Ah internet. How I love the way you satisfy my need to investigate those issues that somehow worm their way into my life and manage to get right under my skin. You are always ready to provide a wealth of knowledge. But the key, my friends, is to understand just how difficult it is to separate fact from fiction in this day and age.
One might use the analogy of a needle in a haystack when describing the frustration of investigation online. Sometimes it seems only too easy to search for what you need and accept it as truth. However it has become incredibly difficult to decipher which information comes from credible, trustworthy sources.
It came to my attention last week that there is a company (or, movement) that goes by the name of 'YOR Health', and they have been making some pretty incredible claims of "cutting edge, premium health products" that are backed by actual science! Of course I was intrigued. I am the first to admit I will often try the latest products that claim breakthroughs in health and nutrition. So, true to my naturally inquisitive nature, I begun an investigation. After a week of some pretty thorough research, I felt the need to start this blog. I shall post more and more findings as they come about, but today, my focus will be on the following video:
I plan to deconstruct this 'Product Information' video in a logical sense, in multiple posts. I will start with the first 2 slides with screenshots included, however I also encourage you to follow along with the video, to allow an unbiased analysis.
So we have David Nelson. David is a Royal Blue Diamond Director at YOR Health Australia. Now, a Royal Blue Diamond Director is a very big honor indeed! As stated on under the YOR Health Compensation Plan:
As the YOR Health Opportunity revolves around the successful sales of YOR Health products and teaching your downlines to do the same, you must be a maintained IR in order to earn any YOR Health Commissions (with the exception of Retail Profits). To be maintained means to accumulate at least 100 Customer Product Volume (CPV)1 or Retail Product Volume (RPV) 2 by products sales every 28 days."
Sounds pretty good doesn't it? But what on earth does it mean? Well, careful to only include credible information in this article, I decided to quote multi-level marketing (MLM) expert, Dr. Jon M. Taylor, who has 18 years of research under his belt (see http://mlm-thetruth.com/) on what exactly MLM is:
"Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a purported income opportunity, in which persons recruited into a network of participants make ongoing purchases of products and services, and recruit others to do the same, and they still others, etc. – in endless chains of recruitment and personal consumption, in order to qualify for commissions and bonuses and to advance upward in the hierarchy of levels in a pyramid of participants. Product purchases become the means of disguising or laundering investments in a sophisticated pyramid scheme.
Typically, prospects are lured into an MLM with exaggerated product and income claims. And because the pay plan is heavily stacked in favor of those at the highest levels in the pyramid, the vast majority of participants spend more than they receive and eventually drop out, only to be replaced by a stream of similarly misled recruits, approximately 99% of whom are likewise destined to experience loss and disappointment."
Now, it is important to make a distinction here; YOR Health is NOT a pyramid scheme. Pyramid schemes are illegal, and YOR Health wants to be very clear that you may call them a 'Direct Sales/Network Marketing/Multi-Level Marketing/Referral Marketing' company, that really only has four basic methods of moving products (retailing, direct sales, multi-level marketing, and FREE WITH 3 - get 3 products for referring friends and family). Sorry for the mouthful, but there it is.
Back to our friend David Nelson. So David Nelson begins by letting us know about the products, and what they can do for YOU, which is the most important part (of, the presentation). David Nelson will be taking us through the finer details of how the products actually work inside the body.
The first slide presents some pretty attractive claims. Headed up with 'THE YOR HEALTH DIFFERENCE', David explains that the difference between YOR Health and the rest, is that they have what's called 'YOR NDS', which, David goes on to explain is the government patented, sorry, patent protected nutrition delivery system. Now, for those of you who don't know what patent protected means:
"A patent is an intellectual property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, oWith the combined experience of its diverse Scientific Advisory Board, YOR Health is equipped with the proper expertise to uphold the highest standards of scientific integrity, product safety and premium quality selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States” for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted"
This means that patents encourage innovation, and offer inventors recognition for their creativity. Now, patent owners are obliged to publicly disclose information on their invention with the intention of enriching the total body of technical knowledge in the world. A list of web-based database searches can be found: http://www.wipo.int/wipogold/en/. I failed to find anything under 'yor health' 'yorhealth' 'nds nutrition delivery system' 'nutrition delivery system' OR 'yor NDS'. I would encourage everyone else to search and would be pleased if someone manages to find something.
David Nelson then goes on to mention that NDS is the result of nearly three years of research and development. I have searched high and low on not only the YOR Health website, along in many online databases (including a number of university libraries, along with Google Scholar), and I have failed to find a single peer-review (or otherwise) study conducted on NDS. Further, I have not found a single research paper on YOR Health products. This is concerning to say the least, especially as a clinical study is said to have taken place on the YOR Health website (http://www.yorhealth.com/science/yor-nds.aspx), conducted by scientists from Obirin University in Japan, in partnership with the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology. I have spent countless hours trying to locate such a study to no avail. There are a couple of loosely related studies, however the number of participants (24) never correlates. I highly doubt the study is a fabrication, however it is quite unusual for any research not to be cited. I did check the 'Reference Listing' on the YOR Health site, but to add to my confusion, not one of the studies listed even mentions YOR Health. I did come across this statement on the YOR Health website:
'With the combined experience of its diverse Scientific Advisory Board, YOR Health is equipped with the proper expertise to uphold the highest standards of scientific integrity, product safety and premium quality'
But surely the need for third-party research data is clear? Any information on where to find a legitimate peer-reviewed journal paper would be most welcomed. Dave Nelson does mention that he has read the studies in his video, so perhaps some light could be shed on this?
The next stage of the presentation is a little background on Dave's expertise. Dave mentions he has been in the fitness industry for a number of years, so I was curious to know his credentials. That's not to say you don't gain on-the-job knowledge, however I believe it's important to have some academia behind you when you are advising others on health. So Dave has "done a lot of nutritional seminars and written for several magazines", which would no doubt give him quite a bit of knowledge on the scientific properties of enzymes. A little digging found that Dave also has an ABN (Australian Business Number), RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol), First Aid Level 2, an international passport, and a drivers license. He has experience in modelling, acting, body painting, runway, has featured in a few DVD's, video clips, and starred in some school plays (see http://www.starnow.com.au/daven1).
Dave then goes on to mention testimonials. This is something I feel particularly uncomfortable with, because it's quite common knowledge that testimonials are a very convincing marketing ploy. The truth about testimonials are that they are an easy substitute for statistics. It's quite something to see 50+ real life people (just like you and me!) giving glowing testimonials of a product/company..... until you remember that those are the only 50 people out of say, 500 that love the product/company, rendering those claims worthless. How many customers/representatives does YOR Health have again? Well, according to their Income Disclosure Statement, as of 01/2013, the number of current YOR Health Independent Representatives who have not received any commissions, bonuses or overrides is 6391 (and that isn't including those who have made ANY money). I wonder how many of those representatives have their testimonials up on the website? Now I do realise Dave is referring to testimonials given by medical professionals, however after a quick look into some of the members of the YOR Health Scientific Advisory Board, I wouldn't be so quick to take their word as gospel (more on that in my next post).
In my next post I shall explore legitimacy of sources, graphs, images, literature, and of course, Dave Nelson.