# \$150 For A Plasma TV? A Bad Bet

### from the do-the-math dept

Knowing some friends who have been sucked up into incredibly destructive (both personally and economically) pyramid schemes I have an almost violent reaction to anyone who tells me they’re getting involved in any sort of multi-level marketing scheme, no matter how “legal” they believe they are. They’re bad in so many ways. It doesn’t take a genius to do the basic math and realize that you run out of customers to make the scheme work pretty damn quickly. Worse, you’re “competing” against all of your “customers”, without the slightest competitive advantage. It’s a horrible business model in so many ways, and is simply designed to separate suckers from their money. The latest twist on these scams is the online “matrix” system, where people “buy” a super expensive ebook which is available elsewhere for free, for a spot in the matrix. When twenty people join beneath them, they get an expensive gift (like a plasma TV). However, the pyramid expands incredibly quickly, such that only the first few people who sign up are likely to see anything for the \$100 or so they plunk down for a worthless ebook. It’s simply a system for transferring money from the mathematically challenged followers to the people who start the pyramid. However, it seems that these matrix systems are catching on very quickly, and people are even sneaking fake auctions into eBay telling people they can get a plasma TV for cheap. What’s scary is how many people are explained the math behind this, and still enter – not quite grasping that they’re simply throwing money away.

Anonymous today says:

# People...

In my observation, the trouble is not usually a lack of math skills, but gambling based on greed and/or laziness.

It’s the same reason that people waste thousands of dollars on the lottery – except in a pyramidesque scheme the sucker gets sold the vision that they can change their odds by getting more people involved. Many of the schemes have a big focus on self-improvement / motivation methods for this reason (I had a friend – only 20 at the time – who had cue-cards plastered all over his house with little phrases on them “I will retire by June 21, 1998” “I am a special person and good at what I do”. These were based on suggestions from one of the seminars he attended)

People buy into the vision that if they can only sign up a few friends (who in turn sign up a few friends) they will be able to live a life of ease while doing very little work (a very attractive concept to those susceptible). The thing is, that those who end up becoming rich off of these types of structures tend to work reasonably hard – particularly at the beginning. Ie it’s not enough to be in at the beginning, but I’ve never heard a pitch that was honest about that fact.

Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

# I got suckered

A few years back, Amway decided to online and formed a ‘same but different’ company that was essentially Amway online called http://www.quixtar.com

I hadn’t done any research, but someone I work closely with and trusted (notice the past tense) talked me into joining as it was “the next big thing”.

I tagged along to three presentations by people who were supposedly wealthy from Amway and here’s the basic synopsis of their presentation:

* We’re rich
* Our house is full of Amway products
* People come to our house and see Amway products and they want to buy Amway products
* You should fill your house with Amway products and then people will buy Amway products from you and you’ll be rich, too

What they fail to mention is that every Amway product you buy is just more money in their product.

The single underlying theme in all their presentations and all their promotional materials is “you should buy more Amway products”.

The funny thing is that the people who talked me into doing this told me that they planned to retire on their Amway proceeds by now, and their both still working. I guess that’s all my fault for not buying more Amway products. 🙂

ha ha ha ha!!!!!!! says:

# Re: I got suckered

you know the funny thing is that everyday you receive junk mail because retail stores want to boost there sails and you get suckered into that everyday of your life.The minute something takes some effort you decide to write something that is not even true but it tells me alot about your character.The other thing is just because it did not work for your friend does not mean that it does not work the reason it probably did not work for him was the people he was hanging around with…IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN……

thecaptain says:

# People are stupid...

in other news…water’s wet and the sky is blue.

It is my strong belief that while the world’s population is growing at a exponential rate, the IQ pool simply isn’t…resulting in dumber and dumber people and fewer and fewer geniuses.

That and morons seem to breed a heck of a lot more than intelligent people…so darwin won’t help us there either. 🙁

Alan says:

# Re: People are stupid...

I fully agree. It seems as if trolls (extremely un-intelligent people) like to breed because that is all they can do.

HA says:

AP says:

# Re: People are stupid...

This is one of the best lines I have ever heard. I couldn’t agree more!!! I am printing this and hanging it in my office.

HA says:

# Re: People are stupid...

ONLY 98%OF PEOPLE FALL INTO YOUR STUPIDITY AND YOU ARE A PART OF IT…..

Al says:

# No Subject Given

I’m seeing a lot of these on Ebay, all trumpeting “This is not a pyramid scheme!!!

# Re: Matrix Watch

I launched a site to raise questions against the matrix-site way of doing business. I also give support to those who wish to file complaints or law suits against the matrix companies. You can also download the copies of the cases. Come check it out and support us.

MatrixOwner says:

# Re: Re: Matrix Watch

The math on these are pretty simple and people do cycle and receive the free gifts associated with the subscription service they purchase.
Be careful of Watch Dog, he filed a lawsuit, launched a website, and personally attacks all those “stupid” enough, translates “not as smart as he is”. He also sued several payment processors at the same time. All based on the premise there is some chance (not) involved thus claiming matrices are lotteries. (NOT).
As most observe, the rules, regulations, lists, numbers….are all available. You should read what you purchase, it’s all right there usually.
Live a little, enjoy life.
Pity the soul that has to crush all that are less than…..

# to whom it my concern

to days ago i bought into a site called http://www.moveupfast.com i gave them my bank account number. i am worried now something can happen what should i do.

moveupfast says:

# Re: to whom it my concern

just fyi, you did not give us your bank acct number, you gave it to our payment processor. We do not have access to your personal info.