Blatant acts of consumerism are occurring all over the internet. Far and wide, bloggers are banding together to spread the word about multi-level marketing attorney Gerald Nehra threatening bloggers on behalf of his client, Shop To Earn.

It all started a few weeks ago when blogger Everyday Finance wrote a post about the ShopToEarn and ShopToEarth program. He highlighted both positives and negatives that he found with their MLM program. It wasn’t long before he got a cease and desist email from Gerry Nehra (former attorney for mlm giant Amway), threatening legal action if he didn’t take down his negative comments about the company.

I then wrote my own critique of the mlm program, and got my own cease and desist email. The original blogger modified the posts on his blog that made Shop To Earn so mad, but that wasn’t good enough. Gerald Nehra then demanded he take down his site within 24 hours.

And the blogosphere is rallying to stop this kind of bullying. Bloggers are entitled to express their opinions, whether or not MLMs like ShopToEarn want them to or not. Here are the sites who have already posted about the issue:

Sam AntarShop To Earn Tries to Bully Bloggers with Litigation

Gary Weiss‘Shop to Lose’ (a/k/a ShoptoEarn) Bloviates Against Blogger

Tech DirtMulti-Level Marketing Company Threatens Blogger Who Writes Critical Post (Thanks to a tip from Davis Freeberg.)

Lee DistadMLM Sics Lawyer on Bloggers

Karin Malchow @ Examiner Multi-level marketing line of defense

You All Disgust Me“Shop To Earn” are a bunch of litigious bastards* (What a great name for a site!)

Michael Webster @ The BizOp News – Shop To Earn

If you’ve posted on this topic, please email me so that I can include you in an update on the support for Everyday Finance and bloggers just like him who have been bullied and intimidated by lawyers who don’t respect the right to free speech afforded to us by the Constitution of the United States.


  1. quixtarisacult 07/17/2008 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    You can be a clearing house for bloggers harrassed by a corporate attach dog. How low can these MLM scam crooks go? As you may be aware, there is a lingering tool scam situation that just happens to be coinciding with the NOW YOU KNOW commercials. If anyone really wants to find out what is going on under the hood over there at the Business Cult, I have a wealth of information that Quixtar and Amway don’t want you to see, especially if you’ve just been prospected.

  2. katsmeow 09/23/2008 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    Same old stories, same old lies. “Get rich quick.” “You CAN get something for nothing.” Oh, and in this newest scam of “turning a sow’s ear into a silk purse”…help the earth, help your friends and family.

    Only people getting something for nothing, are those that prey upon others who have small amounts of greed and large amounts of enthusiasm and a need for an emotional “feel good” and reconciliation of those two states of being.

    Shoot…I have only been looking around today for information about this company because my best friend asked me to join. She is not stupid nor lazy, but she is convinced. I, however, was not.

    Ah well, friendships have weathered worse storms and this is one ill wind that blows no good. ShopToLearn…that would be more appropriate.

  3. quixtarisacult 09/23/2008 at 5:07 pm - Reply


    You hit on something that a lot of people don’t realize except the people putting these schemes together, and that is a person’s psychological desire for belonging and acceptance. There are other things also, like the lady who told me that she didn’t care if she lost all her money as long as she could “cross stage” at one of those big rallies. People start thinking that they can buy that moment in the sun. Make them feel like they have somehow arrived. These rallies form an important component of any organization, but also a major downside known as “group think”. It sort of makes them the cult that really is more common than not. People deny that cults exist, that pyramids exist, and any number of rationalizations that are mostly incorrect.

    Really, I think a lot of people would be better off to just go and talk to a psychologist or a psychiatrist since many health plans pay for this and they might not see a need to reach out to these companies that prey on people psyche by offering them a place to receive a sense of belonging.

    When a person looks at the money side of these scams alone, you would think they would see the light and quit, but there is way more to these scams than just the bottom line. I’ve talked to people who stayed in them for years, never going anywhere like Black Ruby pearl or anything like that, and never making a cent in profit, and many times only buying something less than required to obtain a puny bonus, but they just seemed to like the people. People addicted to people almost the same as drug addiction.

    It is good that there are web pages like Tracy’s here that people investigating MLM can find the educated opinion of someone who is willing to tell the truth the way she does. Of course, having a insider look at Mary Kay gives helps just as I’ve had a peek into two different MLM’s myself.

  4. Tracy Coenen 09/23/2008 at 5:20 pm - Reply

    Here is an interesting series about the cult aspect of Mary Kay. I would submit that it has one of the strongest cult mentalities of all the MLMs. From the moment a MK consultant meets a woman, she is looking to find out what’s “missing” in the woman’s life and make sure that MK fulfills that.

    Once you’re in, the cult mentality is demanded. No negativity allowed at events. No talking to anyone outside of MK who doesn’t think MK is fabulous. Shunning those who have left MK. The list goes on, and is covered nicely in this series:

  5. quixtarisacult 09/23/2008 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    Thanks Tracy for the information. I’ve been going to research Mary Kay for a post on my blog. Obviously, what motivates a woman may be quite different than what motivates a male. All these MLMs attempt to use a psychological handle on whomever gets involved. That being said, in Amway, the existence of the well known Amafights is most likely caused by these subtle differences. I have to chuckle, but I’ve got a question, have you ever seen a male involved in Mary Kay. After all there are males involved in things like hair dressing and the like; I hate to sound bigoted, but you know the kind of girly type of person more at home in a beauty salon than a barber shop, many being nice people who relate better to the opposite sex? You will probably laugh when you see this question, after all this Mary Kay is an absolute black hole to the male mind. (except what I can garner from your pages on Pink Truth and the like.) I am sure that the psychological elements have an influence on what motivates people whether male or female. I am reminded of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

  6. Tracy Coenen 09/23/2008 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    Yep, there are some men involved in MK, but the number is very, very small. Think about how strong the company can make their message when it only has to go to one gender.

  7. quixtarisacult 09/23/2008 at 6:09 pm - Reply


    Exactly, MK is indeed a good laboratory for anyone wanting to understand how psychological manipulation of the highest order is accomplished. I’m sure that many a husband has pulled his hair out with a wife who raids the checking account or runs a debt on their credit card believing the Pink Untruths. At least in Amway both many times are involved. Amway says the fights only serve to strengthen the relationship, but I’ve seen plenty of evidence to debunk that lie. There are separations, financial woes, bankruptcies, foreclosures, and even suicides. The Dirty Little Secrets of Their Little Quixtar Cult

  8. katsmeow 09/23/2008 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    I study through another aspect of living, yet, left and right brain do connect on occassion. It, indeed, is always a pleasure. Lack, in the capatilist system will always be met by supply. The landscape need not be confined to actual services or goods. Lack in one’s emotional/spiritual life is a pretty substantive target and one that had not changed in any real sense for quite some time.

    I fight on different fronts, but I fight none-the-less. I have never been enamored of anyone who takes advantage of others. That will not change either.

    Thanks for the links Tracy, reading them now with little surprise, but alot of sadness.

    As I stated before…I would not have gone here, but for my friend. Sometimes things just work out that way. Oh and I have nothing against capitalism…kept me fed and living in a very comfortable way all my life.

  9. quixtarisacult 09/23/2008 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    If a psychological weaknesses in the human race is a need for which the capitalistic economy meets a need, then aren’t the people operating and touting these schemes (and that is what they are) are no different than a common drug dealer/pusher down by the corner dishing out packets of his wares? He takes full advantages of the weakness inherent in the human race. Distributors pushing these stupido plans should not stick their chest out like they are helping their fellow man. They should hang their heads in shame.

  10. katsmeow 09/23/2008 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    Caveat Emptor…it can be applied on many fronts.

  11. Tracy Coenen 09/23/2008 at 7:15 pm - Reply

    This is an excellent article about finding or creating a “lack” in women to recruit them into Mary Kay:

  12. quixtarisacult 09/23/2008 at 7:49 pm - Reply


    This is an antiquated law that has been superseded by Contract Law which provides for “Implied Warranty”. Concealing latent defects is generally grounds for relief in most jurisdictions, but maybe Tracy could clarify. There are Universal Trade laws in this country I believe, that provide relief for buyers, and in some case for sellers as well, who can also be a victim in any transaction. MLMs obviously conceal defects and many times make claims that, although are possible, are nearly impossible to realize. This is a defect that many lawsuits are caring forward right now against MLMs like Amway and YourTravelBusiness.

    Distributors should be aware that the scheme they are involved in could be shut down almost over night and thereby put any investments the dream down a rat hole. For instance, around 1995 JewellWay (a sort of clone of Amway) was shut down and distributors received a paltry $29 or some money figure in that range after all the assets of the scheme were collected and sold off to compensate the distributors duped by the company. I might say that the same situation could apply to any of the MLM companies that are currently being sued or charged by Attorney Generals around the US. Distributors are told to pay no attention to these proceedings, that is until one day when they get “the letter” telling them the unfortunate news about their scam being settled out of court. I know, I got one of these letters. I luckily didn’t loose more than the sign up fee because I soon became jaded and never pursued the dream. I pursued my real vocation as a electronics technician instead.

    Caveat emptor as a latin term that is interpreted as “Let the buyer beware” as you suggest. It may not hold water in a modern court of law.

  13. Tracy Coenen 09/23/2008 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    I don’t expect the government to actually enforce the laws related to MLMs any time soon.

    What I think is of larger concern to everyone in an MLM is the contract which they signed when they joined. I have yet to see one that gives the distributor any sort of rights. With Mary Kay, for example, about the only rights the distributor has is to sell the products and collect commissions if they recruit. There are all sorts of restrictions on how and where they can sell the products, and how they can market the products. But the most alarming part is that any distributor for MK can lose their distributor position at any time, without any sort of cause or reason. MK can effectively take away the distributor’s ability to sell the products, and the downline is taken away with no compensation. The distributor cannot sell or will the downline to anyone.

  14. katsmeow 09/25/2008 at 9:35 pm - Reply

    Quix…there is little difference between our thinking, but where we come from. I think we often give away our ability to think for ourselves and hide behind the letter of the law.

    I understand the “letter” is there to assist some, but not all. When you know better, then you should just know better. When you do not know better then there are people, such as you, who help. No judgement about any of it.

    Guess what? I am gonna go to that freakin mind fest tomorrow with my best friend. I already told her I might not be the one she would like to attend with her. heh…Oh well…oh and I have no clue why I am doing it. I am thinking its because she is my best friend and its because I don’t want to leave her to the wolves. We’ll see how well I do.

  15. quixtarisacult 09/25/2008 at 10:11 pm - Reply


    Your free. No judgment here either. We have discussed how many people do MLM and experience every negative thing they are known for, but have some need within their psyche that finds fulfillment within groups that provide enthusiasm whether the enthusiasm was justified or not. I would say that all the enthusiasm you might witness at a rally or meeting comes from a need within along with a phenomenon called group think. I just mention this in passing, so you might see how this works first hand. These concepts are so complex but yet can be explained in one or two sentences at the same time. People resolve conflict by continuing with the wrong conclusion while disregarding the truthful facts. Amway relies on this. They know they cannot insulate their people from conflict. They prey on people’s weaknesses like Mary Kay does.

  16. katsmeow 09/25/2008 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    Quix…yep. Thanks so much for your help and Tracy’s. I guess I am testing it, huh? heh Hope we get a question and answer period. 😉

  17. it's just me 09/26/2008 at 1:20 am - Reply

    Alot of MLM ‘Pyramids’ shut themselves down, and convert over to a new name, new product downline, etc.. when they know they are about to be caught, sued, etc… It’s a common thing going on for years. Many have no real contact information available, making it harder to find them and serve them with lawsuits and such, but it happens eventually, and they are already set up with a new version of the old scheme.
    The dupe distributors in because they don’t disclose the whole program. They use the ‘offering online shopping’ and a sales pitch, not much differant than what they pitch potential suckers..err…investors in with.. so they don’t get called lyers, or called for not disclosing information, they leave alot out, then say ‘but it’s on our site where anyone can read it’, and it usualyl is, hidden behind a dozen links to a page with small print on the bottom. The people running the scams…err..MLM Pyramids aren’t stupid, they researched alot and know what they are doing, and target those who have no clue, are desperite for cash flow, lazy, etc.
    With today’s economy being so bad, it’s rather easy for them to pitch this stuff to common people, so certain schemes have skyrocketed with signups. These same people have no idea it’s costing them even more money, when they don’t have it to begin with, but they think they’re making money.

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