On The Road With Dave

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Now Appearing in an Extended Engagement! Join Dave Robison as he takes you into his world and his daily life of reviving a stand-up comedy career. Prepare for side trips exploring Public Relations, marketing and business ethics. Enjoy some frequent detours describing his observations on life. Read the exploits of this self-proclaimed Renaissance-man and blooming blogger as you go On The Road With Dave.

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Name: Dave Robison
Location: Mobile, Alabama, United States

From Mobile, Alabama comes Dave Robison, a confessed Internet-aholic, middle-aged-married-man, who's generally a nice guy--he just has one or two issues. Stand-Up Comedy by Dave Robison is available for corporate events, college campuses, and nightclubs.

 

 

On The Road with Dave


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

No One Is "Speaking Of Amway"

I don't write much about the Amway Global company anymore, because I'm no longer affiliated with the company and its products. But I still stop by and read the numerous blogs on the "Internets" that keep up with the happenings at the Amway corporation and the activities of its Independent Business Owners(IBOs).

Sadly, my main resource for Amway controversy and discussion, Quixtar Blog, has sat dormant for many months; although I recently checked in at the Quixtar Blog Discussion Forum and found that conversations are still being carried on, despite Quixtar Blog's owner, Eric Janssen's absence.

Recently, I tried to pay a visit to the "Speaking Of Amway" site ran by IBO, Chuck Lia. Chuck had written and moderated the Speaking Of Amway" blog for about a year when I left Quixtar/Amway. I had maintained a link to the blog under the MLM section of my "Links I Like" in my sidebar. Chuck had been kind enough to link back to "On The Road With Dave" at his blog.

Chuck always opened up his blog entries with "Speaking of Amway"....and then he would include a question about that entry's topic.

Shortly, after I had dropped out of the daily Amway conversations, Chuck had been inviting guest columnists to write at his blog. It would appear that the site is now dead. Links to the site turn up a "Page Can Not Be Found" message and searches for the site only reveal cached pages with just text, minus any template style.

I suppose I could have missed the last entry announcing the site's demise, but a short search of other Amway-related blogs turned up no evidence that the end of "Speaking Of Amway" was covered by any of the other usual bloggers on the subject.

Chuck...if you are still out there....I want you to know you had a good site that gave voice to both advocates and critics of Multi-level Marketing and Amway and I'll miss ya. But, I also understand the challenges of keeping up a site on those subjects. It takes a lot out of you and takes you away from other things, even when you didn't want it to.

I'll be removing the link to the site, here at my blog. If "Speaking Of Amway" re-launches at some point in the future; let me know and I'll be sure to let my readers know.

"Speaking of Amway...who will take its place?"

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Memories Of Prague 2008

A year ago this week, I had the opportunity to fly to Prague, Czech Republic to
attend a conference for Alticor/Amway Corporation.

It's trip that will live in my memory for a long, long time. And despite being sick on the trip, I managed to remember a lot of details and wrote about them when I got back home.

The Chronicles Of Prague ran for several days here at On The Road With Dave, if you are new here, or just wanna go back down memory road with me once again, I encourage you to take a look.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Farewell Alticor Media Blog

I just received word from Dino Baskovic, blog administrator for the Alticor Media Blog that the last blog entry for the Alticor Media Blog has been posted.

Under Deconstruction:

"In 2006, our public persona was divided among four companies – Alticor, Amway, Quixtar and Access. Going forward, however, we will do most of our communicating to public audiences under the Amway and Amway Global flags; continuing an "Alticor" blog seems out of place. So we'll lock up the place, flip out the lights, and pack the old threads and recipe cards in archives."


The Amway Media Blog will continue.

I always liked the Alticor Media Blog, even though in its early days, it was used to discuss Michigan politics and Amway's President, Dick DeVos' bid for the Gubernatorial seat in Michigan.

Later on, the blog pulled no punches with its commentary regarding terminated Quixtar-affiliated business owners. I recall many Independent Business Owners miffed over the tone of the blog entries. I, personally, read those entries with a smile on my face. I was thinking, "Finally, they are cleaning house".

I had the chance to meet Dino Baskovic while attending an Alticor conference in Prague. He's a cool guy, that I think has brought a lot of good to Alticor during his time with the company. Dino understands PR, Business, and the culture of being a MLM business owner. Since, the Amway Media Blog will continue, I can only hope that Dino will still have a hand in its direction.

And according to the last entry of the Alticor Media Blog:

"We expect it to remain a place for breaking news, public statements and straight talk. And the OZone blogs are of course alive and well. We hope you visit them early and often.

And away we go."


Okay, I'm sure somebody will say, "Just GO". But it won't be me.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

PR Guy Re-Run / The Amway Idol

Last year, when Alticor and Quixtar announced they were reverting back to the Amway name for all their global operations, I was inspired to write another installment of my "D. Robison, PR Guy" series.

A few days ago, Bridgett at "The World According To Bridgett wrote an entry entitled, "An Ode To Soap", where she is reminded of the importance of the Home Care line of products produced by Amway.

This got me to thinking about the entry I wrote last year.

Occasionally it's nice to remind readers of past articles, so if you've never read a "PR guy" episode, here's your chance.

"THE AMWAY IDOL!" I yelled. You have GOT to be kidding me! There's no such thing as an Amway Idol.

Doug rose from his chair. "Yes there is! It is real. It is powerful." said Doug. "We shall leave it with you and trust that you will hide it away so that it's magic will continue to work for not only our company, but for every loyal Quixtar...I mean, Amway distributor in the world."

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Monday, June 30, 2008

The World According To Bridgett

If you read any of the Quixtar Opportunity Zone blogs, or Chuck Lia's "Speaking Of Amway" blog or even "On The Road With Dave"--you might have read comments from a lady named "Bridgett".

Bridgett is a Quixtar-affiliated Independent Business Owner and her comments can be funny, thoughtful, and to some; infuriating. Her comments even led to her being invited, along with me and others, to Prague last March for a meeting with Alticor's Communications team.

At the meeting, I suggested numerous times to Bridgett that she should start her own blog--even if it wasn't Quixtar/Amway related. Bridgett had some issues with the idea that mostly revolved around maintaining a certain amount af anonymity.

I received an email from her over the weekend announcing she had decided to take the plunge into the blogosphere. Normally, I wouldn't link to a new blog until the author has posted several weeks of blog entries; but since this could be some breaking news for other bloggers writing about the Quixtar/Amway business; I felt that since she let me know, I should go ahead and let my readers know.

Although, she will still probably maintain some anonymity, I think her new blog will be an interesting stop in your daily Internet surfing.

Welcome her and her new blog, "The World According To Bridgett".

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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Coming Up Next

I don't want to be accused of following in the footsteps of the Alticor Media Blog and falling behind in updating my blog, so I'll let you in on what's coming up next week.

I have several entries I'm working on.

I attended my first Mobile Bay Bears game last week, and took a few photos. You might have surmised that something like that influenced my "Sunday Thoughts" last week. So, expect a summary of my trip to the "Hank".

I was contacted last week by Nashville publisher, Turner Publishing to write a review of a pictorial history of Mobile, Alabama. I received my copy a few days ago and plan to share my thoughts on the book.

Friday night, I performed here in Mobile at "30 Something" with a group of fine comedians and a small audience. That story will be coming over at "Comedy This Exit".

I have a birthday coming up this week, and you can pretty much expect that I'll be in one of my contemplative and reflective moods on that day. I really hate birthdays.

I posted a few comments over at Chuck Lia's "Speaking Of Amway" blog regarding should "Quixtar" bloggers start to blog less and concentrate on actually building a Quixtar business. Nice discussion.

Special thanks to those that attended the mock press conference last week; that entry is still open for more questions.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Chronicles Of Prague / Links

Hey, you wanna read all about my trip to Prague, but don't want to wade through the archives?

Here's ALL the links to ALL the stories I saw fit to print.

ON MY WAY

MEETING TEX

ARRIVING IN PRAGUE

THE BLOGGERS 5

MORNING OF PANEL DISCUSSION

THE QUESTIONS AT PRAGUE

PHOTOS, PHOTO, PHOTOS!

THE LAST NIGHT

GOING HOME WITH A DETOUR


It's great when you read it...in order; without commercial interruption.

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Monday, April 7, 2008

Chronicles Of Prague / Part 9

GOING HOME WITH A DETOUR

I slept terribly, Wednesday night. The codeine cough syrup I had been using to quiet my cough had began to make me itch. It was a side effect I had experienced before. Usually I can live with it, but at the same time my bronchitis was worsening and the codeine wasn't even helping the cough. At about 3AM, I got up out of bed and decided that since I couldn't sleep, I might as well pack my bags.

By 4AM, I was tired and miserable--but if I went to sleep--would I wake up in time to check out and make it to the airport? I chanced it, and slept until around 5:30AM.

I was to meet "TEX" downstairs in the lobby for breakfast at 6AM. I carried my bags down, checked out, and received my deposit back. (I had to put up a $100 dollars deposit, because I didn't have a credit card to secure purchases from the mini bar or if I had decided to watch some hotel satellite porn) For the record I got back all my money, except the price of a Pepsi.





"Tex" and I had a nice breakfast and caught the shuttle to the airport. I have been telling the story, since I returned from Prague, that I saw Air Force Two( maybe One) at the Amsterdam Airport and now, as I write this, it might have been at the Prague Airport. I was told after I returned from my trip that Condoleezza Rice had been making a trip to the area.


Again a nice flight to Amsterdam. At the Amsterdam Airport, I said good-bye to Tex and began the long security check. I was randomly selected for a more extensive security check. No Rubber Gloves were involved but they did open my carry-on bag and wave a metal detector wand over me and pat me down. I passed the test.

Then it was 10 hours on board a way crowded flight to Memphis, TN. I'm sure that my fellow passengers were happy to land in Memphis, after listening to me cough the entire trip. I think I might have started a trend before the flight was over. I heard many others cough right along with me. Maybe, we were all suffering from the "Prague Blah"

But, me and my fellow flight mates were not just going to land in Memphis. We had the opportunity to land somewhere else first.

As our flight trajectory brought us near the USA and home, a passenger began experiencing a medical emergency. The pilot made that familiar announcement that you hear in the movies. "If there is a qualified medical professional on board we ask that you report to a flight attendant." or something to that effect.

About thirty minutes later, another announcement.

"We have a passenger experiencing signs of a heart attack, we are making an unscheduled stop in Toronto, Canada to assist the passenger. Please remain in your seats as medical personnel board the plane."

We land. We stay on the runway. Fire trucks, ambulances, and other official airport vehicles surround the plane and Paramedics board the plane. We sit. I cough.

Thirty minutes later, they wheel an elderly gentleman from the plane under oxygen and his "vacation" in Canada begins. The trucks leave. We are informed that our flight connections will be informed of the delay and that most of us should make our next leg of the trip in plenty of time.

And I do. I arrive in Memphis with about 45 minutes to spare. Just time enough to pass through Customs, receive my SECOND stamp in my Passport, and board my plane to "Sweet Home Alabama"

My lovely wife greeted me at the Mobile Airport with a hug and a kiss and a container filled with some cold Milo's Tea. (nectar of the Gods)

Unfortunately, my luggage had taken a side trip to Shreveport thanks to the Customs official in Memphis who I handed it to on my way to my flight.

"Mobile, right?" he said.

"Right." I said.

Undoubtedly, "Right" means send it somewhere else. So I didn't get my bags until the next day, but I was home. Who cares?


But, it bummed me out a bit, because I couldn't show off my handmade marionette to the family that night. He's a Scot, I bought him because I have some Scot in me and I think I may look a little like him after a few shots of Tequila.

Well folks, there you have it. The entire Prague, Czech Republic experience. Thanks for taking the trip again with me.

Thanks again to David Steadson, Bridgett, "Tex" and "Big Apple" for being a part of the Bloggers 5. Thank you, Rob Zeiger and Alticor Corporation for thinking I had something intelligent to say to your Staff. Thank you, Robin Luymes and Dino Baskovic for putting up with us, hosting us, and doing all that walking in the city with us.

It was a trip of a lifetime, and I'm glad I was "On The Road" to do it.

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Chronicles Of Prague / Part 8

THE LAST NIGHT

After our walking tour of the city of Prague, we arrived back at the hotel cold, tired and hungry. I went and grabbed a quick shower and put my new Czech Republic marionette in my room.

Dinner was planned at a local pub/restaurant with all of the Bloggers 5, along with Dino Baskovic, Robin Luymes and Kate Makled. I spoke with Kate for a little while on the way to the restaurant. I found out her job consisted of "crisis management" public relations. A job description that I remarked probably kept her busy. Kate is directly under Rob Zeiger, the Director of Communications for Alticor. So she's a "big dog", and I felt honored that she decided to join us for dinner. And can I say? Dare I say?...yeah why not...she's a babe.

Dino had received a map of the restaurant's location and at the appropriate time, we began our trek to the restaurant. Bridgett and Kate opted for sensible shoes instead of "heels" to make the walk along the cobblestone streets. It was a smart decision. The streets are pretty and historic, but uneven and a bit treacherous in the dark.

I walked with Dino for a while since he had the map, but early on in the trip, Big Apple took over the job of leading us to the restaurant. Big Apple had been by the restaurant earlier in his tours of the city and was sure he could get us there. It was funny that the group divided up in different smaller groups as conversations changed throughout the walk. Someone would speed up to a group of three to get in on a chat; or slow down to a group of two to join in on a different conversation. It seemed to take a while of walking and a few twists and turns, but we arrived at the pub ready to eat.

I had seen on several menus at different places, a Czech favorite called, Pork Knee. Okay, maybe I'm not a world traveler, but I sorta thought that since the Czech Republic was "old country"; that a dish called Pork Knee was akin to a Southern favorite, "Ham Hocks", the lower portion of the pig leg. Ham Hocks are a tasty addition to soups and beans, not much meat but delicious "soul food".

I couldn't have been further from the truth. I had a mini roasted leg of pig that started right below where a "cut" of ham would begin. Smoked and roasted to perfection, served with a mustard and bread. I opted for some "French Fries" as well. The waitress looked annoyed at THAT selection of "side", but hell, it was on the menu and I like fries with my Pork Knee.

QUICK TRAVEL TIP: I didn't drink a lot of alcohol on this trip because I was on medication so I have to tell you about Coke and Pepsi in the Czech Republic. Cokes and Pepsis DO NOT taste the same as they do in Alabama. I read that it has to do with the water supply. In many countries Coke and Pepsi, while still maintaining a "coke" taste--still taste a bit "off". In my case, they had a "diet" aftertaste; a sweet, almost saccharine flavor. Not unpleasant enough to forgo ordering, but not quite the same as the USA.

I sat with Dino and Robin, and David Steadson closet to me. Dino and David talked "computers" for a while. Dino and I talked about stand up comedy and my experiences in comedy clubs. Robin was a great conversationalist with a wide variety of interests.

After dinner, we made our way back to the hotel. (It seemed faster this time) and we all hung out in the lobby.

I knew that Tex and I had an early flight out the next morning, but the conversations seemed to never come to an end. I took a quick picture with Robin, Dino and Kate. I remarked that I wanted a photo of me and the "corporate geeks". I think Bridgett thought I insulted them, but Dino had mentioned being a "geek" at dinner AND I use "corporate geeks" with affection.



ROBIN LUYMES, DAVE, KATE MAKLED, DINO BASKOVIC


After the corporate ge--ummm...folks left; the Bloggers 5 continued talking until late. We exchanged email addresses, took a few more photos and I eventually said good night.

My last night in Prague, Czech Republic couldn't have been better.






Pork Knee photo was taken from "Paul's Travel Pics"

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Friday, April 4, 2008

Chronicles Of Prague / Part 7

PHOTOS, PHOTO, PHOTOS!

Okay, you've read all about How I got to Prague, Who I met, and What we talked about...now, it's time to see what I saw.

After the Panel Discussion was over and the conference's sessions were through for the day, I, along with Bridgett, David Steadson, and "Big Apple" were treated to a tour of the city by Quixtar's Robin Luymes.

"Tex" and Dino Baskovic went to the Old Jewish Town of the city...Robin took the rest of us to Prague Castle by car, and then we went on a walking tour of the city.

This was a trip of a lifetime, I highly recommend a vacation to Prague, when you have more than just two days to spend in the city.

I hope you enjoy the photos.

PRAGUE CASTLE












CHANGING OF THE GUARD



PRAGUE SKYLINE FROM THE CASTLE






ON THE ST. CHARLES BRIDGE











CZECH REPUBLIC IS FAMOUS FOR HAND CARVED MARIONETTES AND WOODEN TOYS. THIS SHOP PROVIDES SOME OF THE FINEST. I BOUGHT MY SOUVENIR HERE.







EASTER FESTIVAL



At some point on our tour, we decided to take a photo together. Well, what better pose could we choose? None other than the famous(infamous?) Robin Luymes" pose from The Real Quixtar Blog. (YEAH, BABY!) And who else should take the photo for us? None other than The Real Robin Luymes. In a word, that was "SUPERDU!"




If you're interested in more photos, then you can check out DAVE'S SPACE.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Chronicles Of Prague / Part 6

THE QUESTIONS AT PRAGUE


Here's the blog entry that you've all been waiting for.

WHAT WAS DISCUSSED AT THE ALTICOR GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS CONFERENCE?

Or at least, what did they want to know from all the bloggers invited.

Shortly after I returned from Prague, I wrote Rob Zeiger, Director of Communications with Alticor and Dino Baskovic, Alticor consultant and moderator of our panel discussion, and asked for a copy of the questions asked of the Bloggers 5.

Let me say, that at no time during the conference were we told NOT to blog about the conference. It was pretty much expected that we would. But, although I took a few notes, I was more intent on answering the questions as they were ask. So I was happy that Dino sent me a copy of the questions when I requested them. This conference really convinced me that Alticor/Amway/Quixtar really wants to be transparent in its Internet presence.

The conference session opened with Dino giving a short Powerpoint presentation on what Blogging is, What blogs can do, and how Quixtar, Amway, and Alticor are using blogs. The ease of setting up a blog was mention and different Blog platforms like WordPress and Blogger were mentioned.

The Alticor Media Blog and the Amway Media Blog were began to address questions from, who else, but the Media. At the time, Dick DeVos, son of Amway Founder Rich DeVos was running for Governor of Michigan and his connection with Amway was an issue during the campaign.

After the campaign(and DeVos' loss) the two media blogs began to address Alticor lawsuits and troubles with terminated Independent Business Owners affiliated with Alticor.

Dino then introduced the invited bloggers and briefly explained their blogging efforts.

Again, the panel consisted of Dave Robison, yours truly; "IBOFightback" (David Steadson); Bridgett, "Tex", "Big Apple". and Quixtar's own, Robin Luymes.

Although, the conference organizers knew all the attendees' real names, each blogger was introduced as their Internet personae. Their anonymity was important to the organizers.

Our audience consisted of Public Relations and Communications staff from Quixtar; Alticor Global; and Amway in Europe, including China. The China delegation had their own interpreter. (My personal nightmare was how the Interpreter might handle my Southern colloquialisms)

I will answer the questions here at "On The Road With Dave", but it's my hope that the rest of the bloggers invited will answer them as well in the comments AND ANY OTHER Quixtar/Amway blogger(critics, too) can give their answers.

I'm sure Dino and Rob Zeiger will read your answers.

1. When did you first start blogging about Amway, and why?

I began commenting at the Original Quixtar Blog back in 1983 2003. I was a frequent contributor to the blog's forum, as well. I even guest blogged at the site. I was then challenged by Eric Janssen, the site author; to start my own blog as an IBO with a positive, but objective view of the Amway/Quixtar world.


2. Many blogs have their own ground rules, and certainly the blogosphere has many rules of the road. What rules—if any—do you govern yourself by when you blog, and for what reasons?

I don't have any set rules other than I do not actively recruit potential IBOs or sell Quixtar products at my blog. I do not accept advertising at my blog, although like any blogger, I "link exchange" with other blogs I like.

As for my readers, they are welcome to leave their comments. Moderation is minimal, only to delete SPAM and illegal or libelous material. Opposing views are always welcomed, but ultimately my blog is my "show".

3. In your opinion, what do you think of our company’s approach to blogging? If you could, what would you change about the way we blog?

At first, only a few blogs like Beth Dornan's had a real "voice. A blog must have a personal voice, even if it is a corporate blog. That problem seems to be on the mend. Also, at first there seemed to be more "PR" than "blog".

Currently, the Alticor/Quixtar/Amway blogs remain "static" too long. Updates can be sporadic. If a particular blog entry elicits numerous responses from readers, then the corporate bloggers need to update with another entry addressing those responses in detail. The conversation among commenters goes on without much more response from the corporate blogger.

4. How has blogging helped you as an individual, as an advocate for the company, and as an "online citizen"? (In my notes, this question was "Has Blogging made you a better person?)

I'm not sure blogging has made me a "better" person; but it has made me a better writer and a better thinker. As an "online citizen" it has afforded me the opportunity to meet good people with diverse opinions and I have online friends and new "offline" friends that I have met as a direct result from blogging and "social networks" online.


5. Do you participate in other online venues, such as with sites like MySpace or Facebook, or do any podcasting? Do you feel that our involvement in these venues makes sense given the nature of our business? Please explain your answer.

I started my Internet life in the early 90s with AOL. I was in chatrooms, message boards, forums. When I discovered the Internet, it was like I injected the modem line directly in my vein. I am hooked.

I participate in blogging, commenting at other blogs, I have a MySpace page, A Facebook page, a Comedian's Community, I'm also LinkedIN. I have a big ego; I want people to know who I am. (This response got laughs, The Chinese people smiled)

As far as Alticor getting involved in "social networking" sites, I would say that employees or IBOs should feel free to join, if they have the inclination and time. I am already friends on Facebook with Dino, Beth Dornan, and Robin Luymes. The Corporation, itself, doesn't really need a site like MySpace.

6. Our bloggging presence – the way we blog, how we blog and what we say – is evolving over time. We are still in the learning stages. Many of the audience members here are professional communicators from our Amway affiliates all over the world. What advice can you give our audience members as they continue to embrace blogging as a tool of communication?

Be authentic. Use your name. Write what is on your mind. Be Personal. A blog reader wants to "know" the author. Don't rely on the company name "tagged" in all your posts to build your readership. If you have diverse content in your blog, readers will find you doing many different type "searches". They may find you because you did a post on "little league soccer" and then stick around to read other things you have written; including things about the company.

There was a follow-up question to this regarding other Quixtar and Amway IBOs starting a blog and if Alticor should encourage this. I stated that while many IBOs may have passion to write positive things about the company in a blog...not everybody can write a blog or even "string" three coherent sentences together. I'm a blog snob, not everybody can do it, even though anybody can start a blog in as little as 5 minutes.

7. Do You Make Any Money Blogging?

Not directly. I have gained comedy gigs from blogging and of course, a major global Direct Sales company paid me to discuss blogging. (I think the Chinese people smiled again)

8. Many of the people in this audience primarily deal with reporters and are just now beginning to deal with bloggers. There has been much debate in recent years whether bloggers carry the same rights and privileges, as do traditional journalists. Do you feel bloggers and journalists are one in the same, and should we treat bloggers with the same level of professional courtesy as we do with reporters?

This question didn't get answered at the conference by me in detail, another panelist answered it. (I forget who). But Dino, my answer would have been--Bloggers and Journalists are the same when the Blogger is covering an issue that is newsworthy. Bloggers are "influencers" if their readership is influenced by them and in turn make a decision about a company. But, a company such as Alticor should treat ANYONE online with respect and professional courtesy, simply because you don't know what the ripple effect they may have on the online community.

I am trained as a journalist; so you can treat me like one. And needless to say, I did hear a couple of "This is off the record" statements.

9. As a global company, we must cooperate with different governments and respect their laws and customs as a rule of doing business. That said, how has blogging impacted the global marketplace?

Blogging as well as the Internet itself, has made the global marketplace more open. A person in another country that might not have access to certain information about a company in a country other than their own, need only perform a "Google search" to find information, market data, profit and loss, and litigation results. Plus, word-of-mouth advertising and personal testimonies via blogs hold weight across international borders.

10. Do you think that blogging has changed the direct selling industry as a whole? Why or why not?

Yes. Information travels faster via blogs and Internet forums, than knocking on doors and doing cold calls. Therefore, a direct seller and Direct Sales companies have to alter their methods of presentation in an online society.


FINALLY, Dino said that over the past year or so; Alticor was trying to transform itself and its companies and its online reputation. In a one-word, "Yes or No" answer; Do you believe the company is already being transformed?

We all answered, YES.

And I do believe it. Not Overnight. Small Steps. But the transformation is happening.


That's it. There was "give and take" and debate among the panelists during the answers and the audience attendees submitted other questions as well. Some personal.

Dino did asked me what kind of material I did in my comedy act...and I hesitated and then told him, he needed to come see me perform; and I left the audience with my blog URL and the address to my MYSPACE page and told them I would gladly accept them as a friend. YEAH, I got an ego!

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Monday, March 31, 2008

Chronicles Of Prague / Part 5

MORNING OF PANEL DISCUSSION

First, let me say, I slept late. After I got back to the hotel the night before, I took the plunge and grabbed a Pepsi(Damn, no Dr. Pepper) from the Mini-Bar( I know, I splurged, but I was in Prague; cut me some slack) and I took two Nyquil PLUS my prescribed cough medicine with the miracle cough suppressant codeine and I slept.

Wednesday morning, I availed myself to the complimentary breakfast buffet and then went to the shops next door to the hotel and bought a pack of cigarettes. The lady at the newsstand helped me with my Czech koruna or crowns currency. I had some coins and was trying to use a larger bill and she needed coins. She was nice and no, she didn't try to overcharge the "redneck" from Alabama.

A light snow was falling outside and I stood outside smoking and watching the morning pedestrian traffic.

I can't recall if I saw any of my fellow Bloggers Five that morning, but it was scheduled that we were having lunch together along with Robin Luymes and Dino Baskovic, the Panel Discussion moderator.

I decided to go take a shower and put on my suit.

Now, I have to tell you, the conference was "business casual"; which meant that a suit wasn't necessary. But, I NEEDED a new suit and this trip was a perfect excuse to go buy a new one. I remember while my wife and I were shopping for it, I kept joking with her that I wanted an "Amway suit"--blue suit, white shirt, red tie; the unofficial, or maybe even official, uniform of the "Amway Motivational Organizations". She, of course, threaten me with bodily harm at the suggestion.

Instead, I bought a dark, chocolate suit(modern cut, for you fashionistas)with a thin almost indistinguishable pin stripe. I wasn't happy with the cuffs. The tailor made them shorter than I was used to. (Something about "that" being the style) I'm used to a cuff that hits you past the wrists near the palm. That's probably very "eighties" of me. Anyway, I looked good. Trust me.


Anyway, I went back downstairs, wearing my new suit and my "David Robinson" name tag and saw the other bloggers talking. Somebody mentioned that "I clean up good". (Told ya that I looked good) I think I confused them when I asked them if they were "talking about Amway in Prague". I mentioned that Prague was the "Porn Capital" Of Europe; did anybody want to discuss that. Nobody seemed to want to change the subject, oh well, I guess I won't give you the actual link to Big Sister Dot Net.

Dino Baskovic and Robin Luymes joined us a bit later. I remember "Bridgett" asking Dino if he was tired or stressed. He seemed a bit harried.

Dino wanted to eat lunch with us and give us a little pre-panel discussion preparation.

Two things stuck out to me on the "prep".

Dino said that the conference attendees "get it" when it comes to the Internet; but the blogging phenomena and how Alticor was embracing it was new to them.

And we were told that the conference attendees REALLY wanted to hear our opinions.

This was not to be a "PR gimmick". Blogging, and what we had to say about it was important to these people.

Oh, and I guess one other thing stuck out. Dino was very worried about us eating lunch on time. The conference sessions had started on schedule for the entire conference; Dino didn't want to break the streak.

Robin Luymes told Dino to relax. Yes, the sessions had been starting on time, so if this one didn't, it'd be okay. Robin said, "We'll tell'em the bloggers had to eat!"

I thought, "Yeah, the bloggers have to eat. 'We be blogging', we be eatin'".

I still ended up leaving half my club sandwich(yeah, I opted for "American cuisine") on my plate.

NEXT UP! THE PANEL DISCUSSION!

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Chronicles Of Prague / Part 4

The Bloggers 5

Tuesday afternoon I met ALL of the panelists that would make up the Bloggers 5 as Robin Luymes affectionately has coined us.

I knew that IBOFightback, Tex, myself, and someone named Big Apple would be present. Once in Prague, I learned a fifth blogger had been invited and had not received word of the invitation until late the week before. In fact, she acquired her passport only on the Friday before the conference. Her name was Bridgett and she is a frequent commenter on Inside Quixtar, The Real Quixtar Blog, and other blogs in the Opportunity Zone. All the invitees were Independent Business Owners affiliated with Quixtar or Amway.

We met in the hotel lobby, grabbed a couch, and a couple of chairs and began talking, comparing notes, debating the merits of Quixtar/Amway Tool Systems and getting involved in a few healthy arguments.



Rob Zeiger, Director of Amway Corporate Communications, stopped by our group to say "Hello" and to welcome us to Prague. Rob is responsible for the Alticor Media Blog as well as other corporate blogs. Rob is also the man responsible with inviting these bloggers to Prague.



Once he introduced himself, Bridgett's first words were, WERE YOU RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT BLOG ENTRY?! (I forget which one, but it was at Alticor Media Blog)

Rob took the question in stride, and I suggested to him after a few minutes and a barrage of questions, that he should probably "Step Away From The Bloggers!"

But, he was brave and stayed to talk with us for quite some time. We invited him to go to dinner with us but he was to attend another dinner with conference attendees. We had to keep reminding ourselves that there were a hundred or so Amway Corporate Communication staff attending this conference.

We also met Robin Luymes in the lobby, but we were destined to spend the evening with each other. And spend it, we did.

At the suggestion of "Big Apple", we went to a restaurant/pub around the corner from the hotel for dinner and more conversation.

"Big Apple" is a successful IBO with a strong retailing business and had arrived a day early in Prague. He appeared to me to be a seasoned traveler and had checked out the city the day before.

The restaurant, Celnici, was loud, boisterous, and perfectly Czech. I ordered the Goulash, a thick dark stew served with bread. It was delicious--once it was served.

QUICK TRAVEL TIP--Restaurant service may seem slow in the Czech Republic; but it is not meant to be rude. In fact, I learned it is considered highly hospitable. It seems that if don't order an appetizer, and your other table mates do. Then they are served first, and nothing else is brought out until that course is over. Each course is completely finished. No waiter will come after your plate in mid-bite or rush you to finish. It's not TGI Fridays.

Big Apple and IBOfightback ordered wine with dinner. Which brings me to a small rant.

All of the panelists invited were smart, entertaining, and interesting people. But I can't call them by name, except IBOFightback who was outed at another website and his identity revealed.

The reason I can't call them by name, is I was asked as a Blogger, not to report their true identities.

That's the reason their faces have black bars over them. That makes me mad. And they know it. The panelists were invited by Amway and Quixtar because of the authentic, truthful, and personal opinions that they give about Amway and Quixtar on the Internet. Their opinions were respected enough to be invited to speak to the global staff of a multi-billion dollar company. So why not, reveal their identities?

For Bridgett, it was due to professional reasons related to her "day-job". For "Big Apple", it was due to friction with his Line Of Sponsorship. For Tex, it was personal reasons.

Bridgett's "day-job" is highly interesting. Can't tell you about it.

Big Apple's name...can't tell you...But, there's a funny story about it, involving him ordering wine that directly relates to his personality.

Let's say he has a proper name, "Jonathan". We asked him if we could call him "Johnny" or "John". He said anything would be fine. But, at dinner, "Johnny" ordered wine with IBOFightback(David Steadson). After the wine arrived, "John" asked for a carafe, so the wine could breathe. As he related to David Steadson on the properties of the wine; Bridgett and I suddenly realized, he was, no doubt, "Jonathan".

But, all our personalities meshed. We talked, we ate, they ordered dessert, we talked some more. Dinner lasted at least 4 hours. I was tired. It was 12:30 and I was still sick and taking medication for a cough that would not stop.

I bid farewell to my dinner companions and walked back to the hotel. I hear that they stayed much longer after that.

Prague at night is beautiful. I stopped and looked out over the square where the restaurant was located. People walking, Trams passing by, the architecture of the old buildings illuminated by street lights; I knew I was 5000 miles away from Alabama, but I felt comfortable. It was a good first day.

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Chronicles of Prague / Part 3

ARRIVING IN PRAGUE

The only countries I have ever had a real interest in traveling to were Australia and Scotland. I supposed that I would enjoy other places but I really never had that passion to see exotic ports of call.

But, I did have two travel fantasies that I wanted to fulfill at some point in my life; and they both came true at the Prague Ruzyne International Airport.


In case you didn't know; Passports, these days, have an electronic strip on the front page and airport personnel can scan them. This bothered me. I went through a lot to get my Passport at the last minute, and by golly, if I was going to be a foreign country, I sure as heck wanted somebody to physically get out their little "country stamper" and stamp my passport page with a country name. This finally happened at the Prague Airport.


My second travel fantasy involved a "driver". Being a performer, comedian, I had always imagined that at some point I would arrive in New York City or Hollywood and a car and a driver would be waiting for me. The driver would be holding a placard with my name, Mr. Dave Robison, on it. I would see the driver, identify myself and he would shake my hand, grab my luggage and whisked to the waiting automobile.

Thanks to some pre-arrangement, I had an English speaking driver that would accept US currency to meet Tex and myself to drive us to our hotel.

Both travel fantasies fulfilled inside of 30 minutes of each other. I could die a happy man. (It's the little things that please me)

A couple of things I did not pre-arrange--

I did not prearrange the snow that began to fall as Tex and I landed.

I did not prearrange having small US dollar bills to pay the driver. All I had was $100 dollar bills. I had spent my small bills on airport concessions. But, I gave Tex my remaining small bills and he made up the difference. (I still owe Tex, $27 dollars)

I did not prearrange taking a Valium before riding in a car driven by a young man named Petre, that thought he may be the Czech Republic's answer to Helio Castroneves.

But, Tex and I got a nice tour of Prague on the way to the hotel and did arrive safely despite Petre's attempts to mate his car's front bumper with several rear bumpers of other Czech drivers. And, I was finally allowed to smoke a cigarette in the car--a much needed cigarette, even though I had been wearing a nicotine patch for my flights.

The hotel, Marriott Prague, was worth the wait. We checked in and Tex went to explore.

I was pleasantly surprised to be handed a note at check-in from IBOFightBack welcoming me to Prague, (He had arrived about an hour earlier) and inviting me for a chance to meet and a drink in the hotel lobby after I had settled in.

I headed to my room to unpack my shirts and suit(Wife's orders) and to take a quick shower.

QUICK TRAVEL TIP: Electricity in the Prague Marriott is controlled by your key card. You have lights as long as your card is in the slot. Remove the card, and you have 20seconds before lights go out. This saves energy and prevents guests from leaving their room lights on when they exit.

I called IBOFightback's room and met him downstairs. We enjoyed some "Amway" conversation; but mainly non-business chat. One thing to note about IBOFightback--He has a "Thick" Australian accent. Don't let him tell ya otherwise. He's under the impression that since he hasn't lived in Australia in several years that it has dissipated. But if he doesn't have a "Aussie" accent then I don't have a "Southern" accent; and Ya'll know that ain't true!

I drank a slightly cool draft Czech beer. A little bitter for my taste, but not bad.
Mainly, IBOFightback filled me in on the roster of panelists showing up for the conference that I had not heard of.

After our conversation, I went upstairs to the meeting hall area and milled around and talked to a few Amway/Quixtar corporate people manning the "Welcome" table outside the conference room. I met a very nice lady, whose name has escaped me who gave me my "needed" name tag and she apologized profusely for adding that damn unnecessary "N" in my last name, but offered to make another name tag before the next day and my panel appearance. I told he not to worry about it; as long as it was correct on my check.

IBOfightback and I had arranged to meet in an hour or so back downstairs with the other bloggers; so I wandered around the hotel exploring and made my way outside on the street in front of the hotel and visited a couple of shops in the area.

It was going to be a long first day in Prague.

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Amway Warns Of Bogus Internet Charity Scam

FROM THE BILOXI, MS SUN-HERALD

"ADA, Mich., Feb. 7 --Amway Corporation (Quixtar in the U.S. and Canada) has discovered an internet scam that uses a bogus Amway charity as a lure. Amway cautions individuals to be on the lookout for e-mails from a group calling itself the "Amway Children Charity Foundation".

Please be advised that this is not an Amway-sanctioned program and the name, program and people indicated in the e-mails are not related to Amway in any way and do not have Amway's authority or support.

The goal of the scam is to trick people into sending money to the fraudulent charity. The bogus group sends an e-mail informing the recipient that he/she has been selected as a recipient of a grant to help establish a children's help center to assist poor children in the area. A nomination code number may be given, and banking information is requested. If the recipient responds, an indemnity bond of several hundred euros is demanded. The e-mails may be signed from "Dr. Kevin Brown" or someone else claiming to be a grant processing officer.....

.....This "Amway Children Charity Foundation" scam has been circulated by e- mail in Europe, North America, Australia and Asia. Recipients are advised to not respond or reply in any way. Amway is currently investigating the origin of the scam and authorities have been notified. If you have information or questions about this scam, please contact Amway through its Corporate Communications Department at (616) 787-7565."

SOURCE Amway Corporation

READ ENTIRE STORY

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

D. Robison, PR Guy / The Amway Idol

It was a week ago. A Thursday.

I was in my office going over some plans for a new addition. The weather outside was rainy; I could hear the droplets of water hitting my window pane; the sound of thunder off in the distant. Outside, the sound of wet wheels on wet pavement would pass by my window every few minutes. I was glad I was on the inside...dry.

Of course, "dry" was a relative term; as I picked up the highball glass of liquid and took a long sip.

The monicker is Robison, I'm a PR guy.

I heard a knock at my door and it opened quickly. Two men entered my office. They were in trench coats, soaking wet from the rain, and they wore hats that dripped more water onto my worn office carpet. One of them carried a small satchel or backpack in his left hand.

As they removed their hats and raised their heads, I immediately recognized their faces. They were smiling. Almost laughing. Their eyes were bright and shining. They were Bob and Doug, from Quixtar.

I had helped these two fellows in the past,; but back then they were two sad-sacks with dark suits, sunglasses, and not a smile between them.

What could have brought them back to my office with such a transformation?

"Mr. Robison, it is great to see you again," said Doug.

"Well boys," I said, "What brings you back to Alabama and my office?"

Bob began, "Well sir, we just wanted to talk to you a few minutes about Alticor's decision to drop the Quixtar name and go back to using Amway as our global brand."

"What's to talk about? I thought it was a done deal. Why do you need to talk to me?" I asked.

The two men looked quizzically at each other. I had seen the look before. It was the "how much should we tell him" glance that they had shared on several occasions while standing in my office previously.

Doug shifted his weight from one foot to the other, and grimaced at Bob.

Doug said to Bob. "We have to tell him...he's helped before. We have to be open and transparent."

I interrupted. "Boys, have a seat...relax...would either of you like a drink?"

Bob said, "We'll sit...nothing to drink for me."

The men sat down in the chairs in front of my desk; laying their coats across the chair backs and placing their hats in their laps. Bob placed the backpack on the floor beside his chair.

Doug said, "If it's not too much trouble, I'll take a drink." And he smiled again. I have to admit that their smiles were beginning to creep me out.

I rose to serve Doug. "What'll it be gents? Whiskey? Tequila? Beer?"

Doug laughed embarrassingly. "Do you still have any XS Energy drink?"

I smiled this time, "Yep, Doug, I manage to keep a case or two handy." And I opened the office fridge to grab him a can. I popped the top and handed it to Doug. He took a sip and I paced about my office. "So? You boys gonna tell me what's going on or do I have to guess?"

Bob seemed to relax and began. "Well Mr. Robison, as you know in the past few months, Quixtar has opened up its corporate closets, as it were, and we have instituted a total transparent conversation with our IBO, clients, and critics. WE want to change our image and we are doing it quite well...I think.

Now, we have decided that the "Amway" name is a name to be proud of, and we are going to proclaim it loudly across the globe. We WANT people to say, "Is it Amway? and we want to proudly say YES!"

"That's great, Bob," I said, "I think I have told you guys that very thing in the past." I crossed over to my desk and sat on the edge, facing Bob and Doug.

"Yes you have," said Doug, "Which is why we want to show you something...actually we want you to protect something for us."

"Protect something?" I asked.

"Yes," said Bob, "This is one of our prized possessions at Quix...I mean, Alti-...Dang it, it takes some getting used to...this is one of our prized possessions at AMWAY."

"What is?" I asked.

Bob reached down beside his chair and picked up the backpack. He began explaining, "You see, Mr. Robison, no one but a few people at Amway know this...but there is a reason why, that in over 48 years, Amway has managed to grow, thrive, and survive in the hostile business world."

"I assumed it was good business sense, leadership and perseverance," I said.

Doug reacted, "Of Course those are SOME of the reasons, and there are many, many more valid reasons. But, there is something more...something magical about our survival. And THAT is why we are here."

"Something magical? C'mon guys! It's me, you're talking to. Don't be blowing smoke up my--"

Doug quickly interrupted me. "No, no, no, Dave, we aren't lying. We are serious. This...thing, is one of the main reasons we are reverting back to our Amway name and OUR roots."

Bob added, "You might say, Mr. Robison, that this object compelled us to change. Ummmm...demanded that we change."

"Demanded?" I was incredulous. "You mean, like it spoke to you or something?"

In a sense, yes, it spoke to the sons of DeVos and VanAndel. It reminded them of their responsibility to the object. Their duty to serve and protect it." Bob said.

Then Doug spoke, "But with all the changes we are making. WE aren't sure some of the IBO leaders will like it. They may try to mutiny."

Bob added, "And...and..let me say we are prepared for the fallout. What we are NOT prepared for is that these renegades may, just may, try and take the "power" that IS Amway; and disparage it or worse even, attempt to steal or purchase the "power".

We have to; we MUST protect the 'power'"

"Okay, what do you want from me?" I asked again.

Doug lowered his voice to a whisper and looked about my office, "We cannot afford to keep the 'power' in Ada, Michigan at our headquarters. It's far too known, and accessible. WE need to hide it away. To place it somewhere, where it will not be found. We are trusting you to hide it for us.

"Trusting me? I hope you also mean PAYING me!" I wanted to emphasize the "paying" part. "And it won't be cheap."

They both spoke in unison. Which STILL annoys me, "We understand!"

Bob then said, "We are prepared to pay you whatever you ask."

I rose from my desk and paced back and forth a few minutes. The gentlemen waited patiently. I stopped.

"Is this object...this thing...dangerous?"

"No, not at all," said Doug, "as long as it does not fall in the wrong hands. In fact, you may find great comfort while you possess it. It is after all, the Amway Idol."

"THE AMWAY IDOL!" I yelled. You have GOT to be kidding me! There's no such thing as an Amway Idol.

Doug rose from his chair. "Yes there is! It is real. It is powerful." said Doug. "We shall leave it with you and trust that you will hide it away so that it's magic will continue to work for not only our company, but for every loyal Quixtar...I mean, Amway distributor in the world."

Bob placed a check on my desk for my inspection. I looked at it and then choked down a drink from my glass.

"Okay, you have my trust."

"Do you want to see it?" Bob eagerly asked. He stood up and unzipped the backpack, and gently opened the folds to reveal the object inside. A flash of lightning and the sound of thunder boomed outside, as if on cue.

I peered into the bag, and a smile came to my face. It was probably a smile just as annoying as the grins on Bob's and Doug's face. I took the bag from Bob's hands and zipped it back up.

I placed the bag gently on my desk. Bob and Doug were both standing now, and they put their trench coats on and placed their hats back atop their heads.

"We'll be leaving now," said Bob.

And they removed the familiar sunglasses from their shirt pockets.

"We were never here." said Doug.

"Right." I agreed.

"Good day, Mr. Robison," said Bob.

And they both walked out my door.

I sat down behind my desk and grabbed the backpack. I held it tightly to my chest for a moment, and then unzipped the bag. I gazed back down into the backpack staring at what the boys had called the "Amway Idol". I touched the object.

I grabbed it, and removed it from the bag.

At that exact moment, my partner Skyler entered the room.

Startled, I clutched the object close to my chest, covering it momentarily with the empty backpack.

Skyler laughed at my scare, "Whatcha got there, Dave? New porn?"

"No, Skyler, not porn. Something much more valuable"

I placed the object on my desk. It was white. With blue and white lettering. A date was etched into it. 1961, it read. And the lettering was simple, elegant...and yes powerful. I found myself smiling...again. The "idol" said simply...

L. O. C.--Liquid Organic Cleaner, Manufactured by Amway Corporation.

Skyler said, "So, what the hell is it?"

I picked the bottle up. Turned it in my hands; reading the words on the container.

"Well, Skyler...it's...it's...it's the stuff dreams are made of".

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Alticor Sales Dip To $6.4 Billion

I've been watching the corporate sites for Alticor over the last month waiting for a sales announcement for 2006. Quixtar had announced in October they would delay their sales announcement until the first of 2007.

In the MLM Blogosphere, Ty Tribble at MLM Blog gets credit for printing the announcement first.

BELOW: PRESS RELEASE FROM ALTICOR


01/31/2007
Alticor posts sales of more than $6.3 billion in 2006

Growth reported in 45 of 57 markets; renewed confidence in China

Alticor Inc. and its family of companies reported sales of $6.3 billion for the 2006 performance year, which ended December 31.

Sales declined slightly from $6.4 billion in 2005. Company officials attributed the dip to a period of regulatory uncertainty that chilled sales in China, the company's largest direct selling market. However, Amway (China) Co. Ltd. received its direct selling license December 1, 2006, leaving company officials optimistic that China sales will return to growth this year.

The company still exceeded its sales forecast for the year. Alticor Chairman Steve Van Andel said: "After six straight years of growth, we expected we might be down this year because of the China situation, and we planned for that. We are still very pleased with these results, because there was very strong growth in several of our mature markets as well as in our newest ones."

Said President Doug DeVos: "No one works harder than the people who sell our products around the world. We thank all of them for their efforts, which helped us beat targets in a challenging year."

He added: "Going forward, we have placed new emphasis on innovation throughout the company. We expect that will result in better products, new approaches, and increased appeal to consumers in our markets around the world."

Alticor operates primarily through Amway Corp., a global leader in direct selling; Quixtar Inc., a North American Web-based business opportunity; and Access Business Group LLC, a product development, manufacturing and logistics provider to Amway, Quixtar and other companies. Alticor employs more than 13,000 worldwide, and enables more than 3 million people to own their own businesses. Alticor is also the parent of Alticor Corporate Enterprises, a new company that manages Alticor's non-direct selling holdings such as Amway Hotels Corp., Gurwitch Products, and Fulton Innovation.

Amway
Amway, a global leader in the $102 billion direct selling industry, saw 45 of 55 affiliate markets post sales increases this year. Noteworthy increases were registered in Europe, where sales rose 42 percent, led by new markets Russia and Ukraine.

More than 70 percent of the company's sales come from Asia. Strong performers in 2006 included the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. Korea sales increased by 4 percent, while Japan sales declined.

Sales for Amway (China) Co. Ltd. (ACCL) declined 23 percent from 2005, but China continues to be Amway's largest individual market with more than 180,000 active sales representatives and more than 180 retail shops and service centers.

Said Van Andel: "We lowered our sales targets in China last year, knowing that our sales force would be distracted until our license was granted. The resolution of the China issue gives us great optimism, and we expect ACCL to continue to lead the direct selling marketplace in China."

Latin America had an overall solid performance, with especially strong sales this year in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Puerto Rico.

Said DeVos: "We set out a couple of years ago to concentrate our efforts on improving the performance of our existing markets, and we're now seeing the fruits of those efforts," said DeVos. "As a result, more customers throughout the world are discovering the great products and services we provide."

Quixtar
In North America, Quixtar, established in 1999, introduced new products and reported its fourth straight year of sales surpassing the billion-dollar mark.

This year, Quixtar rolled out its first national advertising campaigns. The "Land of Will" television and "It's Been Another Good Day" print campaigns appeared last fall in the U.S. and Canadian media on numerous venues including NBC's Sunday Night Football. National print ads for Nutrilite brand nutritional supplements appeared in Newsweek in the U.S., and Macleans in Canada.

"Quixtar continues to adapt to the changing marketplace online," said Van Andel. "They have honed their skills at online marketing, streamlined the web site based on user feedback, and maintained impeccable standards for order accuracy and customer satisfaction."

The Quixtar business has also benefited from increased product visibility and third party endorsements. The unit's SA8 with Bioquest detergent was named by a leading consumer magazine, as tops for high-efficiency washers, for the first time. Asafa Powell, the world record holder in the 100 meters, signed with Nutrilite as a sponsor through the 2008 Olympic Games. And Quixtar again ranked as the number one online retailer in Health & Beauty sales by Internet Retailer, and 20th overall among e-commerce sites.

Access Business Group
Access Business Group enjoyed an outstanding year in 2006. Access Business Group led Amway and Quixtar to several new product launches this year: expanding Atmosphere air treatment systems into seven additional markets, redeveloping the core Double X nutritional supplement, launching the Artistry Dramage 14 skin care system in China, and developed a children's DHA supplement called Brainiums, available in the United States and Korea.

Al Koop, chief operating officer for Access Business Group, said: "Since we became a company six years ago, we've invested heavily in our people, our processes and equipment. This is paying dividends, as we have more capacity to work with and expertise to offer our customers. The gains we've made prepare us to support some great new ideas in our core business."

This year, Access Business Group received two international awards from the Supply Chain Council: Operational Excellence and Global Award for Supply
Chain Excellence. The first speaks to overall attainment of operational efficiency, and the second to organizational improvement.

Its third-party product development, manufacturing and logistics sales for the year totaled $138 million in revenues, an increase of more than 12 percent from 2005. These sales are in addition to products and services sold to sister companies Amway and Quixtar.

Alticor Corporate Enterprises
This year, Alticor announced a new holding company for its non-direct selling companies, called Alticor Corporate Enterprises (ACE). The new company is parent to two new members of the Alticor family of companies as well as Amway Hotels Corp.

"We expect these companies and investments to bring a steady flow of consumer insights and innovations to Alticor," said ACE Chief Operating Officer Bill Payne. "ACE brings us closer to the marketplace and that will be a benefit to Amway and Quixtar as well."

In July 2006, Alticor announced the acquisition of Gurwitch Products, a luxury cosmetics and skin care company which develops and markets cosmetics under the brand name Laura Mercier®, from The Neiman Marcus Group. Gurwitch allows Alticor access to powerful marketing, research and development talent in the premium beauty industry. Alticor expects to invest in its Artistry brand of cosmetics and skin care products with the insights gained from this relationship.

In December 2006, Alticor also announced a new technology venture that enables power to join the intelligent wireless revolution. Fulton Innovation LLC has been created to license and market exciting new technologies such as eCoupled™, which enables electronic devices like cell phones to be charged wirelessly.

In August 2006, Alticor also increased its majority stake in Interleukin Genetics, which develops innovative nutrition and health products including the Quixtar-marketed Gensona line of consumer genetic tests and accompanying nutritional supplements.

The construction of the 340-room JW Marriott Grand Rapids hotel in downtown Grand Rapids remains on schedule for its fall 2007 opening. Construction of the world-class hotel tower recently reached its final height of 24 floors, and the glass-encased structure is now fully enclosed. The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel has completed renovation of its 28th floor Cygnus restaurant and maintained top rankings for its accommodations and restaurants.

A year of increased visibility
In addition to Quixtar's advertising and sponsorship activities, Alticor launched an advertising campaign in Michigan in response to political ads criticizing the company by opponents of former Alticor president and Michigan gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos. The "I Am Amway" ads featured employees talking about the company and were well received in the marketplace.

Pro basketball fans around the world who follow the NBA's Orlando Magic are now greeted by the Amway name. The Florida team's home arena in December was renamed Amway Arena following Alticor's purchase of naming rights. The team is owned by Amway co- founder Rich DeVos.

Corporate citizenship
Alticor's "One by One Campaign for Children" is now in its fourth year of operation, and continues to develop programs and services that improve the lives of children worldwide. Since its inception, Amway, Quixtar and Alticor employees have volunteered more than 545,000 hours, and more than $37 million has been spent globally on a wide range of initiatives benefiting more than 5 million children.

About Alticor
Alticor (www.alticor.com) is the parent company of Amway Corp., Quixtar Inc., Access Business Group LLC, and Alticor Corporate Enterprises. Headquartered in Ada, Michigan, USA, Alticor and its affiliates offer products, business opportunities, and product development, manufacturing and logistics services in more than 80 countries and territories worldwide. In its most recent performance year, the company reported worldwide sales of $6.3 billion. For further information, please contact Alticor's media information line at 616.787.7565 or e-mail Alticor's media relations staff at mediainfo@alticor.com.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

D. Robison, PR Guy / Chapter 1

It was a hot and muggy May afternoon; it's Alabama, everyday is hot and muggy; I was busy working on a project when the two of them walked in my door. The moniker is Dave Robison, I'm a PR guy.

They wore dark suits, and hats tilted toward their eyes. What the hat didn't cover, the black Ray-Bans concealed. I noticed a glisten of perspiration on each of their upper lips. They asked me,

"Would you mind putting down that hairbrush you were using as a microphone? We'd like to talk to you."

I said, "Sure" and pulled up my chair and sat down at my desk. "Have a seat, boys"

They walked to the front of my desk, but remained standing. I asked them their names, but they declined to give any introductions, they just said,

"We're from Quixtar and we'd like to discuss a situation with you."

"No names, huh? I asked, "Mind if I just call you, 'Bob' and 'Doug'? By the way, nice hat.

"Thanks," said Bob.

"I meant Doug's," I replied. "What can I do for you boys?"

Bob said, "Have you ever heard of Scott Larsen or a website called Quixtar Business Analysis?"
"Sure," I said, "He's kinda spanked ya'lls asses on a few issues"

Doug interjected, "Mr. Robison, we'd prefer to just stick to the matter at hand"

"Okay, no problem... call me Dave."

"Mr. Robison," continued Doug, "we are tired of some of the things Mr. Larsen has printed, and we want to do something about it."

Bob said, "That's right, we want to elemi-"

Doug quickly coughed and shot his eyes in Bob's direction.

"Ahem," Bob continued, "we want to settle a matter of confusion that Mr. Larsen has published, and we need to ask you how to handle it."

Okay, boys, my fee is $200 dollars a day PLUS expenses.

Doug said, "We'll give you a case of XS with double PV and an autographed picture of Beth Dornan."

"Okay," I said, "you gotta deal." (I'm a sucker, for PR babes)

END OF CHAPTER ONE

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Saturday, September 3, 2005

Quixtar and Katrina / Good News; Bad News

Quixtar has made two announcements regarding Hurricane Katrina.

First the good news.

"We at Quixtar are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life and devastation that has occurred as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

Through our parent company, Alticor, we contribute annually to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and donate products for use by International Aid. Both organizations have been mobilized to help victims in the region affected by Hurricane Katrina.

We now invite all employees and Independent Business Owners powered by Quixtar to contribute to the American Red Cross at Quixtar.com. Alticor will provide a dollar-for-dollar match on employee and IBO contributions up to a corporate total of $250,000.

We know many of you are concerned for the victims and are seeking ways to help ease the suffering of those who've been affected by this terrible disaster. At a time like this, it seems like no contribution could ever be enough, but together we can do our part to help those affected by this tragedy.

Alticor and Quixtar are considering additional ways we can support the many needs arising from this tragedy -- financially, physically, and through volunteer efforts. We will continue to inform IBOs and employees of ways they can join us in helping these victims in their time of need."


To Donate to the Red Cross via Quixtar, you can get details at Quixtar.Com

Quixtar Blogger Figure 8 reports about further relief plans at Quixtar and Beyond.

Now, the BAD news;

Independent Business Owners powered by Quixtar will have further problems in recovering from the storm (myself included) because of delayed shipments:


Due to Hurricane Katrina, Quixtar is unable to ship to affected areas
Please read this important announcement concerning shipping limitations

Due to the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, Quixtar has been notified by UPS, FedEx and USPS that all shipments to the following zip codes starting with the following numbers have been canceled indefinitely:

Quixtar is unable to process shipments to Zip Codes starting with the following numbers:
365-366
369,393
394
395
396
700-701
703
704
Mobile, AL
Meridian, MS
Hattisburg, MS
Gulfport, MS
McComb, MS
New Orleans, LA
Houma, LA
Mandeville, LA


This affects regular orders as well as DITTOTM Scheduled Orders scheduled for this period.

Please accept our apologies. We will communicate any changes as soon as we are notified.


This inconvenience will make it harder for we affected IBOs to resume our sales and sponsoring efforts and provide ongoing income after the storm. Like many business owners, in the area, we are at the mercy of a devastated infrastructure; even though we may have minimal personal damage and are ready to resume business.

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