Critics Use 2008 Forbes Article To Bash Orrin Woodward, T.E.A.M. and MLM, But Is The Article Unbiased Or Just A Hack Job?

First off I want to be perfectly clear, I love and read Forbes consistently! However, in reviewing the Forbes article titled “Climb To The Top”, about Orrin Woodward, Amway, Monavie and Network Marketing aka Multi-Leval Marketing, I found it biased, and the information either provided to lead the readers to a predetermined outcome.

I will provide the complete article at the bottom of this editorial. In the mean time I want to take a specific look at the sections I found with the most blatant bias.

Forbes - Orrin Woodward - Climb To The Top

Orrin Woodward Article

According to the FTC General Counsel Debra A. Valentine a illegal pyramid is “They promise consumers or investors large profits based primarily on recruiting others to join their program, not based on profits from any real investment or real sale of goods to the public. ” You can read her full statement for INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND’S SEMINAR ON CURRENT LEGAL ISSUES AFFECTING CENTRAL BANKS by clicking here.

Notice the Ms. Valentine is very clear “not based on the sale of goods to the public, and the reporters knew this fact.

Forbes Article - Climb To The Top - Orrin Woodward

What I find very interesting in the reporter’s comments is they make it sound as if this is some huge amount to pay to go to a sales, motivational or leadership conference. See below two of the organizations and see how much more their tickets are for an event. Then give some thought to the fact, neither Tony Robbins or Catalyst offer a compensation plan. Seems the ticket prices are very much being sold at fair market value. (See Below)

Unleash the Power Within -

Catalyst East - Catalyst


Forbes - Climb To The Top - Orrin Woodward

Just like Tony Robbins, Zig Ziggler, Jim Rohn, Tom Hopkins, Chet Holmes and many others, Orrin Woodward and T.E.A.M. were and still do sell DVDs, CDs, Books, Conferences, training etc, through L.I.F.E. which help people in their perosnal and business lives. Yet the reporters make it sound as if this is not normal or legal.

Again the reporters lead their readers into coming to the conclusion that MLM/Network Marketing/ Direct Selling is some form of illegal pyramid. Yet, have you ever heard of any illegal organization with their own Trade Association?

Now I will agree that all hierarchies, religious, political, governmental, military, social, non-profit, sales, etc are shaped as a pyramid. Yet, when you add members or customers to the pyramid, it becomes a diamond shape. Illegal pyramid’s have NO customers, because they do not sell a product to consumers.

Forbes - Climb To The top - Orrin Woodward

In reality the sales pyramids are side by side. MonaVie unlike Amway, gave Orrin Woodward and T.E.A.M. their blessing to launch a stand alone network marketing company focused on successful living, personal development, and leadership development. After hiring Grimes & Reese one of the most respected law firms in direct selling, they were finally after years of legal battles with Amway, see their dream company true.

But, the reporters never took the time to find out the facts; or at least if they did they never reported them. Instead they decided to write their article in a biased manner in order to lead the reader to predetermined conclusion. Although I have come to find this a new norm in many media outlets, I expect more from Forbes reporters.

Sadly once again the reporters should know better than to write in such a biased manner. As you will see below they fully understand MLM/Network Marketing/ Direct Sales is nothing like a chain letter.

Forbes - Climb To The Top - Orrin Woodward

I found this to be some of the most disgusting part of the article. Here the reporters do not take into account if this relationship could be repaired. Instead they take the words of a hurt, and possibly angry husband, and make his wife out to be some brainless woman. I wonder if they took the time to find out if the husband was also a member of T.E.A.M., Amway or even MonaVie. I wonder if the wife was interviewed, if we would find some additional issues about the husband. At no time did these reporters seem to think about the ramifications of their reporting. How easy it would have been to NOT mention the name of the husband to protect this family.

Forbes - Climb To The Top - Orrin Woodward

Well, if you read this and are in sales of any kind, I sure hope you are investing in sales tools, conferences, to better yourself and your team. I have had the privilege of being successful in sales since I was 12 years old, and the one thing I have learned is personal development is the key to success. Unlike the reporters I have listened to hours of T.E.A.M. and L.I.F.E. DVDs and CDs. I have read every book Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady have written, and I have found value, priceless in some cases in what I have read and heard.

As someone who has bought over $10,000 dollars of personal development, team building, sales, marketing, better parenting, closer marriage, and how to be a better leader, plus another $5,000 to $10,000 dollars in sales, marketing, branding and business development conferences,  I can say with confidence, the tools T.E.A.M. and L.I.F.E. produce are worth the price. Especially since the majority of what they sell, has been written by main stream authors who are experts in their profession.

Forbes - Climb To The Top - Orrin Woodward - TEAM

I am not going to dig to deep into this right now. In a future article I will cover in detail what happened between Orrin Woodward and Amway, based on personal interviews, court records and documentation I have reviewed.

Forbes - Climb To The Top - Orrin Woodward

Above I mentioned the reporters were fully aware that Orrin Woodward was not leading some pyramid scheme, or that MonaVie or Amway were illegal pyramid schemes. Well based on the fact they knew the Federal Trade Commission had already covered this issue. In the article the FTC General Counsel made the following statement.

“The Commission took its first concerted action against pyramid schemes in the 1970’s during a boom in home-based business and MLM or direct selling. One-on-one marketing became common for many consumer items — from cosmetics to kitchenware, and Tupperware™ parties became an icon of the era. Unfortunately, the rise in legitimate multilevel marketing was accompanied by a surge in pyramid schemes. Those schemes played off the popularity of MLM or network sales but paid more attention to networking than to selling actual goods. “

“In In re Amway Corp.,(19) another landmark decision from the 1970’s, the FTC distinguished an illegal pyramid from a legitimate multilevel marketing program.”

Read the full statement here!

The reporters are not rookies, they were pros. Their intent in writing the article as they did was a deliberate attempt to mislead their readers it seems.

Forbes - Climb To The Top - Orrin Woodward

I added this small clip because after reading it I came to the conclusion, these reporters really do not understand how many people are seeking hope in their lives. If they had, they might not have used the names of a family who were already having marriage issues.

Without a doubt, no organization, company or leader is perfect. Throughout life we all make mistakes, sin, and if we are the leaders we claim to be, will ask for forgiveness and continue our own path of growth.

But, when outsiders write articles without doing the deep due diligence, I think it is an injustice to everyone involved.

One parting thought Orrin Woodward was in the middle of a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Amway at the time this article was written. Amway founders are some of the largest donators to the Republican Party… Steve Forbes is a former Republican Presidential Candidate and long time friend of the family. Plus Amway has been a long time client of Forbes Magazine.

Forbes – Climb To The Top – Orrin Woodward