EDITORIAL: Death Of An MLM Salesman — Brought To You Via Empower Network’s ‘Badass’ Button

This "Badass Content" on Empower Network was about the tragic death of a key Herbalife salesman.

This “Badass Content” on Empower Network was about the tragic death of a key Herbalife salesman.

If you’re an MLM company facing a PR problem or a crisis involving the firm and its distributors, don’t expect fellow MLM firm Empower Network to solve it for you. In fact, it’s probably prudent to expect that Empower Network will only magnify your bad press or virally blab the things you’re trying to keep in-house.

To the uber-bizarre Empower Network, the sudden death of a top Herbalife distributor is “badass content” that plays well alongside other Empower Network “badass content” such as a story posted by “Team America” and titled, “Ingredients for Success: An Interview with Nu Skin President and CEO Truman Hunt.”


Herbalife, according to BehindMLM.com,  notified distributors last week about the death of John Peterson, saying in an email that Peterson had died as a result of “a tragic accident at his home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.”

“Tragic” was an apt descriptor, to be sure, especially since the New York Post reported that authorities were looking at the death as a suicide carried out with a gun while the MLM trade tries to come to grips with assertions by Bill Ackman that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme. Peterson was 58, married and the father of three children. He reportedly had earned millions of dollars through Herbalife, in part by driving business to the firm through a purported “leads” program.

Herbalife denies it is a pyramid scheme and has sought to distance itself from such “leads” programs.

But returning to the subject of all this purported “Badass Content”: The “Team America” post about Nu Skin on Empower Network appears to have been lifted in its entirety from the trade publication Direct Selling News by an Empower Network affiliate interested in getting more sign-ups for Empower Network by using DSN’s Nu Skin story as a lure.

Meanwhile, Herbalife’s in-house announcement about the death of Peterson appears also to have been cherry-picked by Empower Network affiliates, reposted on Empower Network’s Blogging platform, repurposed as “Badass Content” and used to lure sign-ups for Empower Network.

When one clicks the incongruous “Badass” button above the Empower Network postings about Peterson’s death, one is taken to a page that in part reads, “Share this Badass Content Now! Click the social network buttons above so all your friends can see this badass content.”

Yes, really. The death of an Herbalife pitchman in the prime of his life while his family grieves qualifies as “Badass Content” on Empower Network.

Another part of the message points visitors to a domain styled “BadassContent.com,” which is registered in the name of David Sharpe of Empower Network LLC. Sharpe is one of EmpowerNetwork’s purported founders, and the LLC is listed as a Florida company with Sharpe as one of its two managers. When the PP Blog tried to visit the “badass” URL about Peterson’s death, the McAfee SiteAdvisor security software used by the Blog issued a “Suspicious Site” warning and a message that in part read, “When we visited this site, we found it exhibited one or more risky behaviors.”

McAfee SiteAdvisor warning about "badass" domain. Red highlights by PP Blog.

McAfee SiteAdvisor warning about “badasscontent” domain. Red highlights by PP Blog.

Empower Network also appears to control a domain styled BadassButton.com.

On Aug. 12, the PP Blog reported that a video playing on YouTube sought to drive traffic to Empower Network by depicting U.S. Vice President Joe Biden as a recent enrollee in the bizarrely named CashCropCycler HYIP “program” who confesses to President Obama that he’s “[j]ust out bumbling around and sticking my foot in my mouth.”

But if you complain to YouTube about Empower Network, according to David Wood, another of the purported founders, there may be hell to pay, so you should “Back the fuck down.”

“Be warned: BIG, SCARY WARNING,” Wood wrote. “I’m in the process of having lawyers research into whether or not we can sue the shit out of you.”

Yes, really. Welcome to the MLM La-La Land of Empower Network. It’s like the La-La Lands of Zeek Rewards and AdSurfDaily and MPB Today needed a replacement and that some of MLM’s purported greatest thinkers have decided that what the MLM world really needs is even more madness.

Read the Salty Droid swearing back at the purported Empower Network “badasses.” (Salty can curse with the best of them, even when they’re planting the seed he should be executed with a shotgun.)

Can there be any doubt that MLM is just asking for it?

One self-described Christian pastor and Empower Network promoter on YouTube tells his audience that there’s money to be made in Empower Network, despite all the swearing. Just tune it out and recognize that swearing is a personal choice and hardly is limited to the MLM sphere, he instructs.

“This is just an open environment where we accept everybody of all types of beliefs, whether you’re a Christian or an Atheist or a Jew or a Muslim — or, you know, you . . . believe in Scientology and all that good stuff,” the pastor explains.

He added that he looked at network marketing in general as an “opportunity to be able to advance the kingdom of God” and at Empower Network in specific as a “vehicle to help you to get the money that God wants you to have so that you can advance the kingdom of God.”

Had the pitch for Empower Network appeared on Empower Network instead of YouTube, the pastor could have given his God talk its very own “Badass” button (with a representation of a human skull included) to drive traffic.

The only remaining mysteries, we suppose, is whether God, being God, would have cared enough to solve the little problem McAfee has with the “badass” domain  — and whether He’d be offended that His name, once again, was being used to promote an MLM “program.”

Did we tell you that the PP Blog received information today that strongly suggested that some “sovereign citizens” were pitching a scheme by which winners in the Zeek Rewards MLM scheme, which the SEC has described a year ago as a $600 million fraud, could short-circuit “clawback” litigation from the court-appointed receiver?

We’ll keep you up to date as that MLM La-La Land story develops.




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2 Responses to “EDITORIAL: Death Of An MLM Salesman — Brought To You Via Empower Network’s ‘Badass’ Button”

  1. There are so many haters on the net against MLM companies like Empower Network and Amway and so forth..If someone besides an Empower Network member would have blogged about John Peterson nothing would have been said..just like you are now , I guess that’s ok if you are down grading a company due to other members doing what you think is wrong. David Wood and Dave Sharpe can’t babysit 160,000 members and control what they blog about..that has nothing to do with Empower Network as a company. Thoughts of MLM being a la-la land…How Much Are You Making Blogging????

  2. Greg Ballew: David Wood and Dave Sharpe can’t babysit 160,000 members and control what they blog about..that has nothing to do with Empower Network as a company.

    Sure it has something to do with Empower Network as a company. Because of the type of company Empower Network is, John Peterson’s death was labeled “Badass Content.”

    Christian pastors are selling Empower Network, telling the troops that money can be made despite all the swearing. And the Guy Fawkes thing — well, it’s almost too bizarre to contemplate.