Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I get Amway mail, part 3

Sorry for busting up the previous thread. A new Amway distributor showed up, one "IBO Fight Back," who runs a blog called "The Truth About Amway." He had a long series of posts arguing with my interpretation of Amway distributor performance, and noted that he has been planning on a detailed response to my site for years. As the issues he brings up are interesting, I responded to some of his arguments. It got too long for the comments section, so I'm starting fresh.

IBOFB, I wouldn't be opposed to linking a post of yours if you don't want to restrict yourself to comment format. By the way, I like your profile image of the Dread Pirate Roberts. However, I've spent the last few years building up an immunity to fuzzy math. ;)

We have similar backgrounds [as numbers geeks].

Oh yes? Always glad to meet a fellow nerd. I got my MS in computer engineering from UT in 2007, and did my Masters Report on data mining topic frequency from Google News and comparing it to Digg.

Sorry about the broken link, the one I gave should have worked. The other data on percentage qualifiers is supposed to be for "IBO eyes only" so to speak, so I'll have to sponsor you first ;)

I'll pass on that offer, thanks. Indeed, part of what raises suspicion for me about Amway is the way they keep their information so close to the chest unless you are paying them. People always say that you should evaluate Amway on the same basis that you would evaluate any other business, but that's not really possible. If you are dealing with a major corporation, you can actually check out their financial statements every year, and there are specific legal requirements on the truth value of what they are saying. Sure, there are loopholes by which accountants can paint a rosier picture than reality, but there is at least a baseline where if you lie in your financial statements you can eventually risk landing in jail.

There is no such requirement from Amway, obviously. As you point out later, some statistics can't even be gathered effectively, and what they do release is what they want to release, when they want it. For instance, how would I know that these "IBO eyes only" documents are accurate? Who is overseeing them?

I'm certainly not saying they're false documents, I'm just saying that a lack of open information that can be verified always feels like a warning flag to me. I don't know what you could do about that, however.

I'll drop you an email in the morning, but to be honest I'm hesitant as they too have their problems of interpretation. You might want to check out another post of mine on the problematic use of statistics - Amway IBOs get all their products free plus extra cash.

Okay, IBO, I have now read that page in its entirety, and I have to confess that the first time through, I had a critical failure of my sarcasm detector. I thought you were serious in trying to prove that people who are "buying from themselves" make that much money. Hence I spent unnecessary time trying to explain the flaws in your reasoning before noticing that it was meant to be satire.

So if I take your point correctly, your main concern is that one simply can't construct all of the big picture starting from averages. That is, of course, true to a point, and that's why I wish more detailed information could be made available.

But it seems to me that you're deliberately going way off in the opposite direction, into a kind of numerical solipsism, in which you can dismiss all numerical analysis as "damn lies and statistics." That's where we part company. While raw numbers never tell the whole picture, when you say "The average tells you nothing at all, and anyone who pretends it does is either ignorant or actively trying to mislead you" that is clearly equally naive. There is a middle ground between thinking that a limited data set is a crystal ball and thinking that it is completely useless.

You can't, on the one hand, instruct critics of Amway to analyze it like a real business, and on the other hand dismiss all efforts at quantification as stupid. If it's a real business, then the numbers that are available mean something, as they are the only data that can be applied. The other stuff, the intangibles like motivational hullabaloo and personal growth and so forth, that is all irrelevant to analyzing the business if your core claim is that you simply can't demonstrate whether it is generally a money maker or a money sink. Isn't that what we are talking about in the first place?

Really though, it all comes down to this question of yours - does that data you have actually give a breakdown of time spent as well? This information we pretty much don't have in hard data and it's difficult for Amway to get.

Well said. You've homed in on the key point of contention right there.

Some Amway distributors (a very small number) make money at it. Some Amway distributors (a very very small number) make a hell of a lot. Meanwhile, some Amway distributors (perhaps most) spend very little time on the business. I think these are all facts that we agree on. Based on them, though, you've combined them arbitrarily to make the following claim: "Some people make a hell of a lot of money while putting very little time into the business." This does not follow.

Indeed, after thousands of emails and guest book entries in the last fifteenish years -- and by no means are they all friendly to my position, mind you -- my impression has been that the set of people who are (a) making a lot of money, and (b) spending little time, is so small that they are practically disjoint subsets. Meanwhile, the set of people who are (a) making little or no money, and (b) spending a large amount of time is a fairly large conjunction.

There are very positive and upbeat distributors who write to me, to be sure, but quite a lot of them vanish without a trace at the question "How much are you, personally, making as a function of your time?" The ones who do claim to be making money almost always come across like Chris here, lamely repeating something like "I am so too making more than minimum wage!" and backing up this claim by saying that he knew some people who once made $100 in four hours. (Conveniently cherry picking a small window so as not to acknowledge the numerous hours when those same people were working for next to nothing. It's like hedge fund managers reporting their performance by annualizing the returns of their best week.)

You seem interested in proving me wrong, showing that seriously working the business is a sure path to wealth, but how can we even have common ground to discuss this if you're saying up front that no objective analysis of time vs money exists, or is even possible? Why would anyone consider joining a business in which even basic personal accounting can't be done?

Having said that, MonaVie, an MLM company which expanded primarily through recruiting existing "stars" from other companies, publishes more comprehensive statistics including average hours. MonaVie has the "advantage" of being a much more homogeneous company, with only a handful of products and thus approaches, and the stats have their own weaknesses, but as you can see even at significant income levels the average hours worked is quite low. There's no reason to believe Amway (or other MLMs) are substantially different.

Thanks for this link. Actually, the patterns that look interesting to me are different than what you're suggesting. The average number of hours worked increases as average income size increases. For people at the highest levels, this is clearly a full time job. A cushy full time job, I grant you that, but when you are talking about fractions of fractions of 1%, that's not all that interesting. I don't see any sign of your claim that people who STOP working continue to maintain income at a high percent of their former levels, and if they do, they must be balanced out by people who are working a lot more hours.

Meanwhile, it's clear that a solid 85% of people are making, at best, $35 or less for a typical 6 hours of work, which is substantially below minimum wage, just as I've been saying. Sure, they're not working full time (hence the common characterization by more senior distributors that they are lazy or stupid), but even given the work they are doing, they'd be better off working a single 6 hour shift at McDonald's, wouldn't they? Shouldn't the starry-eyed dream language include that hard fact for comparison's sake?

Finally, presenting the check size alone as the value of the work seems a little misleading. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears to me that the bonus check is not pure profit, but income. As with any business, profit is the difference between income and expense, and this table doesn't appear to reflect expenses at all. I sure don't know how much the profit margin is for the typical distributor, but I'm pretty sure the expenses are greater than zero.

Someone in the third bracket (Star 500, making $76 a week for 6 hours of work) appears to be making more than minimum wage. Not a lot more; $12 per hour is minimally skilled office worker territory, but it's something. However, if they spent just over $30 a week doing routine business tasks like driving to meet people or some similar thing, then their returns are back at minimum wage again, bringing you up to the 92nd percentile before business is better than a fry cook shift. And that's not even getting into the question of whether or not they are spending money purchasing stuff that they wouldn't have bought otherwise (more later).

Speaking of profits, when we say that the average distributor "makes" $115 a month (give or take), is that income or profit? I honestly am not sure.

For arguments sake I'd like you to just consider a scenario, and leave aside all other issues.

Imagine you have a range of products that are excellent quality and there is a significant market segment that would consider them good value. Then imagine you tapped that segment and introduced them to your products. They could then order them from your website, pay you, and have them delivered to their door without any further intervention from you, with all logistical type issues outsourced.

Why wouldn't that be a legitimate business model, that, given enough people using the products, couldn't develop a significant "passive" income?

Well, I know you said that I should assume your scenario is correct and leave aside other issues, but first I do want to voice one objection. Where you've described the products as "high quality," it seems that the metric you've applied in a previous post is that the products are popular. I'd argue that this is an invalid way to identify a good product when it comes to an MLM, because popularity is a self-fulfilling prophecy in this case.

What Amway and other MLMs accomplish for most people (i.e., the trivially "active" distributor who tries to sell to his brother occasionally), as we've seen, is not tremendous wealth, but fostering a buying mentality. Consumers will describe them as quality products, certainly, but I suspect that the real reason they are focused on buying things like Nutrilite (a product which is more or less off the radar outside the MLM community) is because they believe they need to buy products valued by Amway in order to boost their business. That's a damn fine argument if you're a manufacturer looking to sell stuff through Amway -- you have plenty of ready made customers who will buy your stuff and call it the most awesome thing ever, regardless of actual quality. For the rest of you, the old zero-sum problem shows up again.

So, that aside, let me answer your question. The reason it's not a realistic business model (IMHO) is that it purports to create money from nothing. I mean, look, we're at least ten years past the point where selling stuff on the internet is impressive. Can we agree on that? People can make their own Amazon store or even set up their own website on a shoestring budget, with a modest fee to a company that handles credit transactions. Delivering the items may take up a bigger chunk of your budget, but that's something offered through a wide variety of channels these days.

Amway (starting in the Quixtar era) provides the same package, online sales and delivery, and then claims that you the distributor will also get a passive profit via that process. Or in some cases, four or five distributors are all claiming a share of the profits. And all I want to know is: why?

Ultimately, what value do you, Mr. Distributor, provide to this product that I couldn't get by ordering my stuff on Amazon? If it's because there is stuff being sold through Amway that you can get nowhere else (i.e., Nutrilite)... why is that? Say I'm Nutrilite, and I've actually got a high quality product to sell. Why shouldn't I just cut out the distributors from the chain and keep more of the profits? The only reason I can see is that Nutrilite will sell more of their product through Amway because of brand loyalty and the proposition that each buyer will get wealthy. Great deal for a Nutrilite manufacturer! Selling more is good! Unimpressive for the bottom line of distributors, where adding more customers also adds more people claiming the bonus pool at the same time.

Finally, I want to address this question from an earlier comment which caught my eye:

From your various links and other posts you're clearly a secular "rationalist" much like myself. Tell me - if a study came out on say, homeopathy, and it was full of incorrect data, false comparisons, and false assumptions, how accurate would you consider it's conclusions?

Here's the thing. A hallmark of pseudoscience is not so much that it uses fake data, but that it is by nature unmeasurable. Following the scientific method requires you to come up with stuff that you can quantify. You say you can mix medicine with water and get super-medicine? And the more water you use, the stronger the super-medicine? Fine. Make me a hypothesis about what super-medicine does, create some viable experiments, and accurately report your findings regardless of whether or not they confirm your hypothesis. That's the way science is done when it's not faked.

Anyone who follows The Amazing Randi knows what pseudoscientists do when placed in the same situation. Either they propose an incredibly vague test that can easily accomodate confirmation bias, or they come up with some ad hoc explanation when the data doesn't support them. Oh, your negative attitude blocked my psychic powers, they'll say. The medicine would work better if a believer took it. Ah, there must be a hidden water pipe that is messing up my true Divination abilities. Like that.

The way I look at it, Amway is in this category. Critics of Amway make do with responding to what little data is available, but the data in support of Amway tends to be weak, unreliable, or behind a pay wall; or perhaps you're hesitant to share it "as they too have their problems of interpretation." Your page which "proves" that you can continue making most of your money after you stop working the business is a case in point. Like you said, you can't possibly gather enough information to objectively make that case, so you extrapolate from what an upline said as well as your personal feelings based on anecdotes of some people you know.

Similar to belief in God or supernatural powers or amazing medical panaceas, the claim that you can easily make millions without creating your own products or adding any genuine value to them is an extraordinary claim that should be backed by extraordinary evidence. Your main objection in most cases seems to be that I should find better evidence to refute.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

I get Amway mail, part 2

As promised, this is a followup to the previous email.

Listen I am not upset so when you read this don't take it in a way to make you upset. Remember you don't know me nor I you and if you knew me I love debating and we are two people with totally different views. You are hard core against Amway and I'm hard core for it. I am not looking for your approval or looking to win you over so it's cool. I'm just testing my knowledge and your ignorance :)

So lets get educated.

Bring it!

[In response to my point that the vast majority of people signing up dump money into it that they never see again.]

The reason behind this is because there are over 3 million IBO's or more by now. With this each has developed their own way to become successful using this business program. Some have developed their own teams and their own training material. With that said, this is why sometime you will find negative people out their because they base this whole business on what other people do and not on Amway itself. Amway never promises you anything the Team does, All Amway promises you is that if you order something they will send it to you, and if you earn a bonus then they will pay you. If you look at anything else out there you will find dumb people in all types of businesses that make a bad name for that business.

Amway must attract an unusually high number of dumb people, then, because the actual measurable success rate is abysmal compared to making a legitimate living.

Take, for example, these numbers that were put out by Britt Worldwide in 1997. (Note: I wish I could get you some more current stats, but Amway is generally pretty stingy with the figures. If you have something more recent to share, let's see it and we'll work with those.)

  • Approximately 41% of distributors were considered "Active" -- which means, they are not just the non-participants joining to get "discounts" on stuff; they are selling. So basically, guys like you.
  • Among the active distributors -- not all distributors, mind you -- only 2% of them reached the direct level which, as far as I can tell, is where you need to be in order to make any profit at all, even a trivial one.
  • Platinum, Emerald, and Diamond distributors combined make up less than 0.2% (one in 500) of active distributors, with Platinums accounting for most of those.
  • So, if you are in the top 0.2 percentile, you finally have a shot at making... significantly less money than I make now, with my worthless graduate degree and my soul-crushing J.O.B. Woohoo!

Amway folks like to tout the figure that 90% of small businesses fail. If that were true -- which it isn't -- then it would still mean that you are about 50 times more likely to run a successful business than you are to earn a decent living through Amway.

Also, the over priced items, have you ever heard you get what you pay for?

Ah, so you admit that they're overpriced. ;)

Well the items you buy from Amway are in the top Ten of most products[*] out their such as Artistry which is in the top 5 makeup brands who sponsored Miss America, or Nutrilite which is the Largest Multi-vitamin company in the world and now is only sold online they have been around longer then Amway as well 75 years plus.

* Note: Rankings obtained from Amway Consumer Reports™, the official product rating magazine of Amway™. Ask for your subscription today!

They have sponsored major Athletics such as Marta Vieira, and Teams such as AC Milan, and many more. They just got a new ARTISTRY Creme LuXury with Sandra Bullock's name all over it.

Wow! I don't use Artistry Creme LuXury™, but if I did, I would know it was a quality product because some celebrity got paid for granting permission to use her name! How could I have been so blind?

[In response to my statement that the financial performance of investing in an Amway business is much worse than college]

College is just as bad if you don't use the knowledge you have learnt and just sat on you rear end with it.

Ah, I see what you did there. You want your Amway participation to compare favorably to education, so you decided that if you compare the laziest people who also got a degree to the most successful people in Amway, then the second group comes out on top. It makes sense that you want to skew the data that way, because otherwise you're stuck recognizing that a college education directly correlates to a substantial measurable increase in income, while the success rate of an Amway distributor is around 0.2%.

The main problem is that there are people who don't believe that there is something better out their then a dumb job.

And then there are the ones who have not-dumb jobs, and also know how badly Amway distributors do.

Amway isn't for everyone and their are few[*] that truly make it BIG and that's because they are not willing to do more then the other guy.

* Extremely few.

Anyone can do this business to some level of success, but it takes a person to become a Leader to really make the income most desire and because of that people quit, or they lack faith in themselves to actually try to do anything Better then what they are doing now.

So you're saying that the vast majority of people who join Amway are not making it because they are huge failures. Unlike you, who's been seriously working it for eight whole months, and your income must be, what? Surely equivalent to minimum wage at least, am I right?.

I on the other hand would rather try to work for something that "could" be true then work for the rest of my life for a pay check that doesn't come close to what I am or anyone is really worth.

Are you worth the $100 a month that a typical distributor makes?

If you think Amway is a scam check out the Government and the Social Security. Look up the structure of Corporate America, Presidents make all the money and it takes forever to get an advancement to a better paying status. You'll have to work equally hard at that as you would this. I'd say that's more then a Pyramid then Amway.

You'd say that, of course, while conveniently glossing over the fact that even the lowest paid person in the company is guaranteed to make at least minimum wage. No employee is dumb enough to actually pay for the privilege of showing up for work every day. And stupid me, I waste my time in this foolish pyramid scam where I make more than an emerald (or at least a 1997 emerald), which means that a whole 0.01% or so of active distributors are totally schooling me.

Amway say you earn what you do and get paid for the volume you create for them.

And you fall for it!

Social Security is not going to be around for my generation and people think that they will work 40 years or more of their life and retire nicely. They are the ones in a pipe dream. Look up and see the numbers in that equation it will shock you on the % of people that actually make it on their Social Security Income.
http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/quickfacts/stat_snapshot/ Look at the Average monthly pay out which is $1100 and lets double it to $2200 a month at age 65 that is still hard to live on if you tack on inflation and anything else you might have, such as medical bills and any debt you haven't paid off yet.

I'm not going to sugar coat things. You've made a lot of mistakes already in describing social security, but if you wind up living on nothing but social security because you do not save and invest any of your own money, you're not going to live comfortably. On the other hand, if you are one of the 98% of distributors who spends more money on Amway than you make on the business, then your position will certainly be that much worse.

[In response to my pointing on that I'm not someone who "failed at the business"]

First off I'm not bothered, secondly I skimmed through your story, and now look at what you just now wrote, let me highlight it for you. I can totally say this with utmost confidence, you have no clue about this business, your like a professor in college teaching his students how to run a business when he himself never ran a business. How does that make since, so you telling me you never even started and your telling other people why not to do this without even being involved in the business for yourself? Wow, that a mind blower, I mean does that really make since to you?

You know what's funny? When you first wrote to me, you said I wasn't qualified to have an opinion about Amway because I tried it and "failed." Now that you know I didn't do it, you think I don't know anything about it because of that. In essence, it's a perfect little self-perpetuating delusion you've set up. You believe that the only people who are qualified to tell you anything about Amway are the 0.2% of active distributors who are making a decent income at it. Of course, those are the ones with the most incentive to lie to you. It also means that you aren't qualified to tell me anything you know about Amway, since I'm assuming you're not platinum yourself.

Let me ask you this, though. Suppose, hypothetically, that Amway actually is a scam, not a good business opportunity, and folks at the top are actually not representing the opportunity accurately. Under the set of rules that you've constructed about who you are allowed to listen to, how would you ever find out?

[I'm an atheist]

Well I don't push my beliefs on anyone but I will tell you it doesn't matter what you believe either in God or not, personal beliefs are person beliefs and if someone were using this business in the wrong way then they will get what is rightfully due to them. Carma will find them. If not God will judge us all in the end for what we did with his gift while we are here on this earth. If you were wondering what I was referring to as a Gift it is you he created you if you like it or not, and if you Believe it or not.

While I'm always willing to have this conversation, I'm pretty sure that would take us off on a massive tangent that would make a completely different thread. Feel free to call The Atheist Experience any Sunday if you want that chat. Right now I'm passing.

[I'll be glad if people get driven away from Amway based on what I wrote]

Yet again like I said before you have no Idea what your talking about, and if someone would listen to you when you yourself have never even attempted this business, then they are not bright at all. Why I say this is because the people I work with teach a Win-Win scenario that if I help you succeed then in return I will succeed. Just like the great leadership speaker Zig Zigglar says " You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want." "Servant-leadership is more than a concept, it is a fact. Any great leader, by which I also mean an ethical leader of any group, will see herself or himself as a servant of that group and will act accordingly." ~ M. Scott Peck . That's what we offer people with this business Freedom of a Job and give them options to obtain Time & Money.

Mmmkay. Thanks for the advice, now you be sure and let me know when you start making more than minimum wage.

[I'm not lying about Amway being a bad business.]

I really don't care if you choose to do this or not because it's your choice and God has given us all the Free Will to choose what we want to do in life. Like I said before this isn't to "Get You". There are millions of people out in the world who will do this and who I would want to work with to accomplish their Dreams what ever that may be. I look forward everyday to helping those who want my help and are looking to do more with their life then work a dumb job for the rest of their life. If it was a mistake or not only time will tell, but I would encourage you be more positive in life and help other be more positive because we have enough negative in this world.

I am positive! There are lots of things I write about with enthusiasm. I've got an education and an interesting job, I live in an era filled with cool technology, and I have a family that I love. I only say negative things about Amway because Amway sucks so much. :)

[Thanks for correcting the $500 figure.]

Your Welcome. Thanks for the Motivation to press on, people like you are the reason why I do this Crazy Business as some would say, to prove to all the haters that they are all wrong. But that's my opinion, just someone who has actually done this long enough to see a great return and a awesome impact to other people's lives in a positive way.

God Blessing be with you,


Thanks! And may the Flying Spaghetti Monster touch you with His noodly appendage.


I get Amway mail

Some of you may remember I have a web page about Amway. Yeah, it's easy to forget since it's a topic that is now 14 years old for me, and I don't talk about it that much. I converted my mail posts to a guest book a few years back, and while I read the guest book semi-regularly, I don't spend so much time converting mails over and scrubbing the names, nor do I spend much time answering them except for an occasional brief note.

But I got a private email recently, and although I shouldn't really encourage it, I decided to answer it. I've gotten the writer's permission to post the replies on the blog, so away we go!

[Email begins]

Hello Russell,

My name is Chris [last name withheld]. I am a IBO with Amway, I have been signed up for 2 years and I have been actively pursuing this business for about 8 months outside of my current job at Olan Mills in Chattanooga, TN. I am not writing you this to "get you in" or to involve you in anyway or to offend you either. I know that this is probably a waste of time, but it's important. I wanted to write you to tell you that I do disagree with the meaning behind your story and your figures you wrote. I don't know what Team you were apart of and don't really care because I know the truth about this Business Opportunity. I think you just didn't grasp the meaning behind it all and you didn't fully understand why things were done the way they were."

Lets Evaluate it from a Traditional Business stand point and College:

I would ask you to compare the Amway Business to any other business and the start up cost involved to get a traditional business up and running. Those cost would be translated down to what makes this business opportunity work. Example the weekly classes which is exactly what they are CLASSES to train you on how to do this, and those rooms aren't Free so pitching in would be considered your overhead as it would be in a traditional business. You are currently successful in life because of the training and the many hours of School you took to learn how to become a Programmer. Tally what it cost you to do that and I would bet it wouldn't come close to the expense that it takes to get educated and to be linked up and working with the Team involved with Amway for the total amount of 10 years ( this would include the Classes, Functions/Conferences, Monthly Membership, and Educational Tools). If you worked this business for 10 years and attended every Class, showed this program to 5 people a week, Sponsored 3 IBO's a month, was on Membership for continual education for you, and went to every major function for 10 years your Total would be around 39k. Your income would be over 50k a year for sure, but most likely around a strong 6 figures. Now, this also would be with working hours of max 20hrs a week. With the opportunity to walk away from it forever if you wanted to. There isn't anything out there like it with what Amway has to offer and with the support that the Team gives you, trust me I have checked.

This analogy won't fly -- all the comparisons in the world to college don't get around the fact that Amway is at heart still a pyramid scam. There are actual statistics that you can track down directly correlating education level to earning potential. No such thing is offered by Amway, for the simple reason that once you start dumping money down the hole that is Amway's motivational system and overpriced catalog items, the vast majority will never see that money again.

It's financial performance that I'm interested in when analyzing Amway as a business -- not as a business for the owners of Amway, i.e., the DeVos's, etc., but for you, the guy who got in two years ago and is looking to make a buck. And the financial performance on that investment is abysmal, much worse than college.

The Reason why Amway is around today:

You see Amway as it is now, but not what it used to be, if you were to start one exactly like it you would see how difficult it would be to start one up and run such a large and impressive company. If you have done your research which you might have, this business was created by two friends in a basement. It was created to give every American an opportunity for success. Amway stands for the American Way, you probably didn't know that because your to smart to catch the true heart beat of this business and I don't mean that in a bad way. Most people that are really smart lack common since and read into things way to much which in turn makes things more difficult to comprehend.

Yes, I know what Amway stands for. Calling it something like "American Way" is a slick move, because faux patriotism helps to turn off the critical thinking facilities of people who might otherwise be skeptical of a business that isn't so "all-American."

While I will admit a certain morbid admiration for those two guys who, working in their basement thirty years ago, came up with such a sweet scheme to separate guys like you from your money, I don't see how that translates into any value for you getting involved.

Why you Failed as a Distributor:

The problem is that you tried it, and that your a programmer. Why I say the Programming part is b/c as a Programmer your always looking for the problem. The true problem (and this is something I tell everyone I teach on how to do this) is what you see when your looking in the mirror. You are the X factor in the simple equation of the Amway compensation plan, and not only that but in the Game called Life as well. What you do with it is up to you not other people.

Dude. I thought you said you read the story. I'm not a disgruntled Amway worker who gave up after pouring years of sweat into this so-called "business." I didn't get involved. I considered it, did some reading, and realized it would be a tremendous mistake. You, on the other hand, are sitting here after two years of working the business, trying to justify what you do because you were bothered by something that a stranger wrote on the internet.

As a side note about Amway saturating that is only Myth and definitely not true. Let me explain why, Jesus Christ is a great example. He sponsored 12 Disciples and 1 quit and today the world is still not saturated with Christianity. With that equation we are talking about a FREE gift. One with logic would think that would be easier to offer and more excepted then a business with costs involved and risk right? Of course because if you read the good book called the Bible it will tell you in there about the riches stored in heaven to the one who lived by the principles of what is written in the Bible that are much Greater then any treasure on Earth. I am a believer of God Word and I would say that even if I wasn't that I would still except a Gift that is Free no matter if the reward was real or not because then I would have HOPE for a better life in the end.

You're not winning me over with this analogy. I'm an atheist. Of course, religious appeals serve the same purpose as patriotic pitches. They lower your defenses. If somebody comes at you with a pitch and they present themselves as belonging to the same tribe, it makes you more willing to trust them, and not feeling like you need to waste energy trying to detect red flags. It's the oldest trick in the book for confidence men.

Why I truly wrote you:

Well I rambled on long enough, but I do want to say that what you say, the negative you speak about this company will be read by several of thousands of people and unfortunately the world is driven by negative influences and this could turn people away that could truly have what Amway promises if you work hard and stay consistent.

Good! I certainly hope they get driven away. There are lots of useful things those people could be doing to contribute to the world and their own financial well being if they weren't dumping their money into Amway. If those thousands of people wind up ditching Amway for something that works, then the time I spent writing this article all those years ago was well spent.

You might not care and yes you have a freedom of speech which you can express freely, but the thing is that what you speak is False and not 100% True. It may have not worked with you but it doesn't mean that you lie about it to others just because it wasn't right for you.

Now, friend, that's just getting personal. When you accuse me of lying, you are not only saying that I'm wrong, you're saying that I secretly know that Amway is a good business, but I'm trying to turn people away from it even though I know it's not true. That is clearly not the case. You may think I've made a big mistake, but I am being honest when I tell you that I think that the Amway business has very little to recommend it.

Now, if the numbers you wrote were correct then things have truly changed over the years because it doesn't cost $500 to go to a major conference with our team. I just believe do unto others as you would want them to do unto you, so if I offend you please forgive me for doing so but I had to speak truth to you and the truth hurts sometimes.

I'm checking for a source for those figures, and I have at least found this article. It suggests that a big shindig would cost around $100 for a ticket, up to $500 for travel, and money for hotel rooms. While this potentially brings the whole package up above $500, it doesn't cost that much just for the entrance fee. I will check the wording in that article and correct it if I've given a wrong impression. So, thanks for that.

I hope you read this if not at least I tried,

Thanks for reading,



[Email ends]

I've gotten a follow-up email, which I will reply to in a separate post. After that, I expect to keep the replies on blog comments.

Update: Follow-up message is here. Also, I'd like to mention that the wording in part 2 of my story was misleading and incorrect, so I've changed it to read the following:

"A small event costs you $10, a large event costs you maybe $50, and one of the nation-wide conferences can cost $100 a ticket; factor in travel and lodging, and you could be looking at around $500 or more. Obviously travel is a necessity since not all the meetings will be local, and there's also the kind of errands for each prospect that Ted was running for me: driving a half hour to my house, giving free goodies, and so on."