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Some time in late 2008 the domain name omegatrend.com.au was acquired by an organisation called New Image International, based in New Zealand, and links to Omegatrend redirect to the new owners. To nobody's surprise, the new owners of the name run a multi-level marketing scam. This time they are selling colustrum, which is the first flow of milk from a cow after a calf is born. It cures almost everything. Of course.
On June 11, 2004, I received the following email:
I would just like to know why this company has made it on your list.
I have a family member interested in joining them and I'm trying to find
out more about them both for myself and them. Do you have any articles or
comments directly relating to Omegatrend or is it there simply because it
is a multi-level marketing company?
I look forward to your response.
The short answer is "yes", it is listed here because it is a multi-level marketing business, and these operations are ipso facto scams and frauds. The long answer is that Omegatrend was created to cynically exploit some well-known facts about the MLM business and the psychology supporting confidence tricks.
The first of these facts is that the real money is made not by being in the pyramid, even at the highest levels, but by owning the pyramid. It is reported that Dexter Yager, the owner of International Dreambuilders, rakes in about $40 million each year from his Amway pyramid, and that's without ever selling a single bar of soap or showing a single plan. (Yager's sister apparently lives in poverty in a trailer park. He won't give her any money because she is a loser. Evidence of her loserness is the fact that she doesn't get $40 million each year.) Omegatrend was started by a group of Amway big pins who set out on their own to gouge the really big bucks. Despite years of telling people about the unmatched quality of Amway products, they were able, remarkably, to find products of equivalent or better quality from other sources. Of course, they had spent the same years telling people that the only way to riches was through being a worker in the Amway hive. These people did not get rich, so perhaps the big pins were "mistaken" about that too.
The Omegatrend distribution centre for the Sydney area is close to one of my client's offices, so I get to drive past it quite often. It certainly never looks as busy as it should be if the promises of multi-level marketing as the new paradigm of product distribution were coming true. I was told several years ago that it was only a matter of a year or two before this new channel was going to be moving 50% of all retail merchandise. It amused me to find out that Australia's smallest national grocery chain had total annual sales in Australia alone which were greater than the business that Amway was supposed to be doing worldwide, even allowing for the dodgy way that MLM companies report sales. (They report what the total sales would be at retail if all product ended up in the hands of consumers and none of it was bought for distributors' private use. Put another way, when you hear about an MLM company doing a billion dollars worth of sales, what they really mean is that $700 million of product was put into the channel and it may all still be sitting in garages.)
The psychology exploited by Omegatrend is the denial which people suffer when they have made a bad decision. This is allied with what is called "cognitive dissonance", where people's actions are at variance with their principles and they seek to resolve this dilemma by developing justifications for the actions. It seems to take most people about two years to realise that they are never going to make any money, much less the fortunes that they were promised were available to anyone who put in the work, and that they have been deceiving (even though unwittingly) anyone whom they have brought into the system. The constant boosting by the "motivational organisations" (the pyramid operators) places people who want to leave in the embarrassing position of appearing to have failed where others have prospered.
Omegatrend targeted dissatisfied Amway distributors by offering them what appeared to be a gracious way out. Their lack of success was not because they were losers or not fully committed, but because the system and product mix were wrong. The problems with bringing others into the system only to fail could be reversed by telling those others that there was a new organisation which was going to do things properly so that they could really fulfil their dreams. This was also the strategy used by Nu Skin when they opened in Australia, and almost everyone I met who offered me the Nu Skin introductory tapes had been an Amway distributor before but had made no money. Those tapes contained the same tricks to avoid the legal definition of pyramid selling as those I had heard from Amway and others. Like generic drugs which all have the same molecular structure but different brand names, multi-level marketing organisations are only differentiated by the name on the building and the stationery. They are all in the same business. That business is based on lies and the disappointment of the people they cheat.
It is interesting to speculate on why the name "Omegatrend" was chosen. One possibility is that it was named for Omega Centauri (see picture below), the largest globular cluster in our galaxy which, at 17,000 light years away, is just as attainable as success and wealth through membership of the lower levels of a pyramid scheme. Another reason could be that omega (Ω) is the last letter in the Greek alphabet, and the use of it in the name is a tacit admission that multi-level marketing is the last place you would look to find a successful business model. In certain forms of Christian iconography, the Greek letter omega is superimposed on the Cross. As there is a certain air of fundamental religion and cult about membership of a sales pyramid it could be that the founders of Omegatrend want to hijack the icon, with the hope that when people see it they will think about soap powder instead of salvation. Another possibility may have to do with pronunciation. The normal pronunciation of the word "omega" puts the emphasis on the first syllable, and the second syllable is an unaccented grunt (which linguists call "schwa", usually represented by an upside-down "e" character - "ə"). Everyone who I have heard say the name "Omegatrend" has put the emphasis on the second syllable - the word "me". This is consistent with the "me, me, me" principles of MLM promoters and other confidence tricksters.
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2005 22:26:08 +1000
From: "Mars Browne and Don Wilson"
No minimum purchase of everyday products that you WANT to purchase Use whatever service you benefit from....phone , credit card , mortgage, insurance, mobile phone, health insurance
with at least 12 business builders plus 1500 global points you get $2000 per month guaranteed
for 10-15 hour work per week
Tell me please if there is something better out there??? I am waiting for your reply
$2000 was achieved by us within 7 months
Congratulations! Someone has to win.
Date: Fri, 1 Apr 2005 20:25:40 +1000
From: "Mars Browne and Don Wilson"
Subject: Re: Omegatrend
Its called "don't give up"
But really you would have to be stupid not to do it. OT leads the pack, why give all your hard earned money to the big corporations??
And whats really stupid is that you do it all your life and you think nothing of it go figure
Amway and tax (5/3/2005)
One of the lies that used to be told to potential recruits into multi-level marketing schemes was that as they would be running a business they would be able to claim all sorts of tax deductions against income from other sources. In 1996, the Australian Taxation Office put a stop to this nonsense by defining a business and stating quite clearly why being an IBO was not one. Of course, you could and still can claim deductions up to the total amount of income from that source, but this wasn't what the uplines were saying. I particularly liked the case of one person who was trying to claim about $12,000 per year in lease payments on a BMW because he was selling about $250 worth of Nu Skin products. What was really impressive was his tremendous optimism, because at the same time he was claiming even more deductions for the car because he said he needed it to transport his tool box to his job as an aircraft mechanic. The judge did not reward his optimism.
Two multi-level marketing organisations, Amway and Omegatrend, have reached agreements with the ATO about the tax positions of distributors. I have no doubt that the existence of these agreements is used in the sales pitch to prospects, but I also have no doubt that the actual wording of these agreements is never provided, nor is any idea of where anyone could go to read them. Yes, there are such agreements, but all they talk about is how high you have to get in the matrix before you can convince the tax office that what you are doing looks something like a business, and all they talk about is losses. Losses - those things you get when it costs you more to run the business than the business brings in. If 10% of the lies told by MLM spruikers were true, who would be worrying about the tax accounting for losses after the first few weeks?
I am gathering some information about what it really means to be at certain rebate levels in Amway and Omegatrend, and I will have an analysis of how impossible it is to make money (or to be able to deduct losses against other income) here one day. If anyone has any current or recent information about the compensation plans of either organisation, please contact me.
Har! Har! Hearty Har! Har! So sue me for saying it. (6/5/2006)
Schadenfreude must be the second-best feeling in the world. (The best, as everyone knows, is a cold beer on a hot day. As this is a family web site, the third best will not be mentioned.)
I had that wonderful feeling on Thursday this week when I read in The West Australian newspaper that multi-level marketing company Omegatrend had called in the administrators to try to revive the lifeless husk of a pyramid with 13,000 people signed up but only 1,000 actually selling anything. While I feel sorry for the distributors who won't get any of the money back that they have wasted on tapes, seminars and unsold products stacked in their garages and for the suppliers who are owed $2 million and are probably going to lose the lot, it is hard to feel sorry for the scamsters who set up the scheme. One reason that it is hard to feel sorry for them is that they have probably been clever and foresighted enough to arrange their financial affairs so that the pain is borne by others. I wonder how much of a surprise it will be to the distributors lower in the pyramid when they are told that the monster pins running the outfit, the people at the very top of the earning tree, don't have a spare couple of million lying around to pay their debts. Did I mention "lying" and "a couple of million" in the same sentence? How could I be so cynical?
The picture at the right is Omega Centauri, a globular cluster of stars about 17,000 light years from Earth. This distance is symbolic of the distance between promise and truth in MLM. If you click on the player below you can hear the Omegatrend theme music.
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2006 12:29:41 +1000
From: Michael Borg
Subject: Har! Har! Hearty Har! Har! So sue me for saying it
The above is the comment you made regarding the collapse of Omegatrend.
I have no idea what you find so satisfying or funny about peoples livelihoods being destroyed. I would say you know nothing about the business.
If you had paid attention to what I wrote you would have seen that I expressed sympathy for the people who were deceived into joining this scheme and who had subsequently lost money. It is also probably worth thinking about the idea that if Omegatrend had been such a good business to be in and that participants had in fact been able to make it their "livelihood" then it might have been moving enough product and money to keep the doors open.
I would like to say burn in hell but I sincerely hope that pain and misery find you before death. But then again, it's quite obvious that you are a pethetic and miserable individual in any case.
You are scum
Thank you. I always take it as a compliment when I am called names by pyramid scheme enthusiasts.