Saturday, October 26, 2013

Evil MLM: Get Payday Loan to Join MLM? WTF?!

Editor's note: This is a start of a new, and hopefully continuing series of what NOT to do in MLM, under the tag "Evil MLM". Basically, this is the sort of bad behavior that gave MLM a bad rap (much of it deserved).

I've heard of people spending their severance pay to join MLM. In fact, this is done quite often in Israel, where when you are discharged from the required service in the Israeli armed forces, you're given a severance pay to help you get back into civilian life, and some sleazy MLMers have gone as far as park their fancy car, glitzy bling, and pretty girls next to discharge stations to snatch up recruits as they walk out. Too bad their leader is a f***ing cult leader who pushes Herbalife. 

But here's something more disturbing, closer to home... a "leader" in Vemma telling people on Facebook, that they should not worry about not having any money to join Vemma as a poor college kid. Instead, they should go take out a payday loan (with their usurious interest rates) and use that cash to join Vemma, and immediately do a full court press, to get the money back so the check doesn't bounce.

Don't believe me? Here's proof on Facebook:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Coalition Petitions FTC to Fully Investigate Herbalife, includes dozens of experts on various subjects

This just came up on my news alert: Coalition Petitions FTC to fully investigate Herbalife.

Among the names you'll find some familiar names if you are attuned to the MLM "controversy"
  • Robert Fitzpatrick of, long-time opponent of MLM model, believes all MLMs are effectively pyramid schemes. I agree with him 90%. 
  • Dr. Jon M. Taylor, who cooperated with Fitzpatrick on many of the papers, but also has his own anti-MLM website
  • David Brear, another long-time vocal opponent of MLM, who also believes that all MLMs are pyramid schemes, albeit disguised. He and I have butted heads despite we agree 90% of the time. His blog is at (I may have misspelled that)
  • Shyam Sundar, David Brear's counterpart in India, runs and covers mainly Indian scams, but also reposts Brear's blogposts
  • Doug Brooks, who had started multiple class-action lawsuits against multiple MLM companies
Some notable anti-scam bloggers are there:
  • Jason Jones, aka Salty Droid, whose stance on scams and pyramid schemes are well known and he considers MLMs in the same arena. He can be found at
  • Omri Shabat, of glancingweb. Omri had been writing superbly sarcastic and caustic blog posts about various Internet marketers and small time scammers, the type that was covered in The Verge's "Scamworld" series, for years

Update on WCM777: the more we dig, the more weird stuff we find

A few fellow Internet sleuths decided to look a bit more into what's left of World Capital Market in the US, and the more we look, the more interesting things we find. Stuff like Siemen denies being involved with WCM, and more domain names, and corporate entities linked with WCM and Ming Xu, and more. These are stuff WCM777 affiliates would rather you do NOT know about.

You may want to read my previous investigation on WCM777, WCM, and Phil Ming Xu, if you want to get the whole picture.

First, someone apparently invoked Siemens' name in WCM777 ad.
Here's another version (from Facebook):

Here's one WCM777 ad that even used their logo:
It's interesting to note that most of these companies has NOTHING to do with investment or finance except four: that Chinese one on top ( Chungching International Trust and Investment LTD ), Goldman Sachs, Merriman Curhan Ford & Co. (aka Merriman Capital) and that logo just to the left of Marriott, which is "China Galaxy Securities".

What is interesting is Siemens there at the middle. Someone decided to do due diligence! Here's the result (feel free to search on Twitter yourself to confirm this conversation)

Clearly, whatever WCM claimed was misconstrued... or WCM outright "fibbed" and mislead.

Someone is Tweeting at Denny's Restaurant asking them to confirm that they are doing business with WCM. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cult Sales Conviction Upheld in France. Is US Next?

French Court recently handed down a decision that upheld conviction of Church of Scientology and its bookstores of preying upon members in the 1990's by pushing them into buying books... One victim claimed she was pushed into buying books and various devices totaling over 20000 Euros, including "a meter that measures mental energy". Court ordered the church to pay over 600000 Euros in fines and damages. Church itself claims its religious freedom is being trampled and vows to appeal to European Union court.

While I have no desire to debate whether Scientology is a cult or not (the French say it is, so debate it with them) I wish to point out that cult sales is a real problem. 

Cult Sales, as opposed to normal "sales job", is sales job with a dose of cult indoctrination to keep you producing, often with your own money. And many network marketing companies, along with a few abusive direct sales companies, are essentially cult sales companies.  Whether their products are real or valuable is irrelevant.

Some signs of cult sales:

  • Always hiring / looking out for new blood
  • Rah-rah chants and songs in the morning to get you "pumped up"
  • Daily or weekly confession / recognition of sales results (or lack of)
  • Shadow new recruits with a "mentor" (and you will later shadow a noob, treat noobs to social events, indoctrinate them just like they did to you)
  • Fake it till you make it (fund your own attire, even before you can afford it)
  • Overwork you, always selling around the clock, portrayed as "dedication"
  • Dominate off-work hours too with "social" events and training and such
  • If you don't recruit you're not "dedicated" enough to the company
  • Guilt-trip if you tried to quit

Minority Groups Calling for California AG to Investigate Herbalife: HLF CEO really irked

English: This is the California Attorney Gener...
California Attorney General's Kamala Harris
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Multiple minority groups, including black and latino minority civic groups mounted a demonstration outside an herbalife event in LA, calling for full investigation of Herbalife by California Attorney General Kamala Harris. (see right) on whether Herbalife is a pyramid scheme.  Protestors are waving signs that says "Stop Exploiting Us" and similar wording.

What's interesting is apparently Herbalife CEO Michael O. Johnson, normally a pretty calm individual, lost his cool, and went up to the protest organizer, and outright accused the organizer of believing in lies and should be ashamed of doing so.

Herbalife spokeswoman later confirmed that a dialog did take place, but denies Johnson lost his cool.