For another outlet, I wrote an insightful piece enumerating the warning signs of multi-level marketing “opportunities,” some of which are pyramid schemes. (Of course, they should be called “oopsortunities,” because most people come to realize that they should not have attempted to be a part of the “miracle” of whatever nonsense is being sold.) The only real miracle here is that companies can still devise methods to separate people from their money with such banal marketing techniques.
If a product is such a great deal or does such great things, trust me, it would be marketed for much, much less by the big players in the market. If you are shaking your head “No” to my comments, congratulations, you are one of those gullible people that some MLM companies love to indoctrinate. (Or that certain cults would invite to visit their compound in rural Nebraska, to get to know them, no obligation required.) And, if you are interested, I will be glad to sell you a membership to my new course, “Don’t Be a Dumbass” for $19.95. (Also available via a 12-month payment plan of $13 for 17 months. Or vice versa. Don’t focus on the math, focus on “you get out what you put in,” the most successful stupid way ever stated to place the blame for a bad company or bad product on the salesperson.)
We all have friends who start posting mysteriously worded posts about whatever snake oil they are using to become an instant thousandaire. Usually, it is health or beauty related. You’ve seen the posts: they have more adjectives than a bad poet’s dictionary. They depict calm, interesting scenery, instead of the more accurate hair-on-fire scenes that depict people after they’ve failed at selling this stuff. Most of the time, they spend more time recruiting people than selling. (PS: This is a major warning sign of impending failure.) Also, friends are hard to come by and they will become invisible like Batman if you keep pressuring them to buy or sell things from you. Or angry like the Incredible Hulk if you successfully lure them in.
Incidentally, the easiest way to tell how doubtful a product is begins with googling it. If you can’t find a lot of negative reviews, it might be a nonsense product. If you go to the company’s social media page and all criticism has been scrubbed, it is a warning sign to reconsider whether you should just hide your cash in a cereal box in the pantry. In this sense, the internet troll factor is a bona fide method to determine legitimacy: all products have a set amount of critics on the internet. The absence of criticism is itself a huge red flag, or at least a lightly-tinged yellow one.
So, save us the goofiness about being more healthy, losing weight, living better or having longer toes if we buy your product. If we can’t buy it at Wal-Greens or Wal-Mart, it most likely isn’t a good deal and we apologize if that isn’t obvious to you. As for recruiting me to sell your product, I might change my tune if McDonald’s creates a “Make Your Own Cheeseburger & Fries” just-add-water product.
Obviously, I haven’t mentioned any oopsortunity by name, as I fear that the horde of vengeful naysayers will descend upon me with pitchfork and scythe. There are a few legitimate MLM companies that do good work. Unfortunately for us, it seems like we tend to be subjected to the ones which would be better served with advertising in the late-night TV market of Argentina.
But if the shoe fits, wear it. Or sell me an “amazing” shoe insert that only one company in the world is allowed to sell, due to an “incredible” marketing opportunity. Yes, I am interested in becoming a Tier-16 Pioneer in your business. Sounds legit. Please let me know whether I need to recruit an army of sales zombies for my team or if I can just start printing money on my HP printer.