Shaklee & Oprah – Has Shaklee “Sold Out”?

Disclaimer: HilaryShepherd.com is in no way affiliated with Shaklee Corporation. The views and opinions expressed in the following post are those of Hilary Shepherd and she alone. The comments are from readers like you who had something to say on the matter, and are posted simply in an effort to create dialog.

Have you ever heard of the Shaklee Corporation? I hadn’t until last year. When I mentioned it to my mom, she said she’s known about it for years. The Shaklee Corporation develops and sells environmentally friendly products ranging from vitamins and diet aids, to cleaning products. Some of the products are actually pretty great. Shaklee has been around for 50+ years and is one of the oldest and longest running multi-level marketing programs.

Now, MLMs can be profitable when the right match is made between a person and their chosen business. Not every MLM is for every one. Each one has their own “proven method” of conducting business and marketing products. But with every MLM, the more money you make, the more money those above you make.

Last year, my boyfriend and I decided to throw our hats into the MLM ring. We chose Shaklee because they’re based in Pleasanton, CA, they really care about the environment, and the products actually do what they say they’re going to do. We met with Shawn Gray, Executive Coordinator, with Shaklee & told him about our background in Internet Marketing. We figured since it’s the 21st century and anything that is worth anything is on the internet, we’d take that route to gain customers, instead of the traditional home based meetings approach. Shawn was very excited to see us take the internet approach & said it would be fine to market Shaklee on the Internet using the Shaklee name.

That’s when things started getting sticky. The “personal” website they supplied us with, in our opinion, was hard to navigate, and they set it up so search engines like Google, MSN and Yahoo couldn’t even see it if someone were to search for a Shaklee product. We couldn’t deal with that. So we made our own site and created pages for each of the products using the product names. Then the calls from Shaklee Corporate started coming full steam ahead. They said we were violating the Distributor Agreement by using the company name and product names in advertising.

You see, here’s the rub…Shaklee has headquarters in several parts of the world, and wants everyone in the world to know how great their products are, but they won’t let any of their distributors talk about them in any other medium than home meetings (like Tupperware or Mary Kay parties). Um, last time I checked, the internet was THE BEST way to let THE MOST people know about you. They will, however, let you advertise your meetings on the radio, on TV, in a newspaper or even on the internet, BUT you can’t use the word Shaklee or any of the Shaklee product names in those mediums. I thought when you’re trying to sell a product it was good to call it by name?

When you become a Shaklee Independent Distributor, you receive a “personal” website, but you’re not allowed to use the internet to its fullest potential by selling the products online. So…how does that make sense?

The Shaklee Corporation is currently owned by Roger Barnett (who, by the way is filthy rich even without Shaklee). He and his wife Sloane were on Oprah last week, but it was not really advertised. When a Shaklee distributor posted an article about the show, they were temporarily suspended. So, it’s okay for the company to advertise Shaklee on Oprah, but it’s not okay for their distributors to then write about what they saw on that show.That was Oprah’s rule. She wants all the money from customers generated by her show, so Shaklee put a ban on any of their distributors talking about it. I think Shaklee just wants to fatten their pockets – and Oprah’s. Now that hardly seems fair.

Further more, it is my contention that the Shaklee Corporation took the money from the sales we would have made through our website, which they shut down.

What we were doing was working for us, and therefore making money for them. We were reaching people we never would have been able to reach if we had done the traditional meetings. We were getting the Shaklee name out and making money. How was that a violation?

Or, the Shaklee Corporation needs to take the stick out of their collective corporate butts and embrace the world of internet marketing.

How the heck are you supposed to tell the world about something when you’re only meeting with a small group of people?

Do you have a site that has a complaint about Shaklee? Please post it here:

Have problems? – Maybe if enough people complain things will change:

Evelyn Bartolome
Shaklee Legal Department
(925) 924-2087
ebartolome@shaklee.com

or

Cathy Keating
(925) 924-2464
ckeating@shaklee.com

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