NeoLife Review: Autoship recruitment puts 73 year old company at risk
NeoLife are based out of California in the US and operate in the nutritional supplement MLM niche.
Heading up NeoLife is Founder and Chairman, Jerry Brassfield (below right).
As per Brassfield’s NeoLife corporate bio;
At the age of 19, Jerry discovered Direct Sales through a company selling supplements perfectly aligning with his two passions: business & health.
He finally found a business where hard work means more income and in just four years he was worth $5 million (significantly more in today’s terms).
Then he became heart broken when the company failed due to mismanagement. This happened to him time and time again, the hardest part being the negative affect on the relationships he built with his Distributor team… his Distributor Family.
Taking matters into his own hands, Jerry started his own Direct Selling company founded on values which ensure product quality, unlimited income potential, and long-term stability for Distributors and future generations.
Along the way he acquired the NeoLife brand and merged it with his other companies, creating an international industry-leading gem.
NeoLife began as Golden Neolife Diamite International (GNLD International) back in 1954. In 2013 the company was rebranded as NeoLife.
In my research I came across both NeoLife and GNLD International interchangeably used to refer to the company.
Apart from a few recalls and minor labelling issues, to date NeoLife has not had any run ins with regulators. For an MLM company that’s 73 years old, that’s quite an achievement.
Read on for a full review of the NeoLife MLM opportunity.
NeoLife claim their nutritional supplements are ‘based on the finest whole food, human food chain ingredients and proven effective by millions of satisfied customers‘.
The company also claims it’s product are “backed by science” and developed by a Scientific Advisory Board, established in 1976.
“Best seller” supplements featured on the NeoLife website include:
- 3-Day Detox – ” a simple way to cleanse, balance and energize”
- Acidophilus Plus – “intestine-targeted probiotic for gut health & digestive balance”
- NeoLife Bar – “delicious & nutritious natural snack bar that gives you long lasting energy”
- NeoLife BlenderBottle Classic – “patented BlenderBall whisk mixes smoothly every time”
- NeoLife Shake – “delicious meal replacement protein shake in convenient packets”
- NeoLife Tea – “a refreshing boost of instant energy & mental focus”
- Omega-III Salmon Oil Plus – “ultrapure, concentrated fish oil with all 8 omega-3s to support heart health, joint comfort and inflammation balance”
- PhytoDefense – “the power of 6 optimal servings of fruits and vegetables to support your body’s natural defenses”
- Pro Vitality – “whole grains, fruits and vegetables and fish to help feed, protect, regulate and nourish your cells for lifelong health and vitality”
- Tre Nutritional Essense – “harnesses the rejuvenating power of pomegranate, acai berry, and green tea to promote a healthy heart and sharp mind”
- Tre-en-en Grain Concentrates – a “proprietary blend of whole grain concentrates that provide cellular nutrition for energy and vitality”
Other supplement categories marketed by NeoLife include weight management, heart health, digestive health, immunity, energy & fitness, men’s & women’s health, children’s health, sharper mind, bone & joint health, vitamins & minerals, speciality, home care and personal care.
Despite a full product catalogue provided on the NeoLife website, retail pricing is not provided.
The NeoLife Compensation Plan
The NeoLife compensation plan is a combination of retail commissions, residual commissions via a unilevel compensation structure and several performance-based bonuses.
NeoLife Affiliate Ranks
There are sixteen affiliate ranks within the NeoLife compensation plan.
Along with their respective qualification criteria, they are as follows:
- Distributor – sign up as a NeoLife affiliate
- Manager – generate 500 GV a month
- Senior Manager – generate 1000 GV a month
- Director – generate 4000 GV a month
- Emerald Director – maintain Director rank for three consecutive months and then at least once in every three months thereafter
- Sapphire Director – recruit and maintain one Director or higher ranked affiliate and generate 10,000 GV a month
- 1 Ruby Director – recruit and maintain three Director or higher ranked affiliates and generate 20,000 GV a month
- 2 Ruby Director – recruit and maintain four Director or higher ranked affiliates and generate 30,000 GV a month
- 3 Ruby Director – recruit and maintain five Director or higher ranked affiliates and generate 50,000 GV a month
- 4 Ruby Director – recruit and maintain six Director or higher ranked affiliates and generate 100,000 GV a month
- 5 Ruby Director – recruit and maintain eight Director or higher ranked affiliates and generate 150,000 GV a month
- 1 Diamond Director – recruit and maintain ten Director or higher ranked affiliates and generate 200,000 GV a month
- 2 Diamond Director – recruit and maintain twelve Director or higher ranked affiliates and generate 250,000 GV a month
- 3 Diamond Director – recruit and maintain fourteen Director or higher ranked affiliates and generate 300,000 GV a month
- 4 Diamond Director – recruit and maintain sixteen Director or higher ranked affiliates and generate 400,000 GV a month
- 5 Diamond Director – recruit and maintain eighteen Director or higher ranked affiliates and generate 500,000 GV a month
PV stands for “Personal Volume” and is sales volume generated by sales to retail customers and an affiliate’s own product orders.
GV stands for “Group Volume” and is PV generated by an affiliate and their downline.
NeoLife pay retail commissions on product sales to retail customers (non-affiliates).
How much of a commission is paid out is determined by monthly GV production:
- 250 GV a month = 3%
- 500 GV a month = 5%
- 1000 GV a month = 10%
- 2000 GV a month = 15%
- 4000 GV a month = 20%
NeoLife pay residual commissions on volume generated by Senior Manager and lower ranked affiliates 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.
As with the Sales Volume Bonus, residual commission rates are tied to monthly generated GV:
- generate 250 GV and receive a 3% commission
- generate 500 GV and receive a 5% commission
- generate 1000 GV and receive a 10% commission
- generate 2000 GV and receive a 15% commission
- generate 4000 GV and receive a 20% commission
Note that a NeoLife affiliate must generate at least 100 PV a month to qualify for residual commissions.
Leadership Development Bonus
Sales volume generated by Director and higher ranked downline affiliates is paid out via the Leadership Development Bonus.
The Leadership Bonus uses the same unilevel compensation structure as residual commissions, with the bonus paid on up to three levels of Director and higher ranked affiliates per unilevel leg.
- Director ranked affiliates earn 5% on the first Director, 2% on the second and 1% on the third
- Sapphire Director affiliates earn 6% on the first Director, 2% on the second and 1% on the third
- 1 Ruby Director affiliates earn 6% on the first Director, 3% on the second and 2% on the third
- 2 Ruby Director affiliates earn 6% on the first Director, 4% on the second and 3% on the third
- 3 Ruby Director and higher ranked affiliates earn 6% on the first Director and 4% on the second and third
Again, these are Directors found in individual unilevel legs.
Network Development Bonus
4 Ruby Director and higher ranked affiliates qualify for the Network Development Bonus.
The Network Development Bonus is a generational bonus that pays out on up to two generations in each unilevel leg.
In NeoLife a generation is defined when a 4 Ruby Director or higher ranked affiliate is found in a unilevel leg.
This affiliate caps off the first generation, with the second beginning directly after them.
Using this generational structure, the Network Development Bonus is paid out as follows:
- 4 Ruby Directors earn 0.5% on their first generation and 0.5% on the second 4 Ruby Director generation
- 5 Ruby Directors earn 1% on their first generation and 0.5% on the first 4 Ruby Director or 5 Ruby Director generation
- 1 Diamond Directors earn 2% on their first generation, 1.5% if their second generation is a 4 Ruby Director, 1% if it’s a 5 Ruby Director or 0.5% if it’s a 1 Diamond or higher
- 2 Diamond Directors and higherearn 3% on their first generation, 2.5% if their second generation is a 4 Ruby Director, 2% if it’s a 5 Ruby Director, 1% if it’s a 1 Diamond Director or 0.5% if it’s a 2 Diamond Director or higher
New Director Incentive
NeoLife affiliates can qualify for $500 in NeoLife products and a NeoLife car decal by
- generating 1000 GV or more in one month and then 4000 GV in a following month or
- purchase a Manager or Senior Manager kit and then generate 4000 GV in the same or next month
- qualify as a Director within six months of signing up
First Order Bonus
The First Order Bonus pays on pack autoship orders placed by new retail customers and recruited affiliates.
- the affiliate who refers the customer or recruits the new affiliate receives a 15% bonus
- if this affiliate is a Senior Manager they receive a bonus 5%, otherwise this is passed up to the first upline Senior Manager
- the first Director or higher ranked upline affiliate receives an additional 5%
Qualification for the First order Bonus requires the purchase of a Builder, Manager or Senior Manager Kit.
Rank Achievement Bonus
NeoLife reward Sapphire Director and higher ranked affiliates with the following one-time Rank Achievement Bonuses:
- Sapphire Director – $500
- 1 Ruby Director – $1000
- 2 Ruby Director – $2000
- 3 Ruby Director – $3000
- 4 Ruby Director – $4000
- 5 Ruby Director – $6000
- 1 Diamond Director – $10,000
- 2 Diamond Director – $15,000
- 3 Diamond Director – $20,000
- 4 Diamond Director – $25,000
- 5 Diamond Director – $30,000
The Consistency Cash bonus is paid when 4 Ruby Director and higher ranked affiliates develop at least six new Emerald Directors within their “President’s Team”.
A NeoLife affiliate’s President Team is their unilevel downline up until a 4 Ruby Director or higher is found in any individual unilevel leg.
The Consistency Cash bonus appears to be an annual bonus, which must be qualified for with at least six months in the year remaining:
- 4 Ruby Directors receive $2000 for 6 month qualification and $4000 for 9 month qualification
- 5 Ruby Directors receive $3000 for 6 month qualification and $6000 for 9 month qualification
- 1 Diamond Directors receive $4000 for 6 month qualification and $8000 for 9 month qualification
- 2 Diamond Directors receive $6000 for 6 month qualification and $12,000 for 9 month qualification
- 3 Diamond Directors receive $7000 for 6 month qualification and $14,000 for 9 month qualification
- 4 Diamond Directors receive $8500 for 6 month qualification and $17,000 for 9 month qualification
- 5 Diamond Directors receive $10,000 for 6 month qualification and $20,000 for 9 month qualification
Emerald Director and higher ranked affiliates a monthly cash bonus.
Car Bonus qualification is split into two “charts”, with affiliates receiving the higher calculation.
Emerald Director Chart
- generate 5000 monthly GV = $150 Car Bonus
- generate 10,000 monthly GV = $600 Car Bonus
- generate 15,000 monthly GV = $800 Car Bonus
- generate 20,000 monthly GV = $1000 Car Bonus
Sapphire Director Chart
- maintain Sapphire Director = $600 Car Bonus
- maintain 4 Ruby Director rank for at least three consecutive months = $800 Car Bonus
- maintain 1 Diamond Director or higher rank for at least three consecutive months = $1000 Car Bonus
- Emerald Directors who qualify for three consecutive months can attend a “Leadership School” event, ‘filled with fun and fellowship as well as business and product training and workshops‘ (accommodation and meals paid)
- Ruby Director affiliates can attend a “Ruby Director Orientation”, which provides ‘an exclusive VIP tour of the NeoLife Headquarters and spend time getting to know the corporate support team‘ (travel and accommodation paid)
- Sapphire Director and higher ranked affiliates can attend a “World Team Conference”, which are held at ‘some of the most sought after
luxury vacation destinations‘
- 1 Diamond Director and 2 Diamond Director affiliates qualify for a “trip to a luxury resort”
- 3 Diamond Director and 4 Diamond Director affiliates qualify for a “trip on a luxury cruise”
- 5 Diamond Directors qualify for an “exclusive trip on the Silverado” yacht
Diamond Director Bonus Pool
1 Diamond Direct and higher ranked NeoLife affiliates receive a share in the Diamond Director Bonus Pool if they maintain at least six personally recruited Sapphire Director ranked affiliates
Founder’s Profit Sharing Pool
Compensation details on the Founder’s Profit Sharing Pool are vague, with the compensation plan stating only that it’s
a personal gift from Jerry Brassfield to the elite 3 Diamond Directors and above.
NeoLife affiliate membership is $49.
A new NeoLife affiliate can also choose to sign up through one of three offered “kits”:
- Builder Kit – $440
- Manager Kit – $785
- Senior Manager Kit – $1530
The primary difference between these kits is income potential via the NeoLife compensation plan.
In some ways NeoLife has kept up with the times, in others it clearly hasn’t.
The company has a robust product line and readily available catalogue, yet having gone through the entire website for the life of me I can’t find any retail pricing.
The website itself appears quite modern, as does NeoLife’s compensation documentation, but the compensation plan in particular is presented in a confusing manner.
It took several read-throughs before I realised I was looking at the same Sales Volume Bonus chart repeated at each affiliate rank for example.
Then there’s the Car Bonus, which for some reason is split into two confusing qualification methods. Oh and for some reason the plan is split into two documents, commissions and incentives – with plenty of overlap.
The whole presentation of the plan could do with a rewrite, to bring it up to speed with what we’re used to (and make it easier to follow and understand).
Retail sale focus is present in the NeoLife business model, through a referral program that sees retail customers rewarded with free pack autoship. Off the bat retail customers receive a 25% discount if they sign up with autoship, versus 15% if they just sign up to NeoLife’s customer club.
Both retail customers and affiliates can qualify for free monthly autoship by referring three customers who also go on autoship (affiliates can also recruit three affiliates who go on autoship).
Available packs are Vitality, Breakfast, Sport and Weight Loss, which each consist of a selection of theme-bundled NeoLife supplements.
Other than the autoship incentive, how NeoLife present the rest of their business opportunity very much feels geared towards affiliate autoship recruitment.
NeoLife’s compensation plan states that upline affiliates assist their downline by ‘help(ing) you to introduce the NeoLife Club to your family, friends and co-workers‘.
This might not be the smartest way to start marketing a new MLM opportunity as scepticism, especially when it comes to the nutrition niche, is typically high.
Regardless of how closely this recommend marketing practice is followed though, eventually affiliate recruitment will happen.
This is a natural part of building an MLM business, but here’s what NeoLife state happens when a new affiliate signs up:
When they enroll, your Promoters will:
• Submit a Promoter Application usually through your website
• Select a Business Kit
• Select a Health Pack for monthly Auto-Ship
On paper affiliate autoship is optional, but clearly NeoLife expect new affiliates to sign up for it.
If that was the only reference to affiliate autoship I might let it slide, but elsewhere in NeoLife’s compensation plan documentation they then state:
The best way to ensure that you reach your 100 PPV requirement is to place a monthly Auto-Ship order.
Surely in an MLM opportunity the “best way” to qualify for commissions is always through retail sales?
Another aspect of the NeoLife compensation plan that stood out was the blatant “pay to play” with their affiliate kits.
The kits themselves appear to be heavily pushed onto affiliates, with NeoLife’s own marketing material directing affiliates to
encourage all your new Promoter starts to enroll with a Builder Business Kit or higher to take advantage of the best savings and be eligible to participate in the First Order Bonus.
Without a kit purchase affiliate’s can’t qualify for the First Order Bonus. The First Order Bonus itself is an autoship incentive, although it does pay on retail autoships as well.
Putting all of this together, it’s pretty evident that the core of a NeoLife MLM business is signing up, buying a kit to maximise income potential, going on autoship to qualify for commissions and then recruitment of other affiliates who do the same.
This is precisely the sort of nonsense that lead to the showdown between the FTC and Herbalife. All said and done, that didn’t end well for Herbalife (admittedly though it could have been a lot worse).
With NeoLife’s being such an old company, to put it bluntly they should definitely know better. Or by now at least moved to make changes to their own compensation plan.
To be clear, retail is possible and there is a token effort to promote it via the free autoship incentive. However this effort is undercut by offering the same incentive on affiliate autoship recruitment, which provides far greater income potential.
The good news is establishing whether this is happening with your potential upline is relatively simple. Just ask them whether or not they’re generating at least 100 PV a month outside of their own autoship (I’d be surprised if active NeoLife affiliates weren’t on autoship).
One final aspect to consider is NeoLife’s age as a company. This works for and against the company.
In the for camp 73 years of history provides stability, business know-how, established brand recognition and demonstrated leadership.
Against is potential market saturation, which directly might impact affiliate earnings.
As per NeoLife’s current Statement of Average Gross Compensation for the US and Canada, 15.1% of their affiliate-base make an average of $143 annually.
6.3% of NeoLife accounts were those of affiliates who had placed orders and made over $500 annually.
Of that 6.3%, 72.1% made less than $1000 for the year.
It’s worth noting that Alexa currently estimate Nigeria to be the largest source of traffic to the NeoLife website (39%). The US is the second largest source at 32%
With little to no MLM regulation in Nigeria, it’s unlikely that retail sales are happening over there in any significant number.
Company-wide this might pose problems for NeoLife should regulators in the US decide to investigate.
Suss out how your potential upline is running their business and if they are generating significant retails sales, approach with caution. Good luck!