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When Companies Go Too Far

by Ryan Guina

We live in an information age where most companies welcome the dissemination of information about their products and services. And why not? So long as they can back it up, companies only have something to gain. That is why you see so many businesses with FaceBook pages and Twitter accounts – they want to reach a larger audience and create a buzz about their company.

Is Monavie a Scam?But some companies can’t back up their products or services and they only stand to lose money if information about their product, service, or business model is examined with a critical eye. In these instances, companies try hard to stay out of the news. Some companies go beyond simply laying low and actively try to hide information about their company behind a veil of silence. And some of these companies or their representatives go even further and try to silence critics with bullying tactics – name calling, threats of legal action or even threatening bodily harm.

I’d like to share with you a story about what is happening to Lazy Man over at Lazy Man and Money.

Does MonaVie Use Unfair and Abusive Tactics to Control Media?

About a year and a half ago, Lazy man wrote an article about MonaVie in which he asks if MonaVie is a Scam. His article was based on research he performed after his wife was recruited to sell MonaVie, a very expensive açaí berry juice product that is sold on a multi-level marketing business model.

Lazy Man’s research showed Monavie was no more special than most other açaí berry products, and in his opinion, not worth the $40 per bottle it cost to purchase (or potentially thousands of dollars in promotional products and training recommended to become a MonaVie distributor, not to mention the research which showed most distributors don’t make much money).

In his opinion, and in the opinion of numerous scientists and journalists which he quoted and linked to on his site, MonaVie was nothing but a lot of hype at best, and potential dangerous at worst (because many MonaVie distributors make illegal claims regarding Monavie’s medicinal and curative properties, many of which have not been proven and are not endorsed by the FDA).

Then things got interesting. People who were researching MonaVie and açaí berry juice found Lazy Man’s article and left comments about their experiences with MonaVie – the good, the bad, and the ugly. To his credit, Lazy Man left all the comments in place, not just those which are critical of MonaVie, but also those from MonaVie distributors and employees, some of whom posted blatantly false information and some of whom openly who openly attacked Lazy Man, his website and his readers.

The MonaVie article on Lazy Man’s site garnered over 3,000 comments on MonaVie which can be found in an archive on his site. There are now over 4,600 comments on the article.

But it doesn’t end there.

MonaVie threatened to sue Lazy Man when he wouldn’t remove the article from his site, and some distributors and employees resorted to scare tactics and name calling. One distributor threatened him with blackmail and another even allegedly threatened him with bodily harm. Here are some of his experiences in the past few months:

Lazy Man’s experiences so far are only part of the story – though I’m sure it hasn’t ended yet. He has mentioned in various comments on his site about discussions with legal representatives, The Federal Trade Commission, and even the FBI (they tend to take threats against bodily harm very seriously). But doesn’t end there.

Apparently other website owners have had similar experiences with MonaVie. There have also been several other websites that looked at MonaVie from a critical angle which have recently disappeared or now only display information that is supportive of MonaVie. Did the people who were once running those sites have a sudden change of heart, or did something else happen?

How far is too far?

I don’t know if MonaVie is a Scam, but I will say that I would NEVER do business with them or use their products based on the information I have seen about their products, and more importantly, how they conduct business. By all appearances, they went to far.

My question is this: How far can a company go before their actions are considered crossing the line?


Published or updated July 25, 2012.
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 myfinancialobjectives

Whoa, looks like Lazy Man got himself into a bit of a sticky situation. That’s such a shame when people from an obviously sketchy company start to threaten people who are critical of their product.

I don’t know if it’s a scam either, but I know one things for sure, I will NOT be trying……”monaVie” sometime EVER!

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2 Khaleef @ KNS Financial

Wow, this thing has really gotten out of hand. Companies should not be able to remove negative information about themselves, unless they can prove it to be completely false!

Ryan, you may be next seeing how vicious they are.

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3 Andrew

Wow! Crazy stuff. I completely agree. Whether or not MonaVie is a scam is irrelevant. If they treat people like that, then there is no sense or ethics in doing business with them. Thanks Ryan!

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