On to the discussion... I have heard countless reports of Khmer people getting suckered by these companies. And not the nouveau riche Khmers, who can absorb such a thing and move on, but the subsistence farming families/etc... apparently a common scheme is to approach university students before or as they graduate (the one member of the family that the whole family chipped in to send to school so they could have a brighter future) and offer them these amazing "jobs". They glamour them with fancy cars, nice suits, sharp haircuts, lots of expensive jewelry... and tell them all of this could be theirs as well, if they make the investment. The students eat it up, as that's what supposed to happen after university right? A nice new job earning good money? They go home and tell the family about this great new job, who then sell off the buffalo and their motorbike to make it happen, and the jackass that approached them walks away laughing (with their money in his pocket) as they fail to sell products nobody wants and everyone else they know is trying to sell as well.
While the ideal solution to this would be a government intervention, I find it highly unlikely. For one too many first world countries have failed to step in via one loophole or another (like the product loophole), and even if that were not the case these guys DO have money (that they leached off of Khmers, or the poor/middle class in some other country before setting their sights on this one) and can pay the needed bribes to not be bothered.
The second most ideal solution, to my mind, is education. Spreading the word to the Khmer that it's a scam and how it fails to work/etc. But honestly I don't see that working well either. People in western countries fall for this shit all of the time... and they SHOULD know better. These salesmen are slick though.
The next solution isn't really ideal at all... but could potentially work. Scare them. As in expats who give a shit about the country and its people give these guys a nice spook at one of their "rallies". Join it and really lay into them while they're on stage/etc making them look like the degenerate scum they are. Continue it any time they have one, rotating people so they can't ban it. Maybe even figure out where they drink and have some more colorful words with them in private expressing how we feel about what they're doing to the people here. I don't know... I just think these guys need to get their tree shaken a little bit.
Open for other suggestions/input. Will be interesting to see what HotRecruiter has to say on it, as at one point at least his job was about selling hopeless dreams to people as well. Seems like he's moved onto other products now though... presumably legit ones from the sound of it.
1 of the mentioned students learned it the hard way after wasting 1000s of dollars from their illiterate, hard working parents who probably earn a meager 5 dollars a day....and selling their cows and shits to support their child business (pseudo) endeavor. And here is a kicker, the buyers were his parents and relatives, and guess what? It didnt SELL and ended up losing almost everything -- savings, farm animals and got into debt!
You are required to make frequent trip back and forth between Thailand and Cambodia and conferences on your own EXPENSE! So they can educate sellers (investors thats what they termed them) of their products. http://www.unicity.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I was trying to hit on her (it failed miserably) while she in turn was trying hard to ... recruit me (I found this hilarious) ... luring me with countless riches. She only calmed down when I explained that it'd be tough without EU officlal accreditation, even if they do have sales office in france and germany apparently.
I wonder how they do in those markets. Her pitch was "buy from thailand, you'll get it cheaper than in europe and make a killing if you want to sell there". Half her pitch was based about how becoming an entrepreneur running other guys was The way to get rich, rather than trying to make it on your own as a small one man band running a shop, and her "system " was of course the best path.
I can very well imagine such a pitch, backed up with graphs and videos and youtube testimonies, luring intelligent but naive recent graduates. I saw they had large premises near Sovanna plaza, down the KFC.
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I don't know what they sell, but if it's vitamins and heath related products, there is a growing demand for such things. This scam might have legs.
Lets break out the typical MLM "downline" formula, and show it's key flaws. I mentioned it in my first paragraph, so may as well explain myself so anyone reading this can see the actual hard math behind why they won't get rich. When I was younger I had some friends really into Amway, I didn't bite but I heard all of the material and tried to help them at least sell their crap once they did so I got a nice close look at it how these models work.
The "basic" (and often, the minimum) downline you should have is 5 people directly under you. Some even go so far as to say 10. We'll stick with 5, the "easy" system.
These companies are headed up by the top of that chain. Say 15-20 people. We'll go lowball at 10. 10 tops. Now, at these high levels they tend to have more direct downline... but we'll stick to the formula. 5 people each.
We're now at 50 tier 2 people. Still REALLY far up the food chain. Even in America no one investing in this crap could ever realistically get closer than a Tier 10 or 15 as their upline. That ship has now sailed.
So... extrapolating that out, with 5 downline each over 10 tiers...
T3 = 520 people + T1 + T2 = 580
T4 = 2600 people + T1 + T2 + T3 = 3180
T5 = 13000 people + T1 + T2 + T3 + T4 = 16180
T6 = 65000 people + T1 + T2 + T3 + T4 + T5 = 81180
T7 = 325000 people + T1 + T2 + T3 + T4 + T5 + T6 = 406180
T8 = 1,625,000 people + T1 + T2 + T3 + T4 + T5 + T6 + T7 = 2,031,180
T9 = 8,125,000 people + T1 + T2 + T3 + T4 + T5 + T6 + T7 + T8 = 10,156,180
T10 = 40,625,000 people + T1 + T2 + T3 + T4 + T5 + T6 + T7 + T8 + T9 = 50,781,180
1/6th of the US population... and if you're Tier 11, that means all of those people are "above" you. They're your competition... and worse, they and you are your downline competition. You show me ANY successful business where you're franchised off of a single chain and competing with 50 million other stores identical to yours. It's because real businesses know better than that. Even McDonalds, which people really really want, has only ever had 30,000 stores WORLDWIDE open at one time.
So the argument of the product makes no sense... because no one at those levels could EVER hope to sell enough of the product to stay in business. The market is overflooded. It would be like selling sand in a desert. So what's the real business model? Getting a downline and getting THEM to get a downline and so on. The pyramid.
But yes... the guys at the top are roooollllling in cash from it. What's 50 million/10 people? 5 million people each. They have monthly "sales quotas" that you have to buy to "stay onboard"... even if no one else is buying the crap. "Starter packs" for your new downline count, at $200-500 a pop (so you can demo your wonderful products to create your own downline!). But lets say the quota is $50 a month (a common one for Amway)... if they get .5% of all of those sales (and they get more, because they also profit on the cost/price difference) that's 1.25 million dollars a MONTH. That's $15 million a year. Each.