Introduction to Valentus MLM Compensation Plan
Welcome to Notebook Crazy. My name is Brad, and I am on a quest to review as many multilevel marketing (MLM) business opportunities as I can. I started this quest last Christmas, when I saw the movie The Big Short in the movie theater with my family, thinking that it would keep me busy until the weather got warm enough that I could comfortably go outside, but here we are in June, and I am still going. It has been warm for so long that I have already participated in two Paintball games this year and gone fly fishing once, and there are still plenty of MLM companies left to review. When I started this blog, I had heard of the big MLM companies like Amway, Avon, and Mary Kay, and because the other Brad, who is my business partner, longtime friend, and co-founder of Notebook Crazy, is really into fitness, people had offered him lots of different nutritional supplements and protein shake mixes which, I now realize, were being distributed through an MLM business model. The other Brad and I have been through quite a few business ventures together, and at one point one of his gym buddies talked us into joining an MLM company where we sold instant coffee sachets that contained some kind of Chinese fungus that was supposed to help you lose weight. For the past two years, every time I get far enough down the stairs into my basement to see the boxes of unsold fungus coffee sachets that are piled up in there, it reminds me of how much I hate both fungi and the MLM industry. But giving an assessment of every MLM company out there and determining what benefit, if any, you can get from being involved with them, has turned out to be a bigger project than I had originally expected.
This is my Valentus review. Valentus, like so many other MLM companies, bases its business opportunity on the sale of nutritional supplements. As is the case with so many nutraceutical MLM companies, Valentus products have a flagship ingredient. Flagship ingredients in MLM nutritional supplements are sometimes entertaining and sometimes annoying to write about. They are entertaining because the idea that some ordinary fruit or exotic algae is the key to all health and happiness is so outrageous that sometimes you just have to laugh. This is especially true when the flagship ingredient is something like blueberries, which are available at every supermarket, or plankton, which is so low on the food chain that it is a wonder it has any nutritional value at all. It is annoying because of all the pseudoscience that MLM distributors and MLM websites spout about the nutritional benefits of these flagship products and the conviction with which they spout them. Even when the evidence to support the benefit of the flagship ingredient is as flimsy as a hammock made of plankton, I must admit that nutraceutical MLM companies with a flagship ingredient are a lot more interesting than nutraceutical MLM companies without one.
If you agree with me about the previous sentence, then you are in for a treat because Valentus products have a flagship ingredient.
Valentus: The Company and Its Products
One way in which an MLM company immediately loses credibility in my eyes is if there is not a clear reason for the company to have chosen the name that it chose for itself. Some MLM companies are named, directly or indirectly, after their founders or after one of the ingredients in their products. It says clearly on the Valentus website that Valentus is named after the Latin word for “prevail”. It is not the most inspired MLM company name I have ever heard, but at least it specifies the origin of its name, so it will do. The Valentus website also says that the company’s founder is named Dave Jordan, but it gives few details about him, other than the fact that he has 13 siblings.
The Valentus website lists only four products: Prevail Slim Roast, Prevail Trim, Prevail Energy, and Prevail Immune Boost. All of these products are sachets of powder that you mix into a beverage. The flagship ingredient of Valentus products is present in Slim Roast and Trim. This ingredient is an extract of Hoodia gordonii, a small, cactus-like plant that grows in the Kalahari Desert of Namibia. (Namibia is in southwestern Africa; South Africa is its southern neighbor. People who follow pop culture will recall that Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, the daughter of Angelina and a guy named Brad who has no affiliation with Notebook Crazy, was born in Namibia.)
According to Wikipedia, the flowers of the hoodia plant smell like rotting meat. The gel inside the spiny leaves, however, is edible. This gel has appetite suppressant properties, and the San people, some of whom practice a hunter-gatherer lifestyle even today, would eat the gel in order to reduce feelings of hunger during hunting expeditions, where stopping to eat would be impractical and diminish their ability to keep up with the prey animals they were tracking. Reports of the appetite suppressant properties of hoodia reached the English-speaking world as early as the 1970s, and pharmaceutical companies such as Phytopharm and Pfizer began conducting studies to identify the appetite suppressant compounds and isolate them in order to make pharmaceutical products out of them. In these early studies, researchers were able to identify a compound called P57 as the source of the appetite suppressant effects of hoodia, but it proved so difficult to extract P57 from other compounds in the plant that the pharmaceutical companies abandoned their hoodia research efforts.
In the early 2000s, hoodia began getting publicity again as an ingredient in diet pills. A BBC reporter traveled to Namibia to sample hoodia gel in its natural environment, and he reported that, while the gel had an unpleasant taste, eating a cucumber-sized amount of hoodia gel suppressed his appetite enough to make him skip two and a half meals. Anna Nicole Smith became a spokesperson for a product that contained hoodia extract. Hoodia had become a minor diet fad.
I have previously mentioned on Notebook Crazy that Harriet Hall is my hero. Dr. Hall previously wrote a blog called SkepDoc for Skeptic magazine, and now she writes a blog called Science Based Medicine. She has been exposing the flimsy foundations of various diets and nutritional supplements for many years and thus has attracted the ire of the purveyors of some of these supplements, especially those who think that they stand to gain from their MLM nutraceutical businesses. MLM distributors are famous for posting personal attacks on social media and in the comments sections of blogs whenever someone criticizes the supplement they are selling, and one such nutraceutical apologist once described Harriet Hall as “a refrigerator with a head.” Undaunted, Hall has pressed onward in her quest to spread the word about not getting too excited about nutritional supplements. If you are interested, and especially if you are giving serious thought to joining the Valentus business opportunity, I strongly encourage you to read Hall’s hoodia article on Science Based Medicine. Meanwhile, I will do my best to outline some of her main points.
- The studies on the effectiveness of hoodia supplements for weight loss are not sufficient to commend the use of hoodia as a nutritional supplement. Some studies have shown it to be more effective than a placebo, while others have not.
- The harvesting of the hoodia plant is connected to several ethical issues. The plant has never been successfully cultivated, so in order to make nutritional supplements from it, you must harvest it wild. Hoodia only grows in parts of the Kalahari Desert inhabited by the San people. According to Hall, by buying hoodia products, you could be involving yourself in the centuries long oppression of the San people, as the legal and financial matters related to the sale of hoodia have not been sorted out. The hoodia plant is rare enough that harvesting it commercially could cause it to go extinct quickly.
- As hoodia cannot be cultivated commercially, there is a limited supply. Meanwhile, there are so many hoodia products on the market that they cannot possibly all contain enough hoodia extract to be effective appetite suppressants. More than half of the hoodia products that were tested contained much smaller amounts of hoodia extract than what their labels reported, and some of them contained no hoodia at all. (I am not sure whether Valentus products were included in this study.)
The Valentus Compensation Plan
The Valentus compensation plan is easily visible on the Valentus website. At eight pages long and written in a readably large font, it is refreshingly concise. It says that Valentus distributors can earn commissions of 25% on the sale of Valentus products.
The leadership levels in the Valentus compensation plan are Silver, Gold, Platinum, Ruby, Emerald, Diamond, Double Diamond, Triple Diamond, Blue Diamond, Royal Diamond, Black Diamond, Crown Diamond, and Crown Ambassador. As is the case with many MLM compensation plans, advancing to the next rank involves not only the sale of Valentus products and the recruitment of new Valentus distributors but it also requires that members of your downline sales team reach certain ranks in the Valentus compensation plan.
The Valentus compensation plan also involves a car bonus, which is available to Valentus distributors who have reached or surpassed the Diamond level. In MLM speak, a car bonus is an amount of money that an MLM company pays each month toward your payment on a luxury car. The Valentus compensation plan does not specify which kinds of cars you can pay for with this bonus, but some MLM plans require that the car be a certain make or even a certain color. (The most famous example is the pink Cadillacs driven by high achieving Mary Kay distributors.) A dirty trick that MLM companies often play is making you take out the car loan in your name and then leaving you on the hook for payments even if you fail to qualify for the bonus in a certain month.
The Valentus compensation plan also pays commissions on the sales made by your downline team. At the Silver level, you earn commissions on one level of downline (the people you personally recruited), and the levels of downline that can pay you commissions increases until the Crown Diamond level, where you earn commissions on seven levels of downline.
- At least Valentus products are not costume jewelry and are not distributed at trunk shows.
- The content of the About Us page on the Valentus website is pure fluff. That is saying something coming from me, because I have seen a lot of fluff on MLM websites over the course of my MLM reviewing quest, but the Valentus website still stands out as exaggerated and uninformative among the exaggerated and uninformative MLM websites I have read.
- For that matter, the loud and in your face design of the Valentus website in general suggests sleazy sales practices. It looks a lot like the website equivalent of those kiosks at the mall where salespeople jump out into your path and aggressively try to sell you hand massagers or hair irons.
- When you go into business, you should sell something that people actually want to buy. With the possible exception of ladies of a certain age who occasionally buy Crystal Light in sachet form, I have never seen anyone buy a sachet out of which to make a beverage. The idea of a drink sachet buying public seems to be a fantasy that exists only in the minds of MLM distributors and those susceptible to being recruited by them.
- The Valentus business opportunity requires autoship of merchandise. Let’s put it this way. I was indifferent toward fungus until it started getting autoshipped to my home every month, credit card charges and all.
Do you want to know how I recovered from the fungus coffee fiasco and built a successful Internet based business? Schedule a call with me, and I will tell you.