As you may or may not know, my former post on the MLM company Team Everest has created quite a stir. Granted, members of the company offended by my previous comments have created most of the stir, but it has created a stir nonetheless. Apparently when searching for ‘Team Everest’ with Google my post on the company appears before their own company pages – giving people a negative vibe about the company before they even visit the company’s website. Ironically, the more they comment and belabor the issue, the higher the post climbs within Google’s ranks. However, being threatened with lawsuits and the defaming of my good name I’ve decided to write this post to make everything crystal clear for those who didn’t understand it the first time.
The comments about me personally don’t bother me as much as the accusation that the facts in my previous post were not true. Not wanting to be called I liar I have agreed to post an “addendum” to my previous post by clarifying my position and restating the facts that were not true.
So, first of all I just want to be clear that I do not believe that the business practices of Team Everest are fraudulent. I have therefore moved the previous entry from ‘Fraud’ to ‘Multi-Level Marketing’ at the threat of a lawsuit. What I do want to make clear are the potential dangers of joining a MLM organization such as Team Everest – and I’m not the only one shouting about these dangers. For more information on determining whether or not you should join a MLM company you can visit the following sites:
- The 10 Big Lies of Multi-Level Marketing
- Pyramid Scheme Alert
- Inc Magazine Online
- Luke Setzer Essay – including another dozen links to MLM-related sites
- The SEC and Multilevel Marketing
- Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
These sites do a great job of listing the potential dangers of MLM companies as well as statistics regarding their success and failure rates and reports on MLM companies that have been found to be fraudulent. However, like everything in life, only you can make the decision whether or not an MLM is a fit for you. My personal opinion is that MLM companies do not have a great track record and should be avoided, which was the intent of my last post. In fact, a telephone survey of over 200 tax preparers in Idaho and Utah conducted by www.mlm-thethruth.com as well as an “extensive analysis of available public documents” revealed that “about 99.9% of total participants (those beneath the TOPPâ€™s [top of the pyramid promoters] in the overall pyramid of participants) lose money.” I didn’t conduct the survey, so take it as you will, but it sounds like their own first-hand research has revealed some interesting information regarding MLMs.
As for the errors in my “reporting” I received a very long email outlining the errors of my ways. Fortunately, most of the email contained points related to my opinions and not any facts, but there were a few errors in the facts that I did report. For clarification they are:
- The Ferox pills are not “literally” magic pills. I thought that most people knew that “magic pills” went out of style with Jack and the Beanstalk but apparently I was wrong.
- The office I visited did have furniture. (It also had empty cubicles.)
- The new CEO’s previous companies were Utah-based, not from the South. I would love to see a list of these companies by the way, but the new CEO’s profile is not yet online. Oh, and apparently she has lived in Utah for 20 years – my bad. She’s originally from the South.
- Apparently the goal for the end of July was 1,000 not 5,000 members. According to the comments to the last post, however, the goal of 50,000 members by Christmas was accurate.
- The founder of the company is not the president of the Hair Club For Men. Again, I thought this was obvious. I suppose humor is a lost art form. But who can forget Sy Sperling’s catchy phrase, “I’m not just the president, I’m also a client.” I loved those commercials…
The rest of my “incorrect facts” were related to my own opinions about Team Everest and the situation that led me there. However, while I am in a “confessing” mood I thought I would also set the record straight by stating that the first time I had ever heard of a job opportunity with Team Everest – accounting or design related – was from the comments on my last post. Apparently they knew more about my potential future in the company than I did.
The Bottom Line:
The bottom line is that I was a person who was deceived into coming to that initial MLM meeting. Regardless of what anyone else there might think, I was the one on the other line when the phone call invitation came and the name of the company or the nature of the company never came up. (Ty Tribble has a great post about honesty in MLM organizations here by the way) In response to that deceit I did what I do best – I wrote about it.
My former post was written to be humorous and to warn people about the dangers of MLM companies in general – which are real. Many of the members of Team Everest even agreed that my post was humorous and one even said, “well congratulations I was entertained.” Thanks for the compliment – I thought it was humorous myself.
One more thing regarding blogging and what I say on this site in general… if you have a problem with something I have said, please let me know. If you want to whine and complain – you know where to contact me. However, to bring other people into your witch hunt is just not cool. Dr. Zimbelman, one of the commenters on the previous post, was a great professor of mine and is an honorable and outstanding guy who also has a passion for exposing things that could potentially be dangerous for consumers – including pyramid schemes – the forefather to the multi-level marketing company. To attack him personally and/or professionally just shows a level of immaturity that I would expect from my own children (they’re 2). He was never asked to comment on this blog in any way, shape, or form and has no control over what I write. I am no longer a student at BYU and therefore no matter how upset you may become over what I say, contacting my mom won’t do anything – I moved out a long time ago.
Instead of wasting your time fighting my right to express my opinion about multi-level marketing I encourage anyone involved with a MLM company to prove me wrong. Not with your comments telling me that I “missed out” on your “great opportunity” or telling me how many people have signed up. But in 6 months or a year, shoot me an email and let me know how the company is doing. Spend your efforts signing up more people instead of trying to discredit my opinions. Spend your time building the largest MLM empire the world has ever seen! Build a NuSkin or an Amway – but do it through your actions instead of trying to discredit your opponents. NuSkin has a long list of opposers – there’s even a MLM-Survivor webpage! People deserve both sides of the story as much supporters of MLM companies hate to admit. After all, the truth shall set you free, right?
Just check out my posts and comments about 12 Daily Pro. Even though Charis Johnson is facing some serious crimial charges for stealing millions, there are still loyal supporters that claim that she is innocent and quite literally their “financial savior” for making them so much money. On the other hand is the majority of former 12 Daily Pro members who aggresively defended the company until the FBI and SEC got involved; it was only then that they realized how stupid they were to invest money in the scheme. It is often difficult for people within a company or situation they feel strongly about to take a step back and see it from another perspective. That it what this blog is all about – to provide my perspective on money and personal finance matters so that those who read it can gain an additional perspective. If everyone who didn’t know much about personal finance didn’t have advocates like me, shouting warnings from the rooftops, they might believe every junk fax or email claiming to know the “secrets of making millions!” or wire $5,000 to those Nigerian money scams. Information is power and I love to give people more power by providing them with as much information as I can. That’s what the web is all about…