How To Spot A DS-MAX Style MLM Scam Job Ad

Here are some of the qualities of a “business” operating under DS-MAX (now known as Innovage, though the same company owns both trademarks...) principles, an organization responsible for many complaints alleging scams, fraud, and general employee deprivation in a “sales-cult” atmosphere.

Using a cross-referenced example of the online ads reputed to be for Aftermax companies as a guide, here’s some things to look out for.

Name of company:
The easiest thing to do is to do a Google site search (query looks like “site: businessname) on DSMAX The Aftermath, RipoffReport, or just plain Google to see if there’s any complaints about the business.
Contact: Vicky
Ads often include a made-up female name so the company can track which ads are bringing in responses.
Phone: xxx-xxx-xxxx
Ref ID: Not Available
Yeah, cuz Vicki is all the ref they need.

* Posted: 6/3/2007
* Location: US-NY-Long Island
* Salary/Wage: 400.00 – 600.00 USD /week
Wide pay range is a strong early indicator of commission-only pay
* Other Pay: bonuses
Big red flags in an expensive career builder ad: n/a translates to no. Bonus pay translates to working Saturdays.
* Employee Type: Full-Time Employee
Don’t let this throw you off the scent; just because you are full-time doesn’t mean it’s not DS-Max; remember DS-Max has a hard time understanding the difference between full-time and insane overworking.
* Industry: Advertising
May say marketing in some cases, warehouse in others.
* Manages Others: Yes
You bet your biscuits. It’s all about graduating from sucker and building a team of suckers to work under you. Oh, goody! An extra $10 a day!
* Job Type: Entry Level
Can you fog a mirror? You’re hired!
* Req’d Education: High School
See above.
* Req’d Experience: 1 to 7 years
The range is set here as broad as possible so as to attract the most potential queries.
* Req’d Travel: Up to 25%
Obviously an outright lie; one Ripoffreport reporter said that she was told “up to 75%” in the field, when she ended up in the field seven or more hours a day.
* Relocation Covered: No
They pay nothing except commissions. We have even heard many complaints, including from, that DS-Max affiliates refuse to pay any travel costs, including gas and hotels for sales trips required by the company. These job-related expenses can severely cut into an already diminished pay.

Executing unique, professional, and effective marketing events throughout the Deer Park Area.
How blandly attractive. Note that they don’t mention marketing above, although that’s clearly what the job has something to do with.

Are you looking for a career in human resources, management, or marketing, but have little experience?
Wait, weren’t you supposed to have somewhere up to 7 years?
Are you having a hard time getting your foot in the door with a successful, proven firm?
i.e. one with standards.
Do you want a chance to test your work ethic, drive and determination?
We’ll give them that, working for DS-MAX affiliates tests the limits of one’s human endurance. Just without much prospect of any tangible rewards
We may be just what you are looking for.

We currently have openings in:

All of this is bullshit; it’s sales, plain and simple. The chockablock is just query-bait.

What we offer:

Hell is a close parallel.
The definition of MLM
Make that, you will be traveling around town all day long.
How far up the pyramid will you go? You have a 1 in 20 chance of making a living wage. Go for it!


Child Safety Enterprises, Inc. has a work environment in which decisions are shared, not handed down. We have an intensive, hands-on training program in all areas. We have an opportunity for people to enjoy real responsibility from the start with no glass ceilings, where compensation and advancement are based on performance, not seniority!
Yeah, because it’s all commission, you twits!

If you are looking for a challenge with fast-paced growth, an exciting atmosphere, and a team-oriented environment then respond IMMEDIATELY.
We are hiring this week!
We are only hiring five people. However, be one of the first 50,000 applicants and you’ll be guaranteed a slot.
The openings are both limited and immediate.
We’re hiring as soon as the morning meeting is over, so you can’t be scared off by the chanting.

…For immediate consideration please call Vicky @ XXX-XXX-XXXX
Sure, but don’t ask for her once you’re hired. “Who? Vicky? Never heard of ‘er.”

Visit our website
Just don’t visit

People from all backgrounds seeking part time or full-time opportunities in the following areas are encouraged to inquire about our program: sales, customer service, part time, manager, accounting, marketing, clerical, management, human resources, administrative assistant, purchasing, medical, administrative…
And on so on. In several of these examples, the ads actually list more than 100 types, just to draw in everyone who searches for those kinds of jobs. And I’m sorry: medical? Financial analyst?! Do they honestly think people with those backgrounds are going to apply for this vague job… and then after applying, actually get sucked in to the wonderful world of making $300+ a week for a Long Island cult club? Please.

No experience is necessary.
Whoever wrote my contracts wrote that sentence.

Some ads are harder to see through. If you didn’t know Arbonne has been accused of being a Multi-Level Marketing scheme, you might not see the harm in a Craigslist posting that reads, “I sell airbonne pure swiss skin care for women and men. I am looking for business builders to join our team.”

Any ads with references to “business builders” should be looked at carefully.

If the interview takes place in a warehouse

If any of these ads have tempted you, just remember the immortal words of former DS-Max employee Jay, of Cape Cod, MA: “Cydcor/DS Max and all of their corrupt managers/owners do not care about who they hurt or how many lives they ruin. Its all in a day’s work for them.”

If you’ve never heard of the company, Google it. Check it out on RipOffReport. Look at their website (if they have one). Is it professional, or does it look like some high-schooler crapped it out?

If you see an ad containing the qualities we describe, notify the job posting site that it may be a multi-level-marketing scam.

Let’s face it. Times may be tough, it may be hard to get your foot in the door, but most jobs are still gotten through a friend of a friend, not through an online job site. Try working your personal connections, talking to friends and family members, and contacting your school’s alumni network. It’s much more organic and you’re likely to achieve higher quality results. Plus, there’s no shame in joining a temp agency if you’re really hard up for work. — BRIAN FAIRBANKS

BACKSTORY: See our thread of DS-MAX related posts.

Note: No definitive ties have been established between Midtown Promotions and DS-MAX/Innovage.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.