L’dara International Review: Goji anti-ageing
L’Dara launched in late 2013 and are based out of the US state of Arizona.
Heading up L’Dara, who operate in the personal care MLM niche, is CEO, President and Founder, Ray Faltinsky.
Faltinsky (right) is no stranger to the MLM industry, having launched Freelife back in 1995.
In 1995, cofounders Ray Faltinsky and Kevin Fournier, along with a group of investors including Anson Beard of Morgan Stanley/Dean Witter, launched FreeLife International as a direct sales company based on Ray Faltinsky’s prior research on that business model.
Freelife initially marketing products in the nutritional supplements, weight loss and personal care niches, but today focuses on products containing goji juice.
In 2007, following an undercover investigation by CBC, Freelife came under scrutiny for making claims it’s goji products contained anti-cancer and anti-ageing properties.
FreeLife’s former spokesperson, Earl Mindell, has made several unfounded claims about health benefits of the company’s brand of goji juice, including that it has anticancer and anti-aging properties.
Mindell’s involvement with FreeLife was subject of a CBC hidden camera investigation in January 2007, questioning the unsupported anticancer properties of Himalayan Goji Juice and validity of Mindell’s Ph.D. qualification (which was later proved invalid and removed from Mindell’s biography on the FreeLife website).
Claims that undetermined constituents of goji may have a beneficial effect on cancer derive from preliminary evidence of cancer cell inhibition in vitro (i.e. in a dish).
There is no scientific evidence such effects occur in vivo (i.e. when consumed). H. Leon Bradlow, coauthor of a study that Mindell cites as support for this anticancer claim, says that his original research does not, in fact, prove that goji has any anticancer properties.
To the best of my knowledge no regulatory action took place regarding Mindell’s claims, however in 2009 Freelife again found itself in the headlines after a class-action lawsuit was filed against it.
The lawsuit, filed in Arizona, alleged the company made
false claims, misrepresentations, false and deceptive advertising and other issues regarding FreeLife’s Himalayan Goji Juice, GoChi, and TaiSlim products’.
Freelife settled the lawsuit April 2010, making a donation to an “educational organization and promising to ‘take steps to ensure that its goji products are not marketed as “unheated” or “raw.”‘
Today Faltinsky is still listed as “CEO and Founder” of Freeslim on the company website:
In his Freelife executive bio dated 2011, Faltinsky wrote
With the launch of the new TAIslim 90 Day Challenge in October 2011, FreeLife will soon become ‘The Worldwide Leader in Healthy Weight Loss’ and achieve multi-billions in sales.
Those Leaders who lock arms with us now are in a unique position to create an incredible financial future.
Whether or not Freelife became a “worldwide leader in weight loss” and achieved “multi-billions in sales” is unclear, however today Faltinsky’s focus appears to have shifted over to L’dara.
Read on for a full review of the L’dara International MLM business opportunity.
The L’dara Product Line
L’dara’s flagship product is a “new advanced anti-ageing serum”. Discussing L’dara serum on the company website, CEO Ray Faltinsky’s writes
When you have a product that gets 3.5 times the results and works 3 times faster than the competition and is lower priced, the writing is on the wall. It’s going to be a grand slam on that alone.
Our product is totally exclusive to us, and it’s patent-pending, so no one can copy it.
L’dara claims to have had their serum undergo a “third-party clinical trial”, handled by AMA Laboratories:
L’dara International chose to use the prestigious AMA Laboratories in New York to perform a third party clinical trial on L’dara Serum.
According to a study done by a major consumer magazine, the top selling anti-aging creams were found to reduce wrinkles by less than 10% over 12 weeks.
By contrast, in the AMA clinical study, L’dara Serum was able to reduce the appearance of wrinkles by an impressive average of 35%, and in only 4 weeks. In other words, L’dara Serum got results more than 3.5 times better, and 3 times faster!
In the study, some participants even saw a much larger reduction in wrinkles of 50%, 60%, and as high as 78%.
L’dara serum’s active ingredient is goji berry and retails for $120 a bottle.
The L’dara Compensation Plan
L’dara International offer affiliates a comprehensive compensation plan that pays out both retail and preferred customer commissions on the front-end, and residual commissions via a unilevel compensation structure on the back-end.
Several additional bonuses and incentives are also available.
In order to qualify for commissions, all L’dara affiliates must maintain “active” status.
Active status is maintained by either placing a monthly affiliate auto-ship order with the company, or selling 200 Product Volume (PV) worth of product to retail customers each month.
L’dara Affiliate Membership Ranks
There are thirteen affiliate membership ranks within the L’dara compensation plan. Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Senior Marketing Partner – have either a 90 PV autoship order or generate 200 PV in customer orders, recruit 3 affiliates and have 1500 GV in total downline volume
- Team Leader – have either a 90 PV autoship order or generate 200 PV in customer orders, recruit 3 affiliates and have 4500 GV in total downline volume
- Senior Team Leader – have either a 180 PV autoship order or generate 300 PV in customer orders, recruit at least 3 Senior Marketing Partner or higher ranked affiliates and have 12,500 GV in total downline volume
- Executive Team Leader – have either a 180 PV autoship order or generate 300 PV in customer orders, recruit at least 3 Senior Marketing Partner or higher ranked affiliates and have 40,500 GV in total downline volume
- Regional Team Leader – have either a 180 PV autoship order or generate 300 PV in customer orders, recruit at least 3 Team Leader or higher ranked affiliates and have 80,000 GV in total downline volume
- National Team Leader – have either a 180 PV autoship order or generate 300 PV in customer orders, recruit at least 3 Team Leader or higher ranked affiliates and have 150,000 GV in total downline volume
- 1 Star National Team Leader – have either a 180 PV autoship order or generate 300 PV in customer orders, recruit at least 2 Team Leader and 1 National Team Leader or higher ranked affiliates and have 150,000 GV in total downline volume
- 2 Star National Team Leader – have either a 180 PV autoship order or generate 300 PV in customer orders, recruit at least 1 Team Leader and 2 National Team Leader or higher ranked affiliates and have 150,000 GV in total downline volume
- 3 Star National Team Leader – have either a 180 PV autoship order or generate 300 PV in customer orders, recruit at least 3 National Team Leader or higher ranked affiliates and have 150,000 GV in total downline volume
- 4 Star National Team Leader – have either a 180 PV autoship order or generate 300 PV in customer orders, recruit at least 4 National Team Leader or higher ranked affiliates in at least three separate unilevel legs, and have 150,000 GV in total downline volume
- 5 Star National Team Leader – have either a 180 PV autoship order or generate 300 PV in customer orders, recruit at least 5 National Team Leader or higher ranked affiliates in at least five separate unilevel legs, and have 150,000 GV in total downline volume
- International Team Leader – have either a 180 PV autoship order or generate 300 PV in customer orders, recruit at least 6 National Team Leader or higher ranked affiliates in at least six separate unilevel legs, and have 150,000 GV in total downline volume
- Global Team Leader – have either a 180 PV autoship order or generate 300 PV in customer orders, recruit at least 3 National Team Leader and 3 5 Star National Team Leader or higher ranked affiliates in at least six separate unilevel legs, and have 150,000 GV in total downline volume
Note that at any rank, no more than 60% of the qualifying GV can come from any one individual unilevel leg.
Creating Happiness Bonus (actual name)
L’dara’s Creating Happiness Bonus is a rank advancement bonus that pays affiliates for reaching certain membership rank milestones.
- National Team Leader – $25,000
- 3 Star National Team Leader – $100,000
- 5 Star National Team Leader – $250,000
- International Team Leader – $500,000
- Global Team Leader – $1,000,000
Note that the Creating Happiness Bonus is a one-time bonus, payable when an affiliate qualifies for one of the above ranks for the first time only.
L’dara offer retail commissions on the sale of their anti-ageing serum to retail customers (non-affiliates).
The retail commission on each bottle of L’dara sold is $30.
Preferred Customer Commissions
Preferred customers are retail customers who have signed up for a monthly autoship order in exchange for a wholesale discount.
L’dara pay out what they call a “Customer Introduction Bonus” (CIB) on the first order made by a new preferred customer.
The CIB is paid out as a percentage bonus on the order, with how much of a percentage is paid out determined by how many preferred customers an L’dara affiliate has previously brought into the company:
- 1 to 3 preferred customers – 20%
- 4 to 6 preferred customers – 25%
- 7 to 9 preferred customers – 30%
- 10 to 12 preferred customers – 35%
- 13 to 15 preferred customers – 40%
- 16 or more preferred customers – 45%
Customer Differential Bonus
The Customer Differential Bonus pays out the difference a downline affiliate earns via the Customer Introduction Bonus and the maximum 45% an affiliate can earn.
Thus the maximum percentage difference that can be earned via the Customer Differential Bonus is 25% (45% – 20%).
Remember that both the Customer Introduction Bonus and Customer Differential Bonus are only paid out on the first order made by preferred customers.
To qualify for the Customer Differential Bonus, a L’dara affiliate must either generate at least 500 PV worth of product orders in their first thirty days, or be at the Team Leader or higher membership rank.
Customer Commissions are paid out on orders made by customers after their first month.
Each product order generates Product Volume (PV), which affiliates are paid out a percentage of. How much of a percentage is paid out depends on how much PV is generated via customer orders each month (min 200 PV):
- 201 to 500 PV – 10%
- 501 to 1000 PV – 15%
- 1001 to 2500 PV – 20%
- 2500 or more PV – 25%
Note that the initial 200 PV not counted is credited to an affiliate’s upline at a rate of 90% of the point value (190 PV). Once an affiliate hits the 10% rate above (201 to 500 PV), it’s credited at 80%, incrementally decreasing by 10% each level.
Recruitment commissions in L’dara are paid out when a newly recruited affiliate purchases a “Breakthrough Pack” ($499-$999).
The purchase must be made within 30 days of a new affiliate joining L’dara, with how much of a commission is paid out determined by an affiliate’s membership rank:
- Marketing Partner – $50 for a Breakthrough Pack, $100 for an Executive Breakthrough Pack
- Senior Marketing Partner – $75 for a Breakthrough Pack, $150 for an Executive Breakthrough Pack
- Team Leader – $100 for a Breakthrough Pack, $200 for an Executive Breakthrough Pack
- Senior Team Leader – $120 for a Breakthrough Pack, $250 for an Executive Breakthrough Pack
- Executive Team Leader – $130 for a Breakthrough Pack, $275 for an Executive Breakthrough Pack
- Regional Team Leader – $140 for a Breakthrough Pack, $300 for an Executive Breakthrough Pack
- National Team Leader – $150 for a Breakthrough Pack, $325 for an Executive Breakthrough Pack
Breakthrough Pack Differential Bonus
When a recruited affiliate in a downline sells a Breakthrough Pack, their upline can qualify for the Breakthrough Pack Differential Bonus.
This bonus is similar to the Customer Differential Bonus, paying out the difference between what the recruited affiliate who makes on the sale and the rank their immediate upline is.
Eg. if an upline affiliate is ranked Regional Team Leader and a Team Leader ranked member of their downline sells an Executive Breakthrough Pack, the difference between the two tiers is $300 (Regional Team Leader commission) minus $200 (Team Leader commission), meaning the payout to the upline will be $100 (300 – 200 = 100).
In order to qualify for the Breakthrough Pack Differential Bonus, a L’dara affiliate must either generate at least 500 PV of sales volume in their first thirty days, or be at the Team Leader or higher affiliate rank.
Residual Unilevel Commissions
Residual commissions in L’dara are paid out using a unilevel style compensation structure.
A unilevel compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of a unilevel team, with every personally recruited affiliate placed directly under them (level 1):
If any of these level 1 affiliates go on to recruit new affiliates of their own, they are placed on level 2 of the original affiliate’s unilevel team. If any level 2 affiliates recruit new affiliates they are placed on level 3 and so on and so forth.
Commissions are paid out as a percentage of an affiliate’s unilevel team earnings, paid out according to an affiliate’s own membership rank:
- Senior Marketing Partner – 5% on levels 1 to 3
- Team Leader – 5 % on levels 1 to 4
- Senior Team Leader – 5 % on levels 1 to 5
- Executive Team Leader – 5 % on levels 1 to 6
- Regional Team Leader – 5% on level 1 to 6 and 3% on level 7
- National Team Leader or higher – 5% on level 1 to 6, 3% on levels 7 and 8 and 1% on levels 9 and 10
Leadership Organizational Bonus
The Leadership Organizational Bonus acts as an infinity bonus for 1 Star National Team Leader or higher ranked affiliates, allowing them to get paid beyond ten levels of their unilevel team.
Each personally recruited affiliate creates a new individual unilevel leg, with 1 Star National Team Leader or higher ranked affiliates being able to earn an additional 1-3% commissions on their unilevel team.
The Leadership Organizational Bonus percentage is applied to each individual unilevel leg, and is paid out until a downline affiliate of equal or higher rank is found in that leg.
- 1 Star National Team Leader = +1%
- 2 Star National Team Leader = +2%
- 3 Star National Team Leader or higher = +3%
If no same or higher ranked affiliate is found in a unilevel leg, the Leadership Organizational Bonus is applied to all ten levels of that leg.
Leadership Depth Bonus
The Leadership Depth Bonus allows 4 Star National Team Leader or higher ranked affiliates to earn commissions past the initial ten unilevel levels.
The Leadership Depth Bonus pays out an additional percentage commission from level 11 onwards:
- 4 Star National Team Leader – 1%
- 5 Star National Team Leader – 2%
- International Team Leader – 3%
- Global Team Leader- 4%
Note that the Leadership Depth Bonus is applied from level 11 onwards, until another 4 Star National Team Leader or higher ranked affiliate is found in that individual leg. If no ranked affiliate is found, the bonus extends down the entire depth of the unilevel leg.
“Get it free!” Serum Product Commission
L’dara will reduce the price of one bottle of serum on an affiliate’s autoship order to $0 (free) if they have three active autoship order customers.
For each additional three customers an affiliate has, L’dara will reduce the price of another bottle of serum to $0.
If an affiliate generates more free bottles of serum via the Serum Product Commission over what they have on autoship order, the company will send out the “free” bottles over an affiliates order (they send out whichever number is higher, the autoship order or the free bottles).
Additional serum bottles can be obtained via L’dara’s “Care2Share” program. If an affiliate generates at least 500 PV in their first 30 days, they can earn a free bottle of serum each time a preferred customer goes into their second month of autoship, and when a recruited affiliate or customer signs up a preferred customer of their own.
Shipping is not included on any free bottles L’dara send out.
“Get it Free!” Weekly Bonus Pool
Each week L’dara place 1% of the company’s commissionable volume into a bonus pool. This pool is then paid out to qualified affiliates.
Affiliates qualify for the Weekly Bonus Pool by qualifying themselves for a free bottle of L’dara serum within 30 days of joining the company (signing up three autoship orders), and maintaining an active autoship order themselves.
How many shares of the bonus pool an affiliate gets is determined by how many free bottles of serum an affiliate’s customers or downline (recruited affiliates) generate (capped at three shares per customer/affiliate each).
Eg. if an affiliate has a customer and recruited affiliate each generating two free bottles of serum each month, they would qualify for one share plus an additional four shares in the Weekly Bonus Pool (1 + 2 + 2).
Fast Track Bonus Pool
The Fast Track Bonus Pool is paid out weekly and consists of 1% of L’dara’s global commissionable volume.
To qualify for a share in the Fast Track Bonus Pool a L’dara affiliate must have an active autoship order, be Senior Marketing Partner Manager ranked or higher, generate at least 500 PV of sales volume within their first thirty days, recruit at least three new affiliates who sign up for autoship, generate a minimum 2000 Group Volume in downline product sales (up to 1000 of this volume can be PV).
Each affiliate that qualifies as above receives one share in the pool. Additional shares are awarded to affiliates who have personally recruited downlines who qualify for the Fast Track Bonus (one additional share per qualified affiliate).
Luxury Car Bonus
L’dara’s Luxury Car Bonus offers affiliates a payment towards ‘a red or silver BMW, Cadillac, Lexus or Mercedes-Benz’.
The Luxury Car Bonus is paid monthly to Senior Team Leader or higher ranked affiliates:
- Senior Team Leader to Regional Team Leader – $500
- National Team Leader to 2 Star National Team Leader – $750
- 3 Star National Team Leader or higher – $1000
Joining L’dara International
Standard affiliate membership to L’dara is $99.99.
The company also offers Breakthrough Packs to new affiliates, stating that purchasing them “is the best way to join L’dara”:
- Breakthrough Pack – $499.99
- Executive Breakthrough Pack – $999.99
Both packs come with L’dara serum product, a mandatory autoship order (12 months?) and a trial subscription to something called “L’dara Plus”.
L’dara International boasts one of the most comprehensive attempts at retail and preferred customer focused compensation plans that I have seen to date.
There’s a clear distinction between retail (including preferred customers) and affiliates in a downline, with no blending together of the two groups at any point.
I thought the splitting up of preferred customer volume and commission percentage ratios tied into volume generated by said orders was well-done, and something more MLM companies should adopt (typically a flat-rate percentage is offered and that’s that).
Praise for L’dara’s handling of retail and preferred customer commissions aside, there are still some concerns with L’dara’s business model however that need to be addressed.
The first thing that stuck out to me like a sore thumb was the lack of retail qualification criteria for affiliate membership ranks. Apart from mandatory autoship, at any level all that’s required is Group Volume (from recruited affiliates) and meeting affiliate recruitment quotas.
It would have been great to see some required preferred customers tied into affiliate membership ranks, and given the emphasis on retail and preferred customer sales, I’m at a bit of a loss to explain why L’dara didn’t include this.
Before we get any deeper into the compensation plan, I think it’s important to acknowledge the nature of L’dara’s product. That being that it’s a monthly consumable.
I don’t know how quickly the effects of using the product diminish after use, but on the marketing side of things there’s no escaping potential customers wanting to see the results first-hand.
An affiliate can cite any number of clinical studies and show countless before and after pictures of other people, but if the proof isn’t standing there before these customers, they’re going to be skeptical (and at $120 a bottle, why shouldn’t they be).
As such affiliates purchasing and using L’dara serum is unavoidable, which partially excuses mandatory autoship. I say partially because I see no reason for L’dara to increase the quota at the upper end of the affiliate membership ranks.
Affiliates might use this extra product as a marketing tool (samples), but I believe that should be at their prerogative, not a mandatory purchase required by the company.
I do note affiliates have the option of hitting those ranks via order PV, but considering the nature of serum product and both Differential Bonuses requiring an autoship order (amongst others), there’s a high chance an affiliate is going to have an autoship order. Thus it also follows that most affiliates are going to commission qualify themselves via autoship order.
Instead of increasing the autoship amount, I’d suggest L’dara introduce a preferred customer quota. Preferred customers have a minimum PV a month order-wise so that in itself takes care of any PV order concerns the company might have (naturally only preferred customers actually ordering product would count).
Why is all of this important? With any product that lends itself to autoship, there’s always an inherent danger that affiliates will just focus on recruiting new affiliates and signing them up on autoship.
The end result is a company full of affiliates (on autoship) who effectively are paid to recruit new affiliates (on autoship). This would be a shame considering L’dara’s creative mix of retail and preferred customer commissions, but entirely possible under the current plan.
As a prospective L’dara affiliate this would be my primary concern. Conveniently, Ldara’s Breakthrough Packs auto-qualify an affiliate for all commissions and come with an autoship order that takes care of the initial minimum PV requirement.
Problem is, again due to the product and price tag, giving away the included bottles of serum (5 and 10 respectively), is going to be a costly exercise if no customers are generated.
Using the free bottles generated via signing up preferred customers for sampling is a great idea, but the bottles that come with Breakthrough Packages, not so much. Not unless an affiliate is prepared to lose all ten bottles with nothing to show for it.
L’dara themselves do nothing but encourage affiliates to spend $500/$1000 when signing up, recommending the packs as “the best way” to join the company and setting numerous commission qualifications at 500 PV in an affiliate’s first thirty days (both Product Differential Bonuses, Fast Track and Care2Share).
Not to mention upline pressure by way of the commissions offered on each Breakthrough Pack purchase (if anybody pressures you into buying a pack, just stop the conversation right there and run).
Before signing up as an affiliate I’d most definitely try out L’dara’s product for a month or two (make sure you take some before and after shots to use as potential marketing if you decide to sign up as an affiliate later).
If you’re happy with the product the next step would be checking with your potential upline as to how many retail and/or preferred customers they’ve signed up. This is key as it’s going to give you some idea of the retail viability of the serum.
Little to no preferred or retail customers? Then you’ve got a problem. And this would be a shame given the effort L’dara have obviously put into the retail and preferred customer side of the business.
Personally I’m not convinced people are going to drop $120 a month on a goji berry based anti-ageing serum, but then I’m not going to pretend like I’m L’dara’s target demographic market either (sorry gents but from the marketing photos I’ve seen, unless you’re a fan of the glossy Botox-queen look L’dara isn’t for you).
It’s definitely a niche market that is going to want to see results before they shell over. At $120 a bottle and no real way to split samples amongst customers (hygiene and the need to use the serum daily), cost-wise initial participation in L’dara could add up quite quickly.
I might even go so far as to suggest you join as a customer and try to bring three prospective preferred customers to the business (thus getting your own autoship order for free).
I mean hey, what better way to test the viability of the product than to market it on nothing more than the merit of the product itself (and your desire to use it).