Introduction to LifeVantage MLM Compensation Plan
On this site, there has been a lot of discussion of nutraceuticals, since, for some reason, every time someone wants to start a company with a multilevel marketing (MLM) business model, the next thought almost always seems to be, “Let’s sell cheap vitamin supplements and meal replacement shakes at exorbitant prices, fill our website with dazzling pseudoscience about the supposed health benefits of this glorified Centrum Silver and SlimFast, and nominate one ingredient in our supplements as the spokesmodel for our overpriced product line.” This has been going on for decades, and despite the number of unsold vitamin pills piled up in the basements of gullible folks across the nation (hey, no judgment, you should see how many vitamin supplements from MLM business opportunities gone bad are piled up in my basement), and despite the number of MLM gurus who end up bankrupt and disgraced when their MLM business tanks, the idea that you can make a lot of money by getting other people to sell mediocre nutritional supplements at an outrageous markup stubbornly persists. Maybe the people who start MLM companies just aren’t very creative.
I will tell you who is very creative, though. My youngest brother Bryce. I previously wrote about him in my review of Pampered Chef, an MLM company the founders of which actually did have the good sense to market something other than more of the same old nutraceuticals. I would never describe my brother Bryce as pampered; it is hard to be pampered when you are the youngest of three brothers in the Midwest, and your two older brothers spend most of every summer clobbering you with inflatable pool toys and pretending that you are an item of booty to be stolen back and forth between two imaginary Viking ships, and they are going to be bigger than you for the foreseeable future, so physically fighting back is futile, so your only recourse is to beat them both at a game of Risk: The Game of World Domination when you are in the sixth grade. I would never hesitate, however, to describe Bryce as a chef.
I previously detailed, in my Pampered Chef review, how Bryce came to be the amateur chef that he is today. To make a long story short, Bryce learned to cook when he moved into a house with a few of his former fraternity brothers after college graduation, and they needed to make their food budget go as far as they could make it go in order to feed all the party guests they wanted to invite. Fast forward a few years, and Bryce has expanded his cooking repertoire far beyond its origins at the backyard barbeque of a disastrously messy bro house. These days, everyone from casual acquaintances to close family members gives him cooking ingredients as Christmas presents, just to see what he will do with them. Every time I go to Chicago or Philadelphia or anywhere that has a wider range of ethnic grocery stores than we have here at home, just to see what he will do with them.
I can claim responsibility for one of the most successful rounds ever of the “let’s see what Bryce will do with this ingredient”. It started in the summer of 2012, when I was at the supermarket with the other Brad, who now runs Notebook Crazy with me. If you have been reading Notebook Crazy, you immediately recognize what a foolish idea it is for the other Brad and me to go to the supermarket together, because our food buying habits could not be more divergent. The last time the other Brad ate a carbohydrate that wasn’t beer, it was 1998, and he mostly subsists on protein shakes, chicken breast, and canned tuna fish. I, on the other hand, have a soft spot in my heart (and I would be lying if I told you that said soft spot has not expanded to my midsection) for the likes of garlic knots, pizza, and loaded baked potatoes. We were walking down the spice aisle, when an intensely yellow spice jar caught my eye. I am not exaggerating when I say it was the yellowest thing I have ever seen. It looked like curry powder, only yellower. It was so yellow I could hardly read its label. I had to find out what Bryce would do with it.
When I gave the world’s yellowest food ingredient to Bryce, he said something along the lines of, “Oh, this is turmeric.” In any case, he gave me the impression that he had heard of it before and knew that it was very yellow. He didn’t even squint his eyes or blink excessively at its yellowness. I don’t even remember what it was that Bryce cooked with the turmeric I gave him (eventually, lots of things, because it was a standard sized supermarket spice bottle), but whatever it was, he moved it around in the pan with what was, at the time, a brand new blue spatula, and it was the last time that spatula was ever blue. Bryce still has that same spatula, and it has been through the dishwasher probably hundreds of times, and to this day it is a color that would pass for a doppelganger of Kermit the Frog. (To read more about doppelgangers and how their existence might affect my eating habits, I Encourage you to read my GBG review, also on this site.)
In the Midwest, only people who are really into cooking and people who come from cultural backgrounds where turmeric is part of the cuisine know what turmeric is, but almost everyone in the Midwest has eaten turmeric before. Almost anything you have ever eaten that was yellow became yellow by virtue of turmeric. Sure, yellow Sour Patch Kids and yellow Gobstoppers may have been made yellow by Yellow #5, but if you have ever eaten a food under the pretense that it was naturally yellow, that yellow was, in all likelihood, caused by turmeric. Turmeric is what makes curry powder yellow. It is what makes mustard yellow. It is what makes commercially produced chicken broth yellow. That means that, if you have ever eaten chicken flavored ramen noodles (and if you are reading this site, you probably have, because 80% of your food budget went to autoship of MLM merchandise), the yellow in that flavor packet was turmeric.
Now what does turmeric have to do with my LifeVantage review? Well, a good number of the nutraceutical MLM companies I have reviewed during my current quest to review every MLM company I can find have nominated one or another fruit, spice, fungus, or whatever you classify plankton as to be their flagship ingredient, and the flagship ingredient in LifeVantage’s core product, Protandim, is turmeric, so enough about my brother Bryce and his adventures in the kitchen for the time being, and onward to my LifeVantage review.
LifeVantage: The Company and Its Products
LifeVantage has its headquarters in Utah, which has one of the largest concentrations of MLM companies, rounding out the top three along with Texas and Florida. As I briefly mentioned in the introduction to this LifeVantage review, LifeVantage’s flagship product is a nutritional supplement called Protandim. Protandim is apparently such a big deal that it has a Wikipedia article devoted to it, while the LifeVantage company itself does not. Protandim purports to slow the aging process by reducing oxidative stress on the cells. That sounds reasonable enough, but the fact that the LifeVantage website refers to Protandim as a “science based formula” immediately sends up red flags.
There are actually five herbal ingredients that make up Protandim’s formula, and only one of them is turmeric, that yellowest of yellow spices. It also contains green tea, milk thistle, water hyssop, and winter cherry (also called poison gooseberry, which can be used as a vegetarian alternative to rennet in the production of cheese). Reviewing MLM company after MLM company that deals in nutraceuticals is a lot more fun when you think of it as a superfood beauty pageant, and if the Wikipedia articles are any indication, all of the ingredients in Protandim are endowed with their fair share of pulchritude, but when you look at the finished product, all you can see is the turmeric. (This is very typical of turmeric. If you don’t believe me, read the list of ingredients on a jar of curry powder. Some of them are things you have probably seen before, like allspice, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Imagine what each of those ingredients looks like individually. Then look again at the curry powder and see if you can see any of them.) In fact, the frequently asked question section of the LifeVantage website even contains a question to the effect of “Why is Protandim so yellow?” and the answer is “turmeric.”
And then, of course, there are the energy drinks, protein shakes, skincare products, and my personal least favorite, dog vitamins. In short, LifeVantage products are a lot like other MLM nutraceutical products.
The LifeVantage Compensation Plan
The LifeVantage compensation plan gives you opportunities to earn income through the sale of LifeVantage products as well as by recruiting other people to be LifeVantage distributors. According to the LifeVantage website, the LifeVantage compensation plan includes six different types of bonuses:
- Fast Start Bonus
- Platinum Pool
- Fast Start Bonus Pool
- Royalty Commission
- Generational Matching Bonus
- Elite Pool
If you have dealt with the MLM industry before, you already know by now to run in the opposite direction when you hear the word “pool” used in combination with an MLM compensation plan. The LifeVantage compensation plan has not one but three bonus pools. If you are new to MLM, you are probably wondering what I have against bonus pools. What I have against bonus pools is that they remind me too much of the pool from which Tantalus could almost, but not quite, drink. They are part of MLM compensation plans to get you to aspire to them, but it is nearly impossible to reach them. They are one of the examples of false promises in the MLM industry.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Reading this LifeVantage review probably gave you a new appreciation for turmeric. You’re welcome.
- The inventory of LifeVantage products includes something called “Canine Formula” which, in my mind, is always a bad sign. In my review of another MLM company that makes nutraceuticals for dogs, I have previously discussed how dangerous it is to feed nutraceuticals to your loyal canine friend, especially since commercially produced dog foods are already fortified with all the vitamins your dog needs. As I said the last time the issue of dog vitamins came up on this site, pushing nutritional supplements on me may annoy me a bit, but it is fair game, but keep your grubby nutraceuticals away from my pal Floyd.
- One bonus pool is too many, but the LifeVantage compensation plan contains not one bonus pool, but rather three bonus pools.
While studies on the health benefits of turmeric are inconclusive, eating it certainly isn’t going to hurt you. I encourage everyone to go out and eat some turmeric. Go to Oktoberfest and have some mustard on your pretzels and Wurst. Go eat some chicken flavored ramen noodles, the only thing you can afford after the MLM autoship payment devoured your food budget. Go eat some channa masala if you are lucky enough to live in a town where there is a restaurant that serves it. Go eat some Jamaican oxtail stew if you are lucky enough to live in a town where there is a restaurant that serves that. All of these things taste a lot better than Protandim and, in the long run, are more cost efficient. If you actually want to buy a jar of turmeric and cook stuff with it, even better.
What is your favorite food that has been made yellow by turmeric? Schedule a call with me, so we can compare notes.