By Len Clements © 2005
| Lots of people are anti-MLM. But few deserve the title of Anti-MLM Zealot. Your average anti-MLMer usually falls into one of two camps: There are those who failed at the business and discovered that there’s scapegoats galore which to assuage their ego – my sponsor didn’t support me, the products were too expensive, the pay plan was too confusing, Mars was in retrograde (no kidding, actually heard that one once), or whatever. No one ever seems to fail at MLM because they just weren’t very good at it. Then there are those who heard that MLM is bad, and instead of forming their own opinion, based on their own evaluation, they choose to adopt the other person’s negative opinion as their own. And the other person’s opinion usually came from someone else who never formed their own opinion – the opinion is rarely passed on unsolicited. So, to answer a common question I’m getting about this series, that’s the key distinction between your run-of-the-mill MLM basher and a full blown Anti-MLM Zealot. The Zealot wants to tell you their opinion of MLM whether you want it or not. They want to warn the world, to save us all from this horrible scam. And when we won’t listen (all ten million of us), they try to save us from ourselves by getting our state and federal government to silence the siren song of MLM that is so violently smashing our dreams into the rocks. When our proverbial ship comes in, the lowly MLM basher will simply tell you not to board it. The Anti-MLM Zealot will try to sink the ship, court-martial the Captain, imprison the crew, burn down the shipyard, and level every port-of-call that allowed it to anchor.
zeal·ot n. 1. A fanatically committed person. 2. A fervent and even militant proponent or opponent of something.
There are only four bona-fide Anti-MLM Zealots in the U.S. today (for such an allegedly vile and pervasive business you’d think there would be more). Dean Van Druff is perhaps the least zealous among them, but his disjointed, unresearched article “What’s Wrong With Multilevel Marketing” is likely the most read piece of anti-MLM propaganda ever created. That’s why I rebutted his work in part one of this series. Robert FitzPatrick’s book “False Profits” seems to be the definitive work within the anti-MLM arena which is why he has been the subject of the last three segments of this series. Jon Taylor’s anti-MLM efforts are by far the most prolific, culminating in his 40,000 word manifesto titled “Product Based Pyramid Schemes.” That’s why I’ll be focusing on his work next.
But let’s get back to our current subject, alias Ruth Carter and her “MLM Survivors” web site. Last issue I related her experience as an Amway distributor which she portrays as a miserable, depressing, and expensive one. A fifteen year relationship culminating in her turning hostile witness and writing a book called “Amway Motivational Organizations: Behind the Smoke & Mirrors.” In her book she suggests that “mind control” techniques were used on her, and that Amway Motivational Organizations (AMOs) were cult-like. When so many people coming from the same MLM support system claim to have lost so much for so long, and just couldn’t stop doing it, I do feel there is reason for genuine concern. So when she started her on line support group in the Fall of 1997 I admit to being a reluctant fan. Reluctant only because I felt she was unfairly stirring all Amway reps (now called Quixtar) into the same pot. Many do not support an AMO, and Amway corporate has clearly declared that their tools and events are not required. And she didn’t call it AmwaySurvivor.com, she called it MLMSurvivor.com. But her failure to recognize the dichotomy between Amway AMOs and the rest of the MLM industry didn’t end there.
“Fairness is NOT one of the foundations of the MLM Survivors Club.”
“There is no requirement of balance in this club, numbskull… Give it up, troll.”
Their club rules also state “Rudeness, abusiveness, name calling and the like will not be tolerated.” Guess there’s a “double standard” on that one, too.
sar·casm n. 1. A mocking or contemptuously ironic remark.
The folly of the MLM Survivor message board is far too extensive to cover in just one segment. Next issue I’ll explain how surviving a bad MLM experience is analogous to surviving The Holocaust, according to one MLM survivor. And I’ll tell you what facts I posted that got me canned a second time from their board. I saved the best anecdotes for last. We’re going to have some fun, so stick around!