A certificate that is worth a big zero in the bank and that you can’t trade. Products of dubious value that you can’t sell. A promoter without an address. A promoter with a corporate name that changes more often than a porn star’s and who changes location more often than a sex-trader. This is what these people offer as multi-level marketing in exchange for your toil, which soon proves to be all pain and no gain. First of all, you may have to pay a fee or deposit in cash to register. Then you have to buy goods at ridiculous prices, usually ‘gbogbo ni se’ vitamin supplements of unproven value. Then you have to sell these to selected buyers, usually people well known to you, that you can recruit with the promise that you and they will get some kind of intangible value, which the generous promoters will graciously deposit in the bank of U&N Plc. (Unknown and Nowhere Plc.), for every unfortunate recruit and sale that you make. They promise that your money will increase exponentially for subsequent recruiters’ recruits, ad nauseam. What it actually is, is that, recruits become unfortunate 419 proxies selling the proverbial snake oil. The charade continues until, all of a sudden, there is news of a government shut-down, albeit fictitious, but which leaves the unfortunate recruits blaming the government for their losses. This fiction is, of course, the perfect excuse for the promoter to pack-up and disappear into thin air, but soon to reappear, like a painful and stubborn boil on the ass, in a different location under a different name and ever ready to milk untiring Nigerian ‘mugus’. We seem to be incurably infected with the ‘do nothing but get rich quick’ bug, and will not agree that ‘money na monkey’: you must be a clever, cunning, fast, agile and energetic pursuer o if not that monkey no go enter your hand.

Why do Nigerians (and it’s a worldwide phenomenon) keep falling prey to these charlatans? The answer is that the Ponzi Schemers do good marketing in the negative sense, but in the strongest format: WOM (word of mouth). Personal recommendations by trusted friends, family and acquaintances usually trump any other form of advertising. They use ‘Catchers’ to lure trusting recruits. These catchers are often either insiders or recruits that had been deliberately favoured with quick rewards, who then unwittingly preach the Ponzi gospel to all and sundry.

They create a good impression: They are also very well organized. They dress the part and speak the language of affluence too. They exude confidence and claim a superior knowledge of the workings of money-making.

They ‘tangibilize’ their fictitious offers with certificates; there is always a certain connection and satisfaction with intangible services when they are represented with the tangible e.g. Certificates. Value Cards, Performance Plaques or Trophies etc.

And when the scheme collapses? Ah, well, you can pin that on the donkey and that’s usually a jealous government (???!), incomprehensibly jealous of the achievements of some bright young men; and they believe it too!

Should the Government (EFCC) intervene or will it forever remain, as my learned friends would say, Caveat Emptor without Caveat Venditor?

Read also: http://www.falseprofits.com/MLM%20Lies.html

Credits: Pics from Creative Commons