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The MonaVie Acai Berry Super Fruit Juice - Mona Vie Scam?

Published 12/30/08 (Modified 3/8/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

Review of MonaVie and The Acai Berry Fruit Juice Company's Health and Marketing Claims

MonaVie. Mona Vie. The word actually sounds like a spin off of some french phrase (mon ami), but when I hear the name, two things immediately come to mind - acai berry juice and multi level marketing pyramid scheme. The MLM business scheme or pyramid marketing concept usually elicits a series of red alert alarm bells in my brain's BS scam detector, however, I'm willing to take a closer look at MonaVie before rendering my personal critique and verdict. After having tried out and actually tasted the MonaVie acai berry fruit drink, I have to admit, it's a rather sweet and tasty beverage - sort of a crisp combination of grape juice, blue berries, black berries, and a hint of dark chocolate. There's not much negative commentary I can sling at the MonaVie product in terms of taste alone, but the outrageously expensive price tag and the rather suspicious marketing approach of the company leave much to be desired.

As an ordinary American consumer and a casual observer, I'm not sure what to make of this whole MonaVie acai berry fruit juice craze that seems to be sweeping the health and fitness world. The product's been featured on the Food Network and on daytime talk shows for women like the Rachel Ray show, and eagerly touted by popular television hosts like Oprah Winfrey as the ultimate nectar of the gods. At least several medical commentators have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show recently to promote the acai berry as an invaluable source of super food nutrients and as a magical method to promote youth and bodily rejuvenation. While most of the on-air health commentators were on the Oprah show to promote their individual books, even Oprah herself seemed to jump on the acai berry bandwagon, endorsing the nutritional claims of the tiny purple berry in her own boisterous way.

And it's not just celebrity women either (who in my sexist opinion tend to be very ultra health conscious). Even celebrity guys seem to be getting in on the acai super fruit craze as well. There are numerous photos floating around on the internet of well known celebrities (both male and female) photographed with���� their MonaVie acai juice bottles. I've seen hip hop stars and motor sport athletes on MTV's Cribs show opening up their refrigerator doors for the camera to proudly display their prized rows of ultra-expensive MonaVie branded acai juice bottles. To top it off, when the Boston Red Sox won the Major League Baseball World Series in 2007, you even had several pitchers and players publicly thanking the Mona Vie company and attributing their athletic success to the seemingly magical healing powers of the MonaVie acai berry drink. When professional athletes who have just won the most competitive pinnacle award of their profession celebrate their triumph by giving a ringing endorsement of a particular enhancement product, citing the competitive advantages it allegedly provided their bodies through the grueling eight month long baseball season, I definitely take notice. However at the same time, my curiosity is greatly tempered with a strong dose of skepticism and suspicion at the celebrity's personal motivations for such a resounding product recommendation - and I find myself wondering if the celebrity was partly motivated by financial considerations.

Without a doubt, MonaVie is a popular and highly promoted superfruit juice product, frequently mentioned in popular entertainment and athletic circles among the rich and trendy. It also has a strong growing presence online and on TV, but then again, so do many of the numerous get rich quick schemes and snake oil scams out there, featuring all types of facial cleaning products and useless weight loss shakes and pills. All such popular products have their own legion of compensated celebrities ready to help make the sales pitch and enthusiastically promote the product to the audience. Just because a product is heavily marketed and seems popular does not make it legit. Thus I wanted to take a more objective look into the MonaVie product itself, its health claims, and its marketing approach to decipher for myself the legitimacy of the brand. My primary goal is to answer these series of questions - Is MonaVie a scam? Does MonaVie acai juice berry drinks actually provide the health benefits re-soundly touted by its army of rabid distributors? And finally, is MonaVie a product I would actually purchase and consume for myself as an average, everyday mildly health conscious consumer?

The MonaVie Acai Berry Juice Product

MonaVie is a fruit juice drink made up of a blend of 19 different fruits. In a nut shell, it's like Odwalla or Naked branded smoothie drinks - except the drink is marketed as an acai berry product and it comes in a fancy looking wine bottle to give it allure. While the company refuses to disclose the actual numbers detailing individual juice makeup, it eagerly markets the fruit juice cocktail as some type of specially formulated super fruit juice, citing its composition of acai berries for its supposed magical ability to cure all sorts of physical and mental ailments. While the company does not expressly state that the MonaVie acai berry juice drink is capable of amazing healing properties, that is the marketing direction the company seems to strongly hint at. Obviously due to legality reasons, MonaVie can't officially claim its juice drink to be a health elixir, but it sure seems like it unofficially wants to based on the promotional dance it's constantly engaging in.

Inside of its fruit juice drinks, MonaVie lists as one of its primary ingredients - the acai berry (pronounced ah-sai-ee) - a small purple black fruit about an inch in size and produced from the acai palm tree in the Amazon of Brazil. Through its network of distributors, the MonaVie company promotes the message that its unique acai berry juice blend contains many of the antioxidant related health benefits associated with the acai berry and other special fruits. Supposedly, these super fruits are packed with powerful nutrients and antioxidant compounds that uniquely protect the body's cells from damage and disease, boost the immune system, and slow down the otherwise inevitable process of aging. However, much of the alleged health benefits of MonaVie and the extent of the nutritional value of acai have been called into constant debate and frequently questioned by naysayers that cast suspicion at what exactly is contained in MonaVie and the extent of its alleged nutritional value if any. Certainly, the company's reluctance to share detailed information about the specific acai berry concentration found in its bottles and its mysterious refusal to reveal detailed proportional make up of how the���� fruit juices in the MonaVie blend are made up continue to fuel discussions abut the health claims made by the product's distributors.

Monavie Acai Is Sold Exclusively Via A Questionable Multi Level Direct Sales Approach (AKA Pyramid Scheme)

Mona Vie acai juice drinks are not available in traditional supermarket chains or grocery stores like Safeway, Kroger, or Wegmans, and they're not even available via specialty health minded retailers like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. You definitely won't find the company's products at discounters like Walmart or Costco - no, the MonaVie company shuns the traditional sales outlets in favor of a more personalized and almost cult like marketing approach.

MonaVie was launched in January 2005 by a long time direct sales marketing veteran and since then, the company has relied exclusively on a multi level marketing strategy to promote and sell its expensive juice drinks. For all intents and purposes, the company's more of a powerful marketing machine than a health food provider. Certainly there may be substantially better fruit juice products out there at much cheaper prices, but frankly, and somewhat commendably, MonaVie does a pretty powerful job of hyping and cleverly convincing health fanatics that they absolutely must drink this product everyday to live their lives to the fullest.

By tapping into a sales stream that takes advantage of trusted personal relationships to generate sales, the company has become wildly successful - at least on the sales side. Those unfamiliar with multi level marketing (MLM) may be more familiar with its common nickname - the pyramid scheme. A MLM or pyramid scheme relies on a direct sales technique based on a relationship referral business model whereby trusted people are the engine components that drive the commission based sales. Whenever a sale is made, a lofty commission is paid out, not only to you (the person who made the sale), but also to the person who referred you into the marketing program as well as to the person who referred your direct referrer - hence the pyramid nature of the arrangement. Because these multi level marketing programs are so potentially lucrative for those at the top of the pyramid (the upline), the system strongly encourages and incentivizes participants to zealously promote the product and heavily recruit new entrants into the program (the downline) to further earn sales and commissions for those on the up line.

Now, the one thing that must be made clear is that not all multi level marketing programs or pyramid schemes are inherently evil or illegal. Not all pyramid schemes are blatant scams or disreputable shell games the same way that Ponzi Schemes are. In fact, there are many otherwise thinly legitimate multi level marketing programs out there such as Amway, Avon, Mary Kay, Herbalife, Tupperware, and all sorts of online affiliate programs. However, many of these MLM based companies suffer from the same stigma and questionable scrutiny that MonaVie faces as well. While not outright frauds or scams like the way Nigerian 419 scams are for example, the same scammy concerns arise because many of these MLM programs really only benefit those at the top of the marketing pyramid and often encourage overzealous sales techniques that frequently lead to almost predatory recruiting tactics and pitches. Oftentimes as well, many of these MLM programs demand contractually obligated sales quotas that members must satisfy every month or face having to purchase the products themselves to meet the sales quota requirement. In the case of MonaVie's contractually obligated arrangement for wannabe new distributors into the program, new entrants are obligated to buy at least 4 bottles a month of the pricey acai berry juice. They don't come cheap and failure to sell enough bottles every month will require that the distributor contractually purchase the required quota for personal use.

As noted by an investigative news article from Newsweek, according to income disclosures, most of the million strong sales team of MonaVie appear to be really just drinking the juice themselves rather than selling them as originally intended. More than 90% of supposed distributors of MonaVie are actually considered wholesale customers, whose earnings were mostly discounts on sales to themselves. Remarkably according to the article, fewer than 1% of the MonaVie marketing pyramid's sales people qualified for commissions and of those, only 10% made more than $100 a week. The Newsweek article even goes on to state that according to a top MonaVie recruiter, while obviously not disclosed by the company, the MonaVie multi level marketing program's drop out rate's around 70%. It's certainly a fascinating tidbit to keep in mind as you ponder the question of whether MonaVie's a scam. While I personally don't think MonaVie is a scam as they do offer an otherwise legitimate fruit juice product, the acai juice company sure has rather unsavory fringe elements to it.

In regards to the secret world of direct sales and pyramid marketing, I had my first negative exposure to MLM programs when I was recruited by a company called Vector Marketing to sell Cutco branded knives back when I was just an 18 year old high school student. For some odd reason, many fellow high school students such as myself were targeted with elaborate marketing sales pitches by Vector Marketing recruiters to become trained in the art of tapping personal relationships to sell ridiculously and insanely overpriced Cutco steak knives to our friends and family members. Obviously, our recruiters were eager to train us into becoming their commission earning downline so that they could profit from our sales as our upline referrals. While the Cutco knives we lugged around and sold were of obvious high quality, they were no where even close to being worth the exorbitant price demanded of each individual cutlery. Quality is one thing, but they were and to this very day, are still vastly overpriced. While I was able to tap into my personal relationships and beg a few neighbors to shell out hundreds of dollars for a few knives out of pity, I remember always feeling extremely scammy and sleazy during my rehearsed sales pitches to supposed loved ones. As a mere 18 year old at the time, I wasn't too fond of���� having to take advantage of my close relationships for financial gain. There was nothing illegal or deliberately evil about the whole sales system, but the whole multi level marketing approach simply felt shady and rather manipulative to me.

Mova Vie Is Extremely Expensive and Overpriced Despite Its Alleged Acai Berry Health Properties

The MonaVie acai berry juice product is not cheap. In fact it's downright expensive - ridiculously overpriced at astronomically rip off levels if you ask me. A single MonaVie juice bottle will cost you $30-$40 per bottle, for a little more than 25 fluid ounces of the fruit berry mixture. According to the promotional material, to fully appreciate the nutritional benefits of acai berry juicing, you're supposed to drink at least 2 fluid ounces of the purple stuff in the morning, and another 1 ounce at night. At the rate suggested by the MonaVie company, a single bottle will last you about a week. At $30-40 a bottle, that comes out to $120-$160 a month, and $1,440-$1,920 a year. Unless you are swimming in money and flush with dollars like the professional athletes or financially well off���� like celebrities Oprah Winfrey or Rachel Ray, chances are, you're going to find regular consumption of this product to be well beyond your financial means. The lucrative price of each expensive bottle of Mona Vie can probably be traced back to the high cost of commission maintenance that must be paid out to the entire pyramid marketing chain upon each sale.

Because of the multi level marketing nature and aggressive direct sales promotional tactics of MonaVie distributors, a wide array of ridiculous health and nutritional claims seem to have blanketed the internet. Sometimes it's a little difficult figuring out which writer is trustworthy and which one is blatantly a sales guy. I have personal gut-feeling suspicions that sizable portions of these favorable web-based health comments and supposed online testimonials were made by MonaVie distributors and financially interested sales promoters trying to hype up the appeal of their pricey cash cow via fake product reviews. A quick browse of the internet quickly reveals all sorts of outlandish testimonies and anecdotal stories by random people - claims of how MonaVie acai juice drinking cured their heart disease, healed their arthritis, alleviated stress and depression, cured their acne, reversed their aging, repaired joint damage, got rid of joint and back pain, cured their cancer, treated their diabetes, made them more energetic, and even improved their sex life. The craziest claim I've seen was some gentlemen who claimed that his steady diet of Mona Vie acai berry juice made his special male anatomy organ larger and more virile. I've even read a few ridiculous claims by anonymous female commentators on various Mona Vie related blog posts touting how acai berry juicing grew their chests and helped make their breasts larger. The myriad of outlandish and totally unsubstantiated claims are quite abundantly available online - an unfortunate side effect that distorts the truth, whenever there is a lot of sales money to be had.

Now it's one thing for a product to be expensive and it's a whole different matter altogether if the product doesn't actually do what it says it is supposed to do. The literature and research on the amazing health benefits of drinking MonaVie and the supposed God-like healing properties of acai berry juice are still not entirely definitive. While there is little doubt that berries and fruits such as acai, blue berries, blackberries, and pomegranates common loads of nutritional vitamins and powerful compounds such as cell repairing antioxidants, the research is not yet entirely supportive that these are indeed super fruits that can cure all and heal all. There is scientific evidence that the acai fruit and other dark berries are uniquely high in Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity (ORAC), a rating system that evaluates a food product's ability to fight harmful free radicals in the body, but that doesn't mean that a single fruit can potentially replace all other alternative sources of vital nutrients.

To be fair, the MonaVie company doesn't actually go out of its way to blatantly promote the MonaVie product as a magical berry elixir anymore. MonaVie does not actually make the health and nutritional claims itself. Due to stricter federal scrutiny of Mona Vie's official claims, the company has drastically cut back on its previous assertions of health benefits and healing properties. The company is now content with marketing the MonaVie drink as merely a high end fruit juice product, letting its legion of cult like Mona Vie acai berry drinkers and promoters hype the unbelievable health benefit innuendos on their own. After all, the motto of the MonaVie company is - "Drink It, Feel It, Share It" - which sounds more like a sales focused marketing directive of sorts to me.

Acai Berries Do Contain Lots Of Nutrients - They Just Don't Have Super Healing Powers As Suggested By Some Independent MonaVie Distributors

As a mild defense for the key heralded component of MonaVie's juice product - the acai berry does indeed contain abundant nutritional value. There is quite a bit of research touting the health benefits of acai berry as a good source of fiber, minerals, vitamins, polyphenols, and antioxidants for healthy bodily performance. The expensive acai fruit does indeed contain a wealth of nutritional benefits compressed into each little purple berry, but then again, much of the same health benefits can easily be found in large concentrations in other more common and cheaper fruits such as bananas, blue berries, and apples as well.

Despite my admitted fondness for the taste of acai, I'm extremely wary of buying into the whole MonaVie acai juice product because I simply do not know how much of acai can be found in each bottle. Because MonaVie refuses to disclose the actual composition of its juice drinks, we do not know for certain the exact breakdown of its juice cocktail and the exact amount of expensive acai berry concentrate in the blend. It's very important to keep in mind that the MonaVie juice mixture doesn't contain acai berries exclusively. It's comprised of an admitted blend of 19 fruits - including many common and cheap fruits like bananas and apples, easily found in your neighborhood grocery store. If you really buy into the claimed health benefits of juicing and nutritional potency of acai berries, there are much easier and cheaper ways to get your purple berry fix. Most grocery stores sell acai berry juice variations and even certain online stores sell similar acai berry laden juice drinks, acai powders, and acai capsules for much, much less.

The fact of the matter is that people are always looking for the easy way out and frequently are all too eager for a magic potion that will make take away the need to put in effort. There is plenty of research touting the overwhelming health benefits of a low fat, low sugar diet comprised of lots of fish and whole grain foods. There is also overwhelming evidence that smoking and excessive alcohol drinking wrecks havoc on physical and mental health, and that daily consistent exercise is absolutely essential to healthy living. Yet, we as humans seem to ignore those simple practices and remain perpetually enamored with the possibility that there are super fruits out there that can serve as magic silver bullets to our health problems and ailments. The reality is that there is no such thing as a one size fits all super fruit. Proper health and nutrition requires a good moderated balance of fruits, vegetables, and proper exercise - not the services of a single food product - especially not one that is so expensively priced.

How To Buy MonaVie Online And Test Out Acai Berry Juices For Yourself (Remember, It's Not Cheap and Its Health Claims Are Not Fully Substantiated Yet)

Recently, I purchased a few bottles of MonaVie online simply to test out and review the juice product for myself since I didn't know how else to try it out for free. While I have no intention of actually signing up as a distributor or getting myself locked into some multi level marketing contract, I think it's perfectly understandable if there are people out there who remain curious about the fruit juice blend. It's admittedly rather tasty, albeit extremely expensive and somewhat overrated. Personally, I don't buy the magical juice berry claims of the MonaVie supporters and chose to consume the drink on a one time limited basis as I would any new drink. If you really want to start juicing, buy a fruit juicer for yourself or buy pre-made fruit smoothies from the grocery store. Many of these pre-made blends contain acai berry and they're a much cheaper way to get exposed to the nutritional value of acai should you so choose to partake. If you really insist on joining the MonaVie acai berry craze, there are plenty of equally good generic acai berry brands out there as well - in various just-add-water powder products and pills.

In the event you are determined to test out MonaVie acai berry drinks or similar acai berry products based on curiosity, here are a few ways to buy them online. Remember, it's not an endorsement, and I'm just pointing the way for you if you insist:

  1. MonaVie Active Health Juice With Acai (Amazon) - 1 Bottle of the dark purple stuff.
  2. MonaVie Active Juice Bottles With Acai (Amazon) - 4 bottles - A way to buy MonaVie online without having to agree to some recurring sales contract.
  3. MonaVie Juice Bottles With Acai (eBay) - Cheapest method to buy MonaVie online without commiting to a distributorship agreement, but requires eBay auction bidding.
  4. Natrol - Acai Berries 1000mg Per Serving 60 Capsules (Amazon) - 60 capsules
  5. Organic Acai Fruit Capsules with Camu Camu (Amazon) - 60 capsules - The Brazilian acai berry in pill form.
  6. 100% Pure Acai Fruit Powder with Camu Camu (Amazon) - 90 grams - Just add water to make an acai powder juice drink.

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329 Responses to “The MonaVie Acai Berry Super Fruit Juice - Mona Vie Scam?” 

  1. Roseann says:

    Thank you Jay - I appreciate that.

  2. Jay says:

    Well if you're using Oprah's name to promote this juice her lawyers would love to meet you.
    "Consumers should be aware that Oprah Winfrey is not associated with nor does she endorse any a����a���� berry product, company or online solicitation of such products, including MonaVie juice products. Attorneys for Harpo are pursuing companies that claim such an affiliation."


    The Newsweek article was not flattering...

  3. Steven says:

    Sasquatch, are you a fanatic? The whole purpose of this blog (in my opinion) is for people to defend Monavie or give the reasons they think it is a scam. Many of the opposers have still agreed that, if it works for you keep using it. They just do not believe it works for them or many others. Some give opinion and others have given scientific fact. You have the chance to give real information and you just want to rant why others may be stupid for not believing you. Try to give real facts and try it in a non biased fashion and maybe some people may believe you. Poor grammer (written in text like fashion) does not add to your ability to sway people.

    Monavie is a business for you and I understand you want to expand that for yourself. Doing it in a rant like fashion towards people that do not believe as you do only reinforces their point. Make some intelligent comments and you may find some people might engage in a real discussion with you. Continue demeaning people for not believing as you will only degrade your ability to make money in your side business.

    Jay, I have been looking at the MORE project. If you have any information, I would like to gain your assistance with this. I went to guidestar.org and only found a very small amount of information. It only showed 1 permanent staff and 11 volunteers. They have no IRS 990 on file (Return of organization exempt from income tax). I know they have a tax ID number, but I am not surprised they keep this secret also. Is there anything about this company that is public?

    If you only have 1 permanent staff and 11 volunteers, where is all the supposed money going to? How can only 1 staff member regulate all the capital and income that they have acquired and distribute it. Is the 1 permanet staff Dallin's wife? I know the BBB has given the company an F rating and I know they continue to shroud themselves in secrecy, but hiding information about their non-profit organization only enforces the notion they lack legitemacy. Can you elaborate any more on this? Thanks.

  4. Roseann says:

    Apparently my company has decided NOT to block me from this site (or at least the block only lasted a couple of days) so I'm back! :-)

    I was curious when you wrote what you did above - that MonaVie has an "F" rating with the BBB, so I checked out the BBB website - which shows it to be a "B-". Here's the link: http://www.bbb.org/utah/business-reviews/multi-level-selling-companies/monavie-llc-in-south-jordan-ut-21000953 If that doesn't work, just google BBB and type in MonaVie in Utah. Where did you find the "F" rating? It goes on to say that this B- rating was due to 38 complaints in the past 36 months, all of which have been resolved. I find that pretty phenomenal actually considering the millions of orders it processes - wouldn't you? (Unless of course you were looking for anything to discredit the company.) I'm open minded enough to have gone and checked it out and am glad I did. And with that few complaints (that were all resolved) I'd give it an "A+" in my book. And the BBB lists a B- rating as a good rating for a company.

    I don't know much about how to search for information about a Charity that's outside of the United States but I've met the people that are involved over there and seen footage of the village, the homes they've built and rebuilt, the school and its classrooms, etc., and have even met two of the children when they flew them over with the program director to a meeting a couple of weekends ago. Here's a link to the project: http://www.themoreproject.org/ Again, if this doesn't work, go to www.monavie.com and click on The MORE Project at the bottom of the page. Sergio Ponce is the Project President and Katy Holt-Larsen is the Executive Director. (Neither are Dallin's wife, but I think Katy is his sister - but you say it as if there's something wrong with that.) This site says they'll be publishing their annual report in a couple of weeks. They also are NOT keeping their Tax ID a secret - it's also on their website and is #203770594. WHY are you trying to make this charity sound bad? There's NOTHING secretive about it but you're trying to make it look that way. WHY are you trying to mislead people?

    Steven - you tell Sasquatch to state facts, yet both of the ones you mentioned above are not correct. And it didn't take me more than about 5 minutes to find that out. Are you just betting that most of the people on this site won't bother checking it out and will be convinced by your post? Unless you have a reasonable explanation for these "mistakes" I'd have to suggest that no one listen to any more of your "facts" or at the very least, verify them before taking them with even a grain of salt. If you have information to dispute what I've found, then please share that.

    And Jay - so far, I've only heard Oprah's name associated with the Acai berry through Dr. Oz, not necessarily MonaVie....

  5. Steven says:

    Roseann, you are correct it is a B-. I have not checked it in awhile and should have prior to posting. They actually used to have a F+ rating. I think that was prior to March 12th because they had not responded to the request sent to them in Aug 2008. They are still not accredited, but I was wrong in saying they have that now. Good catch.

    I said they have a tax ID number (so please read my post thoroughly before posting your rebuttle) and my questions were to Jay. I did not realize you speak for Jay now. I have looked at the links you posted before I even made my comments. That is also how I saw their tax ID number.

    I will continue to post as often as I am allowed to here. If I am wrong then I will say it no problem. If you do not like anything negative against Monavie, then make your own blog, be the moderator and only allow people that want to say positive things. Then you can be like MSNBC/NBC for Obama. Keep everything one-sided. So you can suggest anything you like in your post. People will read these and usually check out the facts for themselves. If I said something incorrect then I am sure others can correct it easily. Just like you did. I do not think my posts are all inclusiv and have to be taken at straight face value. Once again, I am expressing my opinion. I am not ranting and raving, just expressing an opinion and sometimes asking questions. If I am wrong, I can readily admit it. Easy to say I was wrong. Most people can not do that.

    I told sasquatch if he did not rant and rave so much, then people would more likely listen. I said he should state facts. I did not say he is wrong or no one should listen to him. Just gave an opinion in regards to getting a point across.

    I see you still have attitude towards me when you write your posts. Is it possible for you to ever be non-biased? Even if I am incorrect, then just correct me. No reason to bash me or suggest no one ever read my posts. Thats just silly Roseann. Quit making this so personal! I guess you will continue your childish behavior and no matter what I say you will denounce it. You are entitled to your opinion and I hope people will always read your posts, since you always have the right to your opinion. I just do not have the right to my opinion in your world. Thank god its still America.

  6. Jay says:

    Roseann I would suggest you look around at claims made by fellow distributors. I was directing my comment at Sasquatch who used Oprah's name in a way that would imply that she supports the product. Do you think that Oprah would specifically reference Monavie on her site while stating that she does not endorse these products if claims weren't being made? Monavie is certainly not the only Acai product on the market but it's the only one her people felt the need to reference specifically.

    The MORE Project should have several tax filings available and it is strange that they do not because it's not a new charity. I don't doubt that they are doing some good things but financial secrecy in a charity is rarely a good sign. There are many charitable organizations that I am not a fan of that still do some good work. The ones that I don't like spend more of their donations on administrative costs rather than putting the funds towards their mission statement. Not sure about MORE and I don't think anyone could say that they are sure since the financials aren't available. IF their director is receiving an enormous salary that would seem wrong to many people, myself included. I think Steven is a little suspect that this is the case and that Larsen is using the charity to increase the wealth of a family member. I suspect the charity is another marketing gimmick since most of the company appears to be based on marketing gimmicks but that's just my opinion. I'll look into it some more...

  7. Raymond says:


    I apologize if it seemed like I deleted a blog comment post by you. I have dived into my spam dumpster and retrieved it manually. Just for the record, I abhor censorship and prefer to let the written statement or message, no matter how intellectually pristine or foul - to speak for itself.

    This blog employs a spam filter robot to automatically weed out the continuous bombardment of spam comments. When you include a large number of HTTP web links in your comment, it has a tendency to raise red flags since spammers have a tendency to use lots of links in their blog comments. Feel free to use links in future comments but just be advised that when you use a lot of links, it has a tendency to automatically trigger the spam flag.

    For fellow readers....Sasquatch was referencing this supposedly deleted blog comment, dated - April 19th, 2009 at 3:14 am

  8. Jay says:

    Interesting points Roseann.

    I am curious to see the numbers and I'll reserve judgment until I do. It's still odd to me that the info is not already available. Charitable organizations aren't private even if they are funded by a private company. There are tax implications involved so yes it would matter how much a director of the charity is making and what the admin costs are. The fact that the director of the charity is a family member just raises a little red flag, it doesn't mean that anything is wrong. It's not something I have many facts about, simply because they aren't available, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt for now. Helping kids is great, no doubt about that, and I doubt anyone would argue that point.

  9. Steven says:

    Roseann, I was referring to the IRS 990. That is normally a public document for people to see. "They have no IRS 990 on file (Return of organization exempt from income tax). I know they have a tax ID number, but I am not surprised they keep this secret also." Call it poor grammer or how I called it out, but my point was about the IRS 990, because I know they have a tax ID number. Get off your high horse woman, sheesh.

    Jay (and Roseann because she comments on everything), thanks for your opinion. I hadn't thought about the high salary part or the administrative costs. On the IRS 990 it specifically asks if any member is making greater than 100,000. I used to give to the CFC (Combined Federal Campaign), but I always looked at the administrative costs prior to doing so. I actually found some companies that had greater than 80% administrative costs. So good point on that.

    Roseann please comment on the following (these are straight off the link you provided):
    1) Advertising Review:
    On August 5, 2008 the BBB of Utah contacted the company and requested substantiation of all advertised recommended package claims which are intended to improve the health of the body. On March 12, 2009 documentation was received from the company in response to the BBB substantiation request. The information is currently in review to determine if the company's advertising claims have been substantiated through the documentation provided.
    2) BBB Accreditation:
    This business is not a BBB Accredited Business.

    I said I as wrong about the rating because I had not checked it in awhile, but go ahead and make your comments about the above please.

  10. Anna says:

    Welcome back Rosanne! I had a feeling you wouldn't be gone long.

    Tell me about the new energy drink coming in June. I just heard about this today.


  11. Roseann says:

    First Stephen, I'm not on a high horse just because I pointed out your error. You said Tax ID and that's what I corrected you on. You admit it and that's the end of it. Since I don't know what the reference is to "advertised recommended package claims which are intended to improve the health of the body" because I haven't seen any on any packaging myself, other than on the Pulse that states that that formula includes plant sterols, and that the FDA has said that 8 grams of plant sterols a day will reduce cholesterol - and that the recommended dose of Pulse (4 oz/day) has 8 grams in it. I don't know if that's what they're talking about, but since I've been with the company (Oct. 2008) I haven't seen anything else on the packaging related to this. That's not to say that distributors aren't making claims and I'm always careful to only say what it has done for me and those that I know personally, and emphasize that it's different for different people. And I have no way of knowing what they provided, so I'm not in a position to comment on that.

    The only comment I'll make on the fact that they're not an accredited business w/the BBB is that if you look on the BBB website itself, it emphasizes that that in no way means anything bad about a company. I would think that a company this size WOULD go to the effort to become accredited and have no idea why they wouldn't have done that, but do you seriously think that 38 resolved complaints in 36 months is really bad for a company that processes millions of transactions? What is your comment on that? Since they have a good rating with them, why are we even talking about it?

    I'm still a little confused as to the relevancy of how much their administrative costs are if the company pays all of that and 100% of the donations make it to the actual mission of the charity. This is an honest question in case I'm missing something.

    Thanks Anna! :-) The only thing I've heard about the Energy drink is that it should be out in July and is called E (to the) mv. I don't know how to type that, but if you think of the E to the mc squared thing you get the picture. The E stands for Energy and the mv is MonaVie (duh). It's supposed to not have all the sugar and caffeine that all the other energy drinks do and is all natural. (And I think it's in a pretty blue can.)

  12. Sasquatch says:

    thank you for reposting my post Raymond. I was in a bad mood and didnt mean to get made at u. I called it like I seemed to see it. I love how people who think i am a fanatic, choose to subtly do their best to find what ever they can to be-little me. I am a very well educated person, with an extensive vocabulary and if u wish to demean me due to my use of acronyms. Then feel free to do so. it is not in the "texting format" as you choose to call it. It is merely a way to shorten words that are well known to most people in order to shorten conversations. It has been used thru texting so much that many people consider it a sign that the english language is decaying and turning into abbreviations of the language. ppl= people, thru=through, lol= laugh out loud. I use them when I have less time than normal. I have yet to catch myself speaking in acronyms. When i do, rest assured I will get myself a therapist to help me deal with this degradation of my intellect.

    Now, that I have gone off on a wild tangent. In order to poke back at those that wish to do all they can to point out things in my sentence structuring and on my attitude. I wish to clarify some things. I have not been yelling at everyone, who doesnt believe like I do. I am not telling them they are all stupid. If you read thru all of my posts. I am taking every pointed comment I have made and been focusing them at one group of people. The ones who think that it is their mission. To tell everyone that Mona Vie is a scam, acai berry is a sham and that all of us are liars and the company we help sell for are thieves. I have gotten so irate over these accusations that many have mis-construed my intentions and my statements. I may have been over-zealous and have made ti seem like I am fanatical about this. I am not actually. I just see it as utter stupidity for people to talk smack about that which they have not even tried. All the research in the world will not give u the information you need. Compared to those who actually try it for themselves. Bottom line, there is so much pros and cons information out there, if you were to look up anything you will find millions of websites, articles, info that all say different things. Some saying it is good, others saying it is bad, others being about a subject that has nothing to do with the topic you were searching on. Anymore u cant trust the information you find, due to this other place discrediting the place u got your info from, and then another place discrediting them, blah blah blah. You get what I am saying? Plus I only mentioned Oprah for the acai berry part. I didnt mean to say she supports and promoted Mona Vie. Was not my intention and if I did I apologize. I jumped back on here to see what people would say once I left. it was kinda funny to see the responses and to see most of the same people and not many new ones. maybe it is because this has turned into one big yelling match. Us against u guys, u against us, what ever.......not gonna go into it. Not gonna contribute to the yelling match that this has turned into. I think I will check back from time to time. Just so as to clarify things I have said so they arent taken out of context like much of what I have said has been. Problem with typing. You can say many things in person and a person can tell by the tone of your voice what you mean and the feeling behind it. You type the same thing and someone will take offense for some reason, even though u never meant it that way and can say otherwise because they wont believe you. Well............I look forward to what is said next.

  13. Raymond says:


    No worries. Tough language and accusations doesn't bother me whatsover. In case you didn't know, while I blog online about personal finance, my professional background is that of an attorney. I embrace debate and passionate exchanges. Anything truly worth bickering and fighting over deserves the genuine voices and opinions of diehard advocaters. The moment that angry and zealous debate ceases, our democracy and freedom of speech dies.

    I'm personally not a big fan of MonaVie acai berries and these premium juice drinks the company sells, but I can see why they may benefit some. But I see their benefits more as a beneficial pacebo effect than something backed by true scientific results. If someone truly, truly, truly believes in a product for its supposed health benefits and doesn't mind shelling out lots of cash to maintain a steady supply, who am I too judge? Just don't be sad or crushed when years down the road, the whole thing is exposed for what it is. I think acai berry is the real deal, but I think its health benefits have been drastically blown out of proportion. MonaVie's marketing practices is just generically suspicious in my opinion, but I don't really have personal facts to back my business scam allegations up......just a gut feeling. I'll leave the muddy fact flinging part to others :)

  14. Sasquatch says:

    i understand that Raymond. I am a huge skeptic when it comes to things that look like get rich quick schemes and things that seem too good to be true. I figured what the heck? Why not try it. Commit to taking it for a couple of months and go from there. It was the drastic results I noticed that made me a believer. many can think this is the placebo effect. I dont just because I got into this eyes open. Not really expecting it to do anything,but it did. In a way that is transforming my life, back into what I want it to be. It is not some miracle fruit, or company. It is a company that operates with multi level marketing. One that allows those who wish to pursue the business side of it. To actually surpass those who are above them. Last I checked Pyramid schemes as this is referred to. Only benefit those at the top in terms of financial gains. This is a very unique kind of marketing. One that can expand as much as you want it to. 60% of the people who are int his program. Drink it and that is it. They might tell people about it, have them try it. Then go on about their lives.

    I dont think it is gonna be "exposed" as you say either. I think it is a very good thing, though not for all. Oh well, let them be skeptics. I met someone the other day that told me I was delusional and that I was throwing my money away. This same person goes to the bar 3 nights a week and spends about $150 a night boozing. I wonder who is making out better? lol either way. i hope that more people read this and actually look into it for themselves. People who actually have the guts to go into something like this. Eyes open, not expecting anything, but at least willing to commit to it for a month or two. To see if it benefits them in any way that would make them what to keep taking it to see how it improves their quality of life. I hope those of you who are curious about this. Do indeed try it for yourselves. If I could afford it, without all my other bills and obligations I would offer to pay for at least a 2 month supply to anyone who wanted to do just what I suggested above. Just to have them do it risk free, unfortunately I cant do that and people have to make the commitment and decide to try it themselves. I am not a rich man, though I am pretty well set up. Plus I have obligations that are more important money wise that would prevent me from doing it if I could. Either way, listen people. Does anything I say make sense? Be your own judge. In the end you have yourself as the witness to your actions. Instead of blaming someone else for any decision you make. You have only yourself. Think about that.

  15. Breanna says:

    Since you all seem to be acai berry and superfruit juice experts....I guess I'll pose my question here. Do you guys know of any other popular acai products marketed via MLM? Or is MonaVie the only game in time these days?

    Also, are there any other new "health food products" besides Acai? I've been trying to enter the business market on my own but I don't know what's really out there.

    With this Hydroxycut weight loss thing getting banned by the federal government...I wonder how long until these other alternative health food products out also get attacked. But I guess MonaVie's different....no one's exactly dying or suffering horrible deaths from drinking them! lol

  16. Roseann says:


    I haven't heard of any other MLM acai product myself, but I wouldn't doubt it if there might be some in the future. MonaVie doesn't have an exclusive on the berries by any means, but it is the largest exporter from what I've been told. They've grown tremendously very quickly so the only thing I'd caution you of is to make sure that whatever company you decide to go with that they not only have a great product (and I'm sure there are others out there) but that they're going to be able to deliver on getting the product out on schedule week after week, and of course, have the infrastructure to not only do that, but to be able to pay the distributors as promised.

    I know the berry is in some other products. Don't fall for the whole weight-loss pill thing though. After it hit the news down here it made everyone leary of whatever product the acai was in - which was totally unrelated and a shame because people hear one thing about an unrelated product and then they're suspicious of everything related to it.

    I've heard of some other products, not containing Acai, that run from volcanic ash (?) to other natural products grown in remote areas. I looked around a bit myself before I settled on MonaVie, mostly because it WORKED for me. I've watched to see if I heard much about the others that I'd run across, but I really haven't. I'm sure they're still out there, and have a following of people that it might have worked for. But of the ones I tried (Max GXL for example made me feel awful) this is the only one I could honestly feel good about suggesting to my friends that they spend any money on. And I haven't seen any of the others make it anywhere NEAR as big as this - nor taste at all good. And I don't think pills can get into your system nearly as effectively as a liquid can. (And I can't imagine anyone getting sick from MonaVie unless they're allergic to fruit, or have some autoimmune disease that makes them have to suppress their immune system - since this boosts it. Don't think they'll be shutting this down anytime soon :-)

    If you want to know anymore about a few of the other things I found, email me at roseannamato@yahoo.com and I'll forward a couple of them to you. But I think you'll probably come to the same conclusion I did. Good Luck!

  17. Dallas says:

    I love how everyone sticking up for the juice trys to sell it right after. 'dont listen, its not a scam, but buy it from ME not ebay!" Really destroys the crediblity, like if they actually belived that it is that good for you they would want you to get - meaning poor people too. I also have been in a "pyramid scheme" before and similar tactics also leaving me feeling like a horrible person. Most defeinity nutrients and vitamins are good for you. Maybe acai berry is better than some, but you can get it anywhere! For sooooo much less. It is a scheme because people want a quick fix and they get pressured by their own friends to do it. If we all did what we have known forever we wouldnt need this- or be persuaded by something that has to make so many people money (apparantly) there are hundreds of websites of people selling it- millions and millions are being made, and if the company really cared about people or even truly belived how beneficial it was they wouldnt need to market it this way- and then everyone (including people who dont have $150 a month for one drink a day) would have access to it. We feel uneasy about these marketing techniques because we have been told or have seen ourselves the logical contracdition it creates. Very sad. I have 2 friends who ask me weekly to come to there tastings- it makes me sick. its marketed at my daycare by the sign in sheet- and this is not an expensive daycare- most of the families there are on subsidy from the government- but now they to believe they are hurting there children by not spending the extra $150 a month on this overmarketed juice. I know that in less than a year both of my friends will no longer speak of MonaVie- that they would have exhausted all of there ties to the community and will have nothing left but some emppty bottles- which I think we have enough of if the people promoting this are so environmentally conscience. It hypocritical and the people involved have been scamed because they wont get anywhere in life from it (majority) the fad will die- and all that time annoying your friends and family could have been spent getting an education $150 a month. Please eat healthy- care about the envirnoment but dont let multi billion dollar corporations persuade you into beliveing you are making that happen with their product. You have shown you can take initiative with a bit of push, take it from yourself or anyone for that matter- but not from them. Think first and you will know the answer- we have these consiences for a reason you know! It is so logical it truly does hurt to watch how much humanity has become a race of followers and that we no longer ask questions or do research or listen to what history has shown. Think Twice.

  18. Dallas says:

    Ok since it was very late an I did not edit any of the my last post... i dont need to be attacked by the monovie supporters on every word i wrote since im sure it could be misunderstood- very late not best written. i know that the supporters are the sellers. and also they do believe that they are helping, that this product is good, how couldnt they- if they sell it to thier family and friends and drink it themselves? However it loke a cult or a religion or any sort of ban wagon type thing- sometimes when we want to belive something that will be benefial-like curing disease or making tons of money we tend to be more optimistic towards it. Most of the sellors that i have come into contact with do not have an education, do not have much money and are very easily persuaded to belive all the claims about monavie. So im not trying to hurt you or call you liars or theives- no way. I wish that you do become wealthy- and happy. but maybe not selling this. maybe doing something greater.

  19. Scott says:


    Your comment hit it right on the head. I have friends who try to push the product on a daily basis, and it is getting annoying. I have also seen some friendships lost because of this greed. But I guess if their getting rich is more important than a friend. I say good riddance.

    Bottom line is that when this is all said and done, and MonaVie has faded away. The ones who were so fanatic about it, will be regreting they ever got involved with this company. And if I'm wrong, I'll have some rich ex-friends. But I'll be able to sleep at night, because I will still have a consience.

  20. Mary says:

    In the article at the beginning of this the following statement appears: "In the case of MonaVie's contractually obligated arrangement for wannabe new distributors into the program, new entrants are obligated to buy at least 4 bottles a month of the pricey acai berry juice. They don't come cheap and failure to sell enough bottles every month will require that the distributor contractually purchase the required quota for personal use."

    THIS IS NOT TRUE! There is no requirement to purchase anything at any time unless you are considering qualification commissions - then there is a requirement to do a certain amount of business to qualify. If you are only a distributor to purchase wholesale, you can purchase the quantity you want, when you want with no requirements "contractually or otherwise".

    In our case this is a family business and we are part of the family (in our 70s) and the business is an LLC. When we need to replenish our supply we purchase the 12 case lot at wholesale (INCLUDES SHIPPING) - each bottle costs $21.88 (Regular), $22.80 (Active) or $22.96 (Pulse-heart healthy). Another member of our LLC is on Autoship so we order our 12 case lot and use it, then order another when it is gone. We only do it this way so the commissions still flow to the LLC. If an individual was only interested in using for themselves they would NOT have to have Autoship or commissions. The above prices make the juice a lot cheaper than the prescription medications needed without the juice - just one of them ran $120 a month and the juice does not have ADVERSE SIDE EFFECTS like those pricey prescription medicines.

    Since a promotion in February, MonaVie has suspended the $39 enrollment fee through all of 2009. For more information please check out www.monavie.com where there are clickable links. If you want to contact me personally please send an email to mag532@comcast.net (a secondary email address). I will provide our personal web page address for you on request.

    Yes, as senior citizens we have recognized improvements in a variety of lab values and medical issues in our own lives but know that each individual responds differently. Some of you want proof/guarantees and you want the tabulated list of ingredients - try that with any prescription medication or any other "proprietary" product. Like someone suggested - try that with Colonel Sanders chicken recipe. If proprietary ingredients were listed and quantities then anyone could reproduce them and the original businesses would be out of business.

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