IM Mastery Academy (aka IMMA or iMarketsLive or IML), a Las Vegas-based MLM company that sells forex and cryptocurrency trading software and educational products, among other things, held its annual convention earlier this month in Croatia and TINA.org, who has been following the company for more than five years, was present. Well, we didn’t actually go to the live event, but we did attend the three-day “Breakthrough” conference virtually. According to the highest-ranking distributors in IMMA, Chairman Elite Alex Morton and Chairman 750 Matt Rosa, conventions are what changed the trajectory of their businesses because as they said, “there’s something so special about conventions” and events are “where the magic happens.” While we didn’t see anything magical happen at this convention, here are seven things we learned from watching:
It was a scream-a-thon. Despite the fact that CEO Christopher Terry was not at the event because, as he told the audience in a pretaped video at the end of the convention, he had to stay home to work on a “critical project” for the company, everyone who was in attendance – the company estimated a crowd of 6,000 – screamed, a lot. Chairman leader Julian Kuscher explained on day two of the convention the need for the constant call and response, screaming: “Your energy today, your energy is going to create motion. Your energy is going to create increase. Your energy is going to create success.” While we couldn’t quite follow the logic of it all, the crowd seemed to agree with Kuscher wholeheartedly. Perhaps news that the FTC is currently investigating the company was exchanged between participants through whispers – but we couldn’t hear it above all the noise.
Four hours into the convention, knowing that there were more than 20 hours left to go, we at TINA.org created our own game of IMMA bingo to help hold our attention to the endless presentations, panels and recognitions of high-level recruiters. Every time specific words and phrases were said like “yes or yes,” “vibrations,” “freedom,” “6 figures,” “new life,” “dream,” “duplicate,” “recruiting,” “residual income,” “hope” and the company’s new tagline, “this is home,” we responded with our own shout of “bingo!” Suffice it to say, we ended up saying “bingo” a lot.
There was an abundance of earnings claims. With more than 11,000 deceptive MLM income claims on our website, we thought we’d heard them all, but at IMMA’s Breakthrough convention there was a new and novel claim. A distributor from Japan told the crowd she made enough money with IMMA to – wait for it – divorce her husband. The assertion came during the onstage recognition of brand-new Chairman 10s, a level that was described to the audience as follows: “You see, this next level, I want you guys to not only celebrate and go wild, because it not only means financial freedom for these individuals but is the foundation of the company.” And while more standard deceptive income claims were scattered throughout the three-day convention, it was executive Kyle Lowe who really went all in with eight rag-to-IMMA riches stories. This included a testimonial about a Peruvian woman battling cancer who went from living in a single room without water or electricity and only earning enough money to eat two bananas and rice and beans each day to now achieving Chairman rank in the company and supporting more than 20 members of her family.
IMMA is for everyone. Many speakers at the convention conveyed the message that anyone can be successful with IMMA. Chairman leader Kenji Nakazono, who told the crowd he recruited 100 members in two days, made Chairman 10 in two months and Chairman 50 in one year, explained that those who say they cannot “do” IMMA because they don’t have the time, money, smarts or experience are exactly the people who need to do IMMA. And Matt Rosa informed the audience that there was no difference between the successful distributors presenting on stage and those spectating – the audience just needed to have “a little bit of hope” to accomplish their goals.
Lessons in recruiting ramped up as the convention went on. According to Chairman 50 couple Greg and Melanie Greenough, IMMA is in the “people business” – that is, recruiting people into the business because “lives can’t be changed unless [distributors] take action.” Melanie let the audience know that they should never take “no” for an answer when recruiting, explaining that she keeps asking possible recruits until they “either stop taking my calls or [they’re] on my friggin team.” It was the Greenoughs’ opinion that saying “no” to them would be “the worst financial decision you ever made.” And of course, they ended their presentation with a “Chairman scream.”
IMMA has a different vibe. While a majority of MLMers in the U.S. are older, white women – “Boss Babes” among them – IMMA appears to attract a different demographic – a much younger, mostly male crowd. One of the reasons for the difference in who joins IMMA may likely be because of top recruiter Alex Morton, who cut his teeth in the MLM world with the Young People Revolution (or YPR as it was known) of Vemma Nutrition Company, an energy drink MLM that ultimately reached a $238 million settlement with the FTC over allegations that it was a pyramid scheme in 2016. Morton has always had a talent for recruiting the bros.
Even more important than what was said at this convention was what wasn’t said. In addition to the ongoing FTC inquiry, there was no mention that other countries have not looked favorably on the company. And there was definitely no mention that according to IMMA’s own income disclosure statement, after taking into account the company’s mandatory monthly recurring fees, at least 96 percent of distributors lose money with the company, less than half of 1 percent make $32,425 or more and only 0.17 percent of distributors make six figures. So perhaps in the end, the real magic of IMMA’s convention was how it disappears the money of its recruits.