Today is the first day of spring, and I am sure all you dedicated readers of Notebook Crazy have been waiting with bated breath to find out the outcome of my bet with the other Brad, the co-founder of Notebook Crazy. If you just happened to land on this site through an accident of search engine optimization (such as, let’s say, you Googled “Ebertfest nightshade”, “I hate fungus”, “caffeinated squid”, or “is Weird Al from the Midwest”) and this is the first you have ever heard of my bet with the other Brad, I will fill you in.
The other Brad and I have been friends since elementary school. We have played Little League together, spend summer days together playing Paintball and winter days playing Risk: The Game of World Domination, and cooperated on many business ventures, some more successful than others. We have had more misadventures in multilevel marketing (MLM) than I care to recount. Despite all our shared experiences, the other Brad and I are polar opposites in many ways, most notably in our attitudes toward exercise and fitness. The other Brad enjoys exercise so much that he chooses his foods based on his fitness goals; with the exception of beer, the other Brad has not ingested a complex carb since 1998. (To give you an idea of how long ago 1998 was, it was the year that a Pink Floyd planetarium show inspired me to write an e-zine called Classic Rock Ragnarok, which has long since gone the way of the term “e-zine”.) As for me, I like playing sports for the social aspect. I enjoy playing touch football with my cousins on Thanksgiving and playing Paintball in the summer as much as the next guy, but I have equal enthusiasm for social events that allow me to sit on my keister.
To make a long story short, a lot happened this holiday season. Right around Christmas, I went to see the movie The Big Short with my family, and it put me in a writing mood the way that the Pink Floyd planetarium show had done all those years ago, and I decided that I would dedicate a big part of our site, Notebook Crazy, to reviewing multilevel marketing (MLM) companies and highlighting the ways in which each one stands out from the others, so you can choose which one, if any, to sign up for, which is why this story serves as the introduction to my Neways review. Around that same time, the other Brad and I were sitting around a bowl of hummus at my brother Bryce’s New Year’s party (the other Brad was eating the hummus with carrot sticks, but I was eating it with pita chips, just so you have a mental image), and, as usual, he was teasing me about being a couch potato, and I was teasing him about all the carbs and all the hours of sitting on his keister he is missing out on. You can probably guess that, a few beers into this exchange of friendly barbs, we ended up making a bet.
The issue at hand in the bet was whether I would run a certain number of miles on the other Brad’s treadmill before the first day of spring. If I won, the other Brad would have to buy me dinner at Oley’s pizza in Fort Wayne, where I would eat pizza and garlic knots while the other Brad would eat whatever low carb items are on the menu. (It looks like meatballs, chicken wings, and antipasto, all of which look pretty good.) If I lost, I would have to buy the other Brad as much diet Vernors as he could consume (in my presence) between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. On the summer solstice, we will play Paintball, as we always do, and settle any remaining animosity by blasting each other with globs of paint. You’re probably wondering how it turned out, aren’t you?
The other Brad has been sitting in my basement all day, sipping diet Vernors (as every Midwesterner knows, it’s physically impossible to drink Vernors at a pace faster than “sipping”) while I conduct research for my Neways review. He has already drunk four of them today.
Don’t worry, though. I may be a couch potato, but I am still quick enough to blast the other Brad into another dimension at Paintball this summer. But that is still a long way away. For now, let the diet Vernors flow, and let your business decisions be informed by my Neways review.
Almost all the Neways reviews I read while doing research for this Neways review compared Neways to Amway, which is one of the elder statesmen among MLM companies. Amway is notable for being the MLM company that sells almost everything you can imagine, with the egregious exception of things that are actually fun to shop for, and the catalog of Neways products is similarly vast in scope, encompassing nutraceuticals (my least favorite), personal grooming products, and household cleaning supplies. The Neways website trumpets about how Neways products are free from “harmful ingredients”, which raises red flags for me, since I have been at this MLM reviewing game long enough to have seen plenty of MLM companies, and sometimes their distributors in their capacity as unofficial representatives for the company, employ the sales tactic of implying that the ingredients in their competitors (less expensive and usually non-MLM) products are harmful. One of the allegedly harmful ingredients that is not in any Neways products is talc, which I think of as the main ingredient in baby powder and in the scented talcum powder that people give their grandmothers as a Mother’s Day present.If you have ever read Notebook Crazy before, you have probably noticed that it is one of my pet peeves when people exaggerate the beneficial or harmful health effects of foods and food ingredients. It appears to me that the Neways website is playing to this particular trend in our culture, the same trend that made “benefits of ginger ale” and “healthiest ginger ale” pop up as suggested search terms when I did a Google search for “Vernors” to see whether its name had an apostrophe. (I know I could just look at the can in the other Brad’s hand, but to be honest, I really don’t feel like looking in the other Brad’s direction right now.)
So what are these harmless Neways products, anyway? Well, there are some beverages, the ingredients of which read like a guest list for the after party of a Miss Super-Fruit beauty pageant. There is an aloe vera drink, made of the same plant that is the poster child for Forever Living, another MLM nutraceutical company that I previously reviewed on this site. There is a drink that features noni, also known as morinda (it is the namesake of an MLM company that uses it as a flagship ingredient in its nutraceutical products) also known as cheese fruit. Neways even makes drinks featuring durian, an Indonesia fruit known for being one of the stinkiest things in the world.Its smell is described as somewhere between raw onions and turpentine. (Some establishments in Indonesia even forbid consumption of the fruit indoors, so strong is its smell.)
Only the Neways scandals are slightly more interesting than your average MLM scandals. In 2006, two founding members of Neways were sentenced to jail terms for tax evasion, but the company got bought out by another company, at which point it dusted itself off and kept autoshipping cleaning products and cheese fruit drinks to people’s least favorite relatives. You don’t have to look very far to find an MLM company that gets in trouble for making exaggerated claims about the health benefits of its products, but it was eventually revealed that Neways had sold nutraceuticals containing growth hormone, and it had not disclosed that growth hormone was one of its ingredients.
The Neways Compensation Plan
The Neways compensation plan document is available online, which is better than when MLM companies keep their compensation plans a secret, and it is 12 pages long, which is about average length for an MLM compensation plan document. In the Neways compensation plan, you organize the members of your downline team into an MLM compensation structure depending on where you need them the most in order for you and others to be eligible for bonuses. While this seems like an unnecessarily complicated setup, it also can be good, because it means that you can just assign Neways distributors into the downline sales teams of other Neways distributors on your team, rather than having to pressure your downline distributors to recruit more new members.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- The durian’s reputation precedes it, and I have been wondering when an MLM company was going to start making nutraceuticals out of this King of Fruits, the stinkiest of them all. Now I know.
- The Neways compensation plan is available online for anyone to read.
- If you are going to go into debt having cheese fruit beverages autoshipped to your address, you can at least join Morinda. It at least has a logo representing the cheese fruit as a blossom, when it is young and pretty, and you can even buy Morinda apparel with its charming cheese fruit blossom logo.
- The sales angle that emphasizes “harmful ingredients” that are not in Neways products strikes me as fearmongering, which is one of my least favorite parts of the nutraceutical sector of the MLM industry.
- The Neways website contains precious few details about individual Neways products. The only way I was able to tell that there are Neways products based on aloe vera, cheese fruit, and durian was by looking closely at a picture of the bottles on the Neways website, and the only way I knew what is special about the noni aka morinda aka cheese fruit is that I am a seasoned veteran of the MLM industry.
- Being a Neways distributor is not a recession proof job, to borrow a phrase from other MLM reviewers. There are already so many other MLM companies that sell lots of different products, none of which are any fun. You are not going to turn the economy of your town around by selling cheese fruit coolers and overpriced glass and surface cleaner to people who are already broke.
- Take it from someone who has been there. Having a basement full of unsold MLM merchandise is no fun. It makes you feel like a failure, even when your only reason for joining the MLM business opportunity was to help your cousin achieve her dream of owning your own business. The best way to succeed in the MLM industry is to avoid getting involved in it in the first place. You will have a better chance of being able to afford to give your cousin startup capital for a business if you stay at your day job.
The more MLM companies I review, the more difficult it becomes to find things about them that are special. It gets harder to find any scandals that shock me, and it gets even harder to find a single characteristic to recommend most MLM companies. But you know what is special? Friendship. If you have one friend who is still with you after the rise and fall of several MLM business opportunities, consider yourself very lucky. Let’s all raise a glass of diet Vernors to the friends who are always there for us, even after we sink our money into yet another MLM business opportunity that is going nowhere. Even though I didn’t win my bet with the other Brad, we are still planning on going to Oley’s pizza tonight, even if I have to pay for my own garlic knots.
Hey, want to know how I made my online business so successful that now I can afford to buy my friend as much diet Vernors as he can drink all spring? Schedule a call with me to find out.