Have you been looking into the ASEA opportunity? Maybe someone has asked you to join this “incredible opportunity” where you can work from home in your spare time and be your own boss? But you might be skeptical and thinking, “Is ASEA a pyramid scheme?”
I don’t blame you for your skepticism.
This is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company and they often get some bashing from the public who automatically call them scams and pyramid schemes.
But let’s take a look and see if this is a legit opportunity, or if you should stay far away.
What is ASEA?
So what the heck is ASEA? According to their About Us page:
“Profitable from its first year of business and financially sound, ASEA produces its one-of-a-kind products in an FDA-registered, NSF-certified facility, and they are redox certified by a prestigious third-party lab. The manufacturing processes are 100% owned and operated by ASEA, guaranteeing product quality time and time again.”
Uhhhh, what? lol
The founders of ASEA are Verdis Norton, Tyler Norton (Verdis’s son), and James Pack. The company was founded in 2009. The company is located in the MLM capital of the world, Salt Lake City, Utah.
ASEA is a health MLM company, and they have just 4 products, with the key one being ASEA Redox.
What is Redox? According to this page on their site:
“Oxidative stress creates an imbalance between pro-oxidants and antioxidant systems in your body. An imbalance can be a result of several environmental factors such as exposure to pollutants, infections, poor diet, toxins, and radiation. To counter this, your body utilizes redox signaling molecules to communicate and to help maintain a healthy balance between pro-oxidants and antioxidants”
The four products on the site are:
- ASEA Redox
- RENU 28 (a facial gel)
- RENU Advanced (an anti-aging face care system)
- ASEA VIA, which includes ASEA VIA Source, ASEA VIA Biome, ASEA VIA LifeMax and ASEA VIA Omega (dietary supplements)
I usually like to add the prices to the products to see how they compare with non-MLM products, but there aren’t any prices on the website.
Do they have something to hide?
Another trick is to go to Amazon and see if any of the products are there. This should give us a good idea of how much they will be through the site, although they may be off somewhat. Sometimes people charge more on Amazon, and sometimes they charge less.
A 32-ounce bottle of this stuff is a whopping $40!
This stuff better have gold in it! Sheesh!
Here’s something even worse.
A 2.7 Fl Oz bottle of their skin cream is $50!!
For that price, it better do plastic surgery!
Of course, they have this fancy “redox” stuff, so I guess that’s why they charge so much.
The thing is, while they have a science page on their website, there really isn’t anything there. There are no scientific studies linked that this stuff actually works. In my opinion, they make it sound like it’s something special so that they charge more for it.
Just my opinion, but again, there’s no proof that this stuff works. And it’s FDA Certified (which doesn’t mean much), not FDA approved.
How Much Does it Cost to Join ASEA?
There’s nothing on the ASEA website about how much it costs to join. Again…what are they trying to hide?
According to BehindMLM, the cost of a basic affiliate membership is $40. They also list a bunch of add-on enrollment packs that you can also order, but I don’t know how up-to-date the list is. The $40 affiliate fee may be completely different too because their review was done in 2014.
But seriously, this information should be on their website and it should be fully visible for all to see.
It looks like in order to qualify for bonuses and commissions, you need to have a monthly 100 PV (personal volume). This can be from your own personal orders, or from customer orders.
It looks like there’s a push to sign up for a monthly autoship. This would be an easy way to cover your PV, but this is also where distributors get into trouble.
But more about that later.
ASEA Compensation Plan
Here’s the ASEA compensation plan. Um, kind of.
This only lists the different ways you can earn an income with the compensation plan. They are:
- Retail Sales
- Preferred Customer Bonus
- Fast Start Bonus
- Director Bonus
- Team Commissions
- Executive Momentum Bonus
- Check Match
- Diamond Pool
I thought perhaps their Peak Performance link would provide more details, but uh oh!
There were 404 errors for each link that I clicked. That’s not good!
Here’s a YouTube video going over the compensation plan:
Here’s a screenshot from the video on the compensation plan.
It sure looks like a certain shape, right?
I didn’t go through the whole video because these compensation plans are:
- Seriously boring
- Confusing as hell
I also won’t be recommending that you join, so I don’t think it matters to know the details of the plan. (But if you’d like to know, the video is there for you.)
Let’s move on to the ASEA income disclosure.
ASEA Income Disclosure
ASEA does have an income disclosure for 2019, and it’s on their website here.
What this says is what pretty much every income disclosure I’ve seen says.
It’s nearly impossible to make a good living in an MLM!!
If you get to Silver, that’s a pretty good average monthly income, but it’s still pretty low to live on. It would be a good supplemental income. But you can see that only 0.089% of people can even reach that level.
And these amounts don’t even take into consideration expenses, such as your monthly autoship order.
You really have to ask yourself if it’s worth it to join.
Over 99% of people end up losing money in an MLM. (Source)
“Failure and loss rates for MLMs are not comparable with legitimate small businesses, which have been found to be profitable for 39% over the lifetime of the business; whereas less than 1% of MLM participants profit. MLM makes even gambling look like a safe bet in comparison.”
Here’s another interesting part from this report:
“In 1994-5, I put Nu Skin, a leading MLM program, to the test for a year, devoting all my time to climb to the top 1% of participants (counting ALL participants, including dropouts). During that year I kept careful records of my spending and wound up with expenses of over $1,500 per month including products and services from the company, plus all operating expenses, such as travel, telephone, computer supplies, advertising, meeting rooms, etc. My commissions totaled only about $250 a month, netting an annual loss of approximately $15,000.”
So even if you make it to the top, it doesn’t mean you’re actually making money.
Something to think about.
Positive Reviews and Complaints
Here’s how ASEA scores on the BBB website:
They get an A+ rating from the BBB, but their reviews are not great. Although there are only 4 of them, so that’s not really enough to go on.
From the BBB website and others, here are some of the positive things being said about ASEA:
- I used to have trouble walking, but now I can run
- My chronic nerve pain has been reduced
- This stunning product saved my life
- My mild arthritis feels better
Some ASEA complaints include:
- The sodium spiked my blood pressure (that came up a couple of times)
- I didn’t notice any changes when using ASEA
- My symptoms got worse from taking ASEA
Then we start getting into the skeptics:
- There’s no proof that this works
- It’s literally just saltwater
- This is snake oil
And then you have this person:
and this one:
This is something you’ll come up against a lot if you try to join an MLM. People are skeptical!
Also, be careful about these types of reviews:
This is clearly fake. Probably someone paid this person to write this. They should get their money back.
- Selling Essential Oils Online [MLM vs Affiliate Marketing]
- MLM vs Affiliate Marketing – Why Affiliate Marketing is 100x Better
- Why I Quit Young Living [Any Why I’m Now Anti-MLM]
Is ASEA a Pyramid Scheme?
So, now the big question. Is ASEA a pyramid scheme? Technically, it’s not. There is a product you can sell retail and as long as that’s the main focus, an MLM company can stay out of trouble.
The problem with ASEA is that pesky autoship. Now, you don’t have to buy into it, that’s true. However, you do need a monthly 100 PV in order to qualify for your bonuses and commissions. And what better way to do that than to sign up for the autoship? (That’s exactly what the compensation plan video says.)
As I mentioned way up above, this is where distributors can get into trouble. I’m not sure what 100 PV equates to exactly, but it’s probably close to $1 per 1 PV. So that’s a minimum of $100 a month (+ tax and shipping) that you’ll need to spend every month. (Unless you can get enough sales to cover the costs.)
That adds up.
Young Living had the same requirements. Believe me, it adds up quickly.
- Inexpensive start-up costs
- People seem to like the product (although they are likely distributors)
- It’s extremely hard to make money in an MLM (in fact, it’s almost impossible)
- People are very skeptical of MLMs and consider them scams even if they technically aren’t
- The product is very expensive, which may make it hard to sell retail
- MLMs like this that focus on a monthly autoship can start getting into pyramid scheme territory
- The FTC can shut this down at any moment as they did with AdvoCare
- There’s no scientific proof that this product does anything special
Just hitting on that last point, there are people who claim that this Redox product is just saltwater. Plain ol’ saltwater.
Here’s a great article that disputes some of the claims of this product and says it’s all pseudoscience.
(You can easily just add some salt to your water at home. It’s much cheaper!)
An Alternative to ASEA
Listen, I love the idea of working for myself too. That’s why I joined Young Living. I SWORE I was going to make a killing with Young Living and show the world what it was like to be a #bossbabe!
It’s never that simple.
What I loved about my Young Living experience is that it brought me back to my favorite way to earn an income online – affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing is promoting other people’s stuff for a commission. But not like MLMs. With affiliate marketing there’s no:
- Training new recruits (there aren’t any recruits)
- Cold messaging
- Warm messaging
- Starter kits
- Monthly order
Basically, it’s a way to make money in your spare time that is much easier than MLMs or network marketing. Read my article MLMs Versus Affiliate Marketing for the full comparison.
Like MLMs, you do have to put time and effort into it to make it work for you, but it’s all things you can learn if you follow a proven step-by-step path.
Is ASEA a pyramid scheme? Not exactly, but I would be cautious with this one. There are some things going against it like extremely high-priced products, a 100PV monthly requirement (and a push towards signing up for monthly autoship) and science claims that are not proven.
If you like the idea of creating an income from home, you can do that through affiliate marketing instead. You can promote pretty much anything that you have an interest in, and you can skip all the hard MLM stuff like cold messaging and hard sales.
If you’d like to learn affiliate marketing step-by-step, this is my #1 recommendation for training. This platform is free to join (no credit card required) and they’ll teach you how to build a website that pays you over and over again.
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