I am totally stoked! An omen that 2007 will be a great year is my discovery on New Year's Day that Amway acknowledged that the Google bomb of Amway/Quixtar I started about a year ago has been successful. Recently on the official Amway/Quixtar web site set up to counter negative (but truthful) "criticism of Amway on the internet, it mentions and links to my December 2005 call for a blogger Google bomb of the words "Amway" and "Quixtar."
This Google bomb has been a huge success. Right before I did the G-bomb, if my memory serves me, there were three critical web sites in the top ten Google search results for both "Amway" and "Quixtar". Largely because of the Google bomb, now there are eight critical sites in the top ten Google searches of "Amway" (Including the Wikipedia entry) and seven critical sites in the top ten Google searches of "Quixtar." I'm not telling you this because I'm bragging about messing with a billion dollar scam operation that funds the GOP. I'm telling you because this is a story about how a group of bloggers helped to give accurate information to prospective members of this pernicious business cult. Information is anathema to mind control cults like Amway; I and other bloggers who did the Google bomb helped to provide useful information to prospective Amway victims. The success of the Amway G-bomb is the cherry on top of a disastrous year for Amway and its attempts to subvert America (click here also).
Amway: A Hierarchy of Misery
Amway is a freakish business cult that distorts American business ideals. Founders Richard DeVos and Jay Van Andel named it Amway as an abbreviation of "the American way." The people behind this scam no more represent the American way than the Moonie-owned and neo-Confederate-edited Washington Times is "America's Newspaper."
Rather, Amway is a classic hierarchy of misery: an organization in which those on the top,the kingpin distributors, shamelessly benefit by standing on those beneath them (their downline). Former Amway Diamond Bo Short, who was featured on the Dateline NBC segment, once said that Amway is an army in which the troops feed the generals. What is most insidious about Amway is that the people who are recruited (and exploited) are generally good people who, when they almost inevitably fail to become wealthy, are led to believe that they only have themselves to blame--that's the prevailing theodicy of this supercilious quasi-religion.
Nobody in Amway represents this mentality more than Amway kingpin distributor Dexter Yager (quick note: Amway uses the terms "Independent Business Owner" or "IBO" instead of the term "distributor"). Yager is one of the top distributors who makes most of his money, not from the Amway business, but by the hidden market: selling high-priced motivational tapes and seminars to his downline through his company InterNET Services Corporation and International Dreambuilders' Association/Digital Alliance(the Dateline NBC's story on Amway "In Pursuit of the Almighty Dollar" gives more information). As former Amway Crown distributor Leonard Hall said, "Tools in Amway organizations are a major source of income. The Amway pay plan is one of the worst in the industry so tools help make up the difference." As a consequence, Amway distributors are front-loaded with tapes and materials--which either languish in their attics or are sold on eBay for pennies on the dollar (Douglas Wead, an associate of Yager and a former special assistant to Bush who ironically coined the phrase "compassionate conservatism", discussed how cracking down on the tools scam will take money away from him and others). What is so insidious about Yager is that he makes most of his money by selling tapes, books, and seminars that tell prospective and new distributors that the real way to wealth is Amway. The victims are the IBO's (independent business owners) who want nothing more than a better life.
In addition, Yager is a virulent homophobe with a messianic complex (click here and here). According to a story in Mother Jones, Yager sent the following voice mail message to his Amway downline members:
If you analyze Bill Clinton's entire inaugural address, it is nothing but a New Age pagan ritual. If you go back and look at how it was arranged and how it was orchestrated, he talked about forcing the spring. So what they're trying to do is...force the emergence of deviant lifestyles, of a socialist agenda, and force that on us as American people.
It wasn't surprising to me that Yager has a cozy relationship with another peddler of overpriced tapes: Jerry Falwell (see Addendum for more on Yager and Falwell). Yager has contributed generously to Falwell's ministry--allowing Falwell to fraudulently sell high-priced (and worthless) tapes to his flock claiming that then-President Clinton was involved in drug smuggling and murdering anyone who got in his way (Falwell's anti-Clinton operation was enabled by the generous financial help of another hierarchy of misery: the Unification Church). Falwell, in turn, has defended Amway against critics who have been trying to expose the scam. It was a marriage made in hell.
UPDATE I: Why the Democrats don't take on Amway--they're stupid!
UPDATE II: Amway and the Procter & Gamble satanism scare.
UPDATE III: Another victory against Amway!
UPDATE IV: Amway and Blackwater: A Family Tradition of High Markups
Addendum: Notes on Amway and Network Marketing:
My experience with Amway distributors is that they speak in cant: "It works if you work it" and the word "job" is an acronym for "just over broke." I hate people who, if asked a question, answer with frozen smiles and robotic sloganeering. Probably the most inane Amway Quixtar slogan: "If the dream is big enough, the facts don't matter". . . If you haven't read it, read Eric Scheibeler's book Merchants of Deception--it can be downloaded for free. It's shocking and eye-opening to those not familiar with the Amway cult. . . I'm not against network marketing. I have met people who have made a substantial and honest income through MLM. What I am against is deception, mind control, and fraud--hallmarks of Amway . . . I think Chris Hansen should do a follow-up on the Dateline NBC story on Amway/Quixtar. There are a lot more Amway scandals that should be exposed. Watch the Dateline NBC segment here. . . Bill Britt, who headed Britt World Wide (BWW) and who was featured in the Dateline NBC expose, gets caught with his pants down--this is especially funny since Britt is a fundie who preaches at rallies for men to be faithful to their wives. . .Eric Scheibeler on Fred Harteis. . . Amway and Blackwater: The Marriage made in Hell. . . Apparently, some of the Quixtar kingpin distributors became unhinged because of Hansen's Dateline NBC expose; here's a priceless audio of kingpin distributor Larry Winters of Leadership Team Development (LTD) at a Quixtar rally on what to do with those meddling investigative journalists. Winters also characterized the Dateline story as a "satanic attack". . . Winters' wife Pam is the Imelda Marcos of Amway because of her "over 300 pairs of shoes". . . Hilarious extrabiblical revelation by Dexter Yager's wife Birdie at an Amway rally (note: people paid something like $90 for the rally in which this speech is given). . . Former Amway Diamond Don J. Lorencz has a succinct critique of Amway. . .The movie Go has a hilarious vignette about Amway . . .A practical reason not to buy Quixtar products: they're a bad deal for the consumer. . . Here's Pat Boone's song, "We Were Amwayed" [Warning: not for the faint of heart]. . . Yager and Former Bush assistant Doug Wead co-authored the ironically titled book, Don't Let Anyone Steal Your Dream and another of the "tools" that new Amway distributors are told is essential to success in the business, Becoming Rich: Eleven Principles of Material & Spiritual Success. . . An amusing video detailing how Amway/Quixtar products are overpriced compared to products available at retail stores. . . Here's another post on another of my victories against Amway. . . Here's a post on why the Democrats are chumps for not taking on Quixtar. . . Consequence of the tools scam: new distributors wind up with a shitload of worthless tapes and books. A case in point, some poor wretch who was saddled with $2500 worth of Amway tools tried to sell them on Ebay with a opening bid of $175 (that's seven cents on the dollar!) and didn't receive one bid. Here's a video that addresses this and takes on Yager and the tools scam:
ADDENDUM II: Excerpts from Eric Scheibeler's online book Merchants of Deception about Dexter Yager and Jerry Falwell. From Chapter 9:
Dexter [Yager] came out and spoke of many of the trials of the hard days. He launched into a talk that was like many we had heard before. Again, we had come out of desperation to hear new Diamonds talk and learn some logistics to move our business forward. Instead, Dexter delivered one of his usual stream-of-consciousness talks. He would tend to cover topics God had told him to say (God speaks directly to him), such as Hillary Clinton’s sexual preferences, Communism, Socialism, loyalty, castrating rapists, Gospel Films, Jesus, wealth, knowledge, life lessons, relationships and how many girlfriends he had in Rome, New York. Despite the fact that these meetings started with prayer, he felt comfortable using crude references to "crap" and "shit" in some of his more enlightened teachings.
A frequent topic of the speakers, particularly Dexter, during one Go Diamond weekend was a disease he had named HUB. It was an acronym that stands for Head-Up-Butt disease. Who had it? It seemed that his answer was anyone that would not agree with him, Amway, or the system. If you were a Democrat or not going Diamond, you had it. If you had a job, you had a serious HUB. It seemed to go on and on. We were so tired in those meetings. It was a bizarre scene to have a few hundred Emeralds and Diamonds who were trying to sit in rapt attention, when most all of them were fighting to stay conscious. People’s heads would be nodding as they dozed off to sleep out of total exhaustion. Some fell asleep sitting up and actually started drooling on themselves.
At one of these Emerald and Diamond meetings, Amway Diamond Bob Howard was lying prone across four chairs next to me with his arms folded across his chest. He looked like a corpse and was completely out. Birdie Yager talked about how tired she was at one of the meetings. Dexter was prodding her to speak, and she did not want to comply. They were both on stage, and he told her to go off stage and get her notes to speak. She said that she hadn’t slept in something like 20 hours.
The most bizarre of Dexter’s teachings, in my opinion, were his sex talks. Remember, as you read this, that neither the general public nor the average distributor were ever made aware of what went on at these leadership meetings. By the time people got to these meetings, they had been well indoctrinated. Also, remember that these meetings were normally started with a prayer. At one of our first few high-level leadership level meetings, very late at night, Dexter decided to share a business secret that a woman Diamond had passed on, regarding the success she and her husband enjoyed. The advice he passed on to the ladies present concerned how to relate to their husbands. The advice was to "screw their brains out." People were actually taking notes!
From Merchants of Deception, Chapter 9, Jerry Falwell speaks to an Amway gathering:
Jerry Falwell came in and spoke at an Emerald and Diamond-only meeting for Dexter. He was charismatic and well spoken, despite the picture that the media had painted of him as someone on the religious lunatic fringe. It seemed as if any of us that were going to do something good for our family, our God, or our country were going to be subject to criticism. My respect for Mr. Falwell grew tremendously as he spoke. He talked of enjoying talk shows where it was just him, Jesus, and a bunch of liberals slugging it out. He spoke highly of our Amway business leaders and the foundational principles that Amway was built upon. He described socialism as "shared poverty." We epitomized the exact opposite of that.