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Title Amway - Quixtar BITE analysis · Information Control
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Amway/Quixtar BITE analysis - Information Control - Part 2 of the BITE model as applied to Amway/Quixtar Motivational Organisations. Prepared by cult expert Steve Hassan based on former members submissions. Disclaimer: Freedom of Mind nor Steve Hassan believe the Amway and Quixtar corporations are cults; however, we do have concerns about their Motivational Organizations. Contents Behavior Control | Information Control | Thought Control | Emotional Control Main Amway/Quixtar entry Information Control 1. Use of deception In the Amway business, there is plenty of deception- from the new distributor all the way up to the Diamond level. When the new distributor starts to build the business, he is taught to contact people about building a business, not about building an Amway business. Why cant the distributor say its Amway? (The typical response is Sure you can, but its better not to mention the word Amway.) The deception continues whenever the distributor gives out his business card. Usually printed somewhere is the distributors company name or a euphemistic motto such as interactive distribution or even providing quality opportunities to quality people (according to a submitter this is really printed on one uplines business cards). This gives the impression that the distributor is in another business, not Amway. Maybe this form of introduction is not exactly deception, but more of an implied misrepresentation. The deception then continues into the Sales & Marketing Plan itself: distributors dont actually say the business is Amway until they are more than halfway through the plan (after the prospect is thinking about their dreams and has been confused by the bonus payment scale).The second level of deception is that practiced by the Profit-Sharing Direct distributors (PSDs) and above. Here is where the hidden agenda comes in. These distributors make a profit on every tool sold in their group, including: audio tapes, video tapes, and function tickets. When confronted about this issue, one submitters Emerald claimed this profit was to help him re-coop his business losses. (And all along, the submitter was under the belief that Emeralds wouldnt need to further supplement their income: they should be making a few thousand dollars a month from the sale of Amway products!) Since the PSDs make money for themselves, their priority is to impress on new distributors the importance of the system for success. This way, if a person quits before selling any products or before sponsoring someone else, the upline has received money from the person. Upon looking closer, it is easy to see through the lie perpetrated by distributors who say, we dont make money unless you make money. These Directs make money off new distributors almost from day one. In fact, when people purchase their Amway Business Kit (to legally become a distributor), they are encouraged to purchase a box of tools: audio tapes, video tapes, and other materials (total cost: about $150.00-$200.00). And while this money-making happens, every distributor below the PSD level (including other, non-Profit-Sharing Directs) believes and duplicates the we dont make money unless you make money statement. In fact, entire downlines may join and quit without ever realizing their upline made money off them. From one submitter: On a personal note, I (as well as my sponsor) came to believe the no one makes any money off the sale of tools statement (my sponsors actual words when I questioned the cost of the audio tapes). When I read the SA-4400, which states that �some distributors are compensated for their efforts outside of the Sales and Marketing Plan�, I was told that those were just legal statements and even you shouldnt have a problem with [them making money] since youll get that money as well. (actual quote from my upline) What I did have a problem with was the systematic lies that we were told. Such as: 1) nobody in the group knew about the profits to be made from the sale of tools. And, 2) the speakers kept saying The tools are 100% optional, but they are 100% necessary. (an actual quote from an Emerald speaking at a November 1997 seminar in Lakeland, FL which is 100% contrary to Amways corporate position which states that tools are optional) No one in our group knew if we would, indeed, be able to receive profits from the sale of tools when we reached a certain level. The use of deception begins with the initial contact, in which prospects are now invited to open meetings (recruitment seminars) across the country. Distributors are trained to never mention Amway, products or selling. The speaker will warm up the group with some humor and good ole boy stories to build rapport. (One submitter says theyve done countless numbers of these around the world.) The speaker may build phobias (see comments on this below) and launch into a quick pitch on how every household can now save 30% or more off all their household purchases. The truth is that almost all the products can be purchased far more inexpensively anywhere in the country. The biggest deception may be the reason they were brought into the business. The reason apparently is not to get you into Amway or Quixtar. The reasons that the upper level distributors seem to continue to push for more and more numbers is that once in, you are gradually put on the system of success. This includes the constant purchases of tapes, books, seminars, videos and CD-ROMs. These costs can be well over $2500 a year and are not disclosed to you as a prospect. You are shown the lavish lifestyles of the Diamond level Amway distributors and are led to believe that it came from the business you just saw. In reality the bulk of their incomes comes from the sale of the system. A book was just published by Ruth Carter this week and can be located at the MLM survivors homepage. She lays out his 1996 tax return on pages 80-81 of Amway Motivation Organizations Behind the Smoke and Mirrors. His total gross income was $2,923,000. His gross income from Amway was $130,000, less than 5% of his income� the rest is books, tapes, seminars, speaking fees etc�. If he did not have the system money his business expenses exceed his income by almost $250,000. Yes, he would show a net operating loss of over $250,000. 2. Access to non-cult sources of information minimized or discouraged In the AMOs, information is controlled fairly strictly by a number of different methods. For one, a distributor is prohibited from talking business with anyone who is crossline without a common upline present. Why? The stated reason is that the two distributors may be receiving different information from their shared upline since their groups may be structured differently, so they shouldnt share this information with one another. Lets assume that both distributors are attending the same meetings, listening to the same tapes, and reading the same business literature (assuming they are both trying to build the business). In contrast, fellow salespeople in the corporate world often share both good and bad ideas with one another, with the end result being more business and better sales strategies for all of the companys salespeople. Could it be that the upline is afraid that these two distributors might discover some negative information or start to doubt the upline? Instead of risking something good coming from a crossline distributor meeting, the AMOs forbid such meetings. Rather than debate controversial issues, the upline is quick to point out the negativity of different media sources. My own Emerald distributor once told me, I dont watch the TV. You cant believe half the stuff anyway. Of course the upline doesnt want people to believe half the stuff on TV- the negative stories would cause them to snap out of the positive-slanted mindset of the typical Amway distributor. And, while there is nothing wrong with thinking positive, how long is it until a person refuses to even hear about anything negative? What about reading the newspaper? No, thats considered negative as well. A distributor should only be reading positive business material- preferably books that support owning your own business. Or, better yet, books that speak positively about the Amway business. What about information found on the Internet? Up until 1999, distributors were taught to never, ever go there. The Internet is a place where anyone can put up a site for free, so treat their opinion with that much value, as one persons own Diamond was fond of saying. To translate: there are too many critical sites and too many critical issues for the upline to try to deal with, so stay off the Internet. This way, the issue will never be raised in the first place. Then again, this was before the September, 1999 launch of Amways online sister business, Quixtar, and all of the accompanying distributor sites. It is interesting to note that the Corporation itself is waging its own battle to discredit information found on the Internet. On their corporate web site, they had published a Statement on Free Speech, on the Internet, and on Sidney Schwartz and P&G to positively slant the critical information which argued that people had the right to free speech� as long as they didnt talk about Amway. Second, Amway has purchased banner ads on search engines such as Metacrawler and Excite!. If a person searches for the word amway, he is greeted with a flashing logo and slogan� leading straight to Amways web site. And, in February 1999, Amway (falsely) contended that their biggest competitor, Procter & Gamble was paying, or supplying information to, critical web sites (such as this one). Amway issued subpoenas to a number of people to get proof for its version of the truth. As the subpoenas were executed; however, the truth did come out no evidence was found to support its claim. Unfortunately, in the process of answering the subpoenas, the web site owners spent thousands of dollars to have proper legal representation. In the end, who won? The AMOs will tell their distributors See how Amway is hunting down these critics. And, without doing their own research, the distributors will believe this version of the story. And the critics have spent their time and energy trying to protect their rights and property from being trampled on by a billion-dollar corporation. Also� Access to non-cult sources of information minimized or discouraged Distributors are indoctrinated to believe that the media (TV, radio, newspapers) are all liberal and essentially negative. Soon you use your illusion of choice to eliminate these negatives from your life. All the information you need is on your tape of the week or in a book on the list of acceptable reading. 3. Compartmentalization of information; Outsider vs. Insider doctrines Yes. a. Information is not freely accessibleThere is very little information available to new distributors, except that they now have an opportunity to create unlimited income and time with their families. It has been my experience, after bringing thousands into this business, that somewhere near 99% lost money and time with their families. I have many that have shown a collective net loss of tens of thousands of dollars after years in a business that was alleged to have no overhead. I have several that have been audited by the IRS, two of which have been issued bills of $5,000 or greater. The third is waiting for his news. b. Information varies at different levels and missions within pyramidInformation varies at different levels and missions The exact same analogy used on Steve [Hassan] in the Moonies � you dont feed a baby steak is utilized here. You only are told what you need to know in leadership to complete any given task at hand. There are packs of new distributor tapes and as they become acclimated they are given more as they can handle it. c. Leadership decides who needs to know whatDistributors are taught not to ask questions above their own level, with the reasoning, Youre too new, you wouldnt understand, or You wouldnt feed a baby a steak would you? youll learn in time. Eventually, the distributor stops asking advanced questions and just does what he is told. When you do ask your upline a question about the business, you will usually get a well-rehearsed line, a line repeated from an audio tape, or even a well-taught unanswer, or even a remark designed to discredit the source of your question. Distributors also like to third party advice as well: You know, John said that, when he was in your situation, he did this� The distributor is supposed to then learn from this example and do what the other person did. This seems like a rather good way to get out of taking responsibility for any wrong advice the upline might give. If a distributor was to persist in his questioning, the answer would finally result in a this is not a normal business, trust us it works answer. In other words, Shut up and do as Youre told. If a distributor has a question about the actual mechanics of building the business, he is usually told to listen to an audio tape. The upline is quick to point out, Who would you rather learn from- me, or a guy whos already a Diamond? So, the distributor listens to the tape (sometime multiple times), but does not find the answers to his questions. When he returns it to his upline, he is given another tape and an excuse: Im sorry, I meant to give you this one. The distributor then listens to this second tape. The same thing may happen over and over- there is no answer to his question on any of the tapes his upline has given him. After a while of doing this, the distributor may have forgotten his original question, but he has now listened to the teaching of these tapes- something he may or may not have done on his own. Now, the upline has told him which tapes to listen to- tapes which may be specifically geared to stop the distributor from asking his upline so many questions. 4. Spying on other members is encouraged When I was in the business, I was not aware of this occurring. I dont know if this occurs at the higher-up levels or not. Pairing up with buddy system to monitor and control. This did not occur while I was in the business. Although distributors were encouraged to become good friends with one of their upline or downline, I dont think it was meant as a control feature. I believe it was meant to have the distributors relate to other distributors so they would be less likely to quit. Reporting deviant thoughts, feelings, and actions to leadership. When I was in the business, I was not aware of this occurring. I dont know if this occurs at the higher-up levels or not. *[I am told that it is policy to check with a person's wife or downline in order to get information - Steve] from another member� I was in an Emerald/Diamond meeting in which I was verbally assaulted for almost exactly one hour by my Diamond for inappropriate knowledge (Brig Hart Lawsuit) and one other power issue. Those who had reported me were complimented for their dedication, and we were all instructed to report any inappropriate conversation/activities immediately, out of loyalty to the team. 5. Extensive use of cult generated information and propaganda Yes. Newsletters, magazines, journals, audio tapes, videotapes, etc. Misquotations, statements taken out of context from non-cult sources Since Amway is an MLM business (as well as a corporation), there are numerous articles written all the time. Distributors are quick to point out any good articles that support: why people have a business of their own, why a 9 to 5 job is so bad, what the trends of the future are, etc. This is usually done at the Open meetings so both new people and distributors have the chance to hear the real reasons they are building an Amway business. Distributors are also quick to point out any good articles written about the Corporation- an expansion into another country, more products being added, etc.. These articles are used for one purpose: to get people to believe that the world is bad and that the Amway business is good� the only way to save themselves. Distributors may become motivational junkies and are advised to listen to tapes ten or more times to get the full message. 6. Unethical use of confession Contents Behavior Control | Information Control | Thought Control | Emotional Control Main Amway/Quixtar entry