Sample Readers' Comments
Congratulations for a great lifetime of research! Coming from a background of IT and Political Sciences, I like and appreciate the scientific way in which you present information.– Claire Zarb
OMG, Dr. Taylor, your research is incredible and a direct hit. I'm trying [to counter this], but this cult is getting stronger as our economic down turn continues to plague us. . . It is sad in this case because this family will pull their son from his sophomore year at University of San Francisco to work full time in this MLM cult. I escorted my family members to this conference and felt like it was a version of the Jonestown revival act episode II. - Karen H., California
"Thank you for your great insights and all the work you have put into researching this little-understood subject. If every [person] interested in joining recruiting MLM's would just take the time to read your [reports] and educate themselves, they could save a lot of grief." —Michael Rawlings
"Thank you for your work on MLM! It is exactly what I've been looking for to get a data-based picture of the opportunity I am currently pursuing. Your logical questions and objective research are exactly what is needed in this industry." —Donna Horowitz
While I was looking for a little bit of information on MLMs, I found your page through Wikipedia. I also read your 44 page paper "The 5 Red Flags: Five Causal and Defining Characteristics of Product-based Pyramid Schemes, or Recruiting MLM's." It didn't take me long to figure out that MLMs were much worse than I had thought. I thought about it from a business and an economic standpoint and I realized that this business model makes absolutely no sense. . . I can’t thank you enough for the information. It may have saved my mother from disaster. I am going to do what I can to spread the message to others. - Noah Abrams
I found your paper on the internet – "the five red flags" to identifying product based pyramid schemes. Very informative. I forwarded it to my friends and tried to get them to understand that what they are involved in is unethical at a minimum . . but they just sent me back the published hype – all the typical things you referred to in your paper. These [MLM] companies seem to prey on housewives who don’t understand the basics of market supply and demand. They are so naïve that they cannot see the forest for the trees.
It was the compensation structure that got me suspicious – when I realized that these minimum purchases were involved I started doing a little break-even analysis and realized how much I’d have to sell at these low commission rates to just make back the money they have you spend as monthly minimums. It really does not become clear until you start to calculate how many people you have to sell to just to break even! Then it became clear to me that you had to recruit people to make any money. I thought this was very fishy – and so I jumped on the internet and found your article…and then it all really clicked in my brain. – Susan S., MBA
RE: Accolades and Thanks
Since a trusted family friend got me started on a food supplement distributed by a multi-level marketing (MLM) company a few weeks ago I have been searching academic databases and the web for specific, evidence-based research on the company and its products. The line of reasoning which goes, "If it works, buy it," is simply not good enough for me. I need to look at the larger picture of who is producing, what kind of business are they operating and how are they treating people. My question is a more general, "Does this company have integrity?" If I'm considering committing $150 a month for the rest of my life to a supplier of food supplements, it had better be a company that serves not only me but the society my children, my neighbors and I will live in. So if it is defrauding its distributors, no matter what good its products are doing for me, I won't buy.
Searching academic databases and the web, I found nothing whatsoever on the supplements I was ingesting. No science at all, strange since the company has been selling them and claiming amazing results for eighteen years. The only scientific data I found was about the business practices of the MLM companies. That was on your web site. I very much appreciate your dedication to fact finding about the MLMs and their 'contributions' to our society. What you have found is yet another example of Americans with money and power defrauding middle and lower class people with much less. I applaud your painstaking, research carried on over decades and at your own expense. The future of democracy depends on the kind of public awareness that you are making possible.
– Jonathan B., MCS, MEd, college instructor, BC, Canada
Comments from a licensed private investigator
ATTN: Jon and CAI editors, investigators and consultants.
You guys rock!!
I can’t tell you how useful your site is. Thank you so much for proving that ethics, moral standards and common sense are not lost. I have a friend who gets involved with the newest MLM every time a recruiter asks him to come to a meeting. It has become such an issue that it has affected our friendship. I will refer to your website often to counter the nonsense and unethical behavior that traps people like my friend. I commend and thank you for your efforts in helping people who truly are victims of this economic cancer.
I am a licensed private investigator that would love to help you in any way I can and if I have the time. (My time would be free of charge) Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help further your cause. I will do anything to help the public see these for what they are, because in one way or another they affect all of us. - Jake A.