A common cry of the anti-Amway zealots is that the “odds” or “chance” of an individual being successful in Amway are low. They’ll typically look at some of Amway’s published statistics, such as the fact that in 2005, .0120% of “Direct Fulfillment IBOs of Record” qualifed at the Diamond level, and claim that your “odds” of going Diamond are 1 in 8333, so you’d be better off at Vegas, where your “odds” of winning on a single number in say, roulette are 1 in 29.
Oft-quoted anti-MLM zealot Jon M. Taylor, Ph.D., President, Consumer Awareness Institute, and Director, Pyramid Scheme Alert, for example, claims that –
The odds of winning from a single spin of the wheel in a game of roulette in Las Vegas is 286 times as great as the odds of profiting after enrolling as an Amway/Quixtar “distributor”
A quick bit of math shows that Dr Taylor thus claims the “odds” of profiting in Amway are 1 in 8294. He calculates these “odds” based on numerous assumptions (for which I might add, he has next to no data to support), including what peoples expenses are. Now, for the purposes of this post I’m going to ignore these type of assumptions, but if they are correct (they’re not) then his “odds” might be a reasonable statistic to consider, except for one thing – unlike roulette, Amway is not a game of chance.
For many people, the term “odds” is most familiar in the area of betting and horse racing, so I’ll use an example from that arena. The Kentucky Derby is one of the world’s biggest horse races. The 2008 Derby had 20 starters, of which (ties aside), only 1 could win. What are the odds than any particular horse would win? Using the thought processes of anti-MLM zealots like Jon Taylor, they’d be 1 in 20, or 5%. In reality, bookmakers provided betting odds that ranged from 50:1 (2%) for Big Truck to 3:1 (25%) for the eventual winner, Big Brown.
Why aren’t the “odds” of winning the Kentuck Derby for each horse simply 5%, as Dr Taylor’s Amway assertion would have you believe? Simple – horse racing is not a game of chance. Bookmakers take in to account many factors in deciding whether a horse is likely to win, including past performance, track conditions, the weather, the jockey etc etc.
The same principles apply to the Amway business. The “odds” of your success vary dramatically based on a number of factors. The first factor is, of course, determining precisely what “success” is for you. For example, in their investigation into a proposed new business opportunity rule, the FTC said that MLM company Shaklee reports 85% of folk who join that company do so purely to receive products at distributor pricing. “Success” for a such a person would be placing an order and receiving it successfully!
If this was your goal in joining Amway (and it is for many people), what are your “odds” of success, using the methodology proposed by Dr Jon Taylor?
Goal: Buy Amway products at distributor pricing
Odds of success: 50% (Jon Taylor methodology)
50%?!?!? Surely everyone who registers with Amway as an Amway business owner gets their products at distributor pricing? Well … yes (UK&ROI market aside, which has a slightly different model) … however statistics revealed in the Team vs Quixtar dispute of 2007 show that only 50% of folk who registered with Quixtar ever placed an order after joining.
I’m sure you’ll agree though, that shopping from Amway/Quixtar is not a game of chance. There are things you can do to influence your success – you could for example, actually place an order! Voila – your “odds” have suddenly doubled to around 100%.
Dr Jon Taylor, Robert FitzPatrick, and other anti-Amway zealots such as “JoeCool” and “Rocket” would have us ignore not only what an individual’s goal(s) are, but also factors that influence that goal. Clearly this is a ridiculous and indefensible position. In Dr Taylor’s case, it’s a disgraceful one, as he is the holder of a Ph.D in Applied Psychology from the University of Utah. Having qualifications in psychology myself, I can assure you that you do not achieve a Ph.D. without a reasonable grasp of probability and statistics.
With regards to MLM statistics, Dr Taylor is either delusional or utterly dishonest.
So what are the real odds of success in Amway for various goals, and what factors influence them? Well, clearly if your goal is wholesale price purchasing, then your odds of success are close enough to 100% if you place an order. Just as clearly, someone who joins and never even places and orders products is extremely unlikely to ever make any money. Indeed, I would suggest the probability of success for that group is 0%. Using this kind of information, just like bookmakers with horses, we can come up with “odds” that better reflect reality.
The 2008 Amway Global Sales Incentive Brochure reports for example that 0.3685% of North American IBOs qualify as Platinums or higher – that’s about 1 in 271. Yet we know that half of those 271 never even place an order, so their “odds” of reaching platinum were effectively zero. So …
If you place an order, your odds of being a platinum are about 1 in 135.
The TEAM vs Quixtar lawsuit in California also revealed that only 23.4% of Amway business owners ever sponsor anyone. While I’m sure there are folk who have qualified platinum purely on customer sales, without having sponsored anyone, it’s likely that the percentage who do so approximates zero. So …
If you sponsor at least one person, your odds of being a platinum are about 1 in 63.
Refining it further, the TEAM case revealed that only 12.9% of Amway business owners ever receive a bonus on downline volume. To receive a bonus you have to have a downline and at least 50PV of customer volume, plus be at a higher bonus bracket than the downline.
If you qualify for a bonus on downline volume, then your odds of being a platinum are 1 in 35.
Let’s put this in perspective. If all you do is join Amway and do enough to earn a bonus on downline volume, then already your “odds” of being close to developing a business earning $50,000K/yr+ (Q-12 Platinum) is approaching 1 in 35 – compare this to Dr Taylors simplistic claim that the “odds” of simply making a profit are 1 in 8294 (0.01%)
Clearly, earning a profit in the Amway business involves a lot more than simply signing a form and paying the registration fee, as Dr Taylor and others would have us believe. Taking action makes a difference! Indeed, the BERR vs Amway case in the United Kingdom revealed some even more astounding statistics –
- only 6% of agents bought Amway products to sell on
- 10% of agents make a profit
Leaving aside the fact this shows Dr Taylor’s claims re profit were out by a factor of 1000(!!!), it also reveals something else. It’s a reasonable assumption that those agents who made a profit included virtually all of those who onsold the product to consumers. If so –
if you have customers, then your “odds” of making a profit from an Amway business are approximately 100%
Amway is not a game of chance. It’s a business. Treat it as such and the odds of success are clearly very good indeed.