$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.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “$150 For A Plasma TV? A Bad Bet”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous today says:


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. 🙁

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…..

John (user link) says:

Amway VS Bigtickettowealth

I tried Amway back in the 90’s and got really tired of those hyped up meetings that we did in Sunny South Florida. I went to these meeting just to hear the ones that made it and not really anything about the one at the bottom of the rope. Right where I was. I have joined a new homebased business opportunity called BigTicketToWealth which is a great and new company that will show you all the ropes that you need to work on as a new marketer or a seasoned marketer. If you watch our daily live webinar you will see just what we are all about. Thanks for your time and attention and God Bless.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...