Saturday, July 28, 2012

The "Go after a big scam" argument

One common "red herring" used by defenders of suspect schemes is "why don't you go after a bigger scam?" It usually takes the following form.
A: Acme XYZ is a scam because of ____, ____, and ____.
B: Why are you bugging Acme XYZ? Go after bigger scams like Social Security, Federal Reserve, etc. etc.!
This is a red herring because it is not trying to defeat the premise nor proving the counter-premise. It's a derail attempt.

Derailing a thread is commonly defined as forcing the discussion to go off topic, usually in a way so the discussion cannot continue.  In this case, the "defender" is trying to derail the topic onto discussion of the entire economic system, such as the reserve bank system (Federal Reserve is the American version. Europe would be the "European Central Bank" and other countries have their own.)  

We have previously discussed why Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme so we will not discuss it again here. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Genre Analysis: MLM and... luxury goods like jewelry?

18 or more karat gold jewelry is an example of...
14K or more karat gold jewelry is an example of a luxury good. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Genre Analysis is my personal opinion on a particular genre of network marketing, like MLM + pennyauction, or MLM + daily deals, and so on. 

In recent years MLM has spread to an interesting category: luxury goods. While MLMs are usually linked with cosmetics, nutritional supplements, and very... fringe products, can luxury goods change the image of MLM? I don't think so. 

First, by luxury goods, I am talking about pieces of jewelry, and not cheap stuff either. We're talking pieces that supposedly have MSRP of several hundred to thousands of dollars. I am not going to mention any names, as this is a GENRE analysis, but if you look for it I'm sure you'll find some. 

So does MLM and luxury goods make sense? I would say... No. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

NEWSFLASH: Zeekrewards parent company contact Hubpages, resulting in my ZeekRewards review hub UNpublished

Image representing HubPages as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase
I have a review of ZeekRewards on my account. I raised some serious questions on whether it is as it claims: not an investment, among other problems.

On July 25th, it was taken offline by due to "legal" reasons. Apparently someone related to ZeekRewards sent them a notice prompting them to take such an action. However, I was NOT served with such a notice, nor an explanation.

Instead, I was urged by Hubpages to provide the other party with a contact method so they can contact me directly.

So I gave them an email address.

I got a reply back from a person using a GMAIL address by the name of Robert Craddock, who only hinted vaguely at they object to info I presented on my hub as to what companies did Rex Venture Group associated or connected with. As for what this info is, he did not specify. Instead, he wants MY phone number, without providing his own.

Nor can I verify Mr. Craddock's bonafides. He doesn't show up in any public search regarding Rex or Zeek. And why would they use a Gmail address?

The "Why don't you ask us" fallacy

One retort from defenders of suspect schemes, when faced with criticism, is often the "why don't you ask us?" Here is an example:
A: Acme XYZ is a scam because of ___, ___, and ____.
B: Acme XYZ is not a scam! Why don't you just ask us? We're perfectly happy! We're not being scammed! 
This is considered a red herring. It claims to prove the "not a scam" viewpoint, but in reality has nothing to do with it.

Does a scam victim feel scammed? The answer is: only AFTER they REALIZE they are in a scam.

If you ask a drug addict what he thinks about his dealer, it'll depend on his needs: is he trying to QUIT, or does he need a fix?

If he needs a fix, the dealer is his best friend. If he wants to quit, the dealer is the devil.

Thus, asking the members in a suspect scheme is NOT a good way determine whether it's a scam or not.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

NPR On Point -- focus on Mary Kay MLM

Mary Kay Merc
Mary Kay Merc (Photo credit: kenjonbro (Celebrating 60 Years 1952-2012))
On Point with Tom Ashbrook has a special hour on MLM, specifically, Mary Kay, where the reporter for Harper's magazine did a special article on Mary Kay which paints a VERY troubling picture. Instead of empowering woman as they claim, the author claims that Mary Kay system basically chews up the woman and spit them back up, as it is basically one huge recruitment scam, that relies on recruiting clueless newbies, get them to buy inventory, to enrich yourself.

Listen to the whole hour. First half is the author, and a former Mary Kay affiliate debating the issues with Mary Kay compliance officer. The second half is a lawyer who sued MLMs for deception vs. DSA spokesperson.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dirty Little Secret of MLM: the NOT-Endorsements

Are you impressed if a certain "prestigious industry journal" has featured the company you are considering of joining as an affiliate, as "company of the month"? Sure you have! Esp. if your upline hands you one such magazine or reprint of such, all printed on glossy 40 pound paper in full color, impressive!

One such example is a pretty famous "Network Marketing Business Journal", published by Dr. Keith Laggos, MLM industry veteran. (See sample cover to the right, provided by their own website)

NMBJ  feature one company per issue, but few if any read the disclaimer (bold added for emphasis):

All information contained in this feature article is provided by the featured company.
The act of publishing a story should not be construed as an endorsement or judgement
of the featured company
by Network Marketing Business Journal. Network Marketing Business Journal assumes no responsibility for performance, integrity or claims made by the featured company.

In other words, we "feature" them, but if they turned out to be crooks, it ain't our fault. They wrote it, we just print it. 

(Preceding disclaimer was copied verbatim from one such "republished excerpt")

Now why would any magazine do that? Here's the dirty little secret... this "featured company" likely agreed to buy large amounts of issues or republished excerpts in exchange for this... feature article and their cover status.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Who are you associating with? Who's your conscience?

Jim-rohn-PASSES-AWAY (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While network marketing is a useful tool, it often leads to congregation of ONLY like minds, thus nobody is around to provide some neutral, even contrarian thoughts to provoke some deeper soul-searching.

In other words, if you only congregate with clones of yourself, who is going to be your conscience?

This thought came up when I read a blog post, that was subsequently highlighted on Lifehacker. And then I recognized that the blogger mentioned Jim Rohn.

Jim Rohn is like one of the pioneers of network marketing and motivational speaking. He sold nutritional supplements BEFORE there was an Amway. In fact, Tony Robbins is one of his STUDENTS. That's how long this guy had been around. And one of his quotes is
"You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."
This is quite true, which is why you need to associate not just with like-minded people, but in fact, people who are BETTER than yourself, in DIFFERENT WAYS. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Review of Reviews: K's "Zeek Rewards for the Totally Skeptical"

Editor's NOTE: Review of reviews is a series of reviews of other people's reviews of alleged business opportunities. 

Editor's NOTE: As request of author, his name has been removed (03-OCT-2015, 25-DEC-2015)

K (once) operates(ed) a website (deleted), and on it he has a variety of articles about MLM, recruiting, and obviously sells his own recruiting system, webinar, and so on. His Zeek Rewards review goes under the microscope today. What is the article trying to say? And did K use logic or logical fallacies to prove his case? Let us find out.

First of all, the website was ranked top results for keyword "Zeek Rewards Review", which is why it was picked. I am NOT going to link to it but you can find it easily using the keywords I have provided. Any way, his words will be in blue, and mine will be in red.

Zeek Rewards Review for the Totally Skeptical
MAY 25, 2012

The title implies it's for those skeptical about Zeek Rewards. But is it? 

Zeek Rewards

Thanks for checking out this post on Zeek Rewards review for those who are totally skeptical about the company’s ability to sustain the massive growth its experiencing now on a world-wide scale.

Hmmm... not quite the question I was expecting, but let's see where he goes with this. There's a presumption of innocence here. 

Bad Argument: "association with authority" fallacy

One of the tactics used by defenders of a suspect scheme is locate some sort of a relation between the suspect scheme and a celebrity, and use that as "evidence" to claim the suspect scheme is not a scam.

Here's an example:
A: Acme XYZ is a scam because of ___, ____, and ____. 
B: Acme XYZ is associated with celebrity (insert name)!  This celebrity would never involve himself / herself with a scam! Therefore Acme XYZ is not a scam! 
Instead of defeating the premise "Acme XYZ is a scam", this argument aims to prove the counter-premise, "Acme XYZ is NOT a scam". However, does the logic hold water? The answer is no.

Rewrite the statement slightly, and you get this:

1) Acme XYZ is associated with Celebrity Q
2) Q would not associate with a scam
3) Acme XYZ is not a scam

It's logical, until you realize there are at least two exceptions associated with 2) Q would not associate with a scam. The two obvious exceptions are:

  • What if Q doesn't know Acme XYZ is a scam?
  • What if Q was HIRED by Acme XYZ? 

Ever thought about that?