Jeunesse Global announced today that it has strategically acquired MonaVie. From the press release:
ORLANDO, Fla., March 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Jeunesse Global (Jeunesse), a leading direct selling company devoted to inspiring healthy living and youth enhancement, announced today the acquisition of MonaVie, a provider of premium nutritional products sold through a global network of independent distributors, as well as its brand mynt™, creating a leading multigenerational healthy living company with a growing emphasis on the youth movement. As a combined company, the Jeunesse brand will operate on an international platform with a network of more than 4 million distributors in over 100 countries, supporting consumers from Generation Y to Baby Boomers with numerous products to help them live healthier lifestyles.
It wasn’t long ago when Mauricio Bellora, MonaVie President and CEO, was telling distributors that all was well in the land of the purple juice company on YouTube. And, it’s been several years that a group of MonaVie Black Diamonds left the company to hawk Jeunesse’s age-defying lotions and potions. Will they now go back to promoting and praising the wonders of the acai berry?
And what about the cadre of existing MonaVie Diamonds? Will they now be recognized as high-level Jeunesse pins? Will any of them get any sweetheart backdoor deals as described by BehindMLM? How are they going to communicate this deal to their distributor force?
Update March 16, 2015: More details about the transition and deal between MonaVie/Mynt and Jeunesse Global here. Among other things, the companies say the lines of sponsorship will remain separate and cross-recruiting between the two companies will not be tolerated. We’ll see if that holds up over time.
Oz at BehindMLM has a fantastic article about MLM Business Development Arrangements (BDA), backroom deals that happen between MLM companies and high-level distributors from other companies. BDAs are a means by which these distributors are enticed to leave their current company to go over to the new MLM opportunity.
We’ve hinted at these backroom deals in the past before. The Salt Lake Tribune previously described the $3 million dollar loan that MonaVie made with Orrin Woodward. Seeing Robert Dean move from company to company has led many to wonder what kind of money is being exchanged behind all this MLM hopping. Oz details how Jeunesse Global enticed Matt Nestler, “25 year veteran in the multi-level marketing industry,” to join its company with a 6-month $15,000/month incentive to bring volume to the company.
Jeunesse saw the acquisition of Nestler and Kevin Giguere (Nestler’s immediate downline from a previous MLM opportunity) as an investment.
The BDA required Nestler to generate enough sales volume for the company to make back what it agreed to invest in him and Giguere over his first six months with the company.
Oz describes what happened next as “cloaks within cloaks, daggers within daggers. With so many possible layers of subterfuge, backstabbing and betrayal in play, it’s difficult to get a clear sense of what exactly went down.” Much of the detail he shares has been gleaned from a lawsuit filed by Nestler against Jeunesse Global, which he accuses of the following six counts:
- breach of contract (Jeunesse)
- breach of The Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing (Jeunesse)
- tortious interference with (Nestler’s) contract (Kevin Giguere)
- interference with Nestler’s business relationships (Jeunesse and Giguere)
- tortious and civil conspiracy to interfere with Nestler’s business relationships (Jeunesse and Giguere) and
- violation of The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (Jeunesse)
Read the rest of Oz’s post to get a glimpse at the backroom deals that often accompany top distributors leaving one company to go to another “amazing” opportunity.
For those at the bottom-rung of an organization or just starting out, this could be what really happens at the top of your company. Your chance of being successful at your MLM — just like Mr. and Mrs. so-and-so — is not as good as you might think or are led to believe. As Oz puts it:
Meanwhile what of Jeunesse’s affiliates. In this snapshot of the upper echelons of the Jeunesse affiliate-base, what hope does a regular affiliate just starting out to compete?
It certainly sounds like if you’re not getting your own secret backroom deal when you join Jeunesse, then you’re probably under someone who is.
And can you be sure they’re then acting in your best interest, or theirs.
Prosperity gospel (or health and wealth gospel) is commonly used by those at the top of multi-level marketing companies to lure people into their fold. The new person is mesmerized by the rags to riches story of the leader and is convinced (or brainwashed) into thinking that he too can enjoy the fruits of prosperity by doing what the leader tells him to do. “If he can do it, why can’t I?” a new recruit comes to believe.
McDonald argues that it’s all based on the “deceptive success of the guy at the top.”
Yes, it is. And that’s because someone paid for that pastor’s house. Me. I paid, when I bought the book. So do millions of others, when they bring truckloads of seed-money to his doorstep each weekend. The people who fund the prosperity pastor’s success, in other words, are the people at the bottom of the pyramid. Of course it works for him. He’s at the top.
Any of this sound familiar?
Read the two articles for more on why McDonald believes the prosperity gospel is the worst pyramid scheme ever.
Pershing Square Capital Management, which has accused Herbalife of being a pyramid scheme, has posted a good video primer on pyramid schemes that’s worth watching:
Does this video sound familiar to those who have been involved or have been approached recently by someone claiming to have an “incredible” business opportunity?
Former Agel high-level distributor, MonaVie Black Diamond, MonaVie International Master Distributor, MonaVie President of North America & Europe, and MonaVie Black Diamond (again) Randy Schroeder has left the company for another MLM company called ForeverGreen. He apparently sent a letter to other MonaVie distributors that purportedly described financial troubles at the purple juice company; this letter prompted MonaVie CEO Mauricio Bellora and CMO Paul Muehlmann to post this video response as part of the MonaVie’s 2014 year-end company update.
The departure of high-level MLM distributors from MonaVie to other companies is not new. Robert Dean, Brig Hart, the Jeunesse Global group of distributors have all packed up their bags and officially left MonaVie. Then, there are other distributors who don’t seem to be promoting MonaVie as vociferously (or at all) as they have in the past. Has the ship sailed for MonaVie, despite their efforts to reinvigorate the company with Mynt?
Check out Bellora and Muehlmann as they try to pump up the MonaVie faithful in their year-end company update video below:
Finally, go to Lazy Man’s site for an analysis of Forever Green.
Reader @Missouri posted a comment about this recent This American Life feature on Wake Up Now, yet another MLM company.
Listening to the This American Life reporters talk about the Wake Up Now pitch, I heard a familiar refrain. In fact, if I replaced the name Wake Up Now with any number of MLMs that I’m familiar with, I would be hard pressed to tell the difference between all of these companies. Wake Up Now distributors had the same vague descriptions of what their company actually did, the same negative viewpoints on jobs, the same ignorance regarding the “success” rates in their business, and the same starry-eyed look when talking about those who “made it” in the business.
My New Year’s wish for those people in MLMs today is for them to go to the opportunity meeting of twelve other MLM companies operating in their area. I want them to take notes on what’s similar and what’s different from their current MLM. Do they think the other companies are legit? Or do they think these other companies are economic cults, as Robert Fitzpatrick calls Wake Up Now in the podcast? If so, why is their MLM not one too?
MLM critic LazyMan provides a step-by-step guide on how to start a $500 million company the easy way. I’d put “easy” in quotes because he’s just describing the MLM playbook that countless companies have followed over the years. He breaks the process down in the following steps:
- Finding the Right Product
- Hire or Partner with Some “Doctors”
- How Do You Sell this Product?
- When Our Distributor Levels Drop…
- Hire the Famous MLM Lawyers
- Start a Charity
- When the Truth of Our Company Comes Out
- But We Have to Hurry!
- When it All Collapses on Us
How does this describe the playbook of your current or former MLM?
I liked the section on “When the Truth of Our Company Comes Out” because litigation is one tactic MLM companies use to try to silence their critics. The BehindMLM site was recently offline for several days as it dealt with a frivolous DMCA takedown notice from a former TelexFree distributor (it’s back up now). The Anti-Vemma YPR Pariah site went dark at the end of August without much explanation about what really happened.
Local and federal agencies have been especially active over the past two years in shutting down illegal companies like TelexFree, Zeek Rewards, and IAB. This past month scams like iFreeX, eAdGear, and Zhunrize have been shut down. While consumers can breathe a sigh of relief that they won’t be scammed by these companies, there are countless more popping up like the heads of hydra to replace them. Consumers should understand the warning signs of fraud, ponzi schemes and pyramid schemes. As they say, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
LazyMan’s site is more than just diagraming and critiquing the MLM playbook. He has countless articles on improving your finances, be it through saving, investing, or rethinking your financial beliefs.