03 Sep

Mona Vie: Don’t Use Our Name in Your URL, Unless You’re Wikipedia (and We’re Doing the Editing)

Earlier this week I wrote about the MonaVie lawyers going after bloggers who do unflattering critiques of the company. Their premise was silly: You can’t use our name in a URL. Here’s exactly what they said in their threatening letter to blogger “Lazy Man”:

No, this is not Mona Vie's site. No, MonaVie doesn't endorse or approve me writing about them. In fact, they'll probably get mad that I'm mentioning them. I don't like MonaVie.

No, this is not Mona Vie's site. No, MonaVie doesn't endorse or approve me writing about them. In fact, they'll probably get mad that I'm mentioning them. I don't like MonaVie.

 

As a network marketing company MonaVie does not permit its name to be used in any URL or email address and the company must take necessary action to protect its intellectual property. It is not permitted for a third party vendor to use the MonaVie trade name in any form.

So no use of their name in a URL, and no user of their name in any form? Gotcha.

Except it’s not so cut and dried. Lots of references to MonaVie in the titles of articles makes it so that their name is in the URL:

  • How I Did It: Dallin A. Larsen of MonaVie – http://www.inc.com/magazine/20090901/how-i-did-it-dallin-a-larsen-of-monavie.html
  • MonaVie Ranks No. 1 in Utah Business Fast 50 Awards – http://www.marketwatch.com/story/monavie-ranks-no-1-in-utah-business-fast-50-awards-2009-09-01
  • Pro bike: Tinker Juarez’s Monavie-Cannondale Scalpel Team – http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/pro-bike-tinker-juarezs-monavie-cannondale-scalpel-team-22730
  • Monavie thinks people don’t have a right to criticize it – http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2009/09/01/monavie-thinks-people-dont-have-a-right-to-criticize-it/Mona Vie – Company Profile on LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/companies/mona-vie
  • Facebook | MonaVie – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bakersfield-CA/Mona-Vie/140576343241
  • MonaVieMonaVie on Twitter – http://twitter.com/monaviemonavie

But the best example of a URL that includes “Mona Vie” and would therefore violate the bogus legal threats of the company comes from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MonaVie

It gets better, though. Not only does Wikipedia use the MonaVie name in a URL (horrors!)… people at MonaVie headquarters actually participate in editing the article about Mona Vie!!! A lot!!!

Here’s the link showing edits done by 65.44.117.2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/65.44.117.2. You can see lots of edits to the MonaVie article.

And here’s the proof that the IP address doing these edits is owned by MonaVie:

For now, let’s ignore the fact that Wikipedia rules prohibit a company or its employees from editing articles about the company. That’s a conflict of interest (they obviously have an interest in slanting article material in a positive direction).

But I don’t care so much about that, however. What I care about is the fact that use of the MonaVie name in a URL seems to only be frowned upon when the URL is for an article with negative information and opinions. Have the lawyers gone after Inc.com for using their name in the URL? Or MarketWatch? Or Facebook?

Here’s the best part about the edits of the Mona Vie page on Wikipedia, though… This edit removed the company’s Income Disclosure Statement from the article. Interesting, isn’t it? Especially since the link is to a page on the official MonaVie website. How could they object to that? Easy. The MonaVie Income Disclosure Statement, if looked at carefully enough, is a damning piece of information. It proves that almost no one is making any money from the “wonderful opportunity” that Mona Vie is offering. Here’s an explanation of the statement, which clearly shows that 99% of MonaVie distributors are making $3.75 a week. What an opportunity.

So what is it, Mona Vie lawyers? Can we use your name in a URL or not? Or do your made up restrictions only apply to negative opinions?

18 thoughts on “Mona Vie: Don’t Use Our Name in Your URL, Unless You’re Wikipedia (and We’re Doing the Editing)

  1. Wow Tracy,
    Great investigative work as usual. Boy, if that income statement doesn’t show what the typical MLM structure is all about, I don’t know what it would take to convince people what they’re getting into. You’ve seen your share of legal tactics to quell dissent on the web but this one seems extremely weak. Curious, where do you rank this company’s tactics in comparison to the rest of the distinguished group of MLMs attacking bloggers?

  2. I think MonaVie is just getting started with their shady legal tactics. Their lawyers had to know what a bogus threat they were making. They just didn’t realize it would get so much airtime. They probably thought Lazy Man would quietly go away (just like Gerry Nehra and ShopToEarn thought they’d easily get you to go away). But now that word is out, they’re probably escalate the tactics. I can’t wait to see!

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  4. Thanks for covering this. I was thinking about going down the line that you did by mentioning a pile of URLs that MonaVie isn’t enforcing their trademark on. I realized that I could go off the deep-end there and miss my point… plus I was still in euphoria that they opened themselves to this criticism.

    I’m really happy that you put all those URLs out there, but the Wikipedia thing is especially damning. However, it really is just the tip of the iceberg of the pile of things that people have dug up in the 3200+ comments at: http://www.lazymanandmoney.com/monavie-scam-was-my-wife-recruited-sell-snake-oil/.

  5. When will people ever learn. It’s no fun to have unflattering coverage show up in the search results for your name, but by making a fuss about this, they’ve now given the story 100 times more coverage and made themselves look like clueless bullies in the process. They would have been much better off keeping their mouth shut or leaving a comment on the blog in question explaining their position.

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  7. An MLM altering their own Wikipedia site is nothing new. USANA tried it back when they were put under the microscope by Barry Minkow for being a pyramid scheme. They were using a variety of user names including mrcineman and la grenouille. Lately they even had a PR firm making changes to their Wikipedia article on their behalf.

  8. You have to love the people claiming to not be distributors but absolutely love the product and say it works wonders. If that is the case, why aren’t you a distributor? You are already going around the web promoting how great it is. Shouldn’t you become a distributor to save on your cost and make extra money selling the product you are promoting? Of course you could just be lying.

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  13. Hello,

    I find this a really good article! Great work on debunking this ongoing scam that many people fall for!. I hope you do not mind I’ve quoted the article and linked it on my website which is researching information to really show people what MonaVie and its juice is really made of!

    Good Job Tracy!

  14. As a Mona vie distributor I will tell you that it is not only a good product but a great opportunity. I’m making money and I’ve only been a distributor for 2 months. If your going into a business you must treat it as such. A lot of you are skeptics. That’s good. I was too. But it is possible to be your own boss and make money with a great product. I know because I’m doing it. It isn’t for everyone and it does take about as much time out of your life as watching 2 tv shows a week. And let’s be honest here. Most people are just lazy and want to bring everybody else down. Misery loves company……Just a thought.
    Preston

  15. To the person “Food Tech” blasting Monavieforum.net…i am actually a regular on that site, and have found it quite helpful. If Monavie did go after them, it would be ashame b/c they provide a lot of information for FREE that Monavie charges for.

  16. Tony, not to worry, MonaVie will only go after sites that tell the truth about the product. monavieforum.net is for the weasels and their unverifiable anecdotes

  17. Wowww the IDS isn’t on the Monavie Wiki!!! Oh no!!!!!!!!! You can easily just click on the Monavie Website and find it maybe that is why they took it off? And it doesn’t even note that it was edited by IP625 or whatever but rather by Rhode Island Red……………..

    If you understand the IDS correctly you understand that the majority of the people who get in either just drink the juice signed as distributors and do nothing with the business. Also many people try it for a couple months then quit that is why the numbers are so high. Imagine if Microsoft would just hire anybody imagine how many people would quit? Exactly that is why the numbers are skewed like that not because it doesn’t work it’s just that it’s not for everybody or people don’t want to do the business they just wanna drink the juice. Fact has produced alot of people who make money and their IDS will continue to improve over the years as they continue to grow……………

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