Morinda Review: Noni juice, autoship & pay to play
Morinda began as life as Tahitian Noni International and are based out of Utah in the US.
Operating in the health supplement MLM niche, Tahitian Noni was was founded by Kerry Asay (CEO), John Wadsworth (President), Kelly Olsen (Chief Marketing Officer), Kim Asay (co-Vice President) and Stephen Story (co-Vice President) back in 1996.
Prior to Tahitian Noni, Asay (right) was President and CEO of Nature’s Sunshine, a manufacturer and marketer of encapsulated natural health supplements.
Asay left Nature’s Sunshine in 1989, ‘to pursue other interests after being in the position for 10 years.‘
I wasn’t able to ascertain what Asay was up to between 1989 and the founding of Tahitian Noni in 1996.
On the litigation front Morinda has had a few run ins with regulators and other MLM companies.
On August 26, 1998, the Attorneys General of Arizona, California, New Jersey, and Texas announced a multi-state settlement with Morinda, Inc.
The charges stating that Morinda had made “unsubstantiated claims in consumer testimonials and other promotional material that its Tahitian Noni juice could treat, cure or prevent numerous diseases, including diabetes, clinical depression, hemorrhoids and arthritis.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Morinda agreed to:
-No longer make drug claims, or claims that the product can cure, treat, or prevent any disease until “Tahitian Noni” is approved and cleared for those uses by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
-Not make any other claims, whether health claims or others, regarding the benefits of Tahitian Noni unless such claims are true and the company can substantiate the claim by reliable scientific evidence.
-Not use testimonials which imply that the advertised claimed results are the typical or ordinary experience of consumers in actual conditions of use, unless Morinda possesses and relies upon adequate substantiation that the results are typical or ordinary.
In addition, Morinda agreed to refund to any consumer who requests a refund in writing, the full purchase price paid for the product. The agreement also called for Morinda to pay $100,000 for investigative costs.
In 2003 Xango was sued by Tahiti Noni International (now Morinda). Tahiti Noni International alleged ‘that Xango executives stole TNI’s concept for a mangosteen-based supplement while they were employed by TNI’s parent-company‘.
Xango counter-sued and both cases wound up being settled out of court. Details of the settlement were not made public.
Today Indonesia appears to be a particularly strong market for Morinda, with Alexa estimating nearly 40% of all traffic to the Morinda website originates out of the country.
Read on for a full review of the Morinda MLM business opportunity.
The Morinda Product Line
So the story goes,
1993 – John Wadsworth and Stephen Story first discovered the vast health benefits of noni fruit.
1996 – Tahitian Noni juice is introduced to the world. It becomes a global phenomenon and launches the superfruit industry.
On their websiteMorinda credit themselves, through the introduction of their Tahitian Noni product, with “launching a multi-billion dollar industry overnight”.
Tahitian Noni juice is Morinda’s flagship product and retails for $38 a liter.
Tahitian Noni Juice is packed full of iridoids that will make you healthier, give you more energy, and help strengthen and balance the whole body.
Building on hundreds of independent studies on the noni fruit, Tahitian Noni Juice is validated by more than a dozen human clinical studies. It’s the perfect antidote to today’s stressful life.
Morinda claim that in 2003,
the first human clinical study proving the benefits of Tahitian Noni juice (was) discovered.
(In 2009) Morinda scientists discover the iridoids in noni are the source of noni’s amazing health benefits.
(In 2011) iridoids are found to dramatically reduce age formation and help prevent the damage age causes, including premature aging, illness and disease.
To date Morinda has spent over $125 million on product research and development and has published over 18 clinical trials.
Challenging this is the American Cancer Society who, in an article first published in 2008, stated
there is no reliable clinical evidence that noni juice is effective in preventing or treating cancer or any other disease in humans.
Of note is that in early 2007, Tahitian Noni juice was at the center of a cocaine contamination scare in Spain.
Residents of Spain were alerted in February 2007 to avoid consuming certain improperly labeled bottles of Tahitian Noni Juice while the health department there awaited toxicology reports for a man who died after drinking the juice.
According to reports in Spain, a 40-year-old man from Ogijares drank some noni juice for breakfast and began to experience strange sensations in his mouth and blurred vision.
He died shortly thereafter, and another family member, who also drank some juice, reported similar symptoms.
Reports stated that there were large amounts of cocaine found in the bottles and the body of the deceased man.
Another hole in Morinda’s corporate history timeline is found in the Wikipedia entry for noni juice. In it a capsule-based noni juice product is cited as being first sold commercially in 1992, a full four years before Tahitian Noni hit the market.
Other Tahitian Noni products marketed by Morinda include
- Tahitian Noni fruit chews at $11.99 for a bag of 30 chews
- Tahitian Noni original concentrate at $17.99 for a 1 fl. oz bottle
- Tahitian Noni joint concentrate at $17.99 for a 8.5 fl. oz bottle
- Noni seed oil at $35.99 for a 0.2 fl. oz bottle
- Noni leaf serum at $29.99 for a 1 fl. oz tube
- Oatmeal soap skin supplement at $6.99 for a 6 oz. twin-pack
- Body Balance cream at $23.99 for a 2 fl. oz bottle
- Moea Body Butter at $11.99 for a 4 fl. oz tub
- Hiro Energy at $43.99 for a 24-can slab (8.33 fl. oz a can)
Morinda also sells a large range of anti-aging, beverages, fitness & body, skin & hair care, supplements and accessories.
To their credit Morinda provide full retail pricing for the entire product range on their website.
The Morinda Compensation Plan
Morinda do not provide a copy of their compensation plan to the general public.
Instead, a fifteen minute marketing video is presented on the “opportunity” section of the Morinda website.
The following Morinda compensation plan analysis is based off a 99 page long Policies and Procedures document I was able to track down.
The document is for the UK and Ireland markets and dated 2014.
I cross-referenced the document with a “Morinda Rewards Plan” summary I found hosted on the Morinda website, and found the figures in the Policies and Procedures matched up. Thus I believe that both documents detail Morinda’s current compensation plan.
Morinda Affiliate Ranks
There are twelve affiliate ranks within the Morinda compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- IPC – sign up as a Morinda affiliate and maintain a minimum 30 PV in sales volume a month
- Coral – generate at least 120 PV a month
- Coral Elite – maintain 120 PV a month, recruit and maintain at least three personally recruited Coral ranked affiliates and have a total monthly downline autoship volume of 480 GV (counted four unilevel levels deep)
- Jade – maintain 120 PV a month, maintain three personally recruited Coral ranked affiliates and have a total monthly downline autoship volume of 4800 GV (counted six unilevel levels deep)
- Jade Elite – maintain 120 PV a month, maintain three personally recruited Coral ranked affiliates and have a total monthly downline autoship volume of 12000 GV (counted six unilevel levels deep)
- Pearl – maintain 120 PV a month, maintain three personally recruited Jade ranked affiliates and have a total monthly downline autoship volume of 24,000 GV (counted six unilevel levels deep)
- Pearl Elite – maintain 120 PV a month, maintain three personally recruited Jade ranked affiliates and have a total monthly downline autoship volume of 36,000 GV (counted six unilevel levels deep)
- Diamond Pearl – maintain 120 PV a month, maintain three personally recruited Pearl ranked affiliates and have a total monthly downline autoship volume of 24,000 GV (counted six unilevel levels deep)
- Diamond Pearl Elite – maintain 120 PV a month, maintain three personally recruited Pearl ranked affiliates and have a total monthly downline autoship volume of 72,000 GV (counted eight unilevel levels deep)
- Double Diamond Pearl – maintain 120 PV a month, maintain four personally recruited Pearl ranked affiliates and have a total monthly downline autoship volume of 96,000 GV (counted eight unilevel levels deep)
- Triple Diamond Pearl – maintain 120 PV a month, maintain five personally recruited Pearl ranked affiliates and have a total monthly downline autoship volume of 120,000 GV (counted eight unilevel levels deep)
- Platinum Diamond Pearl – maintain 120 PV a month, maintain six personally recruited Pearl ranked affiliates and have a total monthly downline autoship volume of 120,000 GV (counted eight unilevel levels deep)
Morinda incorrectly identify retail sales in their compensation plan material as affiliates
purchasing Morinda products at special IPC price and selling the products to others at the suggested regular price.
Any resale of Morinda products occurs outside of Morinda’s business opportunity, with the only true retail sales being orders from customers taken by affiliates.
These orders can be placed directly with an affiliate or online.
Retail commissions paid out on these orders are the difference between the wholesale and retail price of products ordered.
Residual commissions in Morinda are paid out 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 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 down a theoretical infinite number of levels.
Morinda cap payable unilevel levels at eight, with commissions paid out as a percentage of sales volume generated by affiliates in a unilevel team.
How much of a percentage is paid out is determined by a Morinda affiliate’s rank and what level of the unilevel team sales volume is generated on:
- Affiliate – 1% on level 1 and 5% on levels 2 and 3
- Coral and Coral Elite- 1% on level 1, 5% on levels 2 and 3 and 6% on level 4
- Jade and Jade Elite – 1% on level 1, 5% on levels 2 and 3, 6% on levels 4 and 5 and 7% on level 6
- Pearl and Pearl Elite – 1% on level 1, 5% on levels 2 and 3, 6% on levels 4 and 5 and 7% on levels 6 and 7
- Diamond Pearl and above – 1% on level 1, 5% on levels 2 and 3, 6% on levels 4 and 5, 7% on levels 6 and 7 and 8% on level 8
Fast Start Bonus
The Fast Start Bonus is a recruitment commission, paid out on the product order(s) of newly recruited affiliates.
The Fast Start Bonus is paid out down four levels of recruitment, as a percentage bonus of the sales volume generated by orders placed within 60 days of a new Morinda affiliate signing up.
- level 1 (personally recruited affiliates) – 20%
- levels 2 to 4 – 5%
- level 5 – 10%
Note that a Morinda affiliate must have a standing 120 PV monthly autoship order to qualify for the Fast Start Bonus.
The TruPerformance Bonus is a pool is made up of 2% of Morinda’s company-wide sales volume each month.
To qualify for a share in the TruPerformance Bonus pool, a Morinda affiliate must be on a minimum 120 PV a month autoship and have a specified total downline autoship volume.
The required downline autoship volume is referred to as “ASQV4” and varies from month to month.
The Infinity Bonus pool is made up of 3% of Morinda’s company-wide sales volume each month.
Shares in the Infinity Bonus pool are paid pro-rata, based on affiliate autoship volume generated across twenty levels of a Morinda affiliate’s unilevel team.
This volume is referred to as “CAS20”, with a percentage of the volume used to calculate a Morinda affiliate’s share of the Infinity Bonus pool.
- Diamond Pearl Elites – 25% of their CAS20 volume
- Double Diamond Pearl – 50% of their CAS20 volume
- Triple Diamond Pearl – 100% of their CAS20 volume
- Platinum Diamond Pearl – 150% of their CAS20 volume
Note that Platinu Diamond Pearl ranked affiliates can increase their base 150% share by recruiting additional Pearl ranked or higher affiliates.
Black Pearl Shared Success Bonus
The Black Pearl Shared Success Bonus is made up of 3% of Morinda’s company-wide sales volume.
The bonus is paid out quarterly and is open to Diamond Pearl and higher ranked affiliates.
To qualify for a share of the Black Pearl Shared Success Bonus pool, a Morinda affiliate must be on autoship and meet the following affiliate recruitment requirements over time:
- first four quarters as a Diamond Pearl or higher ranked affiliate – recruit and maintain a total of three Diamond Pearl or higher affiliates each month
- fifth to eight quarters of qualification – recruit and maintain a total of four Diamond Pearl or higher affiliates each month
- ninth to twelfth quarters of qualification – recruit and maintain a total of five Diamond Pearl or higher affiliates each month
- thirteenth to sixteenth quarters of qualification – recruit and maintain a total of six Diamond Pearl or higher affiliates each month
- seventeenth and beyond quarters of qualification (ongoing each quarter) – recruit and maintain a total of seven Diamond Pearl or higher affiliates each month
Affiliates who qualify for five consecutive quarters can increase their pro-rata shares, based on affiliate autoship volume within the first eight levels of their unilevel team.
- 3 recruited affiliates maintained = 25% bonus
- 4 recruited affiliates maintained = 40% bonus
- 5 recruited affiliates maintained = 60% bonus
- 6 recruited affiliates maintained = 75% bonus
- 7 recruited affiliates maintained = 100% bonus
- 8 recruited affiliates maintained = 125% bonus
- 9 recruited affiliates maintained = 150% bonus
- each recruited affiliate maintained over 9 = an additional 25% bonus
Basic affiliate membership with Morinda is $35.
Note that this fee is waived if an affiliate signs up for a minimum 120 PV monthly autoship.
A review of Morinda affiliate marketing material suggests this equates to $120 or so a month.
With autoship requirements so heavily entrenched into Morinda’s compesation plan, I have high suspicion that little to no retail activity is taking place within the company.
In a nutshell affiliates are defacto required to spend $120 a month on Tahitian Noni product, or find themselves locked out of most of the bonuses available.
Indeed, Morinda are quite blase about the “pay to play” nature of affiliate autoship requirements.
Among other benefits, the company identifies two clear pay to play advantages when affiliates sign up for autoship:
IPCs who participate in the 120QPV AutoShip programme will receive these exciting benefits:
• Earn quick income with the Fast Start Bonus programme
• Have the opportunity to receive additional commissions and bonuses within the compensation plan
With direct financial incentives tied to affiliate autoship, it is impossible to claim that Morinda affiliates are purchasing products each month solely for self-consumption or resale.
This is problematic as it means Morinda are possible operating as an affiliate autoship chain-recruitment scheme.
You sign up as a Morinda affiliate, pay $120 or so for your monthly order and are paid to recruit others who do the same.
Supporting this is the fact that pro-rata shares in all Morinda bonus pools are based on downline autoship volume.
Nowhere in their compensation plan do Morinda have any direct retail sales incentives or requirements.
Beyond stock retail commissions, retail sales can otherwise be completely ignored. And my money’s on precisely this happening.
From the moment a new Morinda affiliate signs up, autoship is shoved in their face by way of waiving the otherwise annual $35 affiliate fee.
Nonetheless, prospective Morinda affiliates are encouraged to check with their uplines as to their total retail sales volume. Make sure you ask to see physical receipts and/or online retail sales order records.
If either of those are absent, then there’s probably a good chance your prospective upline has an accumulating stash of unopened Taitian Noni juice somewhere.
Amazingly, Morinda do advise affiliates that they might ask for retail receipts from time to time, but stress that
these records will be used solely for developing statistics and evidence no intent to oversee the IPC’s retail sales activity or the IPC’s retail price policy.
Talk about willfully turning a blind eye….
As to the Taitian Noni product itself, I get the feeling that outside of Morinda not much research exists.
I’m not saying that noni juice is unhealthy for you, or that the research Morinda have commissioned is bogus – just that when a company can only point to its own funded research, that leaves me pretty skeptical.
I mean it’s been what, just shy of fifteen years? Where is the peer-reviewed studies and research to justify a $38 a liter juice?
I suspect part of the reason this isn’t discussed or brought up by Morinda affiliates is because of this:
IPCs must not disparage, demean, or make negative remarks about Morinda, other IPCs, Morinda’s products, the Marketing and Compensation plan, or Morinda’s management, directors, officers, or employees.
That’s buried in the Morinda affiliate policies and procedures, with fines, affiliate suspension and termination threatened as punishments for non-compliance.
All in all despite the virtues of Tahitian Noni juice and Morinda’s product line, the compensation plan leave much to be desired.
This is oldschool autoship chain-recruitment, with Morinda’s business model long overdue for an overhaul.