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Business, Money, and the BookWise Switcheroo

When we lived in England, my mom and I hung out with the mission president’s wife. First, she was American. Second, she and Mom got along swimmingly. Third, she had this tendency to host lots of cute, college-aged boys at her home and I was a cute, college-aged girl.

She also collected pigs.

From then on I wanted something fun to collect. First I tried gold jewelry, with some level of success, but found it rather costly and to involve kissing too many boys I didn’t really like that much. Then I tried watches, which worked for just over a year until the batteries began dying and I found myself with 16 nonworking collectibles. Then, a few years later, after a trip to Utah and a $600+ tour of the BYU Bookstore, Sam turned to me and said, “Honey, we collect books.”

And he was right. In our current home we have: one, large, formal library; one medium children’s library; one homeschool room packed with books; seven bedrooms with their share of “the collection” sitting on shelves and stacked on night stands. We even have books packed in boxes. We love books and because we “collect” them we can never have too many and never have to feel guilty for buying more. What freedom!

So, what if I could combine my love for books with another passion of mine, business? Amazing!

Believe me, I already know what you’re going to say. I hate multi-level marketing down to my core. I’ve preached it for over two decades. I’ve written about it and publicly mocked it. I’ve done it here and I’ve done it other places as well. I know, I know, I know. The irony does not escape me.

Still, for over a month, I’ve been looking into a new multi-level company that has clearly addressed all but one of my lifelong objections. This program offers a great product (hint: see above), has a decent corporate structure, a good compensation plan, deeply discounted books, is run by some respectable people, and has some really helpful incentives for authors and business owners.

But that wasn’t what got me.

This is: BookWise actually offers a money-back guarantee.

If, after 12 months as an active Associate, you don’t believe that your life is better for having joined BookWise, we’ll refund 100% of your monthly fees.

I swear. And I’ve never, ever among all the hype and promises seen a company that puts its money where its mouth is. And get this. If you pull out and get a refund, you get to keep the best-selling, hard-cover books that you got every single month as part of the package. Worst-case scenario, you get a bunch of free books.

The only unresolved issue, for me, is the push to push. You know, call all your family and friends and invite them to an “opportunity meeting.” At which point your friend count begins dropping like flies and, suddenly, your sister forgets you when making up her Christmas guest list.

So just let me be clear, that’s not going to happen. I’d love to have you join me, because I’d be happy working with any of you and it would be great fun to be successful with friends. I’m comfortable inviting you because it’s a no-risk deal. But there’s no pressure at all.

I am off and running with this incentivized, internet book club. I’ll be blogging out the nitty gritty, day-to-day activities on The BookWise Blogger. You’re welcome to come over and heckle. If it’s a bomb, I promise you I’ll tell it like it is. If it is a raging success, I hope you decided to join me way back on July 5th, when this was posted.

If you’re interested in looking into it on your own, just go to BookWise. Start with the What is BookWise? page. You can also find out more at Winning In the Margins. Just use the passkey alphasmith to log in.

The BookWise model places only five people on the each level, so if you love books and are motivated to have an abundant lifestyle, I’d love to have you right next to me on this no-risk adventure.

{ 96 comments… add one }
  • partone July 5, 2007, 5:12 pm

    Isn’t that the guy who wrote The Christmas Box?

  • Sharilee10 July 5, 2007, 9:08 pm

    Okay . . . the T-shirts really crack me up! That is too funny! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Partone– Richard Paul Evans wrote The Christmas Box and 10 other best-sellers, and this company is his brainchild. Have you read any of his other books?

  • Melinda July 6, 2007, 10:41 am

    I read several of Richard Paul Evans books and noticed most have the same basic plot: Man rescues woman. Woman falls in love with man. Man immediately dies. Woman lives out a long life of unending gratitude for dead man. But maybe he got a new plot in his later books. He does sell a lot. He’s sort of the Mormon Nicholas Sparks-type author.

    And he is fantastic businessman and marketer. If he came up with the model, I’ll bet it’s a good one. Best wishes in your endeavors.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 6, 2007, 11:25 am

    LOL Yea, lots of writers do have their identifiable formula, don’t they? I have only read a few of Evans fiction books because I almost never read fiction.

    He is a good businessman. The model is actually really interesting and does resolve lots of the problems that most MLMs have. It’s not, however, explained very well. You have to kind of futz with it to figure out what they were thinking. Perhaps as they get more established this will be resolved, but lots of MLMs have this problem.

  • Sharilee10 July 6, 2007, 2:14 pm

    I found the model very simple, but like we’ve all seen– I’m not a detail person, so maybe I just see a big picture and don’t worry as much about the details. The actual compensation plan and ever increasing bundle of benefits is actually a result of Robert Allen, real estate guru and absolute financial genius as far as I’m concerned. He is the one that implemented the 100% matching commission, which is totally revolutionary and will change the nature of network marketing. Other network marketing companies are already looking at and planning to make changes.

    I think Rick is wonderful, I have loved his books (one of my favorites is actually The Spyglass– a children’s book that has a wonderful message!) and I admire his commitment to helping other people and making a positive difference in the world. Bookwise was his brainchild and no one will ever be able to take that away from him. The next smartest move he ever made was to take it to Robert Allen and say, “Okay, here’s the concept– what can I do better?” Robert (after giving all the same excuses we all give when offered an mlm opportunity!) went right to the heart of the value and said, “We have to give them 10 times more than what’s there! Granted the value of what they are paying for might be there, but you have to give 10X the value of what they’re paying.” Thus Wealthwin and Taxwin and Authorwise and the ebooks and audiobooks and Presidentwise and Founding Presidents club (basically just additional opportunities to be mentored by the two of them) were born.

    Bookwise really is a joint effort by the two of them (and they’ve brought in other incredible leadership– I don’t know them as well, but have been VERY impressed!), and the balance is fun to watch— Rick writes fiction, Bob writes non-fiction; Rick is the pie in the sky let’s change the world TODAY, Bob is the one person/one book at a time; Rick goes straight to the emotions in his mentoring, Bob goes straight to the energy and motivational mentoring. And they both have the utmost respect for each other. What an incredible combination!! It is really fun to watch!!

    Of course– one of the highlights for me will be meeting Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield in October. They have also added their own spice to the mix!

  • mlinford July 6, 2007, 4:21 pm

    You have to kind of futz with it to figure out what they were thinking.

    Alison, dear, do we need to send you over to the Mormon swear words thread? ๐Ÿ™‚ :devil::wink:

  • mlinford July 6, 2007, 4:23 pm

    A couple of years ago, my sister-in-law tried to get us to join another multi-level called PhotoMax

    I still have the box that my stuff came in. I got it and promptly felt yucky about doing it, so I didn’t. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Alison Moore Smith July 6, 2007, 6:09 pm

    Posted By: mlinfordAlison, dear, do we need to send you over to the Mormon swear words thread?

    :clap:

    futz with or around with, to handle or deal with, esp. idly, reluctantly, or as a time-consuming task: I spent all day futzing with those file folders.

  • mlinford July 6, 2007, 6:32 pm

    Alison,
    It’s a WORD? OK, so I looked it up at yourdictionary.com. Check out the possible etymology. (Note: Not for the faint of eyes.) ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sharilee10 July 6, 2007, 8:04 pm

    without accurate details . . . can only work if they depend on others to actually deal with the details

    Okay . . . here are the accurate details and why it seems so simple me:

    You can put 5 people on your 1st level and you get .60 for each = $3
    They (or you) enroll 25 people on your 2nd level and you get 1.20 for each = $30 plus previous = $33
    They (or you) enroll 125 people on your 3rd level and you get .60 for each = $75 plus previous = $105
    They (or you) enroll 625 people on your 4th level and you get .30 for each = $187.5 plus previous = $295.5
    They (or you) enroll 3125 people on your 5th level and you get .30 for each = $937.5 plus previous = $1233
    They (or you) enroll 15,625 people on your 6th level and you get .30 for each = $4,687.5 plus previous = $5,920.5

    You’re right. I sometimes do stop after that– for 3 reasons, really. Because I figure that anyone could do okay on $6,000/month AND because when you start going higher it starts looking ‘too good to be true’ and anyone in their right mind probably would quit listening AND as you pointed out– while the monthly income is sky high, so is the number of people involved if you assume that all 9 levels will fill in completely. The thing is that any network marketing organization fills in at different rates, so even though you can get paid down to the 9th level, there will be places in that are still back on the 2nd and 3rd levels. (I already have some people down on my 9th level AND some spots still open on my 2nd level!) Bottom line is that as your organization grows, so does the paycheck. After 3 months I have 104 people SOMEWHERE in my organization, which translates to a whole lot of fun people to ‘hang with’ and enough to cover my monthly fee even if I don’t find anyone to join me that month (which automatically covers the monthly fee), making ALL of the incredible benefits (which I personally find to be of FAR more value than the $35) FREE. I like that. Over time that will grow and my montly residual will be a little MORE and eventually a lot MORE.

    To me that’s simple– think of me as a Simpleton, but it seems really simple to me. I don’t feel like I am asking anyone else to worry about numbers for me. In fact– it’s as hard for me to see why it’s unclear to you as it appears to be for you to see why I don’t worry about it. I can go in a figure out at any moment EXACTLY what my check will be. In fact, in your back office you can get a chart of how many people are on each level. You can’t see that for those you enroll. Hopefully at some point there will be way too many people in the organization for me to go in and figure out what my matching commissions will be! ๐Ÿ™‚ Other programs I have been in were extremely complex and there was no way I could figure out all of the different little nuances of the payment plan, so this one seems REALLY simple to me. I don’t worry about what the .60, 1.20, .30, etc. is based on. I am not worried about some unexplained base number. I don’t know why it’s $30 instead of the $35, but that just isn’t important to me. What is important is knowing that there is enough money coming into the company each month to cover the payout so that the company can stay afloat– now THAT is important and–

    These small percents all add up to only $6 for the initial payout and another $6 for the 100% matching commission. So . . . that’s $12 and still leaves plenty to cover the cost of the book and corporate overhead and whatever else. While the other things in the bundle of benefits doesn’t cost cold, hard cash– the VALUE is phenomenal to me, and worth at least $20-$30 (minus the value of the hard cover book) to many other people as well since the company is growing so fast. I actually think it is ingenius how they have managed to provide SO MUCH value that doesn’t even cost them. I think it speaks VOLUMES about the business sense and brilliance of this leadership team.

    You mention the genius of the 100% matching. Well, that’s all dandy, except that the matching is based on the unilevel commission which is based on…tada…a magic number! The whole system revolved around percentages based on an UNEXPLAINED BASE NUMBER. That leaves a huge vulnerability for the associates.

    Okay . . . going backwards, we’ll ask Bob about the unexplained base number tomorrow when we talk to him, but meanwhile, you DO know EXACTLY what you get from each person in your organization– .30, .60, .90 or 1.20 depending on which level they are from you, so there isn’t any vulnerability.

    As far as the 100% matching, again, there is NO VULNERABILITY since it is based on the exact numbers you have above (but figured on where they fall in the organization of the associate you enroll). So . . . when KC, your new associate, gets her first unilevel check for, say $3 (based on her first level– this isn’t a get rich quick scheme for sure!!) YOU will also get a $3 check in addition to your own check. When she gets a check for $25, YOU also get a check for $25. In time when she gets a check for $100, YOU get a check for $100. Let’s say you have enrolled 5 people who are getting $100 checks — YOU get a check for $500. Someday when a couple of those have gone gangbusters and are getting checks for $1,000+, YOU will also get a check for $2,000+ in addition to your own check— so, I think the 100% matching commission is phenomenal. That is the part of the compensation plan I am using to build residual cash donations for the non-profits I work with, so I LOVE that part of the plan.

    Here is my BIG picture: Me and my children delivering checks for several thousands dollars to a wide variety of non-profits in our community and throughout the state. We might have to mail those that are out of state, unless they are located in a location we have been wanting to visit! That’s a vivid enough picture to get me past worrying about an unexplained base number— BUT, as your enroller I will ask Bob tomorrow, I promise!! I didn’t realize it was such an issue or I wouldn’t have waited for a scheduled meeting and would have contacted him today. So sorry!

    By the way— feel free to call me or send me your phone number and ask me to call. It wouldn’t take near this long to explain over the phone!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sharilee10 July 6, 2007, 8:06 pm

    futz with or around with, to handle or deal with, esp. idly, reluctantly, or as a time-consuming task: I spent all day futzing with those file folders.

    So THAT’S what I have been doing all these years!! Now I know what to say when someone asks me what I’ve been doing!!

  • mlinford July 6, 2007, 11:25 pm

    Seriously, Sharilee, I’m not trying to tell you what to do, but at least look up the word at yourdictionary.com and see where it might have come from before you decide that is what you want to do. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • heather July 7, 2007, 1:11 am

    uh… hello!… I looked it up cuz I was curious. I’d take mlinford’s advise on this one Sharilee!:shamed:

  • Sharilee10 July 7, 2007, 9:31 am

    It was a joke. I think it’s obvious through other threads and comments that this doesn’t really describe me.

    Why is it I’m always feeling like I have to defend myself!?! It seems like no matter what thread I comment in I end up on the ‘wrong’ side of things. I have to say that I choose to spend my valuable time and energy in places that lift me up, and sometimes I have to wonder if MM is the right place for me to be.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 7, 2007, 10:32 am

    In spite of the “possible etymology” I use the term all the time. My husband was a professor of ocean engineering for a decade AFTER a decade in engineering courses at BYU. This is simply a term that means messing around, puttering around. I’ve heard it almost exclusively among engineers, computer scientists, and other techhies for two decades–ones who have no problem at all using the “f” word. If they meant “f” they’d say it without a thought.

    Frankly, I doubt that is the derivation (because of the contexts I’ve heard it in and the length of time). If anything, I’d say that “f” has come, over the past decade, to be dumbed down (from being only the excessively vulgar) to meaning something similar to futz (through it’s excessive and casual use by some) rather than the other way around.

    Love ya, Sharilee. I’m still going to counter what you said, but I love ya! :bigsmile:

  • Alison Moore Smith July 7, 2007, 11:18 am

    Sharilee, I will disagree with you about the vulnerability. The Associate Business Guide says, “unilevel commissinos are based soled on the Monthly Book Selection orders of Active Associates in an organization’s downline.” It them gives a unilevel commissions as PERCENTAGES. Since the monthly book selection payment is $35, there is a strong case for the idea that the commission should be on $35, NOT on $30.

    The ambiguity has a couple of serious problems. (1) It leaves BooWise open to a lawsuit–which puts all of us at risk and (2) it means that IN SPITE OF WHAT THE BOOK SAYS, the commission is NOT attached to how much we actually PAY. It is, instead, attached to a number that has no known basis.

    A strong organization is not required to be free from problems–especially when it’s NEW–the strength is in how the leaders respond to problems. This IS a problem an it should be addressed. If the problem is simply denied at corporate, it will be indicative of a more serious issue. If it is addressed and resolved, it will be indicative of a strong company and leaders who have integrity.

  • heather July 7, 2007, 11:23 am

    :Sorry Sharilee. I’m kind of a dumb blond that way. I want you to know…. you don’t have to defend yourself with me any more. I guess I have to hear the fluctuation of people’s voices to see the If there is any joking involved. I have really enjoyed your kind words of encouragement in the short time I’ve been on this site. I always look forward to your comments! Your my “kindred spirit” :bigsmile: Besides, I’m the colprit for always changing the subject on these threads.

  • Sharilee10 July 7, 2007, 3:31 pm

    The ambiguity has a couple of serious problems.

    I’m going to give you that the statement you quote is ambiguous and unclear and needs to be cleaned up, and I will point it out to Rick and Bob. I know that they are currently in the process of updating the handbook and all of that stuff. I’m sure they would appreciate the feedback.

    Now I’m going to clarify to my understanding–

    The Associate Business Guide says, “unilevel commissions are based soled on the Monthly Book Selection orders of Active Associates in an organization’s downline.” It them gives a unilevel commissions as PERCENTAGES. Since the monthly book selection payment is $35, there is a strong case for the idea that the commission should be on $35, NOT on $30.

    What this is referring to is that the unilevel commissions are based on the number of Associates that make their monthly book selection, which in turn covers the $35 monthly membership fee. What this means to us is:
    1) The unilevel commission comes from each person in our downline that remains active by paying the monthly membership free (which includes the free book, free e-book, free audiobook, Wealthwin, Taxwin, Authorwise, residual commissions, speedreading lessons* and everything else!)
    2) If someone buys extra books, we are NOT paid unilevel commission on the extra books. Now– we are paid a percentage of all of the extra books, creating yet another stream of income, but that ISN’T part of the unilevel.
    3) I think the main part of pointing out the unilevel commission is solely on the monthly . . . is to clarify the 100% matching commission. While you receive a 100% matching commission on each of your enrollees UNILEVEL commissions, you do NOT receive a 100% matching commission on their 100% matching commissions– that would be a good way for the company to go bankrupt overnight! So— the unilevel commission is based on each person in your organization who actually pays the monthly membership, therefore qualifying for all of the book club benefits, including the free hardcover book.

    You are right— it does need to be clarified. Thanks for pointing that out.

    A strong organization is not required to be free from problems–especially when it’s NEW–the strength is in how the leaders respond to problems. This IS a problem an it should be addressed. If the problem is simply denied at corporate, it will be indicative of a more serious issue. If it is addressed and resolved, it will be indicative of a strong company and leaders who have integrity.

    I agree with you here and I can guarantee you that the leaders will address and resolve it. Bookwise is not only a strong company, but an enlightened and intelligent company and the leaders are some of the most integrous people I have met with an attitude of giving. If you were on the call this morning you will have heard them– AGAIN– talk about giving and blessing others. I say AGAIN not to indicate that it’s a bad thing– only to emphasize that this is what these men and leaders are all about, and I have never had a conversation with them that they did not teach this attitude through both their words and their actions.

    If you were on the call you also would have heard that the training went over and I did not get a chance to ask specific details about the $30/$35. I sent Bob an email and will let you know as soon as I hear from him. I know he is in NY right now and I’m not sure when he’ll be back or if he is on vacation or business or if he will be checking email. I’ll just let you know when I hear back.

    *I have a new respect for the speed reading lessons. I met a woman the other day that paid $350 for the speedreading program a few years ago to help her son. She said it has made all the difference, not only in his reading speed but in his enjoyment of reading, his comprehension of what he reads, etc. She was VERY positive and said that while it was well worth the $350, she thinks it’s awesome that we all get a lesson for free and she encouraged us to utilize it and to have each of our kids utilize it.

  • Sharilee10 July 7, 2007, 3:38 pm

    Heather– you’re not a dumb blonde and I wasn’t referring to you specifically! I trusted Alison on the meaning; for the record NOTHING shows up when I go to yourdictionary.com; and in the end I was just responding in a joking way to Alison’s post. I’m with Alison, though— it’s kind of a fun word and I like the definition given on dictionary.com. I can see many uses for it used in that context.

  • mlinford July 8, 2007, 12:43 am

    Sharilee,
    I”m sorry if anything I said made you feel like you needed to be defensive. I meant no harm or offense with what I said. This medium is very limited as we can’t see each other, get voice inflection and body language, etc. The last thing I want to do is cause someone pain or frustration. FWIW.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 8, 2007, 2:11 am

    Michelle, Sharilee’s a tough cookie. She put up with me as her counselor, remember? :confused:

  • Alison Moore Smith July 9, 2007, 6:32 pm

    Posted By: SilverRainAnd no offense, Alison, but multi-level marketing is of the second darkest corner of Hades, no matter the “product”.

    Silver, having come from exactly your position very, very recently, I’d love to hear why YOU say this. Because I’d like to see if and how this business might be different for me and those who work with me. Bring it on. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sharilee10 July 9, 2007, 7:27 pm

    Believe it or not– I have been there to. I am in a totally different place now, though. I’m anxiously awaiting everyone’s views.

  • agardner July 9, 2007, 8:25 pm

    I can’t speak for Silver, and I haven’t looked into BookWise too much. But speaking for myself, what has bothered me about MLM’s in the past (besides the fact that it brings “old friends” out of the woodwork for ulterior motives, lol) is that you aren’t really selling a product, but rather, a person. Sure, there’s always a product at the end, but in all honesty where you are making your money is in getting people “below” you.

    Having said all that, I know MLM’s are something that seem to attract LDS people like bees to honey. I would be interested in hearing how BookWise is different. I mean, I know you have access to seminars, and you get some books for your monthly fee, etc. but most MLM’s have some hook like that.

    MLM’s left a bad taste in my mouth after a couple of experiences. One was when a good friend came literally from nowhere and gave my parents a really hard-sale pitch to join their MLM. It was very awkward for them. These were previously good friends who they hadn’t seen or heard from in years, and this is their first contact?? And when my parents said no, they never heard from them again.

    Another one was at a family reunion. An aunt who I hadn’t seen in years but who was special to me in my childhood brought up her MLM and invited me to take part within 30 seconds of talking to me after all those years.

    It just seems kind of disingenuous, at least for some people. I’m sure Alison and Sharilee are different because you seem like such nice, normal people here. But the few experiences I’ve had haven’t left me impressed.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 10, 2007, 12:10 am

    Posted By: agardnerwhat has bothered me about MLM’s in the past is that you aren’t really selling a product, but rather, a person. Sure, there’s always a product at the end, but in all honesty where you are making your money is in getting people “below” you.

    That’s interesting as I haven’t heard that objection before, phrased that way. I’d probably say you are buying a person, rather than a product, but you are right, in a sense. I haven’t seen this as much different than owning a business and hiring employees, though, which I’ve been doing for years. WalMart wouldn’t make money unless they had a gazillion employees doing stuff. I particularly don’t see it as much different than any sales job in that regard.

    (besides the fact that it brings “old friends” out of the woodwork for ulterior motives, lol)

    Amen, to that. I would say that has been my BIGGEST reason for hating them. I have been SO annoyed by people trying to sell me, sell me, sell me. In fact, there ares some people I have just learned to avoid completely because I was so sick of hearing about it.

    That’s why I’ve decided to try a different model. (It’s described on my other site if you really care.) Honestly, I don’t know if it will work or not. But I simply can NOT do it “the old fashioned way”–by harassing everyone and turning every conversation you ever have with anyone on the planet back to your MLM. I’d rather have friends. ๐Ÿ™‚

    The reason I like this particular model is because I can test out some alternative methods with no risk. If it bombs, I can just get my money back and I can keep the books, too. And that is the reason I don’t WORRY about casually telling others about it. I’m not worried that they are going to get skunked. If they hate it, they can get out with a bonus, too.

    That just made all the difference to me.

    I know MLM’s are something that seem to attract LDS people like bees to honey.

    Oh, and no offense here to anyone, but that’s one of the reasons that I run from them. Too, often, I think we’re just dumb and too trusting and don’t use our BRAINS to make decisions.

    I would be interested in hearing how BookWise is different. I mean, I know you have access to seminars, and you get some books for your monthly fee, etc. but most MLM’s have some hook like that.

    Well, I’ll just whip out my flip chart… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Honestly, there isn’t much I can tell you about differences between BW and OTHER MLMs because I run so fast from them. But I can tell you a few things that seemed sound and logical to me.

    (1) The money back guarantee (did I mention that?)

    (2) Books are a NON-consumable item that many of us DO buy repeatedly. (Most mlms depend on a consumable for repeat sales.) I find this much more valuable personally AND there’s no…ahem…lying about the value of your exorbitantly priced dish soap. The books are regular books and they are very deeply discounted.

    (3) They are creating a discount book purchasing service that will allow income from NON-members, which will provide fiscal stability.

    (4) The compensation plan has some really interesting things in its design. Unfortunately, the materials they give you mention these only briefly and they don’t really describe HOW they do it, so you either have to just believe them (which, apparently, most hyped up folks do) or you have to kind of dig in and mess with the numbers. Two of the most meaningful are that they have created a compensation plan that: strongly encourages associates to serve their downlines and work with them to build other’s business lines.

    (5) The founders actually understand (and, gasp, ADMIT) some fundamental business concepts, like the idea that they need to bring in more money than the spend in order to give any commissions at all. They make that possible by employing a number of programs that carry value without a hard cost. The value these carry to each person will vary, but there are so many that most of us will find at least SOME to be valuable. I’ve just started, for example, listening to the podcasts I’ve downloaded. Most of them have been interesting and helpful to me so far. Really. (And that surprised me…)

    MLM’s left a bad taste in my mouth after a couple of experiences.

    LOL Well, if you’ve read my stuff you know that we’re the same in that regard. But, in my case at least, it was because of two things, mostly (1) pushy people who used my friendship/relationship and (2) lying about just about everything (the products, the potential, etc.)

    It just seems kind of disingenuous, at least for some people.

    I don’t think it just SEEMS that way, I think it IS that way. The biggest problem in this regard, I think, is that most of these people are TAUGHT this–that EVERYONE is a potential sign-up and that they should push EVERYONE within “three-feet of them.” Some are even convinced they are doing others a FAVOR by harassing everyone they meet. Most, I think, are just greedy and they simply don’t care if people get annoyed, as long as they get their numbers up.

    There is one other thing that Ilike a lot about this group, I like that the founders have already shown genuine, mass-amounts-of-money philanthropy, and they are committed to continuing it and to teaching it. Since that’s something that I’m very interested in, I like having that focus and example and mentoring.

    agardner, I really appreciate your insights on this. Thanks.

  • mollymormon July 10, 2007, 12:39 am

    I don’t like them either, for the same reasons stated above (such as selling to friends.) There is more emphasis on signing up new distributors than selling product.

    I admit that I too have fallen prey to an MLM. I used to sell books for Dorling Kindersley at Home. Correction. I used to buy way too many books from Dorling Kindersley because they were such a good deal. I think any money I would’ve made from selling I always spent on more books! LOL When DK at Home went out of business, I must say I was somewhat relieved.

    So there are a few other problems with MLMs. If you’re not a go-getter seller, you may end up purchasing much of the product yourself. And the products are generally overpriced for the market (think Discovery Toys, Noni Juice, etc.) So you think you’re getting a good deal when you’re able to purchase the product at a discount, but if it were in the free market, you’d be able to purchase items at a discount all the time (unless of course you had a distributor with a monopoly on the product.) The products have to priced high in order to pay all the upline.

    Bookwise is the only other MLM that has tempted me in the least. However, one thing that is annoying is a monthly fee that is charged. I know a lot of people would sign up to be a DK distributor just to get the good price on the startup kit of books with no intention of ever selling anything. If you sign up for bookwise without intending to sell anything, would the $35 monthly fee justify the price to get a free book and discounted books? To me it’s not. I can get discounted books on Amazon or elsewhere. Unless of course the discount was way better than Amazon, but i suspect it’s not.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 10, 2007, 1:39 am

    Posted By: mollymormonI used to sell books for Dorling Kindersley at Home.

    I didn’t know DK had an MLM. I have a billion DK books (probably not as many as you, Molly), but I bought them through my wholesalers when I owned Bright Spark Press.

    If you’re not a go-getter seller, you may end up purchasing much of the product yourself.

    Absolutely. This was an issue in most (if not all) of the mlms my in-laws were in (and tried to get us to join). Because the push was for distributors to personally buy and resell “product” to others, the distributors had all out pricing wars which meant that everyone, basically, just sold at WHOLESALE for the selling POINTS. And that meant they stocked up all sorts of stuff they didn’t need–and then HOPED to sell it. I particularly saw this in Cambridge, Sunrider, and Amway.

    BookWise doesn’t work that way, since my commission is based on my downline purchases, NOT on how many books *I* buy and stick in my basement. There’s no incentive for me to buy stuff I don’t want.

    The products have to priced high in order to pay all the upline.

    This isn’t really true in the sense many think. I’ve been a retailer before a few times and there is always a significant markup on products that is split between the manufacturer, the trucker, the rack-jobber, the retailer, etc. Sometimes there are more intermediaries. So there’s always a big gap between production cost and resale. In the multi-level that markup is simply split up among “associates.”

    OTOH, many mlm products are incredibly overprices compared to the competition. I think I wrote about the rankings of Amway stuff in Consumer Reports already.

    However, one thing that is annoying is a monthly fee that is charged.

    I don’t find it annoying, but it is a cost. That is how the company is funded, rather than through product churning among the associates. The founders (as I mentioned a bit) have tried to make the benefit worth more to most than the cost. As I said, that will be individual, but I have seen some really good stuff and talk of more things. AuthorWise (training for authors and potential authors), for example, is brand new. (I haven’t looked into it yet, but will this week.)

    If you sign up for bookwise without intending to sell anything, would the $35 monthly fee justify the price to get a free book and discounted books?

    I do not intend to sell any books to people, but I intend to, and have, signed people up in the program.

    Is the fee worth it? Based on the books ALONE, it might be, if you buy more books on a regular basis. But it’s certainly not a given. As I said before, that’s why they have added other benefits that will be worthwhile to some people, to add benefit in ADDITION to the books.

    Here’s another example. They offer tax training. I haven’t looked into it at all yet and it will probably be the last one I catch up on. Why? I’ve owned one or more business almost all the time for the past 20 years and I’m the CFO of a company. I honestly doubt that they are going to cover much of anything I don’t know about this stuff. I could be wrong, and I’ll blog it out either way. But on my best guess I’d say that this is information that won’t personally benefit ME, but will benefit almost everyone who has any kind of non-salary income–BookWise or otherwise. It’s very important stuff and a huge, financial benefit–but something that I’ve already researched a lot for sole proprietorships, LLCs, S-corps, and C-corps.

    Unless of course the discount was way better than Amazon, but i suspect it’s not.

    You can look at my other blog for a few pricing examples. The associate pricing is (always???) 40% off retail. They also offer a bunch of monthly specials that are 50% off.

  • agardner July 10, 2007, 7:12 am

    But, in my case at least, it was because of two things, mostly (1) pushy people who used my friendship/relationship and (2) lying about just about everything (the products, the potential, etc.)

    Okay, let’s talk potential. This is something that has always interested me.

    When people have tried to pitch MLM’s to me, that’s the main thing they’ve focused on. I guess that’s where I’ve gotten the idea that they are selling people rather than products, which I admit kind of bothers me for some reason. Although you made a good argument for it being that way in any company that hires employees.

    I guess bottom line what bugs me in that regard is that the pitch often sounds like “you are going to get all of this for almost nothing”…meaning very little actual work, very high profits. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I just feel like I should work a little harder than that for my money. That’s probably a really archaic idea, but I just feel like if I get all this money for not really doing much, am I making an honest living? The more I think about it, that is kind of stupid because lots and lots of people are greatly overpaid for what they actually do, and vice versa. So why shouldn’t I be also? So…hmmm…guess that’s just a hangup of mine I have to get over. I need to keep telling myself – yes, you are worth that much money. Yes, you are worth that much money. ๐Ÿ™‚

    So, how much work is involved here?

  • SilverRain July 10, 2007, 7:51 am

    Okay, Alison – two reasons.
    First, focus on the selling the business to other people side: The business model of a MLM scheme is untenable. It’s simply not going to work for everyone because there is no end user. They use the “product” to try to disguise that fact, but the real money is always supposed to be in signing others up, not in selling product. Eventually, you are going to run out of “others.”

    Secondly, the “product” side: it is dishonest to sell product through a MLM scheme. If you want to sell books, sell books. The selling people part should not even be a factor. Any legitimate business seeking employees can implement other incentives to sign people up. Legitimately, this is usually through sign-up incentives if a referred candidate is hired. Making money off of others’ work is a quick-sell technique used to blind the eyes of otherwise thinking individuals with the glitz of big money/little effort. The only party that benefits from this in the long run is the pinnacle of the pyramid: the company itself. They can’t lose.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 10, 2007, 10:01 am

    Although you made a good argument for it being that way in any company that hires employees.

    Well, ONE of the problems is that the people IN mlms try to make them sound UNlike any other business and, as you said, almost like magic. That’s such hooey and, IMO, something bright people (hello, don’t you WANT bright people to work with you???) will KNOW isn’t true and will be turned off by. So you often get either people who aren’t bright enough to see through the hype…or you get people who are just their to manipulate OTHERS with the hype. Neither a good deal.

    I guess bottom line what bugs me in that regard is that the pitch often sounds like “you are going to get all of this for almost nothing”…meaning very little actual work, very high profits.

    Yes, they often do. And it’s not true. The real issue, I think is that mlms CAN provide a long-term, residual income. (As I’ve mentioned, I have relatives (through my husband’s side) that are excessively wealthy through mlm income, but don’t really work in them anymore. But their businesses didn’t magically appear. So it’s dishonest to present only the “after you’ve worked really hard side” without also stressing the “first we work hard” part. And that IS what many people do to entice people. They also bring in all the big guns who are already making gazillions to show them off. (BookWise is really new, so that isn’t really an issue at this point.)

    Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I just feel like I should work a little harder than that for my money. That’s probably a really archaic idea, but I just feel like if I get all this money for not really doing much, am I making an honest living?

    OK, now I’m going to disagree. And you already made my case, so I’m not directing my response to YOU so much as to an idea that we have to work hard in order to deserve money. Sometimes we have to think hard. Sometimes we have to plan hard. Sometimes we have to be good at presenting a novel (or an old!) idea. Sometimes we just have to have wealthy relative die. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Seriously, though, if you found out tomorrow that you inherited a million dollars, would you turn it down because you didn’t “work hard” for it and so, therefore, it wasn’t “honest”?) Do you really have to be a garbage man to make an honest living?

    Perhaps more to the point, I don’t think it’s an archaic idea as much as it’s a DUMB idea. Yes, “working hard” is ONE way to make money. A valid one. But why would we think it is the only APPROPRIATE way?

    FWIW, I’m not talking about people being “overpaid.” I don’t even know how to quantify that. I’m talking about people making better use of their time and/or NOT being paid FOR their time.

    Silver, I’ll address your post later. I’ve gotta run to karate. Thanks both of you for the input.

  • Sharilee10 July 10, 2007, 10:31 am

    the fact that it brings “old friends” out of the woodwork for ulterior motives, lol

    Not sure if this is referring to me and being Alison’s “old friend,” so I’ll just clear it up so that I feel better about it. I found Alison’s name when I was looking through the webpage for the Utah Homeschooler’s convention. I was looking through it as a result of having received a newsletter from “Have Kids-Will Travel” who are homeschoolers and mentioned the convention. I always look into having a table at these conventions because I am the Chapter Director for the Parent Television Council, among other things that are good to have a presence at these events. When I saw Alison Moore-Smith there wasn’t a lot of question as to whether it was the same ‘Alison’ I knew– Alison Smith would have raised a question, but not Alison Moore-Smith. I attempted to locate an email address for her, but was unsuccessful. The only way to say ‘hi’ was through this blog, and so I joined and have been having fun with it ever since.

    In the course of our ‘conversation’ Bookwise came up when Alison mentioned that she wanted to publish a book. Bookwise had just launched the Authorwise series and was focusing heavily on helping people get published, and was forefront in my mind, so I told her about it. Someone felt that I was promoting my business via the blog and so Alison emailed me and said she would need to remove the comment. The truth is, I’m still not sure what comment it was because I don’t remember that one. The comments I remember making about Bookwise were not removed, so I’m not sure. Anyway— that led to a conversation off-line (via email), I left to go to Bear Lake well aware of Alison’s STRONG opinions against network marketing, and was perfectly okay with that. We had an open, honest discussion– I shared my opinions, she shared hers, and we were both okay with agreeing to disagree. I was probably as shocked as anyone to come home to an email that said, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think we want to try it.”

    Anyway– that’s just for the record.

    harassing everyone and turning every conversation you ever have with anyone on the planet back to your MLM. I’d rather have friends.

    I know what everyone is saying and I TOTALLY understand this. At the same time, it’s one of the things that bugs me the most. After all, in the course of conversation YOUR occupations come up regularly. That would make sense— it’s what you DO, it’s what is happening in your life, it’s what your attention and your focus and your expertise is on. At the very time someone was complaining about me mentioning Bookwise, someone else was openly and genuinely asking for advice and promoting a business she was starting. It was a perfectly perfect thing for her to do– and I have NO ISSUE with it.

    I do find it annoying, however, that if your business happens to be an MLM then you’d better keep quiet about it or ‘you won’t have any friends.’ Well– here’s my opinion on that– I have met the most incredible, enlightened people through Bookwise, and I’m not just referring to the Founders (although they absolutely lead the list!). The people being attracted to Bookwise are people interested in making a positive difference in the world. As my sister puts it, “I guess if I lose 3 friends this week because they were shallow enough to be offended about me mentioning my business, they weren’t really friends in the first place, and I have made 3 new friends to replace them who are of high caliber and interested in the same things I am interested in.” The other thing she says often is, “I’m taking my lead from the likes of Bob Allen and Richard Paul Evans, not those who criticize and look down on me for what I have chosen to do. When I look at their lives it’s Rick and Bob that are what I want to be, and it’s not just money I’m looking at.” I have to say— I agree.

    products are generally overpriced for the market . . . The products have to priced high in order to pay all the upline

    Alison has done a GREAT job explaining my views on this and other specific questions about Bookwise. As someone in my downline explained the other day (an attorney, by the way, who has seen many people be very successful with mlm but has never chosen to get involved himself because of this flaw), Bookwise is very different here. Instead of paying MORE for the Bookwise product than you normally would with other MLMs, with Bookwise you pay a membership fee (think Sam’s Club) for the privilege to buy deep discount. Of course– Bookwise membership has it’s privileges– wouldn’t it be nice to get paid referral fees from Sam’s!, or have the as personal mentors in using the products we buy, or help inventing and producing our own products to then turn around and sell at Sam’s. That would be nice. AND . . . wouldn’t it be nice if everything we bought at Sam’s was tax deductible because it had to do with our business– and if Sam’s would foot the bill for a tax professional to be available to teach us how to take advantage of these tax advantages!

    Someone mentioned that they buy books discount somewhere else (can’t remember where). That’s great, and so do I if I want it right now or if it’s not available through Bookwise– but I can guarantee you that Wal*Mart or Sam’s Club or Barnes and Noble are NEVER going to give me books for free, give me anything more than just the book, or pay me to buy the books! The book is all I will ever get!! With Bookwise, the books are just really thick icing on an already delicious, and HUGE, cake!

    If you sign up for bookwise without intending to sell anything, would the $35 monthly fee justify the price to get a free book and discounted books? To me it’s not. I can get discounted books on Amazon or elsewhere. Unless of course the discount was way better than Amazon, but i suspect it’s not.

    Oh– here’s the comment right here, and it’s Amazon. Now– Amazon actually does pay some people to promote their books. You might be surprised at how many times someone is getting paid from the unofficial word of mouth referrals that they make. It’s called affiliate programs, and interestingly, no one has an issue with that. For example– if you would like to support education you can buy your books and toys and many, MANY other products through the links on the National Education Network and a percentage of your purchases will go to support education. You are welcome to, and encouraged to, refer as many friends as you would like to do the same, and if lots and lots of your friends started making their on-line purchases through the Network there would be some ongoing money for the schools. No one has a problem with that. Of course, if you want to have REAL money going to your favorite charity then you could pay $35/month for a plethora of Bookwise Benefits, tell just 3 friends about it (preferably 5, but 3 would do it), and residual cash donations to your charity will grow and grow and grow whether you ever do another thing, other than paying your monthly membership fee and enjoying the benefits that come.

    By the way– for me the value of the monthly membership far exceeds $35. Pretty much every benefit is of HUGE value to me– well, except the e-book on occasion. I don’t read fiction (which it sometimes is) and I prefer to read with a book in my hands versus from a computer screen.

    Eventually, you are going to run out of “others.”

    Won’t that be WONDERFUL!! That would mean that the whole world is ‘Bookwise’ and is literate and has been taught the principles of giving rather than taking, and of creating wealth in their own lives so that they CAN give rather than take, and just think of the amount of money that will be going into donating books to literacy programs ($1 from EVERY Bookwise member, EVERY month PLUS 10% of company profits)!!

    Okay– granted, it’s going to take a LONG time to get to that point– and in reality there will always be some who avoid Bookwise like the plague because it is **gasp** network marketing. The more Bookwise grows, however, the more enlightened our communities will be because of the enlightened people in them. I honestly believe this– nothing disingenuous about it. Now– anyone who chooses not to get involved is FREE to do so. It’s a choice– it’s an option– and some people may choose another option. But it isn’t a choice or an option if no one ever tells you about it. My goal is to make sure that the people I care about– whether old or new friends– are given the choice and the option. After that, as Alison says on her other blog, then I’ve done my duty. It’s up to them and they can never come back to me and say, “You knew about this back in the Spring of 2007 and you never told me!?! Just think how my life could have been different if I’d only known!”

  • Sharilee10 July 10, 2007, 11:10 am

    After re-reading my response I want to clarify BEFORE it brings up a tangent, that Bookwise is NOT the ONLY way for people to become enlightened and people don’t have to join Bookwise to BE enlightened. That was not what I’m saying, so please don’t take my words too literally. Please try to see what I’m saying in the big picture, which is how I think.

    it is dishonest to sell product through a MLM scheme.

    ??? Please explain this more. Why is it any different to sell books through MLM versus selling through Barnes and Nobles and bookstores with a brick and mortar presence or through Amazon.com which has an on-line presence? No matter where you buy the books from, 40-50% of the profits will be going into marketing the product. The reason brick and mortar bookstores have to charge even more is because of the additional ‘overhead’ involved in the brick and mortar. MLM and Amazon avoid that to large degree. They all have ’employee costs,’ but I guess that’s the benefit of an mlm, if structured correctly. The ’employee cost’ and the ‘marketing cost’ is the same, so they actually have LESS overhead.

    I really want to understand what you meant by this. Please explain. Thanks!

    If you want to sell books, sell books. The selling people part should not even be a factor.

    Actually, who you work with makes ALL the difference no matter WHERE you work and WHAT you do. IMHO, I think people should look much more closely at the ‘people’ side of ANY job or career they are considering.

    Any legitimate business seeking employees can implement other incentives to sign people up. Legitimately, this is usually through sign-up incentives if a referred candidate is hired.

    So can MLMs. I’m not sure I understand what you are saying. Please explain.

    Making money off of others’ work is a quick-sell technique used to blind the eyes of otherwise thinking individuals with the glitz

    It’s actually called ‘leveraging’ off of each other’s efforts. In the ‘real world’ they call it collaboration (THE buzzword of the industry right now!) Stephen R. Covey calls is ‘Working Smarter, Not Harder.’ There is no intent to blind the eyes of anyone. If someone is ‘blinded’ to get in the business, they will never SEE the potential or the mission of the company and will be more work to ‘carry’ than to just not have them along. This is the same with ANY business– traditional or network marketing. For my business I am looking for individuals who are excited about the mission of Bookwise and are coming in with their eyes WIDE OPEN to the benefits and the CHALLENGES. They HAVE to be able to deal with people saying, “Isn’t that an MLM? I swore I would never do that again!” and many other comments like what you find in this thread– because they WILL encounter them. It’s how people really feel, and if they don’t have the wide-opened vision of why they chose to get involved (whatever that is!), it will be discouraging for them. I absolutely do NOT want people on our Bookwise team who are BLINDED.

    big money/little effort.

    It’s not so much big money as it is residual money. It’s not necessarily little effort– that depends on how quickly you want the residual money to grow. If you are just looking for a residual source of income in retirement, then just do Bookwise on a casual basis on the side of whatever else you are doing, do put 3 people in fairly soon (even exponential growth is nothing from a base of 0), and then go on doing what you do, sharing Bookwise with people at appropriate times, perhaps, and by the time you retire (assuming you have at least a few years!) you will have reisdual income.

    If, like me, you want to see the residual income grow quickly for whatever reason (my reasons are varied, but include wanting to build the non-profits AND wanting to avoid getting a 9-5 job that takes me away from my kids), then it will take more effort. This is not a sit back and do nothing and just wait for the money to grow. It doesn’t work that way. However, for the person who is willing to put in the effort for a few years upfront, the backend residual income is unmatched because it does leverage off of the efforts of the full team– and it works that way for the WHOLE TEAM!

    The only party that benefits from this in the long run is the pinnacle of the pyramid: the company itself. They can’t lose.

    I REALLY disagree with this. For starters— I Have personally benefited already in BIG ways, not only financially, but more importantly personally. My life will never be the same again– it is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to go back to where I was even just 3 months ago. I know MANY other people who feel the same way. Perhaps not EVERYONE in my downline– there are those who are doing nothing and who are reaping the harvest of having done nothing– which is nothing. The law of harvest works here, as it does everywhere. The thing is– don’t limit yourself to using a horse and plow to plant the seeds and a bucket to water the crops when you live in a day and age that provides tractors and combines and efficient sprinkling systems, etc. The benefit is there for anyone who wants to plant the seeds and harvest the fruit thereof.

    As for the company– neither Rick nor Bob NEEDED to put the literally millions and millions of dollars that they have into this company. They both have plenty of money, they both have plenty of ‘ventures’ on their plate to fill their time. Rick created this company to provide a way for single mothers and others to work from home doing something that was personally enhancing and financially rewarding. He did NOT have to grow through the growing pains that he was willing to go through (and they had them and may have a few more!). At one point his wife asked him why he was putting himself through this when he didn’t need any of it. He answer was that he did need it— he needed to bless the lives of others and he needed to stretch himself because he was stagnating. He took his little ‘baby’ to Bob Allen and asked for help to create the very best compensation plan he could.

    Yeah— years down the road Rick and Bob will definitely benefit financially from Bookwise. Right now they are pouring millions of their own money into. I would venture to say, however, that even now they would tell you that they are ‘benefitting’ from Bookwise. BENEFITS come in so many different ways– financial benefits are just one small piece of the picture.

  • agardner July 10, 2007, 11:20 am

    Not sure if this is referring to me and being Alison’s “old friend,” so I’ll just clear it up so that I feel better about it. I found Alison’s name when I was looking through the webpage for the Utah Homeschooler’s convention. I was looking through it as a result of having received a newsletter from “Have Kids-Will Travel” who are homeschoolers and mentioned the convention. I always look into having a table at these conventions because I am the Chapter Director for the Parent Television Council, among other things that are good to have a presence at these events. When I saw Alison Moore-Smith there wasn’t a lot of question as to whether it was the same ‘Alison’ I knew– Alison Smith would have raised a question, but not Alison Moore-Smith. I attempted to locate an email address for her, but was unsuccessful. The only way to say ‘hi’ was through this blog, and so I joined and have been having fun with it ever since.

    In the course of our ‘conversation’ Bookwise came up when Alison mentioned that she wanted to publish a book. Bookwise had just launched the Authorwise series and was focusing heavily on helping people get published, and was forefront in my mind, so I told her about it. Someone felt that I was promoting my business via the blog and so Alison emailed me and said she would need to remove the comment. The truth is, I’m still not sure what comment it was because I don’t remember that one. The comments I remember making about Bookwise were not removed, so I’m not sure. Anyway— that led to a conversation off-line (via email), I left to go to Bear Lake well aware of Alison’s STRONG opinions against network marketing, and was perfectly okay with that. We had an open, honest discussion– I shared my opinions, she shared hers, and we were both okay with agreeing to disagree. I was probably as shocked as anyone to come home to an email that said, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think we want to try it.”

    Anyway– that’s just for the record

    No Sharilee, I wasn’t referring to you and Alison when I said that. I just assumed you guys had been in touch through the years. I was referring more to the family member and my parent’s old friends that I mentioned in my post. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

  • agardner July 10, 2007, 11:31 am

    OK, now I’m going to disagree. And you already made my case, so I’m not directing my response to YOU so much as to an idea that we have to work hard in order to deserve money. Sometimes we have to think hard. Sometimes we have to plan hard. Sometimes we have to be good at presenting a novel (or an old!) idea. Sometimes we just have to have wealthy relative die. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (Seriously, though, if you found out tomorrow that you inherited a million dollars, would you turn it down because you didn’t “work hard” for it and so, therefore, it wasn’t “honest”?) Do you really have to be a garbage man to make an honest living?

    Perhaps more to the point, I don’t think it’s an archaic idea as much as it’s a DUMB idea. Yes, “working hard” is ONE way to make money. A valid one. But why would we think it is the only APPROPRIATE way?

    FWIW, I’m not talking about people being “overpaid.” I don’t even know how to quantify that. I’m talking about people making better use of their time and/or NOT being paid FOR their time.

    I couldn’t get the quote feature to work right the last time- hopefully this one will go better.

    Like I said, it’s kind of a personal hang-up of mine. I admit that. I guess I just don’t feel like I deserve it if I didn’t work for it (not saying that people who make a lot of money don’t work for it…or that people who do BookWise don’t work for it…I’m just digging myself in deeper aren’t I? Okay, I’ll stop now.)

    And no, I wouldn’t turn down a million dollars if offered it. Not at all!! Are you offering?? Because if you are, I can send you my address! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I guess what I’m saying about MLM’s in the past (like I said, I don’t know too much about BookWise yet – who knows, I might even sign up under you!) is that it’s been pitched to me as an “All you have to do is sign up xxx number of people and you’ll be bringing in xxx dollars a month without doing anything else!!”. That just sounds to me like getting something for nothing and that’s just a hard concept for me to grasp.

  • agardner July 10, 2007, 11:36 am

    Sharilee, this might be getting more into the details of where the money all goes – but I wonder about the statement you made about Rick and Bob putting their own money into this (basically losing money) right now. How is that possible? How does the money break down?

    Each member pays $35, right? Out of that, they give $1 to charity. They pay those in the upline from you. You get the book and access to the other benefits. That still leaves quite a bit of profit, does it not? I’m just trying to figure out the math on that.

  • SilverRain July 10, 2007, 12:29 pm

    That would mean that the whole world is ‘Bookwise’ and is literate

    Sharilee – I will be more than willing to explain more about my points if you can show me how a business model with no end user can function. Realistically, your user base runs out looooong before “the whole world” is on board.

  • Sharilee10 July 10, 2007, 12:55 pm

    Obviously I don’t know all of the details of where the ‘corporate’ money goes. However, any time you start a new business of this magnitude there is a large upfront investment. Now– that doesn’t apply to the Associates. Bookwise Associates invest $39.95 for the materials and backend office to run the business and then the $35 per month for the membership fee. Bookwise Corporate has developed a ready-made ‘business in a box’ in a sense for the rest of us to step into and work with the potential for profit from the beginning and residual income of pretty much whatever amount we choose to work toward.

    However— SOMEONE had to front the money for the development of Bookwise Corporate. It cost a lot of money to take it from the concept and idea in Rick’s head to a growing, thriving new company. They DO have a brick and mortar office building to maintain, the had to work out the details of how the compensation structure would work, workout the deals for purchasing the books bulk, developing the website and other materials for us to use, etc., etc. I’m sure there are expenses I don’t even know about.

    Yes– there is money left from the $35 monthly membership fee– 60%. That pays for the hard cover books and I’m sure goes toward these other expenses. However– a lot of the expense had to be invested before anyone was paying the $35 membership AND I would imagine they are still putting a lot more in than what they are getting back. Down the road that won’t be the case. Down the road they will take in a whole lot MORE than what they put in. It’s the same for us as Associates. In the beginning there could be more expenses, particularly if someone wants to really do Bookwise as a business— they may want to order bookmarks to hand out, Bookwise clothing to wear– whatever (Okay— so I can’t even think of very many expenses!), but suffice it to say that in the beginning the income may be small and the expenses large(r than they will be later); the beauty of network marketing is that if you work really hard for a few years, there comes a point when you CAN put less effort in and still receive the rewards of your earlier work. With traditional jobs, the day you don’t show up to work is the day the paycheck stops. With network marketing, the efforts I put into today and tomorrow and the next day will pay benefits for the rest of my life and be there to pass on to my kids! (NOTE: You DO have to have a true residual income plan, which Bookwise is. Many MLMs have requirements such that if you quit ‘working’ the business you no longer can meet the monthly requirements and your income disappears. With Bookwise, the ONLY monthly requirement is to remain active, or in other words pay the $35 monthyly membership fee).

    Again— I don’t know all of the particulars, but I do know that Rick and Bob have sunk a LOT of money into getting this up and running. Yes– they have the money to do that and YES, they know it will pay off BIG TIME for them in the future, so it’s really just another investment for them with a much higher rate of return than what they could get elsewhere, but it’s still a TON of work and a HUGE investment for them to make so that WE could have the opportunity to build residual income. I think that is extremely generous of both of them— and YES– this is a risky investment for them.

    I don’t have any doubt that Bookwise will be extremely successful, and the 9-10 month history and what it has accomplished in that timeframe speaks for itself. However, when they both made the commitment to sock that kind of money into it they didn’t have a track record. In fact— the track record Bob Allen had to look at in January apparently wasn’t a real positive one because they had gone through some growing pains and it was painful. The thing is– he knew the idea was sound, the partner was trustworthy, and between the two of them they have what it takes to make it a success. Bookwise WILL be successful, if for no other reason that Rick and Bob will make sure it is!

    Speaking of which, there are some Bookwise Associates who joined in the beginning and are having a hard time getting past the ‘growing pains.’ I’ve never heard anyone actually complain— Rick and Bob are determined to not have ANYONE feel ‘taken’ by Bookwise. However, because of early experiences they are in a ‘wait and see’ mode. That’s okay– it’s a choice– and I have to admit that if I had been actively involved during those growing pains I very likely would be in the same boat with them. However– there are also people who got in in the beginning and are going full speed ahead and the rewards for them are HUGE (again— probably not in money yet– don’t misunderstand me).

    There are many people who will wait and see, and down the road when Bookwise is established and is becoming the next Amazon.com they will decide to get in. That’s a choice, and a good one in my opinion (to get involved then if they haven’t now), but there is no doubt in my mind that NOW is the time to get involved with Bookwise. Those that are involved now have the opportunity to help determine the direction of the company in ways that even a few months down the road will not necessarily be the same. The benefits will always be there— the Bookwise Bundle of Benefits will only continue to grow and become better and better— but some of the ‘rewards’ from being in in the beginning will be past. For example, there is only one chance to be in the Presidents 100 Club. I won’t go into the details of the advantages of that– but suffice it to say that it carries it’s rewards and I am grateful to be involved now so that I can be a part of that.

    K– that was a long answer to a pretty short question. Sorry!

  • agardner July 10, 2007, 1:08 pm

    Sharilee, Not that this has anything to do with the discussion, but just out of curiosity: Did you know Rick and Bob before Bookwise, or meet them because of Bookwise?

  • Sharilee10 July 10, 2007, 1:14 pm

    show me how a business model with no end user can function.

    There is an end user. Bookwise Associates are end users and Preferred Customers are end users. I don’t really promote the preferred customer program right now because I think there is much more value in becoming an Associate. However, Rick and Bob are currently looking at revamping the Preferred Customer program and it has the potential to be a great value as well. We in the President’s Club actually get to help design the program and give feedback, etc. My suggestion is to make some of the trainings available to Preferred Customers– I hope they incorporate that as I believe just about anyone who listens to the trainings will be sold on Bookwise! They are THAT good and THAT valuable!

    Bottom-line is that there are end-users of the MANY products offered through Bookwise– from the tangible hard-cover book, e-book and audiobook to the less tangible Wealthwin and Taxwin and Authorwise and Presidentwise training and mentoring to the intangible benefits of a changed mindset and new perspective.

    I’m really not sure why you would say there is no end user. Am I missing something? Please explain.

    Realistically, your user base runs out looooong before “the whole world” is on board.

    Yes, and No. Like I said before– there will be people who avoid Bookwise because it is an MLM. If that is what you mean, yeah– you’re right. I don’t really believe that the whole world will be on board– although they would all benefit from it.

    However, there are a LOT of people in the world and the user base isn’t going to be running out any time in the foreseeable future. I have a nephew who turns 18 in November and is just devastated that everyone will be in by the time he can start his own business. Yeah— if everybody saw the simple truth of how it works, but everybody doesn’t see it and there are enough people who ‘question’ the motives and intelligence of those who have chosen to get involved that it can slow down even those who do see it and want to share it with others.

    However– like I pointed out to my nephew Thomas– there are people turning 18 every day, so there is a constant flow of ‘new user base’ if you want to look at it that way. I’m not at all worried about running out of user base for a very, VERY long time. And, worse case scenario, if we got to the point that there was no user base left for Bookwise itself– the Bookwise Bundle of Benefits provided by Bookwise provides training and insight to help people generate income in other ways and utilizing other areas of interest and skill– so the $35 is NEVER wasted, if even the user base becomes more scarce and difficult to find and build.

  • Sharilee10 July 10, 2007, 1:31 pm

    Sharilee, Not that this has anything to do with the discussion, but just out of curiosity: Did you know Rick and Bob before Bookwise, or meet them because of Bookwise?

    I somewhat knew Rick through a good friend of mine. I had gone to his office before as her ‘sidekick’ when we were in SLC doing other things that we do (America Israel Friendship League, Stand For Decency, Lighted Candle Society, etc.) It was through her that I know a little bit of the background of Bookwise (she was going through a difficult time and he told her to hang on, he was working on something to help single mothers and others wanting to work from home). Prior to Bookwise, I don’t think he would have recognized me if he had seen me in a setting without Amy. The truth is, I knew of some who had negative impressions of him. He can seem overly focused on money to those who don’t know him well because that is the topic people ask him to come speak on and in sharing his story, the way it comes across usually says more about the person hearing the story than about him. However, after getting to know him I can honestly say that I don’t think there is a selfish bone in his body. He is a man who rose from poverty as a child (through hard, HARD work and a constant effort to win in the margins!) to experience great success, which has brought him a great deal of joy. He is ALL about sharing that joy and helping others experience the same peace and joy that he has experienced through having enough financial wealth to not have to worry about day to day survival and to experience and explore the parts of the world that interest them (I don’t mean just travelling– although for some maybe that the ‘part of the world’ they want to explore!) He is a good man through and through. I value my association with him as ONE of the greatest blessings I have received.

    I had never met Robert Allen prior to March 22 when I sat in the training and this whole thing started opening up to me. As I learned more I realized that I had heard of him– have probably even gotten emails from him regarding his wealth training programs, which were waaaay out of my price range (or so I believed)!! Now I get all of that training and more for FREE! I just got an autographed copy of 8 of his best-selling books for rising to a weekly challenge he gave recently. If I had had any idea what reading just one of those books would mean to me I would have paid hundreds for it years ago. In fact– NOT reading it has cost me thousands in actual hard, cold cash– and I’m someone who is good with my money!! I value my association with him and ANOTHER ONE of the great blessings of my life.

  • Sharilee10 July 10, 2007, 1:42 pm

    By the way— if any of you are interested in meeting Rick and Bob you are welcome to come to the monthly AIM Training in SLC. This is where they release all of the new updates and benefits, etc. You don’t have to be a Bookwise Associate to come (although I’d better warn you that I’ve never seen someone go to one and not enroll– so consider yourselves warned!)

    I know Alison said in her other blog that she isn’t going to go to any of the trainings, but I’ll be there if you want to come. They are a lot of fun, and I will personally introduce you to Rick and Bob if you would like. Some of the others that are fun to meet are Andy Compas, Doug Osmond, Mark Hurst and my favorite– Wally!! ๐Ÿ™‚ He’d smile if he saw that— he’s the one at Corporate that I bother if I don’t have the answers to the questions that my detail-oriented downline come up with– and No– Alison isn’t the first, although come to think of it, they all seem to have names that start with A. Hmmmm . . . I’ll have to pay more attention to see if that theory develops into something worth being aware of!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Here are the details:

    Get the latest BookWise information from Robert G. Allen and Richard Paul Evans as well as the BookWise Executives on Thursday, July 19, 2007, at the Radisson Hotel, 215 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT.

  • Oregonian July 10, 2007, 3:51 pm

    I’ve stayed away from this thread because I don’t like multilevels. Now that it’s so popular I had to see what was going on. Very interesting and some ideas I hadn’t thought about before.

    Posted By: Sharilee10I know Alison said in her other blog that she isn’t going to go to any of the trainings, but I’ll be there if you want to come.

    Geeze, seems that if anyone is really interested in BookWealth from this site, Allison should be the one to sign them up. What was it about making money on other people’s work? It’s her site and her article, really. Just sayin’.

  • Oregonian July 10, 2007, 4:28 pm

    I was wondering something else Allison. I’ve been around this site for months and I get the idea, just from a few bits here and there that you already have lots of wealth. IF I’m wrong or thats personal or something, fine, but I wonder why you’re doing this anyway?

  • Oregonian July 10, 2007, 4:30 pm

    I just spent an hour answering these, only to lose them. Ugh!

    Posted By: SilverRainThe business model of a MLM scheme is untenable. It’s simply not going to work for everyone because there is no end user.

    This is sometimes true, but not necessarily so. It is entirely dependent on the design, not just on the fact that there is a different profit distribution system. BW actually has multiple end-users. Each associate is an end user, but that can’t sustain a company that is profit-sharing. So it is partly dependent upon those who sign up and also upon those who purchase the discount books who are NOT associates (and, thus, only get discount books, not commissions). I see is much like the Books a Million Book Club that I belonged to for a long time.

    They use the “product” to try to disguise that fact, but the real money is always supposed to be in signing others up, not in selling product.

    I disagree that the books (or other benefits) are a “disguise” for the fact that an integral part is the business package. As I already pointed out, there are many end-users that sustains the model, but it’s also being marketed as a group, business benefits package.

    Eventually, you are going to run out of “others.”

    Technically, this is true, since there are limited humans. It’s true in every single service and product sale as well. Every one. There is a technical saturation point. (Doctors, insurance, restaurants, professors ?)

    But I have never, ever seen this level reached in an mlm. What I HAVE seen, however, is that timing is an advantage in mlms BECAUSE the earlier you sign up, the farther you are from saturation. The farther you are, the EASIER it is to recruit. The easiest recruits do sign up earlier, meaning that the LATER you join, the harder it is to find people who have not joined and have not decided against joining. So those who sign up later have to ?ahem ?work HARDER. (So, those of you that need to work hard to feel legitimate, can just hold off for a year or two before joining. ;D ) And lots of people don’t WANT to work harder.

    Again, that’s true in any business. First in has an advantage. First doctor in a city gets all the residents. The spread becomes thinner as more join.

    So, what do people do? They go elsewhere if it’s too hard, they expand the market, or they find a way to increase market share.

    Business 101 stuff.

    it is dishonest to sell product through a MLM scheme. If you want to sell books, sell books. The selling people part should not even be a factor.

    Why not?

    Yes, you CAN sell with the old model (author, agent, publisher, wholesaler, distribution channels, retailer, purchaser). But what is it about those particular roles that legitimizes that method over any other? More to the point, why is it dishonest to do otherwise?

    While I will look at what AuthorWise if offering, at this point, when I finish my books, I plan to self-publish. Personally, I think the old model is fraught with waste and nonsense–not to mention that it leaves the actual authors a pittance.

    Any legitimate business seeking employees can implement other incentives to sign people up. Legitimately, this is usually through sign-up incentives if a referred candidate is hired.

    First, I’ll just pounce on the implication that somehow “sign-up incentives” are somehow legitimate means of bringing in employees and other methods are therefore illegitimate. What’s the logic behind that?

    Making money off of others’ work is a quick-sell technique ?

    Bwah! I’m guessing almost all of you bring in a good chunk of your income from an employer. That is ?ahem ?someone who’s making money off YOUR work.

    ?used to blind the eyes of otherwise thinking individuals with the glitz of big money/little effort.

    There is nothing unethical about making money off others’ work. (You’re not all out quitting your illegitimate jobs, are you?) There is a problem with lying and deceiving people. So unless you’re making money off of people BY deceiving them, where is the dishonesty? Silver, you aren’t really implying that I would support deception as a recruiting method, are you?

    The only party that benefits from this in the long run is the pinnacle of the pyramid: the company itself. They can’t lose.

    Yes, they can. I’ve seen companies lose and I’ve seen structure that only, reasonably, allowed “ground floor” members to profit. But that is not a function of an mlm profit distribution, but of a specific corporate structure in a particular company. As I said, I believe BW has addressed these structural issues quite well.

    Posted By: agardnerAnd no, I wouldn’t turn down a million dollars if offered it. Not at all!! Are you offering??

    If I were a true mlmer I’d say, “No, but I’m offering you a million dollar opportunity!” But I’m not, so I won’t.

    who knows, I might even sign up under you!

    Just let me know. I think it will be a successful venture. ๐Ÿ™‚

    “All you have to do is sign up xxx number of people and you’ll be bringing in xxx dollars a month without doing anything else!!”. That just sounds to me like getting something for nothing and that’s just a hard concept for me to grasp.

    It’s hard to grasp because it’s a lie. The real lie is the “all you have to do” because the implication is simplicity. For most of us, it’s not easy or simple or comfortable to find people to sign up.

    ? I wonder about the statement you made about Rick and Bob putting their own money into this (basically losing money) right now. How is that possible?

    Evans, Allen, and a few other guys with (lots of) money from other sources decided to invest. They gave money to pay for the legal fees, the office supplies, the copyrighting, the printing, the web design, the advertising, etc., BEFORE there was any money coming IN to BW. That’s pretty much how any entrepreneurs bootstrap a company when they want to maintain control.

    Each member pays $35, right? Out of that, they give $1 to charity. They pay those in the upline from you. You get the book and access to the other benefits. That still leaves quite a bit of profit, does it not? I’m just trying to figure out the math on that.

    Some of these are variable expenses. Each member pays $35 and gets a book that wholesales for about $15-20. $1 goes to charity, upline gets paid for nine levels (there are also other revenue streams), and the rest goes to corporate. That amount is divided up in all sorts of things like overhead, administrative, taxes, etc. Anything AFTER those expenses is profit.

    Posted By: Sharilee10I know Alison said in her other blog that she isn’t going to go to any of the trainings, but I’ll be there if you want to come.

    e>

    No, I didn’t say that. I said that I wasn’t going to start harassing *my friends to go* or making it the push of every conversation. I would be happy to go with anyone who wants to go, but I’m making it a point NOT to inundate those I know with “offers.”

    Posted By: OregonianI wonder why you’re doing this anyway?

    LOL Well, that’s a good question. I’ve been on here way too long. I’ll try to answer tonight. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Alison Moore Smith July 10, 2007, 4:34 pm

    I just spent an hour answering these, only to lose them. Then, I tried to fix agardner’s and Oregonian’s blockquote problems and I ended up posting under Oregonians screenname. Sheesh. If I’ve totally messed up some posts, please tell me. I tried to repair my damage.

    Posted By: SilverRainThe business model of a MLM scheme is untenable. It’s simply not going to work for everyone because there is no end user.

    This is sometimes true, but not necessarily so. It is entirely dependent on the design, not just on the fact that there is a different profit distribution system. BW actually has multiple end-users. Each associate is an end user, but that can’t sustain a company that is profit-sharing. So it is partly dependent upon those who sign up and also upon those who purchase the discount books who are NOT associates (and, thus, only get discount books, not commissions). I see is much like the Books a Million Book Club that I belonged to for a long time.

    They use the “product” to try to disguise that fact, but the real money is always supposed to be in signing others up, not in selling product.

    I disagree that the books (or other benefits) are a “disguise” for the fact that an integral part is the business package. As I already pointed out, there are many end-users that sustains the model, but it’s also being marketed as a group, business benefits package.

    Eventually, you are going to run out of “others.”

    Technically, this is true, since there are limited humans. It’s true in every single service and product sale as well. Every one. There is a technical saturation point. (Doctors, insurance, restaurants, professors ?)

    But I have never, ever seen this level reached in an mlm. What I HAVE seen, however, is that timing is an advantage in mlms BECAUSE the earlier you sign up, the farther you are from saturation. The farther you are, the EASIER it is to recruit. The easiest recruits do sign up earlier, meaning that the LATER you join, the harder it is to find people who have not joined and have not decided against joining. So those who sign up later have to ?ahem ?work HARDER. (So, those of you that need to work hard to feel legitimate, can just hold off for a year or two before joining. ;D ) And lots of people don’t WANT to work harder.

    Again, that’s true in any business. First in has an advantage. First doctor in a city gets all the residents. The spread becomes thinner as more join.

    So, what do people do? They go elsewhere if it’s too hard, they expand the market, or they find a way to increase market share.

    How does McDonalds keep building more restaurants? The population increases faster than they can saturate the market.

    Business 101 stuff.

    it is dishonest to sell product through a MLM scheme. If you want to sell books, sell books. The selling people part should not even be a factor.

    Why not?

    Yes, you CAN sell with the old model (author, agent, publisher, wholesaler, distribution channels, retailer, purchaser). But what is it about those particular roles that legitimizes that method over any other? More to the point, why is it dishonest to do otherwise?

    While I will look at what AuthorWise if offering, at this point, when I finish my books, I plan to self-publish. Personally, I think the old model is fraught with waste and nonsense–not to mention that it leaves the actual authors a pittance.

    Any legitimate business seeking employees can implement other incentives to sign people up. Legitimately, this is usually through sign-up incentives if a referred candidate is hired.

    First, I’ll just pounce on the implication that somehow “sign-up incentives” are somehow legitimate means of bringing in employees and other methods are therefore illegitimate. What’s the logic behind that?

    Making money off of others’ work is a quick-sell technique ?

    Bwah! I’m guessing almost all of you bring in a good chunk of your income from an employer. That is ?ahem ?someone who’s making money off YOUR work.

    ?used to blind the eyes of otherwise thinking individuals with the glitz of big money/little effort.

    There is nothing unethical about making money off others’ work. (You’re not all out quitting your illegitimate jobs, are you?) There is a problem with lying and deceiving people. So unless you’re making money off of people BY deceiving them, where is the dishonesty? Silver, you aren’t really implying that I would support deception as a recruiting method, are you?

    The only party that benefits from this in the long run is the pinnacle of the pyramid: the company itself. They can’t lose.

    Yes, they can. I’ve seen companies lose and I’ve seen structure that only, reasonably, allowed “ground floor” members to profit. But that is not a function of an mlm profit distribution, but of a specific corporate structure in a particular company. As I said, I believe BW has addressed these structural issues quite well.

    Posted By: agardnerAnd no, I wouldn’t turn down a million dollars if offered it. Not at all!! Are you offering??

    If I were a true mlmer I’d say, “No, but I’m offering you a million dollar opportunity!” But I’m not, so I won’t.

    who knows, I might even sign up under you!

    Just let me know. I think it will be a successful venture. ๐Ÿ™‚

    “All you have to do is sign up xxx number of people and you’ll be bringing in xxx dollars a month without doing anything else!!”. That just sounds to me like getting something for nothing and that’s just a hard concept for me to grasp.

    It’s hard to grasp because it’s a lie. The real lie is the “all you have to do” because the implication is simplicity. For most of us, it’s not easy or simple or comfortable to find people to sign up.

    ? I wonder about the statement you made about Rick and Bob putting their own money into this (basically losing money) right now. How is that possible?

    Evans, Allen, and a few other guys with (lots of) money from other sources decided to invest. They gave money to pay for the legal fees, the office supplies, the copyrighting, the printing, the web design, the advertising, etc., BEFORE there was any money coming IN to BW. That’s pretty much how any entrepreneurs bootstrap a company when they want to maintain control.

    Each member pays $35, right? Out of that, they give $1 to charity. They pay those in the upline from you. You get the book and access to the other benefits. That still leaves quite a bit of profit, does it not? I’m just trying to figure out the math on that.

    Some of these are variable expenses. Each member pays $35 and gets a book that wholesales for about $15-20. $1 goes to charity, upline gets paid for nine levels (there are also other revenue streams), and the rest goes to corporate. That amount is divided up in all sorts of things like overhead, administrative, taxes, etc. Anything AFTER those expenses is profit.

    Posted By: Sharilee10I know Alison said in her other blog that she isn’t going to go to any of the trainings, but I’ll be there if you want to come.

    e>

    No, I didn’t say that. I said that I wasn’t going to start harassing *my friends to go* or making it the push of every conversation. I would be happy to go with anyone who wants to go, but I’m making it a point NOT to inundate those I know with “offers.”

    Posted By: OregonianI wonder why you’re doing this anyway?

    LOL Well, that’s a good question. I’ve been on here way too long. I’ll try to answer tonight. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sharilee10 July 10, 2007, 4:46 pm

    Geeze, seems that if anyone is really interested in BookWealth from this site, Allison should be the one to sign them up. What was it about making money on other people’s work? It’s her site and her article, really. Just sayin’.

    LOL . . . OF COURSE they would be signed up under Alison!! I didn’t even think to point that out because it is so obvious and Bookwise is a TEAM effort. As her enroller, not to mention her FRIEND, I am here to help her!!

    Anyway— I will go back and read now– but I wanted to clear that up. Alison and I are on the SAME TEAM!! It’s TEAMWORK. Anyway— **sigh** once again my motives are being questionned. This is getting REALLY OLD!!!

  • agardner July 10, 2007, 5:15 pm

    Sharilee and Alison (I guess more Sharilee since she has been doing this longer) – do you spend a lot of time working with those downline from you? Are you a “manager” of them, for lack of a better word?

  • Sharilee10 July 10, 2007, 5:29 pm

    I just spent quite a bit of time I don’t have responding and then lost it– I need to remember to copy before I post ‘just in case.’ It’s probably for the best because I am really hurt right now and the post was basically my last.

    I DO spend a lot of time working with those in my downline— not because I HAVE to, but because I WANT to help them be successful— and that is all I intended to do in my comments here and my offer to introduce any of you to Rick and Bob. I never at any time said anything about signing anyone up under myself — I warned that you would want to be a part of Bookwise. Of course anyone from the blog who wants to be a part of Bookwise would be signed up under Alison. I assumed that was understood.

    I really have to go– I will take a few minutes later tonight to answer your question more in depth, agardner, since it is directly to me. It will be a better answer anyway because that last accusation really sent me for a loop— I haven’t been in a place like this for a very, VERY long time. Perhaps it’s good to be reminded what this feels like so that I can appreciate all the more where I spend my life nowdays and why I choose to be selective of where I spend my time and with whom.

    I’ll post again later.

  • Sharilee10 July 10, 2007, 6:11 pm

    SilverRain – I am not in anyway offended or hurt by your opinions on MLM. I’ll read your post later and perhaps have a response, but remember– I used to be anti-mlm as well, so I really do understand where you coming from more than what you might think. What is hurtful to me in the accusations against my character and my integrity made by Oregonian. I’m not sure what I have done to offend her, but it seems no matter what thread I post in she takes issue with something I have said and makes it about ME, not the issue. I choose not to hangout in places like that– but I’ll have to say more later. I really am late now– I was supposed to be at the park behind my house 10 minutes ago.

  • agardner July 10, 2007, 6:39 pm

    I can’t get the quotes to work again so I’ll do it this way: Sharilee said:

    “I just spent quite a bit of time I don’t have responding and then lost it– I need to remember to copy before I post ‘just in case.’ It’s probably for the best because I am really hurt right now and the post was basically my last.

    I DO spend a lot of time working with those in my downline— not because I HAVE to, but because I WANT to help them be successful— and that is all I intended to do in my comments here and my offer to introduce any of you to Rick and Bob. I never at any time said anything about signing anyone up under myself — I warned that you would want to be a part of Bookwise. Of course anyone from the blog who wants to be a part of Bookwise would be signed up under Alison. I assumed that was understood.

    I really have to go– I will take a few minutes later tonight to answer your question more in depth, agardner, since it is directly to me. It will be a better answer anyway because that last accusation really sent me for a loop— I haven’t been in a place like this for a very, VERY long time. Perhaps it’s good to be reminded what this feels like so that I can appreciate all the more where I spend my life nowdays and why I choose to be selective of where I spend my time and with whom.

    I’ll post again later.”
    ————
    Sharilee, I hope you’ll reconsider leaving. I do enjoy your posts and thoughts. While we don’t all always agree, I think most people are respectful of each other, most of the time, and I hope that will continue.

    Okay, now back to the management thing. The reason I ask about that is that when I think of running my own business, one of the ideas I like the most is being independent, meaning not having someone watching every move I make. Also, I feel the same about managing other people. I’ve done that before and don’t really care for it, so if I had to be “go teaming” it all the time I think I would go crazy. You did answer my question partially when you said it’s not a requirement but that you do it to help the people downline from you. I’d love to have that idea fleshed out a bit.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 10, 2007, 8:40 pm

    Posted By: SilverRain First, there is selling product. Person B is directly selling product to Person C. Person C is the end user of the product. I have no problem with that; that is how business works.

    I’d like to propose that there IS no “how business works.” You’ve just decided that a particular model–in this case it seems to be what appears to be “the most popular model”– is the one you prefer. That’s fine! But that doesn’t legitimize it, make it the only good or appropriate, or say anything much about how GOOD the model is. Not to mention that there are very few businesses that actually DO just have only a person B and C with a direct sale in between. Can you think of any? I can only think of a few like the farmer who sells some cherries to people from a street stand.

    But secondly, there is selling the business idea to other people. “Come sign up, and I’ll make a small profit from a percentage of what you sell.” This is the part with no end user.

    How is this ANY different from an inventor saying, “I have a product, YOU manufacture it, find a distributor, and have them send it to Walmart to sell to everyone one the planet. Oh, yea, and everyone gets paid a bit.”

    For example, in one of our companies we sell network routers. We have distributors in different parts of the world that simply get a cut to sell our products. They don’t create it. They don’t use it. They just sell it to other people. Actually most of THOSE sales go to system’s integrators (NOT to end users) who then install for the end user. Just another non-end-user in “the chain.”

    I’m pretty darned sure that every one of you contributes to the non-end-user model every week. Repeatedly.

    If you are selling a business idea to sell business ideas to someone else, there is no point in the chain when anything is actually being sold and used, end story. In most MLM schemes, there is some sort of “product” that (I believe) is used as a smokescreen for the “real business” of selling the business.

    What you call a “smokescreen” is simply a real matter of “how business works.” Does the trucker CARE what the PRODUCT is that he’s driving from California to Florida? Or does he only care that he gets paid to take it. There is no “end user” for ANY of the myriad middlemen. They just move stuff around, some add value, but not all. (Try dealing with European VAT some time.) All those middlemen are just selling business.

    The longer the chain gets (as has also been pointed out) the harder it is for anyone at the bottom to make money. In essence, the people at the top are making money off of the people at the bottom.

    I think the mistake in the logic here is that this exists even WITHOUT “the chain.” So “the chain” has nothing to do with this supposed objection. The more doctors there are in a city, the less each doctor, theoretically, gets as a patient. Same with groceries, insurance, gas stations, donuts, math professors, restaurants, pet stores, theaters. It’s simply a supply/demand issue.

    So are you also illegitimizing ANY business that has a limited demand? Is BYU, for example, dishonest by continuing to allow people to major in computer science, EVEN THOUGH there is a glut of computer scientists? Holy cow, what about English majors?! ;D

    the business is providing a service to the employee in exchange for the employee’s work. The business is effectively a) providing benefits such as healthcare, sick pay, vacation, etc., b) providing management that pools several skill sets together and is c) bringing customers to the table of the employee.

    This is simply wrong. No business is required to do ANY of the things you mentioned and, in fact, many of the best do NOT, on all counts.

    A. Only some positions offer benefits and they vary by class. Some offer none at all. Since we OWN several businesses, we provide our own benefits. Is that somehow immoral? (Hint: some of us find it WAY more cost effective.)

    B. What is it about “providing management that pools several skill sets” that could possibly legitimize a business? I’m not even sure what you mean, but you aren’t really suggesting that ALL businesses must do this to be ethical, are you?

    C. All real businesses bring customers to the table of employees? Again, that’s simply grossly untrue. Where does business come from? Most businesses depend on EMPLOYEES to bring it. (It’s called SALES and ADVERTISING.) The CEO isn’t the one sitting around making cold calls. Is there something about having someone who is a FULL-TIME sales person (as opposed to one in MLM that does both sales and other business functions) that suddenly makes sales acceptable?

    The truth is, you are demanding that MLMs provide things that simply aren’t demanded of all other businesses that would reasonably be called legitimate.

    Although MLMs may seem to be legitimate on the surface, they provide very little in the way of actual services or value.

    This would depend ENTIRELY on how the business is structured. So making a blanket statement like this about MLMs in general is erroneous, because it has nothing to do with a profit-sharing model in and of itself.

    Going back to my first paragraph, often the second part (selling the business idea) of an MLM scheme swallows the first part (selling a product or service).

    While I do agree to some extent, this is entirely dependent upon the specific structure used. Still, how much of Walmart is about the business and profit and how much about the products? Pick another company and ask the same question.

    Your later argument seems to be that BECAUSE television would reach more viewers, it therefore must be the most “effective” model and/or the only legitimate model. That is simply wrong on multiple counts. Can you think of any companies that do not use any of the advertising systems you mention (print, television, radio)? (You can start with mine.) Why would that be?

    The people at the bottom have to work harder to make their money. This means that every person you sell the scheme to has to work harder than you do to make the same money.

    This is what I said, except that the effect isn’t nearly that fast. If I sign up someone, MY efforts will not likely have made any effect on saturating THEIR prospects. After some time and area concentration this might occur.

    But, as I said, so what? This is true in ANY industry that does not have a monopoly! That is the NATURE of competition and limited resources.

    It’s the same for our MISSIONARIES, for heaven’s sake. Man, those stinking pioneers who got to go to Europe first and baptize whole cities. And those lame guys who went to South America and baptized 200. They made it SO MUCH HARDER for me! Wah! They lied to me when I got called!

    Tell me a business model for which this isn’t true?

    every time you testify ?

    There has been more than enough inflammatory language already. But could you please refrain from the religious metaphors? I don ?t “testify” about ANY business model. And I’ve written countering its appropriateness. (Did you READ the article?)

    to how much so-and-so up the chain made and how much you made, you are to some extent lying to them because their potential to make the same is, in reality, less. That is dishonest. It perpetuates faulty reasoning down the line.

    Again, this absolutely depends on what is actually presented. It’s not dishonest to tell people how much you make. It’s not dishonest to show someone the commission structure. It’s dishonest to lead someone to believe that they will duplicate ANYONE’s efforts.

    That isn’t an issue of mlms, it’s in any sales organization. For example, have you ever seen a disclaimer on a weight loss ad?

    But the result is not ONLY a factor of how soon they got in. It’s just one of MANY inputs. How many of these inputs–and to what level of detail–must someone go in order to be honest? (That’s not a rhetorical question.)

    Amway (which is a model I do not like) as founded in 1959. I know a family who joined in the early 1980’s and has made a living (entirely) from Amway ever since. Wouldn’t you have thought that after more than 20 YEARS the market would have been saturated? (I did. But I was wrong.)

    At some point, somewhere, someone is the final dupe.

    Theoretically, this is true. In practice it’s not, for three reasons:

    (1) No mlm or any business on the planet (that I’m aware of–please counter if you know of an example) has grown enough to saturate the legitimate, business-minded world.

    (2) This “final dupe” depends, be definition, on someone who was FOOLED about what was going on! Isn’t this resolved merely by honesty?

    (3) If the company offers a money back guarantee to EVERYONE (not just the first 200 callers…), then who is taking the risk if someone feels duped?

  • Alison Moore Smith July 10, 2007, 8:51 pm

    Posted By: agardner…when I think of running my own business, one of the ideas I like the most is being independent, meaning not having someone watching every move I make.

    I think BookWise works like most other sole proprietorships, in that it can be run however YOU want. You can be very hands on or very hands off. Truth is, whatever approach you use will be more effective with some than others. Sharilee has taken the position that she will help if I want or leave me alone if I want. I like and appreciate that because she will let ME feel comfortable with the level of assistance. That level also has to fit in with you and your needs.

    For example, I’m going to do almost everything by email because it’s less intrusive in my family life, my homeschooling, etc. I’ll talk to people on the phone if need be, but it will be my preference to do otherwise when I can. For the same reason, I’m finding a DIFFERENT model to enroll people than talking to everyone I ever see–because I’m just totally uncomfortable with that.

    I’m also working on some other things to use to help out those I sign up, to make the process more understandable and to fit with their lifestyle and needs.

  • Isadora July 10, 2007, 10:39 pm

    “MLM’s left a bad taste in my mouth after a couple of experiences. One was when a good friend came literally from nowhere and gave my parents a really hard-sale pitch to join their MLM. It was very awkward for them. These were previously good friends who they hadn’t seen or heard from in years, and this is their first contact?? And when my parents said no, they never heard from them again.” – agardner

    Most interesting topic! I’m interested in why agardner’s parents “lost track” of their “previously good friends”, why they hadn’t seen or heard from them in years, and why they hadn’t contacted them when they were doing something great? Something they were excited and passionate about?

    I’m assuming they never heard from them again because that would be interpreted as “begging them.”

    My point is, it sounds like the friends “reached out across the miles to them”.

  • Isadora July 10, 2007, 10:46 pm

    I am pro-MLM, network marketing, sharing information, etc. I pay a friend to teach my daughter to play the piano…even though I do most of the work during the week when she practices; I paid my doctor to deliver all of my children…when I definitely did all the work, etc. etc. We start “networking” when we are in kindergarten and just have to have our Mom get us that treat little Johnie told us about at lunch. We network among ourselves as LDS moms when we ask what sharing time lesson are you using? can I get a copy of that talk? where did you buy Nan’s baptism dress…it was so beautiful, etc. Is it the fact that there is money involved that “bugs” some of you?

    Network marketing is the most intelligent form of business out there. Always has been, is even more so now! Sure, there’s bad companies and strategies like anything. We don’t stop going to the supermarket because we have a bad experience. We don’t stop eating out because there are bad restauarants or food chains. If you work in a conventional job, trust me that someone is making money off your efforts.

  • Sharilee10 July 10, 2007, 10:53 pm

    Well, Alison clearly understands business, both traditional and network marketing, and can respond well to the details, so I’m not going to duplicate the response for the most part. I will respond to the specific question that was asked of me:

    Sharilee and Alison (I guess more Sharilee since she has been doing this longer) – do you spend a lot of time working with those downline from you? Are you a “manager” of them, for lack of a better word?

    As Alison stated above, I make myself available to anyone in my organization to help if they request it. I also send out emails to my entire organization to let them know about various things happening. They can choose to read them or delete them. Having made myself available I do find that many in my organization do request my assistance in a variety of ways. I have met with people in person and on the phone, I have gone to people’s homes to meet with their team of Bookwise Associates and trained them, a couple of weeks ago they asked me to go to SLC and participate in the Company-wide Webcast. I am currently updating the National Education Network to make that resource available to my Bookwise team to implement and practice some of the things that they are learning from Rick and Bob. Since my kids are gone right now I am spending a lot of time building– my intention to get a lot done now and then when the kids get home I can go back to doing Bookwise through the course of my day. That’s the beauty of working for yourself– I get that flexibility. the beauty of being self-employed in Bookwise is that the work I do today and tomorrow will help build financial security that will last far into the future.

    The longer the chain gets (as has also been pointed out) the harder it is for anyone at the bottom to make money. In essence, the people at the top are making money off of the people at the bottom.

    Okay . . . I do have to throw out another thought here. Anyone with even the most basic business training has heard the “McDonalds” effect. When they first put two McDonalds in the same city they expected the ‘traffic’ at the first location to decrease. However, what actually happened is that traffic at BOTH locations increased. What they found was that as they built more and more McDonalds it actually increased awareness (and other stuff we won’t go into) and worked out well for everyone.

    Alison makes a good point about supply and demand. With some services it isn’t going to increase the demand just because the supply and awareness increases. Just because there are more dentists in a location doesn’t mean that people will automatically develop more cavities in order to ‘need’ them. However– depending on the product, greater visibility may actually be a benefit. So— who is right and who is wrong?

    BOTH are right– Alison is right that those who are most open to network marketing will join early on and those more opposed will be the pool left for those who join later to draw from. However, as Bookwise becomes an established company, the benefits continue to get better and better, people begin to see real residual income instead of models of what is possible, etc., there may be some who were resistent before that are ready later on and it may become ‘easier’ to find people. I guess it all depends on a lot of factors. Bottomline is– the potential and opportunity is there for anyone who wants the benefits that network marketing offers.

    One has to ask oneself why a company would put so much effort into recruitment rather than putting effort into marketing and advertising their product . . .

    And I ask myself why companies continue to spend thousands of dollars on commercials and billboards that I find offensive and obnoxious, then tack the cost of producing those commercials onto the product and try to sell them to me. Has anyone noticed how commercials have started focusing on the NEGATIVE in order to sell their product!?! (i.e. a mother fighting with her children over discarding rollover minutes to try to convince us to go with their plan? The message I get is that this could become an issue of contention with the kids! — Or a guy telling his friend what a loser he is and why he isn’t good enough for the woman of his dreams– What is the point!?! Anyway, that is a whole new thread that I’ll never start!) Sometimes I just want to shake the marketing team. What are they thinking!?!

    The people at the bottom have to work harder to make their money. This means that every person you sell the scheme to has to work harder than you do to make the same money. Therefore, every time you whip out the magic pyramid numbers to show how much they’ll make and every time you testify to how much so-and-so up the chain made and how much you made, you are to some extent lying to them because their potential to make the same is, in reality, less. That is dishonest. It perpetuates faulty reasoning down the line. At some point, somewhere, someone is the final dupe.

    Maybe, maybe not. Alison addressed this really well. No one is the final dupe in Bookwise. That’s all I have to say. If anyone feels like there would be a ‘dupe’ someone along the line then Bookwise definitely isn’t for them.

    I hope that answered your question.

  • Isadora July 10, 2007, 11:14 pm

    It seems to me that assisting those you commit to would be showing integrity. I’m impressed with Sharilee’s willingness to help those she introduces to her company in the way they choose. Again, if we refer to the model we learn as leaders in various organizations in the church…don’t we start out delegating to our counselors, teachers, etc. and then follow up? Don’t we avail ourselves to anyone who needs our instruction or assistance within the organization at least? Most people do not want to be micro-managed, however, some do not know where to begin without the help from their leadership. It’s been my experience that some take off and do great on their own, while others ask for help, and still a third group say they’ll do something and never follow through. I think we learn quickly who we can “count on” and who we need to assist.

    Having said this, it seems that in business we would share (not sell) the information, offer assistance and leadership and respect another leaders wishes in how we helped them. Styles of building a business, sharing ideas, etc. are as varied as the individuals involved. I don’t see any need to offend or be offended by working together to reach our goals. I wonder sometimes why we beat each other up so much, when we’re all doing the best we can and never giving ourselves near enough credit in my opinion. I would guess that people are a lot less “pushy” than we think or remember. I am going to “throw out” the idea that perhaps that idea comes from within. Perhaps we, at different times in our lives, don’t want to participate in what is being offered and because we can’t admit that to ourselves, spouses, children or friends we state that “so and so is just so pushy and I really don’t want to do that.”

    One last thought…why is it we can “network” among ourselves (not here) but, in our neighborhoods, churches, families, etc. about other people (gossip) and then are scared to death to “open our mouths” about something as positive as BookWise, Stampin’ Up, Mary Kay, Etc. If we got paid a nickel for every negative thing we shared with someone else…about someone else…would we cease doing it? ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Alison Moore Smith July 10, 2007, 11:41 pm

    Isador, welcome to MM! Glad to have you here.

    Posted By: IsadoraIs it the fact that there is money involved that “bugs” some of you?

    The fact that someone IN a business and stands to make money from recruiting someone into it, means that it is an extremely biased position. We need to be HONEST about that and stop pretending that it’s just like sharing a recipe. That’s why, for example, kickbacks are often illegal.

    Posted By: Sharilee10With some services it isn’t going to increase the demand just because the supply and awareness increases.

    You know, you make a really good point here. This is true in many cases as well. I would guess that the outcome would–at least to a great extent–depend upon the impression left BY THOSE IN THE COMPANY. In other words, if the “press” is positive, it will benefit.

  • mlinford July 10, 2007, 11:48 pm

    I’ve only skimmed your comment, Alison, but I think SilverRain’s point is that in the end, with MLM there is often not a focus on selling the end product but on selling the business idea. The difference between that and a “typical” business model is that companies usually don’t deliberately set out to deliberately add in more levels so that they can make more money off the levels in between…the levels are usually just for getting the product to the end user. Usually in MLM, the business model is focused not on getting product to the end user, but on getting more salespeople in the pyramid. Sure, there will be product sold to those people who don’t want to sell, but still the business model usually focuses not on your sales, but on your recruiting. I hear Silver saying that bothers her.

    Also, I think she has a point that the canned sales pitch (“you can get sooo rich off of this, and here’s proof!”) won’t have as much relevance the farther you get from original launch as the market becomes more saturated and it becomes harder to build a downline. (I am not sure you would disagree.)

    As long as someone understands and is fine with these elements of an MLM, it’s probably not a bad business opp to consider. It’s not the model for everyone, though, and I do think Silver brings up some interesting points about how it can be mismanaged and sometimes handled dishonestly. But I don’t think dishonesty has to be part of the program, and Alison, I like how you are taking an open book approach to reviewing this particularly company. So thanks.

    I do think that of all the MLMs I have heard of, this one seems the most reasonable. I think many others require a monthly fee of 100 bucks or thereabouts and don’t have the kind of guarantee this one does. If you end up spending 35 bucks and get some books (and maybe other benefits like training that you find beneficial) then the monthly investment doesn’t seem like such an exhorbitant fee, especially if you are already a book person anyway. Certainly not compared to some companies. I think often the trick to MLM is to get involved in something that you like enough that if you don’t make a cent, you will still be happy. Everything else would be cream. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Alison, I am going to keep an eye on you and see how it goes. I still want to flesh out in my mind how you plan to get the word out without having parties and hitting people up for sales. I do think that a LOT of people are really, really burned out on MLM as customers because they have been invited to so many parties and had many people try to recruit them that they have just had enough (and thus might shut out opportunities like this one that might be different.) I appreciate people who can mention it once and then really accept my answer if I say no. This isn’t always the case, though. Good MLMers know when to accept a no and still have a relationship with that person that has no business strings attached. IMO.

    (lsadora, I would say this is why many people are hesitant to “open their mouth” about something like this – because there IS a stigma with MLM and we’ve all felt pressured to spend money on something we really didn’t need or want that we could have gotten at a store for less money (which is so often the case…not always, but often).) To be honest, I’m an open the mouth kind of person, but I have enough of my circle of people who feel this way that I wouldn’t know where to start with something like this. I think a new approach would be a good idea.

    I think it’s also different to network for the sake of building relationships and communities and network for the sake of selling something (even IF it’s a good product. e.g., I love Stampin’ UP stuff, and got into it for a while, but I reached a point where spending more money didn’t make sense, and my life doesn’t center around stamping, so at some point, having more people open their mouths to me about it really served no purpose for me.) I do think books have a different potential, but still I think it’s really important to be sensitive to people’s burnout with these kinds of things. If someone wants something, that is one thing, but finding such a person can be hard, and getting past these mental and emotional barriers that exist with MLM can be a challenge. (And now I see that Alison said it well, that it’s important to acknowledge that this isn’t like our typical unconscious networking. It’s not like sharing a recipe, or sitting around talking, or building relationships at church, or even talking in the abstract about good things. When someone can benefit monetarily from networking, that changes the dynamics of the relationship and as such, that relationship needs to be handled in a different way than just our usual “networking.”)

    Alison, I’ll be interested to see more about how you plan to work around all of that. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love books and I had someone contact me about this almost a year ago, but I have my own barriers that hold me back. I could still be convinced but I will likely be a hard sell. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sorry for the ramble…..

  • Sharilee10 July 11, 2007, 12:03 am

    I hope you’ll reconsider leaving. I do enjoy your posts and thoughts. While we don’t all always agree, I think most people are respectful of each other, most of the time, and I hope that will continue.

    agardner– Thank you for your kindness. I have really enjoyed getting to know the people on this blog, and I agree that most people are respectful of each other most of the time. I have to tell you, though, that I had a pretty powerful experience tonight and I will need to go with what my heart tells me. I happened to be talking on the phone with my sister when I read the earlier post from Oregonian. We were in a very happy, positive conversation. When I read that post all energy drained from me. My sister literally ‘heard it’ drain away. If someone had been sitting here I believe they probably would have seen all color drain from my face. At some point in the conversation my sister asked me if I was still there or if she needed to let me go. I simply said, “Yeah, I should go. I’ll call you later.” About 10 minutes later she called me back and asked if I was okay. She apologized for interupting me if it wasn’t good timing, but said that she felt something was wrong and wanted to make sure I was okay. She was VERY concerned from what she had ‘heard’ and ‘felt’ through my silence.

    I only share this because it is part of the whole– I recognized that feeling well. There was another experience about 7 years ago when I was out playing basketball with my boys and having a fabulous time. The mailman came while we were there so I went to the mailbox to get the mail. As I thumbed through the pile and saw an envelope from my ex’s attorney I had the same experience of all energy draining from me and in spite of my son’s requests to come back and play with them I couldn’t— I was totally empty. Yes, that was early in the divorce when just getting a letter from them did me in. I’ve come a long way, and frankly— I didn’t really like being reminded, although I believe everything is as it should be and there must be a reason that I needed to be reminded of that.

    Later while I was getting ready for HF&E it hit me– when people would ask me if Matt gave signs of being abusive while we were dating I would say, “No, not really . . . but I wish I had been more conscious of how many times I felt like taking my ring off and handing it back to him when things that seemed so little, but really weren’t, happened. That would have saved me a lot of pain (although I’m not complaining– all is as it should be and there are many good things that came from the marriage, starting with 4 children). The point is that while I was getting ready I realized that from the first week of being on MM I have had moments where comments made have left me feeling like ‘walking away’ for good. I know I’m not marrying you guys— I’m just saying that THAT was my experience tonight.

    THEN I went to the HF&E picnic, still a little down but trying to pull back out. I’ve gotten pretty good at just changing my thoughts and pulling out of a bunk, so I was a little surprised at how hard it was tonight. I had a Bookwise meeting (call) at 7:00. I sooo wanted to be on it at 7:00, but the picnic was still going on and so I kept telling myself that the beauty of Bookwise is that I can call back in later– the flexibility is part of the beauty– so I waited until the picnic was over before I whipped out my phone and got on-line. (Alison– was that Sam talking and did you get the answer to the $30 vs. $35? If not let me know and I will share. I think it was Sam so I’ll assume you got the answer, but I’ll probably check with you tomorrow, too.)

    The minute I heard Rick’s voice I have to tell you that I almost burst into tears, but it wasn’t the same kind of tears I had been fighting all night. It was tears of gratitude and peace and positive energy as I was immediately surrounded by the uplifting, positive ‘vibes’ that the Bookwise leaders and Associates create and emanate. After that call I had the opportunity to be on the President’s Club call with both Rick and Bob, other leaders in my team, and other Bookwise leaders. The whole feeling is ALWAYS positive and uplifting, even as we discuss difficult topics. They (meaning EVERYONE from Rick and Bob down) are uplifting and positive.

    You asked Alison why she was doing Bookwise even though she doesn’t necessarily need the money. You didn’t ask me, but I’ll tell you anyway. THAT is why I LOVE Bookwise. The residual income will be nice, the books are wonderful!, the overwhelming value of the Bookwise Bundle of Benefits is impressive, but it’s the Company attitude, positive outlook and focus on building others and charity that has hooked me from that first meeting and every moment since. Bookwise is attracting the type of people I like to ‘hangout’ with. They know and live the power of intention and philosophy of love and giving. There isn’t a meeting that happens that they don’t focus on giving, not taking– building, not tearing down.

    That is the atmosphere I choose to spend my life and time in. There are many places besides Bookwise and many people besides Bookwise people that fall into that category and I gladly choose to spend my time and energy with them as well, but I choose to remain in a safe environment that is uplifting and building. While I have found the large majority of people on here to be kind and gentle in the way they discuss and even disagree with each other, there have been enough ‘jabs’ that I am very aware that I don’t feel safe here. I have to censure every word I say and weigh every comment to see if there is anything that could be offensive or misinterpreted. That just isn’t a comfortable place to be, and since I have the choice I choose to stay where I don’t have to walk on eggshells.

    Again– I have enjoyed much of our time together and give my best wishes and prayers to each of you. For those of you that decide to join our Bookwise team please know that I am here and available to help you in anyway possible. If any of you would like to meet Rick and Bob my invitation remains open— an invitation to introduce you to Rick and Bob, NOT to sign you up under me. Best of luck in all you do . . .

  • mlinford July 11, 2007, 12:19 am

    Sharilee,

    Sorry you felt this wasn’t the place for you. I think it is good to do what is best for you. I sincerely hope there is nothing that I have said that has felt like a jab, but if there is, I offer my heartfelt apologies. I try so very hard to not offend, but sometimes this medium is limited and it’s hard to communicate our hearts (as you have sometimes found).

    Best to you.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 11, 2007, 1:12 am

    Posted By: mlinfordI’ve only skimmed your comment, Alison

    Well that’s not fair! (Where’s the temper tantrum emoticon???)

    The difference between that and a “typical” business model is that companies usually don’t deliberately set out to deliberately add in more levels so that they can make more money off the levels in between…

    This is true, but I don’t see it as an ethical problem. The model specifically REMOVES the usual product middlemen and replaces them with associates who split the SAME money that is usually split up by others. It’s definitely a different model, but there is nothing unethical about the model itself.

    Also, I think she has a point that the canned sales pitch (“you can get sooo rich off of this, and here’s proof!”) won’t have as much relevance the farther you get from original launch as the market becomes more saturated and it becomes harder to build a downline. (I am not sure you would disagree.)

    NO, but I disagree with the implication that this IS the “canned sales pitch.” Yes, I’ve heard it, as I’ve said, but it isn’t a necessary part of an MLM and it’s certainly not something I’d say. (Sharilee didn’t, either.) I also believe the point of saturation is almost never meaningfully reached if you have any reasonable outlook on what sales is. If you work for, say, Living Scriptures, you don’t expect to make your living selling to people you get off your ward roster. So, it’s the unrealistic expectation that is the problem. If this expectation is CAUSED by the upline, then it’s an ethical issue. But if it’s cause by personal idiocy, well…

    As long as someone understands and is fine with these elements of an MLM, it’s probably not a bad business opp to consider.

    That’s why I think it’s so crucial for MLMers to be honest and clear.

    It’s not the model for everyone, though,

    I agree it isn’t. Particularly you do have to have some level of comfort with sales. And I think it’s dishonest to suggest otherwise. This simply is sales. And, frankly, it’s not something I could have done a few years ago.

    Silver brings up some interesting points about how it can be mismanaged and sometimes handled dishonestly.

    Absolutely it can. I think I have brought that up about 4,000 times so far.

    I was talking to my dh tonight about this and he said something interesting. He said that one of the problems with many MLMs is that they bring in lots of people who are NOT business people and do not have a sense of how businesses work, how to run one, or a sense of business ETHICS. Then, you take these people and plop on a corporate structure which, basically, gives members an INCENTIVE to be unethical. I don’t know how much anyone wants me to go into that–I can if you want.

    One of the things that we were most impressed with in BW is that those very typical setups were intentionally kept out of the program. It was explicitly designed to encourage cooperation and teamwork. Earlier tonight (OK, I guess last night) we were on a conference call with Richard Paul Evans–part of which was an open forum. Sam explicitly discussed this setup with Evans.

    But this, again, isn’t an argument against the MLM model at all. Every industry is wrought with corruption and lack of ethics. I can’t think of any that are untouched by this. It’s simply a sad part of our culture that many people will lie for personal gain. (Which is why the idea of “sharing” doesn’t work when you have a potential monetary benefit.)

    I like how you are taking an open book approach to reviewing this particularly company. So thanks.

    Thanks for that.

    If you end up spending 35 bucks and get some books (and maybe other benefits like training that you find beneficial) then the monthly investment doesn’t seem like such an exhorbitant fee, especially if you are already a book person anyway. Certainly not compared to some companies. I think often the trick to MLM is to get involved in something that you like enough that if you don’t make a cent, you will still be happy. Everything else would be cream. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Absolutely. I listened to one of the Evans/Allen podcasts earlier this week and that was part of the discussion. It wasn’t about making millions–it was about improving security with some additional income. And the model they are trying to develop is one that gives a significant benefit. The thought is that they expect anyone who joins–no matter how much they make–to find the benefit worth MORE than the $35. Who would quit if they perceived a benefit of $100 for every $35 spent? That retention increases the stability of the company. And still, anyone who does NOT feel they get a enough for their money, gets it back, and keeps the books.

    Alison, I am going to keep an eye on you and see how it goes. I still want to flesh out in my mind how you plan to get the word out without having parties and hitting people up for sales.

    Yea, me too. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m working on some stuff, but I’ve been spending so much time here that I haven’t had much left over. Maybe I’ll bow out to some extent for a couple of days so I can get something going.

    I think a new approach would be a good idea.

    Amen!

    I could still be convinced but I will likely be a hard sell.

    Would chocolate be a factor??? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • mlinford July 11, 2007, 1:40 am

    Alison,
    Just to be clear, I wasn’t trying to argue that there is an ethical problem automatically built into MLMs. I was just musing over potential problems that I pulled from Silver’s comments. FWIW.

    I also think your hubby made a really, really good point (about bringing in non-biz people and all of that.)

    And yes, chocolate could always be a factor. :tongue: (Imagine that tongue being the licking my chops kind of tongue, not me sticking my tongue out at you.) ๐Ÿ™‚

  • SilverRain July 11, 2007, 5:18 am

    I think the mistake in the logic here is that this exists even WITHOUT “the chain.” So “the chain” has nothing to do with this supposed objection. The more doctors there are in a city, the less each doctor, theoretically, gets as a patient. Same with groceries, insurance, gas stations, donuts, math professors, restaurants, pet stores, theaters. It’s simply a supply/demand issue.

    The difference is that doctors, etc, aren’t selling the spot to work in a city that will become glutted.

    There has been more than enough inflammatory language already. But could you please refrain from the religious metaphors?

    Sorry if you think I’m trying to use inflammatory religious language. I used “testify” because I don’t think “testimonialize” is a word. They are testimonials. If you don’t see that, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    As for the rest, I think I’m going to bow out of this conversation. MLM schemes are dishonest schemes, in my book. Anyone who wants to join them can laugh at me from their beachfront in Bermuda when they strike it rich.

  • agardner July 11, 2007, 7:14 am

    Most interesting topic! I’m interested in why agardner’s parents “lost track” of their “previously good friends”, why they hadn’t seen or heard from them in years, and why they hadn’t contacted them when they were doing something great? Something they were excited and passionate about?

    I’m assuming they never heard from them again because that would be interpreted as “begging them.”

    My point is, it sounds like the friends “reached out across the miles to them”.

    Lol. Okay.

    My point is, the friends weren’t reaching out across the miles to them because they cared about them or wanted to catch up, but because they wanted to sell something. I’m sure it was something they were excited about, but it still doesn’t make it right.

    My parents lost touch because people lose touch. We were in the same ward as these folks 15 years before, but then had moved. I guess we were still in touch as far as exchanging Christmas cards and such, but had never visited or even made phone calls during that time. Then suddenly, here they are at my parent’s door (several hundred miles away, by the way) and said they were in the area and thought they would stop by. Great! But when 2 minutes into the conversation it turns into a sales pitch…well, to be completely honest, those are friends I’d rather not have.

    It’s a measure of their friendship that when my parents turned down their “amazing offer”, they haven’t heard from them again (this was about 8 years ago). But who knows, maybe when they’ve got another MLM they are excited about, the friendship will magically be renewed again.

    I’ve really enjoyed this discussion about BookWise. It does seem that they are much different than other MLM’s I’ve known and I’m impressed with that. I’ll continue to look into them and give them a fair shot. As for other MLM’s – thanks for your friendship but no thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Alison Moore Smith July 11, 2007, 10:03 am

    Posted By: SilverRainThe difference is that doctors, etc, aren’t selling the spot to work in a city that will become glutted.

    Actually, in many businesses (franchises, insurance and many other kinds of sales) prospects are SPECIFICALLY sold an area they are allowed to sell in and have specific rules about staying within those boundaries. Obviously, any business that has a PERMANENT storefront, has some kind of area limitation for that part of their business (doctors included). I am not aware of ANY MLM that has ANY kind of requirement to sell in a specific location, let alone in one that has become “glutted.” (Do you have an example of one that does?)

    So in MLM, if I live in the Cedar Pass 1st Ward and I’ve decided (contrary to church policy) that I’m only going to recruit using my ward list. Once I sign up ANYONE in my ward who is aggressive, my “spot” will become “glutted.” AND it will become harder to sell there.

    Is this an MLM limitation? Is this an MLM problem? Is it caused by dishonesty? Or is it just stupidity and/or a limitation that occurs in every single industry?

    Seriously, tell me what industry you work in or your husband works in and lets compare the “honesty” of the models.

    MLM schemes are dishonest schemes, in my book.

    I tried to address every example and concern you brought up, but you seem to have simply dismissed them. For example: making money off other people’s work, profit sharing along a line of different people, distribution chains without value ad, compensation for recruiting, simple vs. complex distribution chains, the reality of whether legitimate businesses must offer benefits, “management pools,” and/or customers, the amount of focus on product vs. selling, the reality of saturation, saturation in MLMs vs every other business, etc. etc.

    I have seen companies that misrepresent themselves and, far more often, I’ve seen people signed up in MLMs who are lying fools (the combination being lethal). But I haven’t seen anything in what you’ve presented that shows that the general MLM model, or the BookWise model in particular, is dishonest or unethical in any way.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 11, 2007, 10:16 am

    Posted By: agardnerI’m sure it was something they were excited about, but it still doesn’t make it right.

    Given the story, I’d certainly agree that this was not a loving gesture, but a business gesture. And that’s the kind of things that gives me the willies. Much like, I think, people sometimes say that Mormons only want to be their friends until they find out they aren’t going to join the church…then they drop out of their lives like a hot potato. It’s just not a good model for friendship OR for business–feigning friendship in order to get business.

  • agardner July 11, 2007, 10:21 am

    Exactly, thanks Alison. From everything I have seen from you and Sharilee, you are doing this the right way.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 11, 2007, 12:22 pm

    ๐Ÿ™‚

  • partone July 11, 2007, 12:32 pm

    Seriously, tell me what industry you work in or your husband works in and lets compare the “honesty” of the models.

    OK, I’ll try it out. Here are the jobs in my family that I can think of:

    school teacher in middle school
    merchant marine
    programmer at MicroSoft
    office manager at insurance place
    magazine advertising sales
    construction foreman

  • Alison Moore Smith July 11, 2007, 2:24 pm

    I’m trying to figure out how to approach this. I guess by judging them by some of the criteria set forth required of “legitimate” businesses? I’ll just give this a quick whack job.

    public schools:
    practically speaking these are monopolies, so they don’t fit the usual business model (and the NEA will go to the dying breath to prevent it from becoming so)
    however, one complaint was that paying for something you can get for free automatically makes something a “scam”–by that standard any private or home schools are scams

    military:
    bottom work harder
    recruiting stresses things like honor, paid education, skills training–not that you might get killed
    sometimes get subpar benefits

    software:
    tons of software already out there, particular market may be saturated
    other making money off your work
    customers not brought in by management

    insurance:
    company often given a restricted service area (that may well be glutted by competition)
    many in the company expected to
    almost universally this is a franchise which is simply purchasing a business model/plan, each party taking a cut
    other make money off your work
    those who join later have a harder time selling
    person must be a connector
    connector works “at the expense” of others

    magazine advertising:
    management does not bring them customers
    work in an often seemingly saturated environment
    later to join have to work harder
    concentration on selling ad space not on selling the magazine
    sometimes don’t get benefits
    often use one-on-one prospecting instead of media, print or tv
    person must be a connector
    connector works “at the expense” of others

    construction:
    make money for someone else
    often do not get benefits
    often don’t use tv, radio, or print advertising

  • SilverRain July 11, 2007, 4:58 pm

    Alison – I’ll be honest with you. So far, I haven’t seen any real reasons presented why Bookwise should work as opposed to other MLM schemes beyond “it feels good” and the usual MLM rhetoric, which I have tried to address. I’m not sure why you think I’ve simply dismissed your points. Maybe I missed them. I’m torn between continuing this discussion because I think it is interesting and discontinuing my part in it because I sense I’m ruffling feathers when I’m not trying to do so.

    Evidently (using “The Divine Center” as a lens to examine this situation) based on my understanding of your responses, you and Sharilee have at least some amount of emotional investment in Bookwise. By attacking its structure, I’m somehow coming across as attacking you personally. (I believe this mostly because of the way you have inaccurately restated my points.) I don’t see a way to do the former without doing the latter. Therefore, I hope you don’t think I’m ignoring you by ceasing to discuss this subject. I’m not trying to insult, ignore or discount you, I just see this as a no-win situation for both of us, and no longer see any benefit in continuing.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 11, 2007, 5:43 pm

    Well, Silver, of course it’s going to “ruffle feathers” to be told you are dishonest. If I’m engaged in dishonest activity, it’s not impersonal. It’s about what I’m actually doing. You haven’t attacked the BW structure, as you said, that I remember, since I don’t think you even KNOW the structure. But you’ve made blanket statements about all MLMs based on some other (unknown to me) experience. And even though I have written multiple times that I have known companies and MLMer who were dishonest, the suggestion that perhaps it like ANY OTHER BUSINESS where that fact does not indict every person and every program goes unaddressed.

    However, it’s not the fact that you’d say you think it’s dishonest that I find problematic (I don’t really care if you ruffle my feathers), but that you’d give reasons for it, and I’d address the reasons, and you’d still just come back with inflammatory language and, again, say, “It’s dishonest.” without ever discussing the input that was given.

    For example, one point you made was that part of the “scheme” was that people make money from the work of other people. When I pointed out that everyone who works for a company (which probably includes you?) is doing so, you didn’t respond, but just repeated that it was dishonest. When you said that companies provide benefits, and I pointed out that (1) many don’t and (2) they vary by position and (3) it’s not some kind of ethical requirement, you didn’t respond, you just repeated that it was dishonest. When you said that companies bring customers to the employees and I pointed out that, in fact, often people are specifically hired to recruit and sell, again, you didn’t respond to that, you just repeated your stance.

    FWIW, I can’t remember every saying that BookWise “feels good” either. I think I made a point to say that it was my research of the corporate setup and the fact that they are willing to back up their claims by LOSING money if associates feel “duped” that changed my mind.

    In addition to that, I did mentioned a number of things about the difference between BW and other MLMs I’ve seen. For example (1) they offered a money back guarantee (another point about the duping that you didn’t address) and (2) the compensation structure varied from others in ways that fostered cooperation (rather than competition) and continued supports of the downline. I also pointed out that (3) part of the model was to offer outside sales (like Books a Million does (successfully for years, I might add)). Another thing I mentioned was that (4) the founders have made an attempt to make the non-product compensation very worthwhile to the members. I’d have to look back at my notes, but that’ s at least four difference I specifically addressed, off the top of my head.

    I don’t know how to respond because it just seems that you have made a decision and no facts are going to get in the way of it. What do you do with that in a discussion? :confused:

  • Oregonian July 11, 2007, 5:46 pm

    Sharlee I’m sorry and hope you don’t leave. I should have given you the benefit of the doubt. I’ve seen lots of people in multilevels who do try to steal people, who give people links to their own sites and sign-up stuff. So I assumed that was what you were doing. Can I blame it on past bad multi-level experience and ask forgiveness?

  • SilverRain July 11, 2007, 7:19 pm

    Firstly, it’s the basic tenants of an MLM I find dishonest. That is not to say that you or Sharilee are dishonest, since I believe you are sincere in believing it is a valid concept. To be dishonest, one has to knowingly be dishonest. Secondly, there is no bad personal experience with MLMs in my past, my opinions are based on my understanding of what an MLM is and on observation of MLMs in practice. The “blanket statements about all MLMs” is because of my understanding of an MLM. It would be like saying that it is a blanket statement of all retail stores to say they sell product. Selling product is part of the definition of a retail store. Selling the opportunity to sell is part of the definition of an MLM, and it is something I disagree with.

    . . . make money from the work of other people.

    It’s more accurate to say that in the MLM structure, you make money off of other people buying into the idea. This is different than hiring an employee, as I’ve tried to explain before. In the traditional hiring of an employee, there is an exchange of actual services going on. Note: I realize there is a “product” associated with Bookwise. There is almost always a product associated with MLMs. However, that is not the focus of an MLM, the “recruitment” is the focus. What I find dishonest is the idea that such companies sell people on the idea that they can make money off of sharing their idea with other people. It isn’t about the product, it’s about selling the “slot”. This is the part I find untenable. That is how it is different from a typical employer/employee relationship.

    the suggestion that perhaps it like ANY OTHER BUSINESS . . . goes unaddressed

    This is because I have yet to see any point showing how it is like any other business. I know you have given examples, but those examples have marked differences that I have tried to address. As I have already said, if you disagree that it is any different, we will have to disagree on that point. I see a difference that you don’t see.

    that companies provide benefits

    I pointed out several types of benefits that MLMs don’t sell, and they weren’t only the “health insurance” type benefits. The main benefit I pointed out was that a company who hired an employee brought business to that employee. Even a salesperson for a company is given leads to begin with. MLMs do not provide that service. The only service I have heard of them actually providing, as I said before, is a “feel good environment” and discounts on their books. Those are not sufficient benefits to qualify as a legitimate business deal, in my opinion. Note: You didn’t say it “feels good.” Sharilee did.

    As far as the “money back guarantee” goes, I can’t address that because I don’t have the details of the guarantee. Sometimes these things can be tricky. Assuming it is completely legitimate and above-board, it would make Bookwise different than other MLMs, but that difference is insufficient to surmount my other issues with the business structure.

    As for your last sentence, the answer is probably nowhere. *sigh* I probably shouldn’t have responded, since I said I wouldn’t, but I really don’t want you to think I’m ignoring you or “hating on” you. I can’t think of anything that would convince me to buy into an MLM scheme because I don’t trust them at all. I feel there is always a hidden catch.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 12, 2007, 12:04 pm

    I browsed through the site you linked to briefly. Some points:

    One of the downloads is interesting. It list 30 typical misrepresentations recruiters use. It’s kind of like the 7 Great Lies of Network Marketing that I link to on my site (broken down into smaller categories). I agree with most of it as I’ve heard almost all of them before. What keeps getting lost is that a particular program and/or associate need not MAKE inaccurate/misleading/dishonest representations, just because some DO so.

    Some points, though, I think aren’t accurate. A few of the points are fallacious since they beg the question. Other’s are just wrong. For example, they call this: In any business, one must invest time and money to be successful. ? a lie. The truth is, if you buy a franchise (which in some ways is close to an MLM model) you do spend money (tons). If you start your own business you spend money. There are lots of models in which the employee or hire spends money.

    The paper also takes ideas that are common and even essential in “regular” businesses and then magically discounts them when applied to MLM. Weird and illogical. I can build a company and then go on semi-retirement and still make income. I can invest wisely and get dividends forever. I can write a book and get royalties for 100 years. But it’s IMPOSSIBLE to build an MLM business that, at some point, requires little work for the residual pay? That’s simply nonsense.

    The dishonestly would be to claim this is easy, automatic, or that there is no work involved in GETTING to the point of residual income. But to claim it’s impossible (within pretty much the same parameters that it works in other business models) is equally as dishonest.

    Honestly, I think many of the objections I hear are from people who have an explicit employee view of income (and little to no business experience). There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s very limited and the particular expertise (or lack thereof) in the claimants is meaningful. Seeing a certain model as being right and all others as dishonest–without a real basis in ethics–is interesting. For example, many don’t even seem to notice the employer side of the employee model.

    Here’s a model that most of you would never even question with regard to legitimacy, even though it requires some of the things objected to: Realtors.

    A realtor is usually a listed agent of a company (Prudential, ERA, etc.). Sometimes a person will call the headquarters and request an agent, in which case the company passes on the lead. (This also happens in BookWise–in fact it happened during Tuesday’s conference call.) Most of the time, however, the REALTORS THEMSELVES are expected to get their own clients. How do they do it? They do it by word-of-mouth, passing out cards, getting billboards, using newspaper and magazine, radio and television–and they pay for it out of their own pockets. I have a number of successful realtor friend, but I don’t know ANYONE who’s been a successful agent by signing up and then sitting around waiting for corporate to send them clients. And I don’t know any who EXPECTED that. (Also, notice how the saturation complaint applies to realtors.)

    My main point with this post is to try to get people to notice that there are many, many legitimate business models. That doesn’t mean you have to LIKE any particular one or get INVOLVED with a particular one. But to indict a DIFFERENT model without an ethical basis is also wrong-headed.

    I don’t think it’s illegitimate to work for an employer, but we haven’t done so in any measure for eight years and I MUCH prefer the freedom, flexibility, and the income of being an entrepreneur. That’s a preference. You might prefer having the stability of a regular job where you have a set pay scale, set hours, and someone ELSE takes care of job site, equipment, benefits, income taxes, etc.

    As I said, I haven’t seen anything that shows the model I’m using to be unethical. I’ve only seen that it’s different or not a personal preference. Those are wildly different things.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 12, 2007, 12:17 pm

    Just found a link that might be helpful and seems very neutral: Wikipedia’s entry about multi-level marketing

    Wiki describes mlm as “a business model that combines direct marketing with franchising.” I think that’s a pretty good definition. The article also talks about legitimacy, history, etc.

    There’s also a non-exhaustive list of mlm companies. Wouldn’t Tupperware, for example, be called an mlm? (I buy so much Tupperware that I SHOULD sign up…)

  • ChanJo July 12, 2007, 1:24 pm

    I’ve been digging through this all morning (afternoon?). I will never join an MLM, even if it’s run honestly, because I just can’t sell anything myself. It’s too hard and uncomfortable. But, SilverRain, with all due respect, I think you must never have owned a business. Most of your arguments make no sense at all in the real business world.

  • SilverRain July 12, 2007, 3:27 pm

    Alison – Let me try to simplify. There are other dishonest people in other businesses. I have truck with them, too. Franchises are different because they are not selling the franchise with the purpose of selling it to someone else who will sell it to someone else, etc. If someone bought a franchise with the intent to sell it to several someone elses, but would still make money off of it, that would be illegal because they have only bought one franchise. If they sold it at a drastic increase in price, that would be dishonest because they are misrepresenting themselves to the franchise. If they sold it with the pitch that the person could make tons of money because there was a great market out there, but then sold it to several others in the same market, thereby making it not a good market any longer, that would be dishonest. If they were honest to the person that that is what they were doing, and the person bought into it anyways, that person would be making a foolish business decision, and the seller would be taking advantage of the others’ foolishness, which is dishonest.

    What I don’t understand is how you and Sharilee can admit that the longer you wait to join, the poorer your income will be and not make the connection that this fact means that at some point, someone is not going to be able to make good money doing what you are doing no matter how hard they work. To me, the MLM structure is taking advantage of people. True, plenty of businesses do that, but those businesses are not ethical either, in my opinion.

    I also don’t see how recruitment is the purpose of a franchise. If I buy a McDonald’s franchise, I’m doing it with the purpose of running the franchise, not with the purpose of selling it to multiple other people.

    Only SOME companies GIVE their employees the client.

    There are more ways than one to bring business to an employee. You don’t have to simply give the employee the client, there is also power in names. There is business brought to a McDonald’s franchise because it is McDonalds. The McDonald’s name brings people in, the McD’s corporation creates advertisements, branding and structure for the franchisees. If there was no value in that as far as bringing business to the franchise, they’d simply open their own mom & pop shop, and do it themselves.

    There are more ways to be dishonest than outright lying. Asking people to buy in to an MLM by pitching them profit when you have admitted that those at the end of the chain will make less profit does not follow my personal code of ethics.

    ChanJo – Of course I have never owned a business (unless you count freelancing.) I make that plain. If my arguments don’t make sense in the “real business world” perhaps that is why I have never owned and probably will never own a business. ๐Ÿ™‚ However, there are others who agree with me about MLMs who have owned businesses, and very successful ones.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 12, 2007, 7:12 pm

    Posted By: SilverRainAlison – Let me try to simplify.

    Gosh, thanks. Maybe I’ll get it then.

    Franchises are different because they are not selling the franchise with the purpose of selling it to someone else who will sell it to someone else, etc.

    I know they are DIFFERENT. But difference does not make something dishonest. The objection is nonsensical. So selling an opportunity to sell is OK now. It’s just selling another opportunity after you’ve been sold it that’s is dishonest? And the DISHONEST part is???

    Silver, honestly this feels like a moving target to me.

    Once I was discussing Christianity with a minister in West Palm Beach (about 15 years ago). He said that Mormons aren’t Christians. I asked him to tell me what a Christian was. He defined it and then said, “Wait, that would mean that Jehovahs’ Witnesses would be Christians, so that can’t be right.” He spent the next 30 minutes trying to define Christianity in a way that excluded all the churches he had already decided were cults. I left after the 14th iteration.

    That’s what I feel like here. “Legitimate” businesses can’t sell the opportunity to sell. Oh, wait, McDonald’s does that. So they can’t sell it TWICE. ” “Legitimate” businesses have give benefits to their employees. Oh, wait, they just have to bring customers. Oh, wait, they just have to ?

    If someone bought a franchise with the intent to sell it to several someone elses, but would still make money off of it, that would be illegal because they have only bought one franchise.

    Not if the franchise holder allows it. There are actually multiple such business models that allow sub-franchises, sub-affiliates, sub-contracts, and the like.

    What is it about licensing a system to someone after being licensed to use the system (with permission from the legal owner) that is DISHONEST?

    I can rent an apartment and then sublet it (multiple times) if the landlord allows it. Is that dishonest? (And before you say it, yes, I know that there is a difference between a franchise and a rental. I’m just trying to point out model similarities that you probably ACCEPT and try to figure out what part is DISHONEST.)

    If they sold it at a drastic increase in price, that would be dishonest because they are misrepresenting themselves to the franchise.

    I don’t even know what this means. Selling something at a “drastic increase in price” isn’t dishonest and does not require anyone to misrepresent anything. Have you checked retail markup on any particular industries lately? Groceries? Clothes? Houses? Cars? What would you call drastic? (And what does this have to do with BW anyway?)

    If they sold it with the pitch that the person could make tons of money because there was a great market out there, but then sold it to several others in the same market, thereby making itnota good market any longer, that would be dishonest.

    Again, you’re linking things that are NOT necessarily linked. They might be, but you’re making statement that ASSUME a linkage that doesn’t necessarily exist.

    First of all, I’ve already addressed the issue of honesty ad naseum. Showing potential and claiming certainty (or near certainty) are not the same thing. (I guess the church should get rid of all the lesson about celestial glory since we just all ain’t gonna make it.) Showing matrices and numbers and claiming “anyone can do it” is dishonest. Showing matrices and numbers of what is possible isn’t.

    Selling people an opportunity to sell–when the KNOW that others will also be selling–isn’t dishonest. Telling them it’s an exclusive offer, when it’s not, would be.

    You’re also adding in saturation again–which I keep addressing. When does the market sour? Is it with three people in the same state? Is it four people in the same city? Do different kinds of businesses perhaps have different points at which the opportunity becomes less desirable? Can it be less desirable for ONE person while still being a great opportunity for someone else (with, perhaps a different skill set? Different connections? Different location?)

    If they were honest to the person that that is what they were doing, and the person bought into it anyways, that person would be making a foolish business decision, and the seller would be taking advantage of the others’ foolishness, which is dishonest.

    Who should decide whether or not the opportunity is good for them? (Assuming, of course, that they are presented with facts.)

    What I don’t understand is how you and Sharilee can admit that the longer you wait to join, the poorer your income will be

    Because you misrepresent what I said. I never said that the longer you wait, the poorer your income will be. I said that the longer you wait, the more difficult recruitment becomes in the sense that some of the market has already joined and/or decided not to. That isn’t the synonymous with lower income nor with dishonesty. And it’s true in ANY industry and includes many variables (some that actually reverse the trend, as Sharilee already pointed out).

    If I hire you to pick cherries by the pound and I tell you that I’ve already hired two other people, IS IT DISHONEST? When I was a kid, I was hired to pick cherries for a local farmer, Mr. Jensen. I would get up early and start with the low-hanging cherries and then start climbing. Later in the day, these migrant Mexican families would come by looking for work. They’d be given the same price we had. And guess what, they outpicked every one of us.

    Now, setting aside the illegal immigration side (this was over 30 years ago), was it DISHONEST to hire these families?

    ?and not make the connection that this fact means that atsomepoint,someone is not going to be able to make good money doing what you are doing no matter how hard they work.

    Because I have never presented the idea to anyone that they would make money “doing what I do.” How dumb would that be?

    “Hi. I called these three people and they signed up. You call them, too, and I bet they’ll sign up under you as well.”

    The extreme is to point out the fallacy. Do you think I need to explain to anyone that the above isn’t a good business plan? If not, why not? If so ?well, then I just hang out with smarter people. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    The fact that more recruiting means that those people sitting on the edge of the road, just dying to join an MLM, will join up early simply has nothing to do with whether or not the business is saturated, is unworkable, is untenable, or is dishonest.

    To me, the MLM structure is taking advantage of people.

    You are entitled to your opinion, but you haven’t shown how people are taken advantage of. Particularly in a model that has a money back guarantee. I guess you’re talking about all the thousands of people who are such flaming dolts that they can participate for a year and not be able to FIGURE OUT that they are being soaked? Ah, yes. Those people. Where are they? I need to invite them to an “opportunity meeting.”

    I also don’t see how recruitment is the purpose of a franchise

    Recruitment is not the purpose of the franchisee (with the exception of those who can sub-franchise), it’s the purpose of the franchisER. Is it your belief that any company that sells franchises is illegitimate?

    You don’t have to simply give the employee the client, there is also power in names.

    Yes, when you buy a franchise with a recognizable name, you are buying in part (and sometimes in whole) the name recognition. But there are tens of thousands of franchises that don’t have name recognition and so the cost reflects that.

    Still, the disagreement about sales and leads wasn’t about franchises, it was about generating selling and leads. You said that legitimate companies bring customers ?oh, wait, they at least bring leads ?to their employees. Yes there are lots of ways to do that, but you haven’t acknowledge that THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of companies do NOT do thits–and they also often don’t have any name recognition at ALL.

    If there was no value in that as far as bringing business to the franchise, they’d simply open their own mom & pop shop, and do it themselves.

    That’s untrue. Often the franchise rights have nothing at all to do with name recognition. Sometimes it ?s the right to a product, sometimes it’s a patent license, or a right to a developed process. It can also be training, help with setup, signage, with wholesale contacts.

    Asking people to buy in to an MLM by pitching them profit when you have admitted that those at the end of the chain will make less profit does not follow my personal code of ethics.

    Again, I didn’t on multiple counts.

    Still, what is your code of ethics that probably won’t allow you to own a business? I assume that also applies to your employer, right? Seriously, tell us what industry you work in and list your position and a few other positions in the company. (You don’t even have to say which one is yours.)

    However, there are others who agree with me about MLMs whohaveowned businesses, and very successful ones.

    Sure there are and I was one until a few weeks ago. That doesn’t make your particular arguments sound.

    I just feel like nothing gets taken off the table, it just gets recycled.

  • SilverRain July 12, 2007, 7:32 pm

    Look, Alison, I apologize. By “simplify” I meant “clarify,” not to indicate you were stupid. It was a recognition that I’m not being as clear as I should. To sum up: employees don’t pay to work for a company, even realtors. Franchises only work because the buyer actually runs the franchise to customers outside of the franchise base. It would be pointless to list my industry and jobs therein because I think most modern business is sadly low in ethics for a multitude of other reasons, my (soon to be past) company not excepted. At any rate, I think it’s time for me to stop. I’m already thoroughly regretting getting into this. I hope you don’t think I’m chickening out by backing out of the discussion now, but I just don’t want to argue about it anymore. I’ve long overstepped my endurance on this one. I think we have to agree to disagree, and let it go at that.

  • hsmom4 July 12, 2007, 9:27 pm

    This is a lot to wade through. I’ve known a few people in multilevels. One couple really bugged us, one just brought it up and dropped it. The other didn’t even ask us to join. (Do you think we weren’t good enough? tee hee) So, I don’t really have an opinion one way or the other. Just another business. As long as they’re honest, I don’t care.

    SilverRain, I’m sorry, but I don’t really understand your contentions either. I don’t think multilevels are for everyone, but you do seem to keep moving your position around.

    employees don’t pay to work for a company, even realtors.

    But people who buy franchises do pay, sometimes over a million dollars, just for the right to sell under a name. I don’t see anything wrong with paying for a package of things that I want-if I want them-even if one of the things is the right to sell. I just don’t see something dishonest in that.

    I’m not a realtor, but don’t they pay to join a company? Or at least they give up part of their commission? The company’s make money in some way and the only way I can think of is that they make it off the realtors.

    Franchises only work because the buyer actually runs the franchise to customers outside of the franchise base.

    I’m thinking about this and I don’t think that has to be true. But didn’t Allison say that her multi-level does sell to customers outside the company? Preferred associate or something like that I think.

  • hsmom4 July 12, 2007, 9:27 pm

    Well, I guess I don’t get how to make the quote thing work. Can someone fix it?

  • mollymormon July 13, 2007, 12:01 am

    Tupperware is certainly an MLM.

    Apparently the author of the site I posted earlier doesn’t hate Pampered Chef as much, because each distributor can make a good percentage of profits off of sales, and there is a max of 4 levels in your downline. He calls those kind of companies retail MLMs. Mary Kay & Avon aren’t so bad either, but have gotten worse since they’ve made distributors carry stock and thus assume more risk than in the past. Not sure why some MLMs are actually ok, but I think the biggest beef is earning a percentage from downline.

    Are all the books you can order from bookwise hardcover? The catalog looks pretty limited, imo.

  • heather July 13, 2007, 12:23 am

    :I keep writing in this thread about six times but then I erase it. I am fickle. They use to call me “fickle heather” in college. I wouldn’t do any justice for anyone on this issue! Just thought I’d send eveyone a great big :bigsmile:

  • mollymormon July 13, 2007, 11:18 pm

    Here are a few more questions for ya:
    What exactly DOES bookwise sell? If it’s books, why would anyone want to order through you? If you don’t have a product and you benefit from recruiting others, then that is a pyramid scheme, which is illegal.

    As far as a product, it sounds to me that the “product” is either books, or a membership to people to get a discounts on books. I’m not quite sure. Yet according to Alison on her blogger site, the “Preferred Customer” program wasn’t worth it when compared to Amazon. And it sounds like that you won’t really make much money selling books, since the profit margin is so small (again if you’re competing with Amazon.) So it seems that if you really want to benefit from the company, you have “join” (be recruited.) That’s what is concerning to me, there is no real product, it’s only through signing up. Perhaps I am misunderstanding, but it really does seem like a thinly veiled pyramid scheme to me – which is illegal.

    The fourth “lesson,” win in the margins, brought lots of response and questions. So, eventually, he decided to create a business that would allow people to do that. Creating a book club (like BMG) wouldn’t meet that goal as it would only be a way for HIM to win in the margins.

    Yes, offering someone a referral type program is one way to do that, which is what affiliate marketing is all about, but in affiliate marketing the affiliate marketer makes almost nothing and, still, the company makes almost everything. It also removes a great deal of brand name control and is, IMO, more ripe for misuse and fraud.

    If someone WANTS to go into the affiliate book business (and doesn’t want to “mess with the downline), then every major online book company already offers that. So that’s an option to people already.

    To me, I still think that Bookwise would be better if it were set up like a BMG music club. I would seriously consider joining if it were like that. It does offer many other things in addition to being able to buy books at a discount. You could still win in the margins. I also don’t agree that you could get the same Bookwise benefits if you were simply in the affiliate book business – you don’t get the training, seminars, etc unless you sign up.

    There are some big negatives to it being an MLM, such as feeling pressure to recruit (even though they may not say you have to, and you can just join to get the benefits, the pressure is still there – you’d still be feeling like you needed to.) You have to pay a fee every single month, and you can only order from a limited catalog. It also seems very pyramid-y to me, since the product isn’t very attractive unless you join. And people will not make much money at all from selling product either.

    If Bookwise were really a business set up to help out people run small book businesses, then the company and the people could both win in the margins. There wouldn’t be a need to be an MLM. But it isn’t that kind of business, people can only really make money by recruiting. So it seems to me that Bookwise will still greatly profit, but would likely profit more with the MLM structure as people are more motivated to get others to sign up. I don’t know that it’s all altruistic on RPE’s part to want to help others win in the margins. He could do that without MLM.

    BTW, Alison, on your blog you posted your disgust about the quiz on another bookwise associate’s website. FYI, it’s very similar to the one in the feature presentation by Richard Paul Evans on the winning in the margins website.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on what I’ve been thinking about here. I’m not knocking anyone for joining bookwise, but those are my concerns. Although I must say that the money back guarantee is a nice feature you don’t usually see!

  • Alison Moore Smith July 6, 2007, 3:52 pm

    Posted By: Sharilee10I found the model very simple, but like we’ve all seen– I’m not a detail person, so maybe I just see a big picture and don’t worry as much about the details.

    Thing is, without accurate details, the big picture is nonexistent. I am really getting the feel for the idea that lots of people don’t care about the details and just want to skip over that stuff–which is an idea that is really foreign to me–but that can only work if they depend on others to actually deal with the details.

    A couple of years ago, my sister-in-law tried to get us to join another multi-level called PhotoMax (a spin-off of NuSkin). As usual we looked into it and then did not proceed. What was the biggest sticking point with PhotoMax? The compensation plan was so poorly documented that there was nothing the distributors could point to to determine what they had earned. Sam spent some time on the phone with corporate, trying to get some answers, and the response was akin to, “Don’t worry, we know how it works. Trust us. It’s magic. You’ll be rich. Don’t trouble your little head with these things.” Augh!

    No thanks.

    As I blogged on my other site, this plan, IMO, has much more thought and care than most and has resolved so many issues. Honestly, it’s so much better than other MLMs I’ve seen as to be laughable. Still, there is a huge, obvious flaw that they need to fix.

    You mention the genius of the 100% matching. Well, that’s all dandy, except that the matching is based on the unilevel commission which is based on…tada…a magic number! The whole system revolved around percentages based on an UNEXPLAINED BASE NUMBER. That leaves a huge vulnerability for the associates.

  • SilverRain July 9, 2007, 7:25 am

    All of you are blasphemers! There is nothing like the One True Truth of Merriam-Webster. I’m shocked and appalled! No wonder you are getting these lascivious derivations!

    And no offense, Alison, but multi-level marketing is of the second darkest corner of Hades, no matter the “product”.

  • SilverRain July 10, 2007, 5:37 pm

    Okay, let me try to explain. First, there are two business parts to a MLM scheme. First, there is selling product. Person B is directly selling product to Person C. Person C is the end user of the product. I have no problem with that; that is how business works. But secondly, there is selling the business idea to other people. “Come sign up, and I’ll make a small profit from a percentage of what you sell.” This is the part with no end user. If you are selling a business idea to sell business ideas to someone else, there is no point in the chain when anything is actually being sold and used, end story. In most MLM schemes, there is some sort of “product” that (I believe) is used as a smokescreen for the “real business” of selling the business. As has already been pointed out, if the purpose of the business is to sign other people up to sell the business, the “product” smokescreen will end up with unnaturally inflated prices (either as a fee to sign up or as a fee to buy the selling kit) to cover the money made by every person up the chain. The longer the chain gets (as has also been pointed out) the harder it is for anyone at the bottom to make money. In essence, the people at the top are making money off of the people at the bottom.

    Before someone says “well, I already addressed that, because businesses do the same thing” there is one important difference: the business is providing a service to the employee in exchange for the employee’s work. The business is effectively a) providing benefits such as healthcare, sick pay, vacation, etc., b) providing management that pools several skill sets together and is c) bringing customers to the table of the employee. Even if an MLM provides a) (which I have never seen happen) and b) (which in my experience is a scanty and thin sort of management) they do not, by their very nature, provide c), which I believe is the most important part of the arrangement. Although MLMs may seem to be legitimate on the surface, they provide very little in the way of actual services or value. Most value, as has been already explained, can be summed up in the “discounts” provided on the “product” already purchased through the buy-in fees. (And yes, I’m using the quotes judiciously.)

    Going back to my first paragraph, often the second part (selling the business idea) of an MLM scheme swallows the first part (selling a product or service). One has to ask oneself why a company would put so much effort into recruitment rather than putting effort into marketing and advertising their product. One might argue that this is because they feel they can more effectively market through word-of-mouth recruitment, but that argument breaks down when you understand the basic marketing structure. If a business markets through printed media, television or radio, they reach far more people than your average person’s acquaintanceship. The only way for a MLM scheme to work for an individual, is if that individual is a Connector (see The Tipping Point for what that means). In short, the person has to have an above-average acquaintanceship. For Connectors (and Salesmen), the MLM scheme works, but at the expense of everyone less well-connected or charismatic.

    The easiest recruits do sign up earlier, meaning that the LATER you join, the harder it is to find people who have not joined and have not decided against joining. So those who sign up later have to ?ahem ?work HARDER.

    Exactly. Look at it from this perspective: The people at the bottom have to work harder to make their money. This means that every person you sell the scheme to has to work harder than you do to make the same money. Therefore, every time you whip out the magic pyramid numbers to show how much they’ll make and every time you testify to how much so-and-so up the chain made and how much you made, you are to some extent lying to them because their potential to make the same is, in reality, less. That is dishonest. It perpetuates faulty reasoning down the line. At some point, somewhere, someone is the final dupe.

    MLM schemes are not about the product, they are about selling the business idea. No matter what glitter they paint themselves in, there is no way for the concept to work out in the long run, except for the fact that there’s a fool born every minute. (Or someone turns eighteen every minute.) In other words, if you want to buy books, buy books, don’t assume that you can make money in a dead-end business selling books. If you want a litmus test, ask yourself what value in product you are truly receiving that you can’t receive elsewhere, without paying the business your own money. (Paying any business, even Barnes & Noble, a fee for a service you can receive elsewhere without paying is a scam.) Also ask yourself what value the company is getting from you. In the case of B&N, they are receiving customer loyalty. In the case of a MLM scheme, they are gaining a nearly 100% profit margin on selling their buy-in kits/monthly fees as opposed to a 20-40% margin on selling the books themselves.

    Sharilee – I’m sorry if my opinion on MLMs hurts/offends you. I’m against the schemes, not in any way against you.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 10, 2007, 6:03 pm

    First, I have to say that I would not doubt Sharilee’s motives. In fact, there is even a POLICY in BookWise that discusses “stealing” prospects, so if, for example, I was to meet someone who was being introduced to BookWise by someone else, THAT person (not me) would be the enroller AND the sponsor, EVEN IF I later talked to them, etc.

    Anyway, I thought Oregonian’s question was good, even tough it made be squirm. ๐Ÿ™‚ I responded in a blog on the other site called “Why Bother with BookWise?”

    Also, there’s a teleconference in less than an hour, at 7:00 pm MDT that is open to all member AND anyone else. It will be hosted by Richard Paul Evans and Robert Allen. If you’re interested, just call 1-641-715-3838. When the voice asks for a passcode, type in 2280. This will be my first live one if I can get Belinda off to mutual in time. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Silver, I’ll get back to you. The posting is too fast!

  • mollymormon July 11, 2007, 10:37 pm

    Once again, you guys all went crazy on this thread and I probably haven’t read as carefully as I should’ve. So if this has been answered, I apologize!

    I want to ask why you think Bookwise is structured as an MLM. Why couldn’t they simply offer people the opportunity to sign up, without all the downline stuff? Sort of like the BMG Music club. That way they can give great opening incentives, and then you’re locked into a monthly commitment. They can offer incentives for referrals even, but you don’t have to mess with the downline.

    Another question is why do so many LDS people get involved in MLM’s? Apparently LDS members get involved at a much higher rate than the national average, and many think that’s a problem. This is an interesting site: MLM: The Truth.

    And what about what pres. hinckley said in April 2003 conference: “We warn our people against get rich ? schemes and other entanglements which are nearly always designed to trap the gullible” Is he referring to MLMs and/or something else?

  • Alison Moore Smith July 12, 2007, 11:21 am

    Silver, your answer is more involved, so I’ll address it later. I’m not ignoring you, either. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Posted By: mollymormonI want to ask why you think Bookwise is structured as an MLM.

    This questions is answered in one of the presentations (maybe both?).

    Winning in the Margins
    My BookWise

    Short version: it’s organized as an MLM because Evans wrote a book a few years ago called The Five Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me About Life and Wealth. (I read it right after it was published.)

    The five lessons are

    • Decide to be wealthy
    • Take responsibility for your money
    • Keep a portion of everything you earn
    • Win in the Margins
    • Give back

    The fourth “lesson,” win in the margins, brought lots of response and questions. So, eventually, he decided to create a business that would allow people to do that. Creating a book club (like BMG) wouldn’t meet that goal as it would only be a way for HIM to win in the margins.

    Yes, offering someone a referral type program is one way to do that, which is what affiliate marketing is all about, but in affiliate marketing the affiliate marketer makes almost nothing and, still, the company makes almost everything. It also removes a great deal of brand name control and is, IMO, more ripe for misuse and fraud.

    If someone WANTS to go into the affiliate book business (and doesn’t want to “mess with the downline), then every major online book company already offers that. So that’s an option to people already.

    Another question is why do so many LDS people get involved in MLM’s?

    I’ll tell you what I think, although please note that I have not ever been to an MLM “opportunity meeting” for any MLMs started by LDS people. I don’t KNOW what NuSkin or Tahitian Noni or Xango (preseumably started by Mormons?) members tell people. But personally I think it’s because the people promise all sorts of stuff (particularly huge income) and Mormons are idiotically gullible. I intentionally don’t call it “trusting” because I don’t think that is an accurate wordโ€”even though lots of people who are taken to the cleaners use that as an excuse. Problems on both sides here.

    “We warn our people against get rich schemes and other entanglements which are nearly always designed to trap the gullible.” Is he referring to MLMs and/or something else?

    I think he’s talking about ANY opportunity that would take advantage of stupidity. I have a relative who actually did quite well in an MLM (made a modest living and was able to quit his “regular” job), but got seriously taken to the cleaners by Mormons he “trusted” in things like gemstones, arbitrage, etc.

    In my experience, these situations were always, at the root, about greed. Get something for nothing. Anyone who tells you that you can make a lot in an MLM without work is lying unless they have already decided to do the work for you. (For example, I have known people who signed up relatives and then did the recruiting work for them, which isn’t dishonest, but it doesn’t teach much of a work ethic. ๐Ÿ™‚ Kind of like setting up a trust fund.)

  • Alison Moore Smith July 12, 2007, 1:07 pm

    Silver, let me start my response by saying I don’t think you are “hating on” me. Haven’t heard that term before. Funny. Also let me say I have no time to edit. I’ve been sitting here way too long. Sorry if I’m incoherent.

    Posted By: SilverRain To be dishonest, one has to knowingly be dishonest.

    So we’re scamming people because we’re stupid. Ah, I feel better! ๐Ÿ˜‰ :shocked:

    The “blanket statements about all MLMs” is because of my understanding of an MLM.

    But do you really have an understanding of ALL MLMs or, in particular, BookWise?

    It would be like saying that it is a blanket statement of all retail stores to say they sell product. Selling product is part of the definition of a retail store.

    As I said, Wikipedia defines MLMs as combined franchises/direct marketing. Do you find either of those models “dishonest” at the core? If so, how? If not, then perhaps the MLM model is not INHERENTLY dishonest, but only particular applications of the model are–just as, for example, some retail outlets operate a dishonest model of selling productsโ€”and some don’t.

    Selling the opportunity to sell is part of the definition of an MLM, and it is something I disagree with.

    Disagreeing with something isn’t the same as calling it “dishonest.” Selling a franchise IS selling the OPPORTUNITY TO SELL. Some franchises come with lots of perks and some come with almost none (some just give you an exclusive area to market an idea).

    I understand you might not, personally, want to buy the opportunity to sell. But what is it about selling an opportunity to sell that is DISHONEST? Assuming of course you’re not telling people they are buying a house or a car when it’s really an opportunity to sell.

    So if I’m selling an opportunity to sell, combined with a particular product that will be soldโ€”AND I TELL PEOPLE THAT’S WHAT I’M SELLINGโ€”then what is dishonest about it?

    It’s more accurate to say that in the MLM structure, you make money off of other people buying into the idea.

    So. If I buy a McDonald’s franchise, I’m buying into the company concept and the company will MAKE MONEY on that. I understand you might not personally want to buy a McDonald’s but how does that make the process DISHONEST?

    If you sell ANYTHING, you make money on people “buying into the idea.” What’s dishonest about that unless you’re LYING about the idea?

    Again, of course it’s not identical to an employer hiring an employee, but you don’t seem to object to the same things in the other models they appear in.

    However, that is not the focus of an MLM, the “recruitment” is the focus.

    Just as it is with franchising.

    I said:the suggestion that perhaps it like ANY OTHER BUSINESS . . . goes unaddressed

    Posted By: SilverRain This is because I have yet to see any point showing how it is like any other business.

    This quote–in context–was referring specifically to the fact that there are dishonest people in EVERY industry. The fact that there are dishonest people in MLMs does not prove the dishonesty of the MLM MODEL any more than the fact that there are dishonest retailers proves the dishonestly of the retail MODEL.

    In addition, I have spent quite some time pointing out all different points at which MLMs mirror parts of other business models. Of course there are differences, because the models are different. That doesn’t illegitimize the MLM model itself. But the similarities are the relevant point BECAUSE they show that certain behaviors/practices are being condemned in MLM, when they are not condemned in other models.

    The main benefit I pointed out was that a company who hired an employee brought business to that employee. Even a salesperson for a company is given leads to begin with.

    Silver, this simply is not true! Only SOME companies GIVE their employees the client. Usually, it’s only certain POSITIONS that are given a client. And they absolutely do NOT always “give them leads to begin with.” TONS of salespeople are on their own to get them. More to the point, where in the world do the leads come from??? Do they fall from the sky? As I asked before, do you think it’s the CEO who is walking door-to-door finding leads? (And why is it OK for HIM to get them?) SOMEONE has to get the leads! And usually it’s some guy hired to figure out how to get them. What in the world is dishonest about having to create your own leads or get your own clientsโ€”unless you LIE about the fact that you need to do so?

    It’s almost as if you think everyone who GETS the client handed to them is a “legitimate” business person, but the salespeople are “illegitimate”โ€”particularly the poor, dishonest, schmuck who generates the leads. Or maybe it’s the company that hires someone to get leads and/or sales who is dishonest? I’m sincerely baffled!

    The only service I have heard of them actually providing, as I said before, is a “feel good environment” and discounts on their books.

    I would be happy to spell that out more clearly. For starters, what do you think franchises offer to franchisees?

    As far as the “money back guarantee” goes, I can’t address that because I don’t have the details of the guarantee.

    It’s here. It was also WRITTEN in the original article. (Umโ€ฆdid you read that?)

    Sometimes these things can be tricky. Assuming it is completely legitimate and above-board, it would make Bookwise different than other MLMs ?

    Exactly.

    but that difference is insufficient to surmount my other issues with the business structure.

    I still don’t know what the other issues with the structure are.

    I can’t think of anything that would convince me to buy into an MLM

    I’m not trying to convince you to “buy in.” If that were my intention, I’d focus my time on people who were interested, not on people who hate MLMs and have labeled them dishonest. (Business 101) What I’m trying to do is get you (or anyone else with similar feelings–like I had) to look specifically at the objections you hold to see if they are reasonable and accurate (and in line with what you think about other businesses). (That’s why, for example I asked what industry you work in. Discussing how your industry and position fits into various business models can be eye-opening and really clarify thinking.)

    I’d also like people to see the different business possibilities that exist outside of the limited employee model. That isn’t just about MLMs at all (ALL our income comes from NON-EMPLOYEE situations (although we HAVE employees in some) that are NOT MLMs) but about all sorts of income opportunities that most people don’t even consider. For some of us, those opportunities have changed our lives.:shocked:

  • Oregonian July 12, 2007, 3:28 pm

    I think Silver has me lost too. And I don’t like multilevels either.

    Allison was that article just for me? I feel special!

  • Alison Moore Smith July 12, 2007, 7:24 pm

    Oh, sheesh. As if I haven’t posted enough.

    I created a page describing what is included in the BookWise associate membership. BookWise is not being marketed as some way to make a billion dollars. It’s specifically marketed as an incentivized group for people who love books. So it has a bunch of booklover type things combined with a way to “win in the margins” and make another revenue stream for your family. The list has grown even since I started looking into it and the other day Rick talked a bit about further things coming.

    Anyway, the whole point is that they want to make the package of benefits worthwhile–and worth more than the monthly fee–so that membership is NOT just about the downline, but also something that many people will find worthwhile whether they make money (or lots of money) or not. Here’s the link:

    The BookWise Bundle of Benefits

  • Alison Moore Smith July 14, 2007, 10:27 pm

    I took the liberty of posting this to the other site, so I can answer, specifically, the questions brought up in that article. The answer is here. Please pop over to read.

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