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Talk: Multi-level marketing/Archive 2


Talk:Multi-level marketing/Archive 2

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Another criticism of MLM

SOme editor tried to remove this under NPOV and RS ground:

Another criticism of MLMs is that the odds of breaking even or even making money are far worse (less than 1%) than other types of businesses.(Taylor, Jon M. (2002). “Comparing Recruiting MLM’s with No-product Pyramid Schemes, and with Gambling”. Consumers Awareness Institute. Retrieved 2009-06-25.)(FitzPatrick, Robert L. (August 4, 2002). “The 10 Big Lies of Multi-Level Marketing”. Consumers Awareness Institute. Retrieved 2009-06-25.) “The vast majority of MLM’s are recruiting MLM’s, in which participants must recruit aggressively to profit. Based on available data from the companies themselves, the loss rate for recruiting MLM’s is approximately 99.9%; i.e., 99.9% of participants lose money after subtracting all expenses, including purchases from the company.”(Taylor, Jon M. (2002). “Comparing Recruiting MLM’s with No-product Pyramid Schemes, and with Gambling”. Consumers Awareness Institute. Retrieved 2009-06-25.)

Several things.

1) This is in the CRITICISM section and is there for covered under NPOV.

2) Jon M. Taylor has an MBA as well as a PHD. This makes him as an expert and therefore a RS.

Ergo NO LEGITIMATE grounds for removal of this material.–BruceGrubb (talk) 08:18, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Taylor’s website is a self-published POV work. Having an MBA and PHD (in psychology) does not automatically make you an expert in every possible topic. While he likes to claim he’s been “recognized as a court expert”, he fails to mention that many courts have also refused him as an expert. Please review Len Clement’s Anti-MLM Zealots article for a review of just some of the problems. —Insider201283 (talk) 08:31, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Same goes for FitzPatrick btw. —Insider201283 (talk) 08:31, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Jon Taylor is used as a reference in Wong, Michelle. A. (2002) “China’s Direct Marketing Ban: A Case Study of China’s Response to Capital-Based Social Networks” Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal regarding MLMs.
Robert L FitzPatrick is used as a reference in Koehn, Daryl (2001) “Ethical Issues Connected with Multi-Level Marketing Schemes” Journal of Business Ethics 29:153-160. The actual book False Profits was used as a reference by Walter J. Carl, Phd in his “Organizational Legitimacy As Discursive Accomplishment in Multilevel Marketing Discourse” paper at the Organizational Communication Division of the National Communications Association conference Nov 21-24, 2002.
Being used in peer-reviewed journals fits the “established expert on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications” requirement about using self-published material. Never mind being used as a reference in a presentation paper.
Leonard W. Clements of Marketwave by contrast appears to have COI problems and there is nothing about how reliable his publication is. You can’t use a questionable source to justify the removable of people whose work has been used as references in peer-reviewed journals
I’m going to go and find more Journal references using FitzPatrick and Taylor and put them in when I restore my edit (I’m at four right now so the two above are not the only support I have found.)–BruceGrubb (talk) 09:40, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Woker, TA (2003) “If It Sounds Too Good to Be True It Probably Is: Pyramid Schemes and Other Related Frauds” and Carl, Walter J. (2004) “The Interactional Business of Doing Business: Managing Legitimacy and Co-constructing Entrepreneurial Identities in E-Commerce Multilevel Marketing Discourse” Western Journal of Communication, Vol. 68. Two more uses of FitzPatrick. Doesn’t look like you have any ground to stand on and I have just started and I am going to post EVERY reference I find here.–BruceGrubb (talk) 09:48, 26 June 2009 (UTC)
Terry Sandbek, Ph.D. Brain Typing: The Pseudoscience of Cold Reading American Board of Sport Psychology uses both Taylor and FitzPatrick under the section regarding MLMs.
Cruz, Joan Paola; Camilo Olaya (2008) “A System Dynamics Model for Studying the Structure of Network Marketing Organizations” uses Taylor as a reference four times and one of those times is to validate this statement: “It is considered that 99% of NMOs’ distributors lose profits because the costs associated with building the business exceed the returns.”–BruceGrubb (talk) 10:27, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

I applaud your efforts in finding suitable sources to back Taylor’s credibility as a reliable source…However, my concern with the Taylor source referenced in the article is the actual nature of the content itself.

While Taylor may have been referenced in other third party publications, when looking at the site in question (the one cited in the article) I did not see any mention of any place in which that information was published. In addition, there are no real raw data given and even if there were, again, this is the work of an individual who may or may not have a bias and which is not mentioned to be published or reviewed in any fashion. On top of this, only final numbers are presented. Nowhere is there any mention or description of the data gathered or how they were analyzed or interpreted to come to those conclusions.

There are only two things included that even come close to this. One is the mention that “Gambling statistics were obtained from Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, April 6, 2001.” Again, we just have to take his word for that…but even if that is true a) there is no proof offered to support it and b) it has no real bearing on the information being referenced in our article here. The other is:
The estimates are based on our careful analysis of reports published by the MLM companies themselves. These extraordinary loss rates were derived by removing three sources of deception from the reporting of these MLM’s:

(1) the practice of not counting ALL who signed on as distributors (agents, consultants, etc.) in the population of recruits who attempted to make the program work for them, but instead counting only those still “active;” i.e., deleting all dropouts in the calculation,

(2) not subtracting expenses, especially products and services purchases from the company to “do the business,” and

(3) assuming legitimate sales of products (to customers not in the network) that did not occur.
So, here Taylor claims to be gathering data “published by the companies themselves” but offers no other information as to where they were published, where one might find them, or even what those data are. He goes on to say that the numbers he arrived at were reached by “removing three sources of ‘deception’.” From the list of what those sources are he implies that he was able to 1) obtain the exact number of all who signed on as distributors (despite the fact that this information was left out of the published sources he claims to have used), 2) obtain the exact amount of expenses accrued by every one of these distributors as a result of “doing the business”, and 3) derive exactly how many reported sales were not actually sales (i.e. they did not occur).

How any single person (or organization for that matter) could obtain information like that is a mystery to me. Short of every single distributor who signed up keeping a detailed log of business expenses and then Taylor obtaining such data or interviewing each person, there is no possible way to know how much any one person spent to “do the business”. Not only does he not mention how he got such information, he neglects to even give a hint as to what that information is.

And finally, this of course all assumes any analysis was done in the first place. Again, no proof has been offered for this.

Do any of the sources you provided detail (or at least reference) the actual data from the web page in question? —JohnDoe0007 (talk) 11:41, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Bruce, given you have access to and have apparently read all of these journal articles, it is quite obvious that THEY should be being used as sources, and not a personal website. Wikipedia policy is clear that SPS like websites should be avoided if possible. Given Taylor and FitzPatrick have easily provably false misinformation on their wesites (eg “70% retail sales rule”) they obviously are not reliable sources and have some issues. Use the better sources and avoid self-published personal websites, particularly on a topic that can be controversial. —Insider201283 (talk) 11:47, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

BTW Bruce, I’m not suggesting Len Clement’s website should be used as a source for this article. As far as I’m concerned it shouldn’t be. Just like FitzPatrick and Taylor, while he has been cited in numerous books and articles he has an obvious POV. None of these websites should be used as sources, whether pro or con. As you have shown, there are plenty of 3rd party published sources available that can be used – I can supply a bunch more too. So how about we agree not to use self-published websites, whether pro or anti-MLM. —Insider201283 (talk) 11:55, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

I neglected to mention earlier that it would appear that the original argument was that this man and his personal website qualify as reliable sources simply because he has some letters that follow his name, and that the information provided does not need to be neutral because it is provided in a “criticism section.” This is not so.

A criticism section is meant to provide information on the criticisms raised by others…not present them as facts or to allow for non-NPOV content. A NPOV can be maintained throughout a criticism section. An encyclopedia is supposed to deliver information about subjects. If a certain subject garners criticism in the outside world the encyclopedia can provide a documentation of such criticism from a neutral point of view. It is in this context that such unreliable sources can be used (i.e. when speaking about those individuals or opinions). In other words, one might be able to use the sources in question as examples of individuals who have criticized, but not necessarily as legitimate criticism of the subject of the article. WP:RS, WP:PSCI and WP:V all touch on this.

However, WP:SPS is quite clear in this situation. The information provided and presented in the way it was in this article goes against official English Wikipedia policy. The source is not only self-published, it is shoddily presented and offers no real credence to itself while treading in the realm of fringe theory…not necessarily there, but along those lines. This, plus the “statistics” it provides offer nothing to the use of any formal scientific method or verifiability.

I will attempt to rework that section of the article so as to keep some of the information in it, but even then the community may very well reach a consensus that Taylor (or FitzPatrick) or any of their criticisms are widely-enough held to garner a mention in our encyclopedia. —JohnDoe0007 (talk) 12:59, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

I think you are misunderstanding WP:Rs#Extremist and fringe sources, WP:PSCI, WP:Verifiability#Questionable sources are actually saying. You seem to saying that if a peer review journal uses Fitzpatrick or Taylor thent he statement is usable but if we present the very same information on it own it somehow magically becomes a unreliable source; TELL ME HOW THIS MAKES A LICK OF SENSE! If Fitzpatrick or Taylor are unreliable on their own then they certainly don’t magically become readability if they are used to support an argument (as Cruez does) in a peer reviewed report and conversely if they are reliable enough to be used as supporting evidence in a peer reviewed article then they must be reliable on their own or they wouldn’t have been allowed in the peer reviewed article reference for a claim in the first place.–BruceGrubb (talk) 15:43, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Just a note, the Cruez article is not peer-reviewed. It’s a conference paper, these are usually not peer-reviewed before presentation. Indeed, I find it extremely unlikely that any reputable journal would publish an article using a guys website as a citation.–Insider201283 (talk) 16:24, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Clearly you didn’t bother reading up on the requirements of System Dynamics conference papers (something I did). The requirements for the 2007 conference papers were as follows: “Papers may be submitted from January 2, 2007 to March 26, 2007 and must be in sufficient detail for the referees to judge their meaning and value. Submissions must be in English and should be 5 – 30 pages in length (there is also a maximum 2 MB electronic file size). Abstracts will not be accepted. Submission of models and other supporting materials to enable replication and aid the review process is encouraged in all cases (maximum file size 2 MB in addition to the paper). […] All works submitted will be assigned for double blind peer review. The results, with the oversight of the program chairs, will determine whether a work will be accepted, and the presentation format for the work.” Other than the dates the 2009 requirements are the same. So contrary to what you claim the Cruz paper WAS peer reviewed unless you can find proof 2008 was handled differently.–BruceGrubb (talk) 17:44, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Mea culpa – but to be honest that’s frankly quite shocking. I spent a decade in academia, including submitted to peer-reviewed journals and evaluating way too many other papers, and that’s really quite sad. As JohnDoe0007 pointed out, Taylor’s “research” is virtually non-existent. For someone to cite it, based only on a webpage, and have that accepted in peer review? A tragic example of poor standards. —Insider201283 (talk) 20:13, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

What’s perhaps even MORE shocking is that one of the cits is Taylor’s “5 Red Flags” paper, supposedly presented at a 2002 Economic Crime Summit Conference. We might make that 6 red flags though, as a google can find no references to this summit except with regards Jon Taylor. Must have been a major conference indeed! 🙂 I have a sneaking suspicion our friend Cruez may not have viewed the actual conference proceedings … —Insider201283 (talk) 20:22, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Several things here. First Google searches: 1) They only lists things for which there is an internet presence and not everything even as recent as 2002 and 2004 is accessible on line. 2) Google searches use text so if the information is in a format like a pdf composed of photoscans, or archived away in some compressed format (like .zip) Google will not directly see it. 3) Many times Google searches will display the most recent version of a page so if the page is updated then odds are Google will find that version and NOT the one for several years ago. 4) poorly designed or limited access sites that can restrict what Google can find.
Unfortunately the Economic Crime Summit site is not a very Google or even Internet Archive friendly site. It is very graphics heavy providing Google with little to nothing to look for and many missing pages when you Internet Archive archive it. So while you can bring up the 2002 Economic Crime Summit Conference the overview link that would tell you who presented what doesn’t work. The 2004 Economic Crime Summit Conference archive (remember that other versions say either 2002 and 2004 or 2004 Economic Crime Summit Conference for Taylor’s report) is even worse as that was in three places and none of the archived links tells you anything aobut the papers presented.
However, what Internet archive has of the 2002 Economic Crime Summit Conference DOES show how limited Google is. “Impact of Advances in Computer Technology in Evidence Processing” and “”Impact of Advances in Computer Technology in Evidence Processing” were two programs for the Wednesday, May 8 2002 Economic Crime Summit Agenda. Google cannot find them! I will repeat that; Google cannot find two programs we know were part of the 2002 Economic Crime Summit Conference. Google can’t find two entire programs and you are making big deal about it being unable to find a single presentation paper?!? You have any idea how insane this sounds?!?
Second if you had actually bothered to READ Cruz’s paper you would have known the references were Taylor, J. (2002) “Five causal and defining characteristics of product-based pyramid schemes or recruiting MLM’s”. Economic Crime Summit Conference 2002. Revised March 2006 and Taylor, J. (2004). “Who profits from multi-level marketing (MLM?” Consumer Awareness Institute and known problems Google has finding them. If you look for Cruz “Five causal and defining characteristics of product-based pyramid schemes or recruiting MLM’s”using a general Google search Google will say it cannot be found but if you use Google scholar Google will find it. So you can see even if you have the exact term different parts of Goggle don’t find the same things. So you statement about what your search produced is useless because there are limitation to what Google can find.
Third, go to the the FTC’s web site. Bring up # 178 FTC Matter No.: R511993 16 CFR Part 437 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Business Opportunity Rule. Go to 522418-13115 of Jon Taylor’s many documents. Click and read. I would say consideration by the Federal Trade Commission in it’s rebuttal process should be enough.
Finally, regardless of what YOU or JohnDoe0007 think or feel Wikipedia relies on what can be proven and it has been proven to any reasonable extent that Taylor’s statements were good enough to be used in a peer review paper and put on a government web site and as such are good enough to be used per Wikipedia:PRIMARY. Deal with it.–BruceGrubb (talk) 09:17, 27 June 2009 (UTC)

Bruce, as I stated, the FTC published EVERY comment, and rebuttal, that was submitted. If I’d submitted one, it would have been published. You’d note that Len Clements is also on that list, and as noted is also referred to in 3rd party sources. He’s pro-MLM and I don’t think his website should be used as a source either – and as far as I know there’s no clear factual errors on his site like there is with Taylor. If Taylor is used then Clements should be used. I assume you concur?
Again though, as I said – the fact we’re having this discussion is indication that Taylor is a controversial source. Self-published sources like websites should be avoided. There is no need to use Taylor’s (or Clements) website as a source as you’ve made abundantly clear, there are plenty of higher quality sources.–Insider201283 (talk) 07:53, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

Several things. First, Taylor states the original paper was a white paper ie an authoritative report while Clements makes no so such claim about his “Anti-MLM Zealots” paper. Furthermore if Taylor had not given his white paper either the 2002 or 2004 Economic Crime Summit Conference don’t you think Clements would have pounced on this fact? But Clements carefully avoids this issue as well as the fact Taylor’s white paper report has been used as a reference in peer reviewed journals including the 99% of people lose money statement.
Second, Taylor gave a rebuttal to Clements statements in Stock price plummets as the news gets out. Weak defense by Len Clements debugged and points out several of the same things I do: Clements has COI problems out the wazoo and that some of Clements’ statements are very questionable (taking Kohm’s statements out of context really hurts Clements’ credibility especially with the COI issues). Oh the fun with Usana isn’t over: Man accuses Usana of operating as pyramid scheme.
Third, Taylor’s statements have used to back up claims in peer reviewed papers in the area of MLM like Cruz and Woker and even in fields outside the area as demonstrated by Sandbek. McGeorge Law Review presents itself as a “student-run, scholarly journal” and they have this little gem: Pareja, Sergio, (2008) “Sales Gone Wild: Will the FTC’s Business Opportunity Rule Put an End to Pyramid Marketing Schemes?” McGeorge Law Review, Vol. 39, No. 83. Google scholar even brought up a Korean paper Sam-Hyun Chun, (2008) 방문ㆍ다단계판매의 판단기준에 관한 비교법적 고찰 “A Comparative Legal Review on Definition of Door-To-Door Sales and multilevel marketing” but since I can’t read Korean I have no idea on how Taylor is used in it but from the English abstract (“MLM program is a highly leveraged product-based pyramid scheme in concept, structure, and effects.”) I suspect it was as a reference against MLMs.
Finally, what scholarly much less peer reviewed stuff does Clements’ statements appear in? So far that we have seen NONE. Again, Clements has not referencef in scholarly much less peer reviewed material while Taylor is so there is no real reason to keep Taylor out.–BruceGrubb (talk) 01:07, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

<—Ok, let me get this right. One of the reasons Taylor’s website is a good source is because he calls one of his writings a whitepaper. Another reason is because, along with every other person who commented, his comments about a proposed business opportunity rule were published on ftc.gov. A third reason is because he’s cited in a self-decribed opinion piece in a student run journal – an opinion piece that declares a number of companies to be illegal pyramids, despite the fact they have been legally investigated (in the case of Amway, for years) and found not to be. Ouch, reality hurts. Yeah, some strong reasoning there Bruce. On the other hand, the reason why you want to use Taylor’s website as a source and not one of the many actual peer-reviewed papers, or even the FTC itself, is because …. because …. nope, you still haven’t answered that question.–Insider201283 (talk) 01:50, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

No you did NOT get it right, not even close. Taylor is valid mainly because he was used as evidence in peer-reviewed papers one of which you tried to say wasn’t peer review. The white paper and FTC stuff is just icing on the cake. You are blowing smoke. Either find a peer-reviewed article that Clements is worth beans or give it up.–BruceGrubb (talk) 00:16, 30 June 2009 (UTC)

(remove indent) While I have not had time to read these a quick search produced some references that should be usable and give this article its badly need reference material (if I found an actual online version I have provided a link):

Herbig, Paul 1997,; Rama Yelkurm “A Review of the Multilevel Marketing Phenomenon” Journal of Marketing Channels, 1540-7039, 6:1 Pgs 17–33

Nat, PJ Vander ; WW Keep (2002) – “Marketing fraud: An approach for differentiating multilevel marketing from pyramid schemes” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing pg 139-151

Cahn, PS (2008) “CONSUMING CLASS: Multilevel Marketers in Neoliberal Mexico” Cultural Anthropology, 23:3, Pages 429-452 (This I have read an even though I am an anthropologist I’m not sure of his point in it.)

Muncy, JA (2004) “Ethical Issues in Multilevel Marketing: Is it a Legitimate Business OR Just Another Pyramid Scheme?” Marketing Education Review

Sparks, John R. (2001) and Joseph A. Schenk “Explaining the Effects of Transformational Leadership: An Investigation of the Effects of Higher-Order Motives in Multilevel Marketing Organizations” Journal of Organizational Behavior, 22:8 pp. 849-869

Micklitz, HW; B Monazzahian, C RÖßLER (1999) “Door-to-door selling—pyramid selling—multilevel marketing” Study commissioned by the CEC.

I also got a few clunkers like: “The Failure rate with multilevel marketing is very high” Michie, Justin “Street Smart Internet Marketing”

“What’s more frightening is if your network marketing opportunity fails (and over 90% of them do), this “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity may haunt you for a lifetime, as friends, family, co-workers, remind you that your big dream turned out to be nothing.” Harris, Cathy (2006) “Multilevel Marketing aka “Pyramid Schemes” – Good or Bad?”

So there is a lot of Wheat and some chaff.–BruceGrubb (talk) 15:43, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Higgs, Philip and Jane Smith (2007) Rethinking Our World Juta Academic uses [MLM Watch website http://www.mlmwatch.org/] as well as Fitzpatrick as references. “Juta is respected as South Africa’s pre-eminent academic and law publisher”. So here we have yet another scholarly reference not only showing Fitzpatrick is a reliable source but giving us MLM Watch as one as well. The more I dig the more it looks like what little scholarly information there is regarding MLMs is negative.–BruceGrubb (talk) 10:38, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

“Multi-level marketing carries negative connotations and is illegal in special forms known as pyramid selling, snowball systems, chain-letters, etc.” Schmidt, Andreas U. (2006)”Multi-level markets and incentives for information goods” Information Economics and Policy Volume 18, Issue 2, June 2006, Pages 125-138

The abstract on this one is a very interesting read: “The wake of the recession has witnessed a boom in direct selling schemes also known as pyramid selling, multi-level marketing or network marketing.” Sarker, Rinita (1996) “Pyramid Selling” Journal of Financial Crime 3:3 Pg 266 – 268. If the main body has similar text then the effort to say these are different things just took a major hit to the head.

Business students focus on ethics By Leo V. Ryan, Wojciech Gasparski, Georges Enderle has an article by Angela Xu of the China Europe International Business School goes over the problems with MLMs (including a lack of a good definition) and states “For this reason, the MLM is also called Pyramid Sales” showing even more problems with separating MLM from pyramid selling.

This fragment I found is interesting: “Multi-level marketing is a pyramid scheme in reverse. An operator will sell large quantities of something to the target and they are expected to sell these on to their friends at a mark-up.” Ahmed, Tanzila; Charles Oppenheim (2006) “Experiments to identify the causes of spam” Aslib Proceeding 58:3 Page:156 – 178–BruceGrubb (talk) 02:49, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

merge tag

Are you kidding me? All I did was change it from saying “it has been proposed that article X should be merged into article Y” to the less specific “it has been proposed articles X and Y should be merged.”

During my additions to Network marketing I realized that if anything, it might be more appropriate the merge Multi-level marketing into the Network marketing article, as the latter is the one that is the more general term (i.e. it encompasses more facets of marketing and speaks to an overall strategy as opposed to a specific structure of compensation within a strategy, which is what multi-level marketing is). This, in addition to the explanation of multi-level marketing that is now included in the network marketing article, made me consider the possibility that members may end up deciding to merge the others the other way…so I adjusted the tag to be more general and open that for the discussion. I personally believe they each warrant their own article, but I felt the diaogue should at least be opened.

And again, I didn’t remove the tag…I didn’t even reverse the statement of the tag…all I did was to remove the specificity so that “which should be merged into which?” could be part of the discussion….and I was the one who put the original tag there in the first place.

Not all changes on Wikipedia require discussion and consensus before they are made. In fact, most don’t. Please understand the edits I make are in the vein of WP:Better and I ask that you use common sense and do not revert due to lack of prior consensus or discussion. That type of activity is counter-productive to the evolution and progression of the encyclopedia and can discourage individuals from contributing…especially newer ones…and especially when those actions come from an administrator. —JohnDoe0007 (talk) 07:13, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

Are you kidding me. You’ve changed the meaning of the tag, against a probable consensus. Futhermore, neither FTC source refers to “network marketing”, so we don’t have any reliable source distinguishing the two terms yet. If you can find a reliable source distinguishing network marketing from MLM, go ahead. Otherwise the merge should be restored, with a short paragraph on customer referral bonuses, which is the only other form of network marketing you’ve mentioned in that article. 07:21, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

(remove indent) Gummessonm, Evert (1994) “Making Relationship Marketing Operational” International Journal of Service Industry Management 5:5 pg 5-20; Vander Nat, Peter J. and William W. Keep (2002) “Marketing Fraud: An Approach for Differentiating Multilevel Marketing from Pyramid Schemes” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing 21:1 pg 139-151 and Bloch, Brian (1996) “Multilevel marketing: what’s the catch?” Journal of Consumer Marketing 13:4 pp. 18-26 all identify network marketing as another name for MLM. Bhattacharya, Patralekha and Krishna Kumar Mehta (2000) “Socialization in network marketing organizations: is it cult behavior?” Journal of Socio-Economics, Volume 29, Issue 4, Pages 361-374 identify Amway, Mary Kay, Nu Skin, Shaklee and the like as Network Marketing Organizations or NMOs and this is the same term Cruz uses. I think five different peer-reviewed articles should be enough to demonstrated network marketing and MLM are the same thing.–BruceGrubb (talk) 01:54, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

We’ve already established that the names are many times used interchangeably. And just because a company utilizes a multi-level compensation structure does NOT mean that it cannot also use a network marketing strategy (thus making companies who do, Amway, Mary Kay, Nu Skin, Shaklee, etc. both multi-level marketing companies and network marketing companies. This is a large part of the reason the names are used interchangeably…that, and the fact that most mlm companies have pushed the term “network marketing” as their preferred descriptor and concurrently distanced themselves from the term “multi-level marketing,” despite them technically both being correct for those particular companies.
They have done this of course because of all the negative publicity garnered for the term thanks to the mlm companies that have been in trouble with the law as well as the general legal scrutiny over multi-level marketing in general (with its close likeness to illegal pyramid schemes and the fact that many illegal schemes have used the cover of multi-level marketing to claim legitimacy)…which of course was the reason for the creation of the cited FTC documents that distinguish between the two to warn and explain what is illegal and what is not. In addition, it is quite possible the FTC does not fully distinguish between mlm and network marketing because a) those two documents were written many years ago, when the term “network marketing” was only beginning to be used to describe mlm companies, b) at the time there were few other companies utilizing a network marketing strategy as a large part of their overall business plan, so therefore the term was not widely used in general, c) there is nothing illegal about network marketing or multi-level marketing, so there was no need to distinguish between the two in a government/legal setting.
The main points of this are already somewhat pointed out in the network marketing article. Why is it so hard to believe that a company can have different aspects to its business plans and different marketing strategies?
If you wish to call a company that utilizes a multi-level compensation structure a “multi-level marketing company” and a company that utilizes a network marketing strategy a “network marketing company” then you may call AT&T Wireless Services, Comcast, Vonage, and Wachovia along with the endless list of other banks, cable/satellite TV providers, cell phone carriers, Internet service providers, online gaming companies that all offer compensation for friend referrals as “network marketing companies,” as they utilize a network marketing strategy as part of their business plan. This however does NOT mean that they are multi-level marketing companies…as they simply aren’t. They do not utilize anything that even resembles a multi-level marketing model…OTHER than the use of network marketing (a strategy most multi-level marketing companies use). Of course those well known large companies use the strategy along with multiple other strategies, but it [network marketing] is one still used nonetheless.
So just as one might call McDonald’s a “fast food company” or “restaurant company” it is just as much (if not more) a “real estate company” (something that has been detailed in many different places ).123 Now, of course if one were asked “What is McDonald’s?” the general answer received would be along the lines of the two former descriptors, despite the fact that the largest portion of assets, net worth and at times revenue is generated from real estate…making the firm more a “real estate company” than anything else. Just because someone might call a “spade” a suit of playing card doesn’t mean it’s not a spade. —JohnDoe0007 (talk) 08:00, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
This is all well and good but remember we have to be able to prove it through reliable sources.
“In network marketing (also known as network direct selling or multilevel marketing),” (Pratt, Michael G. nd José Antonio Rosa 2003) “Transforming work-family conflict into commitment in network marketing organizations” The Academy of Management Journal Vol. 46, No. 4, pp. 395-418
…multilevel marketing (MLM), also called “network marketing,” dramatically increased… (Vander 2002) “Marketing Fraud: An Approach for Differentiating Multilevel Marketing from Pyramid Schemes” Journal of Public Policy & Marketing Volume: 21 Issue: 1 139-151
“Multilevel selling or multilevel marketing is also known as network marketing…” (Merrilees 1999) “Direct Selling in the West and East: The Relative Roles of Product and Relationship (Guanxi) Drivers” Journal of Business Research Volume 45, Issue 3, Pages 267-273
“Multilevel marketing (also known as network marketing and MLM)” Cahn, Peter S. (2006) “Building down and Dreaming up: Finding Faith in a Mexican Multilevel Marketer” American Ethnologist Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 126-142
… It is sold worldwide via the internet in a multi-level (network) marketing system. Marcason, Wendy (2006) “What Are the Facts and Myths about Mangosteen?” Journal of the American Dietetic Association Volume 106, Issue 6, Page 986
There you have it; at least five peer reviewed papers accrooss several disciplines that expressly and directly state that “network marketing” is just another name for MLM.–BruceGrubb (talk) 23:50, 29 June 2009 (UTC)
As for the legal argument homeopathic medicine is also legal in many areas despite the fact of dozens of papers such as Linde, K, et al. Impact of study quality on outcome in placebo-controlled trials of homeopathy. J Clin Epidemiol. 1999 Jul;52(7):631-6; Ernst E, et al. Meta -analysis of homoeopathy trials. Lancet. 1998 Jan 31;351(9099):366); Belladonna 30C in a double blind crossover design – a pilot study. J Psychosomatic Res 1993; 37(8): 851-860); “The end of homoeopathy” The Lancet, Vol. 366 No. 9487 p 690. The Vol. 366 No. 9503 that all showed at best homeopathic medicine to be little better than a placebo (in some studies it actually did worse than placebo).–BruceGrubb (talk) 00:10, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
What in the world does that entire nonsensical paragraph about homeopathic medicine have to do with any of this? —JohnDoe0007 (talk) 20:28, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Just because it is legal doesn’t mean it works. That blunt enough for you?– (talk) 02:20, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Apparently not. Maybe I should be more blunt. So what? Again, what does legality, and whether or not something “works” have to do with a merge tag on Wikipedia? —JohnDoe0007 (talk) 09:45, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
I have to ask what does this have to do with FIVE RS that say MLM is network marketing?–BruceGrubb (talk) 07:39, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Sources for the article

BruceGrubb in sections above has given numerous sources to be used for the article. I thought I’d setup a separate section just to provide sources for discussion. I haven’t read all the sources provided by Bruce, but he seems to think they’re primarily “negative” and says there doesn’t seem to be many “positive”. I thought I’d help him out. The books I’ve listed are only from recognized publishing companies and not self-published. As such they are considered good sources under Wikipedia guidelines WP:RS and WP:V.



more to come … —Insider201283 (talk) 11:57, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

I’ve listed a lot more potential sources here. In addition I believe the following sources clearly DO NOT qualify under Wikipedia standards.

All of these are self-published websites. Most of these are self-evidently not allowed, a few may garner argument. MLMWatch is run by Stephen Barrett of QuackWatch fame and that site has been much discussed on controversial on wikipedia. It passes as a sometimes source because he’s a doctor, the site is about medical practices, and many reputable sources cite him. With regards MLM, Barrett has zero qualifications and the site is not cited by many reputable sources. As such IMO it’s a poor source. Skeptic’s Dictionary suffers from much the same problems. The Babener source on MLM compensation plans is debatable, I think we need better. —Insider201283 (talk) 18:46, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Careful with some of these soucres

Not all of these may meet the requirement of WP:RS

Yarnell’s book is by Prima Publishing better known through their Prima games division and is part of the Random House Information Group. We are using a game manual publisher as a RS on MLM who is owned by a printing company that is all over freaking map in terms of meeting WP:RS guidelines? You have GOT to be kidding!

The …for dummies books are good for basic reference material but their quality varies too much to be considered reliable across the board. Now if they refer us to original material that is reliable sourced that is something else.

Xardel’s book is through Blackwell Pub who is now a part of Wiley. Now Wiley InterScience is “The leading resource for quality research” but this is not under that imprint. This is a maybe. We need to know the quality of the different divisions.

Clements’ book is by Prima Lifestyles another division of Prima Publishing. So same problem as Yarnell.

Robinson’s book is put out by Three Rivers Press which is own by Crown Publishing who is owned by Random house. So same problem as Yarnell.

Rubino’s book is put out by Wiley so this another maybe.

Kiyosaki is by Cashflow Technologies which he owns. Self published and given the questions regarding the quality of the information in his Rich Dad, Poor Dad has been put forth by none other than John T Reed (whose credentials are back up in such publications as MSN Money) these are totally useless.

The papers are another issue.

The Alturas, Santos & Pereira talks about direct marketing and customer satisfaction feed back. It barely mentions Multilevel marketing and only in terms of customer acceptance not distributor success.

Grayson’s paper is to “develop, analyze, and calibrate a dynamic decision model of the growth of a retail NMO.” He does give us statistics but they are so insanely complex they look like the kind of stuff you see for quantum physics. Also on the distributor side of things not every thing is a bed of roses either. It useful but will give most people who read it a headache.

Grayson’s chapter is good solid easy to understand read and is by a publisher (Sage Publications) that has good credentials. This is a good one.

So out of this list we get six that are not really usable (two of which are self published questionable material), two maybes, a paper that at best tangentially touched on the topic, another that looks like it belongs in a physics book, and one understandable by mere mortals chapter by a scholar publication. Not exactly the best of beginnings.–BruceGrubb (talk) 16:59, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

You have GOT to be joking. You argue that a self-published website is an allowable source, but books published by the world’s largest publishing company, Random House are for some reason to be avoided?? Another book, by a Professor of Marketing at one of the world’s leading business universities (ESSEC) and published by a global company specialising in academic work, Wiley is a “maybe”? Bruce, you’re really destroying your credibility here. —Insider201283 (talk) 17:21, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
According to this press release, Prima Games was one of three divisions of Prima Publishing. Just because it was “better known”, by you, does not somehow make Prima Publishing none RS. I’ve read a number of books by Prima Publishing and never heard of Prima Games. Prima Games may be better known today because it’s still operating, whereas Prima Lifestyle was merged into Three Rivers Press. I note however you also disparage Three Rivers Press and Crown Publishing. Do I really need to go to RS/N to get an opinion on whether these are reliable sources? It seems you suffer from a well known logical affliction of the anti-mlm brigade …. if it’s pro-mlm then by definition it can’t be trusted! I live in vain hope that some day the large, broad hammer of reality will finally drive such an afflication out forever. Alas, confirmation bias is forever strong. —Insider201283 (talk) 20:22, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
Insider201283, just what part of Taylor and FitzPatrick being used in PEER REVIEWED PAPERS did you not understand? What peer review papers use Kiyosaki’s books as business references (opposed to cite them and then tear them apart)? Go look under WP:RS#Usage_by_other_sources and try to understand how realizable source actually works and not waste our time on your ideas on how you think it works.
Never mind that John T. Reed points out that such publications as the Wall Street Journal “Rich Men, Poor Advice: Their Book Is Hot, But Their Financial Tips Aren’t.” and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance “They say they want you to be rich” are not thrilled with the Rich Dad books either.
Furthermore, I was looking at the merit of publishers not authors or content in my quick survey. Three Rivers Press/Crown Publishing Group has also produced such little gems as Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution, Stop Aging, Start Living, Churchill, Hitler, and “The Unnecessary War”, How the South Could Have Won the Civil War, and I think you get the point. Clearly there is some vanity book publishing going on here putting this publisher’s reliability into question. I mean eating certain foods will turn off genes?! GIVE ME A BREAK HERE!
You can NOT use Wikipedia to back up ANY claim per Wikipedia:No_original_research#Primary.2C_secondary_and_tertiary_sources: “Articles and posts on Wikipedia, or on websites that mirror its content, may not be used as sources…” and as I pointed out Wiley has different divisions; you are not going to hold something out of Wiley’s living division (Dummies, Pillsbury, etc) to the same standard as its academic divisions. I made this mistake using the University of Chicago Press as an example; boy was I embarrassed when someone presented some vanity books as a counter example (in particular The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations). When you have what is supposedly the largest university press in the United State putting out the occasional vanity book you have to ask yourself who else is doing this. Random House for example has its share of vanity books like Angels in My Hair, Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs, The Science of God, etc. This what I meant about Random House being all over the map in terms of WP:RS.–BruceGrubb (talk) 18:33, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Says it all really. You fully admit you weren’t looking at specific cases, but at publishers as a whole – and you’ve pretty much excluded Random House and Wiley!! Amazing —Insider201283 (talk) 19:02, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Oh, btw, certain nutrients (ie things you find in foods) have indeed been shown to change gene expression[1]. Funnily enough, though I’m sure to your horror, some of the companies leading the research in this area are Nutrilite and Interleukin Genetics – part of Amway. —Insider201283 (talk) 19:08, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

I thought I smelled an error in statistical processing in the first detailed report of extracellular chemistry and gene expression. Probably the same statistical methods which show that most Amway distributors make money…. (Only half kidding, really. The statistical methods used in the first paper I read were clearly faulty. Later studies seem to have confirmed the effect for some externalities, although I don’t remember specifically one for nutrition which used proper methods credible.)
However, he’s right that not all imprints of Random House and Wiley avoid pseudo-factual books, and some may actually seek out such books. I haven’t checked any of the specific references in question, but, your “rebuttal” to his argument has no weight that I can see. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 19:50, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

For crying out loud Arthur, perhaps you should check the references before you comment. Two of the books he dismisses are by Professors of Business/Marketing, published by recognized publishing houses. Another, by a recognized publishing house, is by a court certified NWM expert who (despite claims to the contrary by Bruce) has been cited a number of time in the literature. This has to be taken in the context of Bruce wanting to use a self-published website (not a book or paper) as a source, based on evidence like the fact that the site owner gets himself on Foxnews and is quoted in student papers of such high quality they give the site domain name (not even a page or access date) as references. Yet books by Professors of Marketing from major publishing houses are “doubtful”. Give me a break. —Insider201283 (talk) 22:15, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Self-published papers that were used in PEER REVIEWED PAPERS and as for Clements being a court certified NM expert we don’t know things like what state, county, or city court he was certified by or what cases he was involved in. That would tell us just how good that court certification is as the quality varies. It is really annoying that looking for ‘Clements “court certified”|”certified court” expert “Network Marketing”‘ produced only blog, self promotionals, and others parroting nearly verbadum what Clements is saying. I can find a John Clements (same problems BTW) who is a Court certified Expert Witness in the area of bladed combat for the state of Texas making you wonder what the state coroner does. Something here just doesn’t look right. Of course with “experts” who have cats as buisness parners a LOT doesn’t look right.–BruceGrubb (talk) 11:01, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Arthur Rubin gets it. Unless we can show that the division of Random House in question is known for scholarly books then there is no reason to claim they are reliable source by default as you want to. As my University of Chicago Press example shows even the most scholarly publishing house can go into vanity book land so going just on the merit of the publish house may not be enough. The Rubino book does have a few problems–he doesn’t have a degree in the relevant field and he appears to be the sole editor. In “Great Formula: For Creating Maximum Profit with Minimal Effort‎” by Mark Joyner Page 194, Rubino talks about the future release of The Ultimate Guide to Network Marketing in context with the expansion of his MLM formula. COI problems galore.

COI galore? Great, looks like we can remove Fitzpatrick and Taylor then … since they earn their living by criticising MLM companies.!–Insider201283 (talk) 22:15, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Insider20128, Fitzpatrick and Taylor are used in PEER REVIEWED PAPERS so this argument is DEAD; DEAL WITH IT. You have not provided even a single demonstratively peer reviewed source that that uses statements made by Rubino as reference while I have provided such papers for BOTH Fitzpatrick and Taylor including one you claimed wasn’t peer reviewed after I said it was (Cruz). When that little gambit blew up in your face in spectacular fashion you started rambling on about how you couldn’t believe believe it–which did nothing to change the fact that as I sated before Taylor WAS used in a peer reviewed paper. I should mention the book that Rubino claims is in “his” Joyner really isn’t–he is just the editor and only one article in that book is really “his” in any case.
So instead of mostly demonstrative peer reviewed stuff like Cruz like I went and found we get mostly questionable sources one of who stated he had a cat as a business partner. No, I am not letting that one go as long as you keep harping on Fitzpatrick and Taylor who are used in PEER REVIEWED PAPERS. You can’t win this so stop POV pushing.–BruceGrubb (talk) 09:11, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Bruce, I ask again – why are you so against using the peer-reviewed papers as sources? Why are you so insistant on using personal websites when we clearly have plenty of quality uncontroversial sources to use? —Insider201283 (talk) 16:49, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Insider, I don’t understand your point. The only papers you provided were Alturas, Santos & Pereir and two by Grayson. The Alturas paper at best only talks about networking marketing in a very tangental manner and the first Grayson is throwing around some very complex statistical math. You can’t use that here any more than I can use Fischer, Roland (1994) “On The Story-Telling Imperative That We Have In Mind” Anthropology of Consciousness. Dec 1994, Vol. 5, No. 4: 16 that in the abstact states “There is not a shred of evidence that a historical character Jesus lived, to give an example, and Christianity is based on narrative fiction of high literary and cathartic quality. On the other hand Christianity is concerned with the narration of things that actually take place in human life.” and in the main body there is this: “It is not possible to compare the above with what we have, namely, that there is not a shred of evidence that a historical character Jesus lived.” in the Jesus myth article. The Anthropology of Consciousness is peer reviewed by any reasonable standard and is published through the American Anthropological Association but it was NOT useable because the article appeared to go outside the Journal’s range of expertise. Grayson’s statistical article has the SAME problem–is this within the area of expertise of that journal? I have a minor in math and it makes my head hurt making you have to wonder if the reviewing panel even knew what they were looking at.
As for the books there is no evidence that they went through the peer review divisions of the respective publishers. I sincerly doubt that that there is any kind of peer reviewing for the For dummies division out of Wiley and certainly not for the divisions out of Random House that do vanity books.–BruceGrubb (talk) 20:36, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

<—-Bruce, I haven’t even read the “Dummies” book, I’ve no idea as to it’s quality. I’m collating suggestions for sources that look prime facie OK but each would have to be taken on their merits. Peer-reviewed articles by experts on the topic are generally the “gold standard”. Self-published websites are generally somewhere at the bottome of the pile as to what we should be looking for. Books by acknowledged experts in the field are clearly closer to the top of the pile than the bottom. A number of the articles that both you and I have posted I think may be best used to check their reference lists to find other sources, rather than be used by themselves. Just because I’ve listed something doesn’t mean I think it’s the bees knees of references, it means I think it should be looked at. I plan on ordering some of these references that I don’t have. The Grayson article I think has some very interesting findings with regards the sponsoring/retailing balance and I think most definitely has a place. The very fact that academics are doing such studies speaks towards the legitimacy of NWM, and with respect, I think that’s part of your POV challenge here – it’s clear you believe the entire industry is somehow bogus and that virtually by (your) definition, if something isn’t a mouthpiece for the theories of FitzPatrick and Taylor then it must be suspect. The reality is that they verge on WP:FRINGE. They’ve been rejected by virtually every officially body that has considered their claims, including numerous courts, the FTC, and SEC. Since they claim pretty much every MLM is a pyramid they get it right occasionally, but to claim that large multi-national companies like Amway and Herbalife are illegal and have somehow hoodwinked the lawmakers of dozens and dozens of countries over decades is simply ludicrous. The fact is their sites contain many easily disproved falsehoods (like the 70% “retail sales rule” mentioned on this page above) and are highly POV and misleading. —Insider201283 (talk) 21:16, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Books by “acknowledged experts” would be toward the top of the pile, if there were such a thing as an “acknowledged expert” in the field of network marketing who is not a participant. If a participant, there’s an obvious conflict of interest…. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 21:28, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

That’s part of the problem, it’s difficult to become an “expert” and either not be involved or get involved. One of the largest Amway distributorships is Dr Peter Müller-Meerkatz out of Germany. From what I understand his doctorate was on marketing and in particular pyramid schemes. As part of his research he studied Amway, with the common misconception it was a pyramid, and the end result was he finished his doctorate, joined Amway, and now has an extremely large business (I believe his groups turnover is in the 10 figure range). Len Clements was involved in an MLM (same one as Taylor as it happens) and later became an independent MLM advocate. When you understand the model fully it’s difficult to not be involved somehow, and from what I understand he is now a rep for some company (note that he wasn’t when he wrote Inside Network Marketing). There are hundreds of books on NWM, but most of them are written by network marketers. This isn’t surprising. I think you’ll find most books by mathematicians are written by mathematicians too! Having said that, AFAIK of the books I listed, none of Poe, Clements, Xardell, Robinson, or King had any COI at the time of writing. Neither Trump nor Kiyosaki for that matter either, though I for one certainly don’t put their works high in the list as sources for much other than their opinions. On the other side of the coin, both Taylor and FitzPatrick apparently have their entire livelihoods based around being critics of NWM. They clearly have a pretty substantial COI as well. —Insider201283 (talk) 21:49, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

If these people are that good then why are articles out of the peer review area like Cruz, Woker, Sandbek using Taylor, Fitzpatrick, and even Vandruff instead of them? Something just doesn’t add up. Nevermind they are not being used just in business papers but papers in anthropology, law (Juta) and psychology as well. Either the scholarly review boards across four different profession have lost their marbles and the Law students have lost theirs as well or these people are considered reliable. I wager the later is more likely.
I should mention that when you set down and think about it, MLM structure itself seems fringe in of itself as it bucks basic concepts in business such as market saturation, the supply and demand price curve, and common business sense regarding middlemen (part of the reason the door to door salesman disappeared). To date nothing actually answering these issues has been presented.–BruceGrubb (talk) 23:29, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Bruce, I don’t know how you think MLM operates, but you’re wrong on all of these points. It’s no wonder we’re somewhat at odds here. Legitimate MLM is prone as much (or as little) to market saturation and supply-demand as any other business and typically has much the same or fewer middlemen (ie those earning a percentage of the margin) as traditional distribution. Indeed for both individual reps and the companies themselves one could argue it’s less prone to market saturation and supply-demand issues as it’s low cost and lack of fixed outlets means the company and/or reps can move in to new geographic markets with relative ease, or incorporate new products into the existing networks to tap entirely new market segments. A case in point at present would be MonaVie, who I think found the premium juice market rather overloaded with competition and difficult in the current financial circumstances, and rapidly brought to market an energy drink, tapping into a growing market segment. —Insider201283 (talk) 01:59, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
The market saturation stuff comes form another paper Herbig wrote where he talked of the ‘Myth of saturation’ and Mark Yarnell (of Nu Skin fame or should that be infamy? His latest little gem is IE crystals and yes that was an intentional bad pun.) Even though we seem to have falure of Are the Products Legitimate? question everything supposedly is chugging along fine as can be
While we are on that point take a look at Dokoupil, Tony (2008) “MonaVie Acai Juice: Cure-All or Marketing Scheme?” NEWSWEEK, Aug 2, 2008 for a more unbiased look at MonaVie. “Meanwhile, most of the million-strong sales team is really just drinking the juice, according to MonaVie’s 2007 income disclosure statement, a federally required printout of their distributor earnings. More than 90 percent were considered “wholesale customers,” whose earnings are mostly discounts on sales to themselves. Fewer than 1 percent qualified for commissions and of those, only 10 percent made more than $100 a week. And the dropout rate, while not disclosed by MonaVie, is around 70 percent, according to a top recruiter.” So much for making money with this little gem if you are in the downline. Insider, I have to really have to ask; do you do ANY research before spouting off some of this stuff?!?–BruceGrubb (talk) 14:21, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Realated to this just why did you think that a book published in 1998 was going to have any relevent thing to say about Taylor when at best his earliest reference in any of these papers is to a book he did with Fitzpatrick in 2000 and whose main referenced work came out in 2002? That is like looking for President Grant’s memoirs in books published in 1884. I really don’t understand that.–BruceGrubb (talk) 16:21, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

The New Professionals was published in 2000. FitzPatricks’ vanity-press book, False Profits was published in 1997. —Insider201283 (talk) 16:32, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

But you made a big deal about Taylor not being in that book but his first paper worth noting by anybody other than himself wasn’t until 2002 so why would a 2000 book mention him? Hmmm?–BruceGrubb (talk) 22:21, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Taylor’s first vanity publication in the MLM, or at least the first I’m aware of, was The Network Marketing Game: Gospel Perspectives on Multi-Level Marketing, world was in 1997. So in more than a decade of writing about MLM/NWM he’s barely managed a mentioned in the many, many scholarly works in NWM, and had nothing of significance published himself. The question remains – why are you obsessed with citing a personal website when there is a multitude of quality sources available?Insider201283 (talk) 23:11, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

((interpolated break)

Kiyosaki as an expert has got to be the biggest joke in the list. His cat is his business partner?1? GIVE ME A FREAKING BREAK. Is it name Luna or Artemis and does it talk as well?–BruceGrubb (talk) 20:21, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Hey, I was just listing some options. I haven’t mentioned it since and you seem slightly obsessed. Given it’s self-published I’ve no problem at all considering it unworthy. —Insider201283 (talk) 22:15, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Having said that, I see now you’re referring to the second Kiyosaki book, which is coauthored by Donald Trump. Do I really need to provide references for Trump as an expert on “business”? Though published by Kiyosaki’s press, it clearly goes beyond “vanity publishing” and I don’t think anyone seriously believes Trump and Kiyosaki couldn’t have got another publisher if they wanted. —Insider201283 (talk) 22:29, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Hmmm. Trump could buy another publisher if he wanted, but he might have difficulty publishing in a reputable publishing house, even so. And Kiyosaki is a known liar* in his self-published books; even a reputable scientific publisher wouldn’t rehabilitate his work in my opinion, unless they sent in a forensic accountant to verify his statements.
* I don’t think this violates BLP; if it does, please change it to “Kiyosaki has been reported to be a liar by reliable sources”. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 23:12, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Besides self help books in general got a lashing in Carpenter, Felicity (2005) “Satire and Self-help: The Satirical Potential of the Self-help Industry”: “The simplistic nature of self-help books has prompted psychologists to also respond to some of the exercises offered in these texts. Some psychologists reject the commonly prescribed exercise of writing positive affirmations on the basis that people suffering from low self-esteem will not believe these affirmations because they ‘don’t value their own opinions very highly’ (Swann, in Paul and Fried, 2001, 2). Another exercise popular in self-help texts is to visualise yourself succeeding. Psychologist Shelly Taylor doubts the usefulness of this exercise because it ‘enables you to enjoy the feeling of being successful without actually having achieved anything’ (in Paul and Fried, 2001, 2).” Since it is a thesis it is more useful for the reference in it:
Paul, A., and Fried, S. (2001) “Self-Help: Shattering the Myths,” Psychology Today, vol.34, issue 2.
Other than that, a student paper (with all the marks form his teacher still all over it), and “”Meritocracy” at Middle Age: Skewed Views and Selective Admissions” by Ramsay in Imagining the Academy (calling Rich man… a “”get rich quick” book” and then proceeds to essentually rag on the whole anti-Meritocracy concept for the next couple of paragraphs) there doesn’t seem to be much out there even remotely scholarly (using it the broadest sense I can) that even uses Kiyosaki and what little that does uses him in a negative manner.–BruceGrubb (talk) 09:51, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Bruce, you seem to be waving an extremely broad brush here. While there’s clearly much rubbish amongst so-called “self help” books, there’s also gems. Most of the broad brush criticism I read of “self help books” is written by people who clearly haven’t read much! While we’re substantially off topic, there’s some more recent studies on affirmations that have confirmed the problem of their use by people with low self esteem. Interesting stuff. Back on topic, Donald Trump I think can clearly be considered an “expert” in entrepreneurialism, and in the book mentioned he gives his opinion on MLM. It’s interesting to note that since then he has also specifically endorsed one MLM (ACN) and indeed recently announced the startup of his own MLM (Trump Network). Warren Buffett also owns an MLM (Pampered Chef) and Unilever, another large traditional retailer, also has an MLM company (Unilever Network). All of this speaks to the credibility and mainstream acceptance of MLM (actually, I think we should go with the Network Marketing moniker) and has a place in their article, properly sourced of course. The Trump/Kiyosaki book is clearly a RS/V source about their opinions. —Insider201283 (talk) 10:23, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

I don’t think you should choose a moniker as much as you should say what you mean. Not to say that there is anything inherently good or bad about either one, but despite what someone with an obvious bias, who wishes to paint as negative a picture as possible over as much an area as possible says, there is a difference between multi-level marketing and network marketing. Just because many people use the terms interchangeably and many reputable sources say they are used interchangeably (e.g. with phrases such as “also called”) does not mean they are the same thing. Just as millions of people use the words bar, pub, tavern, and club interchangeably…or the words “toilet” and “restroom” or “stereo” and “radio” or “money” and “cash”…This does not mean they are the same thing. —JohnDoe0007 (talk) 10:47, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

I still don’t understand how you can discount entire publishing companies (some of the largest in the world, no less) and concurrently argue for the validity of personal websites as sources for Wikipedia. It really doesn’t matter if the author/owner of the website is used as a reference in “peer reviewed” sources (as mentioned before, your use of the comment/rebuttal petition to the FTC is useless…as Insider201283 pointed out the FTC published EVERY comment, and rebuttal, that was submitted. That’s like saying a classified ad in The New York Times is a reputable source because of where it could be read.) If actual valid sources exist that detail any factual (i.e. provable) findings determined by Taylor or Fitzpatrick, then use those. There is no reason a personal website (especially one as rudimentary and that makes such strong claims without any detail or evidence of any actual research as that one does) should be used as a source for our encyclopedia. —JohnDoe0007 (talk) 10:48, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Also, in the Kiplinger article you reference (“They say they want you to be rich”) as a reputable source against Kiyosaki…after bashing the book with no real concrete critique, the author Thomas M. Anderson goes on to recommend instead that “If you are genuinely interested in learning more about real estate investing, which is not for the faint of heart, check out ‘Investing in Real Estate,’ by Andrew James McLean and Gary Eldred,” a book published by…Wiley. So that must discount that entire writer as well as anything he has written…including that article, yes? —JohnDoe0007 (talk) 11:03, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

As I showed with the University of Chicago example the size of the publisher doesn’t mean squadoo–their quality does. When you can show a publisher engages in vanity books then the publisher as a whole suffers and the more you such books you find the more it suffers. Wiley publishes Astrology For Dummies, Nostradamus For Dummies, Tarot For Dummies as well as Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing “Hoax”, Pseudoscience and Extraordinary Claims of the Paranormal: A Critical Thinker’s Toolkit. You seemed to be saying we can use Nostradamus For Dummies as a WP:RS in a relevant article simply because it is ultimately published by Wiley; do you have any idea how insane that sounds?!
I would like to understand how a paper in a peer reviewed paper is reliable when referenced there but magically because unreliable if refereed to directly. WP:RS states that self published material CAN be used if is it from established expert on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications. The claims of Taylor and FitzPatrick have been used in peer reviewed papers as reference material and if counters by Clements or Kiyosaki (I don’t think his cat can write though he can seem able to run a business) are published in such works then we can use them. SO far we haven’t seen much in that regard.–BruceGrubb (talk) 11:34, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Bruce, you’re really starting to lose credibility with nearly every post. I did not say anything about the size of the publisher equaling quality or validity as a reliable source. I did however point out that the author of a source you referenced as a valid one (in it’s negative claims against another) actually recommended a book published by Wiley…so which is it? Is your first source no good or can Wiley publish quality material? You can’t have it both ways.

And even more importantly, we are not talking about citing a paper that was referred to in a peer reviewed paper. For the fifth time, we’re talking about a personal website that includes zero references to any real sources of any kind, zero evidence and details concerning any research or reports conducted but which does include many incredible claims despite that. Are you actually attempting to claim reputable peer reviewed sources reference Taylor’s personal website as a source for anything with merit? —JohnDoe0007 (talk) 12:42, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

JohnDoe, you’re misreading Bruce’s claims. We should not use anything authored by Kiyosaki, directly or indirectly, unless confirmed by an independant reliable source, even if published by a reputable publisher. We may use Taylor and FitzPatrick’s web sites if the sites are favorably reviewed in peer-reviewed papers, although those peer-reviewed papers would be preferable if they cover the same material. And if peer-reviewed papers favorably reference Taylor’s website, then obviously you’re not reading it correctly. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 19:31, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

Personally I think you’ve got the direction wrong – any journal (or other source) accepting articles that use personal websites as sources, without even properly citing them … well, that’s reasonable evidence to me that care needs to be taken when assessing articles from that journal. This is especially the case when it is easily confirmable by anyone that the website(s) in question are highly POV and have false or misleading information on them, as is the case with Taylor’s and FitzPatrick’s sites. Given there are plenty of quality sources there is ZERO justification for using self-published websites as sources.–Insider201283 (talk) 20:18, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

What you personally believe doesn’t matter squadoo but rather what the policies and guidelines of Wikipedia are. “Academic and peer-reviewed publications are highly valued and usually the most reliable sources in areas where they are available” (WP:V). Taylor and FitzPatrick are used in both peer reviewed and academic material. While we are on that issue are you telling you found NOTHING positive in Herbig, Muncy, and Sparks?! Or have you even READ them? Herbig is a real pain because he tries to say Network marking and MLM are different: “…in network marketing, the product is predominant and sales of the product is emphasized whereas in the case of MLMs, the product often is irrelevant or secondary and the emphasis is not placed on selling product but on recruiting other salespeople to in turn recruit still others.” Oh boy.
Muncy is far better and is actually giving five questions to separate the wheat from the chaff: How Is the Money Being Made?; Are the Products Legitimate?; How Much Does It Cost to Be Involved?; How Much Work Is Required?; and How Long Has the Company Been Around? He is willing to say that the baby shouldn’t be throw out with the bath water but given how easy it is to create claims and have shills. I find his advice at the end of ‘How Much Does It Cost to Be Involved?’ to be insanely wrong headed. “To do so, they may have to attend—and pay for—a training seminar, even before they become part of the opportunity. Doing so encour­ages students to think like businesspeople where infor­mation is valuable and often must be purchased.” is effectively buying a pig in poke and how any businessperson would agree to that is beyond me.–BruceGrubb (talk) 21:40, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Bruce, most of these posts are nearly useless. You misrepresent what someone else has said, respond to it as if it meant something completely different and then take it in another direction entirely with tangents. The majority of your posts end up being book reports that have little to do with the real issues. If you wish to quote legitimate books and other sources, then quote them in the article and cite them. As you so eloquently put it, “What you personally believe doesn’t matter squadoo”…It really doesn’t matter if you think “Muncy is far better” or that you “find his advice[…]to be insanely wrong headed,” or that “how any businessperson would agree to that is beyond [you].”
None of that nonsense is relevant. We’re talking about the legitimacy of citing the personal websites of Taylor and Fitzpatrick. You have yet to provide any reasonable evidence to suggest why those sites should be used as viable sources. Again, if any work those two men have done is referenced as viable in some other reputable source (as you continue to say it is) then reference that reputable source…or the original source of the Taylor/Fitzpatrick work that is referenced in the third party source. You say you would like to know “how a paper in a peer reviewed paper is reliable when referenced there but magically because unreliable if refereed to directly.” If you are attempting to claim that Taylor/Fitzpatrick personal websites are referenced as viable in some reliable source (such as a peer reviewed paper), then I suggest you show where. Otherwise, your argument is useless. Simply because a person or work they have done is referenced (even in a reputable source) it does not mean that everything with that person’s hand in it or name on it is viable…especially a rudimentary website like mlm-thetruth.com. Again, if some peer reviewed paper actually sourced or referenced mlm-thetruth.com and the content within it as a reputable, I would like to see it. Otherwise you need to cite the actual reputable sources which contain the material you wish to use in the article. —JohnDoe0007 (talk) 23:46, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

You are still blowing smoke. They are used in peer reviewed papers. DEAL WITH IT.–BruceGrubb (talk) 00:27, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

And with that you’ve all but vindicated my point. Either produce these peer reviewed papers that cite those personal websites as viable sources or else they should be removed as you have offered no evidence to support that they are usable as sources in the way you used them in the article. Again, it does not matter if someone has produced something that was referenced in a reputable journal or peer reviewed paper…that does not automatically make anything else they write, create or put their name on inherently viable. Unless these “peer reviewed papers” you keep talking about (but have yet to produce) specifically utilize those websites and claim them as viable sources (and more importantly the content within them that you reference in the article) then those papers do nothing to help your case for those websites and their content staying in the article. —JohnDoe0007 (talk) 01:53, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
Arthur Rubin I am not misreading anything. We’re talking about two different things here.
1) Bruce used an article (“They say they want you to be rich”) as a reputable source against Kiyosaki…he used it as an example that Kiyosaki’s theories are questionable, etc. In that very article, the author Thomas M. Anderson not only does not give a true critique with valid argument points against the Trump/Kiyosaki book, he also goes on to recommend that the reader instead check out a book–which has plenty of critics of its own, by the way–published by Wiley…a company Bruce explicitly calls out as an example of publishing material of questionable nature–in the same post, no less.
Bruce only mentioned the company in the first place for the sole purpose of attempting to discount the validity of the sources Insider201283 listed which were published by that company. So essentially Bruce is saying: “because Wiley published Astrology for Dummies, we really can’t trust it as a reputable publisher…and Kiyosaki has a lot of critics…here’s a an article from a reputable source criticizing the book he co-authored with Donald Trump.” (Again, Bruce essentially says both of these things in the very same post.) So basically we are to discount Wiley as a publisher all together because of a handful of titles that it has released, but we are to accept Thomas M. Anderson’s critique as valid despite the fact that he recommends a text published by that very company as the ideal read instead of the Kiyosaki/Trump book. So which is viable? As I said, Is the Anderson article no good (despite it being published in reputable sources and Bruce saying it is) or can Wiley publish quality material?…Can’t have it both ways.
2) Bruce has continued to argue that the personal websites of Taylor and Fitzpatrick are viable sources despite their questionable nature and lack of detail and supporting evidence for the extreme claims they blatantly make. His only support for this argument has been his claim that these men have been cited in “peer reviewed papers” and other reputable sources. One example of such “reputable sources” was the rebuttal mentioned in the FTC hearing/report…which we have already established was not the FTC giving any sort of credence to Taylor or his work at all as Bruce suggests…it was simply a reporting of every comment and petition that was submitted. I have yet to see any actual reputable source that offers any viability to these men or their “research”…let alone their personal websites. That is the point. Bruce wishes to use personal websites as reputable sources yet has produced nothing viable that supports why we should.
I’ll say it yet a 4th time: It does not matter if someone has produced something that was referenced in a reputable journal or peer reviewed paper…that does not automatically make anything else they write, create or put their name on inherently viable. Unless these “peer reviewed papers” Bruce keeps talking about (but has yet to produce) specifically utilize those websites and claim them as viable sources (and more importantly the content within them that is referenced in the article) then those papers do nothing to help the case for those websites and their content staying in the article. —JohnDoe0007 (talk) 02:41, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
1) That source seemed OK for the purpose stated the last time I read it, even though he does point to his own real estate methods. It had been possible to make money in real estate by using information which is generally available, but is not generally known to be available.
2) I tend to agree with you. Bruce needs to provide sources; however, the web site(s) would be usable if reviewed favorably in peer-reviewed papers, although using the review as a source would almost always be better. I haven’t seen the peer-reviewed papers, either.
However, not all imprints from reputable publishers are reliable. “Astrology for Dummies” would not be a usable reference as to the effectiveness of astrology, even if it did make claims. How much more if the book is about MLM from an MLM distributor. Even if it were generally edited for accuracy, it couldn’t be trusted as to “facts”. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 02:58, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
I should point out that going back over some of the sources I have already use that Sandbek’s paper creates some problems for those trying to keep these sites out. He references MLM Watch, VanDufff’s website, MLM Survivor.com, and http://www.pyramidschemealert.org and his final conclusion is “By its very nature, MLM is completely devoid of any scientific foundations.” One thing that is not clear in there paper–it is part of the [Journal of the American Board of Sport Psychology] that is “a peer reviewed journal devoted to disseminating scientific and popular research-based articles in an efficient and timely manner. The Journal also publishes technical reports, editorials, opinions, special features, and letters to the editors, as well as classified and other advertising. Peer-reviewed articles are posted in PDF format, requiring that you have ADOBE Reader.” Please notethat Sandbek’s article is a one star and that is “for the researcher and practitioner (more technical/scientific)PEER-REVIEWED”. Welcome to the 21st century where peer reviewed journals are no longer dead trees but multimedia web pages in their own right.–BruceGrubb (talk) 10:59, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Sandbek’s paper creates no problems at all – it’s clearly not a reliable source. It’s simply a “survey of websites” and reports what some critical websites are saying. Even then, the paper is so well researched and fact checked (not) that it actually claims “Multilevel Marketing (sometimes called network marketing) began in the 1980s as a new and innovative method for making money.” It’s clearly not much good for anything I’m afraid.Insider201283 (talk) 11:46, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Basically you are saying that even though it in a journal that states that is is peer reviewed but we can’t use it because it don’t agree with your views. Sorry but Wikipedia does NOT work like that.–BruceGrubb (talk) 12:39, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

I think the article may be usable as a source for a sports psychology article on the topic of “brain typing”. It’s almost certainly not usable as a source for an MLM article. All of which is moot because AFAIK you’ve never even suggested using the article as a source, you’re simply wanting to use it to back up your claim that anything written by FP should be automagically green lighted. —Insider201283 (talk) 14:27, 10 July 2009 (UTC)
1) I’m not sure if the “source” you’re talking about is the Anderson article or the Trump/Kiyosaki book it talks about, but either way I’m not sure I understand how what you just said is relevant to the point I was making in my #1.
2) Everything you just said there is basically what I’ve been saying all along on this topic…but all we keep getting from Bruce is posts littered with ill-formated citations of a bunch of random books that talk about mlm along with his own book-reportesque commentary which goes off into irrelevant tangent after tangent, never offering any advancement to the discussion or support for the argument of the validity of the websites. And as you can see this is all usually followed up with some sort of useless “I’m right and you’re wrong, deal with it” comment to close.
As I said, pretty much useless. Unless the proof for the validity of those websites is provided in the next few days, I say they (and the content cited from them) should be removed from the article. —JohnDoe0007 (talk) 03:25, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

I finally got tired of this nonsense and threw this at Wikipedia talk:Reliable sources/Noticeboard so we can see if there is any kind of general guideline about using self-publised verisons of references that are used peer-reviewed papers and what the threshold is for the “established expert on the topic of the article whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications” section of self-publised sources.–BruceGrubb (talk) 09:41, 10 July 2009 (UTC)

Multitude of self-published source

Bruce Grubb continues to add a multitude of self-published sources to this article, as well as other generally unreliable claims – such as allegations made in a court case against Amway – a case Amway won. The latest SPS violation is a self-published article by Bill Berkowitz. Bruce, I’ve essentially been ignoring your edits because as per Talk:Network_Marketing these articles are essentially going to need to be rewritten from the ground up. —Insider201283 (talk) 12:39, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

I agree with perhaps general rewrite, but from the ground up? I seriously don’t think that’s necessary. —JohnDoe0007 (talk) 13:49, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Well, obviously we pull in existing text where it’s well written, relevant, and well sourced but I think we should come up with some kind of structure first. Compensation plans is an area that concern me. I’ve found two books dedicated to it The Compensation Plan Primer and MLM Compensation Pay Plans but both appear to be essentially self-published. The New Professionals has a section on it but it doesn’t appear to extensive, I’m waiting for a copy of the book. Given the literature essentially says MLM is the compensation plan, this section is important. —Insider201283 (talk) 17:13, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

There’s another self-published Rod Cook book, How to Start Your Network Marketing, Modern Party Plan or Web Affiliate Company that covers plans too. I’m doubtful he qualifies as an “expert” by WP standards though. Ahh, Len Clements book Inside Network Marketing has a whole section. I’ll order a copy. The book is by a recognized publisher and is cited by academics and journalists (King & Poe) so I think it passes muster. —Insider201283 (talk) 17:19, 12 July 2009 (UTC)
Another self-published compensation plan book – Understanding Multi-Level Commissions and Their Role in a Successful Company by Mark Rawlins.
Richard Poe’s Wave 3: The New Era in Network Marketing and Wave 4: Network Marketing in the 21st Century have compensation plan info. I’ll add ’em to my shopping list.

Berkowitz is through Inter press service “largest and most credible of all ‘alternatives’ in the world of news agencies” (Boyd-Barrett, Oliver and Rantanen, Terhi; eds. (1998) The Globalization of News. London: Sage Publication). Hardly “self-published”. First Cruz, now Berkowitz. Insider, do you do ANY research before posting this garbage?–BruceGrubb (talk) 20:37, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

I could be wrong on this . I thought the Berkowitz piece was from his “Conservative Watch” column, which is an opinion column. Either way, the whole section is not written WP:NPOV and moving into WP:OR (not to mention the WP:BLP concerns. —Insider201283 (talk) 23:52, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

Looks like I was right about it being a reposted opinion piece (which is pretty obvious reading it). Here’s the original artice on religiousdispatches.orgInsider201283 (talk) 00:36, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Sorry Insider201283, but you are straw grasping in your effort to keep this piece out. The “Republican Benefactor Launches Comeback” story went over the ISP wire Jan 28, 2009 while the Religion Dispatches piece February 11, 2009 ie about two weeks AFTER the ISP piece. So the ISP wire is the original and the Religion Dispatches is the opinionated rework not the other way around. Never mind I found an earlier The Times article that stated the UK government was originally claiming only one in ten made any profit. Later in the Times it was reported “High Court dismisses claims against Amway” the Times reported “The High Court heard that between 2001 and 2006 the number of British agents not earning any bonus income at all varied between 69 per cent and 78 per cent. In 2004/5 only 74 agents out of 25,342 earned more than £10,000 in bonuses.” —BruceGrubb (talk) 05:17, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Do you understanding what you’re wanting to do here? “The Hight Court heard” — you’re wanting to publish allegations from a plaintiff in a court case they lost. There’s a reason why such things are generally frowned upon as plaintiffs are naturally not NPOV and tend to give one particular, not neutral perspective. For your own education, though also disallowable on WP, the plaintiffs completely ignored retail profit (despite the court finding 40% of sales were by retailing agents), only mention wholesale volume bonuses, and neglect to mention only 6% of agents were purchasing products to retail (as opposed to personal use) – and customer volume was a requirement to earn a bonus in the UK. Plaintiffs allegations in a court case are not reliable. As for the Berkowitz piece, you may be write about the timeline, but it’s still clearly an opinion piece–Insider201283 (talk) 09:42, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Insider201283 (talk) 09:42, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

I suggest you also check out Neutrality and VerifiabilityInsider201283 (talk) 11:23, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Considering you have been fighting nearly every attempt at bringing anything negative about MLMs to the point of claimin peer reviewed papers are not peer reviewed I find this laughable.–BruceGrubb (talk) 02:54, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Bruce, what I have been fighting is putting in hearsay and rumour. Re the peer-reviewed paper, I simply missed it on the site involved, you pointed out my error, I accepted it. That’s it, no big deal. —Insider201283 (talk) 07:09, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

The Times is considered a reliable source. Court testimony is considered primary source and “Primary sources that have been reliably published (for example, by a university press or mainstream newspaper) may be used in Wikipedia, but only with care, because it is easy to misuse them. Any interpretation of primary source material requires a reliable secondary source for that interpretation.WP:primary -The times is just reporting not interpreting.-BruceGrubb (talk) 07:50, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

Bruce, “court testimony” is not only a primary source, it’s inherently unreliable and extremely POV. Court judgements are primary source and may be used, with care. Right now you are falling in to the very trap you warn against above of interpreting the material to advance a particular POV. You’re taking a POV claim from a court case against one MLM company (a case the MLM company won) in one country and clearly trying to advance a position about MLMs in general with it. If a court found most people who were involved with MLM “lost money”, and that was reported by a 3rd party reliable source, then you’d have a reasonable case for it’s inclusion. BTW, I’m holding off doing much in the way of edits to this article as I’m awaiting the arrival of more quality sources on my desk. Wave 4 has apparently arrived today and I’ll pick it up this afternoon. —Insider201283 (talk) 10:09, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

“The False Lure of Multi-Level Marketing” By David John Marotta (various papers) Aug 3, 2009 is yet another slam at MLMs. When basics mathematics shows the model cannot work as promised t time to realize the smoke and mirrors for what they are…smoke and mirrors.–BruceGrubb (talk) 14:24, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Bruce, “basic mathematics shows” is code for “I’m talking about pyramid schemes, not MLM”. It’s predicated on the assumption that the model relies on recruiting for profit, which is a pyramid scheme. You’d think the fact there are MLM companies that are 70yrs and still growing strong might be a hint that “cannot work” might be a bit off base. —Insider201283 (talk) 17:57, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Even legitimate Multi-Level Marketing methods have elements of pyramid schemes built into them: 1 seller recruiting 2 sellers who in turn recruit 2 more into infinity. Since you are effectively increasing the middle men Economics 101 says that the progression of unsustainable if you expect everyone in the chain to make some degree of profit.
The biggest headache in all this is the journal literature. First there you have prospective of the person who creates the MLM structure Schmidt, AU (2009) – “On the Superdistribution of Digital Goods” Journal of Universal Computer Science 15:2 and then you have papers like Cruz that try to focus on what is going on within the MLM structure itself regardless of how it was set up.
Second, there seems to be little agreement on what constitutes a MLM and even neutral papers can’t seem to make up their minds:
Koehn, Daryl (2001) “Ethical Issues Connected with Multi-Level Marketing Schemes” Journal Journal of Business Ethics Volume 29, Numbers 1-2 calls MLMs schemes even though the over all tone of his paper is there are good and bad ones.
DeJUTE, ANTHONY M. ROBERT D. MYERS† DONALD K. WEDDING (2008) “Wheeler-Lea Versus Pyramidal Sales” American Business Law Journal Volume 10 Issue 3, Pages 207 – 220 states: “We are not challenging the concept of multi-level marketing as such, but rather the pyramidal selling of distributorships in lieu of or at the sacrifice of the sale of product.”
Finally, they can’t even agree on when the whole MLM thing begin. I have seen claims for 1920s and other saying 1970s with a lot in between with 1940s being an exception.–BruceGrubb (talk) 10:04, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Bruce, MLMs do not “recruit into infinity”. That’s pyramid schemes. They “recruit” to much the same levels as other product distribution businesses. For example, Manufacturer “recruits” exporter who recruits importer who recruits wholesaler who recruits distributor who recruits retailer who recruits customer. It stops at the customer – and if anyone anywhere along the chain becomes big enough, the chain breaks and they start again, dealing direct with the manufacturer. It’s naturally limited by volume, it’s not “infinite” any more than *any* business would like to recruit every person on the planet as a customer. The problem with pyramid schemes is that the money is made by recruiting people who are promised they can make money by recruiting people who are promised they can make money recruiting people etc etc etc. That is not the multi-level marketing model. Quite obviously, people get confused and think it is. One reason is that schemes that are doing that call themselves MLM to try and hide the fact they are pyramid schemes, not MLM. In an MLM, you don’t make any money by recruiting, you make money through product sales. “Recruiting” in itself is no more a money making venture then a retail store getting people to sign a bit of paper saying “yeah, I’ll be a customer!”. It doesn’t matter how many they recruit, they won’t make a cent unless they actually become customers. While I haven’t access to the full DeJUTE article, the quote you gave indicates they’re talking about pyramids again – not MLM. By definition in an MLM your not “selling distributorships”. If someone claims MLM didn’t begin until the 1970s, then you know they’re not a reliable source and shouldn’t be used for anything. The first absolutely confirmable mutli-level marketing I’ve found was when Nutrilite introduced downline commissions in 1945. Update: I’ve obtained the DeJute et.al Paper and it is actually quite old, from 1973, not 2008 as you indicate and so not much use except perhaps historically. The paper predates for example FTC vs Amway, which helped clarify what the differences between MLM and Pyramid schemes were. The examples they give in the paper are companies which were indeed determined to be pyramid schemes, and not legitimate MLM, eg Holiday Magic, Dare to be Great, Koscot. —Insider201283 (talk) 11:39, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

(remove indent)Insider201283, you have a real weird idea as to what is a reliable source. Just because it conflicts with your perception of history doesn’t mean it isn’t reliable. Sure there are articles in the Western Journal of Communication that claim the 1940s were the start but then you have articles in Business students focus on ethics that claims the 1920s while some articles in Journal of Small Business Management say lat 1960s while an article in International Journal of Service Industry Managemen pointed to the 1970s. Clearly how you define Multi-level marketing has a large factor on when you put it starting at.–BruceGrubb (talk) 11:19, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

I should mention that USAtoday pointed to the DSA itself saying direct salers on average (medium) income is only $2,400 a year. Not your year is it?–BruceGrubb (talk) 14:01, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

pyramidschemealert.org & mlm-thetruth.com

Response on RS/N are that these sites do not pass muster under WP guidlines. To further confirm this, I noticed over on the Monavie article a WP admin removed a whole bunch of the article that had pyramidschemealert as a source. He said Talk:MonaVie#pyramidschemealert.org in the talk it was not WP:RS. I will remove it from this article shortly. —Insider201283 (talk) 21:44, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

The administrator claimed problems regarding WP:BLP on WP:RS not noticing that the problematic material actually came from Forbes If anything the Forbes article was WORSE calling Monavie a “a pyramid atop a pyramid” and saying “Sounds rather like a chain letter, doesn’t it?”. If anything pyramidschemealert.org was actually more NPOV than the more reliable Forbes article was. Just isn’t your month is it?–BruceGrubb (talk) 08:52, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

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About Patrick Ireland

My name is Patrick Ireland, living in the Philippines with my wife and two daughters. I have been studying the web for over a decade. Now that I am 60 years old, I am starting to apply some of the knowledge that I have gained. "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to never stop questioning." -Einstein.

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