Amway Global Accreditation: transformation or a sad joke?

In general I don’t like being critical of people, and I especially try to avoid being so in public. What’s more, with regards Amway, part of my “mission” with TTAA is to try to provide some balance to the excessive criticism of Amway on the Internet. Sometimes however, I encounter things that I believe are so proactively damaging to Amway’s reputation that I must speak out, even though I’m sure I’ll make some enemies out of friends. This is one of those times.

It’s been said that a part of Amway’s reputation problems aren’t a result of myths or falsehoods, but in what might be termed “negative truths”. I believe this is correct, to a point. Much of what people believe about Amway has it’s origins in reality, and real experiences, but that “reality” rarely has anything to do with Amway, the Amway business model, or Amway’s award winning products. In general it has to do with how Amway’s representatives (known variously as distributors, IBOs, ABOs etc etc) have presented the Amway business to the outside world. If you research Amway on the internet, you’ll encounter quite a few “horror stories”, people talking about how they were conned or fleeced. You’ll see stories of “cult-like” behaviour and claims the whole thing is just a scam. But as I pointed out in Amway is not a scam, but you can still be scammed, it’s not Amway, nor the business model, nor the products doing these things – it’s people.

As a new IBO, I was incredibly frustrated with encountering people who spoke of their experiences in Amway and how they didn’t want anything to do with it again – but their experiences were completely different to mine. I was even more frustrated at people who would search Amway on the Internet and bring me reams of printouts claiming that “this is what you’re involved with” – yet none of it even remotely reflected my experience. Years later it still doesn’t reflect my experience! Now that doesn’t mean it wasn’t other people’s experiences, but it wasn’t the Amway business they were talking about, it was people with Amway businesses. My Amway business, and undoubtedly hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of other Amway businesses, was being damaged by the actions of what appeared likely to be a minority, albeit an extremely visible minority.

I was thus delighted when, back in 2005, Quixtar (now known as Amway Global) announced they were launching an “accreditation” program to encourage the various independent BSM companies to follow certain guidelines in their training and support offerings to Amway business owners. Achieving accreditation required organisations (or individuals) to abide by the following –

  • Provide a professional development curriculum that includes business-building, product training, and personal development components.
  • Use professional development compensation plans that are transparent, written, and contractual.
  • Engage in communications that reflect compliance with the IBO Communications Platform.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to best practices and ongoing education
  • Be in good standing and complying with Amway Global’s Rules of Conduct.

Of these five areas, perhaps the most comprehensive explanation of how Amway expects IBOs to behave is outlined in the IBO Communications Platform document, which summarises it’s content as –

Focus on business.
Treat others as you would like to be treated.

The document continues (my emphasis) –

As this is a business, it is only logical that communications
within the business arena focus on business and not on areas
outside the business arena, such as religion and politics
. And
to “treat others as you would like to be treated” is a long-standing
and widely accepted maxim on human relations.
Taken together, these two concepts reflect the philosophy and
standards of the IBO Communications Platform.

Bravo, I say! Too often when speaking to people about their experiences, or reading others experiences online, they would comment about attending supposed “business” meetings only to be regaled with speeches on religion and politics. Was it a business or a method of evangelising one’s political and religious beliefs? Now, I have a certain respect for people who have the courage to actually go out and act on their beliefs. If you believed that say, electing Barack Obama would result in the United States becoming a “slave state” like North Korea, and you didn’t get out there and campaign for John McCain, then quite frankly you have no right to complain if the worst does happen.

However, there are appropriate times and places for doing such campaigning. What’s more, doing so at appropriate times and places is far, far more effective. Standing outside the Republican National Convention trying to encourage people to vote for John McCain has very little effect. They’re already voting for him. Encouraging people to vote for John McCain outside the Democrat National Convention, telling them Barack Obama is a communist and will turn the United States into North Korea would likely also have very little effect, indeed it will probably p**s them off.

Now, no harm done perhaps. You didn’t get a new vote and you didn’t lose a vote, you just wasted yours and some other folks’ time.

But what if your actual goal wasn’t to change their vote, but to do something entirely different – like get them to buy Amway products or build an Amway business? Do Democrats take nutritional products? Do Democrats use skin care? Do Democrats wash their hair? Do Democrats want more time to spend with their family? Do Democrats want to have better lives? Do Democrats want to achieve their dreams and goals?

Of course they do. They’re all potential “customers” for both Amway products and the Amway business. What kind of lunatic business person would go out of their way to deliberately alienate and p**s off half their potential market?

The answer is here

That links to the youtube channel for Internet Services, the company founded by Amway Crown Ambassador Dexter Yager to support his Amway business. Internet has posted a series of 6 videos of former US Republican Congressman Bob McEwen speaking at Yager Free Enterprise Celebration, held in October 2008. While he carefully tiptoes around naming names, amonsgt other things, McEwen clearly implies that voting Democrat will lead the USA on to the path of being a “slave state” like North Korea. He clearly implies that “the left”, ie Democrats, lack integrity. He directly blames President Clinton for the current US sub-prime mortgage crisis, and not surprisingly, he also attacks the entire Climate Change movement.

The whole speech is an extremely thinly disguised political rant designed to scare people into voting Republican.

Now … I don’t want to get in to a discussion about whether his claims are correct or not. What I want to discuss is the effect of this kind of talk at a seminar where people have spent money to be inspired to and learn how to build a successful Amway business.

I’ll tell you the effect – you deliberately alienate and p**s off (at least) half your potential market. I know this, because you’d p**ss me off. I would have walked out. In my opinion the entire speech was thoroughly dishonest and extremely offensive.  If I had attended this as my first Amway-related seminar, I doubt I ever would have returned. I would have been out of the Amway business. If, like most new folk,  I had not understood the difference between support systems and Amway, there’s every chance this website, The Truth About Amway, would not be a site supportive of Amway, but one extremely critical of Amway. Does Internet Services really want someone like me running anti-Amway sites? Does Amway? As far as Internet Services are concerned, am I not welcome or wanted as an Amway Business Owner? Does Amway not want me as an Amway Business Owner?

It’s not just me. Over on Amway Talk when this Bob McEwen speech was raised, an IBO who was in attendance at the seminar agreed it made him uncomfortable and he was considering asking a refund. In an extremely sad piece of irony, Amway critic Amthrax had this to say about McEwen’s speech –

Why was he using the meeting as a platform to sway people’s votes over to McCain instead of Obama? Why is he speaking about politics at this meeting in the first place?

This is exactly the kind of nonsense that I had to put up with during my time in the Amway/Quixtar business ten years ago. I don’t care if you’re Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, whatever, this kind of stuff, along with the religious sermonizing, just doesn’t belong in and is irrelevant to the teaching and building of the business.

Why a sad piece of irony? Because Amthrax wasn’t talking about an Amway related meeting. He was talking about Bob McEwen giving the same speech at a MonaVie meeting held by Orrin Woodward. Amthrax went on to say –

Amway Global has instituted an accreditation program, which supposedly removes such politicking and prosleytizing from stage. It’s obvious that MonaVie nor Team has such restrictions.

Sadly, Amthrax, we were wrong in our suppositions. At the very seminar where McEwen gave this political rant, Amway recognized Internet Services as a newly accredited organization. In my opinion, utterly disgraceful and it makes accreditation a joke.

In discussions on Amway Talk about this, a number of IBOs defended the talk as being within accreditation guidelines, and that offended IBOs need to just learn to ignore what they don’t agree with. The IBO Communications Platform says about politics –

C. Political communications
1. Acceptable

a. Statements about capitalism and the free enterprise system and the importance of preserving it.
b. Statements about the economy and its impact on small businesses, in particular an
independent Quixtar business.
c. The importance of voting and being informed on issues and candidates.
d. Teachings of America’s or Canada’s Founding Fathers and the lessons of history as they relate to
the business climate and economic health of these countries.
e. Character and integrity as important issues in our business and in our elected or appointed
government officials.

2. Unacceptable

a. Endorsement or denouncement of specific candidates, political parties, and/or issues, unless
specifically related to the operation of independent Quixtar® businesses.
b. Inflammatory labels or personal attacks on the character or integrity of government officials
or candidates.

In my opinion, Bob McEwen’s speech very clearly fel into the “Unacceptable” category. The problem is that because of his careful choice of words, he did it all through (extremely obvious) implication rather than directly. If one happens to agree with McEwen’s beliefs, then it’s relatively easy to justify to yourself that his speech fell under the “Acceptable” guidelines. (Though I struggle to see how anyone could not put his attacks on the Climate Change issue under 2a)

But that doesn’t matter!

You are still alienating people like me. People like Amthrax. People like the majority of the United States that voted for Barack Obama. People like the 70-80%+ of folk around the world who supported Barack Obama to win the election and whom are desperately concerned about issues like Climate Change.

You’re going out of you way to alienate a huge segment, indeed potentially a majority, of the marketplace.

And to what purpose? Virtually all of those who you didn’t alienate were voting Republican anyway. You achieved little but to damage your business and the business of others.

Ignore the politics of it. Forget whether you agree with McEwan or not. That’s not the point. It’s a stupid way to operate a business, and even worse it badly damages not just your business, but the businesses of others as well.

Amway – you have no idea how disappointed I was to learn that you are actively endorsing this type of destructive, reputation destroying behaviour.

In my mind it raises serious questions as to the corporations commitment to improve Amway’s reputation. This type of behaviour actively makes it harder for IBOs to build their businesses. Amway has a responsibility to the majority of IBOs, who are not a part of Internet Services, to stop Yager Internet Services and other groups like them from actively damaging our businesses. I knew this stuff was going on in the past, but I had faith that Amway was taking actions to stop it.

Was I wrong?

95 thoughts on “Amway Global Accreditation: transformation or a sad joke?”

  1. This is a very interesting post. You are right, most of the complaints online have nothing to do with corporate or the products, but with the business support materials and motivational organizations.

    I have been out of Amway a long time, about a decade now, but one of the things I personally did not enjoy when I was in was the religion at the events and the political talks. I didn’t necessarily disagree with everything they were saying, but I could see how it would offend a lot of people who have different beliefs.

    The idea of accrediting organizations will definitely impact the top earners. Back in the day everything was based upon on a handshake and a wink, and you hear many stories of diamonds being cutoff from their tool income for a variety of reasons.

    At the end of the day, I would like to see corporate eliminate the AMOs altogether and handle all of the tools and training themselves. This might piss off some people reading this, but I think that would benefit the little guy the most. And the little guy (or girl) is the person you REALLY need to focus on. If they are happy, everything else will fall into place.

    I always loved the products and admired the company itself, but hoped Amway would police their AMOs and clean things up so no one gets hurt. I’m also a believer that the Diamonds shouldn’t make ANY money from tools. In fact, it’s prohibited in just about every other MLM Company.

    Just my two cents. Keep the good content coming.

    1. Back in the days before the AMO tools Amway had some literature and some tapes, but not nearly enough to satisfy distributor hunger. Amway made all of them on site to control content. It was a slow process and organizations were growing faster than they could respond. Tools were made at cost. Later BV was added so everybody could see a little profit. Unfortunately, Amway’s effort was too little and too late.

    2. At the end of the day, I would like to see corporate eliminate the AMOs altogether and handle all of the tools and training themselves.

      That has pluses and minuses. Biggest minus is you (a) stifle innovation and (b) get tools and training that are, in effect, controlled by people who have probably never actually built the business. Amway clearly suffered when it transitioned from Rich & Jay, who had built a significant distributer network themselves, to the sons who had not. It’s also often clear not only in the corporate training that is provided, but also in some of the bonus schemes corp comes up with, that they really do struggle to understand their own business! They’re excellent at the product related stuff – network building, not so much.

      I always loved the products and admired the company itself, but hoped Amway would police their AMOs and clean things up so no one gets hurt. I’m also a believer that the Diamonds shouldn’t make ANY money from tools. In fact, it’s prohibited in just about every other MLM Company.

      This doesn’t make much sense to me. Wouldn’t that mean a Diamond couldn’t be a shareholder in say, Amazon, and promote a Dale Carnegie book to their group?

  2. I work with a woman who is one of the smartest people I have ever met. She is diligent, detail oriented and her IQ is undoubtedly over 125. Our company could have some layoffs in the next year. I asked her what she thought of potential these layoffs and she said that she was a bit worried. She said that there was a potential employment opportunity for me with her boyfriend if I did get laid off. I asked around and found out that this opportunity that she spoke of was with Amway.
    I have to admit that I was a bit terrified when I realized that someone so smart and accomplished (we work in finance for a massive company on a high level) could be persuaded by such an obviously corrupt business opportunity.
    Honestly it is kinda scary that someone I respect could be so easily persuaded by this. There is never a magic bullet for wealth, everyone in the United States should realize this no matter what their political affiliation is.

    1. Carlos,

      I find it sad that people like yourself arbitrarly decide something that’s patently false (ie that Amway is “obviously corrupt”) and then project bad thoughts on to others because of their misunderstandings. Your first misunderstanding is that Amway is some kind of “magic bullet for wealth”. It’s a legitimate business opportunity that, like most business opportunities, takes years of hard work to succeed in. It’s also absolutely full of very smart people, University professors, Phds, company owners, you name it.

      Think about it Carlos. What’s more likely – that these millions of people are wrong, that the legal and regulatory authorities in 80+ countries and territories around the world are wrong, that the thousands of other companies that partner with Amway are wrong, that the many, many organisations are wrong …. or that you’ve perhaps misunderstood something?

      As an aside though, promoting Amway as a “potential business opportunity” is a bad violation of Amway’s rules. Please let your friend know she shouldn’t do that.

  3. I am an IBO and found his speech HIGHLY offensive. It was OBVIOUS GOP Propaganda.

    Some of the views expressed by posters regarding America are pathetic idiotic flag waving.

    Id take Socialism over GOP economics ANY day. And socialists can be capitalists too. Socialism is nothing but a form of capitalism of which there are many.

    I bet these GOP bots think China and Russia are “commies”? Pathetic.

    As far as I am concerned, we need more bankers in jail like the Russian oil dude that Putin put in jail.

    Next thing you know, Im going to be at an Amway convention and hear a screed about Illegal Immigration, Anchor Babies and whatnot. Good luck with that with Vision Global being such a big growing part of Amway West Coast US business.

    The speech does NOT BELONG in a BUSINESS SETTING! Save it for Glenn Beck! Bill Thomas from the GOP could have written his speech.

    I think all Americans believe in Capitalism and Free Enterprise. Its just the jackbooted thugz in the GOP that want to staple a trademark on it the way they trademark 9/11 when it was Bush who could not stop the attack and attacked the wrong country nearly bankrupting America. Were still digging ourselves out of the mess…..

    Carlos

  4. I have been approached by Amway, and I’m curious, but they never clearly explained HOW you make money. Just how do you do it? They spoke non-stop and rather fast, I caught mentions of me having the “change my spending habits” and that somehow I will get a percentage of the money spent on products back. They also told me that by getting clients to buy my products (even though I thought they were Amway’s) and that somehow that will increase my payoff.

    If anyone can be crystal clear on what exactly I must do to make money through this, please let me know.

    1. In simple terms – get as many people as possible using Amway’s products. They’re also your products in the same way the local corner store sells their products, which may include Coca-Cola’s products.

      Two initial ways to do this – (1) generate retail clients, which gives retail profit margin and contributes to volume rebates, and (2) find others who’d be interested in doing the same thing, which contributes to your volume rebates. The first is more work but has higher margin. The second has lower margins but if you build a decent team can generate much more volume and income.

      1. Good advice IBO Fightback. I teach everyone on my team to find 10-20 customers before they try to sponsor anyone. This immediately puts them in the black, so they are profitable. I do agree that finding distributors is the best way to leverage yourself and build a big income, but I think the best way to start is to find your 10-20 retail customers from your warm market.

    2. You get paid to create VOLUME, whether they are personal customers, distributors, or referrals from your other distributors. You only get paid when products are moved through the business. You don’t get money for recruiting. If no one uses the products, no one gets paid.

  5. The truth is ones view politically does effect their ability to succeed. Not from a standpoint of being Democrat or Repulican but from the perspect of believing if you or someone else, meaning the government or an employer are responsible for your you success. If you have the view that it is the government or an employers responsibility to provide for you then you’ll not shoulder the responsibility for yourself and go produce. This is in fact the problem with our country… most people have begun to believe that. If no the other hand you believe that you alone are responsible for your your success then you’ll move forward shoulder the responsibility build a business (any business) and succeed.
    So the long and short is that Bob McEwen’s is very appropriate for a business training meeting on how succeed in business.

    1. Your argument might have some validity if McEwen had even remotely taught anything like that. The reality is there is no significant political movement anywhere in the western world, let alone the US, that believe’s governments or employers are responsible for your success. McEwen clearly creates the Democrats as a scary straw man and implies that voting for them would lead the US in the path to slavery. Not to mention the various outright falsehoods he espouses in arenas like climate change. It was a clear political speech by a well known republican encouraging people to vote republican. Anyone claiming otherwise is being dishonest to themselves, if no one else.

  6. After reading everyones comments, it safe to say that the bottom line it always comes down to what your world view really is and if you are a born again Christian that is guided by the truths of the bible. It comes down to values. If you are a christian you will be encouraged and thankful to hear what Bob Mcwean is teaching. I think it is so sad, that adults who do not share the same world view just want to shut up people like Mr. Mcwean. Of course this is the best place to hear what mis informed politicians can do to hurt or help our freedoms and your business. The fact is he was right about Obama, wasn’t he and his team (Obamas)are committed to taking this country towrads socialism as fast as he can. If that does not concern you, then you have no business being in business becuase you don’t get what free Enterprise is about. What sepaerates America from any other Nation -is the freedoms we enjoy. This isn’t about who to vote for or not vote for -unless your already sold on more governemnet control -but its about more FREEDOM – and most people are not engaged in politics as they should and thats why we are in this mess today. When your business gets big enough and when the love for your family gets big enough – then you too will want more people to know the truth – why is it that liberals always want to shut up Christians and conservatives, but christians and conservatives – want to engage in peacful discusion – becuase we do want to change your mind – just maybe our founding ftahers had it right! For the record, i am not in the amwasy business anymore, and many things went wrong with people and leaders – but i understood seperating the people who make mistakes and who are sinners by nature, and a business opportunity that is backed by a company thrtying to do their best. I have now found a better vehicle, that pays much more and is not based on having to change peoples buying habits to buy more expensive products. Plus we do not charge the new reps for training. We are on our way to becoming the biggest Network marketing company in the world!
    So I wish you well – the best way to preach freedom – is go out and build your business tonoght!

    1. Steve, do you really believe it is acting with integrity to be explictly breaking Amway’s rules? I’m also curious how many other countries you’ve lived in to make your judgements about the differences between the US and other countries?

  7. As a Quixtar IBO since the beginning (9-1-99 until 12/31/07) my view on the conferences is that in the beginning they were very valuable, with training on sponsoring, building a business, selling products, and great information on all the latest products each year. Toward the end our LOS became affiliated with TEAM and the emphasis was more on building TEAM and the importance of the tools. As such, I felt they had lost their value but continued to attend due to pressure from upline.

    About the time that I actually started making money (profitable after expenses!!) We got the rug pulled out from under us when Woodward and Brady were terminated and our own LOS elected to follow them. My downline was destroyed by my upline.

    Now I have a new MLM business with an old, established company. The leaders for the most part have had prior experience with Amway and have learned how to be successful out of the gate, without spending a lot of money on training. In fact, virtually all the training and tools are provided to us at no cost. My mentor was an Amway Platinum with very little net income after expenses, and after changing companies he retired from his J-O-B in less than two years.

    I still think of my Q* upline as being mostly honorable people, but not inclined to question anything. I learned a lot, met some wonderful people, but had I changed companies sooner I would have been better off, financially.

    1. Neat story Bizman. What most people might not know is that many top earners in many different companies were Amway reps first. Although Amway isn’t perfect, they do have incredible training and they prepare people for success with whatever they want to do in life. Amway was my first company too, and I took what I learned and used it to benefit me in future business endeavors.

  8. I have meet yager in the late 1990s at a rally here in australia.all he spoke about was his old girlfrends, dreams all the spin.birdy was off with the fairies and spoils the sunday morning music cocert by going on about how wifes should look after their hubbies and kids.I was told later by my upline dou ble diamond she was a bit eccentric?what a waste of good money.anyway amway destroyed my family.Four people lost everything.god help us all.

    1. How do you “lose everything” because of Amway, Paul? Unless your actively breaking the rules you don’t spend large money on inventory, and there are few non-discretionary expenses.

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