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This is not a pyramid!Multi-Level Mail - Volume 1

I occasionally get mail from people concerned about my views on pyramid schemes. I'm sorry, I meant to say "multi-level marketing". Of course, most of the mail I receive about MLM is spam.

The Green Light
See some answers to MLM scams here.

This collection of mail about multi-level marketing and pyramid schemes covers correspondence received up to December 31, 2004.

From: "Kenneth J. Smith"
Subject: incomplete information
Date sent: Sun, 15 Aug 1999 07:26:58 -0700

I came across your web-page while trying to learn a little more about a particular MLM before I get involved. Your website and claims simply crumbled and self-destructed due to its rabid nature, the sheer number of "bad boys" you have listed and your unwillingness to be specific as to what, exactly, is the nature of these horrible lies specific to each and every site you have listed. Your site has the capability of being helpful but seems to show a fear of revealing the complete truth.

From: "patrick heinze"
Subject: pyramid schemes
Date sent: Wed, 8 Sep 1999 21:13:38 -0500

I think that you are a little stupid because if you look at any company it could be considered a pyramid.

for example

Corporate Executive Officer
Vice President
Executive Director

So nay Company could be considered a Pyramid Scheme if you look at it like this.

The only difference is these you move up a lot quicker and a lot of them you can be your own boss.

This must be the tiredest defence of MLM ever. At least he didn't use the General Motors cliché.

These messages aren't critical of the site, but they show a misunderstanding of what it is all about. I think this person needs to check where his web trawling program gets email addresses from. It probably isn't a good idea to try to sell a Multi Level Marketing scam to someone who runs web sites critical of such nonsense. It is especially silly to send the same message twice. I expect more copies for the other Ratbags.Com projects will come in soon.

Date sent: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 17:27:30 +1000 (EST)
Subject: Money not Frequent Flyers
Organization: World Netsafe

I just visited your website at Ifound it through Excite. I noticed the title of your website is Multi-level Marketing and Pyramid Schemes which is why I am emailing you. Last month I was intrduced to the World Netsafe ATTM Card and since haven't looked back. I am not a strong multi level marketer but have so far seen great success. What sets the World Netsafe ATTM Card apart from any other system in the world is the ability to generate income for the cardholder. There are so many advantages associated that I can't put them all in such a short document. If you would like to know more then please repond with "send me card info" as the subject heading. Don't forget the inverted commas and it is all in lower case. I thought Frequent Flyer Points were good! Don't let an opportunity of a life time pass you by.Good Luck. Marshall Fisher If you wish to be removed from this list, please type "remove" in the subject heading.

Date sent: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 17:44:19 +1000 (EST)
Subject: Visa Card that pays us
Organization: World Netsafe

I just visited your website at Ifound it through Excite. I noticed the title of your website is Home of the Ratbags on the Net which is why I am emailing you. Last month I was intrduced to the World Netsafe ATTM Card and since haven't looked back. I am not a strong multi level marketer but have so far seen great success. What sets the World Netsafe ATTM Card apart from any other system in the world is the ability to generate income for the cardholder. There are so many advantages associated that I can't put them all in such a short document. If you would like to know more then please repond with "send me card info" as the subject heading. Don't forget the inverted commas and it is all in lower case. I thought Frequent Flyer Points were good! Don't let an opportunity of a life time pass you by.Good Luck. Marshall Fisher If you wish to be removed from this list, please type "remove" in the subject heading.

What is it about pyramid sellers? Why don't they seem to be able to take a hint?

Date sent:     Sun, 13 Feb 2000 09:49:55 -0700 (MST)
Subject:       Would you copartner with me?
Organization:  World Plus Marketing Group


I visited your web site and was wondering if you'd consider forming a partnership with me (beings you're interested and actively in Network Marketing).

Would you be interested in setting up a Life Plus Web Store, ie. to cross promote on your site? My Web Site / Domain was FEATURED on KULR8 NBC Television in January as 'Site of the Month'

Note: I'd offer you Life Plus Web Store Sites (a $10,000 VALUE) for you and your associates, absolutely FREE* of charge -- just for becoming a Life Plus ASAP Member.

If you'd have an interest, let me and I'll contact you with additional information. I'd look forward to working with you!

Best regards,

Keith Schell.
Life Plus, International
Tel: 406-245-6141
VM: 800-339-7093

My Virtual Office:
Join Life Plus, International with PIN# 97806 and get these BONUSES!

Here's a classic. I have deleted the last part of it because it didn't have much to say.

Date sent: Tue, 11 Apr 2000 12:59:08 +1000
Subject: Your Website: Multi-level Marketing and Pyramid Schemes Organization:


I just visited your website, Multi-level Marketing and Pyramid Schemes, and thought you might be iterested in this MLM opportunity.

From: "Dennis A Nicholson"
Subject: your website
Date sent: Wed, 4 Jul 2001 21:43:35 +1000


this is not an abusive email - just an objective [hopefully]observation.

I have been an Amway distributor for fifteen years and am currently inactive through personal choice. I am aware that there are a lot of sharks out there promoting Amway and other MLM businesses - but there are also some good people helping others as well.

In my case, my wife and I built an Amway Direct Distributorship - helped greatly by some personal friends. We enjoyed several trips with the corporation [serendipities ??] and enjoyed working with the people we had sponsored to help them achieve whatever goals they had set for themselves.

I can accept that you may have a poor image of Amway and other MLM organisations, but my point is why waste so much of your life on the vitriolic views expressed on your website??

why not just accept it is not for you and get on with your life in something more meaningful?

See - no abusive email - just a comment from an honest Amway distributor [I suppose you would class that as an oxymoron :) ]


Dennis Nicholson

Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2001 22:42:14 EST
Subject: Just Wondering.

Okay I have tried many, many programs and frankly just had it with paying my hard earned money have something that only work's half assed. Though a few did work in a way but not in the way I wanted or expected. If you could send me something information and a few tips about your program and if it is successful, I would love to have a few links to your site on some of my Web pages but first I would like to see for myself that this program works. Thank you for your time.

I'm not sure what "program" is being mentioned here. I assume this is someone who misunderstood either or both of the Multi-Level Mirage or penis enlargement spam pages.

From: Silvana Zimmerman
Subject: It seems you dont know anything about mlms. Your an idiot

That was all there was. The body of the message was as empty as a distributor's wallet after a tools sales meeting.

From: "erik"
Subject: magnabloc
Date: Sat, 15 Jun 2002 17:34:27 +0800

it does work

Date: Wed, 2 Oct 2002 08:02:54 +0100 (GMT Daylight Time)
From: "Duncan Sequeira"
Subject: Thanks for your ideas

I have just seen your site about MLM. Have you read the Rich Dad Poor Dad series? Wonder why he speaks so highly about MLM? Have you checked www mlm911? Why does R.Allen, recommend MLM? Are you telling me that all big companies do not have a Pyramid Structure? Can the telephonist in a company rise above the CEO? In MLM, someone in your downline can earn more money than their sponsor. I have seen this happen. Best wishes Duncan

Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 23:15:21 +1200
From: Karl Rohde
Subject: Your site is interesting

Hi there,

I always read with interest sites created by cynics.

My father joined the merchant navy at 14 with little education. He saw Saigon get invaded by the Japanese in 1937(or there abouts)

He has always "an entrepeneur"

Funny thing is - all my six siblings are as well.

And guess what - so am I.

I spent 5 years as a toddler, 13 years at school, 5 years in a factory - 2 years getting a "higher education" and 11 years in IT - including 5 years running my own business.

Guess what - none of it worked despite blood sweat an tears.

So, I am still working in IT, but also work two of the "SCAMS" you and one other your cynical little brain has not found.

Guess what - in the 29 years of education and work, I learned what it was like to be poor. Both financially and emotionally.

Now, SFI and Herbalife come along. Guess what - not only do I help people to earn money (which is the usual "job") I get to earn money as well which is not so usual.

18 Months ago I was 48 hours from being bankrupt. Now I am debt free. And I bring that "concept" to everyone I talk to. If you think that is wrong or bad, then I pity you.

Kind regards,
Karl Rohde
Financially Independent

Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2003 16:23:10 -0800
From: (Neil Reinhardt)
Subject: Well,

I was just going to send you a copy of my e-mail to the idiot who runs that health - watch thing.

HERE is the Health watch (then, one for you)

First, I am 68 years old. I have lived in more countries than most people ever visit. I've also lived in 8 states and 20 cities.

I have have many professions including being a lifeguard, deep sea diver and a para-trooper. I have been a member of management for some very successful companies (NCR, TRW & Magnavox.) and I was an engineer for Xerox.

I have a both a high IQ and AQ (AQ is the ability to effectively use one's IQ) I read at a high speed with high comprehension rates. My listening skills are FOUR times better than average.

I tell you this to let you know that I am a VERY knowledgeable person about MANY things, including current events & history.

So do NOT think for a split-ass second that I can be "bullshitted" or that I do not know what the hell I am talking about.

Next, I've been drinking, using topically & learning about Noni Juice for over six years.


I KNOW what it has done for me and for others and I also damn well KNOW that IT IS A NATURAL HEALING MIRACLE!

I am e-mailing you because you are one of these un-informed IDIOTS who has their head so far up their ass about Noni Juice it is a wonder you can still breathe.

Well, butt breath, you should try some thing which is most probably new to you.


Then you would learn HOW TOTALLY WRONG YOU ARE!

You are also a TOTAL ASS because you stupid statements may keep some of those who could greatly benefit from Noni Juice to not even give it a fair try.

Neil C. Reinhardt

If you want to pay me a visit in person, that is fine with me because then I can kick your ignorant ass!


I have been in and out of MLM for over 30 years. I see you are just as IGNORANT about it and the other joker is about Noni Juice.

You know, there are two kinds of people.

The stupid people & the ignorant people.

(We are ALL ignorant, just of different things. Also we are ALL ignorant of some of the same things.)

The difference it that ignorant people WILL learn, STUPID people will not.

Based on you comments on MLM it seems you well may be one of the STUPID ones!

Neil C. Reinhardt

Date: Fri, 30 Apr 2004 07:28:24 EDT
Subject: (no subject)

Hi my name is Mark and I am an independant distributor for KLEENEZE. I am proud of what I do as is my wife and the whole team of distributors we have shared this opportunity with. We are now full time distributors as the income generated is more than working as a carpenter !!! We took 18 months to establish our business and can now afford extra small luxuries that we coundn't before.

Because of some close minded fools, MLM has gained a bad reputation. Avon, Kleeneze and Betterware have been going for near on 80 years. If they were illegal, we would all face arrest.

MLM is the process of taking products froma company, to a distributor and on to a customer. The removal of all the middle men means that the savings can be paid to the distributors.

No Hauliers fees, NO STOCK, no advertising, no reps fees, company cars and expense accounts. IN fact 60% of the end price is taken away just by the direct sale. Company - distributor- customer.

It would take a complete retard not to understand this

That 60% saved is paid to the distributors. That is where the money comes from.

Still have problems understanding a basic, free enterprise concept ???

Arse holes like you with limited IQ and nothing better to do than slag off something you have ne idea about should be made to state where you got your evidence from. Its all wrong.

Here are some links to really see what this industry is about before you shout you mouth off, spouting complete nonsense.

the true definition of pyramid sales is the continued re-sale of a product that increases in price each time it is sold and doesnt generate any tax or vat.

In our industry, we ALL recieve product direct from the company. There is no re-sale, therefore we all generate the same retail profit and the same company bonus.

Mark should think before calling people arse holes. I have direct experience with Betterware because my wife worked for the company which took over their operations in Australia. It was a standard wholesale/retail operation with defined territories for distributors. Nothing like MLM at all.

On June 3, 2004, I received an ingenuous email asking about the pyramid operator Network 21. You can see the email and my response here.

On June 11, 2004, I received an email asking about Omegatrend. You can see the email and my response here.

Someone didn't like my response to the June 3 question about Network 21.

From: "Alison Kershaw"
Subject: Network21/Amway connection
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 2004 16:42:59 +1000


Nice website, but you really do invalidate the people that have sussed it out for themselves, have all the facts, have no problem with the fact that Amway is the distibutor/supplier/wholesaler of goods and think its a pretty good idea. Fine to have your opinion but why don't you encourage people to do their own research and not just rely on your opionion? Your critique of Network 21 is not accurate and I encourage you to speak to some one in the company that is not an Amway IBO for the full picture. Perhaps you would not be so scathing about it if you do so.


A Kershaw.

I am very impressed by people who "have sussed it out for themselves, have all the facts, ... and think its a pretty good idea". Every Amway "IBO" (or Network 21 salesperson denying the Amway connection) who has ever shown me the plan has told me that it is a simple matter to sign up five people in a month. If you joined up on January 1, 2004, you should now have 19,530 people in your downline. That is the lowest estimate and depends on "IBOs" only ever signing up five people each, not five each month. (It would be 38,880 if everyone was pulling their weight each month.) If you do not have at least this number in your downline then you are a pathetic loser and are obviously suffering from some really stinkin' thinkin'. You should go back to your day J.O.B. If you have achieved this easy target that any committed and motivated "IBO" can reach, your only concern will come in November. By then you will have more than 12 million in your downline and there are simply not enough people living in Australia to find the almost 50 million needed for the October recruits to meet their five-each targets for the next month.

I am intrigued by your idea that it is somehow improper to warn people about possible problems with a potential activity, but that instead people should learn only from their own experience. Do you extend this philosophy to such things as health warnings about the dangers of tobacco, asbestos and unsafe sexual practices, warning labels on packages with poisonous contents, seat belt and motorcycle helmet laws, advice about drinking and driving, and teaching young children about hot stoves, stranger danger and how to cross roads safely? Should people only learn from personal experience, or is it occasionally acceptable to learn from the experience and advice of others? I must say that while I have long observed immorality among big pins and pyramid operators, it is rare to see someone come out and openly suggest amorality.

You suggest that I talk to "some one in the company that is not an Amway IBO". I have done this on several occasions, and almost invariably I have been told lies about the association with Amway, the potential for success, and the penetration of MLM into the distribution of product in the marketplace. I can only assume that any further conversations with these people would produce the same results.

There is also the obvious question of why someone would work for an organisation like Network 21 and not be an "IBO". The pretence is that these networks are there to support the workers in the hive, but anyone working in the office would soon realise where the money is being made and the futility of coming in at the bottom of the pyramid. If it is so easy to make money as an "IBO" and the paradigm of distribution is changing so fast then it would be madness for anybody on the inside not to be a full participant. The fact that there is anybody with inside knowledge who doesn't take up the opportunity is credible evidence that the system is a scam.

You may wonder why I always put the abbreviation "IBO" inside quotation marks. It is because the vast majority of participants in multi-level market schemes are not independent, do not run businesses and have ownership of nothing.

I am a certified consultant and an authorised reseller for several software and hardware products. I can open a retail shop to sell these things, I can sell them on eBay, I can walk door-to-door around the neighbourhood, I can ask retailers to stock them and computer builders to include them as packages with their machines. Within limits, I am independent of the manufacturing and distribution companies. Could I do any of these things with Amway products? The taxation authorities recognise my business as a business and allow me to claim business expenses as deductions, but they have explicitly stated that MLM activities are not businesses. Also, I am not expected to find and recruit competitors for my business. As for ownership, I can sell my client list at any time I like and there is nothing that anyone (except the clients) can do about it. At what level in the hierarchy can you sell your downline to someone else? If you can't sell it, you do not own it. The term "IBO" is just another lie put about by the confidence tricksters who exploit the dreams and trust of honest people.

Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2004 07:02:39 +0800
Subject: interesting website
From: Kerry Beake

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. It is what makes each of us unique and creates the diversity and richness that is this human experience.

Thank you. It is always good to start out with a compliment.

Seeing as you freely admit to never having been involved in network marketing, to ask you for advice or information is a bit like going to see an accountant for information about my health - don't you think? And if I want to know about maths, I would be best served by speaking to a maths teacher, if I want to be rich - speak to a rich person.

What is your opinion of male gynaecologists and obstetricians? In a criminal court case where someone is charged with armed robbery of a bank, who should have the most personal experience of being a bank robber - the prosecuting attorney, the defence lawyer, the judge or the members of the jury? By the way, the next time you meet a maths teacher, get her to explain geometric progression.

By the way do you mention how rich and wealthy you are on your website and do you explain how you 'made it'? I would certainly be interested in that.

I fail to see how my financial position is of any relevance, but if you must know, the basis of my family fortune is that both my and my wife's maternal grandfathers were heavily involved in the shipping industry, and my father ran transportation and food distribution businesses before settling down to a career providing financial services to the defence bureaucracy. I started out doing still-secret research on defence projects, and for the last 17 years I have been an Independent Business Owner. Of a real business, that is.

And if you are really wealthy and know how networking is so EVIL then you had better correct Robert Kiyosaki, Stephen Covey, Paul Zane Pilzer, Dr Charles King (who is running courses at university) and a bunch of other well known and respected persons who are by the way RICH!

Stephen Covey made his money by writing books, which were, ironically and paradoxically, distributed through those old-fashioned distribution channels which have been used to sell books for centuries. Paul Zane Pilzer makes his money by writing books and being paid to talk about MLM to prospects and committed believers. While both of these people talk big about MLM, I have not seen any evidence that either of them actually do it. (I was in the third row from the stage once when Pilzer addressed a roomful of network marketers. His principles and morals would embarrass the audience if he spoke at a convention for used car salesmen or heroin distributors.) As for MLM being taught in universities, I am sure that this is done. When I studied accountancy I did an entire semester on fraud, and I spent a lot of time on ethics and morality in philosophy classes.

You forgot to mention Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, George Soros, Bernie Ecclestone, Stefan Quandt, Larry Ellison, Lee Kun-hee, Ingvar Kamprad, Karl Albrecht, ... But what would they know anyway?

Networking as a concept is a brilliant concept, it is merely another means of distribution. Don't knock what you haven't tried is my suggestion and I am sure you are no different than those that said flight would never take off, or that records would be around forever....

It's another means of distribution which has been tried for decades and has never made any appreciable dent in the marketplace. There has only ever been one successful application of the multi-level marketing model where a large number of people are encouraged to recruit others into the system and everyone either profits from those below them or covers part of the cost of their own product consumption. It is the distribution of illegal drugs, but even then the people at the top make by far the most money. As for not knocking things that I haven't tried, I only have to know the acceleration formula for gravity to stop me jumping off high buildings, and I only have to know what an exponential curve looks like to know that the vast majority of participants in multi-level marketing have no hope of ever making any money.

Wealth, and dreams aren't bad things to want and there is always money to be made and there will always be those that do it immorally and those that don't. Please consider this before making such broad, absolute and all encompassing statements.

Of course there is always money to be made. There are all those pensioners with their life savings just rusting in banks, countless schoolgirls who are not working for pimps or pornography film makers, and millions of people who dream of being a bit better off than they are who are perfect targets for glib confidence tricksters offering bigger and better dreams.

So in your link about comment about your website it will be interesting to see if you would print this. The only ones I could find were inquiries by people who weren't yet involved...mmm wonder why and also see my comment above about who I would be seeking advice from...

I always publish critical emails, and I am publishing this one on the front page of the site. I'm not sure which page on this site you were referring to, but my collection of MLM mail seems to contain a few things which could not be described as "inquiries by people who weren't yet involved". Mmm?

Kerry Beake
Successful Independent Associate
USANA Health Sicences
member Foothills Chapter BNI (more networking...)

Subject: MLM website
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 2004 03:36:35 -0500
From: "Carl Lyle"

I had to write after reading your website on MLM marketing. While I don't disagree with a lot that you say, your generalized portrayal of the MLM industry is archaic and laced with the stench of Amway and others that gave direct selling a bad name during the early years. I also agree that everyone has their right to an opinion, so here's mine. First let me say that I'm a lawyer well versed in corporate America. You obviously do not need a lesson in Corporations 101 so I'm sure you know that every corporation in America is a pyramid structure. From the CEO at the top, to the V.P's, middle management, down to the employees doing all the work for crappy wages. The worker's do all the work manufacturing product, providing services and moving the goods and services to the market to pay the large salaries and bonuses of upper management. Only the people at the top of the corporate pyramid are getting rich. MLM companies are no different and are pyramid structures as well but offer the ability for the employee at the bottom of the corporate pyramid to earn a larger income than they could every make in corporate America. Some legitimate MLM companies such as the one my wife is involved, do not require all this cash input your talking about and do not require pissing off and losing all your friends. The reason most people fail in their MLM efforts is because they're not business people. In fact, most of these people can't keep a job in corporate America so what makes them think they can run their own business. I don't have to tell you that most start up businesses in corporate America fail also. Why? Poor management skills, costs and general stupidity. Is there stupidity in MLM companies? Go to a "home party" and you tell me. My point is that my wife, in 5 months, is in the upper 2% of management in the company that she is involved because of her professional background (media marketing and medical sales) and the simple fact that she knows how to build and run a business. She was successful before in her line of work but did not have the earning ability that this company offers. Is she leaving a trail of destruction? Admittedly, some of these people due out of sheer ignorance, but my wife spends the extra effort to make sure everyone in her organization is supported, well trained, and has every chance of the success that she is having. I find it amusing that you attack the ethics of people involved in MLM stating the unethical people are those making the money. Actually, the reverse is true. The ethical ones are those that succeed because their business has a solid foundation and is built on respect in the community, the same as any successful company in corporate America. Oh, and those companies that are unethical? Well, Enron and WorldCom come to mind……..

I always like to hear the hoary old line about how real companies are "pyramids". The corporate structures of MLM companies are too, but that never gets mentioned.

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