Valuing the real deal in networking scam

scam – noun 1. a confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, esp. for making a quick profit; swindle

THE reality of living in the Philippines is literally survival of the fittest. If you don’t earn well then you can’t stand living in the country.

In the recent nursing board exams, only 33% or 30,000 out of the 90,000 passed the exams. Is there an available 30,000 jobs for those who passed the board exams? How about for those 60,000 who didn’t pass? This is the face of the population vs. the job opportunities in the country. I won’t further state facts of unemployment and population problems of the country because it’s not the main theme of this essay. But the result of these problems lead to the rising of mushroom-sprouting networking companies whose main objective is to introduce unknown products to the country and try to “help” un/employed, lazy or anybody to get money through sales.

What is very interesting about this business practice (is this really a legit practice?) is the fact the you’ll earn even if you’re not doing anything. This is the premise that these companies will tell you once you’ve been oriented. Of course, who would want to earn without moving a single thing? Everybody I suppose. These businesses are starting to grow and most of them are located in Ortigas, Mandaluyong or San Juan.

Interesting Ads

Sometime in the late 2009, I started looking for part time jobs in the Internet that I could possibly do without outweighing my studies. Anyway, back to the story. I saw the ad regarding working just 3-5 hours a day and getting P3K-5K a week or more. They showed the check amounting to their profit and said it’s our choice to be rich and some more quotes from some rich businessmen in the world etc etc. I was really persuaded by this advertisement and sent an SMS. There were several numbers I sent an SMS to. Some replied while some don’t. I thought the job was an office work because the ad said the company has an office somewhere. Then I asked if I needed to bring my CV and if I should wear formal attire for interview. The recruiter replied that I don’t need to bring anything. I asked about the nature of the work and the reply was, “Just come here so you would know. That’s how it goes.” Well, it’s not burdensome to go to SM Megamall after class to see their orientation. After all, I needed a break from school.

When I went there, the girl said that the meeting place was near the Megatrade Hall at the top floor. The girl looked like the same of my age and around her lingering near the convention center were teenagers and students who’re also part of their company. She introduced herself and asked me to be “open-minded” with what I’m about to see. So we went to the company’s rented convention center and as I walked to the halls of my supposedly part time work, I saw people with numbers I can’t imagine listening to the talk. I guess there were about 600 or more invited to be part of the company with 95% of it were students and teenagers. And that’s where I learned that some companies do promote never before heard and seen beauty products, herbal products and health products, coffee and other health supplements as well which seem to be good because it’s legal and approved by the BFAD.

The good, the bad and the ugly

Any company that wants to get rich will do its best to sell their products. Fair enough. These networking companies will try different marketing strategies to make their products known. And as how I see it, selling government-approved products are legal and thus should be competing with the industry. If there is a better and effective product then it should be supported to cope up with the mainstream. Hence, most networking products are soap, shampoo, coffee, tea, lotion and other stuff that we use everyday.

The problem lies on how these sales agents try to market these products to attract customers and “business partners.” First thing I hate about this networking system is the fact that these sales agents/recruiters are pretend-to-be-clean liars. They won’t tell you exactly what their purpose is and the nature of the business. Instead, they will tell you vague and misleading statements like, “we will expand the businesses of some multinational company bla bla bla.” That’s how they are trained- to deceive people even in the subtlest way possible.

The second problem in their recruitment is the way they convince their potential business partners of the benefits they will gain when they join the business. During my stay in that convention center in Megamall, which that company has been renting for quite sometime already, the promoter and recruiter continuously bashed the education system in the country and how life sucks even if you successfully finish a degree. I remembered their top salesman who said that he just graduated from some school in Recto. Then he asked, “Who among you are graduates from La Salle?” Of course I didn’t raise my hand because I knew what’s going to happen next. He further asked, “If I were in an interview together with a Lasallian, who do you think will be accepted?” Then the people angrily said, “La Salle!” And the rest was a hasty generalization made by him- that only from La Salle or Ateneo gets the decent job with decent pay.

He kept on lambasting the future of the Filipinos. He said that we study from age 4 to 20. Our parents spend millions for us to have a quality education. Then he said that when we graduate, we’ll earn around P20K  or less monthly. He further subrtacted expenses like food, rent, load, taxes etc. and concluded that for forty years, we won’t be able to save enough to become millionaires. He said that in an office, you have a boss. You also have to work 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week.

After killing the importance of education and destroying the hopes of their future, he will start giving them hope. He said that by joining their company, everything will change. Because of investing to the right business, we can be rich people without the need of having a diploma. We can be rich by becoming business partners, not reporting to any boss and flexible to work at any time we want. Now who doesn’t want that?

The third problem in this recruitment is that they are making everything in the state of utopia when in fact, it’s not. They said that you just have to invest P7K to buy the products worth P20K and after selling it, your capital is regained and you’ll have instant money. Thus, if you have recruited people then you’ll have a commission from their sales which adds up to your income without doing anything.

An example that the company gave was a branded toothpaste. The recruiter said that the branded toothpaste invested millions for advertisement and other costs to distribute the products and other expenses. To profit from such investment, the company needed to increase the price of the branded toothpaste so that they can have their investment back. For a networking company, the advertisement and distribution costs are done by yourself. Therefore in essence, the payment that should supposedly given to celebrities for advertisement and other costs will be handed straight to you. This is what they call the linear method of business. If you buy a lot of products from them, and continue to recruit people under you, it’s possible that you’ll earn millions monthly.

The last problem of this networking business is their over sales talk skills and unsolicited pieces of advice. Even when you say “NO” to them or “I’ll think about it,” they will go very personal and ask about your family and how you can help them. Others will continue to make arrangements such as you can sell your cellphone or other gadgets to have the money to buy their products. I remembered when I told them I still need to consult my parents about it and they said that I shouldn’t ever tell my parents about it because they are biased in saying that it’s just a pyramid scam and won’t let me continue. Hence until now since last year, that recruiter still is sending me SMS to join their “business.”

Factual realizations

I personally think that there’s nothing wrong selling products like direct sales. There are known companies that do that even if their products are sold in the malls. Of course, that’s one way of making money. That’s precisely what networking companies do. But the rest of their principles are very unethical, unprofessional and deceitful. First and foremost, how can somebody believe in you if you don’t tell them exactly what the company is all about. Saying that the work is “expanding the businesses of multinational companies here in the country” is very different from saying that it is networking. If you’re beating around the bush and saying vague things, then you’re lying to your clients. And what kind of business is that? If in the first place you lie in the introduction, what’s the assurance that the things you say about the products are true? This is not an observation for a single incident. This lying is seen even in social networking sites. They will show you pictures of checks but they won’t say the real background of their business. Instead they will give you vague descriptions that are very misleading. You know why they don’t tell the truth? Because that’s what they’re taught and learned in the trainings they had so that the clients won’t back out.

Also, destroying the fact that education is important is very bad. I was able to talk to some “entrepeneurs” who have invested in networking and they’re brainwashed that education won’t do good. Sadly, some of them even enroll to school not to study but to find new recruits. How bad can that be? Although they have the money, some even have already bought expensive cars from their recruits. But I mean, a lot of them are even younger than me and have been lying to their parents that they are in school. It’s not about money anymore but values as well.

If you are convinced that investing in networking will make you a millionaire then think again. It’s not true that you will be a millionaire in an instant. That’s just full bull shit. What if you are not able to sell those products for a simple reason that it is not popular and some are even more expensive than the market price for its counterpart products? Remember, popular brands are tried and tested while networking products are unknown and other ingredients used although approved by BFAD are hard to explain because it’s very technical and scientific. Also, what if you are unable to recruit people under your pyramid? How are you supposed to become a millionaire? As far as I know, it’s not easy to find people who are interested to invest P7K or more for unknown products to sell.

The reality is this: It’s still hard to become rich even with this kind of system. The people who are becoming richer and richer are those people who have started the networking and the ones who are on the topmost part of the pyramid. That’s because for every recruit under him/her, he has a part there. So if this continues and you take part of it, he still has commission on the sales that you have because it’s a chain from top to bottom. The question now is, who becomes rich? When will you become rich? Who is being deceived now?

If you are not able to sell and recruit, that’s where the lying and deceiving start. You start to look for people to join you to have a part of their sales as well like those who are on the top. That’s where the over exaggerated sales talk comes in as well. Instead of being more productive in school or in the work you are specializing in, you are stressed to find recruits. How bull shit is that.

I believe that their arguments have a point as well like it’s really hard to look for a job with a decent pay. But networking is not the answer. If it were the solution then we should all be doing that. It’s still hardwork. It boils down now to how creative and resourceful we should be in order to attain what we dream of. It’s not easy to be rich if you’re starting from scratch but it’s possible with the right and ethical steps. Now if you are convinced to join their utopia then go ahead. It’s for you to find out that it’s just a big mess.

(scam definition from http://dictionary.com)

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