Grab a glass of prosecco, put your feet up & enjoy our latest MLM-free shopping guide. We have an eclectic bunch of vendors, selling everything from farm machinery, hand-cut jewellery, to offering HR services. Check it out and know that none of them will try & recruit you to their team! 100% #lossbabe free.
We’ve been working on this for a while – our plan to create a logo for spaces & businesses that are free from multi-level marketing selling, recruiting, and manipulation. Our logo will be your guarantee that the business, website or group owner has a strong anti-MLM policy, and will take action to remove people who break that policy.
Want to join our MLM-free network? Let us know and we’ll add you & send you the logo to add to your website, FB page, twitter etc.
Businesses, groups etc that join will receive social media support from us for their endeavours. We will do this at regular times throughout the year. We are very serious about our mission to support women – whether as small business owners, artists, groups, or online.
let’s do this!
This is the first post of a continuing series about the latest ways MLM bots try to inveigle their way into your Facebook groups, your baby groups, your business groups, or whatever. We’ve also had some help from @WorcestershireMums as well. We’re doing this for 2 reasons: 1. to give all of you the heads-up about the new, woman-targeting scams heading your way and 2. for any groups out there, to give YOU the heads-up about the new tactics being used to get into your group.
Stealth bots 1: Pearl “parties”
Currently showing live on an FB page near you, someone opens an oyster and pries out a pearl for someone else to much screaming and eeking. No, we don’t get it either. Some Pearl businesses are MLM, some aren’t, it depends on the company. The idea seems to be that you buy oysters, and then they get opened live, and then you make jewellery out of them which seems really time consuming and pointless to us but hey. Anyway, the women who join these businesses are desperately trying to infiltrate groups as we write. As with any MLM, we recommend avoiding them.
Stealth Bot 2: “Lockeys Little Boutique” tries to claim it’s not an MLM….except it is.
It’s an MLM. Appears to be UK-based. Sells cheap off-brand knockoffs – did a google image search on one of their frocks and you can buy it WITHOUT joining an MLM at other online retailers at a cheaper price. Hard to see what the draw is. Has the usual spiel about “joining us” & buying a ‘business starter pack’ which, no doubt, is probably how they make their money. Women who do join should know they are competing directly with other retailers who are online and who may be cheaper. Status: stealthbotting everywhere
Stealthbot 3: “I’m just pretending all innocent like to ask for advice about my little home business that’s really an MLM & will be mortally offended if you point out that’s exactly what I’m doing” Bot
yeah yeah yeah. We’ve heard it all before.
Stealthbot 4: “Swap your doctor-prescribed evidence-based medicines for jelly from an MLM bee’s arse”
A mother’s group had a thread on depression. Here’s the response by an MLM bot – we find the medical claims of MLM bots particularly infuriating because they are deliberately targeting vulnerable people.
In this post, we’re combining 2 stories from some of the women who have come to us. The first story is from someone in Usborne books, and the second is from an ex-rep of Forever Living. Read on…
Back in 2013, I had a little part-time business selling gift baskets & pamper hampers, which I used to sell at craft fairs, community events, etc. Whilst at one, I met an Usborne seller, who was keen to tell me about the benefits of working for them & that I could do it alongside my full-time job and part-time biz. I had no experience of MLMs, but have always loved books, and thinking this was a long established, reputable firm, I signed up.
I got a few orders from friends & family, but could not do school events, coffee mornings etc due to my f/t job. I tried numerous times to book into local weekend events, but most times, my manager or one of her friends had got there first. I started to struggle, but then got offered (and pretty much told to take) a summer fete at the nursery half a mile from my house. I was delighted and put everything into making it a great event. When it came around, it was a burning hot day & I was based outside. People kept coming to look at the books, but no-one was interested in buying, which was pretty depressing. I then got told by someone that worked there that the manager’s friend had been in that week and secured a several hundred pound order – hence no-one wanting to buy!
A few months later, the manager asked me to cover another event for her as she’d double booked, and yep, similar thing happened. Eventually, after months of battling to try & get orders from my locality, I decided to quit. I tried selling my stock at a discounted rate to other sellers, including my manager, but all said they didn’t need it. So, wanting rid, I put the whole lot on eBay. It must’ve been worth several hundreds of pounds, and I got about £30 back. And who bought it? Yep, the manager who didn’t need anything.
So yes I was naive, but even with a decent biz brain & lots of motivation, all I did was lose money. The obsession, as with all these companies was recruit, recruit, recruit, but there was no way I would rip friends off, so I lost out. Moral of the story is don’t assume that these long-running companies have any more integrity than the Youniques and Juice Plus Types, because in my experience, they don’t xx.
“She wanted me to register my husband as an FBO in order to get the 2cc’s she needed to obtain her promotion and she would pay me and transfer the £199 it would cost to do that.”
So, just over a year ago I became a victim of the fucking shit “company” known as Forever Living so I thought I would share my (fairly long) story with you. Sorry!!!
Having sat on my ass enjoying the high life for approximately 8 months longer than my husband ideally wanted, my sister in law told me about this”ammmmaaaaazzzzzziiinnnngggggg” business opportunity. Fuckever Living as it’s known in my household.
At £199 to initially start up the alarm bells were already starting to ring but being family, I didn’t feel I could back out.
Endless bullshit you tube training video later I was even more dubious – I actually think I’m a fairly happy person 80% of the time and don’t need to watch “the secret” every morning at 6am, I mean Jesus, I have two kids and a husband that require dressing and feeding – who seriously has time for that shit?????
My area was new to FL so I found it pretty easy to sell the products and done pretty well within the first 4 weeks and got myself a “promotion” to supervisor.
I was always a little aware of the ‘higher archly’, being my manager and golden sodding eagle or whatever she was because frankly I thought she was a patronising twat, so I never ever posted anything on the “secret” groups. I was never congratulated for making them shit loads of money because it was made quite aware to me that my face and my Facebook profile didn’t fit and/or meet requirement. (Sometimes I just wanted to tell the world what a fucking shite day I was having!!!!!!!!!!)
I did however enter the every single incentive they did (who doesn’t like a freebie) and never got a single thing.
So I kept a suspiciously close eye on these “amaaaaazzzzing incentives” and found one that I knew I would qualify for:
If you earned 12 cc’s before the 15th of the month you would be taken on a log cabin retreat. I knew that I had managed to do that and low and behold after several messages to the “senior manager” the trip was “postponed due to illness”. I then started messaging other fbo’s who I didn’t know to find out whether they had received their “prize” and guess what NOPE!!!
A week later another bogus incentive for a spa weekend presented itself via FB and so I commented on it telling everyone not to waste there damn energy and for the love of god go and spend some time with their families.
Obviously, after that I had an email from a forever “official” and a few pushed off messages from my team manager (ignored).
After that I pretty much sacked it off until I had a phone call from my then assistant manager ask me for a HUGE favour….
She wanted me to register my husband as an FBO in order to get the 2cc’s she needed to obtain her promotion and she would pay me and transfer the £199 it would cost to do that.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA – NO!!!!!
The day after that I cancelled my registration with them and now continually spam the sites & pages until I get thrown off of them.
Dickheads, all them!
This post was written by one of our supporters.
The other day I witnessed an interesting exchange in the comments section of a Juice Plus sponsored post.
A critic posted a link to the Juice Plus wikipedia page and a distributor responded with “Wikipedia is just a load of crap made up by anyone”.
I am not at all surprised she reacted like that because the Wikipedia page on Juice Plus is negative from start to finish.
Firstly it describes the product as a generic “fortified” dietary supplement. Fortified means synthetic vitamins have been added. The page even discloses which pharmaceutical company manufactures these added vitamins. This goes against JP’s 100% natural whole food claim.
Then in exhaustive detail it shines a very negative light on the scientific research into Juice Plus. This includes where relevant, the poor design, lack of controls, the small sample sizes, also the fact that most of the studies were conducted by the company themselves and not independently as is commonly claimed.
So why doesn’t the Juice Plus company just go and change the Wikipedia entry and put the record straight?
Well they tried. They tried pretty damn hard actually.
Wikipedia has a system where page content is discussed in a separate page and any changes must be supported with good argument and the necessary evidence. As you can guess, company representatives were straight away trying to edit the page to make it more favourable.
They had a Juice Plus “medical professional” come in to try to bring credibility to the product but his approach was questionable.
“I am willing to lend my considerable and respected expertise to cleaning up this site and, consequently, will remove this page’s flawed reasoning and present this product in a much better light”
“The Wikipedia community has no idea who you are in reality. You are entitled to post information regardless of your true identity, but it is no less likely to be edited simply because you claim to be an authority. I refer you to the following page regarding Appeal to Authority.”
“Expert opinions are NOT brought forth with claims of notability, but citations of sources and clear, coherent, and neutral statements of what is true.”
Then other ‘possible’ company representatives appeared who tried to destroy the credibility of the article, the Wikipedia editors, and particularly the reputation of the sources who were against Juice Plus. It’s difficult to summarise so much content (the archives are massive) but generally it was a lot of personal attacks and not much arguing against the page content.
The exchanges continued back and forth for months and it soon became obvious that there were only harsh critics on one side and JP distributors and other representatives arguing on the other side. Not much was actually happening.
The critics had convincing arguments supported by solid evidence and the JP side seemed unable to dispute it.
Then a year later in 2007 something quite unusual happened. NSA (the manufacturer of Juice Plus) got involved and made an official statement on the discussion page (Archive 6). In this statement they attack the credibility of one of the main wikipedia contributors.
“We are convinced that this contributor is a detractor with competitive ties who is hiding behind the anonymity of Wikipedia in an effort to use the site for commercial advantage”
So here you have the actual manufacturer of Juice Plus making an accusation like this without providing ANY accompanying evidence.
The accused contributor responded with,
“I am extremely shocked that an official representative of the company that markets Juice Plus would include unwarranted personal attacks and libelous COI (conflict of interest) accusations in their debut on this page. I will remind this user that WP:NPA (no personal attacks) is a cardinal rule of Wikipedia”
A moderator added,
“I can understand your consternation for this blockable offense. If it occurs again, take it to the noticeboard”
NSA were quite simply shot down in flames.
In the following years and up to present day, the conflict seems to have died down. Perhaps the company have given up trying to make the page more favourable and accept that everything on the Wikipedia page is proven undeniable fact.
All discussion archives can be found through this link – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Juice_Plus
The Ugly Decaffeinated Truth
Most of us by now will have had the misfortune to encounter one or two of the Valentus crew. Goals are being #smashed, promotions #nailed, babes being #boss. Although allegedly in ‘pre-launch’, the product is out there and teams are growing at an enormous and frankly frightening & unsustainable rate. So we thought it was time to take a good look at Valentus – at the company, the product and the compensation plan and to try to get to the truth behind the over-excited Facebook ‘lives’, the ‘Double Diamond’ promotions, the blurred-out bonuses and the TOTES AMAZEBALLS weight loss products.
Let’s start with the Company:
It launched in 2014 and the CEO is Dave Jordan, a network marketing veteran who has clearly honed his skills in a number of MLMs, usually moving on to the next just before companies have folded. Timing is everything, people! Dave is a expert in lead-generation and recruitment tactics, which is why it is hardly surprising that Valentus is all about recruitment. Bots talk about Valentus being an ‘established, global business’ but facts about the real size & reach of the business seem pretty hard to find.
The star in the Valentus universe is the Prevail SlimRoast Coffee. It’s a coffee that you drink to make you lose weight. Cards-on-the-table time: I loathe weight-loss gimmicks like this. MLMs deliberately target the things most women are socially conditioned to want most of all: friendship, health, beauty and most of all, weight-loss. Almost every MLM has some kind of weight-loss programme that they use as a hook. These are generally unproven, short-term, unsustainable & unhealthy, both for the mind and for the body. And yet we want to believe that just by sipping a cup of magic coffee every day we will miraculously turn into Kate Moss and be so much happier and more valued as a human being. Anyone selling these kind of false promises and trading on the pressure women are already under to look thinner/younger/more beautiful deserves a special place in feminist hell.
Anyway, having got that off my chest, let’s look at the SlimRoast claims & reality. Here’s the Valentus claim:
Formulated with natural appetite suppressants, feel good ingredients and detox components SlimROAST is a great addition to your weight management program. Not only will you find managing your weight with SlimROAST will produce exciting results, but you will love the taste of this delicious Italian dark roast coffee.
Now let’s turn to a qualified Nutritionist to debunk some of that. It’s worth reading all of Abby Langer’s review as she tears the claims to shreds (https://abbylangernutrition.com/slimroast/) but here’s a few highlights:
Valentus SlimRoast has zero research proving it works. Testimonials don’t count.
SlimRoast contains mostly unproven ingredients that likely don’t work – together, or separately – to promote weight loss.
It’s pretty physiologically impossible to take a supplement and lose weight just from that, without any changes to your diet or activity. So testimonials that make that claim are probably not legit. I promise – when scientists find the magic ingredient that makes people lose weight while they sit on their ass, I’ll let you know. For now though – you’ll need to do the work. Sorry!
‘Eeeeeek! It’s the best compensation package of any MLM EVER!’
Claims like this combined with blurred-out photos of allegedly ENORMOUS 5 & 6-figure incomes certainly implies that within a very short space of time you will be raking in the money.
Here’s the nasty truth. Once again, it’s all about recruitment and about the bot being the customer.
- Success depends on bots committing to a monthly auto-shipment of product and in turn recruiting others to do likewise
- You cannot progress without signing up to automatically buy over £100 worth of product per month and building a team of other people doing likewise.
- You also get paid an additional commission bonus for every new member you sign up
- There is minimal information about retailing on the Valentus website and little reward for retailing in the compensation plan. It’s all about autoship and recruitment.
Massive red flags here: this emphasis on autoship/recruitment places Valentus on very rocky ground. In fact, people have analysed the Valentus compensation structure and found it almost identical to Vemma’s – that’s right, the ‘Energy Drink’ MLM that was condemned as a pyramid scheme by the FTC because of its emphasis on recruitment/autoship. Bar a small handful at the top, most affiliates lost money in Vemma. Read this for more information on the Vemma case: https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2015/08/ftc-acts-halt-vemma-alleged-pyramid-scheme
Stay away. Don’t touch with a 10-foot pole.
This is a pyramid scheme with very little pretense to even try to dress it up with product & retail. It’s growing rapidly in the UK right now but unless you are one of the top bots, you’ll be paying in your £100 per month and losing money (but not the promised weight!).
If you need proof that is a pyramid scheme, we have a recording of one of the top UK bots in a Facebook Live actually stating that you don’t need to sell product at all to succeed. This is illegal. This makes Valentus a full-on, undeniable pyramid scheme. Like all such schemes, one of two things will happen:
- The authorities will catch up with Valentus, fine it and shut it down.
- The scheme will collapse.
Either of those end-games are bad news for 95% of scheme members. They will lose their money. And those at the top who are boasting about their wealth and recruiting more people in everyday are both immoral and – in some cases – breaking the law.
We’re watching you, Valentus.
Better late than never, right viestars?
Here’s our list of network-marketing free businesses run by our fabulous viestars and manhuns. Go, shop, enjoy and know you are putting pounds into the hands of good people, not multizillionaires from Utah. YAY!
Looking for bespoke wooden boxes, trunks or chests? Click here.
Someone you know a fitness fiend? Get them personal training for Chrissy!
What could be more magical than a magical Santa Selfie??
OR…some gorg baby and toddler organic leggings?
How about some handmade, hand-drawn jewellery?
Someone you love want some contouring?
Hula hoops and hoop wear, hula your way to Chrissy cheer – check it out
It’s called the DSA, or “Direct Sales Association”. It’s members include Forever Living, Herbalife, etc. etc. It also lobbies the UK government. We first mentioned the DSA here
So the reason we’re telling you about it (again) is because YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT THIS. Their strategy, since 2012, is to target students at colleges and universities and encourage them to join MLMs. See below:
And then in 2013:
So let’s recap, for those of you with bad eyesight or who can’t be arsed reading screenshots:
- The DSA (made up of Forever Living, Herbalife, etc) decided to become BFFs with universities in the UK.
- They were hoping to get invited to job fairs and make presentations to students about how amazeballs Forever Living etc are. Rather than, say, a real job.
- Continued “outreach” to universities. BRING US YOUR YOUNG AND CLUELESS, YEARING TO MAKE MONEY.
- Result: 25% increase in under -25s joining MLMs.
What the actual FUCK.
The younger the people are who get into “network marketing”, especially full time, the harder it is for them to leave and join the actual world of work and business. It’s not only the potential money they lose; it’s also the years they could be building real careers, or true businesses. Being a “vice president” for, say, Ariix means exactly zip in the real world. It’s one of the reasons it’s so hard for full-on multi-level marketing people to get out of MLM. “Black Status Younique Presenter” is not going to get you a management-level job in a proper company.
Get the word out. If you are a student, or know students, warn them. And if you see these companies at a university job fair, let us know so we can call it out.
This particular tale of woe began in February 2014. I was in year two of my university degree, working part time and had become a single parent a couple of months before. I had a random message on facebook from a good friend and former colleague of mine asking me to host a party for her, as she had just started selling a line of beauty/nutrition products. As a former beautician and sports enthusiast, this seemed like a great idea.
Well, out came the famous green table cloth, aloe vera shots and free facials, much to the distress of my younger brother and a male friend who were the only ones to attend! Out of embarrassment at the poor turn out, I listened to the sale pitches, plastered face masks on my brother and dear friend (Note: face masks and beards don’t get along…) and purchased a clean nine.
I completed the programme, and naively believed that it had done me a lot of good as not surprisingly, glugging down laxatives and water for nine days, and consuming meals and shakes that only add up to just over half of your daily calorie allowance per day makes you lose weight!
The friend I had purchased the clean nine from then got on to the classic recruitment pitches. I was an obvious target retrospectively, I had worked with her doing beauty and sports massage therapy some years ago. As I knew she was a fairly successful business woman prior to Forever living, I trusted her. There was of course the added bonus that I would be selling products alongside a good friend. I signed up, parted with my £200 and eagerly awaited the arrival of my box of aloe vera everything.
In my first month, with only two weeks after I joined to make the fabled “4cc” I did 7.5cc in personal sales (rather a lot, in pounds sterling, but I can’t remember how the forever monopoly money translates into actual currency!) I say this not as a boast, I’m not proud I made my friends drink aloe vera gloop to prove how much they truly loved me, but because I want to outline the fact that I am a capable seller and my dislike of this business isn’t down to being bitter because I couldn’t sell anything.
The business model sets you up for failure. (because it’s not a business – Timeless Vie)
I began my recruitment pitches, discovered I was actually pretty good at it and ended up with a team of over 20 people. I got to supervisor level, went to success day, and was stood up to be applauded for my efforts like a small child. I got a badge too. Cool.
Where did it go wrong, I hear you cry?! Well, I always questioned some of the business practices. The first being “PUPP boxes” in which you deliver free products for your friends/neighbours/second cousin’s dog to try and hope to God they don’t use them all or never give them back. Having had a small business before I felt this was a ridiculous idea and simply a way for the people up the line/*cough* PYRAMID to get more money out of you.
The second was the use of “case credit” value attached to products. I felt this was a very clever mechanism to encourage people to forget they are spending actual real money, and get them into buying products to score “points” to get them up the recruitment ladder. The fake it till you make it thing really bugged me too. Horrible deceptive practice. I tried to advise my team to keep records of their incomings and outgoings because I genuinely didn’t want them to lose money. I also discouraged buying products unless they were attached to a genuine customer order. Little did I know, this would be of no help whatsoever in this kind of marketing structure and social environment.
The big issues with the company, however, surfaced when I started to see my friends fail. I remember seeing one of them sat in a pub with all her products around her, with no interest at all. She left having wasted her time and money, feeling totally depressed and deflated because of me. That didn’t feel good.
I saw people I cared about trying to sell products in a saturated market place, getting nowhere. I realised that to get to a higher level in the company, it was necessary to recruit people that you knew were going to fail. Not cool. It was at this point I looked at my own books, despite meeting with sales targets every month since I began and not over spending on products I was at a £300 loss myself.
There were several factors at play, such as cost of postage which forever charges on all web orders, cost of travel to deliver them, marketing materials, websites such as ‘forever 360’ alongside ‘forever knowledge’ and ‘QLS’ training materials. It all built up and blew the feeble commission percentage out the water pretty fast. This had been a total obsession for eight months of my life but my eyes were open. I began watching back videos of the leaders of the business, with a more critical eye and realised how full of rubbish it all was.
I have seen more drawbacks from buying into this ‘business’ than I could count. I saw one lady outside at a success day who had just got off the phone from paying a credit card bill because she had bought her way to ‘supervisor’ level and was still paying off the costs. The social pressure to get sales is that intense she was prepared to put herself into debt just to get a pin badge and certificate. She wasn’t the only one. I’ve experienced immense pressure from uplines, who are no doubt desperate to pay off their own bills, to buy product and sell it on later to get ccs. I’ve seen women back biting and treading on each other like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I’ve seen worse when people leave. It creates a massive blame culture which isn’t unique to forever living, but to the marketing structure it uses and the psychological techniques it implements. It’s ugly.
All I can say is, if you are involved in any MLM, even if you are not prepared to leave. Please be critical and cautious. They tell you to remain positive because if you don’t, you’ll open your eyes and realise you’ve lost friends and money. Many people in MLM are talented, hardworking people and these skills are transferrable to valid business ventures in which you take home the profit and use your talent. There is no way I’d be prepared to face that kind of pressure, stay on my phone 24 hours a day and peddle a product I make nothing out of but lost friends and an empty pocket ever again.