Saturday, January 4, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Rippln sued for Trademark Infringement by Ripple Labs

Rippln, a mostly viral marketing income opportunity, has been served with a lawsuit dated 12/27/2013 in San Francisco Federal Court by Ripple Labs.

Ripple Labs is a genuine tech startup backed by some of the biggest venture funds in Silicon Valley, including Google Ventures. Actually, to call it a startup is a misnomer, as Ripple had been operating since 2004 (and trademarked the term then).

Ripple Labs references multiple examples where users of Rippln signed up because they thought it's actually Ripple. Ripple Labs believes it had its reputation substantially damaged due to the "sliminess" of Rippln, as some are cautioning people to avoid both.

Same Wine, New Bottle: WCM777 is now "Kingdom 777"

Apparently Ming Xu needs to remake the image of his Ponzi scheme being outlawed around the world.. by giving it a name change. It's now Kingdom 777.

There's an expression in Chinese: 換湯不換藥 (literally, change the soup, but not the ingredients)   The Western equivalent is "old wine, new bottle".

Feel free to browse through some old coverage of WCM777 / Kingdom 777 Ponzi scheme outlawed around the world.
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MLM Absurdities: MLMers Encouraging College Kids to Drop Out and Do MLM Full-time... Crazy.

One of the most dangerous absurdities is the notion that MLM offers an even playing field, therefore you need NO education to succeed in MLM, and thus, college is not necessary and a complete waste of money (thus you should drop out). Plenty of people dropped out of college and went on to successful ventures.

This is often used by MLMs that concentrate on younger people, such as Vemma, with their Verve energy drink line, signing college kids and even some high school kids as their affiliates (formerly "brand partners").

We have to look at this myth in separate pieces.

  • Does network marketing really offer a level playing field? 
  • Can *any one* succeed in network marketing? Or is talent / education required?  
  • Is College a waste of money? 
  • Are the the successful college dropouts actually relevant to the premise? 

Does Network Marketing Really Offer a Level Playing Field for All? 

One of the often repeated myths is that NM is a level playing field, in that anybody can succeed. 

Frankly, that is absurd. The idea that you have an upline and s/he benefits from YOUR work should tell you this is NOT level at all. He got there first. 

Furthermore, there are a LOT of circumstantial evidence that the industry is plagued by insider advantage and cronyism... just like the "regular corporate America". 

Did you know that a mother-daughter team in Vemma, both "Ambassadors" (making 15000 a month in commissions) actually is related to the head motivational speaker for Vemma, and the speaker is a close friend of head of Vemma BK Boreyko and his parents? 

Network Marketing is not as level as they want you to think. 

Can any one succeed in network marketing?

I've had network marketing enthusiasts claim that the top income careers all require heavy education or extreme amount of physical talent, like doctors, engineers, sports stars, and so on... Except network marketing.  The claim is anybody can succeed in network marketing, and the playing field is even. 

At first glance, this sounds reasonable, as the top twenty income careers based on US Bureau of Labor Statistics are mostly medical and engineering careers. However, is it true that any one can succeed in network marketing? 

US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010 "20 highest paying occupations, by median annual pay, 2010 census data"
The top entries are doctors, surgeons, engineers, lawyers, and very senior managers
The idea that you need no education to succeed in network marketing is actually quite ludicrous. At the minimum, you need to learn how to market. It is network MARKETING, after all. While some people have a talent for it, all people need some tests to assess their skills and add some remedial lessons for the areas they are lacking. In a Harvard Business Review blog entry, the author estimated that 70% of top salespeople have innate talent or natural instincts that give them an edge ins ales, while 30% had to learn to sell, having no such talent.   

It's safe to say that if you had not specialized in sales career before, you probably don't have much sales talent or instinct. Thus, let's assume that you have no such talent or instinct. What are your chances of 'success'?

According to the same author, given 100 people with no talent, 40% will fail, 40% will do average, and 20% will do above average, in a sales career.

Keep in mind that in network marketing, in almost every major MLM, "average" means making a lot less than 2000. This is the figure directly from Direct Selling Association (DSA). As of 2012...  15.9 million people sold 31.63 billion worth of stuff in the US.

Now if you do the math... 31630/15.9 = 1989.31 dollars... that's average RETAIL sold per person.

That's not profit. That's just retail sold. Profit would be less than half of that, perhaps a LOT LESS. That's less than $1000 PER YEAR PER PERSON.

Extrapolating from that 40/40/20... That means 40% of you will earn practically nothing. 40% of you will earn just a little (less than $90 a month), and maybe 20% of you will actually earn enough to call it a part-time job. And a tiny percentage of that 20% will really really earn a car or whatever.

Saying that you *can* succeed in network marketing without an education is like saying anyone born in the US of A can be president. While factually true, it is of no practical use. It's like saying any valid lottery ticket has a chance of winning. Duh!

The reality is you will have to spend time and money and effort to become a good salesperson... assuming you have the right personality traits to be one. And you will keep paying for seminars, meetings, training calls, workshops, and so on and so forth, just like any other education.

Also keep in mind that there are TWO colleges in the US that offers courses in network marketing.

Friday, January 3, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Dawn Wright-Olivares found in Clarksville, Arkansas, owns restaurant there

According to 5News report out of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Dawn Wright-Olivares, former COO of Zeek Rewards, the largest Ponzi scheme to hit the United States, soaking $850 million from about a million victims, has settled in Clarksville, Arkansas, and owns a restaurant there called "Healthy Hog".

(Thanks to lead from )
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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

MLM Absurdities: Do MLMers Actually *READ* What They Post?

With the ease of simple share / retweet / like and similar buttons on social media, it seems we are less and les likely to perform any sort of fact-checking and due diligence on the information we "endorse" through our "like" or "share" and similar actions. This had lead to a plethora of spreading rumors innuendos, and just general "crap info", esp. when the original reply was misinterpreted.

Revanchist over at YPRPariah had a great example... Is it true that Coca-Cola offered BK Boreyko 2 billion bucks and he turned them down? Some Vemma noobs seem to think so and every once in a while tries to tweet this:

Tweet: "Coca cola offered Vemma 2.2 billion
dollars to buy them out. Vemma said no because
it will be worth way more. Still think it's a scam?"
The problem is there was no such offer EVER from Coca Cola. Whoever spreading this story was spreading crap info. Even BK Boreyko had debunked this... but only if you tweet him directly, like this:

BK Boreyko: Coca cola offered #Vemma 2 billion to buy them,
CEO @bkboreyko turned them down*  Actually no truth to this rumor. Thx.

But where did this rumor come from?

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Resolution for Network Marketers (and Wannabes)

It's New Year's Eve, December 31st, 2013, and a New Year is almost upon us.

So I'd like to propose some new year's resolutions for the various network marketers and wannabes. Here are 7 simple items.
All of these are for personal improvement, and none of them are very hard.

Monday, December 30, 2013

MLM Absurdities: Due Diligence is NOT Analysis Paralysis!

One of the more subtle reality inversion techniques used by scammers (and unethical sales people), and cloned by clueless MLM noobs, is misrepresenting "due diligence" as "analysis paralysis". 

Analysis paralysis usually refers to an organization attempting to analyze a certain proposed project or change and the effect it would have, but so much time and resource was spent on the analysis that the project never was actually adopted.  For an individual, it could be that s/he is attempting to reach a decision, but that decision has so many factors s/he was overwhelmed by combination of scope and interactions and end up making no decision at all.

However, a decision to "not participate because I clearly have no idea what I am getting into" is a decision, and reaching that conclusion is NOT analysis paralysis.

Yet many MLM veterans and noobs will mischaracterize their moment of commitment as "overcoming analysis paralysis". Here is one example from MLMBlonde(dot)com:
Or they may have been polite but also declined and you were crushed
SO you went into what I call "Analysis Paralysis".
You began to question if this could work for you. You start to analyze
your decision.
YOU FREEZE. You begin to think something may be WRONG with you
or you made a bad decision, after all, if those closest to you don't "GET
IT", how you possible speak to a stranger.
You sit back and think and think , and then you just NEVER
get up the nerve to move forward. You lose your excitement. You
The problem is MLMblonde had NOT described analysis paralysis. She described "self-doubt paralysis", but slapped the "analysis paralysis" label on it. 

And she's not alone in doing so. Many MLM noobs seem to think any sort of doubt is analysis paralysis, even a full on analysis (i.e. "trust, but verify"). 

And due diligence is NOT doubt. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Scam Psychology: The Problem of Willful Blindness, Recklessness, and Negligence

The many portraits by Abbott originate from th...
Horatio Nelson, origin of "willfully blind"?
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In studying various reactions to criticism by MLM participants, it is interesting that so many of them are afflicted with "willful blindness", and it is a condition that can cause serious financial and legal problems.

The most popular example of "willful blindness" is an apocryphal story of Admiral Horatio Nelson in Battle of Copenhagen. When given a flag signal by a cautious fleet commander that Nelson may "withdraw at his discretion", and asked by a subordinate what shall he do, Nelson reported raised his spyglass to his blind eye (with an eye patch and all), then replied "I see no signal to withdraw", and continued the attack. The story was often told as if Nelson disobeyed a direct order, but the flag signal is "withdraw with commander's own discretion". This gave us the expression "turning a blind eye", and the term "Nelsonian Knowledge".

In modern times, "willful blindness" is defined as a situation where a participant INTENTIONALLY puts him- or herself in a situation where s/he cannot / does not know the facts that would make him/her liable for civil or criminal acts s/he had participated in. And it is a legal term. For example, traffic mules (those who smuggle contraband across borders) asked to be blindfolded during loading process so s/he does not know what's being trafficked. And thus, s/he want to argue they are innocent victims and thus should not be counted as accessory to trafficking.

The court had NOT accepted this defense, and has taken the position that willful blindness is merely legal sophistry, if it can be proven that the participant knows that such facts exist, and has taken deliberate steps to isolate him-/herself from knowing such facts. This case was even taken up by the Supreme Court back in 2011, when it ruled a file sharing service cannot disclaim responsibility for illegal acts of its users just because it doesn't want to see what's being shared, i.e. willfully blind to the copyright violations.

This is different from recklessness and negligence. Recklessness is knowing such risks of damaging facts do it any way, and negligence is "should have know such risks, but did not".

To illustrate with an example, using the smuggler mule as example:

recklessness: I know it's illegal, I'll take my chances

negligence: I should have known it's illegal, but I honestly thought those were nothing harmful...

willful blindness: I have no idea what they put in my luggage. I never asked. Don't need to know.

And many MLMers suffer from all three: recklessness, negligence, and willful blindness.