June 11, 2015

How Utah Became a Bizarre, Blissful Epicenter for Get-Rich-Quick Schemes

Considering multi-level marketing... or just curious as to why Utah County is the epicenter of MLM? Read this fascinating account of a journalist's exploration of Utah MLM. "It’s early May and I’m at a Marriott hotel in Salt Lake City for a conference of Q Sciences, the company that sells EMPowerplus Q96. Here, everyone but me is a salesperson, which means these testimonials are also pitches. Q Sciences is a multi-level marketing company, selling not in stores but through regular people, who earn commission from selling products as well as recruiting others to do the same. This last bit makes multi-level marketing unique—and controversial. Trying to wrap your head around the concept of selling a business opportunity to sell a business opportunity to sell a business opportunity can feel like being lost in a hall of mirrors (after ingesting grainy, off-white powder). It’s profitable: The industry’s biggest players, like Amway, Mary Kay and Herbalife, each bring in upwards of $4 billion per year, according to Direct Selling News, a trade publication. To figure out how much the workers make, head back to the hall of mirrors. Tales of newly-minted millionaires circulate like cash, as do stories of people who’ve lost fatal amounts of it. Money is only part of why one joins, though: Here in the Utah Valley, distributors preach a gospel of mind-body wellness, founded on healthy supplements and spiritual growth. These suburban towns nestled at the foot of the Rockies are the epicenter of a global industry worth $183 billion. Depending on who you ask, this industry is either a bastion of American innovation or a scam of epic proportions, the Giza of pyramid schemes. Meanwhile, facts that might help you decide which one it is—such as whether distributors earn or lose money, and how much—are difficult to pin down." Read "How Utah Became a Bizarre, Blissful Epicenter for Get-Rich-Quick Schemes" by Alice Hines at: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/theslice/mormon-utah-valley-multilevel-marketing-thrive-doterra

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