Franken-Facial MLM

"Buy 1 for yourself and get the chance to sell your friends and family 5 and get your downline started!" We examine the multi-level marketing industry, where only the people who come up with the ideas make any money, and everybody else is left unhappy, broke, and tired of reading scripts and selling overpriced vitamins and similarly worthless products. Includes Global Prosperity, Pinnacle Quest International, IRS Codebusters, Stratia, and other new Global Prosperity scams.

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wserra
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Franken-Facial MLM

Postby wserra » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:10 pm

A new MLM (GeneWize Life Sciences) purports to tailor its skin-care and nutritional supplement products to your specific DNA. No, I'm not kidding. According to that page, they test your DNA, then fashion customized products - and, of course, want you to pay them to distribute their stuff. There appear to be slight problems with each of their steps.

First you prepare a buccal swab - swipe the inside of your cheek with what amounts to a Q-tip - and send it to them. They then supposedly look for specific "SNPs" - single nucleotide polymorphisms - at certain places in your DNA profile. (An SNP is basically a mutation in your genome where a single nucleotide - A, C, G or T - differs from that in other members of your species or in a paired chromosome in you.) There is no question that the use of SNPs is promising technology. See here for a short summary. But the state of the art is nowhere near being able to use information about a single SNP to tailor a cosmetic (or supplement - they say that's next). In any event, genes don't work alone, so even with more complete knowledge of human genetics it is not at all clear that knowledge of a single SNP will be useful.

Second, they claim that they will make a "comprehensive personal formula created just for you, utilizing over 177,000 possible ingredients combinations". 177,000? It would probably be cheaper to mine moon rocks for them. Au contraire, they say - they will use "innovative
manufacturing technologies that make it possible to mass customize your product". "Mass customize"? Isn't that a little like "generally specific"? Or "logical gobbledygook"? Or "honest ripoff"? Anyway, if you don't need a supplement - something true of virtually everyone with a healthy diet and not requiring DNA analysis to determine - what good will supplements do you regardless of how many SNPs you have?

Finally, of course, they want you to sell their stuff using a somewhat unusual "compensation plan" - enroll four new suckers and get your own next month's stuff free. Someone explain to me why this is not perforce a pyramid - if your goal is to get your own free, you (along with everyone else) must keep enrolling four per month. At best, they are blatantly selling a non-existent "opportunity" rather than a product.

One final thing I couldn't resist including. They brag about their "Profiling technologies by GeneLink BioSciences, Inc. U.S. Patent No. 6.291.171". Ohh - they have a patented process for profiling your DNA, right? Well, not exactly. Check out this patent with the USPTO. They patented a Q-tip with a little sterile stand and container to keep it from getting contaminated. Good job, guys.
"A wise man proportions belief to the evidence."
- David Hume

Nikki

Re: Franken-Facial MLM

Postby Nikki » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:12 pm

If their custom-blended concept includes the presence (in varying ratios) / absence of various compounds, they can easily attain 177,000 different formulas (formulae?).

Just stop into your local Loews or Home Depot and look at the custom-blended paint colors department. They can crank out thousands of different colors just by tweaking their magic pigment machine.

Perhaps THEY should insist on cheek swabs, before mixing the paint, to ensure the selected color appropriately agrees with your karma / aura / chi :?:

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Doc Bunkum
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Re: Franken-Facial MLM

Postby Doc Bunkum » Sun Feb 08, 2009 9:20 pm

I see GeneWize is a wholly owned direct-selling subsidiary of a publicly traded genetic biosciences company, GeneLink, Inc.

Looking at the financial statements for (GNLK), Business Week reports...
Year over year, GeneLink Inc. has seen revenues fall from $175.7K to $97.7K. This along with an increase in SGA costs has led to a reduction in the bottom line from a loss of $584.7K to an even larger loss of $1.6M.


Hopefully GeneWize will be able to improve the bottom line of the parent company.

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Burzmali
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Re: Franken-Facial MLM

Postby Burzmali » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:41 pm

Mass customization isn't quite an oxymoron. Think Dell and their individualized computers.

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wserra
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Re: Franken-Facial MLM

Postby wserra » Sun Feb 08, 2009 11:49 pm

Nikki wrote:If their custom-blended concept includes the presence (in varying ratios) / absence of various compounds, they can easily attain 177,000 different formulas (formulae?).


I see your point. Their phrase ("over 177,000 possible ingredients combinations") is not a model of clarity, likely intentionally. I read it as "over 177,000 possible ingredients", but if read as combinations instead - yes, that's not hard to come by, especially if one counts every possible different percentage as a different combination.

The main two points are that (1) the science doesn't support their claim, and (2) there is no proof their product is either effective or even needed. I probably should have stuck to those (and the patent, of course).
"A wise man proportions belief to the evidence."
- David Hume

Nikki

Re: Franken-Facial MLM

Postby Nikki » Mon Feb 09, 2009 12:21 am

Burzmali wrote:Mass customization isn't quite an oxymoron. Think Dell and their individualized computers.

Back in the days before the Asian invasion of the American auto industry, General Motors used to advertise that, considering all the available models and options they offered, they could produce a unique car for every driver in the United States.

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Burzmali
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Re: Franken-Facial MLM

Postby Burzmali » Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:50 am

Mass customization works out great for some companies and horrible for others. For every Dell success story, there are a hundred folks that just knew that they were going to make it big with customized toothbrushes.

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Re: Franken-Facial MLM

Postby wserra » Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:33 pm

I was toying with the idea of sending in a buccal swab from my dog and seeing what "DNA-customized" skin-care and nutritional products they recommend. Somehow I don't think it would be IAMS and 4 Paws Natural.

Then I found that the Government Accountability Office (oxymoron alert) has done something similar, although not with these people. In 2006 they sent four web companies purporting to do the same thing - test DNA, then prescribe personalized supplements - fourteen swabs each. Twelve of the swabs came from the same infant girl, and two from the same adult man. Needless to say, they received different information from the same company as to swabs from the same person, and different information from different companies as to the same swab. Moreover, those companies which recommended quite costly ($1200/yr) supplements in fact provided nothing more than readily available multivitamins. One of the companies diagnosed "damaged DNA" - maybe they dropped the swab - and prescribed a $2K/yr supplement to "repair" it. There is, of course, no such product.

Figures they'd market by MLM.
"A wise man proportions belief to the evidence."
- David Hume


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