Amway - Facts or Fiction

A phrase that I have heard many Amway distributors and the Corporation say is that you should "Get ALL the facts." In Nov, 1997, I ran across a web-site called Amway - Just the Facts No More Fiction. The author calls himself "The Ultimate Online Resource on Amway." Personally, I think that honor should be bestowed on the Amway Corporation, not a personal web-page, but you can make your own judgement on that.

It should be noted that the author of this web-site denies being a distributor. As you can see by the contents of his web-site, he demonstrates an in-depth knowledge of the "business" and the tone, attitude and information presented is consistent with most distributors I have communicated with over the years. This may be through association. He claims to be a son of a distributor. This fact was revealed after I confronted him with an email posted in a local east coast newsgroup soliciting prospects for an Amway business from his eagle01 email account at Concentric, which he claimed his father posted instead of him.

I highly encourage you to visit his site and then come back here and find out "The Other Side."

Professional Endorsements

What do Paul Zane Pilzer, Dr. Robert Schuller, Shad Helmstetter, Zig Ziglar, and Charles Paul Conn have in common? They all make money selling books to MLM distributors and most, if not all of them receive compensation from speaking at AMO functions.

Within the first year or so after becoming an Amway distributor, I had purchased three information packs (to give out to prospects and my downline's prospects) that contained, amoung other things, a book by Charles Paul Conn. When Helmstetter came out with his "Network Of Champions" book, our upline recommended that we replace Conn's book with Helmstetter's. I did not buy them all at once, but within a few months I had replaced all three books.

The Facts or Fiction page points out that there are 6.3 million MLM distributors in the United States accounting for $16 billion annual sales. When any of these authors comes out with a new book about MLM's or a motivational book, how many of those 6.3 million distributors will buy at least one copy, if not two or more, to give to prospects? My guess is quite a few. (Could this be why they get on best seller lists?)

Now, if you were an author and was asked to speak at an event, get paid for it, and be allowed to hawk your products too. What would you do? This would be something for which the auspicious indications are so overwhelmingly obvious as to preclude the need for consideration of alternatives (a no brainer).

I am not trying to pass judgement on the contents of these books in any way. But if MLM is such a wave of the future, why aren't there more articles and books written by other world renowned economists and business leaders?

I would encourage you to search the major home business magazines, in addition to these authors, and see what other experts, who are not making money off of MLMer's, have to say about MLM's, and make your own judgement.

Media Reports

I sincerely hope your research of the Amway business will include media reports of the Amway Corporation and business. The Facts or Fiction web-site lists 130 business and product related articles (as do I) from Jan 1996 thru May 1997 that the Amway corporation published for their distributors in Dec, 1997.

Only a few of these articles can be found on the Internet. While many of these publications have web-sites, they don't keep articles on their server for months or years. Some of these articles probably can't even be found at your local library because, as you can see from the names, they were published in regional or local publications and some are trade magazines that may or may not be in your local library.

On my media page, I also give you links to numerous other resources on the internet (which are not on Amway's "approved" list) were you can find literally HUNDREDS of articles on the Amway Corporation and business, including such "Elmer Fudd's" like Time, Money, People, Fortune, Newsweek, US News & World Reports, Inc magazine, and Forbes. I also have links to the American City Business Journals where you can search 37 sites across the United States with one search engine, local newspapers such as the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press, and also a link to a newspaper in Amarillo, Texas where you can search a network of over 130 newspapers.

Do you see links to these resources on the Facts/Fiction web-site? If you don't--ask him why. Maybe it's because you can find article like this one on MLM's at the Electric Times Union in Albany, NY called Downline Dreams.

The Facts or Fiction author uses the article from the Gainesville Sun as an example that non-Christians are welcome in Amway. (If you haven't read it, please do so). This is certainly true. People from all denominations are welcome.

But if you go to any of the functions, large or small, you will hear the religous and political philosophies of high-ranking distributors. The over-whelming majority of these distributors are Fundamentalist Born-Again Christians and use business meetings to further their goals. I'm not trying to judge this practice, just saying it occurs.

In early 1997, I found a web-site called Crown Bound. This is a web-site maintained by an Amway distributor who is also a minister. If you read nothing else on his web-site, read the article on how to pick a church that doesn't interfere with your Amway business. (I'm not kidding folks!) This web-site exemplifies the mainstream religious philosphy that I encountered in the Britt organization.

For those interested in reading for themselves the "good name" given to Amway in that Wall Street Journal article of May 14, 1997, you can read the entire article here. I visited my local library and got a copy of this article and have reproduced it on my web-site.

I hope you noticed who the author of that "article" on July 15, 1997 in USA Today is. It's none other than Dr. Shad Helmstetter, an author who sells books to Amway distributors and receives compensation for speaking at AMO functions. The "Fact" is that this was a PAID advertisement and NOT an article written by USA Today. I have pointed this out on numerous occasions to the author of the Fact/Fiction web-site, but he refuses to acknowledge it on his web-site. Since he's quoting from it, I assume that he has the article.

Want proof? Visit USA Today's web-site. They have an archive of ALL the stories they've published since 1987. They even have the capabilities of retrieving all articles on a particlar day. I encourage you to look at the 114 stories published on July 15, 1997. According to the Facts/Fiction author, the article is called An American Victory Letter #2. See if you can find this "powerful" endorsement. I couldn't.

Common Mis-conceptions

Heck, I'm not afraid of these things.

FICTION: Amway is a cult

Rather than trying to re-publish information that is already on the Internet, I would highly encourage you to visit the excellant web-sites on my links page to investigage the activities that many AMO's practice.

FICTION: Amway is a Pyramid Scheme

Amway distributors are very fond of quoting that FTC Ruling in 1979. Actually, this FTC ruling is a tremondous resource for investigating Amway's early history. You will find documention on many of the techniques and practices that distributors used 25 years ago. Are you suprised they haven't changed all that much?

Distributors will proudly profess that Amway is not a pyramid....but do they tell what the basis for that ruling is? Probably not. Here are the rulings from the FTC document:

Pyramid Rules

72. Amway, the Direct Distributor or the sponsoring distributor will buy back any unused marketable products from a distributor whose inventory is not moving or who wishes to leave the business. (RX 331, p. 17­B to 18­B; CX 847; CX 1076) The buy­back rule has been in existence since Amway started. (CX 1041­ J) Amway enforces the buy­back rule. (CX 847; Brown, Tr. 5012­13; Bortnem, Tr. 686, 690; Soukup, Tr. 913)

73. To ensure that distributors do not attempt to secure the performance bonus solely on the basis of purchases, Amway requires that, to receive a performance bonus, distributors must resell at least 70% of the products they have purchased each month. (RX 331, pp. 16­B to 17­B) The 70% rule has been in existence since the beginning of Amway. (S. Bryant, Tr. 4086) Amway enforces the 70% rule. (Lemier, Tr. 192­93; S. Bryant, Tr. 4056­59; Halliday, Tr. 6497)

74. Amway's 'ten­customer' rule provides that distributors may not receive a performance bonus unless they prove a sale to each of ten different retail customers during each month. (RX 331, pp. 1­B and 17­B) The Direct Distributors have the primary responsibility for enforcing the ten­customer rule in their own group. (S. Bryant, Tr. 4061­62) The ten­customer rule was started by Amway about 1970. Prior to that, there was a 25 sales rule which required the distributor to make 25 retail sales a month without regard to the number of customers. (S. Bryant, Tr. 4085­86) The ten­customer rule is enforced by Amway and the Direct Distributors. (CX 823; Case, Tr. 3414­15; Medina, Tr. 4197; Zizic, Tr. 4138­43; Lincecum, Tr. 1266)

75. The buy­back rule, the 70% rule, and the ten­customer rule encourage retail sales to consumers. (Van Andel, Tr. 1999­2000, 2010; Halliday, Tr. 6231­33; Lemier, Tr. 176; Cady, Tr. 5795­97) [27]

Now, if these rules are not enforced, can you still state that it's not a pyramid? Amway distributors who say they just buy from themselves and sponsor others who do the same will probably say it isn't. But even Amway, in their Business Compendium (that shrink wrapped thing that has all the rules and regulations that distributors agree to abide by) says:

Three common elements of a pyramid scheme have been identified as:

(1) a large, required initial investment or purchase of inventory;
(2) direct payment for the recruitment of additional persons in the scheme; and
(3) heavy emphasis on the recruitment of additional persons with little or no emphasis on the sale of products.

Hmmmmm......Check out number 3!

FICTION: Amway is biased toward Christians only.

This subject has already been covered above.

FICTION: You don't save money on Amway products. We have PRICE COMPARISONS.

The author of the Facts/Fiction web-site has attacked my price comparisons as being outdated and using Amway products that are no longer available. This is simply not true. Every product listed in my price comparison is listed in the current Amway Wholesale Price List (SA-13) and no announcement has appeared in the Newsgram or Amagram that any of these products will be or has been discontinued.

I have always encouraged people to print off my price comparison and do their own survey. I WANT you to do it. I have included the brand names, sizes and dilution factors so that you can determine if you'll be spending more or less.

FICTION: All you have to do is put in 10-15 hours a week and you will be rich.

FINALLY!!!!!Some honesty in the amount of time and effort it takes to build an Amway's refreshing to hear this from a pro-Amway site. The Amway-info sites have been saying this for a long time!

I am also happy that Amway is telling distributors to be honest about the time and effort it takes to build an Amway business. I only hope that the distributors who are distorting the amount of time it takes will listen to the Corporation instead of the people who tell them to use this false fact. But if you scanned through that FTC ruling, distributors were using low numbers 25 years ago.

FICTION: No one makes it in Amway anymore, or, only one percent of all distributors make it to direct.

The information here is only partially true. The percentages being used only apply to the North American market. I asked Amway about this a few years ago and they confirmed that this is true. Using these percentages with the world-wide distributor force will result in totally inaccurate numbers. I mentioned this to the Facts/Fiction author before he published these numbers, but he went ahead and posted them anyway. (so much for

No matter how much I or any other web-site try to come up with accurate figures for the number of qualified direct distributors, there is only one source that can accurately tell you how many qualified directs exists in any country around the world -- Amway -- but do you think they will release that kind of information? Nah...some might consider that information "negative."

FICTION: Direct Distributors make OVER HALF THEIR INCOME from the sale of tools in Amway.

I reckon a Double-Diamond (a person who has 12 personally sponsored qualified directs in a fiscal year) doesn't know what he's talking

I reckon that group of high-level distributors (diamonds and emeralds) in Houston that filed the $200 million lawsuit didn't know what they were talking about

The fact is that when you start looking at the average bonuses published in the SA-4400 that is paid to distributors by the Amway corporation, it's hard to come up with a $250,000 a year income unless about half of it is coming from a different source.

Distributors can deny this all they want...the business of selling hope is more lucrative than the business of selling soap.

Amway's Charitable Work and Partners

Just to make sure that there are no mis-understandings. I am not critical of the charitable donations made by Amway Corporation or distributors or the work they do. I think it's great they do all these things. Many other charitable works that Amway Corporation and distributors do can be found at Amway's web site.

But after saying that, what does it mean? Tens if not hundreds of millions of people around the world donate time and money to many worthwhile charities and so do many corporations. Is is the implication that "if we're doing such good things how can we be bad?" If that's true, all it takes is to read some of the experiences of many former Amway distributors and you can make your own judgement. Some distributors call these former distributors wimps, whiners, losers, failures, etc, but the fact remains these experiences happened. You can deny them all you want. Common sense will tell you that many of the people who visit web-sites like mine don't share their story, otherwise we would be inundated with email and many former distributors are not actively searching the Internet for anything on Amway.

I would also like to point out that on numerous occasions, I heard Britt emeralds and diamonds encourage people (who were serious about building an Amway business) to put everything else aside, including charity work, to build their Amway business. Obviously, not everybody has this attitude, but these kinds of things was taught at all levels of the Britt organization and I have heard from distributors in the Yager organization who have heard the same kind of things are taught. Maybe it's changed since I left, but I doubt it.

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