Herbalife is a multi-level marketing company (MLM) that sells dietary supplements. It was founded in 1980 and in 2020 had over $5 billion in revenue.
In response to bad reviews and backlash some Herbalife distributors have received, Herbalife Nutrition came out with a Quick Reference Guide: Handling Negative Reviews, Spamming, and Spammers. You can see the full document and the Facebook post below from Mombie.
As a reminder, I have an MBA, I am a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and have almost 15 years working in finance and accounting. These are my opinions based on researched facts and my understanding of those facts. However, this is not legal, financial, or tax advice. If you need legal, financial, or tax advice, you should reach out to a professional for a 1:1 chat! All opinions are my own.
Why are People Leaving Herbalife Clubs Bad Reviews?
Herbalife distributors are opening “nutrition clubs” where Herbalife smoothies are being sold. However, many times, they do not openly disclose they are using Herbalife products in their drinks. Herbalife products are controversial and there are claims they can cause liver damage.
In response to these clubs opening, some people are leaving comments on their Facebook pages alerting people that these are Herbalife storefronts. This seems to be a valid observation and if the nutrition clubs were more upfront, would probably be unnecessary. But, these storefronts are not forthcoming with what products they are using due to the controversy.
In addition, Herbalife is an MLM which is a business model where individuals are most likely to lose money when participating. You can read more about MLMs here: MLM Reviews & Info
Herbalife’s Advice for Dealing with Anti-MLM Comments and Reviews
The company’s suggested response for anti-MLM comments:
- Hide the comments – this allows only the person who left it to see the comment. This means the person who left the comment is still visible so they won’t feel the need to comment again.
- Delete reviews – If unable to hide the comments, they are instructed to try to delete them
- Block users – this prevents them from continuing to review the page
- Turn off the reviews
- Block specific words from being able to be left as a review, they give examples of Cult, Fraud, Predatory, Scam, and Scheme.
What I think speaks volumes is what is not said. They don’t tell the businesses to be more transparent about the products they are selling. They don’t provide them with a list of facts that they can provide to combat anti-MLM comments that claim they are a scheme or cult-like. Why is that?
Because, honestly, there probably isn’t much they can say to make the criticism go away.
I do not think it is appropriate for people to mass report and spam a business page. But I do think it is important for consumers to know what they are consuming. Herbalife, at a minimum, should allow these clubs to be more transparent about the products they are selling (more below).
I do think the majority of people who start a Herbalife business have aspirations of a better life and are trying to harness their entrepreneurial spirit. They probably have intentions of making their lives better. They probably do not fully understand that most people who are in MLMs lose money.
Are Herbalife Nutrition Clubs Profitable?
According to factsaboutherbalife.com the majority of nutrition clubs fail. This is consistent with statistics from the FTC as well as my own research on the percentage of people failing in multi-level marketing. According to factsaboutherbalife.com Herbalife does not allow their owners to advertise, have awnings, have visible interiors or use the words Herbalife, shake, smoothie or shop, have an open/close sign, or indicate in any other way they are a business. What!
The clubs are set up to allow individuals to “sample” the product and then hope to recruit them as a customer or ideally as other distributors under them. It appears the only purpose of these clubs is to recruit more members to the Herbalife business, creating additional wealth for those in their upline, while they will likely lose money and discontinue the business.
According to Herbalife’s Income Disclosure, of 60,000 distributors, only about 50% or more make more than $264 a month on average. Only 10% make $3,000 a month on average. This means that 90% is of people who are working in Herbalife are losing money or not even making a living wage.
Keep an eye out for these Herbalife nutrition clubs, and make sure you know what you’re consuming before you do it. If you find one of these nutrition shops online, I think it’s OK to leave reviews to let consumers know what they are consuming prior to their visit. However, remember there is a person behind that shop that probably was duped into this business model when trying to make a better life for themselves.
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