February 4, 2008
Posted by Truth
Over at the Ada-Tudes blog there has been a post about Quixtar's new rule which will allow sales of products at events. Of course as with just about everything in Amway or Quixtar there are restrictions. Here is what was posted as the "pending" rule for event sales:
4.3.3 Event Sales: The display and sale of health, beauty and sports nutrition products by IBOs only at temporary (no more than 10 days) health and beauty shows and certain kinds of sporting events (e.g.: bike race, marathon, 3-on-3 basketball tournament) are permitted. The following information must be received by the Corporation, in writing, 30 days prior to the event, to allow sufficient time to grant approval.
22.214.171.124. A written description of the type of event (including date of event).
126.96.36.199. Name of the specific product(s) to be displayed and sold.
188.8.131.52. A list of specific literature to be used at the booth or for handouts. Any privately produced material for handouts or display must be sent with the booth request for approval.
184.108.40.206. A signed statement from the Platinum or above IBO accepting responsibility for booth activity and include a list of all names of IBOs staffing the booth.
220.127.116.11 A post-event accounting of total volume sold must be provided to the Corporation by the Platinum if the volume sold is part of the qualifying volume for Silver Producer or above for purposes of verifying 70% Rule compliance.
I think the new rule is great and all since I always thought it was completely stupid to allow a booth to be set up at events but no sales were allowed to be made. But, I still don't understand why they need to restrict the sales. I can understand that the health and beauty products along with XS will most likely be the best products to use at an event. But what about having a booth at a festival with a jewelry display?
I also don't agree with IBOs not being allowed to secure a permanent booth somewhere. It was clear in the article that sporting events were allowed but only temporary ones like a tournament or a race of some sort. Personally I don't see the problem with an IBO securing a permanent spot at a concession stand at football or baseball events, or perhaps a permanent booth where other products can be sold. In every other area of business it's a snooze or lose world, so for those IBOs that do what it takes to secure other areas to sell their products should be allowed to do so.
January 22, 2008
Posted by Truth
There has been quite a fuss lately over the prices of Quixtar products. Of course this has always been an issue, but has been put more in focus lately because of the whole Quixtar v. TEAM mess. The simple arguments are that Amway/Quixtar prices are too high, and of course the common theme for the defense is that the value of the product justifies the high prices.
Personally I can see both sides of this debate. I don't necessarily agree 100% with either side in this debate, but I think both sides make some pretty valid points. I was over on the Ada-Tudes blog and was reading the post by Ray Alexander titled "Not Wal-Mart and Never Want to Be". While reading this post and many of the comments that were left I got to thinking about a seminar I attended with my wife when she was an owner of a vacuum sales office.
After leaving Quixtar my wife started selling vacuums to make some extra money. Well she became quite good at it and eventually was asked to open her own office and manage dealers. She has since closed up her office and moved on to other things, but I will always remember this one speaker at a seminar that she invited me to go along to. I would also like to point out as a side note that this seminar was 100% free, even the lunch they provided.
The feature speaker was the vice-president of the company who manufactured the vacuums. He talked about selling value instead of a vacuum. That was a big topic since the dealers were selling a vacuum that costed $1800. His example showed that throughout the demonstration of the product you were building value, and the objective was to build more then $1800 worth of value before the demonstration was over. If a salesperson could do that they would meet less resistance from the customer when it came time to close the sale. In a nutshell he was saying to show the customer why the product is worth the price.
To demonstrate what he meant he pulled out a $100 bill and asked who would be willing to give him $10 for his $100 bill. Obviously everyone in the room would do what they had to in order to give him $10 for $100. That pretty much drove the point home. If a salesperson could build up $3000 worth of value in the product, closing the sale at $1800 was going to be easier.
So if you have read this far you are probably asking what this has to do with Quixtar. Well, can Quixtar products be built up in their value enough to be sold at their current prices? I mean let's face it, just telling a customer that the value of your product is superior isn't really going to get you far. Would retailing numbers look better if IBOs were better informed about the products so that they could build the value in them? Sometimes I think that is what Amway/Quixtar is trying to do with all the training that they are releasing via the web. So I see two sides to this entire argument and I guess it comes down to one question. Are the prices too high, or are IBOs just not able to build the value in the product before they try and sell it?
January 19, 2008
Posted by Truth
Over on the Ada-tudes blog there was an article by Todd Krause which seemed to address some comments made on an earlier article he wrote about Quixtar sales. Anyway I found it a bit funny that he was addressing those who made statements to the effect that the corporation does not have the credibility to tell IBOs how to sell or build Quixtar/Amway businesses. Todd Krause agreed with the statements saying it was not their intention to go around IBO leaders.
Well in my opinion the corporation is doing more to teach IBOs how to sell a product then IBO leaders are. IBO leaders are concentrating on teaching IBOs how to sell a "system". One look at the numbers that only 3.4% of all Quixtar sales were sold to actual customers tells you how good the IBO leaders have been at teaching selling techniques. So I don't think the IBOs should concern themselves so much with where the teaching is coming from, 3.4% isn't exactly a high bar that has been set.
January 15, 2008
Posted by Truth
For the final part of the Retailing in Quixtar series I am going to address the Quixtar rule that states an IBO must make at least one sale to 10 different people, sell 50PV worth of product, or sell $100 worth of product in order to get downline bonuses. This rule was referred to as the ten customer rule in the FTC v. Amway decision and here is what was written about it in the decision:
74. Amway's 'tencustomer' rule provides that distributors may not receive a performance bonus unless they prove a sale to each of ten different retail customers during each month. (RX 331, pp. 1B and 17B) The Direct Distributors have the primary responsibility for enforcing the tencustomer rule in their own group. (S. Bryant, Tr. 406162) The tencustomer rule was started by Amway about 1970. Prior to that, there was a 25 sales rule which required the distributor to make 25 retail sales a month without regard to the number of customers. (S. Bryant, Tr. 408586) The tencustomer rule is enforced by Amway and the Direct Distributors.
Now I will admit I don't know the whole history of this rule so I can only assume things have changed since the FTC v. Amway decision. One of the changes that I know of is that the website keeps track of these numbers when orders by customers are placed. This of course is a change that came with the new modern direct fulfillment as opposed to ordering and picking up from upline. But as far as the rule goes in addition to having one sale to ten different customers, an IBO can sell 50PV worth of products or $100 worth of product to get downline bonuses.
Can it be enforced?
As I pointed out in Part 2 of this series however there is a big difference between making a rule and enforcing it. I think what should matter here is not so much that a rule is in place but that it is actually being enforced, and works. The question should be does it truly encourage retailing as it says it does. Personally I remember many people talking about how they would simply purchase 50PV worth of product, check the option that they were buying it for a customer and they took care of it.
Sadly, in my opinion this is another rule that cannot be enforced and it is no wonder that there was only 3.4% of sales to actual customers. Personally I don't think there is really anyway Quixtar can make any rule that would "encourage" retail sales. If they wanted to encourage retail sales, they need to start making it more appealing to IBOs. The problem is that sponsoring new IBOs has been seen as the more appealing way to make money.
Thankfully Quixtar has at least started to look at ways to make retailing products more appealing and most important more profitable for IBOs. Also, there are signs of another step in the right direction with the new rule that allows sales at events. In the end however I don't think the concept of retailing products will be the most appealing to IBOs until Quixtar makes their prices more competitive, and I am talking about the retail price, not the wholesale. You can preach on quality until you are blue in the face and in the end that will only carry you so far.
January 7, 2008
Posted by Truth
Perhaps one of the most discussed rules in Amway/Quixtar is the 70% rule. Often it is referred to as the focus of the FTC v. Amway case from 1979. Often times however this rule is misunderstood. So with first things being first we need to understand the 70% rule. Currently the Quixtar rule referencing the 70% rule states:
4.18. Seventy Percent Rule: An IBO must sell, at a commercially reasonable price, at least 70% of the total amount of products he or she purchased during a given month in order to receive the Performance Bonus or recognition due on all the products purchased; if the IBO fails to sell at least 70%, then such IBO may be paid that percentage of Performance Bonus measured by the amount of products that can be shown to have been actually sold, rather than the amount of products purchased, and recognized accordingly. For purposes of this Rule, products used for personal or family consumption or given out as samples are also considered as part of the sales volume.
However, this is not always how the rule was worded, and when you read how the rule was wrote before one can certainly understand why someone would think that an IBO needed to sell 70% of their volume before getting a bonus. Here is how the rule used to be worded:
4.18. Seventy Percent Rule: An IBO must sell at least 70% of the total amount of products pur-chased during a given month in order to receive the Performance Bonus or recognition due on all the products purchased; if the IBO fails to sell at least 70%, then such IBO may be paid that percentage of Performance Bonus measured by the amount of products actually sold, rather than the amount of products purchased, and recognized accordingly.
Some supporters argue that this always included sales to downline, but that is not outlined in the rule so that was clearly speculation on their part. Besides, now that Quixtar is mostly direct fullfillment I don't see how you sell to your downline since everyone supposedly buys from themselves and teaches others to do the same. I have yet to be shown how you can purchase one item from yourself and your upline at the same time. With product pickup I can see how sales to downlines apply, but with direct fullfillment I see the 70% rule applying to personal circle volume only.
In reading the decision on the FTC v. Amway case I have to agree with the supporters that the 70% rule was recognized as a way to prevent inventory loading. I know the wording talks about sales, but it also states clearly what the rule was put in place to prevent:
The '70 percent rule' provides that '[every] distributor must sell at wholesale and/or retail at least 70% of the total amount of products he bought during a given month in order to receive the Performance Bonus due on all products bought . . ..' This rule prevents the accumulation of inventory at any level.
With the modern day direct fullfillment I have to agree again with the supporters that if an IBO is consuming their purchases or giving away samples that those acts do prevent inventory loading and therefore are in compliance with the 70% rule. The only problem with this rule is I don't see how Quixtar can possibly enforce it without some pretty extreme measures.
How do you know that an IBO actually consumed all of what they purchased that month? Short of doing home inspections it is impossible to know. In addition to that what is the difference between buying a ton of product to make a pin level and stocking it up in your house, and buying a ton of product to make a pin level and giving it away as samples. The way I see it they are the same thing. Once again short of home inspections by Quixtar this rule cannot possibly be enforced.
In the end the 70% rule simply cannot be enforced and is only on the books for the benefit of Quixtar so they can say they are in compliance with the FTC decision. I will say any IBO out there who is purchasing product just to make a pin level is crazy, but I wouldn't put it past anyone to do, or worse someone to "advise" their downline to do. To make it worse there is nothing Quixtar would be able to do about it. It seems the 70% rule is a perfect example that making a rule and enforcing a rule are two completely different things.
January 2, 2008
Posted by Truth
I wanted to write a post about how the enforcement of the Amway/Quixtar retailing rules were a joke but found that stepping into that realm only seemed to open more doors to more issues. So in the interest of trying to keep the posts on this as brief as possible I decided to break it up into three parts.
In part 1 I will discuss the number 3.4% which is the number I got from the California lawsuit transcript. Just to give some background, DJ Poyfair, who is the counsel for the Plantiffs (Orrin Woodward, etc), was making a point about how the high prices were not justified by the high quality of the products and had this to say:
This network marketing company has outside sales of 3.4% of outside. That’s if you accept their definition of what constitutes outside retail sales.
Now, Poyfair was referring to the 70% rule from FTC v. Amway when bringing this up, and was trying to imply that the FTC said IBOs should be selling 70% of the products that they buy. I write this only to include proper context, I will save the 70% rule for Part 2.
The first thing that came to mind when I saw that only 3.4% of sales in Quixtar were outside sales, is that this is no real surprise. I don't think anyone could honestly say they expected such a number to be any higher. I think it speaks volumes to the fact that the focus is on sponsoring and very little focus has been placed on actually selling a product to a customer.
With those kinds of numbers I don't see how this can be taken seriously as a business. I have said it before that if IBOs had the numbers to show they were really a business, they wouldn't have to have rehearsed answers when showing the buisness plan. Try flashing the 3.4% next time you show the plan and I bet the person across the table gets up and leaves in about 3.4 seconds.
Of course as with any other fact that comes out about Amway/Quixtar there is a supporter there to try and put spin and sugar on it to make it sound better. The spin/sugar this time is that this number is only concluded by using the definition Quixtar uses for an outside sale. Ironically, that is the same definition that many would assume it is, a sale to an actual customer, not an IBO. The argument is that many people who are IBOs simply buy the products and don't sponsor or sell to others, therefore making them actually customers.
On the surface this seems valid and if one were to count those purchases as sales to customers the number would certainly rise. But, I see it as just another example of what is wrong with this business. Why should someone have to sign up as a business owner just so they can get a good price? Doesn't it make more sense to have your prices competitive in the first place so that you can make retail profit on top of your PV check? What other business model does someone have to sign-up as a business owner just to get good prices?
Frankly I think IBOs should be a bit peeved with Quixtar over the prices and compensation plan. Ty Tribble many times has showed examples of other MLM companies that have much better compensation plans as well as better prices on their products. Sitting on 3.4% Quixtar looks more like a Wholesale buyer's club then it does a business.
December 23, 2007
Posted by Truth
You will have to forgive me for writing articles about posts from other blogs that you may have already read quite a while ago. I was out of the loop for quite some time while chasing down some of my ambitions. But since being back writing for this blog I have gotten back into the practice of reading other blogs about Quixtar and most of the time I find something that I like to post here and comment about. Today was no different as I started reading some of the past stories from the True IBO Stories blog. In a story from June of this year Joe and Christie Ison of Arkansas after having been in Quixtar for four years decided to become a strong retailing group and made an interesting discovery.
Retailing adds legitimacy, we've found. Quixtar has been the leader in making sure we are all FTC compliant, but we've discovered that going beyond the minimums creates even more growth. Keep up the good work on retail training (like the new Ribbon online training) for IBOs! (emphasis mine)
Who knew? Now first of all I would like to give kudos to Joe and Christie for looking to a focus on retailing as a way to increase their profits rather then just sponsoring. All too often I would see groups do a big push on sponsoring as a way to show success and retailing to customers was that pesky thing Quixtar wanted you to do, and most times ways were found to get around that.
I am not surprised that they found more growth through an increase in retailing. I mean it only makes sense that the more you are retailing to actual customers rather then just each other the more you look like a "legitimate" business, and the more interest you will create. They don't have to answer questions with questions when prospects ask how much they are making or what kind of success the group has had. They don't need to spin tales about this one guy in this one group who went super diamond platinum in a month even though he was skeptical. They don't need letters from the FTC to show how selling to each other is really selling products. They have all they need and that is numbers that make them look like a real business selling real products to real customers.
I have said it before and this story just helps confirm that what makes the most sense is what works the best. Focus your business on retailing first and the sponsoring of new IBOs will take care of itself. I would imagine Joe and Christie have what I would bet a majority of groups don't have in Quixtar and that is a group that as a whole makes a profit and not just those at the top.
December 22, 2007
Posted by Truth
Today I was surfing some of the past articles over on the Quixtar Ada-Tudes blog for some interesting reading. As I figured I came across an article that caught my attention. Gary VanderVen who is Quixtar's director of Business Conduct and Rules wrote an article titled "What makes Quixtar Legal". In this article he describes that there is no such thing as a legal pyramid scheme, and since they say Quixtar is legal, it is not a pyramid scheme.
He then goes on to list "four key elements" that makes the Quixtar compensation plan "legal and a model of integrity". I found these four elements interesting because there are three of them that I mostly agree with, and one that I don't think tells the whole story.
1. Sales-based compensation. Compensation in the Quixtar Plan is based on sales of products and services to consumers. An IBO who sponsors other IBOs earns income based on his own sales and on sales made by the IBOs he sponsors. Quixtar has various rules to assure that compensation is based on product sales.
This would be fine if it really was a plan that pays for sales made by an IBO and on sales made by IBOs he/she sponsors. Unfortunately for Quixtar and Mr. VanderVen this is not reality at all. The reality is that Quixtar IBOs are selling to the IBOs that they sponsor. Some would argue that IBO purchases count as sales, I disagree but will save that argument for another article.
My main issue is that no one has clearly shown me another business that simply makes sales to other businesses that sell the same products. Does that even make sense? Doesn't for me. One would think that if you own a business that sells many different types of products, you would have a certain minor "element" to your business I like to call customers. The only customers I ever see in this business is IBOs as customers of Quixtar. As far as I am concerned that is not a business at all. At best what you have is a wholesale buying club.
December 21, 2007
Posted by Truth
With all the talk about the Amway/Quixtar prices, especially with all the legal issues surrounding that very subject, would it matter to you if the prices were lowered to be competitive? Let's say that Quixtar does lower the prices of their products so that they are more competitive and so IBOs can actually sell a product at retail and make a profit. Would this be of interest to anyone who has never been or was an IBO? Would you entertain the thought of signing up again to sell products, or would it not be worth it?
Personally I don't believe I would sign up ever again, but I can't say I wouldn't be tempted if the prices were lowered to be competitive with what people are already paying. I just don't know if the lower prices would be worth it even if it was just to sell products. Frankly, I have been very disappointed with Quixtar's flexing of their corporate muscles with this whole TEAM matter. Don't get me wrong, this does not mean I am siding with TEAM (they have gotten quite stupid in their own right) but if Quixtar has admitted to knowing how high their prices were all this time it doesn't seem they really care for the IBO like they say. It's one thing to put out a feel good commercial, it's another to take action.
December 11, 2007
Posted by Truth
In a bit of a late article that I just got in my Google Alerts, a judge ruled against Quixtar in their contempt complaint against former distributors. Apparently ex-distributors were prohibited from using their Quixtar networks for other businesses, and Quixtar claimed that they had violated that order. The judge ruled against Quixtar saying they did not have enough evidence to back that claim. The judge however did leave it open for an arbitrator to decide later if Quixtar is entitled to any damages.
There is also a bit about the Amway UK case. I found it interesting that the "self-imposed" reform efforts that Amway did was not enough to get the government to drop their case. The trial started on the 26th of Nov. I liked how the article describes what claims were made against Amway UK:
Government investigators reportedly found people misrepresenting the business, making false claims, downplaying the Amway name, signing up new distributors and making it sound like they didn't need to sell products to make money
Wonder if any of that is going on in Quixtar US?
September 2, 2007
Posted by QBlog
PRWeek has an interesting article about Quixtar and IBOs using the Web to spar.
...Ashton Partners has been hired to represent a group of 15 distributors in a lawsuit against Quixtar, the American Amway operations. Ashton Partners, which has a practice dedicated to litigation support, has been brought on board to provide strategic communications counsel, drive media relations and outreach, and manage the plaintiff’s Web site, www.freetheibo.com.
“Ashton Partners, like other media consultants with whom we deal, are essential to the overall management of the litigation, much more now than in years past because of the power of the [Internet],” said Poyfair.
Quixtar has struck back with entries on their own blog, http://media.alticorblogs.com, taking an aggressive tone in touting a recent ruling in their favor by a Michigan court...
I hope you readers are following this because it seems like a real fascinating MLM Soap Opera (pun intended).
May 27, 2007
Posted by Truth
Around a week ago I wrote a piece about the first story that was posted over at the True IBO Stories blog in the Opportunity Zone. Of course I saw it as a bad start since the author of the story was calling his friends "broke", critical people "losers", and apparently left his wife out of the loop on his decision.
Well this past Monday Nick Katsarelas, who is the one who posts the stories on the blog, responded to Insider's comment, and my article about his decision to leave the terminology in place. You can go over to the blog to see his comment in full. I do have one little excerpt from his comment that I would like to respond to:
When I edited the Spiro's story, I left in the passage you referenced because I felt it bolstered Steve's explanation of how he doggedly pursued the business opportunity. He did what many people do when they don't want to be deterred from a goal: He surrounded himself with positive people who supported his pursuit.
I of course appreciate seeing Nick respond, giving certainly a better understanding of why it was left in and his thinking. My response to this is not necessarily addressed directly to Nick, but rather as a general response to those who hold the ideal that in order to achieve a goal you need to keep away from the naysayers.
On one hand I agree that being around a bunch of negative people all the time while you are pursuing a goal is no fun at all. It's hard enough to achieve your goal, you certainly don't need constant hammering in your ear about why you shouldn't or can't do it. However, on the other hand this concept can be taken too far in my opinion and having a little negative around just might actually come to benefit you if you know how to handle it.
After leaving Quixtar my desire to own and operate my own business didn't go away I just focused it towards something that I had a passion for. Unlike how I was taught in Quixtar however I never blocked out the negative, or ignored it. Heck in some cases I actually went looking for it. What I knew, is that no matter what anyone had to say about the business that I was pursuing, I was going to do it anyway. That is what happens when you get involved in something you have a passion for. If you are truly passionate about what you do, negative shouldn't be a factor.
What I had found out though is that I actually learned many good things from the negative that I would hear and read about. I learned about some of the challenges that were potentially ahead, I learned about the mistakes of others, and was able to see ways to improve on or avoid the issue all together. Negative even from those who tried to discourage me was a learning experience because I asked the key question of WHY? "It's too hard to break into that industry." "WHY?" etc. The other negative that I just thought was silly I was able to laugh at and thank the person for their concern about me.
So I started thinking at that point why was negative such a taboo in Quixtar? So what if your new downline reads Scott Larsen's site? So what if they see the Dateline special tommorow on You Tube? Who cares if their friends tell them about their brother's, friend's, daughter's, mother's, uncle's, cat's, bird who signed up and lost all their money? It's going to happen eventually so wouldn't you rather they see it now and decide they want nothing to do with it, instead of later after you invested your time into them?
I am afraid the comments made in that first IBO story do not explain how someone doggedly pursued a business opportunity. As far as I am concerned it explained how someone made a decision based upon half the information, and most certainly missed out on some good information that more then likely could have made him more profitable, and at a faster rate.
If you are an IBO the first question you need to ask yourself is are you passionate about what you are doing. If the answer is no, then you need to ask yourself if you are passionate enough about what you are using Quixtar to get that you are willing to put up with it. If the answer is no then you need to quit and find something you are passionate about. I promise you, there is something out there you can make good money at that you have a passion for.
Finally, don't ignore or try to avoid negative. Now use some common sense and understand that I am not saying only associate with negative folks. Associate with all people, and don't be afraid of their opinions. Only those that are weak in their convictions will try and eliminate negative opinions, those who are passionate about what they are doing will listen, see if there is something to be learned, and move on.
May 20, 2007
Posted by Truth
I checked out the True IBO Stories blog today since I had heard they posted their first story. Overall it's not a bad story about how a couple got started in the Quixtar business. What I find sad is that the first story comes from an IBO who sees his friends and those on the internet who have different opinions as "broke" and "losers". Now I don't care if this guy made his decision by only viewing one side of the story, to each their own. But I don't think IBOs really think about what they are saying sometimes.
What kind of friend would belittle his other friends in such a manner as this IBO did? If all of your friends are broke and their opinion is worth nothing to you, then are they really your friends, or does that mean that your friendship is simply that shallow?
Now by saying he didn't check with a "loser on the web" I will assume I fall into that category since every other IBO who likes to use the word "loser" usually lumps me into that category. Now if you don't want to do your full research on this business before getting started that is up to you. I however recommend that anyone looking into this business get the story from all sides and make your decision based upon that. I still cannot understand why anyone would advise anyone any differently. Are you that easily influenced by the thoughts and opinions of others that you need to keep yourself blind to them? Somehow I am thinking you may want to give going into business for yourself some second thoughts if that is the case.
If you come to find that Quixtar is something you truly enjoy doing, you should not have any issue with hearing or reading another's opinion on the topic. But maybe, just maybe, by educating yourself on the image of your business you will learn how you can operate in a more successful fashion. Contrary to what IBO leaders say they have not done all the work for you. There is always more to be learned and new situations to adapt to in business and any business leader that tries to tell you otherwise isn't worth their salt, and certainly isn't worth paying money to listen to.
But in conclusion I leave you with some words from one of the men who started it all, Rich DeVos! I would suggest that Quixtar blogs review these words taken from the Directly speaking tapes, the emphasis is mine:
I hear that very often. "There's winners and losers. Are you a winner? Are you a loser?" Almost insulting people who don't sign up. You even got bad terminology. "We're the winners. Over here are the losers in life." They're not losers. They may have a richer, fuller life than those of you that got fancy cars and new clothes or big rings have got. You know, they -- Life is not geared by materialism. You do not decide who's a winner or a loser. There's too -- Life is too complicated for that. We must make sure we always speak of everybody being a winner, even though they may have different goals. My plea here is that when you have a program, you make sure you have people on there who are making $100.00 and thrilled with it, as well as those who make more. Present it as a plan so that everybody can realize their goal, whatever it is.
-Rich DeVos "Directly Speaking I"
You know, when you became a Direct, we offered you a chance to be free and independent; and then I read your mail, and I find out you've lost your freedom. And all we want to do is give it back to you, to be as big or as small in Amway as you want to, to make as much or as little as you like in the Amway Plan by working it, and to go to whichever meetings you want to, and to feel comfortable to stay home if you don't want to, without being branded a loser. Winners go to the meetings; losers stay home. Would you help me get rid of such terminology?
There are no losers in Amway. There are people who choose not to do it; but who are you to tell some teacher that chooses to spend the rest of his life as a dedicated teacher that he's a loser? Who are you to tell a truck driver that chooses to spend more of his time doing things other than Amway, and maybe just drivin' his truck, that he's a loser? Whoever gave you a license to brand people? This business was designed to make everybody a winner, to do as much or as little as they wanted to; and if they chose to do nothing, to make them feel better for having had the experience. We only have winners in this business; and then we have some other winners who choose not to do the business. They just might be bigger winners in life than some of you that have branded them losers. I stand in awe of all people, and I hope you do, too.
-Rich DeVos "Directly Speaking II"
I must say I have always been puzzled by IBOs who claim to care about people, but clearly only care about those people who agree with everything they say and are interested in signing up as IBOs. They couldn't give a crap about anyone else, but somehow they see themselves as a "people person".
March 20, 2007
Posted by Truth
Beth Dornan had a very interesting post on her blog today. It was a good story about her St. Patrick's Day nicely transitioned into a topic about Quixtar and what they want to be clear on. Now I encourage you to go over and read the whole article, but in a nutshell Beth says Quixtar wants everyone to know what Quixtar is all about. Here is a quote from her article explaining this position:
"Our business is open to just about anyone but it isn't for everyone. Moving forward, we want IBOs who choose not to continue their businesses to do so because the business wasn't for them....not because it wasn't what they were led to believe it was. We want the sign at the door to be clear about what's inside."
Personally I think this is something that will be difficult for Quixtar to ensure since they basically have to trust that their IBOs are in fact making things clear about what is on the inside. So I would like to hear from those of you who are current IBOs or former IBOs. Were things made clear for you about what was on the inside, or did you find yourself involved in something else once you were in? Give some examples about what you were told, and what, if anything, was different once you were inside.
March 7, 2007
Posted by Truth
Over at the Real Quixtar Blog, Kia (aka Robin Luymes), has reported that a new factsaboutquixtar.com site has launched. From what I understand this site has the same content that one would get if they were to purchase a Facts About Quixtar DVD. Robin explains the purpose of putting the material on a website with the following statement:
As with all tools we provide to IBOs, we want to provide them for free or cover our costs. We're excited to be able to now provide all of that content for free on the Web.
WOW! What a concept! Provide tools for free, or at cost. Anyways, the site contains eight videos and a PDF file with frequently asked questions. I must say I am disappointed in the content of many of the videos. While Robin says it is to help IBOs respond to "tough" questions about their business, most of the videos strike me as propaganda, and they even included everyone's favorite video of Rob Davidson.
Ironically, I just got done posting an article over at my Quixtar Inside Out blog about why IBOs should give their prospects straight answers. I can't say that I think the answers in those videos are straight, I actually feel many of the videos don't completely address the real issues at all.
I did find it interesting however in some of the videos the average time stated for Platinum was 4 years, and the average time for Diamond was 10 years. More confirmation of why I feel it is misleading to show a 2-5 year plan for Diamond. Anyway, head on over and take a look at the videos for yourself, and let me know what you think.
March 6, 2007
Posted by Truth
I found an interesting article by Matthew Paulson who has decided to lay out how to deal with friends who are involved in Quixtar and other MLM "schemes". He apparently is not a big fan of Quixtar, and feels that IBOs who can't take no for an answer have a character flaw:
In the event that the person won’t take no for an answer, you can tell that they have a very serious character flaw. They are only interested in having you as a friend because you could hypothetically make them more money.
Anyway, take a look at his article for yourself and see what he has to say about dealing with friends in Quixtar.
March 1, 2007
Posted by Truth
I am almost finished reading "Chicken Soup for the Entrepreneur's Soul". It's a good book full of great stories. In some of the stories at the beginning there is a quote used that relates to the story. Two of the quotes that have caught my eye were by David Frost and Oprah Winfrey. They are as follows:
"Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally." -David Frost
"If you do work that you love, and the work fulfills you, the rest will come." -Oprah Winfrey
These quotes made me take pause and reflect when it comes to the Quixtar business. I can't say I really had the same passion for Quixtar as I do with my side businesss, and I wonder how many IBOs really have a passion for Quixtar. Do you think one can even be successful in Quixtar if being an IBO is not something they are passionate about?
Now I could be wrong here, but it has been my observation that many IBOs spend so much time focused on the success that they want to have, that success is the only thing they really have a passion for. So if you don't have a passion for building a Quixtar business, yet you want to be successful, wouldn't it make sense to look in the mirror, figure out what you are passionate about and go that direction, instead of wasting your time with something you don't really have a passion for?
January 5, 2007
Posted by QBlog
Just a reality check for everyone out there — unlike Amway, Avon and Mary Kay the Quixtar business is a complete unknown. And the way most people not in "the biz" explain Quixtar to the ignorant is by saying "it used to be Amway."
So, why not change the name back to Amway? Isn't it about time?
December 25, 2006
Posted by QBlog
December 18, 2006
Posted by QBlog
Quixtar has its share of critics on the Internet. A quick Google search of the phrase "Quixtar Sucks" currently yields about 21,300 results. By comparison a search for "Amway Sucks" yields about 1,100 websites while a search for "Avon Sucks" returns about 333 results.
And while the results of such searches don't really prove anything they do provide a simple (albeit unscientific) way to explain Quixtar's motivation for creating a "Web Critics" page on one of its corporate PR sites. The page addresses some of the online criticisms and does so with a fairly reasoned and thoughtful approach.
Today, critics of anything, including a business opportunity with hundreds of thousands of human interactions every day, can share their opinions with a broad internet audience. Quixtar supports the right of critics to share their opinions, provided they are truthful and accurate.
That seems to be the way any corporation could be expected to respond to critics. Yet, there's a linked video that takes a somewhat different, more combative tone. Watch it and see what I mean.
Besides the fact that Rob Davidson, VP of Quixtar Sales & Marketing, comes off looking like a pompous ass, he states that "many of them (critics) have never been active" in Quixtar. He then wonders how the so-called critics can go on the Web and complain about Quixtar when they weren't active in the business.
I have two responses to Rob (Pompous Ass) Davidson and Quixtar's propaganda film:
- One doesn't need to be active in Quixtar to complain about it. There are many complaints about Quixtar from people who were harassed at coffee shops, malls and by friends. Those people weren't active but sure are vocal. If Quixtar would like them to quit complaining then it might start by asking its IBOs to quit being so annoying.
- Those so-called critics often have more experience in Quixtar (or Amway) than the majority of Quixtar's current IBOs at any given time. Think about that for a moment. Right now the majority of enrolled Quixtar IBOs have less than two full years of experience as IBOs.
The point is that Rob Davidson is saying that many of Quixtar's critics are inexperienced whiners when the reality is that many of them have years of experience and know what they're talking about. And to illustrate that reality I'm publishing a list of "critics" along with their experience in Quixtar (or Amway).
Quixtar's "Inexperienced" Critics
- Doug Ginter - 2 years
- Jay Bhatia - 7 years
- Muhammad Imran Aziz - 1 year
- Deb Masselink - 11 years and then some
- Kemi Taylor - 1.5 years
- Lisa Umbach - 2.5 years
- Lindy Mack - 5 years
If you'd like to have your name added to this list please send me an email or post a comment and briefly explain how you'd qualify as a "Quixtar critic" to the likes of Rob Davidson.
As this list gets longer more people will see the absurdity of Rob Davidson's response. Maybe Quixtar would be better served by addressing the criticisms from its current and former IBOs instead of dismissing them as the complaints of the uninvolved.
November 10, 2006
Posted by David Robison
Everybody misses good ole Qblog when the rest of us, guest bloggers, post our thoughts, experiences and news about Quixtar here at Ye Olde Quixtar Blog. I miss him more than the rest of you, because I have to write something that stands up to his caliber of writing.
This week, I've decided not to match his caliber, but to repeat his caliber.
You may not know this, but when the man suggests to you to read his Archives, that there's some good stuff there; especially in the early days of this blog.
Even way back then, when Qblog was still a card-carrying member of Quixtar, he was making some excellent observations about the business.
How would Qblog show the Quixtar Plan?
"...Nope, there is no "one way" to show the plan but there are some tips and guidelines you are supposed to follow. Anyway, here's my criticisms of the plan but keep in mind I'm no expert and I know that the plan I'm being critical of works, I just can't figure out why or at least I think it could work even better:
1. It's too long. Shorten that plan up. 30 minutes is almost too long but should be the absolute maximum time. Not 1.5 - 2 hours.
2. Be honest and candid. When someone asks a question be ready with an answer that at least seems like you aren't trying to hide anything.
3. Don't ridicule 401ks or the stock market. You'll end up looking like a fool one day. You couldn't be so critical of those things 3 years ago and you won't be able to again one day. Why? Well, it's what everyone is striving for in Quixtar anyway. To be an investor.
4. Quit asking people if they've ever heard of Wal-Mart when you do the Wal-Mart part of the plan. Yes, everyone has heard of Wal-Mart. Everyone shops at Wal-Mart. Why not ask them if they've heard of food or air? Whatever.
5. Don't tell me how much a Diamond or silver or whatever earns if, when I ask you how much you earn, you dodge the question. Be candid. If you're going to volunteer how much others in the business earn then tell everyone how much you earn. Because, ya know, you're standing right there and those diamonds aren't.
That's all I got now. Do this and you'll have a better plan...Or not."
These 5 suggestions stand the test of time; still good advice.
I would stress that today, if your plan was longer than 30 minutes, and you aren't getting interested questions, you are talking to much.
Always answer questions truthfully, there's no need to hide anything. If you don't have an answer; promise to get one.
Wal-mart is a retail store. Discuss the plan as it pertains to operating a Direct Sales business. Discuss THAT industry. Inform the prospect about the nature of Direct Sales and it's niche market.
Show the Plan and emphasize the income potential of the plan. Show the prospect how the plan works with retailing and recruiting. Any bravado about a Diamond's income is unnecessary.
Nope, there is no "one way" to show the plan, but you could do a lot worse than the "Qblog way"
November 8, 2006
Posted by Truth
With 11% of precincts reporting Fox News has called the race for Governor of Michigan for Jennifer Granholm, ending Dick DeVos's run for governor of the state.
How much impact do you think the "Amway factor" played in this race?
October 13, 2006
Posted by Truth
Looks like Dick DeVos is reaching out to the talented masses in the general population to come up with ads for his campaign. His campaign has said that they have decided to have a "Create Your Own DeVos for Governor Video Contest". An 80GB video Ipod is the prize that will be awarded to the one person who's ad gets selected. Of course there are rules and requirements in order to get your prize.
I found it a little funny that the DeVos campaign used this wording on their web page pitching the contest:
Dick DeVos knows Michigan is full of talented individuals and he wants to showcase your enthusiasm and ingenuity!
and then has this in the rules:
2. Eligibility: Residents of Michigan. Management, employees, contract employees, and families of Dick DeVos for Governor are prohibited from winning any prizes awarded by Dick DeVos for Governor.
But if you plan to get involved and do your own ad for the Governor hopeful, you had better get started quickly, the deadline according to the DeVos website is 11:59pm EST on 15 October.
Question for discussion:
What do you think is the reason DeVos for Governor came up with this idea? Is it purely just to get people involved, or is there something more?
UPDATE: The Devos for Governor website is now showing the winner and the runner-up campaign ads.
Again I love the disclaimer that is used:
"The content of these videos are the opinions of the entrants, and not necessarily the opinions of Dick DeVos for Governor."
Check them out and give your opinions.
October 3, 2006
Posted by QBlog
I don't live in Michigan so I honestly don't care who gets voted in as the next governor. As they say, I have no dog in this fight. However, since this blog is primarily about Quixtar and Dick DeVos once ran Amway (which later became Quixtar in North America), I'm posting an update on the gubernatorial debates tonight.
The AP reports that the candidates spent the debate "criticizing each other's ads, laying out what needs to be done to spur the economy and saying they would be the best leader for the state."
I didn't watch the debate so I have no opinion on how each candidate performed but bloggers seem to believe the Granholm decidedly defeated Dick DeVos.
- Dick DeVos is a bumbling buffoon
- Granholm Vs. Evil Devos Debate: Live Blogging
- DeVos- He's maybe not as stupid as Dubya
- Oh Man, did Granholm kick DeVos's ass tonight!
- Debate coverage - first wave
- The interview tonight with Dick DeVos and Govenor Granholm sounded way too much like kids bickering
- Technorati - Granholm DeVos Debate
Did you see the debate? If so, what are your thoughts? Who do you think won? Not sure, watch the debate and decide (streaming video).
September 30, 2006
Posted by QBlog
The greatly anticipated Quixtar Ad Campaign has finally arrived. According to Quixtar (restricted access) the first Quixtar-specific television spots air October 1 on NBC during Sunday Night Football.
A multimillion-dollar ad campaign for Quixtar, Alticor, and Nutrilite has launched in the U.S. and Canada.
The goal of this expansive ad program is to generate excitement and pride in the Quixtar business opportunity and in the NUTRILITE brand. By creating and running its own ads, Quixtar will no longer allow its critics to define this business. Instead, Quixtar will tell its own story, in its own words, and on its own terms.
It's interesting that the primary motivation for Quixtar's ad campaign appears to be a reaction to "its critics." Quixtar is not only trying to tell "its own story" but is using a relaunched Quixtar Facts site to tell the story of some of its critics as well. I'll have an additional comment about that later.
But first, let's get a sneak peek at the ads. I've found four commercials and all of them are expertly crafted pieces of marketing. They exude the sort of image branding often aired during the Sunday morning talk shows for financial, health or agricultural companies. There's no real call to action, just some nice branding to make the viewer feel good about the business.
The Land of Will
This first ad mentions the critics in a roundabout way. The narrator says, "of course there will be doubters. Those who stumble upon a half-filled glass and think only of how thirsty they might be." Who are these doubters? Are they the folks that choose not to become Quixtar IBOs? Contrast those two lines from the commercial with the comments of Rich DeVos, Amway's Co-Founder, from his infamous Directly Speaking tapes:
There are no losers in Amway. There are people who choose not to do it; but who are you to tell some teacher that chooses to spend the rest of his life as a dedicated teacher that he's a loser? Who are you to tell a truck driver that chooses to spend more of his time doing things other than Amway, and maybe just drivin' his truck, that he's a loser? Whoever gave you a license to brand people?
So, who are these doubters? The commercial continues by explaining that the land of will is where the narrator lives, and that it is populated by over half a million others which clearly refers to Quixtar IBOs. So the "Land of Will" is those in Quixtar and the doubters are those outside of Quixtar?
Won't Becomes Will
This commercial is shorter and just talks about "won't" becoming "will." I like this ad much better than the first. It's optimistic and leaves out the ambiguous finger-pointing at those doubters.
Nutrilite - Plant Tour
This commercial kicks it in so many ways. I like it. No talking, just music, images and text. Very well done.
Nutrilite - Package
Another great looking commercial. I'm starting to think Quixtar should just stick to marketing its products and stop with the whole opportunity thing.
I like these commercials and I know that if I were an IBO I'd be excited about them. When my wife was involved with Quixtar I often wondered why the corporation didn't do any advertising. It was so difficult to explain the business to people sometimes and it seemed that just a little national brand awareness would go a long way towards helping her business. When I questioned her and her upline about the lack of advertising I was told that Quixtar doesn't advertise so it can put more money into the hands of its IBOs.
Hogwash. I don't know why Quixtar didn't regularly advertise but it certainly wasn't so it could give more money to IBOs. That's the same faulty logic that says building a new downtown arena will jeopardize the quality of education in public schools or that waging war in Iraq means the homeless aren't being fed. One is not connected to the other. Money put in one place doesn't mean it's pulled from another place.
Oh well, I guess Quixtar finally dropped the "money into IBO pockets" charade and decided to do what's right for its IBOs. Good for Quixtar.
And finally, I have to mention Quixtar's comments about Search Engine Marketing which are clearly a response to my exposure of their Web Reputation Task Force. There's absolutely nothing wrong with Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. In my current position I spend over half a million dollars a year doing exactly what Quixtar claims to be doing. Businesses must be aware of search engines and work to be ranked as favorably as possible.
However, there are two types of search engine marketing techniques — white hat and black hat. For a time, Quixtar was doing a bit of black hat SEO. I exposed this, reported it to Google and on February 6, 2005, their site dropped off the first page result of Google for searching the word "Quixtar." That was the "Oh Crap" moment when Quixtar realized that such black hat tactics had to stop immediately. And they did.
Soon after, Quixtar started following Google's best practices and at the end of May, 2005, Mark Glaser asked Peter Norvig, director of search quality at Google, about Quixtar's drop from the first page of results. Within days of Glaser's interview Quixtar returned to its rightful spot at Google.
So, I'm not complaining about SEO or SEM. All I did was point out some black hat tactics employed by Quixtar. They got slapped and straightened up their act and as far as I can see, are now wearing white hats in the SEO/SEM arena.
September 24, 2006
Posted by QBlog
Posted by Preston
It is interesting to note that at the bottom there is a section describing "Standards of Conduct"
World Wide Dreambuilders IBOs have been offered the opportunity to participate in this program because of the high standards of ethics that have been maintained by this organization for many years. This program is being offered to incentivize volume outside of the existing IBO base. As a condition of participation, World Wide Group has agreed to extensive monitoring of this program by Quixtar to ensure that there is no order manipulation to achieve free freight for anyone other than Clients or IBOs less then 90 days in the business. Any existing IBOs who violate Rules or guidelines of the new IBO or Client free shipping test program are subject to Rules sanctions up to and including termination. - (Emphasis added)
I wonder how often Quixtar chooses to do such monitoring. Surely if they have the ability to peak into the inner workings of an organization like WWDB to extensively monitor it they ought to be able to keep a look out for the "bad apples" like my former upline who do not represent the best (or most as some IBOs would say) of Quixtar, could they not?
August 29, 2006
Posted by Truth
Quixtar has been making quite a few changes lately and for the most part I think many advocates and critics agree that it is for the betterment of the Quixtar opportunity. Sure there will always be those advocates who still want to call the critics losers, and some critics who won't applaud anything the corporation does. But, for those of us that just want to see the abuse by uplines come to an end, I think we agree that the corporation has finally taken some bold steps and frankly that is the crowd I am writing to in this article.
After seeing the post Qblog did concerning the new advertisement campaign by Quixtar I couldn't help but wonder whether Quixtar would have taken any of these steps if blogs and sites like this one never existed. Would Quixtar have implemented their accreditation program if there was no stories on the internet of people being abused by their upline?
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to say that I can prove Quixtar made these moves because of the sites and blogs on the internet, but the circumstantial evidence is pretty compelling. Obviously the blogs and sites on the Internet were having some sort of impact hence the reason Quixtar decided to launch their own "Web Reputation Task Force". That of course didn't work out to well for them in the end, but I think you would have to be crazy if you thought that would be the end of it.
So tell us what you think. Would Quixtar still have taken the steps they have taken recently if the "critical" sites and blogs didn't exist? Should IBOs who are praising Quixtar for the new programs they have implemented be giving some credit to the "critics" for having a role in bringing about some of this change? I mean let's be honest, there wasn't exactly a movement by "plugged in" IBOs to tell others about the abuses. At any rate, I now leave this to the readers to discuss and debate.
August 27, 2006
Posted by QBlog
National ad campaign for Quixtar to launch in September
Ads to run on TV and in newspapers, magazines
A multimillion-dollar campaign for Quixtar will soon blanket the U.S. and Canada with print and TV ads.
The goal of this expansive ad program is to generate excitement and pride in the Quixtar business opportunity and in the Nutrilite® brand. By creating and running its own ads, Quixtar will no longer allow its critics to define this business. Instead, Quixtar will tell its own story, in its own words, and on its own terms.
The campaign will kick off in late September with full-page newspaper ads in USA Today that address Quixtar's foundations and the success of Alticor, its parent company. The ads will be followed by a three-month campaign blitz for Nutrilite in Newsweek magazine, beginning in October.
During the last week of September, TV spots for Quixtar and Nutrilite will begin airing on CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox, as well as on cable networks like The Learning Channel (TLC) and FoodTV. The ads are also slated to appear on shows like the "Country Music Awards," "Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade," "Sunday Night Football on NBC," "Trading Spaces," and "30 Minute Meals with Rachael Ray."
This media plan is subject to change, so keep coming back to What's New for updates on dates, times, and specific shows.
First reported by Dave, this marks a new strategy for a business that still claims that it "doesn’t advertise, instead channeling those dollars to Independent Business Owners who generate sales at Quixtar.com."
August 10, 2006
Posted by QBlog
I just received an email from Scott Larsen who runs the AmQuix.info website. The email addresses a recent entry Larsen posted on his "What's New" page that directed attention to a Grand Rapids Press article from July 14, 2006. The referenced article ran under the headline "Alticor leaders cheated investors, suit says" and it describes a lawsuit involving Alticor, former President Dick DeVos and $1 billion.
Larsen's original entry simply ran with the description, "Old news becomes news again for Dick DeVos running for governor in Michigan." (see Google cache screenshot). The email Larsen forwarded me was from Alticor's wonderfully competent lawyer James R. Sobieraj of Brinks, Hofer, Gilson & Lione (a firm that I've had experience with in the past) and its threatening tone demands Larsen's compliance within 24 hours.
What's laughable is the assumptions Sobieraj makes about Larsen's intentions and lack of understanding of the First Amendment. All Larsen did was post a link to an article. He's under absolutely NO obligation to post any follow-up links or offer any clarification. Sure, it might be nice if he had followed up with an update when new information surfaced about the suit but nowhere in the Constitution does it demand that Larsen take any such action. What Larsen posted is true and even provides a method for readers to easily find out more information. Notice that Sobieraj's email doesn't specifically threaten legal action. It only implies such action but there's no clear "Do this or we'll sue you" phrasing because Sobieraj knows he doesn't have a bit of legal ground to stand on in this situation. It's a classic lawyer tactic.
Here's the email. Don't read while drinking milk or soda because you'll surely squirt it out your nose from laughing at
Amway's Alticor's top lawyer.
Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2006 18:49:33 -0500
Subject: RE: Alticor Inc.
Dear Mr. Larsen:
We serve as outside counsel for Alticor Inc. We have reviewed the July 14, 2006 posting you placed on your website entitled "Old news becomes news again for Dick DeVos running for governor in Michigan." Your hotlink for this posting redirects one to a web page on mlive.com, which contains the July 14th story from the Grand Rapids Press entitled, "Alticor leaders cheated investors, suit say." Unfortunately, once again, you seem to have deliberately omitted information which would completely change the conclusions made by someone visiting your site.
The title and text of this article suggests that this lawsuit against Alticor has merit. I am sure that you posted this article on your web site because you believe that it reflects negatively on Alticor. However, it is surprising that you, as someone who holds himself out as a careful and thorough researcher of Alticor, have not posted the July 22 Grand Rapids Press story about the lawsuit. That story, entitled "State appeals court sides with Alticor," reports how the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in Alticor's favor in a matter of days. This article also is available on mlive.com, and I have reproduced the text of the article below for your convenience. We can only conclude that you deliberately omitted this story because it reflects favorably on Alticor.
If you had researched this case with any diligence or sense of fairness, you also would have learned that the recent Court of Appeals decision was the fifth dismissal in a row for this lawsuit. It has been tossed out of federal court, two state courts and two appellate courts. If Alticor had pursued such a futile course of litigation, I am sure that you would have been extremely critical of them. Why is it that you are not even-handed in your analysis or criticism of Alticor's opponents?
This is the latest of a series of incidents in which it has been demonstrated that you have made postings without conducting a fair and reasonable investigation of the facts. Why do you want to continue deceiving your readers with misleading, incomplete and inaccurate statements about Alticor?
Please take immediate action to correct your website's misleading impression of the Wardrop lawsuit.
We look forward to receiving your response and evidence of your steps to correct your website within 24 hours.
James R. Sobieraj
BRINKS HOFER GILSON & LIONE
455 N. Cityfront Plaza Drive
NBC Tower - Suite 3600
Chicago, IL 60611
Web Site: www.usebrinks.com
Why The Laughter?
The result of Sobieraj's email is that Larsen has revised his entry to include a link to the more recent Grand Rapids Press article. That's great. Now readers of his site have handy links to the original article and the update. Yet I can't stop laughing. Do you know why? I'll explain.
The First Amendment allows us to be biased. People may not like that but it's our right to be as biased and unfair in our coverage of public figures and corporate entities as we desire. As long as that coverage is true (and sometimes when it isn't) our speech is protected. There's absolutely nothing obligating us to be fair and balanced and communicate all sides of any given issue.
It's that very freedom that allows companies like Alticor and Quixtar to publish reams and reams of rosy reports and testimonials without sharing less rosy reports and complaints. No law requires Alticor, Quixtar or Dick DeVos to publish criticism or unfavorable reports in publications they control. It's their right to be biased. That's the American Way!
Yet what is very un-American is the way Sobieraj uses threatening language to try to force Larsen to remove the bias from his site. If Larsen wants to be biased, that's his right. If Sobieraj wants to eradicate bias from the Internet then maybe he should start with Quixtar.com. If I were Larsen I'd remove the link to the most recent update just to piss off Alticor. Give a metaphorical middle finger to Sobieraj for stooping to such tactics. But I'm not Larsen so I'll just settle for letting the world know the tactics Alticor is employing while I laugh and laugh.
There's one other reason I'm laughing. Sobieraj is basically functioning as a very, very expensive PR manager.
What Others Are Saying About This Post
- Michigan Liberal: Alticor lawyers lean on AmQuix critic
- Liberal Values: DeVos Goons Try To Silence Web Site
- MLM Facts: Eric Janssen supports unethical behaviour?
- Daily Kos: Alticor lawyers lean on AmQuix critic
Favorite comment on Daily Kos:
It amazes me that the Alticor lawyers actually took the time to threaten Larson. I did laugh out loud when I read the letter. Once again, the "man" is trying to stomp on the little guy. This only reflects how Dick DeVos will "lead" Michigan into oblivion. DeVos's solution of, if you can't fix it, eliminate it, will not bode well with Michigan voters.
What's your favorite comment from another blog?
August 1, 2006
Posted by QBlog
In June, 2006, a Quixtar BLOG Forum member reported that Quixtar was planning to implement an accreditation program. Posting under the username "anonymous coward," the apparent insider explained that "Quixtar is in the midst of a 'Reputation' campaign" to address several issues affecting IBOs.
One phase of the campaign was dubbed the "PDAP initiative" which stands for Professional Development Accreditation Program. Here's what "anonymous coward" had to say:
Quixtar/Amway has for quite some time agreed with the general population that the Kingpins are crooks and out to scam everyone with their support systems, thus ruining the reputation of the actual business opportunity which is fundamentally the sale of products and the recruiting of other sales reps to sell products...
...Enter Jim Payne. The new Sherriff in town. I like this guy... he's got spunk. Quixtar develops (in cooperation with get this... the IBOA board) this long list of what they believe are impossible to attain goals for the Kingpins to accomplish including contracts spelling out compensation guidelines, submission of all materials created to Quixtar legal department for approval or denial, random phone interviews asking questions like: Are you aware that you are not required to participate in any paid education program? and Has it been made known to you that your leadership will make money from the support materials you buy from them? You know fun stuff the Kingpins absolutely hate with every fiber of their being...
...Quixtar is tickled pink. They’re hoping that this “poopy storm” they’ve stirred up will force the Kingpins hands and make them submit to the Accreditation process, thus giving Quixtar the reigns they’ve felt they needed to help get a handle on this reputation problem.
The report of the PDAP initiative was consistent with rumors I'd been hearing from Quixtar insiders for quite some time. Today "anonymous coward" alerted Forum members to the new Quixtar website titled "Quixtar Accreditation."
The Quixtar Accreditation site describes itself as recognizing "professional development programs that are standard-bearers, setting an example for others to follow." From the Whois report, it looks like Quixtar's been planning this for more than a year (site registered February 10, 2005). And a hint from the blog of Quixtar's Director of Communications in April, 2005, seems to further corroborate the lengthy gestation period for this program.
Yet the Quixtar Accreditation site looks oddly rushed and incomplete. The design and layout is very 1998 and the site map link doesn't work.
eFinity and Team5K
Anyway, check out the site and see what this new chapter in Quixtar's story means for you and your Line of Affiliation. As you poke around you may notice that the only accredited LOA is a group known as eFinity. Never heard of them? Neither have I but "anonymous coward" describes them as a company run "by a trio of 30 somethings" who convinced several "groups of different LOAs to band together and be supported by their 'new philosophy' which is essentially all about selling products."
The Quixtar Accreditation site describes eFinity as a "support system whose core principles are centered on an effort to help any Independent Business Owner (IBO) build a strong and profitable Quixtar Business." If you visit the official eFinity website you'll notice that it lists several countries to choose from suggesting an operation extending beyond U.S. borders.
And while eFinity is currently the only listed LOA I've received reports that Chuck Goetschel's Team5K will be announcing its accreditation sometime very soon.
So what should you think about this accreditation? Here are a couple of comments lifted from the Quixtar BLOG Forum:
I think this is a great step in the right direction. Kudos to Quixtar, and I hope that the spirit of the accreditation document (or whatever it is) is followed, and that some LOS's don't try to hide this from their IBOs.
to me, the biggest things are -
(a) politics and religion specifically "banned" from the business seminars
(b) transparency in the PDP compensation.
I encourage you to pore over the site and post your favorite items in the comments below. From what I've seen it's a big step in the right direction for Jim Payne and Quixtar. I like it.
Here are some items from the IBO Communications Platform (pdf) that I find extremely interesting (I bolded some portions):
A business setting/communication is not an appropriate environment for preaching religious doctrine, political causes, or other issues of such a personal nature.
When sharing his personal story during a business meeting, a speaker may make reference to the importance of his religious belief in building his business. However, the comments should be brief, and the speaker must explain that such comments are his personal belief.
Unacceptable: References to the abortion issue outside of worship services.
Prospects and IBOs must be clear about the roles of Quixtar, IBOs, LOSs/LOAs, and the IBOAI.
IBOs must not imply or communicate to Prospects and IBOs the following kinds of statements, which are misleading and inaccurate, “There are more millionaires in this business than any other.”
July 12, 2006
Posted by QBlog
Adding a few comments of my own to the recent Scobleizing of Quixtar that Drew pointed out in his "Link To Your Enemies?" post.
Robert Scoble understands the Web and why blogging is important. He built his reputation as being the one guy at Microsoft who "gets the Web" and then he left Redmond to join PodTech.net, a podcasting outfit that also "gets it."
Recently he's been posting about putting a human face on corporate giants like Dell and Quixtar. Dell joins the bloggy Web highlights the computer manufacturer's entry into the blogging realm and adds and interesting comment about Quixtar:
Link to your enemies. It takes away their karmic power.
I told Quixtar to link to everyone who says that Quixtar sucks. There are QUITE A FEW!
Why do that? Well, it takes away our power to poke at your negative spots if you openly admit them. That turns throwing rocks through your front window into a boring exercise.
Embrace The Critics
Scoble is absolutely, dead-on right. I've been preaching the same thing on this blog for nearly four years. It's why I link to and try to engage my critics. Embracing them strips them of their power and creates a level playing field where the value of the content is determined by its merits, not by perception.
Scoble goes on to explain that the next Web is the human Web which is a "bloggy Web. A Web with real people talking about real stuff on it." He apparently met with some Quixtar tech folks who admitted that they'd been "misled by a SEO firm" that told them to employ "Scientology-like tactics" against their critics as one commenter put it.
Misled indeed. What's really curious is the response by Robin Luymes (bless his Canadian heart), Quixtar's Manager of Public Relations. You can see that he's really, really trying to "get it" but he just can't hang up his corporate PR hat long enough to finish his comment.
Some people, friends and foes alike, have opined that our “Web Initiative Strategy” (not our term, by the way) is purely about drowning out the opposition. Frankly, if that were our goal, we would simply open up the floodgates to several hundred thousand IBOs to create web content and share their positive experiences. We are exploring ways to provide more opportunities for our IBOs to share their experiences, since right now our critics have much freer rein to share their opinions than do our own representatives.
Web Reputation Task Force
Actually, Quixtar's internal term for their Web strategy was "Web Reputation Task Force." I think "Web Initiative" sounds less... uh... gay. But if Luymes wants to quibble about the origin of terms, I'm fine with using WRTF. And if opening those IBO floodgates were an option, I say open those bad boys up. Bring on the "several hundred thousand IBOs" to post their happy blogs.
Oh, but that's not part of Quixtar's goals is it? Nope. What is Quixtar's goal? It's not immediately clear but what is clear is that there's NOTHING preventing IBOs from starting and maintaining their own blogs. How long has Dave's blog been running? A long damn time in Web years. And he's not alone.
I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that Quixtar is making strides to improve its Web image. I think ditching that horrible SEO consultant was a great move towards the Web that Scoble describes. I've seen Quixtar get smarter about how it approaches its critics and those I've talked to on the inside are seeing a slow and steady cultural shift towards openness. They've still got a long way to go but I have confidence that eventually (and maybe with the help of this blog) Quixtar will get there.
I just want to clarify why I believe Scoble is right. The first thesis of the cluetrain manifesto is "Markets are conversations." This is as true today as it was when Chris Locke, Doc Searls and David Weinberger wrote it a few years ago. Basically Scoble is just repeating this truth and framing it in the context of blogging.
Blogging is a conversation. And if markets are conversations then Quixtar would benefit from entering that market as a participant, not a behemoth trying to control it. The moment a participant tries to control a conversation the communication becomes a lecture. A long, boring lecture with Power Point slides and bad coffee.
And Scoble's point about the human Web is right on. Have you ever had a conversation with a person wearing a mask? It's a little disconcerting. It's much more natural to converse with a human face and hear that face speaking naturally.
Why is it so hard for Quixtar to simply join the conversation? They have nothing to lose and everything to gain. If Quixtar really wants to neuter its critics then joining them in the conversation, embracing them as opposed to trying to control them, is the best way to accomplish that task. Or maybe Quixtar needs its critics to be a potent force on the Web? After all, critics with power to provide a handy scapegoat when business is down.
July 11, 2006
Posted by Truth
According to a blog run by Robert Scoble, Quixtar technical staff has been talking to him about their website because "people aren’t engaging with their company the way they want." According to Robert Quixtar needs something on their homepage that he would be willing to link to, and some real human beings. Now that article was interesting, but what was even more interesting was the previous article he wrote.
In his article "Dell joins the bloggy web" he writes that he told Quixtar they should link to everyone who says they suck. Why would Robert tell Quixtar such a thing? Here is his answer:
Well, it takes away our power to poke at your negative spots if you openly admit them. That turns throwing rocks through your front window into a boring exercise.
Could this be true? Do you think that if Quixtar was to link to all the critical blogs and sites that we would just get bored and give up? Would prospects look more favorably upon Quixtar if they link to the negative sites?
Interestingly enough this would be the exact opposite of the Web Initiative Strategy that just tries to drown out the other side. That concept hasn't worked out too well for them, so I suppose the old "if you can't beat 'em join 'em" strategy could be worth a try.
My latest podcast deals with this issue and some other points about how the IBOs on the web are hiding behind the mask while the so-called "critics" seem to be much more open and accessible.
June 28, 2006
Posted by QBlog
If the success or failure of your business is determined by a few bloggers exercising their First Amendment rights then you're in the wrong business.
June 26, 2006
Posted by Xanadustc
A while back, I did a post where the issue of sales tax was brought up. There seems to be some controversy over this point, so I figured we might clear it up.
In summary, an IBO is charged sales tax on the retail price on products for the region you are in. If you sell an item to another tax jurisdiction, you are required to collect all the differing sales tax and send it to Quixtar with a Tax Adjustment form.
If you use an item yourself, you have the must fill out the form and get your difference back.
Some may suggest that this is optional, but the document clearly states on page one:
YOU MUST FILE A SALES TAX ADJUSTMENT FORM WHENEVER YOU SHIP OR DELIVER PRODUCTS TO A DIFFERENT TAXING LOCALITY AND/OR YOU SELL AT ADIFFERENT AMOUNT THAN SUGGESTED RETAIL.
The only exception listed regarding this rule is if a customer pays for the item with a credit card directly from the corporation, Quixtar will charge correctly based on the shipping address of the customer.
What kinds of sales are covered by this rule?
- Sales made to other states.
- Different local sales taxes in the same state.
- Retail sales not made at suggested retail.
- Products for personal use or demonstrations.
- A sale made after a change in sales tax if you purchased the product from Quixtar before the change took place.
Are you filling out proper paperwork for your business?
May 31, 2006
Posted by QBlog
Scott Larsen Videos (SLV) presents "Consumer Protection" where "Quixtar and Industry Leaders talk about consumer protections for tools."
May 25, 2006
Posted by Xanadustc
For today, I figured that I would gather some thoughts from a friend of mine who was a regular customer when I was in Quixtar. We will call him Joe.
Xan: When did you first hear about Amway/Quixtar?
Joe: A long time ago, at least 1984. It was later that a friend of mine got involved, around 1988 I think.
Xan: Did he talk to you about Amway then?
Joe: No, we had pretty much gone our own ways, otherwise, I think he would have. He was involved with “Forum”, and he talked to me about that when we were still close. I did join the forum, so I was familiar with the brain-washing thing.
Xan: Was I only one who ever talked to you about Amway/Quixtar?
Joe: You were the first to mention “Quixtar”, otherwise, I was propositioned at least a dozen times.
Xan: Did you ever get involved?
Joe: Other than the purchase of products, no. I did go to a meeting with you to check it out. I heard stories from friends who had gone to meetings. No one really had anything good to say.
Xan: If you heard about these bad stories, why did you go to the meeting with me?
Joe: I had to satisfy my own curiosity rather than just go on hearsay.
Xan: What were your thoughts about the meeting?
Joe: There are so many, where to start? My assumption that it was a major form of mind control was validated: I saw that most of these people seemed to talk and act in almost identical manners. I was also disturbed to hear the God and Amway connection. I also grew weary of everyone asking me what I did for a living. I felt like getting a sign. I also thought it was very materialistic, particularly about the big estate a few people got to go look at. It was disturbing to see all the people salivating over cars, houses, pools, and other things. I am a recovering alcoholic for 15 years and really wanted a drink by the end of the night!
Xan: You bought products from me. What products?
Joe: You gave me a number of things to try: soaps, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, coffee, energy drinks. It was energy drinks that I bought the most of.
Xan: How were the energy drinks price and quality compared to other energy drinks?
Joe: They were $0.30 more than others, but the quality was great with the grape and orange. I didn’t care for the tea.
Xan: How much did you buy in a month?
Joe: About $60 a month minimum.
Xan: What was it like having a friend who was a Quixtar devotee?
Joe: In a way, I felt forced to observe a fanatical devotion to something that was harmful.
Xan: What do you mean by harmful?
Joe: I knew these people got inside your head in a very big way, but realized I wasn’t the one who could get him out of it. Also, you wouldn’t have listened to me then. I do remember saying to you, “Seems a little bit fanatical”, and your reply was, “You have to fanatical when you own your own business.”
Xan: What was it like having a friend selling you products?
Joe: I didn’t like it at all. There were times when I hesitated knocking on your door because I figured it would end up costing me $30. There were also times I got the impression that was the only time you wanted to deal with me.
Xan: Any final thoughts?
Joe: I felt sorry for most of the people at the meeting because they were victims of a scam and they all appeared to be reaching; they viewed Quixtar as a financial life preserver to get out of their regular career. I also wonder how you can go through life viewing everyone you meet as a mark, a prospect. I was delighted when you left and if you recall, I said, “Welcome to the human race.”
May 23, 2006
Posted by QBlog
I was excited to learn from Internet Retailer that Quixtar was tops in April site performance. That's quite an accomplishment. Kudos to Quixtar.
But I did a silly thing after reading about Quixtar's dominance in April — I started thinking. I know, it's crazy but I just can't help myself. I noticed that the "Top 50 Performance Index" chart listed in the article didn't include any April dates. How is "Quixtar tops in April" if the measurement only includes data from March?
Very curious indeed. But wait, there's more!
Zappos Delivers Top Site Efficiency
A bit of searching unearthed an article dated April 5, 2006, about Zappos dominating site performance in March. The report included a graph with the same dates as the Quixtar report. Huh?
To The Source Batman
Ok, there was obviously something strange happening so I headed to the source of the Internet Retailer article — Gomez.com.
All I could find was a Retail GPI Benchmark for April which does show Quixtar at the top of the Success Rate Rating and in second place on the Response Time Rating. So Internet Retailer just got the dates on the charts mixed up, right? Well...
Notice anything odd about the Gomez chart? Look closely. See it? That's right. It doesn't exactly match any of the Internet Retailer charts. In fact, while Zappos is on both charts at Internet Retailer it's missing from the April chart at Gomez. Interesting.
So, now I'm supposed to tell you what conclusions to draw from this little blog post. Well, uh... isn't it obvious? Gomez is lying!
No, seriously I'm just pointing out some odd things at Internet Retailer. I've always been sort of suspicious of the publication because... well, it just seems hokey. That's just my opinion but I definitely get the feeling that something isn't quite right at Internet Retailer. Maybe it's just sloppy reporting that I'm picking up on? What do you think?
May 19, 2006
Posted by QBlog
The latest apology and retraction from Scott Larsen as presented by Quixtar's Independent Business Owner's Association.
Quixtar, Inc. has insisted that Scott Larsen and other Internet critics stop circulating false and misleading information that has the potential for harming the entire IBO world and, of course, Quixtar itself. Following is an exchange initiated by attorney James Sobieraj on behalf of Quixtar, Larsen's pretty abject apology, and a follow-up letter from Sobieraj, all of which make it perfectly clear that Mr. Larsen has been allowing his website to be used as a bulletin board for totally unverified and usually false information, regardless of the consequences to others. Read more...
Pet Peeve Alert: Movie critics criticize movies. Sports critics criticize sports. Military critics criticize the military. Internet critics criticize the Internet. Larsen is NOT an Internet critic. He's a Quixtar critic who utilizes the Internet to distribute his criticisms.
Saying Larsen is an Internet critic is like saying Roger Ebert is a newspaper critic because his movie reviews are printed in the Chicago Sun-Times.
May 17, 2006
Posted by QBlog
Former Quixtar Diamond Andy Andrews explains the problems with the motivational businesses and discusses his efforts to solve those problems. It's more than 17 minutes long but very interesting, especially since he's standing on stage with some empty suits of armor.
This was probably recorded sometime around the middle of 2002 while he was leading Team in Focus.
Most interesting quote attributed to a Quixtar-friendly lawyer:
98% of the people in our organization cannot participate in the income nor can they even know there's an opportunity.
May 13, 2006
Posted by QBlog
When I was first introduced to Quixtar a few years ago it was promoted as one of the most visited E-commerce sites on the Internet. Site traffic was excitedly mentioned in most of the meetings I attended with my wife during her involvement as a Quixtar IBO.
In the past I've questioned the validity of those numbers and I have always wondered why a virtually closed site was comparing itself to the likes of eBay and Amazon.com.
I mention all this to point out that the issue of site traffic originated with Quixtar, not me. One could argue that site traffic is irrelevant for a business like Quixtar but the folks in Ada, Michigan never made that argument. That's why I found Alexa's report on Quixtar's declining site traffic to be so interesting.
The report begins at the end of 2001 and shows a steady decline through the beginning of 2006. It should be noted that Quixtar reported sales growth each of those years except for 2005 when it posted the first "drop in sales" since launching in 1999. Alexa also shows all-time lows in site traffic during the middle of 2005.
Some have speculated that the declining traffic could be the result of increased activity on LOA sites. Whatever the reason, it's now clear why I don't hear IBOs boasting about Quixtar's online traffic.
I'll also point out that Alexa produces its stats from public information and doesn't have the same type of precision in its reporting as services like Nielsen NetRatings. Alexa works best when tracking trends rather than specific site stats. And the trend for Quixtar appears to be declining.
May 11, 2006
Posted by QBlog
A lengthy video of Birdie Yager, Dexter Yager's wife, talking to a group of Amway folks.
May 5, 2006
Posted by Preston
Recently, I've had to call into question what a friend is. Eric's recent display that Dean Kosage has become a "friend" with him on Myspace is a good example of why we need to ask this question. Dictionary.com offers the following definition:
- A person whom one knows, likes, and trusts.
- A person whom one knows; an acquaintance.
- A person with whom one is allied in a struggle or cause; a comrade.
- One who supports, sympathizes with, or patronizes a group, cause, or movement: friends of the clean air movement.
- Friend A member of the Society of Friends; a Quaker.
In the case of Quixtar, a person is engaged in friendship with other IBOs. They're allied in the struggle to "go Diamond" and stay "fired up!" But what happens to these friends once that relationship ends when one of them leaves the business?
I've had the unfortunate experience to have a friend of mine, from before my involvement in Quixtar, turn away from my friendship and get frustrated because I still call him my friend, yet I am openly against Quixtar. Can't people who have different political views be friends? Why is this different for Quixtar IBOs? Dare I say I think his system embedded that idea into him?
May 4, 2006
Posted by Xanadustc
On my site, I set out to do a modern price comparison, but there were a few problems with this approach. The first was that the prices of products in my area may not be same as prices in your area. The next was that the format of a blog is not great for such things, and I am not going through the trouble of putting up data that is impossible to read and follow.
Next, it is almost impossible to do a study that is comprehensive enough. I spent four hours in the store and STILL did not collect enough data. However, I still would like to affirm in a comprehensive manner why I believe Quixtar prices are not cheaper than store bought products as a general trend. Remember that Quixtar prices are very predictable under most considerations.
Here, I will give (hopefully) enough detail that each person can take this information and go to his local store to determine if purchasing Quixtar products would truly be a great savings. The obvious disadvantage to this is that it is not going to be exactly accurate, but it should be a better lasting model.
Are Prices Important?
The first thing I have to do is qualify why the cost of the products is an issue (and believe me it is an issue in BWW).
First, on the Getting Started tape series from BWW, the first is called ‘What to Do Next?,' one of the Executive Diamonds talked in great detail about the money you can save by buying from yourself as opposed to going to the local store since you save about 30% on products. The tape was given out with the literature pack for a while (JM25 “The Solution for your Future”) and it claimed that the prices are “very competitive.”
However, the savings of large buying clubs is later discredited as not working and the speaker moves back to the buying smarter concept. The ‘smarter’ concept is the ‘Pro-sumer’ model proposed by Bill Quain in the book “Pro-Sumer Power”, which has a quote on the Part One summary page, “When you Pro-sume, you add to your bank account.”
In another book by Quain, “The Quixtar Price is Right!”, he has a small section at the beginning which defends higher prices. The section is titled, “It’s Smarter to Add Value than to Lower Prices." We also have testimonials from other BWW tapes stating that you should not get hung up on “savings mentality.”
Are prices the most important thing? Sometimes, and sometimes not. If you are buying a car or house, you will tend to pay more for what you are looking for. But things like soap, toothpaste, and laundry detergent — I wager that it is not a real big issue. You need to decide for yourself if it is worth paying $16.99 for 24 bags of popcorn or $5.79 for 18 bags. To quote Dave Severn, “It comes from the same kind of COB!!” The examples could go on.
When you go to the store, you spend some time and a bit of gas and get your products immediately. With online ordering you still spend some time (unless you are using ditto and have a perfectly calculated shipping plan), wait 2-10 days, and pay shipping. Many price reviews have included a shipping fee. That is not a good way to do it. The best way is to consult the Quixtar shipping help page which has all the information you would need to determine your shipping fee when buying from Quixtar. If you go there, you can see the price of shipping is by cost of the order (except a few products that have a preset delivery fee).
Store for More
The Store for More is where you find the same products that are sold at regular retail establishments rather than Quixtar name-brands. As a general rule, the list price is similar to the retail list for the item (determined by the manufacturer). The IBO price is anywhere from 87-95% of that price. The PV will be 15-20% of the list price and the BV will be 2.2 times the PV. For simplicity:
- List * 0.90 = approximate IBO price
- List * 0.17 = approximate PV
- PV * 2.2 = BV
Your shipping fee would be the IBO price.
There is a little more variation, but we are safe to assume a price range of 66-79% of the list price for most exclusives. The PV is 32% of the list price and the BV is 2.8 times the PV.
I hope that this study will help you to determine if the Quixtar prices are better or worth it. I have not talked about quality. Consumer reports has never had a whole lot of major praise for Alticor products, they are simply products not much better nor worse than others. It is my opinion, however, that they are far more pricy than competing products.
April 22, 2006
Posted by QBlog
This crazy video is nearly two minutes long and shows what happens when you drink too much XS Energy drink!
April 18, 2006
Posted by QBlog
In 2004 I posted about the Quixtar Platinum INDEX which gave some insight into the performance of Platinum businesses. Great information.
But do you know how many IBOs became new Platinums that year? A grand total of 997 with nearly one third of them achieving the Platinum pin in August 2004. Congratulations Quixtar Platinums!
I hope to have 2005 numbers soon but unfortunately I hear they're down a bit from 2004. Oh well, Silver's not so bad.
UPDATE: The 2005 numbers are in! 559 new North American Platinums for FY 2005 which may be different than the calendar year which is where the 997 figure for 2004 comes from.
UPDATE II: For FY 2004 there were 1,013 new Platinums. However, there were 997 for the calendar year. The Fiscal Year runs from Sept.-Aug. And while we're at it, the FY 2003 had 661 new Platinums. Here's the breakdown of new Quixtar Platinums:
- FY 2003 - 661
- FY 2004 - 1,013
- FY 2005 - 559 (according to Achieve)
April 15, 2006
Posted by QBlog
The student-run Boston University newspaper reports that "students allege scam by Quixtar." The article is actually a poorly written account of one student's experience with Quixtar. Yet despite its problems, the article succeeds in describing a student's encounter and subsequent reaction to a couple of Quixtar IBOs.
Here are some examples of how the article succeeds, fails and puzzles.
Reporter Matt Reville recounts the student's introduction to Quixtar.
Last March, Shamir Parmar, a School of Management freshman, was approached by a young woman at the Cambridgeside Galleria.
"She told me that her brother was starting up his own business and needed a college student's help," Parmar said. "She claimed this would be good work experience and would look good on my resume."
Reville makes some allegations (and errors) but fails to back them up with anything.
Staff members of the company Quixtar Inc., a marketing company facing multiple corruption allegations, have been targeting Boston University and Boston-area college students in attempts to recruit new members, according to recent reports...
... Quixtar is a predecessor and now a partner of Amway Corp., which has been charged by the federal government with making false statements to consumers and is surrounded by allegations of engaging in a pyramid money-making scheme...
What multiple corruption allegations? Who's making the allegations? What charges have been made by the "federal government?" Lot's of ambiguous "allegations" but no details.
Also, Quixtar IBOs are not staff members and Quixtar does not hire salespeople. Staff members or sales people often get health insurance, retirement benefits, a set salary or commission structure and vacation days or sick days. IBOs get none of that.
Quixtar Public Relations Specialist Leyla Kayi makes some befuddling comments (Beth, Robin are you guys paying attention?).
Kayi said once members reach a certain level in product sales, they can sponsor other people. Members then earn a commission on the sales their recruits make.
This is the first I've heard of a requirement to reach a certain level in product sales to earn the right to sponsor others. I bet the IBOAI would like to know about this.
Anyway, you should read this article just to get a glimpse of how the "curiosity approach" and the "mysterious meeting" plays on college campuses like Boston University. Conclusion — it doesn't work.
April 13, 2006
Posted by QBlog
Quixtar's "What's New in Products" page highlights an article from the Washington Post that reports on The Elusive, Edible Nutrition Bar. An article sidebar (pdf) describes the Banana Creme flavor Trim Advantage Protein Bar as "Nougat-like" tasting like candy.
However, the Mixed Berry Smoothie flavor TAPB landed in the "Not Recommended" list and received a "Too sweet" comment.
Personally, I don't care for any of the Trim Advantage bars but I also prefer to get my protein from red, bloody meat instead of a candy bar.
April 12, 2006
Posted by QBlog
Yet it's in my nature to try to learn about the things I don't understand and I believe that the best way to really understand something is to just do it. If I don't understand poetry, I write poems. If I don't understand podcasting, I start a podcast. If I don't understand MySpace, I create a MySpace page.
What I discovered is that MySpace is really just an online popularity contest. People try to impress others with the size of their friends list. During my quest for friends I saw an opportunity to befriend Quixtar Diamond Dean Kosage. And now we're both friends!
I know Dean feels so very special to be my friend.
Isn't it great how the Internets bring people together in friendship and harmony? I love the Internets!
April 11, 2006
Posted by QBlog
Someone is selling their 4,000 PV Quixtar business on eBay!
I have been in the business for over 18 years. I currently have only one leg and it's at 4000 PV. I have not touched this business in 13 years and it keeps going! I am offering the chance to take over my business. I obviously wont build it any bigger (I havent touched it in so many years!). I don't want it to go to waste, I know there is someone out there that will take this 4000 PV leap and run with it!
So, If you are a current IBO, please do not email me. This leg cannot be added to your current business. This is a chance of a lifetime for a new person to get a great start! The business currently has over 65 ACTIVE IBO's below me! I have one leg at 4000 PV, all you would have to do is to build outside of that leg to start getting the 21% payback on the outside business!
Opening bid is $500. I'm thinking of putting in a bid. I mean, my wife spent much more than $500 in Quixtar and she never broke 1,000 PV. This is a bargain!
UPDATE - April 11, 2006: As of this update there have been six bids. The highest bid is for $820. The reserve is not yet met.
UPDATE - April 15, 2006 Looks like it's up to $1,050 and the reserve has been met (after being lowered). Anyone know how much PV one could expect to earn with $1,050? I'm betting it's nowhere near 4,000 PV. Someone may be getting quite a bargain!
UPDATE - April 16, 2006 It sold for $1,050. That's a 4,000 PV downline of 65 people sold on eBay for barely over $1,000. I have a screenshot if the eBay link quits working.
March 10, 2006
Posted by QBlog
"The lady doth protest too much, methinks."
-- From Hamlet (III, ii, 239)
I'm not interested in engaging in a pissing match with Billy Florence or his son Rich who, according to the RSS feed, is the real author of the Quixtar News: Billy Florence blog. A post from March 9 claims that I have "been publicly disseminating false information about Billy Florence, Rich Florence and the Qrush blog." Such accusations are false, misleading and inaccurate. Here's why:
- The referenced post (which was never linked for context) very clearly states that I've heard unverified rumors and that I have "no way to verify the veracity" of those rumors. That's a far cry from disseminating false information. There's an entire industry of rumor sites like Think Secret and Gawker that routinely speculate and discuss various theories, opinions and rumors about related topics.
- The post mentions that I made no effort to contact Billy Florence until March 6. How does he know that? Did he ask me? Nope. He's speculating. I actually exerted a lot of effort and was unable to find any contact information for Rich Florence. So I contacted his dad instead.
- Since I made no accusations I need not offer any retractions. It's very possible that Billy Florence is lying and that he's personally running the Qrush blog. Hell, I could be running the Qrush blog. Or Rich DeVos could be behind it for all we know. We simply do not know though some of us have some guesses.
- Show me where I made a factual error and I'll correct it promptly. Did I hear rumors? Yep. Is there reader feedback on the AmQuix site calling Rich a "high school dropout?" Yep. Did I explain that the rumors could be total bullcrap? Yep. So where are the factual errors? I'm not finding them. Can you help me out?
I replied to Billy's response asking him if his son is responsible for the Billy Florence blog. I haven't heard back and don't really care if I do hear back. Like I said, I'm not interested in a pissing match. If a Quixtar Diamond wants to mislead and mischaracterize what I've done then I won't stand in his way. The record is pretty clear. No secrets here. You read both posts and make up your own mind about who's right.
And I just have to add this. What's with the Diamond fixation with apologies (see the Scott Larsen apology drama)? I never really cared for them myself. An apology is just words, I prefer actions. If you do me wrong, don't apologize, just quit doing me wrong.
What Others Are Saying
February 25, 2006
Posted by QBlog
Did you know that if you took a random sampling of 10,000 Quixtar IBOs and followed them for just five years there would only be about 400 left in that original group?
That's right. Only about 400 of a group of 10,000 will renew as Quixtar IBOs after five years.
What I'd like to know is how much money the non-renewing 9,600 spent before leaving the business. Anyone want to take an educated guess?
February 18, 2006
Posted by QBlog
Over the past month or so I've been hearing rumblings through the Quixtar grapevine that the corporation was preparing to change its long-standing retail rules. The proposed change will allow Quixtar IBOs who also own a service oriented business to sell Quixtar products within that business. I received a copy of an email, allegedly from Quixtar Diamond Terry Taylor, that seems to confirm this change.
From: Terry Taylor
Sent: Friday, February 10, 2006
Subject: March 1?
Proposed for March 1 is a new rule from Quixtar that any SERVICE ORIENTED business such as Hair salon, sports facility, etc... (not retail oriented) will be able to offer Quixtar products related to their business for sale.
For example: Hair salon can offer hair care products and skin care products that relate to their service that they offer. The owner of the business must be an IBO. So.... any service oriented business with regard to health, beauty, nutrition, and sports should be contacted to offer our products.
Increase pv and make money .....Terry
I'm told that this proposed rule change was posted on the Quixtar "What's New" page (IBOs only) for a time but now it seems to have been removed though I can't confirm that any notice was ever posted. If you recall such a notice, please let me know.
4.3. Retail Stores: No IBO shall permit the Corporation's products or services to be sold or displayed in retail establishments, including, but not limited to place like schools, fairs, PXs, ships unauthorized internet websites or military stores; nor shall he or she permit any of the Corporation's product to appear in such locations even if the products or services are not for sale. No corporate literature shall be displayed in retail establishments.
4.3.1. An IBO who works in or owns a retail store must operate his or her IB separate and apart from the retail store. Such IBOs must secure Members and Clients in the same manner as IBOs who have no connection with a retail store. Other types of retail establishments, which are not technically stores, such as barber shops, beauty shops, or professional offices, etc., likewise may not be used to display the Corporation's products, information about the Corporation's services, or literature of the Corporation. (emphasis added)
Some have speculated that the rule is being hotly debated by Quixtar leadership and the IBOAI and that's why Taylor's email describes it as a "proposed" change. I guess we'll see what happens on March 1. What do you think of the rule change? Check out what the QBlog Radio Roundtable has to say about it.
January 29, 2006
Posted by QBlog
The Cadillac News reports that inquiries at the Western Michigan Better Business Bureau were up 20% in 2005 with Multi-Level Marketing businesses like Quixtar and Amway receiving the most information requests.
According to the BBB-WMI website MLM businesses always top the list.
1. Multi-Level Marketing: Locally based Quixtar, Amway, and other direct selling organizations using multi-level sales people. Always # 1 in W. MI. Contacts UP 14%.
But what are people discovering when they receive the BBB info on Quixtar? They're reading that Quixtar has a "satisfactory record" which means that it must "properly and promptly address matters referred to it by the Bureau, and be free from an unusual volume or pattern of complaints and law enforcement action involving its marketplace conduct."
How many complaints have been filed with the Western Michigan BBB? Only 23 over the past 36 months.
The Bureau processed a total of 23 complaints about [Quixtar] in the last 36 months, our standard reporting period. Of the total 23 complaints in the last 36 months, 5 of those were closed in the last 12 months. These complaints concerned sales issues, delivery issues, service issues, product quality issues, contract issues, customer service issues and credit or billing issues. Of these complaints, 19 were closed as resolved, 4 were administratively closed.
Compare that to other well-known MLM businesses to put that data in the proper context. Over the past 36 months Avon received 54 complaints, 28 complaints for Mary Kay, just 8 for Usana Health Sciences and Melaleuca received a whopping 301 complaints.
UPDATE - Jan 30: Larsen has updated his link. Confusion hopefully averted.
UPDATE - Jan 29: It's come to my attention that Scott Larsen has stated that "Amway/Quixtar and MLM's hold top spot on Better Business Bureau worst 10 for Grand Rapids, Michigan." That's simply not the case and I hope to stop similar confusion before it gains its own momentum.
As I've already stated, the Cadillac News reports on the increase in inquiries to the BBB. The article itself is a merely poorly edited quote of the official BBB report. The confusion is believing that Quixtar is on a "ten worst" list when it's simply not on that list.
Let's take a closer look at the Cadillac News report to see if we can track down the problem. The report begins by stating:
The Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan reports that regional BBB were up 20 percent in 2005 as consumers and donors relied on BBB information more.
What does "reports that regional BBB were up" mean? That doesn't even make sense. Clearly there's a typo here right? The report goes on to mention the increase in complaints.
Complaints about regional companies within the 37 county service area increased only 5 percent in 2005...
That statement is then followed by the "Top 10 inquiries and complaints in 2005."
While that statement isn't clear, especially considering the omitted word from the first sentence, it does explain that the list consists of "inquiries and complaints." The listing then proceeds to give us 20 items. That's right, 20 items on a top ten list. Strange.
Well, not really because the list is top ten "inquiries and complaints" which means it's actually two lists — the top ten inquiries and top ten complaints. So, which list is Quixtar (and MLM) on? Well, it's admittedly tough to tell from the poor article but savvy readers can conclude that the second list, the one falling under the word "COMPLAINTS" is the complaint list.
And I've tried to make this fact clear to those who don't want to take the time to try to decipher a poorly written article.
January 7, 2006
Posted by QBlog
I recently heard that the Vice President of Marketing for Quixtar has resigned her position. The rumor is that Claire Zevalkink resigned not long after Randy Bancino, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, abruptly left Quixtar. I don't believe the two resignations are connected but it does seem to be a curious coincidence.
In related news, Quixtar reports that Rob Davidson, former Vice President of Global Business Conduct and Rules, has replaced Randy Bancino as VP of Sales & Marketing.
RUMOR UPDATE: Some are speculating that Zevalkink's resignation is connected to Bancino's resignation. It's only rumors mind you. There's also rumors that there was an illness in Zevalkink's immediate family.
December 28, 2005
Posted by QBlog
A recent research report compiled by Blast Radius ranks Quixtar.com as one of the worst e-tailers based on customer impressions and satisfaction. The report (pdf) evaluates "89 U.S.-based retailers with the highest 2004 online revenue." At the top of the list is (of course) Amazon.com and coming in at number 83 is Quixtar.com.
Earlier this month The Indianapolis Star mentioned the report listing Quixtar.com along with other "worst" e-tailers such as qvc.com, costco.com and jcpenny.com.
December 22, 2005
Posted by QBlog
There's a very interesting discussion about Quixtar happening on the insanely popular MetaFilter community site.
Tonight at 7:00pm I had representatives of Quixtar come into my home. Should I join or not? Apparently by being an Independent Business Owner (IBO), I can make tons of money just through referrals. As a poor college student, this sounds enticing.
If you are not familiar with Quixtar, they are doing what Amway used to do. I am skeptical of their claims, however, I am looking to see what everyone on askmefi thinks. It never hurts to get a second opinion and besides this hasn't been addressed on askmefi yet.
The pitch went something along the lines of "this is not a pyramid scheme" and "all you are doing is refering people to a virtual mall."
The comments range from insightful to hilarious. Here are a few selected comments pulled from the discussion:
Signing up with these guys is a good way to lose friends. Most people *hate* being given a sales pitch by the people they're close to. You'd be putting them into an awkward position.
The only way MLM can work is if you'd actually make money selling the product even if it wasn't MLM. If you sign people up who want to make money by just signing people up who want to make money just by signing people up, etc., etc., then nobody's selling anything. For you to make money, someone somewhere has to actually start selling the product.
I wouldn't touch MLM with a long pole, but that doesn't mean it's completely worthless. Some people do actually make money. Others learn to stay focused, set goals and maybe even derive some benefit from all that self-help product that gets moved. In any case, there's no harm in keeping an open mind. Networking is probably more sociologically beneficial than sitting at your computer at night posting snarky comments to MeFi.
I have a co-worker who's into it, and he has given the pitch to just about everyone. Nobody can stand him.
Compared to actually getting a job and earning a wage (rather than victimizing people with your "products") MLM is useless, and is a drain on our society.
If you're not a MeFi member (everyone calls MetaFilter "MeFi" and it's pronounced "Mee Figh" which rhymes with "knee thigh") I'd encourage you to join and add your own comments to the discussion. If you're not familiar with MeFi it's basically a blog that anyone can contribute a link or a comment to. There's even a Wikipedia entry on MeFi.
December 18, 2005
Posted by QBlog
As Quixtar wraps up its Achievers event in Dallas the hometown newspaper in Grand Rapids, Michigan reports of "tool trouble" within the business. Reporter Rob Kirkbride of The Grand Rapids Press reveals that there's much more to Quixtar than selling soap, makeup, energy drinks and water-treatment equipment.
Commonly called "tools" in the Quixtar world, most of these items are created by IBOs at the highest levels. They are designed to keep people selling and to recruit others into the business.
Critics claim the "kingpin" distributors make more money off the tapes, meetings and books than selling Quixtar products. They also complain that lower-level salespeople fork over a lot of hard-earned money for the materials.
Profits from those materials are at the core of a lawsuit in Missouri that has ensnared Quixtar and several large distributors.
It's really a thorough article that provides quotes from the Quixtar faithful as well as critics like Eric Scheibeler. And unlike the Dateline NBC investigation Quixtar actually goes on the record, responding to some of the concerns about tool businesses like Orrin Woodward's TEAM.
Quixtar acknowledges problems with the tools business.
Managing Director Jim Payne said Amway co-founder Rich DeVos left a long legacy as a motivator.
"When you look back at the history of the company, motivation and training have always been important elements of the business," he said.
"As we grew, we made mistakes with it," he said. "The last four to five years, we've done a much better job and set up safeguards to protect IBOs."
The company — part of Ada-based Alticor — is working to create "transparency" so new IBOs know what to expect and what the rules are, Payne said.
It's good to see some quality reporting about Quixtar from the hometown daily paper.
December 9, 2005
Posted by QBlog
If you have internet access at work, there's a very good chance your employer has a system in place to monitor your online activities.
So, if you're concerned about privacy, take heed. Under current U.S. law, there's little you can do to protect the confidentiality of your internet use on the job. Here's a rundown of the rights you don't have at work.
In fact David Ellyatt, who recently resigned his position as Quixtar's Web Marketing Manager, posted some similar warnings on his blog just last month.
There has been a lot of discussion at Quixtar over the last couple of weeks as to what is ethical or legal to do on work time, or when using a Quixtar owned laptop outside of work time.
The message is clear — when you're at work assume that your every electronic move is being monitored and logged. Keep your nose clean and to the grindstone and you'll be just fine.
Posted by QBlog
Brand association is a classic marketing strategy. A company highlights the celebrities and respected organizations that it does business with hoping that such associations will be viewed as a type of endorsement. It's a very effective tactic and Quixtar is one of many corporations that have almost perfected its use.
However, the reality is that such associations often don't mean much. If Alan Greenspan eats lunch at Wendy's every week, does that mean you should buy Wendy's stock? Probably not. Yet it's not uncommon for Quixtar IBOs to characterize Quixtar's business associations as endorsements.
Scott Larsen has compiled an intriguing examination of this marketing strategy and basically shot it full of holes. Turns out Quixtar did business with Enron and MCI Worldcom, perpetrators of some of the largest corporate scandals in U.S. history. Nice.
The lesson here is simple. Businesses do business with other businesses all the time. That doesn't represent an endorsement. It just means they're doing business and the bills are getting paid. Sure, sometimes it can mean more than that but in most cases it means virtually nothing.
December 2, 2005
Posted by QBlog
Google Book Search is pretty darn cool. If you haven't tried it, I recommend poking around to see what you can find.
This is where I would like to stop and give you a little sales pitch on the wonderful world of Amway. Actually they are called Quixtar. You can go to their website and order many quality products. No, I don't mean selling soap and vitamins, but using the concept that is used in the "business" to write comedy.
The Quixtar (another plug for them) approach to writing a joke is the same way an IBO explains how you will make money. You take a circle and you get three circles under the first circle and the circles under that get three more circles and son and so on.
You want to be the circle at the top. If it is viewed in a certain way it might, I am saying might, look like a pyramid. Now how does that apply to writing a joke?
Hentzell goes on to explain the process of thinking broad and narrowing it down. Think of a car. Then a Nissan. Then list three types of Nissans. Then think of three characteristics of one of those types, etc.
The aspect of this that intrigues me is how Quixtar is slowly entering our lexicon and how that entry is inextricably tied to Amway.
Posted by QBlog
Is Quixtar an Order Consolidation Site or is it a Multi-Level Marketing business opportunity? You decide.
November 29, 2005
Posted by QBlog
So, I see this Google Ad yesterday and I'm thinking, "Oh goodness, what's this?" And I clicked the ad and made an amazing discovery! My suspicions were correct. Quixtar is a Conspiracy. ;o)
From the Hot MLM Secrets website:
Your Suspicions Are Correct... It Is A Conspiracy...
Top Leaders In Quixtar Are Concealing The Secrets They Use To Explode Their Businesses...
A top secret military security clearance never prepared Tim Thomas for the ultra-secret world of Network Marketing. Who knew that MLM was full of ninjas?
UPDATE: It appears that the QBlog Curse has struck again. The Hot MLM Secrets site is down and now this post doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It needs context and without the linked site, it lacks that context.
However, the Google Ad is still running so maybe it's just a temporary glitch.
UPDATE 2: Looks like it was a glitch. Site seems to be back up.
November 27, 2005
Posted by QBlog
Earlier this month Quixtar reported sales of $1.058 billion for the 2005 fiscal year. A truly impressive figure.
However, last year Quixtar reported sales of $1.1 billion for the 2004 fiscal year. If my math is correct (and it may not be) that means Quixtar's sales dropped about $42 million this year.
The Grand Rapids Press reports that this year's sales drop is the first such decline in Quixtar's six-year history. A new record!
Quixtar reported a drop in sales for the first time in its six-year history.
Sales at Alticor Inc.'s Web-based division fell about 3 percent to $1.06 billion, according to the company.
Bonuses and incentives paid to the company's army of dealers, known as independent business owners or IBOs, also dropped.
And while Internet Retailer gives a somewhat confusing report on Quixtar's sales, the article still concludes that sales are less than stellar.
Quixtar Inc. is reporting essentially flat web sales for its 2005 fiscal year. In 2005, the web generated sales of $753 million, up less than 1% from sales of $748 million in fiscal 2004, the company says.
No matter how you look at it Quixtar's sales are down at the same time that Alticor (Quixtar's parent company) is reporting its sixth straight year of sales growth. I think I know why Ken McDonald is on Beaver Island instead of in Ada, Michigan.
October 16, 2005
Posted by QBlog
Did you know that Jody Victor hates ThisBizNow. Can you guess why?
October 2, 2005
Posted by QBlog
UPDATE: Apparently DeVos also registered devosforsenate.com at about the same time he registered devosforpresident.com and devosforgovernor.com.
UPDATE II: Shortly after I published this post the Whois information was changed. The original Whois data showed the organization address as 126 Ottawa Ave, Grand Rapids, MI, 49503. The revised data is of a private, proxy registration. Any ideas why it was important to change this data?
September 18, 2005
Posted by QBlog
Recently I discovered the true identity of the Quixtar Employee that runs the infrequently updated blog, Blinded By Scion!!! I feel so giddy with excitement that I could pee myself. Whoops too late. I feel like Sherlock Holmes on a three day caffeine and Twinky binge...
...The creater of Blinded By Scion is none other that David Prescott, Sr. Digital Art Director from the renowned Communications Department of Quixtar
I know exactly how Prescott feels. I ruined two good pairs of pants when I discovered that Robin Luymes and Beth Dornan were running blogs. That's what happens when a sedentary bladder experiences too much excitement.
September 1, 2005
Posted by QBlog
I recently posted about the value of Quixtar's SA8 Laundry Detergent. The post was based on test results from a 2004 issue of Consumer Reports. Tonight a site visitor sent me photos of "Laundry detergents — Washday winners" from the October 2005 issue of Consumer Reports. Here are the test results:
- Quixtar SA8 is now ranked 17th out of 29
- SA8 is much cheaper (by $.22) per load than the previous report
- SA8 has poorer rating (fair and good) than previously
- There are now 15 detergents more expensive than SA8
- It is one of 9 detergents to get an "excellent" in cleaning
- SA8 was not rated a "Best Buy" in Consumer Reports
I should point out that this report (unlike the scans of the previous report) were sent to me as photographs snapped with a digital camera. Because of the poor, inconsistent quality I had to stitch together parts of several photos to provide something resembling a complete report. I assure you, this is an accurate representation of the data in the report even though it's been PhotoShopped to hell.
Honestly, SA8 fares much better in this report than it did previously. It's still not perfect but its low-price helps offset some quality concerns, at least in my opinion. This leads me to wonder about what was tested.
In the first test I posted about, Consumer Reports rated SA8 with Bioquest. This more recent report rates SA8 with Bioquest HE (for High-Efficiency). Is there a difference? I can't find any products called "SA8 with Bioquest HE" at Quixtar.com. So, what accounts for the $.22 drop in price?
Does It Have Value?
I'm not sure why the two test are so different and it does concern me that there's that much variation between two similar tests. However, the real question that should be asked, of any product, is whether or not its price reflects its true value. Is SA8 a good value? This recent report suggest that maybe it is a good value, considering the price per load. Could it compete in the open market at that price? Maybe. Maybe not. There's only one way to find out.
August 30, 2005
Posted by QBlog
Many question the value of Quixtar products. That's understandable because, as my wife discovered when she was an IBO, many of the products are more expensive than similar items available at other retail outlets. However, IBOs explain that the premium quality of Quixtar's products more than justifies such price disparities. Of course, those IBOs also earn PV/BV from each purchase which could distort their perception of quality and value.
So, who should determine a product's value? Well, Consumer Reports is the leader in unbiased, independent product ratings and comparisons. The mission of Consumer Reports is to "work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves."
A reader recently sent me a copy of an undated Consumer Reports guide titled — The best of Consumer Reports - Vol. 2, Issue 1. The report rates 24 laundry soaps to "tell you which clean and brighten for much less."
The results are dismal for SA8, Quixtar's Sweet 16 detergent. At a stunning $.42 per load it's the most expensive detergent yet ranks 14 out of 19 tested for normal washers. While all of its ratings were favorable, the best value (Kirkland Signature 38722) had even higher ratings but cost a mere $.11 per load.
The Open Market
While the value of Quixtar products is indeed partially subjective, it's clear that at least one product (SA8) falls short when competing on the open market. I wonder how many other Quixtar products fail to measure up?
August 25, 2005
Posted by QBlog
Last January a man known only as "Jonas' Dad" burst onto the Quixtar blogging scene angrily proclaiming that Quixtar had ruined his marriage. His blog, titled "Quixtar Criminals," detailed his struggles to gain custody of his newborn son, Jonas. The man describes his IBO wife as something short of a promiscuous, Quixtar-crazed lunatic.
Initially I was dubious about the legitimacy of Jonas' Dad's claims but over time I came to realize that his blog was no sham and simply the emotionally-charged expressions of a frustrated father.
In July those frustrations reached a kind of resolution as the father's divorce was finalized and he was granted full custody of his son. The judge's comments in the ruling are worth noting on this blog because they mention Quixtar and how the mother's involvement as an IBO affected her ability to provide for her son.
From pages two and three of the ruling the judge says the following:
9. The Court finds the Defendant has been involved with various men since separation from her husband and the initial trial date, and finds its not in the child's best interest to be in her primary care. The Court also finds thatt the Defendant has financial problems and finds that she often chooses to use her limited resources for Quixtar.
The Court finds that her net income is not sufficient to maintain stability. The court further finds that the Defendants employer is dissatisfied with her Quixtar involvement. The court is concerned that she chose a Quixtar event to attend, over an emmployment event to attend.
Further, the Court is concerned for the relationship that the Defendant would allow the minor child to have with the Plaintiff if she were to have custody.
The complete ruling is available for download (pdf).
What's astonishing to me about this sad story is that the father was granted complete custody of his son. That's very rare. Great deference is usually given to the mother, especially for infants.
Of course there's probably a lot more to this story than what we read on the Quixtar Criminals blog but it's interesting that the mother's involvement with Quixtar didn't help her case.
August 24, 2005
Posted by QBlog
Last year, around the time Quixtar underwent a site redesign, Alticor quietly launched something called Blu Sphere. I say "quietly" because I'd never heard of it until the president of Passport (an MLM business), Ty Tribble, posted about it on his MLM Blog earlier this month. Did you know about Blu Sphere?
What's weird is that Blu Sphere is owned by Alticor yet Quixtar leaders like Fred Harteis promote it as a Quixtar partner store.
In our continuing quest to offer the widest selection of products for the entire family, we are pleased to announce the launch of the newest Quixtar Partner Store: Blu Sphere. Blu Sphere offers unique, must-have items that help teen guys and girls express themselves in healthy, life-affirming ways.
Additionally, an online marketing site called Peersuasion describes Blu Sphere as "an Alticor-owned company and a Quixtar Preferred Partner Store."
So, it's a preferred partner store that's also owned by Quixtar's parent company, Alticor. That would make Quixtar and Blu Sphere sister companies right? Kinda like Amway and Quixtar are supposed to be sister companies. But can a sister company also be a partner store? I need a genealogist to make sense of this.
Here are a few curious discoveries I've made about Blu Sphere, Quixtar and Alticor:
- The word "Quixtar" appears on the Blu Sphere site only once — on a page that isn't easily accessed through normal site navigation
- The name "Blu Sphere" doesn't seem to appear on the Alticor website even though it's owned by Alticor
- I can't find a single press release announcing the launch of Blu Sphere
- Blu Sphere is only mentioned at Quixtar.com as a "partner store"
- The Blu Sphere site is structured more like Eddie Bauer and less like Quixtar.com
- Instead of PV/BV, Blu Sphere uses a point system similar to American Express Rewards and frequent flyer miles
I'm guessing that Quixtar, Alticor and Blu Sphere don't want the general public, and especially IBOs, to realize the real relationship between the companies. I may be wrong but it seems like Blu Sphere might be viewed as a threat by some IBOs who scramble for their PV each month. Or maybe Blu Sphere is just a trial balloon? Alticor could be testing the MLM-free waters to see what might happen. Tribble at MLM Blog seems to think that Quixtar is trying to cut IBOs out of the loop. What do you think?
For those who are wondering, Blu Sphere offers name-brand products. It doesn't look like Access Business Group or any Altico owned property manufactures any of the products listed. To Quixtar IBOs Blu Sphere is pretty much like a Store For More except its owned by Alticor.
Update From Alleged Quixtar Insider
This is a repeat of an attached comment left by an individual using the moniker "SeeSpray." I can't verify the accuracy of the information so take it for what it's worth. However, it sounds credible. I've made some minor edits to correct grammar, spelling and provide emphasis where appropriate.
Qblog asked the question — Did you know about Blu Sphere?
The answer to that is yes — and I was on the development team for this project.
'Inheriter,' (in a comment on this post) was dead on with the goal of this project. it was developed in the now dissected 'Pyxis' innovations division of Alticor. The project was not projected to make money (and does NOT, even far less revenue than projected), it was simply targeted to get the youth acquainted with 'sponsoring' and being rewarded for doing so.
IBO leadership DEMANDED this project. It was unveiled in HI 2.5 years ago, and the base for catalog receipients was a website designed prior to the launch that collected teen names matched to IBO numbers.
This was/is not in ANYWAY to 'cut the IBO', just the opposite actually — the intention is to recruit at a young age.
Again folks, this project makes NO - NO - NO money for Alticor. They are hoping for the payoff long term. All market research said it will not succeed but you try telling that to the folks that run Alticor — the leadership IBOs!
The Alticor executives are wimps, and actually gave in and shut down Esolis (another partner store that was catalog-based that targeted Asian Americans in the skin care category — hello! — we used the same formulas developed for Japan). Esolis started to get interest from retail stores (even though executives mandated the Esolis staff COULD NOT pursue this avenue) so IBOs forced it to be closed down one year after launch as it was not 'recruiting asian american IBOs.'
Literally millions and millions of dollars were poured into deveoping new businesses for Alticor — not geared toward MLM via Pyxis. The best and the brightest were put into Pyxis, and SEVERAL viable businesses were developed. None went forward because executives were scared of pissing off the leadership. Actually Jim Payne stopped most of them (can you say 'reward'??).
And before any of the 'pro-Amway' folks get freaked out by the truth I tell, Dave Van Andel was sick of it, so he broke off with half of the Pyxis staff and started IdeaSphere. The business has gone nowhere due to his conflict of interest still being on Alticor Board Of Directors.
Also, not moving the diversification of Alticor forward was the REAL reason Dick DeVos left. Dick broke the company apart to make it profitible, but was constantly frustrated that he could not get support for Pyxis.
What I find most interesting about SeeSpray's comments is that the IBO leadership is calling the shots, not the Quixtar, or even Alticor, executives. This is consistent with what I've learned over the past couple of years about how this business operates.
August 23, 2005
Posted by QBlog
Quixtar launched a much-needed redesign of its website last September. And while the revised Quixtar.com, codenamed RedStar, was a vast improvement over its outdated predecessor, I believe that the site could still benefit from some modifications and enhancements nearly a year after the initial launch of Quixtar 2.0.
I'm proposing improvements to the Quixtar.com homepage that will build upon the existing design. My proposal isn't a redesign but more like an upgrade. Think Quixtar 2.1 instead of Quixtar 3.0.
Additionally, all the suggestions in my proposal were included with the idea that each could be utilized by Quixtar right now. Everything fits snugly within Quixtar's rules and fully complies with FTC regulations. Some elements could be live on the site tomorrow while others may require a full development cycle. But make no mistake, all suggested improvements could be used by Quixtar if its leadership chose to act on them.
Why am I doing this? Honestly, I'm just trying to help. I don't want recognition or compensation if Quixtar decides to use any of my suggestions. I just want to see the site improve to better serve IBOs, new recruits and curious web surfers.
I also hope that my upgrade proposal will get your creative juices flowing and inspire you to think of other ways to make the site better, especially if you're an IBO.
The Upgrade is shown below in a small version that you can enlarge to actual size by clicking on the graphic. If you use Internet Explorer, or some browser that automatically resizes images, you may need to mouse-over the image to be sure it's full size.
I've listed each of my suggested improvements below. Be sure to add your own suggestions and ideas.
- IBO Discussion Forum for IBOs to share ideas, concerns and successes
- Message center for improved communications
- Alert! box for Quixtar to quickly communicate a variety of very important and timely messages
- Cost of becoming an IBO very clearly displayed which could link to a more detailed explanation
- Find the number of IBOs in your area to view a total of active IBOs within a 50-mile radius of your zip code
- Quixtar 411 with links to detailed descriptions of "average income," "top achievers," "system tools" and "rules & laws"
- Remove a lot of unnecessary cruft
- Four-step explanation of how the business should work
Of course, much of this is open to interpretation. The question that you should be asking is "why won't Quixtar implement some of these ideas?"
Concept inspired by Wired Magazine's popular "Found - Artifacts from the future" series.
August 19, 2005
Posted by QBlog
According to the IBOAI website Quixtar.com is simply an Order Consolodation Site (OCS).
IBOs are Independent Business Owners, entrepreneurs who own and run their own businesses to achieve financial success. Quixtar.com is an OCS (Order Consolidation Site) that contracts with IBOs to provide access to products and services from which they can earn income and help other IBOs be successful, too.
Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't every IBO a Quixtar IBO and don't their bonus checks come from Quixtar? And aren't IBOs bound by the Business Reference Guide (pdf) and a horde of rules and regulations? Doesn't this very page on the IBOAI website violate some sort of Quixtar rule about how the business should be publicly characterized?
And if you read further, the IBOAI explains Quixtar's function thusly:
The OCS contracts with each IBO and provides:
- signed agreements with Merchant Partners and exclusive brands
- outstanding technology for the order and delivery of products and services
- administration of the IBO Compensation Plan
The IBOAI seems to be determined to diminish Quixtar's role in the lives of the IBOs. Sounds eerily similar to what Ed Postma described over 20 years ago.
I wonder if the FTC would be interested in this page from the IBOAI? I'll send them an email just to find out. I also wonder if the page will remain unchanged or if we'll see some rapid revisions after this post. Don't worry, I have source grabs and screen shots and Google will probably cache it over the weekend.
Thanks to Quixtar Team for the link
August 18, 2005
Posted by QBlog
An Alticor insider, who wishes to remain anonymous, has revealed that Quixtar is planning to be the exclusive distributor for Kabbalah Energy Drink.
"Quixtar is seeking to capitalize on the extreme popularity of energy beverages," said the unnamed Quixtar official. "XS quickly surpassed our expectations but, as the market becomes more competitive, we're seeing a decline from our initial growth. Now Quixtar is expanding into the Jewish sector with the Kabbalah Energy Drink."
Some speculate that such a move is part of a larger strategy to sign up more Jewish IBOs. Quixtar is primarily comprised of Christian IBOs with a growing number of Muslims and Hindus.
"Reaching out to the Jews makes sense for a company like Quixtar," said Ben Goldberg, director of Jewish Studies International. "Our organization has been working with Quixtar to develop Jew-friendly products that will appeal to the Orthodox population."
Goldberg says that kosher versions of meal replacement bars and Critic's Choice products should be on the market by Hanukkah.
The above parody brought to you by the indomitable QBlog Productions
August 10, 2005
Posted by QBlog
Former Quixtar (and Amway) Diamond Don J. Lorencz has published a web page explaining that he left Quixtar "because of the dishonesty in the business."
Lorencz encourages readers to ask questions about Quixtar and demand answers about the status of upline Diamonds, where the tool money goes and how much is regularly generated.
...if one of 'your leaders' that are professing to be making all of this money, lifestyle, toys etc are claiming what I am saying here is not true, it is very, very simple to find out the truth.
Just ask them to show you their income statements directly from Amway/Quixtar for the last year and also their tax returns to Revenue Canada or the IRS last year showing their 'total' income for the year. If they won't show you these figures, wouldn't you think the truth is obvious?
Lorencz also makes some startling revelations about his personal Diamond income claiming that he earned less than one third of an Air Canada pilot's salary the year he qualified Diamond.
What does an Air Canada pilot earn? According to the Air Canada Pilots Association (pdf) the "current average annual salary for an Air Canada pilot is about $128,000." That's Canadian Dollars. Convert those dollars to U.S. and the salary is cut to roughly $105,500. One third of that total is approximately $35,200.
So, according to Lorencz, some qualifying Diamonds are making less than the annual U.S. household average of $47,101. Are his numbers right? Wrong? Is Lorencz lying or was his Diamondship simply the exception to the rule? He also claims that over 80% of the money he was paid came from the the motivational business, not Quixtar.
I don't know Don J. Lorencz. Never spoken to him, exchanged emails or even heard of him before I saw his new web page. He may be a saint or a scoundrel, I really couldn't say. However, much of what he says is consistent with the information and testimony I've encountered over the past few years of studying, researching and investigating Quixtar.
August 7, 2005
Posted by QBlog
An interview with Eric Scheibeler was recently published in a Turkish Magazine. If you know Turkish then check out the article and let me know what it says. I'm curious to find out if there's any mention of Turkish Baths or Turkish Prisons.
July 21, 2005
Posted by Not QBlog
I came across this blog today and it got me wondering: Is this the face of the "new" Quixtar IBO? Or is it a fairly typical portrait? Two people who are very young, in love, excited about life -- and excited about where Quixtar is going to take them.
July 12, 2005
Posted by QBlog
Last week I pointed out a couple of minor usability issues at Quixtar.com. I'm happy to report that Quixtar has completely corrected those issues.
Now when I go to the beverages page the Kahveccino promotional graphic links to a page selling Kahveccino instead of an error page. Also, clicking the Kahve Coffee link pulls up the same product page, with both flavors of Kahveccino listed at the top.
Thanks for listening Quixtar. I'm working on some more suggestions on how to improve the Quixtar.com experience. Stay tuned!
June 24, 2005
Posted by QBlog
How much has Quixtar Revenue grown since 2000? How does the Bonus and Incentive payout compare to that revenue trend? Here's a helpful graph that puts it in black and white... or blue and purple and black.
June 22, 2005
Posted by QBlog
PROLOGUE: I began writing the following post last night and finished it today during my lunch break. I ate at a "cyber cafe" and was able to publish while eating a tasty ham & cheese on rye. I mention this to explain that after the post went live, I immediately knew that I needed to revise it, add some more content and correct a few grammar errors. Now I've done all that and hope the effort has improved the post.
So who's making money in Quixtar? Are you making money? According to the Quixtar Average Income most IBOs aren't making any money after taxes and business expenses.
However, the Quixtar Newsroom reports that IBOs earned more than $373 million in bonuses and incentives last year. That's an impressive amount and I applaud Quixtar for moving roughly 34% of earned revenue back to its distributor force.
But let's examine that $373 million a little more closely, shall we?
Excluding money from motivational businesses (tool money) there are two ways an IBO can earn income from Quixtar:
- Bonuses and incentives ($373 million earned last year)
- Selling products at a markup (nobody knows how much was earned)
Why exclude tool money? Because the Quixtar opportunity is almost always presented as a source of residual income independent of any motivational money (with a few noted exceptions). Additionally, the tool money isn't "guaranteed money."
We know that IBOs earned $373 million last year in bonuses and incentives but how much did they earn from marking up products sold to customers? That's the mystery number and honestly there's no way to know. Anecdotally most IBOs I've contacted do not earn significant income from retail sales. If they do sell products, they often sell them at cost to boost their PV/BV.
Ok. Are you ready kids? Let's crunch some numbers! We begin with the $373 million paid out to IBOs last year. We're going to get "hypothetical" here so put on those thinking caps.
Out of $373 million, which is BEFORE taxes and expenses:
- 3,730 people could earn $100,000
- 7,460 could earn $50,000
- 74,600 could earn $5,000
Again, all that money is PRE-TAX and PRE-EXPENSES. And when you calculate the large bonus checks paid to people like Dexter Yager and Jody Victor that pool of $373 million shrinks significantly.
There's also another factor to consider. How do all the old-timers get paid? Those who worked "the biz" years ago but got out for one reason or another yet still continue to receive bonus money each year. Their Quixtar income is paid from that same $373 million pool. How many are there? 500? 1,000? 10,000?
How much do they earn, on average, considering that many of them built the business to a level that would ostensibly provide them with residual income? $5,000? $10,000? $50,000?
I'll pull a number out of the air and crunch it to see what happens. Let's say there are 2,000 "retired" IBOs who still receive a significant bonus check from Quixtar. How much is that annual check, on average? Let's say it's $40,000. That's significant, right? That comes to $80 million. Subtract $80 million from $373 million and you're left with $293 million. The bonus pool is draining.
The reality is that people are making money in Quixtar, but not many. Quixtar's own numbers demonstrate that fewer than 4,000 IBOs are even able to earn $100,000 each year.
Just sit and think about this for a minute.
Think about the fact that the business is marketed as a method to create residual income, income that can be passed down to your children.
Think about the fact that fewer than 8,000 people are able to earn a "living wage" (assuming $50,000 per year is a living wage) by working Quixtar without even calculating the cut distributed to the "retired" IBOs or taxes or business expenses.
Think of how many people are currently working Quixtar full-time as their only source of income? Right now, as you read this, fewer than 5,000 IBOs are earning $75,000 a year from Quixtar. It may even be as few as 1,000. And again, that's before taxes and business expenses.
Think about how many IBOs are in your Line of Sponsorship. How many of them are "retired" and how many have quit their J-O-B? How much money are they earning from Quixtar?
Think about taxes. Did you know a 30% tax on $373 million leaves you with $261.1 million? And that's with Uncle Sam being overly generous. The IRS usually wants a bit more than 30% of your income.
Don't think this is about the "odds." This isn't about beating the odds or losing to the odds or personal achievement or anything like that. This is about reality.
The reality is that there simply isn't enough money paid out by Quixtar to support the image that's presented by so many IBOs. The reality is that this business works like it's consistently marketed to work ONLY when tool money is added into the equation.
How much money is made from the tools? Nobody knows. Those numbers will never be released without a court order.
June 15, 2005
Posted by QBlog
Pssst. Quixtar IBOs. Pass this on but don't say where you heard it ok?
Wal-Mart is the new Proctor & Gamble.
June 12, 2005
Posted by QBlog
Check out this Quixtar Flash Presentation of March 2005 Kick Start Winners Nate and Amanda Giles. Looks pretty damn fun. Be sure to watch the video.
This is awesome. This is crazy. This is cool.
This is just a question, not in any way intended as a criticism, but why didn't they take their 20-month-old daughter on the trip with them? Are Kick Start winners prohibited from bringing their children? Just asking to no one in particular.
NOTE: For some reason you may need to click the link twice. If it doesn't load, hit your browser's "back" button and then click the link again. Seems to work after that.
June 8, 2005
Posted by QBlog
In four sections I will describe my experience with Quixtar over Memorial Day weekend, my concerns with the business, how I identify a Quixtar representative, and links for further reading. I explain why I declined to be recruited and why you should also be careful.
After reading Ivy's tale I concluded that he's one shrewd dude. It's amazing that he's not an active participant in the ongoing Quixtar debate but has skillfully described some of the key issues facing Quixtar. Here are a few selected excerpts:
When you tell the truth, you don't care if someone investigates your claims because further research will only strengthen your position...
The salesman invited me to do my own "research", but he warned me against "bad research" like keyword searches on the Internet...
The marketing material largely ignores the retail aspect of the organization...
The social circle of a Quixtar or Amway representative quickly dwindles to include only other representatives...
Success is attributed to the organization, but failure is attributed to personal weakness...
That last excerpt is simply profound. Why haven't I thought of it like that before? It's neat how a fresh take on something can reveal things that were previously difficult to see.
June 7, 2005
Posted by QBlog
There's absolutely nothing wrong with pointing out the flaws of a particular business. It's an American birthright, a tradition upheld by the likes of Upton Sinclair and Ralph Nader. There's no shame in criticizing that which deserves criticism.
However, it's become painfully obvious that some Quixtar critics prefer to behave like mean-spirited bullies launching verbal assaults against everything related to "the business." And those attacks sometimes develop into lengthy tirades of incivility.
A friend recently asked me if "something snaps in people when they are too negative about Quixtar for too long?" It's possible. I've seen people descend into a black hole of negativity, unable or unwilling to climb out. They refuse to recognize the positive in anything and become blinded to reality. They view the Quixtar debate as divided into two camps — friends and foes. Black and white. Good and bad.
Such behavior is unfortunate. I wish it would stop, but know that it probably won't. There will always be a few Quixtar critics who are determined to plunge any Quixtar discussion into an old-fashioned pissing match rife with name calling and stereotypes.
As I'm writing this I honestly don't have anyone specific in mind, I just notice that lately some of the dialogue has become more acrimonious. And that tone seems to work against the goals of Quixtar critics. Just like yesterday's Reader Mail only serves to strengthen my resolve, bitter attacks by Quixtar critics only strengthens the resolve of devoted IBOs. See how that works?
Am I asking that critics withhold deserved criticism? No, just that they try to keep this debate from becoming personal.
May 18, 2005
Posted by QBlog
If I understand correctly, Quixtar is without an official slogan. Companies often use slogans to market their product or service and to promote a specific brand idea. The current Coca-Cola slogan is "make it real," McDonald's uses "i'm lovin' it" and the famous General Electric slogan - "We bring good things to life" - has been replaced with "imagination at work."
However, Quixtar doesn't have a slogan and I think it would be rather sporting if we tried to come up with a suitable slogan for them to use. The slogan should be short and memorable.
I'll select the best suggestions and send them to the Quixtar Marketing Command Center for evaluation.
May 12, 2005
Posted by QBlog
Let's play a game. Put on your imagination caps and pretend that you're on an airplane flying nonstop from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles. Sitting next to you is an elderly gentleman nursing a gin and tonic while he stares thoughtfully at a copy of The Washington Post. He looks familiar but you can't quite connect his face to a name.
Is he a Senator? An actor? A famous lobbyist? Wait, that's the Watergate guy. You're sitting next to Bob Woodward.
But before you get a chance to introduce yourself he turns to you and says wryly, "You got any interesting stories?"
Stunned by his directness you begin to tell him about the hilarious tractor incident with Aunt Martha but he interrupts, "I'm looking for a story that really grabs people, a story that hasn't ever been told properly but one that every American can relate to in some way or another. You know what I mean?"
Suddenly the only thing that comes to your mind is Quixtar! That's a story! A big story. A story that everyone needs to hear. But how can you tell Bob your Quixtar Story and make him understand its significance? Also, you've heard that journalists have short attention spans so you know you need to make your story brief. What do you say? How do you tell Bob Woodward your Quixtar Story in less than three paragraphs? Post a comment and give it a try.
May 5, 2005
Posted by QBlog
Evelyn Pringle is apparently a columnist for Independent Media TV, an alternative news site that publishes the stories that Main Stream Media misses or ignores. She recently (Dec. '04 and Jan. '05) wrote a series of articles about Amway and Quixtar.
A lot, but not all, of the information in her report comes from Eric Scheibeler and his whistleblower book, Merchants of Deception. Other material is derived from court records, testimonials and extensive Internet research. Unfortunately, the agenda-driven tone of the articles detracts from their impact and effictiveness.
The articles can be found (among other places) on a "'fiercely independent' press release driven Internet news" site based in New Zealand. While Scoop isn't the only site carrying the report, it's well designed and its appearance is superior to the other "independent news" sources reporting Pringle's articles.
Former Amway insider, Eric Scheibeler, has written a must read new book called ''Merchants Of Deception''. This one time member of the Amway motivational cult has turned whistleblower and FBI witness and boy does he have some tales to tell.
For decades, Amway has used its political clout within the extreme Right Wing of the Republican party to gain access to foreign markets, obtain special tax breaks, and most importantly, to retain immunity from prosecution for pyramid scheme fraud. The giant MLM is able to generates funds all over the globe, simply by using some of those funds to buy protection against regulation and oversight.
Apparently, the IRS has decided that Amway distributors are having too much fun listening to tapes, reading books, and attending the same training seminars year after year after year. In July, 2004, the United States Tax Court issued a ruling that barred 2 distributors from claiming business related tax deductions for the cost of these items.
The paperwork involved in the endless stream of lawsuits filed against Amway and its Kingpin distributors over the past 2 decades would probably fill a 10 story office building. The complaints and discovery documents filed in these actions, which Amway has fought so hard to keep hidden, outline 20 years of fraud perpetrated on millions of unwitting and vulnerable recruits all over the world.
Professor G Robert Blakey was retained as an expert witness in the 1998 Procter & Gamble v Amway lawsuit to issue an opinion on Amway's business practices. Blakey is one of the nation's foremost authorities on organized crime and after studying its business structure and functions, Blakey determined that the Amway business is run in a manner that is parallel to the businesses run by members of organized crime, "consisting of associated enterprises engaging in patterns of legal and illegal activity.
So go check out those articles, see what you like or don't like about them. There's some really interesting stuff in there even if it's a bit slanted (Pringle is obviously not a fan of the Republican party).
April 29, 2005
Posted by QBlog
...serves as Executive Vice President and is responsible for Alticor direct selling markets in North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, India and Latin America.
Alticor's direct-selling subsidiary in North America is Quixtar, Inc.; other affiliate markets are part of Amway Corporation.
Before being named to his current position in April 2005, Payne was Senior Vice President of Amway, responsible for numerous international affiliates. From 1999 through 2000, Payne served as President & Representative Director of Amway Japan Ltd., and still serves on the Board of Directors for that affiliate. Since 1980, his Alticor career has taken him around the world with progressively more responsible positions, including Director and then Vice President of New Market Development, in which he was responsible for expanding Amway markets worldwide. Payne also served as General Manager of Amway Germany, Regional Manager for the Poland and Switzerland affiliates, and Managing Director of Amway Thailand... (more)
REVISED WITH BETTER INFO - It looks like Alticor has eliminated Ken McDonald's old position (Quixtar Managing Director) and given the new Quixtar leader much more responsibility. The only thing he doesn't control is Asia (yes, I know India is in Asia but it is the subcontinent).
What could this significant change in leadership mean for the future of Quixtar? I don't know really but it seems that Alticor is attempting to give Quixtar a more global strategy. Or not. What do you think? Also, do you really think Ken McDonald wanted to retire?
April 21, 2005
Posted by QBlog
UPDATE - Several Quixtar-run blogs have confirmed that Ken McDonald is retiring in less than two weeks. Quixtatic reports that "Ken McDonald announced his retirement yesterday, effective May 1." And Quixtar and Beyond provides the full text of McDonald's retirement announcement followed by this statement:
I was asked not to run this yesterday as Ken wanted to personally talk to as many IBOs before any announcement went public and I certainly wanted to repect that, as Ken is a man that has always deserved respect. Never demanded it but always deserved it.
Right. So I wonder how many IBOs he thanked yesterday. Anyway, there's something about this whole "retirement" that seems mighty suspicious to me. Why all the hush-hush? Why so sudden? Why do I really care? Good question.
By the way, Quixtar has a really cool "newsroom" site that "reports" the latest Quixtar News. Check out the Quixtar Newsroom to read all the latest Quixtar news.
This Reader Mail just in:
date: April 20, 2005
message: Ken McDonald announced his retirement today. He'll be retiring sometime the beginning of May. No successor has been announced yet, but I'm sure the Quixtar conclave will be appointing a successor soon.
Conclave! That's funny. I just heard that word when describing the recent Papal election. I wonder if a possible religious allusion was intentional? Ok, maybe it's not that funny but I chuckled.
Anyway, let the speculation begin. Is "Anonymous" blowing smoke up my backside or is there some truth to this rumor? My sources either know nothing or aren't talking. If it's true, what does it mean? If it's not true, then "Anonymous" is probably just trying to spread rumors and I'm sort of helping out in that department. Oh well, it's fun to think about nonetheless.
I just thought of a joke. Perhaps Ken is leaving Quixtar because he took this "Never Accept Ordinary" thing a bit too literally. Get it? He Never Accepts Ordinary so he's... leaving... Quixtar... nevermind.
One last thing, the beginning of May is like two weeks away. That's pretty short notice for a "retirement" don't you think? Quixtar's Managing Director just says "hey gang, I'm retiring in a couple of weeks. Surprise!" Maybe that's how things work in Ada, I don't know. It's never been like that at any place I've worked. Whenever someone retired it was known months, even years in advance. This just seems... well... very sudden.
Of course this could have been planned months in advance and we're just now learning about it (if it's even true) so there's that to consider. If you are "in the know" and are able to confirm or deny this rumor about McDonald's retirement please step forward and help us out here. Thanks in advance.
April 17, 2005
Posted by QBlog
Question: Where does Quixtar do business?
Answer: "Quixtar has become a leading e-commerce venture, available only on North America" (source - Amway.com).
Gee, that was such a fun Quiz! Shall we do another Yang Min? Yes? Ok, great.
Answer: Hmmmm, that's a tough one. Quixtar is "available only" in North America so it can't be Quixtar... right? Does anyone read Chinese (or is it Mandarian)?
April 14, 2005
Posted by QBlog
I have a vision that one day Quixtar will fully embrace the Web in the manner outlined by the cluetrain manifesto. Yes, that's a pretty stupid vision but it's mine nonetheless.
But my vision doesn't stop there, at the nebulous goal of achieving some corporate "cluetrain" nirvana. No, this vision also contains some specifics, details that may one day develop into reality — if we keep our fingers crossed.
In my vision, I see a day when Quixtar establishes a vibrant, online community and dutifully nurtures that community with diplomacy and a deference to the marketplace of ideas. A diverse community that welcomes IBOs, critics and everyone in between.
I also see a day when virtually all "official" communication is done over the Internet, relegating archaic message services like CommuniKate to the metaphorical trash bin of obsolescence. Emails, podcasts, message boards, blogs, streaming audio and instant messaging will replace 20 minute voicemails and boilerplate PR websites.
Of course, in my vision Quixtar succinctly and decisively ends all Google Bombing efforts and begins consulting with Google to ensure full compliance with their guidelines.
My vision also includes an aggressive marketing campaign produced by the Quixtar Corporation specifically aimed at educating its IBOs and the general public about the best way to promote an MLM business. This campaign would include Television, Radio, Internet and Periodical advertising conveying the message that "Mysterious Meetings" are bad and that self-consumption as a business model is illegal.
And one day, in my stupid vision, Quixtar will encourage every IBO to become an active participant on the Web and to get educated about the technology, culture and communities that make the Web a dynamic marketplace of ideas and commerce.
Finally, my vision ends with a new Quixtar rising from its Amway-scarred MLM ashes like a Pheonix and blazing a trail of honesty and integrity through the dark forest of modern network marketing.
I'm a visionary. A dreamer. An ideologist. And yes, I'm stupid too. Quixtar can't possibly make my vision a reality (can it?). Nor does the Quixtar leadership have any interest in anything remotely close to my vision. Why so cynical? Because Quxitar is run by men. Men with egos. Men with habits. Men with power. Men who are comfortable doing things the way that they've always done them. Men who's idea of "trying something new" is changing the color of their memo paper from white to eggshell.
These are the men (yes, men) at the helm of Quixtar. If you're an IBO, they are your leaders. And it's they who continue to stand in the way of progress. It is they who lack vision. They are the Dream Stealers... but I'm still keeping my fingers crossed.
September 25, 2004
Posted by QBlog
How many times have you heard the words, "Quixtar doesn't advertise?" I've heard those words many, many times and in fact, those words are printed on Quixtar's own Web site:
Quixtar has maintained a low profile with mainstream news media covering the more well-known e-commerce sites. After all, Quixtar doesn’t advertise, instead channeling those dollars to Independent Business Owners who generate sales at Quixtar.com
So, we can all agree that Quixtar does not advertise and that the lack of advertising results in more bonuses for IBOs and a lower profile in the media. But if that's true (and I'm not saying it isn't) then can anyone explain the following images?
I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but those sure look like advertisements to me. Ok, so they aren't Super Bowl commercials but they are ads and they do cost money, unless Google is running some sort of "Quixtar Charity" program.
Then there's also an interesting comment from a recent site visitor calling himself "Chris" (no last names please).
Hartman, yes, I have an independent business that does advertising for Quixtar.
UPDATE: Chris has responded with a clarification:
QBlog, here is some clarification from my point of view. I may not have the best legal terminology, but I will do my best.
I am an IBO and IBO's do advertising for Quixtar. As an IBO, I am an independent business owner and i do advertising, marketing and sales towards Quixtar and the products they have to offer.
So it was my misunderstanding and I apologize if I caused any confusion. However, this brings up a new question about Quixtar's non-Advertising.
If IBOs, like Chris, are doing their own advertizing and marketing of Quixtar's products then isn't Quixtar sort of just advertising by proxy? I mean isn't the advertising and marketing burden (ie. costs, research, market data, etc.) shifted onto the backs of the IBOs who are mostly ill-equipped to manage such a campaign? Something to think about I guess.
Anyway, next time you hear the words "Quixtar Doesn't Advertise" you might want to ask for a bit of clarification because from what I see... well you can see what I see.
February 14, 2003
Posted by QBlog
I'm convinced (rightly or wrongly) that people running Quixtar just don't get the Internet and more specifically they just don't get the Web. Example, everyone I've ever talked to has no idea that the Web is NOT the Internet. The terms are not synonymous. I usually don't say anything when I hear someone say something like, "When the Internet first became open to the public commercially in the early 90s..." because, what's the point. But the fact is, the Internet has been open to the public for a long time. It's the Web that was invented in the early 90s. The Web is a set of protocols enabling different OSes and computers to share information over the Internet.
Anyway, there are many more examples than that. The Quixtar.com site launch debacle is another example. Quixtar isn't alone in misunderstanding the Web, many sites have had similar problems. Yet there are other signals too. Such as the poor site design that I've mentioned before in other places. The main thing is that Quixtar isn't really a Web company at all, they are an Amway-type company using the Web as a method to improve distribution and cut costs. This is a good thing but I don't think it bodes well for Quixtar.
In my humble opinion, companies that don't get the Web, especially those who depend heavily on the Web, will be in trouble soon. Some examples of Quixtar's anachronistic ways is that there is not a unified system for Web communication. They all still use Amvox or Voicecom or whatever you call it. E-mail, Message boards, discussion groups, Listserves, Web logs, etc. are all much more effective and cheaper ways to communicate but the use of this "new" technology is sporadic at best. It is left up to the individual promotional groups like Qbiz and they don't seem to get it either.
There should be some sort of simple publishing format in which IBOs with say 1000 pv get their own generic Web site where they can post info and stuff for their downline. These are just ideas but I've yet to see a single innovative idea regarding the Web from anyone related to Quixtar. I'm not even talking about the next Killer App, I just mean regular use of email. It just doesn't exist.
Join Quixtar and make money like it's 1989.
February 12, 2003
Posted by QBlog
I have no way of verifying this but apparently all Quixtar products are made in America. More specifically, all products made by Alticore are made in the USA. Obviously the third party stuff could be made anywhere. But really, that is a positive thing. Made in the USA.
The only possible negative is that a lot of people in Quixtar are in other countries. A decent amount of visits to this site come from Canada. I wonder how our northern cousins feel about selling products made in USA. Wonder if they mention that in the pitch to appeal to prospective customers? Probably not. But for Americans it's a good thing to have all products made here.
February 9, 2003
Posted by QBlog
Just wondering but...
Is there something about people in Quixtar that causes them to write incredibly long and unreadable emails? Every single email I've ever gotten from anyone in Quixtar is this HUGE block of unbroken text (exceptions are people who've emailed me from this site) that just goes on and on and on. Ok, sometimes I get the brief "Go team, get your PV/BV" cheer email but even those have line after line of rambling nonsense. Just fewer lines.
I'm just wondering if this method of authoring emails is something learned in Quixtar or if people who are already writing really, really long blocky emails are more apt to be getting into this business? To me it seems the latter and that may explain why just about every Quixtar related site looks like complete crap. Even Quixtar.com looks pretty lame.
I don't know why this is but my guess is that most people who are currently successful in Quixtar are former Amway folks and that most Amway folks (this is only a guess, apologies to Amway folks) are just not all that Web-schooled. They understand the business but they don't understand the Web, which is fine, it just seems to lead to a lot of really, really long emails and crappy looking Web sites.
January 28, 2003
Posted by QBlog
WIRED did an article about Quixtar and being decent and respected journalists they remain unbiased. The article presents the facts as they are and honestly makes Quixtar look pretty good, even back in April of 2000. I desperately want to find more articles of this nature, even recent ones. I did make a copy of the New York Times article about Quixtar several months ago but that was mainly just a press release styled article and had little besides stating corporate earnings and market status. Good stuff but not Wall Street Journal worthy at all (yes, I'm showing my WSJ bias here. My dream job is to write for WSJ).
Anyway, the WIRED article isn't all that spectacular either but it's a good, solid piece. One bit that caught my interest was this:
Of the $250 million that Quixtar.com has brought in thus far, 32 percent, or $80 million, has gone back to the IBOs. That amounts to about $200 per IBO. And much of Quixtar's revenue comes from the IBOs themselves, who are required to buy $70 in Quixtar products when they join.
"About 95 percent of IBOs just end up buying products for themselves and that's about it," wrote one IBO in an email. "The other 5 percent become successful."
Quixtar would not release details about the earnings of its IBOs.
Ok, this is dated 2000 and I know Quixtar has pulled in far more sales but it's this kind of secrecy from Quixtar that breeds mistrust. When the PRIMARY method of recruiting new IBOs is to wave the huge earnings and riches in front of their faces then I expect a little more candor with regards to those actual numbers. If my main hook to get you into a business is to say that you'll get rich like me and then you ask me how rich I am and I say none of your business then that just seems plain silly. And it seems like I may be hiding something.
Have you ever waited tables? I have. Here's a fact of waiting tables. NOBODY makes as much as they say they make. Every waiter lies. If you ask a waiter how much money he regularly pulls in each night he'll think of his very best night and add $100 to that amount. Never figured out why cause they also underreport tips each night to avoid higher taxes. Anyway, it's a fact. Now, the Quixtar IBOs remind me of waiters a lot of times. They say they make huge sums but either can't or won't ever prove it. If you can't or won't back it up then shut the hell up.
Seriously, SHUT UP. Don't show me a freaking book with a bunch of diamonds making millions. I'm a journalist and I know how easy it is to lie in those books. Not saying they are lying but who's checking? Really. Who is checking this out. I know how much Bill Gates is worth because his income is from a public company. But guess what, I don't care. You know why? Bill Gates doesn't use his income to persuade people to buy Windows. Dexter Yager and Co. do.
Big difference. My apologies to Cuba Gooding Jr. but "SHOW ME THE MONEY!"
January 27, 2003
Posted by QBlog
Just thinking more about Quixtar and my earlier post and realized that Quixtar almost has to be about emotions because its business is selling and buying people...so to speak. What I mean is the way you make money isn't selling products (though it can be done that way it rarely is) it's by recruiting new downlines. Because of this human equation emotions and personalities are a natural result of doing business in Quixtar.
More thinking, are there other businesses that are as big and profitable and entrenched as Quixtar that generate anything remotely close to the amount of negative emotions in people? Just wondering. I'm trying to think and am having a hard time. Wal-Mart makes small, historic communities angry I guess.
Posted by QBlog
I have a personal problem with Quixtar and emotions. I feel that Quixtar leverages emotions in a business which, by its very nature, should be emotion neutral. There are people who love Quixtar and feel very emotional about the business and people who hate Quixtar and also feel very emotional about the business. Let me explain.
When I am in business with someone, either working for them or with them, I try to maintain a neutral opinion of that business relationship. I get very emotional about the work I do, the effort I put into my endeavors and the finished product or service. However, the actual entity that I'm associated with while doing business is just that, an entity, and I feel no emotions about that entity.
Example: I used to work for a large bank. That bank began mistreating its employees and basically doing the traditional corporate thing of screwing everyone for profits. I didn't like this but the job was serving a purpose and I continued working till I found another job and was ready to sever my ties with the corporation. Today, I continue to bank with my former employer and I don't really feel bitter or joyful about the way they treated people. I probably won't ever work for them again but I don't go around bad-mouthing them either. I feel relatively neutral about the business. Some people I like, others I don't. But the actual bank is neither good nor bad, it's just a business.
Example 2: I love Amazon.com. Why do I love this company? Because I trust them. They have always provided excellent customer service, decent prices, great tools for recommending products and a great inventory. You could argue that THIS (my "love" for Amazon.com) is feeling emotional about a business but I reject that notion. Why? Well, if someone says they hate Amazon.com I won't care. I may ask them why but it doesn't matter to me if they hate Amazon or not. More importantly, if I have a couple of bad experiences with Amazon.com I won't hesitate to find another retailer to fill my needs. My love for Amazon extends only as far as I'm satisfied and as soon as I'm no longer satisfied I move on to other stores. Upon closer examination it would appear that I don't really "love" Amazon but am really just a satisfied customer. I don't have any particular loyalty to Amazon itself.
Example 3: In Quixtar there is a symbiotic relationship with the business, people, products and tools. This creates an atmosphere ripe for extreme emotional reactions. A personal example is that I run a Web development business. I'm extremely proud of my work and am equally passionate about what I produce. Obviously I love what I do and I love the products and services that result from my business. However, if someone is also in the Web business and decides to get out and says it's too hard, not for them or just a waste of time I don't call them losers and quitters. Instead I just continue working. If someone begins to say negative things about my business I listen and determine if there is any validity to what they are saying. If there is then I change. If not then I ignore them. What I don't do is paint them as a loser and quitter and dismiss them immediately as an unthinking drone who has nothing but negativity to spout. Granted, they may be unthinking drones but I give them the opportunity to prove that before I move on.
Point: My point is that too often when Quixtar is questioned or taken to task for certain practices the IBOs get really pissy and sarcastic and generally treat you like a trouble-maker. NOT EVERYONE DOES THIS. I've met (online and off) a few people who are genuinely open-minded and able to discuss Quixtar without the emotional baggage but these individuals are few and far between.
This is, I think, partly why Quixtar is often called a cult (which it's not). People not in the business, or fresh out, feel so incredibly strongly about Quixtar that they discard rational thought and blindly defend or attack the business. This turns me off. Maybe for Quixtar's sake some training could be incorporated in the business model on how to deal with objective questioning of the business. I'm not talking about personal experiences discussed on tapes, I mean something in the actual plan itself, the mission statement or whatever, that directs people to be objective and use their minds instead of their emotions. I doubt that will happen though. Oh well, I try.
January 21, 2003
Posted by QBlog
Quixtar can attract the most bizarre individuals. I got an email last week from a guy named "Howie." He claims to be a Quixtar defector and that his wife is still extremely active. His story is that he was in Quixtar, doing really well and then " As of recent, however, I have compiled a small mountain of research pertaining to Amway/Quixtar. Quite frankly, I am very turned off by the whole thing."
Then he goes on to ask me advice about how he should "deal" with his wife who is still extremely excited about Quixtar. I don't really give advice and especially marital advice so I just related my personal experiences and left it at that. I also asked him to send me the information that he's compiled. I mean, who wouldn't want to see some "proof?"
Anyway, it's been a few days and still no word. I've yet to find any proof that Quixtar was up to no good. A lot of accusations and second-hand stories but nothing printable on this site anyway. If anyone has any proof I'd be glad to take a look at it. If anyone has anything like a verified number of people who quit Quixtar in the first 3-6 months and how much they spend in that time I'd like to see that too. Not a Quixtar report. Something peer-reviewed.
But basically if you don't have proof my feeling is shut the heck up. I have no time for false accusations. Am I in love with Quixtar? No. But I don't go manufacturing rumors and lies about the business to satisfy some hidden agenda. On this site I stick to my personal opinions, experiences, thoughts, perceptions and feelings. I make no accusations. I just say what's on my mind. Anyway, if you have proof that Quixtar is up to no good, let me see it. If not then shut up.
January 10, 2003
Posted by QBlog
One of the things that turns me off about Quixtar is the "secrecy" that seems to be part of the Quixtar culture. I put secrecy in quotes because it's not dishonesty but more like spin. What I mean is I've listened to several tapes where they tell you not to give out too much information. They encourage you to say certain words and to practice your "sales pitch" while never actually being untrughful. This is not unethical but it reminds me of those high-pressure salesmen who try to convince you that you want something that you really don't want. It's not that but it reminds me of that.
My nature is to ask a lot of questions. My nature is also to expect answers. My nature is also to provide information and answer questions. Quixtar seems to have this culture of discouraging questions. I get this feeling that they aren't proud of the business. It seems like they often qualify different aspects of the business. They often encouraged not to mention Amway and when questions do come up about Amway they are usually deflected to at least minimize any appearance of being connected with Amway. They are not the same company but they share the same people, business methods, culture and products. The one liability that Quixtar doesn't have that Amway has/had is a fractured reputation.
Reputation is exactly why I think people in Quixtar should be more open and willing to answer questions. Full disclosure. When I ask a question be glad to answer. Don't be ashamed. Be happy that I want to know and happy that you are able to educate me. My question right now is how many people drop out of Quixtar each month? I mean a solid verifiable number. Not some estimate. They have records. They know who is active or not. I want a solid number. They quickly tell you how many have made a million each month. Tell me who didn't. Thanks.
January 8, 2003
Posted by QBlog
A few months ago I went to a Quixtar convention/meeting with my wife in Ft. Worth. It was interesting and I learned much from that experience but there was one particular exchange that stuck in my mind and continues to bounce around.
I was discussing politics with our upline and he mentioned that Quixtar (especially Dexter Yager) is staunchly Republican. He went on to describe how each election the Republican candidate is usually supported both in verbal endorsements and in financial gifts. Whether this is true or not I have no way of knowing. I just know that he mentioned this and I sort of shrugged and figured that every business gets to endorse whatever party it desires. I have no problem with that. As long as it's legal then support whomever you want.
Then he told me that often, during election years, when Dexter appeared at a big Quixtar function, he'd ask everyone to put however much they wanted into an envelope to support the Republican candidate. So, if you wanted to support whatever presidential Republican you'd put some cash in an envelope. Then, he told me that after all the envelopes were collected Dexter would personally ensure that each envelope contained $1,000. Obviously most envelopes wouldn't contain nearly the $1,000 personal contribution limit so the added funds from Dexter would bring that total up to the legal limit.
In a crowd of 3-4,000 this adds up to...well, you do the math. Anyway, this was an anectdote related to me with no evidence or any way to confirm the truth of the story. Personally I doubt it's true because it sounds more like a "Quixtar legend" (which there are many) than an actual truth. But who knows. I just know what I was told. I also don't know if this practice is common throughout the world of politics and even if it's legal. Doesn't seem like it would be legal but it's probably one of those loopholes or something.
My point in relating this is to demonstrate the ethical divide between myself and my upline. While my upline is not representative of everyone in the business he has adopted many of the attitudes of the individuals that are Quixtar. I see this practice as unethical and whether it's Quixtar, Coca-Cola, my church or employer I would frown on this sort of activity with impunity. He thought it was clever and I guess it is but I also think it's wrong. While dishonesty and politics go hand in hand I am not all that thrilled about the idea that something like this may go on or if it did that some in the business would think it a wonderful idea.
Hope you like the new design.
December 30, 2002
Posted by QBlog
There is nothing wrong with having things. I'm not some saint who has decided to avoid all the trappings of material possessions in search of spirtitual enlightenment. However, what's the deal with Quixtar and getting STUFF? Time and time again I am left with the overwhelming impression that the biggest motivator for Quixtar IBOs is the quest for stuff.
We just got an email from someone who was sharing their "dream" for a super-nice, new, expensive luxury vehicle. Great! What other businesses do this? I mean really. Get more stuff. Get more stuff. Yuck.
My wife has pointed out that there is nothing wrong with getting stuff. She's also mentioned that Quixtar emphasizes family values and working to get free from bondage and the "dream building" is just a tangible way to motivate. Ok. To me that just sounds like a way to justify the quest for more stuff. No substance just stuff.
I'll be honest here. I work hard at my job because I like what I do and try to do the best that I can. My dreams and goals revolve around building a successful business (not Quixtar) and really I've not given any thought to the stuff I will have one day. Maybe I'm naive, I dunno. I just don't think about the stuff. I think about producing and improving. When I dream I think, "In 5 years I'll have such and such skills and be able to do such and such in my business." I don't think, "in 5 years I'll own a Lexus." To me that seems to be a distraction. Once I work really hard to get that Lexus then I've met my goal...then what? Then what Quixtar?
The answer is SPEND MORE TIME WITH THE FAMILY. What person really, honestly and truly wants to just resign themselves from producing and spend all day globetrotting with the family? There are almost no self-made millionaires that sit around and "enjoy" their time. They have goals and those goals are to produce, not aquire cars. The aquisition is just the gravy.
Look, if you've read this far you'll know I don't really know what I'm talking about but I do know that something just seems very wrong about wanting to get all this stuff. It just seems wrong wrong wrong. Again, maybe I'm just a naive underachiever.
December 17, 2002
Posted by QBlog
As you may have guessed I'm quite conflicted about the Quixtar business. There are many aspects of it that I do not like. However, I've seen one great benefit and that is providing hope to those without much hope financially. Does it always work? No. But it can work for some and more than anything it can provide hope for some people. If I view Quixtar as a Tony Robbins type self-help program then it actually makes a little bit more sense. Not much but enough for me to say, "hey, this isn't quite such a bad thing after all."
December 13, 2002
Posted by QBlog
It's amazing that a company as big, and profitable and famous and controversial as Quixtar/Amway does not have at least a small amount of decent "watch-dog" Web sites. I mean there are quite a few "anti-Quixtar" sites or "MLM-truth" sites but they all look horrible and are just confusing to navigate. I've yet to find any that are visually even remotely close to presentable to the Web masses. This site about What's Wrong With Multi-Level Marketing? is indicitive of what's out there. Plain, boring and visually lame. Decent content but the site sucks.
While this blog is NOT anti-Quixtar it isn't a Quixtar fan site either. It's main purpose is to voice my personal opinions and experiences with the "business" and hopefully present that in a visually appealing site and without bias. A redesign is coming soon. Maybe this blog can be the one site on the Web that gives a fresh perspective of Quixtar and also looks decent.
I've got a big job to do but I'm up to the task.
By the way, if you visit this site ever please leave a comment or something and tell me what you think? Good idea? Bad idea? You hate my guts? You love me? Should I give up and just kill this site? Let me hear ya.
November 30, 2002
Posted by QBlog
Quixtar, Amway, Alticore and anyone else in the entire mix does not make crappy products. I'm not saying that they are the producers of second-rate items selling at the same price as comparable name-brand products. I'm simply saying that some of the products from Quixtar just aren't all that good. Sure they are made in America (I haven't checked but I've been assured that everything in Quixtar is made in USA) but when 1/3 of the 50 gallon trash bags I bought have holes...in both ends...I can't help thinking I bought a crap product.
Also, the diapers. They hold nothing. Sure they are fine if you keep your kid dehydrated and change with obsessive frequency but leave one of those puppies on too long and you've got little baby urine pants. They leak after a couple of fluid ounces. At least it seems that way. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating just a little but if I am...it's only a little.
My point is that Quixtar works on some levels to destroy the individual's ability to discriminate between good products and bad products. When I ask my wife about some of these inferior products she simply won't recognize that the products just don't quite measure up. She says I'm just anti-Quixtar but I'm not. I'm just against Orange Juice that tastes like cough medicine or potato chips that seem stale right out of the bag. I'm not asking for much, just that I can have a decent alternative when the Quixtar version doesn't measure up.
The main argument is that Quixtar products earn PV and BV. This is true. They earn a lot. However, there is a quality of life issue. Without Quixtar I can save lots of money by purchasing really cheap products. I don't because most of the time you get what you pay for. With Quixtar you rarely are saving much money (from what I can see, I could be wrong) and sometimes are getting a very inferior product in my opinion. The rationale is that it's earning PV/BV. Ok, so either way you end up back to square one. If I buy the cheap non-Quixtar item I save a buck and earn nothing. If I buy the cheap Quixtar item I spend an extra buck and earn 1 point of PV/BV which may help me earn another buck.
The basic lesson that I have learned from all this is that in life, no matter what, you get what you pay for. Not always but more times than not.
November 21, 2002
Posted by QBlog
No, Quixtar is not a cult but it's often compared to one and there are many similarities but it cannot be simply defined as a cult.
This comparison is made about many aspects of the business but the one aspect of the business that seems most "cult-like" to me is the sense of persecution that they receive from people who "just don't understand" this business. They are involved with what is basically an unpopular (unpopular in the general sense) business and get a "thrill" from that unpopularity.
With other Quixtar members they feel they belong and are understood and each time someone "doesn't get it" they smile, smirk and nod at each other thinking that they know better and this poor soul just doesn't understand. Well that poor soul may not understand but that doesn't mean that the Quixtar person has any more understanding either.
I've seen this before. Religious organizations thrive off of this type of misunderstanding. As long as there is a core group of supporters to comfort and congratulate and support each other then they continue growing and feeling like they are doing something worthwhile. And maybe they are. But they often are also closing themselves off from the rest of the world and reality and take on an "us v. them" mentality.
Again, this isn't a cult. It's just got some similar elements. Other business like Apple, have some similar mindsets. An Apple fanatic is equally disturbing. I just feel that nobody should remove themselves from society and become incapable of objective discussion about anything.
November 19, 2002
Posted by QBlog
Another Quixtar trip this weekend. More ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY meetings and seminars. These are not easy on a family yet I feel compelled to simply go along because it's for the good of our future. And that is the main issue with me. I fight between what is good for the family and what is good for our future and try to make both meet but it's not easy to do. I'm not a great business mind so I don't know what is necessary for great business success but I have some ideas about what is necessary for family success. And spending all this time at functions seems to conflict with some of these ideas.
Anyway, it's a challenge and I struggle with it as I'm sure everyone else does.
November 14, 2002
Posted by QBlog
Quixtar has an image problem. I know this. Anyone who denies this is fooling themselves. I've spoken to may people who wrinkle their faces in disgust at the mere mention of Quixtar. Those who don't react negatively usually do so because they've never heard of Quixtar and once they make the Amway connection then the face wrinkling begins. This isn't true of everyone but it seems that overwhelmingly people have a negative opinion of Quixtar.
Why is this?
Most of these people have never used Quixtar and are unfamiliar with its business, services or products. So then why the reaction? One word: REPUTATION. Microsoft has a reputation among many as being the big mean bully that crushes competition. Exxon has the reputation of being the bad old oil company that wants to pollute the oceans and rivers and air. Phillip Morris has the reputation of wanting to kill people for profits. All these businesses have a bad reputation but there is one distinction between all these businesses and Quixtar. They are all doing something publicly to change the reputation. Quixtar is not.
Quixtar relies on individuals (often inexperienced individuals) to build its brand and enhance its reputation. I can't argue that this doesn't work, because it does. But I can argue that this might not work as well as alternatives. Instead of appealing to the masses Quixtar appeals to a small segment and then influences that segment to become fiercely loyal customers. There is nothing wrong with this but it doesn't do much to improve the reputation of the business outside of the customer base.
Without going into all the reasons why Quixtar has a bad reputation I will just say that the fact is that it does suffer from a negative perception (or maybe it feeds off of this perception? more on that later) and the corporate mindset is to do nothing to combat this perception and instead rely on word of mouth and successful customers to change predjudice.