Thursday, April 27, 2017

Evolv Health review – everything you need to know

Evolv Health is a healthy lifestyle multilevel marketing company, but it puts a motivational spin on its business model.  It fuses its health products with a motivational message and a world-betterment commitment that claims to donate to charity for every product that’s sold.

What’s the deal with this company? Is it a hot commodity, or yet another bland health and well-being MLM?

Evolv Health has been around for seven years, but its popularity may be waning.  

Did I get on board? This explains everything:

Based on data from search engine traffic, interest in Evolv Health peaked in mid-2013, and traffic has been sliding downward ever since.  Currently, search traffic is less than a quarter of what it was at its peak four years ago.

Their focus is on their Reboot Leptin weight loss plan, but they offer a number of other products for boosting things like immune function, energy levels, and mental well-being.

The company rose to prominence thanks in part to Biggest Loser winner Danny Cahill, who lost over 240 pounds on the show, but started gaining weight after the hardcore diet and exercise programs he was on stopped.  He turned to Evolv Health for help.  Cahill credits the company for helping him “reboot” his body and get to a place where he can stay healthy.


The flagship product line from Evolv Health is, without a doubt, the Reboot Leptin program.  Leptin is a “fullness” hormone that’s released by your body when it’s had enough to eat.

Many health experts suspect that leptin regulation problems are at least partially to blame for the obesity epidemic: from a homeostasis perspective, it doesn’t make sense that our bodies would keep urging us to eat, even when we’ve had enough.  Something about our lifestyle must be upsetting our internal balance.

This, Evolv Health claims, is where Reboot Leptin comes in.  The program is split into three phases: reboot, impact, and maintain.  The first two steps take 28 days, and can be repeated as many times as necessary to hit your weight loss goals.  Once you’ve done that, you move on to the maintain phase, where you keep the weight you’ve lost off.

The reboot phase consists of avoiding grains and carb-rich foods, plus consuming Evolv Health’s supplements and energy bars as meal replacements twice per day.

Each day starts with a betalain supplement, which is a beet-derived antioxidant powder that’s been found to help reduce chronic inflammation in the body.

A 2014 industry-funded study found that a supplement rich in betalain helped lower inflammation in people with chronic knee pain, but it has not been directly investigated for its effects on leptin. Evolv Health claims that chronic inflammation causes leptin resistance, and research does show that leptin is related to inflammation, as reported by Miguel Oroto and other researchers in a 2004 scientific review study, but the connection is not rock-solid.

As you might guess, there isn’t any independent research that confirms the effects of Evolv Health’s Reboot program on leptin levels, leptin sensitivity, or even weight loss for that matter. You’ll have to trust the judgement of the company’s scientists and supplement designers.  Even so, the overall program is not too bad as a general weight loss plan.

The energy bars are low-sugar and high-protein food products that function as meal replacements.  You’re supposed to consume a LifeBar for breakfast and lunch, along with a light snack, for the first 14 days of the plan.  This is supplemented by an energy drink made with natural non-caloric sweeteners.

You do eat one healthy meal per day at dinner time, along with an aloe vera leaf gel powder.  This gel is purported to have anti-inflammation properties too, so the focus with the supplements is really on fighting inflammation.

A 1999 review article in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology reports that aloe vera gel does seem to have some interesting anti-inflammation properties, and some rat and mouse studies have even found it can be an effective fat loss supplement.

During the impact phase, you can start mixing in your typical foods a few times per week.  The supplementation routine is largely the same.  As you transition into the maintenance phase, you can incorporate more grains, but the focus is still on whole grains as opposed to sugar and refined carbohydrates.  All supplements aside, this is a sound dieting strategy–but do you  need an MLM membership to follow up?

Compensation plan

There are three options for starting out in Evolv Health.  Their basic enrollment kit is $59.95, which consists of just your membership and a few promotional materials.  To start qualifying for a bonus, you need at least a $115 monthly auto-ship.  There is also a $499 starter kit that includes a large shipment of their health products, as well as a $999 starter kit that includes approximately twice the product volume.

The compensation plan itself is, to put it bluntly, Byzantine and confusing.  There are dozens of different levels, bonuses, categories, and stipulations for earning each bonus and staying an active member.  Their compensation plan is 21 pages long and a lot of it is fine print.


Evolv Health is an MLM that’s more hype than substance.  When it gets down to it, their Reboot Program is a pretty good overall lifestyle modification strategy (which has no intrinsic monetary value) along with some supplements of questionable efficacy.  The rest of their products tend to be expensive, and they don’t offer a broad range of products or solutions to a broad range of problems.

Because of this, and because of the high startup cost, auto-ship requirements, and confusing compensation plan, it’s not going to be the best choice for a weight loss program.

Basically, if you’re set on MLM, this one’s not terrible, but probably not the best, either.

If you’re doing it for the money, there are better ways to kill your day job. You might like our coaching because it shows you the good life without peddling overpriced products to your family and friends.

Essante Organics review – a legit MLM company?

The MLM company Essante Organics focuses on organic, toxin-free personal care items that you’ll use every day.

Their mission is in part a reaction to cosmetic and personal care products that contain chemicals or compounds that aren’t vetted, or aren’t sourced the best possible way.

Did I get on board? This explains everything:

They carry pretty much anything you’d find in your bathroom: toothpaste, tanning lotion, lip balm, and more.  Essante Organics is also committed to never conduct animal testing on any of its products.

Their commitment to natural ingredients goes deeper than just sourcing organic ingredients.  They also commit to never use genetically modified organisms, never use plant ingredients that are grown with pesticides, and “toxin free,” though they don’t detail exactly how rigorous their toxin screening process is.

In terms of popularity, their absolute search engine traffic is fairly low, so it’s hard to tell whether it’s trending upward or downward.  To be sure, the product market is fairly niche: people who are willing to spend more money for a product that is guaranteed to be natural and toxin-free.


Essante Organics offers a wide range of health and body products, but their bestsellers are their turnkey solution “packs” for different needs.

For example, they sell a Toxin Free Body pack that contains tooth polish, shower gel, shampoo, hair conditioner, a vitamin C facial cleanser, and a rejuvenating moisturizer lotion.  This acts as a total solution for people who want to move from their current toothpaste, soap, shampoo, conditioner, cleanser, and moisturizer to something that is natural and toxin-free.

There is an increasing level of concern over exposure to toxic chemicals in cosmetics.  These aren’t the classic toxins that might come to mind, like lead or mercury–they are organic compounds that are suspected to have subtle but serious effects on fetal development and hormone levels, especially in children.

One category of compound that’s of particular concern is phthalates.  This chemical category includes some molecules that are structurally similar to human hormones like estrogen.  As such, they are associated with developmental problems in children, especially in boys (who aren’t supposed to be exposed to high estrogen levels).

Concerns about phthalates in cosmetics was analyzed by Hyun Jung Koo & Byung Mu Lee in a 2010 scientific article published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A.  In it, Koo and Lee examined the exposure potential to phthalates in a variety of cosmetic products.

Over 100 nail polish, perfume, and deodorant products were tested, and many contained phthalates.  Over half the perfumes contained an endocrine disrupting phthalate; two of the eight deodorants likewise contained a harmful phthalate, and just under half of all nail polishes contained phthalates.

While the authors found that the individual exposure to each of these was likely small, they did caution that repeated exposure to multiple products every day could have a cumulative effect.  What if your nail polish, deodorant, and perfume (plus who knows what other personal care products) contained phthalates?  It is precisely this kind of concern that makes the turnkey solutions offered by Essante Organics attractive.

Essante Organics is also known for their Z3 Anti-Aging trio of products that’s been endorsed by Hollywood stars.  The three products consist of a repair cream, a “facelift” cream, and an eye cream.  These products purport to be like a “facelift in a bottle,” and dramatically reduce wrinkling and increase skin elasticity.

As you might guess, you have to trust the company’s internal research on this one; there’s no independent verification of these claims.  And while the ingredients are all natural, there are quite a few of them, so it’s not like there is one specific ingredient you can research for its efficacy.  Regardless, the results are guaranteed to be “immediate,” so it’ll only take one application to see whether it works for you or not.

Compensation plan

There’s a $29.95 cost to join Essante Organics and get access to wholesale prices, but this is a one-time fee, unlike other companies which charge a yearly subscription fee.  You can also purchase a $199 “basic affiliate” pack or a $499 “Elite Pack” which qualify you for higher levels and higher bonuses from the get-go.

In any case, though, you need to maintain a high product volume and especially recruit a lot of distributors underneath you in order to maintain or increase your rank, which enables you to earn bonuses and get higher commissions.  As with many MLM setups, you’ll need a rock solid plan ready-made before you buy in.  Do you have a market? Do you have distributors you can sign up? Without these, it’ll be very hard to make money under Essante Organics’ compensation plan.


The appeal of the products offered by Essante Organics is clear: they offer an alternative to the synthetic-chemical laden products that probably fill your bathroom cabinet and shower right now.

If you are concerned about exposure to toxic compounds in traditional personal care products, it’s an appealing sales angle, though the prices for their products are substantially higher than the non-organic and non-natural alternatives.

The compensation plan for Essante Organics is somewhat opaque, making it hard to identify exactly how feasible a business plan as a distributor is.  Regardless, the plan definitely rewards recruiting lots of distributors and moving a lot of product, and doing so on a consistent month to month basis, so be ready to have a business plan ready to roll if you do end up signing up.

If you’re set on MLM, Essante Organics isn’t terrible, but probably not the most profitable opportunity, either.

If you’re doing it for the money, there are better ways to kill your day job. You might like our coaching because it shows you the good life without peddling products to your family and friends.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Morinda review – legit or scam?

Morinda is a multilevel marketing company that is almost wholly focused on one product—Tahitian noni fruit juice.  The company has also branched out into other products like essential oils and body care products, but the noni fruit continues to be the focus of their business model.

Interest in the brand has been stable over time.  According to search engine trends, searches for “Morinda” have been essentially flat for several years, neither tracking up nor down.

Did I get on board? This explains everything:

This can be  misleading, however, since “morinda” is also the scientific name for the plant which produces the noni fruit.  Interest in noni fruit in particular as a search term has been historically stable, but trends noted a sharp uptick in search traffic volume in early 2017, indicating that noni fruit may be a new hot commodity in the health and supplement world.

News reports are fairly sparse about this fruit, though it’s being investigated for its cancer-treatment potential at the University of Hawaii.  This could indicate a market opportunity—if noni fruit does become a new must-have supplement, being a position to be able to distribute it could be a lucrative endeavor.


The Tahitian noni fruit, despite the name, occurs all throughout Southeast Asia.  It is a large tree that produces a pungent, bitter fruit—the noni fruit.  Given the bitterness of the fruit, it should not be a surprise to learn that Morinda’s Tahitian Noni Juice is actually mostly a blend of grape juice and blueberry juice, with a some noni fruit puree added to the blend.

The potential health benefits of noni fruit have been fairly widely investigated.  In a 2002 research paper, researchers in Jamaica investigate the properties of a noni fruit puree much like that used in Morinda’s Tahitian Noni Juice.

In their study, they extracted noni fruit juice and tested its anti-inflammatory properties in rats injected with a proinflammatory agent. Oral consumption of the noni fruit extract resulted in a substantial reduction of the inflammation process, indicating that noni fruit might be a useful anti-inflammatory agent for people with inflammatory health problems like colitis or arthritis.

As many anti-inflammatory agents also have antioxidant properties too, it should come as no surprise that noni juice has also been investigated for its anti-cancer properties.  A 2012 review study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research by Amy Brown at the University of Hawaii investigated nineteen studies on noni juice and cancer—some in cells, some in animal models, and some in humans.

Brown’s review found that there is some evidence for a mild anti cancer activity in noni juice extract, though consumption needs to be monitored in people with kidney, liver, or heart problems, as the juice is rich in potassium (people with these sorts of problems can have issues when exposed to high potassium intakes).

As reported in 2007 by Olivier Potterat and Matthias Hamburger at the University of Basel in Switzerland, there is still a lot to be learned about noni juice.  Its pharmacology and biological activity is only beginning to be uncovered.

There was a brief scare in the European Union related to its toxicity—a few case studies seemed to indicate it could cause liver damage, but a later investigation found that these were more likely the result of pre-existing health problems.  So far, at least, the safety record of noni juice looks good, and a number of clinical studies are underway.

This highlights the high-risk, high-reward aspect of noni juice—if a large-scale placebo-controlled double-blind study comes out that supports the use of noni juice for a common health issue, like preventing cancer, lowering cholesterol, or improving arthritis pain, noni juice could fly off the shelves.  On the other hand, if a clinical trial is stopped because of adverse side effects, it could be a business dead-end.

Because the scientific research is so preliminary, there’s no evidence that the dosage is correct either.  Even if noni juice does have beneficial health effects, the proper dosing and frequency you should take it still needs to be established.  So Morinda’s supplement may or may not be effective even if you assume the efficacy of the plant itself.

Compensation plan

In addition to the high-risk, high-reward nature of the product, the compensation plan for Morinda assumes a strong business growth model.  You need to pay $35 to become an affiliate, and you have to sign up for a substantial monthly auto-ship to be eligible for most of the company’s bonuses.

In 2015, almost 60% of active affiliates didn’t earn any money—this doesn’t count the numerous inactive affiliates or sellers who left the program.  These details are included on Morinda’s income statement, which highlights the earnings of top sellers prominently, but discloses the bad news at the bottom.

Worse, there aren’t substantial wholesale ordering discounts; most of the revenue you can generate comes only from commissions on the distributors below you.  And this is contingent on moving a lot of product every month, even though there’s little incentive to do so in terms of direct profits.


Independent of the compensation plan, the science on noni juice is promising, but in the early stages.  Depending on whether or not things take a turn for the better or for the worse when more research comes out, noni juice could be the next big thing in health and nutrition, or a complete dud.

This risky business plan might be worth a try if the compensation plan were better, but it’s not particularly attractive.  The mostly recruitment-based compensation model is at odds with the inherently high risk associated with a niche market focus, especially on a product whose future is anything but certain.

So if you’re doing it for the money, just know there are much better ways to kill your day job. You might like our coaching because it shows you the good life without peddling overpriced juice to your family and friends.

Alliance in Motion review – should you join?

Alliance in Motion is a global multilevel marketing network that is based in the Philippines and sells healthy lifestyle products like skin whitening creams, sublingual antioxidant sprays, and health bars and shakes.

Their presence is strongest along the Pacific coast, and their product selection varies by country.  In Hawaii, for example, the only US state in which they operate, they only sell one product, C 24/7, an antioxidant and phytonutrient supplement. However, in their home country of the Philippines, their product selection is very impressive and comprehensive.

Did I get on board? This explains everything:

In terms of popularity, its search traffic has gradually increased over the past several years, though its popularity may have peaked.

Its products will fare best in expanding markets in Africa and Southeast Asia; given the brand unfamiliarity and saturated marketplaces in the Western world, it would not fare nearly as well (and hence the very limited presence outside of the Pacific rim countries).


From the wild, colorful packaging design to the wide range of product types, it’s clear that Alliance in Motion distinguishes itself by not focusing on a niche product category.

What they really sell is the convenience of getting several different kinds of products from the same company and the same order—a healthy living Amazon or Sears catalogue, if you will.  They sell coffee, children’s snacks, antioxidant supplements, and much, much more.

Broadly speaking, however, their products can be split into three categories: Functional beverages, nutritional supplements, and nutritional cosmetics.

Functional beverages includes the basics like coffee and tea, but also fortified coffee like the Burn Liven Coffee, which includes green tea extract, garcinia cambogia, and extra caffeine.

The nutritional supplements are mostly plant phytonutrient and antioxidant-based, but there is also an omega-3 fatty acid supplement fortified with the antioxidant vitamin E.

The cosmetics category includes body washes, toothpaste, skin whitening cream, and soap.  Another interesting inclusion in this category is their White Light glutathione spray, which is a mouth spray intended to achieve better absorption than standard pills or capsules.

Glutathione is intended to be used as a skin-whitening agent; it acts as a powerful antioxidant which reduces darkening of skin pigment in response to oxidative damage.

A 2010 study of subjects in Thailand validated the use of glutathione as a skin-whitening agent.  In the study, sixty medical students were split into two groups.  The first group received a glutathione supplement that they took twice daily, or a placebo.  They followed the supplementation regimen for four weeks, and at the study’s conclusion, the researchers evaluated the lightness of the subjects’ skin.

To take human perception out of the equation, they directly measured levels of melanin, the skin pigmentation chemical that causes skin to be darker.

They found that the glutathione supplement consistently reduced melanin levels in the experimental group, when compared to those in the control group that took the placebo.  While the supplement was well-tolerated, the authors noted that the long-term safety of the supplement remains to be seen, since this study lasted only four weeks.

Since Alliance in Motion is not based in the United States or Europe, and as such does not have most of its products regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration or the European Food Safety Authority.

As such, you’ll need to take a closer look at the ingredients list of its products and make sure you’re comfortable with the ingredients.

The Burn Liven Coffee, for example, could be risky: it contains four different metabolism boosting compounds: regular coffee beans, pure caffeine, green tea extract, and Garcinia cambogia.  Since supplements that mixed stimulants like this have been found to be harmful in the past, you should think twice about recommending this one.

Compensation plan

For approximately $180 (varies depending on the exchange rate, as the price is set in Philippine pesos), you can become a distributor and get your startup package.  From here, you can sign up distributors underneath you following a traditional unilevel multilevel marketing commission strategy.

Beyond this, things get complicated–there are special rewards, bonuses, and additional products you can buy depending on your geographic location.  For example, distributors in the Philippines can purchase life insurance and even get medical checkups at affiliated clinics and hospitals.

Travel and bonus rewards vary by country too.  You’ll have to take a close look at the details for your specific geographic location to figure out the exact bonuses and potential additional revenue streams available to you.

Still, despite this complexity, the fundamental model is still the tried and true MLM arrangement: you can order products for yourself, sell them to other people for a profit, and sign up distributors underneath you to earn commissions from their sales.  The more product you can move, and the more distributors underneath you, the more money you can earn.

Another caution related to geography is the fact that Alliance in Motion is not governed by the relatively stringent requirements set for multilevel marketing firms based in the United States or the European Union.

The company’s policy manual is a daunting 31 pages of terms and definitions that govern everything from how you are allowed to advertise your distributorship to their refund and buyback policies.  Since it’s buyer beware in the broader world of global MLMs, exercise due caution.


The relative advantages of Alliance in Motion depend strongly on your location.  The best place to become an Alliance in Motion distributor would be in a relatively affluent but untapped market, and one in which Alliance in Motion has several products available for purchase.

Hawaii, for example, would not be a good choice–you’d be hard pressed to make any money selling just one nutritional supplement in a saturated market.  Finally, do your homework: understand exactly what risks and potential benefits there are in your country.

Bottom line is, if you’re doing it for the money, there are better ways to kill your day job. You might like our coaching because it shows you the good life without peddling overpriced products to your family and friends.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Nature’s Sunshine review – should you join?

Nature’s Sunshine Products is a multilevel marketing company that focuses on high-quality natural herbal supplements.

Founded and still based in Utah, Nature’s Sunshine is best-known for its custom-made probiotic and herbal extracts and Chinese herbal medicine supplements, as well as its chlorophyll extract.

Did I get on board? This explains everything:

Nature’s Sunshine is a company that’s been a stable market performer for a long time.  Unlike many of the new MLM startups on the market, Nature’s Sunshine has been around in its current incarnation since 1972.

The company was founded by a husband and wife team with the initial goal of selling only a few supplements.  Over time, it has grown into a large, publicly-traded company that manufactures dozens of different types of supplements.

Search engine traffic is stable over the past several years, indicating that it has a steady stream of interest and isn’t a fad that will rapidly drop in popularity.  On the flip side, however, it’s also been around long enough to reach a fairly high level of market penetration, so it’s not likely to rocket to any higher peaks of popularity, unless the company comes up with a major, innovative new supplement that gets a lot of press.


The products offered by Nature’s Sunshine Products range from standard vitamin and mineral supplements like zinc, calcium, and B complex supplements to special blended supplements with various herbal extracts.

Several of these basic standards are the top sellers for the company: products like their probiotic blend, their CoQ10 supplement, and their EPA Omega-3 fatty acid supplement are all present among the most popular products sold.

The probiotic blend from Nature’s Sunshine Products is interesting because it combines eleven different probiotic strains.  A number of competitor products only include one or two different bacteria.  The probiotics in Nature’s Sunshine  Probiotic Eleven are almost entirely of the Lactobacillus genus, which is a heavily-studied genus of probiotic bacteria.

According to a scientific article published in 1999 by Gregor Reid at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, Lactobacillus strains have a strong ability to affect everything from your immune system function to your cholesterol levels to your body’s ability to fight inflammation.

The strains identified by Reid as being of particularly good clinical use include L. rhamnosus, L. acidophilus, L. casei, L. reuteri, and L. fermentum—three of these five probiotic strains are among the eleven included in Nature’s Sunshine Probiotic Eleven.

Recall that this article was published nearly twenty years ago, so there has been a substantial amount of research into these and other probiotics since its publication.

Bifidobacterium longum, for example, which is not mentioned in Reid’s article but is included in Nature’s Sunshine Probiotic Eleven, has been shown to help with both chronic inflammation and stress: research published in 2005 found that a Bifidobacterium longum probiotic reduced chronic inflammation in patients with active ulcerative colitis, while another study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that a probiotic containing Bifidobacterium longum reduced stress, anxiety, and psychological well-being in both rats and in humans.
By and large, many of the other top-flight supplements from Nature’s Sunshine Products are supported by scientific evidence.

Given that they offer over 500 different kinds of supplements, there’s sure to be many that are not, but a key part of their business model is partnering with medical professionals who want to recommend supplements to their patients—given that, there’s sure to be a fairly solid selection of the kinds of supplements that doctors routinely recommend (hence the popularity of probiotic supplements and omega-3 fatty acids).

Compensation plan

To become a Nature’s Sunshine Products distributor, the process is fairly easy.  The initial signup fee is a $40 order from Nature’s Sunshine Products’ online store.  However, a simple membership does not qualify you for commissions—it just gives you wholesale discounts, which scale according to your product volume.

To start earning commissions, you need to bring on at least one distributor underneath you.  After this, adding additional distributors increases the number of levels that you may earn commissions on.

Because of the structure of the distributor requirements (reaching three levels of manager commissions requires only four total distributors underneath you), the system rewards creating a “vertical” structure below you instead of a horizontal structure with many first-line distributors.

You’ll see a lot more profit if your first distributor recruits a distributor underneath him or her, instead of building a large first line of distributors at the level immediately below you.

Unlike a lot of less scrupulous MLM companies, Nature’s Sunshine is pretty up-front with their business model.  There isn’t a mandatory auto-ship, or hidden fees and costs.  They also proudly feature their average earnings statement on their website.

Of all active distributors, slightly over half earned a commission in 2014; the average amount per distributor was $312 per year.  As you might guess, this scales up tremendously as your seller level increases—with a few distributors underneath you, the average earnings for an active distributor spikes sharply.


The high quality and wide range of supplements available from Nature’s Sunshine Products make it a pretty good bet as far as MLM opportunities go.  It’s a fairly stable market—it is neither trending up nor down, so it’s likely you can secure a moderate revenue stream.

The company’s partnerships with medical professionals also provides a good avenue for selling the most popular products, like probiotics and fish oil.  The low cost of entry and fairly transparent earnings procedures make it easier to get on board with.

The incentive structure is such that the compensation plan rewards highly organized distributors who can set a plan in motion to get several tiers of distributors underneath them fairly quickly, instead of just moving a large volume of product.

If you’re doing it for the money, there are better ways to kill your day job. You might like our coaching because it shows you the good life without peddling overpriced products to your family and friends.

Lyoness review – legitimate business or scam?

Lyoness is a network marketing business that’s based in the European Union.  By signing up for and using its Lyoness Cashback Card, users can get discounts and cash back at a wide range of brick and mortar and online retailers.  Additionally, if you sign up other people through referrals, you can earn a 0.5% commission on all of their products.

It’s used by an estimated five million people across 40 countries, and the annual value of the transactions made in the Lyoness system exceed one billion euros.  

Did I get on board? This explains everything:

The search engine traffic for the company has been on a long, slow decline over the past several years.  After peaking in early 2012, search traffic through Google has slid to only 40% of its former levels.  The good news is that 2017 has seen a bit of a rebound in search traffic, so its popularity may be returning to some extent.


Unlike other marketing networks, Lyoness doesn’t directly sell any products.  Instead, the company acts as a nexus for shoppers and merchants looking to buy and sell products.

Their online store links to affiliates who sell everything from power tools to farm equipment to health and beauty products and more.  There are also many in-person stores that you can present your Lyoness card at to earn cash back and “shopping points,” which can be redeemed online for special discounts and deals from certain manufacturers and retailers.

Compensation plan

In several countries, Lyoness is free to join, and you’ll get on the order of one or two percent cash back, as well as a 0.5% commission on any purchases made by friends that you refer to the program.  However, upstream of you are the premium members, who paid 150 or 2000 euros to join earlier on in the program’s history,  They have more referrals and earn more money as a result.

Unfortunately, though it sounds  like a good deal, the math doesn’t work out in your favor.  If five million people spend a total of 1.2 billion euros, this means each person is only spending a few hundred euros each year.  Given that the commission rates are very small, you would need hundreds of people signed up underneath you, or several connections who spend thousands of euros annually, in order to make any real money.

On top of this, all of your cash back is only redeemable as purchases within the Lyoness system.  You don’t ever get a check in the mail, no matter how much money you make.

The limited retail selection of the network also compounds the problem of the small cash back rewards.  It’s not at all major retailers, like many credit card cash back schemes are, and you have to change your shopping habits (plus convince everyone you refer to the program to change theirs) to really reap any rewards for the cash back or shopper points.

This arrangement, and especially the joiner’s fees that were in place, have landed Lyoness in legal trouble in the past.

A 2016 ruling at a regional court in Austria (the country in which Lyoness is based) found that the company was guilty of deceptive marketing practices.  Regulators are concerned that the business model of Lyoness looks suspiciously like a Ponzi scheme.

This kind of scam involves using buy-ins from newer members to pay off older investors, without generating any real revenue or growth.  There are also pending criminal charges against founder Hubert Friedl.  Freidl, who founded Lyoness in 2003, had earlier charges dismissed in 2015, but is facing new charges brought the next year.

This next round of criminal complaints alleges that Friedl did not follow some technical details in his business contracts–this new strategy was set up after Austrian courts found that Friedl was not guilty of the broader charge of running a pyramid scheme; in the court’s interpretation, the Lyoness model did not meet their standard for a fraudulent pyramid scheme.

Still, the simple fact that there are so many legal wranglings over the business model of Lyoness should give you some pause.  If the next round of investigations does not come to as favorable as an end for Hubert Friedl and the executives at Lyoness, the bubble could pop, and the bottom could fall out.

If the network is dismantled by regulators, you are likely going to be entitled to some damages, but whether you actually get them is a different manner.  Imagine the worst case is true–imagine it is a pyramid scheme.

If this is the case, once the curtain is drawn back, there won’t be enough money to award damages to everybody involves.  Remember, the company’s annual turnover is only about 250 euros per person.


While the idea sounds like a good one–join for free, score discounts and cash back when making all of your typical purchases–there are too many red flags to recommend Lyoness.

The math just doesn’t work out very well: you’ll likely only make a few euros here and there, and you can only spend them on Lyoness network retailers.  On top of this, the legal trouble that Lyoness has repeatedly landed itself in make it a dangerous move for getting involved.  As a business-savvy reader might guess, since you aren’t really functioning as a retailer at all, it’s not really even a MLM model.  You are more of an affiliate, advertising for the network which operates outside your control.  Steer clear of Lyoness if your goal is to actually make any real money.

Basically, if you’re set on MLM, this one’s not terrible, but probably not the best, either.

If you’re doing it for the money, there are better ways to kill your day job. You might like our coaching because it shows you the good life without peddling products to your family and friends.