Someone I know has recently become a distibutor for Mona Vie, a juice which purports to give you increased energy, boost your immune system, rid you of any joint pain, feed the hungry and bring peace to the Middle East.
She has encouraged me to try it and become a distributor, but I have politely declined. The distributor part. I tried the juice. It's tasty. I didn't really stick with it long enough to see any noticeable health or energy benefits, so I can't speak to that part.
It's sold through a Multi-Level Marketing program. Let's face it, I'm not enamored with the idea of MLMs. I pretty much assume they are scams, unless proven otherwise. There have been too many, from Amway to Quixtar, there were the long distance phone ones from about ten years ago, and the super blue green algae. Remember all that crap?
So, I did a bit of digging. Not a lot, but I wanted to know what the fuss was all about. Online, there were a lot of positive things said about the juice itself. How many of those online comments were by distributors of the stuff, we have no way of knowing.
I guess I have two problems with this juice:
- The cost.
- The business model
It's $30-$40 per bottle, depending on whether you get it at wholesale/distributor prices or retail prices. Each bottle has 25.35 fl oz. You are supposed to have 2 oz in the morning and 1 oz at night. At that rate, each bottle will basically last you one week. I don't know about you, but even at $30 per bottle, $120/month for an evergy juice sounds rather steep.
The business model
As I said earlier I pretty much assume all MLM distribution models are scams until proven otherwise. So, I went on the Mona Vie site to see what the business side was all about. Ultimately, the question for any MLM/Pyramid scheme is whether or not the distributors can expect to make any money on the sale of the product, or are they simply exptected to recruit more people who will recruit more people, and maybe some juice will be sold along the way?
According to the business brochure from Mona Vie, the ways that you make money are:
1. Direct sales: you purchase at wholesale, and sell at retail for about a 15% markup, but given the cost of the bottles, if you have some regular customers you can make a bit of money this way. Of course, if someone becomes a regular drinker, wouldn't you encourage them to become a distributor in your "downline?"
2. Bulk order bonus: If you have at least 200 PV, each time someone you've sponsored orders a bulk order you get paid. Good deal.
3. First Order Bonus: Qualified Distributors with at least 200 PV earn a one time bonus for bringing new distributors under you. I don't know what a PV is, but this part sounds distinctly like a pyramid scheme.
4. Star Maker Bonus: for Qualified Distributors with at least 200 PV, each time someone you sponsor makes the rank of "star" you earn $40. Again, money for recruiting, not selling juice.
5. Team Commissions: This part is in all caps. It says that the "TEAM COMMISSIONS ARE THE FUNDAMENTAL BUILDING BLOCK OF THE MONAVIE COMPENSATION PLAN." Then it goes on to explain how the team commissions work:
"The team commissions portion of our plan is binary. Binary means tha tyou will be placed in one of two legs (right or left) in your sponsor's organization. You will then be compensated based on successfully building two legs of your own. Your sponsor (or anyone else in your upline) may also place poeple in your organization. As your group begins to grow, you are entitled to team commissions based on the total volume generated in your lesser leg."
6. Executive Check Match: From here, it sounds like the money can start to get pretty good. I don't know how many people make it to the executive level , but I'm guessing it's pretty tough.
7. Leadership Pools: They have reserved 1% of total company GV for the elite group of Monavie Blue Diamonds. Sorry, don't know what this means.
8. Multiple Business Centers: This is a point at which you are making lots of money. But like any pyramid scheme, does anyone other than the founders make it to this level?
Then at the end it has pictures of private jets and exclusive chateaus.