Tuesday, December 17, 2013

MLM Absurdities: Once a Woo Peddler, Always a Woo Peddler?

English: Penta Water's logo as found on their ...
Penta Water: proven woo on multiple contients (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was just reading a review of "Nature's Sunshine" nutritional supplement MLM on Oz's BehindMLM when I spotted a name I never thought I'd see again: Penta Water.

For those of you who don't know, Penta Water is woo... it claims to be ultrapure water that somehow is "better" for you, with some buzzwords like "improved cell survivability" and other random junk jargon, coupled with WTF? claims like "using these in medical tests improves test accuracy"... But they'll gladly sell you bottles of it for you to drink (at a premium, of course, at prices higher than even Evian water). It was so bull****, the British ad supervisory agency shut them down for making false claims.  It's so notorious, it has its own Wikipedia page.

en:Image:RANDI.jpg (Original text : James Randi)
James Randi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
And in the US, it attracted the attention of no less than James Randi, probably the best known skeptic in the world, and the entire skeptic community in debunking their bull****. James Randi has long offered a prize of $1 million dollars of any evidence of paranormal supernatural, or occult occurances, abilities, or products... under proper observing conditions (i.e. reproducible). To date it had NOT been claimed even once. Penta Water was at one time announced that they will try for the prize, then wiffle-waffled, then tried t
o stipulate that they want to use their machine, which JREF said fine, as long as you can detect 37 out of 50 random users that drank your Penta Water. Then after a while, Penta Water stopped responding altogether, claiming it can't find a representative to oversee the test.

And the head of Penta Water was Gregory L. Probert.

Apparently, Mr. Probert had been pushing woo for a while, as he's now head of "Nature's Sunshine", after Penta Water went... down the drain (so to speak).

Before his slide into woo world, Mr. Probert had a pretty distinguished career, as head of Disney's Buena Vista home entertainment (now "Disney Studios") division (selling videos and such).

Then Herbalife happened.

Before joining Penta Water, Mr. Probert was COO of no less than the biggie in MLM... Herbalife. First appointed in 2003, he did an unremarkable job until he was ousted in 2008 after someone discovered that he inflated his resume by claiming he has an MBA from CSU Los Angeles when he never completed the course.

Probert went over to Penta Water, after being ousted in 2008, but that barely lasted 2 years before that company went down the drain. Apparently he spent 3 years doing consulting work for Nature's Sunshine and his former buddies Michael Dean and Wynne Roberts whom he knew from DMX Music and Disney way back when, and was called to take over when Dean and Roberts decided to step down.

It's a long way down from Disney, isn't it?

Nature's Sunshine can't keep its own nose clean either. as they were fined $600000 by SEC for bribing Brazilian officials to break into the Brazilian market (back in 2001) in 2009. Three years before that (2006), their auditor, KPMG, resigned because Nature's Sunshine ignored all their advice on improving their financial control (i.e. track where the money went). There were suggestions (not proven) that the CEO and CFO knew about the bribes, but the evidence was contradictory.

Two months ago (October 2013), Nature's Sunshine hired Gregory Probert as their new head, though he had been employed as interim CEO for several months before that.

When two leopards mate, will its offsprings have spots?

Rather likely, if you ask me.
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  1. What do you think of this?


    I think it's BS

    1. This is a typical MLMers reply to charges of pyramid scheme. How can they say MLM is not pyramid scheme when they don't even DEFINE what a pyramid scheme is?

      Too bad for them, as I did a better job.


  2. Dude, you should join the ICCA. They could use a guy like you.