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Lyoness MLM Compensation Plan Review 2.0

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Introduction to Lyoness MLM Compensation Plan

I know I am a bit biased, but every day, I find more reasons that the Midwest is awesome, more unsung Midwesterners who deserve a shout out.  Today, I begin my Lyoness review with a shout out to Dr. Lewis Pulsipher.  A native of Detroit, which is not too far from here, Dr. Pulsipher has taught courses in web design and game development at various universities in North Carolina.  Not only is he a pioneer in the academic study of video games, but he has also been writing about games since the 1970s and publishing his writing in venues that range from paper to cyberspace and commercial to academic to just for fun.  I am honored that, when I was writing my e-zine (yes, that is what we called them back then) Classic Rock Ragnarok in the late 1990s, it shared the information superhighway (yes, that was also a real term we used) with Pulsipher’s writings, which appeared on Gamasutra and other sites around that time.  (See?  Classic Rock Ragnarok is a perfectly normal name for a 90s website.  I’m not nearly as weird as you think I am; I just belong to a different generation.)

A lifelong fan of strategic war board games, Lewis Pulsipher earned a Ph.D. in 1981 from Duke University, where he specialized in military and diplomatic history.  During his graduate studies, he visited England for extended periods of time, and he also wrote articles about Dungeons and Dragons and designed new variations on an existing board wargame called Diplomacy.  While all of those things are laudable, the real reason that I have chosen to begin my Lyoness review with a shout out to Lewis Pulsipher is because of a game he designed in the 1980s, called Britannia.  That’s right.  In the 80s, while most kids were at the arcade playing Pac-Man or at home blowing your Nintendo cartridges in the hopes that either Super Mario Bros. or Duck Hunt would eventually start to work, some kids were gathered around a table in the living room playing Britannia.  One afternoon in the summer of 1993, one of those kids was me.

If you have ever read Notebook Crazy before, then you know that a good portion of my early adolescence was devoted to playing Risk: The Game of World Domination, so it should not surprise you that I have also played Britannia.  At the time I played Britannia, I had never played a full game of Risk from beginning to end.  Britannia is both simpler and more complicated than Risk, but it generally takes less time to play.  Britannia follows the history of the island of Great Britain from Roman times until the Battle of Hastings in 1066.  Only four people can play, but, as you may know, far more than four nations ruled what is today England, Scotland, and Wales during the first millennium of our era.  That means that each player gets to play the role of multiple nations.  And the game covers the parts of the history of Great Britain that are most interesting to preteen boys, the wars and invasions.  It’s a fun game for so many reasons, but they are tangential to my Lyoness review, so I will not go into them here.

The summer day when I played Britannia went like this.  In the morning, I had Little League practice, and if you are a regular Notebook Crazy reader, you will know that my friend the other Brad, who now runs Notebook Crazy with me, was on my Little League team.  Presumably, my father borrowed the game from the public library while I was at practice, unless he had borrowed it the previous day.  My dad picked both of us up after practice, with my brother Brian in tow.  (Brian is two years younger than I am.  My brother Bryce, who is five years younger than me, was too young for these Britannia festivities, but he was at an age-appropriate summer camp on that day and did not feel the sting of exclusion from our onslaughts on the two-dimensional island of Great Britain.  My mom may have even take him to an outdoor fruit and vegetable market or some such after summer camp finished for the day, just so he wouldn’t feel left out.)  My dad took Brian, the other Brad, and me to McDonald’s, where we happily stuffed ourselves with McNuggets, while my dad gave us an overview of the history of Great Britain so that we would have an idea of what was going on in the game.  Then we went home to play Britannia in the basement.

It was a great day, easily the highlight of the summer of 1993.  I learned more about real Vikings on that day than probably any other day of my life.  Lewis Pulsipher, I salute you.  But what has any of this to do with my Lyoness review?

Lyoness: The Company and Its Products

lyoness

The reason that my Lyoness review begins with a shout out to Dr. Lewis Pulsipher, the designer of the game Britannia, is that the Lyoness company, which was founded in 2003 in Austria and which has since spread to over 40 countries, is named after the fictional kingdom of Lyonesse, which is mentioned in the Arthurian legends.  The writers who mentioned Lyonesse, some of whom have never been to the island that Dr. Pulsipher correctly guessed would capture the imaginations of strategizing young boys in the 1980s, seemed to be mixing up two real places when they wrote about the legendary Lyonesse.  They seemed to conflate Cornwall, which is the south-westernmost part of the island, and Lothian, which is the area around Edinburgh.  If the Arthurian legends were set in the continental United States, that would be like mixing up San Diego and Philadelphia.

Of course, that is just the name.  If you have ever read Notebook Crazy before, or even if you haven’t, but you have read Lyoness reviews on other sites, you know that the real chaos begins once multilevel marketing (MLM) enters the picture.  Lyoness, the Austrian company that is the subject of my Lyoness review, not the place where Tristan and Isolde met their fate, styles itself a “shopping community”, in which Lyoness members can buy a huge variety of products from a wide variety of vendors.  Every time a Lyoness member makes a purchase through the Lyoness website or visits a participating store, he or she accumulates “shopping points”, which can later be redeemed for prizes or discounts.  In addition, some purchases come with the bonus of having actual money deposited into the Lyoness member’s “cash back” account.  According to most of the Lyoness reviews I found, you have to accumulate $10 in your cash back account before you can withdraw the money into an actually bank account, although one Lyoness review said that the amount has to be at least $15 before you can withdraw it.  Another Lyoness review said that, once the cash back amount has reached the required minimum, it automatically gets deposited into your account the following Tuesday.  (This Lyoness review did not specify whether the cash back money gets deposited into your bank account or your PayPal account.)

The closest thing there are to Lyoness products are deals and coupons that you can use at other stores and websites.  Actually, one of the vendors is a Lyoness merchandise store, where you can buy Lyoness memorabilia, such as T-shirts and backpacks with the Lyoness logo, so I guess we can count those as Lyoness products.  As of the time of my writing this Lyoness review, the Lyoness website features promotions for vendors as diverse as Home Depot, Hotels.com, Priceline, the Vitamin Shoppe, and a steak house I had never heard of.

The Lyoness Compensation Plan

 

Even after reading the Lyoness website and a few Lyoness reviews, I am still not sure I fully understand the Lyoness compensation plan.  The Lyoness website currently does not saying anything about rewards for referring other Lyoness members, which is an integral part of any MLM business opportunity.  In Canada, as well as is several countries in Europe, Lyoness started to draw criticism for its MLM business model, so in 2014, Lyoness began styling its MLM aspect “Lyconet”.  Of course, the Lyconet website does not offer any details about the Lyoness compensation plan, either, at least not unless you create an account and login.

In researching this Lyoness review, I have found two major areas of ambiguity.  The first concerns the matter of which aspect of this fictional land, Lyoness or Lyconet, can properly be called an MLM business opportunity.  Some Lyoness reviews say that Lyconet is an MLM while Lyoness is simply a shopping community, like Listia except with an exchange of currency for merchandise, while other Lyoness reviews say that Lyoness is MLM while Lyconet is affiliate marketing.  The other matter on which I have found conflicting evidence concerns how much, if anything, it costs to join the Lyoness business opportunity.  Some Lyoness reviews say that it requires an initial investment of $2,600 to join the Lyoness business opportunity, while others say that the initial payment of $2,600 is a “down payment” on merchandise you will later purchase through the Lyoness website.  Still other Lyoness reviews claim that Lyoness memberships are absolutely free, and the only time you spend money on the Lyoness website is when you buy products or services from one of its vendors.  It goes without saying that I was unable to find the names of the leadership levels in the Lyoness compensation plan, but I hope that some of them are Round Table, Excalibur, and Holy Grail.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages

  • Lyoness products are not nutraceuticals.
  • The Lyoness business opportunity does not involve home sales parties.
  • There is a clear story behind the name of the Lyoness company, and better yet, it relates to mythology.

Disadvantages

  • The Lyoness business opportunity is, in a word, confusing. It’s nice that it is a departure from the usual MLM “sell products, recruit marks, eventually qualify for bonuses” model, but all those cash back rewards and shopping points and loyalty points are a bit hard to keep straight, and the whole schism between Lyoness and Lyconet only makes things more confusing.  I know that most MLM compensation plans are not exactly straightforward, but at least I have seen enough of those that are practically clones of each other that I mostly know what to expect with them.
  • I am immediately skeptical of any business opportunity that runs on the premise of “the more you shop, the more money you get.” It is the coupon shopper’s fallacy.  People buy a lot of stuff they don’t need just for the thrill of seeing discounts and rebates.
  • The fact that the Lyconet website offers no information whatsoever about the Lyoness business opportunity is not a good sign.
  • I am going a bit into grouch mode for this comment, but the Lyoness website is not particularly easy to navigate.

Conclusion

I don’t know whose idea it was that you can get rich by shopping, but it certainly will not make anyone rich, with the possible exception of the vendors.  If you hate your 9 to 5 job, there are plenty of alternatives, but, as any marriage counselor will tell you, shopping is not an acceptable substitute for employment.  I enjoy games as much as the next guy, as will be obvious to anyone who reads the first half of this Lyoness review of mine, but I find the gamification of shopping a dangerous idea.  Except when it is limited to shopping for absolute necessities like groceries, I don’t see how making an addictive game out of shopping can lead to anything but financial ruin.  Besides, there are lots of games out there that are a lot more fun than online shopping.  I, for one, recommend Britannia.

 

What is the most underrated board game from your childhood?  Schedule a call with me, and we can share stories.

 

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