No news is good news!

I started this blog nearly a decade ago because I was sick and tired of encountering the same myths, over-generalizations and falsehoods about the Amway business all over the Internet. It became a “go to” place for news and discussion when various crises hit the company, and I think (hope) I contributed to raising the level of discourse about the company and opportunity.

Recently, frankly, there’s not been a lot to write about! The same old “critics” are still obsessively writing their same old claims, but they continue to get less and less attention. The press, when talking about Amway, rarely even mentions long discredited “pyramid” claims, and Amway itself has begun to do a good job in reporting news about the company from around the world with the Global News website, and the Amway Insider blog.

It was also almost a decade ago that Amway began what it termed a “transformation”, where there was more focus on the great products, more focus on a professional business approach. If coverage of the company in the media is any measure, it’s been a great success. The Truth About Amway really has started to spread.

So where to now with this blog? There’s been some significant developments in the world of MLM and network marketing, with Hedge Fund activist Bill Ackman attacking Herbalife, and the FTC acussing Vemma of being a pyramid scheme. These are topics I feel need professional, informed commentary. Should I post about them here? I’m undecided. What about issues with Amway? I think there’s a lot of things Amway still needs to improve, and I’ve made a few recent “critical” posts, but I don’t want the blog to just be a place for me to complain. I suspect there will likely be fewer and fewer new posts as we go forward.

Well done Amway, you’ve almost succeeded in making this blog obsolete. And I think that’s great! Keep it up.

Is Amway suffering from “big company syndrome”?

I first joined Amway when I was 19, more than 25 years ago. I was only an IBO for a couple of years, but I made a little cash, liked the products, and was impressed by the company. 18 years ago I joined again and built a reasonable size network. Again, I loved the products and the company – whenever I had to deal with Amway staff the experience was exemplary, they were always trying to help.

Sadly, I’m not finding that’s always the case today and sometimes I get a sense of “arrogance” from them. In one case I was trying to learn about why a particular Nutrilite product – Omega-3 – cost so much more than the competition. As best as I could tell from my research, the product was high quality and of a form that arguably made it perhaps 25% more effective than most competitors, but I simply could not justify it being 3-5 times the price of competitors. This was the case even with competitors where the actual fish oil in the capsules was essentially indistinguishable from Nutrilite’s. Indeed there were some signs it may have come from the same supplier. So I contacted Amway for help to understand the value proposition. The answer I got was essentially “it’s Nutrilite, that’s why” and that they don’t even look at competitor’s pricing and weren’t interested. In another case they launched a new Beauty Cycle product (nail stickers) to take advantage of a trend. I couldn’t find a single example of a competitor that was more expensive than Amway’s offering, and only one that came even close. The competitors also had more range. It was clearly not a competitive product. I contacted Amway about this and was told simply “we’ll pass your comments on to marketing”. The product didn’t last a year before it was pulled, and pricing slashed to get rid of stock.

It wasn’t the pricing that concerned me – many Amway products legitimately command a premium price. What concerned me was the apparent complete lack of caring about what the marketplace was doing. It reeked of a certain corporate arrogance. I felt this arrogance even more as an IBO – that they simply didn’t care about it, and were bothered by me asking. Contrast that to one of my early experiences, where I reported a concern with competitor pricing to Amway, and within a couple of months, Amway had dropped their price!

Then there was what happened a few weeks ago. On May 1 I received an email from Amway Australia saying my IBOship had expired and they were transitioning me to being a “VIP client”. It seems I’d forgotten to renew. I checked through my records and discovered I’d received an email back in November (nearly 6 months earlier) reminding me about renewal, but apparently I’d missed it.

So, this was my fault, I’d not renewed. I’d previously renewed for a 3 year period, so it had been a long time since I’d worried about it. Again, my fault.

Now, I wasn’t too concerned – past experience is that Amway has typically given up to a year to resurrect a lapsed business, so the next day I emailed Amway back and explained I’d been an IBO for 18 years and had downline around the world and that I needed to renew. They emailed me back and said I had to submit a late renewal request directly to a local area business manager, so respond putting her name in the subject. I did so.

The response was that they weren’t forwarding the email as the business managers had decided they weren’t doing any more late renewals. I’d missed the official renewal period (October 1 to December 31) and the “amnesty period” (January 1 to March 31). If I wanted to re-register I should contact my sponsor.

When I checked my records again I couldn’t find anything  from Amway about renewing since November. There’d been various marketing emails, but nothing warning I could lose my business during the 6 month period until I got the letter – too late.

Again, this was my fault. But I can’t help but feel that this “sorry, bad luck” response, and the “don’t care about the competitors” responses isn’t the way Amway was when I first joined. In my first years I felt like Amway would do anything to help out – including once helping me renew even later than this! – but not any more.

It’s also worth noting that these experiences I’ve given are from 3 different Amway markets, so it’s not just one country. I’ve also seen reviews of Amway as an employer on various corporate “review” websites where some staff have expressed similar experiences – Amway internally isn’t the same company.

It isn’t unusual in the history of business that when companies grow and expand rapidly they lose their “heart” and the personal touch – many consider Google an example of this – I wonder if the same has happened to Amway?

Now, “losing” my Australian IBOship isn’t as big an issue for me as it could be. The way my business is structured internationally I’ve actually lost very little in the way of my downline, as it’s nearly all through-line of my IBOship in my new home country. In some ways it actually may work out better for me to re-register back in Australia. Nevertheless it’s not the way I’d like my downline IBOs to be handled – at the very least there should have been a lot more warning!

So – long time IBOs in particular – what’s your thoughts on this? Has Amway’s extraordinary growth led to a change of corporate culture? Did I just have rose-coloured glasses at the beginning? Or just some “bad luck” now?

Amway sales drop 8% to $10.8 billion

Amway has today announced 2014 global revenue of $10.8 billion – a $1 billion drop from it’s 2013 record sales of $11.8 billion. The company says the drop is a result of a combination of a drop in sales in key markets, as well as currency fluctuations.

Given the instability in key markets like Ukraine, Russia, and Thailand as well as some regulatory challenges in India, I thought a drop in sales was likely. I am surprised by the size of it, I’ll post some thoughts and analysis later today.

ETA: most of what I wanted to add has been said by others in the comments

Why Nutrilite? Here’s why

Study: Many Herbal Supplements Aren’t What the Label Says

ALBANY, N.Y. — Bottles of Walmart-brand echinacea, an herb said to ward off colds, were found to contain no echinacea at all. GNC-brand bottles of St. John’s wort, touted as a cure for depression, held rice, garlic and a tropical houseplant, but not a trace of the herb.

In fact, DNA testing on hundreds of bottles of store-brand herbal supplements sold as treatments for everything from memory loss to prostate trouble found that four out of five contained none of the herbs on the label. Instead, they were packed with cheap fillers such as wheat, rice, beans or houseplants.

Consumers sold short on omega-3 oil

Analysis finds most brands contain only 68% of fatty acid amounts listed on label

Nearly all fish oil supplements marketed in New Zealand contain much less of the brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids than their labels claim, an eye-opening study has found.

When researchers at the University of Auckland’s Liggins Institute tested 36 different brands of fish oil capsules, just three contained the same concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids as listed on the label.

They found that over half had oxidised to a level higher than the recommended limit – and this had nothing to do with the best-before date, price, or country they came from.

Amway buys XS energy drinks

All_Cans_BowlingPin[1]As many IBOs know, XS Energy Drinks (known as XS Power Drinks in Europe) originated as a  “healthier” energy drink product created by two IBOs, David Vanderveen and Scott Coon. It was manufactured by a company called Logic Nutrition and resold through Amway (and earlier, Quixtar) and has been a huge success, with recent expansion out of North America and Australia and in to Europe and Asia.

Well today XS has announced on their XSNation Facebook page that they have now been acquired by Amway. Co-founder David Vanderveen will take on an executive role at Amway as Vice President, General Manager of the XS brand.

Congratulations David and Scott, I’m sure you got a great price!


Amway Product Review: Artistry Skin Refinisher

artistry skin refinisherThe basis of any business is having products that have a market demand. If you have that, then you have a business. Critics of Amway and other companies that use MLM as a marketing strategy regularly claim the products are “over-priced junk”. Remarkably, when I’ve asked them how many of the products they’ve actually tried, the answer is almost always none. They’re judging the quality and value of products they’ve never tried.

So I thought I’d help them out. Look Magazine in the UK recently reviewed Artistry Advanced Skin Refinisher. The called it  –

The Skin Refinisher That Will Change Your Life

And as for the price?

At £53.35 per 30ml bottle, it’s tonnes cheaper than a trip to the dermatologist’s, yet gives an impressively similar result.


So, if you’re a person evaluating Amway or Amway’s products, it’s a simple question. Who do you believe about the quality and value of Amway’s products? Someone who has never tried them, or expert evaluations by people who actually have?

You choose.

And here’s a thought – why not try them out? There’s a money back guarantee if you don’t think they’re good value.


The Nutrilite Story

TheNutriliteStoryI’ve just finished reading The Nutrilite Story by Dr Sam Rehnborg. What a great read! It not only tells of the origins of Nutrilite and Amway, but the entire multi-level marketing industry and the nutrition and nutritional supplements industry. It’s fascinating, and the life story of Carl Rehnborg is worthy of a movie – more than once I was close to tears, a classic story of someone getting knocked down and getting back up again and again in the pursuit of their dreams.

It’s available on your tablet, phone or PC as an ebook for kindle from Amazon or for nook from Barnes and Noble. Recommended!


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