Sunday, April 29, 2012

Introduction

Historian of science and Skeptics Society foun...
Michael Shermer, famous skeptic
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A MLM Skeptic is a blog about skepticism, MLM, scam, and critical thinking.

I am an amateur scam tracker and learned a lot about MLM, as well as pseudo-science and skepticism, when I realized that most people don't approach MLM or income opportunities with enough skepticism to keep themselves safe, and they are lead on by people who are taught to use every unscrupulous tactics in the book ( and a few that are not) to exploit every type of cognitive bias in the brain to get people to commit and hand over their hard earned money.

en:Image:RANDI.jpg (Original text : James Randi)
James Randi, well-known skeptic
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The skeptic blogs, such as Skeptoid, Skeptic's Guide to the Universe, and Skepticality (all excellent), and even famous sites of Michael Shermer or James Randi, are mainly out to debunk pseudo-science and promote critical thinking.

The MLM blogs, such as MLM helpdesk, BehindMLM, MLM Watchdog, and so on, are mainly about MLMs, reviews of MLMs, news about MLMs, and so on. Some of them study MLM business models, but not necessarily any fact checking about claims and such.

I don't know of or can find any blog that covers critical thinking regarding MLM claims or scams.

I've previously written a paper on how I consider scams to be "pseudo-economics". So I thought, why not start a blog that features both together? Why not bust pseudo-economics using the same sort of critical thinking used by skeptics on pseudo-science?

Thus this blog is born.

I hope to incorporate reviews of businesses (both business model and marketing claims), as well as topics on critical thinking, cognitive bias, how scammers use cognitive bias against you, and so on.

So stay tuned.

EDIT: I did not include an email feedback address. That's intentional, as there's a lot of hate from believers of "scamworld".

However, if you insist on sending some love or hate my way, here's an address for you:

amlmskeptic
at
hotmail
dot
com

EDIT2:  Seems quite a few... doubters are asking what are my "credentials" to "attack" the MLM "industry".

First, never was in any MLM. I've been exposed to them, tried a few products, but never joined any.

Second, I am not aware I need any credentials to analyze something. Does football fans need any credentials to analyze football games? Surely not!

If you don't agree with what I wrote, feel free to comment, but you better back up your opinion with some facts or proper logic. If you just vent your spleen like "I hate what you said you #(*$^)&$#!"  I obviously reserve the right to not publish such comment on my blog.

EDIT3: Yes, I am aware that to be grammatically correct it should be "An MLM Skeptic".  (See grammar rule reference on a vs. an) I'm going to cheat a little, okay?

43 comments:

  1. I am a 75 yr. old consumer advocate. Have followed MLM scams for 30 yrs. I welcome your efforts and will keep in touch.

    My blog is asktheconsumeradvocate.blogspot.com

    Besy wishes
    Frank Thomas
    Modesto, Ca

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How do you do, sir. I have seen your blog before, when I was searching for "TVI Express" scam coverage (which I cover on my other blog). Your appreciation is much appreciated.

      Delete
    2. Kasey,

      I have listed your site as a resource at realscam.com

      VERY impressed with your articles and your efforts!

      Keep up the great work.

      Darren

      Delete
  2. Do you get paid for this or you just love people you dont know?????

    OR you simply dont have anything better to do

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, the "get a life" comments. FAQ, actually.

      http://amlmskeptic.blogspot.com/2012/08/why-this-blog-exists.html

      Delete
  3. Story to be broken? You decide.

    Has anyone bothered to research MMB60's founder Matthew Jason Spurlock? Go see for yourself what an upstanding model citizen this guy is. He has his mugshots and multiple arrests posted all over the internet.

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  4. Just one suggestion, I'm enjoying your blog but being new to it would appreciate a basic glossary of terms. While I can eventually make the jargon out, it would make life easier. Thanks, Andy

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  5. Very glad to see this site. I spent over 30 years in MLM made more money in it than anything I've ever done, but no one else on my team did. Also lost more money than I made over the years and didn't pursue other things I should have because I was hooked by MLM. It was becoming a more critical thinker that finally got me out of it. Here is an article I wrote about why it doesn't work.
    http://davidmitchellblood.weebly.com/why-mlm-fails.html

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  6. To Anon... I already read your email sent to Oz over at BehindMLM. Seems you're sending it to quite a few people.

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  7. If you want the facts about Amway and most other MLMs, see www.stoptheamwaytoolscam.wordpress.com

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  8. I once took a class called Philosophy and Critical Thinking..one of the best courses I have ever taken in college, I also had a great professor as well. It is refreshing to come across a blog like this, it makes me realize what I already know, there are other people out there who are able to think critically. Keep on doing what you're doing and don't worry about what the fools say, I've come to realize that you don't have to have someone's approval for you to know that you're speaking truth. Most people do not realize the difference between the truth that is the truth and the truth that we choose to be the truth...Keep it up, I'll browse the site when I can

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Science, like truth, is true whether you and I or any one else believe it or not. That's the difference between truth, and faith.

      Delete
  9. I really like your blog on the different MLM scams that is out there. I am actually being introduced by an officemate with a company called USANA and by understanding their commpensation plan which is a binary compensation plan, a quick google on it shows its an MLM method of earning the quick buck! I am not that really good in investigative journalism seeing how good you are at this, so do you have anything on USANA or probably write about them. I really believe they are a scam based on my own research and analysis of the company and more so, the compensation plan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not a journalist or anything. I'm just a blogger who knows how to use search and have a critical mind, both of which can be easily acquired.

      USANA is a nutritional supplement company. If you go search for "Citron Research USANA" you should find something interesting.

      Delete
  10. Heard of argent global network?

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  11. I'm confused. You claim that you are a critical thinker. Yet, the mission statement for The Foundation for Critical Thinking website link you provide states, "...entails rigorous self-reflection and open mindedness — the keys to significant changes."

    So far, I haven't read anything here with regard to MLM which provides for open minded debate nor self-reflection on this industry. You do mention you don't have experience with MLM other than being "approached", so I guess this is your self-reflection portion.

    All industries, businesses, higher education, religion, etc. experience perceived "good" and "bad" elements, which provide for good debate. I suggest you share both.

    Any successful venture, MLM or otherwise, requires critical thinking AND work which may, or may not, lead to financial success. Most humans don't want to admit failure, so they will blame other factors for their loss rather than self reflect to determine what they have learned in the process. It's simply easier.

    Some of your information is interesting. Most of it appears to be seeking to discredit a particular type of industry, in this case MLM or network marketing.

    Again, bring both sides of the debate into your blog and I predict you'll enjoy the experience.

    Best of success moving forward!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You seem to confuse critical thinking with open-minded ness.

      Critical thinking is thinking about your thinking, and learn about your own biases and irrationalities, and how you came to make such a decision and if it's really the best decision. As such, I intend to use them on marketing claims or fraudulent claims by the companies.

      Open-mindedness is "willing to change my mind if presented with sufficient evidence", i.e. willing to admit I'm wrong... if there's evidence to demonstrate such.

      The two are completely separate.

      Furthermore, you seem to be engaged in bad argument: demand for parity

      http://amlmskeptic.blogspot.com/2013/04/bad-argument-demand-for-parity.html

      Delete
  12. You might want to check out the new whistle blow novel, "Downline." It fillets the MLM industry in a way that only a narrative can; exposing the pathos of the industry while addressing the legal issues before a hearing of the Permanent Senate Subcommittee on Investigations. The arguments against the industry legality are summed up in testimony that looks at Amway 79 V. FTC. amway79challenged.com. Thank you for your good work with this site

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi,
    Do you know about Jeunesse Global? Another MLM/Pyramid scheme business. Someone have info about it?
    link: jeunesseglobal.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeunesse is most famous for hiring "Dr. Darryl See" after his disgraceful exit from Mannatech, IMHO.

      Delete
  14. Have you ever looked into 5linx?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, but based on them offering completely unrelated stuff, they are most similar to FHTM (which was closed by FTC)

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    2. Ok, what do you mean by unrelated stuff? How do they get away so long, it looks like all recruiting?

      Delete
    3. What does energy have anything to do with nutritional supplements? Nothing. :)

      Basically, they offer anything they can get a commission on, instead of what they think people would actually buy.

      FHTM was like that... from magazines to DISH subscriptions to home alarm systems.

      If they don't go overboard with recruiting, and not enough people complain, they can go on for many years. FHTM lasted for like 13 years, IIRC.

      Delete
    4. Ok, cool. If you get a chance look at their comp plan. Some member make $150 plus each recruit, and they say average residual is 50 cents. No way to make money without recruiting. I think it a huge scam running under the radar.

      Delete
    5. FHTM had the EXACT SAME problems: it's much more profitable to recruit than to actually sell stuff and get 'residuals'.

      Delete
  15. Hi! What do you think about the new MLM Noa Platform? Is It a scam? (http://www.noaplatform.com/). I'm very interesting about your opinion about this MLM and, why not, an article on this blog.
    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Platform makes no sense. It sounds like an European copy (based in Malta?) of Rippln (closed) with a bit more of a merchant bias.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your reply! I saw that NOA has a draft of surety with the Deutsche Bank (lasts 6 months).
      Moreover, as regards the business Eternyon, after becoming company LiveOn, the pages on the site have been cleared and the affiliates can no longer access their backoffice. Now they are trying to make a refund.

      Delete
    3. I had a review of Eternyon back in June. It's a total joke.

      http://amlmskeptic.blogspot.com/2014/06/quick-research-what-is-eternyon-and.html

      Delete
  16. Pleased to have found your blog and will add your RSS feed to our Internet Crime Fighters Organization

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  17. Why hasn't there been very many complaints against Internet Lifestyle Network, or very many reviews about ILN as a scam?

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  18. I was lured into Zinzino by my ex. He is 'brainwashed' and all into raising money and titles. Who is paying for it? Me.... Now i'm in debts over my head and no-one to help in this. The police can do nothing. I am also trying to 'fight' these scams on facebook and on my blog. Thanks for your site
    Nina

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  19. Can anyone do research on MBI malaysia?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JusticeAlwaysLate on facebook already did many. It's a scam.

      Delete
  20. Just one suggestion, I'm enjoying your blog but being new to it would appreciate a basic glossary of terms. While I can eventually make the jargon out, it would make life easier.
    Visit: Jeunesse Global

    ReplyDelete
  21. Good blog about MLM theory but what are my "credentials" to "attack" the MLM "industry".

    ReplyDelete
  22. Is there a question? If so, please consult the FAQ section.

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  23. Have you researched Kyani? It doesn't look much different to most other MLM's, but I'd be interested in some feedback.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Looks dangerous:

      http://behindmlm.com/companies/kyani-reported-to-swedish-police-for-chain-letter-game/

      Delete
  24. Do you know something about Melaleuca and Oriflame?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Both sell stuff of dubious value and operates pretty much as clones of Amway. I think BehindMLM had a review of Melaleuca.

      Delete
  25. Hi.

    I thought you might be interested to know http://saltydroid.info is back up and running. SD claims it will be much harder for false DMCA requests to take it down this time.

    --
    Furry cows moo and decompress.

    ReplyDelete