True Crime Analysis, Breakthroughs, Insights & Discussions Hosted by Bestselling Author Nick van der Leek

Hands Up: Since learning about the Watts case, have you tried Thrive?

The Watts case was a tragedy, but the greatest travesty was that the case never made it to trial. Had it done so, millions of other lives could have been saved – literally millions.

Millions of Americans ruining their lives on a daily basis could have been warned through the coverage of a high-profile crime, especially when experts cross-examined the impact of MLM on the Watts family, and their finances.

This is not some obtuse legal issue; it’s a moral issue. People’s lives are being destroyed and until MLMs are stopped, it will continue to happen.

Through the TWO FACE series I’ve tried to address the MLM wrecking ball; to make it clear in no uncertain terms that MLM is evil, no ifs, buts or maybes. But misconceptions persist. People want to believe something works for them, because it’s tied to their own greed, laziness and narcissism.

Someone contacted me recently and said she’s been using the Thrive pills/formulas to lose weight. It seems the Watts case has worked a treat for Le-vel. Even folks obsessed with true crime have been tempted to use a product that’s at the epicenter of a family annihilation. It doesn’t matter though, as long as it works for me, right?

I won’t go into the merits of the product here. If you feel taking powders and supplements is a good way to lose weight and improve your appearance, well, that’s your poison.

One easy way to check how well Thrive works is to visit Nickole Atkinson’s Facebook page. Has she visibly lost weight a year since her best friend was murdered?


Whether you support the products or not, they’re part of the MegaMachine that is Multi-Level marketing. It’s a huge $36 billion business. It is a powerful lobby group with political connections. One of its proponents is President Trump, along with many in Trump’s cabinet.

Many in Trump’s cabinet have strong ties to MLMs as well: Betsey DeVos (whose husband is the president of Amway — by the way, DeVos family has donated $200 million to the Republican party over the years), Ben Carson, Carl Icahn (a billionaire who is also a major investor in Herbalife and holds five board seats at the company), and Charles Herbster.

In this article MLM seems to be criticized, while at the same time a case is made that IF YOU WORK HARD, YOU CAN BE SUCCESSFUL. YOU CAN BE PART OF THE 1% WHO SUCCEED!

No – you can’t!

When statics show that 0.4% make any money out of MLM, what the math is showing isn’t that ALMOST 1% SUCCEED – it’s that 99%, almost everybody, fails. We might as well say everybody fails. But it’s this niggly little 0.4% that is used to argue the “truth” – that actually, it works, and it can work for you.

If MLM is a scam, why do people not involved in the MLM structure buy overpriced miracle products from scammy companies?

And for those who buy into MLM, imagine applying for a job, and being told there’s a 0.4% chance you’ll be paid a salary at the end of each month?

So is it possible to make any money doing an MLM? After finishing all of his analysis and research on various MLM data, Jon Taylor concluded, “In every case, using the analytical framework described, the loss rate for all these MLMs ranged from 99.05% to 99.99%, with an average of 99.71% of participants losing money in an MLM.

On average, one in 545 is likely to have profited after subtracting expenses and 997 out of 1,000 individuals involved with an MLM lose money (not including time invested).”

That sounds dismal unless you’re the 1 in 545 or the top 1 percent working your business. Further, it blames MLM without considering any of the individuals who joined.  MLM is a viable home-based business opportunity. Anyone interested in selling a product to generate income has the ability to achieve success. With that said, it is crucial to research and investigate the company and products thoroughly to make sure that it’s not a scam, and also, that it’s a product and system you feel you can promote.

“That sounds dismal unless you’re the 1 in 545…” No one said the 1 in 545 are rich, merely that they didn’t lose money. The reality is most LOSE money, and a tiny fraction are super rich, at the expense of everyone else.

“Anyone interested in selling a product has the ability to achieve success…” – that should read, everyone interested in selling MLM is almost guaranteed to fail. This can be derived down to anyone interested in using an MLM product is also guaranteed to fail.

If you’re aware of this [and if you’re reading this blog, right now, you are aware of this], and if  you persist regardless, then you only have yourself to blame for ruining your life, and those around you.



  1. Peko

    My theory is Chris Watts lost all that weight due to N. Kessinger. Shanann joined Thrive in 2016. He had remained chunky until the late 2017. I don’t think the formula suddenly started working then. Even the new product called Duo Burn (sticker) is the same formula as its predecessor Thrive Burn. Nothing had changed except for the fact that NK started googling his name as early as August. Maybe that’s when they started talking and NK hooked him up with her weight loss & diet program. In a few months by November 2017, he would’ve dropped from XXL to Med., according to Shanann. There’s a video where he stands behind her awkwardly. Anyways, to answer your question, I haven’t tried Thrive. We don’t have it in our country.

  2. richard

    After looking at Shanann’s connections, I think I can say this stuff is marketed at peoples weakness of weight gain. unfortunately, very few people seemed to have lost weight on it.
    I would have thought this junk would work since it does contain a natural derivative of ‘speed’, thus speeding up people’s heart rates.
    I wonder if anyone has had a heart attack on this stuff
    Prior to Shanann’s murder, I had not heard of it. I guess in the UK were not so gullible to this crap

  3. Jenn H.

    No I have not tried thrive. I agree with you that a very small percent
    of people working with MLM can make money doing this job.
    Reminds me of other MLM’s that are pyramid schemes.
    Amway, Herbal Life, Mary Kay, there’s several out there.

  4. Ralph Oscar

    Nope, never tempted to try Thrive. What, do I look stupid? Don’t answer that!

  5. Jessica

    Anytime you are your own boss, it will require a certain type of person. I’m not defending every mlm out there. Or even defending thrive. But our society thinks just showing up is enough. It’s not. The grand majority of people require a boss to tell them what to do. That is the inherent problem. So I think it’s accurate when you say only the top 1% are going to make it. It takes an insane amount of work, drive and ambition. But for those who have it, it’s worth it. You are never going to be rich working a 9-5 and hitting up the sofa each night. What is clear to me here is it worked for her. And that’s not just her own words. It’s watching this woman take exceptionally good care of her children, keeping the home tidy and well organized, planning trips across the country, visiting family with 2 kids in tow. And still working on top of it. I get exhausted just watching that woman. Maybe it was the placebo effect. Don’t really care. It worked for her.

    • nickvdl

      Well no, even working really hard at MLM you still have a 0.4% chance of success. Is it so hard to understand? It doesn’t mean if you work really, really hard you can succeed, it’s you will almost certainly fail irrespective of who you are, or what you do. That’s what’s so tragic. And the fact that this simple fact is so hard to communicate is precisely why MLM is so sticky, because everyone thinks they’re the 0.4%. NO ONE IS!

  6. Ira

    I have to agree with Nick here. MLMS are scams and should be outlawed. Jessica, the MLM did not work for Shanann. They were going bankrupt for the second time. She was delusional and wasn’t working a legitimate job.

  7. Laura Thompson

    No, have never been tempted to try that nonsense, but, in the past couple or few months, two of my Facebook friends have posted about using Thrive or selling it. Two young women I happen to have great affection and respect for, in fact.

    I thought about sending them links to information on MLMs, but, I know how these things tend to go, and I’m almost certain they would not “see” themselves in that; that, instead, they would insist it works, and if they follow the program and work hard, they will become successful at it. I just pray they get out before they lose too much money, because neither one can afford it, especially the one.

    I’m not sure whether the Watts case bringing attention to Thrive products had anything to do with why I’m seeing this on their feed now, but it would stand to reason that it’s possibly how they heard of it, either directly or second- or- third- hand.

  8. Ira

    I think that yes if it the case went to trial, and the lawyers used it as some sort of defense or provided background on Thrive, it could have had broader implications for MLMs as a whole, and possibly helped to start to dismantle them. We are living in a society where we need these things put under a broad spotlight for people to start to wake up and take action, hence R Kelly being only charged again now after a binged documentary created ” new” outrage. A court case this high profile could have put MLMs under the spotlight as well.

  9. ncam619

    I don’t know where you came up with the idea that it “worked for her”. They were months behind on their mortgage and had to use chris’ 401k to catch up and then managed to get behind again. they were on their 2nd bankruptcy in 5 years and being sued by their homeowners association for not making payments for an entire year. shanann mentioned in a text that they couldn’t afford marital counseling. That means she couldn’t afford that trip to NC for 5 weeks. Meanwhile, their kids (who were barely pre-school age) were attending a school that was $500/wk while shan’ann stayed at home. She didn’t have her priorities straight and she was obviously not good with money. And Chris didn’t have the balls to step in.

    • Sally D.

      Don’t forget that their credit cards were maxed, and if I’m not mistaken, I think the bank had already begun foreclosure proceedings on their house. Medical bills in the thousands. No kidding she didn’t have her priorities straight, she didn’t skimp on the mani/pedis, specially printed tee shirts for the entire family, so many clothes for the girls that they’re basically never seen in the same things twice. Holiday specific outfits that would only be worn once. And Steelers jerseys for the girls – not inexpensive and probably outgrown fairly quickly. Quite a bit of bad judgement to go around, and Shan’nann staying at home while the girls went to the expensive school (so add Bella’s uniform into the clothing expenses) was so ridiculous that it must have been an argument that you would think Chris would have easily won if he had had the inclination to start it.

      • Ralph Oscar

        But Shan’Ann would not have *allowed* Chris to win that argument; she would not have allowed that argument to even *start*. SHE wore the pants in that family and he was properly cowed.

  10. Ralph Oscar

    About NUA’s Facebook page – precious few photos of NUA on it. IF she’d lost a noticeable amount of weight, she’d have definitely put up a pic, probably a before/after montage, like if you look up “thrive weight loss before and after”. No shortage of those – it’s clearly one of the angles these Thrive shills are trying to work. Here’s a quote from one of these:

    “THRIVE IS NOT A WEIGHT LOSS PRODUCT, but when you’re giving your body premium grade nutrition- it starts performing like it’s supposed to and things start happening!”

    “The picture on the left is one year ago today, a month before I started thriving! The picture on the right is from last weekend. I’m really proud of the progress I’ve made! Thankful for the Thrive Experience for the confidence, will, motivation, energy and determination to change my life! I am a Thriver for life!”

    “Thrive WILL change your life!”

    “-Lori Langston”

    And take a look at Nick’s article over at #Shakedown – Chris Watts: More Photos of the Fairytale.

    Shan’Ann was *so* pretty then! After she started “Thrivin'”, she started looking so phony, posed and plastic.

  11. Gwyn Blackwood

    Absolutely not! I worked with a gal who swore this was the golden egg (don’t know where the goose was). Once I researched the ingredients, legal speed. No thank you. If I want to lose weight and get in shape, I walk, walk, walk. No gimmicks here!!!!

  12. Ralph Oscar

    Here’s that before/after pic Shan’Ann posted:

    Here’s what she had to say:

    “Thrivin—-that’s the only way I roll these days!!!”

    “The benefits from Thrive these past 10 months are endless! Thrive isn’t even a weight loss product and look! My body needed to thrive and I love how I feel on it. I’m eating healthier and Chris and I are looking to join the gym to even take our health to the next level! What are you waiting for! Give your body the premium nutrition that it needs!”

    #Thrive #Weightmanagement #Energy #Confidence #Strength #Happy #Healthier #fulloflife #bestmom #betterme #plantbased #nongmo #glutenfree #sleepwell #energy #healfromwithin #guthealth #prebiotic #probiotics #enzymes #immunesupport #healthy #suppliments #clean #thriving #thrive

    Wow. The *effort* to type in all those hashtags! (Yeah, I transcribed ’em.) Who does she think she is, White Savior Barbie??

    Yet they never *did* join a gym, even though that would have been the obvious sales move – get around a lot of fitness-oriented people and show off your results (especially Chris!) and pick-pick-pick all that low-hanging fruit. They’d of course target the most upscale gym – always on the lookout for people who have money to spare!

    That’s likely one of the reasons Shan’Ann chose to put her girls in that too-expensive daycare program – as it was the *most expensive* “preschool” in the area, that would give her an opportunity to interact with wealthier moms, let them see how great she’s doing, and lure them into trying her snake oil.

    But apparently, they couldn’t afford that upscale gym membership – or Shan’Ann was just talking (her whole self-promotion) and never brought it up with Chris because she already knew they could never afford that additional expenditure. Still, it would have made sense from a business/sales perspective.

  13. Amanda Hays

    Can you help me help this grieving family? Please!! He’s free on dating sites to date people’s daughters!!! Police are doing nothing because this man has money, he’s been bragging about his life of crime, yet their daughter is gone and he’s free. They have NO ATTORNEY! HELP

    On Mon, Jul 8, 2019, 4:46 AM True Crime Rocket Science / #tcrs wrote:

    > nickvdl posted: “The Watts case was a tragedy, but the greatest travesty > was that the case never made it to trial. Had it done so, millions of other > lives could have been saved – literally millions. Millions of Americans > ruining their lives on a daily basis could have be” >

    • Ralph Oscar

      What are you proposing, Amanda Hays? Chris Watts is locked up in prison. He’s not dating anybody. Are you sure you’re on the right site?

      The case never went to trial because Chris Watts agreed to a plea bargain. He’s serving a life sentence. The problem is not that the family doesn’t have an attorney – that’s just weird.

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