Xooma Multi-Level Marketing : Should my dad stay away?
December 12, 2005 4:15 AM   Subscribe

Xooma Multi-Level Marketing : Should my dad stay away?

My dad is in his late 50s now. He used to be an avionics engineer with a very decent salary. However he is now retired and living in Australia, near all his family.

The problem is that he only has about a years worth of savings left before his level of expenditure (i.e. rent, food) means it will run out. Instead of getting a job, he's really getting into Multi-level marketing things like Xooma and ACN Telecoms. I feel sick to my stomach about this because i feel it is akin to the "coral calcium" scam or pyramid selling schemes.

My dad seems happy, he gets to meet loads of people to sell to even though he's now making a grand total of about 34 dollars a month with outgoings of over 1000.

He says he'll get a job to tide him over at some point but i'm worried. I think he'll be stuck there in Australia forever whereas we used to travel all over the place....any advice on what I should do?
posted by mikeanegus to Society & Culture (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
scam.com on xooma. Googling for 'xooma' alone shows nothing but MLM sales pitches. Get out now.
posted by boo_radley at 4:36 AM on December 12, 2005


I don't understand how grown-ups fall for this shit. It's sad and depressing and frustrating. Yes, it's a scam. Yes, he will be bankrupt within a year. Yes, you have to get him to stop or you will be supporting him for the rest of his life.

I would take this moment to critique Xooma's product, but the MeFi Woo-Woo Brigade would get all butthurt because as we all know, just wishing real hard is good enough to make something real and you can't PROVE Xooma doesn't do all the things its manufacturer claims.

Take note, MFWWB: you are the reason Mike's dad is in this spot: your refusal to accept reality makes sellling bullshit products that don't work a legal enterprise. Pat yourselves on the back.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:28 AM on December 12, 2005


I don't understand how grown-ups fall for this shit.

Being grown-up doesn't require a minimum level of intelligence. Refer to the Beanie Bag craze of the early internet for more evidence.
posted by thanotopsis at 5:36 AM on December 12, 2005


minimum level of intelligence

I reflected on that for a second and didn't want to cast a disparaging glance in mikeanegus' direction (or his father's).

Perhaps "Wisdom" is a better attribute to specify, here. As an avionics engineer, I'm betting mike's father has an intel of 18 at least.
posted by thanotopsis at 5:38 AM on December 12, 2005


Sometimes, even the best and brightest among us want to believe in something that seems to good to be true. Even if it goes against our better judgement and all of our wisdom. And sometimes, we let our judgement and wisdom become clouded, in the face of desperation or a hope that there could be truth in it.

Let's not berate someone for lacking a certain level of intelligence, no matter how "stupid" MLM scams truly are to get involved in.

Spend twenty minutes on an infomercial and tell me you weren't at least somewhat captivated by their pitch. These things are engineered to make us drop our guard and sink our teeth in. More than anything, it's a level of self-restraint that we just perhaps let fall by the wayside, hoping for something that just won't happen.
posted by disillusioned at 5:46 AM on December 12, 2005


*to = too, natch.
posted by disillusioned at 5:47 AM on December 12, 2005


I don't understand how grown-ups fall for this shit.
On a certain level, I can understand how they fall for it. Late in life, retired, limited (or declining) income. Add to that the sad fact that older people simply aren't looked upon as viable hires in todays world, and I can see some desperation at work. A scheme that promises a reasonable income, while skirting the age/hiring issue, might look very attractive.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:55 AM on December 12, 2005


I wasn't saying anything bad about mikeanegus's dad; some of the smartest people I know have fallen prey to this sort of thing. It has little to do with intelligence and a lot to do with trust. That said, it's surprising that he hadn't come across an MLM scam before. I don't know.

And blag, MFWWB refers to the earlier mention in my post of the MeFi Woo-Woo Brigade, the illustrious group of posters who will literally believe anything, no matter how irrational or how much it's been debunked, and who want you to believe it too. Start talking about astrology or herbal medicine or chiropractic or juice therapy or dowsing and watch them come crawling out like the cockroaches they are.

Mike, please send your dad as much information about this company as possible. Find others who used to do this and have them call him or something, anything. It is extremely difficult to pry someone out of this situation once they're in; they don't want to lose face or admit they are wrong or accept that their new "friends" are worthless fucking parasites who should be thrown off a cliff.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:04 AM on December 12, 2005


he's now making a grand total of about 34 dollars a month with outgoings of over 1000

Try helping him getting into social activities, starting from little..one or two friends, not necessarily big groups.

Avoid like plague religious groups as their bottom line still remains indoctrination and eventually "donation" to the "good cause" ...it must be free and eventual costs must be up-front, detailed and well justified.
posted by elpapacito at 6:07 AM on December 12, 2005


Start talking about astrology or herbal medicine or chiropractic or juice therapy or dowsing and watch them come crawling out like the cockroaches they are.

Not to derail, and I'd be the last person to go for MLM or the stuff you listed, but could you turn the flame down a bit? Why so belligerent?
posted by slater at 7:19 AM on December 12, 2005


Why so belligerent?
posted by slater at 7:19 AM PST on December 12


Because the idea that these products and their preferred distribution models are in any way moral is dead wrong. People put a lot of stock in word-of-mouth referrals and personal recommendations, and it's how these things are allowed to spread; it's rare that one looks for corroborating evidence when a "friend" gets you involved in it. It's poisonous to the very idea of trust, and it hurts real people who worked hard for their money, only to watch it sucked up by some loser with a new suit and a bunch of empty promises about "financial freedom."

I don't want to derail either. Here is an illuminating conversation that should be required reading for anyone thinking about getting involved in MLM.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 7:33 AM on December 12, 2005


That makes sense, sorry to derail.

Good luck Mike - as some posters have pointed out, this may stem not only from his financial requirements but also from the "shock" of retirement. Maybe a part-time job, coupled with some volunteer work would help?
posted by blag at 7:53 AM on December 12, 2005


Start talking about astrology or herbal medicine or chiropractic or juice therapy or dowsing and watch them come crawling out like the cockroaches they are.

Actually, OC, I recently posted a question about a juice therapy scam and got nothing but skepticsm in the comments. Perhaps your MFWWB only operates in the blue... I agree, why so belligerent?
posted by Rash at 9:11 AM on December 12, 2005


Start talking about astrology or herbal medicine or chiropractic

There's good chiropractors, like the kind who can pop your back and/or neck when you need it (like the great one in Austin who solved my wife's pinched radial nerve problem), and then there's the total quacks who talk about "subluxations" and think that adjusting your joints can cure anything.

See Chirobase for signs of what to watch out for.
posted by mrbill at 9:19 AM on December 12, 2005


I don't understand how grown-ups fall for this shit.
Based on experience in my own family, he's not falling for anything and attacking the problem from that angle won't work. He's interested in the social aspect. Money, probably for the first time since he was a kid, is being deprioritized in favor of making friends. People get involved in these things and call them 'jobs' or 'businesses' only because that provides a familiar model they're used to operating in. For everyone, except those at the top, this is really a social network, a sort of club, structured in a familiar way and, yes with a very thin veneer of money-making justification, but again it's highly unlikely he's actually being fooled by that.

Blag has it, he needs to find a real job to pay for groceries, but the main thing is finding a way to socialize that doesn't cost 1000 a month. Of course he's a lot more likely to find real meaning and friends by looking into things that don't cost 1000 month like doing volunteer work.
posted by scheptech at 9:37 AM on December 12, 2005


Start talking about astrology or herbal medicine or chiropractic or juice therapy or dowsing and watch them come crawling out like the cockroaches they are.

Optimus: what do you have against chiropractic care? I've seen lots of people with the hate, but no evidence that chiropractic care in general does nothing.
posted by delmoi at 9:46 AM on December 12, 2005


Optimus: what do you have against chiropractic care? I've seen lots of people with the hate, but no evidence that chiropractic care in general does nothing.

Unlike general medicine, where most doctors are well-trained and honest and only a few are terrible, most chiropractors are scam artists who dropped out of like South American dental schools, with a tiny minority being genuine healthcare professionals. I'm terribly sorry to have brought it up, because we're going pretty far from the original subject.

P.S. I really like elpapacito and scheptech's answers.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:23 AM on December 12, 2005


Was the 1000 a month due to rent/food or direct costs associated with the MLM?
posted by knave at 12:17 PM on December 12, 2005


knave - good question, one hopes the 1000 a month includes living expenses; it's possible for 'seminars', marketing materials, and stock to chew through a lot of cash fast.
posted by scheptech at 1:07 PM on December 12, 2005


What is he spending that much money on?

I have been involved in network marketing (MLM) for several years and I think it is fantastic.

I think peoples fear of MLM is odd. Your dad is obviously doing something wrong.

Where do people get this idea that only the people at the top make money? I have had people join way below me in an organization that have had a higher monthly check than me.

I have people above me in certain MLM's that make LESS than me. I have usually found that MLM products are superior to the ones found in the store.
posted by Bryan1983 at 8:20 PM on August 7, 2006


Here's what I sent to a Xooma rep in Sydney. I suggest you get your dad to do his own research (that's if he hasn't gone bust already). Good Luck.

Hi (name deleted),

About 6 weeks ago (name deleted) gave me a sample pack of the X20 sachets. I had my doubts about the claims being made so I bought a ph testing kit and spent the week testing the water before and after I had added a sachet. As expected, there was no increase in the ph level or alkalinity of the water.

Not to be discouraged I sent away for some body fluid ph testing strips (the previous kit was for swimming pools) and on my last trip to Sydney purchased a months supply of X20 at a cost of $50.00. So I've been testing the tap water before and after adding the sachets, I've been testing my urine at various times during the days to monitor any changes, I've tested my saliva at various times during the days and I've even tested my blood (cut myself shaving) for changes in the ph levels.

Well, as interesting as it has been I have unfortunately not been able to find any support for the claims made in the promotional material for X20. Not one of the more than 50 samples showed any increase in ph that could be attributed to X20.

If you can show me otherwise, like a practical demonstration, or at least some verifiable independent testing results I would be willing to promote the product. As it stands at the moment I don't feel very supportive of the product and have the opinion that it is less of a product and more of an MLM sham.

I have no doubt that there are people making money from Xooma and X20 but is it for the right reasons, one other X20 distributor I contacted in Sydney had virtually no idea of how the product should be used, but he was quite willing to sign me up or sell me product.

Of course, I would happily accept a refund of my $50.00.
posted by rodneyoz at 7:17 PM on August 9, 2006


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