Talk:Herbalife/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Purported cult

This material is from the article List of purported cults, which we are paring down to a pure list. Editors here can best evaluate its statements and decide how to integrate it into this article. Thanks, -Willmcw 20:42, Mar 14, 2005 (UTC)

This group utilizes a multi-level marketing (MLM) network to sell nutrition and cosmetics products. Attributes similar to those used by cults earned Herbalife reputation of being cult, cleverly disguised as legitimate business. To advance in ranks and increase returns from activity, Herbalife adepts need not only to sell the goods, but to recruit friends and relatives, who in turn will recruit the next distributors, thus building a "distribution network". Internal structure and control of Herbalife that is similar to a paramilitary organization according to its critics. Herbalife, however attributes the negative publicity to increased business competition and its own commercial success.

Not A Cult

Herbalife is not a cult. No way. It may operate like a cult, but its goals are entirely different. There is NO ideological component to organization's operations whatsoever. Motivations are purely monetary. A cult would recruit people based upon a sense of belonging as well as other ideological benefits. It is true that many cults do drain their victims dry monetarily, but that is not what makes them a cult and is usually just incidental to the cult's operations. Cult is a term that you have to be careful with because if you put your mind to it you can paint practically any organization to look like a cult. Try it with something like Christianity, the Boy Scouts, or the Marines. It's just too easy and in the case of Herbalife the designation does not fit.

I see where you are coming from here. It seems odd that a MLM group would have any relation to a cult, but if you knew many people entrenched in herbalife, you might think differently. There is a sense of belonging. They hold congregation meetings. The pressure to recruit others is similar to other, more idealistic, groups. There is a set of ideals inherent to the group. The idea that natural means can be used to live a good life and a suspicion of conventional medicine aligns them with many idealistic groups I could name. Personally, I don't think it should be outright stamped as a cult, but I agree with giving a nod to the fact that some of its actions seem cultish simililarly to the way the List of purported cults does.

FYI, a number of MLM businesses have been called cults or cult-like, including Amway. However they are likely to be dropped from the List of purported cults due to a changing criteria for inclusion. Cheers, -Willmcw 00:56, Mar 21, 2005 (UTC)

Neutrality Dispute

For my two bits, the article in it's current form reads like a puff piece. Entropic 10:18, 20 Feb 2005 (UTC)

The Herbalife entries are pretty bias with lots of negativity. It does no justice to existing distributors who are having success without following such undermind sales/recruiting tactics as describe by the links. Herbalife is now a publicly traded company with the symbol HLF priced at $15.95 currently. --anonymous

I'm with Entropic on this one. When a relative joined this a number of years ago, it struck me as the classic multi-level marketing scam. The products were of dubious value, and were, net, way more expensive than similar store-bought products. I think the NPOV route out of this is to explain that Herbalife distributors and employees think it's the bee's knees, while pretty much everybody else think otherwise. --William Pietri 15:18, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I think the NPOV route out of this is to explain that Herbalife distributors and employees think it's the bee's knees, while pretty much everybody else think otherwise.
William, I think the article already says something to that effect. I do not want to be biased towards them, but I do think the current article is NPOV enough as it is. | Talk 13:53, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)


The article has since been changed, and now does not address the issues surrounding Herbalife's MLM system. I'm gonna mark it as neutrality-disputed until someone with more knowledge than me on the subject can fill it in. Lostchicken 09:23, 15 Jan 2005 (UTC)


I personally still find this article to be leaning more towards the negatives than the positive. I don't see any links in the "External Links" section from people who like Herbalife. I'm not just talking about distributors, I'm talking about people that actually believe the products work for them. However one could also argue, if naysayers are allowed on, why can't distributors come here to defend their work?

I will say that at first, when I encountered Herbalife, I was a skeptic. However the products do work for me, and I personally feel they're great.

However, before anyone goes calling me a blind follower, I would like to mention that I too have seen some distributors do very unethical things, and would even go so far as to say that some have scammed people. In a business in which the Parent company can't possibly keep tabs on all the actions of their distributors, that's bound to happen to some extent. I would like to point out oen fact: Just because there do exist some "bad apples" in the bunch, doesn't mean that all distributors are dishonest scammers. There are some honesthearted ones that are merely just trying to make a living. Even some of the ethical distributors get screwed by the bad ones. I've seen it happen.

Unethical behavior in any market is not unheard of, dont believe me? Look at Enron, where the CFO masterminded a scam to put tens of millions of dollars into his own pockets by setting up an elaborate scam, screwing an entire company out of money, and thousands of workers out of jobs. Does this incident mean that the employees were crooks? Or does that even mean that the CEO was a crook? From what I understand the CFO pressured his bosses and basically "sweet talked" his way into that position. This doesn't mean that Enron as a whole was a scam, or "bad". Yet it only took a handful of people to tear it's "good name" down.

I digress, I believe the issue here is not if the actual company is dishonest, yet it is instead, their apparent lack of ability to police some of the distributors; the ones that do in fact put the company in a bad light. If they had the resources, and started to "police" the distributors a bit more, it may somewhat cleanse the Herbalife name.

In fact I believe some of their plans could work, for someone who has the time, capital, and self-discipline to work the model. This doesn't mean that it's for everyone however. And honestly, if someone is dumb enough to invest a lot of money into something that they don't understand, or can't work, or are just lost, that's just a bad investment period, whether it's Herbalife or any other venture. It would be like starting a record company, but knowing nothing of the music industry. Those people should not spend a dime towards this or any other "Money making opportunity".

The key here is be smart. Research what you get into. Research both sides. Take the good and bad with a grain of salt, because the truth lies somewhere in the middle.kujoe

Neutrality dispute tag removed

I've removed the neutrality dispute tag (for now) after editing the article to what I think is NPOV. I have no horse in this race for or against Herbalife, I just looked this up because I always wondered what these car decals about "lose weight now, ask me how" were on about. I think (as of now) the story is fairly neutrally told. The Hokkaido Crow 12:18, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

Recent Changes

Great job, this looks a lot better than it was when I marked it. Lostchicken 07:26, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I'm not interested in getting in an argument over this my first week editing, so though I've added material to make the article more objective, I have also left what was originally there. Also, this article is no longer a stub in my opinion, so I took that out too. I was pleased to see that someone had already referenced before I got here.

Christopher Lotito

Keeping Article Free of Distributor Sites

Any site which markets Herbalife is owned by an Independent Herbalife Distributor. These sites should not be granted any free search engine exposure even if it is disguised as a discussion forum tied to the distributor's site.

Are there any such links in the article now? -Willmcw 01:06, Apr 16, 2005 (UTC)
Ah, I see the ones you removed. Thanks for that. Cheers, -Willmcw 01:09, Apr 16, 2005 (UTC)
To the person who keeps adding the discussion forum, please stop it.

Any site which markets Herbalife is owned by an Independent Herbalife Distributor.

I assume Herbalife's own web site is the exception to this? It "markets Herbalife", but surely it isn't "owned by an Independent Herbalife Distributor"?! :P
I do wish that distributors stop spamming this wiki entry with their marketing spam links. But to the anti-Herbalife camp: You aren't doing yourself a favour by vandalizing the wiki, either. | Talk 14:02, 18 Jun 2005 (UTC)
This site run by an ex-distributor has a pretty active discussion going on. If an editor feels that it should be included on the main page, please add it. Active Herbalife Discussion

Proposed statement

Ok, I've thought of a paragraph that I hope will satisfy everyone involved.

"Like any organization in the public eye, Herbalife has its proponents as well as its detractors. Those directly involved in Herbalife, its distributors and customers, tend to be extremely satisfied with the Herbalife system. However, that very enthusiasm has led some to view the organization as cult-like due to the necessity of a personal financial commitment and need to recruit others into the distributer network, and paramilitary in nature due to the strong multi-level structure. However, even if the structure of Herbalife resembles a cult-like or paramilitary organization, its members (and the organization itself) tend to lack the ideological components of a true cult beyond a general enthusiasm for their product, not uncommon with any company dealing in alternative lifestyles."

If anyone has any objections to this statement, say so. If not, I'll post it, and remove the NPOV warning. --Lostchicken 07:56, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

First, Herbalife has been removed from the List of purported cults, so I don't think we should link there. Second, on what basis are we saying that cult-like enthusiasm is common in companies dealing with alternative lifestyles? Third, how do we know that Herbalife distributors are "extremely satisfied"? I think this needs more work. -Willmcw 08:59, Jun 21, 2005 (UTC)
I hadn't realized it had been removed, that makes things easier. Lostchicken 07:00, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Hello I am a Herbalife distributor accidentally ended up from google here. (was doing some competition research). Apparently seems I can edit posts without passwords; you ppl might want to fix this. (Note: not every distributor is brainwashed if that is what you think of us - good luck with your endeavors)

It works that way on purpose. Everyone who can follow our policies is welcome to edit. Cheers, -Willmcw 20:20, August 1, 2005 (UTC)

Public Relations Issues

The "Public Relations Issues" section doesn't strike me as neutral, starting with the title. It explains away the controversy about Herbalife with a few-bad-apples theory, suggesting that any company with franchises would have this problem. I note, though, that franchise operations like McDonald's or Curves don't have such a dubious reputation. Further, there are serious accusations from reasonable third parties that the main avenue for making money via Herbalife is not selling the product but getting people to sign up as distributors. Calling that a "public relations issue" strikes me as disingenuous. --William Pietri 12:49, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

Be Bold and fix it. Thanks -Willmcw 19:05, August 9, 2005 (UTC)
Ok! Done! Thanks for the encouragement. --William Pietri 06:29, 30 August 2005 (UTC)

You are kidding, right? You think that McDonald's and Curves are squeaky clean? Around my house, McDonald's is a dirty word, for their high fructose corn syrup laden, diabetes inducing serving sizes of soda and their fat, sodium and yes, HFCS laden fries, buns and lousy burgers. Curves has strong ties to conservative religious organizations. Name the "reasonable third parties," because the last time that this was an issue was in 1985. Previous unsigned comment by User:

Hi, anonymous person. Could you please create an account and sign your posts? That would make discussion easier.
The first reasonable third party who comes to mind is Rob Cockerham, a reasonable person who made serious accusations about how how little most vendors make from selling Herbalife products. Forbes made a similar point, if with less wit and drama.
As to the question of bad franchisees, I didn't say that McDonald's or Curves are universally benevolent organizations of unimpeachable goodness. My point was that Herbalife, like many other MLM schemes, has a much more dubious reputation than traditional franchise operations. I was responding to an old version of the article, wherein somebody suggested that Herbalife's reputation was due to a few bad apples, and that all franchise organizations have these problems. If you'd like to follow the discussion, look at the article history around the same date I made my comment. William Pietri 02:20, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

A compliment to the "Nigerian Scam"?

Although this is from, which made the critical report about Herbalife, this link should probably be viewed differently, as it is a group newspaper of scans. Supposedly, the Herbalife business method is known as the "American Scam" in Botswana. Would this be notable enough to include in the article (possibly under "Controversy Over Business Methods")? Again, in considering this, please look at the scans rather than the accompanying text on the left (possibly biased).

-Nameneko 08:02, 3 October 2005 (UTC)

Hi, Namenko. Could you link to the thing you're talking about? I couldn't find the scans you mention. Thanks! --William Pietri 15:21, 5 October 2005 (UTC)
Sorry, here you go: Exporting Pyramids to Botswana, from
-Nameneko 02:53, 9 October 2005 (UTC)
Ah, interesting. Where the line between "reasonable business" and "scam" gets drawn certainly varies from culture to culture. I think it's entirely reasonable to point out in this article that while Herbalife's marketing methods are currently semi-aceptable in the US, in other places it's considered a clear scam. -- William Pietri 00:36, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

Cause of death

I am no means a MLM supporter or apologist, but does how Mark R. Hughes died belong in the first paragraph? If it was somehow connected to an Herbalife product, maybe, but otherwise, I don't see the relevance. tregoweth 00:02, 25 November 2005 (UTC)

Hi! I don't know who put it there, but I put it back. I think that a guy who makes a living selling allegedly healthy pills dying from pills is relevant, especially given the story about Herbalife's founding mentioned in Mark R. Hughes. As you can see from this article, Herbalife traded on the image of him as a healthy person. It's similar how the article for Atkins talks about his specific cause of death. If you make a living selling health, your health is relevant. Especially given that critics of Herbalife products believe the value of the products is more illusion than substance. --William Pietri 16:21, 25 November 2005 (UTC)

  • Fair enough. tregoweth 23:57, 25 November 2005 (UTC)

I disagree. Although it is clearly a fact worth mentioning prominently in the article, the founder of the company is usually not mentioned in the first paragraph of an article about a company. Take a look at Microsoft, Dell, inc, Walmart etc. I find mentioning the founder's death in the first paragraph to make the article look hokey. Maybe it's just me... TastyCakes 03:19, 5 April 2006 (UTC)


it sure is funny to see the owner and then his death discussed in the very first paragraph!

like going to a merc showroom and asking the salesperson about the details of the founder of the company--it is the car that ought to be focus not the inventore/manufacturere,who by bth way has aright to have human fobiles!

Latest Journal of Hepatology writes about Herbalife under "Slimming at all costs: Herbalife-induced liver injury" This should be mentioned in the article. The research shows that it's clear that Herbalife-products cause liver damage aswell as Hepatitis.

PDF available here: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:40, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

Ethics and Regulations

Some facts:

  • - HB is a member of DSA (direct sales association) and WFDSA (World Federation of Direct Selling Association)
  • - HB has its own internal rules and regulation to conduct good relationship practises between distributors and between distributors and costumers. Every new distributor receives a code of ethics in every International Distribution Kit.
  • - HB are aligned with all government laws and regulations
  • - HB has an Ethics Department to handle any trespassing of the internal or external rules.


it sure is funny to see the owner and then his death discussed in the very first paragraph!

like going to a merc showroom and asking the salesperson about the details of the founder of the company--it is the car that ought to be focus not the inventore/manufacturere,who by bth way has aright to have human fobiles!

Recent numbers

Wikiwikiii, I see you've added a reference for their claim of "over one million distributors". But it's from their own literature. Do you have any external verification of that? Given that's less than $1,600 in sales per distributor, I suspect many of those distributors are inactive. I'm concerned that the quote, although fine for a PR piece, isn't good enough for encyclopedia. Also, do you have any association with Herbalife? Thanks, --William Pietri 17:53, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

I didn't hear back on this, and so have reverted. Also an anonymous editor removed a variety of unflattering information without comment. I'm glad to discuss the changes, but given the history of the article, I'm uninclined to accept anonymous edits that may tilt the article toward being a vanity piece. --William Pietri 17:27, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Hey William, I didn't even see these comments....I am a bit of a newbie. Thanks for the follow up and discussion. The documents cied are filed with the securties and exchange commission (SEC) and are available form any number of sources. I would trust these facts much more than the opinions often cited as fact by some contributors. will restore verbiage. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Wikiwikiii (talkcontribs) 13:23, 19 June 2006.

I agree that the documents are filed with the SEC. But do we have any source outside the company that confirms the million distributors? As far as I can tell it's only the company saying it, and so I will restore that until we find outside confirmation. It'd be great to get the number of total people who have signed up versus the current number of actual distributors. Also, what's your association with Herbalife? Thanks, --William Pietri 14:36, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

William, if you look in Herbalife's annual return, and SEC filings you will see that KPMG have audited these documents, if it is in the return, it is not a "claim" it is accurate. I am concerned at the level of support for the negative aspects of the company, and quashing anything supportive. Some of the topics in this discussion (cult) are absurd. Someone needs to step back and remember that this is a $2 billion company, Wikipedia's integrity is being compromised by even raising these kinds of topics are discussion points. (You seem more intent with verifying KPMG audited data than negative data on other websites)

Have you validated the negative sites that you are supportive of? Example the "Niteworks Controversy" The document referenced from MLM by Stephen Barrett, M.D. contains inaccuracies, despite all the references in this article. For the record, Herbalife has conducted clinical tests on Niteworks, this was performed under strict supervision within UCLA. I will be removing the text "Niteworks controversy" from the MLM link. (This link should not be there in the first place as nothing on this site can be verified.)

We should arrange for findings of the Niteworks tests to be documented to provide a counter agruement if the MLM link is to remain. --Aus911 23:07, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

It's poor form to significantly edit comments after people reply to them. For the record, my response below was in part to your comment "For the record, I am a Distributor, and proud to have a business with thousands of customers in five countries. I am a CPA and gave up a job as a CFO to pursue this opportunity fulltime." Thanks, William Pietri 03:06, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Hi. I agree that Herbalife claims that number, and by some Herbalife-specific definition of the word, they could well be correct. However, here we write for a general audience, and saying they have a million distributors in the same sentence where we say they have 13,000 employees would misleadingly give the impression that there are a million people out there actively employed selling Herbalife. As Forbes said, "The great masses of distributors are not so much vendors as they are customers. Among the bottom 87% of them the average annual gross revenue is but $522. [...] Many pay back a good measure of their income to Herbalife, which urges its sales force to shell out for sales kits, marketing supplies and inspirational DVDs." [1]

I'm glad you have a business you like, but understand that as somebody has built your life around Herbalife you are going to have a hard time adopting the NPOV requirement that is one of Wikpedia's WP:5P core values, and that as with any partisan involved in a controversial topic, you will probably never be happy with the article. You should also consider the cautionary lessons in WP:SPA and WP:TIGERS. Thanks, William Pietri 19:49, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

William, I hear you. I am just a little surprised by the level of biased contributions on this article. Agreed this is not a marketing forumn, however nor is it a public execution. The editors of Wikipedia should be free to contribute without every entry being controlled by a select few. (yes to the extent that it complies) If the wording you mention above (employees / Distributors) is mis-leading then it should be addressed. Employees cannot be Distributors and vice versa. This should be a simple re-word. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Aus911 (talkcontribs) .

I must not have been clear. What Herbalife calls "distributors" are not what a common reader would expect the term to mean in that, as Forbes says, they are more customers than vendors. Ergo, I believe the term should be qualified and have restored it. William Pietri 01:04, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

OK, I've been away a while but am glad to see that this continues to be discussed. William, you seem to be a well intentioned editor that knows more than I will ever know about the rules of wikipedia. However, I have to question the history here:

1) I put in a statement abotu the # of distributors and you immediately reverse it. twice. 2) When i point out that this is verified through SEC documents, you dismiss this still as a "claim." Do you realize the penalties associated with falsifying documents filed with the SEC? Yet, you defend a Bloomberg article on another subject as intontrovertible. why? 3) Above, you change course and cite another article in order to argue that distributors are not really distributors. Do you now agree with the # or not? I would wager that if you looked at how many businesses generate even a small amount of revenue vs. the total # business licenses issued, the pattern would be exactly the same. That's just how things work out statustically.

How about asking someone else in the community to take over moderation of this to eliminate any doubts about neutality? the preceding comment is by Wikiwikiii - 18:37, 25 September 2006 UTC: Please sign your posts!

Hi. Filing false documents with the SEC is indeed a big issue -- if it involves your financials or an attempt to mislead investors. I don't believe they've done that. Instead, I believe they are using a different definition of "distributor" than your average reader would. That is well within the common and accepted puffery that PR departments put out, but I don't believe that's appropriate for encyclopedias to parrot uncritically without confirmation from a reliable source. The Bloomberg article, on the other hand, was written by somebody not on Herbalife's payroll, somebody part of an organization with a professional apparatus that focuses on neutrality, integrity, and reliability. See WP:RS for more on our policy about sources and how to use them. As to why I'm relatively fussy about the edits here, it's part of a broader problem with systemic bias among commercial and autobiographical articles. Since anybody can edit Wikipedia, people with a personal interest in topics come here and write a lot of uncritical prose, often removing negative information as well. It's one of the many small drawbacks of an otherwise good system. See WP:SPA, WP:VAIN, WP:AUTO, and WP:NPOV for more on the bigger picture. If after reading that you'd still like me to get a third opinion on some particular point, let me know. William Pietri 18:40, 27 September 2006 (UTC)


Hi, folks. User:Aus911 (contribs)keeps re-adding a link to a blog, presumably theirs. I've been removing it because it is a blog, promotes Herbalife (which the other links seem to do just fine), and doesn't seem to add anything to the article. All of that goes against WP:EL. What do others think of its utility and/or appropriateness? Thanks, William Pietri 14:07, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Accuracy needed

There is too much vague information in Wiki on Herbalife. I am going to speak to Herbalife directly and ask that they nominate someone from their product management group who can provide accurate and scientific input to this article on the product side.

Wording such as "As of 2005, it is not immediately clear what method Herbalife's weight loss products employ" is uninformative, we can provide the answer easily enough. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Aus911 (talkcontribs) .

Hi. Direct communication or participation from Herbalife probably won't be helpful except to the extent that they can point to verifiable, reliable sources that don't violate the no original research policy. Sorry, William Pietri 19:16, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

I am sure that Herbalife will be able to provide this, and invest the time also for someone to become familiar with Wikipedia posting requirements. Herbalife has enough MD's on staff who will be able to provide the quality of input needed to extend an informative discussion without being a marketing effort.

William, the tone of your response was too predictable. Aus911

Thanks! I try to be consistent in reminding people of how Wikipedia works. Typically, people who are paid to promote a particular point of view are not successful contributors here due to their violation of the WP:NPOV policy. I would again ask you spend some time understanding Wikipedia before continuing to edit topics where you have an obvious POV, and I would certainly ask you to avoid inviting others just because you think they will be more effective in promoting your POV. Thanks, William Pietri 01:10, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Rick Ross

Interestingly enough, Rick Ross Institute (self proclaimed) describes Wikipedia as a cult gathering place and awards Wikipedia 1 Flame on his score chart of cult websites.

"This entry has at times been dominated largely by a few cult devotees and assorted would-be propaganda types." Found at: Rick Ross Flaimg Websites

Recommend to remove link to Rick Ross website - clearly not validated information source. (unless Wikipedia is a cult?)

That seems to be a superficial reading of the text. The Rick Ross Institute describes some Wikipedia articles as having been used by cult members for propaganda purposes. He is not saying that Wikipedia is a cult. Drett 20:14, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
That's how I read it, too. William Pietri 01:11, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Section - Controversy over business methods

Comments that Herbalife's Marketing Plan is much like a Ponzi scheme should be removed. To say that "Critics of Herbalife contend that it operates much like a Ponzi scheme" is an inaccurate message. By definition, the plan cannot be considered as a Ponzi scheme. Herbalife has had a mostly unchanged model for 26 years, so the marketing plan works, and is sustainable and scaleable. It is not a pyramid either. New Distributors joining the company have as much opportunity as long term Distributors.

I recommend that the section "Controversy over business methods" be removed as one sentence is for, one is against, so the content doesn't properly represent the title of this section.

The multi-level marketing plan is discussed in other areas, so it is repeated here, the opposing sentence should be edited to remove the reference to Ponzi Scheme, this view is well covered from the external links section Rick Ross / MLM Watch.

Anyone want to discuss this further prior to changes? --Aus911 22:53, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

I disagree. Under the WP:NPOV policy, we describe all significant views on the topic. That Herbalife operates in a fashion akin to Ponzi schemes is, as you point out, a significant view covered elsewhere. Ergo, we describe it here, too. I agree the section seems small, and could probably do with some expansion so people better understand both mentioned criticisms of Herbalife's business methods and the views of people like yourself. William Pietri 03:04, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

OK, well let's be clear. Herbalife is not akin to Ponzi, this is actually the only place I have seen mention Herbalife and Ponzi in the same context. My reference above was to the opposing view, not to there being a relationship between Herbalife and a Ponzi scheme. A Ponzi scheme pays a return to today's investors with investments from tomorrow's investors. The Wikipedia article on Ponzi defines it well, Herbalife is not even close to being this so the reference is wrong. (Herbalife pays commissions based on a percentage of revenue from product sales) The chance of a NYSE listed company operating, or akin to a Ponzi scheme is nil.

I will remove the Ponzi reference now and we can expand the section from there. --Aus911 04:12, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Hi. I have reverted the change. Please do not unilaterally change things that are under discussion; this is frustrating and a violation of the consensus-driven approach that makes Wikipedia work. I believe by removing it you are suppressing a common and pertinent criticism. I understand that you disagree with the phrasing, and you are welcome to propose another one. I also understand that you believe Herbalife's critics are wrong, but that is not a reason to change the article. If you want to argue about a topic, the rest of the Internet is available for that. Here, we just document the world. Could you please acknowledge that you have read and taken to heart the core policies including WP:NPOV, which to my eyes requires that we document views like the one you removed? Thanks, William Pietri 04:45, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Please reference where the critics compare Herbalife to a Ponzi Scheme from the links to Critic's websites on this article. I can't see it. This does not seem to be a common criticism, rather a mis-interpretation by an editor. I do not agree that Wikipedia is a place to erroneously document information that misleads readers. If you feel that the reference to Ponzi belongs, back it up with something equal or greater than the safeguards in place at NYSE / KPMG that support that it is not.

Yes, I have read core policies & WP:NPOV. Your history on this article is purely opposing which leads me to question your NPOV? --Aus911 05:01, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Personally, I have never heard of Herbalife being called a Ponzi scheme, but having read the Ponzi scheme article it seems like a fair description. A google for "ponzi scheme" and "herbalife" brings up other people referring to it in this way. The criticism section is certainly small compared to the other sections - perhaps some mention should be made of the financial settlements that Herbalife has made with it's victims? Drett 05:21, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

No documentation exists that says that the company operates a "ponzi scheme". Removing reference in article. Aus911 02:22, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

You're right; the items I had read referred to it as a "pyramid scheme", and I had conflated the two. I've changed the sentence and added a reference. Sorry for my error. William Pietri 05:41, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Link of ephedra products to cardiac problems

There's some disagreement between me and an anonymous editor on this text:

Some of the original Herbalife weight loss products contained the active ingredient Ma Huang, an herb containing ephedrine. By 2000, the Food and Drug Administration had linked linked their Original Green product to the cardiac arrest of a 28 year old woman. [1] [2] Herbalife stopped using ephedrine in its products in 2004. The U.S. FDA banned supplements containing ephedra in 2004.[2]
  1. ^ Bloomberg News (2000-08-01). "Herbalife Faces Struggle After Death of Founder Mark Hughes".
  2. ^ Paul Shekelle, MD, PhD; et al. "Ephedra and Ephedrine for Weight Loss and Athletic Performance Enhancement: Clinical Efficacy and Side Effects. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment No. 76". United States Department of Health and Human Services.

The sentence in question is the link between Original Green and the cardiac arrest. In my opinion, the Bloomberg article is a sufficient reliable source for this. The FDA report, which calls what sounds like the same case a "possible sentinel event" isn't Bloomberg's original source because it postdates the news report, but I included it as additional information. I think there's no question that ephedra causes heart issues, and that the Herbalife product in question included ephedra (as Ma Huang, so it wasn't mentioned on the label directly), so the link is plausible. The only question seems to be what FDA information Bloomberg used as a source for that sentence. But I don't see any reason to presume the Bloomberg report is wrong based on what we know. Numeric editor, what's your reasoning for continuing to take the sentence out? William Pietri 15:26, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

It is not unreasonable to mention that the Original Green product used to contain the Ma Huang herb, nor that the company ceased using this ingredient and that the FDA banned the use of this herb in 2004. However unless there is a documented link between the company's product and a specific case assumptions should not be made. If you read other FDA cases you will see that they are not afraid to specifically attribute cause to other company products where it has been identified as being the cause. Herbalife has not been linked in either suspected case, so it is not appropriate to say that the FDA linked the products when the FDA themselves have not said this in their findings. 01:38, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

The FDA document in question, the literature review, doesn't say it's a proven cause, although they described it as a "possible sentinel event". I'm not sure that's "linked" in the FDA's mind or not. The Bloomberg report, however, does say quite clearly that the FDA has linked the two. If you'd like to remove the reference to the FDA document that's fine; it postdates the Bloomberg article and so wasn't their source anyhow. But the Bloomberg article is a reliable source and suffices unless you have specific evidence that Bloomberg got it wrong, like a retraction, or like the FDA saying that they've changed their minds. William Pietri 02:09, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

Having not heard back on this, I'm restoring the previous material. William Pietri 18:42, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

No sir, You cannot state that the FDA linked this unless you can quote the FDA making this link. Rather than waiting to hear back, get FDA documentation to your claim. Previous wording restored. 04:28, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

I was waiting to hear back from you, not from anybody else. Under Wikipedia's reliable sources policy, I can indeed use reputable news agencies as sources for statements in articles. Do you have something beyond a bare assertion that this is inappropriate? If not, then we have one reliable secondary source saying something is true, and none that it isn't. We don't have the primary source, but that's not necessary under WP:RS. Unless I'm missing something, the statement seems appropriate to me. William Pietri 07:18, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

I am not sure why you are so insistent on publishing a comment on an FDA finding that states something different to what the FDA themselves are saying in their report. Your source, I now realize, is not even on Bloomberg's website, rather a reprint on another site, how can you even be sure this is a true reprint of the original article, or that the article even existed? I cannot see any value in further development of this issue unless there is different FDA published data. 02:21, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

The only government document that's come up here is not an FDA document; it's from the Agency_for_Healthcare_Research_and_Quality, so it doesn't prove anything one way or the other about the FDA's opinion. However, a "possible sentinel event" and "linked with" don't seem inconsistent. The Bloomberg copy is indeed on somebody else's site; I don't believe Bloomberg has public archives on their site. Unless you have some evidence that the copy is false or that the FDA has repudiated or never made the claim, then the evidence available is that they did link Original Green to cardiac issues, just as they did with other ephedra-based supplements. Per Wikipedia's policies and guidelines, mentioning this then seems appropriate. Do you have any other reason this shouldn't be restored? Thanks, William Pietri 08:08, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

I think it is a risk to publish this unless it is proven by a coroner's report, FDA finding etc. There are many causes of cardiac arrest. For exampe was this individual physically fit? Were they dangerously obese? Did they have family history of heart problems? etc etc. The FDA has linked Ephedra to some documented cardiac arrests in other products, however without the same connection in this case it is ambiguous to make this claim. The FDA has documened a link in other cases with products from other comapnies, so it is not that they are afraid to do so. In this case they have not linked this product. There is enough documentation on Ephedra on that particular article, so perhaps the link there is enough to document with history of the Ma Huang herb. I don't see any discussion from others here so if anyone has some input jump in.. 02:50, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

What sort of risk do you mean? As far as I can tell, this is pretty clear. We have a reliable source saying something significant, so we include it, citing the source. Those who are curious for more information can check the source. As Wikipedia:Verifiability says, "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. 'Verifiable' in this context means that any reader must be able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, because Wikipedia does not publish original thought or original research." Your speculations are interesting, but unless you come up with actual evidence, I think the article should include the statement as is. Thanks, William Pietri 03:02, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

William is in the right here. We have a source that qualifies as "reliable" by our editorial standards (i.e., has editorial oversight, is liable for printing defamatatory statements, etc) which makes a claim. We may reprint that claim so long as we clearly indicate who is making the claim. We don't need to be experts on cardiac arrest nor do we need to do original research on the person in question to verify whether our source is correct (actually, doing so is prohibited by our editorial policies). Wikipedia prints sourced statements, not Truth. And that's exactly because of cases like this where people are very willing to dispute Truth. — Saxifrage 01:14, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Pietri is not consistent. On one hand he treats reprints (above) as "reliable" yet FDA reports, SEC filings & KPMG audited documentation are not reliable?? -(posts further up the page). How selective of you! I guess these leads the way for a lot of corrections to your previous posts. Aus911 02:20, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

I have explained this every way I can think of. I'm sorry it's not clear to you. If you'd like more information, start by explaining my reasoning as you see it, and I'll let you know where you've gotten off track. Thanks, William Pietri 03:41, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Use ad hominem attacks at the risk of your own credibility, and be careful of your accusations as I might just look at the evidence with my own eyes. Looking over the debate above, I see a mistaken understanding on your part of appropriate external links in your linking to a blog (doesn't matter if it's their official blog, it's not supported by WP:EL), and an alarmingly suggestion that paid experts from Herbalife should start contributing material to the article. On Pietri's part I see his assertion that people have called this a Ponzi scheme goes unsupported by a verifiable and reliable source. Quite apart from your respective policy and guideline missteps, I catch hostility off you and not him (but then that's my fallible judgement and I could be wrong about whether you're hostile or not).
In any case, your decision to attack another editor's character rather than present an argument with merit doesn't impress me. If you recall, I'm supporting his assertion that the statement is well-sourced and appropriate to the article, and yet you've not decided to attack me. I, for my part, am backing him up on this point regardless of what I think of him (never met him before), because he's technically right. If your only intentions is to use this as fuel in a ongoing conflict, take it elsewhere. Otherwise, if you have something constructive to add regarding the source and statement in question, please do say it. For the record, when you are right I will back you up should I be around. — Saxifrage 04:25, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Unsourced opinions on diet products

Recently a numeric user added this to the article:

Many people dislike this diet, due to the many tablets needing to be consumed more than once a day, and the 'shakes' made are absolutely disguisting to some people. Many also complain that the cost of supplies is too much, and other diets are much more effective.

Although User:Daguiero was kind enough to tag them as needing citations, I don't think these sentences belong in the article at all in their current condition. Per WP:WEASEL, these statements need to be at least attributed. And I'd prefer that instead of attributed opinion, we instead have actual data, like "A study on X shows that 37% of users complain of Y and Z." William Pietri 12:49, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Re: this (in the Controversies section):

"Herbalife has been the protagonist of a large string of controversies regarding its usefulness. It has been confirmed by the nobel prize winner Dr. Rigoberta Menchu that Herbalife´s formula does not work on native americans, thus, she states ¨Is Racist¨(she has very poor english)."

Where are the details or citations for this "string of controversies"? And I would like to point out that Rigoberta Menchu's Nobel Prize was in Peace, not in Physiology or Medicine, as the implication seems to be, and that she has been a subject of immense controversy herself, making it even more important that some sources and arguments are attached to claims such as the above. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 2007-03-21

Please sign your comments with four tildes (~~~~). I agree with you. That statement was just put into the article by an anonymous editor, possibly as a mild vandal prank. I just removed it. -Amatulic 01:15, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

Federal Trade Commission link - long, but unscreened list of complaints - your opinions?

I posted a 2002 link to a list of complaints about Herbalife to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. It's posted on the FTC web site in response to someone's Freedom of Information Act request. While the U.S. federal government is normally a credible source (see Wikipedia:Reliable sources), I'm not sure this report meets the spirit of this Wikipedia guideline. From what I can tell, it's a compliation, without comment, of the raw complaints received at the FTC. On a quick review, I don't see that the FTC has expressed any judgement on these complaints.

I don't have time to review this -- perhaps someone else can. I suggest first discussing it here on the talk page before anyone reinstates the link. --A. B. 13:43, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Interesting. On the one hand, it's true that people made those complaints. On the other, they are individual complaints, completely unverified. I don't think we can use it as a reliable source for the content of the complaints, but it would be a reliable source for the fact that complaints exist and that there are at least X of them. I think it would also qualify as an external link as long as we make clear the nature of it. The cover letter from the FTC's lawyer makes clear that the complaints are unverified, so I think we can safely link to it without misleading our readers. William Pietri 16:18, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Oh, and nice work on adding the additional sources. On article mentions that Herbalife actually stopped using Ephedra-derived compounds in 2002, which is two years earlier than we have it. It also mentions that they were one of the first to do so, which is certainly worth mentioning. There are also other useful bits to flesh out the article, but I won't have time to get to that for a few weeks, so don't let me stand in your way. William Pietri 16:18, 16 October 2006 (UTC)
Mostly I was responding to the request for neutral outsiders to look at this article NPOV and reasonableness. I Googled Herbalife and came up with some of those links after some further digging. The SEC link is excellent since the documents Herbalife files there in the public domain will likely be very informative and free from marketing spin (there are sanctions against management otherwise). Publicly traded companies such as Herbalife (or Coca Cola or IBM) are perpetually being sued for one thing or another; most of these suits are either without merit or are too small to merit mention in the company's formal financial reports. Only significant litigation sufficiently important enough to affect the stock price gets reported. In its most recent quarterly report, Herbalife noted two important actions on page 27 of its most recent quarterly report; here are the pertinent excerpts from what the company had to say:
"Herbalife International and certain of its independent distributors have been named as defendants in a purported class action lawsuit filed February 17, 2005, in the Superior Court of California, County of San Francisco, and served on Herbalife International on March 14, 2005 (Minton v. Herbalife International, et al). The case has been transferred to the Los Angeles County Superior Court. The plaintiff is challenging the marketing practices of certain Herbalife International independent distributors and Herbalife International under various state laws prohibiting “endless chain schemes,” insufficient disclosure in assisted marketing plans, unfair and deceptive business practices, and fraud and deceit. The plaintiff alleges that the Freedom Group system operated by certain independent distributors of Herbalife International products places too much emphasis on recruiting and encourages excessively large purchases of product and promotional materials by distributors. The plaintiff also alleges that Freedom Group pressured distributors to disseminate misleading promotional materials. The plaintiff seeks to hold Herbalife International vicariously liable for the actions of its independent distributors and is seeking damages and injunctive relief. The Company believes that it has meritorious defenses to the suit.'
"Herbalife International and certain of its distributors have been named as defendants in a class action lawsuit filed July 16, 2003, in the Circuit Court of Ohio County in the State of West Virginia (Mey v. Herbalife International, Inc., et al). On April 21, 2006, the court granted plaintiff’s motion for class certification in West Virginia. The complaint alleges that certain telemarketing practices of certain Herbalife International distributors violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA, and seeks to hold Herbalife International vicariously liable for the practices of these distributors. More specifically, the plaintiffs’ complaint alleges that several of Herbalife International’s distributors used pre-recorded telephone messages and autodialers to contact prospective customers in violation of the TCPA’s prohibition of such practices. Herbalife International’s distributors are independent contractors and if any such distributors in fact violated the TCPA they also violated Herbalife’s policies, which require its distributors to comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws. The Company believes that it has meritorious defenses to the suit."
"These matters may take several years to resolve, and we cannot be sure of their ultimate resolution. However, it is the opinion of management that adverse outcomes, if any, will not likely result in a material effect on our financial condition and operating results. This opinion is based on our belief that any losses we suffer would not be material and that we have meritorious defenses. Although we have reserved an amount that we believe represents the likely outcome of the resolution of these disputes, if we are incorrect in our assessment we may have to record additional expenses."

The annual 10-K reports, while less current, are audited by outside accounting firms (here's the most recent 10-K); the annual proxy statement details who owns big blocks of stock and detailed executive compensation data. All of this material, as I understand it, is in the public domain and not subject to copyright limitations. --A. B. 18:11, 16 October 2006 (UTC)

Herbalife distributors' blog comments on this Wikipedia article

The Herbalife (HLF) Blog has commented on what it calls "a lot of inaccurate and ignorant information being posted about Herbalife on Wikipedia." The blogger encourages Herbalife distributors to register to edit the article but it also specifically warns them to "become familiar with the editorial guidelines" and make "no gratuitous commercial posts to distributor sites".

New editors wishing to edit this article will want to check out the following first:

Since this article can be controversial, I suggest looking at the following policies and guidelines:

and especially:

--A. B. 01:35, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

External links

The external links guideline was recently rewritten, making slight changes. I've pruned the external links as follows:

  • Deleted a couple of anti-Herbalife links that did not meet reliable sources policy or external links guideline.
  • Eliminated separate sections for different kinds of links -- they're now strongly discouraged
  • Reduced the overall number

--A. B. 10:21, 21 November 2006 (UTC)

Another editor added this link:

I think we had this link before but it was removed because it did not meet the Reliable Sources and External Links guidelines since it is from a self-published source. Any comments? --A. B. (talk) 06:30, 24 December 2006 (UTC)

Independent distributor spamming this article

Today, an anonymous user, (talk contribs) embedded a link[3] to in the text, linking his distributor site to "Herbalife’s Liftoff™" like this:

Aside from violating a bunch of Wikipedia rules, it seems unfair to all the Herbalife distributors that play by the rules around here. Additional info:

  • Second website owned by the same distributor:
  • Herbalife ID Number: 10Y1000706
  • The website's application for new distributors notes applicants should enter"the first 3 letters of Sponsor’s last name: GLA"
  • The IP tracks to Siberia -- it would be interesting to know if that's where the distributor is; if not, they may be using a zombie computer or an open proxy -- a bad thing under Wikipedia's rules and those of most ISPs and web sites.

--A. B. (talk) 20:00, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

The Spanish page on Herbalife/Omnilife reads like an advertisement

I work with many latinos and have noticed that these MLM companies have started marketing towards the latino community since the anglo community has their number. Someone should update the spanish page with at least the controversy section. I would, but my Spanish is pidgen at best.

Can anyone explain whether there is a link between herbalife and scientology? If so, what is the link? Thanks.

herbalife and scientology? The is no link.


I am from Ecuador, and Herbalife products do not pay taxes, do not have any kind of Governmental(from Ecuador) approval. What i do not like the most is in the little table of components many of them only have a "+" with a little sentence about that there is not data about the ingestion or further information about each product. I do not understand why in a country like USA with all their controls could let to sell products without enough testing or information. I think that if USA make an stronger laws could benefit all of us, only saying: are your product paying taxes in other countris like other USA products??? About the cult, i think that is real. The mother of a friend enter into this group (that is the way what i knew the product) and her conduct is changing strongly. Here in latinamerica the family is almost everything and this group began with 2 meetings at week, but now is the entire week, but the worst is that this weekend of father day, the herbalife group decided to work and she prefered to go to the group and not to stay at the family party. Here in latinamerica is really really strange. Change daughters, husbands, friends for a selling product, i do not if is normal in USA or Europe but usually here we prefer the people. I can translate the spanish web page i would like if someone could guide me and how to do it. And if is possible to know if in another countries herbalife is paying taxes. thanks. milena

The link between scientology and Herbalife is well established

I once attended a Herbalife 'training session' in London. Lots of executives in black vaunted the merits of the pyramidal system of organization. On the way out we were handed the barely disguised Scientology 'personality test' propaganda. If you're in any doubt just Google 'scientology' and 'herbalife' and check for yourselves the links between the two organizations. Here's an article that appeared today The Grand Secret of Scientology

--Etnaview 10:49, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

ps: Surely you don't think it's a coincidence that David Beckham (buddy of Scientology high priest Tom Cruise) now sports a Herbalife teeshirt since he arrived at L.A. Galaxy? Come on!!

These are interesting assertions but anything we add to the article about this has to meet the following Wikipedia requirements:
This essay has some good material on the topic:
The site would not meet the requirements of the Reliable Sources Guideline. If there's an article on a mainstream media site such as the Economist, Der Spiegel or the BBC, that would be fine. --A. B. (talk) 13:28, 8 October 2007 (UTC)


Any known Trivia of Herbalife? - ChJees, Sweden —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:00, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Trivia sections are discouraged on Wikipedia. Please don't add one. See Wikipedia:Trivia sections for details on the guideline. -01:03, 8 November 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Amatulic (talkcontribs)

Oh thanks, Bot maker :). - ChJees, Sweden —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:37, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Business methods and controversy

There are updated financials for this section: As of the first quarter 2008, the company has 17 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth. There were 352,488 sales leaders, an increase of 11.9% for the same period of 2007.

Double-digit growth of sales leaders at all recognition levels of the company’s marketing plan demonstrates the vitality throughout the distributor organization.

Georgefischer (talk) 23:11, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

I am curious about whether or not Lou Ignarro deserves to be in the controversy section of this page. The only 'controversy' I can see from the article is in reality a personal oversight on his part. Its important to note that Dr. Ignarro promoted the ingredients in Niteworks long before there ever was a Niteworks - the ingredients are those that he has been studying for decades and are what he won his Nobel Prize for. This certainly isn't an Herbalife business controversy, but I want to have a discussion here first before editing. My main point is that Herbalife is an MLM which lends itself to many possible business method controversies, however this particular one seems out of place here. Thoughts? Wattssw (talk) 19:55, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Are you saying that we should have a section about Ignarro's connection to Herbalife but without mentioning all the controversy? --A. B. (talk) 02:24, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
Here's a measure of the controversy and data on the Ignarro/Herbalife relationship:
  1. "Nobel laureate criticised for spruiking health supplements". BioEdge. Australasian Bioethics Information. 2004-12-14. ISSN 1446-2117. Retrieved 2008-01-09. His consulting company received at least US$1 million from the product between June 2003 and September 2004, with his signature and Nobel laureate status featuring on each bottle.
  2. de Nigris, Filomena (2003-02-04). "Beneficial effects of antioxidants and L-arginine on oxidation-sensitive gene expression and endothelial NO synthase activity at sites of disturbed shear stress". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. National Academy of Sciences. 100 (3): 1420–1425. doi:10.1073/pnas.0237367100. Retrieved 2008-01-09. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  3. "Correction". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. National Academy of Sciences. 101 (52). 2004-12-28. 10.1073/pnas.0409060101. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
  4. Darmiento, Laurence (2005-01-10). "Scientist says he should have disclosed Herbalife interest". Los Angeles Business Journal. Retrieved 2008-01-09. Ignarro, who shared the 1998 Nobel Prize for helping discover the role that nitric oxide plays in cardiovascular health, said that although he still believes he was not ethically required to make the disclosure, in retrospect it would have been better for him and UCLA had he done so.
  5. Evans, David (2004-12-06). "Nobel Prize Winner Didn't Disclose His Herbalife Contract". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 2008-01-09. Pharmacologist Robert Furchgott, 88, who won the 1998 Nobel Prize with Ignarro for his own, independent research on nitric oxide, said in an interview that Ignarro's claims about Herbalife's effectiveness are improperly founded.
  6. Herbalife Ltd. (2004-12-02). "Amendment No. 4 to [[Form S-1]] Registration Statement Under the [[Securities Act Of 1933]]". United States Securities and Exchange Commission. pp. p. 79. Retrieved 2008-01-09. A consulting firm with which Dr. Ignarro is affiliated is entitled to receive a small percentage of the amount of (i) Niteworks™, (ii) certain "healthy heart" products, and (iii) other products that we may mutually designate in the future that are, in each case, sold with the aid of Dr. Ignarro's consulting, promotional or endorsement services. From June 1, 2003 through September 30, 2004, we paid approximately $1 million to the consulting firm. URL–wikilink conflict (help)
  7. Ignarro, Louis (Guest) Johnson, Michael O. (President, Herbalife) (June 2003). Johnson' introduction of Dr. Ignarro, Herbalife Extravaganza meeting, Las Vegas, NV (wmv) (Videotape). Herbalife. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
  8. Ignarro, Louis (Speaker) (June 2003). excerpt of Dr. Ignarro's comments on nitric oxide, Herbalife Extravaganza meeting, Las Vegas, NV (wmv) (Videotape). Herbalife. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
  9. Ignarro, Louis (Guest). Luigi Gratton and Dr Heber and Louis Ignarro Show. Herbalife. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  10. Ignarro, Louis. "Niteworks® and Nitric Oxide Q&A". Herbalife. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
  11. "Nobel Laureate Failed to Tell of Herbalife Deal". The Los Angeles Times. 2004-12-09. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
  12. Wanjek, Christopher (2003-10-07). "Nitric Oxide Now -- Ask Me How: Some Find Nobel Laureate's Alliance With Supplement Marketer Hard to Swallow". The Washington Post. p. HE01. Retrieved 2008-01-09.
--A. B. (talk) 02:28, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Herbalife edits to this and related articles

Editors with ties to Herbalife must not edit Herbalife-related articles or add links to Herbalife or its distributors. They may suggest changes and corrections on article discussion pages for other editors unconnected to Herbalife to review and make. See:

Herbalife-related IP address ranges
None of these is allowed to edit Herbalife-related articles
IP address range Registrant Location Wikipedia edits to date
(as of 7 Feb 08)
to 255
Herbalife International of America Inc United States 0
to 95
Herbalife International India Pvt Ltd India 0
to 239
Herbalife International India Pvt Ltd India 0
to 159
Herbalife International of America United States 0
to 255
Herbalife International of America Inc. Torrance, California,
United States
**Conflict of interest violation**
to 255
Herbalife International of America Inc. Los Angeles, California,
United States
**Conflict of interest violation**
to 63
Herbalife International United States 0
to 95
Herbalife International of America United States 0
to 95
Herbalife International of America United States 0
to 223
Herbalife International of America United States 0
to 175
Herbalife International Inc San Francisco, California,
United States
**Conflict of interest violation**
to 127
Herbalife International of America United States 0
to 127
Herbalife International United States 0
to 255
Herbalife International of America United States 0
to 87
Herbalife United States 0
to 175
Herbalife Europe Ltd London, England,
United Kingdom
**Conflict of interest violation**
to 79
Herbalife Portugal 1
**Conflict of interest violation**
to 151
Herbalife International Luxembourg 0
to 239
Herbalife International Deutschland Gmbh Germany 0
to 207
Herbalife International (Netherlands) Bv Netherlands 0
to 43
Herbalife-to-Norway-to-Products-As-Net Norway 0
to 207
Herbalife Internat of Europe Netherlands 0
to 127
Eu-Infonet-Herbalife-International South Africa 0
to 127
Eu-Infonet-Herbalife Finland 0
to 255
Eu-Infonet-Herbalife Netherlands 0
to 247
Herbalife Internacional Sa Portugal 0
to 71
Herbalife International Espana S.A Spain 0
to 255
Herbalife International of America Inc United States 0
to 54.255
Herbalife International Mexico 0
to 39
Herbalife International Argentina Argentina 0
to 55
Herbalife International Argentina Argentina 0
to 255
Herbalife International Brazil 0
to 95
Herbalife Intl of Hk Ltd Hong Kong 0
to 111
Pt.Herbalife Indonesia Indonesia 0
to 63
Herbalife International India (P) Ltd India 1
**Conflict of interest violation**
to 95
Herbalife International Singapore Pte Ltd Singapore 0
to 255
Herbalife United Kingdom 0
to 255
Herbalife United States 0
to 132.255
Herbalife Italy 0
to 255
Herbalife United States 0
to 239.255
Herbalife United States 0
to 255
Herbalife Italy 0
to 95
Herbalife International of America United States 0
to 69.255
Herbalife Taiwan 0
to 255
Herbalife South Africa 0
to 63
Herbalife Turkey 0
to 127
Herbalife International of America United States 0
to 255
Herbalife Japan 0
to 255
Herbalife Thailand 0
to 191
Herbalife Spain 0
to 127
Herbalife International Indonesia 0
to 255
Herbalife Venezuela 0
to 255
Herbalife Japan 0
to 223
Herbalife of Japan K.K Japan 0
to 79
Herbalife Europe Ltd United Kingdom 0
to 63
Herbalife Ltd Israel 0
to 135
Sovintel-Herbalife-Net Russian Federation 0
to 127
Herbalife International Espana S.A Spain 0
to 183
Herbalife International Espana S.A Spain 0
to 151
Herbalife Polska Sp. Z O.O Poland 0
to 151
Sovintel-Herbalife-International-Net Russian Federation 0
to 63
Herbalife International of America United States 0
to 31
Herbalife International of America United States 0
to 79
Herbalife International of America United States 0
to 91
China Herbalife Health Care Food Limited Company-Qingdao China 0
to 199
Herbalife International Philippines Inc Philippines 0
to 199
Suzhou Herbalife Co. Ltd China 0

--A. B. (talk) 14:55, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Gregory Probert, lead...

Anybody else think that the former president of Herbalife lying about having an MBA and then stepping down is significant enough to report? Also, lead in food? I'm a noob here so will leave it to those in the know., Appleappleappleappleapple (talk) 12:01, 22 May 2008 (UTC)

These are both in now. Shax (talk) 15:10, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Health Concerns

i do corp comm for Herbalife and would like to clarify a few points:

First, suggest the title being 'Purported Health Concerns' since none are proven.

Regarding the info about 'scientific studies in 2007...,' no cause and effect relationship between the consuming any Herbalife product and hepatotoxicity (not hepatitis) has ever been established. No specific product has ever been cited and no ingredient has been identified.

Regarding supposed lab results from the Fraud Discovery Institute...these are allegations and should not be on our page. It's an unproven press release. According to the article cited below, the founder of the group served seven years in jail for stock fraud and has been quoted as saying he invested $50,000 betting the company's shares will fall.

Regarding suit filed on May 10...see comment above about Minkow's motives.

i can be reached at for any discussion. ThanksGeorgefischer (talk) 18:41, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Hi, George. I appreciate you being up front about your affiliation. You seem unhappy about use of press releases here, but then want to cite them below. In my view, press releases carry no proof of fact, but reasonable proof of claim. E.g., one could use a press release to say, "Consumer groups say..." or "Herbalife claims...", but nothing stronger. Does that match your view?
Regarding the topic of the section, it seems to me that "Health Concerns" is the right name for something that is not proven. Otherwise it would be more like "Health Risks" or "Proven Dangers". I agree that the FDI looks a bit dodgy, though, and the article now conveys that pretty well. I think that would keep people from putting undue weight on unproven claims. Thanks, William Pietri (talk) 19:35, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

Current Litigation

I looked too quickly, point taken on the LABJ article. That last sentence tho is just another press release without basis. Georgefischer (talk) 21:56, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

The following paragraph should be deleted. The three citations below are all from press releases, in which a party can pretty much claim whatever they want, without proof. This does not represent a neutral point of view, they just further one person's biased viewpoint.

On the 10th of May 2008 a suit was filed on behalf of a woman who developed lead-related liver complaints that she claims were a reaction to a combination of Herbalife products.[26] The suit was filed by lawyer Christopher Grell, cofounder of the Dietary Supplement Safety Committee and an ally of Minkow.[27] On the 17th of June 2008, the suit was expanded to add distributers who had supplied the woman with the Herbalife products, with Grell launching a website to offer persons who believe they were harmed by Herbalife products the chance of redress.[28] Georgefischer (talk) 17:25, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Last time I checked, the LA Business Journal was not a press release. John Nevard (talk) 18:46, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

(I work for corp communications and would like to update some info) - As this lawsuit has been settled, I suggest removing it from the page and adjusting the text that follows appropriately: "In a West Virginia class action suit, Mey v. Herbalife International, Inc., et al, the plaintiffs allege that some "telemarketing practices of certain Herbalife International distributors violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA, and seeks to hold Herbalife International vicariously liable for the practices of these distributors. More specifically, the plaintiffs' complaint alleges that several of Herbalife International's distributors used pre-recorded telephone messages and autodialers to contact prospective customers in violation of the TCPA's prohibition of such practices". Herbalife managements insists they have meritorious defences in both cases and that in the West Virginia case, any such distributor actions also went against Herbalife's own policies. Thanks Georgefischer (talk) 23:41, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Product Overview

The following sentences should be removed, as the sources listed are not in English, nor are translations provided to know whether or not they're even appropriate sources. Besides, price differences exist in every category, from cereals to cars. The statements are of opinion, not fact.

Herbalife products have been criticized by consumer organisations for being nutritionally unbalanced, with weight loss attributed to loss of water and muscle rather than fat,[6] and for being overpriced by comparison to similar, conventionally marketed, products.[7][8]

Georgefischer (talk) 19:32, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

They're statements from major consumer organisations attributed to major consumer organisations. John Nevard (talk) 18:46, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

Crazy Fox should be deleted

Distributors use a variety of methods to sell products, from parties to sampling at events. Herbalife is not Crazy Fox, tho it may be an independent distributor. As such, it doesn't belong on a page about the company. Georgefischer (talk) 15:57, 20 June 2008 (UTC)feel free to contact me directly about any comments I've posted at

I'm the one who initially added the Crazy Fox section; inasmuch as Crazy Fox is (or at least appears to be) a separate entity from Herbalife, I was careful not to describe them as being one and the same in the section. I do, however, think it belongs in this article. The Crazy Fox advertising campaign is all over television in the United States on several major cable networks (I've seen them on ESPN, Comedy Central, Lifetime, to name a few), and it's referenced in various news stories, so I believe it meets the criteria for notability. As far as the two entities not being the same, many Wikipedia articles about business contains information on what other organizations are doing with their products; i.e, the Intel article has information on the use of their chips by IBM, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, and Apple-Inc., all of which are companies described on the basis of being a well-known redistributor of Intel's product. evildeathmath 16:16, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Crazy Fox is certainly a separate entity from Herbalife International, they have been careful to keep specific claims about their products- both the supplements and the marketing scheme- legally separate from their corporate body since the eighties. On the other hand, there would be no Herbalife International without the more interesting independent distributors, they're part of the company's much-touted (with the original meaning of tout) multi-level marketing system. You'd have to work hard to find a news article on work-from-home adverts about a Herbalife ID that doesn't mention Herbalife.John Nevard (talk) 17:55, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
As it is, the section could probably stand to be broadened. But it's certainly applicable to Herbalife, as you can see from the sources. John Nevard (talk) 17:57, 21 June 2008 (UTC)
Anyone who intends to research further into the Herbalife distributor issue could be well served by checking out the names at the bottom of this page. John Nevard (talk) 18:02, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

New Sections

There are two other components of the company worth including:

Philanthropy In 2005, the Herbalife Family Foundation launched its Casa Herbalife program. Grants are provided to organizations to help provide good nutrition to the children in its care. Over 30 programs on five continents have been established. [4] The programs are primarily supported through grants by the company, independent distributors and employees. HFF has also provided aid to victims of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis and wildfires.

Employee Wellness The company launched an employee wellness program in 2005 to help employees become more knowledgeable about nutrition and other aspects of health. Men’s Fitness magazine voted it one of the top 15 fittest companies in America, and the company’s wellness program received the 2008 Success Award by the Direct Selling Association.

Georgefischer (talk) 23:13, 26 June 2008 (UTC)

Update business methods

There's a lot of outdated and incorrect financial information in this section and I think it would be easier to have the following. Will you make this edit?

All supervisors must requalify their status annually to maintain their rights and privileges. As of the end of 2007, 42.5% of distributors were still active after 12 months, up from 41.5% a year before. During the fourth quarter 2007, total Sales Leaders increased 16.0 percent to 473,846. [1] As of the end of 2007, the company had over 298,000 sales leaders around the world; over 80% of these distributors were outside North America. As of 2007, the company had 16 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth. Full year 2007 net sales increased 13.8 percent to $2.1 billion.

Let me know if there's other info i can provide if you think it would be beneficial. thanks,

Georgefischer (talk) 00:35, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

What's the relationship between distributors, supervisors, and "sales leaders"? That last one seems like a peacock term. Also, what's the right source for those various statements? Pointing people to a press release archive isn't good enough, alas; it should be to specific releases. Also, I'm not getting the relationship between the 473,846, 298,000, and 80% numbers. What's the story there? Thanks, William Pietri (talk) 19:27, 8 July 2008 (UTC)

here it is: (talk) 23:15, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

We just reported Q2 earnings and these are the most up-to-date figures that should appear. Sales leaders includes distributors who have reached supervisor level and China sales employees.

As of second quarter 2008, the company achieved its 18th consecutive quarter of double-digit growth. Net income for the quarter was a record $67 million, an increase of 39 percent compared to this time last year. The company’s top-ten markets, which represent 71 percent of business, grew 25 percent year-over-year.

During the second quarter 2008, total Sales Leaders increased 11.8 percent to 411,614 and new Sales Leaders increased 10.9 percent to 62,225 versus the second quarter of 2007. The company's President's Team membership increased 11.8 percent to 1,118 members and its prestigious Chairman's Club increased 12.9 percent to 35 members, in each case versus the second quarter of 2007.

Link to q2 press release: [2]thanks William. (talk) 17:35, 8 August 2008 (UTC) here it is: (talk) 19:59, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Health Concerns

pls delete the following two paragraphs from our page as all accusations have been retracted. (you can read the retraction here:

The Fraud Discovery Institute has reported that laboratory test results of Herbalife products show lead levels in excess of limits established by law in Herbalife's home state of California under Proposition 65.[19][20] Barry Minkow founded the Fraud Discovery Institute after serving a jail term for stock fraud.[21] He has disclosed that since the beginning of his group's investigation he has begun shorting Herbalife stocks to the tune of $50,000 to fund it.[22][23][24] Proposition 65 requires notification of consumers where a product "contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm." Herbalife has responded, stating that its products meet federal FDA requirements.[25][26] The company states other independent lab tests it has commissioned show that Herbalife products do not exceed the Proposition 65 limits.[27][22]

On the 10th of May 2008 a suit was filed on behalf of a woman who developed lead-related liver complaints that she claims were a reaction to a combination of Herbalife products.[21][28] The suit was filed by lawyer Christopher Grell, cofounder of the Dietary Supplement Safety Committee and an ally of Minkow.[21] On the 17th of June 2008, the suit was expanded to add distributors who had supplied the woman with the Herbalife products, with Grell launching a website to offer persons who believe they were harmed by Herbalife products the chance of redress.[29]

thanks very muchGeorgefischer (talk) 18:21, 28 August 2008 (UTC)


William, how can i work with you to update some of this info like our financials. Some of this stuff is 3 yrs old.I'd like to simplify all of that information so it makes sense to the average reader and it will be updated quarterly. thanks. Georgefischer (talk) 23:07, 4 September 2008 (UTC)

non-English references

These three references are not in English and from what i understand about rules, should not be on the site. Herbalife products have been criticized by consumer organisations for being nutritionally unbalanced, with weight loss attributed to loss of water and muscle rather than fat,[9] and for being overpriced by comparison to similar, conventionally marketed, products.[10][11]

i also added published info on a clinical study recently completed. Georgefischer (talk) 00:13, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

They are entirely appropriate under policy. John Nevard (talk) 01:03, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

According to the policy, '...editors should use English-language sources in preference to sources in other languages, assuming the availability of an English-language source of equal quality, so that readers can easily verify that the source material has been used correctly. Where editors translate any direct quote, they should quote the relevant portion of the original, non-English text in a footnote or in the article. Translations published by reliable sources are preferred over translations made by Wikipedia editors.' (talk) 23:06, 17 October 2008 (UTC)


The following sentences should be deleted as the opening paragraph to this section explains that we offer meal-replacement shakes: As of 2005, it is not immediately clear what method Herbalife's weight loss products employ[citation needed], although the nutritional ingredients are listed on the product. Recent advertisements indicate that the current philosophy is one of meal replacement via diet shakes, and nutritional supplements.

Georgefischer (talk) 00:29, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Sure. Got a reference? John Nevard (talk) 01:03, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Reference for what? the sentence doesn't make sense, 'what method products employ...' We offer protein shakes, energy and fitness drinks, vitamins, supplements and skincare products.Georgefischer (talk) 17:57, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Bus Methods & Controvery

pls delete the following sentence from this section as the reference is 23 years old and completely out of context.

Supporters and merchants involved with Herbalife contend that it is a genuine and profitable multi-level marketing business opportunity. Critics of Herbalife contend that it is a Pyramid scheme[31] and that the company has not made enough effort to curb abuses by individual distributors. Herbalife has consistently denied such allegations and stated that its business model is fully legal.[32] thanks, (talk) 22:49, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Community Involvement

Let's get this added on the Herbalife page pls:

Through the Herbalife Family Foundation, the company helps to provide healthy nutrition for children at risk. It oftens responds to help provide funds for disaster relief efforts [3]. HFF's main focus is its Casa Herbalife program in which it partners with existing charities serving children. There are currently over 40 such programs around the world. Georgefischer (talk) 22:55, 20 May 2009 (UTC)

Okay, done. Seems like good information. Shax (talk) 13:49, 7 August 2009 (UTC)

Clinical Studies Section

It would be nice to have the citations available for the clinical section. All three are fairly easy to find, and it seems that they do support the hypothesis that Herbalife does support weight loss (average ~9 lbs per person), but only the UCLA study explicitly states that Herbalife was used. I only assume that the others used the same materials because of the similarities of the studies. Of course, the fact that all three studies have authors who have sponsorship from or some other interest in Herbalife does seem to indicate a conflict of interest, but this is my opinion. My opinion is that the Herbalife sponsorship of these authors should be a little more clear, as it is not immediately obvious in the section. Also, if this section is really about clinical studies, it would be appropriate to cite or at least mention the multitude of studies in the literature about liver problems caused by Herbalife. I realize that these studies have been mentioned before, but including them in this section called "Clinical Studies" is only fair. Perhaps a restructuring would also be appropriate. Ezekiel375 (talk) 16:51, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Done, and I moved it to the product section. Shax (talk) 12:35, 7 August 2009 (UTC)
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