Who falls for multi level marketing schemes? ~ News, Politics and Anything Else I Want to Say

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Who falls for multi level marketing schemes?

A month or so ago I met a guy at the NCHSAA swimming championship. He introduced himself and we just shot the shit for a while. We talked about work and the like. He lives near where I grew up. He ended up saying he worked for this company that might need some development work (when I hear development work I think writing software, he obviously didn't and wanted to use development in the loosest sense) and asked for my card. Sure. I am always open to doing work on the side if I have the time, it is worth my while and there aren't any conflicts of interest with my current employers.

Last week he called me and asked me if I was still interested. If so, could I meet with him for 15 minutes or so on Saturday at 2pm. He lives about an hour and a half away and was making the trip my way to meet with some other people too. I initially said I was busy despite having no plans because I didn't really want to schedule something in the middle of a beautiful Saturday afternoon. I eventually did agree to meet him in the food court at the mall just a few minutes from where I live. I was curious.

By now I am already thinking this is going to be a waste of my time but I wanted to go to the mall and check out new cell phones and look at the new, very sexy MacBook Air anyway so why not. I called him up about an hour before we were to meet to try and get more details from him. He was very vague and essentially just said meet with me and I'll tell you. He did tell me the name of the company he worked for though. I am glad I found that out because it made the meeting so much more fun!

He said he worked for LTD at first but eventually I got the full name from him: Leadership Team Development. Oh Google how thou art my friend. Thanks to whois I found out the site was owned by one 42 year old business man named John Dumproff of Raleigh, NC who apparently has a sweet NCSU themed room that is a little better now that Daryl's is out of business. The best part was all the info on the actual site though. You get to learn about i-Commerce conglomerates (whatever that is), cutting out the middle man, multiplying your time and all the big company names they could drop on 1 page. That was all on this secret part of the site. I say secret because the only way to get to it from the home page is using a login. Google doesn't need no stinkin' login though! Oh the security!

Anyway, I was glad to be armed with this information going into the meeting. I wasn't sure this was the same thing but since both the site and this guy were heavy on the marketing speak and lite on the anything meaningful speak, I suspected I was looking at the same thing. And boy was it the same thing! After exchanging pleasantries the guy whipped out a brochure with the same exact information (graphics included) as the website. I knew I was in for a good inner laugh then.

The guy (his name was Justin) just started going over the brochure. He showed me how the middle man got his cut and how I could get rid of the middle man and help get products directly to consumers (I thought to myself, hey, wouldn't that make me the new middle man?).

He also talked about how I could be making 30k - 60k in the first 6 - 18 months and after 2 - 5 years I could be making 150k a year. It would only take 15 hours a week. He also said earlier that he had been working for the company for about 4 years. So why is some guy that is obviously pulling in 150k a year by now having to recruit people like me at swim meets? Just another of those great observations I kept to myself. I think throwing out those numbers is how they do get people to fall for their spiel.

Another of my favorite parts was the explanation of the four different ways to bring in income. The first 2 are active. You can be an employee (check for me) or you can be a business owner (also check, but I imagine if he had known that he would know I had enough sense to not fall for his presentation, then again I did get suckered in to meeting him in the first place). Next came the passive income. You have your investments (check) and your business system. WTF is a business system? It is what they wanted to sell me on obviously but I wasn't buying. The next step of course was to go to a seminar but I had already wasted enough time on this and it wasn't that funny or entertaining for me.

I asked for more details before I told him NO to try and figure out really what they do to make these awesome sums of money but didn't get a satisfactory answer. I did get another funny comment though. I was asked if I had ever heard of Amazon.com. I don't even want to get into how funny that question is to me but the answer is yes I have heard of Amazon. He also said they were in the middle of an expansion. That is such an empty marketing term. They wanted to get their 1 billion dollar a year business to 10 billion with this expansion! You know who else had about a billion in revenue last year? Netflix. That's right, this company I have never heard of but should have is brining in a billion a year. They aren't like Enron.

I also liked the "training" slant. Justin didn't get into many details beyond these few selling points but something about training was mentioned. The company does have team development in the name after all.

And one more note. The owner of the site also owns ltdkate.com which looks like a site to help all those new "business system" starters to run their "system" for a mere $325/yr plus.

I also found a few others who have encountered people from the same company:


Peter said...

I'm glad you decided to not only write this article but post some pics from the brochure. I met this guy at a supermarket after his girlfriend started talking to me and my girlfriend, who then called me a few days later to talk about "work". I just met with this guy that went through almost the exact same routine, and now wants me to come to their "workshop" at 8pm another day to learn more. I'm going to give him a no in the nicest way I know how, because I saw the exact same pictures in the little brochure that he had. I tried to Google the company name on the card he gave me, but no such luck. Just wanted to thank you for confirming my belief that this is a waste of time. Wonder if this is a big MLM in the NC area (I'm currently in the Raleigh area)

Kevin said...

i was also curious about this, and i searched for "leadership team development wtf" and found this site. informative, thanks.

Anonymous said...

For real this is helpful. I work with my cousin at Denny's and she presented this "business opportunity" to me and then set up a time for 3 o clock on a sat to bring her friend over and go over this... they spent about 20 minutes and if I didn't pay close attention to the brochure, I would have never noticed the "ICOMMERCE" on the front, they never mentioned the name of what this business was called and when he was done he basically told me he was sure I had questions, but didn't give me any time to ask... then he asked if there were any nights this week that I was busy around 8 or nine to get more info and when I said no all of a sudden there was this formal business informational meeting at 7:45 on tuesday coincidentally right across from where I work.
All-in-all I got a very wierd vibe from these people so i looked it up online, but I when I saw the words "scam" and stuff I really didn't want to believe that my own cousin would be involved in a scam...
But all these other experiences I've read about describe an almost identical experience and I really don't know if I can really deny it anymore...
thanks for this article

Anonymous said...

Oh how sad the world is with close minded people such as yourself.

I myself am not an IBO, however, I do know of LTD. They have offices in Raleigh, they are real people, running a real business.

Every company you encounter in a pyramid scheme isn't it? You work for IBM - there are sales people, who bring in business to help pay for the salaries of those below them. How is Amyway any different.

The bottom line is if you apply your small mind and really look int it, Amway isn't a scheme.

Basically they have a website, it has LOTS of great products, you buy those products instead of buying stuff at the store. You then have Mom, or Brother or Sister buy stuff from the site, and then you get money for their sales, and your own. How is that a scheme?

Look into things before you judge. The products offered are everything you would see in BJ's, and other affliates such as Circuite City, Party City, etc.

So....come on now you little children, stop feeding the world your nonsense....the only thing that is different between you and the IBO who approached you is that that IBO, is making A LOT more money than you!

Wa wa...get some tissue, stop crying.

danno49 said...

"Every company you encounter in a pyramid scheme isn't it? . . . How is Amyway any different."

No. That is not true. The difference between Amway and other businesses is that in other businesses, one does not have to ask friends and family to buy from them. In normal life, one simply gets to choose what store they want to buy from online or in the meat world. People in general don't like being met with sales pitches if they are not in the market for whatever it is you're selling. If being a social pariah is what you like out of life ("Here comes the Amway guy. He's going to try and sell us something. Let's go!") then by all means, go for it. As for me? I'll buy what I want, when I want, where I want, from whom I want. And I am certain 95% of the populace agrees with me. Hence the popular view of it being a scam or pyramid scheme. While not accurate in a legal sense, it has a certain negative stigma to it that people just can't get past. And that has everything to do with what I said above.

Just incidentally, your argument was null and void from your first sentence. Insulting people who don't agree with your position is the first sign of defeat.

rhumen said...

I full agree with the last comment. I was just approached with this concept by a "new friend." unfortunately, i follow my gut feeling about it because as SOON as the words came out of his mouth "i'd like you to meet a friend of mine who's expanding his business" I felt that tingling that your gut gives you when its screaming for you to stop.

my research confirmed my suspicions with info from whois, google and this blog.

Thank you for writing this!

Jade Graham said...

it is worth my while and there aren't any conflicts of interest with my current employers. multi level marketing

Vincent said...

ACN is one of the current biggest MLM out there scamming people. Make sure to look into it before signing up...


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