Amway’s original product, Liquid Organic Cleaner (L.O.C.™), was one of the first concentrated, biodegradable and environmentally sensitive cleaning products on the market. Since then, with a similarly pioneering and purposeful spirit, Amway has gone from selling simply home products to become a global leader in health and beauty, too. For decades, the company has focused on environmentally sensitive and biodegradable products.
A 1998 analysis of campaign contributions conducted by Businessweek found that Amway, along with the founding families and some top distributors, had donated at least $7 million to GOP causes in the preceding decade. Political candidates who received campaign funding from Amway in 1998 included Representatives Bill Redmond (R–N.M.), Heather Wilson (R–N.M.), and Jon Christensen (R–Neb).
"Amway differed in several ways from pyramid schemes that the Commission had challenged. It did not charge an up-front "head hunting" or large investment fee from new recruits, nor did it promote "inventory loading" by requiring distributors to buy large volumes of nonreturnable inventory," said Debra A Valentine, a general counsel for the FTC, in a seminar organised by the International Monetary Fund in May 1998.
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.
In his memoir Simply Rich, Amway cofounder Rich DeVos tells the story of Amway’s origins. The country was in the last gasps of the Great Depression. Rich was fourteen. He was walking two miles through the snow to his high school each day, in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan: wool collar popped high, galoshes squishing, wind in his face. Occasionally he would take the streetcar or city bus – but allowing time for the city bus meant having to rise long before the sun came up. ‘I needed more efficient transportation, and already being an enterprising type, I had an idea,’ he writes.
“Our investment in AWS Professional Services paid off by significantly reducing our learning curve and increasing speed-to-market,” says Binger. “It’s hard to believe we went from initial conception to building a production-ready appliance with IoT capability in a little over a year’s time. That’s extremely fast for Amway—our typical product-development cycle is significantly longer than that.”
There have been instances in the past where even auto-rickshaw drivers had sold their belongings (including their auto-rickshaw) and paid upto Rs 35,000 to become members of such scheme (GoldQuest). But as with any pyramid scheme, they had to bear the brunt of the binary tree’s exponential function and they became bankrupt. As expected, the organizers went absconding.
"The only job I had during that period was a part-time job at a government-sponsored program, where I would give a couple of hours of computer lessons to small-business owners. I nearly didn't get that job, because when I first met with the director that organized it, I thought I would give her a special tape for prospects. Because which time is better to try and recruit someone, if not when you are going to them for a job?"
In 1983, Rich DeVos, one of Amway's founders, made recordings which, among other things, communicated his displeasure with several issues regarding some of the high ranking distributors/IBOs. These recordings are entitled "Directly Speaking" and were addressed to Direct Distributors (now called Platinums), who are considered leaders with various responsibilities for their downline group. In January 1983 Rich DeVos announced that Amway would pay Business Volume (BV) on Amway produced tapes. He expressed concern about the level of income from the sale of Business Support Materials (BSM; tapes, CDs, books, and business conferences/functions) compared to the income the high level distributors were making from Amway products. He stated his legal team was concerned if the tool income exceeded 10% of their Amway income, and stated that BV payouts on tapes can never exceed 20% of the distributor's total Business Volume.
A man took the stage with a microphone – a Diamond! – followed by a woman in a ball gown – another Diamond! Another Diamond and another and another, all shining under spotlights, smiling – their success itself a luminous aura engulfing them. ‘DO YOU WANT YOUR DREAM TO BECOME A REALITY?’ the man yelled, strutting and flashing his teeth. ‘WHO’S GOT A DREAM?’
With its affiliates around the world, Amway Global is a leader in the $80 billion global direct-selling industry. Established in 1959 as a seller of household cleaners, the company expanded and diversified over the years and today is a leader in Health and Beauty through its NUTRILITE brand of nutritional supplements and the ARTISTRY brand of skin care and cosmetics.
At the heart of Amway is the love of ‘free enterprise’ – an equal-opportunity system in which determination alone is the path to achievement. If you have a dream, Amway says, and you try hard enough to achieve that dream and let nothing stand in your way, then success is guaranteed. That is the promise of what Rich DeVos calls ‘Compassionate Capitalism’ – helping people help themselves.
The return to the upper levels comes from creating new levels rather than the sale of the product. The wealth gained by participants at the higher levels is the wealth lost by participants at lower levels. So these MLM schemes are essentially Ponzi schemes where money being brought in by newer distributors is paid off to older distributors. There is no legitimate business activity going on.
A report in the Daily News and Analysis (DNA) quotes a top official of Economic Affairs Wing (EOW), Kerala as saying "With the call of easy money, they have been luring people to come and invest. And in turn, the new members had to get more people and this was leading to illegal money circulation. As a result, we had received several complaints against the company and we decided to arrest the officials."
While noting that the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing or liability, Amway acknowledged that it had made changes to its business operations as a result of the lawsuit. The settlement is subject to approval by the court, which was expected in early 2011. The economic value of the settlement, including the changes Amway made to its business model, totals $100 million.
Of the Amway distributors who testified in the case, Rich says, ‘I have nothing against someone who tries Amway and concludes the business is not for them. But I wish they would take responsibility for their own actions instead of trying to blame the business.’ Likewise naysayers and disgruntled former Amway distributors simply do not understand how business works and are at fault for their own failures because they lack faith in their ability to succeed, and thus the necessary determination.