Chances are you'll be approached over the course of your lifetime by a representative of an "organization" that will use any of the above buzz phrases to entice you to join them in their venture to make you rich.
Unfortunately, they will get extremely offended if you refer to their business as a "pyramid scheme" and they will always reply, "Pyramid Schemes are illegal -- We're a Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) Network Marketing Opportunity organization! (source)
Unless of course, you're trying to market the scheme to Homer Simpson, and in that case you would say:
Seminar speaker: "First, let me assure you that this is not one of those shady pyramid schemes you've been hearing about. No sir. Our model is the trapezoid scheme, guaranteed to give you an eight-hundred percent return...." (The Simpsons, Season 3, Episode 12)Which brings us to one of the most "popular and exciting" Trapezoidal MLM Network Marketing Opportunity in Israel today -- "Agel"
The purists will tell you that "illegal pyramid schemes" are where no goods are exchanged, so the "Agel scheme" is not illegal. It may be unethical and immoral, but it's not illegal.
The question is, why does anyone need "Agel" which is sold exclusively through the Agel distribution network and not available in stores?
First, what is Agel? The simple answer: vitamins in "jell" form.
Marketing 101 teaches you the naming and branding is essential. No one will buy a product entitled, "Bitter Herb Monster-Sized Pills". You need s slick name, and "Agel" fits the bill. Going one step further, its classed by its marketeers as belonging to a made-up industry, "gelceuticals" (sounds strikingly similar to the serious industry known as "pharmaceuticals", doesn't it?)
In trying to convince us that Agel is a fantastic business opportunity, they will write things as follows:
"If you think that this is just another scam and don't believe gelceuticals will explode in the near future then don't invest... simple as that. But the truth is they will surpass all the pills, powder supplements, shakes, etc. If you like what you hear about the product, then perhaps you should do more research instead of saying "oh it's just another scheme or scam" you and I know that it's called ignorance.And then, they drop statements from official looking press releases like this:
Just like other pro-Agel people before me have written I challenge you to find out more about it, without saying "oh it looks like a pyramid structure it must be a scam".
Predicted to be the next trillion dollar industry, AskMeWhyAgel.com Gelceuticals business opportunity is ground breaking in the marketplace by leading in an unequaled innovative revolution.Yet ask yourself, why do we really need vitamins in jell form? Is this so much more useful than regular vitamins supplements? Is Agel a better solution than healthy eating?
No proof exists that gel technology is in any way better – in fact there is a greater danger of the product ingredients becoming unstable and breaking down.
If this product is so amazing, why aren't there over the counter versions of this amazing, revolutionary product, sold by other companies? (Readers, help me out here if I'm wrong...)
In Israel, this product is marketed as Kosher, and the Agel website points us to an OU kosher certification that expired a year and a half ago.
Again, its important to keep in mind that not every product with an OU on it is good for you, let alone healthy.
I found the following products that are also OU certified Kosher, yet I would advise you call your local poison control center if you accidentally ingested any of it.
A closer reading from the Agel website brings us some interesting points about their miracle product (starting with a clear statement on their advertising literature: "These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA" )
Should pregnant woman use Agel products?
There are some ingredients in Agel EXO that have been listed in some texts as not appropriate for pregnant women. Consequently, we recommend that pregnant women not consume EXO. If you are pregnant, prior to taking any vitamin, herbs, supplements, or over-the-counter medications, we recommend that you consult with your physician.
We recommend that you review the ingredients in these products with your physician prior to using them while breast-feeding.
Should children use Agel FIT?
We recommend consulting with your pediatrician about appropriate food supplementation and weight management regimens for children. As a general rule, we do not recommend diet aids for children, and we therefore do not recommend using Agel FIT in the pediatric population. We do advocate healthy eating habits and plenty of physical activity as a means for children to manage weight. To initiate an early habit of dependence on dieting aids in childhood may be sending the wrong message.
Why did my skin feel hot and appear slightly red with OHM? OHM contains B3 in the form of niacinamide. It can have a flushing reaction. Sometimes the skin temporarily feels hot and gets red and sometimes a rash appears, but then disappears after a while. It is not harmful, just a bit scary if never experienced before.
Can Agel products help some medical conditions? Nutritional supplements are for supplementing the diet. They are not for diagnosing, mitigating, preventing or curing any diseases. As GelDocs, it is out of the scope of our legal abilities to diagnose or make recommendations for the treatment of any disease or diagnosed medical condition.
Sounds like a real miracle
Its a dubious product to say the least -- yet thousands of Israelis are now actively selling agel, specifically in the religious and Chareid sectors. Some of the higher ups on the pyramid are making very nice "salaries" as a result of the work being done by their underlings.
The problem with MLM and pyramid-structured schemes is that the bottom tiered people have no one available to sell on their behalf or even buy the product. There's no one left to make those at the bottom, "get rich."
The charismatic, dynamic and influential people at the "top" of the pyramid are the ones making the money, while the middle and lower tiered people end up doing the hard work as they try to convince their neighbors, friends, and family that Agel is the economic and health miracle to let them live the good life.
Unfortunately, Agel is not anything a family "needs", like other products sold by more reputable MLM companies such as Amway. Amway sells household goods that everyone needs; tissues, toilet paper, soap, etc. The only real selling point of Agel, is once you get past the mega hype of it being a "vitamin" -- the point of selling it is to get people to sell it on your behalf.
Agel salesmen routinely advertise it as a miracle solution for the health ailments of society (like the list I provided above), learning disabilities, and more.
In a country like Israel, where money is tight (and this was even before the global recession), I find it immoral for charismatic Agel salesmen to get guileful, impoverished victims to buy-in to the program with the siren song of financial independence and "easy money"
For every person making a lot of money in Agel, there are hundreds who don't.
To end off -- here's a educational video from the "King of Queens" about MLM companies, and why it's common sense to avoid them like the plague.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד