Luke St. Germaine worked his way up the ladder of Cydcor, a spinoff of the notorious multi-level-marketing outfit DS-MAX, d/b/a Innovage aka Granton Marketing, from sales grunt to running his own office, until he saw the true face of the sales cult and got out the game. Exclusive to Consumerist, this is an excerpt from a novel he wrote about his experience.
Amway! There, we just saved you the trouble of reading Pro-Sumer Power!, Bill Quain’s riveting get-rich-quick book from 2000, which Alan Scherstuhl found in a thrift store recently and recaps for your amusement over at the Village Voice. You see, producers make money. Consumers spend money. And Pro-sumers make money while they spend. Still not clear? You’re a banana when you should be some sort of banana-gorilla hybrid.
I wanted to find out what Robert Allen’s “get-rich-quick in real estate with no money down” promise was all about, so when I saw a full page ad in the Daily Post advertising one of his free seminars recently, I went and checked it out. I’ll give you a full run-down later, but here’s the quick and dirty, and what I can tell about how the darn thing seems to function.
Despite Subprime Implosion, Robert Allen's Troops Still Pitch "Get Rich Quick In Real Estate With No Money Down"
Robert Allen promises to make you millions teaching you how to buy real estate with no money down. Unsurprisingly, Ripoffreport is littered with complaints about his company and those that use his name. Here’s the story they tell:
I’ve been approached by a friend to join up with MonaVie acai juice—it’s a “superfood” juice that’s sold through “network marketing.” I actually do like the product, and this is a friend I trust, but my alarm bells are still going off. I don’t want to get sucked into a scam, obviously. There’s nothing about this company on your site, so I thought I’d drop you a line and see if you had any advice.
The modern pyramid scheme has undergone slight tweaks in order to stay just with the bounds of the law, and still keep the fun scam times going. When you strip away all the pretty foil and chocolate, though, a naked Ponzi sits in the center, laughing his ass off.
Using the names of companies accused of being DS-Max (now known as Innovage) subsidiaries/affiliates on Ripoffreport and a list on DS-Max The Aftermath, I did a search of Monster, Hot Jobs, and other job sites to pick out real ads that are out there and should be avoided.
Like a sequel to a horror movie, the Amway brand name is bursting out of a shallow grave, reports ABCmoney:
The move also was widely viewed as a way of helping the company shed some of the negative connotations the Amway name had acquired. The Quixtar name, however, never resonated with the public.
Nu-Life, the company so mad at us about “adversely” affecting its DS-MAX trademark, saying that old DS-MAX became Innovage and Nu-Life has nothing to do with the actions of old DS-MAX or new Innovage…
A reader who used to work for Quantum Marketing, one of the “Aftermax” companies, (the term for companies that old DS-MAX (now known as Innovage) spawned), wrote several posts describing how his company scammed people who thought they were donating money to D.A.R.E.
While reporting the results of our undercover investigation into IDT-Energy through one of their marketing outfits, a battle waged in the background between us and the current owners of the DS-MAX trademark.
In case you missed any of 7-part undercover report on IDT-Energy, Midtown Promotions, and the fabulous worlds of energy resale and multi-level-marketing, here’s a recap:
After only three days with Midtown Promotions, I could already tell that I’d wait weeks, maybe months or a full year before coming upon hard evidence of fraud, if I found any evidence at all. After leaving James and Doreen in the Bronx, I took the afternoon off and went to work on these diaries.
From the moment I met up with James, and Doreen, who was going our way, things began to fall apart. Eric told me to follow James, not Carl, who was going solo. I was to listen to James’ instructions, follow his example, and go to wherever he decided we should spend the day. Today was Mt. Vernon, NY, almost 90 minutes from the offices of Midtown Promotions.
If you’re just now tuning in, we’ve been doling out daily pieces of our multi-part investigation into IDT-Energy. They’re an energy reseller in the New York area and we’ve received multiple complaints about their salesperson’s dressing as ConEd workers and doing other funny stuff at the door to get people to sign over. So we sent in Brian Fairbanks undercover to get hired at Midtown Promotions, a direct-sales marketing company IDT-Energy contracted to get subscribers.
Before the morning meeting started, I left my man-purse on a set of boxes right by the blackboard, with the microphone discreetly poking out of the pocket.