Limu Review: No autoship order, no commissions?
Limu was founded in 2004 and are based out of the US state of Florida.
Limu (interchangeable with “the Limu Company”) operates in the health and wellness MLM niche and is headed up by Founder, CEO and President, Gary Raser.
Having proven himself in the world of business, building his own success as a distributor in network marketing, Gary turned his strategic vision to create the LIMU dream: making better futures for families everywhere.
In a promotional video on the Limu website, Raser (right) claims to have been introduced by “a guy” who “called him up every day inviting him to one of those meetings”. Raser says that after he finally attending one of the meetings, he was “hooked”.
That was 25 years ago (and) we were successful right from the beginning, but not without disappointment.
Raser claims that after experiencing disappointment and frustration with MLM companies changing compensation plans to benefit the executive staff over “the field”, his wife suggested he start his own company.
This company was Dynamic Essentials, which Raser co-founded in November of 2008 with Kevin Jones. By the end of 2009 Dynamic Essentials was bought out by Nature’s Bounty Inc. (NBTY), who are
an American manufacturer of vitamins and nutritional supplements which are distributed under many third party brands in the United States and internationally.
Dyanamic Essentials continued on as an independent MLM company, operating as a subsidiary of NBTY. Dynamic Essentials’ flagship product was a seaweed extract named “Royal Tongan Limu”.
In 2002 Dynamic Essentials was issued a warning by the FTC in regards to their marketing material, which claimed Royal Tongan Limu
was clinically proven to cure, prevent, or treat a range of diseases and disorders such as allergies, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Dynamic Essentials failed to adequately respond to the FTC’s warning and the following year in 2003 they were abruptly shutdown by the regulator.
Facing seizure of their product inventory, Dynamic Essentials instead opted to
voluntarily destroy its inventory of bottles of Royal Tongan Limu, along with the product’s related literature and materials.
NBTY was no stranger to FTC violations, having previously been pinged in 1995 for
falsely or without substantiation (advertising) that its products promoted weight loss, increased muscle mass, decreased body fat, promoted hair growth, prevented premature hair loss, lowered cholesterol, and prevented arthritis.
The result of the FTC’s 1995 action against NBTY resulted in a $250,000 consumer redress payment and a settlement order.
Under the terms of the order settling the matter, NBTY agreed not to make unsubstantiated claims about any dietary supplement and not to misrepresent the results or conclusions of any test, study, research article, or any other scientific opinion or data.
The FTC used Dynamic Essentials shutdown as evidence showing NBTY had breached the terms of the 1995 order made against them. The FTC took the matter to court and NBTY were ordered to pay $2 million dollars civil penalty.
In 2004, the year after Dynamic Essentials was shutdown, Gary Raser returned to the MLM industry with the launch of Limu.
Prior to Dynamic Essentials, Raser was an affiliate of National Safety Associates (NSA), achieving the top-level affiliate rank of “National Marketing Director”.
NSA marketed a series of water and air filters, coming under regulator scrutiny in 1992 due to the recruitment practices of some of its affiliates.
In response to the media attention surrounding the issue, Raser stated at the time that
(NSA) distributors are supposed to focus on sales, not recruiting.
Herndon and other ex-distributors, he said, did not follow all the sales training and became frustrated when they failed to sell the product.
Read on for a full review of the Limu MLM business opportunity.
The Limu Product Line
Like Dynamic Essentials before it, Limu market a range of seaweed-extract based nutritional beverages.
Searching for a unique product, Gary discovered a tradition in the Islands of Tonga that stretched back thousands of years: Tongan natives regularly harvested limu moui, a particular type of natural seaweed containing Fucoidan, a supernutrient that would prove to have scientifically proven health benefits. And it is Fucoidan that powers every LIMU product.
Limu’s flagship product is a “Fucoidan-enriched nutritional supplement” they call Limu Original, which retails for $50 a bottle. Limu Original is also available in a concentrated shot variety.
Additionally Limu markets a “BluFrog” energy drink ($65 for a case of 24 cans), which contains ‘a host of naturally power-packed fruits, herbs, minerals and added B vitamins‘. And there’s also “Limu Lean” ($220), a weightloss product that contains a meal replacement shake ($47.50 per canister), appetite controller ($20) and digestive health cleanse ($20).
The Limu Compensation Plan
Limu’s compensation plan provides affiliates with a strong foundation to generate retail sales, however most of the commissions and bonuses available are tied into recruiting affiliates via a Fast Start Pack, and making sure they sign up with a monthly autoship order.
Limu Affiliate Membership Ranks
There are ten affiliate membership ranks in the Limu compensation plan and, along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- M – sign up as an affiliate and ‘create a monthly AutoShip of 100 PV or more‘
- 1K – maintain a monthly autoship order of 100 PV or more, personally recruit 2 affiliates who both have an autoship of 100 PV or more and have a downline generating at least 1000 GV
- 2K – maintain a monthly autoship order of 100 PV or more, personally recruit 2 affiliates who both have an autoship of 100 PV or more and have a downline generating at least 2000 GV (no more than 1200 GV from any one individual unilevel leg)
- 5K – maintain a monthly autoship order of 100 PV or more, personally recruit 3 affiliates who both have an autoship of 100 PV or more and have a downline generating at least 5000 GV (no more than 3000 GV from any one individual unilevel leg)
- 20K – maintain a monthly autoship order of 200 PV or more, personally recruit 4 affiliates who both have an autoship of 100 PV or more and have a downline generating at least 20,000 GV (no more than 12,000 GV from any one individual unilevel leg)50K – maintain a monthly autoship order of 200 PV or more, personally recruit 5 affiliates who both have an autoship of 100 PV or more and have a downline generating at least 50,000 GV (no more than 30,000 GV from any one individual unilevel leg)
- 100K – maintain a monthly autoship order of 200 PV or more, personally recruit 5 affiliates who both have an autoship of 100 PV or more and have a downline generating at least 100,000 GV (no more than 60,000 GV from any one individual unilevel leg)
- 200K – maintain a monthly autoship order of 200 PV or more, personally recruit 5 affiliates who both have an autoship of 100 PV or more and have a downline generating at least 200,000 GV (no more than 120,000 GV from any one individual unilevel leg)
- 500K – maintain a monthly autoship order of 200 PV or more, personally recruit 5 affiliates who both have an autoship of 100 PV or more and have a downline generating at least 500,000 GV (no more than 300,000 GV from any one individual unilevel leg)
- 1M – maintain a monthly autoship order of 200 PV or more, personally recruit 5 affiliates who both have an autoship of 100 PV or more and have a downline generating at least 100,000,000 GV (no more than 400,000 GV from any one individual unilevel leg)
Note that PV stands for “Personal Volume” and GV stands for “Group Volume”.
Affiliate Membership Rank Cash Bonuses
When a Limu affiliate qualifies at the 100K affiliate membership rank or higher for the first time, the company pays out a cash bonus for each affiliate membership rank achieved.
- 100K (must qualify for three consecutive months) – $10,000
- 200K – $20,000 over 12 months
- 500K – $100,000 over 12 months
- 1M – $250,000 over 18 months
Note that affiliates must maintain their qualifying affiliate rank over the period the respective bonus is paid out. Failing to qualify for any particular month results in the forfeiting of the Affiliate Membership Rank Cash Bonus for that month.
Experience Kit Order Commissions
Limu’s flagship product Limu Original appears to only be available from the company via what they call “Experience Kits”. Each kit is essentially a bundling of Limu Original in a multi-pack:
- Experience Kit 1 ($60) – 2 bottles of Limu Original
- Experience Kit 2 ($95) – 2 bottles of Limu Original and 15 Limu Original shots
- Experience Kit 3 ($120) – 4 bottles of Limu Original
Commissions on these Experience Kits are paid out weekly, using a six level deep unilevel 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 level 1 affiliates go on to recruit new affiliates of their own, they are placed on level 2 and so on and so forth down six levels of recruitment.
Commissions on the sale of Limu Experience packs are determined by which level of an affiliate’s unilevel team the sale is made:
- Level 1 (personal affiliate recruits and retail customers) – 25%
- Level 2 – 10%
- Levels 3 to 6 – 5%
Note that retail customers can “recruit” customers of their own to qualify for free Limu products, with these orders also paid out at 25% (counting as a level 1 sale).
Fast Track Pack Bonus
Fast Track packs contain Limu products and “sales tools”. If a newly recruited Limu affiliate purchases one of the Fast Track Packs ($499 and $999), the affiliate who recruited them qualifies for a Fast Track Bonus.
The Fast Track Bonus is paid out according to an affiliate’s membership rank, as well as the Fast Track Pack being purchased by the newly recruited affiliate.
Fast Track Pack ($499):
- M or 1K – $50 on level 1
- 2K or 5K – $100 on level 1
- 20K – $130 on level 1 and $15 on level 2
- 50K – $155 on level 1 and $15 on level 2
- 100K – $170 on level 1 and $15 on level 2
- 200K – $180 on level 1 and $15 on level 2
Fast Track Plus Pack ($999):
- M or 1K – $100 on level 1
- 2K or 5K – $200 on level 1
- 20K – $260 on level 1 and $30 on level 2
- 50K – $310 on level 1 and $20 on level 2
- 100K – $340 on level 1 and $20 on level 2
- 200K – $360 on level 1 and $20 on level 2
Note that “level 1” refers to personally recruited affiliates and “level 2” refers to the level 1 affiliate’s upline.
First Order Bonus
The First Order Bonus pays out on the first order placed by a newly recruited Limu affiliate, excluding any Fast Track Pack orders which are paid according to the Fast Track Bonus (see above).
The First Order Bonus pays out down six levels of recruitment and is paid out as a percentage of the volume generated by a newly recruited affiliate’s first order:
- Level 1 – 25%
- Level 2 – 10%
- Levels 3 to 6 – 5%
2K VIP Bonus
If a newly recruited Limu affiliate qualifies as a 2K affiliate within their first calendar month of joining, that affiliate is paid a $200 VIP bonus.
Note that a Limu affiliate must purchase a Fast Start Pack in order to qualify for the 2k VIP Bonus.
Residual Unilevel Commissions
Residual commissions in Limu 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 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 of their own they are placed on level 3 and so on and so forth down a theoretically infinite number of levels.
Limu cap unilevel commissions down 8 levels of recruitment, with commissions paid out at 5% of the sales volume generated by an affiliate’s downline.
How many levels a Limu affiliate is paid out on depends on their Limu affiliate membership rank:
- Member – 5% on level 1
- 1K – 5% on levels 1 and 2
- 2K – 5% on levels 1 to 3
- 5K – 5% on levels 1 to 4
- 20K – 5% on level 1 to 5
- 50K – 5% on levels 1 to 6
- 100K or higher – 5% on all eight available unilevel levels
Leadership Development Bonus
Limu’s Leadership Development Bonus serves as an “infinite bonus”, effectively extending unilevel commissions past the eight level for 100K or higher qualified Limu affiliates.
In order to qualify for the Leadership Infinity Bonus, a Limu affiliate must have at least two 100K qualified affiliates somewhere in their unilevel team.
Once this condition is met, an affiliate will then earn 5% on their unilevel team volume, from the ninth level down to infinity.
Once another 100K qualified Limu affiliate is found in the unilevel team volume past the 9th level, 5% continues to be paid out till the level that affiliate is placed on but the percentage lowers to 3% after that level (down to infinity).
Leader’s Pool Bonus
Each month Limu set aside 2% of the “global unilevel volume” and pay it back out to their 100K or higher qualified affiliates.
The 2% of volume is split between two pools with the first being shared by 100K and 200K qualified affiliates, and the second by 500K and 1M qualified affiliates.
How much of a share in each pool a Limu affiliate receives is calculated based on their sales volume from the first eight levels of their unilevel team.
All Limu affiliates who are at the 20K or higher affiliate membership rank qualify for a $600 a month BMW Car Bonus. Optionally a Limu affiliate can opt to receive the car bonus as a $30 a month cash bonus.
Note that only affiliates who purchase a Fast Track Pack within 30 days of joining the company can qualify for the Limu Car Bonus.
Limu’s Reward Trips are “all-expenses paid” trips the company rewards affiliates with when they qualify as 50K or higher ranked affiliates.
- 50K (maintain rank for 6 months) – “five days and four nights on a cruise ship in the Bahamas”
- 100K (maintain qualification for 6 months during first qualification period and then every 12 months thereafter) – “locales like the Caribbean and Mexico”
- 500K (occurs “every other year”, must maintain 500K qualification for a full 12 months) – “Nine days and eight nights in one of a possible seven exotic locations (Italy, Central Europe, France, Australia, the British Isles or Tahiti)”
Note that the qualification period for the trips is annually (12 months) and that trips that don’t require 12 month qualification can be qualified throughout the year.
Also note that only affiliates who purchase a Fast Track Pack can qualify for Limu’s Reward Trips.
Limu Equity Program
Limu’s Equity Program is a bit of a mystery, with the company’s compensation plan material only stating
Upon reaching the rank of 500K and above, you will participate in the LIMU Equity Compensation Plan.
No further information is provided however judging by the name, this appears to be some sort of share-issuing scheme within the Limu compensation plan.
Affiliate membership to Limu costs $135 and comes with 4 bottles of Limu Original.
An affiliate can also sign up with a Fast Track Pack, costing either $499 or $999.
With a solid retail product line-up it is somewhat puzzling to see Limu’s compensation plan stacked towards affiliate autoship recruitment.
One of the extremely positive aspects of the Limu compensation plan was that of enabling customers refer other customers and receive future orders of Limu Original for free.
There’s absolutely no financial incentive for the customer other than receiving product, and all generated volume is credited towards the affiliate who introduced the first customer to Limu’s product line.
On its own I thought this was a fantastic incentive to drive retail activity, however when you take Limu’s compensation plan as a whole, it’s unfortunately severely outweighed.
Before we get into those however I thought it was worth mentioning that I didn’t quite understand the point of Limu’s retail prices. I accessed the company’s online store and found that all prices quoted, even for individual product orders (not autoship) appeared to be wholesale.
Apparently retail prices to exist (Limu provide customers with projected savings off retail prices), however products don’t appear to be available at retail. At least not from a Limu affiliate’s online replicated storefront.
I suppose the idea is that Limu affiliates will try to sell products themselves at retail, however who will be buying the product I have no idea. Why shell out $50 for a bottle of Limu Original when 2 bottles are sold for $60 from an affiliate’s online store?
In this sense retail prices and quoted savings off retail appeared to be somewhat disingenuous, providing customers with a sense of saving when infact nobody is likely to buy at Limu’s, dare I say it, inflated retail prices.
Moving onto the non-retail aspects of Limu’s compensation plan, red flags arise when one takes into consideration Limu’s mandatory autoship culture. I did note one section of the company’s compensation plan mentions:
In order to be qualified for commissions as a LIMU Member, you need to either place an order of 100PV or more each month through our AutoShip program, OR have personally sponsored at least three Customers who have placed orders of at least 300QV in the prior month.
However elsewhere in the compensation plan, commission qualification appears to be solely tied into an affiliate’s requiring a monthly autoship order.
For example, the “Member” affiliate rank qualification, which is the starter affiliate position in the plan, simply states that to qualify for commissions, a Limu affiliate must
- Enroll as a new member (and)
- Create a monthly autoship of 100 PV or more
That’s it. Furthermore in the compensation plan glossary an “Active Member”, ie. an affiliate who qualifies for commissions, is simply defined as:
A Member who is actively enrolled on AutoShip when commissions are calculated and has Personal Volume of at least 100 PV during the calendar month.
The reason mandatory autoship for commission qualification is such a major red flag is because it calls into question the motive behind product purchases by affiliates.
A legitimate MLM company will have affiliates purchasing products of their volition and because they have a genuine need and appreciation of the value of the product(s).
When you force your affiliates to purchase products to qualify for commissions, how can you claim they aren’t just purchasing products “to qualify for commissions”?
You can’t, and therein lies a problem.
The second major red flag is the Fast Track Packs Limu market. Not the packs themselves but the way in which the purchase of them is integrated into the compensation plan, and the way these packs are marketed to prospective affiliates.
Limu will no doubt argue that their affiliates most certainly do buy their products, autoship or otherwise, because they want to, however it’s a hard case to make when Limu’s own marketing material advises prospective affiliates:
How do I get paid?
-Choose a Fast Track Pack.
-Set up your monthly AutoShip with 100PV.
-Promote The LIMU EXPERIENCE by sharing it with others
Conveniently, the above Limu corporate marketing copy brings me to the second major red-flag in the compensation plan, the Fast Track Packs. Not so much the packs themselves but how they are marketed and integrated directly into Limu’s compensation plan as a commission qualifier.
Here’s an example of the copy used to market the Fast Start Packs written and used by Limu themselves:
Why go the Fast Track Pack route? Well, the easy answer is that you’ll earn more and build faster than you would normally.
Again, the motive behind any Fast Track Pack purchase is immediately called into question by virtue of the fact that said purchase grants an affiliate increased earning potential.
Are affiliate’s buying the Packs because they see value in the packs themselves or just because, as Limu themselves state, they’ll “earn more”?
And “build faster” is of course just another way to say “recruit faster”, which is another problem with the way the Fast Start Packs are integrated into Limu’s business model.
Here’s how Limu suggest is the “fastest way” for affiliates successfully start off in the business:
The fastest way to become a 2K VIP is by starting off with a $499 Fast Track Pack and enrolling 3 new Members who also purchase a fast track pack.
Step 1, buy a Fast Start Pack and, Step 2, recruit others who do the same. Again, arguing that affiliates are purchasing these Packs for anything but commission qualification and “fast” success via the compensation plan doesn’t carry much weight.
Especially when affiliates who don’t purchase a Fast Start Pack lock themselves out of the upper tiers of Limu’s compensation plan bonuses. The Car Bonus, Fast Track Bonus and Luxury Trips bonuses all require the mandatory purchase of a Fast Track Bonus within 30 days of a newly recruited affiliate joining the company.
No buy? No bonus, regardless of whether an affiliate meets the additional affiliate rank qualifications or not.
This no doubt lends itself to Limu affiliates running around focusing on Fast Track Pack affiliate recruitment, building a business by encouraging their downlines to recruit (who in turn do the same).
Precisely not how you want to grow an MLM business as you pretty much ignore retail product sales and wind up with a company with close to 100% affiliate revenue generation.
Finally there’s the murky “equity plan” mentioned in the compensation plan yet for some reason not explained or clarified as to what exactly it is.
I did try to find some additional information but Limu themselves do not provide any to the general public (prospective affiliates).
I marked this as strange for something marketed as the ‘most exciting aspect of the Limu compensation plan‘ (actual quote taken from a Limu affiliate website).
All in all despite the great customer reward program Limu have, clearly the rest of their compensation plan is geared towards recruiting new affiliates with a Fast Start Pack and whacking them on autoship.
With free product the sole incentivization on the retail side of things, I’m not seeing it prevail or even strike a balance against the rest of the plan.
As a prospective Limu affiliate definitely ask your potential upline as to their retail vs. affiliate generated volume, and pay particular attention to how you were approached to the business opportunity.
Did your potential upline lead with the product or did they simply launch into a “the fastest way to make money is to sign up, buy a Fast Track Pack and “share” the opportunity with others” type spiel.
A potential upline might not be as blunt as how I’ve put it above but given the way Limu’s compensation plan is laid out, I’m pretty confident most prospects are going to find they’re approached via the latter.