neal’s Yard speaks

 

 

1story

 

I was swayed by the promises of zero commitment, no sales targets and simply getting a bargain

 

2story

 

NO MONEY in profit.  None.  The system is so complicated it’s near impossible to work out your incomings and outgoings…

 

3story

 

I feel utterly embarrassed at being so gullible…

 

4story

 

The upline focus is sell sell sell..

 

5story

 

Below is a sheet that NY bots are supposed to use.   The idea is that they list every.single.person they’ve ever met with a plan to sell them on NY Organics.

 

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We thank this informer from Neal’s Yard for coming forward and showing, yet again, that all MLMs are the same shite, just a different name.

 

“It was when my son said the way I was talking was like a cult that I came to my senses” – a new ex FL Bot speaks.

 

I had been told of the benefits for allergies for animals and was looking for a natural way to help my dog

 

1story

 

The more training videos I was watching the more I wanted to watch them

 

2story

 

After my son had mentioned ‘cult’ I started to think about how I was feeling and could only relate it to when I had hypnotherapy years ago

 

3story

 

I’ve lost £400 in 3-4 weeks

 

4story

 

I am a nurse, middle-aged and consider myself to be a pretty strong character but I got pulled into something that certainly is not a business opportunity and in my opinion is a cult type organisation.

 

5story

 

A note about neuro-linguistic programming.  It’s a good tool and can really help people with issues they may need to work through, but like any tool, it can be used unethically in the wrong hands.  Ethical users of hypnosis and NLP would always seek a person’s permission before putting them into such a state.   Unethical users will not.

Please also read the excellent post about Mind Set training here: We love this blog about Mindset Training (and also MLMs). Please Read.

FYI: We have also received a huge dump of FL training documents from an informer, including information used by FL bots to sell products to pet and animal owners, as well as veterinarians.  Stay tuned huns xxx

THE FEAR

Why do they stay?

There’s a question we’ve heard over and over again since we started investigating MLMs.

The answer is complicated – e.g.  they are lied to about MLM in the first place –  but here are 2 more reasons we’ve learned about:

  1. The world outside MLMs can’t be trusted
  2.  Those who leave an MLM are traitors.

Leaving an MLM is more like leaving a religion than leaving a business.   You go from being one of the “loved” to someone who must be ignored or publically humiliated.

In this post, we’re going to try and take you on a trip inside the worldview of a typical MLM-bot.   Be warned, though.  It’s depressing as fuck.  Bring out the Ativan!

 

They believe the economy is doomed.

Some of the major thinkers in the Network Marketing industry believe the world’s economy is unstable, insecure, and soon will break.  The only remedy against this lack of security is: the MLM.

We learned about this insane belief from our first informer, whose post can be read at the link below.

A brave ex-bot tells all: FIRST IN A SERIES

Here is an excerpt from that story:

 

In future everybody is going to be working this way, and by then we’ll be so high up we won’t know what to do with all the money

 

thedarknesscreep1

 

Network Marketing “Guru” website

 

ericworrepromise

 

Not being able to survive is a primal fear, especially for a new parent. The MLM industry plays on this fear,  and you’ll notice hints of it popping up in MLM memes.     Take the FB status below.    This person believes by joining an MLM she will somehow avoid the insecurity of the real world and be protected by network marketing.  It’s sad and disturbing.

 

 

iwontbeworkingwhenim81uwillbe

 

In an MLM,  Bots believe they have become part of some magical alternate economy.    They are safe, and the rest of us losers are not.   Unless we join, of course….

 

Their upline knows too much about them

It starts subtly.  You don’t even realise you’re giving away your closely-hidden secrets, until you are.   That’s what makes it so insidious.

We learned from one of our first informers about how MLM recruiters hone in on  potential recruits’ worries and concerns.

Read this.

And excerpt from this story is below:

 If it doesn’t make you cry – its not your reason why

 

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What this means is that you, the potential Bot, have shared some of your deepest darkest fears with your new captors, the MLM.  From now on, whenever you have doubts, they will use these fears to keep you inline.  BUT, they’ll say, what about your kids?  You’re doing this for THEM.   They’ll remind you of your ‘why to make you cry’.  They’ll remind you how uncertain the world is.

See below for a social media example of a Bot talking about their ‘why’.

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They are threatened or belittled if they try and leave

You’re a Bot, but it’s not working for you and hasn’t for a long time.  You know you aren’t making any money.  You are exhausted from the endless demands from your upline to put through this or that order or recruit this or that friend from your ‘chicken’ list.  Your partner is not supportive.  You don’t really see your kids.   All the promises have turned out to be lies.

You decide to leave your MLM and go out on your own.  You hope for support  = after all, haven’t they all described themselves as your “MLM family”? .

Then the threats start, and the personal attacks.

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For more on this, read this post.

In one case, we were told confidentially that an ex-Bot was so traumatized by the threats from her former MLM colleagues that she considered taking her own life.

 

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Any Bot seeing the way others are treated is going to have serious second thoughts about being upfront with their decision.

We have received many, many PMs from Bots saying “I agree with what you’re doing but I”m too scared to leave/I’m hoping to just go inactive/I just want it all to fade away/I wish I’d never joined/I’m scared of what they’ll do”.

 

They think if they leave they have failed.

People who have the courage to leave are regarded by other bots as failures and losers.  Period.  It doesn’t matter if there are extenuating circumstances or you’re losing money.  There is no support for someone trying to leave and rebuild their life.  Even worse, some Bots have lost connection with their pre-MLM friends and family, so they have literally no one to turn to.

There is NO compassion for people who don’t ‘succeed’ in an MLM in the MLM world.

Yeah, I know.  It’s a scam.  But in the MLM world they pretend it’s a real business and all Bots are just entrepeneurs on the way to millionaire status.

Below is an example of a  typical response from an MLM Bot to our informers:

 

 The ‘whistleblowers’ are those who couldn’t make it work.

 

judgement1

 

 

 They’ve put too much money/time/effort into their MLM already.

This is the so-called “sunk cost fallacy”.   It’s the same thinking that drives gamblers to keep gambling even if they lose.

The more money the Bot puts into their MLM, the more time, the more relationships he/she loses because of it, the more likely he/she is to stay.  Because, if she stays, one day she will hit the big time and be rich!   That’s what MLMs promise, and because MLM culture strongly promotes the idea of the individual having the power to change his or her destiny, many Bots believe if they just change this or that thing about themselves one day it will happen for them too.

Read this.

And this.

We love this blog about Mindset Training (and also MLMs). Please Read.

And this.

And there you have it.

That’s why they stay.

“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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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).

 

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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

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…

 

2story

 

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

 

3story

 

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

 

4story

 

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.

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.

(Yo)unique – more complaints, more women being set up to fail, PART TWO.

 

Someone sent us this link:   it’s not easy to tell from the first screenshot, but one Younique Bot has been contacting other Younique bots’ friends to flog products WITHOUT ASKING.

Apparently, in spite of the fact all Bots are pushed to recruit and recruit against each other cos they’re all working in the same areas, it is SUPER NOT OKAY to do this and BAD MLMing.

 

steallingfriends

 

she’s literally gone through my profile and added people that must of liked my things because my friend list is hidden!  I’ve reported her to Younique.  (who set this whole shitshow  up in the first place – Timelss Vie).

 

steallingfriends1

 

 Hide ya friends list hunnie xxxx

 

steallingfriends2

 

 Thanks for naming and shaming

 

steallingfriends3

 

Ok, we have a few things to say about the clusterfuck above.

Firstly, it makes us sad.

These women are fighting over Facebook friends’ lists like lipglossed-sharks in a barrel not because they are psycho (even if it appears that way) but because the whole system of recruiting and redirecting spending and false promises MLMs like YOunique rely on force them too.

To make real $$$, they HAVE TO RECRUIT.

Periodfullstoptheend.

And, as we know, no MLM ever gives a Bot a certain area to have control over and distribute product to.  Anyone can set up and recruit anywhere.     So, the  Bot HAS to go out and recruit their friends, neighbours, babysitters etc & thus spawn baby lipgloss-sharks left right and centre in their neighbourhood, because if they don’t, someone else will.   And thusly these recruits become their competitors (unless they are in the Bot’s downline, then that Bot gets a cut of the baby shark’s sales).   Now does it make sense?  FFS.

The flipside is that a Bot’s friendslist is literally her source of income.  It’s her money, rolled up in nice human-sized packages all over FB.   Hence the freaking out over other Bots daring to access it.

Aren’t you so glad to know we’re walking dollar signs?    Dang, girl.

Having said that, these women are being set up to fail, to fight over the same people, every one of them, including the horrible ‘friend stealer’ (who is just playing the game set up by Younique, really).

Don’t believe us about the recruiting? Check out this video we found (and added to, for educational purposes) about how to make money in Younique.

 

 

Now pleas like the one below make more sense, right?

 

youniquedesp

 

Or this:

 

kitnapperbullshit

We are highly skeptical that women actually get £175 of makeup for £69 – we don’t know what the wholesale cost is of Younique make up so we really just have to take their word for it.  We’ve also heard that the marked down kit price is not really marked down – it comes with certain strings attached.  We are still working to nail down that story.

As well, we are continuing to investigate Younique’s ‘retreat” and also the owners themselves and their conservative religious beliefs.  We believe women have the right to know everything about the MLM they’ve signed up to.

More on that to come.

 

Luv ya huns….xo

We love this blog about Mindset Training (and also MLMs). Please Read.

When Mindset Isn’t Everything

(Yo)Unique among MLMs? Not so much.

 

As it turns out, YOunique kinda sucks.

 

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complain5

 

 

Younique “Presenters” are bailing to Ann Summers you say?  Uh oh.

 

 

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Oh sure, Younique is about empowering women.  Read this.  If refusing to divulge your typical participant earnings , so that women can make a decision with ALL the facts,  can be called empowering…. story to come.

 

 

 

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Upline issues?  We’ve heard a lot about those, and not just from Younique bots either.  Read this.

Or this.

 

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complain11

 

As we’ve read in other Ex-Bot stories, e-Bay is a constant scourge and source of stress to MLM Bots.  MLMs like to claim the products on e-Bay are ‘fakes’ but we hear very differently from our sources in Bot-Land.   According to them,  e-Bay is a dumping ground for unsold product,  a place for Bots to try and recoup their money (just like this person did), and allegedly is also where some Bots sell so they can reach a certain promotion in their MLM, a bonus, etc.  Products are often sold for lower than the recommended MLM price because that’s what the market will bear.   Read this.

And this.

 

HEY YOUNIQUE.  If you’re serious about empowering women instead of exploiting them at vulnerable times in their lives, how about buying back their unsold product so that they are not left out of pocket with a new baby?  

THAT WOULD BE SO SUPPORTIVE OF YOU!!!

 

 

complain12

 

Newsflash: there is no training about products because YOU’RE NOT AN EMPLOYEE.  You’re also not a business “owner” of Younique.  You’re a freaking customer and customers don’t need that much training, do they?

And below, FINALLY.  Someone tries to talk some sense into these Bots who really deserve to be empowered by a company that is actually empowering women.  WE LOVE YOU WHOEVER YOU ARE. (See below).

 

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Like our truth-teller said, one day they’ll realise the whole game is rigged.  We hope.

 

 

complain16

 

As always, when someone complains about how shite their MLM is someone else comes along to say how great THEIRS is and how their MLM would NEVER do that etc etc bs bs bs they’re all pretty much the same.

 

 

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More attempted truth-telling below.

 

 

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^^ We couldn’t agree more with what our truth-teller says.   Almost all the issues with MLMs come from them being MLMs, period fullstop the end.   The average products.  The pressure to recruit.  The poor and unprofessional management by the upline, who at the end of the day is just some chick who happened to jump on top of the triangle earlier than you.   Oh, and punishing people for selling on e-Bay? Come on Younique.  Ever tried doing a search on e-bay?  It’s freaking EVERYWHERE.

You know what’s empowering for women?  Telling the truth.  The truth is very fucking empowering, we think.

More to come on Younique tomorrow, including our first official complaint.  Stay tuned!

 

UPDATE: A supporter just sent us this:

 

youniquecustomeradmitsit