A Skeptical Debunking – Robert Carroll’s A Skeptic’s Dictionary and MLM

I’m what’s known as a “skeptic”. Skepticism has been defined as “the process of applying reason and critical thinking to determine validity”1. As such, I don’t believe in things like ghosts, astrology, homeopathy, or supernatural beings. Show me some solid evidence then I’ll change my mind. Skepticism though, suffers from the same flaws as any other reasoning system – if you start with incorrect assumptions, or your “facts” are wrong, then you’ll almost certainly come to false conclusions.

Alas that’s something I often see happen with many “skeptics” and the world of multi-level marketing. They have little knowledge of the area, and they unfortunately tend to start their application of reason and critical thinking from a position of false assumption, often based on cursory internet research. It’s no surprise then that they finish with false conclusions. If you want to apply reason and critical thinking to an area, the first thing you need to do is collate facts. Continue reading


  1. Brian Dunning, What Is Skepticism?, skeptoid.com 

Does Amway Europe understand how to motivate people?

Sometimes Amway drives me nuts.

From this month’s Amway Amagram throughout Europe -

Read the GIP 2013/14 section on your local Amway website available from September 2013

GIP stands for “Growth Incentive Programme”. It’s a program that is announced yearly with various rewards and incentives, including free business trips, for ABOs who grow their businesses. Great, right? So why does it drive me nuts? Because the first day of qualification is September 1 the beginning of the new Amway “year”. And the requirements for qualification are made available when? After then. Many of the incentives require you to have qualifying volume for 12 months, so to receive the reward that you learn about in September you already need to be in qualification.

Now, to be fair, many of the incentives are for people who have already reached Platinum and above, and they do get notified of the GIP details a little bit earlier (but often not by much). ABOs below platinum, however (ie those who most need incentive, as they’re not yet making much money) – it’s kept secret from them. This is even the case with an incentive that’s probably the most popular – the Amway Leadership Training Seminars (LTS). Qualifers have just recently been enjoying EuroDisney, courtesy of Amway. For various reasons I haven’t been actively building an Amway business for some years, and I don’t qualify for these Leadership seminars, but as a parent with two young children, an all expenses paid trip to EuroDisney is a huge attraction for me. When did Amway Europe first tell me and other not-yet-qualifying ABOs about the EuroDisney incentive?

After it was too late to be able to qualify!

What on earth is the logic behind this? What is Amway thinking?

Watch this video, this is for the Amway Europe LTS in 2014. Have you ever wanted to go on a cruise through the magnificant fjörds of Norway?



Looks beautiful doesn’t it! Can you picture yourself on the boat? The snowcapped mountains rising from the see around you? Treading the streets of cities that were founded more than a thousand years ago? Climbing to the top of Pulpit’s rock, with it’s  sheer cliff face dropping to the waters more half a mile below you?

Put yourself in the picture! Would you like to go? All paid for by Amway? Does that motivate you to build an Amway business?

Sorry, you had to be in qualification for that a year ago. It’s too late. But don’t worry, there’s another trip coming up you can qualify for! It’s  …. somewhere … put yourself in the picture! Imagine going there! Imagine walking the … beaches? streets? ????…

This is NOT motivating. Indeed, psychologists will tell you that this kind of “disappointment”, seeing what you can’t have, what you’ve missed out on, can be demotivating.

I simply don’t understand why Amway doesn’t have these incentive programmes decided upon and publicised 6 to 12 months in advance? You’d still motivate the leadership who are already or on their way to qualifying but you’d also motivate the new ABOs, and the many many ABOs like myself that have not yet prioritised building an Amway business.

C’mon Amway Europe. Fix this.

Amway Sales – Top 10 Countries 2012

Country Sales (USD$m) Growth
China $4,385 +1%
Japan $1,185 +2%
Korea $885 +2%
United States $861 +5%
Russia $629 +19%
Thailand $568 +10%
India $493 +7%
Taiwan $340 +8%
Malaysia $263 +8%
Ukraine $150 +7%

source: Amway Europe Leadership Training Seminar 2013

 

India Police continue harassment of Amway India

In news out today, Amway India CEO William Pinckney and two company directors, Sanjay Malhotra and Anshu Budhraj, have been arrested, charged, and remanded in custody for 14 days. This continues a pattern of what can only be called police harassment in the Indian states of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Details have been hard to come by, but the charges apparently result from 4 complaints lodged against Amway in the Wayanad district of Kerala. Amway had reportedly been aware of, and co-operating with police regarding one charge, but the arrest resulted from three other complaints. According to the Times of India, the known charge was from a 2011 complaint and -

Vishalakshi alleged that Amway agents collected Rs.3.5 lakh from her for products sold by the companies and asked her to add more members to the chain. As she could not add more members, she sought a refund but the agents refused

3.5 lakh rupees is over US$6500!!! I’ve been unable to discover when this offence was alleged to have occurred, but clearly this is pretty bizarre, and if true it’s clear some Amway business owners (including, I would suggest, this woman!) have seriously abused the Amway business model.

Amway was apparently dealing with this issue and had already received “anticipatory bail” for the executives. The current arrests are apparently related to new complaints. And that’s where it get’s really bizarre -

The three complainants — Jafar, T Ashraf and P Hareendran — had alleged that in 2002 Amway India attempted to collect money from them with the intention to deceive them by involving them in a money-chain scheme.

This “offence” allegedly occurred more than a decade ago (!!!) and indicates that someone merely “tried” to collect money and deceive them. Yes, that’s right – three company executives of a multi-billion dollar multi-national award winning company have been arrested and thrown in jail because three people claim that, more than a decade ago, someone tried to recruit them in to Amway, and they believe Amway is illegal and in violation of the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Scheme.

Sorry, India, but this is shameful.

Indian contacts have suggested to me that the problem may be that Amway India is not corrupt and refuses to pay the bribes that local officials typically demand. Corruption is, unfortunately, rife in India, with most Indians reporting they have had to pay bribes to officials (including police) in order to get normal tasks completed.

Amway India IBOs should keep the story of Amway Korea in mind. In 1993, David Ussery, general manager of Amway Korea, was arrested, interrogated, and then held in jail for a week, with various allegations made against Amway. Eventually the charges were dismissed, and today, Korea is Amway’s third biggest market. In 2011 the Korean Government named Amway one of the 30 most successful foreign companies in the country.

update: sources tell me the Amway executives have been granted bail

Amway Europe Average Incomes

Amway Logo

Back in 2009 Amway Europe released some data on the average incomes achieved by Amway Business Owners (ABO) at various levels in Western Europe. I’ve now received some updated statistics, for the Amway financial year from September 2010 to August 2011.

Level Average/mth Average/yr Highest/yr
Founders Platinum/Ruby/Sapphire €2,712 €32,548 €102,963
Founders Emerald €7,059 €84,709 €165,822
Founders Diamond €13,916 €166,990 €226,892

This data includes ABOs from the following countries -

Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Holland, Portugal, Scandinavia (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden), Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

Level 2009/2010 2010/2011 Change
Founders Platinum/Ruby/Sapphire €2,434 €2,712 +11.4%
Founders Emerald €4,668 €7,059 +51.2%
Founders Diamond €11,271 €13,916 +23.5%

All levels had a decent increase in income, especially Founders Emerald, however for European ABOs, there’s still concern when comparing to Amway North America incomes (using EUR-USD exchange rates as of September 1, 2010) -

Level Europe/yr
(2010)
North America/yr
(2010)
Founders Platinum $41,273 $51,437
Founders Emerald $107,415 $135,052
Founders Diamond  $211,752 $602,467

It appears the Founders Diamond discrepancy might be because in the US it includes Founders Diamond and above, thus including high achievers such as Founders Crown Ambassadors, whereas the European data seems not to. The discrepancy in Founders Platinum income is even worse than it appears though, as in Europe the statistics include Sapphires, whereas the US disclosure document states they’re excluded in the North American data. On top of this, Platinums and above generate more in sales than their North American equivalents, with 10000PV/mth required to qualify Platinum in Europe, and only 7500PV/mth in North America.

Why are North American Platinums and above getting paid more for lesser results than their European counterparts? I’ve no idea, but it may be one reason why some European markets like Amway Germany have been going backwards. Even so, these are still great incomes for a part-time business!

Get the facts about Amway