Sunday, April 21, 2013

How NOT to Defend Your Scheme, with an Example

This entire blog can be considered a "what NOT to do" by MLMers, which of course, is infuriating to some amateur MLMer who learned to do things the wrong way.

Recently, there was this poster by the handle of "worldventurehappy" who repeatedly posted unsupported opinions both on this blog and on BehindMLM on the topic of World Ventures. Whether World Ventures is a scam or not is not the question here (but you can read Oz's review at your leisure). The problem is what a lousy job "WorldVentureHappy" did to defend his favorite scheme.

Let's start from the beginning... several comments here on my blog. Here's the first:

Well, that's definitely hostile intent, right? That's hardly pleading for "fairness". It's basically "F*** U!"

My conclusion was that MLM and Travel doesn't go together. If you don't agree, give me some evidence on why you think I'm wrong. Telling me to "get a life" only proves that your feelings are hurt, nothing else. And if your feelings are hurt so easily, you should not be in sales.

But what prompted it? It seems to be some "cheerleading" remarks he posted over at BehindMLM (linked above) regarding World Ventures. However, Oz had apparently nuked the comments as spam. (which only upsets him as he considers that "censorship")

Nine days later I get this comment from the same guy:

Note the URL where this comment was posted: "Why is MLM not a pyramid scheme"

It wasn't even the same topic he posted prior, and then he accused me of saying "Every MLM is a pyramid scheme", when the topic of the post is the DIFFERENCES between MLM and pyramid scheme.

Is this guy f***ing BLIND?!?!?!  It's certainly not looking good for his intelligence.

EDIT: The It appears WorldVentureHappy deleted the comment, and continue to insist I'm equating MLM to pyramid scheme. Clearly, some people have problem dealing with reality... and prefer their fantasy where they insist on believing they read something that doesn't exist.

But wait, there's more!

The guy went ahead and made his own blog when he claimed to "defend [his] travel company". Does it?

It's interesting that

1) This author, i.e. WorldVentureHappy picked the Blogger Scheme that is IDENTICAL to my own when there are DOZENS that he could have picked.

2) There is only one post, EVER, on this blog, started in March, and no update EVER.

However, the intent of the author is quite clear in the first paragraph:
I feel strongly that these reviews are affecting a lot more people who want to change their lives, and unfortunately will realize later that they have no information whatsoever about the bloggers who seemingly want to save them from scam? WV is not a Scam!
There are two things to note here:
  • Opinion: WV is not a scam
  • Intent: I'm going to "expose" people who tell you WV is a scam
Instead of explaining why WV is not a scam (and the other guy's wrong), he outright stated that he is going to "expose" information about people who said bad things about WV, implying some sort of "conspiracy against him and the company. 

That is a MAJOR mistake, as it's completely irrelevant. It'd be like a criminal defense lawyer "defending" his client by claiming the prosecutor and the arresting cop are racists and criminals and a part of some nebulous global conspiracy to frame his client, instead of presenting some exculpatory evidence to prove his client's innocence. A lawyer doing that would be tossed out of court for contempt. Yet that's exactly what WorldVentureHappy did here: claiming some sort of nebulous "conspiracy" to debase/lie about his favorite opportunity, but provided absolutely NO proof (maybe in his mind they are proof...) to prove his view. 

The author subsequently went on to use more of the bad arguments presented here on this blog:
I have posted my comments on behind MLM, but they were not published and someone commented 2 weeks after me, and because they were negative about world ventures these were published(I think this is weird). I have commented too on the blogger who said he’s giving an honest review of WV, but again because they were positive they were not published. At the end of the day why the hustle about WV, clearly there is a bigger motive than trying to save people you don’t know!. In fact they are doing the opposite they are taking away the ability of people to think without their judgement clouded with lies and disgusting information.
This is "plea for fairness" along with "conspiracy of censorship/persecution". He asserts that other people are giving "lies and disgusting information", but have not provided any proof that they are such.  

Then the author went on to claim "legitimacy by association" by claiming that the company was a finalist in Ernst and Young's Young Entrepreneur Award in 2010 (did NOT win, merely a finalist among two dozen or so companies in the particular region)  That *must* mean it was legitimate, according to WorldVentureHappy. 

Unfortunately, this does NOT prove legitimacy whatsoever. Here's a simple counter-example: Equinox. It appeared on the FRONT COVER of Inc. Magazine in 1996, as No.1 in the Inc 500 companies. Must be legitimate right? Wrong. Four years later it's closed by FTC as a pyramid scheme. 

No, I don't know if WV is a scam. However, using the E&Y nomination as "proof" that it's not a scam is wrong. It proves no such thing.

The author, WorldVentureHappy, offered no other "proof" to prove his own viewpoint: WV is not a scam. He offered a lot of other information, like "network marketing is popular", "network marketing is often understood", and so on, but nothing really specific about World Ventures.

Yet WorldVentureHappy has this to say about the critics:
Oz and others who we don’t even know their real names? Where they stay? And what they do? In fact what we know about people like Oz they spend much of their time replying and lying to people on MLM on the internet?
What does where the critics are and what they do have something to do with their analysis? As long as the analysis is sound, the other information does NOT matter! And what exactly was the "replying and lying to people on MLM" that he accused Oz of? 

WorldVentureHappy has made some simple mistakes in logic and trust.

When you encounter information that you doubt, you choose to trust it or not. How you make that decision depends on what supporting evidence you see and your priorities are. However, most normal people would check the supporting evidence, and if the evidence and conclusion look right, trust the information. It is only when the analysis / evidence are absent or cannot be understood, would the person then look into the trustworthiness of the presenter.

However, WorldVentureHappy here, because he does not agree with the information he got (from BehindMLM, about the shadiness of WV), he chose to IGNORE all the analysis and evidence presented by Oz, and instead, decided to emphasize evidence he claimed to support his view (WV is not a scam because _____)  then claimed Oz cannot be trusted, without giving any relevant reason why Oz's analysis was wrong.

WorldVentureHappy went straight to the trustworthiness of the presenter, instead of checking the information/ evidence presented first.

This is called confirmation bias: anything that agrees with what we believe is emphasized, and anything that disagrees with what we believe is ignored / ridiculed / bashed. We are all guilty of this at one time or another. However, most of us are aware of this cognitive bias and can work around it. It seems that WorldVentureHappy did not.

WorldVentureHappy concludes with "Be open minded and see the bigger picture"

The problem here is being "open minded" means "willingness to change your mind if the evidence demonstrates otherwise". WVH had not presented any evidence to cause anyone to do so. In fact, he deliberately IGNORED evidence that pointed to conclusion opposite to his view. If anything, WVH had just presented evidence that he is the exact opposite of open-minded, because he REFUSED to even consider the possibility, that Oz just may be right in his analysis of WV, even partially. But instead, he had to dig up some bull**** and irrelevant reasons to cast doubt on Oz's analysis.

It is as if WVH defines "open-mindedness" as "willingness to believe in anything, without evidence".

That's faith, not open-mindedness.

P.S. the comments are quite humorous as well. Out of 8 comments, 5 were anonymous, but all written in the same style. One of them mentioned a website started by a hater of BehindMLM, claiming that BM was posting "fake reviews", but the website itself was a fake review (of BM).


Don't make WorldVentureHappy's mistakes in trying to "prove" WV is not a scam. If anything, he only hurt his case by making his side look vindictive and petty just because they feel they got insulted, and appear to be willing to believe in things with no evidence at all, and dislbelieve something because it doesn't fit what they believe.

When you find the information or an opinion you do not agree with, you should examine the evidence presented and  combat evidence with contradicting evidence. Then examine the other opinion and make sure the evidence actually support the opinion and if there are alternative explanations that the evidence can also support.

When you can't confront the problem, don't. Attacking the presenter only proves you don't have much of contrary evidence. If you attack the critics themselves (claiming some sort of "conspiracy"), you risk being ridiculed as you have no proof whatsoever and had to resort to ad hominem attacks.

This is like high school debate 101. It's surprising how few people have any idea how to debate.

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  1. So sad that you took your time to say nonsense

    my reply


    1. Your reply is quite lame. Your entire "reply" is by taking my responses out of context and reinterpret them to suit your own thinking.

      Your illogic is quite amusing. Your claim that E&Y must have audited WorldVentures to have accepted their nomination for Entrepreneur competition is NOT proven, and thus your entire premise that WorldVenture must be a legit enterprise is UNSUPPORTED. I even cited an example where a famous company that was profiled in a national magazine was busted few years later as pyramid scheme, thus proving that being nominated / cited / named for something pretigious does NOT prove the company's legit.

      And your response is basically saying "that was FTC, not E&Y" as if FTC doesn't count.

      There are plenty other examples in your so-called counter-points. I could spend hours deconstructing your lack of logic, but there's really no point. Your lame reply pretty much proved my point that you can't debate and must resort to strawman tactics and other fallacies.

      No doubt you'll portray this as some sort of a "win" for you. Frankly, I got better things to do, and I don't feel like getting my mind into a gutter in order to "debate" your lame rebuttal.

      You're just like that guy who created "behindmlmfake" website. You don't learn from your mistakes, because you won't admit you made any.

      Go ahead and be "happy" in your la-la land. You're just like Cypher in the Matrix. Enjoy your "steak".

  2. I’m glad that you read the lame reply!!!

    And I would say the same things for you......"Your reply is quite lame. Your entire "reply" is by taking my responses out of context and reinterprets them to suit your own thinking."

    And hey I don’t see this as defeat or a win, I really feel sorry for your arrogance and lack of proper and sound reasoning!!! WAKE UP AND START SMELLING THE COFEE!!!

    I’m happy there are close to about 500 people who have read that blog and many more will be reading it. You and your false critical thinking are a nuisance and rubbish to the general public if it was food I would have vomited. If it was dirt i would have burnt it and flashed it out of the system

    Before you reply and respond to something think carefully, if you call your replies and reviews critical thinking then it’s a big SHAME on you....

    I have also proved all your reviews are good as waste from the dogs and pigs...Hang on I have even insulted the dogs and pigs

    Cheers and Take care!

  3. You have succeeded in wasting my time and cite lame reasons for doing so. Congratulations.

    Why don't you get a life, like you suggested I did earlier.

    You've proven nothing except to yourself in your private la-la land.

  4. I was at a world ventures meeting recently upon an invitation from my close friend in KL, Malaysia.

    I was always told that I should only do a business that I can understand.

    So I started inquiring how the business earns its money. No one could explain
    it simply to me. I get bits and pieces here and there. I get distracted along the way with
    statements like it is audited by ernst and young. Thanks to this website and others, I
    now know this is not true. They were only in as a finalist in one of the contest.

    It does sound too good to be true at first hearing.

    I considered my good friend dearly. I will speak again her again tomorrow to
    ask her to come out of this club.

    I like the report from Norway where one of the agency supervised World Ventures
    for a few months and later ordered it to cease its activities. In giving its judgement,
    it states that 95% of the members were sales representatives or something. In short,
    recruitment was their source of income, it could not have lasted as an on-going concern
    just by selling the vacation packages. Thus, it was deem as a pyramid and illegal in Norway.
    The article is dated February, 2014.

    I also like some of the articles written by business and travel professional bloggers who
    could clearly articulate their stand as to why they didn't want to join world ventures.

    I note that in one of the personal confrontation with one of the world ventures representatives,
    the person started to criticize me for my own personal preference when I didn't want to give
    an outright decision to join.

    This is clearly wrong.

    1. They didn't even win their regional. They were finalist in a REGIONAL contest for E&Y Entrepreneur of the year.

      There is no profit to sustain a "travel MLM". Airlines are barely making 3-4% profit. Hotels are doing a little better. But a typical MLM needs 50-90% margin to sustain the multilevel payouts.

      You will also note the reps are extremely "pushy", as if you're back in high school and you're being "dared" to try something really stupid and being called "coward" for not doing so.

      In july, they even sent a lawyer letter to a blogger telling her take down the negative review (basically reporting the pushy tactics) or face the consequences.

      This is NOT a reputable company to join, EVEN IF IT IS LEGAL, and IT MAY NOT BE LEGAL AT ALL.

    2. Also....Something negative must have happened when Ernst & Young investigated WorldVentures...because it has been reported on several blogs that Ernst & Young does NOT recognize WorldVentures founders as Entrepreneurs of the Year and does NOT give WorldVentures a stamp of approval!! To verify this...simply contact Ernst & Young "Enterpreneur of the Year Awards" department and ask them if they recognize Wayne Nugent & Mike Azcue, the WorldVentures founders, as 2010 Entrepreneurs of the Year. You may be surprised to learn they are NOT recognized! Time to spread the word...

    3. They never were a winner. They were a "regional finalist". Which was what I said in the first place... two years ago.

    4. Kasey...Clarification...apparently Ernst & Young are not even recognizing them as a FINALIST! That's what was is so interesting. We knew they weren't "winners". So, perhaps there was some sort of investigation where they don't even want to acknowledge them even as "finalists". You can confirm by contacting the Entrepreneur of the Year department. See if they tell you the same thing about not being recognized even as "Finalists"...and please post here.

  5. I post a comment (on december 29th)

    I can´t believe you guys that you are keep screeming WV is a scam for several years now (some of your posts dates back 2010)...
    You are constantly repeating that WV is a pyramide scheme cos they have no product – but for me – travel packages at discount prices that they provide to their customers are very good, versatile and intriguing products.
    (Oh I forgot to mention – yes I´m a member of WV)...why?? simply because I love to travel...
    I could give example after example of their travel packages... their service (like rate shrinker,dreamtrips promise etc.) is verified... I got a friend who travel around the world more than 200 days per year.
    He checked the Rovia search engine (for plane tickets) and he found out that Rovia search engine is at least as good or even better(dreamtrips promise) as other search engines he used before....and guess what – after he checked everything he sign up. Just rateshrinker (which automatically search a better price for you) gives him so much added value that all the entry fees are nothing compared to what he saves ($ €) now.
    You have also mentioned that solicitation and enrollment with the membership fee is a pyramid scheme. From where do you expect that all the bonuses will be paid from??
    There is no free lunch in today´s market...

    ... and if you look at their membership fees:
    - initial membership fee (let´s say gold membership) is 200$ which I received right away back into my account- and I could spend that money immediately,
    - monthly fees that you paid (50$) you also receive back (after a year of enrollment) - I look at this as monthly saving for my vacation

    The upside of all of this is that if you enroll 4 members- your monthly fees are waived (look at it as WV thank you gesture)- and what wrong with that?

  6. part 2:

    Even though that you enrolled 4 members and you don´t paying your monthly fees anymore, WV pays you 600$ (each year) which you can spend on your Dreamtrips - how cool is that??
    So please explain me in what kind of pyramid scheme I got involved??
    I did´t lose NO money, the products (travel packages) are great.
    At the link below you will find a list of direct selling companies (WV is on 65th place with the net sales of 195 millions)...not bad for a young company don´t you think??

    In 2013 WV received the award World's Leading Travel Club 2013

    Are these ceremonies and gala dinners just a front facade for PYRAMID SCHEME COMPANIES??

    While we are talking about the rewards;
    In 2010, WorldVentures Founders, Wayne Nugent and Mike Azcue, were nominated for the Ernst And Young, Entrepeneur of the Year Award.
    Now explain me this - why would Ernst&Young give a Entrepeneur of the Year Award to a guy who work in a pyramid scheme company?? Please explain me this like I´m a two year kid (I have a PhD but any way- please do).
    Ernst&Young are one of the most respected Financial Institutions in the WORLD...but maybe you will prove me wrong
    What about BMW car bonus - Would you (as a CEO of BMW) let your brand (for which you work for decades) to be branded with the pyramid scheme company??

  7. part3:
    About a income disclosure;
    - in the WV you don´t have only representatives who join WV - but you also have members (who are just using the products) take that into account when you try to explain WV income disclosure.

    In the WV compensation plan it states that representatives are prohibited to solicit other WV members to become representatives (for example- when they meet on the vacations)...and those representatives who did that were banned from WV immediately.
    Oz :
    Nov 24th, 2012 at 9:57 am (Q)
    As per the World Ventures compensation plan, it’s an unsustainable pyramid scheme.
    Should you join….? You tell us.

    In the pyramid scheme compensation plan your downline can´t earn more money than a sponsor, right?

    WV compensation plan is binary system (right leg, left leg). In order to get your monthly commissions you have to have 30 people in each leg.
    Lets take for example that a sponsor have 100 people in right leg and only 20 people in left leg. (His downline member have perfectly aligned L&R leg 30/30) my logic serves me correctly - downline member is entitled to the monthly commissions, while his/her sponsor isn´t...

    Sound like a perfect safety switch for NOT TO BE A PYRAMID SCHEME

  8. Next day...when I try to respond to his comments - I realize that my posts are being blocked

  9. A few days later, when I realized he wasn't online to approve every comment as soon as I post them (not written by Anonymous)

  10. Quote: "You are constantly repeating that WV is a pyramide scheme cos they have no product – but for me – travel packages at discount prices that they provide to their customers are very good, versatile and intriguing products.
    (Oh I forgot to mention – yes I´m a member of WV)...why?? simply because I love to travel..."

    So did you join for the income, or for the discounts? I.e. are you a customer, or an affiliate?

    Sounds like you don't even know yourself.

  11. Quote:"downline member is entitled to the monthly commissions, while his/her sponsor isn´t...

    Sound like a perfect safety switch for NOT TO BE A PYRAMID SCHEME"

    Nope. You're talking about a POSSIBILITY, not a certainty.

  12. Quote: "why would Ernst&Young give a Entrepeneur of the Year Award to a guy who work in a pyramid scheme company?? Please explain me this like I´m a two year kid (I have a PhD but any way- please do)."

    Did you actually **read** my post? WV never won. They were merely a finalist, out of dozens of companies.

    You're just posting bull****. Stop wasting my time.