But The Dream’s real concern is far from the key-party-and-polyester image conjured by the airplane game. Marie and her producer had, like many people, noticed her Facebook feed filling up with friends from high school selling leggings, or makeup, or handbags, asking their friends to buy them and sign up as salesmen themselves. They’re all participating in multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes, which anyone involved will tell you are not a pyramid scheme, because pyramid schemes are illegal.

These functions, all of which were sponsored by World Wide Dreambuilders, were rhetoric-fests where Amway’s self-help message was pushed to its logical addiction-recovery extreme—although with the roles curiously reversed. “J-O-B people,” meaning those who were not Amway-style entrepreneurs, were portrayed as the helpless addicts, hooked on the “immediate gratification” of a weekly paycheck. It was they who were in denial, telling themselves that they didn’t have a problem, that they were happy working all day for practically nothing. In contrast, the “delayed life” was a healthy process of withdrawal, of gradually replacing the “negatives” in your life (including non-Amway products) with “positives.” Most importantly, you learned to “dream” again, reconnecting with the inner child who, before the 9-to-5 beat it down, had fantasized about big houses and fast cars.[13]


When Dick and Betsy DeVos are asked why they’ve chosen to mount a personal crusade for education reform, they often cite their family’s charitable giving, which puts them into contact with scholarship applicants. For years, the DeVoses read reams of personal essays filled with wrenching stories of dire finances and an abiding hope in the transformative impact of education. Those stories, the DeVoses have said, made it clear that something had to change.

Jay Van Andel and Richard DeVos, a pair of direct sales veterans, launched Amway in 1959. Today the company manufactures, markets and distributes consumer products. A unit of parent company Alticor, Amway is the brand consumers are familiar with. Other subsidiaries include Access Business Group and Alticor Corporate Enterprises. Richard DeVos and his family own the Orlando Magic basketball team and a minority stake in the Chicago Cubs baseball team.


Mr. DeVos and Mr. Van Andel left college to serve in the Army Air Corps during World War II. When they returned, they started Wolverine Air Service, their first joint venture. Several more businesses followed, including a failed charter schooner service, which almost led to their drowning, as well as a drive-in restaurant and a distributorship for a California-based marketer of vitamins and nutritional products.
In Simply Rich, DeVos describes buying full-page advertisements for Reagan in popular magazines during his presidential runs because ‘we wanted the Amway distributors and their customers to know that we supported Reagan, in the hope that they would support him, too.’ Adding, ‘We also thought the ads might further help Amway distributors recognize the importance of free enterprise to their success.’ This is not the only time Amway has encouraged its sales force to back its political agenda. In 1994, Amway Crown Ambassador and motivational mogul Dexter Yager used Amway’s extensive voice mail system to raise almost half of Amway distributor and ‘strong conservative’ congresswoman Sue Myrick’s campaign funds when she ran for North Carolina’s ninth congressional district. The year Myrick was elected, Amway donated $1.3 million to the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau to pay for Republican ‘infomercials’ airing on televangelist Pat Robertson’s Family Channel during the party’s August convention.
Occasionally, though, it can be useful to mention poverty in a certain context. Inspired by the personal and business philosophies of DeVos and Van Andel, Cross spent the ten years after writing Commitment to Excellence researching the two men, culminating in his 1995 self-help book Choices with Clout: How to Make Things Happen – by Making the Right Decisions Every Day of Your Life. Much of the book is compiled from interviews with the Amway founders and top-level distributors. In a passage about excellence, Van Andel outlines the proper way for an Amway distributor to rationalize the issue of poverty:
To understand the DeVos family, it helps to understand West Michigan. A sweeping landscape of flat, rolling farmland freckled with small towns, it sits on the opposite side of the state—in more than one way—from the big, diverse, reliably Democratic Detroit metropolitan area. Broadly speaking, it’s a region where people are deeply religious, politically conservative, entrepreneurial and unfailingly polite—think Utah, if it were settled not by Mormons but by Dutch Calvinists. “There’s an old expression here,” chuckles Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids. “‘If you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much.’”

If there’s one law of physics that defined how Michigan politics moved in the 1990s, it’s that Governor John Engler was a master of the state Legislature. His political acumen—honed over a 20-year run in the Legislature, during which the 22-year-old boy wonder grew into his sturdy tree-stump physique and Ben Franklin hairline—was legendary even before he won a stunning upset in the 1990 governor’s race.
If you think a lot of this smacks of a pyramid scheme, you’re not alone. In fact, the company was the subject of a 1979 Federal Trade Commission ruling that found Amway’s business practices to not be “inherently illegal,” though they were required to “cease price fixing and cease misrepresenting the apparent success achieved by the average distributor.”

‘It was very marshy. They rearranged the golf course because part of Bardmoor was in here, so they restructured it,’ she says, referring to the adjacent gated community. ‘Bayou Club is divided into two cities: Pinellas Park and Seminole. When you first drive into the community, while you’re technically still in Pinellas Park, you wouldn’t know it. Pinellas Park is low-income – we call this section an oasis in the middle of Pinellas Park.’
I am an IBO for the second time in my life. I tried when I was 20 and in the Air Force. Gonna make it rich in a year. Pffft. Naw. Can you get rich in Amway? Absolutely? Will you? Probably not. Same as any business you really have to work hard and put in a lot of time and capital in the beginning with little to no return. But you stick with it, don't quit before the miracle happens. This time around, I just want to work the business, maybe grow it a little, and make enough money to maybe get my wife home to raise our daughter and home school her full time. So, hey, if I can get it to $3000 a month....great. If not.....great. I love the products anyway and if some people want to come with me and maybe make a few bucks or just enjoy some good products, great. I'm happy with it and other people's opinions of me or my Amway business are none of my business. No need to be defensive....Amway's reputation speaks for itself. 

Amway has been in business for more than fifty years, and they seem to pay to their IBOs according to their compensation plan. Besides, they appear to have a positive online reputation. The customers are amazed with their customer service that involves pleasant and polite people who are always there to resolve any problem you might have. It is extremely easy to sign up and make an order. This professional and big American company offers a huge selection of useful products and a lot of benefits. The purchases usually arrive very fast and feature high quality. These include products from nutrition to bath, beauty and home.

William Keep, dean of the College of New Jersey’s School of Business, and a pyramid scheme critic, told Bloomberg earlier this year that “in terms of sending clear signals to the industry, the F.T.C. has done worse than nothing since 1979. It sends confusing signals that have in no way helped us understand how to identify a multilevel marketing company that may be a pyramid scheme.”

Before we get into a detailed discussion on whether Amway is a Ponzi scheme or not, it is important to understand how Amway and other multi-level marketing(MLM) companies go about their business. An MLM company like Amway appoints independent distributors to sell its products. Amway sells products like diet supplements, toothpastes, shampoos, multi-purpose liquid cleaners, soaps, grooming products etc. These distributors are not employees of the company. They make money by selling Amway products.
From an early age, Betsy was pushed to compete. In 1965, she was one of two second-graders to make entries in Holland’s annual tulip festival (a citywide valentine to the area’s Dutch heritage). In middle school, she entered a poster and essay contest about crime prevention. In her teenage years, she was a member of the Holland City Recreation Swim Team. Betsy excelled at the breaststroke. In August 1972, she won the Mid-Michigan Conference Championship, a contest in which younger siblings Emilie and Eileen Prince placed third and fifth, respectively).
Amway is haunted by the specter of saturation, the success that spells disaster. The 6-4-2 scenario tells it all: To keep one promise of $2,000-a-month, seventy-eight more need to be made whose fulfillment is still pending. The problem is that growth doesn’t improve this ratio: Were Amway to conquer the known universe, fewer than 2 percent of its distributors would be (or mathematically could be) Directs or higher. Of the rest, about 90 percent would be actively losing money—and without a pool of prospects to give them hopes for the future, they would surely quit. Amway would collapse from the bottom up.
Pyramid scheme or not, Amway is creepy and functions as a cult. These crazies nearly sucked me in. What made me really question them though was when after they explained to me their “business plan”, I told them that i’d take a few days to think about it, to talk with family about it. They immediately tell me not to tell my family about them, that my family would be skeptical about the opportunities amway would bring me, that my family would discourage me from doing it. What kind of shady business doesn’t want you to tell your family about them???
They're very honest. Their products are clean and not full of things that will poison you. You always have a partner to help you. You would not believe how people respond to you, when they first realize the product really is that good. Sometimes I forget that in the long run ''it's cheaper to by in bulk'' but it seems at the time ''like a lot of money" and I hate the confusion in my mind. Also, the pyramid took a long time to get into my brain. That's where having someone I could call and not be too far from me to help when I just did not understand. Amway is so simple to sell but my interest was for woman everywhere with or without kids to have clean, clothes and not breathe in their homes with chemicals.
I like Amway's clothes, electronics, gadgets, pants, watches, shirts, sweaters, shorts, games, and many others things that comes in that way. Not really good prices, but the quality is pretty good, has many variety of products, but more brands be good! I like Champion brand and they should put it there. I like that Amway are very flexible and can take care of you real quick if you have questions and concerns. The experience was good and everything went ok, with my purchases and I find a good place to buy things! Good money spend every time. 

Methodology: “Source Euromonitor International Limited; Claim verification based on Euromonitor research and methodology for Amway Corporation conducted from January through February 2018. Euromonitor defined “satisfaction guarantee” as any product that has the word “guarantee” or “guaranteed” on the label, or is publicly backed by a guarantee policy by the direct seller on their website or through publicly-available collateral material or product catalogue. Promise of “money back” is not required, nor need it adhere to a specific time frame (e.g. “90 day guarantee”). In 2018, all Amway products are covered by a company-wide satisfaction guarantee, and Amway has greater sales than all other direct sellers. To the extent permissible, Euromonitor does not accept or assume responsibility to any third party in respect of this claim.
As a guest speaker at the Quixtar LIVE! conference in 2003, Phil McGraw ("Dr. Phil") reportedly described Quixtar as "one of the greatest success stories in American business history."[citation needed] In a 2006 settlement involving a class-action lawsuit brought against McGraw and his Shape-Up diet products, plaintiffs received a share of $6.0 million in Quixtar-brand Nutrilite vitamins and $4.5 million in cash.[28][29]
In July 1996, Amway co-founder Richard DeVos was honored at a $3 million fundraiser for the Republican Party, and a week later, it was reported that Amway had tried to donate $1.3 million to pay for Republican "infomercials" and televising of the GOP convention on Pat Robertson's Family Channel, but backed off when Democrats criticized the donation as a ploy to avoid campaign-finance restrictions.[73][76]

The recently published book, No One Would Listen, by whistle blower, Harry Markopolos, dramatically describes how SEC regulators ignored his alerts and allowed the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme to grow to enormous proportions. Their failure to act caused harm to thousands more people, despite his written and detailed warnings, which he brought to the agency five separate times over an eight-year period of investigating the scam. Additionally, the news media such as the Wall Street Journal and Forbes magazine also failed to respond to his evidence which he offered them. Madoff was apparetnly treated as “too big to expose.” 

These functions, all of which were sponsored by World Wide Dreambuilders, were rhetoric-fests where Amway’s self-help message was pushed to its logical addiction-recovery extreme—although with the roles curiously reversed. “J-O-B people,” meaning those who were not Amway-style entrepreneurs, were portrayed as the helpless addicts, hooked on the “immediate gratification” of a weekly paycheck. It was they who were in denial, telling themselves that they didn’t have a problem, that they were happy working all day for practically nothing. In contrast, the “delayed life” was a healthy process of withdrawal, of gradually replacing the “negatives” in your life (including non-Amway products) with “positives.” Most importantly, you learned to “dream” again, reconnecting with the inner child who, before the 9-to-5 beat it down, had fantasized about big houses and fast cars.[13]
Amway has been in business for more than fifty years, and they seem to pay to their IBOs according to their compensation plan. Besides, they appear to have a positive online reputation. The customers are amazed with their customer service that involves pleasant and polite people who are always there to resolve any problem you might have. It is extremely easy to sign up and make an order. This professional and big American company offers a huge selection of useful products and a lot of benefits. The purchases usually arrive very fast and feature high quality. These include products from nutrition to bath, beauty and home.
We follow her up the stairs. There are two large bedrooms separated by a bathroom and a linen closet – the children’s rooms. I step into the one on my left, which is smaller than I expected. It has wood floors and a closet with sliding mirror doors. Out the window, the neighboring house is less than ten feet away, and the space between is filled with broad-leafed palm trees. I hear the faint twang of the radio on the pool deck, playing ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’
Last year, my friend’s roommate was caught up in the snares of Amway. It started innocently enough, but rapidly declined into a spiral of crazy we could not rescue her from, despite our efforts. In addition to purchasing binders of Amway sales strategies and tactics, this girl also had CDs she’d listen to while she slept, selling her on positive thoughts and Amway success. She even attended international Amway conferences, which cost thousands of dollars out of her own pocket and have yet to return anything.
Amway is based out of Ada, MI, and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, with only 11 closed complaints over the past three years. It appears that Amway has a generally negative reputation among IBOs, and the most common complaints we encountered during our research cited difficulty making money, high prices, and dishonest recruiting tactics.
I went to a Amway meeting was one of the people in this situation they are creepy, the guy who tried to get me into Amway used my teammates death to incite conversation between us. He used my teammates death to try make profit off of me. I say try because i had this guy who did this spend money on me, who would buy me dinner and i would always tell them how cool the ideas are, every meeting was the same they made it seem like a family instead of a business. with a 200 dollar buy in they’d guarantee I’d make it back in a month or 2. Thankfully i chose a better financial option which was spent that 200 on weed and flipped that sack for money. made my money back in one day. Like to see them give results like hustling on a street, honestly they use aggressive terms just like the Presidential candidate they use aggression or use chances to take advantage of people who have experienced loss, they use comfort and happiness to overshadow the intentions they truly have next thing I know i’m being asked for a 200 dollar buy in then asked to go to trips to Iowa where i’d have to drop near a thousand to go. Now the guy who tried to get me to join alienates himself from everyone he has known who isn’t into the Amway business. These are facts guys and girls they aren;t so much like a cult just someone who will do everything to get your money in a trickle down economic policy that doesn’t work.
“The time is ripe for cultivating entrepreneurs, as evidenced by this year’s AGER results” said Jim Ayres, Managing Director, Amway North America. “Over the past five years, we have seen how age, education levels and gender influence attitudes towards entrepreneurship. Through this research, we realized the importance of understanding what motivates individuals to start their own businesses. This year’s AGER reveals a growing number of Americans continue to express a desire to start their own business. This desire is shared among the many independent business owners we work with year-round.”
After a year in The Business, Josh and Jean were scarcely able to devote eight hours a week to distributing goods and showing The Plan—activities that required a good supply of prospects, customers, and downlines. They were desperate for new leads, also a scarce resource, and regularly alarmed me with proposals that we all go to some public place and mingle. Of course, that would have required overcoming shyness and other gag responses, impediments that Josh, Jean, and Sherri never really overcame (most of their leads seemed either to be family or, like me, coworkers.) They would, on the other hand, devote entire weekends to “recharging their batteries” at First and Second Looks, Seminars, Rallies, and Major Functions (Dream Night, Leadership Weekend, Family Reunion, Free Enterprise Day); meetings that required only insecurity and neediness, which all three had in spades.
×