Stop The Networking Scam!

Multi-level Marketing (MLM), network marketing, pyramid marketing, or commonly known in the Philippines as simply “networking” is a marketing strategy in which the involved personnel act as distributors of the product and are in some way forced to consume it. It’s a revolutionary and inexpensive way of selling products of companies which saves them the trouble and cost of advertising their products on TV. The idea is to shift the burden of selling to the consumers and acquire the positive image of the product, while shifting its negative effects to the seller. If you think about it, you’re paying money to work for them, grasping on the chance to earn back the money you used, thinking it’s some sort of “investment”.

network_marketingThe beauty of networking is that it opens the possibility for unlimited income, a desirable feat among aspiring opportunists. If the purpose is only money and not the passion for entrepreneurship, networking is an excellent profession. As a matter of fact, in Robert Kiyosaki’s book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, he recommends that the readers join an MLM company not to earn money but to learn how to sell because their sales training is excellent (after all, it’s the focus of networking). Simplifying the difference between an entrepreneur and a networking salesperson, networking gets rid of the burden of issues other than selling the product such as starting the company, building brand recognition, dealing with legal issues, etc; after all, even an entrepreneur knows that the final step in the cycle of business is selling. Using that framework, it seems that networking wins.

I have nothing against networking in general. The problem occurs when networkers exploit our emotions and bother our daily lives. Back in the days, the usual line was “open-minded ka ba at gustong kumita?” (are you open-minded and willing to earn?). Because that line has been used a little too often, it has degenerated into a joke. The joke that it has become lies underneath a small portion of hatred that people feel with networkers because of how they barge into our lives annoyingly. I find that joke justifiable and not close-mindedness as networking supporters will claim. I agree that it takes open-mindedness to have the courage to venture into networking instead of a secured job, but know as well that the Devil wants you to be open-minded to trick you into committing sin. Networking makes us Filipinos look like desperate money-hungry unethical individuals who lack the skills needed to be actual entrepreneurs, seeking shortcuts in every corner.

Filipinos are emotional beings (people rally on the streets and they think they’re smart), stupid (we work hard to compensate, don’t we?), unprofessional (if you call your boss by his/her name instead of “boss”, they feel offended), easily butthurt (Filipinos like throwing insults but isn’t good at handling the receiving part), and rely on “Pinoy pride” (to get through the shame of their excuse of a failure of a race). As emotional beings, networkers use this vulnerability to trick them into doing what they want. It’s normal for salespersons to target our emotion, but it’s another to blow it off proportion, promising something they themselves know they can’t accomplish, yet our stupid emotional personality let them exploit us, and we buy their products, and now the burden to recover that expense (or investment as they say) is now in our hands. You are now forced to do the same dirty sales talk to your friends, family, and sometimes strangers in the hopes that they are stupid enough to believe you so that the burden is now passed on to them.

I have nothing against the desire to earn money. Even I have plans laid out to accumulate income-generating assets as Robert Kiyosaki’s book has taught me. I’m against the fact that some networkers basically lie. When you as a networker know what you’re saying is not what you mean, and you know what they understood is how you want them to understand it yet it’s not what you really mean, then you are basically lying to their face, and the only thing that keeps you bring being called technically a liar is that you never really told them how they think is not really what you meant, yet you are in the power to stop the confusion but you don’t because you benefit from it. (if you were able to follow that train of thought, then congratulations!) There should be more transparency in the networking system. Enough of the “I would like to propose a ‘business partnership’” when in fact you are under the person calling you. I received a call just the other day telling me “we’re launching a new product” when in fact that product has been selling for some time. It’s also unethical to have some of your friends desperate for money who joined a networking company to give their contacts and have their “mentors” call you in the middle of the night asking “how are you” when in fact they don’t really give a damn, then they proceed with their b*llsh*t sales talk of “business partnership”.

In just ten seconds, I was able to see through the BS of the person who called me one night and immediately identify that it was someone attempting to network with me. As someone who is rarely emotionally convinced with networking, though interested, I asked if he could please skip the sales and talk and proceed to the offers available. Not trained to handle someone like me who isn’t emotionally vulnerable, he didn’t know what to answer and it turned me off immediately. The way networkers try to exploit our emotions and blow the fundamental truth out of proportion is why they get such a bad name, and they deserve it. In an effort to promote transparency and “cut the bullsh*t”, I suggest that MLM companies show their package offers to the people, and let them approach the one who referred them, and make it the only way to join the MLM. It may cut your sales down, but if you really want people to “explore opportunities”, don’t force them to go to your meetings blind only to tell trap them into your sales talk. The most ethical way for a networker to attract potential clients is to rely less on recruiting and more on selling the products. Let your effort and result speak for themselves and stop exploiting people’s emotions. Let’s make the world a better place by promoting transparency, and to promote transparency, the first step is to cut the bullsh*t!


About Vladimir Santos

Vladimir Santos is a divergent writer. He avoids government-level politics. Instead, he promotes modern conservatism as a means to solve societal issues innate within Filipinos. If an article you see is not about bashing a politician, it's probably his.

20 Comments on “Stop The Networking Scam!”

  1. A great way to cheat your friends and family…. I’m shocked by the amount of ‘educated’ people that try to spruik this type of scam. For a country renowned for scamsters it’s surprising so many are so easily fooled.

      1. Anon,
        in most cases the word “Networking” is used in relation to work and business. But it can also happen here among commenters.

        Its very popular to have a “corporate suite” in a sports arena and invite other business people (from other disciplines) hopefully doing business or at least make sure such contacts may result in doing business at a later date/stage.

  2. “Networking” seems to be used only in the Philippines to refer to “network marketing” in the same way “salvage” is used to connote killing somebody. You can depend on Filipinos to use words in the wrong context.

    If you want to know more about the notorious history of MLM, go look up Amway and the tools scam. That’s the granddaddy of it all.

    1. Another aspect of the MLM thing is the pseudo-religion it made up. Uplines treat themselves like gurus and teach such questionable stuff to potential downlines, and they do it in seminars styled like showbiz or political rallies. And when someone doesn’t make a good sale despite honest effort, doesn’t bring it recruits or even just quits quietly, they get rubbed down with sermons telling them things like, “they’re not good enough,” “they have the bad attitude,” or “there’s something morally wrong with you.” All the stuff you can expect from really bad bosses. This goes to show that MLM also comes a business cult most of the time. Check sites like MLMWatch and Quackwatch for for more info.

      Also, people can look at my earlier article about Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret to see the kind of pseudo-religion they use.

  3. Anyone remembers REY PAMARAN from that Cebu Pacific fiasco?

    Well, he’s into that whole “networking, investment, etc…” crap!

    Heck, he’s the main reason his hometown of Pagadian was scammed by his good buddy, Aman what-his-face is.

    We’ve photos of RP meeting with Aman in Malaysia. RP and his entourage of “good-looking” boys.

  4. In every aspect we need a balancer. Without the ugly ones you wouldnt recognize whos beautiful. Networking will never reach its saturation point and thanks to those who balance it off. But to those who prefer networking from employment will definitely have a whole different experience. Businessmen find employment a terrible choice just like anyone else whos employed, they find networking scammish.

  5. “I’m against the fact that some networkers basically lie.”

    Yup. Wild promises of unlimited riches at little cost, all while trying to ignite your greed. (Too good to be true)

    Too bad they won’t show how much work you’d need to do to earn it. If you knew, you’d decide that it’s just not worth it.

    “The most ethical way for a networker to attract potential clients is to rely less on recruiting and more on selling the products.”

    Agreed with that one. It’s completely unethical to trick people with promises of wealth and profit more from that instead of creating and selling a product that people need.

    1. Millions of Filipino are benefiting from organizations like the SSS much more then the few on top of your networking scam companies

  6. Hi, I’m a Networker and would like to share with you why and how I become one. I have been employed since 1991,as Department Head in a Department store, a Brand Manager in an RTW company and for the past 19 years Asst. to the GM of a jewelry & watches retailing company. In my present job I saw how difficult it is to have a business,with all the legal, marketing, HR, operations, capital and overhead expenses…as much as I want to put up my own business I know that only a few can really survive and be successful in business. I joined a Networking company because of its products,it helped me and my family be healthy. We were not forced to consume the products, and we will not force anyone either, I also liked the Marketing plan and believed in the Power of leverage. Whenever I talked to my friends & colleagues I always tell them up front that its a networking type of business, I offer them the products and most of them joined because they were cured by taking or using our products. I never pressured anyone to join and always explained that we can earn more by building a group or network just like a franchise, we multiply our selves tru other people, we help each other grow, whatever we earn will depend on our own efforts, meaning you have to work on this and not just simply join. Our Company is legitimate, Filipino owned, registered in SEC and awarded Top 12 Taxpayer. We are inspired to do Networking by Distributors who are now Millionaires, they are now more than 1,500.. we believe that because we have excellent products and if we do the business right, be honest..we will get the results we want..

  7. I agree with some points of this post, I believe that not all people in the industry are bad, and that not all companies are scams. I’ve heard a lot of outrageous claims like “overnight cancer cures” and 1-week millionaire stories back from when I was a college student in DLSU, all the way to today in employment.

    I always give a chance to whoever approaches me with their offer and I listen to what they have to say. Afterwards, I ask them questions and from there, I judge how they handle my concerns.

    The first and foremost thing to observe is what do they emphasize more on: The product or the income? If I find that they spend 80% more time talking about the income and getting rich with no effort, they immediately lose points with me.

    The 2nd thing I actively look for is if they can explain their products well and give me believable data and/or sources. I look for certifications with the FDA, any legitimate studies done by CREDIBLE 3rd parties that support whatever their products are based on, and I research on the products and studies supporting them when I get home. Any “kalaban siya ng hospital kasi nakakapigil siya ng cancer, kaya di ito lumalabas sa balita, kasi mawawalan ng benta ang mga doctor.” spiels, I immediately lose interest and I definitely berate the person making that pitch. If, however, they tell me that the product is listed in the PPD (Philippine Pharmaceutical Directory) or PDR (Physician’s Desk Reference) or other databases for pharmaceutical drugs, then that would catch my interest.

    3rd, I also look at the business model that they have, and gauge how many times they actually explain the system versus how many times they pitch how easy/convenient/mind-blowingly orgasmically income-generating/etc the system is. If they give the business model to me straight with a few comments on how they like the system, without coming off as ‘mayabang’ or implying “only an IDIOT would not take this opportunity”, then I actually consider their business as a possible option, but not before checking my 4th and one of the most important things to consider….

    4th, is there a membership / recruitment fee? If there is, then it’s an automatic no. If the way to sign on is to simply buy products in a package with a clear breakdown of the costs, then good. Also, if their business model generates income DEPENDING on recruiting more people to pay membership fees that simply go into the pockets of the people above them, then it is obviously unethical in my eyes. But if the business model focuses dominantly on product sales, and does not rely on recruiting new members for one to generate income, then it would be worth my consideration.

    5th, I try to observe the culture of the organization and the people there. If they seem haughty or desperate, then that clearly raises red flags. If, however, I can see a strong support system with proper regular training sessions that actually make sense, then it would be a very convincing offer.

    Last, but definitely the most important, are the products themselves. I chose to bring the products up again because they are that important to consider. If they were made in some backwater place by some obscure and unrecognized doctor (ESPECIALLY if it’s a doctor in our country), then I consider the whole opportunity a very gigantic risk to my own reputation and health. The products have to be rated by credible 3rd parties before I will even think of trying them. I will only consider a company whose main focus is in distributing the product for the sake of improving health over a company whose main focus is in “making people rich” and “generating insane income in short time”.

    These are just part of my personal opinion on the topic of Network Marketing. I DO, however, want to clarify that Network Marketing is not Pyramiding. There are a lot of similarities but there are also some very distinct differences that set them apart. Pyramiding is all about “recruit-recruit” and membership fees, fronting products as a mere cover for what they’re really selling (memberships). Network Marketing, however, is a system of moving products from factory to consumers through a network of users, retailers and network builders. There are actual Legitimate and Ethical Network Marketing Companies in existence, but very few in number compared to the scams that pop up every week.

    For one, Network Marketing is actually a business course offered in some universities in America, and if I am not mistaken, DLSU and UP have both opened up Network Marketing courses or subjects in their Colleges of Business.

    Also, Tessie Tomas made a video on youtube explaining how to identify pyramid scams apart from legitimate networking companies. Here’s the link if anyone is interested.

    Another note: Network Marketing is also known as Direct Selling, and all companies in the industry have to be registered in the DSA (Direct Selling Association International) and abide by their rules. One such rule is that there are no membership or recruitment fees.

    Today, I am working in a corporate environment but since 2013 I have also become a distributor of a network marketing company, and have since been testing their products for myself and my family. So far, so good. I actually have friends who are now regularly ordering products from me whenever they run out, and before that, we were making bets on whether or not the supplements would actually work and show actual results in our medical checkups. I can actually say that I am glad with my decision and it’s good extra income on the side. I won’t say what company it is here, but if anyone actually took time to read my entire post and feel that I have valid points, and is curious about what company succeeded in acquiring my interest and participation, feel free to find me on facebook and drop me a PM. Cheers and best of luck to us all.

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