Thursday, September 19, 2013

Bad Argument: "Focusing Bias" used as "proof" of viewpoint

Focus Bias (also known as Focusing illusion, Focusing effect, or Spotlight Effect), is a type of cognitive bias where the mind emphasize the portion of the issue they have exposure to (personal experience, personal calculation or consideration, etc.) and ignore / de-emphasize the portion of the issues that they don't see / understand, and thus cannot evaluate. This very often happens in MLM. Supporters of a scheme tend to overemphasize the importance of portions of the MLM system they have been exposed to, while ignoring the portions of the system they know little about.

One way this manifests itself is the supporter thinks because they experience ONE PART of the scheme, and that part seem to work fine, the entire scheme must be fine (and legitimate!)  I termed this "it paid me!" argument.

For TVI Express pyramid scheme, it would be the website, or sometimes, the actual trip that came with the membership, and for a few, the actual payout at one or two levels of the matrix. They don't care about the obvious pyramid scheme aspects of the scheme.

For Zeek Rewards, it would be the penny auctions, the "giving away bids", watching their "cash account" build up, and for some, real money in their bank. They pay no attention to where the money is really coming from, are there enough auctions to generate that much profit, and so on.

For Lyoness, it would be the how shopping build up their "accounting units" therefore they conclude that Lyoness works great, and they pay no attention to the part where you can BUY your units and recruit others to do so and thus benefit from it.

For each of these scams or suspect schemes, the supporters basically had the focusing bias where they focuses almost EXCLUSIVELY on the parts they have been exposed to, and they somehow feel that is the ONLY part that mattered (to them), while ignoring any other parts they had not been exposed to or know about.

That is a very dangerous position to be in, as there's more than a few ways a MLM business can cause you trouble.

A MLM business can fail in many different ways

The product you sell can be woo, or worse, cause harm

There's plenty of woo sold through MLM. How about $500 glass disk? Pitcher that "aligns" water? There are even peddlers of "miracle mineral" that you're supposed to dose with acid and drink even though the result is the sort of chemical you find in industrial bleach.

You may be selling the products without proper permits

Did you know most Herbalife diet clubs are illegal, as they lack the permit to prepare and retail food? Yes, you need a license to sell food, and a nutritional shake is food. Same goes for other similar product lines.

You can be marketing the products wrong by making potentially fraudulent claims

Simple question... Do you, as a MLMer, know the FTC Guidelines on Online Marketing Disclosure? You don't? Oh, boy. You're probably already in trouble. Better go read what MLM Attorney Kevin Thompson wrote about it.  How do you know you're compliant if you don't even know what the rules are? Hmmm?

You can be a part of illegal Ponzi or pyramid scheme (and you just won't admit it to yourself)

I, along with OzSoapbox, M_Norway, and many others have warned people for MONTHS that Zeek Rewards is probably a ponzi scheme, LONG before SEC shut down them in August 2012. Yet it's amazing how many people have posted what they perceive to be "defense" of Zeek using completely non-sensical arguments. [ 1 ]  [ 2 ]  [ 3 ]  [ 4 ]

I did the same for TVI Express even longer, starting in 2009/2010. And it's amazing how many people are in denial over it. Some of them went as far as redefining "city boundary" in order to defend the bogus location of TVI Express. Eventually that person gave up and shut down his website... but how many downlines did he ruin, along with his own reputation?


Don't *assume* you're right. You can be a victim of focusing bias.

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