A quick glimpse at the modern social networking feed will show you that there has been a sharp rise over the last 18 months or so in people to whom you have granted access to reach you at any and all times, trying to sell you shit that you don’t need.
Recommendation marketing or network marketing has taken not just the UK, but Europe and beyond by storm, and it doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon. OK, so what’s he so pissed off about this time!? It seems like a reasonable thing to do, why is he being an arsehole now!? I’m going to go ahead and assume that you, the reader, already know what network marketing is, but if not here’s a quick summation even more convenient than wikipedia.
Network marketing in a nutshell: People become self employed business associates and it is their job to sell whatever it is – usually cosmetic products, nutritional supplements, herbal alternatives, things with Aloe Vera in them – to whoever they can palm that shite off to. Network marketing is nothing new, with many established brands having been active for twenty years or more, but the boom in social networking, and the availability of multi-channel, 24/7 customer service support has given it a new lease of life. With just one click, you can broadcast to your entire network on facebook, twitter or whatever, reaching so many people has never been so effortless before.
Most of the businesses who are currently popular have spent good money on developing their brands, and they all tie in with the idea that they are changing the world in a positive way, acting as the champions of saving the earth and everyone on it. They will empower their ‘associates’ to use the language and endorse the idea that the business they are working for is not only going to get them super high quality products (at an extortionate price, but let me show you why….) but also will make them feel like they’re doing something good, changing the world in a good way.
The products are usually of good quality, but things that you can buy in a supermarket for a fraction of the cost are not really any worse. The brands you’re buying have to charge you extortionate amounts of money for the products because usually a large percentage of their income (up to 60%) is paid back out to the associates as commission. So basically you pay over the odds for expensive stuff, so that the person who recommended the products to you get some of the money. Obviously, the more people you recommend the products to, the more money you make.
This is where the trouble really starts. In order to be able to sell these products to people, there’s no real comprehensive training as to what the products really do, what they can be used for, what they shouldn’t be used for. You basically have a coven of Witch Doctors, uneducated, uninformed and solely out there for the purpose of exploiting you to make money, shoving products down your throat and convincing you that you need them more than anything. All of these businesses share one fundamental perspective, they know exactly where your weak spot is, and they know exactly how to push your buttons.
It’s that age old premise – Eternal Youth
“The art of growing young”
Lies, all lies. And you have to be pretty fucking dumb to fall for them.
So they market these thing to you under the grounds that it will make you younger, healthier, fitter. Many times, network marketing companies get sucked into fads and phase diets. So one crash diet course comes out, and this or that company is selling everything you need to lose 21KG in 21 days. And people being the suckers that we are, especially when someone we already trust enough to offer them 24 hour access to our brains to is telling us we need it, we buy into it. These companies know that they can convince you that all you really need in life is shinier teeth in your smile, or an anti-aging cream that will make you look exactly how you looked in 1992.
So the business lies to the associates so that they feel like they’re contributing in the same way as doctors without borders simply by buying overpriced sugar pills and telling everyone they know about it, then they get paid and realise how much money they can make, and then these people go out on sprees to try and offload as much junk as they can. Believe me, when someone is approaching you in any way to try and sell you anything using this scheme, you need to remember the following steps.
1. Stop them from talking. Cut them off, mid sentence. If you’ve been reached digitally, that’s easy. Delete. Unfriend. Unfollow
2. Call them a greedy, mouth breathing pig for trying to exploit their friends and loved ones.
3. Get on with enjoying your day 🙂
When you interact with these people about it, they tell you how fantastic it is, how great the company is, how lovely the people are and they use all the right words and tone of voice. I have, however, seen the other side to this and I have never ever in my life encountered such a conceited, aggressive, ignorant and self entitled group of customers. I’ve kept myself alive over the last 10 years or so mostly by working in retail and customer service and have seen some terrible people, but the breed of person (not sure I can use that word here because I’m not convinced they are people) who undertakes this kind of work for this kind of business is by far the worst kind of customer there is. The fact that they make their own money from it means that their personal investment is much higher, and they react by acting like they should be the most revered and respected individual in the world, talking down to everyone, including those helping them to make the money.
These networks create a new hierarchy within society. Where before you were equals, just people who knew each other, now that I’m your sponsor or leader, I am the boss and you do as I say. This mentality literally prevails and nobody challenges it. The businesses that sell health supplements basically control who you speak to, what you speak about, when you speak to them, how much money you earn, where you spend your free time, where you go on holiday and how much you eat! All of this is because people jump into this sort of thing two footed without considering what they are doing. They aren’t able to act like reasonable creatures anymore, they become like junkies, only worse. The way these people panic when they’re almost out of tablets, you’d think that it was their life supply. I mean, I’m never happy about running out of grass, but the way these folk scream and cry (literally) if there is a delay in the delivery or they receive something incorrect, you wonder if maybe there’s just a tiny drop of heroin in each one.
If this is the case, then I wholeheartedly apologise, I didn’t realise and good work on turning everyone into a junkie. However, I’m pretty sure that it’s just ignorance, fueled by greed and ignited by insecurity, the flames then incredulously fanned by social media and there you have it. If people want to be healthy, they should commit to being healthy. If you want to lose weight, eat right and work out a bit, if you want to be prettier, stop slathering your face in make up and wondering why you’ve aged so much, if you want your teeth to be whiter, see your dentist and talk to someone who trained for years and years to become an expert in the subject. Use your heads, people, and don’t get sucked into what is clearly a trap to relieve you of all of your money and dignity. Stay away from the witches.
Words by Rich Taylor