i-COMMERCE (MLM Scheme)


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Calla

Today I had a very interesting encounter. A friend approached me with a business proposition, one with untapped wealth. Then he persistently encouraged me to meet with a businessman. My bull**** detector was going off right from the start when the usual questions like...

"Who is this guy?"

"What does it involve?"

"What is the rate per hour?"

"Are you leading me down a dark alley to get banged by 5 hairy beasts of the night?"

... were all answered with..."Just come to the meeting, it is very provocative"

Baffled, but confident I could trust my friend I met with this guy. There I was presented with, what looked like to me, a glorified pyramid scheme. However of course I was assured it wasn't.

The guy, Steve, pitched to me the business model. With some research I've found this.

Multi-level marketing (MLM), also known as Network Marketing is a business distribution model that allows a parent multi-level marketing company to market their products directly to consumers by means of relationship referral and direct selling.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi_level_marketing

Read some more to fully understand.

So here I am, listening to three 'motivational' cd's given to me free about the scheme - being told by credible voices (politicians, lawyers, doctors, teachers) that there is alot of money to be made if only I could wriggle out of my tin hat.

So I must recruit people, who will recruit other people and so on... to buy products from the website and then we all share in a fraction of the 'advertising' dollar saved by cutting out the middlemen in the traditional business model.

Consumer --> Retail Store --> Wholesaler --> Warehouse --> Manufacturer

Ok so I'm not stupid, I've read every single blog and forum post criticising the scheme. However it still appears extremely seductive.

So has anyone had any experience with these type of schemes?

Criticism? Praise?

Edited by Calla
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Panacik

You can only make good money by working hard mate. If something sounds to good to be true, then it usually is and you are right... this is a glorified pyramid scheme.

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Calla

Yeah I call bull****

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Colin-uk

You never make any money with that stuff, the only people that do are the people conning you into giving them your money.

Stay away, imo

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+Gary7

Is it Amway? :x

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Calla

Yeah the guy mentioned Amway in the meeting, my research says i-Commerce is a clone of Amway, wow i feel sorry for my friend. He just got duped.

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MitchyD1989

yeah my suggestion is definitely stay away

a guy approached me about 3 weeks ago, with EXACTLY the same thing. i-COMMERCE. seemed alright at first but i always wasnt too sure if i wanted to go ahead or not, and the guy took advantage of that by pressuring me into coming along to their meetings etc. i pulled out in the end, and thank god i did lol

my boss was once approached by another guy with the same thing, but this guy was actually a mate of his. in the end, they dont get along anymore. after my boss didnt want to do it, the guy didnt want anything to do with him

this is the sort of stuff you lose friends over, and being only 18, i dont want that to happen lol

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+Dick Montage

Also have a word with your friend for trying to get you involved - he sold you out!

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Calla

I think my friend is genuinely thinking it works. Gotta have some serious words with him, he is an immigrant who can barely speak english - they promised him unfound wealth and he took the bait, not surprised.

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voidpharoh

I would personally stay far far away from such schemes, and if you can it wouldn't hurt to persuade your friend to pull out of it. But in the end it is his & your decision, good luck and hope neither one of you get hurt financially over it.

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mjstar

Wow, definitely BS. How did it go with your friend?

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  • 5 months later...
pyrosarco

Hey, I just met with some guy named Steve also about this so called program ICOMMERCE and cutting out the middle man and all that crap.

Yeah, it definitely was a scam. I still want to go to one of the meetings just to yank their chains, but that costs gas. At least that's on the way down now too. :)

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metal_dragen

I had the unfortunate "pleasure" of being dragged to one of i-Commerce's "meetings" by a friend of mine. He was in it, and it was working for him, but not at the level they "promise" you and show you is possible. They gave me all the literature and the motivational CDs and I listened to it. You have to have a high tolerance for bullcrap and really listen to these things and read the stuff to see through it all. These people are consummate salespeople and they dupe people every day.

They are a glorified Amway, though in this case, you buy name-brand products through their online system of stores rather than Amway-branded products.

As some have said, you can make money doing this, but to really do it well, the first few years, you're going to have to make it a full time job. You can't make the big money doing this a few hours a week, as they'd like you to believe.

Pass on it, now.

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  • 1 month later...
jimmytopcat

yeah its amway,

a friend of mine after saying icommerce was not amway, had shown me his icommerce "business website", which proudly boasted its amway sponsorship logo in the top right corner.

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TheKindred
this is a glorified pyramid scheme.
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  • 8 months later...
bremo

Basically I?m a budding entrepreneur, and one of my businesses was a local arborist. So I distributed about 50 leaflets in my street, and I get a call from a lady to get me to cut down her trees, told her I couldn?t coz of public liability. All good, or so I thought. Next I got a text asking if I wanted to join a part-time business that she and ?some of her friends? were running. (I can hear you all groaning...) But being a budding businessman, and not wanting to miss a potential opportunity, I agreed to meet up to discuss this business which she couldn?t tell me about over the phone (wtf?).

So we met up and she drilled my head off with a monologue for about 45mins, asking stupid questions like ?wouldn?t you like to be rich, without having to do anything??. After tolerating this for 45 mins I still didn?t know what the hell the business was, but she had led me to believe that her friend was coming down and would tell me all about it at a meeting. As stupid as I feel now, I was led on to believe that he would help me with my business, like a mentor or whatever. Apparently he ?had made it?.

A number of questions ran through my mind:

1. Why is she telling me this? Kindness of her heart?

2. What does this mentor get? Where?s his cut?

3. Why won?t she tell me what this ?business? is all about?

Fast forward a week and I?m at this meeting, held at the town hall. (I might just add at this juncture that the way that these people are brainwashed into accepting the fact that every thinks their idea is rubbish is that they are made to believe that ?some people just think differently to us, they want to work 9-5?). There were probably 12 of us there, all 45-60yo, with the exception of me (20). My would-be ?sponsor? made sure we sat in the front row. First of all was the Robert Kiyosaki DVD excerpt, detailing good motivational thinking, there was a bit of humor, and damn he had charisma. But it?s important to note he?s not selling the ?pipeline? scheme. He has a motivational book and the icommerce people were using it as a tool. Next came the usual motivational spin: ?what would you do if you had $10 000 a month guaranteed? etc. I?m starting to suspect it?s not a business mentoring session. Too much crap and not enough stats. Then ?its essential you must first register to get these benefits, then redirect your money, then recommend it to your friends?.

The meeting breaks up for questions. I?m still hoping to salvage this, so I ask the presenter some business questions. Where is his cut? Where is my profit margin? Do you drop-ship to the customers? Is there a minimum monthly order? He struggles to answer most, and his knowledge of the product and scheme beyond the spin is questionable. He keeps emphasising the point that to make money you must hire others. Technically not a pyramid scheme but damned if I?m joining it.

The problem these people have is they cannot separate the dream (read: motivational spin) from the scheme. They are led to believe that their lives will be over, and for some of these people it seems it?s all they have.

Other points:

1. It is an Amway scheme.

2. It is possible to make money out of it, and granted their products are not that bad, but you will have to flirt the ?laws? of the scheme.

3. Beware of the motivational spin; it?s cruel that they use it to their advantage, but it works on a lot of people.

4. ?Glorified pyramid scheme? (TheKindred) fits well. They will deny it (and why shouldn?t they? Pyramid schemes have been illegal for 40 years) but it is essentially a reworked pyramid scheme.

5. If the ?leader? is so rich, why does he do all the travelling to do sessions to recruit new people? I?ve heard that the people up the top make their money from selling the scheme rather than the actual scheme, and from what I?ve seen this seems to be the case.

For a while I was at a loss: do I take it up? It does seem very seductive. But there are too many questions, too many unanswered issues. Everything screams ?FAKE!!!? but at the same time I like to hope. I thought I could flaunt the scheme.

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  • 7 months later...
Kevin Hong

Hi Guys,

I am not sure if anyone are reading this thread now but I just wanted to write some thoughts from an actual member's perspective.

I will share what I know and how I am doing and what to really expect from Amway Global business.

About Me:

Currently working as a SW Project Manager at a 3G wireless data card vendor.

I like what I do for living now; pay is good and work is pretty fun.

I am 30 and considered to be bright like most people on this thread, IMO.

I am 'doing' Amway marketing as part-time.

How I started Amway:

Well, my mother-inlaw asked me three times and finally joined just to keep her happy.

Did not want to join at all because I had a pretty good idea what it was all about.

It only cost me $59 for the yearly membership fee ($62/year now after they raised it few months ago after being $59/year for the past 5 years).

It was similar to my Costco membership so why not join is what I was thinking.

At Costco, it cost $100/year if you want (executive membership) 2% rebate after spending minimum of $2000. Usually business owners use this but some consumers

I was open to anything and at least listen to what people have to say.

I definitely did not want to join because:

1. Felt I knew everything about Amway already and didn't want to get started based on what I knew at the time.

2. Was being 'persuaded' and that usually don't work well with people like me cause I like to decide on my own on everything.

But since it was my mother-inlaw, it didn't seem that bad to just signup for 1 year and buy few things since I like trying out new products.

What I did next:

I received the welcome/introduction box with information on the business side of Amway.

I paid for it, so I read through the Business Reference Guide. It explained in detail on how the business model works and how the profits and bonuses are shared etc. I didn't attend any of the meetings people usually go to prior to signing up.

Then, I googled Amway scam and pyramid this and that. Read people's stories and all.

I thought about it for few days about how I used to sell Vacuum cleaners door to door back in college years to save some tuition money and also doing door to door study guide book sales one summer. In those days, I learned what sales was all about. We used to listen to live motivational speakers and sing songs in groups and keep that juice going through out the day. All these came to my mind again and wondered whether this is what it takes.

After couple of days of thinking here and there, I realized this ain't that hard at all. Compared to demoing and selling $2000 vacuum cleaners at random homes, this seemed like something that doesn't take much to do well. I was thinking all it takes is to explain what this business is all about and find entrepreneur minded people like myself. Well, so I decided to give it a try.

1st Month:

First, I took my catalogs with me at work and promoted the products to some of my coworkers.

People looked and few bought some small items that I recommended. I've also bought a lot of products I wanted to try such as Nutrilite sports vitamins and drinks to use while playing tennis. I've realized that everyone thinks that this business is all about selling products to others and sign others who must sell sell sell.

The only thing people saw was what I was doing, which was showing catalog and selling stuffs. What they saw me doing was exactly what they thought it was all about even though I've tried to explain that there is much more to do it then just sell.

I've realized, I was doing the wrong way.

I understood that this business not only about selling things so I decided to change how I approach to people.

Bonus check: $93. Mostly buying bunch of stuffs (including water filter system for the kitchen) for myself and signing up my mother under me.

Check for the month comes on the 15th of the following month.

2nd Month:

I've changed my approach and decided to really focus on showing how the business model work and explain that this is just like Costco membership.

Costco has membership referral program (really exists) and Amway business works the same way. You sign up as a member and purchase things at member prices.

Just buy what you need personally and promote it just as you would promote Costco. It worked and people started to understand pretty well how this business was all about. BTW, Costco pays $10 each (one time) to you and the friend you refer. Sometimes they add a bonus pizza. I guess Amway is similar but you get about $20 ~ $30 franchise fee from your down-line (members who signup to start their business through you). This is just my own average calculations made.

In one week, 5 people signed up and by the end of the month I had 8 total signed up as a member. I didn't sell much to anyone but just buy few household products I needed such as toothpaste, shampoo, mouth wash etc. Also bought vitamins for my joints (Glucosomine) and eye vision (Lutein).

Bonus check: $126. Just bought few things for myself and some of the new members purchased products they wanted to get.

3rd Month:

Got really excited about the progress and talked to my 'upline' (AKA: mentor) who has few hundred total members under her network. She owns her own small business and does Amway at the same time. She has been a member for about 6 years now. Her annual income last year was close to $80k. I've calculated the average income that 'Sapphire' pin people should be making and it was around that range. There are many people who makes more than her after 6 years but still it's not that bad.

She wanted to help me grow and found 3 people to join under my network. I understood what her goals were since I read the Business Reference Guide. I now for sure that it would be great advantage for me as well to get a lot of support from her. Her job is really to help me grow my network which in return helps her too.

By end of the month, my network grew to 11 and most of the members did some shopping for themselves.

I was not very active this month due to sickness (flu).

Amazingly though, my previous 2 months of work was really paying off.

Bonus check: $414. Plus I qualified for extra $200 that is to be included in the following month's bonus check. The bonus check was more than I expected.

4th Month:

Felt better health wise and started to help members in my network to grow.

By the end of the month, my network grew to 18.

Bonus check has not arrived yet but it is expected to be little less than previous month. A lot more members signed up but total purchases were less than last month. I could still see how previous months' work will be paying off later. This business is all about volumn of sales and not how many people are signed up.

A definition of a pyramid scheme is when you pay money in advance to the person who sign you up in order to join and you get that money back by signing another person who must pay you to join as well and so on. Amway is all about bonuses based on total products purchase volume. It doesn't matter if you have 1, 10, or 100 people in your network. Bonuses are calculated exactly based on preset formula. Pretty simple formula basically.

5th Month:

This is where I am at right now. I actually decided to go to one of those function/seminars in Las Vegas just to see how my organization does it. Since we don't work for Amway, everyone are under some organization or groups. Each groups teaches slightly different but basic principles are similar. Functions are ran by individual groups and never requested by Amway corporation directly. Only thing Amway corporation gets involved are product promotion conventions. All other funtions, meetings, and others are done by individual groups of people.

This business is sales, promotion, and marketing. You can do any or all of the three things to make money.

I know that listening to CDs and going to functions do turn some people off but I know WHY it is necessary and can be helpful.

Yes it will cost you some money to buy them and I am pretty sure people who made these tools are earning some extra income as well. I usually get these CDs free by burning them. I do enjoy listening to people's experiences and their recommendations but I do what I can to get these for free.

Coming from door to door sales experience, I know for a fact that it is very very important to always be motivated by someone or some thing. Speeches found in CDs are to get some pointers to help you have better conversation with your prospects or your own network. However, if all you do is listen to the CDs and going to functions, all you will ever get are motivations and nothing more. If you don't actually DO the work and use the tips found through the seminars and CDs, you will end up with nothing and probably quit and complain that you've only spent money in this business buying CDs, books, and going to functions. Most (not all) of the stories I've read online was from people from this category unfortunately. I've even saw a Dateline doing a story about Amway/Quixstar many years back. To me, it was pretty hilarious how they made it so that viewers see the business as a scheme. Some past members came out to tell how they lost so much money buying tapes every week and so on. Listening to the tapes/CDs are great tools to recharge your 'battery' when you need it but you can't been charging the FULL battery constantly.

This is really about promoting Amway Global shopping site. Amway is nothing more than an online shopping center for people to buy rather than going to local stores. Basically Amway is not a brand but just a store. There are bunch of branded products you can purchase through the store. Sure there are brands that Amway owns directly. These are called home grown products sort of like Kirkland brand inside Costco; Costco is not a brand but Kirkland is and we all know Costco is associated with Kirkland brand.

Everyone says the products are really good, no question about it. I know Amway try hard to make high quality 'Premium' products for reasonable prices. Definitely does not sell what we call cheap consumer brands. I definitely agree that some of the products cost more to get than what we are used to.

For some items, it pick and choose what I need. There are few that I 'want' even though it costs more than Walmart/Target. I don't mind paying slightly more on these because I like it. I do my research like most online users these days.

Recent updates were made to Amway website. They've updated their 11 year old site to the new Web 2.0.

One thing I have to admit that Amway tries pretty hard to always be more advanced with whatever they do and sell.

Final Thoughts:

Not everyone wants to get involved in sales and/or marketing business.

This is definitely a legit business. Whether you shop at Target/Walmart or shop online store like Amway, your money goes away.

I think it is better that money spent are going to the people who market the products directly rather than it all going to Target/Walmart.

I do feel that Amway products are definitely considered high quality premium stuffs. You may not like EVERYTHING they offer but you will definitely find things you will love.

I do have a dream to be able to coach high school tennis. Working 9 to 6 (or later) jobs doesn't allow me to do that.

I do see myself being able to achieve this dream of mine if I am very successful in this Amway marketing business.

It will take some time, but I definitely see myself getting there.

If you are like me, really find out and see if it is something you can do. Not everyone can do it easily.

It will take some effort and time. For someone like me who had a sales experience, it was not hard at all to talk to people and promote it.

After studying the whole business model and the products Amway offers, it has gotten a lot easier for me to talk about it.

If you want to get better or even start by talking to people, you just have to get better at it.

Everyone knows public speaking is the #1 fear that people have. It is amazing how much success can come by overcoming that fear.

Personal Promotion:

If you want to find out more or having more questions that you want me to answer for you, you can email me at ilovetennis.org@gmail.com

Yes, I am a tennis lover. Outside of work and Amway, I play tennis.

I don't mind talking to you over the phone once you email me first.

Of course, it will be awesome if you end up joining my network. Who wouldn't.

I am one of those guys who is very motivated and would help you grow.

At the end of the day, my goal is to expand my network by either helping them with their personal communication skills or finding ways to expand their network.

Finally, I do have to have to share my personal site where you can browse all the Amway products and actually buy for yourself by signing up as my 'customer' Signing up as customer is absolutely free. It only requires name and address where to ship the items you buy. Everything is handled by Amway directly. They will ship directly. I only promote my site and the products.

Keep in mind that if you really want to buy a lot, it would be more beneficial for you to join the paid membership whether or not you want to expand your network like I am. Members do get up to 35% off on retail price you see on the website by default.

All members can create personal site for no extra charge.

Mine is:

www.amway.com/tennis

Did I already mention that I love tennis? :)

Please ping me for further questions whether you are just curious for more information or actually do want to try it out like I have.

Thx,

Kevin

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