A dispute over unpaid commissions has revealed Aawakend founder Rodney James has purchased Q Sciences.

BehindMLM noted Awakend’s Zenith supplement being sold through QSciences last month.

A week after this update, James purchasing Q Sciences was framed as a “strategic partnership“.

Why James’ purchase of Q Sciences was just openly disclosed is unclear.

Today Awakend’s products are front and center on Q Sciences website as “featured products”:

There is no mention of Q Sciences on Awakend’s website.

As to the dispute that confirmed James’ purchase of Q Sciences, we turn to a March 17th Instagram post from Q Sciences Advisory Council Member and top earner Mariel Filippone.

In a statement “from the desks of Frank and Mariel Filippone, Nick and Brittany Hitch, Dwayne and Kristen Wyatt, and Anthony and Claudia Gonzalez, Filippone accuses Q Sciences of withholding commissions.

We will not mince words. We have no choice because of the lies, manipulation, and inappropriate behavior we have endured at the hands of co-owner and then President of Q Sciences, Jake Spencer.

As shameful as it seems, it appears no one within this network is beyond the reach of his unethical conduct, including [a] substantial amount of field leaders and corporate employees who have shared with us about the emotionally abusive and immoral conduct of Mr. Spencer.

Problems began for Q Sciences top earners when commissions checks began drying up during the second half of 2023.

During our time with Q Sciences, our individual businesses have fluctuated because ebbs and flows are part of any business.

The decline in our checks and those who worked with us, though alarming, was only part of the reason we felt the need to seek opportunities elsewhere that would be complementary to what we had established with Q Sciences.

This led to the creation of The Digital Course, a “resell rights” non-MLM gifting scheme.

The Digital Course’s website lists Filippone, Brittany Hitch, Claudia Gonzalez and Kristen Wyatt as founders of the company.

The Digital Course itself sees newly recruited participants gift upfront payments of $297, $497 or $597, and then $75 a month (optional) to existing participants.

Bundled with the gifting payments are access to digital marketing courses that facilitate promotion of The Digital Course.

A COMPREHENSIVE business, branding, marketing, and automation course, organized and categorized so that it is easy to follow.

The Digital Course runs its gifting scheme under the guise of “master resell rights”.

THE Digital Course has the Master Resell Rights included, so that you can quickly turn around and start offering this course to your network for an immediate return on your investment!

Although it’s mostly died out, “Master Resale Rights” MLM pyramid schemes were a thing in the 2000s and 2010s.

BehindMLM’s first documented Master Resale Rights pyramid scheme was X4More back in 2011.

Non-MLM variants of the scheme are effectively single-level gifting schemes. New recruits directly pay those who recruit them, without the MLM component (typically split payments).

Without the attached illegal gifting scheme, whatever is attached to the payments is worthless (typically it’s a digital marketing library of some sort or random ebooks).

One way to comply with gifting scheme regulations would be to separate the income opportunity from the product. That way if the product bundled with access to the gifting scheme  is worth anything, the company would be able to point to the majority of its customers not opting for the attached income opportunity.

This is similar to an MLM company pointing to retail sales volume to establish it isn’t operating as a pyramid scheme.

Naturally this never happens in Master Resell Rights gifting schemes because, well… y’know.

With The Digital Course, it seems a new generation of MLM top earners have discovered the gifting model and are trying to resurrect it.

Regulation of illegal gifting schemes like The Digital Course falls under the jurisdiction of the USPS and FTC.

Getting back to Q Sciences, Filippone claims “all matters” relating to The Digital Course were initially “cleared with Q Sciences”, but then she and her co-founders were “blindsided”.

Q Sciences suspended our accounts on February 9, 2024.

Surely they had to have evidence, right?

No. Q Sciences copied and pasted the exact same letter to all by using boilerplate letters which lacked any facts or allegations other than suggesting we acted unethically.

Not one single shred of evidence was produced by Q Sciences, and it was clear that the company was acting in bad faith.

If I can point out the obvious here, going off and launching an illegal gifting scheme is probably in violation of most MLM company Policies and Procedures.

Certainly The Digital Course’s founders recruiting their Q Sciences downlines into a gifting scheme would constitute cause?

Filippone claims after the suspensions were handed down, negotiations between the suspended ambassadors and Q Sciences continued.

Initially Justin Rose (right), President of Awakend but purportedly having taken over Q Sciences’ compliance from CEO Marc Wilson by February 2024, is claimed to have told Filippone

that both his and the company’s position would be that they will allow ambassadors to engage in multiple business opportunities.

He stated that all suspensions that were levied lacked merit, “should never have happened,” would be reversed, and all outstanding commissions would be released.

An agreement was purportedly reached, through which all suspended accounts would be “reinstated on February 15, 2024”. Unpaid commissions were then to be paid on February 16th.

Filippone then claims

Q Sciences went back on their word just a day later and said that we would be paid past due commissions the following week.

Another meeting was held on February 21st. Filippone claims Q Sciences acknowledged

  1. The Digital Course wasn’t MLM and thus was “categorically different from the Q Sciences business model”.
  2. The Digital Course did not engage in commission-based sales and
  3. the MLM a/k/a network marketing industry as a whole was shrinking (which is part of the reason why nearly all Q Sciences ambassadors paychecks were disappearing)

Also discussed at the meeting was The Digital Course entering into a partnership. And it is here Filippone confirms Rodney James having purchased Q Sciences.

Similar discussions were also held between Ms. Filippone and new owner, Rodney James, as well as Ashley Headley.

Mr. James and Ms. Headley shared a deep desire for each of us to work with the new Q Sciences moving forward, were open to collaboration or partnership with The Digital Course, and stated that they had no issues with us continuing to operate The Digital Course.

We were asked to wait a few days so we could put this whole ordeal behind us, so we gave Q Sciences the opportunity to remedy the situation once again.

The next day Q Sciences suspended The Digital Course co-founder Kristen Wyatt, citing “cross recruiting langage”.

Less than 24 hours later, Friday, February 24th, 2024 … the rest of our families were informally suspended by Marc Wilson [right], the supposedly soon-to-be-retired and former CEO of Q Sciences.

The letter was emotionally charged and once again lacked any evidence of alleged wrongdoing.

Our families were blindsided, distressed, and heartbroken to receive a meritless letter from someone who they believed to be a true friend.

New Q Sciences owner Rodney James was made aware of the developments but reportedly “never responded to any message, never called, and never picked up the phone again”.

The suspended The Digital Course co-founders issued Q Sciences with a February 29th deadline, “before matters were forced to escalate”.

On a call prior to the deadline, Jake Spencer (right) is reported to have asserted he personally

had no interest in moving forward with an existing business relationship between any of our families and further stated that he would only agree to an amicable separation as a favor to “the men of Q Sciences.”

Filippone claims Spencer reinstated the suspended accounts and then scheduled another meeting the following Monday (March 4th).

At the March 4th Meeting, Filippone claims Spencer;

  • stated that … “Marc Wilson would personally fund a legal battle against us”
  • cited unreported legal cases … as a basis for Q Sciences Policies and Procedures violations
  • advised he could not render a decision on The Digital Course until meeting with Q Sciences’ new “Leadership Committee” on March 6th

The “decision on The Digital Course” appears to pertain to a plan to integrate The Digital Course into Q Sciences.

As a final gesture of good faith and to once again show that we only sought to protect Q Sciences and to facilitate a resolution, The Digital Course offered to discount its best-selling product by $155 (which happens to be the minimum amount of money an individual needs to become commission-qualified within Q Sciences) to an active Q Sciences ambassador who provided proof that their monthly subscription order with Q Sciences had processed successfully.

Sidenote: If Q Science ambassadors commission qualifying via a monthly spend to earn predominately on recruited ambassadors doing the same sounds like a pyramid scheme to you, it is. BehindMLM pointed out as much in our 2018 Q Sciences review.

The Digital COurse also offered to allow enrollment into their monthly paid mentorship group, TheCollective, for FREE if said Q Sciences ambassador could prove that they were continuing to be commission-qualified for that specific month, thereby shifting all financial incentive for Q Sciences customers and ambassadors to continue doing business with Q Sciences.

Filippone claims The Digital Course’s offers were “never discussed” during subsequent Q Sciences Leadership Committee meetings.

Shortly after our offer lapsed, on March 7, 2024, Rodney James (newly designated CEO of Q Sciences) sent an untimely email seeking to discuss resolution of all issues with a proposed meeting to occur on March 11, 2024.

For reasons that aren’t clear, Claudia Gonzalez is reported to have been paid a “portion” of her owed commissions on March 8th.

When queried on the payment, James didn’t respond. Filippone claims after the payment was made, Jake Spencer

became highly confrontational and directed his anger at staff for properly releasing a payment to Mrs. Gonzalez.

Meanwhile the March 11th meeting Rodney James had set up fell through.

Several days later, Mr. James emailed seeking to have yet another meeting, and although we offered time slots to schedule it, we never received another response.

As of March 17th, the date of Filippone’s published letter;

None of our families have received any of the tens of thousands of dollars owed to use despite being unsuspended, active, in good standing, and commision qualified since February 29th, 2024.

There are several other ambassadors who have now experienced similar conduct and held back payments despite the fact that there is no issue with their account status.

While the livelihoods of each of our families have been affected, what is even worse is that Q Sciences has succeeded in alienating the people who gave the most to the company.

This has also had the direct effect of causing mass confusion in the field and prevented any of us from servicing accounts or concerns of clients or ambassadors.

The self-inflicted wounds of Q Sciences are clear, and a company that was once a pillar of hope and prosperity for our families has now become nothing more than an abuser and a bully, pursuing a personal vendetta in an attempt to control every facet of the lives of women and mothers who owe him nothing.

What a mess.

First off, regardless of whether Q Sciences is an autoship recruitment scheme or The Digital Collective is an illegal gifting scheme, unpaid commissions isn’t on.

Pay out what is owed and then move on.

Next, and this is subjective on my part, given Awakend’s trajectory Rodney James purchasing Q Sciences probably isn’t going to end well.

Certainly integrating a non-MLM gifting scheme into Q Sciences, through which the majority of participants are guaranteed to lose money, isn’t going to resuscitate Q Sciences’ bottom line.

Between January and February 2024, SimilarWeb tracked a 67% reduction in Q Sciences website traffic (97K monthly visits down to 32K).

During the same period, Awakend’s website traffic increased from ~600 visits a month to ~2900.

Legal action has been threatened by both Q Sciences and The Digital Course’s co-founders. Whether either party follows through remains to be seen.


Update 20th June 2024 – Mariel Filippone has deleted the Instagram post cited in this article.

This article originally linked to Fillippone’s Instagram post. As a result of the deletion, I’ve disabled the previously accessible link.