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Rant, rant, rant...

STANDARD CAVEAT
Multilevel Marketing and the Menopausal Woman


NEW! The Exploitation of Trust:
An Analysis of an MLM Supplier
and its latest web site

This is a version of my leftover caveat from one "natural progesterone" vendor's previous appearances on this newsgroup -- giving all new ASM readers a taste of her company's business ethics in action. I apologize for the repetitive nature of this posting, but it's my contribution to the well-being of this newsgroup.

I routinely add the word CAVEAT to the subject line so that those who've already read it can pass it by without opening it. Users with the AOL newsreader, of course, don't see subject lines until they've opened the posting, but they can move to the next posting without scrolling through it when they see the word "CAVEAT" and my screen-name. Those with more sophisticated newsreaders can simply mark these messages "read" or delete without reading.

Some posters to alt.support.menopause feel that "multilevel marketing" or "network marketing" as it's also called, is a perfectly legitimate marketing technique. Your mileage may vary. The bottom line, as I see it, is this: this natural progesterone is a product of questionable efficacy; it is being sold via a marketing technique that has been called into question; and -- particularly annoying to me -- she is attempting to subvert the "no commercial postings" provision that I understand is part and parcel of standard USENET usage with her testimonials and "e-mail me for more details" approach.

Additional information on natural progesterone and multilevel marketing can be found at by doing a Google Groups power search on two September 1998 threads:

  • Dr. John Lee Talks
  • Saliva Testing

Of particular interest may be these two pages from the FTC site:

Multilevel marketing isn't illegal. But, as these two FTC pages note, pyramid schemes *are* -- and the dividing line between the two is easy to blur. It's a free country, and anyone on this newsgroup is free to order from this vendor. Likewise, I'm free to point out my objections to her products and her way of doing business.

Now, as for the vendor and her company:

Reproduced below are the META tags from the old Lifechoice homepage, the hidden tags that will cause a search engine to display this page when one of the search terms is used. Lifechoice has recently pulled its site, possibly in response to its exposure here on alt.support.menopause.

This hidden tag includes repetitions of various diseases to increase the chance of a "hit" -- and MLM, or multi-level-marketing (which is often cover for a pyramid scheme) is mentioned six times. This is the maximum number of times a term can appear in a META tag without Alta Vista dropping the page. The only reason to add MLM to a META tag is to attract people looking to make a quick buck.

These are not the techniques of a company I would choose to do business with. At best, they are designed to influence a search engine and I take them as a marker for other questionable business practices. I will post this caveat, or a variation thereof, any time this vendor attempts to establish bonafides for her company or its products.

---begin excerpt from Lifechoice homepage---

<meta name="keywords" content="Hormone Balance Nutrition hot flashes PMS menopause osteoporosis progesterone breast painAging, Alzheimers, Arthritis, Atherosclerosis, Bleeding Gums, Bruises, Cancer, MLM Cataracts, Cold Feet &; Hands, Diabetes Type ID, Edema, Fatigue,Heart Attacks, , Inflammation, Jet Lag, Kidney Damage, Liver Damage, Phlebitis,Poor Circulation, , Rheumatism, Senility, Stroke, Stress Damage, SwollenJoints, Wrinkles Aging, Alzheimers, Arthritis, MLM Atherosclerosis, Bleeding Gums, Bruises,Cancer, Cataracts, MLM Cold Feet &; Hands, Diabetes Type ID, Edema, Fatigue,Heart Attacks, , Inflammation, Jet Lag, Kidney Damage, MLM Liver Damage, Phlebitis, Poor Circulation, , Rheumatism, Senility, Stroke, Stress Damage, SwollenJoints, Wrinkles Aging, Alzheimers, Arthritis, Atherosclerosis, Bleeding Gums, Bruises,Cancer, Cataracts, Cold Feet &; Hands, Diabetes Type ID, MLM Edema, Fatigue,Heart Attacks, , Inflammation, MLM Jet Lag, Kidney Damage, Liver Damage, Phlebitis,Poor Circulation, , Rheumatism, Senility, Stroke, Stress Damage, MLM SwollenJoints, Wrinkles">

---end excerpt from Lifechoice homepage---

Postscript: Times change. Lifechoice has merged with another firm. The web site is considerably different. But the home page still has a link called "opportunity," which leads to charts showing how much a distributor can make in commissions from his "downline distributors." See update.

Laura's MLM rant
August 24, 1998



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