Whoa, internet scam alert! The Mookychicks were offered big bucks (well, bucks) to advertise a company on Mookychick that is meant to appeal to young alternative girls but after a bit of research we decided it was a scam and wrote a damning report on them instead…
When Mookychick.co.uk gets companies offering to pay us to host their advertising banners, we want to kiss them! Maybe they will make us rich enough to go wild-crazy in Reykjavik and Japan!
And it’s a big but – we’ll only advertise a site we like. We often do free banner swaps with our friends because we dig them and respect their intentions the same way they respect ours. If we accept money for advertising it has to be because we genuinely like those products and are cool with the idea of telling other people about it.
Anything else would just feel too much like shaking hands with the devil.
We’re not normally big on exposes – we’re very live and let live here at Mook Towers – but a company called GENERATION H emailed us to ask about the possibility of hosting paid advertising on our site. We wanted to believe they were cool because we wanted their money, but we thought it might be a scam so we visited their site to find out more.
From its front page www.generationh.org.uk seemed to be encouraging young people who were alternative and wanted direction in their life to sell a product called ‘herbalife’. This was what it said:
“What do you really want to do with your life? Follow the 9 to 5 routine? Do what your parents do? Or… are your dreams a little different? A little MORE!! Generation H is a term used to describe a massive, global movement of youths who have grown weary of employee status, frustrated with the financial and personal contraints that come with working for someone else, and have taken the leap into self-employment through Herbalife.”
So far, so good. On browsing around we found a few testimonials from (mostly) girls who had worked hard in other areas of life but either lost money or had got bored, and rated selling Herbalife as a way of feeling spiritually and financially satisfied.
We weren’t entirely convinced. Maybe we would feel differently if we knew a bit more about the product these people were selling. What was Herbalife, anyway? Sadly, this website didn’t really seem to want to tell us. The links on the front page kept pointing to the success stories, registration page (where you sign up to the scheme) and business plan (we’ll come onto that in a minute).
We clicked on ‘about Generation H’ and got some more spiel about how selling Herbalife is so much fun that the children of the original distributors are now doing it, and that some of them are millionaires. Woo. We’re not saying it’s not true – we just thought we’d like to know a little bit more about the product we were being encouraged to sell before we registered and bought any of it. Makes sense, you know?
Okay, onto the ‘Business Plan’. Whoa. Pyramid selling scheme.
Pyramid schemes can kind of work, but usually only for people at the very top of the food chain. This picture shows why pyramid schemes aren’t the foolproof way to make money that some people claim. There just aren’t enough people in the world to make a pyramid scheme work properly! The picture comes from a United States Federal Government report so we believe it:
Generation H explains that there are 3 ways to make money from selling Herbalife:
* Retail – (make 20% off every herbalife kit you sell – whatever herbalife is, it still hasn’t been explained)
* Wholesale – (you get a bit of money every time someone registers to sell Herbalife under your recommendation)
* Royalties – Pyramid scheme through and through. And, as the Generation H site says itself, “this is where the really big money is earned!”
Here’s how it works: when you encourage a few of your friends to join, let’s say 3 people (with the help of the Herbalife Success Training System), and you show them how to find 3 people, you then have 12 people under you (3 in your first line and 9 in your second line). With your sponsor’s help, you then show those new 9 people how to also find 3 people each. This means you then have 27 people in your 3rd line, and a total of 39 in your team. Herbalife will pay you 5% of the retail value of everything that your team does every single month, for as long as you stay in the business.
Basically, you are not going to make big money out of selling Herbalife unless you sweat your socks off getting other people to join you in selling it – and making sure they get other people to join them in selling it, too. Sounds like a hell of a lot of hard work, and it could mean you end up with not much money in your pocket, and even lose money if you buy Herbalife products (yes, and what ARE they?) but then find you’re not a natural-born saleswoman and can’t sell them on to anyone except your goodnatured mother and the 3 friends you’ve already encouraged to join the scheme who are now trying to sell their Herbalife back to you.
By this point we were thinking that Generation H was basically a pyramid-selling scheme, and just a great big Herbalife scam. Whatever Herbalife is.
We also wanted to find out what happens when you register to become a part of the Generation H sales team, but didn’t want to supply our email to them just in case we got bombarded with spam, so we googled ‘Herbalife scam’ to see if anyone else had anything to say about it. And they did!
Enter the Herbalife scam report from cockeyed.com:
Cockeyed.com said that there were signs appeared everywhere on telephone lines saying ‘earn big money’ and ‘work from home’. They all had different telephone numbers but with the same recorded message, encouraging you to sell a weight-loss product called ‘Herbalife’ (phew. At least we Mookychicks now knew what Herbalife was). He suggested that a legit company doesn’t need to advertise itself by flyering with posters all over every available square inch of space. He did a follow-up report in 2002 saying that Herbalife have published a policy saying they do not want anyone to put fliers up.
Part of the announcement read, “While our signs are intended to promote Herbalife’s products and business opportunity in a positive light, they are unfortunately producing a negative image of the company.” On the same memo, it stated, “Use fliers just like pull-tabs, to saturate your area with these extremely effective sales tools.”
The author of Herbalife Scam Report also mentioned the ways in which you have to PAY money before you are in a position to SELL Herbalife. Please bear in mind that the Herbalife Scam Report was written in 2002 and things may have changed since then:
1) You pay $34 for a ‘decision kit’ which has a tape, a DVD and a leaflet explaining why you should decide to sell Herbalife. This money is refundable if you return the kit within 60 days, but whoever gets round to doing anything on time? You should contact the party you got it from to collect a refund. Apparently, you’re expected to pay for the decision kit to proves you’ve got what it takes to be a Herbalife worker, according to their ‘Sixty Minute Money’ email of 2002:
“(The decision kit is) also designed to “weed out” people who say they are serious but really don’t have what it takes. Sure there are many lonely people who would have nothing better to do but to write emails to us all day about it, asking this question and that question. Many lonely people who would order anything online that’s free, whether they are serious or not. But we’re not looking for the many . . . . we are looking for the few . . . and besides that we need our time to work with our team.”
‘Lonely’ is a weird choice of words isn’t it? Were they trying to suggest that if you ask lots of questions about a company before you start paying money to sell their product you must be ‘lonely’?
2) You do not have to buy any Herbalife products for personal use but if you google the topic you will find out that some sellers feel they were obliged to do this, or at least encouraged to do so.
3) To start selling Herbalife you have to buy their International Business Pack or IBP. This is available in the USA for $49 or $79. Some herbalife distributors bundle it with products and sell it for $299, but if you go to the herbalife corporate site, you can search for “IBP” and buy one for $49 or $79. Of course, you have to know the name of the company to do this, so it isn’t an option for most new recruits.
All in all, we at Mookychick feel that Generation H – and the selling of Herbalife – is a scam. We don’t doubt that really proactive sellers have got good money off it, and maybe it has been a godsend for some people who had a knack for selling Herbalife and wanted to make money their own way not by working for other people.
But there are too many potential pitfalls where you can lose money if you start reading between the lines, and we’re not big on the idea that to make real money you have to encourage your friends to put their money down and register with the scheme as well. It sounds like a good way to lose friends.
All in all, folks, this is why we’ve decided not to accept money off Generation H to start hosting their ads on our site. To be honest we didn’t like how the Generation H site was targeting young alternative people and trying to fire them up into feeling they were doing something individual, fun and positive without giving enough information about the financial responisibilites of joing an organisation like this. And not even describing the product you’d be expected to sell, for chrissake!
Mooky friends suggested we take the Generation H dollar, host their banner above this article, and donate the money to charity, but we thought that was unfair to Generation H and would make us feel a bit like scammers ourselves.
So that’s our story, and our decision –
We hope you approve of what we’ve done. We know we do.