The prospect is alarming enough that Charles Paul Conn, in Promises to Keep, works hard to prove it’ll never happen. “The reality,” he tells us, “is entirely different from what might be predicted by a statistician with a slide rule.” He points to the millions of likely untapped prospects—youths, retirees, downsized professionals, foreigners—although he fails to acknowledge that recruiting them would only make the Business hungrier. More plausibly, he adds that Amway is a small part of the population and will stay that way. The Business’s high dropout rate, he explains, though “often cited as a negative factor, actually serves to keep the pool of potential distributors large.” In other words, Amway’s salvation is its high rate of failure.
"The worst thing that happened was the 'list.' My parents are both members of a nonreligious spiritual organization, and they volunteered to keep the other members up to speed regarding upcoming events and meetings. So, they had an extensive list, with hundreds of names and phone numbers. I had asked my mother for that list, and she understandably said no. A while later, having exhausted my personal list, I went behind her back, made a copy of her list, and started cold calling them. When my mother found out, she was furious. This led to a huge fight, and soon after I left home and went to live with my grandmother. More than a year passed before I spoke again with my parents or sisters."
Amway today produces and distributes over 450 products produced in manufacturing facilities acros the U.S., China and India. It has a network of millions of “Independent Business Owners” (IBOs) in over 100 countries. For better or for worse, they have set the benchmark for all other MLMs, and are consistently one of the top MLM companies in the United States based on revenue.
For people who value high-profile endorsements and sponsorships, the Amway Center Sports and Entertainment complex in Orlando, Florida is the home court to the Orlando Magic. The multi-level marketing company not only hosts an NBA team at its flagship center, it also hosts popular performers such as Ed Sheeran. Amway also has number of celebrity athlete ambassadors including:
Others Receiving Votes: Kentucky 98; Duke 55; South Florida 45; Colorado 41; South Carolina 40; Iowa 36; Washington State 35; Brigham Young 30; Missouri 21; NC State 19; Appalachian State 13; Syracuse 11; California 11; Utah 10; Cincinnati 10; Texas 9; North Texas 5; Troy 4; Minnesota 3; San Diego State 3; Florida 3; Arizona State 3; Houston 2; Tennessee 2; Arkansas State 2; Vanderbilt 2; Fresno State 1.
The Amwayers who had brought me to Dream Night were flying high on the drive home, whooping occasionally just to vent their exhilaration. I felt as though I had just sat through a year’s worth of infomercials, with some high school pep rallies and a few Tony Robbins lectures thrown in. But to see all this as an exercise in mass hypnosis, according to Amway’s literature, would be to “misunderstand” what is, simply, “the best business opportunity in the world”—an assessment, strangely enough, with which the rest of world is starting to agree.
I can promise you will lose friends and lovers. If that's worth it to you then go forth, but be aware that for the participant (or victim) in this, your loss of friendships will sometimes be invisible, and occasionally worth much more than you ever thought. It's an honest decision - you shouldn't be friends with someone who treats you this way. Every single person who has fallen into this trap I have seen lose friends in the long run, even if we tried to see past it. It's a black mark of a terrible person. When someone tells you who they are, you should listen to them.
Even so, among the DeVoses’ skeptics, there are those who strike a hopeful, if cautious, tone. “I think Mrs. DeVos could potentially be a really good secretary of education if she allowed parents and school districts to make policy at the local level,” says Daniel Quinn, executive director of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice, a nonprofit that receives a portion of its funding from the National Education Association. “But at the same time, I’m concerned.”