A search for “shopping annuity” immediately brought up Market America.
You may have heard of it from John Oliver’s segment on MLMs, MA is one with the crazy guy coming out with pyrotechnics and jumping around yelling about Dymarips (pyramid backwards) and yelling at a cardboard grave. why WOULDN’T you want to make money off of what you’re already spending?
This is how MLMs can get away with their predatory methods, by shifting the blame on to the distributors, even though their very business model, training sessions, and marketing materials encourage this behavior.
Bonus Red Flag: The occupation listed on facebook for my friend’s upline was “Web Sight Consultant”.
The “shopping annuity” refers to the ability to “convert your spending into earning” because they are a product brokerage company, and offer cashback for products for hundreds of companies (like Walmart, Macy’s, Dunkin Donuts, etc). you could join MA and continue spending what you normally do, and earn cashback and commission on top of that. In June 2017, the startup fee to become a Market America distributor was reportedly $399 plus additional monthly payments of $129.
Market America representatives operate as independent contractors, but are required to spend between 0 and 0 on Market America products and attend seminars and training events that are estimated to cost between and 0 each. This is actually the reason I got so fascinated with MA in the first place, because his ranting, raving, sweating and spitting on stage just screams “cult leader”, and yet, they worship him like a rock star.Sometimes the presenter (JR Ridinger is even guilty of this) will contradict themselves in the same speech.“It’s SOOOOOO easy guys, it’s a no brainer, any dummy can do this business” and then a few minutes later “You really need to work hard to succeed at this business, you can’t just sign up and expect to make money.” Okay, so which is it, easy or hard? Obviously, the “easy” comment is to entice new recruits, and the “hard” comment is to cover their butts when people start realizing they aren’t making any money.The suit claims the company targets Chinese-American immigrants to sell products to friends and relatives in Asia.The lawsuit characterizes Market America's business practice as "racketeering" and says that "while the executives tell distributors they can earn more than 0,000, only those at the top make that kind of money. This seemed to be a wakeup call to management because after this, JR Ridinger put out a couple videos denouncing any evil business practices from MA distributors and reiterating what an ethical company MA is.So why are there so many MAers who have been there for 3 years that aren’t making a livable income? ) “Those people haven’t really applied themselves to the business.” What about the people who really are working hard at it? It was much lower a couple years ago, and then management forced their employees to post positive reviews to boost their rating. After watching some of the conference videos I sort of got this feeling from a few of the execs, like they seem super nice on stage but behind the scenes treat people like trash.“Only the hours you spend working on the business count.” So what you’re saying is that your initial claim is misleading, because the 45 year figure is “gross time” and the 2-3 year figure is “cumulative time”, if that makes sense. Sometimes I wonder what their followers would think if they saw a video of their beloved idols screaming and cursing at their subordinates.I am not an ex-MLMer, but I have a friend who is in Market America, and then after I did a little research in it, I went down a little too far into the MLM rabbit hole, mainly wondering….”how can so many people be this delusional??”I saw my friend occasionally post things with the hashtag “#shoppingannuity” and I saw her post photos of herself at some conference so I was curious.I could talk so much more about this but maybe I’ll save it for another time.tl;dr: Market America is no different than the other MLM companies.Their own marketing materials are full of deceptive tactics and contradictions if you are really paying attention.