Saturday, January 25, 2014

Bad Propaganda: Perpetuating Myths and Misunderstandings to Deflect Criticism

Editor's Note: This is start of a new segment 'Bad Propaganda' where I will analyze bad propaganda used by various MLM promoters who, whether intentionally, or by accident, or perhaps, even ignorance, perpetuate myths, misunderstandings, half-truths, and "spin" to promote their MLM when they don't have to. I've done this several times before, but usually as some sort of rebuttal (for Wazzub, Zeek, TVI Express, and other scams). This will make it a new 'regular feature'.

When a new MLM recruit wants to express their enthusiasm for their new venture, one of the things they do now is create a web page, esp. if they wish to market online. And one of the frequently asked questions asked about many MLMs is "isn't it just a pyramid scheme?"  There's the right way to answer it (explain the Koscot test and why MLM does NOT fit the Koscot test... if done correctly)... and then there is this way... done by a Vemma Rep.

In order not to embarrass him too badly, his name will not be used, and URL will NOT be included (don't want to give him any LinkJuice), but you can see a picture of his web page below...

The title is "Vemma : Scam or a legitimate opportunity for you and your friends" by "Nick".

From here on, his stuff is in blue, and my counterpoints will be in red.

You might be wondering if there is an opportunity to make money with Vemma, or if the Vemma scam allegations are true. Don't worry you have come to the right place seeking answers so look no further.

Wow, he claims to be the ONLY place on the web to offer answers about Vemma, look no further! This guy is full of himself, isn't he?

Nick (censored) is a 21 year old adventure seeker, who went from scrubbing dishes at an old hospital for minimum wage to traveling the Northwest and has built a distribution network of close to 1,000 people in the past 12 months. He has inspired young entrepreneurs into taking charge of their lives, and isn't afraid to challenge the status quo. CLICK HERE to learn about how you can become one of the next success stories on his team, and work personally with Nick and the other leaders of Treasure (censored) Vemma.

The standard rags-to-riches underdog story that appeals to the "rebel youth" crowd. 

   There are many Vemma reviews on the internet that make claims about the company, and for someone who wants to cut straight through the BS you need answers. So lets get to the bread and butter, but know that multi level marketing scams are hard to detect so in this article I will help you swim through the sludge of information on the web.

    In order to confirm or deny if Vemma is a scam you need to understand what the company is. They are a health and wellness business based out of Scottsdale Arizona. Founded in 2004 by Bk Boreyko, Vemma has done over 1 billion dollars in sales over the past nine years. Pretty big for a scam i'de say.

First paragraph is a completely waste of space, as it said nothing. Second paragraph started off wrong. To know whether Vemma is a scam, you need to define what a scam is, not what Vemma is. That comes second.

That was segued into a "too big/old to be a scam" myth, though he did couched it as a personal opinion, bad spelling and all.  Go look up FHTM should tell you it lasted 11 years before being shut down by the FTC as a pyramid scheme. Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme took even longer. Both are much bigger than Vemma. Clearly, Nick had NO IDEA what he was talking about. 

But wait, there's more! Lots more!

     They are a direct sales marketing company that pays “brand partners” who consume their products to share them with friends and family. Vemma is the flagship product that has clinical studies done, and is in every one of there other products, Verve, Next, and Bode. Verve is the energy drink marketed towards the population who drinks Red Bull, Rockstar, and Monster. Next is the formula for kids ages 2-12, and Bode is their weight loss line geared towards the overweight.

According to Nick here, Vemma "pays" brand partners "who consumes their products to share them with friends and family". That's NOT how Vemma operates, and indeed NO network marketing company operates like this. No company pays you to drink their stuff (except taste testers). 

In Vemma, you BUY YOUR OWN STUFF to share with friends and family... and convince them to buy their own stuff... like someone convinced you. And if you convince enough people, you get a paycheck from Vemma as "commission".  And Nick tells you about that... later. 

Bad Nick! 

   Vemma has a very interesting marketing strategy that is using the consumers to market their products instead of retail and advertizing. Brand partners don't get paid for “recruiting” other members unless one of Vemma's products is purchased. Unlike a traditional pyramid scheme where participants are paid on recruitment, Vemma deals with sales and referring someone to purchase through your website.

Perhaps one should examine the cost of Verve vs. its competitors, such as Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, and so on, and see if people actually buy them... Or they buy them because they have to in order to recruit other people to buy them? 

I found the price on Amazon to be the lowest around: $2.50 per can in lot of 24

However, Red Bull costs $1 cheaper PER CAN, and you can save even more if you "subscribe" from Amazon. 

And yes, the cans are the same size, and it's same 24 can lots. 

Which begs the question, who would buy overpriced items? 

Answer is: people would if the items come with promise that if you recruit more people to buy them, you get paid. Nobody would buy them otherwise. 

So that checks off, but what about the fact that brand partners have to pay to become a marketing rep with the company? This is because you are starting up your own business and are considered a “business owner,” and in order to own your own business you need products to sell. Just like you would need shoes if you open up your own shoe store. When you purchase one of Vemma's products from a brand partner's website you are given your own website similar to When someone you know wants to purchase a case or more of product they order from your website and the product is shipped straight to their door, you don't touch any product except your own. Vemma then pays you for your referral via direct deposit or paycheck.

Nick, Nick, Nick... A business owner and a sales rep are completely different roles. Nick started claiming that a brand partner is like a product demonstrator. Nick's words were: "pays brand partners who consume their products to share them with friends and family"  Now Nick changed his story and claimed they are not demonstrators, but business owners that have to BUY the products to share. 

That's called a bait-and-switch. That's fraud, Nick. 

Then it gets worse. Nick claims that for merely buying from a brand partner's website you get your own sales website from Vemma. Does that make any sense to you? It only makes sense if you actually JOINED Vemma as a brand partner, not for merely purchasing some drinks. Yet earlier, Nick claimed that what you do is you get other people to order drinks online, you need to do no retail. His words were: " referring someone to purchase through your website"

Clearly, Nick has no idea what's the difference between a customer (who just buy Vemma), and a brand partner (who joined Vemma *and* buy Vemma). If there is no separation between customer and "affiliate" (inside the company), the business is likely a pyramid scheme, as per the Koscot test. 

Think about it, in one paragraph, he says your job is to get people to buy through your website. If that's the case, why do you need to buy stuff for yourself? Clearly, you are doing it for your upline, just as you are signing up people to do it for you. And so on. This is called "endless chain". It's same as a pyramid scheme. 

    The Vemma scam claims are made by either someone who isn't fully educated about the business, or failed as a brand partner and will blame everything but their own lack of effort. Calling Vemma a scam is like buying a membership to a gym then saying that the gym scammed you because your still overweight. They provide all the tools you need to become successful but it's up to you to use them.

Hmmm... is there any evidence to back up the claim that scam claims are all by misunderstandings? No. It's an opinion and not supported by any evidence. And it's a popular myth. However, as explained above, it seems that Nick's own understanding of Vemma and law are severely lacking. Thus, it's his OWN misunderstanding that lead him to believe Vemma is not a scam. 

Nick then pulled the "gym analogy", which is a popular Vemma myth being passed around a bit. And the analogy is full of holes. Can you think of some reasons that the gym can be scamming you? Let's see... No workout machine available? Bad neighborhood? Unreasonable time limits? Rough crowd? Unreasonably hot location? Bad shower room and changing room? Any of these could be the gym having scammed you and you haven't lost any weight. Revanchist over at YPRPariah have a whole article on this gym analogy 

But basically, this is dismissing criticism with bad arguments. 

    Vemma is backed by some big names in the NFL, NBA, and American television. Teams like the Phoenix suns, Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Bobcats. Celebrities like Doctor OZ, Extreme makeover weight loss edition's Chris and Heidi Powell, NASCAR, and many more. So realize that if Vemma was some type of scam or scheme they would have been shut down years ago. Well known organizations and celebrities wouldn't risk their reputation with a network marketing scam.

Vemma is not backed by any of them. Vemma PAID to advertise with them. There was a good list over at TruthInAdvertising on the myths perpetuated by Vemma reps such as this. Then Nick had to use the "association with celebrity" myth... again. Perhaps Nick can ask Dish Network on how come they didn't know FHTM was a scam? FHTM sold Dish, along with many other well known brands. 

     The reason why people are so skeptical about network marketing and companies like Vemma is because anyone is allowed to join. So when you have a client base of experienced and non experienced marketers you will see people post links all over facebook, and mass text their friends. This is the wrong way to go about a business and is the sole reason for such skepticism and Vemma scam claims. What you need to do is find a team of people who can teach you how to grow your business without pestering all of your friends and family to sign up, and you have come to the right place!

The reason people are skeptical about network marketing is the amount of outright lies, myths, half-truths, and misunderstandings perpetuated by people such as Nick here. Nick threw up a strawman, pounced it, then claimed "victory" over people skeptical of Vemma 'opportunity'. 

Nick is not alone. There are hundreds of Vemma websties and articles similar to his, with similar words full of half-truths, misunderstandings, omissions, inconsistent logic, logical fallacies, and fractured arguments. 

Why don't Vemma do marketing PROPERLY?

Maybe it's because they don't know how...

or they can't.
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