Tuesday, September 27, 2011

General comment about MLM and its supporters / critics

People who are involved with MLM generally comes in 6 types

  • MLM Grunts
  • MLM Stars
  • MLM Coaches
  • MLM Attorneys
  • MLM Opponents
  • MLM Critics

Each group have their own blindspots and strengths.

MLM grunts -- generally your "grunts", often addicted to MLMs, joining one after another always looking for the "big score", may even make some money, often believe in the MLM (no matter which one) with religious fervor. May or may not graduate to MLM upper level (see below).

Strengths: there are a lot of them, willingness to learn and earn
Weaknesses: often completely ignorant regarding the realities of MLM, such as what makes a MLM legal, easily lead astray by unscrupulous stars and coaches

MLM stars -- those with some recruiting skill and able to build a clique can take the clique from one MLM to another, probably spent decades in the business, and claims to make a comfortable living using his people skills, not sales skills.

Strengths: personal skills allows team building, knows most of the recruiting tricks and how to maximize profit in minimum time by leveraging his connections, have a bit of an ego
Weaknesses: often just as ignorant about the legalities as the grunts, often "raids" a MLM (move in, make a bundle, get out), ego often lets oneself get in big trouble with big mouth

MLM coaches -- "bottom feeders" of the industry... may be a direct participant, but often just use the "coaching" title to seek recruits for his or her current favorite MLM, teaches terribly obvious stuff, often advertise via Youtube and similar videos and generic capture pages. May also go by title of "marketing coach", "attraction coach", and so on.

Strengths: some may actually know something to teach, and some are honest about teaching
Weaknesses: most just want to get paid for "training" but don't want to get involved in MLM itself, too many of them impossible to check their bonafides, and most are just as ignorant as their students about MLM in general. Some "coaches" are just recruiters in sheep's clothing.

MLM attorneys -- they actually know the law that governs MLM, and advises MLMs on what is legal, and what is not. They sometimes also make observations about the industry and upcoming law changes.

Strengths: actually knows the laws involved: when they say it's illegal, it really is!
Weaknesses: has a pro-industry bias, as it is their livelihood, and can't really be considered neutral

MLM opponents -- i.e. "MLM is fundamentally fraudulent" critics, who believe MLM is just a pyramid scheme somehow legalized with minor differences. Examples include Robert Fitspatrick and Dr. John Taylor.

Strengths: have studied the issues at length, with sufficient documentation and such to back up a lot of their claims, hearts at the right place
Weaknesses: some are extremely inflexible in their views, and refused to even acknowledge the current legal state where MLM is legal, and pyramid scheme is not, and has a bit of tunnel vision

MLM critics -- those who consider MLM industry to be polluted by scams posing as MLMs, and are out there to  point out the "bad apples" before they tarnish the industry. Example would be Rod Cook, Troy Dooly, and so on.

Strengths: knows the difference between the legal, and the illegal, pretty close to genuine third-party as you will find
Weaknesses: has a SLIGHT pro-industry bias, as it must accept "MLM is legal" (which is fact) and use that as basis to root out pyramid schemes.

I consider myself a MLM critic, slipping toward MLM opponent, thus, I consider myself a true neutral in this mess. :D

This is my problem with DB, as DB is a MLM Opponent. In his world view, a "legal MLM" does not exist. Yet a MLM "critic"'s fundamental worldview is that MLM is legal, and pryamid scheme is not. Thus, somehow MLM critics and MLM opponents sometimes end up on opposite sides, even when both are out to bash pyramid schemes.

As for the rest, I consider the MLM Stars and Coaches to be... scum. Let me explain why:

MLM grunts don't know anything, and since they are always trained by coaches or stars, they will say whatever their upline (coach or star) say. And if the coach or star choose to tell them lies (or that was how s/he learned it: a lie) then the lie will be perpetuated. Most MLM coaches or Stars don't know much more than their downlines / recruits, esp. on the LEGAL issues. Some just use their skills to build a personality cult and get them to move from one MLM to another, thus enriching him- or herself at the expense of the members but blaming the members for their failures (I am doing great, why aren't you?)

Coaches are even worse. Coaches are basically grunts who thought they can make money by being on the edges of MLM without getting their feet wet. They often have NO idea what makes a MLM profitable or not, or even whether it's legal or not. Yet they want to teach how to recruit, how to generate leads, and whatnot, and get paid for teaching such things.

No doubt SOME stars and coaches are ethical, but I doubt there are too many of them. Remember, there is no barrier to entry in this field. ANYBODY can claim to be a MLM coach. At least with MLM star there's a bit of reputation you can verify, but that doesn't prove the industry is viable, merely that the star has interpersonal skills to form a clique.

What about MLM critics? We are often guilty of a bit of bias ourselves. We tend to look at the status quo, that MLM is legal, without examining the deeper issues (such as the concerns that MLM opponents raised and their research). MLM itself has fatal flaws that needs to be addressed, as it is very prone to abuse, until laws are passed and modern enforcement for financial crime beefed up, MLM critics will be too busy bashing the various pyramid schemes out there disguised as MLMs to study MLM itself.

And that leaves the MLM grunts as the real victims. If they run into a ethical coach or star, great. But if they ran into a scam disguised as MLM, or an unethical coach or star, then either this grunt will quit MLM altogether, become addicted to serial MLM, without knowing what's legal and what's not (never got trained in the right issues and knowledge), often aspiring to clone their upline, and so on.

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