ViSalus Sciences: How Being A Scam Is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

This entry is part 7 of 13 in the series Dave's Breakdown

Recently I was introduced to a… unique company.  I don’t want to say “pyramid scheme,” but it really is a legal version of it — known as multi-level or referral marketing.  Wikipedia will give you a big insight into what these terms mean and how they are related to each other.

ViSalus Sciences is a company that is in the business of weight loss.  Excuse me — I should rephrase that.

They are in the business of MARKETING weight loss products, and having you do most of the leg work for them.  That’s what multi-level or referral marketing is.  It’s a marketing tactic that markets to people, either in-person or through someone you know, rather than traditional means such as television.  They have representatives from their company come by to talk to you after you are invited to a “Challenge ‘Party'” (notice the double quotes) or some sort of get together by a friend or acquaintance under the guise that the product that they are selling is healthy for you.

It may very well be healthy for you.  It may even help you lose weight.  But when a company talks about how their product is good for you for about fifteen minutes, and then spends the next hour or so explaining how you can MAKE MONEY while using it and becoming an “Independent Distributor” (read: selling the product to your friends, and then they sell it to their friends, and you get a cut of that), you have to question the intentions of this company.


… Or are you allowed to?

There’s no question that obesity is a problem in the United States.  The underhandedness of it all comes from playing off the emotion that if you reject the product for any reason (since they say anyone can benefit from losing weight or becoming more lean) then you are seen as someone who doesn’t give a shit about their body and scrutinized for it.  Of course, it’s totally not because you don’t agree with what you are presented with, and question why it was presented to you in such a manner!  They tell you you are going to die if you don’t change the way you live.  And that may very well be true.  But what they mostly want you to do is to buy into their marketing plan.

ViSalus Sciences doesn’t care if you lose weight or not.  What they really want you to do is to market their products to the next guy, and have them market it to the next guy.  Yes, I understand that businesses exist for the sole purpose of making money.  But there is a reason why certain business ethics are in place and why business models like a “pyramid scheme” are outlawed, and others like “multi-level marketing” or “referral marketing” are walking the fine line.  The reason why these are so controversial and not legitimate business models is because they are UNSUSTAINABLE.  What happens when there are no more people to sell your product to and make money off of?  In this case, what happens when everybody is skinny?  The whole system falls apart, and only the people at the top are left with any money.

The oddities don’t stop there, of course.

When you dig deeper into (or, rather, get poured on with) the details of their referral program, it starts with you getting your ViSalus powder meal replacement substance for free when you refer three of your friends into buying one of their kits — the most expensive being a $250 “Transformation Kit.”  That’s probably a tough sell, but its the “most rewarding” from ViSalus’ standpoint when they’re trying to sell you into selling their stuff.  What’s more, is if you keep selling to people and then THEY sell to other people, and so on, you start getting checks cut to you in terms of percentages of what they buy and keep buying.  Pretty sweet, right?  And eventually you’ll get to a point where they’ll actually pay you for the lease of a BLACK BMW at 600 bucks a month!!!!  Oh, did you read the part where it has to be black?  That’s okay, if you don’t want black, they’ll give you 300 a month for something that isn’t black.

So, wait.  Did you read that right?  What the fuck does the color black have to do with any god damned thing?  I’d probably just chalk it up to the CEO of the company wanting his minions to look like a fleet of stealth fighters driving into the parking lots when they have any stupid meetings or expos for their marketing clients.  Maybe it’s an inside joke and he actually hates black BMW’s.  I don’t know what the fuck they’re trying to get at.  Besides, what happens when you repaint your black BMW into a red one?  Do they still give you 600 dollars?  It’s still technically black on the pink slip if you don’t change it, right?  Are they going to send someone to your house to inspect your car’s color?  Who knows, maybe they send a person to your house to gain intelligence on other matters, like when you take a shit or beat off.  And it doesn’t stop there… you could potentially be making millions of dollars with this marketing plan.  Hooray!  And you’re not even an actual employee of their company, yet you’re bringing in 10% of their gross income!  Makes a lot of sense.  Toss in a bunch of other random shit like a magazine subscription to the aptly named “Success” and you’ve got yourself some fireplace-burning material in addition to pumping weird chemical powder into your body and all the other benefits that come with it.

I think what irks me the most about the company, other than its obviously questionable business model is that on the first page of a Google search there are literally two to three results asking if the company and its referral marketing business model is a scam.  That is a red flag in itself.  You should not see that for any legitimate company.  You don’t search Target and see “is Target a scam?” as the second result, right?  I’m sure if you dug deep enough you’ll see some randoms on the Internet gloating about how they may have scammed Target or how some idiot doesn’t understand how a credit card transaction works.

Not only that, I have a sneaking suspicion that ViSalus themselves are actually putting these “Is it a scam?” articles up on these random web sites.  ViSalus is owned by a huge marketing company known as Blyth, and they have probably flooded the internet with articles of this nature to bury any real “evidence” of any legitimate complaints about the company.  Nearly all the articles you can find about ViSalus asking if it is a scam talk about the dicey things they may do, but end up praising them and saying how good the products are… topping it all off with a referral link to their own referral page to have you buy their shit.  If these articles were actually by individual writers, then they have no knowledge of journalistic ethics (what’s that?) since there is a HUGE conflict of interest apparent and no way to actually tell if they are saying what they’re saying just to get you to buy into it all.  This is what makes the company possibly being a scam a self-fulfilling prophecy.  They apparently say that it is a scam… only to conclude that it isn’t.  But by flooding the internet with these types of articles, it makes you question what they’re really up to.

To conclude, I’m not saying that the products they sell don’t work.  I’m not saying either that there isn’t money to be made by falling into their weird referral marketing program.  I just know that I want to stay the hell away from this company, and if anyone wants my suggestion, it would be to do the same — and make sure you skip on giving them any of your personal details.

Here’s a few extra reference materials from Yahoo-related web sites (so you know that it isn’t some fucker posing as a legit consumer):

Same article as above with a different name:

Update 9/12/11:

And it keeps getting worse.  Not only do they have your friends selling you this shit, they have five-year-olds explaining it to you like they know everything.  BUT HEY!  Don’t forget about how you can REFER YOUR FRIENDS!  Yes, even a five-year-old knows how multi-level marketing works — its that simple!  Here’s one video that pretty much shows how bad this company wants you to get sucked into its ploy.

The comments are nothing short of hilarious.  Especially the one that says:

“So many of these responses amaze me. I would be willing to bet most of these people know nothing about these shakes, eat at McDonalds or Burger King every week and talk about eating properly. I have had these shakes as my breakfast for 2 years and would drink them for the rest of my life. They have more quality nutrition packed into each one than I can get from just about any breakfast. I exercise daily, which we encourage, and eat fruits, veggies, fish, daily. No need for such negativity.”

By some guy named “TheViGuy.”  Well, that isn’t some viral marketer employed by ViSalus, right?  Wrong.  It is.

It looks like there’s even more five-year-olds-explaining-multi-level-marketing videos on YouTube, too.  Enjoy.

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50 thoughts on “ViSalus Sciences: How Being A Scam Is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy”

  1. People who join VI are IDIOTS. You are part of a cult. COnsider yourself a sucker. I have about 8 friends that all joined and I was surprised at the type of idiots I am friends with. These shakes will probably be pretty healthy. You know what’s not, eating it as a replacement for an entire 2 meals! What the f! Retarded. Your body will go into starvation mode and… actually. I am not going to bother explaining it all. THis article is great and I will be posting to my facebook account right now again. Appetite Supressants? That sounds natural to me! Of course you will lose the weight, you are essentially starving yourself. The people who say this doesnt work, are the people who understand the human body and how it works. Deitcians, doctors, nurses, no one recommends this product. NO ONE. Unless you are lazy and useless and wanna sit on your couch and lose weight. which you will, cause like i said, you are starving yourself. Stupid. Anyways, I am so mad at everyone for being so stupid and buying into this. I wish i had thought of this idea so I could be sitting in Hawaii in my mansion watching all you idiots buy into something that will eventually callopse anyways. lol THanks!

  2. Thanks for your opinion. You might want to get your facts straight before you write things like this. You really don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. Have a look at the video I’ve posted. I sure wouldn’t want someone like you in my life, that’s for sure.

  3. @ Jennifer Tucker,
    You’re the idiot. I wish I knew who your friends were so I could send them your post. Then they could see what kind of person they have in their life. If you’re so mad at your friends, then why bother speaking with them anymore. Why can’t you just be a “friend” and support THEIR choice. So happy you’re not my friend.

  4. I wouldn’t want to be in your life either, since you sound like a complete numbskull.

    My facts ARE straight. I have BEEN to a Challenge Party where everything was explained to me exactly as it is. I did not make anything up. I copied this information from handouts I got AT THAT “party.”

    Lisa, people like you who believe wholeheartedly take a “you’re either with us or against us” stance in this discussion. There is no middle ground with ViSalus users, sellers, marketers, whatever the fuck you want to call yourselves.

    If you’re so inclined to call me out on my facts not being straight, how about you say what is wrong? I don’t see anything in what you said other than “not wanting me as a friend.” As if that means something. I wouldn’t want an idiot as a friend either, and I have cut off everyone in my life that has such a huge stake in this company to actively promote it and seek out negativity against it and defend it.

    The army of Visalus marketers out there always swarm around any negative press that their company gets to refute claims against their oh-so-holy company.

    What it boils down to is this powder is a bunch of chemicals that you are putting down your stomach instead of food. Of course you’re going to lose weight if you’re not eating and pumping chemicals down your stomach instead.

    Just because you’re skinny doesn’t mean you’re healthy.

    Also, I find it hilarious that someone who is a supporter of ViSalus found this article in the first place. Actively seeking out negative posts just to refute them? What is your intent, and what is your purpose here, Lisa? Why are you so adamant in defending this bullshit which you have no real ownership of?

    “Just being a friend” and supporting “THEIR choice” would mean you’re NOT their friend. If your friend is so clouded in their judgement that they can’t see what is in front of them, it should be a friend’s responsibility to pull them out of it! The people that I know involved in this are so far gone at this point, there’s no hope for them. I can only hope that when the whole system falls they have somewhere to land. The real victims of ViSalus are going to be the people that supported them so fervently, with their new car leases they can’t pay.

  5. I’ve been looking all over the internet for articles for and against Visalus, weigh the pros and cons. Find out for myself what most people think. What started pissing me off was the fact that I couldn’t find a single anti Visalus article with a straight google search. I had to search ‘Visalus’ and ‘Fuck’ to find this article.

    After reading dozens of articles obviously posted as marketing methods claiming to be ‘unbiased’, I realized they are all saying the exact same thing.. The EXACT same thing. This company obviously used the same template to post dozens of online articles under different names. The product might work, but the marketing strategies are barbaric and dishonest. If they didn’t spend so much time writing articles about how THIS IS NOT A SCAM. I might have overlooked the fact that THIS IS A SCAM.

  6. thanks alot davepoobond for the post, I have been bombarded lately by visalus nazis, now I armed for the future battle of Berlin. My favorite pitch is the “earn a brand new BMW”- first, it’s a leased car- second, the Hollywood-esque “I’m going to look like a model, and drive an expensive car” is the delusional thinking that got them to be apart of the whole scam- and lastly IT’S A FUCKING LEASED CAR

  7. I actually hadn’t even realized it was a lease. It might have been mentioned somewhere along the way, but it only adds to the sketchiness because the car doesn’t even become “your” car.

  8. Amazing how people are so quick to make UN-educated judgments…how about presenting your arguments to the Director of Preventative Health and Wellness for the UNITED STATES as he is on the medical board of advisories for Visalus and one of the main people behinf the science of these products! But hey maybe you have a better medical background than he does?!

    Hmmm…I wonder if you got this opinionated to the guy selling you Big Macs at McDONALDS!!!

    Oh and it’s not a lease it’s a vehicle (BMW) bonus…get your facts straight!

  9. “vehicle bonus” is a roundabout way of saying that it is a lease. A lease is a car that you make payments on and it is under your name as a lease. ViSalus only gives you money to pay that lease — it is not a company car, it is “YOUR” car, as ViSalus likes to advertise.

    If you decide to quit ViSalus or if you don’t make enough money for them to write you those “vehicle bonus” checks then you aren’t going to be able to use money from ViSalus to pay off that lease — you will have to.

    1. If you know so much about it then why don’t you enlighten us? It’s easy to say someone is wrong without much explanation. I did all the research I need since I actually attended one of the stupid “parties”

  10. One of us! One of us! Gooble-gobble, gooble-gobble!

    Get a job and exercise. Then 85% of your facebook friends that actually didn’t de-friend you will no longer think you’re a complete dumbass.

  11. Linked here:

    “I have been searching for months for articles on V & after a little more diligent searching I found this one. This guy has done his research and addresses many of the concerns I have about this company as I am sure others have. It is nearly impossible to have such a well known company that does not have any negative complaints about it. I am not saying that V shakes do not work. But, a meal replacement shake isn’t the answer to long term health. Especially if you are replacing two meals a day with it.

    This articles is very direct & to the point, there are comments to follow.…ling-prophecy/

    I hope will not block it out. If they do, they are some how in cahoots with V.”

  12. I have a bunch of friends that have gotten WAAAAAY into this Visalus BS recently. My friend and personal trainer actually got into this solely because she needed a car and heard about the BMW “Club” or whatever they call it. Awesome trainer and nutritionist who used to give extremely sound dietary advice, now under the spell of Visalus. I couldn’t figure out how someone who used to always warn of the dangers of processed foods and chemicals could suddenly be so amped about these “Magic Shakes” as they call them in their videos, but financial need followed up by financial greed will change a person. Anyhow, I totally agree that this is a house of cards, you have to keep selling at a high level to get the $600 bonus (by the way, it can be leased or purchased, it says so right in their video…doesn’t matter to Visalus because it’s not their car or financial responsibility, it’s just a tool to keep their hooks in you and keep you selling selling SELLING). When you don’t or can’t sell at that level what happens? You don’t get your $600 check and can’t make your car payment! Nice plan. Wake up, your friends are not going to stay on this stuff forever and no matter how attractive you are you are, you aren’t going to be able to sell enough of this stuff consistently (as people complete their 90 days and don’t want to re-up or just get sick of talking about Visalus all the time) to keep making these car payments!! Anyhow, these people are totally blind to the truth right now and nothing will change their minds so as for me I will just continue to pretend like I can’t quite afford the stuff at the moment, while continuing to gather as much intel on this BS as I can.

    -Vi Spy

  13. I too have a friend brainwashed by Visalus. Their Facebook page now contains only posts about Visalus, and they are hosting the challenge parties several times a month. The company does not provide an income disclosure so you can see what the average US distributors makes, but they DO have in tiny little print on their web page at the bottom about their compensation plan the following:

    “**In Canada, in 2011, the typical plan participant earned an average of $669 excluding free product and promotions.”

    They have that because it is required by Canadian law. To “qualify” to get paid any money in Visalus, you either need to have $125 a month in personal purchases automatically charged each month, or have $200 per month in sales to customers. If you go the personal authorship route (pretty much all do because you can’t sell a product you don’t use yourself) that means you are paying AT MINIMUM $1,500 per year plus of course, the $500 to become a distributor plus any other stuff like travel to their training and events, sample packs to give out to marks, books and DVDs to tell you how to think like a millionaire bullshit. So the first year in Visalus you are out $2,000 total and the average distributor makes back $669? US distributors orobably average a similar income per year. It’s a legal scam. And yes, it is legal. Until they get someone in the Federal Trade Commission who cares about consumers, and then it will be bye-bye Visalus. Overnight.

  14. That’s “autoship” and “probably”. I was rushed posting because I got a text. It was from a mutual friend of my Visalus person who had just seen the latest Visalus related Facebook posting they made. It said “What kind of cult has ‘X’ joined?”. I answered “One that you lose money in and take your friends and family with you.” LOL.

  15. I don’t know why you guys are soo negative on Visalus. When it comes down to making money in a home based business visalus gives you the best odds. they have created almost 700 6 figure earners in the last 36 months. 1,000 BMW earners each month now and thats an extra 1,500 per month. The truth is alot of people are using the system they have setup and having success. Not many other businesses out there allow you to do this.

  16. You don’t know why? Did you not read everything we just said?

    It is more than just the marketing and making money parts. Its creating this allure that it is a miracle solution to both weight problems and money problems, when in reality it is not magical and probably is not good for your health anyway.

    It is about the social aspects of it — selling to your friends mercilessly in a “you’re either with us or against us” attitude.

    Not to mention the stats you mentioned are super exclusive considering they always boast about how many people are involved with their business. It only proves that only a select few actually make money and keep making money.

  17. I’m really interested in the “keep making money” part of it that you just mentioned. My friend and her husband have now both qualified for their “BMW” (actually their $600 a month check as long as they keep their numbers up). I don’t see a long term future in this at all, people will get tired of it after a while, particularly after their 90 day challenge is done… You gotta eat real food sometime. Anything that catches fire this quickly is going to flame out. It’s just the way it is, there is just no good substitute for actual hard work.

  18. @davepoobond: i agree with all of your posts. idiots who join crap like that are nothing but brainwashed, mindless dummies who can’t give any factual proof to their statements. thinking independently is a major challenge. sounds like a cult run by charles manson/david koresh…and jim jones, who would have substituted shakes in lieu of kool-aid.

  19. @Ron, you are quoting their marketing in your comment ” they have created almost 700 6 figure earners in the last 36 month” except that in the full quote they use (and I know this because I’ve seen it on a few Facebook posts) it states “600 to 700 six figure earners”. Now, for a company that is supposed to be so profitable, how can they not now exactly how many six figure earners they’ve “created” in the last 3 years? Because, at minimum, the difference between 600 and 700 six figure earners is 10 million dollars. That’s a lot of money to be unsure of.
    @ Monique, your “Director of Preventative Health and Wellness
    Of the United States” there is no such thing. There is the”Wellness Council of America Medical Advisory Board” of which Dr. Seidman is not a member of and the “US Preventive Medicine- International Advisory Board” of which, Dr. Seidman is, again, not a member of. Finally, his LinkedIn profile states simply that he is a “Medical Director of Wellness”, it doesn’t say where, and frankly, that’s because it is made up. He’s as much the Director of Preventative Health and Wellness of the United States” as I am, and I’m not.
    Listen, you Visalus people can spout your nonsense all day long. Some people may fall for your made up “science” and believe your bogus “testimonials”, but others will be smart enough to actually research your “company”, cough, pyramid scheme, and expose it for
    what it is.

  20. Oh, and a little tip: try using your own original thoughts in your Facebook statuses and your blog posts Visalus promoters. It’s disingenuous when people see the EXACT same “spontaneous” posts about how great Visalus is in every Visalus distributors status update. Or worse, when there is supposedly “original” blog articles that are word for word the same on twenty different “non-biased, 3rd party” Visalus reviews.

  21. Let’s look at the numbers Visalus promoters are spewing. According to their own marketing, over 3000 new distibutors joined Visalus every day in 2011. That means they had, at least, 1095000 new distributors in 2011. Taking into account just that year and not the preceding two years (where they state they created 600 to 700 new six figure earners), that amounts to (and I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt using the high end of 700) only 0.0006% of those 1095000 distributors making six figures. If we add 2010 and 2009 the precentage of six figure earners would be even less.

  22. People who join this Visalus are usually weak people who can’t or don’t have good jobs. These people are always trying to find that get rich quick easy job. The videos and “parties” that these people go to just hype them up just like Amway meetings do. They pump you up and get you ready to sell and get people under you. Who cares if you get a new BMW. Its leased and the majority of people will have their BMW’s repo’d when they can’t sell anymore and people lose interest.

  23. Don’t know to much about Visalus just looking into it, but whats the difference between drinking a Visalus shake as a meal replacement or drinking an ensure shake as a replacement meal. The Bonus to this one is if I’m just a customer I can sign 3 people up and get mine for free or make a commission as a promoter. Also I know I eat aprox. $5-7 worth of food every lunch so why not replace it with something thats going to give me nutritional value and it only costs $2

  24. Because its not that cut and dry. To “make money” and keep making it with this you have to constantly recruit more people to replace those that drop out.

    You might able to justify being able to “simply” do a meal replacement which costs $2 instead of spend $5-7 on food, but you can’t just do that forever. You have to want to eat real food sometime.

    This is less about the concept of having a “meal replacement” being a good idea/bad idea and more about the practices of this company and the things people have to do to sustain their cash flow and BMW lease subsidies.

  25. Wow, so people are soooooo bitter about things they know nothing about.

    1. people are losing weight AND over the course of their challenge learning to make better daily choices to help them in the long run.

    2. BMW, stop talking about it, you sounds stupid. They give you $300-$600 a month. 3 for hitting the position 6 if you get a car. They pay you for the car monthly and you lease/own it. If you sell it and pocket the cash you keep it so that sounds like they do pay you. No car, you get $300 a month. How many people here got a $3,600 raise last year…crickets…..

    3. While you keep doubting this concept works they have blown everything in this industry away. Your used to being sold tapes and bars of soap, they are different and while most keep scratching their thick skulls Vi just keeps on steamrolling.

    4. Cost, I haven’t paid for anything in 11 months, its all been free. I was an athlete and did/do take a shake daily. 25% of people on the challenge get their product free(scam???) So if your cost is nothing and your saving $$$ on a daily basis even if you dont make $1 from the business you are still saving money.

    Thats a scam how??? Oh thats right its not.

    P.S. For any of the ” the owners have a history of being con artists” comments please give examples.

  26. Jeff, nothing you’ve said reveals any more information than what we’ve already stated. How do we “know nothing about” it?

    1. nothing in any of the information given contains information about “learning to make better daily choices.” Are you saying that the shake is the only choice they should be making and that is it? What else is there? Are they even exercising during this period?

    2. I “sounds” stupid. The point isn’t that they pay for your BMW, it’s when you don’t keep your quotas that you’re going to be OUT 3600 dollars MINIMUM. The 300 is for ANY COLOR, the 600 is for BLACK. When you lose your “position” due to people dropping out, you will STILL BE ON THE HOOK for that car. It is a way to lock people into the program.

    3. I don’t even understand what you’re talking about. Its just more rhetoric from your propaganda camp. “The industry” of weight loss is a fucking joke of an “industry” to proclaim as an “industry.”

    4. You haven’t paid anything in 11 months but how many people are dropping out of your referral tree every month? How many hours a week do you have to spend making the money you make with this company? If you make 50,000 dollars a year with ViSalus but you’re spending 80+ hours a week to sustain that amount, you’re MAKING LESS THAN MINIMUM WAGE. Going to all of those challenge “parties” and expos and conventions and spamming social media etc etc etc… Not to mention the fact that not everyone is as “lucky” as you are to keep everyone that they have and able to recruit more. There is a very small percentage of those that participate that are able to sustain their numbers.

    And as for as your “P.S.” is concerned, it just proves you didn’t read anything we’ve talked about at all. It is very fitting that you and other ViSalus supporters just come over here with your ignorant “can’t think for yourself” attitude and just say anything against ViSalus is “obviously misinformed” when you can’t even read and critically think. Good thing you’re skinny because you’re dumb as shit.

  27. I don’t think any of these pro-Visalus people even read what they themselves are writing. They just parrot back the same old stuff they’ve been spoon fed to say to anyone who challenges the company. They always have the same lines they somehow think translate to fact just because they’ve written it down. It’s not fact. It’s just marketing. It holds about the same factual weight as me telling you that:
    1. People are using my special unicorn pills to lose weight. I know this because my friend, the leprechaun,told me he took the unicorn pills and lost two pounds!!!!
    2. If you introduce 6 other people to unicorn pills and they buy some then you qualify to receive to bottles of pixie dust towards the purchase of your very own dragon! Providing you chose a green dragon. If you want a red dragon we’ll give you only one bottle of pixie dust.
    3. This is not like those old programs where we sold you magic toad stools or rainbows. Everybody does that. This is new and exciting! Nobody has ever managed to get unicorn in a pill form before. It’s a miracle!!!
    4. On top of all the pixie dust I’m earning I’m also getting my unicorn pills completely free! That is if we ignore the fact that a compan can not survive by giving uniforn pills away for free. And even if I wasn’t making any pixie dust at all I’m still getting a bargain because of the value of all my free unicorn pills. Because, as you know, no one can survive without their monthly supply of unicorn pills!
    That Jeff is why no one can take anythIng pro-Visalus people say seriously.

  28. Glad I found this. I agree that V is a cult. I went to a meeting and it was nothing more than trained talking parrots who actually knew nothing about losing weight and keeping it off.
    P.s. the shakes tasted nasty.

  29. Good article. I have a couple of friends caught up in the mix (pun intended). Hopefully spamming this article on my Facebook feed will help.

    BTW, I found via Reddit search. If there ever was a legit repost this is would be it. I’m wondering if /r/loseit and /r/fitness would appreciate.

  30. I am a ViSalus Distributor who is getting out of this company. You do not get a free BMW. It is leased. If you fall below Regional Director or leave, you have to make the payments yourself.

    Also, when you get the $25,000.00 Bonus and above, it’s paid out throughout the year. Not all at once. If you make RD, you are best to take the $300.00 per month and save up and get a real care like a Lexus. BMW’s aren’t all that.

    Finally, I did my 90 challenge and lost over 20 lbs. Yep but I lost some muscle too! Now, I am working out again to rebuild the muscle I lost. Don’t believe in the hype. I will not drink the shakes ever again.

    I lost some friends, a g/f, and cousin over this crap. They turn on you if you start asking questions about how the shakes are made and if they know what they are made of. They are made of crap. Soy is not good for you. Sucralose isn’t good for you. Sucralose hits the liver first because it is a toxin. Recently, their 1st BBV Champion died of Stage IV Liver Cancer. That was terrible. He did 10 BBV Challenges back to back so he was drinking a lot of shakes. I feel bad for his family because there no reason for him to die like that.

    There are other companies that care about your health like Beachbody. Or you can just eat right and exercise to lose the weight. Walking is a good exercise.

    Davepoobond, that was a good article. Straight to the point. 🙂

  31. M, I’m glad you posted — it gives a great insight from someone who actually knows more concrete details.

    I’ve also noticed the friend I have that is an “Ambassador” has lost practically all of his muscle, whereas before he started he was quite muscular and he really didn’t need to lose so much weight. And, I hear that he’s starting another challenge… it feels bad hearing that it actually can help cause damage to the liver, too.

    I will have to see if there is an article or something about the 1st Body By Vi Champion guy.

    Looked for about 10 minutes or so. Couldn’t really find any particular source that was “blaming” his cancer on anything in particular. Seems like it’s probably too much personal information to really figure out.

  32. Dave,

    You are welcome. I did a lot of research into the company. Like why would the 3 Co-Founders sell 73% of their company to Blyth if ViSalus was making a profit? To me, it seems the founders did this so that if ViSalus should fail, they won’t be blamed.

    I am sure your friend has lost muscle as the BBV Challenge is a starvation diet to begin with. I won’t starve myself again. The problem with the “Challenge” is your restrict calorie intake; therefore, causing your body to starve and convert some muscle into fat for later storage. This is what happen to me. Even my doctor said it. He had me get off of the shakes and get back on whole foods. I hope your friend will see the light one day.

    As for Sucralose damaging one’s liver, it’s a toxin. The liver is supposed to be a first line of defense against toxins introduced to the body.

    You probably won’t find anything about the BBV Champion guy’s Liver cancer linked to him drinking a lot of sucralose by doing a challenge after challenge because that would be bad publicity for Visalus. I have talked to a few nutritionists who believe that sucralose was a fuel to his cancer. More studies should really be done on this for long term exposure.

    Here is a link that one Dr. is concerned about Sucralose and other sweeteners being bad for you:

    There are a lot of other links out there if one googles “is sucralose linked to liver cancer”.

    As far as ViSalus is concerned, it’s parent company, Blyth is being sued by 5 LLPs. Here is the latest one and it revolves around ViSalus:

    If this keeps up, I am sure ViSalus will eventually fall apart over this.


  33. I used to work for the company as a promoter relations rep. You have no idea how many friendships are ruined over this product. Friends sign up friends, set them up on autoships that they aren’t aware of. The friend is usually willing to try the magic dust for a month but calls the company pis..ed when the next shipment shows up or overdraws their acct. The Dr associated with the shakes is a real Dr, but he was brought in AFTER the “founders” bought the rights to these shakes – not before. I sat in a “pep rally” where the Doctor actually talks about when he was approached to support the program. The product is reasonably sound for what it is – a protein shake. It is similar to those sold by the hospitals to bariatric patients or for those going on short term liquid diets. You should not be living on these for months on end though. As said the problem is in the MLM marketing. The founders are smart. They have set themselves up by slowly selling off the majority of the company to Blyth before it eventually collapses. Business IS slowing. The call volume in the last 6 months has declined dramatically. They have created a “social” dept whose responsibilities is trolling websites for negative comments and posting in response to them as well as stalking those on the product with “encouragement” on their Facebook pages so they continue to order.

  34. Dave is quite on the target. Unless you want to put your maximum effort into making this a full time job like any other small business or franchise you start, don’t bother selling it. The product itself is not bad actually, the ingredients are solid. I buy this stuff because

    A. I’m too lazy to make the trip to the store, it saves me time & money.
    B. When I’m super busy and not able to cook up proper meal, it’s atually a pretty reasonable substitute, although nothing beats eggs & fruits.

    I’m OK with the products such as this, or Usana (very high grade vitamins) but I would never get involved at a sales person level in any way. I have a very solid business of mine already of years.. I’ll just shell out the $ for the products and the convenience, that’s all.

  35. My neighbor became a Visalus Rep in olympia, Washington a couple years ago. It is so sad. she is the fakest person i have ever met. perfect for selling visalus !!! since you can pretend to be peoples friends to sell them crap. they are like cult members….Ba bamm!!!…it makes me sick to my stomach. they talk about my Vi Family…. and all the Haters..!!! then win a cruise to the bahamas….3 nights 4 days..whatever….I would never fly all the way accross the country for such a short vacation. by the time you started enjoying uyourself, it’s time to go. If I’m not going for 10 days, i am not going at all. Oooooo!!! a free BMW… Oooooo!!! a cruise..!!! who cares ????? just a way to motivate Idiots who don’t know what a real tropical vacation is. I drive a porsche…LOL !!!……fuck your crappy BMW…..LOL… !!!! And get this, these people fly to L.A. for the big meeting and then have to pay to be motivated. wtf…..and then pay for the dico party, too. There are a lot of stupid people out there. they post stuff about gardening and organic foods. mostly lies….where is your garden??? I can take a photo of my cupboards and refrigerator. No bullshit food . I know for a fact the Visalus Filth that live next door have cupboards and a fridge full of mainstream crappy food. If she had spent half the time she has spent on visalus, parenting her smallest child, she would not be the damaged/shell shocked child she is. way to go !!! anyways, Visalus finds sad Losers, tells them they are the best, gives them rewards….yeah !!!!!you can look at the higher ups in the business and see they are sketchy scammers…

  36. I am glad I have found this blog as I was beginning to question if it was only me that found the companys marketing techniques a little distasteful.

    I have a few friends who have signed up to be promoters and really concerned about some of the “marketing techniques” they are going to be using.

    It dosent take a genius to know that when people are overweight (even by a couple of pounds/kg’s that they dont always feel super confident, so schemes like this tend to hone in on peoples low self esteem and vulnerability.

    As stated previously I am glad I have found this blog and will ensure that I will share this link with my friends

  37. I have a quick timeline to show here. I was personally affliliated with the male on the cover of the Visalus “The Challenge” magazine and would like to add that I was affiliated with him for quite sometime. Because of this business gasing people’s heads up to believe that they can become these self-branded entrepreneurs and live the fantasy life with the expensive car, the beautiful home, and the perfect family, I have seen a man self-destruct under the bullshit that is being fed into the brains of the promoters by the “founders”. The “founders” wife actually at one meeting said “if you don’t want to do something, hire someone to do it. I hate dishes, so I hire someone to do them.” Where in the world do people get these ideas that its normal to not do everyday things because “they don’t feel like it”?! But anyway, moving along… My point was I have witnessed a sad fall of a well educated man who has now turned down $80,000 a year job offers for what he went to school for to continue with ViSalus. Just to give you an idea of the lifestyle, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights are usually big challenge party nights, so plan on being with your team, every weekend. Also, your schedule is never set. So the vacation you planned? Sorry, national ‘success’ training is that week so leave everyone home to ‘train’ and party with the same promoters still trying to hit ambassador. As of January 2013, this cover model who is convinced that ViSalus is the only way to live now, had admitted that I (and my little $50,000 year job) make more then he does, being titled as an ambassador. So the life he now lives is trying to get back to his rank to make money, but in the process has lost relationships and trust from many because this business makes you not only dishonest, but as posted earlier if your not with them, then your against them and they want nothing to do with you…. Anyone else see the problem?

  38. I’ll start by disclosing that I am an unpaid activist in the anti-MLM cause. I became so after eight years of peripheral involvement in three MLMs through my domestic partner. I ultimately ended those involvements when it became apparent my partner had become compulsive in her determination to remain involved in MLM after accrued net losses of approximately $250,000 over the eight years we were together. Since then, I’ve spent over a year intensively researching the MLM business model and MLM’s insidious social predation, which is essential to its survival.

    Here’s the inarguable mathematical reality of exponential growth—the foundation underlying the promise of access to great wealth on which MLMs rely to recruit new distributors. I recall that Visalus uses a trinary exponential-growth model (one recruits three, who each recruit three and so on) in its recruiting. If one carries the progression past the first few levels, it becomes apparent that the “pyramid” concept of the model is mythical. Calculating trinary growth to 21 levels yields a number of recruits—5,230,176,601—which approaches the 7,000,000,000 men, women and children who populate the planet.

    A graphic representation of this model in which each level in the progression is one inch high, and each recruit is represented as one inch wide reveals a structure 21 INCHES high and 82,547 MILES long—essentially a flat line with an imperceptible bump in the middle.

    Factoring out the 27.3% of the population that haven’t reached the age of 21 leaves 3,802,338,389 potential participants worldwide. If you assume a very-optimistic eventual10% market penetration, there is a potential market of 380,233,839 worldwide. This number shrinks to 76,046,767, when the 80 percent of the world population living in poverty (living on less than $10.00/day) is excluded.

    This inconvenient reality clearly illustrates the unsustainability of the growth model. When complications—distributors stepping on one another—arising from the uncontrolled territorial distribution endemic to MLM are factored into the equation, the situation looks even bleaker for recruits brought into the business after the very early stages.

    What this translates to is simple. By retrospective and optimistic statistics, only 3 of every 1,000 new MLM recruits will actually make a net profit over the course of their involvement in MLM.

    Finally, the folks who succumb to the MLM spiel aren’t idiots; and they’re only greedy if they continue to recruit new participants after they realize the social and financial expense new recruits are likely to experience from their participation. Generally, they’re reasonably intelligent and well-meaning folks who start out as innocent prey. But through intense culturalization into the alternative reality promoted by most MLMs, they become unwitting predators. The culprits aren’t these unfortunate victims. The real culprits are the MLM business model and those who knowingly use it to victimize the unwary for their own gain.

    There is so much more to reveal about the social and economic havoc wrought by the MLM industry; yet there’s so little space, I’ll hold back at this point. But please people, be very circumspect about involving yourself with any MLM unless you’re prepared to risk your relationships, your ethics and your fortunes in the interest of almost certain failure.

  39. My earlier post contains an error: A 21-level trinary progression graphed as described in the post would actually be 21 INCHES high and 55,031 MILES long, not the 82,547 MILES originally cited. Otherwise, the information in the original post is correct.

  40. The pastor of my church is now a 3 star ambassador, during my divorce he agreed to talk with me about the things going on in my life, I walked out signed up to visalus and never even once was counseled or talked to like a human. He has turned nearly every church in my area into a hub of promoting some bullshit faith and fitness movement and he sees no ethical dilemma with his actions. Bill nissen is disgusting and so is anyone involved in pimping souls for visalus.

    1. I agree…Bill Nissen is a disgusting parasitic excuse of a human being. A real life Piece of shit. He did the same thing with me & my ex-wife when he was slinging YTB (YourTravelBusiness). That’s the MLM he was hyping before this rubbish. The sad part is I think he has actually convinced himself that he is a great person when in reality he is nothing more than a predatory wolf in sheeps clothing. Truly a psychotic & delusional douchebag.

  41. Shane, that pastor sounds like a piece of shit. But honestly, if it wasn’t Visalus, it would be something else. At least its not something more “sinister” like an “investment opportunity” where everyone gets screwed out of their life savings.

    That’s not to say that the whole Visalus system isn’t fucked up either, though, just because it’s “not as bad” as something else.

    Thanks for the anecdote, though, it’s interesting to know that people in a position of power/trust within the church use it for their own personal monetary gain, which I’m sure is probably against whatever the teachings is for your sect. I would report him to his superiors, honestly.

  42. Thank you Dave for this post. I have been hit up recently by a Vi person and really liked their hype. I have been looking for commentary good and bad concerning them because I want to make more $ but I don’t have $ to waste. The guys I have been talking to are really cool people and made me feel great about being part of their team. I still think they are good people but I don’t think I’ll be joining their team.

    All good comments which is what I found just as enlightening as the article itself so THANK YOU commenters for your input as well.

  43. Honestly, as disgusting of a scam as this company is, it really does pale into comparison with the deluded, idiotic, pretentions of its CEO.
    I knew nothing of this horrible company until a FB advert alerted me to a topless moron parading around saying he was a “multi millionaire”
    After looking on his facebook page i realised he had over 200K FAKE followers, had written a book which he had bought HIMSELF to get into the book charts.
    And now he has made a horrible HORRIBLE documentary on HIMSELF that spends an hour basically trying to get himself laid.

    I have never felt such hate for someone i dont know and it really is quite telling that after researching his company that it is a scam built on quicksand.

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