Saturday, April 1, 2017

The epic rise and fall of MonaVie

If Britney Spears were an MLM instead of a washed up mega-pop-star, she’d be MonaVie.

Think Britney cerca 2001, back when her posters graced the bedroom walls of every teenager in America and she was pulling multi-million dollar contracts for a 30 second spot with Pepsi. MonaVie was pretty close to being on that level within a couple years of launch…

But by 2014 they were more like bald Britney breaking car windows with her umbrella. At least Britney’s got a Vegas show nowadays…MonaVie has nothing left but a pretty crazy story to tell.

Was I ever a part of it?

This video explains everything:

Make sense? Either way, here’s the full review on MonaVie.


MonaVie was a nutrition MLM founded in 2005 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Shocking, right?

Founder Dallin Larsen had already built up a pretty boss career in MLM before launching MonaVie. Dude was a senior-level executive at both Dynamic Essentials and USANA.

MonaVie became one of the biggest, trendiest names in nutrition almost instantly. They hit the $1 billion mark in annual sales, and there are only a few MLMs in the WORLD that have done that. Pretty incredible.

This company took off running FAST. But after a while, they weren’t running to huge sales numbers anymore…they were running from the law.

By 2008, only 3 years after launch, they were already facing a lawsuit from Imagenetix – a $2.75 BILLION lawsuit, to be exact – over trademark infringement. The case was settled outside of court, and Larsen probably toasted to that multiple times because a lawsuit like that could have shut them down instantly. [1]

That same year they butt heads with Amway on multiple occasions. A big scandal broke out when they saw that Orrin Woodward, a former top distributor for Amway, had teamed up with MonaVie, taking a $3 million loan from them to help him get his MLM TEAM (which I review here) off the ground. Copyright claims re: Amway’s compensation plan and recruitment practices abound. [2]

A 3-year-old MLM going up against Amway is like the Karate Kid trying to take down the Roman Empire. They should have known it wouldn’t work out.

But just one year later they got hit with another lawsuit from one of the biggest names in business: Oprah Winfrey. Oprah and Dr. Oz filed a suit against 40 different companies using acai berry in their products that had falsely claimed their products were backed by Dr. Oz and herself. She even called MonaVie out by name on her website. [3]

Unfortunately for Larsen, this was only the beginning of the lawsuits. But MonaVie wasn’t always on the receiving end.

In 2010 they filed a lawsuit against the trendy nutritional beverage MLM Zrii claiming that they copied MonaVie’s compensation plan. (PLEASE, pretty much every compensation plan nowadays is a copy of another one). [4]

Also in 2010, the circuit court of Miller County, Arkansas filed a class action lawsuit against MonaVie for false and misleading advertising as well as engaging in civil conspiracy. [5] The U.S. District Court of New Jersey filed a similar class action lawsuit in 2013 claiming violations to the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. Florida filed yet another in 2014. [6]

Then, in 2014, a company named K2A filed a multi-million dollar suit against MonaVie for patent infringement and unpaid royalties. [7]

The list goes on and on and on…and on…and on.

TL;DR? MonaVie’s entire existence consisted of legal battles over false advertising, inflated pricing, false health claims, copyright infringement, patent infringement, illegal recruiting practices, and then some.

But wait, there’s more!

After years of exhausting and futile battles, it was announced in May 2014 that MonaVie had defaulted on a $182 million note securing assets of the company that had been issued in 2010.  [8]

On top of that, their employee stock program lost nearly all of its value, forcing the company to pay out a $19 million settlement on employee lawsuits in 2016. [9]

The company’s remaining assets were transferred to Jeunesse. MonaVie, which had not long ago been worth over a billion, was forclosed for a mere $15 million. [10]

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

How much does MonaVie cost?
A startup kit at MonaVie costs $249.


MonaVie sold a variety of nutritional bottled fruit juices. Like any good nutrition MLM, they also sold energy drinks, supplements, and weight loss products.

Their main gimmick was antioxidants, specifically from the acai berry. However, an analysis done by independent laboratory ChromaDex showed that the juices contained very low levels of antioxidants and vitamin C.

What’s more, a clinical study found that drinking MonaVie throughout pregnancy increased risks of complications, including cardiac problems and dysfunction at birth.


They did offer a 50% commission on personal sales, which is pretty damn good. But reps still couldn’t make good money.
Despite their rapid rise to fame and 10-figure annual sales numbers, apparently only 14% of MonaVie distributors made a prof
it. Any profit it all.

An astounding 86% of distributors didn’t even make enough money to pay off the cost of joining.


MonaVie’s rise to fame and subsequent crash and burn look pretty spectacular on paper.

It was pretty insane, but really, it’s just the arch of 99% of MLMs exaggerated a little. Most don’t ever make it near $1 billion in sales, but most are designed to fail so that the owners can cash out and move onto the next one.

As you can see, even with sales numbers that shot up faster than a rocket launcher, 99.9% of distributors didn’t get a piece of the pie…or even a bite.

If it’s financial freedom you seek and you like automated ways to build passive income, there are better ways.

(and you can trash those old MLM habits, too)


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