Sunday, August 29, 2010

Exposing unethical marketing tactics

One thing I know for sure is there are companies out there who will do or say whatever it takes to get you to buy their products. Some of the more unscrupulous tactics include intentionally misleading customers and out right lying. Work-at-home schemes requiring “employees” pay upfront money and free credit reports come to mind; you do know is not really free don’t you.

The good news is we can now research bogus claims on the internet before parting with our hard-earned cash. If you don’t feel comfortable with a particular sales pitch or a claim sounds too good to be true research the product before signing on the dotted line. You will be amazed what you can learn with just a few clicks on the internet. Clark Howard frequently recommends callers check EBAY for current prices of get rich quick training materials* many of which cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars initially can now be found on EBAY selling for just pennies on the dollar.

Speaking of exposing the truth about marketing scams I would like to send a huge shout out to Lazy Man and Money for blogging about MonaVie. If you’ve ever questioned the power of blogging you have to read his story. He created so much negative buzz with his MonaVie Scam? site he received a threatening email from someone associated with MonaVie attempting to blackmail him into taking it down.

I must say I had never heard of this product until earlier this week when I received a tweet informing me of the threats made against Lazy Man and Money.

According to Wikipedia:
MonaVie is a beverage company distributing products made from blended fruit juice concentrates with freeze-dried açaí powder and purée through a multi-level marketing (MLM) business model.
Here is Lazy Man and Money's story:

He first became interested in MonaVie when his wife received a sales pitch to buy two bottles, at nearly $100, and potentially become a distributor.

He writes:
It was a perfect article for Lazy Man and Money. After a couple of hours of research I asked my readers “Is MonaVie a Scam?” It turns out that MonaVie is a very controversial subject. People who were very positive about MonaVie and people who were very much against MonaVie started commenting back and forth. The back and forth continues today, two years later with over 4,000 comments on the article.

Somewhere early in this discussion, I found myself agreeing with the people who were against MonaVie. Those people backed up their arguments logically and they were unbiased — they had nothing to gain by being anti-MonaVie. However, it was the pro-MonaVie people who really swayed me. They made bad claims that they couldn’t back up. Worse, they made illegal health claims like MonaVie could help with a number of diseases.

I started to feel bad that all this great information was being buried in the comments, so I started MonaVie Scam, a site devoted to spreading all that great information.

With so much information out there it is hard to determine who we should believe, but as Lazy Man and Money writes:

If MonaVie was really a quality product or quality company they'd openly debate the topics on my website.
And if the product really was the miracle juice it claimed to be the product would have become popular despite shady marketing tactics.

My favorite line of the story is:

So while I'd love to take credit, it's quite possible that people realized it's not very wise to spend $5000 a year on juice. And they probably also figured out it isn't worth spending another few thousand on tools and going to conferences to join a business that pays minimum wage (see MonaVie's income disclosure statement) for 85% of the distributors who are fortunate enough to make a dime at all.
Bottom line buyer beware; question everything, do your research and continue to inform others by creating blog posts and writing comments exposing unscrupulous marketing schemes.

*To read more about "get rich quick sales pitches” see my post: Where is the real money made?


  1. MonaVie is a tricky product. Those that sell it are extremely passionate about the product. More importantly, have you ever tasted it? I work in the flavor industry, and that stuff is AWFUL! We tried to work with it a few years ago, and my friends had a difficult time making it taste better. There are much cheaper, better-tasting acai products out there that have the same antioxidant benefits...

  2. Michelle,
    No I’ve never tasted it. I do find it pretty amusing that you and your friends think it tastes awful. Perhaps MonaVie representatives should worry more about the taste, quality and price of their product and less about shutting down websites that criticize them.

  3. For some reason, MonaVie has done a fairly good job convincing others that taste doesn't matter. No one else seems to have copied their business plan, so I suspect it is not sustainable in the long run. These things have a way of working themselves out...