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Amway Comments

more reader comments: Amway

14 Aug 1997
I reached the DD or Direct level in 1989, but due to immaturity onthe part of two people in my upline, I lost a good chunk of my organizationand have not had the motivation to build it back up (we had about 150 in ourgroup). One runs into stupidity in every industry; the difference here isthat everyone is a volunteer and can simply quit when he's treatedshabbily--he doesn't have to stay in to feed his family.

My major beef with doing Amway is only that the training program forprospective distributors is a crazy-quilt of stuff passed on haphazardlythrough the lines of sponsorship, a situation that's come to be not reallyby design but through a combination of inattention by the corporation and asort of natural evolution of the distributor system. It's like going towork for IBM and having no formal training program, forcing one to learn bywatching others do their jobs. Not too efficient. I believe that thisglaring inadequacy is responsible for the relatively small number ofsuccesses. I believe there are 30-40,000 Direct Distributors and above, alevel reached by doing about $15,000 volume wholesale a month. I believethe number of people who've become millionaires in Amway is about 150, whichI guess is a fairly respectable number.

I originally took it on faith that Amway products were cheaper touse than products in stores. Recently I've seen a couple of what appear tobe rather exhaustive price comparisons on the 'net, at wholesale and retail.I went to Kroger and did my own comparisons based on recommended usages forall products concerned, and found that some Amway products cost the same touse as what's in the store; some are far cheaper to use, and some cost moreto use.

I've seen lots of good come from being a distributor; there reallyare lots of people from the professions, many very highly paidprofessionals, who become distributors, and some even leave theirprofessions to go full time, making the same or more money, citing thegreatly reduced time demands once they've built a good-sized group.

I firmly believe more don't succeed simply because the trainingsystem is so bad. There have been so many screwed-up "methods" put forth bydistributors, you just wouldn't believe. But I've run into a couple thatmake tremendous sense: a Diamond named Art Leazure figured out a nice wayto network with people that allowed him to go Diamond pretty quickly andemployed no deception. I believe just about anyone could do it Art's way.

I went through a long "dark night of the soul" about the businessfor several reasons, but I don't know if I'll go for it again. As ithappens, I do have 2 guys sponsored who are hard at going Direct, and ifthey do, I'll get about $1200 bottom per month (more as their businessesgrow) as long as they're Direct. I can't complain about that.

It's a real shame the business has had to go through the slime ofbeing done wrong by fools who thought they could shortcut or cheat, andbeing an advertising producer by profession, I find it a real shame that the"curiosity approach," which says don't reveal the name of the businessbecause it will turn off a prospect before he hears the straight story, evenexists. The great advertising writer Stan Freiberg saw a long time ago thatwhen a negative perception of a product exists, one just agressivelyrepositions it. That can easily done in this case. In fact, some guys Iknow who are having great sponsoring success are telling people it's Amwayup front; they evidently communicate to prospects that THEY have no problemwith what it is, so why should the prospect?

Again, you have a great site. I've learned quite a lot from it.Good fortune to you and God bless!
Mike Holmes

Bob, you suffer from a common misconception shared by the manywho (chose?) not to understandthe Amway Sales and Marketing plan. There ARE real customersinvolved. True, many customers becomedistributors, and many customers are people who were shown themarketing plan but were not interestedin becoming distributors (but liked the products)

The products are of a high quality. A customer only needs tobe 'sold' to once, when theyare first introduced to a product. From then on, they buy fromyou.

If you are looking for proof in the products, bear in mindthat Amway is a multi-billion dollarcompany, in fact one of the top three largest independentcompanies in America.

Most distributors have around 10-20 customers; some buyweekly, others occasionally.

As being a skeptic is all about having an informed opinion, Ihope you'll update your commentsbased on this information.
Best wishes, Marcus Ferbrache

Careful what you say about a million Americans. Amway isshaped like a pyramid, yes. The difference between it and apyramid scheme, however, is something you have either ignored ormissed.

Pyramid schemes rely upon signing up new people and gettingmoney for merely signing them up. In Amway, there is noincentive for signing people up unless they buy the products,which are high-quality, at 30% off retail, and guaranteed. So all income is based onmovement of product. You've obviously been very misled or addledor something to say all of this without any real information(from whatI've seen in your web page). I suggest you find some realinformation out about it and get with the program.

Have a great life working 40 hours a week and appeasing yourboss. I'll be retired.

According to my experience just this week, compared with theinformation in your essay, Amway has developed a slightly newslant. They call it Interactive Marketing.

I was invited to a colleague's house to hear about a businessopportunity intended as income supplementation and addedsecurity for academics in these times of lean grant money, etc.Also attending were two others, who turned out to be my host'stwo immediate upline distributors. I was shown a long videoabout trends in marketing and distribution in the U.S. thatintimated through the accompanying images that perhaps the Netwas involved somehow. I was expecting some kind of electronicstorefront concept, maybe where you process orders and tuneup your web pages in your spare time.

It took over two hours, after a long blackboard presentationand lots of talk about the drudgery and uncertainty of ordinaryAmerican lives, to reveal that this was Amway. The Amway brandproducts are completely de-emphasized in the presentation,in favor of products from other manufacturers that appear inAmway's catalogs. It is not suggested that anyone should sell any products, only thateverybodyshould take advantage of the discount prices, and, if theyhave any gumption, recruit distributors to build their ownnetwork. Lots of examples of ordinary folk who retired atage 29, etc. Lots of talk of working 10-15 hours per week,or not working at all eventually, while making lots and lotsof money. Enough to never have to worry. Enough to give someaway.

I did learn one important thing last night when I returnedmaterials to myneighbor. I mentioned that I found it somewhat dishonest that ittook so longto reveal that it was Amway. He answered that the business hadchanged quite abit. I said, well, they've de-emphasized the Amway brandedproducts, but... Heanswered that they really hadn't, that of the 15-45 percentrange of commissions,averaging the 30 percent that was used in all the examples, thehighest arefor the Amway products.

In your description of MLM, I think it may be useful tointroduce the termsub-society. As presented to me, you're not sellinganything - you're introducingpeople to a means of getting lots of the products they buy anywayto run theirhouseholds. So in an economic analysis, you're joining a subsetof society thatacquires goods through this private distribution chain. Ofcourse, you're alsopresented with an opportunity to get ahead, an opportunity to rubelbowswith really successful people (instead of the negativecaught-in-the-drudgery-of-modern-life people you've been stuck with), and learn how tothink the rightway about life. That's where the sub-society starts to soundlikewhat people call a cult.

Alan J. Snyder

Bob - Regarding your Amway piece, you disappoint me thatyou exhibit so little of the passion for fact and discernmentthat one would expect of a self-declared professional skeptic.

This note is not an invitation to go toe-to-toe with youconcerning your assumptions and erroneous assertions concerning this worthy business, but to remind and re-orient you to the meaning ofskepticism: deferring a conclusion until the facts are in, and not merely cataloging other peoples' opinions and inferring the rest.

MY assumption, of course is that you're sincerely interestedin separating fact from bunkum (as would be the likes of JamesRandi, in whose league you would have us believe you reside). Or perhaps,in this instance, you're more in the business of providing theobvious non-candidates with overwrought, cerebralized excuses for not critically examining the business. You know, Bob...preaching tothe choir.

Granted, the road to an Amway Diamondship is no easy path, andthe business may not be for everybody. But Amway has provided anarena in which the average person can compete for financial independenceat less cost and risk than would accompany anything else out there. This, while avoiding the natural conflicts of interest that most otherside businesses would impose. I won't elaborate, and you don't care.

Your sphere of influence is not especially large (homepage ornot), and it impresses me that you would consume bandwidth promoting other peoples' sour grapes anecdotes, the lowest form of evidence. Forthat matter, why would the skeptic bother to insert the testimonialsof responsible and profitable Amway distributors? I mean, Jeep,Bob, they just gotta be lying. Right?

David Gayness

Great website... one of the best I have seen!

The Skeptic's Guide seems to have been written for me, since by nature I am prone to doubt or, more accurately toquestion the logic. I don't consider myself to be a pessimist, but more a seeker of truth. Perhaps skeptic is the bestdescription... but it seems so negative.

The other night a friend of mine dragged me to an Amway meeting. I was skeptical about Amway, but figured that I would see "what it was all about". Basically I found it to be as you described it... akin to a cult. What amazed mewas that there was an audience full of people, my friend included, lapping up this pot 'o gold tripe about vast richesand independence and quitting your job and being your own boss. How could so many adults buy into a simple pyramidscheme? Again... the capacity for self deception...

Anyway, this is not to say that I am not prone to cults.Finding sites like yours is quickly making me a member of the internet cult!!!

Thanks again!!!
Thomas Sadler

Hi Bob,

I read some of your skeptic articles and am really worried about you. Do you know what a paradigm is? It's a way of thinking. Most people said that Babe Ruth giving uppitching was a big mistake. When computers were first invented, they said there was a market for about 5 computersin the world. A nobel prize winner once said that man wouldnever harness the power of the atom. All of these things are paradigms. You don't know what the future will bring until the future. Can you imagine if computer engineers paidattention to the people who said there isn't a market out there for computers? Amway distributors used to go door to door trying to sell soap. Today the corporation has learnedand made their company better. You don't need to go door to door anymore and you can buy/sell any of 10,000 products andservices. I'm not exaggerating!! 10,000 products from over1,000 companies like Coca-Cola, MCI, Panasonic, Bell South, the list goes on.

The way these products are sold is by the distributor changing their buying habits to buy from home instead of driving in a hot car 30 miles to the store. I have met numerous people that are making 6 figures from amway and am going to meet about 5 millionaires in an upcoming convention.Their mind set is that they can do ANYTHING they set their minds to. That is how you get ahead in the business worldand that is how you get ahead in amway. You on the otherhand probably are skeptical that working hard produces resultsYou will retire at 65 like the rest of the skeptics. Only 2%of retired people over 65 make more than 33,000/year. Sincethis income is residual in nature, it will still be coming inwhen you're 65. My sponsor's wife had a fight with her bossafter he had been in this business for about a year. He wasmaking enough money so that they could tell her boss to shoveit. Wouldn't that be nice? Isn't this stuff worth a shot ifthe potential is there to be retired in 5 years and be livingcomfortably? No, probably not for you. Your time isn't worthtrying to make money, you'd rather write articles downplayinggreat business opportunities like amway and live on your 2/3of 1/2 of your salary when you retire. Good luck. I hope yourkids can get through college before you retire cause you'll probably make less than 20,000/yr. Take charge! Do somethinginstead of sitting at your computer saying everything is a scam or cult or whatever else. This is NOT a get rich quickscam. You'll have to work a little bit. A lot less than ifyou bought a franchise license from McDonald's or opened up a retail store or whatever else. Low risk, lots of help, and hardly any money. A McDonald's franchise costs between .5 and 1 million dollars to get started. You'll have to quit yourjob and spend 80 hours a WEEK to make it work. Good luck rounding up a million bucks. 85% of all other businesses failin the 1st year. In amway, people want to see you succeed because it helps them too. They'll help you out, teach you, and introduce you to the big dogs. Do you get that anywhereelse in life? Not unless you're already rich.Oh yeah, how much do you give to charity? Probably not as much as people who make 6 figures and are around charities all the time doing favors AND giving time and money.

God bless you,

Well Mr. Carroll, you have a very unique view of Amway. Abit misguided Imay say, but unique. Well I'm not here to defend Amway, theyspeak for theirself. I have been a distributer for 3 years now, and currentlyam at Emeraldlevel I net last year $158,000. Net not gross, and it was frommoving Amwayproducts not Tapes books etc. In Amway groups there are severalcompaniesthat move the tapes etc, but with no profit to the distributors.

I have 52 people directly under me with 5 direct distributors,nowI don't knowwhat you do for a living, but there is no better than Amway. Next year myincome will raise by 50 % or higher, will yours? With little orno effort? Now I'm not trying to brag or give you a hard time, I am veryhumble, butyou really need to take a closer look at the business beforedoing acommentary about it. I have never been around a better group ofpeople in mylife.

Thanks for your time.
Don Skultety

Regarding your article on Amway....

[regarding the rhetorical question] Haven't thedistributors become their own middlemen?

To a degree, yes. As far as customers go, distributors dosell at higher than their own cost, although they are notrequired to do so. As far as other distributors go, no.

[regarding the question] Aren't the distributorsselling to each other?

No. I pay my sponsor the price she has to pay for the stuffI order. She makes no profit from my buying stuff. Shedoes make bonus money based on what I buy for myself in fact, it is the model for the legal definitionof multi-level marketing.)

Honestly, the big money is in sponsoringsuccessful distributors. The bonuses are based on sales; mybonus is based on my sales (what I buy for myself, plus anythingI might merchandise) and the sales of those below me. It'sstill all based on sales.

Those under the Internet (not to be confused withtheInternet) System (Dexter Yeager's thing) are also encouragedto buy the "Toolbox," which contains various businessorganization tools, tapes, and other things to help you getstarted. The idea here is providing the wisdom ofexperience. This runs under $130 (again, everything'sitemized), but its price may vary depending on who yourupline is (as some uplines will add their own stuff to theToolbox). Let me emphasize, as sponsors do, that this is*not* required; however, unless you happen to have amazingbusiness savvy in the realm of network marketing, you'll bebetter off with it.

The presentations do talk about 100 PV (point value), or$200 BV (Business Volume) per month. That's not arequirement, only an example (one approved helpingthose you sponsor, directly or indirectly, only helps you.
Joe Sewell

Hi Bob,

This reply is related to the AMWAY article. At first reading,my first inclination was to try to defend AMWAY, but in readingsome of the reader's comments, I believe they have done amuch better job than I could have done. In all fairness, Ibelieve you believe every word you print, otherwise you wouldbe an unreasonable person, and unreasonable people is not worthtaking time to reply to. I am so glad to be in this countrythat people have the right to say what they feel and that iswhat makes this country great.

All I really want to say is that in this world of marketingwhere companies and groups are all fighting for the share ofthe dollars, everyone wants to end up at the top. I am justglad that I am involved with a company like AMWAY, they arenot perfect, because they are compose of people like you andI, that allows anyone a chance at a business that if theyput is their efforts that they will be rewarded. I do notbelieve AMWAY guarantees success, just a chance if anyone iswilling to try. Finally, the books tapes and functions thatI purchase, even if I quit AMWAY today, I would have benefitedfrom, because of the positive, caring, and success principlesthat those books teach. For the people who claims they wastedso much money on those things, obviously did not glean successprinciples that can be applied to whole of life and not just"doing AMWAY."

Anyway, thank you for your article, it is full of second handinformation, but that is your take on it and I encourage youto check it out personally.
James Wu

PS. You mentioned that 1500 readers checked out your articleI hope there is not one who was persuaded not to check outthe AMWAY opportunity for himself as a result of readingyour article, because if that is the case, then you haveindirectly contributed to "stealing their dream possiblefuture prosperity." Doing this without first hand experienceis sad.

reply: Maybe James can help this next fellow.

Dear Sirs,

let us introduce ourselves.We are a wholesale company involved in trading with hunting and fishing equipment. We are authorized dealers of German company D.A.M. in the Baltic states.

Our desire is to contact Amway corporation in America in order to supply production of this company to Lithuanian market. To contact distributors of Amway in Europe there is no sense, because they have too high prices for wholesale.

Earlier we had contact with Mr.Joe Polcari, who advised us that we still cannot distribute Amway products in Lithuania, because Amway is not still in Lithuania.

Are there any possibilities to get products of Amway straightly from corporation, avoiding other European distributors?

We would be thankful for any further information. We would be very glad to distribute perfect Amway products in our country!
R.Kamantauskas firm,
Laisves al. 34, 3000 Kaunas, Lithuania
Fax 011 3707 209848, tel. 011 3707 205263
Arunas Gvazdikas,

Hmmmm.... Maybe the Comments from the businessmen in Lithuania might givethe proper perspective to anyone investigating the opportunity ofstarting their own Distribution Company using The AmwayCorporation as their Supplier. I don't know if your inclusion ofthis comment was meant to be cynical or not, but it does in factillustrate the market opportunities yet to be opened for newdistributorship. It is also indicative of the numerouscompanies that are searching out new channels of distribution,not only abroad but Nationally. Skeptical you may be, But asyour Web Page indirectly seems to be proving, Marketing by wordof mouth (aka Network Marketing) appears to be working and theInternet is even going to make it Better ! Thanks for the Forumto Make it Better .....

For the "Lituanian businessman", International shipping ofUS made Amway products is illegal. Once the business is opened in your country the products and yourown distributorship will be available. Until such time as the business is opened no activity in yourcountry is possible beyond correspondence with a personal contact. If you have a friend in any countrythat has been opened for the Amway business you should stay in touch with them to learn about thedevelopments concerning Lithuania and Amway. Slovania is now open for business as well as Poland, and manyother European countries. The complete list is available at

Thanks for your interest. Love this page!
Stu Maland

more reader comments

To TheAmway entry
Robert Todd Carroll