EDITORIAL: Salt Lake Tribune Publishes Series On MLM; Reader Claims Reporter A ‘Broke’ Purveyor Of ‘Negativity’; Separately, Len Clements (IQ-155) ‘Assumes’ Reporter Was ‘Duped’ By The ‘Flimflam’ Of MLM Critics

We highly recommend an even-handed series the Salt Lake Tribune published on the subject of multilevel marketing in Utah. (Link appears at bottom of post.) The series includes comments from MLM enthusiasts, the Direct Selling Association, attorneys for well-known MLM companies, MLM critics and the FTC.

Meanwhile, the series shows that MLM has some political clout, and points out that Utah has more MLM firms per capita than any other place in the United States. It also publishes data supplied by a number of companies.

The series is accessible through a “State of the Debate” Blog entry by George Pyle, a longtime journalist who was a finalist in 1998 for the Pulitzer Prize in Editorial Writing. Don’t miss the cartoon that accompanies Pyle’s presentation of the links to the stories. The cartoon pokes fun at the ready supply of over-the-top MLM sales pitches.

Pyle’s Blog entry does not hold forth on the subject of MLM; it simply introduces the series. Readers can draw their own conclusions after clicking on the links and reading the stories

The series consists of articles by Tribune reporters Steven Oberbeck, Matt Canham, Tom Harvey and Kirsten Stewart.

MLM Fans (Again) Demonstrate Lack Of PR Savvy

As often is the case when media outlets tackle the subject of MLM, the post-publication opinions of the Tribune’s readers were strongly divided. MLM perhaps always will be a “scam” to one side in the long-running debate — and a marvelous thing to the other. One of the best things about the series is the comments submitted by readers. The PP Blog believes the comments submitted by MLM enthusiasts are the most instructive.

Although the PP Blog publishes relatively few stories about MLM, the ones it has published have been met with organized (and bizarre) resistance. After publishing a series of stories on the MPB Today “grocery” MLM last summer and fall, supporters of the firm arrived on the Blog to call MPB Today’s critics  “roaches,” “IDIOTS,” “clowns,” “terrible” people, “misleading” people, people who have led a “sheltered life,” people who have been “chained up in a basement,” people who have “chips” on their shoulders, spewers of “hot air,” “naysayers,” “complainers,” “trouble maker[s]” and “crybabies.” (See this editorial.)

They were doing this on behalf of a business that had any number of reps who apparently licensed themselves to film commercials inside Walmart stores and to use Walmart’s intellectual property to drive dollars to MPB Today. At least two reps declared it best to do business with them because other MPB Today affiliates were lying scammers. Meanwhile, another MPB rep sought to drive business to the firm by creating a script that depicted President Obama and Michelle Obama as welfare recipients aspiring to eat dog food. The President and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were cast as Nazis, with Obama subordinate to Clinton, who also was cast as a drunk.

One thing that continues to drive criticism of MLM is the bizarre  behavior of some of its supporters. This behavior can be described fairly as cult-like, Stepfordian, incongruous, supremely awkward and monumentally ham-handed. It is utterly predictable, and the lack of PR savvy contributes to the industry’s poor reputation.

In response to Oberbeck’s story, which referenced the disclosure statements of a number of well-known companies and reported that “nearly all” distributors “will fail,” one reader surmised in a Comments thread that the Tribune reporter was “broke” and driven by “negativity.” It was a familiar refrain.

Naturally the comment precluded the possibility that the reporter had any pure motives such as enlightening the Tribune’s readership about some of the realities of MLM. How the industry ever could hope to elevate the debate by attacking the messenger — in this case, Oberbeck — is left to the imagination.

What happened at the Tribune, however, is hardly unique.

After the U.S. Secret Service seized tens of millions of dollars in the AdSurfDaily Ponzi MLM case in 2008, some ASD affiliates advanced theories that the agency’s work was the work of “Satan” and that a Florida television station should be charged with Deceptive Trade Practices for carrying news unflattering to the company. They later complained that reporters seemed disinclined to put much stock in their point of view.

Prosecutors said ASD created as many as 40,000 victims while gathering at least $110 million in a classic Ponzi scheme put together by Andy Bowdoin, a recidivist felon. Rather than distancing themselves from Bowdoin, some ASD members reportedly sent him brownies and delicious baked goods. Others signed a petition calling for the prosecutors to be investigated. Still others advanced a theory that the U.S. Secret Service was guilty of interference with commerce. The key prong of the theory was that all commerce is legal as long as both parties to a contract agree it is legal, a position that would legalize (and legitimize) Ponzi schemes, slavery, human trafficking and narcotics trafficking, among other crimes.

Len Clements Lectures Tribune Reporter

Well-known MLM aficionado Len Clements, who advertises his IQ of 155, apparently believed that Oberbeck’s story in the Tribune deserved a response in the form of a five-page “open Response Letter.”

Clements noted in his “open Response Letter” to Oberbeck that he assumed the reporter had been “duped” by MLM critics Robert FitzPatrick and Jon Taylor — and Tracy Coenen before them.

In his “open Response Letter,” Clements accused Fitzpatrick, Taylor and Coenen, a forensic accountant, of being “anti-MLM antagonists” who were “slathering” the profession with misplaced criticism.

“Slathering” is a good and powerful word. It doesn’t describe the efforts of FitzPatrick, Taylor and Coenen to educate the public about the perils of endless-chain recruiting schemes, but it’s a good word nonetheless. We’re glad that Clements, who advertises his IQ of 155, used it; it gives us a chance to use the word “unctuous.”

Indeed, we view Clements’ “open Response Letter” as “unctuous.” It begins with a doozy of a misplaced modifier, but that’s only worth a brief mention — and only because Clements advertises his IQ of 155. Plenty of people with high IQs don’t have command of grammar, which likely bores them to tears.

The reason we’re using the word “unctuous” to describe Clements’ “open Response Letter” is that it practically drips with stinking, vomitous verbal slime. It’s the sort of passive-aggressive letter in which the insult is deeply embedded in the vomit of the opening lines, with the vomit theoretically neutralized later with softer words that are supposed to demonstrate Clements’ sincere desire to be helpful.

Any “professional journalist” should be interested in “accurately, fairly and responsibly” presenting the topics they write about, Clements unctuously points out at the top of the letter, setting himself up as a journalism cop. After implying that Oberbeck isn’t a pro and hasn’t done his homework, Clements goes on to trash the story and the MLM-unfriendly sources used in the story.

The roadmap to professional reporting about MLM as provided by Clements in his “open Response Letter” includes at least 10 footnotes. It was submitted to the newspaper in the form of a link to a  PDF that contains multiple link’s to Clements’ website. The document is unctuously titled “OberbeckResponse” and asserts that Oberbeck’s reporting “seem[s] to betray any objective research and analysis of the subject.”

Clements, who started out by lecturing Oberbeck on what constitutes professional journalism, eventually positions himself as the sincere cure for what purportedly had dragged down the quality of the reporter’s work.

“Should you ever need assistance in researching any topic related to the field of multilevel marketing I sincerely hope you will contact me,” Clements un-vomits to Oberbeck at the conclusion of the “open Response Letter,” after earlier coming out of the gate with embedded slime, a lecture on professionalism and an attack on sources used by the reporter as “remarkably ignorant” people and the purveyors of “flimflam.”

At least Clements didn’t summon his advertised IQ of 155 to call them “roaches” or to declare that Oberbeck was “broke.” He merely relied on his unctuousness. In doing so, he demonstrated once again that MLM often is its own worst enemy.

A five-page, de facto letter to the editor — one filled with slime reimagined as a sincere effort to be helpful and 10 footnotes? This is supposed to beneficial to the trade?

Little wonder that MLM finds itself the topic of constant criticism.

Access the Tribune’s MLM series at this gateway page.

About the Author

59 Responses to “EDITORIAL: Salt Lake Tribune Publishes Series On MLM; Reader Claims Reporter A ‘Broke’ Purveyor Of ‘Negativity’; Separately, Len Clements (IQ-155) ‘Assumes’ Reporter Was ‘Duped’ By The ‘Flimflam’ Of MLM Critics”

  1. GOOD LORD !!!!!!!!!!!

    Now I know exactly how Isaac Newton and Socrates felt when they experienced their “Eureka” moment.

    It’s all suddenly clear to me.

    Lenny isn’t an MLM apologist at all !!!!!!!!!!!

    How could I have missed it ????

    His mission all along has been to infiltrate MLM and do a fifth columnist hatchet job on the “industry” from the INSIDE !

    “Deep Throat” bringing down a President was nothing, compared to Lenny who works tirelessly to bring down an entire INDUSTRY.

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  2. We let Lenny say his IQ is 155 Actually I don’t believe this, the test that 99% of people take for their IQ score is the Otis-Lennon Survey, which only accurately goes to 150, people who have to take the high level IQ assessment usually get offered scholarships to Ivy League schools and such, but you don’t see many of them in MLM. I’m calling you out Lenny, what’s the name of the IQ test you took?
    But I digress, what I started to say was, we let Lenny say he has an IQ of 155 but he doesn’t grasp that that score is metric, IQ Celsisus, and a 155 equates to an Otis-Lennon of about 70-75, so you can see where he’s confused.

    As to Lenny giving advice on journalism to anyone, I’d suggest a look at his own experience as the Administrator of http://www.scam.com which can accurately be compared to Libya being the chair of the UN Human Rights Committee (I think they still are, technically).

    So, Lenny, what’s the name of that test? If you took it you’d remember it, you have to go someplace special to take it, too, where did you go?

    (don’t hold your breath waiting on him to answer)

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  3. Ha ha ha ha ha…………a 5 page troll letter.
    Guess he’s upset that they didn’t make him the editor on his command like the idiot made him admin at scam for the oh so short tenure.
    What a loser.
    I guess math isn’t his strong suit with that alleged 155 IQ. With my measly 125 IQ, my real business is still going strong after starting with nothing 6 years ago……how many mlms has he pumped and dumped in that time?
    If mlm is the way to go, why don’t any of these geniuses stay in one and survive? The answer is pretty simple.

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  4. And when did he find time to write this diatribe when he’s suppose to be out debunking the Amega Wand that he was begging for help to do.

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  5. So glad you mentioned that Whip. Maybe it’s the placebo effect of all these MLMs that keeps him going.

    And isn’t an IQ an indication of the speed at which a mind works and not its direction? IQ and common sense do not necessarily go hand in hand.

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  6. Patrick,

    Thank you for drawing additional attention to my Response Letter, and for the unintended affirmation. I always know I got it right when those who respond to my anti-MLM rebuttals are so desperate to find fault with them that they must resort to pointing out my typos and grammatical errors. The ad hominem personal attacks are just additional evidence that you have no actual counter-argument.

    And I do not “advertise” my IQ, I parenthetically list it after the perfectly appropriate Mensa listing under “Association Memberships” on my resumé. You, however, just advertised it FIVE TIMES within your utterly impotent blog post, and the cowardly anonymous trolls you seem to attract mentioned it another five.

    Do you actually have a rebuttal to anything I wrote?

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  7. Len Clements: Do you actually have a rebuttal to anything I wrote?

    Why bother ???

    Some truths are self evident.

    One might as well spend ones’ time over at the Flat Earth Society.

    Personally, I think it’s actually easier and more to prick the mighty Clements’ ego every now and then and watch it do the work way more efficiently.

    With MLM having friends like that……….and all that stuff.

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  8. Len Clements: Len Clements
    Mar 5, 2011 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    And I do not “advertise” my IQ, I parenthetically list it after the perfectly appropriate Mensa listing under “Association Memberships” on my resumé. You, however, just advertised it FIVE TIMES within your utterly impotent blog post, and the cowardly anonymous trolls you seem to attract mentioned it another five.

    Do you actually have a rebuttal to anything I wrote?

    Well, no, not a rebuttal at this time, but a question regarding your Mensa association.

    According to Joy Martin, Executive Assistant American Mensa, Ltd.,…

    Hello,

    According to our database, Mr. Clements was a member of American Mensa from February 23, 2001 through March 31, 2005.

    If you have any further questions or concerns, let me know.

    Regards,

    Joy Martin

    Did you manage to scrape up enough funds to get your membership out of arrears or are you lying about your Mensa association?

    Thank you for your time on this matter.

      (Quote)

  9. This USANA company has had some controversy:
    (From the Wiki entry)

    In March 2007, USANA was accused by Barry Minkow, an executive of the Fraud Discovery Institute of operating an illegal pyramid scheme.[36] An informal investigation was undertaken by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission concluded in January 2008 with the SEC recommending that no action be taken against the company.[37] USANA lodged suits against Minkow and his company claiming defamation and stock manipulation. USANA dropped the defamation suit and in March 2008 U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell threw out four of the five claims brought by USANA against Minkow ruling that USANAs claims violated California’s anti-SLAPP law for suing Minkow for fair criticism.[38] and that USANA did not show a reasonable probability of winning on those claims.[39] The judge also cited two examples where USANA failed to refute Minkow’s claims that their products were overpriced and of no better quality than other lower-priced brands.[40] The remaining charge of stock manipulation was settled in July 2008 when USANA and Minkow reached an undisclosed settlement, which included the removal of all USANA-related materials from the Fraud Discovery Institute website, a related Chinese website, and from YouTube. Minkow also agreed to never trade in USANA’s stock again.[41] Court documents show that USANA never pursued others whom they suspected of being part of the alleged stock manipulation nor did they ask for an injunction, their only avenue of release in this case.

    Why is Little Lenny running to support this company?
    From elsewhere (found by “Akhenaten”)

    What Mr. Len Clements fails to mention is that he is also a Usana distributor. Apparently he was awarded an existing distributorship and paid a nominal sum, alledgedly as he refuses to answer any questions concerning this, but what is clear is that this existing distributorship included a complete leg. Some people say that he was compensated by Usana for his defense of them on the Yahoo msg. board, which is now almost useless because of the SPAM generated by Usana supporters.

    More information on the history can be found here:
    http://www.realscam.com/f9/marketwave-inc-len-clements-65/index2.html#post489
    (credits to the original posters)

    Maybe after the “open letter”, Lenny will get another plaque.

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  10. Len:

    Actually the reporters did an excellent job of debunking your reply to their article in their article. You offered nothing new, but the same ole, same ole mantra all MLM’ers use. Congratulations on learning the mantra. As for your IQ, we really don’t care. You are the only one who seems obsessed with it.

    I checked out all the various MLM’s you were in, and I was shocked, mind you, shocked to see that you were not in the top 10% of the earners. Does this mean you didn’t “work” hard enough? Or didn’t you attend all the sales meetings? Maybe it was because you didn’t buy the tapes? Or are you “unteachable?” You can follow directions can’t you? Or maybe you are just a “quitter.” How else can you explain why you did not make the top earners category?

    I noticed that you conveniently omitted answering Gregg’s question as to what IQ test you took to get your 155 rating. But then that would expose the fact it was not a recognized test.

    I think you suffer from Glibido. You being a member of mensa you certainly know the definition, right?

    But please come back and answer Gregg’s question, as well as why you are not among the top earners in all the MLM programs you have been involved in, whether you bought your way in or not. So how’s your new great MLM venture going? Wonder how long before they figure out just who you really are and you’re gone?

    I can’t wait for your reply.

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  11. Tony H: Maybe after the “open letter”, Lenny will get another plaque.

    See, I wouldn’t wish any dental maladies on anyone. That’s just mean.

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  12. Howdy Len,

    “.,..Do you actually have a rebuttal to anything I wrote?.,.”

    You don’t like people who don’t like MLM, what’s to rebut? In your reply to Mr.Oberbeck you used a lot of charts to show that top earners weren’t always the earliest to join. Point well made. But on nearly everything else you found much indirect agreement with the facts in his article. He claimed that most people who join an MLM don’t make money and quit where you stated most people who join MLMs don’t make money because they quit. I like to split hairs as well as anyone but I don’t see much room to argue between those two positions.

    In particular I enjoyed your refutation of this quote from Mr.Oberbeck’s article:

    “.,..What isn’t disclosed are the often thousands of dollars in expenses distributors can incur trying to generate a commission, which might include time and the cost of purchasing promotional and sales-development materials from the companies or top distributors..,.”

    You correctly point out that the “tools business” is abhorrent, the way Amway allows it to operate. But your point on disclosure rings a little hollow, obviously if large investments into trainings and motivational materials are expected the prospective MLM recruit should be informed of that before they join. But I find your assertion that expected expenses are “routinely revealed by those with the most training and practical experience” to be self referential because in the attempt to refute that there never is disclosure you’re basically saying there always should be which sorta acknowledges that at least some less trained or experienced recruiters may fail to inform their prospects up front.

    And thank you for stating this most clearly:

    “.,..Well educated, seasoned distributors are loathe to waste their time on those prospects who have an aversion to investing considerable time and effort, and even a minimal $100 to $500 per month in business building training, tools and sales materials..,.”

    Mr.Oberbeck’s State of the Supplements article began with a breakdown of of the monthly earnings of NuSkin’s 11,000 active distributors. In your lengthy reply to him you didn’t choose to challenge his numbers so I’ll assume they have some foundation. It interests me that by his numbers better than 56% of them don’t earn enough in a given month to pay for even your $100 minimum investment and a full 87% don’t earn enough to pay $500. I sorta think that was the point he was trying to make, that there are reps out there who earn very little and pay more money than they earn on training and “tools.”

    If I can predict your reply it might be something like that if they purchased their training and tools from a recognized industry expert like yourself, and if they worked hard enough, they could join the remaining 13% of active NuSkin reps who do actually make more than $500 a month. At least I’d hope you say something like that, it would be kinda hard to sell your books, CDs and other “tools” if you didn’t.

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  13. Despite Mr Clements’ protestations, there’s a very good reason why the word “opportunity” will engender an almost instantaneous response of “It isn’t like Amway, is it ?” almost anywhere on the planet it’s used.

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  14. Where did Len go? I guess he wasn’t too thrilled we didn’t think his “brilliant” rebuttal was that “brilliant.” Actually I think he didn’t want to answer Gregg’s question as to what IQ test he took to get his infamous 155 score.

    Wait, maybe it was one of Professor Patrick Moriarty’s diploma mill/testing programs. I think Len needs one of the professor’s restoration of Karma sessions.

    By the way, if someone you have not heard from in a long time suddenly out of the blue calls you. They say they want to get together to catch up and tell you wht they have been up to, you know they want to pitch their MLM program. So tell them you would love to get together to catch up, and especially because you want to tell them about your great opportunity. They can’t get off the phone fast enough.

    Don’t you just love the professionalism of MLM’ers.

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  15. Tony H: This USANA company has had some controversy:
    (From the Wiki entry)
    Why is Little Lenny running to support this company?
    More information on the history can be found here:
    http://www.realscam.com/f9/marketwave-inc-len-clements-65/index2.html#post489
    (credits to the original posters)Maybe after the “open letter”, Lenny will get another plaque.

    Tony H,

    Allow me to catch you up…

    Minkow, an ex-con who was convicted of securities fraud, was paid $200,000 by three Usana short sellers (including fellow stock fraud felon Sam Antar) to produce his negative Usana report.

    Minkow hit Usana with a litany of charges in March of 2007, including being an illegal pyramid scheme, which caused their stock to drop 15% the day his hit piece was published – and TWSJ’s obligatory reporting of it. His numerous anti-Usana reports and YouTube videos garnered both an SEC and NASDAQ investigation and three class action lawsuits – one derivative, one shareholder and one distributor – all making virtually identical claims against Usana as appeared in Minkow’s initial 86 page report, often verbatim. The SEC “inquiry” found nothing even worthy of further investigation, the NASDAQ investigation ended quickly with no action taken, two of the lawsuits were dropped by the plaintiff, and one was dismissed on summary with the judge stating the accusations against Usana were not even “plausible”. Yet, Minkow claimed under oath that he made over $61,000 on his Usana puts.

    Usana sued Minkow in an effort to cause him to remove all of his online anti-Usana propaganda, to never comment on them again, and to never invest in Usana, long or short, in the future. Usana was entirely successful in achieving this goal.

    Last December a Florida Circuit Court Judge issued terminating sanctions against Minkow in response to a lawsuit by Lennar. The court found that Minkow had repeatedly lied under oath, destroyed or withheld evidence, concealed witnesses, deliberately tried to “cover up his misconduct”, and even lied to his own lawyers. The judge ruled that Minkow had perpetuated “a fraud on the court”. Previous to this the SEC had already begun an investigation of Minkow’s bash-n-cash activity, which is still active.

    Also, Usana not only did not compensate me for any of the rebuttals I produced to Minkow’s propaganda, they were not even aware of them until I sent them an advance copy for vetting. Furthermore, my responses to Minkow began in April of 2007 and continued through early 2008. I did not join Usana as a distributor until September 2008. The position I negotiated for and acquired, per Usana’s P&Ps, did not have a leg even remotely close to being a “complete leg”.

    I would suggest that you find more reliable information sources as to my personal background than the anonymous troll droppings you found on an anti-MLM message board.

    Len

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  16. Mr. Edginton,

    First, I very much respect the fact that you post under your real name. It is rare that anyone who responds critically to anything I write has the courage to be personally accountable for their comments.

    Having said that, yours is certainly one of the more baffling I have ever encountered. It almost seems as if you are responding from some form of alternate universe where everything is the mirror opposite to this one. To wit:

    You stated: “Actually the reporters did an excellent job of debunking your reply to their article in their article. You offered nothing new, but the same ole, same ole mantra all MLM’ers use. Congratulations on learning the mantra.”

    Unlike the typical MLM mantra, I offered an abundance of historical, logical, mathematical and legal precedent to support my points. Can you provide an example of where you believe the author “did an excellent job of debunking your reply to their article in their article”?

    You stated: “As for your IQ, we really don’t care. You are the only one who seems obsessed with it.”

    I have never, not one time within my lifetime, publicly promoted my IQ other than the parenthetical notation beside my Mensa listing under “Association Memberships” on my resumé. That’s it. The author of this blog, however, mentioned it FIVE times, and the commenters, including you, mentioned it another five. The trolls on realscam.com and scam.com have brought it up countless times and belabored it ad nauseam. If no one cares, why do YOU all keep bringing it up over and over and over…?

    You stated: “I checked out all the various MLM’s you were in, and I was shocked, mind you, shocked to see that you were not in the top 10% of the earners… How else can you explain why you did not make the top earners category?”

    I was the #1 earner in 7 of the 9 years I was with a company called Longevity Network (1995-2003), and was the #3 earner in a company called Beverly Hills International before that, and the #2 earner in another before that. It’s odd that you did all this online research on my past MLM history but didn’t bother to simply read this section of my resumé.

    You stated: “I noticed that you conveniently omitted answering Gregg’s question as to what IQ test you took to get your 155 rating. But then that would expose the fact it was not a recognized test.”

    First of all, it is my policy to not acknowledge those who hide behind anonymous screen names. But since *you* asked; There are several tests recognized as legitimate IQ tests, and the IQ scale can go above 200. That’s how Marilyn vos Savant got listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the highest IQ of 230 (or 185, depending on the methodology used). All the facts I just stated can be easily verified by a simple Google search. Furthermore, the Mensa test is based on either the Wonderlic test or the more extensive Stanford–Binet test, which is considered by many to be the more credible test. I chose to take the Stanford–Binet test.

    You stated: “I think you suffer from Glibido. You being a member of mensa you certainly know the definition, right?”

    I do, but the size of one’s vocabulary, and certainly their knowledge of urban slang, has nothing what-so-ever to do with intelligence. You knew that, right?

    You stated: “So how’s your new great MLM venture going? Wonder how long before they figure out just who you really are and you’re gone?”

    I can only assume you are referring to the non-MLM consulting and technology company I was recently hired by. This would fit perfectly with the rest of the gross ignorance you have displayed about who I am and what I do. I was thoroughly vetted by this company, which was a process that I’m certain did not include seeking the commentary of anonymous trolls on realscam.com. They have a tendency to make crap up. But you knew that, too, right?

    You stated: “Where did Len go? I guess he wasn’t too thrilled we didn’t think his ‘brilliant’ rebuttal was that ‘brilliant.'”

    Ironically, Len spent the weekend at an Association of Network Marketing Professional’s conference discussing with a large group of like-minding, well, Network Marketing Professionals, how to reduce the hype spewed by inexperienced, overzealous distributors and increase the level of professionalism within this profession.

    During a debate class many years ago I was told, “If you can’t diminish the credibility of your opposition’s point, try to diminish the credibility of your opposition”. This is the common tactic used when anti-MLM critics don’t like my rebuttals to their commentary. Thus, the emphasis on mocking my intelligence, education, appearance, etc.. You seem to be practicing the same tactic. Do you have any actual rebuttal to any of the points I made in my response letter?

    Len

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  17. Len Clements: Do you actually have a rebuttal to anything I wrote?

    Not going to play your destructive game, Len. Utah’s MLM landscape needs more sunlight, not less — and you’ve summoned your advertised IQ of 155 and suffocating unctuousness not only to further cloud the issues and darken the sky, but also to appoint yourself a journalism cop.

    I’m well aware that you insist that your aim is to clarify the issues. The only mystery to me is why you even bothered to address Tribune reporter Steven Oberbeck as “Mr.” before you unleashed your five pages of passive-aggressive slime.

    Utah residents by the thousands are getting their clocks cleaned by scammers, affinity fraudsters, conspiracy theorists, “sovereigns” and wackos of all stripes — and yet you’ve sought to undermine the credibility of one of the state’s most important newspapers, apparently for the high crime of not consulting with you before publishing an MLM story.

    After reading your letter a few times, I couldn’t make up my mind whether it signified comedy or tragedy — or whether there was any ceiling to your unctuousness. In any event, I’ve come to view your five-page letter with 10 footnotes as a sort of incubating catechism for the followers of the New MLM Religion: Attack the messenger. Load up the attack with footnotes. Toss some red meat to the base by calling someone a “devout anti-Usana propagandist.” Describe the critics as “wholly ignorant” and “remarkably ignorant.” Accuse them of “slathering” the MLM profession with thoughtless criticism and of “grossly” misrepresenting data.

    Your follow up comment to the PP Blog was just more of the same. Its post was “utterly impotent,” according to you. The Blog is a playground for “cowardly anonymous trolls.”

    Despite the pages of slime you directed at Oberbeck, there is NOTHING irrational about his conclusion that most distributors “will fail.” In fact, any other conclusion would be irrational — and yet you’re all offended, so much so that you came down from On High to lecture the clueless little people in a five-page letter with 10 footnotes.

    What’s the new protocol, Len? That reporters have to clear their sources through you before they can write an authoritative article on MLM?

    What’s next? Will reporters need to kiss your MLM ring and get your blessing before interviewing industry critics? Will you next assert that any story that excludes you as a source should be dismissed as the work of a hack? Will your next verbal hemorrhage include six pages and 12 footnotes, instead of your current standard of five and 10?

    After that, will we get seven pages of vomit and 14 footnotes? Is there any ceiling to your stifling unctuousness?

    Here is part of the backdrop against which the Tribune’s series appeared.

    http://patrickpretty.com/2010/06/13/officials-ponzi-schemes-investment-fraud-have-led-to-staggering-losses-in-utah-hundreds-of-potential-perpetrators-identified/

    Here is another part:

    http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2010/12/iworks.shtm

    There are MANY other parts. At least one of the ASD crackpots was a member of a nonexistent Utah “Indian” tribe. He claimed a federal judge in separate case owed him $30 million — and he accused the judge in the ASD case of “TREASON” and as many as 60 felonies.

    Another ASD figure from Utah tried to sue the judge for $29 TRILLION. His buddy, from Washington state, tried to sue a Franciscan healthcare facility for $9.2 billion. All of this madness touches Utah in one way or another.

    Now, YOU’VE planted the seed that Utah members of MLMs can’t even trust their own newspaper. What you did was contemptible and sickening.

    I hope your bizarre, five-page, self-referential missive with 10 footnotes and multiple links to your website is read by tens of thousands of people, perhaps especially by the good folks in Utah. The best thing the MLM trade can do is use your verbal hemorrhage as a blueprint on what NOT to do.

    Here are some things that professional PR and marketing strategists who do not advertise their IQs and may have slower minds can teach you:

    * Don’t pick fights with people who buy ink by the barrel.
    * Don’t attack/slime the messenger.
    * Don’t create opportunities for reporters and critics to turn a one-day story into a two-day (or longer) story.
    * Don’t provide the fuel to start a fire or throw gasoline on an existing fire.
    * Don’t reignite a doused fire.
    * Don’t provide the match to light a new fire.
    * Don’t provide fodder for web critics. (Your letter to the Trib now is a discussion topic on at least three forums.)
    * Almost all stories DO NOT require a response. (The response is what keeps a story living for second and subsequent days.)
    * Smug, self-appointed spokespeople and freelance “ambassadors” who inject themselves into stories are anathema to any trade. They fuel second-day stories, third-day stories, fourth-day stories, etc., guaranteeing that stories that should have died continue to live.
    * Smug, self-appointed spokespeople and freelance “ambassadors” who inject themselves into stories and make highly technical points or nuanced opinions to “correct” a factual error (real or imagined) are anathema to any trade and the bane of professional communicators.
    * In the case of MLM, which already has a serious image problem, smug, self-appointed spokespeople and freelance “ambassadors” who inject themselves into stories only make matters worse. Their suffocating arrogance causes long-term damage by keeping open wounds festering and encouraging new attacks.
    * Smug, self-appointed spokespeople and freelance “ambassadors” who inject themselves into stories undermine the authority and effectiveness of legitimate trade associations. If the trade association is the firefighter, the smug, self-appointed spokespeople and freelance “ambassadors” are the arsonists.
    * Smug, self-appointed spokespeople and freelance “ambassadors” generally are good at tossing red meat at people who already agree with them. They generally are not good at overcoming opposition and changing hearts and minds, which is contrary to the purposes of professional public relations.

    Utahns deserve constructive, informative debate. You gave them dripping, congealing slime of the sort that becomes a brain-clogging, fatty solid at room temperature, Len.

    Len Clements: And I do not “advertise” my IQ,

    Of course you do, Len. But feel free to continue to summon your advertised IQ of 155 — along with your suffocating unctuousness — to split hairs and plant the vacuous seed that a resumé may not constitute an “advertisement” per se. Your training in the trenches of disingenuous MLM wordsmithery (1)(2) is on full display. Don’t be surprised if the critics give you a good roasting in second-, third- and fourth-day stories/comments.

    You are a PR train wreck, Len. Even people with IQs of, say, 98, know it. I think it’s a safe bet that many of the little people just want you to STFU.

    You can’t, of course. The incubating catechism of the New MLM Religion demands that you jabber on . . . and on . . . and on — until there are so many clouds that the sky will never clear.

    Patrick

    (1) Technically not a word, but used as slang.
    (2) (1) above is the PP Blog’s first-ever footnote. Entry (2) made for posterity and to commemorate the historic occasion.

      (Quote)

  18. admin: Don’t be surprised if the critics give you a good roasting in second-, third- and fourth-day stories/comments.

    MLM critics all over the world are today taking a well earned rest.

    Why spend valuable time and resources pointing out the reasons MLM has the reputation it does, when it’s easier to sit back with a coffee or two and let Lenny Clements do the job for you.

    Keep ‘im talkin’, I say.

      (Quote)

  19. Len:

    I do appreciate your responding to my posts. Actually I was talking about your earnings with real MLM companies: Usana, Yoli, Nu-Skin, Nature Slim; not two obscure MLM’s which Beverly Hills International doesn’t even exist anymore. I would hope that in two small MLM’s like these you would be in the top 1% of earners. After all anyone making more than $30,000 would probably qualify for the top 1% of earners. So why weren’t you in the top 10% of earners for any of the real MLM companies? With your resume, one would think this would have been a slam dunk for you.

    You are the only person that I know who has been in Mensa, yes I did say has been because as previously posted you are not currently a member, that puts his IQ on his resume. A little vain are we?

    So yes I did do my homework on your earnings. I just didn’t waste my time on two wannabe MLM companies that no-one has heard of, not even Longevity Network. Not even the MLM Industry recognizes it, nor does the public. They don’t even register a 0.000001 name recognition. And you want to hang your hat on being one of their top earners? I wouldn’t be bragging about it, but that’s just me. I guess whatever it takes to enhance the resume, huh?

    Just a couple more questions, but I seriously doubt you will answer them, but what the heck. What percentage of your income did you make from actual outside retail sales versus your recruiting people under you and their purchases? What percentage of your total income was from the sales of tapes, books, coaching, etc.?

      (Quote)

  20. admin:
    Not going to play your destructive game, Len.

    Of course you aren’t. You have no game. I am more than willing to have a civil, contructive debate of the issues raised in Oberbeck’s article. You have no desire to indulge me because you have no ability to defend your argument. Thus, your ironically verbose, rambling diatribe filled with nothing but snotty name calling.

    admin: Utah residents by the thousands are getting their clocks cleaned by scammers, affinity fraudsters, conspiracy theorists, “sovereigns” and wackos of all stripes — and yet you’ve sought to undermine the credibility of one of the state’s most important newspapers, apparently for the high crime of not consulting with you before publishing an MLM story.

    Um… no, I sought to undermine the credibility of two individual sources used in one article, by one author. I sought to undermine the credibility of certain points made against the MLM business model that are demonstrably incorrect. I get to do that in the country. That’s what, among other things, the “Comment” section below such articles are for.

    admin:
    Your follow up comment to the PP Blog was just more of the same. Its post was “utterly impotent,” according to you.

    All of my opinions and observations are “according to (me)”. Just like all of the personal insults you are, dare I say, slathering me with are “according to you”. I had assumed you and your readers would understand this basic, fundamental concept of human communication. But, to be clear, yes your blog post was “utterly impotent” according to me, and the reasons that I hold such an opinion were clearly stated.

    admin: Despite the pages of slime you directed at Oberbeck, there is NOTHING irrational about his conclusion that most distributors “will fail.” In fact, any other conclusion would be irrational…

    The issue isn’t whether or not most distributors will fail. There has never been any debate of this point, and those within the MLM profession have always fully acknowledge the high failure rate. The point, which I assumed was obvious (apparently in error), was that the REASON for this high failure rate presented by FitzPatrick and Taylor, via Oberbeck, was inaccurate and misleading. The charge was made that most fail due to an irreparable flaw in the business model itself. I offered a rebuttal to this charge, and a far more reasonable explanation. I think I made a pretty strong case to support my rebuttal, and I’m still waiting for anyone to tell me why I’m wrong.

    admin: What’s the new protocol, Len? That reporters have to clear their sources through you before they can write an authoritative article on MLM? What’s next? Will reporters need to kiss your MLM ring and get your blessing before interviewing industry critics? Will you next assert that any story that excludes you as a source should be dismissed as the work of a hack?

    Here’s the “new protocol” I advocate – get your facts straight. I don’t care where anyone gets them from. Present a fair and balanced treatment of the subject you’re reporting on. Don’t have a prejudice going in, then find “experts” that support your biased agenda. But then, based on the content of your blog, it would make sense that you would so adamantly disagree with me on this.

    admin: Here is part of the backdrop against which the Tribune’s series appeared… All of this madness touches Utah in one way or another.

    What did any of that non-sequitar even remotely have to do with MLM?

    admin: Now, YOU’VE planted the seed that Utah members of MLMs can’t even trust their own newspaper. What you did was contemptible and sickening.

    Mr. Oberbeck can’t trust Robert FitzPatrick and Jon Taylor as reliable information sources on the subject of MLM. That’s it. How could you read my rebuttal several times and not get this?

    admin: I hope your bizarre, five-page, self-referential missive with 10 footnotes and multiple links to your website is read by tens of thousands of people, perhaps especially by the good folks in Utah. The best thing the MLM trade can do is use your verbal hemorrhage as a blueprint on what NOT to do. Here are some things that professional PR and marketing strategists who do not advertise their IQs and may have slower minds can teach you:* Don’t pick fights with people who buy ink by the barrel…

    Yes, I’m sure all you MLM critics would love it if we all just let you bash away at us and our profession unimpeded. I’m sure it’s not fun when we provide evidence that you’re wrong. Your side just makes up crap that paints us as scammers, and then whine like babies when we, God forbid, actually defend ourselves.

    Patrick, I’ll extend the same challenge to you that I’ve been making to any MLM critic – let’s debate the charges you’ve made against the MLM concept on a live conference call. You make your point, I’ll offer a rebuttal, then you can destroy it. I’m sure you’re very confident in your position, and can competently present it and defend it, yes? Here’s an opportunity to make a fool out of me before an audience of hundreds, most of which will be MLM prospects and peers. How can you possibly turn down such an opportunity?

    I’ve made this offer to well over 100 MLM critics over the past 20 years. If you accept, you will be the very first.

    Begin responding with long list of insults… now.

    Len

      (Quote)

  21. Len, you are truly vociferous. If only it made sense to someone besides you.

      (Quote)

  22. Len Clements: I’ve made this offer to well over 100 MLM critics over the past 20 years. If you accept, you will be the very first.

    And Lenny decided the reason they didn’t bother to respond was because they couldn’t.

    Whereas WE all know the reason none of the 100 critics responded was because they either simply don’t care, don’t consider Clements as anything but an annoying troll or prefer to continue to feed him enough rope to hang himself.

    Begin responding with long list of insults… now.
    Len Clements:

    Oh look,
    Mr Clements is once again using…..err……attempting to use the old “self fulfilling prophecy” technique to make himself appear knowledgeable.

    I’ll give you a free tip, Lenny.

    Making an unctuous post dripping with stinking, vomitous verbal slime and passive aggressive faux debate techniques is what brings the insults to which you’ve become accustomed.

    Anyone with an IQ high enough to manage tying their own shoelaces could predict the outcome equally as well.

    Oh………………that explains why you continually do it.

    Silly me.

      (Quote)

  23. To Len Clements:

    Your challenge:

    Len Clements: Patrick, I’ll extend the same challenge to you that I’ve been making to any MLM critic

    is a setup that appears stacked in your favor from the outset. Two possible responses by those to whom you make it are:

    1) Refuse the challenge, after which you declare yourself the winner by default and add another notch to your record of “winning”.

    or

    2) Accept the challenge and enter into a public debate for which you’ve prepared by spending years researching, writing, speaking, consulting, etc., while the party you challenge may never have had any reason to become as absorbed in the subject as you are. In that scenario you come prepared with “gun”, while the other party comes with a “knife”, for it seems to me that not many people would have any reason to become experts on the negative aspects of MLM.

    Having said that, it seems to me that a more realistic approach would be for you to make your points – one bullet-point at a time, not in a spewed-out glop – and allow for counterpoint to be made in a forum where the challenged party has opportunity to thoughtfully consider what you have to say. Then the challenged party can react with careful consideration of his/her response.

    A debate of THIS sort might prove very interesting. The scenario you offer, in my humble opinion, appears to be a setup for you to meet some ego need you have by creating an opportunity for you to bully someone into submission.

    – PWD

      (Quote)

  24. Len Clements: Ironically, Len spent the weekend at an Association of Network Marketing Professional’s conference discussing with a large group of like-minding, well, Network Marketing Professionals, how to reduce the hype spewed by inexperienced, overzealous distributors and increase the level of professionalism within this profession.

    Credit where it’s due, leaving aside respective accusations and forum drama I appreciate Mr.Clement’s acknowledgment of some of the problems in his industry and his efforts to improve it. Having witnessed a purveyor of $40 fruit juice (I forget which company) work a room full of retired people it amazed me that to nearly any health complaint or discomfort those people mentioned the reply the salesperson always offered was “it can help with that.”

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees that as a problem but I wonder what possible solutions Len and his like minded group came up with? Affiliates websites can be monitored by compliance departments and unfounded claims in a format like that can be mitigated but face to face communications can’t be similarly monitored. Company approved promotional literature is usually vetted but there are limits to how accountable a company can be held for the “hype spewed by inexperienced, overzealous distributors,” or the experienced overzealous ones for that matter. The problem is neither new nor particularly isolated, so much so that it sometimes looks like a design feature.

    For as much as Mr.Clements enjoys his role as “online MLM tarbaby” the industry does need people within it to assess some of the grosser abuses in their system and find ways to fix them internally. And I’m content to lay any differences I have with him aside long enough to acknowledge his efforts on that front even if he only mentions them in passing and without much detail.

      (Quote)

  25. Oh, good grief. I just found this on YouTube:
    “USANA- Message from Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kyosaki”
    (no link ‘cos I don’t want them to get any more publicity).

    Yes, it’s that Robert Kyosaki!

    For those who don’t know of him:
    http://www.johntreed.com/Kiyosaki.html

      (Quote)

  26. Tony H: Oh, good grief. I just found this on YouTube:
    “USANA- Message from Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kyosaki”
    (no link ‘cos I don’t want them to get any more publicity).Yes, it’s that Robert Kyosaki!
    For those who don’t know of him:
    http://www.johntreed.com/Kiyosaki.html

    Interesting in this connection, Russ Whitney who’s name can be searched for on the John T. Reed site Tony linked to formerly headed up his “Wealth Intelligence Academy” (under that and several other names) which was a get rich quick seminar deal with a long and impressive litigation history. After being fined and sanctioned for deceptive and unfair trade practices many times and in numerous states they finally replaced Mr.Whitney as the public face of the organization and once again renamed the company. Whitney’s old seminar scam is now called Rich Dad Education fronted by Mr.Kyosaki. The same Cape Coral Florida buisness address, the same buisness phone numbers and the same BBB rating. F.

      (Quote)

  27. Tony H: Oh, good grief. I just found this on YouTube:
    “USANA- Message from Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kyosaki”

    Hi Tony,

    Kyosaki, as you point out, has spoken to the Usana troops.

    You’re aware, of course, that some MLMers trot out figures such as Kyosaki and Trump even if they have no ties to the “program” du jour and never said a word about the “program.”

    MPB Today, for instance, tried to plant the seeds that Kyosaki, Trump and Buffett were on board. DNA affiliates used Trump, Oprah, Apple Inc. and the AMBER Alert program. Narc That Car/CSI also used the AMBER Alert program.

    OWOW, the successor company to DNA, used the National Institutes of Health, positioning a bottled-water product as a cancer cure — and all while Piccolo claimed his “magnetic” product prevented a leg amputation AND HELPED GARDENERS GROW TOMATOES “twice the size” of ordinary tomatoes.

    Leeching off prominent brands and trying to create legitimacy by osmosis is a standard among the MLM and/or securities hucksters. ASD/Bowdoin used President Bush, for example. Mantria/Speed of Wealth used former President Clinton. I’ve seen any number of videos in which MLMers have tried to imply that President Clinton endorsed a specific company.

    The FTC sued last year when a company started trading on President Obama’s name.

    Oprah filed any number of lawsuits against people who used her brands without permission. The FTC has sued, the Illinois AG has sued — and it still keeps happening.

    Now, Microsoft is suing Internet Marketers who allegedly cherry-picked its brand and trademarks. The allegations are cybersquatting, contributory cybersquatting, trademark infringement, contributory trademark infringement, false designation, contributory false designation, dilution, contributory dilution, unfair business practices, common law unfair competition and unjust enrichment.

    A trip down Memory Lane:

    http://patrickpretty.com/2010/12/28/bulletin-national-institutes-of-health-says-owow-multilevel-marketing-firm-using-agency-press-release-on-cancer-research-inappropriately-separately-piccolo-says-product-prevented-amputation/

    http://patrickpretty.com/2010/05/18/gone-too-far-video-implies-data-network-affiliates-has-branding-deal-with-apples-iphone-separate-video-implies-phone-available-for-10-a-month-with-no-contract-no-immediate-comment-from-a/

    http://patrickpretty.com/2010/07/13/first-trump-oprah-apple-now-pp-blogs-breaking-news-graphic-used-in-video-pitch-for-data-network-affiliates-mlm-program/

    http://patrickpretty.com/2010/10/13/yet-another-website-with-mpb-today-promo-uses-walmarts-name-in-domain-name-site-targets-spanish-speakers-waves-check-gift-card-displays-images-of-buffet-trump-walmart/

    Patrick

      (Quote)

  28. admin: You’re aware, of course, that some MLMers trot out figures such as Kyosaki and Trump even if they have no ties to the “program” du jour and never said a word about the “program.”

    Of course, but Kyosaki does seem to have some real ties with USANA. Another video has the title “Robert Kiyosaki USANA 2-0”.

    MonaVie (another MLM favourite) and Kyosaki:
    http://www.juicescam.com/robert-kiyosaki-rich-dad-poor-dad-mlms-and-monavie/

    For those unfamiliar with the business term, it can roughly be described as a recurring expense. A cable bill could be considered a liability since it’s likely to drain money from your bank account. MonaVie is another example of a liability since MonaVie’s policy of building the business requires the recurring expense of buying product.

    As I understand it, USANA punters have to buy the vitamins in order get any money back. In other words, it’s a “recurring expense of buying product”. And yet Kyosaki was fronting USANA, at least in 2008.

      (Quote)

  29. “Of course you aren’t. You have no game. I am more than willing to have a civil, contructive debate of the issues raised in Oberbeck’s article. You have no desire to indulge me because you have no ability to defend your argument. Thus, your ironically verbose, rambling diatribe filled with nothing but snotty name calling.”

    PUT IT WRITING THEN

      (Quote)

  30. Lenny forgot a couple of important little details about the Usana case. Usana sued Barry Minkow, and the court threw out all their claims except one. What happened to the last claim? Usana and Minkow settled out of court…. with Usana paying Minkow $200,000 and Minkow removing his materials about Usana from the internet. Now Lenny will somehow claim that Usana won when the court threw out almost all their claims, and that Usana won when they paid Minkow $200,000 to settle the case. He’s obviously delusional.

      (Quote)

  31. Oops: He’s obviously delusional.

    If he is indeed “delusional” it’s deliberate and not the result of any illness.

      (Quote)

  32. Oops: Lenny forgot a couple of important little details about the Usana case. Usana sued Barry Minkow, and the court threw out all their claims except one. What happened to the last claim? Usana and Minkow settled out of court…. with Usana paying Minkow $200,000 and Minkow removing his materials about Usana from the internet. Now Lenny will somehow claim that Usana won when the court threw out almost all their claims, and that Usana won when they paid Minkow $200,000 to settle the case. He’s obviously delusional.

    I thought Usana had pills or a drink for delusional people to cure them.

      (Quote)

  33. Len,

    Regarding MLM, the issue doesn’t seem so much to be the legality (it is legal when done right), but rather its fundamental inefficiency as a business model. It is this innate inefficiency that leads, in my opinion, to many of the issues that people seem to have with MLM.

    I suppose your immediate response to this statement is something like “Well, PROVE that MLM is inefficient.” That is a pretty easy defense of MLM, since one cannot prove such an assertion conclusively. There are many analogous situations where ironclad proof cannot be established, such as the Theory of Evolution (for example, one could easily explain the enormous scientific evidence supporting the Theory of Evolution as having been created by a higher power solely for the amusement of said power’s other creations – in other words, God could have created the fossil record and there never were such things as dinosaurs). However, in the real world concepts such as “the preponderance of evidence” or “beyond a reasonable doubt” or “very small probability” are used all of the time and are an intelligent guide. Take, for example, your proposed investigation of the effects of the Amega Wand. While I suppose one could never “prove” that the Amega Wand is fake, everything that everyone on the planet knows about science indicates that it is a complete sham (excepting, of course, for the placebo effect). When I say “never prove” what I mean is that it is stupendously unlikely, but possible, that there is some undetectable, previously unknown physics at work in the Amega Wand (like, say, some of the incredibly small extra dimensions in string theory are somehow tapped into by the incredible Amega Wand). However, the likelihood of this actually occurring is so close to zero that one is foolish for even considering to believe in the Amega Wand (and for the record, there is no such thing as “Zero Point Energy”). It is more likely you’ll meet an alien from another star system than it is that the Amega Wand is real…..

    In any event, can I “prove” MLM is inefficient? No more so that you can “prove” the Amega Wand is fake. However, let’s look at the evidence. We’ll start with the hypothesis that MLM is this great and wondrous business model, and leads to great market efficiencies. It would stand to reason then that great companies would be fundamentally built on this business model. After all, it is not as if the “secrets” of MLM are all that secret – I’ve even heard that you can buy books about it. So, let’s look at, say, the Fortune 500 companies for 2010. Try as I might, and I looked at each company, I can only find a single one that relies on MLM as their preferred channel to market (Avon at #228). Another company that would make the list is Amway, if they were public, and they’d be about 300th on the list. The total sales revenue for the non-MLM companies is approximately $9.8 trillion. Revenue for the two MLM-style companies (including Amway): $17 billion. It would appear that the revenue for the top 500 companies in the Fortune 500 is split 99.83% for the non-MLM companies, 0.17% for the MLM companies (in other words, 575 times more revenue for the non-MLM companies. It is incongruous that if MLM is such a great model, that after all these many decades, an insignificant amount of revenue is commercially generated via MLM.

    Let’s consider the products sold via MLM. There are obvious frauds, such as the Amega Wand and magical devices that purportedly boost your car’s gas mileage dramatically. These are all scams – again, not a shred of scientific evidence supports the validity of the performance of wands or magic mileage devices. (Of course people will believe anything – people believe in ghosts, UFO landings & alien contacts, psychics, etc. and there is no credible evidence for any of these either). Unfortunately, for the honest MLMer, there are far too many of these fictitious products linked to MLM. A part of this is that there really aren’t that many things that one can effectively sell via MLM. This is because the vast majority of the world’s goods and services (remember the 99.83%) are sold reasonably efficiently through non-MLM channels. If MLM were better and more efficient than the existing channels, the Darwinian marketplace would soon displace the less efficient existing channels. Hasn’t happened…… So, what’s left? Not much. Cars? Nope. Televisions? Nope. Furniture? Nope. The list goes on and on (and on and on….). What’s left are products at the margin, for the most part.

    In the end, we are left with a preponderance of evidence that weighs in on the side of MLM being a lousy business model. The largest, best run, most profitable companies essentially have rejected the use of MLM in bringing their products to market. Further, there are very few products that any of us purchase throughout our lives that are brought to us via an MLM model, even for the most dedicated MLMer. We thus have reached a contradiction. If MLM were such a great business model, we would see a very different commercial landscape than we see today. We must reject the null hypothesis.

    There is nothing fundamentally wrong legally with trying to sell goods at inflated prices. That’s capitalism at its finest, and good MLM taps into that (see: Amway. Their products aren’t viewed by neutral reviewers such as Consumer Reports very favorably, especially considering their cost, but there is nothing fundamentally wrong with charging a high price for mediocre laundry detergent if someone will pay it). Unfortunately, where MLM steps over the line is that too many of its practitioners will say anything to line their own pockets. Claims that are specious at best, and virtually always unsubstantiated by real science, are all too frequently employed, resulting in deception of the intended customer. Sadly, MLM has rightfully earned its dirty reputation, but inherently it is neither illegal nor immoral in my view.

    (By the way, Prometheans are not impressed by Mensans)

      (Quote)

  34. Quick note: Entertained’s “Black Box” column in which he outlines a method of exposing scams continues to enjoy high readership more than two years after its publication:

    http://patrickpretty.com/2009/01/03/asd-sustainability-black-box-entertained/

    Some readers also may find value in the Comments thread accompanying Entertained’s column.

    Patrick

      (Quote)

  35. (Standing Ovation for Entertained)

    Cogent, concise and thorough. Precisely the sort of argument which Mr.Clements will never address.

      (Quote)

  36. Entertained, Len Clements seems to have had an insidious and pernicious influence on you. you have just submitted a post as long as one of Len’s. lol

    You comment that “It is more likely you’ll meet an alien from another star system than it is that the Amega Wand is real…..”

    Curiously enough, whilst have a little Google, this turned up..

    The Nesara Lady from the AdlandPro forum is (big surprise here) promoting none other than …….Amega. LOL

    Nesara Believers Thread

    Amega – The Home of the Woo Wand

    I’d say, in the minds of some, the chances are about equal.

      (Quote)

  37. Lynndel “Lynn” Edgington:

    Len:
    I do appreciate your responding to my posts. Actually I was talking about your earnings with real MLM companies: Usana, Yoli, Nu-Skin, Nature Slim; not two obscure MLM’s which Beverly Hills International doesn’t even exist anymore…. So yes I did do my homework on your earnings….

    But… you clearly said “I checked out all the various MLM’s you were in, and I was shocked, mind you, shocked to see that you were not in the top 10% of the earners… How else can you explain why you did not make the top earners category?”

    So, you didn’t really mean I wasn’t in the “top 10%” of “all the various MLMs” I was in, you meant I wasn’t in the top 10% of those you personally deem to be “real” companies, what ever that means. Well, first of all I was technically also in the top 10% – the #1 earner, in fact – of a company called Outback Secrets back in 1992-93. But I don’t declare this on my resume because it was a small, short lived company. BHI, however, exceeded 10,000 reps at its peak, and I only left it because I discovered the company was funded by, let’s just say, a less than ethical organization. My income in Longevity Network reached 5-digits monthly beginning early 1997 and the company exceeded *100,000 distributors* in both 2000 and 2001 (albeit mostly in Asia).

    You obviously haven’t done your homework at all, got busted for it, an now you’re scrambling to save face. But again, I actually admire the fact you’ve placed yourself in this position. Seriously. The fact you’re willing to put your good name and reputation on the line when you make these comments, and you have the courage to be accountable for what you say, places you in a class far above these cowardly anonymous trolls who post here. They don’t care if their proven wrong, or are made a fool of. They have nothing to lose.

    Lynndel “Lynn” Edgington:
    You are the only person that I know who has been in Mensa, yes I did say has been because as previously posted you are not currently a member, that puts his IQ on his resume. A little vain are we?

    I’m confused. Do you still not care about my IQ? You and others keep saying my IQ doesn’t matter and no one cares, yet I’M the one who keeps trying to ignore the subject and YOU keep bringing it up, over and over.

    Lynndel “Lynn” Edgington:
    Just a couple more questions, but I seriously doubt you will answer them, but what the heck. What percentage of your income did you make from actual outside retail sales versus your recruiting people under you and their purchases? What percentage of your total income was from the sales of tapes, books, coaching, etc.?

    The percentage of income from “outside retail sales” changed significantly throughout my 9.5 years with Longevity, and was very small during the latter years because I had a large sales organization to manage. And my book and CD income is a small, single digit percentage of total MarketWave income, and I sell these items to those in my downline either at or below cost, and all of my training is provided completely free of charge.

    Furthermore, you’re digging in the wrong place. State and federal regulators have declared sales to distributors can be commissionable, bona-fide sales to “ultimate consumers”.

    And it’s not my job to help you find dirt on me. Do your own homework.

    Len

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  38. Patrick Dunn:

    Your (live debate) challenge… is a setup that appears stacked in your favor from the outset. Two possible responses by those to whom you make it are:
    1) Refuse the challenge, after which you declare yourself the winner by default and add another notch to your record of “winning”. or

    Easily resolved. Don’t refuse the challenge.

    Patrick Dunn:
    2) Accept the challenge and enter into a public debate for which you’ve prepared by spending years researching, writing, speaking, consulting, etc., while the party you challenge may never have had any reason to become as absorbed in the subject as you are.

    I only offer this challenge to people who prolifically (in some cases obsessively) attack the MLM business model and profession. THAT’S their reason to research the subject. Am I really out of line to ask that they have at least some knowledge, based on actual research and study, of the subject they’ve chosen to focus their reporting so heavily on?

    And yes, the debate will absolutely be one-sided, and for exactly the reason you stated – because I’ve actually done my homework and know what I’m talking about!

    And the fact those I’ve challenged haven’t is EXACTLY why they choose to decline (or ignore the challenge, as in the case of Mr. Pretty).

    Patrick Dunn:
    In that scenario you come prepared with “gun”, while the other party comes with a “knife”, for it seems to me that not many people would have any reason to become experts on the negative aspects of MLM.

    Again, we completely agree. I would absolutely out gun them in such a debate, and that’s precisely why they refuse.

    Having said that, wouldn’t the side supported by things like *facts* and *truths* essentially be armed with thermonuclear weapons? It’s interesting that those on your side of this argument don’t feel they are well armed.

    Patrick Dunn:
    Having said that, it seems to me that a more realistic approach would be for you to make your points – one bullet-point at a time, not in a spewed-out glop – and allow for counterpoint to be made in a forum where the challenged party has opportunity to thoughtfully consider what you have to say. Then the challenged party can react with careful consideration of his/her response.

    This has been tried countless times in several different online forums. The biggest challenge is trying to have a professional, dignified debate while dodging the incessant slinging of troll dung. Evidence of this is already emerging right here in this forum. Also, the vast majority of those I challenge refuse to identify themselves, thus can outright lie and libel me with no repercussions. Even those who don’t post anonymously are afforded numerous emergency exists and safety nets by posting within a message board. The most common tactic, when confronted with an irrefutable point that rebuts their argument, is to ignore it and respond with a barrage of new questions to divert attention away from the lost or indefensible point. Then, once the lost point has migrated deep enough into the depths of the board’s archives, they simply reintroduce the same point again as if it has never been addressed. Or, they even declare the point as having been won on other forums, presumably to an audience unaware of the original exchange.

    In a live debate I would only argue the specific legal, mathematical, historical or logical points my opponent has *already made* in their book, article, blog or show – not their opinions. Either they knew what they were talking about when they made the original claim, or they didn’t. If it wasn’t a point they could defend, then they should not have made it.

    Also, written, online debates result in hours, sometimes days, between each exchange. A live debate can accomplish in a matter of an hour what might take a week to cover in a message board.

    Patrick Dunn:
    A debate of THIS sort might prove very interesting. The scenario you offer, in my humble opinion, appears to be a setup for you to meet some ego need you have by creating an opportunity for you to bully someone into submission.

    I’ve offered to conduct these debates with a moderator, and with time limits on each participant to keep the response time equal. I’ve even offered those who claim to not be good public speakers the opportunity to get someone who is to assist them, including professional speakers, radio show hosts, and attorneys. It can be two-on-one, I don’t care. And even those who debate for a living (litigating attorneys) refuse to debate their anti-MLM case.

    I also love the common response that no one has accepted my challenge because no one cares enough to bother. But… they’ll build entire websites to attack me, post obsessively on countless message boards about me, and try to lure me into all-day debates on their cozy, safe little message boards. But when I simply ask that we have the identical debate on a recorded conference call, I’m suddenly too “insignificant”.

    But there might be hope. Read on…

    Len

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  39. Patrick Pretty:
    You’re aware, of course, that some MLMers trot out figures such as Kyosaki and Trump even if they have no ties to the “program”… MPB Today, for instance, tried to plant the seeds that Kyosaki, Trump and Buffett were on board. DNA affiliates used Trump, Oprah, Apple Inc. and the AMBER Alert program. Narc That Car/CSI also used the AMBER Alert program… ASD/Bowdoin used President Bush, for example. Mantria/Speed of Wealth used former President Clinton.

    Patrick,

    First of all, we have found some common ground when it comes to the few pyramid schemes you have cherry picked from among the over 2,000 MLM companies in the United States. It is my opinion as well that MPB Today, DNA, CSI, and Mantria are all schemes that should be avoided.

    Having said that, it’s interesting how you’ve attempted to debunk Kyosaki, Trump, Clinton and Buffett’s support of the network marketing business model and profession by citing a handful of misleading claims made by a small selection of less reputable schemes.

    What about Kyosaki, Trump, Clinton and Buffett’s support of the network marketing business model and profession?

    What do you see that they all missed?

    Len

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  40. Oops:
    Lenny forgot a couple of important little details about the Usana case. Usana sued Barry Minkow, and the court threw out all their claims except one. What happened to the last claim? Usana and Minkow settled out of court…. with Usana paying Minkow $200,000 and Minkow removing his materials about Usana from the internet. Now Lenny will somehow claim that Usana won when the court threw out almost all their claims, and that Usana won when they paid Minkow $200,000 to settle the case. He’s obviously delusional.

    I’m going to break my own rule against responding to anonymous posters because, well, you’re just making it too easy.

    To suggest that Minkow somehow won in the Usana case because the judge threw out the libel related charges is analogous to claiming Charles Manson won because they threw out the breaking-and-entering charge. First of all, the California court ruled that Minkow’s claim that Usana was an “evil… illegal… fraudulent… pyramid scheme…” that was a “financial crime in progress” and “doomed to fail” was, after all, his opinion. In other words, at least in California, I can publicly call you a child molesting, terrorist, Yankees fan (the three worst things I could think of, just off the top of my head), and there’s not a thing you could do about it as long as it was my “opinion” based on how you “appear” to me.

    But more to the point, that one pesky little count that the judge allowed to go forward, which you conveniently forgot to mention, was the securities fraud based “stock manipulation” charge. And, obviously, Usana’s ultimate goal in this suit was to force Minkow to stop his campaign to lower Usana’s share price. The settlement with Minkow caused them to be 100% victorious in achieving this outcome.

    Also, the settlement with Minkow was sealed by court order and no one has any idea what the financial terms of the settlement were, if there were any at all. Some anti-Usana trolls (posting anonymously, of course) have cited this $200,000, which they just pulled straight out of their… thin air. And now you are just obligatorily repeating it. This $200,000 figure came from the amount that stock fraud felon Sam Antar paid Minkow for his Usana attack report (technically $100,000 for the report, and another $100,000 that Antar paid Minkow right about the time he began work on the report, which Sam paid Barry just because he “admired” him).

    So, I guess a better analogy might be that declaring Minkow the victor against Usana due to this single SLAPP victory is like declaring the US Army the losers in the Indian Wars by citing Custer’s last stand.

    Usana won. Minkow lost.

    Len

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  41. Entertained:
    Mar 10, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Permalink
    Len,
    Regarding MLM, the issue doesn’t seem so much to be the legality (it is legal when done right), but rather its fundamental inefficiency as a business model. It is this innate inefficiency that leads, in my opinion, to many of the issues that people seem to have with MLM…

    Your lengthy response (I don’t mind those, you may have noticed :-) was respectful and well considered. So why the need to hide behind an anonymous screen name? You don’t seem to have any reason to.

    No, I am not going to respond to your many questions here, in this forum, for several reasons:

    1) I don’t indulge those who hide behind anonymous screen names;

    2) I have no desire to draw more attention to Mr. Pretty’s blog (although I suppose I should reciprocate);

    3) I can’t argue with your “opinion”;

    4) What you’ve done here is pose an argument, then rather than waiting for my response you completely assumed one out of your own imagination, and then went on to offer a counter-argument to YOUR OWN rebuttal to YOUR OWN point!;

    5) This demonstrates yet another reason why debates in open forums such as this don’t work. I am one person who, unlike some who spend their days, and nights, trolling message boards, I have a life (not referring to you, just speaking in general). What usually happens is that several posters will start peppering me with questions, and even if I ignore the trolls who are just looking to be fed I’m still outnumbered. Then, if I do respond to each one individually, each of them will feel compelled to respond to my answer to the others with more questions of their own. As the number of pending questions/accusations geometrically expands it eventually becomes humanly impossible for me to address each one. And then, inevitably, that’s when my defeat is declared because Len “won’t/can’t answer my question”.

    Having said that, your attempt to at least try and make a civil argument is intriguing. Here is what I propose: I’ll set up a private message board that only you and I can add comments to (but wide open for public viewing). After our brief introductions you repost what ever questions or assertions you wish regarding MLM, other than your personal opinions of it (as it would make no sense to debate that). If you believe MLM is a “fundamentally inefficient” business model, make a pragmatic, fact based case for this argument. BTW, if you choose to not introduce yourself and remain anonymous that’s your call. It will only reduce your credibility and favor mine. However, if you choose to remain hidden behind a screen name it’s only fair that you can’t introduce yourself at all. In other words, you can’t claim any special expertise or background that would increase your credibility if there’s no way for me or anyone else to verify it. I think we can also establish up front that we do have some common ground (for example, I, too, believe MLM is “neither illegal nor immoral”, and the Amega Wand is a scam). Then, I’ll respond to each of the points you’ve made in your initial post, and then you can offer your counter-rebuttal. We’ll go back and forth until all points are made. The only other rules are that there be no personal attacks and that each side must directly respond to the other’s point. No dodging a question or trying to divert attention away from it. If either of us have no further response, we declare it and move on.

    Fair enough?

    Len

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  42. Ha ha ha ha…more long-winded nothingness. Where are the results from your big Amega wand research? LOL.

      (Quote)

  43. GlimDropper: (Standing Ovation for Entertained)Cogent, concise and thorough. Precisely the sort of argument which Mr.Clements will never address.

    CORRECT – although unfortunately he did take up considerable bandwidth on this blog NOT addressing the issues. lol On second thoughts, its not unfortunate. There is so little to laugh about in these troubled times that he has provided a comic interlude that we badly needed.

    Sorry Lenny Boy – your discussions about a debate are just so much hogwash, albeit fairly intelligent hogwash (and we would expect no less from someone with an IQ” as high as yours). The argument on the merits or demerits of MLM will be won by empirical, legal and verified data, not by live debating skills. If you have anything serious to debate about, as I have told you before – PUT IT IN WRITING.

    As for your nonsense about anonymity, how do we know you’re really Len Clements? For heavens sake man, this is the fr***ing internet.

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  44. WishfulThinking:
    CORRECT – although unfortunately he did take up considerable bandwidth on this blog NOT addressing the issues.

    Shocking right?

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  45. To Len Clements:

    Len Clements: It’s interesting that those on your side of this argument don’t feel they are well armed.

    At no point in my original comment did I take a “side” re MLM’s legality or value, yet you impute to me an adversarial posture. That feels to me like you’re defensive. You’re obviously free to be defensive, but doing so provides me with insight about you.

    What I wrote was my reactions/perceptions as I read your challenge. I was sincere in expressing my ideas as to how the debate might work better.

    Len Clements: This has been tried countless times in several different online forums. The biggest challenge is trying to have a professional, dignified debate while dodging the incessant slinging of troll dung.

    Your offer to “Entertained”, should he choose to accept it, appears to come close to what I had in mind. We’ll see if he cares to engage you.

    -PWD

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  46. Patrick Dunn: At no point in my original comment did I take a “side” re MLM’s legality or value, yet you impute to me an adversarial posture. That feels to me like you’re defensive. You’re obviously free to be defensive, but doing so provides me with insight about you.

    Patrick, *You* imputed the position of inferiority among those who take an “adversarial posture” towards MLM. You clearly defined a scenario where I come “prepared with ‘gun’, while the other party comes with a “knife”. I then responded that “It’s interesting that those on your side of this argument don’t feel they are well armed.” Clearly I was referring to the same group of people that you were – those who take an “adversarial posture” towards MLM.

    Whether or not you are on the same “side” of this argument was admittedly an assumption on my part, but not one based on nothing. You clearly stated an opposing point of view as to the merits of my live debate challenge, and *you* hypocritically imputed an “ego” based motivation for my having done so, where I must fulfill some assumed need to “bully someone into submission”. Furthermore, you are a semi-regular poster on this blogger’s website which obviously has an extreme “adversarial posture” towards MLM, which you “salute” and greatly “appreciate and admire”.

    Are you actually claiming now that you do not hold a negative position towards MLM?

    Your response is a classic example of why debates don’t work in this type of forum. Instead of addressing a single point I made in my response to your original post you instead chose to create a diversion by painting me defensive, egotistical and a bully and my response misdirected. During a live conversation we could have cleared up the issue of your “side” in a matter of seconds, and we could quickly get past the slaps at my character and return the focus to the actual points we were discussing.

    I accept that your original intentions were genuine, and if I have misjudged your position towards MLM I sincerely apologize. However, I offered a case for why online message board debates never work, and for the advantages of a live debate. Do you have any rebuttal to any of the actual points I made?

    Len

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  47. Len Clements:
    .Having said that, your attempt to at least try and make a civil argument is intriguing. Here is what I propose: I’ll set up a private message board that only you and I can add comments to (but wide open for public viewing). After our brief introductions you repost what ever questions or assertions you wish regarding MLM, other than your personal opinions of it (as it would make no sense to debate that). If you believe MLM is a “fundamentally inefficient” business model, make a pragmatic, fact based case for this argument. BTW, if you choose to not introduce yourself and remain anonymous that’s your call. It will only reduce your credibility and favor mine. However, if you choose to remain hidden behind a screen name it’s only fair that you can’t introduce yourself at all. In other words, you can’t claim any special expertise or background that would increase your credibility if there’s no way for me or anyone else to verify it. I think we can also establish up front that we do have some common ground (for example, I, too, believe MLM is “neither illegal nor immoral”, and the Amega Wand is a scam). Then, I’ll respond to each of the points you’ve made in your initial post, and then you can offer your counter-rebuttal. We’ll go back and forth until all points are made. The only other rules are that there be no personal attacks and that each side must directly respond to the other’s point. No dodging a question or trying to divert attention away from it. If either of us have no further response, we declare it and move on.Fair enough?Len

    I certainly can not speak for Entertained in so far as if he has any interest in your offer. But why bother creating an entire website for a single conversation? While you’d be correct in pointing out that RealScam is hardly neutral ground I can say I have a fair amount of pull around there. I could open a thread laying out the ground rules, chief among them being that after my short introductory post no one other than the two of you are to post in that one thread. I’ll beg the forum members help in clicking the “report post” button on any post in violation of that rule so that myself and our fellow mods wont even need to keep a 24/7 watch on the thread.

    You would both have my word of honor that nothing you say will ever be edited or deleted, even as an Admin over there I can’t edit anyone’s post without my name appearing in an “edited by” message at the bottom of the post. After such time as the two of you agree your conversation is over the thread will be locked but that thread will remain visible for as long as the website exists. And as I recall, both of you have posting accounts to the site already.

    Again, I can’t speak to Ent’s willingness to accept your offer. I can think of any number of better ways for him to spend his time. But I can ensure him a 100% level paying field, I’ve never given him any reason to doubt me on something like that and quite honestly you could say the same. When we both were mods (or above in your case) at Scam, we didn’t see eye to eye but I never lied to you, about anything.

      (Quote)

  48. Len Clements: Do you have any rebuttal to any of the actual points I made?

    Len

    Isn’t that the point poster after poster is making ???

    There are no “points” to rebut.

    Lengthy diatribes from apologists experienced in “spin doctory” are in no way to be confused with “debate”

    The same applies to the tactic of boring an opponent into submission or attempting to baffle ’em with B/S.

      (Quote)

  49. GD,

    Thanks for the offer of a 100% level paying field. What sort of payments are you suggesting? Perhaps Len and I can donate those payments to Eagle Research Associates…….

    GlimDropper:
    I certainly can not speak for Entertained in so far as if he has any interest in your offer. …..snip….
    Again, I can’t speak to Ent’s willingness to accept your offer. I can think of any number of better ways for him to spend his time. But I can ensure him a 100% level paying field, I’ve never given him any reason to doubt me on something like that and quite honestly you could say the same. When we both were mods (or above in your case) at Scam, we didn’t see eye to eye but I never lied to you, about anything.

      (Quote)

  50. Len,

    Thanks for your well thought out response. I’ll be honest — your previous posts on this thread do not exactly fill me with confidence that we’d have a civil discussion. To whit:

    Your response to Lynn (and I realize I am selectively pulling partial quotes) “….these cowardly anonymous trolls who post here.” Ummmm, that would be me for reasons of my own choosing.

    Your responses to Pat Dunn, suggesting that such a debate would be one-sided (you and I actually agree on that one).

    Of course, those aren’t complete barriers to what you propose.

    Fact of the matter is I don’t find MLM particularly interesting when it is done right. When it is done wrong, and all too frequently it is, it is a hotbed of scams. You yourself have posted on MLM’s that are scams. When MLM is done legally, it’s just not that relevant of a business model. I know you don’t want to respond to anonymous posters — that’s fine. The facts remain that the overwhelming majority of the world’s commerce is not carried out via MLM, and the vast majority of the world’s products are not sold via MLM. To me, the 9983/17 ratio is good enough to conclude that the MLM model has generally been rejected by the marketplace. I actually do not need to post my credentials in order to bolster my position or my expertise. You believe in MLM, I believe in data. The data stands on its own regardless of who posts it.

    See, when I posted earlier, I anticipated correctly that you would go down the path of “Ent, prove your assertion that MLM is inefficient” when I drew the analogies that I did. I can, with absolute certainty, guarantee that you cannot prove the theory of evolution. You simply cannot. I full admit that the analogous situation regarding the inefficiency of MLM cannot be proven to the nth degree. However the preponderance of evidence (ie the data) speaks for itself. If you are sufficiently versed in statistics you are aware of the accepted methods for proving, or disproving, a null hypothesis. Statistically one never achieves 100% certainty, but one must live one’s life with the 99.83% certainties that one can find.

    Len, thank you for engaging to this level of conversation. I am fairly certain, without knowing you well, that nothing I would ever say would create doubt in your mind wrt MLM, and that’s fine. Similarly, I seriously doubt you could generate data that would make me believe in MLM as a generally viable business model. I appreciate the offer to have a private 1-on-1 (and in fact I’d guess we’d enjoy such a discussion over a beer), and thanks to GD for offering to host it on realscam. At the very least, it would be Entertain’ing (couldn’t resist), but I will respectfully decline your offer. Honestly, I don’t actually see the points of debate.

    The limited time I have available is better spent IMO looking at scams such as the Club Asteria ponzi or the ASD scam, rather than MLM.

      (Quote)

  51. Entertained: GD,Thanks for the offer of a 100% level paying field.What sort of payments are you suggesting? Perhaps Len and I can donate those payments to Eagle Research Associates…….

    Well, if you’re inquiring about a fee for my service well obviously I’m offering it without charge. I was thinking about a Binary Unilevel Hybrid fee plan but there are only two of you which should make the math easier but it also makes it much harder to sell. If however you were suggesting some manner of stakes, Eagle is a registered 501(c)(3), I can offer a $50 donation in the name of either winner of the debate. In the event that no winner can be agreed upon a $50 donation will be made in no name at all, which would mean that Clint Eastwood’s character in Pale Rider would get the tax deduction.

      (Quote)

  52. To Len Clements:

    Len Clements: Do you have any rebuttal to any of the actual points I made?

    Nope, your reasons for disliking online debates are based upon your experiences and opinions and are, therefore, valid.

    Len Clements: Furthermore, you are a semi-regular poster on this blogger’s website which obviously has an extreme “adversarial posture” towards MLM, which you “salute” and greatly “appreciate and admire”.

    [ADMIN NOTE: A paragraph that appeared here has been deleted from this thread and preserved in another format for security reasons. Pat, I’ll send you a note to explain why — and I apologize for the inconvenience. You’ve done nothing wrong, but — at least for now — I cannot permit that paragraph to stand. — Patrick]

    If you interpret his writing as an “extreme adversarial posture towards MLM”, we disagree. Ponzi and pyramid schemes and other frauds, yes, he covers them extensively. MLM, not so much. My sense is that you are responding defensively because of what he’s written on THIS thread. That’s understandable, for your MLM ox is being gored, but I don’t perceive his writing to very often cover “straight” MLM at all.

    -PWD

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  53. GlimDropper:
    I certainly can not speak for Entertained in so far as if he has any interest in your offer. But why bother creating an entire website for a single conversation?

    I wouldn’t. I already have the message board software that could be used.

    GlimDropper:
    While you’d be correct in pointing out that RealScam is hardly neutral ground I can say I have a fair amount of pull around there. I could open a thread laying out the ground rules, chief among them being that after my short introductory post no one other than the two of you are to post in that one thread. I’ll beg the forum members help in clicking the “report post” button on any post in violation of that rule so that myself and our fellow mods wont even need to keep a 24/7 watch on the thread.

    That forum is made up entirely of passionate anti-MLM critics, the large majority of which are anonymous trolls who obviously have no desire to follow any rules of even common decency let alone rules of debate decorum. What’s more, your entire team of “moderators” would be in opposition to me, most of them devoutly so.

    I would set up a debate forum where only the two participants could even log into it.

    GlimDropper:
    You would both have my word of honor that nothing you say will ever be edited or deleted, even as an Admin over there I can’t edit anyone’s post without my name appearing in an “edited by” message at the bottom of the post.

    That’s not entirely accurate. You can’t edit a post without your *anonymous screen name* appearing. One of the great advantages of hiding your actual identity is that there is no way for me, or anyone else, to place a value on your “word of honor”. If you posted under your real name, like Patrick and Lynn, that might mean something. But if you break your “word of honor” so what? Some nebulous screen name was dishonored, not you. I’m not saying you would, I’m just saying your “word” adds no security under these circumstances.

    GlimDropper:
    After such time as the two of you agree your conversation is over the thread will be locked but that thread will remain visible for as long as the website exists. And as I recall, both of you have posting accounts to the site already.

    The last thing I feel compelled to do it attract more traffic to that lawless, anti-MLM troll haven.

    GlimDropper:
    When we both were mods (or above in your case) at Scam, we didn’t see eye to eye but I never lied to you, about anything.

    I have no idea what screen name you used on Scam.com. If this is evident somewhere on that other site, then you have me at a disadvantage. I don’t venture into that mess very often.

    Len

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  54. Entertained:
    Thanks for your well thought out response. I’ll be honest — your previous posts on this thread do not exactly fill me with confidence that we’d have a civil discussion. To whit:

    Your response to Lynn (and I realize I am selectively pulling partial quotes) “….these cowardly anonymous trolls who post here.” Ummmm, that would be me for reasons of my own choosing.

    When I use the term “troll” I am not intending it as an insult, as if I am likening someone to an ugly creature that lives under a bridge. An “internet troll” is term used to define a specific type on online antagonist:

    Per the Wiki listing for “Internet Troll”:

    “In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.”

    A perfect example within this forum would be Doc Bunkum and littleroundman. But I by no means consider you to be a “troll”, and especially exclude Lynn and others who post under their real names. Although not everyone who posts anonymously is a Troll, Internet Trolls would not dare identify themselves. They are, above all else, cowards.

    Entertained:
    Len, thank you for engaging to this level of conversation. I am fairly certain, without knowing you well, that nothing I would ever say would create doubt in your mind wrt MLM, and that’s fine. Similarly, I seriously doubt you could generate data that would make me believe in MLM as a generally viable business model. I appreciate the offer to have a private 1-on-1 (and in fact I’d guess we’d enjoy such a discussion over a beer), and thanks to GD for offering to host it on realscam. At the very least, it would be Entertain’ing (couldn’t resist), but I will respectfully decline your offer. Honestly, I don’t actually see the points of debate.

    Well, you certainly made some points that could be pragmatically rebutted with mathematical and historical facts. The litany of evidence I could provide to demonstrate the “viability” of the MLM business model would be overwhelming. However, I do agree we’re certainly not going to change each other’s minds about anything. But then, I also hope we’d have had an audience of more than just you and I that might have found the exchange very educational.

    Thanks for at least considering it.

    Len

      (Quote)

  55. Patrick Dunn: [ADMIN NOTE: A paragraph that appeared here has been deleted from this thread and preserved in another format for security reasons. Pat, I’ll send you a note to explain why — and I apologize for the inconvenience. You’ve done nothing wrong, but — at least for now — I cannot permit that paragraph to stand. — Patrick]

    If you interpret his writing as an “extreme adversarial posture towards MLM”, we disagree. Ponzi and pyramid schemes and other frauds, yes, he covers them extensively. MLM, not so much. My sense is that you are responding defensively because of what he’s written on THIS thread. That’s understandable, for your MLM ox is being gored, but I don’t perceive his writing to very often cover “straight” MLM at all.

    Wow. I’d love to know what that paragraph contained :-)

    Although I agree that Patrick has chosen very worthy targets (TVI Express, NARC, MPB, etc.), he tips his hand often during his commentary as to his overall opinion of the space. For example, his reference to the very SLT article that spawned this thread as being “even-handed” speaks volumes.

    Len

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  56. Geez, Len, you sure do like to hear yourself talk…….

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