There’s a lot of hub-bub going on about an Acai product called Mona Vie right now and I felt the need to address it and give my two cents on the topic. I’ll try to focus on the product itself and why I wouldn’t sell it myself, rather than all-out attack the MLM/Pyramid Scheme model. I don’t need to explain something that someone else has already done quite well.
Basically Mona Vie is a juice supplement heralded as a “cures what ails you” product. Containing acai berry juice, other assorted juices, and some vitamins and minerals, it’s full of healthy stuff the body needs. What’s so wrong with that? The issue I take with the product is that for the price, one could do just as well or better with a superfood supplement, multivitamin, or simply spending the extra money on healthier, organic foods. $40/bottle is quite a steep price for something that, at the recommended dosage of 3oz. or so per day, lasts around a week.
I was given a bottle by a friend to try out and see if it helps my autoimmune conditions. Having dealt with these conditions for over 10 years now, trying just about everything under the sun both natural and medical, I feel I have nothing to lose. Just recently I spent two months taking a similar product donated by a family member called Zrii. However, what I will NOT do is pursue any sort of participation in selling, distributing, or recruiting others to sell the product. I believe the business model as referenced in the link above is one that is exploitative and takes advantage of the passionate and naive.
For example, Joe Schmoe hears about this new wonder product, gets all this professional literature about said product, and is sucked into the frenzy and hype. Soon enough he’s enrolled in the program, trying to spread it to his friends to make more money. Therein lies the ethical problem for me: I just don’t see how it’s right to bring others in with the knowledge that you’ll be making money off of them. I don’t feel that “loving your neighbor”, as we are commanded to do, includes encouraging them to buy something from us and then sell it, with a portion of their profit becoming ours. I could write pages and pages about my disdain for this model, but I’ll keep it concise and end it with the following.
Bottom line: if I want to buy a health product, I want it sold in the conventional way, with no one profiting but the person or company that created it, not a force of distributors and recruiters who are desperately trying to increase their referrals so they can make a few bucks. To me, that lowers the product’s attractiveness because it’s no longer about how great the product is, it’s about perception and how many people you convince to believe in its greatness.