Foru International Review: DNA kits providing “personalized nutrition”?
Foru International operate in the health and nutrition MLM niche and began as GeneWize Life Sciences back in 2008.
Today the company cites a corporate address in Irving, Texas on its website. On Foru International’s Facebook page however, a different address in Orlando, Florida is provided.
Heading up Foru International are Stacey Clark and Rebecca Ortolaza, who serve as co-Presidents of the company.
As per Clark’s and Ortolaza’s respective Foru International corporate bios;
Stacey Clark has over 30 years of experience in the direct selling industry, having consulted with or worked as a senior executive with over 30 different organizations.
A finance and operations executive, Stacey is a proven expert in the areas of compensation, logistics, finance, operations and customer service.
With over 13 years experience in customer service, Rebecca Ortolaza has specialized in customer care, training and compliance.
With over eight years experience in the direct selling industry, Rebecca has worked with some very large and well-known names.
Despite claims both co-Presidents have been involved in the MLM industry for years, I was unable to tie either of them to anything prior to Foru International.
I’m not saying Clark and Ortolaza haven’t been involved in other MLM companies, just that their stated experience doesn’t appear significant enough to warrant any third-party documentation (or even first-party for that matter).
In 2012 Capsalus Corp finalized the purchase of GeneWize Life Sciences, Foru International’s parent company at the time.
Wharton Equity and Fidelity Holdings are cited as “noteworthy participants” in the acquisition, however in what capacity is unclear.
Today Foru International claims on its website that it is “financially backed” by Wharton Equity and Fidelity Investments (next to a logo for Fidelity Holdings).
In 2014 Foru International was the target of an FTC complaint over deceptive advertising practices.
Back in the day, consumers looking for a personalized product had to settle for a monogrammed hanky.
GeneLink, Inc. and foru International Corporation claimed to take personalization to a new level by testing each buyer’s DNA and formulating products to address that person’s genetic weaknesses.
But according to the FTC, the companies didn’t have sound science to support their claims.
The FTC alleged Foru International
didn’t have sound science to support that the supplements could compensate for genetic disadvantages identified in the DNA test and reduce that person’s risk of illness.
Those promises about diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and insomnia?
Unproven, alleged the FTC.
The complaint also challenges the companies’ claim that the skin serum was scientifically proven.
Rather than provide evidence of its claims, Foru International settled the complaint.
The settlement saw Foru International agree to stop falsely representing its products
will treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of any disease (including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, or insomnia) by modulating the effect of genes or based on a person’s customized genetic assessment.
Read on for a full review of the Foru International MLM opportunity.
Foru International Products
Foru International market a DNA assessment service and products in the nutrition and weight management niches.
When I clicked for more information on the Foru International’s DNA assessment service I received an application runtime error.
A 2016 post on the Foru International Facebook page markets the DNA assessment service as follows:
A foru DNA Assessment tests 12 key gene SNPs.
Learn why these genes are important for your optimal health!
Receive nutritional suggestions based on your genes!
If you’d like, get nutrition personalized based on your DNA results! It’s that simple!
I soon discovered that all of Foru International’s website product pages display the same application runtime error.
From the images provided on the Foru International website;
- personalized nutrition is available (based on the DNA test) and seems to be a pouch formula of some sort
- Perfect Shake is a weight-loss drink formula and
- Fuel is another drink formula that “burns fat” and “curbs appetite”
How long Foru International’s product section of their website has been broken for is unclear.
The Foru International Compensation Plan
The Foru International compensation plan combines retail and recruitment commissions, with a heavy focus on affiliate autoship.
Foru International Affiliate Ranks
There are twelve affiliate ranks within the Foru International compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Brand Partner – purchase 75 BV worth of product each month or generate 150 PV and recruit and maintain two active Brand Partners
- Rising Star – maintain a personal 75 BV monthly product order or 150 PV, maintain two active Brand Partners and generate 1000 GV a month on the weaker side of your binary team
- Director – maintain a personal 75 BV monthly product order or 150 PV, recruit and maintain four active Brand Partners and generate 2000 GV a month on the weaker side of your binary team or 4000 PET
- Regional Director – purchase 150 BV worth of product each month or generate 300 PV, maintain four active Brand Partners and generate 6000 GV a month on the weaker side of your binary team or 12,000 PET
- Senior Director – purchase 150 BV worth of product each month or generate 300 PV, recruit and maintain five active Brand Partners and generate 10,000 GV a month on the weaker side of your binary team or 20,000 PET
- Executive Director – purchase 175 BV worth of product each month or generate 350 PV, recruit and maintain six active Brand Partners and generate 20,000 GV a month on the weaker side of your binary team or 40,000 PET
- Diamond Director – purchase 200 BV worth of product each month or generate 400 PV, recruit and maintain seven active Brand Partners or two Senior Directors and generate 50,000 GV a month on the weaker side of your binary team or 100,000 PET
- Double Diamond – purchase 225 BV worth of product each month or generate 450 PV, recruit and maintain eight active Brand Partners or three Senior Directors and generate 100,000 GV a month on the weaker side of your binary team or 200,000 PET
- Blue Diamond – purchase 225 BV worth of product each month or generate 450 PV, recruit and maintain nine active Brand Partners or four Senior Directors and generate 150,000 GV a month on the weaker side of your binary team or 300,000 PET
- Black Diamond – purchase 225 BV worth of product each month or generate 450 PV, recruit and maintain ten active Brand Partners or five Senior Directors and generate 200,000 GV a month on the weaker side of your binary team or 400,000 PET
- Ambassador Diamond – purchase 225 BV worth of product each month or generate 450 PV, maintain ten active personally recruited Brand Partners or five Senior Directors and generate 500,000 GV a month on the weaker side of your binary team or 1,000,000 PET
- Crown Diamond – purchase 225 BV worth of product each month or generate 450 PV, maintain ten active personally recruited Brand Partners or five Senior Directors and generate 1,000,000 GV a month on the weaker side of your binary team or 2,000,000 PET
BV stands for “Business Volume” and is sales volume generated via the purchase of Foru International products.
PV stands for “Personal Volume” and includes BV generated by an affiliate’s own product purchases and those of their retail customers.
GV stands for “Group Volume” and is BV generated by an affiliate’s binary team.
PET stands for “Personal Enrollment Team” and is BV generated by an affiliate’s entire downline (tracked via a unilevel team structure).
Note that only 50% of total qualifying PET may originate from any one unilevel team leg.
Being “active” requires a Foru International affiliate to meet their monthly rank qualification criteria.
To qualify for commissions the Foru International compensation plan document states that all affiliates
must purchase a Business Kit and maintain a Paid Membership (ARF) to collect any commissions potentially earned.
“ARF” is not defined in the compensation document, nor could I find a definition of it online im relation to Foru International.
When I tried to ascertain how much a paid membership was, the Foru International website threw up a HTTPS security error (affiliate sign up page).
When I tried to access the same page with a random affiliate referral link, the Foru International website threw up another application runtime error.
Foru International affiliates are paid a 15% commission on retail product orders.
Retail customers are able to refer new retail customers to the business in exchange for a discount (up to three customers) and then 10% commission for each customer thereafter.
The affiliate who referred the customer doing the referring earns a 5% commission from the fourth referred customer onward (tracked individually for each retail customer).
Foru International affiliates are paid a 15% commission on the first order placed by personally recruited affiliates.
An affiliate can double this commission rate by buying 150 BV worth of product when they sign up and recruiting others who do the same.
The time period double recruitment commissions are available are determined by how much a Foru International affiliate spends when they sign up.
- Bronze affiliates (purchase 150 BV worth of product) receive a double recruitment commission rate for 30 days
- Silver affiliates (purchase 375 BV worth of product) receive a double recruitment commission rate for 45 days
- Gold affiliates (purchase 600 BV worth of product) receive a double recruitment commission rate for 60 days
The double recruitment commission rate appears to kick in after three affiliates at the same status are recruited.
I.e. a Bronze affiliate has to recruit three Bronze affiliates or higher, a Silver affiliate has to recruit three Silver or Gold affiliates and a Gold affiliate has to recruit three Gold affiliates.
Foru International pay residual commissions via a binary compensation structure.
A binary compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of a binary team, split into two sides (left and right):
The first level of the binary team houses two positions. The second level of the binary team is generated by splitting these first two positions into another two positions each (4 positions).
Subsequent levels of the binary team are generated as required, with each new level housing twice as many positions as the previous level.
Positions in the binary team are filled via direct and indirect recruitment of affiliates. Note there is no limit to how deep a binary team can grow.
At the end of each pay period (appears to be roughly 30 days), Foru International tally up generated sales volume (GV) on both sides of the binary team.
Affiliates are paid a percentage of volume generated on the weaker side of their binary team.
How much of a percentage is paid out is determined by affiliate rank:
- Brand Partners, Rising Stars and Directors earn a 10% residual commission rate
- Regional Directors earn an 11% residual commission rate
- Senior Directors earn a 12% residual commission rate
- Executive Directors earn a 13% residual commission rate
- Diamond Directors earn a 15% residual commission rate
- Double Diamonds earn an 18% residual commission rate
- Blue Diamonds earn a 19% residual commission rate
- Black Diamonds and higher earn a 20% residual commission rate
Director and higher Foru International affiliates qualify for a Matching Bonus on downline residual income commissions.
Foru International pay the Matching Bonus via a 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 recruit new affiliates, 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 down a theoretical infinite number of levels.
Foru International cap the Matching Bonus at five unilevel levels.
How many levels the Matching Bonus is paid out on is determined by rank:
- Directors and Regional Directors earn a 10% match on levels 1 to 3
- Senior Directors earn a 20% match on levels 1 to 3
- Executive Directors earn a 20% match on levels 1 to 3 and 5% on level 4
- Diamond Directors and Double Diamonds earn a 30% match on level 1, 20% on levels 2 and 3 and 10% on level 4
- Blue Diamonds and higher earn a 30% match on levels 1 and 2, 20% on level 3 and 10% on levels 4 and 5
EZ Ship Bonus Pool
Foru International refer to affiliate autoship as “EZ Ship”.
If a Foru International affiliate signs up, buys 150 BV worth of product, maintains a 75 BV minimum monthly autoship and recruits four affiliates who do the same, they qualify for a share in the EZ Ship Bonus Pool.
The EZ Ship Bonus Pool is made up of “a percentage of total EZ Ship (autoship) sales”.
Every group of four affiliates recruited on a minimum 75 BV monthly autoship generates one share in the EZ Ship Bonus Pool.
New Foru International affiliates receive double shares if they qualify for the EZ Ship Bonus Pool in their first two months.
Finally affiliates on monthly autoship receive an additional share when their personally recruited affiliates qualify for a EZ Ship Bonus Pool shares (1:1 match, min 75 BV autoship).
Luxury Car Bonus
Foru International affiliates who
- buy in at the Gold level or purchase 750 BV worth of product over time
- purchase 150 BV of product each month or generate 150 PV
- recruit and maintain at least six active Brand Partners on 75 BV a month min autoship and
- generate 12,000 in monthly PET volume (no more than 50% from any one leg)
qualify for a $600 a month Luxury Car Bonus.
If an affiliate doesn’t wish to purchase a luxury car they can opt for a reduced $300 monthly Lifestyle Bonus.
Joining Foru International
Establishing Foru International’s affiliate membership costs is problematic due to the company’s website being broken.
From what we were able to gather from the company’s compensation plan however, affiliates buy in at either the Bronze, Silver or Gold level:
- Bronze – purchase 150 BV worth of product
- Silver – purchase 375 BV worth of product
- Gold – purchase 600 BV worth of product
Whether Foru International offer affiliate membership options outside of these three tiers is unclear.
To be perfectly blunt, Foru International presents itself as an MLM company on its last legs.
The company website appears to have been in neglect for some time, with basic functions such as detailed product information and the affiliate sign up page completely broken.
The affiliate signup page in particular reveals the extent of neglect with the attached SSL security certificate having expired 221 days ago.
From what I gather the primary selling point of Foru International were DNA kits that, once taken, were matched with product formulas that were advertised as pretty much a cure-all for everything.
Once then FTC clamped down on the claims things began to fall apart.
The DNA kits are still sold but instead of targeting specific conditions on an individual basis, as originally intended, now appear to be attached to products targeting general health.
There might be some micro/macro nutrient targeting based on what’s asked in the DNA kit going on but y’know, with the Foru website being broken who knows.
In any event the FTC provided Foru International an opportunity to provide scientific evidence their DNA kits were medically relevant. Seeing as the company failed to provide any I’d take any results the kits provide with a grain of salt.
Outside of the DNA kits Foru International’s products seem pretty standard for a weight-loss offering. Price wise I can’t comment because there’s nothing provided in the compensation plan and the website is broken.
Moving onto the compensation plan, there are questionable attempts to encourage retail but they’re completely overwhelmed by the focus on affiliate autoship recruitment.
Rewarding retail customers for referring new retail customers is a great way to organically build a solid retail customer-base. Why Foru International go and ruin that by offering a $10 commission from the fourth referred customer is beyond me.
It comes off less as a retail customer acquisition strategy and more of a stepping-stone to encourage retail customers to become affiliates.
Speaking of which, it is painfully obvious Foru International aren’t looking for much else than affiliates on autoship interested in recruiting new affiliates on autoship.
The Bronze, Silver and Gold affiliate membership options are troubling, as the more spent by an affiliate (not sold to retail customers, as it should be), has a significant impact on recruitment commission rates.
Worse still the recruitment commissions are tied to recruiting affiliates who buy in at the same level or higher than yourself, meaning there’s a strong financial incentive for Foru International affiliates to push affiliate autoship.
Reinforcing that focus is the EZ Ship Bonus Pool, which is basically sign up for autoship, recruit others who do the same and we’ll give you a cut of autoship revenue.
Even affiliate ranks are tied to autoship, albeit with a pseudo-compliance illusion.
A Foru International affiliate can try to legitimately generate PET volume to qualify for rank (a healthy mix of a personal order and retail). Or they can just buy rank, which requires half the BV someone trying to legitimately build the business needs.
Doubling PET volume over personal purchase BV serves no purpose other than to ensure most affiliates are probably going to buy rank, which in turn means they’re buying active status and commission qualification.
This is blatant pay to play and has no place in the MLM industry.
The good news is Foru International’s differentiation between legitimately building the business and buying rank makes it easy to ascertain whether you’re potentially getting involved in an affiliate autoship recruitment chain.
All you have to do is ask your prospective upline how they’re qualifying for rank each month.
No retail? Run.
I get the FTC complaint likely gutted the core attraction of Foru International’s DNA kits, but if you’re going to continue on with the business there’s no excuse for using a completely out of date compensation plan.
And a website that’s been broken for almost eight months? Time to either relaunch with a new vision or put a fork in it.