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RE: Don't Get Tricked, Bro: How to Recognize a Pyramid Scheme
For me, the line is "do I have to pay to participate", followed by an investigation of independent sources on the matter of how many people who've signed up for this thing manage to turn a profit at it. However anything with an incentivized referral system is suspect, as it suggests that it can't grow on its own merits.
By the way, I really enjoyed reading your two part short story about the e-hancer network marketing thing. It was very well done.
It is always my pleasure to thrill and disturb you. :) As you probably guessed, I got the idea for that story when I first started to research MLMs and how they operate.
I usually don't get that far. They kinda lost me at "we have this wonderful business opportunity that we won't tell you about until the conference call that will make you fabulously wealthy." But yes, if I ever do get that far, I will definitely have to ask: "Do I have to pay to participate?"