ONE AMWAY DOUBTER--AND ONE TRUE BELIEVER
So much for minimizing advertising and eliminating the middleman. Direct-to-consumer, multilevel marketers such as Amway Corp. don't seem to pass the savings on to their agents or distributors, who are the prime consumers of their products ("Amway II: The kids take over," People, Feb. 16).
In addition, Amway prices are often much higher than those of similar products in the conventional retail marketplace. Such marketers try to package their goods in a way that makes them seem unattainable elsewhere. They say the products are concentrated--so that less is needed. Sometimes, they claim they contain rare ingredients. They advise customers to minimize their use of the products--but seem to rely on use being hard to reduce.
P.T. Barnum said: "There is a sucker born every minute," and that's more than enough, it seems, to keep the pipeline of new recruits full for multilevel marketing of every possible stripe.
Thomas D. East
Bryn Mawr, Pa.
Some facts you overlooked: You didn't mention that Amway had created more millionaires and financially independent people than any other company in the U.S. Yes, you are going to have some people who don't succeed, but that's true with any business.
Then you mentioned motivation. Most Americans don't know what it is like to have something positive in their lives. It's nice to be around winners who encourage you and work with you so you can have an opportunity to take care of your family.
Amway is not for everyone, because it requires change. But for those who want something better for themselves and their families, you will not find another business opportunity that not only helps you grow financially but also in all other aspects in your life.
Robert Strong III
Bothell, Wash.Return to top
PRAISE FOR THE DOW JONES/NBC DEAL
Your article on Dow Jones & Co.'s new global business television alliance with NBC characterized the deal as "little examined" ("Dow Jones: Bright lights, big mistake," News: Analysis & Commentary, Feb. 23). In fact, had you checked, you would have found recent discussions of the alliance in reports by three of the analysts who cover Dow Jones.
Here is what the analysts have said: Steven N. Barlow of CS First Boston wrote: "We applaud the joint-venture arrangement." In addition, Lauren Rich Fine of Merrill Lynch & Co. called it "a logical step" and said that the deal "makes enormous sense. Value being surfaced." Susan L. Decker of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Inc. termed the deal "value-enhancing" for Dow Jones. "The alliance is structured as a 50-50 joint venture," she noted, "with Dow Jones receiving fully half of the economic benefits (despite less than 100% ownership of ABN and EBN). The alliance should substantially improve distribution and promotion capabilities."
A postscript: Your story raised the question of, but didn't address, Dow Jones's growth strategy. You were told, but didn't tell readers, that a key component of that strategy is Dow Jones Indexes--the direct competitor of a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies, your publisher.
Richard J. Tofel, Vice-President
Dow Jones & Co.
New YorkReturn to top
BRAZIL'S BUSY SCHEDULE ISN'T NIKE'S DOING
"Pele vs. Nike: Guess who won't score" (Sports Business, Feb. 16) does not accurately represent Nike Inc.'s relationship with the Confederation of Brazilian Football (CBF) and our role in Brazilian football. It does, however, point out Pele's ongoing role as a global spokesman for a competing brand.
A little over a year ago, Nike became a sponsor of the CBF. Since then, we have been accused of adding unnecessary exhibition matches to Brazil's pre-World Cup '98 schedule. Nothing could be further from the truth. As defending world champion, Brazil received an automatic invitation to World Cup '98 and was not involved in the qualifying process for this event. So an ambitious schedule of "friendlies" was developed by the CBF so the champion would be prepared to defend its title. None of the matches were unnecessary additions: The team would have played someone, somewhere, even if Nike were not a team sponsor.
Keith G. Peters
Hilversum, NetherlandsReturn to top